Ep #16: 5 Struggles of a CEO – Meetings, Vulnerability & Communication

In this episode, Dr. Nick & Dr. Nicole shed light on the true key to success in your business: communication. Whether you’re starting out or already running a large company, clear open dialogue helps keep your business and employees on the same page.

“In meetings when we’re fighting to be right… that comes from the ego.” - Dr. Nick

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Noteworthy Time Stamps:

2:55 Ask yourself *this* about communication

3:55 How to balance data & risk 

5:43 Comes down to communication

8:16 The why & mission

9:22 Why meetings are important

12:47 Asking for feedback

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 multimillion 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. All right, everyone. Welcome back. So we are on part two of the what, Nick?

Dr. Nick:

I have no idea. 

Dr. Nicole:

Literally if I didn’t intro every podcast, we’d just be screwed over here. But just to remind you what we’re talking about, we are talking about the five struggles of a CEO/entrepreneur. Welcome back. 

Dr. Nick:

Glad to be here.

Dr. Nicole:

So as we segue from the last part-

Dr. Nick:

Hold on. I need to defend myself.

Dr. Nicole:

Okay, okay. Were you sleeping? Is that what happened?

Dr. Nick:

No. If you look at my human design, I work best responding.

Dr. Nicole:

Oh, fantastic. So we do actually incorporate human design into the institute because of things like this, when you get frustrated as either a spouse, a business partner, and you’re just like, “What’s wrong with you?” It actually comes back to their human design. 

Dr. Nick:

We’re all wired different. We all function different. When we can understand that wiring, we can get along and use the other people more properly.

Dr. Nicole:

But you can still give them shit. That’s my rule. All right. So as we are getting into the topic, so we were talking a lot about the things that you really can’t delegate as being the head of the company. So again, if you’re calling yourself the CEO, if you’re calling yourself an entrepreneur, or if you’re just calling yourself the business owner, and also how you really need to build off of a strong foundation. So one of the key things we were talking about is how that strong foundation really comes back to the vision of your company, but it also comes back to the culture of your company. Because your culture trickles into how your employees are interacting with each other as well as with you and it’s also how they’re showing up for the customer or putting their love and TLC into the products that you’re creating. 

So when it comes to building this strong foundation, there’s a couple of things that need to be considered is do you have proper communication with your team and with your higher ups and their teams? This is really built on how your meetings are structured. If your team feels that it is appropriate for them to bring feedback and to be honest and transparent about different initiatives that are being launched and what may work and what might not work. It’s also comes back to the CEO of are you choosing certainty over clarity and are you pretty much having analysis paralysis? 

Dr. Nick:

I have so many things I want to talk about right now. 

Dr. Nicole:

Okay. We’re going to pause that because your face is all over. But this analysis paralysis is when we’re running a business, and obviously if we have a larger business, we have a lot at stake, so we need to use data. We need to use analytics. We really need to make sure we’re doing our due diligence to look at all of the moving parts. But at the same time is we have to balance that with also risk. Being polarized in one or the other can create its own set of issues. So it’s finding that balance. We’re going to really scratch the surface here because as we work with people through the institute, we dig into who they are, what they’re doing, how is their business functioning, what’s working, what’s not working. When you have those details and those intricacies, you can get really, really, really specific in finding that balance. 

Some companies, based off of what they’re offering to the public, is they sometimes have to lean more towards risk then other companies need to lean more towards data and analytics. Then some people, it’s really 50/50 in the middle. So just understand that nothing is black and white. I really say this across the board as business owners and being an entrepreneur. Nothing is black and white. So even what we’re talking about is there are some things that are going to be applicable to you and there’s some things that aren’t, or there’s some things that will become applicable later down the line. 

Dr. Nick:

I think you can use it all. It just depends how you use it and what “chapter” you’re in in your business right there. So it’s like if you’re in growth, or if you’re coming off of growth and kind of building up that strong foundation again to be able to grow upon again, or you can use the whole concepts just slightly different forms, depending on what chapter you’re in in business. One of the major things you were talking about, how my mind was going so crazy when you looked to my eyes and just all over the place, is really every single one of those problems, and I’ve said it in a previous podcast, is that every single issue that we have is a communication issue. 

When I say that is even when it comes to lack of buy-in, it’s a communication issue from above to below, so from the visionaries, the entrepreneur, the CEO, the executives, and how they’re able to communicate that vision, those goals, and do it in a way that’s actually you’re taking something objective and transferring that into subjective. Because when you look at the human behavior, we all make decisions based on emotions. Emotions are created from our belief systems. This is why communication is so important, because it’s not until you communicate the belief system, and the belief system when we really understand is just our beliefs have seen is something that is going to give us more benefits than drawbacks. We’re all designed to go away from pain and increase pleasure. 

So as soon as the clarity from the vision comes into and then we create proper meetings to be able to have the executives, have the managers, the directors, all become on the same page of the same belief, then we can sell that, then we can communicate that properly to all of our employees and eventually all of our customers. So every single issue that we have, not only in life, but in business, is really just comes down to a communication issue. That’s why you look at analysis paralysis, for the most part, that’s really just fear and there’s different forms of fear, but when we’re not taking action, it’s because we don’t have clarity or that aspect of not having clarity allows our belief system to be unbalanced so that our belief system, we’re not really sure about it, and that’s installing that fear, which isn’t allowing us to take action appropriately, and then we usually miss out on the opportunity. 

Dr. Nicole:

Well, I think that we should definitely go deeper into that fear aspect because I think that’s really, really valuable for people, but kind of segueing back to what you were talking about with moving away from pain and moving towards pleasure, especially when you’re presenting new ideas in a meeting style as a company is the communication that you’re describing, just for an example, is huge because, and the vulnerability aspect that we’re talking about and the transparency and the fact that your team would feel comfortable with saying this out loud, because when you present something new, and we’ve had this experience a million times, is that if it’s not super clear as to why and how it goes back to the mission and how it goes back to the values of the company, people just start thinking, “Wow, well, this quarter is going to suck. I’m going to have so much on my plate. Great. I’m going to be working 80 hours a week, still making my same salary. Well, this is going to suck.”

They’re not going to say that out loud, unless you have a culture that is built around that transparency and honesty, and that people feel comfortable to voice those concerns. At that moment, you then have the opportunity to negate that fear or negate all the drawbacks that that person’s thinking about and to say, “Okay, well, actually, my vision is I’m actually going to hire someone in your department so that you’re not going to have as much on your plate as you think that you do. What I really want you to focus on is this, and then I’m going to have other people doing X, Y, and Z.” Then the person is like, “Oh gosh. Great. Amazing.”

Dr. Nick:

Sometimes, us having the big vision up on top, we miss those small aspects. That’s why meetings are so important to be able to have that “vulnerability” to come in and to be like, “Yeah, 100% I see how this is going to move the needle forward for the business. But these are some of my concerns.” Then that’s awesome because it’s really comes back to Ray Dalio in one of his favorite principals had to take from him is let’s get in that disagreement, let’s get in that “argument” with somebody that’s crazy smart and disagrees with what I’m thinking. Then we can use both of that awareness come together really the best decision for the business. One thing that you said very quickly that so many times that we’re going into meetings and we’re fighting to be right and not wanting to be wrong, that comes from back to the ego, that comes back from being selfish. When we’re egolly driven, it’s never for the best interest of the business or anybody on our team. 

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah. Just one final thing I do want to say about this as well is as the CEO of the company, you do have to be a miner of conflict. So constantly mining for conflict. What I mean by that is the same exact scenario that I just described that Betty is now like, “Great. I’m going to have so much work on my plate with this new initiative or this new campaign.” When you’re trying to implement better communication and you’re trying to invite your team to speak on behalf of things that they’re thinking and speak on behalf of things that they feel like are not going to work or things that are stressing them out or making them overwhelmed or frustrated, it doesn’t happen overnight. They are not going to take you seriously unless you are truly taking the initiative to invite that. 

So when you have a meeting and you present something like that, it’s crickets, but you just feel that the energy in the room goes down and you look at Betty’s face and she just now has this face of despair is, “Hey, what’s going on? I really would love to hear what’s going on in your mind because there might’ve been something that is misunderstood. There might be an opportunity for us to give you more support in your department or there might be something that I’m missing that you can tell me on how we can roll this out more smoothly.” So you have to get really comfortable with being able to mine that conflict and call people out and say, “Hey, I noticed you shifted after we talked about this. I really would love your feedback.” That’s how you’re going to build the ability for your teams to get more and more comfortable with bringing really important things to the table. 

So don’t take it for granted that just because you said it once, that now everyone’s going to bring their concerns to the table. They’re going to think like, “Oh, this might be this woo-woo initiative that we have and it’s going to be over in two weeks,” unless you are truly sticking with it and saying like, “Hey, I really would love your feedback because I kind of noticed that you shifted a little bit after we were talking about this.”

Dr. Nick:

Understanding it’s not what you do, but how you do it is so important. So when we’re looking for feedback, there’s a very intelligent way to go about it. Because as we’ve talked in previous podcasts, if we ask for feedback in the wrong way, it can destruct literally something in seconds that’s taken us hours to days to weeks to months to build. So it’s really about intelligently using that energy and the compound to grow and not construct. So when we’re asking for feedback, it’s like when we see, and this is something to constantly train on, but when we see opportunities or problems, we need to shout out the problems even if it’s before the problem that has occurred, but then follow it up with these are the possible solutions. This is why teams are so important and meetings are so important so we can actually have the diverse aspect of awareness to be able to come into those solutions. 

It’s one of the things I learned from NASA is that NASA, they have a diverse cultural team every time they go up to space and they understand because everybody from a different culture has a different program of learning. When we can see things “differently”, we can disagree, but we can use that disagreement to be able to have a diversity of concepts, of subjective and objective data to be able to put together and then get the most amount of clarity so we can have the best decision to move forward. 

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah, 100%. I know that I said, I wanted to circle back to fear around making decisions in your business, but I know this is going to spiral into a podcast of its own. So I am actually opting for that to be part three of this series of the five struggles of a CEO or entrepreneur, because I’m going to let you roll with all your human behavior stuff.

Dr. Nick:

So now we’re going from five to six. Maybe that’s why I didn’t know the title. 

Dr. Nicole:

We’re still at five. Don’t you worry. Don’t you worry, my friend. All right guys. So we hope you really enjoyed this segment and I really can’t press enough how important this is. For those of you that are kind of in the weeds and busy, I know all of this sounds like a lot to implement and you probably don’t even know where to start, but this is where the institute comes in because when we do what we call our triple D, we do an actual deep dive into your business and figure out exactly where the breaks in the foundation are and why you potentially feel like the hamster on the wheel or why communication is not going as planned or why you’re not executing on your vision or why you’re not meeting the financial goals that you’re trying to meet. So it’s really, really all about how you do it.

Again, this is something that we say in integrative medicine so much is you don’t know what you don’t know, because I sure as hell didn’t know what I didn’t know before I started to dive into all of these different gurus in business and taking pieces from each one and starting to really reflect and analyze my business and realizing it wasn’t about poor marketing. It wasn’t about lack of marketing spend. It wasn’t about having a bad sales team. It wasn’t about my website and the colors and the social media, my Instagram looking beautiful. It wasn’t about any of that. It was about what was happening internally. It was about the organizational health. 

It was about not having the right people in the right seats. It was about not having standards on who we were and how we showed up for our customers. That’s what it’s about. This not only helps your business grow, but it also gives you your life back as an entrepreneur and allows you to truly, truly love your business, but also to like regain loving your life. Because so many of us get so consumed by our businesses that we lose track of what are we doing this for.

Dr. Nick:

Literally everything you said right there was amazing because it just showed that everything is going back is not foundational work. It’s trying to make everything pretty, do all the finishing.

Dr. Nicole:

It’s patching the holes. Your beautiful Instagram that you just spent 10 grand on somebody to redo and give you your fancy color palette and font pallet. That shit doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s a nice aesthetic, but it only is effective when it’s being built on a amazing mission and a company that has values that want to help humanity. That’s what goes the mile. We were joking that some of our favorite people in both the business space and the integrative medicine space, they have the ugliest social media, but they’re on there and they’re putting out free amazing content to help people. That’s why they’re popular and that’s why they’re doing amazing work in their field. It’s not because they hired someone to make it look super pretty. Nick’s like, “I don’t know anything about social media.” All right guys. So we will be back with talking about analysis paralysis and your business and how it is affecting your decision-making and how that fun little word fear pops in. What’s your acronym for fear?

Dr. Nick:

False evidence appearing real. 

Dr. Nicole:

All right, guys. We’ll see you on the next one.

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:

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