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How Culture and Leadership Affect Your Business Growth, with Lindsay White

Transcript 

Kathy (host):

Welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing Podcast, where we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina. Today, we'll be talking about business culture because it's such an important part of running a business. And it can really make a difference between success and failure. A lack of culture and leadership inevitably shows up in the finances eventually and I can see that with the clients that I work with. The question is, how do you avoid this in your business? When you're hiring, how do you really ensure that the person you hire would be a right fit? How do you set the right guidelines and boundaries with your employees, such as in a case when a person is a friend or someone that you knew for a long time? How do you even have those types of conversations? 

 

Kathy (host): 

Join me as I talk through these topics with Lindsay White. Lindsay White is a leadership coach with High Voltage Coaching. Lindsay believes that every business, no matter how small, deserves three things - great leadership, impactful people strategy, and a culture that inspires.  As a leadership coach and people strategist, it's Lindsay's incredible passion, high voltage, personality, and decades of talent management and coaching experience that inspires her clients as they drive their business success for their people. As an entrepreneurial working mom, a first and grandmother, Lindsay knows that the blend between work and life can be difficult to create. That's why she loves to coach and buy female business owners as they navigate their personal leadership journey. Her focus on people's strategy, team management, and leadership development all help her clients drive their business goals while creating an inspiring culture. 

 

Kathy (host):

Welcome to the show, Lindsay.

 

Lindsay (guest):

Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here! 

 

Kathy (host):

So great to having you. What I wanted to talk about today is that your focus on your work is actually on culture, and that workplace culture just isn't for big companies, it's also for small companies as well. I could not agree more because culture is such an important part in a business. I could see that from my own perspective and finances, that the lack of culture really reflects in the numbers. Turnover is a big one because it takes time and money to replace the people and to find the right people. I wanted to talk to you about, what are some of the other signs from your perspective that the culture is really lacking?
 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah, something I absolutely love to talk about. Thank you for sort of framing it like that. You're right, workplace culture is not just for big organizations.  It's become a bit of a buzzword. But realistically, culture is really simple. It is the way people interact in your business. It's the behaviors that people demonstrate. It really connects to the values, as well as, the vision and mission of your organization. It's just the way that people interact and interrelate inside your organization in there. 

 

Lindsay (guest):

There's a way to kind of provide framework for it, and describe it and articulate it that everybody can understand and most importantly, connect to it. It's when our team members, our employees, and our contractors can understand and see themselves reflected in our culture, that we really enable everybody on the team to bring their best self to work to bring their best expertise and their brilliance to work. It's so critical, especially for smaller organizations, because every person counts. Every person has its such high touch in our small businesses, and what they do impacts our clients directly for the most part. 

Lindsay (guest):

You're right, it absolutely does show up financially. But it also connects to the strategy and ultimately to our business plan. I think that's the part that a lot of entrepreneurs, small business owners actually miss is strategic. 

 

Kathy (host):

Yep. 

 

Lindsay (guest): 

That is a big part of what I do with my clients is help them understand, first of all, what is the culture they have today? Right? What is happening inside of their business, whether they sometimes are aware of it or not. Some of those things, particularly when you start to get into organizations that have sort of 10, 15, 20, 25 employees, where you can't directly see what everybody is doing every day, in our remote environments. We've been in this last 17 months. 

Kathy (host):

Yep, exactly. 

 

Lindsay (guest):

It is understanding like essentially those ties that bind. That's the first thing is like, just really understanding and being objective about what is and is not happening. Then taking two big steps back from that and saying, "What is it that I want it to be?" Then you can measure the difference, right?

Lindsay (guest):

For example, in a lot of organizations that I work with, the boss sees the financial issues, right? Maybe there's returns, Google reviews that are awesome. Maybe some big clients or contracts are lost. That's the financial sort of impact. They come to me and they're like, “I don't understand what's going on. My team just isn't doing what I need them to do.” When we dig inside of that, what we realize is that there's things going on in there that they don't know. 

Lindsay (guest):

For example, maybe there's some bullying, right? Maybe there's an employee that is exhibiting some behaviors that we would say just aren't acceptable in the business ... But it also could be that we just don't have some of the leadership qualities that we need. That ultimately can impact things like turnover, and it can impact employee satisfaction. Again, people don't feel like they can bring their best selves to work every day. Right?

 

Kathy (host):

Yeah. That is such an important piece in the leadership perspective and bringing the best in people. 

 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. 

 

Kathy (host):

One thing that I'm really curious is like, what are the specific things that you see where that leadership component is missing in the business? We talked about the outside, the customers are not happy. You see a lot of that. But what is it that you see an organizations that is like a clear sign that the leadership perspective is something that needs to be worked on? 

 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. There's a couple things that are thematic, throughout, all the clients that I work with, and the first one is that the leader is not clearly articulating the accountabilities, right? Clear communication, that is number one. Often, what I find when I dig into that is the leader says, “Well, they should know what to do.”

Kathy (host):

Yeah. 

Lindsay (guest):

Well, that's just not possible. Because the truth is, we don't hire mind readers. What ends up happening is the leader is essentially dropping hints. They're not being clear in that I need you to do this thing, in potentially, even in this way, by this date. It needs to be absolutely unequivocal and sometimes restated. That is one that is very simple but often very missed. It's easy to correct. 

 

Lindsay (guest): 

The second leadership issue that I see it impacts culture is that you have a leader that really is uncomfortable with difficult conversations. They don't want to hurt someone's feelings. They don't want to stir the pot. It makes them uncomfortable to have a very direct conversation with their employee. What ends up happening is that the leader is frustrated, annoyed, … because the employee is not doing what they need them to do. On the other side, the employee is left wondering if they're doing a good job, or what do they need to improve, they feel directionless. It is in the lack of leadership in terms of having that very forward. But also empathetic and vulnerable conversation, that there's a missing piece, right? Employees actually want feedback. They want to know when they're doing a good job. They also want to know when they're not meeting the mark. Then they want a leader that can step up and help them remove roadblocks, or upskill, or whatever is necessary. That helps them feel cared for and feel empowered. 

Lindsay (guest):

The third thing, of course, is then leaders that are micromanagers.

Kathy (host):

Yeah, that's a big one. Yes, I see that a lot.

Lindsay (guest):

An enormous one. I think it's Richard Branson said, “Why do you hire really smart people, and not let them do the work that you've hired them to do?” I find that quite a bit with some business owners is that they do start to collect a really great team, and maybe they do a really great job of their recruitment. They have someone really smart in the role, and then they micromanage the crap out of them. That's incredibly disengaging because the employee ends up feeling like they don't have value. Then again, we get into turnover, we get into client dissatisfaction, like all of those things, and then and inevitably, it ends up on our bottom line. 

Lindsay (guest):

Being able to create an a space of trust and respect that goes both ways is really, really critical. Those are probably three of the most common things. You're nodding Kathy, you obviously see that come out on the other end, which is, some of that financial reporting, right?

Kathy (host):  

Yes, for sure. The interesting piece that you brought in is micromanagement. What I'm seeing is people either go in one direction that they just let them be and let them do their own thing. I'm not gonna I'm completely hands-off, or they go into a completely other direction, which is micromanagement. Neither of these extremes are good for the business. 

Kathy (host): 

How do you reel it in? How do you balance it as a leader? First of all, how do you recognize that you're either into one of those extremes? Is there like signs that you're seeing in the business? Then the other pieces? What do you do so that you can stay focused and you'll be in the balance? Do you have like any suggestions for listeners?

Lindsay (guest):

First of all, some of the signs that you're micromanaging. You are way too involved with the day-to-day. You are feeling stressed, you are feeling overwhelmed, you are feeling frustrated. You might be asking yourself as a leader, as a business owner, “Why am I in all this minutia? Why can't anybody else figure this out?”

Lindsay (guest): 

The first indication that you need to stop and assess what should you be involved in, in your business. With so many of the clients I work with, we're moving to CEO space. That's strategy, that's culture champion, that's telling the story inside and outside your business. If you are working in the day-to-day minutia, you need to stop immediately. You might need to consider hiring a coach because somebody needs to help you. It is hard to see that in yourself. 

Lindsay (guest):

On the other side, if you are being too liberal, if you are not creating a framework that empowers your people, you are going to see things like turnover. You are going to see very nervous, anxious employees, because they don't have direction. They don't understand what they're accountable for, and they don't understand how those you know how their roles interact. You will see employees that are highly, highly anxious around their performance, around their delivery. You will see people that are actually really, and I would call it like outside their lane, right? They're doing all sorts of things that they probably have no business doing. 

Lindsay (guest):

On both sides of the equation, what you're going to see is really highly disengaged. People that are disenfranchised with their jobs. People that are already looking for a new role. They've got one foot outside the door, Kathy, right? They're losing their spark like you can, it's palpable. You can feel it and see it. It's just checkmarks on a page, right? It's not, there's no innovation, there's no creativity, there's no passion left. That will happen on either side. Right? The result actually is quite similar.

Kathy (host):

Yeah, and you're right, the disengaged employees, are employees, are actually costing the organization a lot of money because they're not as productive, they're not as happy. As a business, that is something that you really need to be aware of because it is costing you money. The question that I have for you, we talked about small businesses here, how is culture actually different, it or is it different at all, when you look at the large corporations and the small businesses? Is there any difference at all? Or is it very similar it just in a smaller container? 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. Obviously, there are differences, right?  The more people and the larger the organization, culture starts to take on a whole new meaning. It becomes about programs and policies and all sorts of things, right? Obviously, the scale is significantly different. You're trying to get hundreds of people to connect and display the same behaviors. It is the programming has to be far more robust to go with that. But it is essentially at its core, the same thing, whether you have 15 employees or 1500 employees, it really is about what are the values of the organization? What's the mission or vision, right?  What's the purpose? Why are you doing this thing?

Kathy (host):

Yeah.

 

Lindsay (guest):

Then helping others connect to that, find the space where their values align, and then translating those values into the behaviors, which is how they do their work every day. That's essentially what culture is. Doesn't matter how many people you have. The truth is in larger organizations, your employees just get further and further and removed from the client, right? It's harder to connect them to the end result.

Lindsay (guest):

When you're in a very small business, they can feel the impact they have on your client every single day. You have a better vantage point from that perspective to help them step into the client's shoes. Whether you're selling a service, a program, a product, right? How does this thing help our employee and then help our client? They can bring that back and view that then from the inside out of your business and say, "Okay, how do I need to show up differently? How do we collectively need to show up." You can have a really robust conversation around that. The truth is, that's the biggest part of how you grow and foster and nurture culture is you talk about it all the time like it is a living breathing part of your business. That's how you, it's that simple and it's that complicated. 

Kathy (host):

It's not just setting a mission and putting in a document somewhere. It's just, it's there, and you never look at it. You have to look at it every day, have it be a living, breathing thing, that you're constantly incorporating in the meetings, in the interactions with employees, is that what I'm hearing?

Lindsay (guest):

Yes. And even beyond that, it's talking about how do we make that mission? Because we all have those mission statements, they go up on the wall, they're beautiful, they're really inspiring.

 

Kathy (host):

Yes. 

Lindsay (guest):

But it's how do we make that thing inspiring every single day in every single thing we do. That's how we translate it into the behavior. Right? If our mission is to create, like Disney, is to create incredible experiences for people. How do you create those incredible experiences? It's actually every interaction that you have in on like, on Disneyland Park, is magical. Everyone is empowered to make it magical. I'm using Disney as an example. I don't even know if that's actually there ... Every person is enabled to behave in a way that makes things magical. It really is about just having this ongoing conversation that everybody gets to contribute to, not just I'm a leader, I own the business, I get to dictate it. In fact, it works the other way. Everybody is an equal in growing that.

Kathy (host):

Yeah. I think that is actually really important for a growing company even more, because as you're bringing more people on board, as you're trying to figure out, where do I position these people in my organization, having that culture, having that mission, that it's really palpable in the business, is going to ensure that you have the people in the business that are the right people, right? Because if you don't have that clarity of the culture that you want to cultivate the business that you want to have, you might actually make a big mistake of bringing someone going through the whole process of onboarding and interviewing and realizing that the person is not the right fit.

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. And that's so unfortunate, having a great recruitment process. And really, tactically doing the right things, asking the right questions. First of all, having job descriptions that are really well articulated, right, that incorporate the vision, the mission, the values, and the behaviors, not just the skills and experience, because that's a lot of what we do we do job descriptions, … we need this person that has these three skills and five years of experience, and they've worked in this industry. That's like the tip of the iceberg. You're right, it really does start with something that's very small and very tactical, but actually is a big part of how we bring people into our business that are going to fit with the culture, we want to create and are going to demonstrate the behaviors that we need.

 

Lindsay (guest):

It's absolutely crucial that you get your recruitment process, right. That you do it … Don't just write a process and then ignore it. Because it doesn't help you. Then how do you bring these people into your organization they can get up to speed, as quickly as possible. They can feel like part of the family as quickly as you can, like wrap your arms around them? Because that again, that speed to contribution ultimately lands on your bottom line. How do you keep them engaged, motivated, feeling valued, feeling growth, right? Those are all part of your people strategy. All of those pieces, there's programming you can design around them doesn't have to be complicated, but it's all part of your people strategy that ultimately connects to your business plan. Having a great culture that is robust, absolutely drives your business plan, one hundred percent. 

Kathy (host):

Yeah, and I want to bring that back into the recruitment because it's really hard. What I've noticed, it's really hard to figure out if a person is a culture fit is like when you go through the recruitment process, when you go through the interviewing process when you're interviewing that potential employee, are there any particular things like questions or anything that you should be aware of that you know that they're going to be either a good cultural fit for you or not? Is there any, like red flags that you should be looking at? I mean, how would you? How would you define that? What do you should be looking for when you trying to see if the person is a cultural fit?

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. My philosophy is that with every question that you build into your recruitment process, when it starts with, the initial pre-screening phone call, you get them on the phone for 10 to 15 minutes, just to find out a little bit more about them. What are you looking for in terms of their behavior? They're bright, they're personable, they're open, they're vulnerable. Right? 

Lindsay (guest):

You're looking for the behaviors, right from the first conversation, then when you have them in for more formal interview, and you're asking some of those behavioral questions. Tell me about a time when, right? Those are the important ones. Again, with each one of those questions, not only what skill and experience, are you looking like? What are you looking for all those questions in terms of those tactical pieces? But also in terms of behavior. How do they solve the problem? Are they collaborative? Are they cooperative? Do they lead with empathy? Like, what are the important values and behaviors in your business? And how did those show up? What are you looking for in an answer? Then being able to very much associate their response with those things, right? 

Lindsay  (guest):

You can actually nail it right down if you do a really great job in your design, that will help you come all the way through your interview process. You'll be like, “Yeah, not only does this person have the great skills, not only that they have the five years experience, not only can they use all the applications and software we need them to. But here we can already tell what their values are.” We already know how they're going to show up. It's an easy answer, right? It's a yes. Or it's a hell no.

Kathy (host):  

How much would you say a gut feel is important in that decision-making?

Lindsay (guest):  

Yeah, I always believe that there is space for the gut check. The problem is that so many leaders, and I have seen this not just in small business, I have worked in larger organizations. I've worked with CFOs. I've worked with COOs. I've worked with VPs of HR, who say, “Oh, no, they're awesome.” And I say, “wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let's go right back to the interview. And let's look at this objectively.” Right? Let's look at that. You can even attach a number figure to their answer if you really want to get technical with it. Because the gut check can get away from you. It always has a place at the end but you cannot lead with it. Does that answer your questions? That makes sense?

Kathy (host):

Yeah, Yeah, it does. But let's say that you had someone that checked all the boxes that seemed great, everything, you know. They have the 5, 10 years’ experience that you're looking for. But there's still something that that's not right, how much emphasis should you be putting on that particular feel versus everything else that seemed right?

Lindsay (guest):

The short answer is you should listen to that. There's a couple ways you can deal with it. First of all, as I just mentioned, you can go right back to the whole process, and get granular with it. Maybe there's a scoring matrix that you want to assign to some of the answers. Then you could look at it numerically, because sometimes just having the numbers make things a little bit more clear and will justify that gut check. Right? 

Lindsay (guest): 

You could also, just add one sort of additional 30-minute coffee chat to the interview process and have someone else bring in an objective thought that may actually confirm the gut check piece. But the truth is, I think if even if you have a great candidate who looks like they check all the boxes, and your gut feeling says this person is not a fit. I think you have to go with that, even if it cost you more time in your recruitment process. Because I believe that our intuition actually never steers us wrong if we listen to it.

Kathy (host):

That's such a great point. Yeah, for sure. I've done some recruitment myself, and I know that every single time that when I have a nagging feeling, there was something off and when I went back to the whole interview process, there was definitely I could pinpoint this did not sit well with me because of the particular, whether wasn't a cultural fit or I just did not like the answer that they that they gave. And that became a red flag that stayed with me. When I looked back into, I was able to pinpoint what it actually was. 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah, that's beautiful. I really believe that when we are able to really tap into our intuition, it will give us the answer if we just stop, slow down, be quiet, shut up for a minute. And listen. 

Kathy (host):

Yeah. listening.  Listening is the key here. Right? 

Lindsay (guest):

Wow. Yeah. And listening to yourself. Right.

Kathy (host):

You know, I want to switch gears here. Because this, I think it's such an important topic. We talked about this the last time that we spoke, and I think this is such an important thing for especially for businesses that are growing, and there's still a little bit smaller, ... but they're on their way. That is hiring your friends. Working with your friends and the boundaries that come with it. With the last time we had, we had a whole discussion around that. I really want to unpack with, why are the boundaries that you have with your employees so important? How do you enforce that when you have someone that they're either a friend or that you worked with them for such a long time.

Lindsay (guest):  

When you add that additional complexity, whether it's someone who's a friend, or it's someone who's a family member, right, because we get into situations like that, too. There are a couple pieces. The complexity is that there's emotion involved in those relationships that don't exist in our standard business, you know, connections. We have other things that we manage in those relationships, even while we're working in the business together. There's a couple of ways to manage that, that you have to pay particular attention to.

Lindsay (guest):

The first one is, and I see this as a pitfall quite a bit with some of the clients I work with, is, you know, you just needed some help. You hired your girlfriend, right? And the truth is, you never sat down and really talked about, what exactly is this gonna look like? Or maybe it did in the beginning, but it's two years later, and the business has grown and things are amazing. And you're both going crazy, you never continued that conversation. 

Lindsay (guest):

If you're the business owner, and you've hired your friend, or you've hired your cousin, you have an accountability as the business owner, again, to be really, really clear about what that looks like. Also to be really, really bold, and say to them, what are your expectations. If you're listening, and you haven't done that in a while, and you work with a friend, or your sister or your cousin, you need to have that conversation. Because without that conversation, you don't know what's in their head. 

Lindsay (guest):

You need to approach it boldly, and courageously, and you need to do it in an unvarnished way. So that everybody can put all their cards on the table, and be very clear about what's working and what's not working and what you need to do differently. You need to work really hard to keep the emotion out of it. That's something that's very difficult in those relationships. Because there's so many tentacles when we're connected on a in a personal relationship first. But if we're not able to communicate, it will often go sideways. It's never too late to have a reset on that conversation. Like I think there's always the chance to do that. There's great understanding that can come from that, and great synergy that can come from that. … There's some things that are working here. I think that's really important. 

 

Lindsay (guest):

I've certainly worked through some of those situations very recently with a client who had hired a … like a high school friend, and the relationship went sideways. It was really difficult and really, really emotional for the business owner. Like it was really hard.

Kathy (host):

Yeah, and having those type of difficult conversation is always hard. But especially when they're so emotionally triggered, they have so much emotional baggage behind it, it makes it really harder. What I would like to unpack is like, how would you work with that? Let's say that you have a friend that you work with? 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. 

Kathy (host):

They've been with your business since the beginning. And now the business has grown. Now t's the time when you really have to make a decision of the their skills and what they're bringing to the table or just not supporting your business anymore. You need someone else in that role. How would you go and have that type of conversation? Like, walk me through it? Would you have like a performance review? Would you go and schedule an official meeting? How would you walk through that meeting?

Lindsay (guest):

I think, you know, we're doing a hypothetical here, and maybe don't have all the answers. I'm going to make an assumption that this is someone you still want to be in your business, you just know that the business is growing and it needs, maybe it needs an operations manager, someone with a particular skill set. Maybe step on this friend's toes a bit. 

Lindsay (guest):

The truth is, I would want to have a really comfortable conversation in a really comfortable space. if your conversations take place at someone's kitchen table, that's where I'd want to have the conversation, I wouldn't make it super formal. If that's not the way you've been interacting, I wouldn't make it something false. I wouldn't frame it as a performance conversation, what I would frame it as is, “I know how invested you are in the success of this business. And you've been with me right from the beginning. I need to talk to you about something that's a little bit difficult. I see the business growing. And, frankly, I see you kind of struggling under the weight of this huge role. I think it's time to talk about how we use your skills the very best. I want to talk with you about the potential of hiring an operations manager to step into some of those pieces that I know are, you know, they're kind of keeping you underwater.” It's a conversation that's very bold. It's very straightforward, but it's done with great love, a lot of empathy, really leveraging the connection that you already have in the personal and the professional relationship. But it's not about tippy-toeing around it. Right? It's not couched in a bunch of well, I think and maybe and sort of, No, it's very straightforward. It's non-emotional, but it's still connected. Does that make sense?

Kathy (host):

Yeah, it does. I think the fact that you're not tippy-toeing around, it actually comes across more empathetic, because that shows that you really care about the other person more than you care about the uncomfortable feeling that you have yourself.

Lindsay (guest):

You make a fabulous point. Leadership is not about you, right. As a leader, it has almost nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with the people that work for me, and that report to me, right. Me being uncomfortable is besides the point, it really is, it's all about this in service of them. That is what being a truly great leader mean. I am all in service of keeping this person that I love as a friend and also as a colleague in my business. I lead with that, “I know that you have been a big part of this of growing this organization, it's really cool that I get to work, maybe with my best friend every day, right? Or look at the friendship we've developed. It's incredible. And I want to honor that friendship by just being honest with you.” That is the leader move right there. And it's also the CEO move, that's stepping into the CEO space, right there.

Kathy (host):

Yeah, and you bring such a good point that those boundaries are so important, and they're not just important for the business, but also for you and for the other person as well, is almost, and I like to equate that, when you have children, the way how you show love and the care, you give them those boundaries, you give them that space, safe space where they can explore and you know, do things, but they know what's acceptable and what isn't. 

Kathy (host):

The same thing, I think of it as employees as well have the boundaries around them, where they can feel free and they can explore and they know what's acceptable to you as a leader and not and you're there to guide them through it. And not having that because you don't feel comfortable having those conversations, it doesn't serve not just your business, but also it doesn't serve dumb as an employee and as someone who wants to develop those skills or be better in the job that they're performing, right.

Lindsay (guest):

And back to the original topic. It doesn't serve your culture. If you want to have a culture that is full of innovation, and full of bold people, then you have to be able to have bold conversations and be able to challenge the boundaries, but still find a great place for agreement and have those challenging conversations, embracing that it might be a little bit scary at doing it anyways. Like if that's the culture you want to create. You have to do that everywhere. Not just where it's convenient. Right?

Kathy (host):

Yeah. And, I think having someone that's able to walk you through it if you're not feeling comfortable without having a coach or having someone like you.

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah.

Kathy (host):

That is really valuable. Because as you're in the weeds, as you're on the ground, and you're trying to make this happen, it's really hard to see the full in the bigger picture.

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah, you're absolutely right. That is exactly why my clients come to me, first of all, because they want to create a great work and life blend for themselves. Right. They want to be a great leader, and they know that starts on the inside. But then really the added value in our coaching relationship is really creating and bringing to life what they want in their business and a lot of it is just their confidence. They know their businesses better than I do. I can't be an expert at all these different things that people do. But what I am an expert at, is helping leaders embrace their own leadership style, and to be authentic in that, and then boldly step into the things that sometimes they don't want to do. But you have to.

Kathy (host):

I think that that's the point is having a leadership style that feels authentic to you. Because when I see when I go into the business, and they have the leadership problem is because they are trying to follow this particular leadership style that they either had when they were maybe in the corporate world, or their boss had it before. And it just doesn't feel ring true to them. They said, “Well, that's one style, I'm just not going to do it. I'm just not going to do it at all”. But finding what it's how do you want to show up? And how do you really want to run your business? How do you want to? How do you want to help people? And how do you want to lead them so that it's authentic and true to you? 

Kathy (host):

I think that's really valuable from a business perspective, but also for you as a person because you're able to have those much deeper relationship with your employees. And the question that I have for you is, what would you give someone as an advice that's really struggling with their leadership style, they're not really sure what to do. Or, as we said, you can go either one way, you know, you can be this is how we do it. I'm a leader and do this or say, or it could be, oh, you know, just go do how you feel like doing.

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah. 

Kathy (host):

What do you think? Like? How do you go about, like, figuring out what your leadership style really is?

Lindsay (guest): 

There's some important steps along the way. The first thing is, you have to go back to what are your personal values, what's important to you, as a human being, not as a leader, not as a business owner, maybe not as a mom or a partner, whatever, what's important to you. Because when we understand our own values, and how we bring those to life, and our behavior every day, that's the foundational pieces of who we are. We can't possibly understand who we are as a leader if we don't know who we are as a person. That's the first piece. 

Lindsay (guest):

Next, we need to sort of define what does great leadership mean, and not perfect? Because there's no such thing as a perfect leader. But what does a great leader mean? What is that aspirational space? Who do we want to be? When we see ourselves as a leader and really envisioning? What is that? What does that look like? It also will focus on what are your special leadership superpowers? What do you already do well, right? And how do you bring more of that to life in your own leadership style. Sometimes I will also have my clients create a leadership brand statement. Similar in the way that we create a brand for our business, we can create a brand for leadership.

Kathy (host):

I love that.

Lindsay (guest):

We can articulate that, right? We can really start to see it written on a piece of paper, I do this, and this is the outcome for the people that I lead. I'm breaking it down into a few small pieces here. This is a journey in the coaching relationship. When I when I work with female entrepreneurs that want to work on their leadership executives that want to be a great CEO set that strategic vision, this is usually about a six-month process. But it really is deep, meaningful, connected work, and then bringing that to life on the outside. Then some of it is playing with it. Right? What works, what doesn't being iterative, in that process, understanding that feels uncomfortable. Well, why is that uncomfortable? Is it uncomfortable? Just because you've never done it before? Is it uncomfortable because of why it kind of goes against one of your values? Right? Some of its reflection? Who are great leaders that you've loved working for in the past? What did they do? How did that make you feel? On the other side, who are the really terrible leaders? Those are the people we often remember more than anything is the people that have been awful to work for. What were they doing that made it awful? Okay, so now you get to decide, which do you want to be? Right? It's very integrated in terms of all the things that we as an individual can bring to the table as a person, and then in our leadership. 

Kathy (host):

That's fabulous. Have you seen the clients that went through this six-month process with you and they really did the deep dive into the leadership style? How did that transform their business from where they were before to where they were after they did this whole process? 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah, that's a great question. First and foremost, the transformation starts on a very personal level. They started showing up differently, and their team started responding to that differently. Again, first and foremost, they fall in love with their business all over again, they renew their passion, they recommit to that purpose. And they really are able to start to live those values that are so important to them as a human being. When we do that, that's when we start to feel truly fulfilled like that. It's just that simple. When we live our values and our purpose, every day, we feel amazing, we feel powerful, we feel confident.That's how they start to show up, help their team connect with passion and purpose again, right? They are able to connect on difficult topics. They are able to more clearly and passionately articulate the vision. They are able to really bring others like the Pied Piper, to see and feel that, that connects the team. The team then invests more in each other, and the culture really starts to grow. So it all starts from the top like, that's the old sort of phrase, right? 

Kathy (host):

Yep. 

Lindsay (guest):

Inevitably, what happens is people,... find that enter, their energy is renewed, they find the purpose again, right? Or on the other side, the truth is, Kathy, some people don't. They just, maybe they've wandered too far away. They decide, ... I don't want to be part of this anymore. It's not for me, and they make an exit. You know what, that's super cool. Because what you're left within your team is people that are committed, they're passionate, they feel like they're valued. They feel like there's accountability, they feel like they get communication that's meaningful and direct. Again, then they work with your clients harder, smarter, they're more innovative. Ultimately, what happens is, the bottom line looks better, whatever that is, right? 

 

Lindsay (guest):

Some of it is, reduced expenses like you said, you don't have the turnover. You don't have to do the recruitment on the other side of that, because that's the expensive part, you're not wasting time, your team is more efficient, right, so the output grows. Your top line is growing, your expenses are shrinking. Overall, your business is just working more harmoniously. You know, we're not this isn't a fairy tale, it's not perfect. There's always course corrections. But the course corrections can be done easier. And sooner, instead of things going right off the rails, you know that the course correction is needed. You're feeling empowered, as a leader, you step into that boldly, you make the correction, the team gets back on pace, and away go.

 

Kathy (host):

Yeah, that's great. It's the business that's acting this way. And it's operating this way, it's a lot more joyous to work in for everyone, not just for you as an owner, but for everyone else for your employees. And especially also for people that are interacting with that business with your customers with your vendors, it all becomes us, as I say, the ripple effect that goes beyond your business. 

 

Lindsay (guest):

You could argue that every one of those people that work in your business where they're a consultant or an employee, their families feel the output of this, right, because we have all been in those situations where we've worked in a job where we're miserable. Well, what happens? We take all that misery at home. Well, we're worried at home now. We spread that misery to our partners, to our children, to our friends, to our other colleagues. Ultimately, you're not just impacting employees and clients, your ripple effect could be enormous realistically. It's the community that you can impact.

 

Kathy (host):

So Lindsay, for someone that really wants that type of effect in their business, what is the one tangible step that they can do in the next month that will get them to that point? What is like one, like small thing that will get them more towards that vision of having a great culture and being a great leader?

 

Lindsay (guest):

Yeah, I think if I was talking to a leader, and they said, "What can I do today?" My first thought would be that they need to actually go away and spend some time really reflecting on what did they value? What's most important to them? Ask themself are they getting those things in their world every day? For example, I work with lots of clients that say, why the value of … families important to me. Then I'll say to them, “so how does that value a family show up for you every day?” “Oh, well, actually, I'm working 16 hours a day. It doesn't really.” “Oh, so how much do you really value family? Like, let's really uncover this.” That's what I would say is get real with your own values, first. Then take a look at the values that you bring to your business and see if they are even close to being aligned and if they're not, that's where you need to start your work.

 

Kathy (host):

Living your values is not just having the written down or have them in your head, but actually living them every day and keeping sticking with them. That is such a great advice, Lindsay. I love it. Thank you. 

Lindsay (guest):

Awesome. 

Kathy (host): 

For our listeners, this was such a great show. I love all the nuggets that you gave us all the advice, everything. Where can we find you? And how can we connect with you?

Lindsay (guest):

My website is highvoltageleadership.ca. You can find me on Instagram @highvoltleadership. You can find me on Facebook. You can find me on LinkedIn. I'm everywhere.

Kathy (host):

Great, Lindsay, thank you so much for being here.

Lindsay (guest):

It's been a pleasure. 

Kathy (host):

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of help my businesses growing a podcast where we give you the tools to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. Also, before I go, I have a favor to ask. If you're listening to this on Apple Podcasts, could you please go to the show and tap the number of stars that you think the show deserves. It helps other people to find it. Thanks so much. Until next time!