This post really got under my skin

I saw someone post recently on Facebook how they had been disappointed many times last year trying to work with various service providers who were promising things they couldn’t actually do, were late on delivering or were flat out disappearing on them.

That wasn’t the part that got under my skin though – it was the 100+ comments on her post that all echoed the same thing:

“I’ve paid so much in the last year for promises of DFY that simply haven’t been delivered”
“My expectations have crumbled after the last 2 years of poor support.”
“I’ve tried to hire multiple people and end up doing it myself every time.”
“I have heard so many stories about service providers who just don’t do the work.”
“After waiting all year for completion of this project I was heartbroken to find we were going to have to start it all over again.”

The frustrating part is that I know that there are amazing service providers out there who do great work. They want nothing more than to serve their clients and bring their best to the table.

And yet here we are – with a bevy of disappointed business owners who are desperate to hire folks to ‘do the work’ and feeling constantly let down.

So what is causing this breakdown? Why are folks feeling so disappointed and discouraged when it comes to hiring DFY service providers? And – more importantly – how do we change that? <– Because there is SOOOO much opportunity underneath all of this disappointment!

My experience in business gives me insight into both sides of this coin. I spent the first 10 years of my business as a 1-1 service provider and have continued to train, mentor and certify folks for the last 15 years. I also have over a decade of experience not only hiring folks for my own team but helping hundreds of other CEOs do the same.

To be clear – this is not a one-sided issue. I hear as many frustrations and complaints from the service provider side of things as I do from the folks hiring them. They are feeling this too.

The bottom line is this – there is a serious disconnect going on right now in our industry. The two sides are not ‘matching up’ in a way that allows everyone to work successfully together.

The folks hiring aren’t always clear on what they need – and service providers aren’t always clear on what they offer.

There are a lot of assumptions being made and not enough agreements.

Communication and leadership skills are lacking.

Service providers are being encouraged out of the DFY services that folks actually want to hire them for, leaving them struggling to find clients and business owners struggling to hire.

Folks aren’t sure how to work through the tough-stuff together so they default to ending the relationship when it very well could be fixed (I see this happening on both sides.)

I’m thinking of writing a series on this topic that I’m loosely calling The Bridge – how do we build a bridge between each other that allows for a successful working relationship? If you are interested in this comment below and let me know…

Enough is enough. It’s time to come together.

Business advice that just doesn’t work for me (no matter how hard I try!)

“If you want to be successful you have to focus on offering just one thing”

I can’t do just one thing. I’m simply not wired that way.

I’ve tried… oh how I’ve tried to do just one thing! But every time I try to put myself in a box – to find my “one thing” and focus on just that – I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.

Then I start the cycle all over again. “Maybe this thing over here is my one thing!” I focus on that for a while and then the same thing happens again. I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.

It hit me recently – what if the “one thing” model just isn’t for me?

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the one thing model. There is a tonne of value in focusing on just one thing. And I do think it’s important in the early stages of business to do just this.

But I’ve been in business now for over 20 years. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve got loads of experience. And the truth is I like – and am really good at – a number of things!

  • I’m amazing at helping business owners refine their offers to focus on their genius, make more money and attract new opportunities that are 100% aligned to who they are. (I did a refinement session on Monday with a client and she signed up a client the next day with her new offer! Hot damn, how cool is that?)
  • I’m amazing at helping CEOs develop their leadership, hire the right people and empower their team to run the business without them.
  • I’m amazing at helping leaders who have created a body of work turn that into a certification or licensing program that leaves a legacy and creates passive income.

I do all of these things already. I am working with clients in all of these areas at the moment. And I’m going to continue to do so.

No more trying to put myself in a box. I can offer all of these things and still be a successful business owner. I daresay it’s a lot more fun this way too!

I’m curious – do you consider yourself more of a “one thing” kind of business owner? Or a “many things” owner like me?

If you struggle with asking for help, you are going to struggle with your team.

Believe me I get it – I’m the queen of self sufficiency. Of thinking that I ‘should’ be able to take care of everything on my own.

When folks ask me how they can help my default response is almost always a variation of: “I’m good. Everything is fine. I’m OK. I’ve got it. No worries.”

These things run deep for some of us – we are ingrained to feel like we have to take care of almost everything. It’s something I’ve had to learn how to overcome in my business, and it’s still something that I struggle with from time to time.
But if we can’t ask for – and receive! – help, we are setting ourselves up for a slew of stress and problems with our team.
We may struggle to see what to even ask for help with because we are so habituated to doing it all ourselves. (I don’t even know what someone can do for me?)
When we do know that we want help with something, we aren’t sure how to ask in an effective and clear way (A common scenario I see is that we think we asked for help with something but in reality, our team member wasn’t clear on what we asked for or thought we were just talking about stuff and didn’t realize you were asking for something at all.)
We hold back on asking for help with certain things because we think they won’t want to do it or we don’t want to bug them (I can’t tell you how many clients have said to me “Well I don’t like doing this thing so I can’t ask them to do it for me”…. yes, you can. that’s what they are there for. 😉
And the biggest ‘ooof’ of all is when we have folks on our team who are asking to take things off our plate “I can help you with this. How about I take a look at that for you? Are you sure you still want to be the one doing this?” But we say no because deep down inside we feel like we have to be the one doing everything.
I can tell you, from the other side of the coin, that this is highly frustrating for the people you hire. They really want to help but they either a) aren’t clear on what you want help with or b) feel like they have tried to help out in various ways but that you aren’t ready to let go. And they end up feeling like they aren’t being helpful at all.
Asking for help from your team is a learned skill (I teach my clients the 4 A’s of asking) And receiving that help is an equally important skill to learn as well!

If you are feeling like there is a disconnect between you and your team when it comes to asking for support, my Empowered Team Session could be right up your alley (and yes, we can shift this in just one session together.)

An unexpected identity crisis

2010 was the year that I hired my first OBM Tiffany.

I had VA support already for a few years at that point, but this was my first time hiring management-level support.

Now Tiffany jumped right into the role with both feet and rocked it. She took over managing the team, all the projects and generally making sure everything was running smoothly in the business.

Awesome right? This is exactly what I was looking for (and as a side note – this is exactly what we teach our Certified OBMs to do).

So I was REALLY surprised a few months into our working relationship to find myself questioning whether or not we should continue to work together.

Say what Tina? Why the heck would you want to stop working with someone who was doing an amazing job?

I remember waking up one morning in a bit of a panic. I was feeling useless in my own business.

The team was no longer coming to me with questions and for guidance – they went to Tiffany instead.

I no longer had to check in on projects and make sure stuff was getting done – Tiffany was on top of it.

I wasn’t the one who had my finger on the pulse of every little thing going on anymore – you guessed it, Tiffany was taking care of it.

And I didn’t know what to do with myself.

The question that kept running through my mind was
“If I’m no longer needed for these things in my business – then what value am I bringing to the table? What is my role here?” Cue the identity crisis.

Thankfully I was working with a coach at the time and I reached out to him with that exact question.

He reminded me that my role was no longer about managing the business. “You are at the stage now Tina where your business needs you to lead – not to manage. Every level of success requires you to let go of something and you are at the point where it’s time to let go of managing. It’s time to be the CEO.”

We worked together to define what my role as CEO was. To identify all the things that I no longer had to take care of, and the things that I was now freed up to spend more time on (which for me was writing, teaching and coaching alongside the higher level leadership activities that my business needed from me.)

I remember so clearly being at a crossroads that day and seeing two paths laid out in front of me.

One direction was the old, worn path that I was used to. The path of being involved in every little nitty gritty detail of my business. Where I was the hub of everything going on with the team and projects. This was what I was used to doing (habit!) and it was something that I knew how to do well. I felt needed. I felt important. And even though it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing anymore, it was comfortable and the temptation to go down that path again was strong!

The other direction was about stepping into my leadership and becoming the CEO I knew I was meant to be. To let go of what I no longer needed to be doing and step into the (sometimes scary) things that my business was calling me to.

Thankfully I chose the second path – and although it’s been bumpy at times it truly has made all the difference in the world. If I had chosen the first path I know I would have sabotaged my working relationship with Tiffany. I would have stuck my nose back into things I didn’t need to be involved in. And we probably wouldn’t have worked together for very long after that as I would have gotten in the way. We ended up working together for 8 years before she left to start her agency. 🙂

It’s funny how sometimes we KNOW we need to make changes in what we are doing. We may even WANT to make those changes and bring more people onto the team to help.

But when we make those changes we find ourselves in uncharted territory. We may not know what to do with ourselves. If we are uncertain about what our new role is, then it’s really easy to slide back into our old one.

This is why the very first thing I do with every leadership client I work with is helping them redefine their CEO role – to create a new identity. To look at what they do best, what they want to do and what their business needs from them and to turn that into an inspiring and exciting role. Only then can we take a deeper look at their team and leadership, knowing that they won’t slide back into the ‘old habits’ of what their role used to be.

Some of my clients don’t like hearing this (at first)

I do a lot of work with CEOs around their teams.

They come to me when they’ve tried hiring multiple times and can’t seem to find the right person.

When the people on their team keep ‘bugging’ them (asking questions, waiting to be told what to do next)

When folks keep making mistakes that they have to turn around and fix.

As a default, it’s easy to think it’s about the person they’ve hired.

“Try as I might Tina, I just can’t seem to find good people. Where are all the good people?”

My response is the part they sometimes don’t like to hear.

“Let’s take a look at your leadership first.”

In my experience, when someone is struggling with the same problems in their team over and over again there is something missing in their leadership.

  • It might be something in the hiring process that leads to making a poor hire.
  • It might be the way they are delegating and setting expectations.
  • It might be a gap in communication and how the team is being managed day to day.
  • It might be how they are handling mistakes when they happen.

This can be a hard pill to swallow because it means admitting that we don’t know how to lead very well (yet.)

But the good news is this – when the problem is in our leadership, WE have the power to fix it!

One of my favorite leadership principles is this:

A leader looks in the mirror first – at their leadership – before blaming the person they’ve hired.

But it’s not always clear where the gap in our leadership is, and this is exactly why I’ve created a new assessment to help folks struggling with their teams. They feel like they are constantly caught up in team issues and unsure how to fix it. Your assessment includes a 90-minute diagnostic session with me to identify where the problems are and lay out 2 or 3 ACTIONABLE steps for you to take with your team and in your leadership.

If this is of interest to you click here for more information.

Figuring it out yourself vs. getting help

I was the kid who never raised her hand in school.

Even when I had questions. Even when I was stuck on something.

There was some part of me that felt like I had to just figure it out on my own. Or that maybe asking questions would make me look stupid or something? I’m not totally sure of the psychology behind it all, but I do know this:

I took pride in being able to figure it out on my own. In not needing other people’s help.

This carried through much of my life, including the earlier years of my business.

We live in an interesting time in the world, where the answer to literally ANYTHING is at our fingertips… and we don’t even need to pay for it.

All we have to do is pop it into a search bar or post it in a Facebook group and BAM! Instant answers to our questions. There are books. YouTube videos. Heck, even TikTok is considered a search engine these days!

So if we have all the answers available to us, why is it that we aren’t all magically moving forward in our businesses?

Yes, there are many aspects to this – mindset, accessibility, privilege and various other factors play into our success.

But if we look strictly through the lens of information – why is it that we get stuck when the answers are all around us?

Because information isn’t enough – we need to know what to do with it. We need to be able to figure out “how does this apply to me?” <– And that is the hard part. That’s the part that requires help from others.

I spoke to a woman earlier this week who is creating a training program around her work (and eventually a certification). I invited her to join my Creating Your Framework workshop which is designed to help take all of that stuff out of our heads – the stuff we just “do without thinking about it” – and turn it into a clear, trainable process.

She just got back to me this morning to say that she’s decided not to join us and is going to try doing it by herself first.

My first thought was “but that is going to make it so much harder for you!!” (My second thought was “where could I have done a better job in the selling process?” <– always important to consider that too)

Granted yes, she may very well figure this out on her own. But I KNOW for a fact that my workshop would at the very least help her get a strong start and sort through all the aspects of creating a solid training based on her framework.

So what is it that makes us feel like we have to figure it out on our own?

I’ve made the same decision myself MANY times over the years when given the opportunity for support and deciding “nah, I’ll figure it out on my own”.

Sometimes the decision is based on money – the cost is either out of my means or the ROI doesn’t feel worth it for that particular thing. (This is a totally legit reason to say no.)

Or I may feel like the person actually won’t be able to give me the support I’m looking for. Either it’s not a right fit or my gut is saying something is off.

But more often than not, when I’m saying no to support it’s because I’m defaulting back to that old habit of “I can figure this out on my own.”

The part of me that feels like I SHOULD be able to figure it out on my own. Or that I’m weak or stupid for having to ask for help.

These things run deep for some of us! And I can’t help but wonder… what is the cost?

Because I know for a fact, that when I do ask for a receive help – things progress much differently.

I actually started this year telling myself, “Tina, you don’t need to spend any money on coaching this year. You are a smart cookie so let’s just figure this out on our own k?”

And guess what… I spent the first half of the year stalled. Stuck. Swimming around in my own confusion but not making any decisions or progress.

I got sick and tired of myself about halfway through the year (ha!), hired two coaches and guess what… things are moving forward again. I’m feeling clear and focused on what I’m doing (for the first time in a long time). I’ve got my mojo back again!

Could I have gotten to this space without hiring the help of those two coaches? Maybe I would have BUT I know for sure it would have taken SOOO much longer.

I’m curious – do you default to thinking you have to “figure it out on my own”? Where do you feel like that gets in the way? (either for you or your clients!)