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How to Run a Business with a Growth Mindset

Transcript 

Kathy (host):  

Hi there, and welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast where we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina.

 

Kathy (host):

Many businesses that achieve sustainable growth and success have leaders who like to ask tough questions about what is happening in the company, and the answers that they get might not be what they want to hear. But the difference between leaders who want 'yes people' and leaders who want people with a growth mindset that can really help them run the company, is that these type of leaders are not offended by unexpected answers, and they do not get upset by failure. They see these things as opportunities to learn and guide them and their teams to improve operations, products, and services. A successful business must have employees willing to learn and take critiques with an open heart and an open mind. It needs employees that give honest answers to management, who take responsibility for setbacks and see them as a chance for improvement. These are all qualities of a company where people have what we call a growth mindset. Because beyond having the right skills and experience, hiring people with a growth mindset will ensure the success of your business, even when things are tough. How do you hire people with a growth mindset? And how does that really look like in a day to day operations of a company? 

 

Kathy (host):

Just a quick reminder, all of the episodes on this podcast, including this one, come with timestamps for topics that we discuss and each one has their own blog post, you can find the links in the detailed topics in this episode's show notes.

 

Kathy (host):

Today, our guest is Christopher Gittings. He is the Founder and President of Cogent Connections. It's a young sales consulting and marketing firm that helps businesses build genuine, thoughtful, and productive professional relationships. He helps clients connect with the right people, initiate productive conversations, and nurture their network. With his background in cognitive science and psychology, he understands that initiating quality relationships is a must for any professional, particularly when recruiting new talent to your workplace exploring acquisition opportunities, and building new sales relationships. Christopher talks about how hiring people with a growth mindset has helped drive his business to grow by leaps and bounds. And he shares his experience insights and tips on how your business can benefit from having a team who wants to grow, improve and become more effective over time. Join us. 

 

Kathy (host):

Welcome to the show, Chris.

 

Chris (guest):  

Please to be with you, Kathy.

 

Kathy (host):  

I'm so glad you're here because this episode is actually going to be a little bit different. I've invited you because your company has grown significantly over the last two years. You went from zero to 23 employees. I'm really looking forward to talking to you about this experience, what have you gone through, and what you're still going through as you've had this exponential growth because I think this is going to be really valuable for any business owner that is growing. Before we go into your experience of how has it been if you could give us a little bit of a background of your company when you started it, how you started it, and where you are right now.

 

Chris (guest):  

You bet I started in June of 2020. I run a marketing firm that has a specialty in LinkedIn, and building relationships through LinkedIn, as well as content-focused marketing- copywriting and graphic design, anything that an artist could do for business. We don't touch SEO, or website development, website design, or big data analytics. We're on the creative side of marketing. 

 

Chris (guest): 

Today, as you said, there are 23 of us. We're all remote. We're all young. I'm 25. My whole team is around my age and/or slightly younger. Some members of our team are part-time in college, and we have something rotating cohort of interns and young professionals who are with us. When you're starting a business, it's good to depend on bright, young, nimble minds to navigate issues. And then I depend on a strong network of advisory figures to lend me their wisdom and experience and sometimes a big part of growth is being a good listener. 

 

Chris (guest): 

And I'd say that my leadership style is very fluid. I don't go into my business with a very rigid plan of what I want to achieve and how I want to get there. I am a people person and a problem solver. I like getting out and trying to find ways to fit the puzzle pieces my team together, that my clients' puzzle pieces together. And I'm not here to take someone who has a certain shape if someone has a triangle, make them a square. I'm here to take someone who's a triangle and help them thrive as a triangle. Every day is a fun creative challenge trying to navigate that process and trying to help everyone be successful, whether that's me, my team, or the people I work with outside of my team.

 

Kathy (host):  

Awesome. You mentioned that you've had advisors in your company right now. Can we talk a little bit about that? What type of advisors do you have currently? And when have you started searching for those types of advisors? Was it at the beginning of your journey? Or was this something that happened that you said, "Hey, I really need help with this?" When was that point when you started onboarding advisors in your business?

 

Chris (guest):  

My first ever advisor, I think, is my first client. Because they were the ones who kind of encouraged me to start my business. And they essentially approached me and said, "Hey, Chris, we'd like to work with you. We'd like your help with these projects, can you help us?" And I said, "Okay." And they provided me a lot of advice on like, how to start a business, how to start an LLC, how to build them for things, and what I needed to do to get going, because I was quite naive, and I am quite naive as a person. Sometimes you don't know you don't know, and I was not intentional in my strategy for building up advisors in my life. I got lucky in meeting a bunch of really great people early on, which helped me be other cool people. And that explosion kind of happened, where I have a bunch of people I turned to for different things.

Kathy (host):  

You seem to have collected quite a great number of advisors from different pictures of the business and I think that is that is very, very important. Because as business owners, you just you just don't know what you don't know. I do want to ask you like, how often how does that advisor relationship look like for you? Do you call them up when you need them? Is there like a formal tab arrange arrangement that you have with them like we meet every week, every month, or when maybe or call them when you know you have a problem? It's like, "Jey, I need help with this." How does it look like for you?

Chris (guest):  

The story for every person is different. It's also fluid. It's developing. When you start a business, when you build a team, you don't start out with a lot of resources, I'm self-funded. And everything I put into businesses is money that we make. I don't have any debt either. I didn't raise money to start my business, I didn't plan to start my business, I've kind of learned through the process of building it and running it. And at first, people provided me support because they're excited be part of my journey. They believed in what I was doing. And I think there's a really big point to share there, which is, especially for other young professionals trying to start the business. Don't be afraid to accept help. Because you'll run into people, your business if your network, who are excited about you and what you're building and want to help you and really want to help you unconditionally. And then if you're a good professional, it's your job to grow to a point where you can begin supporting the back effectively more and more. So that's something I'm currently in the process of going through with my partners where I'm becoming more and more resource to them. I'm able to transition from friendship, relationships, to paid relationships. And going further and further down that path, the more pirate terms of business and can afford it.

Kathy (host):  

And in terms of you growing the business. And we originally when we started talking about this, you started growing from zero, literally from scratch to 23 employees. 

 

Christ (guest):

Yeah. 

 

Kathy (host):

How does that process been when you are hiring people? And you mentioned that you have a lot of interns on your team as well, which means usually interns is that they don't stay with you for a longer period of time. I don't know if that's the same thing in your company as well. How do you cultivate that culture in the business when you have so much ins and outs in terms of employees? How do you manage that?

 

Chris (guest):  

Is another layer to that which is having all remote cultures. Yeah, I started the business after the pandemic started.  Everything has been remote. I haven't had an office, or at least an office where everyone can meet one place. My employees have not yet had the opportunity to meet in person. It's tough building remote culture. It really is. But I think one of the key places to start is to identify what your mission is. Right? What is the mission of your organization? And that helps inform the way that you operate, the goals that you set, and what you're working towards as a result of that. People whose mission resonates with our people who end up wanting to work with and that informs the way that you interact with each other the activities that you run together the goals that you set together, everything. It's all mission first. I think. 

 

Chris (guest):  

I've had an interesting story with hiring as well, in that I didn't plan to grow as quickly as I have. I've just continuously run into really talented, really smart people who want to join. There's been this thing that's been happened, which I've actually liked, where I ran into a few people early on who I shared my business with, and who wanted to get involved in what I was building. And once we've been working together, they, in their own networks, ran into friends, people they trusted and wanted to collaborate with who were looking for work.  I kept interviewing people who refer to me and people only refer me to people who they really believe in. And as a result of kept going, how do I make this work? How do I find a way like how's this person's phenomenal? How can I earn the opportunity to be able to work with them professionally? And that's been the story of our growth is, again, trying to fit those different puzzle pieces that show up into the grander scheme of what we're trying to build. 

Chris (guest):  

One example of this is that I started off as a firm that's really focused on training companies, and how to use LinkedIn more effectively in helping them implement effective LinkedIn processes. And that was my whole focus. Because that's where my personal expertise lies. And the reason why we went more into a content direction is that the people on my team who have joined and who have been referring more talent and have been in those areas of creative writing, and design. I'm not an expert in either of those or at least wasn't when we started. I'm like, "Alright, let's figure out what we can put together that's going to add value for people. And we quickly realized that there are so many different offerings. We could put together that complement what we're doing with LinkedIn, that would also be of great value to our clients." So that's what I mean by finding ways to put the puzzle pieces together. 

Chris (guest):  

I think one thing that really bothers me is how hard it is for people in college to find work. Yeah, I'm not that far removed from that. Whether it's a really good internship or a good first job opportunity. Companies in general place such a high emphasis on experience. I was looking to build a very different kind of firm. And what I'm looking for is intelligent creative minds. Minds that can appreciate context, and strategically developed solutions to really nuanced, wide-ranging, messy issues. And to do that, I wanted to find people with really good heads on their shoulders, who are really thoughtful, who are humble, who are ready to dive in and learn and not come into a situation saying, "I have all the answers." 

Chris (guest):  

In fact, Jim Schulman, my dear adviser, one of the things that he's shared with me that really stuck with me is do not hire marketing majors to do marketing, which sounds really crazy. This is like a pride of unusual perspective on his part, is it because they're coming in with no actual marketing experience, thinking that they have all the answers, that you that they know what they're doing. And the best way to become a good marketer is to go in knowing that you don't, and being prepared to put your head down and aggressively learn new skills and experiment and in grow. 

 

Chris (guest):  

Marketing's an interesting field and I think one very particular way, which is that it is an art. There's so many different ways to address a problem. There's really infinite ways to address an issue anything's on the table. Just because your newsletter company or LinkedIn company doesn't mean that you can't come up with some crazy ultimate solution to help a company reach their goals and implement it for them. I'm a goal-oriented person, rather than a service. This is a service we provide oriented person. However, there is a quantitative result to your art. 

 

Chris (guest):  

Imagine being able to put together like a sculpture, and then have your art teacher, give it a grade, and that grade is the objective. Great. There's all kinds of ways you can approach a problem, but there's definitive quantitative ways to determine what's most effective. And that outcome is how much are you improving your client's revenue? How much are you helping them reach their goals of building a following, engaging the community, or whatever it is that they're trying to do educate? You can quantify the impact that you have. It keeps you on your toes and that's a great way to learn because you get that feedback loop. And it teaches you to iterate quickly, to never become too attached to an idea. And to always question yourself and those around you. I find that really fulfilling I think just the rate at which you learn working as a marketer can be really high. And it's a very enjoyable kind of learning, with the caveat that the learning process is a little bit stressful because people's livelihoods are on the line. 

 

Chris (guest):  

Your company's success is on the line, a manufacturer might have perfected their process for this new product that they're, you know, putting out into the world. And they may have a wonderful product and a wonderful strategy for how it's going to help people. All they're doing is teeing you up the marketer to go to bat for them. That's as far as they go and then it's your job to make their successes reflect the you know how fantastic that product is. That is a lot of pressure. It's really fulfilling, it's really exciting. It's so much fun to put out a campaign and to immediately see the results of the work that you've done, and the impact it's having on real people in the real world. But conversely. There's a lot on your shoulders in terms of making sure things go right. I guess that's kind of fulfilling to me. Anyway, I'm straying a little bit from the topic there. 

 

Chris (guest):  

But the point circling back is, that it's incredibly important to be very careful who you hire. And every firm has different needs. In general, marketing is a space where it's easy to get going and very challenging to master. In fact, mastery is unattainable, you can always become more effective as a marketer. You want to work with people who have a growth mindset and that is what I seek out. I find that the really talented minds that are most accessible are those who have not yet been in the workforce, who are in college, or recent graduates because other companies aren't realizing the incredible value that they bring. That is probably the key thing that's fueled my growth is finding incredible people. They're doing what I can to empower them to perform their best work, and to learn and to grow as efficiently as possible. And that ties back into the company culture. It's a fail-fast culture, right? Try multiple things, expect certain things to fail, embrace that they fail, and immediately iterate and attempt to fail again, as quickly as possible. If you're not failing, you're doing something wrong, because it means that you're not taking enough risks, calculated careful risks.

 

Kathy (host):  

And you made some great points there. Just as a little bit of a background on you, you have a background in psychology. I do wonder if the way how you think about marketing, and the way how you think about hiring actually impact your company's growth? Because you did say that you're looking for that growth mindset, which is very psychology specific. I wonder, how much has your background in psychology affect of how you look at the business, how you look at hiring, how you look at the whole marketing sector?

 

Chris (guest):  

It's been really impactful. And specifically, one of my core focuses, in studying psychology was children - childhood development. And there are several majors, major takeaways I've had from studying psychology that I've really kept with me that have colored the way I see the world in the way that I engage with people. 

Chris (guest):  

One of the first ones is the idea of learning windows. If you have a one-year-old child, and you want to teach them French, and their native English speaker, that is really easy to do. If you take someone who's an English speaker who's in high school, and you try to teach them French, is very effortful. It's possible that they could become fluent, but it's going to require a lot of effort for them to do so. And they're never going to understand French in a way that they're just naturally thinking it so it's gonna be effortful for them to speak in that other language -the second language. If you teach someone who is in their mid to late 30s, French, they're always going to have a really strong accent, in their native language, and never going to be fully able to develop that second language to complete fluency. 

 

Chris (guest):  

When you look at that, the obvious case to make is to say, "Okay, we shouldn't be teaching languages in high school. We should be teaching them when children are infants. If we want someone to become develop multiple languages, expertise on multiple languages, you want to start them when they're one, when they're two, when they're really anytime before eight. You're going to do a great job, helping children adopt a new language, and you want to use immersion. 

 

Chris (guest):  

But here's the beautiful thing about this. When you teach a child the language before they're eight, it is effortless for them to learn the language. It is not a frustrating, challenging, uphill climb of an experience. It comes naturally and it's enjoyable. Then, they get to enjoy the fruits of not having actually worked towards anything for the rest of their lives learning that skill. 

 

Chris (guest):  

If you want to learn a perfect pitch, every human is capable of perfect pitch. But you have to teach them in the first, I think, two to three years of life. And all you do is you take your child to a piano and you say, "I've got this great game I want to play with you. I have these three different notes here, these three different keys, and you're going to look this way. Now I'm going to press one of them. And then you tell me which color key I'm pressing." You're gonna like color-code them or put symbols on them. And you just practice every day with your child pressing different keys and having them tell you what color or symbol or letter or however you differentiate your keys is that you're pressing and your child will have perfect pitch for life. I mean, how cool is that? Right? And we don't think about that process because we just don't know I guess preschool is right that you're, you're playing these activities. But my younger brother's a musician, he wishes he had perfect pitch. What a cool skill to have.

 

Chris (guest):  

It's about thinking about the way that you learn and do things in such a way that they aren't so effortful, versus the way that we typically do things, which is that we value the work we put in towards our goal, rather than our progress in reaching it. That was one major takeaway that I had. I'll share another story, but it's another five-minute story about something else that's also relevant. No, do you want me to do that or not? I can. It's up to you. Like genuine genuinely tell me, somebody, to tell another story or not?

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, yeah. I would love to hear it. If how it affected your hiring process, and the way how you look at business.

 

Chris (guest):  

It will come back to that. People who struggle with seizures. One treatment that's been proven effective for certain types of seizures, is to literally cut a person's brain in half. Your brain is essentially two lobes; the right side of your brain and the left side of the brain. There's just a little cord in between the two holding them together called the corpus callosum. And it turns out that if you snip that cord, through just invasive surgery, people can live their lives with almost no complications, just as they were before. And that alone blew my mind, because that says a lot about how our brains work, for many, many reasons. 

 

Chris (guest):  

But it also enables some really interesting studies that you can do on these patients are called split-brain patients, because they literally have a split brain. For every person, language is centralized in one part of your brain or one half of your brain. Typically, if you're right-handed, the area of your brain that focuses on your ability to speak is on the left side, and vice versa. 

 

Chris (guest):  

Additionally, your vision across both of your eyes is actually distributed across your two hemispheres. The left side of your vision from both of your eyes is actually digested in the right side of your brain, and the right side of your vision is digested the left side of your brain. And what this means is that if you direct someone to stare at a dot on a projector screen, you can actually flash words or phrases or directions on one side of that screen or the other, and only one-half of their brain will see it, and this is really interesting. 

 

Chris (guest):  

There is a study done, where these scientists essentially directed foot brain patients. They directed the right side of the person's brain to pick up their left arm and scratch the right arm with it. And then they asked the person, "Why did you scratch your arm so that only the left side of their brain could respond?" Because only the left side of the brain and a split-brain patient is actually able to communicate verbally? At least. And what did all those patients say in response to that question? Every single one said, "I have an itch." None of them said, "I don't know." None of them said it, "Because you told me." Right? It was universal. And that moment when I learned about this blew my mind. Because it's a really great example that uncovers the lens that exists between our conscious minds and the world around us. 

Chris (guest):  

Everything that we experience and do is being carefully shaped without us realizing it so that we can better perform in the world. And one of the things that our brains do is they try to justify and create patterns and find logic and understand the world around us even when there's nothing. Your brain would prefer to have an opinion on something to have an answer than to be comfortable not knowing and to just stew in that state of being comfortable, not being sure why things are happening. And once you're aware of that in yourself, that is the key here. 

 

Chris (guest):  

By the way, too. Once you're really aware of your own ability to quickly jump to conclusions on everything you do even the smallest things, you become a much more effective thinker. Because I mean, just a whole world opened up to you that isn't opened up to 99% of the population. When we talk about hiring people with a growth mindset, it's people who have the ability to be really reflective, who are highly motivated and are comfortable being in the state of not knowing rather than jumping forward and saying I know how to do this during research, and they're letting the results speak for their perspective, rather than using their perspective to speak for the results. When I hire increasingly at first, when I hired people, I just hired people because I knew them or because someone else recommended them and I just hope for the best, and that's a ridiculous way to hire, I'm very naive. And over time, I've put more effort and thought into running tests to identify if people are going to be a fit for our firm based on our values, and based on what we need from them. What we need from everybody is a growth mindset, a contextual mindset, a preparedness to be wrong, a willingness to fail, and an excitement to grow.

Kathy (host):  

And how do you test for that? Let's say that someone recommends a potential employee to you? How do you go and test for this growth mindset? Is there a series of questions that you ask them? Do you give them a certain case study, a problem to go through? How do you do that in a more practical way?

 

Chris (guest):  

There's two components. Yeah, of course. Interviewing a person can tell you a lot. In terms of the way that they approach to conversation with you their body language, the areas of interests that they identify, in their explanations for why they had interests that they do, and their ability to define what their goals are, and their ability to share the things that they're unsure of. 

 

Chris (guest):  

I love it when a person comes to me, they're like, "I don't know what I want to do with my life." I love that you are prepared to acknowledge that into stew in that, right? I love it when I encounter people who are very comfortable with not knowing, and are very eager to know and to go on that journey. Because you can't start on a journey unless you want to go on that journey, which means you need to have the mindset, it's going to allow you to do that. 

 

Chris (guest):  

The other really big thing that I've been putting more emphasis on is the assignments I give people. If I was to pick one quality trait that I'm looking for in any potential hire and that I've placed above anything else, that quality is passion. It's their motivation. And they're how excited they are to join the firm. Because when someone's really passionate about what they're doing, and passionate about wanting to grow, and develop new skills, and grow with the firm, and everything that we're doing, and support our clients, that's what's going to fuel their learning, that's just going to make them take the time to learn new skills and adapt to things. And it's going to push them through difficult situations where there's a lot of stress, or when they're failing, it all comes down to that really high level of motivation. 

 

Chris (guest):  

But the second thing is, when I give a task, what I actually do is I will create a situation with a person that is very one of a kind. What I'll do is I'll take a a former client situation, we've already had actually experienced, and give them the complete lowdown of that situation as it was three months ago. And say, "Here's the problem we're trying to address. I will be the client for you. I will answer all of your questions whenever you have questions for me. And I want you to build me essentially a proposal for what we're going to do." And I don't give them any guidelines on how long it should be, and what form it should take. It can be PowerPoint, written presentation, verbal presentation, whatever they can imagine. I actually provide as few guidelines with my projects as I possibly can. Because those are the kinds of situations they're going to find themselves in when they're working with me. In real life. It's like, "Okay, here's the client. Here's what they need to solve. What are we going to do? How are we going to get this done?" I want them to again, be comfortable in something of a chaotic work environment. I want them to realize, "Hey, this is very stressful and scary, be put in a situation where I'm way out of my depth." And to remember, "Hey, I can ask for help. I can ask Chris for help." If people ask me for help in their interviews, I'll help them with their projects. Like that's one of the ways they can get through it. They can ask their friends. They can ask their family. This isn't school anymore, right? You have to break out of that school mindset. 

 

Chris (guest):  

In fact, I think school does a bunch of injustices to learning. And one of the biggest hurdles I face, in hiring people straight out of college is breaking their educational mindset, their test focus mindset, which can be pretty debilitating, because it's like, "Well, I'm not allowed to ask for help, because that's cheating." Right? I had to follow the rules of the test. It's marketing. The way you get scored is how well did your project impact the client's success? That's it. And there's a quantifiable way to measure that, and there's no rubric. What I'll find with many of the people I talked to is they will freeze up when the rubric is taken away, and they're no longer put in a box to succeed with. 

 

Chris (guest):  

I also want to emphasize. If they really struggle with that, and they don't see themselves ever reaching a point where they can work without the box. That is okay. Right. The point of an assessment is not to tell someone that they're wrong or not smart, if they're not going to succeed in the situation and placing them in is to say, there are great jobs out there that need you in terms of what you're where your talents lie, and the work structures and environment you need. 

 

Chris (guest):  

The advantage my firm offers is our incredible flexibility, and our incredible willingness on day one, to allow entry-level employees to have responsibilities that typically they wouldn't get to have for 10 years working in another firm. I'm going to get you into projects with clients on day one, in leadership roles. As long as you want them. And I want people who want them because those are the kinds of people I'm trying to build, and that's where I get a lot of fulfillment. Why do you build your firm this way? We only have one life, and your work is a third of your life. Let's make it not the worst third. Let's make sleep the worst third. Your personal life can still be the best third, but we want to be second place. I want you to be excited about what you're building, what you're doing, and everything that's going on in your life. I want to empower you to get there. So no other firm, or at least very few other firms outside of like software companies think about their growth this way. I placed a lot of credit on that for our ability to build a successful team.

Kathy (host):  

What you're talking about takes a lot of trusts. It takes a lot of trust in your team, it takes a lot of trust in people in general. And I think a lot of business owners that are growing the business know that they have to start putting trust in their team a lot more than they used to. Because once you start to grow the company, you cannot be any anywhere in everywhere anymore. You have to select places that you want to focus on and have the team take the responsibility and take those areas of the business that you just don't have the capacity to be in. I want to talk a little bit about how did you develop this trust? Is it something that you see in people that "Now, that I have the right people? They understand the vision. They have this growth mindset."The trust for me, is there by default? Or is it something that they have to earn? How do you think about in those terms?

Chris (guest):  

I like trust but verify. 

 

Kathy (host):

Okay.

 

Chris (guest):

I lead with trust. It's "You're here. You know what this firm is about. You've been educated on what we're trying to build and our processes, and we've worked together on how we can make you successful as part of it." I don't want to set up people to fail. It's not like, again, I'm putting people into a box, which is a box where I expect you to perform miracles every day working with new and interesting companies. Instead, I want to help you figure out your fate, as a person, right? Not every person I hire is someone who's going to thrive in a completely open environment. So that's something that I navigate with the person, and for the people who are ready to go and dive into a project, I help them identify which projects we have going on that they're ready to dive into.

Chris (guest):

And then you want to create structures for ensuring that they're successful. So who are they partnering with on a project? What are the metrics that we're putting out to determine if a product is successful or not, and there is no one size fits all to that, at least for now? It's something I'm continuously working on. It's product specific because the products we work on are incredibly varied. Every single one has different things happening. And I'm working on learning from all the products we've had to identify the categories in which we're going to be most successful, in the ways we should be standardizing more of our processes to enable that next stage of growth because the way running a very open-ended firm has a cap on how much you can grow that firm because it requires you to be involved. 

 

Chris (guest):

One good reason to have interns actually, I think every company should have an internship process. It's one of the best ways you have to hire, even if you push someone through all of the vetting processes you can imagine in the world, you really don't know how that person is going to function with the organization or thrive within your organization without them being in it. Hiring your interns full-time is a phenomenal way to ensure that you're bringing people long-term who are really strong fit for your organization. I seek out those opportunities to promote those people. 

 

Chris (guest):

And again, it just because firms are so hesitant to promote people with less experience to higher-level roles. It gives us a strong competitive advantage, where people who are eager to prove themselves and eager to do a lot of good in the world, again, can be actually granted those opportunities earlier in their career to develop more of those kinds of skill sets. Why wait? Right? We are the most nimble-minded we're going to be now so let's take full advantage of that. There are hiccups along the way in that process, and a lot of them come down to just keeping track of everything that's going on. And that's something I'm actively working on before I go and hire more people in the future.

 

Kathy (host):  

How does that process look of managing these people look like for you on a daily basis? Is this something that you have team meetings, you meet with each person on a weekly basis? How does that look like for you? 

 

Chris (guest):  

Yeah. The first step is you want a really strong project management tool. That way everyone can see what everyone else is working on. I really like ClickUp. But other teams use other tools like Teamup.

 

Kathy (host):

I'm a huge fan of ClickUp, too. 

 

Chris (guest):

Yeah, my team uses ClickUp. And one thing that I see as being really important when it comes to client relationships, or even projects, and my projects and client relationships are the same thing. It's important for there to always be a single point of responsibility on the team for that project, meaning, there is a person who gets to make the final decision on what we do. 

Chris (guest):

If people have different perspectives on "Oh, we should consider this process for that process." There's one person who gets to make the final choice, regardless of what anyone else says and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that that project reaches the goals that we've set out. And I see this as being really, really important because oftentimes, stagnation can occur when people can't follow their vision. And sometimes you need to be trusted to be able to follow your vision; respect and responsibility. 

 

Chris (guest):

Another really important part of that is it's actually easier to give people advice and support when they know they're in charge. And just because you recommended someone doesn't mean that they're now required to use that information, or to follow your ideas. I feel a lot more comfortable giving people advice when I know it's not going to prevent them from going down the path they're going on and being successful. All I want to do is ensure their success and support their success. When they know that they're being trusted to see things through. And when they've started off saying, "I take responsibility for hitting these targets, and I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to get there." And we have a good way of tracking that, then that's a good process.

 

Kathy (host):  

Chris, this has been an absolutely fabulous conversation that we had. We really dive deep into this focus on the growth mindset, and how do you actually cultivate that in your employees and your examples of you part of the psychology and the neuroscience were super fascinating. But if someone was, let's say that someone's listening to this, and they want to start hiring based on those growth mindset, and being really more sensitive to that when they're hiring people, like what is the one thing that you would recommend that they can do and part of their hiring process to be able to select those type of people when they're doing the interviews?

 

Chris (guest):  

Oh, boy, you asked me to do give you one. 

 

Kathy (host):

Just one tip. 

 

Chris (guest):

I'll get a few really short ones. Okay. Get Handshake. That's where you can hire students and recent graduates that's where everyone is in that category. Now, every college admissions officer uses Handshake, so get familiar with the tool. 

 

Chris (guest):

Second, sorry, I'm gonna get two, is always hire always fire. Right? Even when you don't need more resources, you always want to be aware of what's out there. Because you never know when you're going to need that next resource. And you don't want to be hiring when you have a need. You want to be hiring because you have a want, and you have someone who's a great fit for that situation. And you want the best people, right? I think almost every employer would agree with me that the number one thing in their company is their people. Right? The number one part of their process that matters the most is finding the right people and building the right culture. Culture stems from people. And people stem from putting a lot of emphasis on always seeking out the absolute top talent you can find. Almost every company only searches out people for their roles when they have an immediate and acute need for help and that is not the kind of environment and situation that is going to lead you to making the best hire possible. That's going to bite you down the line. Always hire or always at least explore who's out there, and always interview and just keep that process going continuously.

 

Kathy (host):  

These are great tips especially always be interviewing because you never know when you're going to need that person down the line. It might not be today, but it could be tomorrow or three, six months from now.  Thank you so much for coming on the show, Chris. Where can people find you?

 

Chris (guest):  

They can find me on LinkedIn. I'm Christopher Gittings at Cogent Connections. And also my email is chris@cogentconnections.io.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thank you, Chris.

 

Chris (guest):  

Thank you for having me, Kathy. I had a great time talking with you.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thanks so much for joining us, and I hope today's episode has given you actionable tips on hiring people with a growth mindset to help you grow your business. 

 

Kathy (host): 

Also, if you loved this episode, you can find all the timestamps, show notes, blog posts, and links at my website, newcastlefinance.us/podcast. 

 

Kathy (host): 

And before I go, as always, I do have a favor to ask. If you listen to this on Apple podcasts, please go to the show and tap the number of stars you think the show deserves. Because it helps other people find it too. Thanks so much! Until next time!