Why Productivity Matters EVERYTHING to Nonprofits And How To Master It!
Interview with Kris Ward
It’s an amazing time to be in the business of helping others! With the right strategy in place, you can easily have a big impact!
Kris Ward is the leading authority in productivity and building your business by building your team. Kris is the author of Win The Hour, Win the Day, She helps entrepreneurs easily double their income and triple their time off.
After the loss of her husband, Kris returned full-time to the marketing agency she had founded years earlier.
She was thrilled to see that her business had not only survived her absence but was still growing!
Now, Kris has completely changed the landscape for entrepreneurs by sharing the successful practices that allowed her absence.
Regardless of your business, industry or size…Kris can show you how to double your income and triple your time off.
Kris has been interviewed by one of the original sharks from Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington, and ABC’s The Secret Millionaire – James Malinchak. Her book has been featured on the award-winning Read to Lead podcast, and dozens of other top iTunes podcasts, radio shows throughout US and TV shows including The Riley Reports.
Win The Hour, Win The Day offers a 4-week productivity plan to go from overwhelmed to highly efficient so that you can reclaim your life.
Get more information at www.winthehourwintheday.com
Read the Interview
Hugh Ballou: Greetings, it’s Hugh Ballou with another episode of The Nonprofit Exchange. Today, as normal, we have a fascinating guest. It’s something that we all struggle with. Social entrepreneurs are the bulk of our audience. We’re clergy running a church or religious organization. We’re executive directors or board chairs running a nonprofit. We might be entrepreneurs. What I see people struggle with a lot is getting things done. We are going to focus on why productivity matters. This is everything that matters to nonprofits. This is everything. You need to know how to master this productivity thing. The queen of productivity is Kris Ward. Kris and I have known each other for a long time, but we have been out of touch for many years. It’s good to be reconnected. Tell people a little bit about you and your passion for doing this, but also tell them where you’re coming in from.
Kris Ward: Geographically? Is that what you mean?
Kris: I am coming in from the eastern part of Canada. Where to start? I was born in a small village- No, okay. I will tell you everything but my weight, so we’re good. Hugh knew me when I had started my marketing agency, and I had that for a number of years. My book When the Day Comes into Play, I was pulled away from my business for two years. My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, and I was pulled away from the business. When I returned to it after his passing, after his death, my business had not only survived, but it had thrived. Let’s be honest. Take the emotion out of it, and the reality was I had also lost an income. I lost my best friend and an income and a lifestyle. I was in an awesome place in the fact that I still had a business. I don’t know what I would have done without it. I had a renewed faith in how important it is to have a business that supports your life, not consumes it. My existing clients had no idea that I had been away. Nobody knew what was going on. I didn’t think it was good for business, and I didn’t want to talk about it. They gently started to ask me how I managed all that. Take the emotion out of it, doctor appointments, chemo, surgeries, it was more than a full-time job.
I started working for my marketing clients under the capacity of productivity. They started to take real vacations and triple their time off and double their income and get to those projects that were so discouraging to them because they kept moving further and further away from. They really saw their business take on a new life, and that was really fun for them. I just thought, You know what? I want to help more people. BSBF: Business Should Be Fun. I say that all the time. I had a renewed faith on why life is so important and fragile, and that we all have things that interrupt our life. A business should be there to support you. So I thought, Let’s take all I learned from all of these people, write a book, and get it in more hands. This grinding it out is old school.
Hugh: It is old school. But I’m surprised at how many people get sucked in to that vortex. People tell me, “I work seven days a week, 15 hours a day, and I haven’t had a vacation in years,” like they’re bragging about it. You’re so burned out that you’re no good to the organization. It’s pretty bad in corporate America, but it’s really bad in nonprofits and even worse with churches and synagogue leadership that I know about. The stats are big. I have some original online research that is ongoing with my Adwords. The biggest, most frequent, most common search terms have to do with stress, overwork, team underfunctioning, getting things done. I have 17,000 keyword combinations, and I bet you 1,000 of them come around those topics. So I know it’s a big problem for people and they are looking for answers. Look no more, people. We have some things that really work.
What I’m hearing you say is you were doing the marketing for people. Then you started looking at their productivity. You offered them some solutions. It really worked for them. I had a couple who were on this podcast a while back who accidentally started a winery that became the #1 wine brand in the country, Barefoot. They were philanthropic and gave wine away so nonprofits could raise money. They were marketing people, so they knew how to promote it. You can’t be effective in marketing if you can’t serve your clients, and you can’t serve your clients if you are not managing your productivity. This is a timely topic in a time where people are very stressed. Leaders make mistakes. One of the mistakes is that we don’t have a strategy to implement. Suppose we write a strategy, which is a road map for where we’re going. Then you can do a marketing plan from that. But then the biggest failure, 90% of the failure is the implementation of those ideas, the steps to go there. What is the biggest mistake leaders make when they try to get those things done?
Kris: A bunch of really great comments, and I’d like to unpack those. We could be here for days. Some things you mentioned. People bore that with a sense of honor and a badge of pride. We are in this culture, especially when in a nonprofit, and you want to be of service. You want to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and make sure you are more honorable. You want to get in there and do it as fast as you can and show other people how to work hard. We have all heard that saying, working smarter versus harder. You just think, I’ll be of more service if I show people that I am willing to do all this grunt work. So I think we get service confused with sweat. You could be of greater service to people if you are more effective. I would say the biggest mistake most people make is what I call the WARD method: Winning Always Requires Delegation.
Even when you are a leader, and you think, “But, Kris, I have a team,” there is always more fat to trim, or there are always more things that you think only you can do, or you are always micromanaging your team, and there is just so many opportunities in this current world of working virtually and outsourcing around the world. There has never been a better time to build a team. You can have expertise at your fingertips that is easy to implement and completely affordable. When I say that, what happens is if I convince you of that, people run out and try to build a team, and they come back and say, “The economy…,” or “No one wants to work hard these days,” or whatever the excuse is. What I would say to you is, “It’s a strategy,” and you want to lean on someone who does it, and who has taught others to do it well. You saying, “This is what I need,” would be the equivalent of someone saying to me, “Kris, you need a different attack strategy.” You’re right. I am going to do that. Then it didn’t work. You get seduced into the importance of your work, and that you confuse sweat with service. You just don’t look at what opportunities could we get to sooner, quicker, and faster if we had someone to guide us and ask us how to get the most- Think of a lemon, using the rind when you are cooking, squeezing it for juice, getting every little drop out of that piece of fruit. That is what you are doing when you are not strategic about building a team.
Hugh: A lot to unpack there, too. We are recording this in the middle of the coronavirus. You can watch this any time, because these are topics that are timeless. You just talked about a team. Kris Ward is the productivity expert, and she is serious about this and knows how to get it done in real life, not theory.
Let’s talk about teams. One of the theories that I champion and teach is by psychologist Murray Bowen. It’s about knowing ourselves. One of the things leaders do is overfunction. You were talking about the distinction between sweat and service. We have the vision. We have the process. We know what the end result is. We have qualified people. Let’s not be afraid they will look better than us. If they look better than us, we look good because we engage them. I hear this common excuse, “Well, I need to be willing to do what I ask other people to do.” The key word to me is “willing.” You’re the leader, not the doer. So why are you robbing them of the opportunities? What are some of the excuses leaders tell themselves, and they get into this space where they are overfunctioning?
Kris: I hear that a lot. People, leaders, businesses, clergy, the excuses often come down to the same. They say things, “You don’t understand. My situation is different. My work, business, platform is different.” You didn’t reinvent the wheel. I don’t care what you’re doing. I remember watching 10 minutes of a TV show with a woman who had five babies, and she ran that like a business. Look at the business system she has in place to get these five babies out the door.
The first thing I hear all the time is, “You don’t understand. My situation is different.” There is a fear base of, “Oh, we have privacy,” or “I just can’t bring people in whenever because of this.” I have dealt with every industry in the world, including high-level, secure, mutual funds, banking stuff. We’re talking about a piece of the work, not all the work. There is that human fear. I don’t totally get it because I would always argue that I want to be the dumbest person in the room. I want to be surrounded with brilliance. If I am not the dumbest person in the room, then I am in the wrong room. So people just get caught up in their own way, and they often say to me, “You don’t always understand. We can’t afford it, or it’s too much to train them or manage it.”
Here’s a quick example. It would be like me saying to you, “Let’s say you get paid for every delivery you make today. Here’s a bike. For every parcel you deliver, you will get paid.” Then I give you a car. Then you say to me, “I’d have to maintain the car, and I’d get oil changes. I will go with the bike. It’s lower maintenance.” But how many parcels will you deliver? How many opportunities- It’s such a black and white decision. But when we are in our business, people make it, I call it a business of distraction. Give me another reason why I don’t have to do this now. The excuses are endless, and it’s unfortunate because it’s not just about the work. You are not getting to your next project. You are missing opportunities. Your audience or competitors are going somewhere else. You’re not having fun either. You’re grinding it out. When I think of work, I always think of when one requires knowledge. If you are working, if you are really doing the work, you require more knowledge because more knowledge would make that ask so much easier for you, and you could move onto the next thing.
Hugh: Whoa. You hit it. Those are not reasons it won’t work; those are excuses why you don’t want to do it. There is a fear or a lack of willingness or a lack of awareness that we need to upgrade our own skills if we need to lead a team effectively. Part of SynerVision’s work is to upgrade the skills of a leader, but we don’t provide the productivity piece like you do. We need to prevent productivity. You see that play out as well?
Kris: 100%. Everyone makes it a bigger thing than it needs to be. For example, I was speaking to someone, and he had a videography company. He said, “Kris, you don’t understand. The way I produce my videos, it’s a certain look. Everyone said I do a really good job. I can’t outsource it.” I worked with an interior designer. “Kris, I’m the only one who can do it.” The interior designer, she wins, she’s the only one who can do it. Let’s say she’s in that home for an hour. We can place things on both ends that would decrease her time in that home even if she is the only one who can do it, so instead of being in that home for an hour, she is in there for 40 minutes, which would mean she has 20 minutes to do more business or speaking gigs or get other places that day.
With the videographer, he was like, “You don’t understand, Kris.” First of all, especially with video editing, there are a dime a dozen. They’re so simple. “I built this system out. It took weeks. Then I hired this guy. He hadn’t done this before. I coordinated a strategy. After three weeks of building this out. It didn’t work.” The problem with that is that it was like building something from A to Z. If he had just taken a screen capture video, which you can do for free, of this little first piece he was doing. Let’s say he was taking garbage cans out of the beach. Then he could show the guy, “Do you get how to do this?” “Yeah.” “Then you can take the garbage cans out of the next 20 frames and send it back to me.” If that saved him a half hour, there you go. He could progress to the next thing. People think they are going to build this big training thing, and they don’t realize step three needs a different password on Tuesdays, and then the person is coming to them and bothering them and it’s like, “It doesn’t work.” Because you tried to build the whole thing out. That is moving you further away from the goal.
What I would tell you is how we work with our coaching clients, we have these simple videos. We train people with all these ninja tricks. They are shocked that they can post a job and have somebody implement it in their team with a very simple process the next day, taking work off their desk. Everyone makes it another project. You know when you’re in high school and you put all that effort into the title page before you write the essay? I don’t want to write the essay, so I am going to make this title page look good. That is the kind of stuff I see a lot of.
Hugh: People get ready to get ready, and then they get ready to do the business, but they never start doing business because they are doing the business cards and the logo. You have said several times that people say to you, “You don’t understand.” You’re not the one who doesn’t understand. It’s a lack of willingness to look at what the real problem is. Someone said to me, “You could work out and lose some weight. Then you would feel better.” I could go, “I tried that one day last year, and it didn’t work.”
Kris: Which push-up got you in shape? That is the question.
Hugh: It was #132, so I had to get there. It’s a self-awareness piece, isn’t it?
Kris: Yes. Well, it’s a little more shortsightedness than self-awareness. What happens is by the time you need someone, you are so busy it’s not the time to be hiring people. You have no system and strategy. We have an online product coming out, and it’s simple. We have these ninja tricks in it. First of all, you delay it. When you do need help, you are so overwhelmed and stressed out that you are not thinking clearly anyhow. Then you show up without a system or a strategy or any training on how to hire and implement someone quickly. Can you hire someone? Sure. Do you have all day to do it? No. Do you have money to waste? No.
I was speaking to someone last week. I won’t name her, but you know her, Hugh. She was saying she had a team member. Let’s say she paid them $50,000. She said, “Kris, four months in, I knew she wasn’t the person for the job, but it was too much work to replace her.” Oh my gosh. Not only did she waste $50,000 last year, and she could have that diced out in different positions for a quarter of that price, but she knows she missed opportunities. She knows there were emails that didn’t get through. I know I sent her stuff that I CC’d her in after the third fail with her assistant. You don’t know how many opportunities you missed; you do know how much money you’re wasting. She could have followed through with a strategy and had three people do very precise, high-end work for a quarter of the price, instead of hiring one person who is good at one thing and degrees of less effectiveness in other areas because you need to fill the week.
Hugh: That is a failure in leadership. It’s not as much a failure as the employee having the wrong person in the wrong slot, and not setting up an accountability system so they could perform to the standard. That started long before your conversation. It started from the first day.
Kris: Oh, for sure. What I would argue, too, is that the world has changed so much in the last five years, even. What would happen is I know when I started delegating or outsourcing work around the world virtually, which was a big shock to everyone. When I was doing that seven years ago, it was so cutting-edge. In this case, what I would say to you is often people hire someone in-house, and you have to get them a computer and a desk. You do hire them for one task, and they have to be local. Maybe you only need four hours a week of video editing, but you have to give them ten hours of work a week. You are looking for someone part-time. So you start giving them other things they aren’t as skilled at because they need to fill those hours. It deteriorates the work you’re getting, and there are these things that fall into play.
When I started outsourcing, the first person I hired was a transcriptionist. I would have all these meetings with people and make all kinds of notes and promise when I got back to the office, I would type it out and put it in their file. Of course, Friday afternoon every week, I had to get these notes in, but by then I’d not understand the cryptic notes I was taking while I was talking to someone. If they called back, I might give them a misquote, so it looks like I am trying to swindle them when I just can’t read my notes that were on my lap while I was in a meeting. It would be this stressful thing every Friday afternoon at least two hours. Then I switched to I would leave my meeting, sit in my car, and I would talk in my phone for 30 seconds. All the information was fresh, and she could type faster than I could talk. Some weeks, I had two hours’ worth of work, some weeks I had five, and some weeks I had none. God help this woman. All she wanted to do is this. She had 10 clients, and only did this. She was really fast at it. I would talk for 30 seconds. The notes and details were unbelievable, nothing I could have ever provided. And I gave myself two hours every Friday. So it’s not just leadership. It’s really pairing hiring talent with technology and creativity that opens up your day.
Hugh: There’s an insecurity piece of this, lack of delegation as well. If you want it done a certain way, you have to do it yourself. If you want a certain result, then get out of the way because other people will do it differently than you would, and it doesn’t matter as long as you get the result that you have defined. There is two problems I see with that. We are not clear in defining the end result. Here is a specificity in what I want you to accomplish. Then we are not good at giving them the necessary information. Then if it’s a long-term project, we don’t have the touchpoints to make sure they understand the project, have the tools, and aren’t stuck somewhere. Any advice around how leaders up their game to be able to let go of this control mechanism and allow other people who might do a better job into this space and how to nurture this relationship?
Kris: I would argue that if you set it up correctly, they are going to do a better job because how many things can you be good at? In this day and age where no matter what you are doing, there is some element of technology in everything we do, even the toilets. You can’t be this person who has the ability to do 12 or 15 different things well. What I would say is more often than not, when you release it, I have people on my team say, “There is this new thing that is just made.” My video editor told me last week there is a new platform called Description. What I can do is click, when I am doing a video like we are doing right now, the word “Um,” and it will ask if you want to remove all filler words. Every um that I have said in the video would be taken out. It will alter it so that it’s removed in my voice. There is no gaps in my sentences. It won’t do it for you that I can’t put words in your mouth. By the way, if one of us is going to sound better, why not me? What will happen is there is a bunch of tricks that this can do, and my video editor showed it to me because that is her zone of focus. This whole idea of, “Will they do it as good as me?” I would argue that you have no idea what is out there because you can’t be a specialist in 10 different subjects. There’s that.
But let’s go back to you. You say, “Okay, no, Kris, I am standing strong on this. I do this better than them.” How do we get around that? I would argue that if you are in a boat paddling, would you say, “Okay, look, I am the best paddler, so I am going to put my head down and go hard and fast because nobody, I have won Olympics for paddling, but I need to go anywhere.” Or would you be content if I threw four or five paddlers in the back of the boat who don’t paddle as fast as you did and didn’t win any gold medals, but you will get there a lot quicker with those four weak paddlers than you would by yourself.
Hugh: That’s a good analogy. I think it’s what we don’t know that is the challenge. I hear this often. I do it better than anybody else. so why don’t you go work for somebody and do that instead of trying to manage a whole business? Then you could do what you’re really great at. Or you could build a team of experts that could be ultimately better than you if you are willing to nurture that. Let’s talk about team a minute. Describe how you define team. There is formal/informal, and internal/external.
Kris: First and foremost, to me, team means Together, Everyone Accelerates Money. Even if you are in the nonprofit arena, nonprofit, we know what that means, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep it alive, there has to be an influx of income, something that helps keep the lights on. Don’t confuse that with for-profit. To me, TEAM means Together, Everyone Accelerates Money. Anybody who is succeeded at anything in the history of any capacity has had a team. Two guys in a garage, whatever. So many of us have this false sense that we can buy more help when we get to the top of the mountain. “I have a team, Kris. I have five full-time people, and I can’t afford more.” Team does not mean gaining full-time. There are so many variables to a team, like that transcriptionist I told you about. She worked like two hours every second week. But that gave me half a day and more consistency and more reliability, and all my content with the files. A team can be anything. It just means someone else you can lean on, and I think the definition of team is what trips people up and limits them. It’s like, I don’t want to manage 25 people at my big desk, and I can’t afford all that.
First of all, we just need to, what does a team mean? It just means more opportunity, more success, more creativity, and more ability to get where you want to go, like those paddlers in the boat. There doesn’t have to be a big, heavy commitment or infrastructure. The whole definition of team I think has changed dramatically in the last couple years, and I think that is where people are getting stuck. They are getting stuck in the old-school way of thinking. You have someone at their big wooden desk, thinking I have to manage these five people. That day is done and gone.
Hugh: Like Covey points out, you manage things, you lead people. You manage money, you lead people. You manage your use of time, you lead people. There is a big misunderstanding of what leadership is. To me, leaders are three things: they get things done, they understand how things get done, and they influence people. We could positively or negatively influence people, and we do a lot by getting in the way. We have good people, and we want to micromanage them. There is a 180-degree difference between micromanaging and mentoring. We empower people. Suppose you get someone, and they are nothing but potential. But you recognize their potential. That would be, to me, easier to start with somebody from scratch and train them than it is to try to unlearn bad habits. You have someone who is a profound expert, or you have someone with potential and build the expert out.
Kris: 100%. I always say we hire personality over skillset every time. You can train the skillset, but you can’t change or train the personality. We always go for personality over skillset. What I would also say is if you’re doing a good job, then you’re training your team how to delegate and how to outsource, no matter where they are in the rankings. I am always talking to my team about that, saying, “Look, if this is something we can get off your desk, and you can give it to someone who is making less money or hours than you are, it saves us all money and time. I want you to focus on your zone of genius.” Right now, we’re looking for an assistant for my assistant. I realized she handles complicated stuff, and there’s research she no longer needs to do, or it’s not as great a use of her time, where she started on that four years ago, but now it’s not a good fit for her. We need someone who can take stuff off her plate. It’s not about you necessarily being the boss; if you’re doing a great job, then your team will constantly come back to you and tell you how they can delegate. It’s a much bigger world than most people are letting themselves see.
Hugh: We are the barrier. I think Steve Jobs was credited with saying, “We don’t hire good people and tell them what to do. We hire good people, train them, and they tell us what to do.”
Hugh: You go to Disney World, and you talk to the person sweeping the streets. They can tell you anything about the park and how to get there. They are very informed. That person is an important part of the team. The overarching umbrella here is the culture. I am a conductor. I left my photo career. I had those simultaneously. I was a conductor and a photo, I had the camera store and the photo lab and gallery. I have learned- I am in my third career, and I have learned from each one of them. I wish I’d known things then that I know now. What a sports team or drama team or an orchestra or choir is, it’s a high-performing culture. I like the orchestra as a description for how a leader creates high-performing cultures. Everybody’s different. You have all these orchestras that sound different. There are different personalities that go with them. They all see the world differently. The triangle player is different than the violinist. There are different skills and perspectives and personalities. It’s our job to challenge them to excellence, raise the bar to excellence and stay there. Having the wrong person, you need to have the personality that fits your values and your principles. You are building a culture around the identity of who we are. Go back to Disney World. It’s service. They make a lot of money. But they entertain people. You’re the audience, and they’re the cast. They are very clear on that. You serve that principle. You hire for attitude at Southwest Airlines. They hire people for attitude and train them for the skill. It’s a high-performing culture that is a happy culture.
Let’s go back to I am the leader. I want to build a team. What is the strategy of building the team? What are the biggest mistakes that people make when they are bringing a team together?
Kris: The first and biggest mistake I often see is they look at obvious stuff. You can look out, but you can’t look in. That’s where we come in. People say to me all the time, “I have a team.” They will say, “The rest of the work I have to do.” It’s having this conversation with someone last week, and he is doing this podcast. It’s a daily podcast. He’s big on media content, producing content. “You don’t understand, Kris. I have to do this. Nobody else can do the content.” Because of the nature of his show, you get 25 different communications with him before you get on the show because you have to jump through these hoops. I asked him, “Who sent me all those emails?” He said, “Well, I do that.” I said, “Well, someone else can do that. You can copy and paste them. I can’t be that unique. 90% of what you sent me is redundant.” He says, “Oh yeah. Okay, except for that.”
What happens is you talk about leadership and how to start hiring people and strategies and practices. We can give you all that. But the first work we do with most people is doing the audit and then evaluation. They just don’t see things. Here is something, and I am constantly shocked at stuff. What happened was we had these postcards we send out. Shockingly people get a real kick out of getting something in the mail. Whenever I see someone who has done something in the community, I send a postcard, “Congratulations on this.” It is a big deal. They call me because they got a postcard instead of an email. I was busy doing these on Friday afternoons. I thought, “These people don’t know my handwriting; I don’t think my mother knows my handwriting at this point. Why am I doing this?” I had a student sitting there with me, and I would tell her on a post-it note that this person won this, and she wrote the note for me, and I signed them. Her writing was better than mine, so they got a nicer thing, and I signed it. Because it was from me and my heart, and I was acknowledging what they did, I thought somehow they would know my handwriting. A person whom I have never mailed anything to ever or may not have even met. Even I catch things all the time. That doesn’t have to be me.
That is the biggest mistake they make is they think, “I have a clean diet. Everything on my desk has to be me.” Often, when we work with someone, they will find that at least 50% of that was not true. It frees them up to go out and pursue more ambitious opportunities and take their business or platform where they want to go quicker.
Hugh: Wow. People say to me, “I don’t have a team.” But they are a solopreneur. Wait a minute. You talk to this person who you hired to do this, and this person is giving you advice. And you have a board. There are informal teams and formal teams. Mastering the art of teaching what we need them to know and the art of delegation. It’s hard. We’re not taught leadership. We’re not born with that. We have to learn it. I deal with business leaders, but I also deal with nonprofit leaders and clergy. We need to build a board. That is the group that has fiduciary oversight and governance oversight of the organization. The mistake people make often is they can’t think out of a little box of family and friends. You don’t want to hire your family and friends in the primary positions. I once heard, “If you want to lose a friend, hire them for your work.” There is a dynamic of liking people, which overrides common sense. Is that something that you work with people on as well?
Kris: Absolutely. I have many stories like that where people will tell me, “I hired someone locally,” and they will say openly, “Her skillset wasn’t there in that area, but I trusted her, and she knew me, so I thought-” It’s almost like you are bringing someone into your cave, and you think you will be safe. That is fear-based, and that is a real problem. They are not relying on processes. It doesn’t mean I am not talking heavy things like that.
For example, when I hop onto this interview, I have a process I go through every time, even when I have back-to-back interviews. I check that my phone is on mute, my Skype is closed, my water bottle is there. Even when I leave this one, and I schedule my time wisely and I hop onto another podcast after this, I recheck my list. I thought I shut my phone off, but I made a quick call so I turned it back on. The safety plan of when I hop on, you get my full attention, then businesses are not run on memory. Nobody says to the guy at FedEx, “Here is the envelope. Here is the organs to this person in Chicago. You have the address, right?” That is not how it is run. You can take the pressure off your hiring by having simple processes in place. Every time someone uses that process, they can improve on it and go, “You know what would be great with this extra step? Someone should check our podcast before they go out.” We call it an audit. Make sure we listen to that instead of the world telling us we made a mistake.
When I hire someone, what happens more often than not is if we do find a mistake, we look at the process and say, “Okay, the process was done wrong, or we are missing a step here.” That builds a much better team culture because we are in it together. Secondly, we can fix the process much quicker than you can with people. Taking all the personalities out of it and having things in place that you can lean on and support you makes all the difference.
Hugh: That is key. You probably observed right now that I am Southern, and we have a certain way we say words. We have our own language down there. Kris is Canadian. Just wanted to point out that I am a choral conductor, and I listen for vowels. That is one novel thing that you bring out the table amongst many others. Your passion for your work is quite evident. People show their passion in different ways, let me say. Yours is very active.
Let’s go back to the costs. When you talked earlier about people saying, “You don’t understand,” that is one of the excuses people say. I can’t afford it. At some point, you can’t afford not to have someone who can make you more money on the team. What is the misinformation people tell themselves about cost versus value?
Kris: That’s a hot button for me. If you can afford a cup of coffee, you can afford to start working with someone who will take some pressure off you in some way. Gone are the days where you have to hire someone 15 hours a week at minimum because that’s it, no one will come in for two hours, it’s not worth their gas. Virtually, it is. When we revert back to the example of the transcriptionist, not only did she save me Friday afternoons and the stress, but I was making mistakes because I was scribbling and looking attentive and promising stuff I forgot four days later. All I had to do was make one misquote. I’ve done that where I gave someone $200 off because I couldn’t read my own handwriting as I was balancing on my hand. The cost of that and the stress, the money, and the opportunities I was missing out on.
First of all, you have no ability to measure the opportunities that you’re missing. That’s the first problem. Secondly, you can hire anybody for all kinds of things you could do. The opportunities are endless to hire someone to do this task or that task for like $10, $12. It’s unbelievable. The other thing is back in the day, you’d be sitting in a meeting, and someone would ask if you could do this. It’s a bit of a stretch for you. You’d think, “I’m going to say yes, but I don’t know how I’m going to hire to do this or how much time it will take to onboard this.”
One time, we had an opportunity in a marketing thing, working with this boxing gym. They wanted this video done in a masculine way. At the time, I’ll give you all the details. The Magic Mike movie was out. It’s a male movie about strippers. I don’t know if you know that. I saw a commercial for it, and I saw that they had this masculine loud beating music and quick cuts in the video. It was testosteroney, but they didn’t do anything. That’ s a new word I invented by the way. It’s not a Canadian word; it’s a word I invented. I showed the video editor because I’d never hired one at that time. “Look, I want to make these clips for the boxing gym with the same oomph that this commercial has. Can you do it?” He showed me samples and said, “Yes, I can.” So he did it, and I paid him like $50 or something. I went back to my client and they are like, “Oh my gosh, this is the best video ever.” Too many people think, Oh, you can’t afford it, or you have to know something about video editing to hire a video editor. No. I just showed him this is what I think is pulling this together. It’s the quick cuts. It’s the masculinity. It’s the loud boom music. Often, I have come in with less information than that, saying, “I don’t know what makes this look masculine, but can you break it down for me and show me what we need to do?” We had this amazing product for $50. You don’t need to know how to do everything to hire someone. It is beyond crazy affordable, but again, we have a hiring strategy that we are very successful at and we have taught a lot of people. If you jump out tomorrow and go, “It didn’t work for me,” because you need to be trained in this particular area.
Hugh: Wow. We want to be sure that we have your website. Her website is WinTheHourWinTheDay.com.
Kris: I don’t know if this falls under promotion, but there is a page with a bunch of freebies that will be of value to your audience. If you go to WinTheHourWinTheDay.com/free-gift, there are some video trainings in there, an ebook on how to save $480 a week on outsourcing. There are a bunch of things that will shift your mind and give you some deeper understanding of how this can serve you. all you have to do is opt in.
Hugh: it’s WinTheHourWinTheDay.com/Free-Gift. There are two really big dysfunctions in most every church and nonprofit, not to mention corporate America. The search committee for hiring a new staff member is a huge problem. Most of the time, well-meaning people get it wrong because they don’t look at the things that aren’t visible. I have worked with organizations and have a four-step intake process. In the free stuff, is there something in there about hiring practices?
Kris: There are a bunch of things. There is a video walking you through how I hire someone, little tricks we do. Whether they are in-house or online, I never hire someone without giving them a test. It’s a little test. When you are hiring someone virtually, they are ecstatic to do the test because they don’t want you to hire them through a platform, and then they don’t do the work well, and then you have to give them a review. I am not looking for free work.
Let’s say you are hiring a graphic designer. I give them some pictures of me and my logo, and I want a basic logo for Facebook or a banner. Show me what you got. If they are in the capacity of, “They came back and it’s great.” I asked, “How long did it take you?” They say, “I worked hard, and it took me four hours.” I need 20 of these. You’re not a good fit, right? You are not looking for someone to break their back and put these hours into it; you just want a sample of what they can do. Especially in the world of social media, it doesn’t matter what their credentials say; you have to show me what you can do.
Even for things I have hired in-house, they don’t want to come in and do the paperwork and get fired a month later. I will often ask for some little thing, maybe researching- One of my first hires many years ago, I was hiring my first assistant in-house. I got it down to two candidates. At the time, I was looking for them to research some information that was coming up. An event in the business community. One said to me, “The information you are looking for has not been released yet. I checked with these three websites, and I called, and they said it would be available Tuesday morning at 10am.” The other person said to me, “I don’t think it’s available. I checked with my mom, and she said it won’t be out for a while.” I was like, “Okay, we’re not hiring your mother.” All I asked them to do was find this piece of information, and the way they responded to it, neither one had it. I didn’t know that it wasn’t out yet; that wasn’t a trick. The problem-solving leaned very heavily toward the first person. There are all kinds of little things we can do that we have practices and processes for easy implementation of a new team member and how to train them.
Hugh: I hear often that something didn’t work out. “I assumed,” or “I had the impression that,” or “I had a gut feeling but I ignored it because there were these other good things.” We deny ourselves what is in front of us. Maybe we don’t see it, but when we see it, we don’t delve in and ask the pertinent questions that are so important. When we wait to hire someone, I don’t know if it’s measurable, how does that cost our organization? I will hire someone next year when I have more money.
Kris: That is expensive on so many levels. It’s like thinking of yourself climbing a mountain. I don’t like heights. I like the idea of exercising, but I would be climbing on the floor. What that pitch person is one person hands you the rope, and you keep climbing the mountain. No one says, “When I get to the top of the mountain, I will build my team.” You need that team to get there.
It’s the confusion I had that my fist couple years of business. I would think that when I had more business, I could do all these things. But you won’t get there without the team. You don’t go from one person to now you’re creating Apple with hundreds of employees. You don’t go from one to 50 to 200 in your department. That’s not how it goes. There is always that famous story I remember where the dad and the kid go into an ice cream parlor. She gets a scoop of ice cream and drops it on the sidewalk. He gets her another one. She says, “Can I have a double scoop?” You can’t handle one scoop; how are you going to handle two?
When they reach that pinnacle point, they can afford a team like the person they admire who has a team who does everything for them. They went from someone working two hours a week to 20 hours a week to three people. In this day and age, you don’t need to have a huge team. Most businesses don’t need that thing you used to need with all that dead wood with 30-50 people. But you do have to start small, and you do have to build, and you do have to make sure that you’re constantly allowing room in your calendar to reach new ambitions and meet those opportunities because your competitors or peers will be there, and you’ll be too busy doing redundant work. Anything that I do, I do it, I figure it out. Sometimes. A lot of times, I don’t do that. I nor you nor anyone you work with should be doing the same work all the time. That’s gone. What you need to be doing is moving toward the next ambition. When I wrote my first book, we built out a system for the next book. I will never have to do that again. We have a process for making sure that we can reach people quickly and efficiently for the second book and sustain those relationships.
Hugh: That’s good stuff. We have covered a lot of good topics around team. Remind me of your acronym for team.
Kris: Together, Everyone Accelerates Money.
Hugh: That’s a good perspective. What occurs to me in all of this dialogue is that as leaders, we need to equip ourselves for leading a team. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me somewhere like CEO Space, “I have a team.” I ask them what they will do. “I don’t know yet.” So you really recruit the team for what you have defined in your strategy. Here is the skillset we need. By the way, here are our values and principles. Here is the kind of personality we need. We have to do that heavy lifting before we can build a team or know who ought to be on the team. But we forget to work on our ability to lead the team. Is there something we haven’t talked about that you think is important?
Kris: No, I think it sets a deep conversation. We could meet once a week and talk about this; there is so much depth to it. But we covered some of the real fundamentals today that I hope opens your audience’s eyes because it really is not as simple as I am here, and then I need to build people who will take my time away from my work, and now I will be over there managing instead of producing. If this is implemented correctly, you have those paddlers in the boat who will get your boat there faster. It’s not you would now have more work to do in that boat managing your team; you would get to the shore quicker, move on, and go where you need to go. It’s the mindset and limitation and being tied into the old-school way of thinking of a physical working environment that is expensive and is legislated by policy and how we hire. And all that rigmarole. It’s a new day. You better catch on because your competitors are. That’s that.
Hugh: Yeah. When I had five distinctively different Kodak dealerships, Kodak at the time owned imaging in the world. They went from this dominant position to bankruptcy. They ignored digital imaging and the green box that came in that made better products. We’re Kodak. The blindness of leadership that takes us down. There are only 53 of the original Fortune 500 companies still in existence. They had everything going for them.
It’s back to leadership. I know you, like I, have had the unfortunate opportunity of having the conversation with a person that you have great skills, you have a great vision, you have great products. Somebody else ought to lead this business.
Kris: For sure.
Hugh: That’s letting go. A lot of people who have founded a company have founder risks. It’s mine. I want to do this. No, you don’t. It’s a nonprofit. Nobody owns it. We want to guard it to keep the safety of it, but really, if we are clear about articulating our vision and equipping people, it will live past our times. There is a growth curve here.
*Sponsor message from Wordsprint*
Six years, Kris. You have been in a really good thread with people. You are in good company, as are they. This has been so helpful. A lot of good tips. What thought or tip or challenge do you want to leave people with today?
Kris: We covered so many great ones. I have great respect for all the work that your audience is doing. Don’t get service confused with sweat. Keep in mind that your ability to have a bigger impact on the world is your ability to delegate. What I call the WARD method, Winning Always Requires Delegation. If you are passionate about the purpose and audience and worlds you want to change, then we want to get you in there deeper, faster with even bigger results.
Hugh: Kris Ward, the Ward method, Winning Always Requires Delegation. You can go to WinTheHourWinTheDay.com/Free-Gift for some downloads of free stuff and some papers on what she is talking about, how you can up your game as a leader. Kris, this has been a most helpful session on a really important topic. Thank you for being here today.
Kris: Thank you for trusting me with your time.