Lead Through Change

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UNCHARTED: Three Things to Step Up and Lead Through Change


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Starting the conversation:

In this interview, Molly McGrath, Founder of Hiring & Empowering Solutions, LLC, discusses the importance of communication – and over-communication – as a skill to support consistent action to face change. She shares three things that every business leader needs to navigate uncertainty while staying grounded and having the capacity to expand your thinking. Listen in as host Jess Dewell and Molly McGrath talk about the importance of clarity during uncertain times, and then taking intentional action forward.

What else do you need besides a clear direction to navigate change? Molly McGrath, Founder of Hiring & Empowering Solutions, LLC, discusses the power of SWOT, turning problems into solutions, and creating a growth plan that help each employee to face business challenges.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Molly McGrath



Announcer 00:05 This is Uncharted, a series of candid conversations about facing uncertainty. When we are called upon to be courageous, the strength of our leadership is tested, Red Direction has developed the Fast Track Your Business program to help you stay aligned to your business’s true north. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of Business Excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place your unique true north. Now, here’s Jess,

Jess Dewell 00:40 Welcome everybody, to the Bold Business Podcast. We are here today, recording an uncharted program. Now, these are special programs. These are different programs. These are where we get to work with talk with hear from learn from somebody, not only through their expertise, also from their experience, it is to inspire you it is to help you with a problem that you are chewing on that you want me to just look at in a different way. That’s what conversations that I have with people just like Molly McGrath are all about. And you know that because you’re a regular listener of the show, let’s be real. So I’m just singing to the choir right now. All right. And without further ado, Molly, please tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Molly McGrath 01:25 Oh, yes, thank you so much for having me, Jess, I’m so excited to be here today. So I am the founder of a company called hiring and empowering solutions. I started I’ve been in business for almost 26 years now. And it two sides of my practice where we do staffing in a very unique way with our 66-day turnaround processes coupled with onboarding and creating team empowerment and leadership. And then we also have the consulting side of our business that goes in hand in hand. And we work with C-level leaders. And by and large people in the personal services space. So engineers, attorneys, CPAs, financial advisors, what have you.

Jess Dewell 02:10 I’m so glad you’re here today. And you know, I know our listeners are too because more often than not, the Uncharted programs that we have are the ones that generate emails. Thank you for letting me be a fly on the wall, you will have no idea how much of that helped me just get that one thing I needed to reframe differently. And so that is what we were up for today. So we’re looking at challenges here, and we’re looking at things that we have faced, maybe we were ready to face them. Maybe we weren’t. Is there? Is there a time that you can think of that? You know, it’s worth sharing that you were like, Oh my gosh, this is something I don’t know if I’m going to be able to lead my company through. I mean, 26 years in, there’s got to be at least one.

Molly McGrath 02:56 Wow, I can, I can absolutely speak about the most recent one, which is staffing and hiring and firing and employee empowerment in 2020. That was a year like none other. You know, it’s interesting, when we hit 2020 in the pandemic hip mica, we got this, this is okay, this can last for about two weeks or what have you. And halfway through probably about six weeks though, I’m like, wow, I started my company in 2008. So we all know what happened in 2008. Like, I’ve been here before. And so we can navigate through this again. The difference when it came time to staffing. And it came time for employee leadership and empowerment was that now we had this whole new challenge of going to a virtual world. And by and large, my businesses are all brick-and-mortar businesses. They very much are law firms were very much they are built on clients coming into the office. Many of the law firms that we worked with were not equipped. They had never been in the Zoom Room before. They were very much about face-to-face interaction. Many of our clients were doing workshops from a place of lead generation and education for their prospective clients. And they were all in hotel, hotel rooms. They were in the conference rooms that they have built within their law firms. And so they had many events and workshops and client meetings that were on the books and they had to pivot and pivot hard. So that was a real big challenge that we had to face. Not only that, but all recruiting and staffing came to a screeching halt. So one side of my practice, became I really had to pivot going from the traditional W to employment and learn how to because a lot of people were losing their employees because they had homeschool, they weren’t equipped to work from home, they were finally making decisions. Am I just going to retire? Oh, my husband says I don’t have to work. I’m going to be a full-time mom now. What have you? So that was a very, very big challenge.

Jess Dewell 05:17 You know, I am appreciative of the phrase, been here before, many of us haven’t been there before. And so we don’t necessarily know, we’ve been there before until we’ve been there the next time. And so the fact that you can acknowledge and honor that is, I think is incredibly powerful. And so what were the skills when you recognize, hey, I’ve been here before 2008 was another crazy year for a whole different world, what were you able to draw on to go? I think I can do this.

Molly McGrath 05:51 Yeah, you know, for me, whenever you are faced with a challenge, I mean, there’s always fight flight or freeze. So I knew I needed an all-hands-on-deck meeting. And this is something I coach all of my businesses on when things do get chaotic or crazier in a place of fear, as get everybody together. And I’ve had a virtual business for 25 years now. So I got all my team, and including my business coach in a Zoom Room, we went to the good old fashioned whiteboard, and we bring down to all of them, we did it old school SWOT analysis, you know, what are all of that? Yes, I love that you’re doing that. And we, you know, for me when you can do a brain dump, and just get everything out on the, on the paper, the fears, the opportunities, the strengths, the needs, and really identify what the problems are, it’s like almost pulling out that junk drawer and emptying it on the dining room table. And once you do that, it’s very, very overwhelming. But then when you start separating things and putting them in their little compartments, and where they belong, and then you can have some clarity. And until you get that clarity you do the brain dump, you know, have the frustration breakthrough. And puco everything that you have rolling around in your head, and then you’re able to get some clarity. And from there, we’re like, yeah, we have a big, many buckets of problems. But how can we turn them into solutions? And that was a greatest strength that we got. And I was able to go to all my existing clients, and then everybody else that I had in my perspective database and take them through that exact exercise. It was so empowering. And it was really great to be able to get my clarity and my business be able to pivot and then be able to be of service to my clients and keep my business not only afloat, but growing and thriving.

Jess Dewell 07:55 Yes, you know, that’s key, and all of the things that were in there, the things of Okay, so what do we do, and I think it’s fantastic. You had an old-fashioned whiteboard because I’m all about that. I don’t, if you were actually here, if we were in the same space recording, you would see I have sticky notes everywhere, all the time. And the reason for that is, is that I need to be able to move these things around all the time. And sometimes I need to get some things out of my way. Because to your point there, you got to figure out what do you want to focus on what problems do you want to turn into those solutions? What problems do you not really need to worry about right now? Was there something that you had to let go of in this pivot process in this adjustment process? Once you had done your SWOT with the key core people in the room that you were sad to have to let go of, but it was necessary, so that you could do that work and then model that for your clients?

Molly McGrath 09:00 Mm-hmm. That’s a phenomenal question. You know, I spend a tremendous amount of time in regards to coaching and mindset and what have you. So for me, the biggest thing that I did have to let go up was the traditional way of staffing. I really had to get clear and shift and pivot and go to a virtual setting and I had to let go of some employees that I was CEO for fractional CEO for so I had to get my ego out of the way. I had to get my old school ways that I believed in staffing out of the way and I really had to uplevel and, and really start to have a critical eye into regards this outsourcing independent contractor role.

Jess Dewell 09:50 Right. Oh, I think that that’s key. So you narrowed your focus.

Molly McGrath 09:56 I narrowed my focus in regards I didn’t change My focus and or my business model, but I adapted and I brought in, I actually expanded my focus and said,

Jess Dewell 10:08 Okay, tell us more about that. Because I heard Well, this is what I had to let go of. And that’s what actually allowed that other opportunity to occur. And is that what you’re saying? Are you meaning something different than that?

Molly McGrath 10:19 Yeah, great clarification, I had to let go of my way of staffing that I had to, which was very, very narrow. And I had to expand my thinking in regards to there. So when you’re digging in your tool, chest for quite some time, I had one tool, I had to add tools to my tool chest, I had to really for the first time, I expanded into affiliate relationships into working with referral sources. And in fact, some of the people that prior to the pandemic that I viewed as my competition are no one of my greatest power partners. So I really had to get and reach out to them. And in fact, we ended up creating a mastermind through that. And now, what we all perceive there’s two of them in particular, that we thought that the, the message in the marketplace from our perspective, clients were rieber competitors. And when we all came together and locked arms, and created a mini mastermind, we’ve really were all able to expand our thinking into abundant thinking, number one, but then also learn how we can actually lean on each other to become power partners and referral sources because we all had a very different perspective and a unique way of doing our recruiting.

Jess Dewell 11:37 Isn’t that amazing? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I remember that that happened. You know, once upon a time, one of my companies, we had high fierce competition, but we were all friends. At the end of the day, it was so great. And we ended up, we shared certain information that didn’t detract from how we positioned ourselves in the marketplace, but how we could be stronger together and ensure we were serving not only our customers, and the customers that overlapped us and them, but also their customers. And to your point, it was one of the most powerful things I think, that we ever did for that organization. So I think that is so great to hear that in practice from you. Um, you know, so what is the what is you gave affiliates as a tool in your tool belt? What is a leadership skill you leaned into, or you found pressure under fire you had to develop to navigate the change, knowing that you were you could do it, and, and that this was different than 2008?

Molly McGrath 12:44 Yeah, I think the greatest leadership skill that I’ve learned was in regards to over communication, over communication with the clients over communication internally with your team. And then over communication with your board of advisors, whoever you lean on from your leadership team. And what I mean about that so often, that people when they’re feeling anxiety about a client about whatever it is, the root of all anxiety is lack of information. And so when you can over-communicate with people, it decreases all the fear and the anxiety in the room. So what I created for many of my teams is okay, we’re not burying our heads in the sand, we’re actually coming together. And we’re all going to have these courageous conversations and vulnerabilities in regards to, you know, where we’re jammed up what’s not working, I created an agenda for a weekly meeting where it’s all hands on deck, treating it like a military meeting. And then because of the pandemic, when there was a tremendous amount of fear anywhere you turn, being breathed into any Zoom Room, the television, social media, what have you is from a leadership skill, the greatest skill that you can adopt as a daily huddle with your team. So you can treat it like a locker room huddle before you’re going on your Super Bowl playing field. And that really many of our team internally and many of our clients actually walked out of 2020 being the best year ever. And when I keep going back and look at that, no difference in the number of leads, they got the quality of leads to average case value. When we look at that the key point was Listen, we are a group of human beings first and foremost, not human doings. And at the end of the day, human beings need three simple things and your employees are human beings and your clients are human beings. And that’s time attention and feedback. And as a leader, if you have that front and center is on your to-do lists your tasks and your first order is to make certain that you are giving all the relationships your employees, your clients and whomever Your power partners, your referral sources time attention and feedback, they will always overperform they will always have your back take a bullet for you, and they will never leave. It’s a greatest retention tool as well.

Jess Dewell 15:15 Can you believe this? I told you you would enjoy hearing from Molly. And you know, she and I have been discussing, identifying the problem. SWOT analysis, which everybody who listens to this program, I call them dynamic SWOT, and I actually use mine weekly. And so I’m like, anytime somebody is going to do that, we get a happy dance from the side of the microphone and this side of the screen. And we were talking about the fact that even though we’ve been there, done that before in facing great change that has high levels of uncertainty, that not only can we learn and pull from what we had, we can, recognizing that these situations, in this moment, now are different. We get to experiment and figure out what else can we learn? And what can our takeaway be here for this moment in time and being very present and adaptable and flexible? And those three simple things, Molly that you just talked about, are incredibly fascinating. And so true. So true. Now, we are going to continue our conversation in just a moment. For Fast Track Your Business subscribers, the entire interview is in your True North dashboard, just pull up your private feed, and watch listen and read right from that website. How you work on your business often means the difference between failure and success, intentionally keep moving your business in the right direction, authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently. You owe it to your business.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to Uncharted Fast. Track Your Business subscribers receive access to a vast set of resources, including extended conversations to this and other Uncharted episodes. Visit FastTrackYourBusinesstoday.com. Your preparedness and the right perspective is absolutely necessary when you find yourself somewhere Uncharted. Special thanks to The SCOTT treatment for production assistance.