About Our Guest
Claire is a “corporate survivor” who draws upon almost 30 years of business, leadership, and consulting experience to advise the investment community on how to turn the biggest wildcard – people – into their safest bet. While leadership capacity and depth of talent have the greatest impact on the success or failure of any business, most investors believe that this “wildcard” is impossible to measure. Not true! Learn how Claire can measure and maximize the capacity of your leaders and the depth of your talent.
Hey, guys! Today’s podcast is all about being a fierce defender of your why.
I know what it’s like to defend your work, especially when you work in a corporate environment where they don’t always understand why you do what you do. I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest, Claire Chandler. Claire draws upon almost 30 years of business, leadership, and consulting experience to advise the investment community on how to turn their biggest wildcard—people—into their safest bet; most investors believe this wildcard is impossible to measure. Not true! Learn how Claire can measure and maximize the capacity of your leaders and the depth of your talent.
If you have any questions for Claire or me, send them over in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entrepreneurship: How to Fiercely Defend “Your Why” With Claire Chandler
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent from Chasing Happiness Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day this week on the podcast. We have Claire Chandler, she’s the president and founder of talent boost, but she also has something in common with me. She’s a 25 year survivor of corporate America. Claire, welcome to the show.
[00:00:21] Claire: Hey Ryan. Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.
[00:00:23] Ryan: Awesome. So before we get into your journey, tell the listeners a little bit about your background.
[00:00:30] Claire: Ooh, that’s a loaded question. So as you teed up, I am a corporate survivor. I spent the majority of my career in corporate America after, by the way, swearing, I was never gonna go into corporate, but that’s where the opportunities were.
[00:00:42] Claire: And a little over actually a little less than 11 years ago, back in 2011. I decided to go out and take my shot and enter the the unknown waters. Entrepreneurship. I left a job in the utility industry. I was a VP of human resources. After swearing, I wasn’t gonna work in human resources either, so I really just need to stop swearing apparently.
[00:01:02] Claire: And yeah, so 11 years later, I’ve I’ve started in and run a thriving consulting business and it’s different every day. And I love every minute.
[00:01:11] Claire: So before we get into your journey, how did you finally say enough was enough with corporate America? What triggered that?
[00:01:17] Claire: Yeah. So it was 2011.
[00:01:19] Claire: I was the spring. I was VP of HR at that time. I had just recently been put into that role. So it was very much a learning journey for me. I don’t come from an HR background. I actually started in more of a branding and communications. Background and then spent about three years in our customer service call center.
[00:01:35] Claire: as head of customer relations. So I can relate to some of your pain in that regard. And then, went into HR, and worked there for a few years. And so I was in this new role Traveling all the time had literally had my entire office packed into a rolling suitcase because I was on the road like three weeks out four.
[00:01:51] Claire: And I had a little bit of a health scare that the younger Claire would’ve ignored and said, oh, it’s just adrenaline. And don’t worry about it. And I did worry about it. I looked into it and it led to a cancer diagnosis. And yeah. And so that was, really eye-opening to say the least, because I had to go from, operating at 150 miles an hour to literally coming to a screeching halt, delegating.
[00:02:14] Claire: Everything that I had on my, on my professional plate to my very talented team, take a month off of work, do surgery, do recovery, do the treatment the whole bit. And it’s interesting, you talk to anybody, who’s had a cancer diagnosis and they will tell you that, it, it does put your life into very stark relief.
[00:02:33] Claire: It, it divides your life into before and after, and it really makes you understand truly that life is too. And I did a lot of reflecting. I did a lot of healing and I, spent a lot of time in the silence. And I finally couldn’t outrun that voice in my head that had been, trying to ask me for far too long.
[00:02:51] Claire: Are you doing what you’re passionate about? And I finally had to acknowledge that the answer was no. And when you get an answer like that, you have to do something with that. And so I went through the rest of my medical leave and my, recovery and all of that came back into work, gave my notice.
[00:03:08] Claire: We parted on great terms and I had a pretty protracted leave because I didn’t really know where I was gonna go next. I just knew that I was done with corporate and that wasn’t really the, the hamster wheel that I wanted to be on anymore.
[00:03:21] Ryan: A lot of people. And I say a lot, cuz I seem to find them in my private practice, but they seem to have these clarity moments and tend to ignore them.
[00:03:33] Ryan: And that’s great that you didn’t because one you’re health, but two finding what you’re passionate about. It’s amazing that we don’t give ourselves more credit and just sit down. And as you say, sit in the silence and just figure out what we’re doing and what we want to do. And it typically will come to you after a period of time, but you have to work through that process.
[00:03:53] Ryan: And it’s, I bet you, that was a daunting task, especially with what you had on your mind with your health. And then you’re saying, wow, and now I gotta make a change and go out into that scary world of. I gotta learn my joke is corporate America didn’t teach me how to fish it. It taught me how to be fat and happy.
[00:04:08] Ryan: And when I became an entrepreneur, I had to learn how to re I had to learn how to fish again. And it was a struggle.
[00:04:14] Claire: Yeah. And, getting outta that corporate bubble also teaches you that you were probably fishing in the wrong pond to begin with, right? Yes. Yeah. And to your point about sitting in the silence.
[00:04:25] Claire: We are in a society where we have to intentionally give ourselves permission to do that because we are a constant pressure to be busy, to look busy to produce. How often in the corporate world, and I’m sure your listeners who are still in corporate know the guilt you feel when you take a.
[00:04:43] Claire: The, when you leave early, because you wanna spend time with your family where God forbid you’ve gotta go to a doctor’s appointment and somebody always cracks the joke. Oh, half day. Yeah. Not so funny. So we have to give ourselves permission to sit in the silence. And I know for some people that’s very scary because like me, they knew there were voices in their head trying to ask them those really important.
[00:05:10] Claire: Spiritual type questions, right? Because we were not put on this earth to, to live and operate in a box. And so many of us have convinced ourselves work is supposed to be hard. You’re not supposed to like your job, and it’s just not true.
[00:05:24] Ryan: And you’re supposed to work to 65 and then live your life afterwards.
[00:05:27] Ryan: Yeah. It’s sad that we’ve we’ve been conditioned or wired that way. And when you start thinking outside of that traditional thought you’re frowned upon and it’s very. I don’t know how to say it. It’s not to me. I, it doesn’t bother me. It’s okay, if you don’t like how I think or what I do, I’m okay with it.
[00:05:46] Ryan: But some people really take it to heart and it’s they’re afraid to step out of that fold, but they truly have something that. Great that they want to go after and they leave it on the table and then they have regret. And that’s just a struggle.
[00:05:58] Claire: Ugh. It’s the worst feeling in the world.
[00:06:00] Claire: When you’re, when you are on your deathbed, you’re not gonna regret the things you tried. You’re gonna regret the things you didn’t. And I truly believe that.
[00:06:07] Ryan: I had a prior guest on and we’ll get into your topic, but this was it. I’ve heard of this. Didn’t I’ve not thought about it for myself, but I’m go.
[00:06:14] Ryan: I’m actually doing it. Cause he gave me a template and I’ll share it with everybody. If you want it too. He said the best way you’re gonna know to find your passion is write your own obituary. And I was like, I was quiet too for a second. And I was like, oh wow. And then he says, can I read a part of mine?
[00:06:35] Ryan: I’m like, okay. He says, every year I update it and he said, I just recently updated. And he’s he does Ironman races and all this other stuff. And the very first thing he does and it just, it clicked really fast. Was. He does not look at the starting point. He goes a couple days early and goes to each of the finishing points and saying, oh, that’s what the finishing point looks like.
[00:06:57] Ryan: That’s what I’ll be doing. And then works his way backwards. And it was just so cool. But the obituary piece was just over. It was just over the top. And I was like, are you kidding me? That is just,
[00:07:08] Claire: He’s that’s so slightly morbid, but so brilliant because like he’s a living breathing example of.
[00:07:14] Claire: The concept of starting with the end in mind, like he’s literally starting with his end in mind and I’m a big picture person. So like I work with my clients all the time on, the, tell me where you wanna get to, and then we’ll worry about the steps you need to take to, to get there and what the gaps are, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:07:30] Claire: But you have to start with where you’re heading. You have to start with where you wanna end up. So what a brave thing to do though? In addition to the triathlon, because that’s. Brave. I’ve gone to many triathlons as a spectator which you have never actually done them myself, but what a, what an amazing illustration of starting with the end in mind.
[00:07:47] Ryan: It, I think that just leads us into, exactly what you’re doing. You’re working, with clients that you’re really trying to help them understand. And I know you’re working with, venture capital in, in bigger backed companies and so forth to invest the piece that I really like about what you’re doing is you’re really looking for that vision, the steps like we just talked about, but the other piece.
[00:08:09] Ryan: You have the roadmap and you understand what you’re gonna do because ultimately if you don’t, you’re gonna fail. And that’s just a great piece of translation for entrepreneurship.
[00:08:19] Claire: Y yeah, a absolutely. And for me, the approach that I follow and why I have started to gain some traction with the investment community is because for so long venture capitalists, private equity investors, and then leaders of large companies, Have looked at what they’ve convinced themselves is the end goal.
[00:08:39] Claire: . And they’re looking at the bottom line on a balance sheet and don’t get me wrong. That’s important, right? Because if you’re in a, for profit sort of an environment, you have to make money year over year, you have to do it in a predictable way. You gotta do it in a sustainable way. But the part that they always overlook is you don’t do that by, just crunching down on efficiencies and engineering out processes.
[00:08:59] Claire: Although those are, I. You have to bring the people along with you. They have to be the right people. They have to be in the right roles. They have to have the right skills, certainly, but they also have to be motivated by the right things. They have to wanna be there. They have to wanna understand where it is that you’re trying to get to and they have to see their individual how they individually contribute to making that happen.
[00:09:20] Claire: And the more you can align that with their own personal, why. The more likely they are going to enthusiastically contribute, go above and beyond do things the right way when no one is looking right. And for far too long, these big Titans of industry and these big investors had overlooked the people element and the people element is so important in driving the profitability and the, the sustainability and the health of any business.
[00:09:46] Claire: So it’s about time. They stopped ignor.
[00:09:49] Ryan: The thing that you, I heard on your, when I was listening to one of your prior podcasts that really caught my eye and really honed in is you as the entrepreneur, the vision and so forth is great. And being the leader versus being the visionary, manager I agree to all those, the piece that really just caught me was this.
[00:10:09] Ryan: You you have a, you have an entity, you have a business and it’s humming along and you wanna scale and you need to know where you’re going, but the why is huge and it’s and I’m, I’ll. Tell it to everybody till the cows come home to the mountains, whatever. This is my third business, my first two businesses failed because I didn’t have a why it was all about dollars.
[00:10:31] Ryan: And you are correct. It’s about the people it’s about, of course you gotta watch the bottom line because you’re for profit. But if you don’t have a why and understand what you’re trying to do, you’ll never get there. And the in, I think the person I was interviewing you was a construction guy and I. Know that field very well because I’m in the affordable housing, sustainable housing business and how he started was because he loved carpentry.
[00:10:54] Ryan: Guess what? I started because I wanted people to be able to buy homes, but I didn’t have that total. Why, and you had to figure that out before we could even drive a nail into a piece of wood. And it was a struggle for the first probably year to understand that why and where to go. And today we.
[00:11:13] Ryan: We reinvent ourselves on a daily basis, as I say, but now we’ve added another complexity of a nonprofit. And I’m trying to run a, non-profit like a for-profit and people tell me that’s incorrect, but guess what? It’s my business. I get to do that, but I have vision. I know where it’s gonna go. The end result is I just have to abide by the IRS code, which means if I show a profit at end the year, it has to be dispersed into some type of mechanism or some type of investment.
[00:11:41] Ryan: So I don’t show a profit. That’s it? Why can’t I run it like a for profit? Why does it have to be a nonprofit and lose? That I don’t get
[00:11:48] Claire: no, not at all. And I completely agree with you, we can tell horror stories all day long about, the evils of corporate and for profit companies.
[00:11:56] Claire: But obviously there are certain things that they are doing. One of them is they’ve got structure, they’ve got discipline. Most of them. Apply what works in the for-profit environment to your nonprofit, because I think too often, the nonprofits are all about leading with their heart.
[00:12:09] Claire: Yes. And while that’s motivating, that’s not necessarily practical from a business perspective, because if you cannot function year over year, then all the great work that you are trying to bring to the world. Is going to fail, right? Yes. So yeah, I think you can absolutely translate some of the good things.
[00:12:26] Claire: Some of the best practices, some of the lessons learned from a for-profit environment and
[00:12:30] Ryan: it over to nonprofit. So I have gotta ask a question, cuz this is gonna divert and we’re gonna go down a rabbit hole. Love it, do it. So venture capital, the investment world. I’ve been approached several times, for our for-profit cuz we have a real estate investment fund that we do through it through, and then they find out we have a nonprofit and they’re like, oh, we wanna get into a nonprofit too.
[00:12:48] Ryan: And I’m like let me think you are a VC or some type of investor. You need to understand you’re not turning a profit on this. And some of these individuals are like, oh no, we’re just gonna do it before the optics. And I’m. Don’t know if you’re the right person for me or not, because this is not an optics thing.
[00:13:03] Ryan: This is about serving the communities that we’re in to be able to help them with services that otherwise they couldn’t attain. And it’s just amazing to hear these guys say you’re turning away my money. Yes, I am. Actually.
[00:13:14] Claire: And I think that the nonprofit leaders like yourself get the fact that you need to fiercely defend the why once you’ve gotten clarity around what that purpose is.
[00:13:25] Claire: And I think, that’s a lesson for the for-profit leaders and the investment community to really sit up and pay attention to you have to lead with a. You have to understand your purpose. Otherwise you’re never gonna get the right people to join you and contribute and let alone stay and help you to grow and to succeed and all those sorts of things, but you also have to fiercely defend it.
[00:13:46] Claire: We talk a lot about I have a, before I was in HR, I was in more of a branding and communications type of type of a function. And, you talk about the brand, you talk about employees being brand ambassadors. You talk about defending the brand, but the brand is so much more than just your logo and your font and your signage on the door, right?
[00:14:06] Claire: It’s about what do we truly believe we were put in place to achieve? And how are we going to do that day in and day out with a discipline and a focus and a, and a clarity of thought and a decision and of action. And so that’s where leaders can take the lessons from the nonprofit side of the house to say they get it because they, they leave with their heart.
[00:14:26] Claire: They leave with their why, and they fiercely defend what it is that they are trying to do and contribute in the world. And us for profit folks can do that as well.
[00:14:35] Ryan: So I have to ask another question. Has, have you ever experienced somebody that’s over baked their. Okay. So clarify what you mean by that over baked means they’re leading so much with the why to where they forget the other aspects of the business.
[00:14:51] Ryan: They’re like you said, they’re leading with their heart, but it’s overlead.
[00:14:56] Claire: Yeah. Unfortunately I have and what tends to happen is the smaller companies, the startup companies fall victim to this. So you have very likely seen that the more entrepreneurial leaders are extreme. Visionary they are values driven.
[00:15:11] Claire: They get the fact that they wanna surround themselves with a small cadre of people who get it, who can contribute. But typically what happens in my experience, and I’ve had a couple of clients that unfortunately fell prey to this. They’re so visionary and they’re so values driven and they’re so big picture that they lack the focus, the discipline, and quite honestly the stomach to make the day to day harder decision.
[00:15:35] Claire: Especially as it relates to people, right? So we all wanna be the good guy when we are the visionary, when we’re the founder, when we’re the CEO and we say, I’ve got this idea, and I wanna build a company around it. And I know that I can’t do it all on my own. So I have to bring in some people around me, some of those people are not gonna be the right fit.
[00:15:54] Claire: It just works out that way. And there are things you can do to better predict. Whether they’re the right fit or not, but invariably somebody gets through the fence, and somebody’s not the right fit or because you’re so values driven, but you’re not disciplined about defending your, why they start to stray.
[00:16:10] Claire: And you either, you don’t notice it. Or a lot of times, a CEO like that will tell me they’re adults. They’ll figure it out. They’ll resolve, they’ll come back to center. the more you tolerate. The bad behavior or the values violations or under performance, because they’re just a good person.
[00:16:25] Claire: The more, your little company is gonna go off the rails. And what I always tell founders and leaders of smaller companies is the ripple effect of a bad decision, a poor hire, or a delay in making a decision about the talent that you’ve got on your team is far greater in a small company. In a large corporate behemoth cor corporate behemoth that has more fat quite honestly, to absorb a bad employee, a, an ill fitting higher underperformance, bad behavior, et cetera.
[00:17:00] Claire: It’s those smaller companies that absolutely have to get the fit right. Absolutely have to get the fit, they have to get their why completely clarified and then they have to have the right people around them and keep defending that why and defending behavior that aligns with that versus detracts from.
[00:17:14] Ryan: I’ve noticed a lot of founders that I talk to or interact with. They are the visionary and they of stay in that realm. And then when they come talk to me, they’re like, you’re not a visionary. No, I’m an operator. That’s just who I am and where I’m at. Can I, am I a, am I gonna go down 10 steps down the.
[00:17:32] Ryan: Probably not, I’m more like three to five because I’m a, I’m looking at what can we do and what can’t we do. But I have a business partner that I joke is my Steve jobs and I’m Steve Wosniak and I have to, and I have to go get it done. So when we have our weekly meetings he has 12 or 15 things that he thinks that we can go do.
[00:17:49] Ryan: And I say no. Okay. We’ll look at that one. And he always gets angry at me. I know, realistically, if we’re gonna keep vision going and the why going and continue to produce what we produce, I can’t take on 15 tasks. I can, I could hire all the people to the, heart’s content doesn’t work.
[00:18:07] Ryan: You have to find, focus and clarity. And I have to just digress. Corporate America really taught me. That is because when I was trying to run call centers, 12 to 1500 head. You didn’t have a ch you didn’t, I didn’t have any type of margin of error to where I could let people slide.
[00:18:27] Ryan: Especially I was in collections. I had a daily number, monthly number, quarterly, annually. I had to hit a number. So if I didn’t have the right people in place, I had the mechanisms to coach ’em up or coach ’em out. And that just, that this stuck with me. And it. It is a human level, but at the same time, it’s a, it’s an end result.
[00:18:47] Ryan: And I’ve over the years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve evolved. I think it’s more about the person, but there also has to be an end result. Like you said, accountability and understanding the why and staying there, otherwise nothing happens.
[00:19:01] Claire: So kudos to you. First of all for recognizing in yourself that you are first and foremost, an operator.
[00:19:08] Claire: And also then leaning into the importance of having a business partner to balance you out. , these sort of visionary founders and CEOs and small company business leaders that we talk about. Who are super values driven. And, as you suspected they’re over baked on their, why , they’re actually over baked on their ego.
[00:19:23] Claire: And what I mean by that is they’re not necessarily narcissistic, but they are very fragile in terms of wait a minute, I started this company or I’m the founder or I’m the head. I don’t wanna share that title with anyone else. I wanna be the. Or the gal and too often, they make that mistake and they over index on their own vision and their own values to the detriment of the rest of the company, because the rest of the people are going all the good performers are saying, why is this person still allowed to act like they are?
[00:19:54] Claire: Why are they underperforming? Why are they acting, behaving badly? And this person isn’t addressing it. This person doesn’t have a capacity to. He certainly feels the pain of the bad behavior, but he doesn’t know how to follow through on having those hard conversations. And some people just flat out don’t have that capacity.
[00:20:09] Claire: What’s interesting is we all kind of process the information about the environment around us through these three main filters, the sort of the big picture, right? How readily and how naturally do we see how things fit into the whole and the grand plan.
[00:20:24] Claire: The second filter is how easily do we see multiple solutions to any given problem, very tactical, very of problem solving oriented. Sounds like that’s your genius zone. And the third filter is empathy, right? Yeah. So how readily, or how naturally, or how instinctively do we read the room and understand the impact of decisions or lack of decisions on the people that’s going to affect?
[00:20:46] Claire: And it’s the very rare leader, founder, entrepreneur. Venture capitalist. Who’s a genius in all three filters. And so the trick is to be really aware self-aware of which one of those is your genius zone. Or even if there are two, which ones those are. And bring somebody into your inner circle, whether that’s a business partner, an advisor, a second in command, what have you, who balances you out by being a genius in that other one or two filters?
[00:21:15] Claire: And if you need free to complete that trifecta. That’s great, but it’s really critical, especially in these smaller companies where again, that ripple effect is so big yes. Of, of a bad decision to make sure that you are making decisions by taking in all the right information through all three of those
[00:21:32] Ryan: lenses.
[00:21:33] Ryan: And that’s the whole process we’ve done. We’re going on year nine now. And we’re revolving. We’ve updated our board just recently and then we’ve up. So last year’s when we started the nonprofit. So we’re very young on the nonprofit stage and we’re just filling out our board there and the individuals that are on the board.
[00:21:52] Ryan: I’m the only operator and that’s, but you know what? The board needs to have another operator. And when I, and I say this because the other individuals have visionary, they also have started up their own companies. I have a person that actually has non-profit experience as a. I think they call a managing director or something to that extent.
[00:22:13] Ryan: So he did that for almost five years. So he has that experience, but at the same time, day to day, operations is going to be on somebody else. It’s not gonna be me because I don’t have the bandwidth. And I understand that. So we need to have somebody that understands operations and we haven’t got there yet.
[00:22:30] Ryan: And that’s what I’m focused on is how do I. Transition that piece of the business over to somebody that actually has that mindset that understands that because the other pieces are in place. Like you said, we have visionary, we have somebody that understands the why. And there’s also some, there’s a few other people on the board that have empathy and the people piece.
[00:22:51] Ryan: So I feel like I can jump in and help in those different areas, but ultimately I don’t want to be the day to day.
[00:22:56] Claire: And it’s so important to get that balance rate, right? So you being the only one who’s the practical thinker, the operator person in the room. Because the other nine or 10 people on that board surrounding you don’t have that hat as their genius zone.
[00:23:10] Claire: You can very often get drowned out or overwhelmed, right? Yes. If you’re the only one who’s thinking through that lens, so to speak as your primary mode of operating. Yes. So yeah, it’s super important to, to get that balance, so if there’s only three of you, make sure there’s somebody, who’s got a genius zone in each of these three filters.
[00:23:24] Claire: If there’s 10 of you make sure that the proportions are correct. And there are ways that you can qu. At an individual level, which one of those genius stones they have, so that you’re not going by gut feel which I think is another sort of sin of us entrepreneurs, right?
[00:23:36] Claire: We tend to make a lot of decisions just based on our gut, what feels right, what feels true versus, understanding, we can measure more things than we think we can, and it doesn’t necessarily slow us down. It actually makes us more confident and clearer in the decisions that we make.
[00:23:52] Ryan: In the add on to that, and also taking the time and trying to vet, I say, vet the person out, it’s really what it is I wanna get to know them and it’s not just sitting down breaking bread.
[00:24:03] Ryan: It’s more understanding their thought process where they’re at and then just having daily contact or conversations because that ultimately will tell me where that person’s thoughts are and where we’re going. And because back to corporate America, when I’m managing 1500 head. I had three direct reports.
[00:24:21] Ryan: So I need to make sure that I’m in touch with my three direct reports, but I did something a little different people. Didn’t like it. Cuz I was the zebra. I was the ugly duckling. So when I was in collections, cuz I started door collections way back in the day I knocked on doors and asked people for the money cause they were past due.
[00:24:36] Ryan: Yeah. I would go out on the floor and sit with my collectors and listen to calls and take over calls from them and help them. And my direct reports thought that was. It basically interfering with what they were doing. And I said, no, it’s not. I’m actually understanding what’s going on the front line so I can better help you guys.
[00:24:54] Ryan: And so that started rolling a ball to where these guys started going out on the floor and doing the exact same thing. And it just started a momentum to where we started changing how things happening. Cuz when I took over the. , they were not hitting their goals. They were missing their goals. This was student loan collections.
[00:25:08] Ryan: And this is back in the day. This is Phelp. I don’t know if you’re familiar. It’s federally funded education loan program. Bush put it out long time ago, but it’s a runoff portfolio. It’s still out there. But anyhow, I could talk all day on that one. I still consult on that stuff. It’s fun.
[00:25:20] Ryan: Yeah.
[00:25:20] Claire: What I love about what you did though, because on the surface, your employees were initially. They receive that as micromanaging. And we all have worked for micromanagers. And if you ever do interviews with candidates and you say, what type of management do you function under best?
[00:25:35] Claire: The first thing they always say is I don’t like to be micromanaged. Who does? But what’s great. Is you transcended beyond that because you told them why it was so important that you did what you did. And, to come back to this little three letter word, why that you started this conversation around it is so important at the ground level, as it is at the visionary level, right?
[00:25:54] Claire: Back when I was in corporate and I was, managing a team, I had this post-it note over my monitor in my office and it said, tell them why. And it was a simple little note, but it was a constant reminder for me, not just to tell people what I wanted them to do, but why it mattered. Your people are so hungry for that.
[00:26:09] Claire: They wanna understand why their individual role or an individual task or an individual day matters in the grand scheme of things. They wanna not just feel like a cog in the wheel, they wanna understand that the contribution that they make makes a difference, even if it’s little and it takes three to five extra seconds to explain the.
[00:26:30] Claire: But as you saw firsthand, it made all the difference and then they got it.
[00:26:35] Ryan: Yeah. And it took time, but it’s a change of mindset and that’s where I’m at with the nonprofit is I’m changing that mindset. The individuals that we have on the board today is oh yeah, we get that.
[00:26:44] Ryan: But then when Competing against other nonprofits for maybe for federal funds or state funds or whatever the case is. They’re like, you can’t run for profit and it’s it just becomes a whole conversation piece. And I actually love it because I love to hear their thought process because then I know what I’m up against when I’m going through that grant process.
[00:27:04] Ryan: It’s fun for me. I enjoy. I love opposing views because I get to understand what that other person is thinking. Doesn’t mean that I dislike them. I just enjoy it. And it becomes more of a learning experience for me, because I can always learn from somebody like today we’re having conversations. My, my brain’s already going on a bunch of stuff on more aspects of why can we be more focused on why and drill down even further?
[00:27:28] Ryan: Yes. How do I get there? I don’t know yet.
[00:27:31] Claire: No, and that’s yet another reason it’s so important to bring people into the room who have different ways of viewing the world. And don’t just think, and look, and act and believe the same way that you do, we learn more from opposing views.
[00:27:46] Claire: And from different perspectives than we do from people who sit around a room and yes, you to death in some leaders, that’s what they demand, right? They want, yes, men. They want people that just validate them and that’s, and you can always tell an narcissist by those who need to be flattered every single day of the week.
[00:28:06] Claire: Give me a leader any day of the week who promotes, surrounding themselves with people who respectfully disagree with them, debate with them, challenge their thinking, and you are gonna see how successful that company is. Over one. That’s led by someone who just demands sick offense, because that is not going to advance your business.
[00:28:25] Ryan: And it’s amazing once you get those individuals in a room and you can start having those healthy conversations back and forth, like you said, It promotes the business and it continues to grow, but then you have that why? And it drills down to those individuals that are further down the chain and they now are just not there for a paycheck.
[00:28:43] Ryan: They’re actually part of that vision. They’re part of the why they’re part of where it’s going. And it’s, to me it’s rewarding because the end result is a product that is second to none. And what we put out is we’re all brand ambassadors and that’s huge because. It’s prideful and, I can still remember.
[00:29:01] Ryan: I can still remember 10 years ago when we delivered our first house, I cried on television because so much work went into that first house. And so many things went wrong because I didn’t have everybody lined up and I didn’t have everybody in the right place. And it took a lot of time, but we put out a quality product and that family loved it.
[00:29:21] Ryan: And that was just, yeah, that was my.
[00:29:23] Claire: It’s beautiful when you can see and witness and feel the impact of what you were put on this earth to do and what you have built a business around in its purpose. And when you can see the tangible outcome of that in the face of a family as an example, or in the face of a customer, and it doesn’t always have to be, the physical act of handing the keys to a house, to a family.
[00:29:47] Claire: all of us, regardless of what business, where industry you are in, what your, why is the clearer you are around that line? The more it is deeply personal to you, the easier it’s going to be to attract the right people to you, because then you can make those connections for them. But the more you’re gonna get to those moments where either literally or figuratively cry on camera when you witness the impact of what you’ve done, cuz it, it matters.
[00:30:09] Claire: It matters.
[00:30:11] Ryan: So how does that and we can wrap back around and keep on going, but how does that ha how does that work with your clients when you’re working with, VC in the investment community, can they relate to that?
[00:30:23] Claire: Not all of them can relate to that. It’s a great question. , there’s people listening to this and I’m sure you’re thinking it too.
[00:30:29] Claire: You’re like really the investment community. Like they’re all just out for a return on their investment. And at the end of the. They are all allowed for a return in their investment, of course, but the ones who are starting to get it, I have conversations with private equity investors all the time and they will say to me, we bought this business and of have them tell, again, tell me why did you buy this business?
[00:30:51] Claire: They look really good on paper. They’ve had a, a good track record and, we can see some Immediate interventions we can do. To get them more efficient to expand in a new market, et cetera, et cetera. Okay. So your growth strategy sound, our growth strategy is brilliant.
[00:31:05] Claire: Super. Have you met any resistance yet? They’re like, all we need is resistance. Okay. Why is that? The first thing we wanted to do was put them on a R payroll system. They always go after the payroll system first and these people lost their ever loving minds because it was change. And so what’s interesting is they all say that their growth strategy is brilliant, their value creation plan, right?
[00:31:31] Claire: Whatever they call it. And they all run into the same problem, which is this notion of cultural resistance. . Part of the problem is the way that the system is set up is when you acquire a company, you can only talk to the head of that company. Maybe you can talk to some of the top leaders if they are brought into the conversation, but more often than not, you have very limited access to the rest of the people.
[00:31:51] Claire: So you have a very limited or non-existent ability to measure how many of the people that you have are the right people, what is that depth of talent and what is the flat out capacity? To, achieve that growth strategy in the first place. And again, it all comes back to people, right? And again, it comes back to how many people do you have with the capacity for big picture and having a plan?
[00:32:13] Claire: How many do you have with the capacity for empathy? How many have the capacity for, tactical, actual problem solving and seeing solutions? And if you don’t measure that and you don’t even take that into account, don’t be surprised when those are the first things that bubble up and get in the way of your growth strategy.
[00:32:30] Claire: And the investors who get it, which unfortunately of the big ocean of investors, there’s a very small fraction of them that are getting it. They get that they, that the people are the absolute, fundamental mission, critical component to the growth strategy. It’s not the founder.
[00:32:47] Claire: It’s not, the person selling the company because typically they’re on an exit path anyway. Yes, it’s everybody else in the organization. And so when I get to those who get it, who understand not the frustration that their growth strategy is meaning cultural resistance, but that the key to overcoming that getting the growth strategy on track is to win over the people.
[00:33:05] Claire: Then we get to work and then we say, okay let’s go in there. And let’s actually measure. What we’ve got to work with, let’s really pull apart your growth strategy and talk about it and unpack it with at least a leadership team so they can understand again, the why. Cause if you just roll in there with your growth strategy and your, your balance sheet, it doesn’t matter how much money you put behind a business.
[00:33:26] Claire: It’s like the, the analogy of the lottery winner, right? Yeah. You can hand somebody. Who’s never seen that kind of wealth, a hundred million dollars, and they’re gonna be worse than broke a year. Yes. Just throwing money out of business without bringing them along and helping them to understand why you specifically, as an investor and aqui and an acquirer are going to help them get to the next level you’re doing for failure.
[00:33:51] Claire: And the more enlightened of the investors are starting to get that. They’re starting to see that, and are leaning into this conversation more and more because they understand that without the people. even if we changed them all out and got new ones, if they don’t buy into where you’re trying to grow.
[00:34:06] Claire: They’re not gonna help you get there and you sure as hell can’t get there on your own
[00:34:10] Ryan: and your investment is down the toilet tubes. Absolutely. It’s just it’s. It’s just amazing. Cuz I know when I first started the business, I was out pitching on my own before I met my business partner. I was out pitching on my own.
[00:34:21] Ryan: I think I had 50 or 60 nos and I just really thought about the dog and pony show and the pitch deck and everything. And I’m like, why am I doing this? We gotta do something a little different and a little more conventional because ultimately. No one understood the affordable housing space and people think, oh, you can’t make any money.
[00:34:37] Ryan: It’s if you partner with the right individuals, when I say individuals, cities, counties, states, they have land and you can quiet for dirt cheap. And you get to build something that you get to be proud of and then allow people to become homeowners. And there’s so many paths to go that. They did not see that they only saw that, oh, I can’t make 75 or 80%.
[00:34:57] Ryan: And I’m like what’s 25 to 40% return still. Is that not healthy enough? And that just led me, keep on thinking and thinking. And then I went down a path of, I’m just gonna go out and start reaching out to friends and family and just start and see where that goes.
[00:35:10] Ryan: My parents were already invested cause they were on my board already. But then a couple family, friends came along and they’re. We see your why we understand that. Let me introduce you some other people. And that just of started opening the door, but that whole thought process is bringing the people along and understanding that whole piece is huge because ultimately.
[00:35:29] Ryan: It someone like I think you said on your podcast with this construction guy is you can have all the money in the world, but that doesn’t solve your problem of being able to scale and grow. And I know both sides having no money and can’t scale, and then having money and not having processes in place to be able to scale.
[00:35:45] Ryan: And that’s huge because if you’re not prepared for it, you could gimme $20 million and I’ll piss it away and it’s well,
[00:35:52] Claire: And that’s exactly. that’s exactly right. Because people have to understand what to do with that influx of money. Correct. And it’s the investors who make that calculation error.
[00:36:01] Claire: And it’s the companies looking for that investment. That make that error? They think we could get to the next level if only we had X million dollars and if you don’t have the capacity. You don’t have that depth of talent and depth of buy in again to the why you wanna grow versus we were doing just fine.
[00:36:18] Claire: Why would you mess this up then? Yeah. Then you’re pretty much pissing away that money rather than spending it in the right places and in the right way. And we talk about the key to, your success, your business’ livelihood and your ability to grow and scale.
[00:36:35] Claire: Always comes back to the people. But as you were experiencing with getting your 50 nos, you have to find the right people, right? And the way that you find the right people, the way that you bring them in and the way that you retain them is by making a connection for them, which is exactly what you just described.
[00:36:51] Claire: You have to be able to connect a person’s individual. Why, what motivates them uniquely. To how it relates to the company’s, why the growth strategy, the value creation plan, whether you’re on the investor side or you are the founder, the leader, the business owner, you have to make that connection for individual people.
[00:37:11] Claire: And some people hear that and they go, that sounds like a lot of work. . And it might be right, but if you engage with your people and you understand truly what motivates them, and by the way, you can measure that too, just like you can measure, what somebody’s genius zone is. You can actually measure what motivates someone individually.
[00:37:28] Claire: So do that quick work, cuz it doesn’t take that long and then understand what motivates an individual person and then make that connection for them. Just pull that. And then get outta their way, right? Fiercely defend your why, make sure it’s crystal clear, get the right people in there to fill any gaps that you might have, show them the connection between their individual role and tasks and what you ask ’em to do and why that matters again, tell ’em why and remove roadblocks.
[00:37:54] Claire: And then your only problem is gonna be you’re growing in such a clip. Like you, you can’t keep up with demand. That’s a good problem to have, but if you have the right people and they’re engaged and they’re motivated and they’re contributing and they’re all acting like owners, Can you bring them into that process too, cuz that’s a great problem
[00:38:09] Ryan: to solve that.
[00:38:11] Ryan: That is a very great problem and it makes life so much easier too. I mean it’s just night and day. And when you give that, why it’s huge. So Claire, this has been a wonderful conversation. So how can everyone get ahold of you if they’d like to reach out to you and maybe have them on a podcast or maybe that you consult with their business?
[00:38:31] Ryan: I
[00:38:32] Claire: would love that. The easiest way to get a hold of me is to either go to my website, which is talent boost.net. You can learn more about my business a little bit more about me and those in your audience, if you don’t mind, I’d love to give them a free gift. Sure. If they go to talent boost.net/growth, The word growth.
[00:38:50] Claire: If they are business owners, we’re leaders, or even investors who are looking to grow, and they’re not sure whether they’re ready to grow, there is a growth readiness assessment. It’s a free ebook. They can go there, they can download it, they can apply it immediately. And if they’ve got questions or anything, there are ways on that website to reach out to me.
[00:39:07] Claire: I’d love to have a conversation and see how I can.
[00:39:10] Ryan: I will also link it in the show notes. So we have that there so people can actually see that Claire it’s been great. Thank you very much for coming on. I know we could kept on going for an hour but I don’t think everybody wants to hear my voice for that long.
[00:39:22] Ryan: Oh, I don’t know about
[00:39:23] Claire: that. Let’s just keep going. now it’s been great. I appreciate the conversation. Thank you for
[00:39:28] Ryan: coming on. Appreciate it. Uhhuh.