Podcast 954: From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business with Alisa Cohn

Joining me for this podcast is Top Startup Coach in the world at the Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Leading Coaches Awards in London, Alisa Cohn.

Alisa is based on NYC coaching startup CEOs, co-founders, other startup executives and board members all over the world. She also coaches senior and emerging leaders from Fortune 500 companies and some of her clients include Venmo, Foursquare, InVision, Etsy, The Wirecutter (sold to The New York Times), Pfizer, Novartis, Dell, and more.

Named as a top global coach, Alisa’s specialties include executive presence, power, influence & charisma, corporate politics, personal mastery, strategic decision-making, developing a strong personal brand, and building social capital.

Alisa shares all of those knowledge and expertise on her book entitled From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business. The book provides you with effective and practical ways of maximizing your strengths, defusing your triggers, controlling your self-doubt and building on your motivators.

You can learn more about Alisa and her outstanding works on her website by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy this engaging interview with Alisa Cohn. Thanks and happy listening!

THE BOOK

From Start-Up to Grown-Up gives you the knowledge and experience that executive coach Alisa Cohn has gained from helping companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, InVision and The Wirecutter become headline names. Hence, filled with stories drawn from the author’s experience, this book helps you build a company with a set of core values that everybody lives by and where everyone shares a vision of where the company is going and how to get there.

THE AUTHOR

Alisa Cohn is an executive coach based in New York, NY who helps start-up founders mature into world-class CEOs. She has coached companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, Venmo, InVision, Tory Burch, Mack Weldon and The Wirecutter. She was named the #1 Startup Coach in the world at the 2019 Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Coaching Awards in London and one of the Top 30 Global Gurus for Startups of 2020. She was also name one of the top 100 Leadership Speakers by Inc Magazine, and has spoken at places such as Cela (the largest gathering of tech accelerators in the world), the OpenView CEO Summit, and the IBM Digital Summit. She also writes regularly for Harvard Business ReviewForbes and Inc.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. Hey, this is Greg voice and you guys all know me out there. I've been doing this now for 15 years. I was just telling Alyssa and Alyssa Cohn is joining us from New York close enough. And she has a new book out called From Start-up to Grown-up: Grow your Leadership to Grow your Business.

Greg Voisen
Yes. Alyssa, do you have a copy of that book that you can show? Our YouTube listeners?

Alisa Cohn
Why Greg? Yes, I do.

Greg Voisen
I grade From Start-up to Grown-up. So there we go. And you we will have links to her website, which is actually pretty easy is just Alyssa Cohn. And there you can find more about the book or podcast or coaching or workshops, everything that she's done and I'm there's also free five scripts, which we'll get into for delicate conversations that my listeners can download as well. Plus, at the back of this book, I think there's 23 of them.

Alisa Cohn
23 Something like that. Yeah, scripts for delicate conversations, difficult conversations.

Greg Voisen
It's awesome. So we'll talk about that during this recording as well. I'm gonna let the listeners know a cat about you. And then we're gonna go into this. She was named the top startup coach in the world from thinker's 50 Marshall Goldsmith, who we were just talking about coaches, global coaches award in London. She's been coaching startup companies and growth world class CEOs for nearly 20 years. She is the author, as we said of this book published by Kogan page, one time startup CFO, strategy consultant and current angel investor and advisor. She was the name number one global guru of startups in 2021. And work with startup companies such as Venmo, and Etsy and draft king. And the list goes on. She's also coached CEOs and C suite executives at executive or an enterprise client such as Dell and Hitachi, and Sony and IBM and Google and Microsoft. And again, the list goes on. She's a guest lecturer at Harvard, Cornell. And the navy war college. She's an executive coach for runway, the incubator at Cornell NYC. She has articles that have appeared in Forbes, and on Bloomberg TV and BBC World News and New York Times. She says she's recovering CPA. She's also a Broadway investor in productions that have won two Tony Awards, which is cool. And she is also an amateur rap artist. Boy, I gotta see that because I actually saw a picture of you sitting in a bar on your website. So that Yeah, interesting. But again, we want to direct the listeners there. It's a LISACO h e n. So sorry. Sorry, I always put the E N.

Alisa Cohn
CL isa COA Chen,

Greg Voisen
CEO. Hi, it's an it's an honest mistake. I think a lot of people want to put the E in there. To set the context for this for the listeners. You know, you've been coaching startups for 20 years, you have a huge background in this. What inspired you to write the book because this is your first book? And what was the intention because you tell a lot of stories. You have lots of testimonials at your website from prior clients that have coached with you. What did you want the readers to learn from your book?

Alisa Cohn
That's such a great question. And my intention, and what inspired me to write the book are the same, which is I would go into, you know, situations startups and I would say, just things like, how often do you meet with your leadership team? And they would say I mean, what's a leadership team? And I felt like, huh, I wish I just had a book can I can hand them down, prevent unforced errors. And I realized that that book was not there. And so I wrote that book and the read From Start-up to Grown-up. And the reason I put so many stories is I want them to see themselves in that book. So they could relate to it and then use the tools and tactics that I put that I present in the book to help them be successful and again, prevent unforced errors.

Greg Voisen
Well, I'm sure most executives of startups would see themselves in there. I've done so many interviews with authors who've written books about startups and what it takes and the challenge and being alone at the top and being a leader. In in the introduction of the book, you state that leadership is an unnatural act. And I would say it definitely is an unnatural act, if you would share the story of this exasperated founder of a 55-year-old medical device startup. And can you share with our listeners kind of the story behind it as well?

Alisa Cohn
Absolutely. So I mean, this happens all the time. This is an example from my book. But it happens all the time, is that this leader, the leader of a company, and the founder of the company, had to adjust his communication style for all hands he was about to do, he had just had a conversation with a difficult and sort of pre-Madonna employee. And he was going to go the very next day to, you know, deal with some clients situates a customer situation in the field, which are not going well. So for all of those things, I had to help him think about upping his story game in terms of the all hands and upping his analytical game in terms of dealing with the problem employees, and then figuring out how you need to be the inspirational leader in the field to deal with a customer's even though, like to his point, a lot of the employees were not being bathed in glory about the way they were executing. But he had to give them confidence and positive feedback to help them keep going, even though the natural thing he wanted to do was frustrated and kind of you know, get angry. So for all of us, certainly as we grow as leaders, and certainly for him, he had to think about where am I in this situation? How do I need to adapt, adjust my style, because his natural swing wasn't just going to cut it anymore. And all founders and all leaders have to figure out how do they grow and learn and adjust their style, rather than just do what comes naturally, which is often not our best move?

Greg Voisen
Well, if you would, you mentioned in there the story speak about the story. Because, you know, a lot of CEOs are good CEOs, but they're not well rounded in all areas. And one of those would be around inspiring. And I use the word motivation, but more importantly, inspiring their leaders with inside the company or the teams. And the way they tell the story is so important. It you know, there's whole companies that work on just helping CEOs tell the story, right? How do you articulate this message to the people? What would you tell to a new startup person generally about being able to kind of massage this story, so that the message came across positively affirmatively? And with a lot of inspiration behind it? Well, I

Alisa Cohn
mean, there's so much to say about that. But the fundamental truth is that we remember stories, we remember a story is much more than remember data that remember facts that remember, remember, presentation. So if you want to be memorable, which you do, because you want people to do the right thing, you need to learn to tell compelling stories that people can then connect to. So the second thing is that people are loyal, and connective, and they want to be a part of something that feels bigger than them that they that they can get behind. And that is always a story. And never just data and facts in a spreadsheet on a page. So those are two reasons that, you know, all the CEOs I work with have to think about their storytelling. And I would just say that one of the CEOs I worked with, you know, he would get up and he would sort of deliver this very analytical, you know, sort of experience of here's how we're doing and here's our metrics are. And the truth is that people didn't remember it. And then they were a little bit complacent in their work, when we helped him think about himself as a storyteller, and that his job was to connect the employees with the customers and with the hope and dreams of the product. First of all, engagement went up people's memory whenever all we were doing which helped them keep getting them on the same page. And then ultimately, they were more interested in in contributing to the company, and so complacency went down. And it's just that it was the same information being presented, but just in a different way. Yeah.

Greg Voisen
And it is. So the new book out love plus work is really a big one. Marcus Buckingham. Yeah, you know, so when you think about taking a culture, and really, people talk about culture, but it's kind of an amorphous thing, when you really think about, it's like, okay, all these people come together, and they go to work, and they're supposed to work for some common cause. But if you have an inspiring leader, and one that knows how to tell a story, you can keep elevating the employees to kind of look at it from I'm going to just say, from a spiritual standpoint, to be honest with you kind of like, you know, what is the mission of this company? Why are we doing this at Airbnb? Can we articulate that message very concisely? And do we buy into it as well? Meaning by hopes and dreams for this? You know, and you say, in this, you start up self, tell the story about the different CEOs and speak about their roles and state that the CEO, in some ways is the most abstract role of the company, which we've just talked about? And what are some specific qualities and roles of a CE? II? Oh,

Alisa Cohn
yeah. So the reason it's so abstract, is because everybody around you has a job, right? The CFO has to be the financial leader, the CMO has to be the marketing leader, COO runs operations, you are the CEO, what's your job? The truth is, your job is to coordinate the work of their jobs and their efforts. Also, to make sure that, you know, when you have to zoom in, like get into the details and figure out like what's going on around here, am I sure it's going well, or zoom, Allison, go handle it. And I know that you're able to handle it. So the CEO has to also adapt situationally to what's going on and choose the right tool to motivate people to inspire people to push velocity and a sense of urgency, maybe to hold people accountable. And then ultimately, the CEOs main job, as well as to make sure especially in a start up with a company does not run out of money. So the CEO always has to be the external leader and the ambassador, and also the fundraiser for startups.

Greg Voisen
Well, and another important element, and I'm sure it's one you've mentioned, but I would say not that long ago, we had Rita McGrath on here, speaking about seeing around corners. Yeah, I think it's the CEOs job to connect the dots and see around corners about what could affect them externally, meaning what's happening in the environment, what's going on. And if there was any one big role, I would say, you know, if I was on the board of directors would be, you know, am I a good prognosticator? Am I somebody that weighs that out? Do I look at the data analytics? Can I present that in a way that's meaningful and understanding to the people that are working for the company? Would Yeah, you say that maybe that might be one of the most significant roles that they play, so the company doesn't get in trouble. So yeah, go down the toilet with their finances. Totally.

Alisa Cohn
That's a very significant and Rita McGrath is a is a good colleague of mine. And I agree very much with that point of view in the scene around corners. And just to say that back to the CEO, being the can, the coordinator and the conductor, the less the CEO actually has to do the doing of the work, the more time the CEO has to be what I was talking about the external voice, they got me with customers, they got me with people in the marketplace with vendors, to give them the field, the data of what's going on out there the data points, so they can synthesize that into a strategic point of view, see where the future is going. And then bring that back to the employees in a way that they can really understand. So they can execute towards a future that sometimes only the founder CEO sees.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, it's in in simple terms, sometimes I say, making the invisible visible. Because it is it is it is one of those things where a lot of it is invisible, that people don't see it. They don't see the trend coming. They don't see this something happening. But if you can actually show people that, you know, I just had the author of on the verge on here and the watchman's rattle, and you know, it was all about predictive analytics, like, you know, can we tell the future? Could we really have known and we did that COVID was coming. Right? Did we do we know obviously, you know, just another one is environmentally about global warming. How much of that can we predict the numbers of fires we're going to have in California where I live where this for that, or whatever, all of that data, and that AI is really helping people to look at trends and data and what's happening and be able to do that. And good CEOs do that, you know, and the be the boss of you, you state that insecurity is almost part of the job when you start a company. And I agree, I've started up a lot of companies, and you do have butterflies in your stomach. It's like going and speaking for the first time, it's there's a lot of fears. There's a lot of apprehensions there's a lot of challenges. The feeling of the imposter syndrome you talk about, can take you over regularly, or jolt you in certain situations, what advice would you give the listeners right now about the insecurity in business and the imposter syndrome?

Alisa Cohn
Yeah, a few things. First of all, to your what you just said is so accurate is it is there. So what happens is that founders can feel isolated, and leaders can feel isolated. And so what they don't what they want to talk about their concerns are severe self-doubt, their insecurity. So be aware that even though you're not talking about no one else is talking about it, it is there for everybody. The second is that the one of the tools I I've just recently talked about a talk about impostor syndrome I talked about in the book is to create a highlight reel, a highlight reel, is it's a written record. So what basically what you do is you think about your past successes, especially when you overcame challenges. So when you have RO, you actually physically write them down, then you have like a record of evidence of your past successes when you overcame challenges. And that can give you support and encouragement that you'll be able to handle these challenges right now. And that is what a tool I help people do. Because they what they do is they need to really get to garner that evidence that they will be okay. Otherwise, what happens is they just go down a downhill spiral into a sea of self-doubt,

Greg Voisen
that's really important thing that you mentioned, you know, coming up, we're gonna have to go for day on the show and building the second brain. And I think what happens is this data is everywhere. And if we collect it and put it someplace where we can go access it to look for this, it gives us more level of confidence ability. So somebody says, hey, I want you to do a video or real, and I want you to pull together the data points have that, you know, you can't always remember because there's so much out there for us to read or consume, to understand, we almost need that second brain, right. So just to put it and I would say, you know, building that real of knowing where you went wrong. And what you could have done to write the ship is just as important as hey, we're doing great. Right? And it's, you know, and it's always going to be great, because it isn't. That's the reality. That's true. In your chapter on managing them Are you enumerated five foundational things that needed to learn to embody, as you start the business, your own leadership, your own leadership style, style, these were creating psychological safety, using positive attention, to motivate setting clear expectations and holding people accountable. And delegating all extremely important. I agree. If you would speak to the listeners, about these five foundational elements that need to be in your estimation, embedded into the culture of the company, to actually have highly effective and efficient execution. It's almost like for dx, right, that that literally the cubbies written about what's a copy book, but I think about that, I think about what you said, when I did that interview about 40x

Alisa Cohn
Oh, yeah, really? Yeah. Um, I think your point about embedding those into the culture is the key point, in that you need you as the CEO, you as the leader, you as the founder, need to create the environment and the context for all the management systems that are important happening. So I start with psychological safety, which in some ways is really supported by positive attention. Because the truth is that like, you can delegate all day long, you can hold people accountable all day long. But people are not going to give you their best selves. And they're going to be concerned and nervous about making mistakes. If you don't create the right environment, that people can feel safe at work that are going to be embarrassed. If they make mistakes, they're not going to be fired, that they can participate in their real selves in terms of the team, then you could layer on to that the tools and really techniques of how you delegate delegation is not abdication. Delegation is really figuring out what by trying to get done, what is done look like who is the right person to give it to and how much supervision do they need. And then over time, having people understand their clear goals, and holding them accountable to those goals, all those things can be broken down and key management tactics, and high performers want to achieve and want to be in the environment that really were those management tools are represented, and excellent managers get more out of their people, and also have the people stay longer, right? The great resignation is a thing right now. Because manage management has not been looked at, it's enough of a practice and it hasn't been invested in, which means that there are not great managers out there. Which means when people are looking for something else, they're not like necessarily moving towards something else, they're pretty much leaving you, the manager, and people need to really understand that

Greg Voisen
point well taken, what would be your take on accountability and autonomy? The reality is that most companies are looking for accountability, that you just mentioned it frequently, they're not getting it. Yeah, but the employees also know that the more accountable they are, the greater the level of autonomy, they kind of go hand in hand. So if you're somebody who operates efficiently and gives the correct reports, and does the things, then you can pretty much fly on your own you can you can do what you need to do, would you what would be what would you say to an executive who's trying to work with those two characteristics, and is trying to basically inspire his team's his executives, to actually have both of those, because I always get them,

Alisa Cohn
or you don't always get them. And I love how you ask the hard questions. Like, this is a very nuanced and complicated system. But I have a few thoughts about that. Number one, it starts with your own personal accountability. So a lot of times executives and leaders will say to me, Hey, hold me accountable, and say, Well, are you holding yourself accountable, because people will role model that you didn't get the report to them, when you said you would, that you show up late for meetings, whatever that is. So first of all, it's being impeccable with your own accountability. The second thing is, it's being a caring manager back to psychological safety and positive praise. People don't want to work for you run through walls for you, if you create the environment of caring, and then to your point about vision, and that we're all working together for a higher purpose. Also, people are motivated by the experience of making progress. So here's the higher vision, here's how well you're doing. Here's the progress you're making. And I'm holding you accountable, in part to show you this amazing progress that you're making. That's very motivating. And then to your point, you'll do it over and over again. Then they've earned autonomy. I also think that managers and companies do a disservice to people, when they don't explain what you just beautifully explained the connection between accountability and autonomy. When you want autonomy, you earn that by being accountable.

Greg Voisen
You said it beautifully. And to add to that, you know, I'm thinking about some of the examples of companies, and you've worked for many of them. What are acum, a couple of the companies out of these fortune 500 companies, and you can use names that you've actually worked with that you've seen these changes?

Alisa Cohn
Well, you know, I worked with EMC as a coach, as a facilitator. As you know, I did a lot of organizational design. I worked inside of EMC for about 14 years, EMC was then bought by Dell about probably about four years ago. And I would say that when I first entered into the EMC system, there was like the Wild West, people didn't have goodwill leadership training, people didn't have good sense of even culture, it was really still a startup, it was very an aggressive kind of place. And, you know, to the credit of a lot of the senior leaders and also to the wonderful HR colleagues and learning and development colleagues that I worked with. They systematically went through and made sure that people were getting adequate inequities quite excellent leadership training, that the culture was being looked at that people understood that what got you here as a scrappy startup was not going to get you there. So the transformation I saw on EMC over the 14 years that I was a part of that system was breathtaking. And also, I would say that I was part of, gosh, we did 24 m&a days, in one year, if you can imagine for the whole company that was like a very acquisitive company. And EMC had an aspiration to be the best acquirer in the world. So that really made them examine their own culture, and how are they going to open up their culture to let new people come on board? Not perfect and at times messy, but all of those are the intricacies Use it when you see a company really able to evolve and transform.

Greg Voisen
Great example, great story because it shows, you know, 24 merger acquisitions in one year is I mean, now, I don't I don't even know how they did that. Now, speaking of this, we've been talking about culture, because autonomy and accountability has to do with the culture and the people. And you call it cultural conceptions and misconceptions. And you define culture as a mix of qualities that guide how our people are expected to behave and make decisions. If you would speak with the listeners about the importance of culture, in starting or leading a company, because we're talking about startups here, many startups that we speak about, we've had Steve Hoffman on here from Silicon Valley many times, you know, even though silicon investors, you know, put a lot of money in these companies, they only maybe 2030 people, 10, whatever, it's not one of these behemoth companies. They're trying to develop something, something new, and they've got a great idea. And I'm sure you've worked with these kinds of companies as well, definitely. Yeah. So that, to me is a true startup. It's like, okay, we got round a series a funding, we don't have a lot of funny money, we've got to be really careful with it. What is the best optimum kind of culture in that storming norming case? You know, yeah, that's, that's where we're going to have

Alisa Cohn
to succeed. Yeah, the best culture for a startup is the one that you create intentionally. The problem is that startups don't think about creating their culture intentionally. And then they wake up three years later, or five years later, and they think we have a culture problem. And the reason they have a culture problem is because they weren't clear in advance what behaviors they were looking for. And then they didn't hire for those behaviors and coach, guide and train for those behaviors. And so what they have now is a mishmash of people not working together. So one of the examples I can give you is one company I worked with, I worked actually with it, he was a three-time founder. And he said, I'm going to do things differently. Now I'm going to hire differently, okay, great. He hired the smartest people he could find so smart, Stanford, PhDs, MIT PhDs, and the best university smart people. And he did not hire for collaboration that they can work together. So what he told me was I the best rowing team in the world, but the boat is going around in circles. And that's what happens when you don't think about the cultural attributes you're looking for early stage, you really are need for sure you proactive, you need engaged, you need hard workers. And then as you move along in the growth of your startup, you're going to need more systems thinkers, more people who are going to step back and be a little more philosophical. Do you always need collaboration, but collaboration is even more important when you're managing a large enterprise, which now has to work cross functionally? So those are the kinds of attributes you need to think about above and beyond? Is the person smart, do they have good pedigree?

Greg Voisen
Was a smart and good pedigree is good, but it's not everything is we're finding out by Google and all these companies that are looking for new engineers to work for him and saying, hey, you don't, you don't have to have a Stanford degree. What I do concur with is Steven Kotler has been on the show about six times talking about, you know, the art of impossible was one of the books and but the thing is curiosity. You know, if you're looking for a person, and they have curiosity, the curiosity through a series of steps, and there's I could outline them, but I won't lead to somebody defining a purpose. You know, why is it and normally people who are curious and have that critical thinking skill, ability, are some of the better people they may not have those pedigree university degrees. But they are extremely curious, and they want to dig to the bottom of something and they want to find it out. And I found that in the startups, those are the kind of best people you can have. Because they don't mind working. And they haven't set the pedigree up there and said, hey, great, I'm, I'm the best I know it all. And I've got an ego and all the rest of this stuff.

Alisa Cohn
Right? Totally. Okay. Very well said very well said. Yeah. So in

Greg Voisen
Managing the company, you've gone from startup to scale up, you've got more customers, more business, more funding. Now we're in the storming phase, right? You've also got more people. Speak with us about the challenges that scale ups face in coaching around performance feedback, appraisals, and providing career development, because at this stage, and I'm working with a company right now, who is actually scaling up their middle management with skills to scale. Yeah. And sometimes there aren't the skills to scale, add, you can't find people with the skill. So you've got to replace people in there. So what we say about that, because it's a real this is an extremely critical error.

Alisa Cohn
Yeah, the answer lies in the very first sentence you just read, which is that your company scales and you have more people, it's the people. The problem, the people have more expectations. So the people are either have been with you for a long time and to your point may not have the skills to scale, because they haven't done it before. Because they have never seen this level of organization before a marriage as many people before, the new people don't have that same cultural DNA that seems kind of primal experience. And you've got to mesh them together. And not only that everybody at this stage of that company comes to a company expects career pathing 401k health benefits, they care about the sort of the elements of company building, that startup people are like, whatever we're just getting, let's just get going. So you need to have infrastructure, you need to have HR people performance management, processes, working career pathing working, definitely manager training, and all those things that help those people work together and also find their place and their space inside that company.

Greg Voisen
Very well said. And I would add one thing about in the startup, when you're, you've got people and you're bringing them in, there's this element of risk aversion versus risk takers. And I would say if you're in a startup, you do need to find people that know how to delicately manage risk but aren't averse to risk. If you find a bunch of risk adverse people in a startup, you got problems, because there's all kinds of risks every time you turn the corner. If you would speak to listeners about some of the missteps, and to why startups fail, and how to avoid those missteps, so that they don't fail. We all can talk about all the stories about failures. And I'm relating here for a second. If you remember, I had a guy here on recently. And it was the Canadian company that made the Blackberry, huh, yes. Well, there is no Blackberry. Right. So but, but BlackBerry was huge. I mean, it was doing really well. And you look at how the competition squashed them that they did see was company he was a big manager in the company. But that's only one little example of companies who went and really rose to the top very fast. And yeah, oh, relatively fast and wins. Yeah. But they fell. Yeah. And I could say, lots of examples of blackberries. What would you say? Are some of the missteps that they made? And how do they avoid those missteps in a genuine way?

Alisa Cohn
Yeah. So I mean, you mentioned Blackberry, I'm kind of picturing we work. And I talked to, you know, and I would get calls from folks that we work now and again, and it always felt like they were calling me from the dungeon somewhere, like, I'm calling you. And so I would ask the question, what was the culture like inside of that company. Because ultimately, to your point, you know, the market for Blackberry, like market wins. So we say in the startup world market wins. So if you have a good enough market, and you're meeting the needs of that market, that covers a lot of failures in your team, in, you know, the way you're managing, but, again, to your point, you've got to find the ways to figure out what is coming down the pike, because you could have a product or service that's working really well now. But you're about to be squashed in some way from competition, which you don't see. So you better see it, which means you're the CEO have to be out there, you know, with your, with your fingers on the pulse of what's going on out there, which means you have to have an operating team at home, which is operating the business. And you know, one of the stories I tell in my book is that there was a CEO I worked with, who was really encouraged by her board, to be more of an external voice, go to conferences, build her brand, build the brand of the company, talk with investors, that's great. But what she kind of forgot to do was to make sure there was someone running the store back inside of the company, sort of a COO type or some sort of operational type. So what happened was, she just abrogated, she stepped away from the business. The business did not run well without her. And that was like two years to knit that back up and put that back together and they lost precious time. So it's really about recognizing what are the skills and tools you need to operate the business? Who is the team used to operate the business? What is the cultural glue that holds people together? And is everyone under and their role? And are you meeting the needs of the market?

Greg Voisen
You know, as you're speaking about that, and very well settled, as, you know, today, what you will see echoed many places is, and this is not just in, it's almost in every company, more said than is done. In other words, meetings, lots of meetings, ineffectual at accomplishing some time type of goal. We can't find workers that want to do anything. nothing's getting done. What comment would you have about that? Because this is a kind of general thing that we see occurring. And even if it's not true, it's a pervasive attitude or belief that's running throughout the cosmos. Yeah, at least in the Western culture. I don't know about culture and other places. But there it's like, okay, but it also to me seems like a whole shift in the way in which, and I'm going to say, do business. But I would also say, the way in which we treat one another. It's a different kind of environment today. And I'm just curious as to your, you know, big overview on this more is said than done. Do you have that belief? Or do you see that stuff is getting done? Or is this just a misconception by CEOs? Because their profitability is down or something's down? And it's not going? Right?

Alisa Cohn
Yeah. So it's, it's, again, a complicated question, I would say that in the startups I work in site that I work in, much is done, many, many, many things are done. Now, sometimes that doing can actually be, I would say, kind of almost like, you know, ready, fire, aim or fire Ready Aim, right? So it's like a little too much bias for action. And what needs to happen is used to be more of a step back to be more thoughtful and mindful about what are we trying to get done here, right? Where are we? Where are we going? And how are we going to get there. So that is true, where you have super engaged employees, one of my clients, was just named one of the you know, Unicorns of New York now in the sense of having over a billion-dollar valuation. And they're extremely focused on their culture, which puts people first, they're extremely focused on increasing their accountability, what they are able to do, because of that cohesiveness, they hire people who are into it, like they're into it. And that means that then you can just sort of steer the ship, not always so easy, but not the problem that you're talking about in terms of not wanting to work or not wanting to get things done. I think that there is a sense of that in our culture. Now. There's, there's whether it's true or not true. There's definitely a sense of that. And I think that the answer is to be the most of the amazing copy that everybody wants to work at. Because there are plenty of people out there who want to work, who want to be engaged to want to work for purpose. And if you can make the case to employees as a company, you will be awash in great talent.

Greg Voisen
Again, good statement. I think the reason we might see this pervasive attitude, is that technology has taken us so far, so fast, that the expectation levels, and I've always said don't get caught in that. You know, it's what Marshall says even in his book, he tries to train achievers, to look at impermanence and attachment, and to disengage from attachment. And look at impermanence, everything is impermanent, we're seeing that today in the economic environment in which we're now living, right. And so, the concept is foreign to achievers. He even said it to me in the interview. And I remember it's like, hey, not only is it foreign, these guys, and girls hardly get it. Right. So you know, your book, and all the chapters in the book, they end with takeaways. And if you would leave the listeners with three of those really just gym takeaways that they could use. And I'm not going to forget to mention this in the back of the book for all of you by the book, or if you go to her website, there's these scripts. And at the website, there's five scripts that come for uncomfortable conversations. And I remember doing an interview actually quite some time ago, and the whole book was about having uncomfortable conversations. And, and again, it was another Covey book. But the point is, is that for my listeners, we're gonna put a link so that you can download those, okay. But when you get the book, I think there's 23 or something in the back of the book themselves. And they're, they're really critical for people in any stage of business development, not just, you know, startups, you really could be an anywhere and this square I would help you quite a bit as I wouldn't say fire starter, but maybe they are a fire starter. That's what do you use them to, to kindle yourself with? But what are some of the things that they could use to remember? And thinking about moving forward? With a startup venture? Three? Yeah, just big things. Top level?

Alisa Cohn
Yeah. First of all, thank you for that topic of that discussion on my scripts, because I do think it's very helpful people, three takeaways, you, leader, Founder, CEO, you are the expert on your intention, everybody around you is the expert on your impact. So if you want to be a great leader, you've got to marry intention with impact, you've got to have situational awareness about what's going on around you. That's number one, number two, double down triple down on positive feedback. Nobody gets enough positive feedback, and nobody gets enough positive feedback. And positive feedback is your superpower because it engages people get once make them reduce discretionary effort, and helps them feel psychologically safe, which is one of the key contributors to success. And the last thing I would say is structure is sexy. And the more you create structure inside of your company roles, responsibilities, frameworks are making decisions, clarity on kind of where we're going, the more you're going to win. And winning

Greg Voisen
Is sexy. That last point is very well taken. Because the more organized you are or provide the systems and structure for organization that will guide employees to success or wins is a key. And I don't care if it's your CRM, or it's your document proposal system, or it's whatever it is sales and marketing pieces. Those things are critical for people to have as tools to win. And the more they win, the more they feel good about what's going on. And I think in a digital world, Alyssa, is it's very hard for us to measure where the winds are. You know, we see a screen almost all day long. We look at it, we talk to people. But unless someone so throws up a dashboard and says, well, here's the dashboard, what your department did, you don't actually see those wins, we had great customer service, and everybody loves us or whatever it might be. But again, that last point you made, and I'm driving this home, because for startups, they have a tendency to kind of brush over those because they're too busy inventing to actually put that kind of stuff in place. Any comment on that at that? Just good

Alisa Cohn
To totally agree. What's that? Well, Alyssa,

Greg Voisen
Thanks for being on for all of you go to a lisacohn.com and look for all the great things her book her podcast or coaching. You can read more about her you can see some of the testimonials that our clients have done. And again, you're gonna go out and we're gonna put a link to the book. And the book is called from startup to grow up and grow your leadership to grow your business. Alisa pleasure having you on inside personal growth. Thanks for taking time to spend a few minutes with our listeners.

Alisa Cohn
Thank you so much, Greg. It's a pleasure.

powered by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Inside Personal Growth © 2022