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Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and today, I'm sharing with you one of my biggest regrets after ten years of building and growing and scaling an online business. So here's what it is: I regret not putting more focus and personal training and attention to being a better leader on my team.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I've done it all wrong. I'm not even saying I'm a terrible leader or a not-so-good leader. I think I can hold my own. However, over the last year, I've realized that in order to grow my business the way I want to grow it at the pace I want to grow it, I need to be a stronger leader. I need to show up for my team in a bigger way.
Now, you know my theme for 2019 is to play a bigger game. And I thought when the year started that was going to be about playing a bigger game with my launches and my digital courses and just with revenue overall. You know, I've got my big $10 million revenue goal for this year.
However, it's playing out in really unique ways. One of those ways is how I'm showing up for my team and on my team. And just to kind of give you a little bit a glimpse of what's going on, we are currently hiring for about five new positions. Now, we're not hiring all of these positions at once. I've been warned many times that that is a disaster. So we're just doing a few at a time, but we are building up the team.
And I have talked about a small-but-mighty team and how I only want a small-but-mighty team. And I've talked about that for years on this podcast. And for the record, I still feel like a team of ten people or less, it still feels small to me. But when I look at what I want to do and the impact I want to make and what I think as a team we can do in this world, I know that we need more human capital. We need more people on the team because there are just so many hours in a day. And when I look at my team and I could tell at times that they're frazzled or tired or just overworked, I know that I need to bring in more amazing support and build up this team.
So that has been a focus over the last few months. We've done a lot of hiring, a lot of interviews, a lot of investigative work in my business as to where we need more people and what those people will be doing and how they'll be leading inside of the team. And so that has been a huge focus. But as we've been starting to grow the team, I've realized, oh, whoa. My job as the owner of the business, the CEO, the visionary, my job is to take care of this team. And I've never put a big focus there. I've always thought of my students—which I think about all of you every day, and I always will—I always think about my students. I always think about the business, the bottom line. But I haven't put a lot of attention into my team members. And that is all changing now.
So here's where I want to take this episode. I recently attended EntreLeadership. It's an event put on by Dave Ramsey's team. It happened to be in San Diego. It was over three days. One of the speakers happened to be one of my favorite female entrepreneurs on the planet, Sara Blakely of Spanx. And so Chloe suggested that we attend, and so together, the two of us attended EntreLeadership. And you guys, it was one of the best events I've ever attended. I didn't even know what to expect, and I wasn't even sure if it was a good event for me to go to. Like, is this really what I should be doing? Quite honestly, I was busy. I wasn't totally paying attention when Chloe signed us up, but I trust her judgment so I said I'm going to go. And holy cow, it blew my mind.
Now, I won't get into all the details about how they take care of their participants at a level I've never seen, or the fact that their workbook had a hard cover that was beautifully done. Those kinds of things are important to me. Beautiful nametags, we got preferred seating, it was an amazing experience as a participant. But that's an episode for a different day if we were talking about live events and how to make them great.
But let’s just talk about the content. It blew my mind. It was all about being a better leader. And I'm going to share my biggest takeaways that you can then learn from as well. So this is not going to be just all about what I loved. I'm bringing to the table some of the biggest takeaways from this event that you can apply to your business right away, whether you are still a one-man or one-woman show or if you are starting to build that small-but-mighty team. I want to share some takeaways but also some of the lessons I've learned along the way the hard way so hopefully you don't have to learn the hard way as well. So that's what today's episode is going to be about.
And throughout this episode, I'm going to give you some of my favorite leadership-book recommendations that I'm currently devouring, in case this is something you might be interested in as well, just—well, let's talk about that.
Right now, you might be thinking, “Amy, I have a V.A. I am not thinking about building a small-but-mighty team,” or, “I'm not thinking about leadership. Are you kidding? I've got to get my first funnel up,” or, “I haven't even started growing my email list,” or, “Amy, I'm in Digital Course Academy®️. I'm trying to finish my digital course. I can't think about leadership or hiring or building the team right now.” Yeah, that's how I was as well. Eight, nine years ago, I would have laughed at you if you said, “Amy, pay attention to being a better leader.” I literally would have said, “Who has time for that? I'm going to have a small team. They’re going to be fine.”
And I’ve gotten lucky that I have been okay through the years, but I've had some pain with hiring and team members and just that whole thing of building a team and not having enough people or the right people on the team. I have felt that pain. But more so than anything, let's just take the pain out of there. Maybe you're not feeling immense pain right now. Let me tell you what can happen. If you do focus on becoming a better leader and running a more streamlined strategic team that can do amazing things for you and your bottom line and your students, you can make more money. You can make a bigger impact in this world. You can do things that you never even thought was imaginable. I really have realized throughout the last year or so that if I can foster, if I can create, if I can build amazing team members, if I could build them up and make them feel empowered and give them the authority to make really big decisions in my business, we can go so much farther. We can do so much more. And it's a whole lot more fun.
So if you want to do bigger things in your business, if you're on board with me this year to play a bigger game if you want to have a business that's sustainable and always growing and making the big bucks, we've got to focus on your leadership skills, and we must, must focus on your team and specifically how you lead that team and how you find people and hire people. And this is a theme that you're going to hear throughout my podcast a little bit more, not too much because I know there's other things that you're really focused on. But take it from me, I wish I did this work years ago because we would be humming, the team would be so much more dialed in than it is now.
So you know I like to share with you the good, bad, and ugly, right? Well, right now we are understaffed and overworked on my team. And right now I think that we've kind of got it under control in terms of the overworked. We've taken some stuff off the calendar so that my team can breathe. But with that, as a visionary, when you hear I've taken projects and campaigns and promotions off the calendar, does your heart beat a little bit like mine does? Like, oh, that just kills me. There are things that I want to do so bad that I can't do just yet. I, actually, as a team—I shouldn’t say I—as a team, we wanted to launch our membership site sooner. I couldn’t do it with the number of people on my team and the other projects that we were focused on.
And we have a motto on my team, we go all in, or we don't do it. We do it right, we do it well, or we just don't do it, because doing a bunch of things in a mediocre way is just not going to cut it for me. And so because of that, we've chosen just a few projects, and we go all in. Well, if I had some more support on the team; if I had some more key players, decision makers, leaders on the team, I could be doing some of the stuff that I really want to get to.
And so as a visionary, as a creator, probably you and definitely me in my business, we want to go, go, go. But I also know as a better leader, I'm turning into a better leader, I've got to protect this team I have. So they want to do all the big things, too, but there's only so many hours in the day, and they have lives and families, and they want to do things outside of work. And I own the business. So I feel like, of course I could spend every hour in the business. I don't, but some days I want to, and I think you could understand that as well. But we can’t do that to our team. So with that, one, I had to pull back; two, I realized if I got some key players in here, we could do more, and what we've done won't be so taxing to the small team that I have.
So, anyway, sometimes when I do an episode like this where I don't have a super-detailed outline, I feel a little bit like I go down rabbit holes, so I'm going to be careful not to, but I'm passionate about this topic, and I want to make it more actionable and tangible for you. So with that, I'm going to give you some of the key takeaways that I learned from EntreLeadership that kind of hit me in the gut, like, ooh, that kind of hurt. And with that, I want you to hear these. No matter where you are in your business today, I want you to really hear what I'm going to share with you and take it to heart, because if you start every single, let's just say every month, you spend a good few hours on becoming a better leader—and I'm going to give you some resources to do so—you will thank me. You will thank me and say, “Amy, when I was just starting out, I kind of thought you were crazy to say I should spend some time on being a better leader when I had only a V.A. on my team. But holy cow, you should see what we've created because I've been able to lead at a level that most entrepreneurs in the online-business base cannot lead with or at that level.”
I really do believe I’m giving you a gift today. I hope you’ll take it. I wish someone gave me this gift years and years ago, to say slow down a little bit; let's look at your leadership style, your resources, and skill set around leadership; and let's take it up a notch, or many, many notches. That's where I am today. That's what I'm doing. I want to share it with you. So we're going to get into it in just a minute.
Before we get there, as always, a listener spotlight. This one is from TheDancingHouseMama. She sounds fun, right? TheDancingHouseMama left me a really nice five-star review in iTunes, and I want to give her a shout out. She said:
“First of all, I’m so embarrassed that I that I haven’t written a review until now. Amy is my number-one podcast, and she has been for almost two years now. I’ve learned everything I know from her and her fabulous teaching. She’s real. She tells you exactly what to do and how to do it. She’s in it for us for the long haul. I genuinely adore her and listen to her podcast the moment it drops. It’s a must as an online-business owner, but her strategies can be used well for the brick-and-mortar business, which I apply to mine.”
Which is kind of cool because I don’t think I have a lot of brick-and-mortar business owners in my business today. But then you all seem to pop up here and there. So, I love it. So, she says:
“You won’t miss a moment of your time listening and learning from Amy. Keep it up, girl. You’re crushing it and paving the way for so many. Thank you for being bravely you.”
Well, thanks for the amazing shout out. It means the world to me, and I want you to know that when I read this, it just kind of gave me a huge smile. So, TheDancingHouseMama, here’s a shout out to you.
All right, guys. One more thing. This episode is brought to you by my free list-building master class, and oh my goodness, it is so good, so chock-full of value that you do not want to miss it. Amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. So if you’ve been struggling to build your list, if you know you need an email list but you just don’t know where to start, or it’s just a huge pain in the butt for your business, you got to get on my free master class. This is one thing I know really well. So, amyporterfield.com/listbuilding, I will show you how to get started. Good? Okay.
So, I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s get to it.
Okay. As I mentioned, I recently attended Dave Ramsey's live event in San Diego, EntreLeadership. And there were multiple speakers, some of my favorite, of course, Dave, and also Patrick Lencioni—oh my goodness, I am obsessed with that man. We'll get to him in a moment. And my favorite, Sara Blakely of Spanx, and her husband Jesse Itzler. It was my first experience with watching him do his thing, so we're going to talk about him as well.
But each of these speakers shared different lessons that kind of hit me in the gut, and not in a good way. So as they were sharing their lessons and their strategies, I realized, holy cow, I am not showing up as the leader that I need to be in order to get to the place in my business that I want to get to, in terms of the big, scary goals that I've set for my business and for my team, the impact that I want to make, the amount of money I want to make, the big projects that I want to do. The type of leader I am today, it's not going to cut it, and I have to up level.
And so I mentioned this in the intro, but you can apply these takeaways today, even with a small team, so that when you start to build out a bigger team, you're already ready for them. You are already the leader that can empower and build a smart, strategic team. You're the leader that can cast the vision, and your team just gets it, and it's clear, and it's concise. We're going to talk about all of that, but that's not necessarily the leader I am today. I'm getting there, but I've got some work to do. So I wanted to share my takeaways that kind of hit me in the gut, and I want you to apply them sooner than later in your business. I promise you, it can make such a difference. Okay, so, we ready?
This first takeaway was shared by Dave Ramsey when he was onstage on day one, and he said, “Organizations are never limited by their opportunity or their team; they are limited by their leader.” And when I heard that—one more time, “Organizations are never limited by their opportunity or team; they are limited by their leader.” And when I heard that, I wanted to yell back, “Well, just shut your mouth,” because when he said that, I thought, “Yeah, but what if I have someone on my team that's just not doing a good job, or what if we had some opportunities that just didn't pan out because we didn't have enough people on the team or the right people to run with it, or whatever it might be? What if it really is the opportunity or the team?” But then, when I started to listen to him more, I realized, oh no, it's me, the leader. It all starts with the leader—you, me—and it ends with the leader—you or me. It starts with us; it ends with us.
So what he shared is that you have to get out of the way of your business while still watching over it. You have to be able to build a strong team of empowered employees that are doing really big things and making great decisions because you're giving them the vision, you're giving them the clarity, and then you've got to get out of your way so they can do their thing. And so when you look at your business, and if you think that things aren't working because you've got an employee on the team that's not doing a good job or if you think that you just don't have enough money or if you think you just haven't been put in the right places at the right time, Dave shared that you are the only thing that is keeping your business small or holding your business back. How you show up, how you lead, how you cast the vision, that is what will actually allow your organization to grow and to flourish versus not. So he said, “Leadership failure is a variable that's easily fixed. The problem is you; fix it.”
He's very in your face. I actually have never seen Dave Ramsey onstage until this time, this event, and I thought, wow, he's pretty controversial. He really says it as it is. But I loved it, and I needed to hear it. I feel like he gives you tough love.
So I won't harp on this one too much, but just the understanding that you as the leader, you are the only person holding your business back. The decisions you're making, how you're leading, how you're showing up, how you're hiring, how you're communicating with your team, you as the leader are the only person that is keeping you stuck or small or feeling as though you can't grow at the level you want to grow. That is why, when he shared that right from the get-go, I thought, oh, holy cow. If that's the truth, which I do believe it is, then I've got to do some work on me as the leader because I sure as heck am not going to let this business play small. All right? So that was the first one that kind of hit me in the gut.
The second takeaway came from Henry Cloud. I actually didn't mention him already. He was also on stage. So good. And he asked the question: Does your team know how you are going to win? Do you as the leader know what winning truly looks like for your business this year or long term? So in that moment, I thought, well, does my team really know what winning looks like?
So I thought about it, and the easy takeaways here would be for my business. Okay, so for us to win this year, we would hit $10 million in revenue, with 37 percent in expenses. That is winning for us. But it’s so much more than the money, right? You can't only have the winning factor be, we made this much money. You can only get behind that so much. So then I started to think, okay, what else does it look like?
And so another one is that we would have one hundred testimonials from entrepreneurs who have realized financial freedom in their business due to our courses and trainings. So we would identify and curate one hundred testimonials and case studies from entrepreneurs who have realized financial freedom, meaning their business is making enough money that they are thriving, and maybe they've retired their husband or wife, or they quit their nine-to-five job, or this business is fully sustaining them. Whatever that looks like, financial freedom, for them, we have helped them make it happen. So that is winning for us, one hundred testimonials.
Also, winning looks like launching a thriving membership site this year to our current students. So actually getting our membership site up and running, welcoming our students into that membership site, blowing their mind with what we've created, that's what winning looks like on my team. And I could go on and on, and actually I shouldn't go on and on. There shouldn't be that many factors. It should be really clear that if I were to ask anyone on my team, “What does it look like for us to win this year? What does winning look like for us in 2019?” they should be able to tell me. And I don't think that would be the easiest question for my team, because I haven't communicated it in that way. I think they could probably get really close; we've talked a lot about our goals this year. But what does winning look like on your team?
And I want, first, you to define it just for yourself. So this year we are winning if this is happening. And then, when you get clear, and hopefully it's a pretty short list so your team can really get behind it, share it with your team. And here's something that I heard almost all the speakers say: share it and then share it again and then share it in a different way and then talk about it and then talk about it some more. This over-communication has been a theme throughout all the business books and leadership books that I've been reading, and also what was shared on stage at this event. This over-communication but in a really positive way. It's not enough to say it one time, and most of your team members will fully miss it if you say it one time or in one channel. So say it in different ways, say it across different channels, whether it be Slack or email or live calls or whatever it might be. But what does winning look like? and then communicate that to your team. I thought that was a really good one.
Okay, here's another one. This one is so big on my team. It's something I have to really work on, and I'm going to give you a book recommendation that we are loving. So the third takeaway that hit me in the gut, I actually didn’t even understand it. That's how far removed I was from this recommendation. And then I had to research it. Fear of conflict will stifle productivity and keep you playing small. So fear of conflict, meaning if you don't have conflict on your team, you are actually stifling productivity, and you're playing small. This is from Patrick Lencioni, and I’m going to give you two book recommendations right now. Write them down. They're really, really good.
Number one is Patrick's book The Four Obsessions, so The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. It's a fable. It's a really quick read. It is so good. And after he tells you the story, where I really want you to pay attention to, is in the ending part of the book where he kind of sums up the four obsessions. But don't skip the story, because it's really good. But The Four Obsessions, highly recommend it. Now let me give you one more book recommendation. Radical Candor by Kim Scott. This one kind of has changed our entire world. So let's talk about this. You've got the two books. I'll tell you how they kind of play into this.
So this idea of conflict was very foreign to me because you all know that I suffer from people pleasing. I am getting way better. I hope next year I don't even say that, because I feel like I'm moving away from that. But I like to be nice. My nature is nice, and that makes me feel good. And I like people to feel heard and supported and loved on my team, and everywhere else for that matter. But what happens is that if I foster this team or if I foster this feeling of always being nice and only talking about the good staff and encouraging everybody else to be nice to each other and say nice things, if I foster that on the team, nobody is sharing their opinion if it's different than what's been presented. And what I've learned from Patrick Lencioni and his books around this idea of conflict is that you are cutting yourself short if you're not encouraging your team to share their opinions, especially when they are different than everybody else's.
So you want that friendly conflict. You want people—and I say friendly conflict because, I mean, it's not like you want people screaming at each other in meetings, but you want things to get a little bit heated. So, for example, on my team, I want Jill, my content manager, to speak up and say, “Amy, I don't think we taught that right inside of List-Builder’s Society. I don't think that that's the way to go. I think we need to change it,” or, “Hey, the way we taught integration about webinars and technology, it's not working. And here's why it's not working. We need to change this now,” and somebody else on the team might say, “It's perfect. it's fine.” “No, it's not, and here's why.” I need that discussion, that conflict back and forth. I need people to stand up for what they believe and get really invested in our students and in our teaching style and what we're doing.
And so when he talked about this conflict, it feels very uncomfortable to me because I don't like that feeling of not agreeing with the people I love on my team. But I've realized as a leader I need to encourage it, and I have been. So because it doesn't come natural to my team members, it's not a thing that we've been doing, I'll say, “Jill, what do you think? And if you disagree with me, please tell me. I want to know.” And so all tease, like, “I want some conflict here. I want to hear it.” I have to bring it up with them because it's my fault—remember, it all comes back to the leader—that they're not doing that. I’ve never encouraged it.
So the way that this has helped me or the way I've stepped into this is I read this book Radical Candor, and it's all about in the moment, speaking your mind and speaking up. Now, Radical Candor, it's really not about this idea of encouraging conflict, but here's how it works. It's about communicating with your team when things aren't going right, and Radical Candor is about speaking up in the moment, with compassion and heart but with honesty and without holding back and trying to be nice. And so, let's say, if somebody were to be let go on my team, if we practice radical candor—in the moment, things aren't going right. Here's what didn't go right. Here's why it didn't go right, and here's what I need you to fix—if we practice that in the moment, when somebody is let go, there will be no surprises. We have communicated and over-communicated what is needed, what's not working right, what we need to change. And if it doesn't change, then the person is let go, but there's no surprises.
And so actually—and I know you might think I might be on two different topics here. Let me bring them together for you—we first started practicing radical candor, and I needed this because I needed to be more up-front and frank and blunt with my team, and I even said, “Guys, I can't always be nice even though I want to be. So you're going to hear me be very direct and bring up things that are not working, in the spirit of, let's fix this and make it better. And so know that I'm always leading with compassion, but I'm not going to hold back when I don't like something or I want something changed or it's just you're not performing at the level that is expected. I'm going to bring it up. I'm going to talk to you about it in the moment.”
So first of all, that's so refreshing for a team because they never have to guess what I'm thinking or feeling. I have committed to just say it. So I learned that, and I'm learning it through the book Radical Candor. But then when I learn from Patrick about this idea of you want conflict in your team, the book Radical Candor allowed me to ease into this idea of conflict on my team, because it's all about being honest and open and not always worrying about being nice and making everyone happy. That is not my job as a leader.
And, if we get really into this, like, I won't go down a rabbit hole; however… I also come from a place that everybody needs to manage their own thoughts and feelings on my team. You've got to manage your emotions. And so if I hurt somebody’s feelings, I know that they can manage those emotions. They can deal with them and think, “Okay, what am I thinking that is making me feel this way? And so it's not about Amy saying what she said. I'm making it mean something. And is that meaning really true?” And a lot of times it's not. You guys have heard me talk about this idea of thoughts and feelings create actions, and so with that, I encourage my team to manage their own thoughts and feelings so I don’t have to worry about that. And that’s very freeing, and it's something that we're just slowly but surely working on, but knowing that they can manage their own thoughts and feelings, and they are very aware when they're making up a story in their head, making it mean something that it doesn't mean, so that, when I’m open and honest and frank with them, I know that they can handle it.
So this is a big discussion, I know, but I wanted to share this with you because this is allowing me, this book Radical Candor and this idea of fostering conflict on the team, it's allowing for a more honest team and a team that troubleshoots and tries to get to the best of the best that we can be. And so no more Mr. Nice Guy. I've got to just put it out there and be honest and open with my team, and it's made a huge shift, and I feel really good that I'm being honest with my team, because Brooke Castillo says people pleasers are liars, and she's totally right. And so if I worry just to be nice to everyone and I worry about their feelings all the time and I've got to be nice, nice, nice, I am lying to them when I say, “That's great work,” and in my head I'm thinking, “I don't really think you should have done it this way.” I have to speak up, and I want my whole team to feel that they can speak up as well. So there you have it. That one kind of hit me in the gut, this idea of conflict, but I’m learning to embrace it, and I’m encouraging my team to do so as well.
Okay, moving on. This is also Patrick Lencioni strategy here, and he talks about hiring people that are humble, hungry, and smart. So another book recommendation, Ideal Team Player. I actually haven't read it yet. I know. Why am I giving you a book recommendation I have not read? However, we are starting to read it next week, and I thought I've looked in it enough, I've researched it, I've heard about it enough; it's going to be good. And if you're looking to hire on your team anytime in the near future, I want you to pick up this book. We're actively hiring. We're reading books that are going to make us better at finding the right people. Ideal Team Player. Read it and let's talk about this idea of humble, hungry, and smart.
I have my notes right here. I'm reading from my workbook from the live event, because I'm a good student, and I have lots of notes. But let me just read you really quick what humble, hungry, and smart means from the book, The Ideal Team Player, because they were a little bit different than I thought, the words were actually different than I thought what they meant. But if you're planning on hiring, pay attention. If you're multitasking, come back to me. This could save you so much heartache from hiring the wrong people.
So number one, humble. Ideal team players are humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually. So that's what humble means. You want to find somebody who’s humble. So you want to ask questions in the interview process that pulls that out of them.
Number two, hungry. I love this one. Ideal team players are hungry. Hungry is one of the core values on my team. Literally, it's in the list of core values, hungry is one of them. They are always looking for more—more things to do, more to learn, more responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity. I love hungry. Hungry comes to the table with, “Amy, I've got an idea,” or hungry comes to the table with, “Amy, I'll take that.”
So, Jess is our director of operations on my team, and I could tell you ten times in the last two weeks where she said, “Amy, I've got it.” She's moved into a new role where she's taking on H.R., and so we have health insurance. Who am I? I can't even believe I am a business owner where I'm offering health insurance. It’s brand new. Remember, I've been in business ten years, so don't compare yourself, depending on where you're at. Don't ever compare yourself, no matter where you're at, but you get what I mean. So I have health insurance and a 401(k) plan for our employees. And Jess has taken over H.R., so every time a new email comes in about making decisions with the health care or 401(k), she tackles it first, and then she runs it by me, around the big decisions. “Amy, I've got it. Amy, I’ve got it.” That is somebody who is hungry. And believe me, it is incredibly refreshing, considering there’s not enough hours in the day for me to take that on right now. So that's a really cool thing to have on your team.
And then, finally, smart. Now, the smart was different than I thought, so let me share this with you. Ideal team players are smart. They have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They have a good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions. So notice that smart is not about being super skillful or knowledgeable in their role. In fact, Patrick mentioned that that's not the first thing he's looking for when he's hiring. He wants somebody who, again, they have common sense about people. That goes far. When you can dial in and you know what's happening in a group dynamic and you are very keen or very aware of how people operate and what makes them tick, that's a whole other ball game. Imagine if everyone on your team had that type of sensibility. Pretty cool, right?
So humble, hungry, and smart. Pick up the book The Ideal Team Player. I will be reading it, starting next week.
And one more thing I want to add in terms of hiring. We actually use the Kolbe to learn more about our potential candidates. There are tons of different assessments that you can use in the hiring process. By law, you can't use an assessment to make your hiring decision, but you can use it as one of the tools. And so the Kolbe allows us to understand more about how a person works. And I won't get into all the details. I bet Michael Hyatt, he's got to have a podcast episode about this because he actually taught me about the Kolbe. But anyway, you can check that out. However, when you do personality assessments with potential hires, what I love about them is that they allow for a conversation to happen.
So here's one example. In the Kolbe, one of the things it tests against is if you are a quick start—so if you've got a lot of ideas and you can jump on those ideas and make things happen. And we were looking to hire somebody who was not a quick start, but I felt like she needed to be in the role. And so I had the conversation with her, and I said, “Look, here's what the role entails. This is what's going to be needed. And we want you to come to the table with a bunch of ideas. I don't want to be the only person thinking of ideas for the business. So we're looking for a lot of ideas, which is one of the characteristics of someone who's a quick start.” And she said, “Listen, my nature is that I'd like time to think about it, and I'd like to kind of collect all the facts and think about what the situation calls for, and I'd like to have time. However, I've never had a job where I have had the luxury of time to really think it out. I've always had to think on my feet. I've always had to come up with ideas in the moment. So I am very capable, here's three examples of that, and I am very willing to do that. But if I had it my way, yeah, I'd have more time.” And I love the honesty of that. We would have never had that conversation, I would have never understood her at that level, if the assessment didn't tell me something about her and then I got to ask questions about it. So that's how we use assessments. They’re conversation starters, and they’re really helpful.
Okay, so, moving on. Are we ready? The next one is from Jesse Itzler, and he is Sara Blakely's husband. I'm sure he doesn't love to be introduced like that probably all the time, but you all know I love, love, love Sara Blakely of Spanx. I love how she runs a business. I love how she got her start—we're going to talk about that in a moment. So her husband actually spoke before her. And I actually made this an Instagram post the night that I returned from EntreLeadership, but I'm going to share it with you here as well.
When he was on stage, he shared this motto, and the motto was remember tomorrow. And he said, “Any decision you make today, ask yourself, how am I going to feel about this tomorrow?” So, again, the motto is remember tomorrow, and “Any decision you make today, ask yourself, how am I going to feel about this tomorrow?”
And you can do this in your personal life, your business life, but we're talking about being a better leader. And, obviously, you know in order to be a better leader, there are so many mindset shifts that we need to make. And I think that as a leader, I want to show up as someone who does what she says she's going to do. And I think that's a very good example for my team. And so if I say I'm going to do something, and then I think, “You know what, I don't feel like it today. I don't want to do this today,” if I say I'm going to record this podcast episode, when I sit down I usually, 99 percent of the time, I'm not in the mood to record a podcast episode, because my mind's wandering, I want to do something else, something sounds more fun. No. I told my team that I was batching my podcasts. When we batch, we do six episodes in two days. So I said I'm doing it. This is the third episode of the day, and I genuinely was thinking, “I told my team I was going to get it done.” So if I don't do this, then the next time they are thinking about getting something done and don't feel like doing it, they're not going to do it. I am the leader. There's a reason why it's called follow the leader. You got to be an example. You have to be a good example, a stellar example for your employees.
So when Jesse shared this, I started to look at everything I'm doing. So we've started to implement the Full Focus Planner. I know many of you—I’ve talked about this before. I stopped using it for a while, kind of out of laziness, and I was using just a pad of paper where I wrote down from 5:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. everything that I committed to get done. And there’s an element of that in Full Focus Planner, so I kind of got it from there. But I've recently went back to the Planner, and I'm using some of the extra features in there to kind of evaluate my day, evaluate my week, and plan out the day and the week in advance. And so I do it every day before the end of the day. I do it for the next day. And sometimes I don't want to, but I think, “I've asked my team to do the same, so if I don't do it today because I don't feel like it, how am I going to feel tomorrow morning when I wake up, and I didn't actually stick with my commitment, and I wasn't a good example to the team?”
So I just want to ask you, like—ask yourself, really—where are you not being true to your word, and how is that maybe affecting your team? Or if you don't have a team yet, nip it in the bud now for you so that when your team comes, they look at you, and they're like, “Damn, that girl follows through.” I think the biggest compliment I could get right now, if someone said, “When Amy says she's going to do something, she does it. She sticks to her words. She walks the talk. She is an example of somebody who just gets it done no matter what.” And that to me as a leader, that is a really big compliment, and that's what I want my team to say about me. So I got to show up, and I got to change my ways because, believe me, I'm all about, I just don't feel like it. I don't want to do that right now. Can you relate?
So anyway, Jesse just reminded me, nope, not going to happen. True to your word. I feel like that's one of the best qualities we can have as a leader.
Okay, we're in the homestretch. The final takeaway is from Sara Blakely of Spanx, and she shared that she went door to door, office to office, selling fax machines for seven years. And she realized she was miserable, wanted a different kind of life, wanted to do something different, didn't know what she'd do, and she kind of put out into the universe, “I am ready. I need an idea. I want to run with something.” But the idea of Spanx, cutting out the feet of her pantyhose—if you know her story, that's where it started. Some of you who don't are like, what the heck are you talking about? But just go with me. The idea of Spanx came to her two years later. So she wasn't born with the idea, she didn’t know she was going to be an entrepreneur and do what she's doing. She kind of had to wait until that idea came to her. And then, of course, she ran with it. So I thought that was interesting. I wanted to share that with you. But that wasn't my big takeaway.
My big takeaway is the girl was scrappy. She was a hustler. And I want—and I'll tell you why in a second, but I want to encourage you to never be so proud to get your hands dirty, to get in there, to do the work. Just because you're the leader, just because you own the business doesn't mean, especially in those early scrappy years, that you don't have to dig in.
So in her early years, she shared that she would get on a plane, and she would do a department-store tour. No one asked her to do it. No one said she had to do it. But, let's say, she got into a department store with her product. She'd go there, she'd meet with the team in the morning—do, like, a rah, rah. Like, “Let me tell you about my product. Let's do this. Let's get excited.” And then she'd stay there, and when people would start to look at her product, she'd talk to them and offer recommendations. She got in the store. She wasn't being paid to be there. No one told her she needed to be there. She just felt like she needed to be close to the action, especially in those early years. I thought that was really scrappy and really cool of her.
Also, she was in this tiny, little apartment, and she got a really big break where Oprah said that Spanx was one of her favorite things. And so she got to be featured on Oprah, which is everyone's dream with a physical product, right? But they came to her apartment, and they said, “We’d love to film you having a board meeting.” And she's like, “Well, this is the factory. This is where I do stuff.” And so she called up some of her girlfriends and said, “Can you come over, and let's pretend we're having a board meeting?” And so they came over, sat on her floor, and they just kind of talked about the product. Well, the Oprah team took some B-roll footage. She just had to make it work. Even when Oprah was calling, she was still small potatoes in terms of still working out of her living room, not really having a team. She just made it work.
So, I wanted to end with this one because I think that grit is admirable. I think that it's very much needed today. And you can never be so proud to get your hands dirty and to get in there and to make it work. No matter where you are in your business, at what level, what you're doing, sometimes we've got to roll up our sleeves and just get in there and do what others are not doing.
And I think that was probably the biggest takeaway. When I'm looking at becoming a better leader and I want to up my game, I look at Sara, and I think, “She does things that others don't, and she's willing to experiment and try new things. And she's really quirky and silly, and that's okay. She just kind of does it her way.” But I think as we develop as leaders, we've got to find our own leadership style. And it's probably going to look really different from somebody else that you admire or that you think you should be like.
So I wanted to end this episode by saying, I've given you some leadership insight, some things to think about. I've given you some resources, some of my favorite books I want you to check out. But at the end of the day, I do want you to give some thought—and I'm doing this as well, right alongside with you—I want you to think about the kind of leader you want to be. What would you love your team to say about you? That's an exercise I'm doing right now. Maybe just if you take one takeaway from here today, do one action item, do this one. Write down three things you would love your team, or your team in the future, maybe in a few years when you have a team, what would you love for them to say about your leadership style, who you are as a leader?
I'm doing that, and I already shared one of them with you. I want them to say, “She's a girl that walks the talk, and if she says she's going to do something, she makes it happen no matter what.” I want to be that kind of leader. But there's other things that I want to do. I want my team to say, “Our vision is crystal clear because Amy has a really unique style of sharing it in a way that feels doable, and we can understand it, and we can get behind it, and we can get excited about it, because the way she shares it and the frequency of how she talks about it and when she talks about it and where she talks about it, it just works for us.” So at any given time, if you were to ask us, “Where are you going? What does it look like to win? What's the vision of the business? Why do you do what you do?” we can rattle it off. That's what I want a team player to say. We can say it in an instant. I want them to say that. I don't think anybody on my team would say that right now. but I'm getting there. So, patience. I got to tell myself, “Patience, Amy. We're getting there.”
So anyway, there you have it. I just shared with you some of my key takeaways. I kind of got hit in the gut a little bit with this EntreLeadership event, in a really good way, though. And this episode’s a little different than the most. I wanted to share some of the behind the scenes, how I'm thinking about things now, what's important to me, and what I wish I would have taken more seriously years and years ago. I wish I was in leadership trainings going to leadership events, reading leadership books years ago, and I wasn't. But it's never too late to become better, to be better, to be more, whatever more looks like for you. So bring it on. That's where I'm at, and I hope you found value in this episode. I hope you, too, will step into a bigger leadership role because we've got big things to do, my friend. Big goals, we’re making things happen and that's going to take a different type of leader. Amen to that.
All right. So we'll go ahead and wrap this up. Remember that this episode is sponsored by my free master class all about list building. So go to amyporterfield.com/listbuilding if you want a free class to get started with what it takes to grow your email list. Let this be your final year of saying, “But Amy, I don't have an email list.” I'll help you with that. Jump on my free master class. All right, guys. I will see you same time, same place next week. Bye for now.