On this episode Josh speaks with Les Dossey, Founder and President of Entre Coach. They talk about simplification in the business process, particularly around team members and rolls.
Les Dossey is a lifelong entrepreneur with many battle scars. His life and career is riddled with wins and losses and volumes of learning. A string of personal tragedies including the loss of his first son led to a personal collapse in 1998.
Out of necessity, Les began exploring and experimenting with various ways to rejuvenate and redeem himself and his future. As a result he accumulated and developed growth concepts, thinking tools, and strategic processes that transformed his life.
With his freedom restored and his future big and bright Les decided to develop a coaching system to share his ideas, and growth strategies with his personal heroes, ambitious entrepreneurs.
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- What is too complicated and we might need to simplify?
- How you can simplify the process of adding employees?
- What metrics can help you assess whether or not someone is good for your team?
- How not to get to too simple with simplification?
- Where does resourcefulness fit in with personal responsibility?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business podcast.
Today, my guest is Les Dossey. Les is the owner of Entre Coach Inc. For the, few minutes before we went live here, Les was telling me a little bit about his business background. Like me, he seems to be this multiple entrepreneur who’s done tons of businesses over the year. The thing that really caught my attention about Les, and one of the reasons I wanted to have him on the podcast, is that his guiding principle is simplification. It’s also one of my core values. It’s one of my beliefs that people in business make simple things complicated and the result of that they step on their toes more than they need to. Let’s start the conversation.
Hey, Les. How are you today?
Les: Good, Josh. How are you? Thanks for having me on.
Josh: I’m really pleased to have you on. In fact, our conversation, before we started, has gotten me even excited about having you on. Let’s start with a conversation and talk about simplification.
Les: Well, I think it’s human nature, especially amongst entrepreneurs, to add unnecessary complication to the daily function of their lives. That complication or complexity seems to exist both in their business and their personal life. And so, if we can bring some simplification to all of those things, then the business can continue to grow. It’s the complexity that stops it from growing.
Josh: Can you give me an example of what is too complicated and we might need to simplify so we know what we’re talking about?
Les: Yes. Let me put it in context, okay?
Les: I work with a specific type of entrepreneur.
Josh: What type would that be?
Les: Well, already successful so I’m not working with startups. The minimum criteria that I use to qualify a prospect is that they have to have been in business for a minimum of three years.
Les: They have to, at a minimum, have a small team around them.
Les: They have to be very ambitious. The way I define that is they want to see how far they can go, how far they can grow. And so, their mindset is that they view growth as a lifetime activity. They’re not doing what they do so that they can retire to a beach wherever. They’re doing what they’re doing because they enjoy the journey. They enjoy transforming obstacles into new capabilities. They enjoy creating new value. They love what they do. And they get rewarded for doing it. And so, they would never want to stop doing it. And so, I work with that sort of niched-down type of entrepreneur.
One of the challenges that I had, early on in my career, was that, as we got traction and started achieving some success, we began to cobble together systems. Over time, the cobbling together of those systems, created unnecessary complexity. And so, what we had to do was look at all of those systems and find ways to begin to integrate them so that they truly did work well together.
I find the same thing is true now. These entrepreneurs who are already successful, already have some mad capabilities – some mad skill but still have cobbled together systems running the operation of their business. And so, looking at those systems and figuring out which ones work really well, and which ones are deficient, and how they don’t connect well with each other is one area where simplification can be brought to the operation of the business.
You and I both know, Josh, that the main reason or the main area where complication or complexity builds is every new hire because people are so unique.
Josh: Interesting. How would you simplify the process of adding employees?
Les: A couple of things. We use a couple of assessments. One’s called Extended DISC. The Extended DISC is interesting because it gives who a person is naturally. And also, who they perceive they need to be.
Les: And so, sometimes that perception is wrong. And so, they’re trying to be something that they’re not. And so, that creates problems.
The other is Kolbe and I think you’ve done a Kolbe interview before – the Kolbe Index.
Josh: Actually, I use both of those instruments myself.
Les: Ah, beautiful. Yeah, yeah.
So using both of those helps me help the entrepreneur to move people around and get them in the right seat, doing the right things, doing the right things right. When you can systematically go through an organization and bring that kind of order to the human factor then, when people are doing what they were born to do, everything rises. If you can get everybody in your organization doing what they’re supposed to do, being who they are, then it really brings a lot of simplification to the operation of the business.
Josh: Do you do much work around roles? Because I’m sitting here, thinking and saying, “You know, if I was going to simplify my human resources, meaning the people in the business, I would first make sure I had the right people on the bus, meaning they’re the right people for my company. They’re a good values match for what the company values are. The second is having them in the right seat meaning that they’re in the seat that they’re mean to be in for what their skill set is. Jim Collins calls that “right person, right seat.”
Les: We do a couple of things. We created a concept called the Circle of Effectiveness. Using Extended DISC and Kolbe, we can then define what someone’s circle of effectiveness is. The idea is that we want to get everybody on the team, inside of their circle of effectiveness, and draw a line around them, so to speak, a theoretical line around them and help them see that their best performances are going to come, their best contributions are going to come, their highest level of productivity is going to come from staying inside their circle of effectiveness. What tends to happen is there’s a lot of creep outside of a person’s circle of effectiveness and they’re spending a lot of energy and time trying to produce something that they’re really not gifted or talented enough to do, and/or they’re wearing themselves out and wearing everybody else out as a result.
That’s one that we use is the Circle of Effectiveness. It’s a visual that helps the entrepreneur and all the people on his team to understand how to increase productivity, profitability, pleasure, and fulfillment which is kind of the four metrics we use to bring simplification to the human factor inside of a business. If those four things – if the productivity, profitability, pleasure, and fulfillment – we’re hitting 9 and 10 on those, then, man, you’ve got a really healthy, running organization.
Josh: Yeah, it sounds that way to me.
One of the things that I would be thinking about as I’m putting these circles together is, “What’s the role in the company I need people to play?” I need people with really different skill sets, personality sets because if we have everybody the same in the company, we’re going to have some giant holes and things that need to be done well.
For example, I’m an incredibly conceptual human being. I think everything in conceptual. I can see what’s going to happen 30 years from now and it’s clear as a bell. But if you ask me to do a bookkeeping project and you ask me to go step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. By the time I get to step 3, I’m trying to figure out how to get to step 10 and skip all the other steps. Not the best thing for a bookkeeper.
Josh: It seems to me that one of things we can do to simplify is be very clear about what the different roles are in the company and make sure that we hire people for those roles who are a good fit.
Les: I agree. We use a real simple concept called process- or project-oriented people. And so, part of the operation of the organization requires process-oriented people which would be accountants, and administrators, and others who like to fall into a system and follow it day-in and day‑out. They’re delighted to follow a checklist every day and that provides them with a great deal of comfort. And so, productivity, profitability, pleasure and fulfillment is something that they’re experiencing because they’re aligned properly with the work that’s required.
And then, the project-oriented people, they like a new project every day. They want a new experience. They want to go off into the wilderness and bring order to the chaos.
Josh: Or they want to bring chaos to the order? One or the other [laughs].
Les: Well, yeah, right, right, right.
And so, if you separate them that simply – project-oriented/process-oriented people, it makes it much easier to move the pieces around on the gameboard. Using extended DISC and Kolbe makes it possible, say, scientifically, to figure all of that out.
Josh: If you use them properly, I would agree with you.
Les: There are some mindsets at play there, too. One of the mindsets that we help our entrepreneurs develop. This is something that came to me back in the early parts of my coaching career, I got thinking about all the relationships that were in my immediate circle. I don’t know how I ended up thinking this way but I began to think, “I want to get into great teamwork with all the people in my world.”
And so, I thought, “What would it take for me to get into great teamwork with myself? What would it take to get into great teamwork with my wife? What would it take to get into great teamwork with the people inside of my organization?” And so, when we’re working with entrepreneurs, that’s the conversation we’re having over, and over, and over again. “Are you in great teamwork with all the people in your world?” If not, what’s it going to take to get into great teamwork?”
And then, we created a little scorecard. The scorecard’s called ADD GRIT, A-D-D G-R-I-T. It’s seven mindsets. It’s seven metrics to help an entrepreneur assess whether or not that person on their team– in other words, that they’re in teamwork with, is moving in the right directions in all of those areas.
Josh: Can you tell us what a few of those metrics might be?
Les: Sure. The first one is aligned.
Now, the other side of that, I said, to help the entrepreneur assess his person, it’s also to help the person assess themselves because there’s always two sides to the relationship, sometimes the reason that the person on the team isn’t aimed at all the right targets has nothing to do with that person. It’s got to do with the way that the systems, and the vision, and the mission were set up by the entrepreneur. And so, both sides have to come together and do the work in order to get 9’s and 10’s in each of those mindsets, on ADD GRIT.
The first one is aligned. The 9 to 10 mindset is, “I’m in alignment with the vision and mission, and the core values, and the core focus because I get it. I understand it. It’s clear, concise and compelling to me.”
Josh: Okay, so that requires the company to have a clear mission and core values.
Josh: In my opinion, that’s step number one in creating what we call the sustainable business.
Les: I would agree.
That is something that has to be worked on over time. As you bring new people onto the team through growth then, if you’re not continually communicating the vision, the mission, the core values, and the core focus, it gets watered down. If I’m the one who created that and now I’ve communicated it to my team, and my team has communicated it to their team and we bring somebody new in, by the time it gets to the third or fourth level, it’s gotten watered down. And so, I, as the entrepreneur – as the visionary, have to continually communicate the vision, mission, core values, and core focus in order to keep everybody on the team aimed at all the right directions and in true alignment.
Josh: I was just about to use the word visionary. It’s a Gino Wickman role that he talks about in Traction all the time. In my opinion, the entrepreneur or owner of the company, really only has three roles to play. That’s holder of the vision, making sure you’re delivering the service that you promised, and making sure enough sales are coming into the door.
Les: Yeah, they’re typically the chief rainmaker so I would agree with you.
Josh: Yeah, especially on a small service business which is where I spend a lot of time these days.
Okay, so what’s the next thing you’ve got on the list? Because I think the first one is absolutely right on the money.
Les: Some of this does come from learning from Gino. The second one is desire. “Do they have the desire?” They could be in alignment mentally. They could say, “Yeah, I agree with your mission and vision” but not have the desire to deliver on it. And so, that’s the next one. Do they have desire? Is all of themselves committed to making the vision and mission a reality?
Josh: In the Kolbe Index, you’re basically measuring four areas. When we hire, we have what we call the will do. The will do is, “Are they willing to do the activities for the role they’re playing that will make them successful?” In my opinion, the best instrument, in the universe, to measure that is Kolbe because it talks about energy.
Les: I agree.
Josh: If I need someone to be detailed and they don’t have the energy to be detailed, no matter how much I like that person, I can’t put him in that role because they’re not going to be successful.
Les: I agree. It goes back to the project-oriented/process-oriented.
Josh: Right. That’s certainly a piece. The problem with simplification is we get to too simple every once and a while. The two excesses is fine but I find businesses have more than two as far as will do’s go, kind of, things people need to be doing to be successful.
Some of it actually goes past Kolbe but it actually, sort of, does go to Kolbe is that I might need someone in a role that’s curious. Well, if they’re curious, they’re probably going to be at least medium to high in fact finding, meaning that they’re going to do research to figure something out. For them to do research, they have to have some curiosity in the first place.
Josh: Getting the right person in the business happens to be one of my really big hot buttons these days [laughs].
Les: Yeah, no worries.
Josh: Third thing now. Go ahead.
Les: Yes. The third one is “Can they deliver? Do they have the capability of delivering in their role?” If they don’t, then do they still fit? And if they do still fit, then what has to happen in order to move them into the position or the role so that the requirements of that role are aligned with who they are naturally. How they naturally take action to produce a result.
And then, the G for the beginning of GRIT is guts. Do they have the guts because, to work for an entrepreneurial company, you have to be courageous.
Josh: Well, you’re so right about that. I have a daughter who’s continually not looking at– she’s taken some jobs on where she’s not a good fit because she doesn’t want to be fighting that sort of “nothing makes sense” entrepreneurial world.
Les: Well, all new growth in an entrepreneurial company comes through being courageous, so guts is important.
The next one. R is resourcefulness. “Do they have access to their own resourcefulness?” and “Is that resourcefulness expressed in their daily behavior?” Are they going out and finding answers to the problems that they’re encountering or are they waiting for somebody else to solve them for them?
Josh: How hard is it to find somebody who’s resourceful?
Les: Not hard at all once you identify the criteria by which you’re interviewing someone. You set it up so that question that you’re asking trigger their resourcefulness. If they’re not resourceful, when asked the question then, pretty quickly, you can figure out whether or not they have resourcefulness or not.
It’s an interesting thing too, Josh, because every new entrepreneur that I bring on board has lost some access to their own resourcefulness. What we had to do is develop a way for them to regain access to their resourcefulness. Part of that comes through helping them to bring some simplification to their thinking.
Resourcefulness is everything. It’s never a lack of resources. It’s always a lack of resourcefulness.
Josh: Yeah, I think that’s probably true.
Where does resourcefulness fit in with personal responsibility? Is there any cross thing there?
Les: I think it’s probably personal responsibility, or extreme ownership as Jocko Willink would say, or 100% responsibility as I would say. It’s everything. If a person isn’t taking extreme ownership of the state of their business and life, the state of their profession and life, then they’re going to have less resourcefulness than somebody who does. When you take extreme ownership for everything that’s happening and the condition of your world, you at least are in a position where you can do something about it. If you’re playing the victim, then you’ve stripped yourself of the power to do anything – somebody else is to blame.
Josh: When I had my vending company, we used to have posters all over the company. The poster, essentially, was a green responsible with a line and below it, in red, was “lay blame and justify”. When someone was having a conversation with me and they were doing blaming and justifying – they weren’t being responsible, I would just point at the poster and say, “What are you doing now?”
Les: [laughs] good stuff.
Josh: It was incredibly effective.
Again, it goes into the core values, is that I can’t be involved in a business where one of the core values is not personal responsibility. I just can’t do it.
Les: Me neither.
Josh: I’m not going to be successful. I’m going to really piss off the owner of the company because I’m going to be in their face saying, “You’re the problem. Look in the mirror.” I had a client like that and he ended up firing me because I kept saying, “Look in the mirror” and he didn’t want to do that.
Les: Right on. Right on.
Josh: That happens, I guess.
We’re just about out of time. Before we leave, Les, I want you to tell everyone who’s listening how they can find you because, frankly, the stuff you’re talking about is really important. If you’re a good match for Les, I really encourage you to have a conversation with him.
How do people find you?
Les: That’s pretty easy. My website is E-N-T-R-E – which is the first half of entrepreneur, entre.coach, so entre.coach.
Josh: I want to thank you all for stopping by today. This is Josh Patrick.
I also have an offer for you. I have a one-page infographic. I like one-page things. It talks about the success path for what we call Cracking the Cash Flow Code. The thing that I can promise you with all entrepreneurs is that none of us have enough cash to run our business properly and almost none of us have enough cash to fill the four buckets of financial independence.
Click on the link below. Get our free infographic. You’ll find that it’s probably valuable for you and figure out where you are on the road to cracking the cash flow code.
Again, this is Josh Patrick. You’ve been at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.