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  • Positive Polarity Podcast

How to Use Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage


As the CEO of Keystone Group International, Jaime created the organization to focus on leadership development, organizational strategy, and growth.

Before starting Keystone Group International, she spent 13 years in a large corporate environment in a variety of leadership roles, living and traveling globally. Jaime believes that strong leadership is the foundation for healthy and sustainable growth for any business. She uses her leadership experience to drive “real” discussions about how to drive high performance and healthy cultures within client organizations. Leaders need to be focused on helping their organizations create a positive mindset change to manage the constant change as their business grows and evolves.

Jaime’s areas of expertise are helping organizations identify the issue that is getting in their way of growth and creating a plan for improvement – specifically in areas of strategy, culture, and people. Jaime uses her SuperPower of Empathy and high EQ to build strong relationships with clients and leaders within organizations she works with. This same SuperPower allows her to build trust quickly which makes it easier to get to the root of the issue. The purpose behind Jaime’s work is to create an impact on the people she works with. Jaime is driven by the positive changes that she creates for her clients-it’s an addiction.

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Hey, Dave, Melinda here, positive polarity, podcast, hope things are going awesome for you. As I scoured the earth to find the best people in their industry and this time, I found somebody, but I had to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, for it. Jamie Tates, how are you today?

I'm wonderful.

You are the chief vision officer and founder of Keystone group international. Thank you much for hanging out with us today. Do us a favor real quick and just kind of help us understand what Keystone group international is.

It's a professional services firm. That's focused on the small and mid-market. Helping entrepreneurial organizations grow in scale is where we look. And we talk about the kind of three legs of the stool that need to be balanced for good. Scalability is a good strategy. Knowing your business strategy and this year has been a unique one in deciding what your strategy is in your business and how to adjust leadership and people—understanding how to utilize the talent that you have and maximize it, and then culture. And finding the balance between those three is where your competitive advantage happens. And that's how we work, with business owners and business leadership team.

I think that a lot of entrepreneurs are getting beat over the head in the last, I'm going to say maybe 10 years with that because I think back to when my parents were in, in the workforce and it was like culture, wasn't an issue shut up and go to work. The corner office was the boss, and you didn't dare go in there. There's been a ton of transition from that workforce. I'm going to see Jamie at this one. What have you seen? Have you identified any reasons for that, that you're aware of?

I, I'll tell you our perspective on it. Cause we do much of this work. First off, I want to start with defining culture because it's a tough one for people. People know what the word is, but it's kind of an overused term. As you say, as people have been beaten over the head with it, we define culture as a place where people come in every day or leave every day better than when they came in. Okay, great. Just simplify it down. Do we bring our employees in, and do we build them up throughout the day? And we help them, grow, and have significance, and then we send them home in a positive place to their families.

Jamie, I'm going to challenge you right away. I paid for them. what the heck

Right there on the back of my neck. Right, right, Thank you for that. That's different. If you get the wrong culture and why I think it's shifted to your first question is because we see it, and they're starting to see tangible results that they didn't use to see. Cause they didn't have the studies. And when you look at the average performance of Hawaii, they give you about 40% of what they're capable of. The studies have proven. You might as well just burn the pile every single day because of your performance. You're losing that from your employees. The culture piece comes in, and I know we talked about that culture eats strategy for breakfast, That Peter Drucker and everyone nod their head and kind of chuckles about that. But what we're starting to see is the competitive advantage to the business results is whether or not we are tapping into the resource that we have already,

We're tapping into the strengths of people. And the generational changes are, are driving that. And when I talk about right, I have a girl. I have a great grandmother who is 104 still living. And I talked to her about this cause she's with it, which is not a lot, a 104-year-old's. That's still like, Can have these conversations. And we talk about the generational changes. She's like, we've been going through this through history. She's like, imagine what the generations thought in the sixties and seventies. When those aged, they were like, Oh, all this loss, like we're screwing up society. And you start to think about at a core level that the values of the generations are not different. It's just the beliefs and how they shared their values that are different. That's what we see in the younger generation.

The boomers that ask the question I pay. we need to care about this because the values aren't vastly, what they want. The boomers just were taught to just job they'll soldier on getting a paycheck. Keep your head down like your job. And I think the generations that we see now come into the workforce with the millennials and gen Z weren't taught that same thing. Talk to share how you feel. The platforms here that they can share how they feel every moment of every day. And I don't think their values are different. They want a lot of the same things. They're just not afraid to ask for it. That's my perspective.

And I'm way back on your 40% because I think there was a hidden gem there that I want to bring that make sure that the listeners get an in that I learned more about what you just said. If I understand what you said, most people on a team, in a corporation, small business, whatever they're operating at about a 40% efficiency rate or capacity. I don't know what words.

Of what they're capable of. They're showing up because if you look at the exit interview data, why people are leaving the company, they're leaving, one of the top three reasons is a lack of an ability to use my strengths every day. They're telling us, I'm showing up, and I'm doing stuff, getting stuff done, but I, you're not tapping into my full potential is essentially what this is saying. We've got resources. It would be like if you're a manufacturer, And you only use one of the three manufacturing machines recently, you would never do that in a manufacturing event, but yet we're not tapping in. And the reason is, is, is leadership. We don't know how to tap into the strengths and hopefully get the most out of people to motivate them. And that's a piece of our culture is motivating people to do more with, even in the midst of what we're dealing with right now, With crises and a lot of business dealing with.

I just want to make sure that I get this because if I'm hearing what you're saying, I mean, this doesn't cost. Usually, it doesn't cost a lot of money. We've already paid for the salary. We've already paid the compensation package. We've already done all the heavy lifting at the front end. We're talking about somebody that just kind of thinks of the Gallup poll where chose about one and three people show up to work every day engaged. And This means about two out of three people aren't actively engaged in what they do. And my goal is to figure out how to find how we can get those people to the role? Cause only three out of 10 people are rowing that boat. These are free things. That's what I think is cool about this genius. You're talking about things that we've already paid for. We're just trying to figure out how to improve their use, to speak. And I don't want to disrespect

Well, how to harvest, how to harness the power of what we already have? You're spot on.

Then how do you fit into that at Keystone group international? Let me, let's just say I'm listening right now. And I'm like, that makes total sense. I have a team of X number of people and if I could get 40 seems low for my group, I'm going to say I have a blind spot, which most of us do. And I think, Oh, I'm probably at 75% efficiency or whatever. How do I get them up even further? What happens when, when Jamie jumps into our group, kind of walk us through what goes on there

And it's, there's a little bit of a diagnosis. That needs to happen there because you gave a perfect example of, I think it's 75%, and I might have some blind spots because oftentimes with organizations that we come into, they're too close to it. They think things are fine. They think things are great when we dive in and baseline. We talk a lot about baselining. Your culture is interviews, focus, groups, surveys. Like we, we gather a lot of data and we baseline it that you understand the areas where you're strong in the areas where you're weak because then we have the self-awareness to say, okay, we do need to work on these areas. It's not all broken, but there are certain areas we need to work on whereas leaders, great leaders come in every day trying to do their best to,

But we have many leaders who are working managers and are down trying to get stuff done. And they don't necessarily have time to leave. And a lot of that harnessing of the power comes in the leadership piece. Okay. That's what a lot of things have had to go remote is we've seen it's the reason our businesses flourishing right now is because many of them have gone have had this realization that we thought our leadership was better and stronger than it actually was. And when we had to go remote, we just realized darn as great as we thought we were. And now they're, they have that self-awareness, and they, they want to start looking at it. It's a diagnosis and a baseline. We have to have that to start from because otherwise it's an it's subjective. And we don't know if we get the lift or not.

If I'm interested in that for my company, do I, is it sounds like a lot of work—number one. And the last thing that I have right now, Jamie, is time. That's probably what people are thinking as there, as they're listening to this right now because we see this a lot, whereas you said, they're working owners, they're working entrepreneurs. They have many hats in their business, and it's like if I got to add another one and I think as my job, as a coach when I get involved with companies, I try and explain that I'm trying to take work away, trying to simplify life. I'm assuming that's how that works for you. How do you get people past that initial hump of, ah, I don't have time to even think about this right now. How does that work?

It's, and it's, it's, it's very typical. Exactly what you're saying. a couple of things, we simplify it. There is nothing overly complicated. In fact, I'm not a fan of the over-complicated models, which is why we developed our own for culture, because we wanted to simplify it to something we can all understand and we can make progress on. I think that's BS because when you throw something complicated at an entrepreneur or a business owner, it's like, I can other things to worry about. Still, if we can simplify it to something they understand and they can wrap their ground, there's more chance they're going to take a step towards it. And that's our goal. The second piece is to help them understand it's a journey. The average time to shift culture is three to five years. I know that scares people to that are listening, but we're not achieving perfection here. There is no such thing. It starts on the journey and then does it at a pace that your organization and you can withstand, And sustain. And that's where we come in is the diagnosing is don't do what somebody else is doing. Like do what's the most important and will give your organization the biggest lift. And I think that frees them up a little bit to feel like, okay, we can do this. We just need to be structured and focused around it. I think simplifying it and then being a little bit focused. It helps from a budget standpoint. It helps from a time standpoint. But what I'll tell you is companies that choose to double down and invest in this right now have a competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years.

There's no doubt when you look at the data, and I get a lot of questions about smaller companies. Like, are we too small for this? I've got a few employees, are that lost employees? And the answer I would give them is there are two options again, because we're diagnosing, we're not going to put something on you that we would put on a 300 person company, but you have two options. You can build a solid foundation now and grow on that. You've got a scalable business, or we can come back, and you can pay us to unravel the spaghetti leader because you pay for it one way or the other. You want to pay for it when things are broken, and your culture is deteriorated, which a lot of organizations are dealing with, or do you want to start to set that foundation early? And build it in the right way. It's a mindset shift.

I was on your website, and I was looking at some of the testimonials, and I love when I see a guy say we were all over complicating this. When you say simplify my ears as a high D and disk, my years are like all of a sudden, like, Oh my gosh, this is how do we, now that you've got my attention. It's like, okay if we can get this done in 10 minutes, we're in great shape—Jamie, which obviously can't do. But I think that looking at trying to improve that 40% because even if it is 40% or whatever, your number is every five or 10% that you can increase, I got to believe that you're saying it's actually less to pay you than it is to just continue at status quo at 40%.

Correct. And then add turnover. The costs to replace somebody one and a half times their salary, which most people tangibly don't think about. there's, there are all of these intangible costs that add up as a company is trying to grow that they don't relate to culture, but if they were to focus there. The analogy that we give is a perfect analogy for everybody is you've got a dandy lion in your yard. You walk out, you see a dam this time of year, not much in the Midwest, but you know what I mean? And your first it's like, Oh my God, they're ugly. Like I'm going to mow them down. That's the easy thing they're gone. You feel good? You're like, okay, they're gone, but they're not gone because they're going to come back, and they're going to probably have multiplied.

They're going to have friends. The same thing happens in our businesses is unless we dig to the root of what's happening, those same issues are where we're spending. 80% of our time is putting out fire after fire. But we never slow down to fix the root. I believe the culture is the root of a lot of the issues that you're dealing with. When you talk about saving time in the long run, I mean, it's a little bit of blind faith, but you've got to believe that if you dig to the root and start fixing that, there are a hundred fewer things that you're going to have to deal with over the next year because you've focused on the right road.

That's awesome. That's cool. And I think about the day a person gets hired, they start in a new position, and they're all shiny. And the desk is clean, and everything is just put exactly where it's supposed to be. You know Maslow's has that hierarchy of employee engagement, and there are five levels. And I'm guessing that most people start right in the middle where they're almost engaged that most people, when they're hired, they're not thinking, man, I can't wait to start screwing off. I can't wait to put in as little work as possible. I think that the first number of days, weeks, or months, people have this engagement about them, this excitement, this freshness, right, as that wears off, I think that's where leadership comes in and plays a strong role in continuing the growth and development of that. If I'm a leader, but I don't know how to lead. How, where do you come in then in that situation, Jamie?

In, this is something there's a lot of leaders that are thrust into a leadership position because they were good at what they did. And now you're the team leader, and we don't give them the skill sets and that, it's not their fault, but as leaders. The analogy that I'll give you is sports. Let's say the game of basketball when you're in, let's say elementary school, the gym teacher has a checklist of skills to the game of basketball that they need to teach you. You need to understand the ball like how it's played, like those kinds of things. When you go out for the team in middle school, the coach helps you understand your strengths. Like game helps you understand the strategy of the game and coaches you within your strengths to be better in the game.

That's the difference between being a manager and being a leader, a leader is there to coach and help. I was actually talking to a coach who does some leadership training just earlier today. And he said, my only job is to help people love the game. And I think that's how leaders should think about it is my job is to help you love it here and love what you're doing. And if not, let's give you something else. Let's challenge you differently. But my job is to help you love the game that you're playing because you chose to be here. And that's that sending people home better than when they came in. But most organizations, not because they're trying to bring people in high energy with lots of ideas, we suck them dry. And then we send them home to their families every night. And it's the opposite of what we should be doing. And that's when we talk about business strategy versus culture and leadership is. What if we switched that and just started building people up every day. I don't think we'd have to worry about the business results. I think that would if we were encouraging people.

And that's where I think it's, I mean, we, and I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of it. I'm practicing and getting my way out of it. But there are still days I go. I have to go to work and trying to train myself in the saying. I get to go to work. that there's a different shift in my mind. And hopefully, then there's a different outcome on the back end, but there's plenty of times where we say I have to go to work. And then you feel like they're going to suck me dry of everything. And I'm going to have to just limp my way home. I'm barely going to make it. And then I just crash in front of the TV, eat my dinner and fall asleep. And no kids, no nothing tonight. Dad or mom can't handle that. That's just not healthy for the family. It's not healthy for culture. It's not healthy for society. And it kind of does go back to that. The leaders' concept of what work is like. Do you run into a lot of those people that have that? Are you still shifting that mindset to speak?

It's shifting the mindset about, we believe everybody in an organization is the leader. When we're talking about a leader, it's somebody who has direct reports, but everybody. And it's, how do we all have a part in this culture? Because of the misconception with culture and for any entrepreneur or business owner, listening is your job. You don't create the culture no matter how hard you try. You don't get to control it. You get to impact it. And it's a big shift for a lot of leaders because control means I declare this is what our culture is. And therefore it is. And the answer is it's not because the culture is made up of all of the threads I'll full, and they're all equal. And our job as leaders is to have a positive impact on that culture. We do to move it in the direction that we want it to be and not try to control it and say, this is what it is.

And I think when we let go of the control, that's when the culture actually starts to grow and evolve positively, but we have to be focused on it. And that's the piece. And I don't think leaders show up wanting to send people home like that. I think we all are just dealing with many issues day in and day out that we don't have the time to focus on caring for each other. Which I think is society right now, Where people are craving that. That love is where people actually give a crap about them and want to help them be better. And we're, we're, we don't, we're not there. And a lot of organizations.

Absolutely. And are they aware too, to the blind spot question, do you think more and more people see where they are? They're self-aware of where they are, but there, but they don't know how to get there or do you still run into a lot of people that just number one, they are not self-aware and quite frankly, they don't care. I mean, where, what are you seeing out in the workforce today?

We tend not to put the plants that don't care. I don't see as many of them, we won't work with them, but they want to get her, which is the self-awareness like, I don't know what I don't know. Teach me things. That's what you're seeing. Those are the people you see, especially during this pandemic. We're talking about leaders who have been born in the last 10 months. People that you didn't know were strong leaders have risen. And there's been a lot of people that have been exposed as they didn't have the fundamental leadership skill sets that we needed to continue to have the team. The ones who were kind of born in are open to learning new things and open to, wow. I've never thought about this before. There are many leaders because, again, I don't believe people show up to make other people's lives miserable. I think something happens that causes that. And that's the route that we have when we talk about the rut.

For the most part, I would say some low EQ people are, and I always liken it to driving. We're not driving as much as we used to. However, I still drive to clients four or five days a week, actually, pretty much every day I have somebody that I'm doing something for and in the car, and you're merging into the freeway, and for whatever reason, the high IQ people are like, Oh my gosh, it's your turn. Go ahead. I tell you that 25 feet of space that they feel they got to have their space? And there's no way in the world they're giving that up. I, then some people just have bad days. I get it. And some people are oblivious, but some people know that they're doing it, and they feel entitled to that piece. When you are talking with people, and I'm sure you're interviewing them, the entitlement piece, just like they're interviewing you to see if there's a fit to do work within that organization. How does that, I mean, do you, have you turned people away going we just, aren't the right fit for you. How does that work for you?

I didn't start my business to work with people that make my life painful. Like you don't take the risk to be an entrepreneur. I'll go back and get a steady paycheck. If that's, if that's what we're looking at. We are selective, and I'm grateful that we can, but we alif we see even a glimmer of like, there might be something there that we can impact around that organization better, we'll usually step towards it. But the analogy that we give in the sales process, like a sales pitch, is probably anti to any salespeople that are listening to cry. Like, you shouldn't say this, but you can call me later and coach me on what else. But we talk about you don't give, you don't hire a personal trainer to give you a bowl of ice cream in the remote,

You just don't, you hire a firm like us to come in and pacify you, you don't hire someone like what you do to come in and just tell you, you're doing a great is there's always room for improvement. If there could be a better way to anything that you're doing in your business. And you're open to hearing about it. It doesn't mean you have to fix it all. You have to do something different. But if you're open to hearing from people who have the broader experience, then you're probably a target market client. And you're ready for change. We talk about change a lot: is you're ready to walk towards like, okay, we've always done it this way, but I see that things are shifting and there might be a better way to do it. We want to have that conversation. Those are, those are ideal clients. If you're like, now we were perfect. We've got it all down. And I think this last year, the people that thought they had it all figured out. It's been a humbling experience for a lot of business leaders.

What I tell people, when they asked me, why would I ever use a business coach? Because that's what I do, sales and business coaching. And I'm like, you know what? I don't know the answer to that because they think it's different for each person. But I can say to work off your basketball analogy for some odd reason in my mind, Michael Jordan was one of the best basketball players that ever lived. He needed a coach. Now, I don't know what Phil Jackson brought to Michael. I don't understand that relationship or understand why tiger woods need a swing coach, a mind coach, a strength coach, and conditioning. I mean, He's just surrounded himself with coaches. Still, for whatever reason, if a leader, an athlete like that needs a coach, an entrepreneur of 10 people might need some eyes from the outside to help him with his blind spots, help him navigate in waters that he's never been before. Do you get asked that question a lot? Why would I need you, Jamie, in this situation?

Because what we're doing, it's working. We're good. And, what we talk about is again, how do you know? I'll give you another analogy, a sports analogy. We're in our, every day in our businesses, we're running races, whether it's a merger and acquisition, a new product, a new, whatever it is, there are these big races that we run a new system or project. And we have two ways to get to the end of the finish line. And option one is we run as fast can. We push our people, and we push because we want to get to that finish line. We get to the result, and we get to the business result. But our team is tired. They're exhausted. They're disengaged. They probably broke down trust between team members along the way. The other option is our team runs that race together.

And we focus on how to build trust while we're sweaty and tired. And we get to the end, and we're like, Oh, that was a lot of work. But I would do that again with you. That's a totally different business. And we talk about that. Good to great good companies and great companies can get results. It's just how you get the result. And that usually resonates with business leaders because great companies get results with higher profit margins, With less pain. They love their business more. It's about the, how not necessarily about the finish line because you can fake the finish line. And get there, but not have the greatness that a lot of other companies do.

Absolutely. And it's I mean, in today's world, you can pretty much choose what that finish line looks like. I can give you a dollar, and you can say, look, I made more money this year than I made last year. Life is good. I think that the journey is as important as the destination. The problem is that there are a lot of people that only care about the destination. As we think about it from a disk perspective, as we talk about, I'm a high D results-oriented person I know without, when I had lower E Q I didn't care who I stepped on, I didn't care who I ran over. I didn't care. Quite frankly, I love, I wrote it down before we even started talking stop mowing dandelions, because you know what, for the five minutes that there are no dandelions there, man, the yard looks awesome.

It is good. It looks good in the dark too. I found out, but it's like the next day, it's like, Oh, what the heck? I thought we dealt with this. Now we got to deal with it again, and some personalities don't want to do that. When you run into somebody that's results-oriented, doesn't want to put in the work. I'm going to say, looking for a magic pill, looking for the secret sauce, whatever their words are, how do you deal with those people in your world?

It's hard because you have to lead them again, but I usually lead with what you are leaving on the table? Back to the 40%, what cash are you burning every single day? Because a high D is driven by results. Businesses that say, we're good. Like we hit our financial targets. I want to know. But how many people, how much turnover did you have last year? We'll have the team. But we hit our numbers is, is, but we understand that's part of your result. And helping them understand that, how you get there, what if it could be 30% higher when we look at engagement numbers, and I'm sure you see this, The number like seven out of 10 people are essentially looking to leave their jobs in the next year. Meaning they're not mentally checking in every day.

They're physically checking in, but they're not mentally checking it. That's part of that. We're not getting everything from the resources that we have. And a lot of people would say, Oh, they're not going to leave. I'm like, no, probably it's even worse because they're hanging out every day, and we're not getting the most out of them. How do we turn that and get the most out of them? They don't leave because that's, what's impacting our bottom line. That's, what's impacting the profitability and efficiency of our business. And I'm typically not impressed with revenue numbers. You're a sales guy. I know that's what you do, but that doesn't tell me how, how strong.

I'm thinking just out loud now, as I think about the answer to stopping mowing down the lines, I wrote down the question of how many times did you mold those dandelions? There is that added cost. You don't think it's going to it what's worse to deal with it one time or deal with it 20 times. I mean there's, and you can argue both sides, and I'm not here to say one way is right or wrong. I can say that it's a whole lot more pleasant to look at a lawn without dandelions after you've invested the time and energy to get rid of them. But it again, and maybe it's a blind spot. Quite frankly, maybe some people just don't care. I get that. But,

And that's possible. I mean, there's it, depending on the dandelion. I mean, you don't choose every, everything's not, you, you're not, everything's not a nail. And you've got a hammer is you've got to pick what those are, but the definition of insanity is dealing with the same things a year over a year. Like we had the same problem last year. Like trying to fix it. And the other piece that we talk about a lot is leaders understanding that ,we're dealing with bigger and different issues in less. We're probably not growing as an organization. Once we solve this issue, we're never going to eliminate issues from our environment. Still, that next dandelion is going to be a different one, meaning, okay, we've gotten past this, and now we've opened the door to a whole different world of issues. We can do that. That tells me you're growing. And you're scaling your business. If you're dealing with different issues, if we're dealing with the same ones over and over again, probably not a good thing, long-term,

Well, those cursed words, this is the way we always have done it around here. When I hear that from people, it's just like mean, I'm fortunate enough to be able to not, I'm able to control my facial expression, but just once I would just like to do the biggest, are you kidding me? When I hear that from people because this is just the way we've done it around here, my dad did it. My grandpa did it. My great-grandpa did it. We are not changing anything, And I'm like, well, okay then, I'm totally confused. What am I doing here? Exactly. I mean, you called me in because there's an issue. And it's like the people who go to the doctor complaining of something, and then the doctor tries to offer solutions, and you're like fighting them on it. It's like, well go home then,

Speaker 3:

No, that's fine. Just keep doing what you're doing. You want to get,

Nobody's making you do anything here, but it's for the people that, and that's why I wrote my book growing on purpose because I run into a ton of people that grow by mistake. They are. There is growth there. It's just not even close to being on purpose. And it transitions into what you talked about. I loved what I found ause they found the exae research in my book that an engaged team will create an engaged customer. Correct. There's a huge connection. There, there's a ton of research on engaged employees. There's a ton of research on now, the customer experience, the CX, I guess they're calling it, but where do there, wasn't a lot of research done on connecting those two. That's what I invest in my energy on, in my book and making that connection that when you connect those two if you strengthen your team and improve your customer's experience, profit is like, it's an automatic you got to have a strong way to screw it up with all without if you have a great team and a great customer, you must have a terrible product.

Then that's the only chunk left. That can't be any goods.

Speaker 3:

And you talk, go back to your question or your comment about time. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are like, I'm busy, but are you focusing on the right things? And that's the biggest because if you focus on those foundational pieces, the results come. We don't need to focus on the results if we do other things. But I think there's. It's hard to get out of that fear-based like we just have to keep going. We keep marching towards that result no matter what. I think there's a lot of change happening in society. We're talented people. Aren't going to put up with that.

I want to switch gears for you real quick. Jamie, we've talked about leadership superpower for a minute. I have to believe that's a hard question for somebody to answer because it takes self-reflection. It takes time. And quite frankly, there's no right or wrong answer to it necessarily. But if you took like a Clifton Strength Finders or something that might help you, what tools do you guys use to have people help find their strengths like that?

What you do with TTI and the assessments is a great first step for many people. Strengths finders is another one. We define a superpower as a strength that is powerful enough to impact your success and influence success. And for most of us, we have a set of strengths that a smaller subset of strengths, Two or three, four superpowers. They're natural. We don't have to do a lot. We don't have to work at them. They're super part. We talked about the characteristics. They're easy. They're interesting. Meaning I'm going to spend more time getting better at this or learning about this for doing something in this space because I enjoy it.

And there are certain things that we do a lot when we're coaching leaders, we talk about like energy journaling, and I don't mean like woo-hoo energy. Throughout your day, I mean like jot notes down on you come out of that meeting or that conversation, or you're doing that work task. What things make your blood kind of pump in your heart? And you're kind of excited that feeling when you walk out of a meeting or you just did something, what, what are those things? And then what things kind of drain you of energy. What are those things that, that you don't enjoy? And I'll give you an analogy for a lot of people. I came out of college, and I was kind of thrust into a project management role, Over big projects. And I was good at it.

I could organize things, but I hated it. I was good at it, but I didn't, it didn't give me any energy to manage a project. There are people whose superpower is to do that. They love it. They get energy, and they put everything into it. And it's for me. And I don't think superpowers or something that you just know off the bat they're discovered over time, but it's paying attention to what gives me energy. What doesn't feel like work when I do it. And what do people come to me for help or support on? If you're that person in your family that plans every family vacation, and everyone just knows, you're going to have it all together. They can just show up probably a superpower in there, call it whatever you want. But there's probably a superpower in there. But as humans, we don't slow down enough to examine it. We just assume everybody else is good at tapping into that superpower takes reflection. Like you said, some self-awareness and some assessments to go, wow. I didn't realize everyone else. Like maybe that's something I should do more of.

I know the leaders that I work with, and you start going down that emotional quotient or emotional intelligence path with them, and you use the J word of journaling, and it's just like, Oh my gosh. Now I a female. No, no, don't, don't send me cards and letters. Emails tend to be more open to it. Then, guys, I don't know why, but it's like, I've yet to have success telling a guy, Hey, you know what? And I don't know. Maybe there's a different word than journal, but as soon as you have this in your mind. I mean, do you run into that same struggle with just people in general stopping long enough to assess what just happened?

Yes. In tobacco to your question, your comment a while ago, that's why people need coaches. I believe everybody needs a coach. And I don't mean that you have to pay a coach. You need someone in your life. That is that person that's going to help you. I don't care how successful you are because that person will call a spade, a spade, ask a different question. Challenge you with your thoughts and beliefs. And what's gotten you to this point. And I think all of that comes, with finding your superpowers is you need people to ask you different questions or assessments that sparks something different and you see a different result. Because that's growth for all of us. We're never done. Kind of growing as leaders. And I think many people get to a certain point or a certain box on the org chart and believe they're done. And that's the biggest mistake you can make as a leader because you're going to get passed. People are going to blow past you in terms of their leadership skills.

And I think there, I don't know what they were selling, but there was a commercial on the TV that used to say, congratulations, you've reached the end of the internet. I mean, you've never, you'll never get to a point where you have arrived. I mean, you can say you've arrived as a leader, whatever that is. But I think there's always going to be learning every time your team changes. Every time you grow is every time your customer changes every time. I mean, adaptation just as sole prevalent now. And I always agree that the only thing constant in business is change. And if you're resistant to that, that's hard. I mean, that's the difference. I always tell the story about Kodak when they were the first ones to make the Instamatic camera, and that guy finds it, walks into the boardroom and the things like the size of a small microwave, and he walks in, and he's like, I got this, look at this. And they're like, Hey, don't tell anybody about this. Whether they were afraid, it was a fad, whether whatever, but 10 years later, somebody else falls in that information and revolutionize the film industry, Kodak goes bankrupt. And I'm not saying it was because of that one spot, but boy, if they would, they would have been 10 years ahead of everybody else. And I don't know if it's blind spots are for people, and that's the next book actually I'm working on is what blind spots, because I run into them all over the place.

And sometimes I think it's comfort too, is again, you've done this and it's produced the results. Let's just keep doing it. And just the result. There's a level of comfort There. You want to be always uncomfortable, but you should be pushing the boundaries and doing something that feels a little uncomfortable. Otherwise again, back to, I don't think you're growing. I think you're just standing in the same place, producing revenue, producing a result, but it's not necessarily something that's growing, and people will pass you, and you won't even realize it; it'll be too late.

I mean, there's a great visual on the comfort zone. It's hung hanging on my wall, the fear zone, the learning zone, and then the growth zone. I mean, if you're stuck in the comfort zone and you never make it out of there, you will struggle as a business. For I mean, if you didn't want to transition as a restaurant from, we never had a drive-through, we never had to go. We had never taken out if you don't do it. Now, those, those restaurants they're not here. I mean, we're kind of being forced into that. I think that's, what's cool about what you're bringing to businesses is then come on. I feel like you come alongside me and help me with things. That number one, I didn't know. Number two, I don't think they're important. And number three, I don't have time to do this. That's what I like about that is that kind of sum up your ideal client that type of thing,

It sums up our values—partner in the journey. Like we are not here to sell you a big statement of work and stuff that your team can absorb and too much work. As you said, we're here to come alongside, and we want to be in this for an extended period of time with you with bite-size, like things that are going to continue to move you forward. It's a very different consulting approach. And we're proud of the work we do because it's much more impactful, which is why you see the testimonials that you see, because it's not, everything is broken. We to come in, you got to fix all of this. It's like, no, no, no, let's start here and then let's go here and then let's see how that feels. And then lots of just if we need to, but it's very, it's much more of a journey, and that's the word we use over and over again is we want people to realize culture, leadership, whatever it is you got to be in for the long haul. It's not an overnight thing. It's not a pill. It's not a quick fix.

And that's awesome. It's interesting because when I talk to people about coaching or even a, whatever, the words are, consultant, I don't care, whatever words you are. When you think about moving a business in a different direction than you're going right now, people's thought processes like it's an all or nothing. And I use, I try and say, they're small course corrections. And when I live in Milwaukee, and my parents live in San Diego. And when we leave Milwaukee on an airplane and we start flying towards San Diego, if the, if the guy, if the guy flying the plane or the girl flying, the plane says comes over the loudspeaker and says, Hey, we're going to do like a two-degree course correction today. No big deal. You won't notice it.

We're going to go in the same direction, but we're just going to be off by two degrees; four hours later, you land in LA, which is from LA to San. Diego is like a painful two and a half-hour drive. Any time of the day or night, it doesn't matter. Cause it's always busy. But that was just for two degrees. And people have this thought process that, Oh my gosh, I'm going to hire Jamie. And she's going to come in, and she's going to change my company name. She's going to change my colors. She's going to fire everybody. I can't do it. Therefore, forget it. I'm not even interested. I just want to make sure that you're in the same camp that I am, that it's like, that's the farthest thing from what we're trying to accomplish in, incoming alongside somebody.

Absolutely. It's a mile at a time. You don't run it all at once. It's a mile at a time, and we have time for reflection to say, how does it feel? What results are we seeing? Cause we're big on measurement. What results are we actually seeing? And then let's make the next mile, the plan for the next mile. It's, it's not a true sieve. It's very easy to take on because we do it a mile at a time. And we see the results. Otherwise, we wouldn't keep moving. That's the other piece I think if you, especially as business owners, if we look at where we're worried about bringing somebody in, here's the other issue that I hear a lot is I don't want you to come in and see how bad it actually is.

Or I'm, I'm afraid to have somebody come into my house, and my house is dirty, and I don't want anyone to see it. I'm going to clean before the maid comes. We're like, no, because it might not be as bad as you think, or it could be worse. Who knows, but we're going to come in and help you kind of diagnose it, put a plan together, which is a huge burden off your chest. And that's a weight that you're carrying when as a business owner, things that aren't working in your business. You might not admit them out loud, but things that feel more painful than they should be. And when you've got an advisor there, you can talk about those things. And they're like, what? You actually have somebody who can help you think through a plan to rectify them, instead of just knowing that it's maybe more painful than it needs to be.

And I've never been to any type of AA meeting an AA, whatever there are out there, but they always say the first thing is to admit that you have a problem. And I think that's hard for people to admit, number one, you don't want to admit it to your family because they've all kind of either put you on a pedestal. Like, Oh my gosh, look at this guy. He's an awesome leader. Or they put you on a pedestal of all. I can't wait to see them fall. Depending on who your family and friends are. But, you limit who you can actually trust. And you talked about that before,, and we talk a lot about trust because you don't have anything without that trust. Because if somebody doesn't trust me, they're not going to open up. If I'm going to trust you, I got to open up and tell you what's going on now. I don't need to tell you my biggest darkest secret. I need to be real and tell you what's going on in the business, and why am I here? Like I said before I,

That question a lot with our clients where we, especially at the beginning of working with them, we'll say, okay, Emperor has no clothes or we can, we tell you, We're seeing. And usually, it's a deep breath. And they're like, and we need to know it. That's what we're paying you to do. And, and it's just getting through a couple of those and knowing that we're here like I'm shoulder to shoulder with you in the trenches, like, let's figure this out. I'm not just telling you what's wrong with your business. And that's the difference is like, we're in it with you. We're not going to just tell you what's wrong. And then, right out in the sunset, we're going to help you figure out a plan. Rectify it. And that's where the relief comes in is that it's okay. It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

That's awesome. Well, I got to say, I didn't get to like any of my questions, we're going to have to do this again, but I got a couple more for you. As we start coming in for a landing, what would be Jamie Tate's tip of the week for somebody listening today? We can pick whatever we talked about or haven't talked about.

Let's see. The tip of the week would be; this is the tip of the year to be vulnerable. I want it because that word is another one with the journaling.

Here you go again—the V-word, squishy and soft. If I got it, you do the F word. And I got to talk about my feelings. Then we're in Ben. We're going to have to try. And it's very hard to come up with something else.

But vulnerable. And what that means is, and you talked about like Maslov's and what our teams need right now is for us to be real humans and have faults and have fears and have emotions and care about them. And when I say vulnerability, I just mean if it's a bad day. We're all dealing with a hangover of last week. No matter what it's like, we're dealing with a lot of stuff, and to get the most out of your people right now, you just need to be vulnerable, and you need to figure out how to connect with them. Trust. You talked about it on a different level, if you do nothing else, but that you're going to have great results. And it's figuring out how to do that in your way. That doesn't mean feelings and like crying. That's not being vulnerable. It's being open about like, I don't know the answer to this problem we're dealing with right now. Like, let's figure this out together. That's being vulnerable. And I think the more we can do that, the better leaders we become and the more our people want to are inspired and want to follow us. And, and want to do the hard work. That's what we're talking to all of our clients about right now is that vulnerability and just how to tap into it in your way.

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