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Serial Entrepreneur Club – EP73: 21 Ways to Lead a Motivated Team


You are on Startup Club. And this is the show that we run every Friday, two o’clock Eastern called the Serial Entrepreneur Club hour. And today we’re talking all about how to make your team productive, how to motivate, how to hire, how to keep employees, how to get more out of employees. It’s a challenging thing.

You know, we are in a very difficult time when it comes to hiring employees for startups. If you are a big corporation, you have the budget not so tough visit, but if you’re a startup, it’s a little bit tricky to hire or motivate and keep employees in today’s environments. Hello, Jeff. Hello, Colin. How are you?

Very good. And I know you’re recovering from COVID. [00:01:00] So. Congratulations for joining the club and surviving. Um, it finally caught me, but, uh, for several years of avoiding it finally did. Right. All right. So we’re just kicking it off right now. And I was, uh, reading the wall street journal this morning. Uh, Jeff and Mimi.

Um, and I just wanted to read a little bit of that. The companies have been fo laser focused on filling job vacancies for more than the, for most of the past year. They’ve raised wages. They’ve lowered barriers, such as experience requirements and retooled hiring to make on the spot offers as an effort to reduce shortages that keep them from filling orders and keeping customers happy.

Now, these efforts have helped the us economy we’re back to pre pandemic levels. The unemployment rate was 3.5%. I know this morning, they announced it went up to 3.7%, but the fact remains that we have a very tight labor market. And it’s very difficult for [00:02:00] startups in this environment to find employees, to motivate them and to keep them Michele, I know you had a few thoughts on this one, but before you, we jump to you, Michele, if you think this is a topic of interest and you’re on stage or you’re in the audience, I’m gonna ask that you share the room.

There’s a button right on the bottom left corner. Not the far left is the one on the second left and I’m doing it right now. And just simply click on, share on clubhouse. And cause I think this is a topic that a lot of startups could really use help with. How can we create productive environments in our workplace?

Michele, I love this topic and I think it’s great here. We are on the, um, Eve of labor day, but it’s always applicable. So I’m gonna jump right in. I have a whole list of them. I’m sure our members in the audience have a lot to say about this as well. So I’m gonna throw out my first one. and I, I think this could be, there’s a lot of debate about this recently.

I [00:03:00] listened for example, to CBC every morning and I can’t believe how much this is debated and it’s all around keeping connected. And why I’m saying it’s a little controversial now is because people are really struggling post pandemic about the whole issue of connectivity. Like, do you need to be there in person?

Can you do it remotely? Is it a hybrid? I, I just hear from these top companies now, when I listen to the news or really, really struggling with it, um, for us and our teams, what we have found is that if our managers and all of the. you know, have built relationships, which in my humble opinion, requires people interacting with each other in an authentic way.

Then you do have connectivity. So the first hack I’m gonna say is keep connected. [00:04:00] And I personally, from my experience, believe that you do not need to be in the office all the time. Um, one thing that we did on our team during, um, COVID and we were actually in the middle of a big transaction too, we were actually domains to GoDaddy at this time is we did daily standups, daily huddles, and we did ’em via zoom.

Um, the overwhelming feedback from the team was that they highly appreciated it. We have a very remote team, you know, in the us and abroad and they felt like it helped them get focus and not lose connection. So. I’m gonna go with something that is not so easy these days, perhaps in terms of how to do it effectively, but it’s keep connected.

And I mean, on all levels. Thank you, Colin. Yeah. Michele, if I could just add to that as, as someone who participated in those huddles with you too, and we still do, [00:05:00] um, daily huddles at, at companies I’m involved in like in different departments, but I think to really stay connected to, and to help build that.

Team feeling and that team culture, it’s important that when you have these daily huddles, that you have space for personal items too, not just all business, especially when, when you’re dealing with people remotely, because when employees are remote, it’s hard to get that, you know, um, gathering around the water cooler culture, where you get to know your, um, your coworkers.

And some people now can work for years for a company and never actually meet their coworkers in person. So it’s important that you have time in these huddles to share. We typically start, especially coming in on a Monday after the weekend, you know, everyone tells a little bit, you know, something personal that you accomplished or that happened, or that went well for you over the weekend so that we get to know each other, um, personally.

So right now people are going back to school. So many people on the team who happen to be parents, they’ve been sharing stories about their kids’ first day of school [00:06:00] or whatever may be going on in their lives. And it’s important to not just connect on a business level, but to also connect on a personal level.

Yeah, I think that, um, it’s, it’s difficult for startups. Uh, I mean, in, in this environment where we have such a low unemployment rates, uh, you have inflation. I mean, I’ve been hearing, you know, you know, hiring new people. The, the, you know, the, the, the rates are going up 10, 15, 20%. It’s just, it’s very difficult for startups.

And if you’re in the audience and you have an idea, you have a concept or you have something you’d like to share with us, please raise your hand. It’s Friday afternoon, we’re here to have some fun conversation and, and talk about how we can really attract, motivate, and keep employees. That’s what it’s all about.

I often use the line, you know, for startups, pay your people with love, ownership, and freedom. And what do I mean by [00:07:00] that? Well, love, I mean, really respect and recognition. And really thinking about supporting the people around you, the people within your organization, you know, we often talk about people are, are our number one asset.

Well, the fact of the matter is that’s true without people, without the employees, we don’t have a startup. So one of the things we can do and it doesn’t cost us a lot of money is simply recognize the contributions that they’re making in the startup and give them credit for those contribution contributions within the company and outside the company.

The second thing I talk about is ownership. And what I mean by that is simply total transparency on the numbers and sharing with your team, uh, the profits and the successes, you know, whether it’s bonuses, whether it’s actual ownership through stock options, which I, I like to use with, with all of our startups.

Or whether it’s simply a, a [00:08:00] annual plan consider sharing those successes and sharing the benefit of those successes with your team. And lastly, freedom, we saw this take off after the pandemic where, you know, during the pandemic, everybody was given a lot of freedom or they just weren’t gonna work for the company anymore.

And in fact, today I think about 40% of, um, offices are still empty and there’s a lot of flexibility in the market, but, you know, but as a startup, when you’re competing with a fortune 1000 company, who’s also now offering that flexibility, it becomes a little bit more challenging. So we want to think of ways or things that we can do to provide that maybe it’s different hours, or maybe it’s certain time of the year off.

We really wanna try to understand. You know, our, um, from our staff, exactly what their needs are in life, outside of work, so that we can fit the work into their [00:09:00] life versus the reverse, which is sticking their life into our work. And that is so, you know, 1990s, 2000 and 2000 and tens, not 22 anymore, 2200. Um, any other thoughts, uh, on the stage here and we’re waiting for some people to come up again.

If you have a thought about how to attract, motivate, or keep employees, please raise your hand and we’d be happy to have you up here. I have one about meetings, I think, um, what Michele said, checking in and just like keeping connected is definitely really important across teams, but this has just been like fresh on my mind since we talked about it on the complete entrepreneur last week.

Um, keeping meetings really like efficient and exciting and. Only down to the people that need to be there.

Isn’t it so true that, you know, so many, um, people who, when they go to work, if they feel like they’re wasting [00:10:00] time, they’re not productive. They’re not creating things that they get frustrated with the company, they get frustrated with the startup, but decide to go do something else. So we wanna value their time when they’re in the office or when they’re working for us.

And I think meeting efficiency is something that is key as well. Jeff or Michele, do we have another tip or trick? Well, you know, something that something that can be done is, is gamification, like make aspects of work, um, a little bit more fun and gamify them. It’s something we. Back when I worked at a company called mixer, we did this and it was really effective to bring all the different departments together.

And I think you can do the same thing even with remote teams, but we had a, a company wide internal hackathon with prizes and stuff where everyone in the company, no matter what role they were in from the developers to the bookkeepers, to the marketing team, everyone in the company was invited to participate in [00:11:00] a hackathon.

And it didn’t have to be coding necessarily, but coming up with some idea of how to. Do something that was related to the company’s business in an unusual way. So it could have been creating a new app. It could have been just anything and it was a company wide competition, and it was just a lot of fun.

And, and it also served for people to meet people in different departments, because everyone had to present their ideas at the end of the end of the hackathon. And it was a great way for the company to get actual ideas of new ways to go about business that might have come from someone that you wouldn’t expect a new business idea to come from.

And I remember. This was a company that did ring tones and, and my contribution to the hackathon was an idea with Twitter, cuz it was the early days of Twitter and I was very active on it back then. And it was to do a ring tone of the day delivered by Twitter, called it tweet tones. I still own the domain tweet,

Um, but that was kind of fun. And I actually [00:12:00] was one of the winners of the hackathon with that idea. And it didn’t require me to have any programming skills. It was just a fun idea, but some kind of a hackathon, an internal hackathon to generate ideas around your business is kind of a fun way to bring teams together, to create some creativity across the organization.

And I think that’s something that more companies should do. And I, I, I look back on that experience very fondly from my mixer days. It’s interesting this, uh, idea of having some fun with. Employees. I remember, uh, we had booked a movie theater a few times. I’ve done that with the team, different companies.

We book a movie theater and we all go and watch a movie, you know, during work hours. And, you know, that was a lot of fun, but, but even cocktail hours or other social events, you know, picnics, geez, we haven’t done a yet. That’d be fun to do is, you know, you take yet all the families together and you go to a, a park and you do something, you know, have a little [00:13:00] event.

And it’s just really nice to do those kind of things and, and learn how to bond outside of work. Because I think the more that everyone bonds with each other to better their work together, but at the same time, um, they’re less likely likely to leave because they would be leaving their community. Um, so I, I think that in itself could be a, a hack or a, you know, a technique to help support, um, attracting.

Motivating and keeping employees, uh, Brandon you’re on the you’re upstate on stage. It looks like you’re pretty new to clubhouse. Um, but did you have a thought or an idea of how we can motivate employees? The, the, the microphone’s bottom right corner. And if, if you’re not ready yet we can jump to rehab.

Did I pronounce that right? Reham again, I know you’re new. We have a lot of new people on the app today. [00:14:00] Hello? Hello. Reham have you got a thought about this topic? Oh, what? All right. We’re having some, uh, maybe you can find a better location for the wifi, but we’re having some issues hearing you. Yeah, my, uh, my, uh, wifi.

All right. So sorry, we’re gonna jump down a CLE. I’m horrible with names. another, another new person on the app today. CLE Cletus.

All right. I mean, we’re all, there you go. Yeah. While we’re waiting, I’m gonna throw something else out there. You know, I love to drop these bumps. I personally, what I can, what I find to be horribly bad in a company, meaning a, a productivity [00:15:00] killer is when you have managers in bosses that are just extremely negative or not supportive or even unqualified.

So I would say that culture really has to start from the top. And I’ve always said for myself personally, in my career, Sometimes for me, like most of the time, it doesn’t really matter what the company is. I’m working for. What matters to me is who I’m working with. Like, I spend a lot of time working. I care greatly about my work style about my work environment.

So it is absolutely critically important to me that I am working with the right group of people. So that means that we’re supportive of each other, that we’re helping each other grow and that it’s friendly. And it’s, you know, that for me is, is paramount. Let me ask you a question, Michele, you know, with respect to, um, spending, you know, [00:16:00] social time with your staff or, or extracurricular activities, you know, really getting to know them, becoming friends with them.

Do you think that’s a good idea for a startup or could it backfire? Yeah, I think it could just like anything else it could backfire. um, I think you have to be professional of course, but I’ve always found that it’s a good thing. As long as people, you know, understand everyone in the picture, managers and staff, you know, what proper professional boundaries are.

I find that if you can establish these relationships, that it oftentimes makes a safer environment to have these kind of brainstorming meetings or my gosh, when you hit like an issue. If I feel like, okay, you know, we have respect for each other and we are friends, right. I didn’t say family, but we’re friends.

I can walk into the room and go, oh [00:17:00] my gosh, everyone, like I’m. Can’t believe I did this. We have like a huge issue and everybody just comes together to me. That’s part of the manifestation of having that trustworthy and environment where we are friends. So for me, it’s good. And I find that if you know, it does happen occasionally that people start to step over those boundaries.

They have to be equipped to handle that. So I would vote for, yes. It’s good to be friends. Thank you. Yeah. I think especially in a startup was just such a small environment. It’s very intimate. It it’s hard not to be friends. I mean, we’ve become friends, Jeff, Michele, Jeff, Michele, and myself have become pretty close friends over the years.

We now work with multiple different startups here in the incubator. But, um, but the fact of the matter is, you know, it becomes pretty difficult, but then ultimately there’ll come a time when you need to make a tough decision. And, and, uh, I think for the most part, [00:18:00] you know, People who are your friends will understand that you had to make those decisions.

Um, but it can be a little tricky, emotionally rehab. Do you, do you have better wifi? You wanna give it out another try or Cletus or Brandon? If any of the three of you can get off of mute, we’d be love to hear from you.

I don’t know what’s going on today. Michele. We might have some bugs on the app. I think so, but it’s nice to let’s go to Jeff. I bet. I know Jeff has a lot of experience here. Well, I’ve shared a few tips and I think, you know, related the one thing about the hackathon, uh, idea Colin versus just having fun is it’s fun, but it also reinforces the, the objectives of the company.

It gives everyone in the company, a chance to think about the product or the service you have, because they’re trying to come up with an idea around that. And similar to that, I think [00:19:00] an important thing for companies to do, to build culture and, and really get a cohesive team. Okay. Good. Okay. One, one moment.

Let me just finish. What I was saying is to, um, eat your own dog food as the saying goes, but make sure that everyone throughout the company has access to an experience with your product. You know, oftentimes in a startup, the founders and the programmers are using the app, but maybe not everyone in the company is actually using it.

So if your product is software or an app or a physical product, I think it’s important to make sure that everyone on the team, especially now, if you have remote employees, they actually have a sample of your product. They’ve actually used, it touched, it felt it can understand it from the point of view of a customer.

Um, and that’s important for everyone in the company, whether they’re an executive or an intern, they should have hands on experience with your product or service. I think that’s really important. And sometimes it’s overlooked. [00:20:00] Yeah. It’s interesting with, um, respect to my vacation rental business, the, uh, administrator who.

Works here at the incubator with us. Um, I offered him a week trip, fully paid to go to one of our vacation rental locations. Um, and, uh, he seemed pretty excited about that. And I also think by doing that by eating your own dog food, as you say, Jeff, they’re actually gonna learn the business better. They’re actually going to understand it.

Um, I know with respect to Mimi, we’ve said she can open as many rooms as she wants on clubhouse. She does a phenomenal job with respect to the blogs and, and putting together content on the If you haven’t already seen it, do check it out. She really is a, a rock star and we really appreciate everything you’re doing Mimi, but I was joking about the, uh, I was joking about the, um, uh, about the opening, your own room.

We, we gotta get you to one of the vacation rentals as [00:21:00] well. Brandon, it seems like you’ve got your audio worked out. Yes, a hundred percent. Colin, thank you very much for this opportunity. Um, I’m tuning in from South Africa all the way. Um, unfortunately I cannot mention the company that I want to bring in, but as just adding my little 1% into this whole topic that we are busy on is just to say that you have a lot of people that are joining in, uh, in companies and you know, the culture, you know, it’s been running for five years or 10 years or 15 years.

And how do that new employees fit into the culture? And, you know, sometimes you’re hiring people that are entrepreneurs, you’re hiring people that are, you know, they’re actually just joining because they need a salary. You’re just joining because whatever it is. But sometimes you have to understand as a hiring manager that you are hiring people that has a lot of calendar, there’s a lot of potential and you need to allow them.

You. Uh, day, day to day responsibilities, whatever they have, but you have to understand that, you know, beyond that they are also experienced, you [00:22:00] know, they have a lot of potential and they can not only just contribute on the team, but also there’s a lot of other things that they have that it can possibly contribute.

And you need to allow that, you know, to shine, to grow, you know, you need to be able to be a mentor to be able to grow them. A lot of people doesn’t have, you know, that, that, um, that capabilities to grow them because, you know, I hired you for a specific thing and you have to do a specific thing, but you have to understand that a lot of people that are joining the company, you know, they have potential, they have a lot of, you know, talents they are joining on and, you know, the day to day, they have to do that, but also being a mentor and allowing them to grow, if they are better than you, you have to allow them to be better than you, you know, to a certain extent, if they’re gonna be, you know, uh, starting a startup after five, four years, three years, you need to allow them, you know, to grow and, you know, possibly see them, you know, being better than what you are.

So, um, that, that’s my point that I can possibly bring. You have a lot of people that are joining [00:23:00] into cultures that are already informed, but, uh, you have to understand you hiring people that are, um, you have a lot of talents. They have a lot of potential. There’s a lot of other avenues that it can possibly think.

And some managers, you know, they. Um, they, they, they, they, they are not groomed into the position to grow them or to mentor them. So you have to know, allow that space to say I’m hiring someone that can possibly, you know, be better than what I am. And, you know, I have to make room for this person to grow.

Yeah. It’s very interesting. And I remember reading, um, some studies that talked about almost half of people will leave their company because they don’t like working for the person they’re working for and they’re not getting the recognition they deserve. And I, I’ve also seen, um, half the people will leave the company.

Um, not because of wage wages was up there. It’s like number three or something like that in the study, number three or four, but also because they’re not developing and, [00:24:00] you know, personal development is so key for everyone, you know, to go to a, a, a, a work environment and you’re doing something and you’re not improving yourself.

You’re not. Building upon yourself. You know, that means you’re stagnating. The more that you improve yourself, right? The more you can improve yourself, the more you can become better and better and better at what you do, the more money you’re gonna command in the workplace. So the one thing that we can do as startups is, and we can do this better than big corporations.

I’ll explain why in a second. But the one thing we can do is really empower our employees, really give them a lot of responsibilities, right? Brandon, like a lot of responsibilities because by doing that hundred percent, they can learn so much. And if you’re at the big corporation, you’re at a big company and you’re in charge of payables, you might be doing the exact same thing over and over [00:25:00] and over again, in order for you to get the exposure where you’re doing payables, receivables, uh, depreciation, all that kind of stuff.

You almost have to work for a startup, you have to work for a small company. Yeah. Brandon, any thoughts? A hundred percent calling you hundred percent, right? No, that’s awesome. So, uh, Michele, yeah, I’m just gonna add a little bit to that. I think sometimes it’s an individual thing, quite honestly, Colin, I think you should have a, a conversation with the person, right?

Like some people want to be like deep subject matter experts and some people want to be broader, but I do think, you know, there’s a lot that goes on obviously in reviews, but in my opinion, one of the key things should be a conversation about what they want to do. and how they think they can better contribute [00:26:00] so that we, as managers can help support that.

Um, you know, sometimes people are like, oh my gosh, I have the perfect job. And I just wanna like, keep doing it forever. There are scenarios like that. And then there are other people that are just like, you know, I really wanna try something different or I wanna go over to this new project. I need a different, I need a, you know, I need something new.

So really listen, I’m gonna add to your employees in terms of, you know, what they feel and what they know is good for themselves. Thank you. Yeah. I actually don’t think that employee reviews are very effective. In fact, I think they’re, you know, I think they’re negative and I think they harm the productivity in your company.

And I, and that might be controversial. This is not to say we don’t wanna understand the needs of our employees and also understand how, how we can help them develop. We wanna do that. We totally wanna do. but have you ever talked to an employee who’s going to a [00:27:00] performance review or who’s been at a re performance review and then say, you know what?

I really feel much better about this company. No, it’s to me. And, and I know this is controversial and this is, you know, not something that, um, business books talk about a lot, but I think, I think performance reviews are bad for Merl, Michele. I know you wanna argue that. Yeah, no, I didn’t argue. I said that they should be about how can you help them move forward and, you know, build their career is the best performance reviews I have had or not negative at all.

And it was very much about how can I help you grow your career? And that’s an important conversation. It’s important for the manager to know that so they can support them. Yeah. And we’re hitting the halfway mark here and we’re gonna reset the room. You’re listening to the Serial Entrepreneur [00:28:00] Club with Jeffrey SAS, Michele van TOK and myself, Colin C Campbell.

And we’re talking today about really how to keep motivates and, uh, attract top talent for your startup. Um, and if you have an idea in the audience around how to do that, you know how to, for instance, you might have a unique way of recognizing employees for their achievements, or you have something unique that you can share with the community.

Please raise your hand. It’s Friday afternoon, and we’re here to, you know, keep this open mic. Um, thank you, Brandon, from south after coming on, I don’t know, is that your first time talking on stage Brandon? Cause you, I just followed you as well. So you got, you got one follower there.

All right, so we’re gonna go ahead, Jeff. No, I was gonna say one other, uh, you know, well, two things. So one, you know, in terms of supporting personal [00:29:00] growth of your employees, you know, many companies have. um, educational and self-improvement policies. I was just talking to someone actually who both, um, Michele and Colin, you know, I won’t mention names cause I don’t wanna talk about the company specifically, but he just started a new job with a company and he was commenting to me the other day that this particular company has a real focus on education as part of their company culture and as such any employee is actually eligible to continue their education with support from the company.

So this person who had never really thought about getting an advanced degree or an MBA or something like that now is actually considering getting, uh, an MBA. You know, part-time obviously in evening. But with the complete support, not only, uh, and financial support from this company and that all came about, because that is the company culture.

They want everyone in the company to further themselves, uh, educationally because they [00:30:00] believe then they’ll be better performers and they’ll do better. And they’ll come back from that education with new skills and new, new things that they can bring to the table, to the benefit of the company. So you can have a culture of, self-improvement a culture of education, where it’s more than the culture, where you actually have policies that support continued education and things like that for your employees.

So that’s certainly one way, um, to approach that. No, I think it’s great. I need, I, you often have a speaker come, I think once a month on a particular topic. And you know, I think that’s a smart idea as well. Yeah. Cletus. I know you’ve been, uh, trying to get your microphone, uh, to work here. We wanna hear from you.

Yeah, I’m back on now. Uh, thank you for the opportunity to speak. I’m speaking from Nigeria and it’s my first time speaking here. So I just wanted to point out that in an organization, communication is really, really key. And basically what we’ve been talking about or centering on around here is communication.

I [00:31:00] walked, um, somewhere, uh, in Nigeria where there wasn’t a good communication basis and we lacked some basic amenities to work well in the workplace, but then we didn’t have the opportunity to speak, or we didn’t have the line of connection to go to the right place, you know, to, uh, speak to our boss or whoever was in charge of us at that time.

So for me, I believe communication is really key in the workplace to, you know, help boost, um, the, um, employees minds to grow. So, uh, so CLE is CLE or Cletus, CLE Cletus. So just amazes me how many. Startups. Yeah. Uh, who have such few employees have an issue with communication and it isn’t the fact that they can’t communicate with each other, cuz they’re sitting in the same office, you know, or they can pick up the phone or get on zoom or WhatsApp.

It’s really about creating an [00:32:00] environment that everyone could be comfortable in to communicate, but communicate not only the negative, the positive things. Right, exactly. But also the negative things without recourse. Yeah. Right. To say to the, to start up and let’s be quite Frank, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs of a little bit of an ego and you know, sometimes we can be a little bit type a and a little bit, you know, not easy to get along with.

And so when you say to, to entrepreneurs, you say, Hey, some this is wrong. You should be doing this. They can sometimes become defensive. And uh, I think if, if we can acknowledge that as, as, as entrepreneurs in a startup to create that safe environment and improve the communication. I think, I think you’re onto something there and, uh, great job for first time on stage, by the way.

Thank you very much. I appreciate that. And all right, I’m still on. Can I say something? Yeah, go ahead. Yeah. Still on communication about, you know, negative and positive communication. I think [00:33:00] walking in, in a, in a communicative environment, I think both parties, both the listen and the speaking party must understand that they must try to pass on, um, their information in the right manner.

So as not to offend or sound offensive, uh, I think you made a point with, um, with when you were speaking about positive and negative, um, communication. Yeah. It’s hard. Yeah. It’s hard. It’s not right. Yeah. It is really, it really is not natural, but we just have to try and work on that as, um, employees and, um, buses as.

Yeah, you, you gave me an idea. Cleta, it’s almost like there could be somebody in our companies that help our employees have those different, you know, difficult communications with people. Like, wouldn’t that be awesome. If you had somebody you could go to and just talk to very candidly directly without judgment [00:34:00] to help you navigate and communicate in those situations?

Like yeah, for me, I, I just think that’s like an invaluable throughout your whole entire life, um, skillset. Yeah, that, that will be really, really awesome. Because being able to express how you feel at the workplace will be able to, um, push you to work the more because you, when you make your feelings or your emotions or whatever you go through in the workplace known, and it has been addressed sweetly.

That will be a great plus to the, um, employees. Um, how, how do I put this now mindset towards the work? So another thing when it comes to communication is swift response and swift, um, reaction to those communication, because if there’s a communication line without swift reaction and swift response, then I don’t think, um, that kind of communication is going to work because the basis of communication is the message and, uh, a feedback to the message [00:35:00] and as well, a reaction to the message.

Yeah. Well, we have, yeah, we it’s a balance, right? We have to be direct. Yeah. And at the same time we have to be, we have to acknowledge that we’re dealing with, you know, everyone’s human, right. Yeah. And we can’t necessarily, you know, we have to be somewhat positive. I call it the velvet hammer. If you have to deliver some negative news, you know, it’s like, okay, we’ll do it, but we’ll do it really nicely.

Um, yeah. Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate your thoughts there on stage. And we have, um, Leticia again on pronunciation. I need help with. Okay. No, you’re fine. It’s Leticia. It’s uh, Leticia. Yep. How are you guys? It’s so good to be here. Um, I agree with all of you, you guys have some amazing nuggets and I just wanted to mention, um, going with the title.

I think the number one thing, um, being a Serial Entrepreneur is to show appreciation, being humble [00:36:00] and having a great attitude towards everything. And, and you mention about entrepreneurs sometimes can have those egos and that will hurt you in the long run. But if you appreciate your staff and you show that to them half the time, I wouldn’t say half the time, but they’ll be willing to work for free if you were to, to hit a hard rock, um, because you you’re really passionate about what you do and you show them, you know, that you truly care.

Not only for them. Bringing their ex expertise to the table. But outside, like you were saying, getting to know them, knowing who labors among you, the picnic was phenomenal idea. Now I have written out, uh, rented out movie theaters. Um, especially when COVID came, um, it will just be us and it was a time to bond to get to know families.

And it was very personal. And I think that is key because everybody has, is dealing with something before they walk into that threshold, they’re dealing with something. And especially during that time of COVID. [00:37:00] So showing appreciation, being humble. Um, and I agree to the communication. I’m very, very big on communication, um, between having that continuity between the team.

Because if you don’t, you know, we fail, our balls are being dropped. So, um, I’m very big on communication and I believe in having borders, um, and barriers up to where, um, you’re not allowed to cross and your staff is not allowed to cross, but yet you can have that neutral, neutral feeling in the workplace, um, as a team and to create that culture.

So I really appreciate you guys. Um, Just putting these nuggets out there. I wish a lot of people. And what, what forced me to step out on faith and, and become this Serial Entrepreneur now is because I have worked with, um, bosses who they just wasn’t relatable and they didn’t, they didn’t care if your child was sick.

They didn’t care, you know, at some point, yeah, you do have, [00:38:00] uh, have to have that balance, but life happens outside of the workplace. So if you just stay humble, um, show your team that you appreciate them, they will come to bat for you. If you were to get in on hard rock, I can speak to it for myself, starting up companies.

We didn’t always have the fun. I just knew I had an idea and a dream. And with that people would bring me or give me their expertise and link me to, uh, people that had the keys that I needed, just because of my humble spirit and, um, just showing appreciation. So I appreciate this topic today and I rest my mic.

So let Letizia, uh, humble and entrepreneur it’s like oil and vinegar. Am I wrong? you know, is it, it’s not natural though? Is it, is it it’s not natural? I mean, if you think about, you know, all of the, you know, billionaires from, you know, Steve jobs and Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and mark Zuckerberg, humble is not something, you know, it could even throw Donald Trump in [00:39:00] this list.

I mean, humble is not something you think, but when you think of these entrepreneurs and yet you’re saying be humble is a trait that could help increase productivity and people would actually work for you for almost nothing if you needed it, if you were humble. And it’s just, I want your thoughts on that first Laia and just, absolutely.

And to your point, um, so there comes a time where, um, You know, you do have to do your, what is this, like, uh, pull the card, so to speak. I’ve been in a lot of, um, high ranking positions and I’ve never wanted to pull my card on people or my, um, rank, but there is a time and there does come a time where you do need to stand your ground and to tell people who you are, what you stand for and what you mean.

So being humbles, not saying, uh, in a fact of a punkish way, but being firm, it, it does come with it, [00:40:00] but you don’t have to be a butthole per se. So, um, it, and a lack of better words. So there does come a time where, um, you do have to show some humbleness, uh, towards your staff now having. Attribute, um, it does take you far and it can take you far and being a minority and a woman I’ve been in a lot of positions where I had to be firm.

Um, however, I, um, I still stayed humble. Um, and it, it got me far. Um, but that’s a very good point. I have a lot of, uh, millionaire friends that I would say that I rub shoulders with. And a lot of ’em, you don’t even know that they are filthy rich, you know, and they have, they have set that pathway. And I think, and I know that takes you a long way.

Granted doesn’t work for everyone, but I do know, um, and, and my community and, um, people I’ve worked with that, um, you know, never have to lift a finger again. They they’re humble. [00:41:00] And I admire that because you don’t see it a lot in the workplace. So good point. Well, you know, here’s a, a story and, and I’m not gonna be political, but, uh, during, uh, Donald Trump’s TV show, you know, the, the one where he fired everyone.

I had the opportunity to meet the second in command of his organization. And I asked him the question. I said, you know, like, I can’t believe everybody works for this guy. And he says, oh no, it’s not. That’s not exactly how Trump actually behaves when he’s with us. He’s actually a really nice guy. But when he is on TV, he wants to show people a certain thing.

I think there’s this perception out there that, you know, you have to act and behave a certain way, but in reality, those that are humble, I think they do, uh, have much more productive, uh, workforces. And in fact, uh, Jim Collins, who wrote the book good to great. When he studied, uh, level five leaders, he discovered one of their [00:42:00] traits was humility, but really good, really enjoyed having you on stage here.

And you’re, you’re always welcome back on the Serial Entrepreneur. We love having other Serial Entrepreneurs on stage to help us crack the code. What it is that. People like yourself, uh, due to, uh, launch companies over and over again, to start scale, exit and repeat. Great. If you, if you’re in the audience again, feel free to raise your hand.

We’re starting to get a nice flow right now. We’re starting to figure out, you know, what are the key things we need to do to motivate people? So we, we thought heading was around culture too, of creating a productive culture. And I think setting up core values within an organization that everyone understands, can actually attract, um, it can motivate and it can keep people.

Now it can also be a way that you kick people out of the organization. And so we at, um, at, at the incubator here, uh, [00:43:00] working with coaches, uh, and many of our companies have set up core pillars or core values. You know, I’m thinking of back to, um, our last company that we sold to GoDaddy Jeff, Michele, and I.

And we had core values. Do you remember them? Jeff and Michele? I know one was, uh, do crazy things, not stupid things. Recognize greatness. Um, yep. Mom integrity over money and usage is everything. There we go. And so what, yeah, go ahead. No, I said integrity over money. Yeah. And you had to, um, act on that one.

That one time. Yes. One particular employee. That’s correct. I don’t know if you can share anything and, or it’s a sensitive topic. No, but it’s just that to, to, to Collins’s earlier point, when you have strong core values, it, it also means that you should be willing to. Hire and fire accordingly, meaning that you want to hire people that you believe, um, will fit within those [00:44:00] core values and would be able to live up to them.

And by the same token, if you have an employee, even if they’re a great employee in other ways, who is not able to live up to those core values, you may have to lose that employee. And, um, to college point once had an experience with the one integrity over, over money. Um, there was a situation with an employee who was a great employee.

Um, performing pretty well generating revenue for the company, but did something. Um, and it wasn’t even intentional. It was, it was a, a, a bad mistake, but there was some mistakes that just have consequences that you can’t avoid. And, um, it was poor judgment and it was something that lacked a move that lack, integrity, and could have hurt, not only that person’s reputation, but the company’s reputation and the decision had to be made to let that employee go.

Even though they were a, a, a valued employee in terms of their performance, they had really gone [00:45:00] against one of our core values. That was, that was more important. Um, so sometimes you have to make that choice, um, with your core values. the other thing with core values, which is nice that we do at, at is we do a daily core value shout out.

So at the huddles that Michele was talking about earlier, we always recognize someone in the company and it could be anyone anywhere in the company who has done something recently to exemplify one of our core values. So we call it a core value shoutout, and it’s a nice way to a recognize and acknowledge an employee.

Who’s doing a good job. And B reinforce what our core values are because when you give someone a core value shoutout, of course, you’re gonna mention which core value they have exemplified in their recent actions. Yeah. We’ve actually done a show on core values. Uh, and if you need, if you want to check out any show, you can go to, [00:46:00] you know, and search, uh, under Serial Entrepreneur Club.

Or you can go to your favorite podcast cuz we’re now on podcast network and we did a show on core values and we had Verne Harnish come on. And he’s one of, probably the leading people with respect to the development in this area. And he really recommends coming up with phrases, phrases that are memorable, not words, not paragraphs, not the kind of stuff you see on, you know, you walk into a, an office and you see it on the board and it’s a big paragraph and no one can remember any of the core values.

You know, he likes to use phrases. Um, and uh, I had the opportunity to visit Zappos and on the CFO’s desk was the book, the Rockefeller habits, which was written by, um, Verne Harnish. And if you know anything about corporate culture and you know, Zappos pretty much, uh, they created probably [00:47:00] one of the best corporate cultures in America.

And actually marketed that it became a thing at their company. And I just thought that was really cool. And, uh, we’ve seen some evolution in that space, but setting up core values, having everybody understand core values, I believe it can lead to a more productive, uh, company. We have Amber on stage Amber, any thoughts on this topic of how we, how we motivate, keep and attract employees?

Hi, this is my first team, my first time on the stage. Thank you for inviting me, Michele. I saw the invite so I can help, but to accept, but. Um, yes, I did mention in the chat about KPIs in the workplace, and I kind of wanted to tie that into the core VI values as far I I’m an employee for Optim and I work in operations and we definitely, uh, put into play, [00:48:00] uh, core values relating to integrity, auto innovation and autonomy.

Uh, and then in addition to that, Go, we base our, uh, performance off of KPIs and metrics. So one thing that I’ve found beneficial as a team is us knowing those expectations in the workplace and knowing, um, how well we’re performing, um, whether or not we’re completing our tasks in time. Is that really adding or giving us a bonus or, oh, just adding onto our performance and how we’re contributing to the company as a whole.

Um, I like to know what kind of impact I’m having, um, on, uh, in the company and, uh, how am I serving the patients? Um, by doing my job. So yes, I wanted to bring that topic up of key performance indicators and us knowing exactly, um, how we’re contributing to the company as employees and how [00:49:00] important that is within a company to just set those firm, um, ground rules in that area, uh, of having those indicators, um, that show that we’re actually, um, making an impact and we’re hitting those targets.

Yeah. I think that ambiguity is our enemy when it comes to motivation. Uh, you know, when we have people that we want to hire or we want to keep, or we wanna motivate, we’re gonna wanna make certain that, that we’ve mutually sat down and agreed upon the goals that need to be set and that if, if they achieve those goals that we provide them with the recognition they deserve.

and we need to put that in writing too many times. I’ve seen, uh, people work for companies and, you know, a startup entrepreneur will say, you know what, when things go, well, I’m gonna give you a part of the company or I’m gonna, I’m gonna do this, or I’m gonna do [00:50:00] that or give you a bonus. And it’s all verbal and verbal does not work when it comes to motivating.

I truly believe that you have a much bigger impact if you really believe what you’re gonna say when you’re trying to motivate somebody, why not put that in writing? Why not make certain that, that employee knows that if I achieve X, I will receive X amount of bonus. Ambiguity is the enemy of, uh, startups.

That’s something that we have to think about as well. We’re gonna go popcorn style now. Uh, anyone on stage, just wanna pop something out. We’re rounding the final corner. Please, uh, you know, if you have a new idea or another idea, go ahead, I’ll pop, I’ll pop something, Colin. You know, one thing I think that’s important in building a culture too.

And, and, and maybe even more important now with so many remote workers is treat people like adults. You know, if you’re hiring people because they have a certain skill and you want them to contribute [00:51:00] to the growth of your company. Give them the responsibility and the opportunity to do that, treat them with respect, treat them with adults, give them, obviously you don’t want to ignore them.

You want to give them KPIs and you want to track their performance, but also give them the freedom to get the job done the way they need to get it done. And if that means, if they have to take an hour off because their kid fell down and scraped their knee and they gotta pick them up, you know, you don’t penalize them for that.

As long as they’re getting their work done, it shouldn’t matter. And I think with people working remotely, there’s some interesting studies coming out. And I just heard a podcast talking about them about the negatives of all of this tracking software that many companies have been putting on. Computers so that when they can tell, if someone’s working from home, they can monitor their work and they can see if they’re touching their keyboard.

And, and then people are buying these, um, mouse movers on, on Amazon that you can buy for 15 bucks. That’ll move your mouse periodically to make it look like you’re working, even [00:52:00] if you’re not. And there’s a lot of studies coming out that this is negative, not positive. And it’s actually making people less productive than more productive when they feel like big brother is watching their every move.

So I think it’s important. You know, you’re hiring adults, you’re hiring them because you believe they have the skills to help your company grow, give them the opportunity to do so. Treat them with the same kind of respect you would like to be treated with. And not like someone looking over their shoulder, constantly questioning every move they make.

Um, if you have to do that, then you’re probably not hiring the right people. If you’re hiring the right people, you should be able to give them the freedom to get the job done. That’s my opinion. Yeah, amen to that, Jeff, uh, I couldn’t agree more about the tracking. I know it’s hard for a lot of people, but uh, a little fast story.

I worked for a very big publicly traded company at the beginning of my career. They literally tracked everybody’s phone calls. Right. This was before everybody had their [00:53:00] mobile phones at their desk and I got in trouble. They’re like, my boss came to me almost embarrassed, goes, oh my gosh, Michele, like you talked the most on the phone, on the whole team.

And he is looking at me. He goes, how is this possible? You are the most productive person. And he was like, okay, I, I’m not gonna say anything. Like just, you know, like keep it down cuz other people might know like that’s horrible. Like I was like so worried. So, so I agree and it leads me. You know, I just wanna mention this really quickly.

I know we’re kind of coming to the end here, a really big subject right now, all over the media, and everybody knows this I’m sure is quiet. Quitting. There is a great article that just came out as free online from Harvard business review. It came out on August 31st and it’s talking about how quiet quitting is about a, is about a bad boss.

Like [00:54:00] I, I love this article and it really encapsulates a lot about what has been said here is, you know, how do we as bosses, right? Stop or curtail quiet. Quitting. Of course they went into lots of statistics, but at the top of every list for them was trust. . And then how do you build that trust with the employee, with your coworkers as well?

I would say too, because I believe it is just as much about coworkers, especially when you work in environments. Like what we have, which are, you know, pretty flat, quite actually, and everybody just has equal access. So the second part of that was consistency being consistent with people being consistent in your work.

And then the third thing was about expertise. This is how you build trust. You’re consistent and you’re doing a good job. Like it’s really, uh, uh, you know, [00:55:00] a read I would recommend to everyone. It’s a short read. And I think in, in these days, when, you know, we have a lot of younger employees that are working remotely, um, don’t just think they’re being lazy or whatever, or we all have to come to the office with somebody standing over your shoulder.

Like if you can’t trust somebody, if you can’t build that consistency, then I think you have a bigger problem than where they’re working or who they are. So that’s some final thoughts for me. Thank you for listening. I have another one kind of going off of the last part of Michele’s. I think it’s really important to create, um, a work culture where people know it’s totally okay to make mistakes and ask for help.

I think that’s, um, the only way that like real work and ideas, good ideas come to be. Yeah. And I think that’s a major advantage over larger companies, you know, larger companies are risk [00:56:00] averse by nature. It’s just the way they evolve. Smaller companies are more, they embrace risk. You know, remember I talked about, uh, dot club, the company that we used to own, and one of our values was do stupid things, not crazy, do crazy things, not stupid things.

It’s Friday afternoon. Okay. Do crazy things, not stupid things. That was one of our core values, which basically said, look, stick your, stick, your neck out there. I know Jeff, when we launched the domain extension, uh, he brought on 50 cent to do a party in New York. Uh, we would sometimes wrap sports cars like we did.

We just did a lot of very interesting things at industry events and parties. And, you know, I think people might have thought we were crazy, but you know, the reality is we ultimately sold to GoDaddy for a pretty high multiple. So I think in the end it paid off, but that whole concept of allowing people to fail.[00:57:00] 

That’s so critical in a startup and so difficult in larger companies. And that’s one thing that can attract risk takers, which, uh, which is what we need when you’re launching a startup. We have three minutes left. Any other, anyone else from the stage Cletus? Yeah. Uh, one thing that also boost productivity, um, is, um, having non-negotiables at, as a company I watched, um, and ass, um, all or nothing.

And the first thing when he came in as a manager of the club, was to establish non-negotiables. And when he saw, um, football players go against his non-negotiables, which we actually to help them grow, you know, we have to ship them off so that they don’t corrupt his workplace. So having non-negotiables are really non-negotiable values.

Exactly. That’s what I’m about are really, really important for, so.[00:58:00] 

Yeah. And you said that’s a sports team that we, that, that implemented this was a coach. Yeah. It was a coach in England. Um, Michel latte. Yeah. I can’t believe how many stories we hear from the sports community or, you know, documentaries or Netflix shows that we watch about sports teams and how culture plays a role in, you know, in many ways they really are startups, uh, or they are small businesses.

They have the same challenges yet, yet, yet their failure is pretty visible, so they get a lot of attention and we can learn a lot of lessons from them exactly. As well. Yeah. Well, this has been a great show. Thank you very much. Uh, uh, Cletus and Letitia and Amber and, uh, Mimi and Michele and Jeff. I mean, again, you know, what a great show, a lot of great feedback from the community and a lot of new members.

Coming on today to share with us some of their ideas [00:59:00] and you know what, it’s September. And we have a lot of new shows coming up. Um, we have some guest speakers coming up, but you’re not gonna know about it unless you go to and sign up to our email list. And we only do the emails, I think once a week, Michele, unless we have a really big speaker, come on.

Uh, we might do a special email for that, but generally we do an email letting you know the highlights of Startup Club and what’s gonna happen this week, um, or next week. Sorry. Um, so do sign up to that mailing list. This is an opportunity to find out what’s going on at Startup Club, uh, on Clubes. We are trying to go for a million members.

I know we’re getting closer. Um, if you’re not a member, you can click on that greenhouse on top, but I know we were closing in on 900,000 members. I know we’re the largest club on clubhouse. That’s because of all of you and today, again, the community coming together to take on an issue [01:00:00] and solve a problem.

So thank you very much. And we will see everyone next week on the Serial Entrepreneur Club hour. And don’t forget, we have over 70 episodes in your favorite podcast network. And if you listen to these episodes, you will get an MBA in entrepreneurship. See you next week. Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thanks everyone.


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