Catalytic Leadership

Driving Growth and Embracing Change: The Leadership Mindset of Jhana Li

November 20, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 18
Catalytic Leadership
Driving Growth and Embracing Change: The Leadership Mindset of Jhana Li
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Picture this: living in a van, exploring the globe, and suddenly, you find yourself stepping into a 30-day role in your boyfriend's team, which evolves into your first COO role. That's the extraordinary path Jhana Li took as she journeyed into becoming a leader. Her experiences taught her invaluable lessons about harnessing teamwork to its true potential, as well as the critical importance of converting business operations into comprehensible language for the team and visionaries to understand. 

Now, let's take a moment and ask ourselves: What truly matters to us as CEOs - controlling everything in our business, or personal freedom coupled with making an impact larger than ourselves? This compelling episode brings home the raw truth about a CEO's evolution and the trials they undergo in the process of delegation. Hear a client's riveting tale of inching towards burnout before recognizing the need to relinquish control. 

To wrap it up, we delve into the realm of business seen through the lens of a personal development tool. Jhana and I unravel how business data can be interpreted to enhance our leadership styles, strategic thinking, and the pivotal role of self-compassion in understanding it. We zero in on the significance of owning our experiences and how our triumphs and failures mold us into better leaders. So, if you're ready to embark on a journey of transformation, growth, and a fresh perspective on business, this episode is for you. Tune in and redefine your leadership style!

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Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too.

Speaker 2:

Let's jump into today's interview. I'm so honored today to have Johnna Lee on the podcast. Johnna first stumbled into operations five years ago while traveling full-time in a converted van through North and South America. Since then, she has been COO at two successful startups, directly consulted over 37 and 8 figure businesses and coached hundreds more. Our company, spyglass Ops, helps founders scale their businesses and scale themselves out of the day to day by training their operator to become the second in command. Her mission lies in transforming purpose-based businesses into vehicles for growth and good. Johnna, I'm so glad you were here. Thanks for being on the show.

Speaker 3:

I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2:

I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, Johnna, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, when I was living in that van, my boyfriend at the time, who I was traveling with, was scaling a digital marketing agency. I was watching him build this thing two feet across the table from me, every day. As you do, you weigh in, you talk through problems and questions and things. What became very clear to me over time is that the things that I was seeing in his business the things that seemed very obvious to me he was not seeing at all Through a series of odd events, I ended up stepping into his team for what was supposed to be filling in for a 30-day role and eventually became that company's COO.

Speaker 3:

That was my very first leadership experience. I had no idea what I was doing, going totally off of gut. I learned a lot, actually, in that very first role in leadership. I still learn every day about leadership. It was important for me, I think, in that first management role to learn how to get the best out of people and really invite the best out of people. I think that that was something that I didn't know how to do when I first became a leader. It was something I studied really hard over the next few years to learn how to create the highest performance teams possible. Now, in the work that I do as an operations coach and consultant, leadership is at the center of my operational model. It's something that I find to be the deal breaker, the transformative event between good companies and great companies. It's something I've actually become very passionate about over time, but it started with me not being particularly good at it.

Speaker 2:

I think that's where we all started. I don't know anybody who started saying wow, I'm fantastic. I don't think I have any place to go. That's a good question, Right.

Speaker 3:

Either you're a born leader or you're not. We hear that all the time. I never thought I was the born leader. I was never the alpha in the room. I thought for a long time leadership was not something that I was good at. Then I realized it's like anything else it's a learned skill that you can choose to study, you can choose to acquire and you can choose to practice it and master it.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

I love what you said a second ago, that you saw things that he did not see. I often tell clients you need somebody who's going to help you see what you can't see, because every leader has blind spots. You can't see the whole picture when you're in the frame.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. I find that operations. The more I look at operations and study it, the more I really believe that operations is its own totally unique lens. A visionary founder will look at the exact same business, the exact same set of data as their operator and walk away with two completely different conclusions. The visionary is looking for opportunities. Here's where we can grow, here's where we can build. Next, the operator is seeing me on science everywhere saying this is what's breaking, this is what could be better, this is worth it. There's gaps in inefficiencies and areas for improvement. The reality is you need both to grow the most effective and efficient company possible. You need both. It is two fundamentally different lenses and the power of the operator, visionary dynamic lies in bringing those two lenses together.

Speaker 2:

How do you train operators to see not just through their lens? But, also through the lens of the founder.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's a very good question. We train on this extensively. I have coaching programs for operators. That's how we serve our clients. It is the challenge of the operator and I believe it is the responsibility of the operator to learn how to translate their lens into language that the team and the visionary can understand. How can you take something like that to you is so obvious. Let's say something intangible like a culture issue. How can you literally translate that into monetary value so that you can put a number with a dollar sign in front of a visionary and say this is how much this culture issue is costing us? This is why it's ROI positive to fix it. That's an example. At the end of the day, it's about how do we quantify things that are very difficult to quantify, that we play in the operation space so that we can justify the value of the work that we do within a business.

Speaker 2:

I love that phrasing. To change it into a different language, to translate it so that other people can understand it. So many of the people that I work with do not understand that concept. They think everybody sees the world the same way they do.

Speaker 3:

Right, right. Unfortunately, it was the lesson I learned the hard way because I totally and utterly failed In my second stint as COO. I will never forget this. I was trying to rebuild the sales CRM for the business and to me it was so obvious why this was so important, why we needed more structure, why we needed more process, and I was trying to impose that force that on the sales team within the company and understandably, they pushed back. Because why is operations getting in the way? Why is it slowing me down? Why is it putting all of this process around, something that we never needed process around Like?

Speaker 3:

These were the objections I was getting and I didn't understand that it was my responsibility not just to know what the right answer was, right, Know what the right system is, but to actually be able to get people to buy into it. The Jedi mind trick that is change management is something that was not on my radar at all and it ultimately resulted in me, for a variety of reasons, leading that business because I wasn't able to get by in and enact the change that I knew the company needed and so walking away really from like. I do consider that to be a huge learning opportunity, but a personal failure in terms of my own ability to be the best COO I could have been for the business. It was ultimately because I was taking ownership for just knowing what I know and thinking the way that I think and assuming that everybody should think that way as well, and I wasn't taking ownership for the active translation which is ultimately what's required to get people to buy in and shift things behaviorally, which is the whole point of operations, Wow.

Speaker 2:

That is so. I can hear the pens scribbling right now. People are hearing that. I think that is a concept that is not communicated and taught, particularly in the entrepreneurial space.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, 100%. And to your point right, we all have our own lenses. We can only see from our own frame, from our own context. But if you want to create massive change within other people, that's just it's just not good enough, right? Like it's just not enough to get people to truly buy in and want to run with you. And so operators, who are change makers within their businesses, they have to learn. Whether they want to or not, they have to acquire the skill set of. It really does feel like a Jedi mind trick, like how do you get somebody to want to use the system even more than you want them to use the system? There's a very specific skill set instead of steps to make that happen.

Speaker 2:

That's fascinating to me. I think about the old Mark Twain book Tom Sawyer, when Tom is basically doing what you're describing. He's painting this fence, but he doesn't want to whitewash the fence, and so he convinces other people how fun it is and how much they really want to whitewash the fence. Right, and I'm thinking the level of emotional intelligence there is pretty high, but that's an example of using it in a bad way to manipulate other people, Like. What you're describing is, how do we use this for the benefit of other people? And I think from that perspective, operators bring value in a way that so many founders simply don't understand. They even need.

Speaker 3:

Well, and it's interesting, because the number one person that you have to know how to Jedi mind trick a little bit is your CEO, right? Because, again, they aren't naturally systems oriented. They don't want to show up and follow your SOP, right, they're busy with the business and yet you need their buy-in, you need them to lead by example, so the rest of the team sees how important systems are right, and so to be able to manage across, to be able to manage down, but also to be able to manage up, is, in my mind, the difference between a good and a great operator.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Managing up is a skill that I believe every second in command must master, or else they're not going to last very long. They're going to bounce from place to place to place.

Speaker 3:

Yep absolutely absolutely so.

Speaker 2:

How do you describe what you do in your company? Like you've talked about coaching, you've talked about helping to train in how you stepped into this place, but you now empower far beyond just you and the people that you work with directly, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So we work with visionary founders Like that CEO. Visionary is our end client and our goal is to help them scale up their business, accomplish their own definition of success and personal freedom and growth and impact, and do that without becoming the bottleneck in their own business, do that without getting stuck in the weeds, and so the mechanism by which we serve those CEOs is through their operator. If they don't have an operator, we can help them find one. If they do have an operator, we have coaching programs.

Speaker 3:

But my whole belief around this, william, is that most CEOs are not the best person to solve their own operational bottlenecks Because, again, they've got that fundamentally different lens. It doesn't come naturally to them and it's not the highest value add. There's so many more value add things that they could be doing in the business. They should not be wasting their time learning how to build SOPs, and so our goal is to take their operator, train that person up, give that person the skills and the method they need to build systems and build scalable team so that the visionary can remain in their zone of genius, they can drive growth at their highest into the business and they can really enjoy the process because they aren't forcing themselves to wear all these hats that they don't want to be wearing.

Speaker 2:

That is so good. I was working with a team the other day. Are you familiar with the working genius profile from Patrick Wynch? Patrick Wynch yeah. Fascinating tool, an assessment that I use, and working with them, helping the founder to understand that they do not have all the areas of genius. They have two Right. You only get two, you only get two and if they don't understand, they need the other four as part of a healthy, sustainable business and how the people in the roles need to be leveraging their areas of genius as well.

Speaker 2:

If everybody's operating out of their areas of working. Frustration that's not going to last long.

Speaker 3:

Right, that's a lot of friction. No, that makes perfect sense, and I think it is part of the CEO's growth curve that we support them through Oftentimes. This operator is one of the first members of the leadership team. This is their first time working alongside a fellow leader within the business, as opposed to just delegating straight downwards to a team, and that's very confronting.

Speaker 3:

To shift your leadership style so that, by design, you are not the best person to make every decision, you are not the smartest person in the room in regards to every element of your business, which is really challenging because up until that moment you were, you had to wear every hat, you had to make every decision. That is what made you successful to even get to the point that you could bring in a leadership team and then to evolve that and shift that and have the humility to change what it means to be successful away from I can do everything, I can make every decision, I can come up with every idea towards. How can I build the highest performance team and ecosystem around me to do every task, make every decision, have every idea. It's a very fundamental and challenging evolution for a CEO to go through, but it's also totally necessary if they ever truly want to be able to delegate and elevate themselves out of the day-to-day weeks. You ever get pushed back on this Often. Yes, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Again it's super confronting, right Right. It's really uncomfortable.

Speaker 2:

Do they ever push back and say you know, yeah, I don't need that, I can do this muscle?

Speaker 3:

We do, and those clients come back to us six months later because they're close to burnout and they want to burn their company to the ground right, like I have seen. I've seen entrepreneurs like amazing entrepreneurs just sheer brute force. They will power their way to success. Yes, and there is always a limit. I think the cap I saw was an 800K per month business where the entrepreneur was just wildly talented and very hardworking. I was able to get it to 800K months, but he was miserable. He was doing everything within the business. He had built this cage around him that he could not get out of.

Speaker 3:

Right, and most people don't make it that high, like. Most people cap out at like 100 to 150K month range. And so the question I would pose to that CEO who say you know, I don't need to delegate or build a high performance leadership team or do these things. The question is just well, what matters to you more? The ability to control everything in your business, or personal freedom, the ability to the humility to not be the smartest person in the room, or the ability to scale a company that is bigger than yourself and can have an impact larger than yourself? Right, because there's not a right or wrong answer. It's just what's more important to you and are you willing to go through the uncomfortable personal work it will take to truly get your business to the next level?

Speaker 2:

Love that question. What matter more to you? So many entrepreneurs would say they started their own thing for time freedom, for financial freedom, to be able to do what they want when they want. And they traded that. You know eight hour job for a 15 hour a day job. That's right, Like we're all that freedom. We're all free, Yep, Yep 100%, 100%.

Speaker 3:

And again, I have all the all the empathy in the world, because the things that made an entrepreneur wildly successful when they were starting out are the things that actively start to stall them out and trap them in the weeds as they begin to scale. It's not an easy transformation by any means, and it's totally necessary. So the question just becomes do you want to stay small and not go through the personal evolution required, or do you genuinely want to scale a big business? Do you genuinely want to run a large team? Do you genuinely want to create something that can outlast you and outgrow you? And again, I think it's a totally valid answer, william, to say no, I don't actually want those things. I'd rather stay smaller. I'd rather just keep starting businesses because that's where I'm comfortable and that's where I thrive. I think that's a brilliant and self aware answer.

Speaker 3:

But I see so many clients get stuck when they think they want the big business, they think they want the big team, they think they want the passive income, they think they want these things. They try and drive towards it, but it's actually not them in their zone of genius, it's not them in a lived experience, it's not that they actually want, it's not them acquiring skill sets they actually wanted to acquire, like they don't actually want all the things that come with that, and so they either self sabotage and scale the business back down or they exit Generally at less of a valuation than they originally wanted, and neither of those are ideal outcomes.

Speaker 2:

I love that you have taken this skill that you learned and you're now leveraging it not just for your own benefit, but for the benefit of other people, because it sounds like you come alongside these founders, these CEOs, these companies and you help them see what they can't see and grow beyond themselves, because they're what's holding them back.

Speaker 3:

I love that, yeah Well, and to me it's a matter of impact. When I left my last COO job, I had the opportunity to become COO somewhere else, commit myself to one founder, one vision, one mission. Or I realized I had a skill set that could become its own vehicle, its own leverage to impact hundreds of visionaries, hundreds of visions and impacts, and so for me, it was. I think entrepreneurs are amazing. I think they're the most incredible change makers we have in society, and so if the best way I can serve them is to help them get out of their own way and allow their vision to come to life, then the best way I could do that was through training not being their operator, but training their operators.

Speaker 2:

So good. What a wonderful, fantastic way to ripple your impact beyond what you can do personally. Thank you.

Speaker 3:

I love that. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Well, let's dive into you for a minute.

Speaker 2:

You are not the same leader today that you were five years ago.

Speaker 1:

We've talked about that You've learned a few things.

Speaker 2:

How do you continue to grow and develop yourself? Because a year from now, five years from now, your company is going to need you to bleed at a higher level. Your clients are going to need that.

Speaker 3:

Hundred percent.

Speaker 2:

How do you?

Speaker 3:

develop you? That is a fantastic question. I always say that our businesses are reflections of ourselves. I think your business is just like the world's harshest personal development tool. It is just a mirror being held up to your face every single day, saying here's you, here's where you have opportunity to grow next. It's this beautiful gift because you can directly measure the results of your own personal growth. Right Like that. Those are business outcomes that you're able to track.

Speaker 3:

For me, every single day, when things go right, things go wrong, challenges come my way. The reframe isn't these things are happening to me. I have to react to them. I just have to handle them.

Speaker 3:

The reframe is this is just data. My business is just feeding me data every single day. If I'm having a problem with a member of my team, how is that data about my own leadership style? If my revenue is not where I want it to be, how is that data around my own strategic thinking and where I have room for growth? And so, when your business is feeding you that much data and you have the awareness to take it and ask what is this telling me?

Speaker 3:

It's this feedback loop that you have every single day that says okay, I guess this is what I need to work on next. I guess this is where I need to grow next. I'm very lucky to have a coach that I work with on a weekly basis to help me process that data and move through it and analyze it and take action based off of it. But ultimately, I think it starts with the mindset of showing up to your business from the place of these things are not good, they're not bad, they're just data and I can choose how to interpret that data and grow from it or not.

Speaker 2:

I love that frame. I think that's brilliant and I think a whole lot of people need to adopt that immediately because they want to interpret. They want to immediately interpret the data, typically in a derogatory way toward themselves.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's not helpful.

Speaker 3:

No, the self-compassion is so critical and has been really hard for me in my own personal growth and development journey. But when you're no longer having to fight yourself in addition to the thing and you can be compassionate and say again this is what has made me successful until now, I can celebrate this. It's just no longer serving me, it's just no longer where my business needs me to be or to grow next. So I can honor that, I can appreciate that and I can still continue to change.

Speaker 2:

Well said, there is no such thing as a wasted experience. Yes, absolutely, because they've all made you who you are Yep, right, and they were either an experience where you won or they were an experience where you learned something Exactly, exactly Right. There's no such thing as a wasted experience. It's for your benefit or the benefit of those around you. Now you're able to use even your failures to impact other people, to help them avoid driving into the ditches that you might have driven into.

Speaker 3:

Well, and I think that, on the topic of leadership, the best leaders I know also carry that forward for their team, where their team's failures, their team's mistakes, become their learning opportunity, and when everyone is processing the ups and downs of the business not as good as bad, but just as data, then the entire team is able to take ownership for growth, for level up, versus many CEOs that I see again stuck in that mindset of like it has to come back to me. I have to do everything. When a team fails, that is either a personal failure of theirs and then they have to step in and they have to fix it, Versus cool team failed. What did that teach me about my training, about my systems, about my process, about my leadership? How can I take ownership ultimately, Cause it's my business and this did happen, but how can I also empower my team to take ownership with their contribution to this, their learning from it? How can they get better as a result?

Speaker 2:

Those are fantastic evaluative questions. So often people think that experience is what makes you better. I do not believe that at all. I don't believe experience makes you any better. I think evaluated experience makes you better.

Speaker 3:

I love that.

Speaker 2:

And I love those questions because those are evaluative questions that point forward. They don't leave you in the past, leave you stuck in the mire of failure and despair.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

What are we gonna do better next time? How did we learn here? I would change this. In the next time we're in a similar situation, what would we do differently?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely, and my biggest invitation to leaders that are trying to incorporate more critical thinking, more proactive problem solving, more ownership within their team would be that every time, you run the play right. So, whether that is, let's say, a massive client project or a big deliverable or a failure, a fire that blows up, to take 15 minutes, like hop on the thing, fix the fire right, like solve the crisis, and then take 15 minutes with that team and sit down and ask the question right, we just ran the play. What went well? What could have gone better? What will we do differently next time? Right, I love that.

Speaker 3:

It's about carving out the time, and so many CEOs are so stuck jumping from fire to fire that it feels like there's never time to sit down and talk about it. And also, that was terrible and I don't wanna spend any time thinking about that because that was the worst, right, the problem is, when you don't take the time, that same exact fire will just crop up again and again because you're not learning from it, versus every fire again not being bad or just being data. That offers you the opportunity to say why this happened and what we can do differently to avoid it. That fire should never happen again, not the same way, and so every fire actually becomes if done well, I think, roi positive, because you become such a better business as a result that you earn more than whatever that fire cost you, and you can actually turn it into an accelerant and a lever for growth.

Speaker 2:

You know, I think, what you that process. You just walked through for the 15 minutes when I call a hot wash after a failure or after an event. Love it Like. When you do that, you are processing your learning so that you can carry it forward, correct, yeah, and I think so many leaders don't do that for the reasons that you've laid out, and so they continue to circle the same grades. Yeah, I wanna learn from it. I don't wanna circle that drain again.

Speaker 3:

I don't want that. That fire was terrible. I never want that fire to happen again. But the only way to do that right, it's like a sports team, right? The best sports teams will play the game. They'll come into practice the next day and they'll sit down and they'll watch the recording. Yeah, like maybe we won the game. Fantastic, why did we win? How can we? How can we create more success? And when we fail, when we lose, how can we do differently next time? Everything is a learning opportunity, but to your point only if you take the moment to evaluate the lived experience as opposed to just jump straight into the next experience.

Speaker 2:

So good. A mentor of Maan says it this way. He says if you don't know why it's working when it's working, you will not know how to fix it when it breaks.

Speaker 3:

I love that. That's fantastic.

Speaker 2:

That's the beauty you have to autopsy success, just like you. Autopsy failure, yes. So, johnna, if people look at you online, it's really easy, I think, for many of us to look at somebody like you and say, wow, like her journey is just up into the right, like she hasn't really had any of the challenges that I've had, there hasn't really been any hard things that she's had to go through. She's just succeeding, success after success after success. Now I would imagine you would say that's not the whole story. Would you be willing to share some of the challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean I will share that. The reason I got into business to begin with is because my very first job out of college was for this company that I really believed in and I thought was amazing. And they went bankrupt because they were a mismanaged business and it was the most catastrophic failure I'd ever experienced in my life. It ended in threats of legal battle and it was a proper, proper explosion.

Speaker 3:

And I needed that because I had never failed that catastrophically in my life before and it taught me that I didn't know anything about business and that if I wanted to live in this world, if I wanted to come up with an idea one day that I thought would make the world a better place, I needed to understand the vehicle of business so that I could actually make that impact to reality. It's not enough to just have the right idea, and so that really sent me down the path of learning about business and entrepreneurship and embracing what is now my career, and that career itself has also been scattered with so many failures. I shared the one where I ended up leaving a company because I lacked the awareness of change management and how to actually influence behavior and get team buy-in. I would say that At every major milestone of my career, there is a failure that precedes the next growth curve. It is only because of the failure that the growth curve can take place.

Speaker 2:

Man, I'm going to want to process that for the next day or two. That's really good at every wow. I'm thinking, I'm reflecting on my own journey and I see that same thing. I don't know that. I would have put it quite like that. That's pretty brilliant.

Speaker 3:

It's interesting. I actually just dropped a post on this week where I think moments of crisis are also the greatest opportunities, because when everything is going well, there's no incentive to change. Because everything's going well, people get stuck in their ways and change is hard and change is uncomfortable. But when things are not going well, all of a sudden, change is readily available. Everybody's on board. Yes, we will do whatever it takes to get out of this moment of crisis. And so, as a leader trying to manage your team, as a business owner, trying to manage market fluctuations and the ups and downs and just the things that happen, if every crisis that comes your way, is there a way to turn that into an opportunity, because it shakes things up and you're able to move faster and change faster and get by in faster around a change that you want to make in business. Moments of crisis are your greatest opportunities to do that, because when everything's going well, no one's changing. We're just going to continue down the road of success.

Speaker 2:

And too often we drift, yeah, absolutely. And you never drift into excellence, you always drift into mediocrity.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I love the quote from the book Legacy, which is when you're at the top of your game, change the game. And I think that is such a hard thing when you are faced with perpetual success to recognize that the thing that made us successful is about to bite us in the butt and we need to change something fast. That's right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good. I cannot remember who said this, but I love the quote. One of the hardest decisions for a leader to make is exemplified when you watch a Super Bowl team's coach go into the locker room at halftime and have to change the strategy that got them there. Ooh love that that's so good, because you think in those crisis moments that's not the time for a new play, that's not the time to change anything, right, right.

Speaker 3:

But it is, yeah, absolutely. And if we're talking about the role of leadership as a business starts to grow and scale, I think it takes a 30,000-foot view to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Catch these moments of crisis, evaluate the day that your business is giving you, do all the things that we've talked about today, right, and so many CEOs are genuinely unable to do that because they are stuck in the weeds of the business every day. It is impossible to work on the business simultaneous to working in it, and, as startup founders, yes, we have to work in our business. Yes, we have to wear many hats Like this is the reality of the game that we've chosen.

Speaker 3:

And are you systematically putting more and more time onto your calendar that I call it deep think time, time to elevate out, time to step back, time to gain clarity, time to gain context, because your business needs that from you. Your business literally doesn't need anything else from you. There is somebody on your team who can do literally everything else except for have that 30,000-foot vision and view and owner's lens, and so the highest value thing that we can do as business owners is to give ourselves that time and space, but it is also the most challenging and what I find often comes last on a CEO's to-do list.

Speaker 2:

It's so true. I watch this in so many of the leaders that I work with. They have the mindset of what their job is to do to execute, right yeah. And they have such a hard time when they have to, when they begin to hire a team to help with fulfillment and operate it, and so on. They have such a hard time letting go of that do mindset, that execute mindset, because that's what they've always done. That's what got them here. Absolutely, your job as a leader is no longer to get things done, it's to get things done through other people.

Speaker 3:

Yep, and that is again so much empathy in the world for that transition, because it comes down to self-worth Right, that all that narrative around the hustle and the grind and you are the sole creator of your own success. There's so much power that comes from that, there's so much confidence that comes from that, and that is what makes startup entrepreneurs successful. And so to conceive of a business that doesn't need you in that same way is very scary, because if I've got all this white space on my calendar, what does that mean about me? What does that mean about my business? What does that mean about my worth and whether my company needs me or not? There is this really significant existential and identity shift that takes place in the CEOs who are able to successfully scale. I shared with you, and I think the stats back this up Most CEOs who scale their businesses are not the same CEO who started, and many startup entrepreneurs never successfully scale a company. They just become serial entrepreneurs because that existential shift is not one that they choose to go through.

Speaker 2:

You know, I think it's helpful to think in terms of seasons like what you're describing too. You know, I think about as I've got two daughters right One is in college and one is in high school and I look at both of them and they don't need me the same way they did when they were preschoolers.

Speaker 2:

They don't need the same things. For me as a dad, they need different things. Now I'm not as involved in their life in a whole lot of ways as I was back then. Sure, yeah, I'm leading in a different way. And I wonder if there's not some parallel there with how you're leading your company, that there has to come a point where you're not leading the same way you did in the beginning, you have to make the shift, and if you don't, well, if you want a perpetual preschooler.

Speaker 3:

Right, which I think is probably how many CEOs feel about their team. At least that's what they share with me. Right Is why can't my team think for themselves? Why can't they just be better? Why can't they just be proactive? Why can't they just solve the problem? And the unfortunate reality is it's because you have led them in such a way where they've never needed to, so why would that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you haven't led them to do that yet. Yeah, yeah, look in the mirror, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

If we were to go back and you were able to go back and talk to yourself when you first came out of college and you were able to tell yourself one thing based on what you've learned so far, what would you love to go back and tell yourself?

Speaker 3:

I would tell myself that the only, the only skill I need is the ability to learn quickly. There were so many moments in the journey where I suffered from imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence because I'd never done that thing before and I don't know how to do that thing, don't know anything about that thing, and what eventually gave what I eventually learned and gave me the confidence to move through those moments, is that you don't actually need to know how to do the thing. You just have to be willing and able to learn it quickly and so long as you can approach every unknown from the place of yeah, I have no idea what I'm getting into, but I trust in my ability to figure it out. That becomes the bedrock to confidence and action, even in the face of wild uncertainty and feelings of being out of your depth.

Speaker 2:

That's a great answer. In my study of leaders and determining what differentiates a leader, that is what I call catalytic and what's a leader. That's not the number one non-negotiable that I see and the leaders that make that shift and that become catalytic in their impact is a teachable spirit and that's what I'm hearing in you, like that's what I'm seeing from your story, and I think that's what we have all been able to benefit from today and what you've shared that's so critical.

Speaker 3:

It is, it is. And again, like, your business is just going to be a reflection back If you don't change, your business is not going to change. If you don't grow, your business is not going to grow. Again, not bad or good, it's just a question of what do you want?

Speaker 2:

You are constantly learning and you've referenced a couple of different books. You're in our talk today. Is there one book that you would say, hey, if you're a leader and you haven't read this book, you need to put this on your Treadlist.

Speaker 3:

Yes, the book that absolutely changed the game for me and my own leadership was the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. It is a highly confronting book about all of the ways that you are accidentally, with the best intentions, holding back your team, and I really needed to learn that. As a service-based leader who wanted to do my best for my team, I needed to learn how I was accidentally disempowering them through my good intentions and my desire to serve.

Speaker 2:

So good. Liz Wiseman is a brilliant thinker. He is brilliant Yep. Oh my goodness.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

As we wrap up, people typically are gonna walk away from an episode like this with one big idea. If you were to define what that big idea is, if you were to say hey, this is the one thing I want you to walk away with, what would that one thing be?

Speaker 3:

I think, if I'm thinking about the conversation we just had and how to sum it up, I think my biggest invitation would be to shift your own frame of your business away from. This is bad, this is good. This is happening to me towards. This is data Becoming, and acquiring that analytical lens is going to allow you to grow so much faster, make so much more sense of the information, take advantage of all of the opportunities your business is giving you to grow and learn and feel less emotionally reactive to the natural ups and downs of day-to-day entrepreneurship life and, I think, everything else that we talked about today and be worked on, so long as that founding mindset is there.

Speaker 2:

I know people are gonna want to stay connected with you and continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to do that?

Speaker 3:

Right now, William is to actually follow me on Facebook. I do weekly live training every single week on my Facebook page and in my Facebook group, so you can find me, Johnna Lee, or my Facebook group is Spyglass Ops on Facebook and I love I absolutely love providing this kind of value and education to entrepreneurs to help them scale their businesses and scale themselves out of the day-to-day of those businesses.

Speaker 2:

Well, you have added a lot of value today, so thank you for that.

Speaker 3:

You're very welcome, thank you so much for having me. Thanks for joining me for this episode today.

Speaker 2:

As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticaleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out.

Speaker 2:

My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20-plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. If you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticaleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytically Leadership With Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticallyadershipnet.

Leadership Development and Communication Skills
CEO Evolution and High-Performance Teams
Turning Failures Into Opportunities for Growth
Embracing Failure and Leading Through Change