Ep #15: 5 Struggles of a CEO – Vision & Foundation

In this episode, Dr. Nick & Dr. Nicole discuss the importance of establishing a strong foundation for your business. The duo covers why being vulnerable as the CEO is vital, how your vision can generate more money, and what happens when your business lacks a visionary leader.

“There are things you really can’t delegate out when being that business owner or the entrepreneur of that business. You really need to be operating as the CEO.” - Dr. Nicole

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Noteworthy Time Stamps:

2:48 Why you can’t delegate the business vision

6:20 Example of poor foundation

8:00 Questions to ask yourself about your core customer & your marketing

10:23 Quality vision means more money

12:00 Being approachable as the CEO

13:45 The fantasy of how something should look

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE

Dr. Nicole:

This is the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast where it’s not what you do, but how you do it. This is a podcast for entrepreneurs brought to you by entrepreneurs. We have been building a multi-million dollar healthcare business for over 10 years and we have weaved together some of the best information for the people that are doing the best work in the business. This includes Dr. Demartini, who is a master in human behavior to Verne Harnish, who has created the methodologies of scaling up that has scaled many, many of the best businesses that we all know of. We want you to not only have a business that you love, but also a life that you love. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast. Nick, you got nothing. Really, just left me hanging there.

Dr. Nick:

I was just turning the volume down.

Dr. Nicole:

Probably because I’m too loud as usual. But I know that we’ve been diving into a variety of different topics that have been inspired through scaling up methodology, as well as organizational health with Patrick Lencioni. And some topics that were really, really significant to me was some of the specific struggles as a entrepreneur. And just to get clear on this, because Nick and I were having an argument on what we should call this.

Dr. Nick:

A discussion.

Dr. Nicole:

A discussion. And he was like, we should call it the five struggles of an entrepreneur, not the five struggles of a CEO. And I thought that this was an interesting thing to discuss really right off the bat is that when you really take that step back and look at being an entrepreneur, is there’s things that you really can not delegate out as being that business owner or the entrepreneur of that business. And you really need to be operating as the CEO of that company. Because you cannot delegate out your culture and you cannot delegate out the standards for your culture. You cannot delegate out the business vision.

This can be collaborative. And that’s one of the topics we’re going to be talking about today is how to build that type of collaboration and trust with your team that people are bringing feedback and bringing ideas to the table and it’s all being considered. But you really need to get comfortable with the idea that you shouldn’t be just delegating out the vision and the culture and the standards for your product or the standards of your programs. These are things that need to be cultivated, honored and repeatedly talked about by the CEO of the company. And obviously the goal is is that you have the same verbiage across the board with every employee, especially your leadership team.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah, I think the most important thing out of that is the vision. The vision allows us to get clarity, to be on the same page, to know that we’re working, we’re striving together for the same objective and goal.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah. A hundred percent. So some of the things that we’re getting into today is as entrepreneurs, as CEOs or the individual that’s running the company is there’s a lot of things that we struggle with on a day to day. And there are certain things that are going to ebb and flow, and they’re kind of just part of the game. And there’s other things that will repeatedly happen when you don’t have a strong foundation. And I know this is something that we’ve kind of said on repeat honestly, is that it’s all about having the strong foundation and building from there. And this is something that I find is overlooked on a regular basis because we get into this mindset that we need to grow and scale our revenue. We need to grow and scale our profits. We need to grow and scale our team.

And we’re doing all of this growth and scale on a bad foundation. And this creates a lot of issues down the line. Some of those issues will slowly brew and bubble and then other ones will blow up in your face sooner than later. We know it, we’ve dealt with it, and we’ve also seen it in a variety of different companies. And it all looks different depending on where the weakest parts of the foundation are. And if you think about the most simple example of a home is, no one buys a piece of property that has a crappy foundation. It’s like, you know what, let me build a $5 million house on this really bad foundation. The house is going to last me a couple of years. I’ll be good. And if it crumbles later, we’ll just redo it.

Dr. Nick:

Not very intelligent.

Dr. Nicole:

Very often we’re like, no, step number one is what do we need to do to build a really strong foundation so that now we can put time and effort and finances into building upon that. And we need to take the same concept directly into our business.

Dr. Nick:

And the big aspect about that is, it’s like not working harder, working smarter, but the smartness is going to give us longevity. You know, it’s almost like looking, we’re both in the health and wellness, it’s like people that do diets. Diets, you give a strong intensity of making that change, but that change isn’t sustainable because it’s really not the foundation of who the person is. It’s not their lifestyle. They went and just, they did a quick marketing campaign to be able to get some quick results, but that’s not ingrained in the foundation and the true vision.

Dr. Nicole:

Well, you can’t deliver on it.

Dr. Nick:

Correct.

Dr. Nicole:

That’s the thing is like I was talking to an individual the other day who is going to be coming on and working with us in the Institute. And she was talking about, she came across this really amazing marketing guy, he’s really expensive, but everybody says that he’s worth it. And individuals have definitely seen a return by working with him. But they’re a brand new business and they’re coming from an old business that they closed that had terrible culture, cashflow issues, re employee retention issues. And then honestly, they were putting out fires left and right when it came to customers, because they had no idea who their core customer was and they were taking on anyone and everyone. So my first question was, what do you feel has trickled into the new business? I know you have a new business with a new name and a new location, but you haven’t done the work to deal with the things that went wrong in the previous business.

So I know that you’re thinking that, okay, well, we just have this fresh start and we have a new pricing model, so on and so forth, so all we need to do is bring in clients. And she talked to me about the volume they were doing in the previous business and how it was just very hard to sustain. It was constantly about bringing in new students, new students, new students, and it was just draining to them mentally, emotionally, and financially. And that was what they were working towards. She’s like, so we need to hire this marketing guy because we need to get the volume up. I was like, whoa, we got to take a step back here. Because I’ve talked to you on multiple occasions, because this actually was a patient in our practice. So this is a woman that we’ve been working with for three years, that all I ever heard was the moans and groans about the business.

And you know, now having this fresh start, I was like, you have to start with a strong foundation. And you can spend the money you want on marketing, but are you going to retain those clients? Well, I guess first and foremost, are you going to get the clients that are truly a fit because have you created the culture and the verbiage and the scripts around that? And are you going to keep that client? And she’s like, oh my gosh, that’s such a good point. I was like, you could potentially, it can look good for a couple of weeks, but what are you really working towards? Who are you trying to attract? Who are you trying to retain? Money is in the retention of the client. It’s not about bringing in a ton of new clients that only stay with you for a few weeks or a few months.

This was something that just really resonated with her. Because I’m like you have a huge opportunity and you have a huge opportunity to create the rules. Create the rules in who do you want to work with. Create the rules of what you stand for. So it’s a dance company. She’s like, well, constantly we were having to be like, please put your cell phone away, please stop bringing gummy bears and pixie sticks and cupcakes when their big core value is nutrition for dancers so that they can really be the best and recover.

And in the previous business, they didn’t have those rules. They didn’t say, if you want to be a student here, this is something that we just don’t allow. We want you to really embrace the idea of healthy nutrition as well as being an athlete. She was like, wow, I guess I didn’t even think that I could do that. I was like, you can do whatever you want, but you have to create the rules, create the values, create the boundaries and you have to get every single person on your team talking the same language.

Dr. Nick:

And I think that’s an awesome thing that you brought up. Point of view is a lot of times, we started this conversation talking about the entrepreneur, the CEO, and foundationally getting crystal clear on that vision. That vision allows us to have clarity that we can actually take purposeful action on to be able to give us that healthy return. But when we think of vision, there’s so many components of it.

You just went down and really it’s like getting clarity on the vision also helps us get clarity on the standards that we want to put in that allows us to dictate the boundaries that we put in place. So it’s really just a waterfall effect. And so many times, entrepreneurs and CEOs, so much our mind is set on the money and it’s understanding that the money is the effect of the quality of the vision. And so many times you talk about people on their vision, their life vision, their business. And they’re like, I don’t have time for that shit. It’s like, I have so many “more important things,”

Dr. Nicole:

I have “real work to do.”

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. I’ve got real work, real problems. And I’m like, those real work is coming from your real problems because you don’t have clarity in your vision. You don’t actually know, and have set up a business, set up your life to be able to serve yourself.

Dr. Nicole:

So you’re literally the hamster on the wheel because the people that are in that mindset and they’re just working, working, working, “doing the real work,” you’re just spinning your wheels. And then you’re disappointed at the end of the month, end of the quarter, because you’re in the same exact place. But you just pulled 90, 100 hour weeks every week. And if anything, your team is exhausted as well.

Dr. Nick:

I mean, if you’re exhausted, your team is exhausted.

Dr. Nicole:

Exactly. So one of the big things that we wanted to make sure that we’re touching base on in this specific podcast is there are things that you cannot delegate as the entrepreneur, as the individual running your company, if you call yourself the CEO or not. But in addition to that is you want to be able to have other individuals on your team contribute to that vision because they might see things that you do not see. And this really requires creating a level of vulnerability in your business. It’s really just making sure that you are approachable as that CEO and also getting comfortable with the idea that you can be approachable. I think that as the business owner, we feel like we have to hide any weaknesses and we have to look like this strong, powerful individual that can never break or never crack and we always have it together.

And honestly, people see right through it. And I’m not just talking your employees. I’m also talking your customers. But being able to know that feeling vulnerable or having things that didn’t work out or having a vision that didn’t go as planned doesn’t make or break you or your business. It’s just something that you can learn from and pivot. And your team is going to look at that in a capacity that you might think like, oh wow, they’re looking at me as I wasn’t able to make the right decision for the team or for the business. But they’re honoring you by saying, okay, well, you made a decision. It didn’t work out. And you pivoted super fast. That’s more empowering to them, to know that you are resilient. The company is resilient because you can also deal with situations that happen that maybe were unexpected.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. And that’s, so tying this back in two different ways. One just the human behavior one-on-one and then understanding behavior of business is that you talked so much about vulnerability and how it’s so important, but I’d like to challenge the aspect of having to show up vulnerable instead of just transitioning that to show up more as just your true, authentic self.

Dr. Nicole:

A hundred percent.

Dr. Nick:

Because we have, and all of us, honestly, at one point of time have created a fantasy and it’s a fantasy of how something’s supposed to look, how something’s supposed to come out, how something’s supposed to return in our life. And the more we’re actually have to have that fantasy come true, the harder it is to be adaptable, the harder it is to become resilient. And the truth is, is that our perceptions are only half-truths for the most part.

We’re only seeing usually more good or more bad. And then, where our energy flows is really just a manifestation of that, more of that creation. So it’s really, it’s about being vulnerable, but vulnerable is an effect from being your true, authentic self. And your true, authentic self is understanding that yeah, you have strengths and you have weaknesses. And the idea is to surround yourself with people, to be able to their strengths are your weaknesses.

So we actually have an even playing field to be able to grow, to be able to share that vision with, to be able to get ideas and quote unquote, how we even started, it was like, we had an argument, aka, a discussion. And we didn’t agree starting out and we went back and forth and she shared why she thought that it should CEO. And I shared why I thought it should be entrepreneur. And then we realized we were both right. And this is the fun thing about life is that-

Dr. Nicole:

Because I would never be wrong.

Dr. Nick:

Well, even when she’s wrong, she’s still right. So I’m wrong and she’s right, but there’s still the half wrong. But when we understand that both parties actually can be right and both parties can be wrong. And it’s not about looking at who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about being vulnerable because you’re being yourself and you’re wanting the best. You want the best for yourself. And you’re wanting the best for other people, as well as you’re wanting the best for the business. And that can be a win-win relationship. So when we can increase our awareness to what other intelligent people are thinking, be able to see their perceptions, combine that data together to be able to make a really qualitative decision and then take action on that to serve your greater vision.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah. A hundred percent. So, as we build off of this, because we’re going to be talking about the five struggles of a CEO is when you are not necessarily taking the time to truly be that visionary of the company, and you’re not taking the time to set the standard for what the culture is and to set the standard for how you’re even showing up for your clients is that this is going to create a ripple effect in both your product and the service that you put out to the general public. But it’s also going to create a ripple effect inside of your team. So you’re going to have individuals that are not necessarily feeling comfortable coming to meetings and bringing quality information to the table or challenging the new campaign or the new idea or the new vision or the Q2 plan. And you’re also going to find that either yourself and or your higher ups are venting the frustrations to other team members.

And this is definitely something that when you don’t have an executive team, and again, I’m talking about the individuals that are working directly with the CEO or the owner of the company. If you don’t have a strong executive team that is being honest, transparent, and all have permission to be their authentic selves, they’re going to have to voice their frustration somewhere else. Unfortunately, that’s usually going to be within the organization to their downward team. And this obviously creates a huge issue for culture and-

Dr. Nick:

Creates a wildfire.

Dr. Nicole:

It creates a massive wildfire. So we’re going to be getting into kind of how to negate this and how to create better communication and vulnerability and honesty and transparency within your organization, which then will lead to the results that we’re all striving for when we are setting up those benchmarks and those revenue goals in our business.

Dr. Nick:

So are we getting after that now or the next podcast?

Dr. Nicole:

Next one, don’t.

Dr. Nick:

I want to go. I want to go.

Dr. Nicole:

All right guys. So we will see you next time. We’re going to be talking about part two of the five struggles of an entrepreneur/CEO.

Dr. Nick:

You’ve reached the end of another episode of the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast. Connect with us at integrativegrowthinstitute.com. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive our free materials. See you at the next episode.

Dr. Nicole:

If you loved today’s episode of Integrative Entrepreneur podcast, please head over to iTunes, subscribe, rate, and leave us a review. It is very much appreciated. Thank you.


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