GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Business owners face many challenges, and an important tool in their arsenal is coaching. In this episode, we take a look at the value of coaching and what it brings to the table. Rodney Flowers sits down for a talk with business strategist, CEO coach, and investor, Keziah Robinson, about diversity and motivation in the workplace. Keziah talks about getting her start in coaching and what she has learned to apply as a business coach. Tune in for more as Rodney and Keziah discuss the value of coaching and diversity.

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Growth Through Diversity And Coaching With Keziah Robinson

I am excited about this episode. I have a business strategist, a CEO, a coach, and an investor in the studio with me. She is described by her clients to be a shapeshifter, who can coach business owners through any challenge at any stage of their business. Keziah Robinson is with me and she helps small business CEOs navigate the operational and existential challenges of scaling up, pivoting, and or selling a business they’ve put their blood, sweat, and tears into. Without further ado, let’s welcome Keziah Robinson to the Game Changer Mentality Podcast. Welcome to the show, Keziah.

Thanks so much for having me, Rodney.

I am glad that you are here and I’m excited to chat with you about who you are, and what it is that you do. Before we get into that, tell us how you got into becoming a business strategist and a CEO, a coach, and an investor? How did this happen for you?

It’s entirely by accident, as many of us end up. My undergrad degree is in Physics. I went to school to become a scientist. I was sure I wanted to do that. I suffered an electrical injury, I can’t say I was electrocuted because I didn’t die, towards the end of my sophomore year. I had a moment where I was like, “Am I going to die for this?” No, it’s not that the industry and not that the thing that I’m going to put my life on the line. I pivoted into business. I thought it was interesting, and I ended up in the investment world, working at mutual funds. I met with hundreds and hundreds of companies.

It was super fun, at the same time, you’re always 30,000 feet from them. You never get a chance to help the company change or transform. You’re looking at, “Do I think stocks are going to go up or down?” You don’t know the people or understand that. After a certain point of time, I got tired of spending so much. I want to engage with people, not spreadsheets, so I got out of that and I went into consulting. I work in startups. I help startups and businesses. One day I was talking to someone and they were like, “The thing you describe that you’re doing, they call it coaching.” I was like, “That’s interesting. I wasn’t aware this was a profession.” I went, got some training, and got into that. It’s been off to the races for the last several years.

What did you like about coaching that made you want to pursue it as a career choice?

I’m a problem solver. It came to me one day. I was doing a consulting project. I was engaging and pitching something. I was like, “I do not know how to solve this problem. I can figure out what the problem is but I do not know what this business should do.” It was at a big sporting goods company. We were looking at new markets.

There are seven and a half billion people on this planet. If we harness the collective brainpower there, any problem is solvable. Click To Tweet

I was working with some other big three consultants who were all retired and were still doing this. I was like, “I don’t know what they should do.” I realized, “I don’t know what we should do about climate change. I can’t solve a lot of problems. I don’t know what we should do about recycling and the cost of recycling or child health issues. I don’t know what we should do.” I don’t know the answers to everything.

There are 7.5 billion people on this planet. If we harness the collective brainpower there, any problem is solvable. Once I realized that I was like, “I’m not trying to solve a problem. I’m trying to help other people, co-pilot with them, guide them so they can solve problems and create value.” That was when it blew open and that is what coaching is about. We’re not running the race. We’re not playing the game. We’re there to set somebody else up for success because it’s not my race. It’s not my game, it’s your business and your life but I’m here to set you up for success. That’s the thing in that moment when I was like, “I’m not going to solve all the world’s problems but I can do something about it.”

What are some of the common problems among CEOs that you’ve experienced?

For my clients, typically there are first-time CEOs. That’s usually because they founded the business but sometimes because there was a change and they’re buying a business for the first time. These tend to be growing businesses but are relatively small and have fewer than 100 employees. The biggest one is the process of learning to delegate and learning to not try to do it all yourself.

The thing that I had to learn is that you cannot do all the work yourself. You can’t have all the answers. Growth is about building an organization, as you know, the word I use is resilient, a resilient organization, one that can adapt to change. In order to do that, you’ve got to tap all of the talents. You’ve got to pull the whole team together.

In order to do that, you’ve got to have something that matters to the world. You’ve got to be producing something where you can put the value out, even if it’s just fun. Everybody plays apps on their phone. Joy and entertainment are of great value to us, maybe have more value than almost anything, especially now. We look at it and a lot of it is they’re trying to control everything. They’re thinking like it’s a job. They’re thinking of it when they were maybe a solopreneur or they worked for someone else.

It’s that process of helping them both tactically do things like learn to delegate and build an organizational structure, hire people, but also that mental will shift. It’s like, “I’m responsible for the care and feeding of this organization but I am not responsible for every decision, every sales call, even for how we handle a crisis. That is not 100% on me. I am responsible for the care and feeding of an organization that is resilient. I don’t have to have it all on me.”

GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Coaching: We’re not running the race. We’re not playing the game, but we’re there to really set somebody else up for success.

That is completely accurate but it conflicts with what has infiltrated social media. It’s become a culture of this hustle and no days off. It’s this mindset that you have to do it all to some degree, you have to be in there charging forward in order to make it. I get why some CEOs may feel that way because this is a culture out there. What is your response to all of that? What’s the climate like from your perspective?

One of the things is you have to make space to fill it. I do behavioral profiling with people and some design thinking work. I know that influences the work that you do as well but one of the things I look at is when I get somebody who’s highly motivated by checking things off the list. There are some people who are not. That’s not it then you have to work with them on accountability, the training part, the doing routine building, and the systems around them for that.

There are some people who are grinders. They work and work. They celebrate that. There is this hustle culture. They tie a lot of their identity to being that person. They’re invested in it, so it is a process for us to look at. It’s working in a lateral manner. It’s like if you’re going to start running, you’ll never get better. That first mile, when you haven’t run in a long time, is rough. There are all these muscles in. If every mile were like that, what would be the point of running? That’s how you burn a lot of calories but that’s not how you get healthier, strengthen your heart and learn to love running.

I work a lot with people, where you are busy working for yourself or where you are taking on a challenge? A lot of times people will take a tough client if they have a client base. I’m like, “Why don’t you take on a tough project?” If you’re a project-based business, a software developer, why don’t you take on a tough project? Taking a tough client and overcoming that client doesn’t do anything. Where did you move forward? How did the organization grow? All you did was burn people out.

If you took on a tough project with a good client, you could grow a lot. You will motivate your employees. It will be energizing for you. That’s the component when I get people deep in the hustle as we start because I’m like, “I’m not telling you not to work but you are working on the right things.” When they get to that, then we can talk about space. This is the drawer if you open a drawer, and there’s no space in the drawer where you can’t put any more clothes in. It’s not crazy. What they’ll do is they’ll Marie Kondo it. They’ll fold it all up, so they’re like, “I got more space.”

I’m like, “Great. You took a productivity class.” What you need is an empty drawer for the new ideas and creativity to come in. It’s not that I tell people not to work but you need space in order to call in the next level of work that you’re going to do. That’s the advanced class that’s a little bit harder for people but it’s a place where we enforce a lot. I’ve had a client and once he came in and he said, “I feel guilty.”

More than once that’s happened but this one was like, “I feel guilty. I’m working less, more is getting done and I’m making more money. It doesn’t feel right.” I held his answer to that and I held his support and I was like, “What’s the thing you want to pull in? What is the next phase? What’s the next challenge that you’re pulling into that extra day that you freed up because you sure as heck that you don’t want to go back and start messing with your team?” That’s usually the inclination.

You cannot do all the work yourself. You can't have all the answers. Growth is about building an organization. Click To Tweet

That’s the target. Isn’t that what you’re coaching them to hit that target where they’re working less, but making more?

Working differently because sometimes the goal isn’t to work less and this has to do with how we think about work. I don’t like the concept of work-life balance because work and life aren’t separate. When you’re independent, when we left the rat race, for the most part, we love what we do. Why would you treat that something you need to put a box around? If you don’t like your family life, you need to get some counseling. Don’t force yourself to show up for something.

I have a client who I was coaching. He loves his family but he was coaching tee-ball and they were 45 kids. He’s coming in and he’s like, “I’ve got to coach this tee-ball.” I was like, “Why are you coaching a tee-ball?” He was like, “To spend time with my son.” I was like, “How much time do you spend with your son when you have 45 kids that you got to coach?” He was like, “I drive them over and drive him back.”

I was like, “You could not coach the tee-ball and you could spend the time with your son driving there and back or you could take other time where he could ride with somebody else in the neighborhood. You could take a different block of time to spend with him. Right now, all you’re doing is being stressed about having a coach tee-ball, frustrated the whole time you’re there, and mad the whole way back.” There are a lot of times when even in life, I’m like, “You don’t need more hours with your son. You need to rebalance how you’re investing the energy and the time you have with your child.”

That’s an interesting topic, work-life balance. It’s different for CEOs than it may be for corporate professionals. Do you have the same philosophy for corporate professional professionals or that specifically for CEOs?

It works for everyone. Instead of talking about work-life balance, some people say work-life extra whatever. They don’t like the balance but they’re like, “Let’s put it all aside.” I work with my clients and we matrix out their relationships and task along with the energy that you invest in yourself and energy you invest outside of yourself.

What’s the return that you get on the energy you invest in yourself and what’s the return on the energy you’re getting outside of yourself? Whether you work in a corporate job, you work for yourself or your own business, if you love what you do, it’s energizing for you. You build. We all know what it’s like. Sometimes even when you’re tired, you were in a race but you love running, you’re going to be physically tired, you need to rest but you feel great about it.

GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Coaching: When you work in a corporate job, you are having to consider, is there a high enough percentage of the work that is energizing for you? If not, maybe this is the wrong job for you.

If you think, “I love my work,” it’s a win-win because I put the energy into me and it boosts my energy, I’ve increased my balance, I put energy into you as my client, it helps you and both of us are better for it. It’s one of these things. If I look at everything in my life in that way and go, “Is this something I’m putting a little energy in or a lot? Is it giving me a positive return or a negative return?”

A lot of times, what happens is we shortchange the stuff that’s low energy investment in high return. We shortchange a relationship with that friend who always likes a good time, there’s a low stress. We shortchange things like sleeping or relaxing, and alone time. We shortchange the things that are restorative, where you’re going to create a lot of energy for yourself and we wonder why we’re subsistence farming. Why are you scraping it together every day? The corporate environment is less conducive because it’s harder for you to get rid of the things that are draining energy from you.

You have a job description and that’s part of the reason I left my corporate job. Too much of my job description was in the category of things that took a lot of mental energy for me and had a negative return. I did not enjoy doing them. I did not feel good. It was a relief that I had finished something. That first time you can you suck it up but after six years and that last job I was doing, I was done. I had nothing left in the tank. When you work in a corporate job you are having to consider, “Is there a high enough percentage of the work that is energizing for you?” If not, maybe this is the wrong job for you.

How do we remove those energy drains? I know that one way of doing it is taking a look to see if the work is energizing enough but are there any other tips that you have for people in terms of getting rid of the energy drains?

The first thing I encourage people to do is to get rid of the energy drain because you need to have some cash in the bank to spend and invest in yourself, so you need to have energy in the bank. Even something like taking the day off takes energy for you to send that email to your boss or to your team and say, “I need a day off.” You need to free it up. It’s important to look at two places where we have a lot of energy investment. One is in our relationships. That’s often the place where, in business, I’ll call them an Energy Vampire if it’s a business relationship. If it’s a personal relationship, we’ll say it’s a drain but that is often the most bang for the buck.

We can go through tasks. If your job description says you work in a corporate environment, too much of what you’re supposed to do is tiring for you, it’s hard for you to do it and you’re exhausted afterward, that’s a big problem. Typically, with a CEO, it’s more that there’s a lot of minor annoyances. They’re deleting emails all the time. They’re still sending invoices. They’re trying to micromanage. That will build a drain but we can go through a delegation program for that.

The biggest one I find almost everybody is there are some relationships that you’re putting so much effort in and they’re not paying any dividends back. If you close those relationships, and I work on how to exit an employee, client, or a partial partnership gracefully, the relief is amazing. That’s hard because we’ve been told things like, “Every client is gold. Never give up on a client.” “Customers are always right.” “I hired that person. They’ve been with me for five years and they’ve had a tough time, this, that, and the other.” I’m always like, “Exit gracefully. You’re not going to kick them out the door. You’re going to treat them well.”

It's well-proven that diverse groups make better decisions and come up with more ideas. Click To Tweet

What usually happens is we get to the place where we’re so mad, so frustrated that we blow it up, instead of exiting gracefully. Occasionally, in personal relationships especially, you can change the dynamic of the relationship. My father used to be passive-aggressive and I started saying when he would say something that I thought was passive-aggressive, 1 or 2 things. I took him literally.

Trust me, if you’re passive-aggressive, the last thing you want is somebody to take you literally. “I don’t care what we have for dinner.” “Great. I’ll order.” If didn’t, I would say, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak passive-aggressive. Please translate that into English.” He changed and I certainly don’t take things personally I used to get worked up about. There are also tools you can use.

That’s more 2.0 advanced and those relationships, that work is best-served for a relationship that’s important to you like your business partner, a partnership that’s strategic where usually there was a base of goodwill and it deteriorated over time. I’ll do work with people on some real techniques for that but a lot of times, fire your clients. Most people I work with who have a client in this business fire roughly 30% of our clients in the period over the time that we’re working together. Money always comes back.

Earlier, you mentioned the idea of building resilient organizations, and especially at a time right now, where we’ve pivoted as a world. We’ve all felt the effects of COVID. Many organizations have been and still are looking for ways to be more resilient and ways to build more resilient teams. What are your thoughts about how to do that?

One thing that is important is to engage with team coaching, whether or not you’re doing internally, or you bring in someone like me and come in because there’s a craft to surfacing challenges in the team and getting the team to communicate, and the team to be able to function effectively together. Often, there’s a sense of, “We’re going to buy a book or we’ll have to do one tweak.”

A lot of it is there are many toolkits that you can use but they are professionals in this, so I definitely encourage people, even if the relationship and your team are going great, I would say hygiene. It’s like when you go to a dental hygienist. You don’t wait until you have a cavity. You go every six months. You could do work like that. A big one though, is to be accepting yourself with the behavioral assessments and things like that.

I often do that with teams is to be accepting of, “I’m not good at X.” If you’re the CEO, and you’re not great with change, it tends to throw you off you’re A-game. Have that conversation going in to say,
“I’m not great with change. I’m freaking out a little bit right now but I know that we have so much talent here that we’re going to succeed.”

GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Coaching: It makes sense why we are attracted to people who look like us. Why do we trust them more? We’re trying to shortcut. We cannot process all the information that comes in all the time. So we actually produce a model.

Sometimes it’s admitting it and there’s a lot of stuff in terms of roles. The more of the tactical part is to look at what are the rules and how people are rotating and occupying different roles continuing to grow. Those are more resilient. You lose talent. That’s a big one when somebody quits and especially smaller businesses and you don’t have anybody who knows how to do that job.

In a smaller business, it’s more important that you have people who are cross-trained into different functions because also they collaborate and you get new ideas. It doesn’t mean your finance person is running marketing but it does mean probably that maybe somebody who’s in sales or in production also is familiar with what’s going on in marketing because honestly, they all should be talking to each other. There’s a lot of setting up whether it’s internships, depending on size or company, you can do cross internships, you can look at joint projects and try to make it so if you have 100 people in your company, and five people leave for whatever reason, the whole thing doesn’t fall apart.

How important are diversity and inclusion in all of that?

It’s one of the hardest things for smaller businesses to execute but it is also one of the most important things. There’s a couple of reasons. One is, diversity is where you get ideas. Groupthink is toxic and that’s something that most businesses, especially small businesses, do because they keep talking to the same people or they don’t talk to anyone.

People will go, “We’ve hired all my friends from Harvard Business School.” We hired six dudes. One of them is black and Asian. I’m like, “They’re going to have different experiences but they’re also going to have a lot of shared experiences.” You want to mix it up but that is well proven that diverse groups make better decisions and come up with more ideas.

Inclusion is important. Don’t you want your team to be invested? If you didn’t invite me to the party, or you don’t act like I should be there or you don’t want me to be there. Also, in equity, you don’t pay me appropriately or recognize that you’re more than likely, this is a big one, discount my contributions because I don’t look like but that’s also well proven in neuroscience. Going through, that is where you’re going to get the best team. We all want to win. The idea that I’m going to win with 15% of the population that looks at me, lives in the same town, this, or whatever, versus I’m going to win when I have access to the entire talent pool. That’s a no-brainer.

Let’s go back to diversity a little bit because you begin to describe an explanation or definition of what diversity is. I want to touch on that because we, as individuals, and organizations approach diversity differently, but I love what you said about diverse experiences with bringing these people on. I’m not so sure if organizations have even looked at it in that light. It’s not a black and white thing when you talk about diversity. It’s more than that. It’s not just a race thing. It’s not even a gender thing. You have to be inclusive when you’re talking about diversity.

Engaging with team coaching, whether you do it internally, or whether you bring in someone to do it, is really important. Click To Tweet

People tend to justify. They’ll say, “We can’t get any talent. We’d love to hire X but there’s not a lot. It might come out of finance,” and they always say, “There are not that many women. Women drop out. They have kids and this whole thing.” I was like, “If there are no women ahead of me, I don’t see any positive reinforcement but also, let’s go through the research.” People tend to question women’s credentials more. We’re supposed to be nice. We get penalized for doing things like standing too strong in our opinion, interrupting, and we get people interrupting us.

This is all social science, like, “Prove this up.” Are you not getting the talent or have you discounted me or discounted you? It’s because your brain is wired to attract you to people who look like you because they’re safe. That’s what we recognized. We will assume somebody who looks like us has the same political views, religious views, and values based on almost nothing.

There are a bunch of things that are educational awareness to look at the talent pool and to say something like, “If I know, I’m probably counting the talent pool and it’s starting early.” By the time somebody makes it all the way through the stack, they are vastly superior to everybody else but that’s why there are only two of them and we’re competing over the same talent. Where am I going back and saying, “Let me expand the pool. Let me look at developing?”

This is your point about the experience. A lot of times, it’s like, “Just somebody who has a college degree. Do they need a Master’s? Are they trainable? What are the qualities that are important?” You need a law degree to be a lawyer. You need a CPA to be doing my taxes. Most of the job functions we have are ones where somebody has the right behavioral profile, right energy, and cares about the product and the cause.

If you bring them into a seat, you set them up for success in the system, you could bring them up. I’m out of Austin and educational bias is big here. People are snobby about where you went to school. I had someone call me on something, and they were like, “We want this.” I was like, “I have a great candidate to refer to you. Is it okay, but he put himself through college. He went to Salem State, this, that and the other thing.” The recruiter was fair to me and she said, “That’s not going to fly. They don’t want that.” I was like, “You’re crazy.”

Sometimes in business, there’s this idea that if you get a candidate from Harvard, an Ivy League school, or whatever that they’re going to be far superior to someone who didn’t go to an Ivy League school. The times are changing. You don’t have to go to an Ivy League school to get an Ivy League education because you have access to so much information nowadays. People are more aware of networking ability, so they can teach themselves. They can gain experience, knowledge, and the know-how to perform functions without going to that Ivy League school. What you’re saying is you’re basing someone’s ability to perform a job based on criteria.

Although, it’s not related to whether or not they can perform the job.

GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Coaching: It’s a lot easier to change dynamics with people in the business environment because there’s usually an arm’s length. It’s not the same, even though you’re very emotionally invested.

We have to change that process because that is in itself a form of discrimination as well.

It will tend too, as they’re saying, discount people who, the less we have in common with them, the more we will discount them. We’ll discount and don’t trust somebody with an accent. They’ve done a lot of research on this space. That can be something that is important. When I work with smaller businesses, they’re not going to Harvard and recruiting.

I was talking to a guy I know who’s a financial advisor. He’s a great guy and he says to me, “I’m looking for a needle in the haystack. I need a metal detector.” I was like, “You need a magnet. That’s what you need.” That’s where you’re looking for how you create a culture. How do you be an employer of choice? Are you going to these regional schools? Are you going to community colleges, if you’re looking to grow people? Are you being creative?

One of my clients is a big real estate practice and they hired somebody who came out of hospitality to do systems for them and it’s been fantastic. She knew nothing about real estate, but she’s so fantastic and it’s been a great fit. Something that’s great. We’ve got a mix right now and a lot of people are like, “Why am I in this job? I don’t like that job.” They were working in an industry that’s shut down a lot so you do have talent coming out but you have to be open to looking a little bit different.

There’s that sense of safety that if I get someone from this pool, that there’s this expectation and sense of comfort. They’re probably going to be whatever that expectation is. How do we break that down? How do we deal with that? People are naturally biased, whether they believe it or not, either consciously or unconsciously, and judgmental. We judge. What is your recommendation for moving forward and stepping outside of that comfort zone or looking at other places or even just dealing with the insecurity that this isn’t going to be a safe choice?

The path that I took because I also like Science is I read the research. I go through it and I try to keep on top of it. I go and read down to the details and research part because I’m a nerd and I like that. I anchor from that but I would say the biggest thing is you’ve got to keep talking about it. Why do people need to talk about it? White people need to talk about it. Men need to talk about it. People coming from places of privilege and money need to talk about it. People who are fully abled need to talk about it. With each other, we need to not make it a flare-up or we had some trainer come in.

We need to keep talking about how important it is and keep reminding ourselves that it’s not our fault. It makes sense why we are attracted to people who look like us and why we trust them more. We’re trying to shortcut. We cannot process all the information that comes in all the time. We produce a model and look for stuff that’s close enough and project out in our brain. If you’re thinking, “I know that about myself. That’s not my fault.”

You do have talent coming out, but you have to be open to looking a little bit different. Click To Tweet

It’s a lot easier to go, “I’m not a bad person.” I can ask myself, am I going to ride with this and have some subpar talent because I didn’t want to put any effort into coming up with better criteria, recognizing or giving people a chance but then also setting them up for success. There’s a lot of it where you’re going to go into the low-hanging fruit. People you and I are continuing to talk about sharing it, and including it in your podcast, speaking engagements, and continuing to make it something.

I’m not going to change someone who is not interested. If someone asked me, “What do you do when you get someone who doesn’t want to get coaching?” I was like, “Pass.” You have to want to get coaching to work with a coach. There is a degree to which sometimes we feel like we have to work on the hard case, instead of working on the easier cases.

I’ve even done that with some people who I know voted for candidates that are not the candidates I voted for and I continue to communicate with them and share resources with them in a way that makes it like, “I saw you read this well-researched book. Have you read X and Y?” I feel like that’s the key. The key is for us to keep it in the mix and to keep it present in front of our minds.

There are some new terms in the business world, I don’t know if they’re new, but they’re definitely more popular these days and people are becoming more consciously aware of them. They’re terms such as design thinking and being more agile when it comes to solving problems and executing on a daily basis. From your opinion and expertise, how can we be more agile and incorporate design thinking into our problem-solving skills at work, and as entrepreneurs?

With both of those, sometimes it has this aura that people have gotten so excited about but their techniques. With design thinking it’s a technique, it’s a set. It’s much like coaching. I have a set of coaching tools, I also access design thinking tools. I always say that design thinking is a way to structure creativity that creates a lot of ideas and also allows you to continually refine and expand.

It’s an alternative to coming up with solving the problem from the get-go and planning out. It’s one that has more flexibility but there’s a toolkit, so a lot of times, it’s like, “Let’s go try that toolkit out,” and you have to practice. Most people will be like, “We tried one thing with post-it notes and we made little animals out of pipe cleaners.”

It’s like, “That’s great but you’ve got to keep working at it and find out which pieces of it work and what tools. Agile has the same component.” They’re related but it is the same thing. What’s great is we’re seeing more of that content adapted for general business instead of for product development. Design thinking came out of product development, then it started to be applied to other areas. The same thing agile has come out of technical development and it’s being used and applied in other places. I strongly encourage you.

GCM 242 Keziah Robinson

Coaching: If you are creating value and not monetizing it, you can’t complain about being broke. If you are not creating value, you can’t complain about how no one wants to buy the thing that you’re trying to monetize.

I’m not an agile certified anything or ScrumMaster. I know some great ones, so I tend to pull other people in if the organization is already using those tools to make sure that it’s a good bridge but all the stuff the coaching fits around it. I encourage people to know that you can’t say we’re agile. That’s not being agile but it’s to understand that it’s a toolkit and that there are professionals out there who can help you implement it.

How can people connect with you if they want to learn more about you?

The best way to find me is on LinkedIn. There aren’t many Keziah Robinsons out in the world. I have my business Cassia Partners. You can check out my website www.Cassia-Partners.com.

Thank you for that. An interesting thing about you is you believe that it’s easier to start your transformation at work which is an interesting concept. Walk us through your philosophy about that.

It goes back to some of the stuff I talked about with relationships. It’s a lot easier to practice a graceful exit or a change of terms. It’s like, “No, I’m not going to let the customer not return anything even after they’ve used it for six months.” It’s a lot easier to change dynamics with people in the business environment. Because they’re usually an arm’s length, even though you’re emotionally invested in the people you work with, it’s not quite the same as you are in the people in your home life.

There’s also money. I always say, “At the end of the day, there’s a bottom line. If you’re creating value and you’re properly monetizing that value, people are going to pay you and you’re going to make money. That’s how you do it. You’re not cheating.” If you are creating value and not monetizing it, you can’t complain about being broke. If you are not creating value, you can’t complain about how no one wants to buy the thing that you’re trying to monetize.

If you look at it, ultimately, decisions, we can come down to are you creating value? Are we properly monetizing that, if so then the money should be coming in? It’s not that I don’t love you if I have an expectation of you as my head of sales or you don’t respect me if you have an expectation of me as a CEO. We’re in the business of creating value and monetizing that value.

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If you think about it, it’s easier to practice the stuff like delegation. These are the practice things like how to have difficult conversations. It’s easier to practice exiting if you need to maybe get divorced. It’s easier to break up with a business partner if you had that experience. You understand that there’s going to be a money conversation and it’s not going to go as well as everyone would like.

There are a lot of things when you’re working on it. It’s the same thing with teams. If we don’t treat our family like a team, especially as your kids get older, they’ll resent the fact that you continue to treat them when they’re young but if you look at it, you can’t treat my senior designer like I treat a junior designer because they started there. They elevate it. They grew, so you can look at some of the team skills and surfacing conflict. When we have a big one, when we have conflict in the family, we don’t talk about it.

If you learn to talk about conflict, in the work environment, when you start to see it in your family, it puts you in a place where you’re like, “Let’s talk about this.” It’s much easier to start and I try to encourage my clients. We don’t work on their life goals, but I don’t do marriage coaching or anything. If someone’s coming up, and they share it with me, I will always try to connect them with a resource.

Many of my clients have a therapist or have at some point, if they’ve had an issue with a family member, they’ve gone through family counseling or family coaching. I encouraged them to work to not abandon all the stuff that they’re working on in their business because it might be a little awkward when you first bring it up at home.

As we bring the show to a close, what is the one thing you would like people to take away from this conversation?

I would love for people to think about, are you investing energy in yourself, and is that paying dividends? Number one is almost always getting a good night’s sleep.

I like how simple that is. It’s not difficult. Thank you for coming to the show, Keziah. It has been a great, rich conversation and you’ve shared a wealth of knowledge with us. I absolutely appreciate you, so thank you.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been wonderful.

There you have it, another successful episode of the Game Changer Mentality podcast. There’s so much in this episode and I highly recommend you go back and read it over again. I wasn’t planning to go all over the places we went in this conversation but that’s how it happened sometimes. We touched on a lot of things but at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, “Out of all of the energy that we’re putting out, what’s the return on that investment?”

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That’s a good cross-check as we go through our days, checking off all the things that we need to check off doing all of the things that we need to do. It’s a good way to bring things back into perspective on how we are spending our time and most importantly, how we are treating ourselves as we spend that time. Thank you again, Keziah, for coming through. Until next time. Peace and love.

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About Keziah Robinson

Keziah Robinson, CFA is a business strategist, CEO coach, and investor. Described by her clients as a “shapeshifter” who “can coach business owners through any challenge at any stage of their business,” Keziah helps small business CEOs navigate the operational and existential challenges of scaling up, pivoting, and/or selling a business they’ve put their blood sweat and tears into. As the founder of the independent advisory firm Cassia Partners, she provides tailored solutions that incorporate elements of design thinking and behavioral science.

Keziah holds a BS in Physics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the advisory board of Private Packs, an innovator in the fast-growing femtech industry, and is currently working on her first book, Go Ahead, Be That Leader: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too.