S1/E7 – Leadership, Management, & Finding Your Strengths with Courtney Underwood

green (4)
green (4)

There are crucial differences between being a manager and being a leader. The challenge is that being a good and effective leader is a skill that takes time to develop, hone, and practice. While many of us want to lead or manage our businesses and our teams, we don’t always have a thorough understanding of those roles or how our individual strengths impact how we show up for our business at every size.

Courtney and I talk about the concepts of leadership, management, and effective work culture. Courtney highlights the value of identifying one’s strengths to focus on and understanding how our weaknesses have challenges that can blindside us. Courtney believes working in our Zone of Genius can increase productivity, improve personal and professional relationships, and reduce the chance of burnout. She also talks about her amazing Management Accelerator Program that develops real-world people management skills.

Things Courtney is passionate about:

Teaching entrepreneurs the power of people
Business ownership doesn’t have to be a sacrificial grind
Culture, Culture, Culture
Helping clients who are ready to make bold decisions!

Topic time stamps:

00:00 Introduction
01:20 Welcome to the Lucky Pup Podcast
02:36 Introducing Courtney of Kassar Consulting
03:52 The Misconception of ‘Hustle and Grind’ Culture
08:37 Business Failure & Burnout
14:27 The Importance of Delegation and Outsourcing
27:39 The Role of a Manager and the Importance of Training
38:50 The Power of StrengthsFinder: Weaknesses, Strategies, Solutions
46:18 The Impact and Power of Doing the Right Work
52:18 StrengthsFinder in Team Dynamics
1:12:42 The Management Accelerator Program: Empowering Managers

Guest links & Resources Mentioned:

Follow Courtney on: Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Get your own StrengthsFinder Assessment
Learn more about Courtney as a Certified Gallup Coach

Perfectly imperfect transcript generated by Descript:

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:00] Courtney: There is absolutely difference between a leader and a manager. A leader is, casting the vision. That’s what leaders do lead others, but a manager’s different. And a lot of times you get people that are promoted to manager roles and they were previously just individual contributors. Which is distinctly different. They’re hiring for the first time, and they get the team and they automatically assume that the skills are just gonna download from the sky, right? And You can be nice, you can have the best intentions, but that does not mean that you know how to manage people. Management is a skill. I say this all the time, management is a skill. skill And it has to be learned, honed and refined like anything else. And, And that encompasses so many things, decision making, conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, holding people accountable.

[00:00:55] Like all of those things are skills. And when you think about, “Oh, no, like I don’t have those,” so it’s so important, to invest in in that specific area of professional development, um, because that’s the recipe for a lot of bad bosses. You know, a lot of bad bosses just haven’t been trained, they’ve never been checked or they’ve just been punished, but never retrained, 

[00:01:20] Welcome to the Lucky Pup Podcast

[00:01:20] Morgan: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Lucky Pup Podcast where we’re talking big ideas and we them together in a way that makes the big picture relatable and hopefully a little bit inspirational and educational too. You’ll find candidate and authentic conversations about the struggles that we’ve encountered as we try to live more full and happy lives.

[00:01:37] I’m your host Morgan Weber, and today we have with us Courtney from Cassar Consulting and . I am so excited to share Courtney with you because she is a master of building businesses that lead with culture and values and passion that aren’t afraid to make these bold choices, that have empowered, leaders managing their teams.

[00:01:59] And she has decades of HR experience and a whole host of letters behind her names but, Beyond that, she really backs up all of her experience with so much practical advice and leadership. 

[00:02:11] This conversation is truly applicable. Whether you are a solopreneur, you have a small team, you have a large team, you can apply it to your business and to your situation no matter where you are in your business. Courtney.

[00:02:28] Well, Courtney, thanK you so much for being here today. I’m so excited for everybody to meet you. So why don’t we get started and, uh, tell the people who you are.


[00:02:36] Introducing Courtney of Kassar Consulting

[00:02:36] Courtney: So I am Courtney Underwood, c e o, and Senior strategist at Consulting. Um, we’re a leadership development firm and we always teach people that you don’t have to suffer to succeed. So that means that we work with executives and leaders to really teach them the art and science of business with people. Um, you need the right people in the right position at the right time in order to be successful. And that requires really good and solid management skills. So we get into leadership, we get into personal development, and we get into everything. Um, executive coaching. So, um, I love what I do. I’ve been in the industry for over 22 years now and it’s incredibly rewarding.

[00:03:27] So I’m really excited for today’s conversation.

[00:03:29] Morgan: So we have known each other for I four years now, I think. And it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Um, and it also feels like longer, I think kind of all at the same time. And I actually have a quote from you written on my computer. I have it sitting here on my monitor, so I see it all the time. And it says, you do not have to wear your toil as a badge of honor.

[00:03:50] Again, you don’t have to suffer to succeed. 

[00:03:52] The Misconception of ‘Hustle and Grind’ Culture

[00:03:52] Morgan: And I think so many of us in the small business world, or as entrepreneurs, it’s the hustle and the grind, right? We hear all the time. You have to hustle, you have to grind, and if only you work harder, you’ll be more successful. And you are saying . No, like you should not have to, uh, trade in you could say suffering for success. You don’t have to trade in again, this toil for success and you don’t have to be, um, you know, just struggling with this feeling of having to always do more and more and more in order to be successful. 

[00:04:25] Courtney: Yes, yes. And it’s one of my key messages because I believe that there’s a lot of freedom in receiving and hearing that message. You know, as entrepreneurs, as small business owners, we tend to romanticize the grind. We tend to romanticize the hustle. Um, the sacrifices that we make and the choices that we make. Um, really validating a lot of the choices that we’re making, um, by saying, you know, the sacrifice will be worth it. In the end, it’ll be worth it. So yes, I’ll sacrifice my family. Yes, I’ll sacrifice sleep. Yes, I’ll sacrifice exercise, and all of the things that bring you a good quality of life, you know, For this business.

[00:05:07] I’m pouring my all in, all into this business and I’m expecting the return on that investment. And so my message is really saying that, yes, there will be hard work, but you don’t have to burn yourself out. You don’t have to put yourself at the altar, um, in order to reach that success, there is another way.

[00:05:27] There is an easier way. Um, there are resources and tools and people that you can leverage in order to get there faster. Um, increasing your productivity, increasing your profits, and most importantly, increasing your peace of mind. Um, those are the things that I care about the most, um, because I’ve seen too many people, you know, put on the superhero cape and, you know, just crumble in the

[00:05:52] end.

[00:05:53] Right. You know, to save everyone and losing themselves in the

[00:05:57] process. 

[00:05:58] Morgan: you said the things we tell ourselves. So this idea of we’ve, we’ve convinced ourselves or we, we feel the need to convince ourselves because something maybe isn’t quite right and we think if we just work harder, that’ll solve our problem. And you know, I know you come from, like, you have your, your entrepreneur business, right?

[00:06:21] You also come from a corporate background. So you’ve seen so many sides of this. And, um, I don’t know if you wanna talk about the struggle that maybe you see people getting into, again, with this idea like that, what we tell ourselves that we need to do because maybe we don’t see another way out or another way to do something.

[00:06:39] Courtney: Absolutely, absolutely. Like I mentioned in my intro, I do have, um, over two decades of experience, and that’s with companies of all shapes and sizes, you know, from small businesses to corporations, to nonprofits, to solopreneurs, you know, everything in between. And when you think about, again, this narrative that you have to hustle, you have to grind, you have to sacrifice, you know, by any means necessary that is only good up until a certain point.

[00:07:09] So again, it’s not as chewing the concept of hard work, but it is saying that at some point you have to ask yourself, um, are the choices that I’m making really profiting me? You

[00:07:23] know, like, is this um, all worth it? Am I getting to experience the quality of life that I signed up for when I went? Into, um, business.

[00:07:33] When I went into entrepreneurship, and that’s what I think, um, most people end up becoming burnt out by. You know, that’s where the disenchantment and the bitterness and the resentment come from. Um, because you pour all of yourself into the business and then you look up and look around and realize that not only is the business not succeeding the way you thought it would, but also you have nothing to show for it, right? personally, your personal growth, your personal development, your personal, uh, your health, you know, again, quality of life things,

[00:08:06] your relationships, all of the things that you’ve put on the back burner, um, are still back there. burning up and, uh, What’s at the forefront isn’t doing that great

[00:08:18] either, right? So it could lead to a lot of resentment and people walking away from their dream, people walking away from, um, the mission. You know, people walking away from whatever it is that they were called to build in the first

[00:08:31] place. And that is the real tragedy, you know, because it does not have to be that way.

[00:08:37] Business Failure & Burnout

[00:08:37] Morgan: and you’ve talked a lot in the past about how, you know, it’s whatever, 50% of businesses don’t make it past five years. And you’ve talked about how it, that is not because they don’t have clients that doesn’t, that’s not because they don’t have work, but it’s for these other reasons. Right?

[00:08:53] Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. And that is, uh, directly from the small business administration, right? So 50% over 50% of businesses don’t make it, um, within the first five years. And that is not because a lack of profits, a lack of clients, a lack of good marketing. You know, a lot of these businesses, um, by any measure actually are successful. But what happens, especially at the five year mark, is exactly what I described, is that business owners and leaders, um, look around and say, you know what? Okay, yes, the business is profitable, but I’m not happy.

[00:09:27] Yes, the business is doing well, but I’m not getting any sleep. I can’t remember the last time I took a vacation. Even if I am taking a vacation, work is right on my shoulder.

[00:09:38] Um, My relationships have suffered, my health has suffered. Um, I am not happy. And so they abandon their business or they sell their business, or, you know, they, um, walk away from the business itself and say, you know what? At least when I work for somebody else, I could sleep. I, when I work for someone else, I could take a vacation and I could leave work at work. And it didn’t just consume every aspect of my life. Um, and so it becomes, uh, a critical decision at that point, at that five year point. Because when you’ve sacrificed and given your all

[00:10:18] for five years, and you’re not seeing the return on investment in form of peace, in form, in the form of healthy relationships, in the form of the things that you look to, to keep your arms lifted, to keep you going, you’re gonna. Just say forget it,

[00:10:34] you know, like, this isn’t worth it. And that’s what happens at the five-year mark. Um, people, um, you know, do an assessment. You know, they look around if they, if they make it that far,

[00:10:45] you 

[00:10:45] know, a lot of this happens before five years when people are like, well, forget this. Right? And, um, they just abandon the concept altogether. Um, especially when you think about the inherent risk and vulnerability

[00:10:57] that comes with entrepreneurship, right? You know, the courage to put yourself out there, the courage to share your service or product or mission, whatever it is, um, and the risk associated with that, right? Because when you’re all in for yourself, there is a lack of stability associated with it. And so all of the things that you’re walking away from at the five year mark, they become more attractive, a stable paycheck, time off, right?

[00:11:25] So, um, yeah, so they turn right back around and, um, rejoin the workforce, uh, more likely than not.

[00:11:32] Morgan: Yeah. Um, I have a friend who calls that her folding sweaters at Kohl’s moments she’s like, and she’s very, again, a very successful business owner, and she’s got these great teams and this great business, and she just has days where she’s like, you know, if I just went and folded sweaters at Kohl’s, my life would be

[00:11:52] Easier. Like I show up to work, I fold my sweaters, I go home like, brilliant. You know? But again, I know you are so passionate too about values and culture and passions behind businesses. And again, we, we start businesses because we have these passions, right? And so being able to continue those passions forward is a, a big deal.

[00:12:15] And that’s such a huge loss. If you do go and fold sweaters at Kohl’s or you know, go work in a cubicle somewhere, um, that passion is gonna be lost. 

[00:12:24] Courtney: Absolutely. Um, because when you think about the tragedy, as I referred to it earlier, is that a lot of these businesses are supposed to exist. Right. You know, like it could be a great product, it could be a great service, the clients could be happy. You know, it. The real tragedy is when someone walks away from some, from something that they’re supposed to be doing,

[00:12:49] you know, they were called to do it, they heard to do it, they did it, it was successful, but they’re still unhappy, right? So that’s the real tragedy, um, because then they have to walk away and so many lives are Affected, um, because no decision happens in the silo. Um, and so when you think about, um, the why behind why people start their businesses, um, that’s what people really are walking

[00:13:14] away from. You know, that’s what they’re turning away from, for the sake of themselves. You know, you can’t guilt them for that because they’re making a conscious

[00:13:22] choice. but it shouldn’t have to come down to that

[00:13:25] choice. And that’s the, the flag that I’m waving.

[00:13:29] Like, you don’t have to choose, between yourself and your business,

[00:13:33] and that’s what it comes down to. You don’t have to suffer to succeed.

[00:13:37] Morgan: Yeah. And we do often think of it as this dichotomous choice. You either have to choose one or the other. And I love this message of you don’t, you don’t have to choose. And I think you’ve, you’ve talked a bit here today about how, again, people, they put their heads down and they’re working hard and then they put their heads back up again.

[00:13:54] They look around and they say, Hey, this isn’t, this isn’t what I thought it was gonna be. This is not what I signed up for. So is there a way that maybe you how do you recognize before you get to that point where you put your head back up again and you go, this is not what I thought I was gonna have.

[00:14:11] How do you help the people realize that there is an issue there? There’s a gap there before it is too late before they get so far, you know, I don’t wanna say the word so far gone, but they get so far to the point where they feel like, I’ve just gotta quit all of this, you know? Do you have a suggestion there?

[00:14:26] Courtney: Yes. 

[00:14:27] The Importance of Delegation and Outsourcing

[00:14:27] Courtney: Um, one thing that I do with my clients, and this is usually in the intake process, is something that I call a opportunity cost exercise, right? And in the opportunity cost exercise, the premise is that when you say yes to one thing, inherently you’re saying no to something else, right? So, um, the exercise itself is designed to really assess where your yeses are going and where your noss are going. Um, so what opportunities are being sacrificed when you actively choose something? what is it at the expense of? a very practical example is, all of the things that I mentioned earlier, right? So when you’re saying yes to putting in more hours when you’re saying yes to doing, um, work that should be done. Pretty much by someone else. When you’re saying yes to taking on all of these tasks that can consume your day-to-day,

[00:15:19] but aren’t necessarily making you any money,

[00:15:22] um, then you’re saying no to building relationships, you’re saying no to sleep, you’re saying No. To working out, you’re saying no to, building healthy habits.

[00:15:32] Like for me personally, it was meal prepping, right? Like when I was grinding and, you know, slugging away at my business, that was the first thing to go.

[00:15:42] You know, prior to that I was pretty diligent. You know, go grocery shopping, meal prep, have something, you know, just handy

[00:15:49] to eat. But as soon as I started, um, really, uh, toiling away at my business, it, uh, that was the first thing, first thing, um, to be sacrificed.

[00:15:59] So I found myself either, either not eating at all or, um, you know, pulling up to someone’s, you know, late at night, you know, secret shame, like, okay, or eating a bowl of cereal if that was available.

[00:16:11] Morgan: Yep. That was my lunch yesterday actually. It was a bowl of cereal, so

[00:16:16] Courtney: Safe space. Right? I I get it. I get it. And so, you know, those pretty much were the options, you know, so if I was saying yes to work, I was saying no to the time it took to prepare healthy options for myself.

[00:16:31] Um, so if I’m saying yes, uh, to more hours, I’m saying no to spending time with

[00:16:37] my daughter. If I’m saying yes to more hours, I’m saying no to the sleep that I actually need to function,

[00:16:43] um, and make responsible, wise, informed decisions. Um, so it’s the opportunity costs. So what opportunities are you sacrificing? So sometimes if you’re saying yes to busy work, you’re saying no to. Relationships with new clients, right? Because you’re so busy serving the existing ones. so there is a tangible cost associated with the choices that you make. And so the exercise is designed to kind of highlight those things and really point out the fact that, um, if you’re not happy with the, where the yeses and nos are going, now’s the time to make a

[00:17:21] Morgan: Mm-hmm. . I think there are a lot of, I’m sure pet sitters and other direct service providers out there who haven’t taken an actual lunch break, you know, who haven’t taken that actual vacation, because they have filled their days so full. And I know something that’s been hard for me and I’ve just gotten a lot better in the last year of handing off some of that busy work again, that work that’s not paying the bills, the bookkeeping, my scheduling, invoicing, I mean, invoicing is paying the bills, , but you know, I don’t have to be the one to email the invoices, right?

[00:17:56] Like there are other people on my team who can do that work and like I just handed off my bookkeeping this year and that felt so . Good because one, I’m an okay bookkeeper, I’m not a great bookkeeper. So it’s getting done better, it’s getting done more timely. Um, and I don’t have to do it. So I can take that time and I can invest it in things like doing a podcast or, you know, um, being more intentional about the, the relationships I’m making with our clients.

[00:18:26] Like you said, but it, it’s hard because we get so caught up in one the busyness because. One busyness is comfort because we’ve done that work and it feels good to, you know, do all these little things. Um, but also it means I have to pay somebody else to do it. And if your finances aren’t in a place where you feel comfortable with that, that can be really scary to say, yep, I’m gonna give some, I’m gonna give my team these office hours that aren’t directly billable to any client.

[00:18:55] Um, and I’m gonna give my bookkeeper work and I’m gonna, you know, write that person a check every month. Or, you know, pay the invoice that comes through every month. Like that can be challenging. And that’s a big mindset shift. And, you know, I don’t know if, again, if you have any advice there for people who are maybe stuck in that the comfort of the busyness and they’re not, they’re on the edge of knowing I need to be handing some of these things off, but also it’s a little bit uncomfortable and I, I’ve gotta trust somebody else to do these things.

[00:19:24] But again, when you talk about building that that structure around a business owner so they don’t have to do it all.

[00:19:31] Courtney: I would say the first thing that comes to mind, um, because you’re spot on when you talk about comfort, I. Um, is you have to look at the sustainability of your setup, right? So if you’re wearing all the hats in your business, how sustainable is that? Um, two, I love that you pointed out in your bookkeeping example that you weren’t the best at it, right? So, um, not only is it being done, um, more timely, but it’s being done better. Um, so you have to get rid of the premise, that you can wear all the hats in your business because it’s not practical. Um, long-term you can not be a bookkeeper and a social media, specialist and executive assistant and the boss and, sales.

[00:20:18] Like you can’t wear all of the hats like it, it just doesn’t work that way. And it could be familiar, but you have to ask yourself as you’re doing the task, like, is this making me any money? Because you can work eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours. Your business and not make any money because you didn’t do anything on your business, right?

[00:20:39] Like you didn’t do any revenue generating activity. I could spend, I don’t know, four hours in Canva, right? And make a whole bunch of pretty stuff. But how is that making me any money? Right? Unless it’s executed, unless it’s deployed, unless I’m actually talking to prospects and doing things to actually generate new business. So as a C E O, as a leader, you need to ask yourself, how am I making money today? Right? Like, that should be the core question and everything else is noise. Like those things, yes, need to be done, but they do not need to be done by you. You know, to what you said earlier. Secondly, when it comes to pay, again, it is opportunity cost.

[00:21:23] Um, I have personal and professional examples. Um, for your professional example, again, with bookkeeping, the money that you pay a bookkeeper you can easily make back by getting new clients, right? Um, and also when we hire people, somehow, we tend to think that we need to pay them all their money at once. Like, so I, I don’t know what it is psychologically about hiring, but most of the time if it’s on a salary or hourly basis, you are only paying them in increments. So, We need to take that as an opportunity to say, Hey, you know, how am I justifying this person’s cost? What return on this investment am I getting?

[00:22:04] Because the industry standard for human resources is three times what you’re paying them. Um, so that is a number that you should remember. So you should be able to look at the numbers and say, Hey, with the time that I saved by not doing the work myself, am I getting three times as much as when I’m paying them? Am I getting that in new business? Am I getting that in expanding old business? Am I getting that in increased brand awareness? How am I getting the return on my investment?

[00:22:36] You need to be able to justify that, but it’s on you. I can’t emphasize this enough. It is on you to develop a plan. For getting that return on your investment.

[00:22:46] It is not up to the person you hire because they’re only doing the work that you hired them to do. Um, so they’re not there to justify their salary. They’re there to do their work, do good work, and then you are supposed to, um, fill in the gap in terms of how you’re tripling, uh, what you’re paying

[00:23:03] them in revenue generating 

[00:23:05] Morgan: And sometimes I would think for those people who are way overcommitting themselves,

[00:23:11] Courtney: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:12] Morgan: might not necessarily be getting that three times back in revenue, but they might be getting that back in peace of mind or time with their family. Right. So it’s, there are so many ways to look at this. Again, I love how you talked about, again, about peace of mind and the value that that has.

[00:23:28] And so often I think we do look at these decisions from a monetary only perspective. And I think it’s really easy as business owners for us to put a really unhealthy culture and our business unintentionally.

[00:23:42] Um . You know, like if you look at your boss who never takes a vacation and they’re telling you, we want you to go do things you enjoy, take that trip, go out with friends, like have family time and one, they’re not doing it. But then two, the policies or the, the experience of someone taking that time away is a negative one.

[00:24:04] You know, they’re not gonna do it. There’s so many times where we as the owners or the, the leaders or the managers unintentionally kind of squash those things. And so when we can take that time back again, handing some of these things off, we can put into action a little bit better of that balance.

[00:24:24] Courtney: Yeah, it’s important as leaders to model healthy, living. I think that it’s a responsibility that we have because, people watch what you do, not what you say, right? So even if you’re saying, oh yeah, take a vacation, have fun, um, but you’re never taking one, then it’s really generating a sense of uneasiness, um, or. Even, um, guilt, right?

[00:24:49] You know, like this notion that you have to martyr yourself for the company. Um, that’s not the culture that you wanna convey because at the end of the day, it’s only your company. And saying, I want somebody that cares just as much as I do is just delusional. You know, like at this point, you want someone that caress. Um, you want someone that does excellent work. You want someone that, um, will put forth quality, but they are not going to take ownership of your business. They can take ownership of their role in their contributions to your business, um, but not your business itself.

[00:25:23] Um, so having that expectation that someone is going to live and die for your business is ridiculous. And I just think that a lot of people, um, seek that when interviewing and hiring and then get disappointed when that’s not the reality. But people have lives outside of work. You know, you, they are there to do work, do good work, and then go home. And so we need to remember that it’s necessary to model, um, taking time off to model, taking lunch breaks to model, um, going outside, right , you know, just all of these things, um, that you may not, uh, feel empowered to do. Um, you have a responsibility to do them so your team can see you do them. I think that that’s really important. And so I’m glad that you brought that up. And even, um, to your earlier point about the personal return on investment is, you’re right, it’s not just salary. You know, you shouldn’t look at someone and say, okay, um, you’re just a dollar figure to me.

[00:26:22] No. Um, I can look at, um, hires that I’ve made and say, you know, you’ve given me peace of mind because I know that this is in good hands. You’ve given me peace of mind. ’cause I know that I can take time off and unplug and nothing will be on fire when I get back. You, you know, like, that’s a big deal.

[00:26:41] So peace of mind is priceless. Um, the opportunity to spend time with family or friends or go out or, You know, do all of the things that make life worth living, um, that has value. Um, what you do with those hours that you get back is your choice. Um, but the fact that you get to have a choice means that the person has done their part, right?

[00:27:04] So whether you’re using those extra hours to do revenue generating activity, or you are using those extra hours to, you know, take a vacation or, um, go to the spa, or you know, just go outside and sit, you know, whatever you want to do, um, that’s your choice. But the fact that they’re giving you a choice when you didn’t previously have one, um, that in and of itself is, uh, worth paying for. 

[00:27:30] Morgan: And I think so many of us probably get into entrepreneurship because we’ve had bad bosses or we’ve had bad managers, and I know . , 

[00:27:39] The Role of a Manager and the Importance of Training

[00:27:39] Morgan: training managers and training leaders is a big deal to you because you understand that a manager makes all the difference and a manager can essentially make or break a culture or a company.

[00:27:50] And dunno. If you wanna just talk about how important that type of role is and how important being a true leader is. And again, some that might not be the right fit for everybody. Not everybody should be the manager of their business. They might be the leader, but they might not be the manager. 

[00:28:06] And 

[00:28:06] Courtney: There is absolutely difference between a leader and a manager. You know, a leader is, um, casting the vision, a leader, is the founder, the visionary, of the business. A leader is the one that should be, you know, focused on, the direction and strategy of the overall business, um, or organization. You know, that’s what leaders do lead others, but a manager’s different And a lot of times you get people that are promoted to manager roles and they were previously just individual contributors. Right.

[00:28:37] You know, which is distinctly different. Um, a lot of times people get elevated, you to a role that has management associated with it. You know, whether they’re entrepreneur or a small business owner hiring for the first time, whether they’re in corporate and they’re being promoted to a manager role. Um, They get the promotion, they get the title, and they get the team, and they automatically assume that the skills are just gonna download from the sky, right? And you can be nice, you can have the best intentions, but that does not mean that you know how to manage people. Management is a skill. I say this all the time, management is a skill. Um, and just like anything else, if you haven’t been exposed to or mastered that skill, you’re probably going to mess up, right? You’re going to be bad at it. I don’t know why people think that. It’s just automatic.

[00:29:32] Like you’ll inherently get it when you give yourself a, a bigger title. But it’s a skill and it has to be learned, honed and refined like anything else. And, And that encompasses so many things, you know, so, um, decision making, conflict resolution, 

[00:29:49] negotiation 

[00:29:51] um, mediation, accountability, you know, holding holding people accountable.

[00:29:54] Like all of those things are skills. and so when you think about, oh, No, like I don’t have those. Um, you can uh, feel inadequate like a fish out of water, and you can feel like everybody else gets it and you’re the only one that doesn’t. Um, so it’s so so important, um, to invest in in that specific area of professional development, um, because that’s the recipe for a lot of bad bosses. You know, a lot of bad bosses just haven’t been trained, and they’ve been allowed to get away with right? they’ve never been checked or they’ve just been punished, but never retrained,

[00:30:34] So you can be a bad boss, do horribly, and get fired and learn nothing, right? go right back, get another job, and be a bad boss somewhere else, right? So there’s no learning associated with that. 

[00:30:46] Morgan: Or I say that like sometimes our, our employees fire us, right? They’re like, no, I, I am opting out of this workplace. And I think it’s hard. And I, I see this, and I’ve felt this too, is a lot of pet sitters work with people who are in transitions.

[00:31:00] So maybe they’re transitioning their jobs, maybe they’re transitioning their life goals, maybe they’re transitioning, uh, where they’re living. You Or maybe it’s, I’m transitioning through the types of workplaces I wish to be in and I choose to not be in yours anymore.

[00:31:15] Um, I think it, it can be hard to know through some of those turnovers. Is it me and my company and my culture and my expectations that isn’t quite right. Or, you know, am I just maybe making bad hires, or the people who . Sounded good. Maybe they had something else come up. Um, that can be hard to differentiate too, to know, am I a good leader?

[00:31:39] Am I a good manager? And if you don’t have anybody being truly truthful with you, how do you know those things? Right? So people can just continue on as a bad manager, not knowing they’re a bad manager, and you can’t know what you don’t know. Um, that feels like a hard position to be in too.

[00:31:56] Courtney: Yes. Yes. And I could speak to that directly because that was the experience. Um, when I first founded Kasar Consulting, uh, not a lot of people know this, but one of my first repeated, um, projects or requests was to come in and just fire people. Right. Um, so I would get requests from, um, all types of companies to, you know, just come in and let people go for that specific

[00:32:24] Morgan: Because firing people sucks. Let’s just be honest. Like nobody wants to do it. A lot of times we put it off because we don’t wanna do it. So this, you know, underperforming employee sticks around because we don’t wanna fire them ’cause it’s firing people feels gross. And so we’re just like, can I hand this off?

[00:32:43] Like, Hey Courtney, come fire people for me.

[00:32:46] Courtney: Pretty much. And so word got around that, you know, that was a service. I didn’t have to do any advertising because like you said, it is so common that I definitely had, you know, like a wait list. Just like, okay, you know, I was like Mary, like the opposite of Mary Poppins. Right. Just going around, just cleaning house.

[00:33:05] Right. Just firing people. And, you know, my family nicknamed me the Terminator. Like it was, it was a thing. But in that, I noticed, I quickly noticed that for so many of these requests, you know, assessing the situation, it was the manager’s fault, you know, so it wasn’t the employee that I was actually being contracted to fire. Um, it was the manager’s fault, you know, the employees weren’t trained, there was no communication or direct feedback on their performance. the person hire wasn’t even the right person for the job. is again, the manager’s fault, right? So if you assess the situation and do a root cause analysis.

[00:33:44] You know, it usually involves holding up a mirror to say, okay, yes, we’re an at will state so I can fire this employee, but honestly, you’re the problem. Like, you’re the issue. I’m gonna be back here in three months firing the next person because this is what the issue is. so, instead of just doing a cut and dry, you know, termination package, it quickly because, I’m a people first, you know, a person, I’m an advocate, uh, by nature. And it became a bigger conversation to say, you know, this is where you are now. Um, this is the real reason this is happening and this is what’s gonna happen if you let this pattern continue. Right?

[00:34:24] So if you don’t change the culture, if you don’t, set yourself up for success, then it’s not going to, be sustainable.

[00:34:31] I’m gonna be back here in three months. And I think that, you know, management training and management consulting was a natural evolution of that because the conversations became richer. Right? You know, you, um, talk with business owners that are, you know, shocked, you know, grateful because someone held up the mirror and said, you know, it’s you, you’re the problem, you’re the drama. Um, and they were willing to learn to say, you know, where are the knowledge gaps? Like, how did I go wrong in hiring this person? What questions should I have asked in the interview process? Um, you know, how do I go wrong in not training this person? I thought I trained them, but apparently I didn’t. Um, how do I have performance review conversations?

[00:35:11] How do I give honest feedback if an employee is slacking off? How do I hold them accountable before it gets to the point where I want to? If an employee is being difficult and, um, you know, causing jaw man chaos amongst the team, how do I navigate that instead of just firing them and then, you know, feeling like I have to pick up the pieces and be a bandaid to the remaining team members. You know, just all of these questions were born out of that, you know, one request to come in and fire someone is always so much bigger nothing happens in the silo, especially when you’re. I say that to say it’s super common, you know what you said, the, lack of self-awareness, in managers. But I am grateful to be able to work with managers who, once they have that realization, want to address it as soon as possible. 

[00:36:01] That’s my ideal client. You know, I’m not in the business of convincing people, um, that they need the training. Um, that’s not my lane, that’s not my job. but the, those that are willing students and want to improve their culture and understand that if you change the manager, you change the team. if you have a healthy team, um, you can scale the organization beyond your wildest dreams. if you understand the power of people, then You know that this is work worth doing because management is inherently, you know, part of that conversation. Um, and if you felt the pain of it not going successfully and you don’t wanna repeat that, then yes, um, we absolutely can have some great conversations and, um, do some amazing things as a result. Um, to that end, um, that’s, really what kosar has evolved into today. Um, so we’re primarily leadership development and management consulting. and, uh, that takes the form of our management accelerator program, executive coaching, um, services, as well as some very specific engagements, um, where we come in, in training teams, really on the art of managing.

[00:37:09] So that can be, um, an executive retreat or, weekend or, uh, series of workshops. You know, we work with corporations determine what that looks like, um, and what their team needs over time.

[00:37:22] Morgan: so there are probably 12 conversations that we could have about all of the things that you just talked about there, because it is so deep. And again, like you said, nothing happens in a vacuum. And I like to think like our businesses are ecosystems. There are this whole system and you change one thing and there’s ripple effects.

[00:37:43] And we don’t always understand, you know? So, so often we hear people that say, , I need to hire somebody. What kind of questions should I be asking? Or I need, again, I need to fire somebody, you know, what should I do here? Or I need to hire a manager so you know, what kind of manager should I hire?

[00:38:01] And so many of those things are, not that simple.

[00:38:05] It’s so much, it’s so much deeper than that. And for those of us who listen to you talking about what a manager needs to be and all of those hard conversations that a manager needs to have, and we said, Courtney, I am not that person. I am not that manager. You know, I need someone else to be able to do that work.

[00:38:25] Um, how do you find a person who maybe has strengths that you don’t have? Or how do you even know, like, What am I even good at? Or what am I even lacking in? And so therefore I can find somebody who can be a good match to me, not a replica of me. ’cause I don’t need another me in my business. I need somebody who can do the things that I can’t do or I’m not good at or I don’t want to do.


[00:38:50] The Power of StrengthsFinder: Weaknesses, Strategies, Solutions

[00:38:50] Courtney: One of my favorite tools for that is the Gallup StrengthsFinder. Um, I am a certified, Gallup StrengthsFinder coach with the Gallup organization. I actually worked at Gallup for, a couple of years, so I was able to see, the power and impact of having that increased level of self-awareness. so what the GallupStrengthsFinder is, is, um, a self-assessment tool. it is, way more powerful and, um, Insightful than its counterparts, right? So you may have heard of a DISC assessment or a Myers-Briggs or Enneagram, or you know, any one of those assessments, but what sets StrengthsFinder apart is the very premise that you just said, that nobody’s good at everything and that’s okay. And, um, that’s one of the things that I love about the curriculum itself and that’s what drew me to the curriculum because, so much of self-development, Fodder is really, focused on, oh, these are your weaknesses. This is how you get better. These are your weaknesses, this is how you improve. And Gallup is the opposite. Gallup is like, piss posh. We don’t care about those weaknesses. Or you can put those to the side. Um, well, there are strategies to address that, but it’s really, um, let’s identify what your strengths are, lean into those strengths, and you get a better return on your investment. So if you think about it from a practical standpoint, um, identifying your weaknesses, you know, so many self-help, and, you know, articles and podcasts and whatever, um, tell you to, you know, focus on your weaknesses, but. If you put all of your effort into bolstering your weaknesses, like you may get to mediocre or good at best, right? And it’ll take so much effort to get there. However, if you put that same amount of effort into your strengths, into things that you’re already good at, it’ll take you from good or great or excellent to your zone of genius. Um, so it’s really about where is your effort, where are your resources best utilized so you can be the best you?

[00:40:55] And having that level of self-awareness is so powerful. Um, It’s, uh, helped me personally. It’s helped me professionally, the way I work, the way I parent, the way I date. You know, like everything is wrapped up is in having that level of self-awareness, um, knowing what my strengths are. Now, when it comes to weaknesses, Gallup theory is, to do one of a couple of things. The first is, delegate those weaknesses.

[00:41:21] So to your point, find somebody that is strong in those areas to balance you out. Right on. The second thing that you can do is, uh, look To your strengths to figure out how you can cope for those weaknesses. if I’m not good at this and I’m good at that, and I can use this to compensate for that, right? So really have a self-assessment, um, to figure out how you can use the things you’re already good at to kind of stand in those gaps and, uh, fill out the weaknesses. And then the third thing is identify whether those weaknesses are affecting your day to day. And if they’re not, then eh, don’t worry about ’em. Like it’s okay. You know, the power GallupStrengthsFinder and, having the language to finally articulate exactly what you’re good at and why. Um, because there are 34 to choose from, and it is the com the possibility of you getting the same result as someone else, in that assessment is one in millions. I mean millions. So when you think about the unique makeup of your 34 strengths ranked in order it, there’s only one you. Right?

[00:42:25] So it’s, um, amazing to see on paper what makes you, you, and to finally have the language to articulate it. So you get to see what your top five strengths are, your top 10, you get to see what your bottom five are.

[00:42:40] And that’s, those are where the weaknesses are. Um, so when you think about, Having an increased level of self-awareness, the language and the tools to, really make decisions such as building a team, such as hiring, such as, delegating personally and professionally. Um, Gallup Shrinks Finder the tool that recommend so much so, that I took the time and the effort, um, to become certified in this particular curriculum 

[00:43:09] Morgan: again, like the peace and the power that can come from, I don’t have to be good at everything and I don’t have to feel guilty or I don’t have to feel shame about not being good at something. I think a lot of times too, there’s this, this picture of, okay, you are. The business owner.

[00:43:27] Therefore you must be either a team manager or team trainer or the visionary or whatever part of the business that somebody has told you that you need to be,

[00:43:38] Courtney: Mm-hmm.

[00:43:39] Morgan: to get that reassurance that you don’t have to, because there’s something that is uniquely for you and you can run your business in a very unique and special way. And you don’t have to do what everyone tells you you should be good at. And again, you can release some of that guilt or that shame or those negative feelings of inadequacy or, you know, whatever that stress is coming from in your business to be told it’s okay and you don’t have to fix these things, but we can compensate for them or we can delegate for them.

[00:44:08] there’s a lot of peace that comes from that.

[00:44:10] Courtney: Absolutely, absolutely. One of my favorite examples of that is a client that I work with. Um, we did, a series of executive coaching calls, based on the Gallup strengths finder curriculum. after the assessment really working through, what her top five strengths were, what her top 10 strengths were, where her domains of influence were, and then what her bottom five were, unpacking that and seeing how it’s, unfolded throughout her whole life.

[00:44:39] Right,

[00:44:40] because your strengths are your strengths, even from childhood on, right? So that’s one of the most rewarding things is, you know, having people remember and say, oh my goodness, I’ve always been this person. You know, those light bulb moments. And so after doing all of that work, having those light bulb moments, she actually. Fired herself as a C E O and became the chief creative officer in her business and hired someone else to be the c e O. Um, ’cause she didn’t wanna do all of that stuff. She didn’t want to, buried in reviewing p and LSS and managing the team focusing on sales. All she wanted to do was create, um, all she wanted to do was create and improve the products that she was selling, and, you know, be compensated well for it and still have power and influence, you know, within the company and its, you know, decisions. but ultimately her day-to-day looked a lot different. she could Things that she was happy doing, the why of why she started the business in the first place, which is to stay close to her products. She’s an artist at heart, not, an executive that wanted to, you know, stay cooped up in meetings and, uh, doing everything but creating. And she never would’ve felt empowered to do that if she didn’t have the StrengthsFinder language to support it.

[00:45:58] Morgan: Wow, so powerful. And . I wonder, and I’d always, I would love to see if there’s some form of I’m, I don’t know. You and I are both like research brained people, right? Like we, like, we like to know that what we’re talking about actually has a basis in reality and is not just something that we’ve made up in our heads.

[00:46:16] But I would love to see something. 

[00:46:18] The Impact and Power of Doing the Right Work

[00:46:18] Morgan: But I have a, I have a suspicion that a lot of burnout is because of what you’re talking about right now. It’s, we are doing work that we are not gifted at, or that we are not excited about or that we started our business, this is not the work that we thought we would be doing.

[00:46:34] And so we feel burnout and we think that we need to leave our business. We need to take a hiatus, we need to sell it. We need to go fold sweaters at Kohl’s, you know, whatever that thing is. We think it’s burnout because we don’t want our business anymore. We don’t love the work anymore, but . , might it just be that we are doing the wrong work, we are doing the wrong part of our business.

[00:46:55] And what I’m hearing you say is that there are a lot of us who get into managing our business, leading our business, and that’s maybe not where we should actually be. So if you got a dog walker who really loves dog walking and they own a dog walking business, maybe they don’t wanna be the manager or the leader of that business.

[00:47:11] Maybe they wanna be an operator and that’s okay. They can still have that influence without having to do all of these other things that they’re not excited about.

[00:47:20] Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. And that is so true. Um, I’ve actually worked, lots of, uh, pet sitting clients and, um, I did some incredible work with, P S I as well. And so when I think about practical examples of that, I’ve had clients that are absolutely passionate about, dogs or dog walking, and they really just wanted to do more of that.

[00:47:43] And, you know, they wanted to make more money. They wanted to grow the business. Um, they changed their role being the lead, over all of the dog walkers, right? So hire more dog walkers, be the lead over all the dog walkers because they’re passionate about dog walking and dogs. And so that way they didn’t sacrifice their dog time, right? and they had someone else do sales, they had someone else do accounting, they had someone else, do all of the things that required them to be away from the dogs and they spent their time, um, training the dog walkers. They spent their time, interfacing with customers and, you spending time with the dogs.

[00:48:18] Like that’s what they wanted to do to make sure that each client had, an amazing dog walking experience. it was way more client facing, way more dog facing, and they were so happy in doing that. but again, they didn’t know that they could.

[00:48:33] And I think that, um, that’s one of the, uh, direct outcomes that, uh, clients have working with me is just permission, you know, permission that you don’t have to, be all the things to all the people. You can only be the things you like.

[00:48:47] So, uh, because of that, it can feel, like a burden. don’t have that permission, to do the things that you’re passionate about, you can have bitterness, you can have resentment, towards the very thing that you’re called to do. you, we don’t know what we don’t know. a lot of people just don’t know that that’s a 

[00:49:06] Morgan: Mm-hmm. .And you’re obviously so passionate about this, you know, again, it’s, it all comes down from the HR side of your work, but again, the management training, the leadership training, empowering your clients. Um, what’s your favorite part about the work that you do?

[00:49:21] Courtney: Oh, I love this question, Morgan, because I am passionate about it. I’m passionate about people. Um, I would say the transformation, the before and after. Um, I’m grateful that I get to see the distinct, difference and working with clients before and working with clients after. a lot of times the before picture is tension, bitterness, drama. Guilt, chaos, like the company isn’t functioning properly or the executive isn’t. They themselves are not functioning properly. I get to see a direct outcome of my work. A healthy workplace, a team that can communicates, a team that has, uh, unity and a shared vision, entrepreneur or that has a healthier balance, in their work.

[00:50:09] have Freedom and flexibility and choices that they didn’t know existed. the peace of mind that comes with that is so priceless. You know, I’ve had clients and more often than not, you know, just break down in tears when they think about where were versus where they are, you know, after working with me. because they didn’t see a way out, they didn’t think that it was possible, for the team to get back to a healthy place or to have a team in the first place, or, to have permission to, do something different. change their role, change their contribution, make a significant decision in their business that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. 

[00:50:48] Um, and so I get to see that transformation. I get to see the fruit of my labor. and I also get to know that There’s a butterfly effect, right? So this decision, not only affects the people that hire me, but also everyone that works thereafter because it’s a culture shift. changing healthy workplaces, um, really is, biggest impact that I can think of. when I think about, the conversations surrounding the workforce today.

[00:51:13] Morgan: and you’ve talked bold decisions and bold choices. And a lot of this, people listening in, they might say, Courtney, this sounds great, but it also sounds like scary as hell, right? Like, to, to, to change my position or to change what I’m doing, or to, um, say, oh my gosh, I just realized I’m not a leader.

[00:51:30] I’m not, or I’m not a manager. I, I wish to do these other things and I need to find this, this other person who can help me. do you make those bold decisions? And knowing that you might be upsetting some clients, or you might be upsetting some current team members. It can be very hard to make those choices, but, they’re still important.

[00:51:50] Courtney: Yeah. I always ask two questions, that come to mind. One, is what you’re doing now working, because I don’t think it is, right? So it’s, just asking, you know, the direct question. Like, are you successful now? Right. So if we’ve established that the status quo isn’t successful, then that is, the door for change to happen, right?

[00:52:13] So, it’s taking a step back, from what I can see, right? Because I always do an, objective audit. 

[00:52:18] StrengthsFinder in Team Dynamics

[00:52:18] Courtney: know, I talk to different stakeholders, before I come in. And say for, so from what I can see, things aren’t working. Um, but I want you to be honest. You know, do, do you think things are working now? Um, and then the second question is, what happens if nothing changes? You know? And just let them answer the question. If nothing changes now and we’ve established that things aren’t working, then what do you think is gonna happen? Right. And, you know, just let them think that through. Um, and a lot of times that’s enough to inspire some action, and get the ball rolling towards doing something different. if what you’ve done to date isn’t working, then you kind of have to do something different,

[00:52:55] because I’m not going to come in and take your money just to tell you to keep going and, you know, trudge through like ethically, you know, I’m not gonna do that. Um, and I’ve have, I definitely have had clients that kind of wanted me to. Do that, you know, honestly, they wanted me to come in and say everything was okay and give like a rousing speech, to get everybody on board. and, in those, conversations, you know, obviously I’m saying no because everything’s not okay. this is a huge red flag in making sure that I’m having those direct conversations, I’m bringing home that it’s about more than just your perspective and your household.

[00:53:35] Right? You know, all of these people are affected. the employees are the clients are The cus you know, everybody’s

[00:53:41] Morgan: Yeah. And that’s, if it’s hard to make that decision, think about those clients or think about team but again, it all comes down to the clients and if the clients aren’t gonna get the best experience possible, then yeah, something probably does need to change. 

[00:53:55] And, I love that there’s so many new ways to think about what maybe needs to change. Because again, I just don’t think you know, you go, like you talked about, you go back to little, little elementary school Morgan, who is literally talking to everybody no matter where she was placed in a classroom. And my my, my report card . It was always needs improvement. , she talks too much, needs improvement.

[00:54:19] Uh, she talks to too many people, you know, throughout life. Obviously I needed to learn that sometimes it’s appropriate to talk and sometimes it’s not appropriate talk. I might still be working on that, that particular skill. But, you know, in the real world, there is a benefit to being able to talk to a lot of different people.

[00:54:39] There is a benefit to being able to hold a conversation. There’s a benefit to these things. And so often we’re maybe trying put into a box that either somebody told us we need to be in or somebody, you know, we thought that we needed to be in for ourselves. And we are just, again, we’re kind of smushed into this, this version of who we think we need to be or we need to, like you said, improve all of our weaknesses, but not focus on our strengths because we need to be well-rounded. We need to be able to have, you know, breadth, not depth. Um, . And you are really saying that it doesn’t have to be that way.

[00:55:16] Courtney: No, it doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t. And by leaning into the things that you’re already good at, naturally, you can have so much more freedom, so much more peace, so much more confidence. the language to readily articulate and pinpoint the things that you’re good at with concrete examples. And that is actually fuel for taking big leaps and taking big risks.

[00:55:41] once you have, that under your belt, to share a bit the Gallup curriculum, my top five are strategic, focus, responsibility, input and individualization. And so, When you put all of that together? it means that I’m a strategic thinker. I see people as individuals. I can have a laser focus when I’m knee deep in projects. I keep my word, you know, I say what I mean and mean what I say, I’m also a collector of information. and that information can take different forms. So whether it’s, you know, articles, whether it’s people, you know, I am a collector. I love consuming, information and collecting it, you know, I’m the librarian, um, so to speak, resources and things. but being able to just spit that out, that’s amazing. I couldn’t have said that, you know, without, um, having StrengthsFinder under my belt because those are very nuanced skills, right. You know, those are things that, you don’t readily, think of when people say, you know, what are things that you’re good at? You know, I can say, you know, these are things that are unique to me. So it’s not generic language, like, oh, I’m organized, I’m dependable, I’m a team player. You know, like all of these buzz words. Okay, that’s great, but what makes you, you? so having that, language readily available is so empowering because now not only do I know what I’m good at, but looking at my bottom five, you know, I know now, uh, where my perceived weaknesses are. And so I also know what I may have little to no tolerance for. Right when I. And that’s important when you think about team dynamics, right?

[00:57:17] Because, their strengths may feel foreign to me, it’s my weakness. so it helps me recognize it as actually a strength instead of, personal attack or a frustration, right?

[00:57:28] So there’s so much that you can get from that. There’s so much freedom and empowerment and confidence, you get from the curriculum. So that’s why I find this so rewarding.

[00:57:38] Morgan: I love how practical this is. I think a lot of times when we think about strategy, that 300, 30,000 view, we’re way up in the clouds. We’re looking at, the system as a whole, and those things I think are still important, but to understand the practicality of what does it mean to be a collector, what does it mean to be, you know, laser focus?

[00:58:01] What does it mean to not have a tolerance for, or have a low tolerance for something else, like that’s . Extremely practical. And when you start thinking about, okay, I need to hire a leader for my business. I need to hire a manager for my business, or even just, I need to hire team members for my business.

[00:58:18] If you have a low tolerance for blunt communication, you probably need to be careful if you’re hiring a bunch of people who have blunt communication styles, because it’s going to put that much more effort into your day-to-day interactions with people. and just love how practical that is.

[00:58:34] Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. thinking about, you know, real life examples, when I think about how I work on a day-to-day basis, knowing that focus is in one of my, um, top five skills, there are times when, you I’m working on a project or I need to crank something out where it requires me to, um, isolate myself, right?

[00:58:55] And just, uh, buckle down and get stuff done. Like no music, no distractions. I need to be focused. Um, there are times even when, I am, something or mid-conversation and you know, someone will try to come up to me and start conversation and it’s just like, Uhuh, Nope, not now. . Like, I’m absolutely focused.

[00:59:13] Like now it is quiet time. Like now is not the time. I have my office door closed. I am like in the zone. I thought that was a preference, not necessarily a strength, but it +is a strength because at the end of whatever chunk of time that is, like, I’m cranking out some amazing things. I’m making some very weighty decisions. or, um, the volume of what I’m able to produce, just incredible. Um, because I was able to just buckle down and focus. and I didn’t see it as a, you know, strength at first. You know, I thought it was just me being cranky and not wanting to be social while everybody else is, you know, in cubicles and chatting it up and typing at the same time.

[00:59:51] I’m just like, oh, absolutely not. Like I need, that’s not my style at all. I actually need to get something done.

[00:59:58] So, um, just that level of self-awareness has helped me to work better and it’s helped me to kind of set the stage, even working with my team to say, Hey guys, like I’m going offline, um, because I need to get this done.

[01:00:11] So it’s helped me set healthy boundaries, um, with my team. It’s helped me, um, to communicate better and advocate for myself when I think about what I need. Even when I’m working with clients, sometimes I’ll say, um, if you need me there on site all day, I need an office with the door. so, you know, just being able to articulate my needs, like, please don’t, you know, put me in the middle of a coworking space, like in the midst of your team. When everybody’s gonna talk to me all day, I’m not gonna get anything done. Um, So, um, but having that knowledge is so empowering. And also, you know, being able to give disclaimers like, Hey guys, I’m not antisocial. I promise I will come out and talk. Just not now. Like, like during this time. in work mode, but it’s a party right after this Like,, just not right now. Right? . So being able to kind of set the stage so people don’t think, oh, she’s standoffish, or, you know, like she’s just a jerk, right? So, um, being able to say that and see that, um, is just so freeing

[01:01:10] Morgan: And I, I think it, it can empower people um, one of my team and I have very different communication styles where she is much more . a much more direct communication style. I sometimes I forget that I have not clearly articulated all of the information because in my head it makes total sense and in my head I know what’s going on, but I sometimes will leave out a bit of like a piece of information that she’ll need.

[01:01:33] And we have worked together well enough and long enough to, kind of figured out to say, I understand when you send me a short message, not upset with me. It is not personal.

[01:01:44] Like this is just how you communicate. and also empowers her to ask follow-up questions and to not feel like she is, I don’t want her to think that I don’t trust what she’s telling me, or I don’t want her to think that she can’t question when I haven’t given her everything.

[01:01:58] So, you know, it empowers her to ask those follow-up questions. It empowers me to remember. This is how she communicates, and it’s not, you know, again, this is not an affront against anybody. This is just, she’s an efficient person. And, um, I think that has given the two of us a lot of, tools just to use with each other of just, understanding that it’s a little bit different.

[01:02:17] Um, and once we understand that about each other again there, that level of peace returns to those conversations. Like that, that extra bit of knowledge has empowered both of us to get what we need out of a relationship. Even if it’s not, um, we don’t think the exact same way, which I think is a good thing.

[01:02:33] We shouldn’t all think the exact same way. Otherwise we’re not getting that diversity of opinion of, of skillset in a team.

[01:02:41] Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. And having those conversations and having that self-awareness really being able to talk through it is a textbook example of a healthy work culture. the, those are the kind of conversations that should be happening, you know, on a regular basis. Um, you know each other’s working style, you know, each other’s preferences, and you’re taking, the personal out of it, right?

[01:03:01] Like, you’re leading with grace, you’re assuming the best intentions and, you’re working together towards the shared vision. that exactly, you know, the type of thing that I want to hear more of, um, when I think about the work that I do. and the fact that you’re able to have those conversations, uh, regularly, and work through them, um, means that you’re getting it right, especially when you know what’s at stake if you’re not getting it right.

[01:03:25] Morgan: Right. Yes. So true. So you’ve done a lot of hiring for a lot of different businesses. Like is there a is a benefit of, of trying to find people who have similar tolerances or having the willingness to talk about the different tolerances?

[01:03:39] Courtney: It is definitely the latter, because, uh, strengths, finder, curriculum is also based on the premises that you don’t use it to make hiring decisions. but you use it to inform, regarding the staff that’s already there, So, we never want to be in a position where we can weaponize our strengths, say, oh, yeah, well, you’re low in that you’re not gonna be a good fit. So, uh, we, you never use it to make, or not make a hiring decision. but like you said, you can absolutely use it to inform really rich conversations, um, with existing team members. Um, so even if you’re thinking about offering up a strengths assessment, I always say do that as part of the orientation and onboarding process because you’ve already made your decision 

[01:04:24] based on objective data, the criteria on whether they’re able to do the job right. you should have the right interview questions and you should, be able to, make an informed decision based on their skills, talent, experience, and the quality of the interview itself. but the shrinks finder should be administered as part of like orientation and onboarding, what you’ve already made that decision.

[01:04:44] Morgan: Mm-hmm. . And if you’ve already, so say someone’s coming to this, they’ve already got themselves a whole team, or you know, even a small team, you can still do this, right? You can still have a strengths assessment, know, across the team, even though you know they’re not a brand new hire.

[01:04:58] Courtney: Oh, you should. You should. And so if you’re not doing it, then The natural, thing to do is to do it all at once as a team. Um, that’s actually one of my favorite engagements is, uh, teams discovering the strengths of curriculum, uh, for the first time and taking it all at once. That’s super common. It’s encouraged. Um, you know, there’s no right time. Well, pre-hire is the wrong time. So, um, when post-hire, um, there are lots of ideal times, um, to take it, you know, as part of a team retreat, part of a team building exercise, um, getting to know each other when there’s, uh, a lot of change going on, like a restructuring or a company merge.

[01:05:38] You know, it’s, um, a great way to, you know, just kind of assess where things are and grow the team together and, build or rebuild as necessary. Like it’s, um, so rich and so practical and people really do feel, personally invested in as a result of it’s absolutely an asset for your staff. They will feel, like they got something out of it because it’s, it’s just so practical because who you are is who you are, not just in the workplace, but in life.

[01:06:06] So, um, you’re able to, know, take that with you. And so, When you think about, teams taking it, the goal is for the manager to take it first. You always start with the manager. Um, so they have the right language and they feel empowered and they understand it, and they get it and they buy in. And then you deploy it to the team. Um, and then once that is done and everybody gets the results, you know, you have, um, individual coaching calls, but then that’s where the real fun begins, right?

[01:06:33] You get to see, um, the team dynamics, right? So there’s lots of exercises activities, that I do just to, make sure that the team has an awareness and appreciation and deep understanding for each other’s strengths so they can see how it plays out. The strengths curriculum is so rich in that not do we get to see each other’s strengths, so there’s also curriculum blind spots, right? You what are the blind spots of my strengths? What are the, perceived, you know, like the shadow side, of strengths like, and those are the two things that I like to talk about all the time. going back to focus, because we’ve talked about it already, so you kind of know what it is. A blind spot of focus is, um, not realizing that, can perceive me as isolating myself, right? So that’s a blind spot. I just think I’m doing the work, but, um, others think that, you know, I’m just a loner, right? or, you know, just a jerk. So that’s a potential blind spot. And then a shadow side is, you know, kind exactly what it sounds like. What’s the dark side and the first thing that comes to mind is, not knowing when to turn it off, right? And so, um, just being in a room, in a office, you know, with door closed for, you know, six, eight hours straight in, uh, for getting to eat, forgetting to talk to people, or forgetting to go to the bathroom, like, just like being like knee deep in it.

[01:07:50] So that’s the shadow side. Like you have, I have to be able to know when to turn it

[01:07:54] off, right? So, Those are the things that we get into. And then we get into like team dynamics, right? How does that all interplay with each other? how are you perceiving each other? How are you, um, best as a team? What gaps exist among the team that you’re gonna need to compensate for? a common thing that I see, especially like in sales teams, for example, like everyone can be high in influencing type strengths and low in executing type strengths. So it’s just like, okay, like everybody’s people, people, right? Like, you know, wheeling and dealing, but nothing’s actually getting done.

[01:08:33] Right. You know, so that’s where you have like the underwriters or the sales assistants, like those are the people actually pushing the contracts forward. You know, once the sales team has, um, you know, charmed everyone that they need to charm, um, but they’re not, they’re not executing, right? So they can have the best sales meeting, secure a whole bunch of money, and then forget to send the email to secure the money, right? Or forget to, you know, tell the people that need, that they need to tell, um, as a team and then wonder like why the numbers aren’t numbering, right? So, it’s great to be able to see how teams perform as a whole, and what the patterns are there. 

[01:09:11] Morgan: Yeah. And I love that this seems equally applicable to a person who is the solo, you know, entrepreneur as it is the people who have the team. So like this, all of this thing that you’re talking about is probably even more important if you are the solo, you know, the solopreneur, the solo executive of your business, because you don’t have those people to compensate for you.

[01:09:35] So maybe you need to have a system to compensate for you, or you need to have some consultants to compensate for you. Like, just because you aren’t growing of employees doesn’t mean you don’t need some of this stuff too.

[01:09:45] Courtney: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. So one of my weaknesses or one of my bottom strengths, right? When I think about using the Gallup language, one of my bottom strengths is something called deliberation, right? And deliberation is the ability to really Think through a decision and take a lot of time and mull over it and, um, think about the history of it. And people that are low in deliberation, they just wanna make a decision and move on. Like they want to figure it out, weigh the pros and cons, um, and move on. And so once I realized that I’m not gonna spend all day making a decision, um, because I make tons of decisions every day and each decision I make affects people’s livelihoods, you know, I had to assess, you know, is this an actual weakness or am I confident that I can move on without having deliberation? And because I have both strategic, um, which is, you know, making strategic informed decisions, um, and individualization, meaning that I put people first and I see them as individuals, you know, not just lines on the spreadsheet, not just, um, I. You know, data points. Like I really see individuals, I’m a people person. Um, knowing that those two are my top two strengths, I had peace about not having to deliberate and agonize and mull over every single decision. Um, while I could also respect those that do need time to process in a way, um, decisions. And, um, so when I’m building out projects or working with clients that are high and deliberating, I need to give them more time.

[01:11:15] Like, let me give you this conversation like three days in advance. Um, so, and build out the timeline to give you time to just think, um, because that’s what you’re going to need in order to have peace to move forward. you know, , to your point, it is, uh, so empowering. It’s so freeing. 

[01:11:31] Like I said, it’s helped me personally. Um, it’s helped me, uh, professionally and it’s really set the stage, um, for, um, who I am because these are questions surrounding identity. Um, when you read the results, you know, again, some people have been brought to tears because they’re, you know, having flashbacks of saying, I was always this person, number one, and then two, I didn’t realize my Quirks were actually strengths, so somebody hiding deliberation, you know, may have been beat up all their life or taking forever to make decisions, not realizing that it’s a strength, because when they do make a decision, when they do finally decide, it goes really well, and it’s really thorough and well planned and, you know, um, every detail is accounted for. So that’s actually a strength. But you’ve been yelled at for being too slow all your life, you know, maybe you didn’t, um, see it that way. So it’s, uh, so empowering and it really instills confidence. Um, and you, you know, have like those flashback moments. Like, wait a minute, okay, this is me using this strength, in this situation. Like I’ve, I’ve always been this person, yeah.

[01:12:38] Morgan: Hmm. I love that. Courtney, I think we could talk all day. 

[01:12:42] The Management Accelerator Program: Empowering Managers

[01:12:42] Morgan: Like you , we could take this conversation, uh, a million different directions and keep digging in deeper and deeper and deeper because you just have that real, you have both a depth of knowledge and a breadth of knowledge together, um, in kind of all things here, management and leadership and hr.

[01:13:01] Um, but I wanna circle back real quick before we end our conversation about your management accelerator because, um, yeah, I think like again, the strengths finder is a, again, another huge tool that people can reach out to you for. And we’ve kind of focused on that here the last little bit. But I wanna swing back again to your management accelerator. ’cause again, I think this has a huge impact for, the ripple effects in our businesses. So I definitely wanna, you know, touch on that before we end.

[01:13:27] Courtney: Uh, thank you. And I thank you for the compliments. I am just so passionate about it and this is, um, where I really nerd out. So thank you for giving me space to do that. Um, so when it comes to the Management Accelerator program, um, this was born out of so many things that we already talked about today. identifying the fact that most people promoted to management positions, whether, they’re leading their companies, whether, just got a team, um, a company, in someone else’s company or their own. they don’t have the skills to really manage someone. They’re in the leadership position they’re in because they’re good at what they do. That does not mean that they’re good leading other people. That is an entirely different skillset. And so the management accelerator was born out of that. Um, and so what it is, it’s a 10 week program, and it is, covering so many things that managers really need to know. Um, so even if you manage people before, I can guarantee you you’re not learning these principles unless, you’re in business school or unless you’re knee deep in, field that I’m in. So this is born out of my 20 years of experience as well as, all of these certifications and research under my belt because I really am this passionate about, Manager’s getting it right. And I want to be able to summarize and synthesize this information, based on all of the experiences, real life, practical experiences, uh, supported by research and, you know, give it to people who need it the most, right? The people that are in the trenches managing people, for the first time or the experience is just new to them, right?

[01:15:08] So it’s not just for first time managers either. I wanna be very clear about that because a lot of my veteran managers, um, have went through this program. because because you’ve been doing it for a while doesn’t mean you’re doing it well, right? There are a lot of bad, bad managers out there. so the curriculum covers everything from how to resolve conflict, how to hold people accountable, how to manage projects and people, how to make decisions.

[01:15:32] All of these things are actual skills, not just things you have to do, things you have to learn to be good at. And as, um, a manager, a lot of times you don’t really know until that skill is missing and it’s apparent, because of a situation that’s happened or because of a pattern of situations that have happened. so it’s, uh, for individuals or leadership teams to take together. It’s personalized coaching, the opportunity to connect with me to follow up, um, And then you also get the opportunity to talk to others in similar situations. So you have that safe space to know that you’re not alone. And a lot of people, find value in that element by itself. you can feel like you’re the only one that’s ever had to deal with, a bad employee.

[01:16:19] You can feel like you’re the only one that’s ever had to deal with, Employees fighting each other, or an employee not owning the work or an employee lying to you, or, not coming to work on time or, saying something about harassment. You know, like these are real life examples, right? You know, I don’t hold back.

[01:16:36] I blind names to protect the innocent and not so innocent. But other than that, you know, I give you real life examples and then you get to commiserate with others, really feel empowered and encouraged with real life solutions what to do and how to respond. what I love about it the most, is that it’s practical.

[01:16:54] You know, it’s not just oh, here’s what you should do. Here are some words to make you feel better. It’s like, no, this is how you should address this. Here’s how you reference this. These are the scripts that you use, um, to address an employee that doesn’t want to be held accountable. These are the scripts that you use to mediate conflict. Um, so you get real practical tools as a result.

[01:17:14] Morgan: I think a lot of times when we’re in those situations, especially if we . You know, if we haven’t had that mentor, if we haven’t had those skills, you know, taught to us, having those scripts can be so helpful because you get into a situation and you say, you know, I might know the general outcome that we need to get to.

[01:17:32] Like, I know, like in my heart, I know how to solve this problem, but in real terms, I don’t really know how to solve this problem. Right? Like, I kind of know the end goal. I might know some of the steps along the way, but having those scripts can be so helpful because the strengths finder is you might know some of your strengths, but you don’t have the language or you know, the, the in-depth knowledge of how to actually apply that problem.

[01:17:59] Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. And so not only are people getting the opportunity to use the scripts, but they get the opportunity to do some role play. Um, they get the opportunity to see how it can play out in real life, you know, and it’s interactive, it’s engaging. Um, it’s dynamic, it’s fun. Um, as fun as HR can be, right, it’s far as fun as training can be because again, it’s real life. You know, it’s not just something, um, I want you to just sit through and, then never open up again. You know, once the course is over, it’s no, I want you to use this. you’re accountable for implementing and then coming back and reporting on it, right? So, um, there’s um, definitely a lot of buy-in associated with that. You have to want to be better in order to sign up.

[01:18:45] And so we’ve seen some incredible results from the participants, um, of our program. And, This is the third year, in doing it, and I’m excited, to make it open to the public again. I always tell people, buckle up because you’re gonna be vulnerable. It’s gonna get real. Um, but that’s the only way to be if you want the transformation that comes out on the other side. 

[01:19:07] Morgan: I love it. So, Courtney, why don’t you tell everybody here as we wrap up where they can find more information about the strengths finder work that you do and also your your masterclass accelerator.

[01:19:16] Courtney: the website is kasar consulting.com. That’s K A S ss a r consulting.com. Um, I’m on Instagram at Kassar Consulting. I’m also on Facebook at Kassar Consulting Chicago. And, um, if you wanna connect with me directly, I’m on LinkedIn, uh, Courtney Underwood. I always say I’m the person behind the screen because I’m still in the business of people. Um, so I love making those real world connections, so feel free to reach out with any questions. And, um, all of the information regarding StrengthsFinder offerings, whether it’s executive coaching or group coaching, and, and the management accelerator itself, um, are all on the websites. So, um, feel free to check it out and reach out for the next steps.

[01:20:03] Morgan: Awesome. Well, Courtney, thank you again so much for spending your time with us today, and I so appreciate it and I know that you’ve made an impact by being here today.

[01:20:12] Courtney: Thanks, Morgan. Until

[01:20:14] Morgan: See you later.

[01:20:16] Thank you so much for listening today. You can find show notes, transcripts, and more on our website, luckypuppod. com. Don’t forget, review, comment, like, share this conversation with your friends. Then don’t forget to reach out. You can find us on Instagram at luckypuppod or luckypuppodcast on Facebook, or send us an email, info at luckypuppod. com. Until then, don’t forget to live a more full and happy life. We’ll talk to you soon.