Kathleen Winsor-Games

VP Organizational Excellence, Achievement Dynamics & Sandler Training

the full report

Greg Olson (00:00):

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of growl connects. This is where we have the three C’s. We have conversations around community and creating connections today. I’m really excited to have a good friend on that I’ve known for many years and excited about this topic. It’s very relevant to everything we have going on. But I want to welcome Kathleen Windsor-Games to the connect show. Hi Kathleen.

Kathleen Winsor-Games (00:29):

Hi, thanks for asking me to join you here today, Greg.

Greg Olson (00:33):

Yeah. Thank you very much. Hey, why don’t you give our listeners a little overview about who the heck you are and maybe the organization you’re with, and then then we’ll get started with the talk.

Kathleen Winsor-Games (00:45):

Certainly. So, I am with Achievement Dynamics, which is a Sandler training organization. And some people may know Sandler is sales, and that is a wonderful thing that they do as an organization. And what I do is a different program within the Sandler universe, and it’s called organizational excellence, and it is all about helping leaders take their business to the next level. However, that might look for them. So there’s a coaching component to this. There’s a facilitation process to this and a training element and a whole universe of really good tools and resources to help business owners focus on what matters to them.

Greg Olson (01:34):

Yeah. And I had a chance to sit in on one of your sessions. I appreciate you inviting me to that. I really had some great discussions with other business leader leaders and really, I mean, I felt like we’re all going to talk about that today, but we’re all facing many of the same challenges as we, whether we’re going through a crisis or not. What I really found fascinating, which we’ll jump into here is really how this can help plan for when you’re going well, when things are not going well, it’s kind of like that. I know you had a roadmap, you talked about some different things and you know, and it’s hard for companies because of everything going on. So well thank you again for coming on. We’re going to talk about how to build leadership resilience beyond a crisis. I think that’s really, we all want to be outside of this crisis, but and you know, we’re looking at how different, how business leaders that I’m meeting with almost on a day-to-day basis, our clients’ friends of GROWL, you know, we’re all kind of collaborating like really. I mean, it’s interesting, we’re starting to see what 2021 is looking like, are you starting to see that too, with, with the conversations you’re having?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (02:39):

Yes, indeed. We are. We’re very much encouraging people to don’t just look at the next 30 days, 60, 90 days, look at what is going to create resilience and strength for you beyond where we are today.

Greg Olson (02:56):

Yeah. So let’s get started. We have I a few questions and some will be coming in, but I think let’s start with this one. How can leaders make the right course corrections to their business plan during, I mean, these times as it can be any kind of times, I guess we’ve been through, you know, I’ve been through a few different recessions. We’ve had we have elections going on, we have lots of things happening, so, you know, what is your advice? Or, you know, and we’ll kind of lead with some tips, I’m sure. But how do we make course corrections? How do we move the ship a little bit without panicking?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (03:32):

Right. That’s an excellent question, Greg. Well, I believe that now is the time if you haven’t already had the chance to do so dust that business plan off, take it down off the shelf or down out of the cloud. If you haven’t already had a chance to do that. And sometimes it’s just doing a very abbreviated version of narrowing it down to your top three objectives. In normal times, it’s hard enough to try to juggle more than three top objectives that align with the strategy and where you want to be. Long-Term now more than ever. We, most of us just don’t have the time. Many of us are pinched for resources. Many companies have had to unfortunately lay people off either temporarily or potentially permanently. So this is the time you revisit and you refresh, and you may even recalibrate, you may want to do a mini SWAT analysis, looking at your internal strengths and weaknesses as a company, rethink revise, maybe shift to a different market, look at both opportunities and threats. And Greg I’m sure as you have seen, many companies are discovering that they do have opportunities that were not present three months ago or six months ago. So I think it’s very important to refresh that, identify some potential new markets and new products, but use a very objective scorecard to evaluate what are the costs in not only dollars, but time people and resources that you might need to put into that new market, new product or new service before you kind of jump off of that cliff.

Greg Olson (05:22):

Hmm. It is a time I’m starting to see a lot of people take new risks. They realize in new markets some people have been able to adapt very quickly and which is exciting to see, you know, I think that this kind of challenge pushes us into new opportunities. If we’re open to it, you know, there’s a restauranter here in Grand Junction, I told me in the very beginning of this, don‘t stick your head in the sand when this is going on, you know, this is a point to rise above it, and it’s going to be hard as most challenges are, but in the outside of this, you’ll end up with new products, services, new brand awareness. You know, I, the SWAT analysis, I don’t think people look at that enough. You know, sometimes we do a mini or a smaller version of that. I think we do strength, the weakness and trends. I really like to think about what trends are going to come out of this in 2021. We also have government pressure coming on with different trends because of election year and things like that. So a lot of moving parts, great time to dust it off and work with experts on this. You know, the, as you look at the products and services and how you message that. So that is a really great tip Kathleen to bring up, I know what that could be one whole show right there about SWAT, what you do for your clients on SWAT analysis. Okay. this kind of leads this question kind of we’re talking about, but how, what are the best ways for companies to emerge stronger in the next re in the next recovery? Which sometimes I feel like we’re in, depending on what industry you’re in, I know restaurants and entertainment, hospitality, or they’re going to really, it’s going to take them a little bit longer to recover, but you know, what are some of the things that you’re seeing and you’re hearing from the people you’re working with?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (07:03):

Well, I think the message that you got from your friend, the business owners said, don’t stick your head in the sand is perfect because with all the business leaders that we’re talking to right now, I believe they tend to fall into two different buckets. The first one is in fact, sticking their head in the sand just a little bit and saying, Hey, I am, I’m just going to burrow in. I’m going to dig in and hope for the best. And I don’t want to do anything or make decisions right now. And you’ll have to check back with me when this is all over. Well, the truth is we don‘t know when it’s going to be all over which leads me to the second group. The second group has this recognition that now is the time to invest in their own growth. And that might mean professional growth as an organization. It might mean developing the organization. It could mean the leader themselves, the business owner that he or she decides they are going to invest in their own growth and look for every opportunity to sharpen the saw. They, they want to sharpen processes. They want to deliver better, smarter, faster to their clients. And some people are partnering up with other companies because of that shortage of resources that I mentioned. And they’re delivering solutions jointly to clients in ways that they hadn’t before, because maybe their client has a resource that they don’t have internally. And the two of them together, the two companies together come together create a new product and a new service that they can then get out to the market. Here’s one example, a gentleman that I know that owns a printing shop decided he was going to take the PPP loan that he got and invest that in some equipment where in the past, he was not able to produce a certain product without shipping it to his competitor, on that product he took a lower margin. What he’s able to do now is take those jobs in house and print those products out at a higher margin to himself. And now his competitors are coming to him and he’s taking on additional jobs that he wouldn’t have taken on before. And again, he’s taking the higher margin. So it took, it took some guts. It was a scary process for him to run those numbers and think about how much of that work would he need was the market share, even there could he remessage and could he make that move quickly enough to recoup those costs, but he’s already generating a significant level of revenue in just the first couple of months of having done that.

Greg Olson (10:02):

Yeah. Those are similar stories that I’m seeing. I mean, company, they’re figuring out ways to take risks. I like that invest in growth. I think growl will. We’re doing the same thing where I’m hiring, we’re investing in new services, we’re planning for new products to launch. And we’re seeing companies that we work with are kind of, I guess, they’re marketing differently and also better because they’re getting ahead of their competition. They’re planning for next year. They’re working on shortening those sales cycles. Having more conversations with clients and partners also. And I think it’s going to STEM for, I think a really strong 20, 21 or could be a strong fourth quarter also. So those are really great tips. I think one thing I took away as from you is, you know, really this is a great time to expand those partnerships you have and work together to come up with those products and services that are going to help your clients. So

Kathleen Winsor-Games (10:56):

That’s right. You don’t have to do it all alone. And sometimes partnering will fill in a gap in resource in terms of maybe equipment, space, manufacturing, service delivery, people, talent, all of those things. If you can combine forces in a way and come up with a strong enough agreement and understand in advance what some of those steps are going to look like and have an agreement going in of what it’s going to look like and how those profits will be divided, that can make for a very profitable way to go into 2021.

Greg Olson (11:33):

Yeah. I, I really agree that that’s a great, that‘s a great comment by you. Okay, so we’re moving on. I think we’ll have one more question here and we’ll get to some tips and close out let people get on with their day. So, you know, this is one, I think, as we’re looking at teams and leaders, so how can leaders speed positive changes, help their teams embrace new opportunities? I’m hearing this a lot in different ways because of remote work harder to push change. You know, people are kind of worn out on zoom meetings are kind of worn out on different things. So, you know, leaders are really trying to move quickly to get ahead of their competition and things like that. But what is your advice or what are you hearing on those on that?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (12:19):

Well, another really great question. And we’re hearing a lot of the same things that the remote work is a challenge, and there is absolutely a high degree of change in the air. And I think what happens is that leaders inadvertently forget one simple thing, and this is going to sound really obvious, but they forget to communicate. And it’s one of those things that it sounds simple, but it isn’t easy.

Greg Olson (12:45):

It was hard to communicate when we were face to face sometimes with teams, right? I mean, we just, as leaders, I know you train a lot on that too, is like how to be more effective leaders in communicating, not only with, you know, employees but customers, but now everything’s remote. So it’s even, it, it sounds so easy to say, but it’s very hard to do.

Kathleen Winsor-Games (13:05):

It’s complicated, but, but it’s not. And so I think some of the basics that they can do as, as leaders, as owners is let’s revisit, what are the values of our business? Why are we in business? What is our vision? What does that mean to you? The employee, you, the team member remind people of whatever your top objectives are. And if they’ve changed, it’s really important to explain to people, this is why when you include people in why we are making a change, and what does it mean to them as an individual? Is there a win in this change for your team member, that people are giving up something when there’s a change and they have a sense of loss, and there’s always some level or degree of a fear of the unknown. And if the leader can slow down long enough to appreciate that everyone addresses change a little differently and help people understand why we’re doing this, what the win is for us, for our customers. I think you are going to then be able to help people come along with you and not only tolerate the change, but actually embrace it and work with it over time.

Greg Olson (14:28):

Yeah. It is embracing that change. I think there was a lot of unknowns, the economy. We always think the worst, you know, we worry a lot as humans. And so usually those things never come true. So I think you need almost more communication and you know, with your partners and employees and things like that, you know, we’re working on, we have a new product or service that we’re using improv comedy to bring these teams together. And we’re using actual, actual, really trained actors. And it’s fascinating actually, because, you know, it’s using that whole like mental or the psychology of laughter and triggering certain parts of your brain that people have been working from home just are not utilizing like they used to have by the water cooler or sitting in a conference room or brainstorming on w on an actual whiteboard versus a virtual whiteboard. And so something we’ve been testing out with a couple of really well-trained actors that are going into like corporate situations via zoom to help instill this type of stronger communication was teams to kind of embrace those positive changes. So it’s something we’ve been testing out and we’ll continue to test out. And people are looking for new ways to actually engage their mind and engage in managers and things like that. So they can do a better job. So

Kathleen Winsor-Games (15:46):

That’s a great tool. And I love that you’re willing to experiment with some different tools because it keeps things fresh. And the really interesting thing I key in on there, Greg, is you’re triggering different parts of the brain, which may not be activated right now. And that’s a really important thing. We start to make new connections and open our mind to possibilities and leaps of logic and innovation and creativity. And it can just be simple day-to-day problem solving or, or a leap of logic and a whole new product area. We didn’t think of when we regularly activate that part of our brain. So I would love to hear more about how that works.

Greg Olson (16:31):

Yeah. And I’ll invite you in on as we go through our kind of beta tests and things of that with different companies. I think the word you said, leaps of logic. I think that could be your new podcast for you and the yes, because I think you talk about that you help people leap over this where this unknown chasm, this, that people do not want to move beyond because there is a risk there. And I think I’ve watched and listening to you many times. It’s almost like this mental handholding where you’re there to guide. I think these companies and leaders you know, through a crisis and I think that’s, you know, having a coach like that is probably one of the most effective things I think you can do for your company helps you say, okay, we’re going to dust off a business plan. You haven’t looked at it in a long time. Here’s what that looks like. Or some homework we’re going to nibble at this together. And on the other end of that, we’re going to feel really good. I think it is a little taking a little bit of small bites at anything we do, whether it’s marketing or sales or reading or walking. And I think that’s what you are and achievement dynamics are so great at is taking little, tiny pieces, little tiny bites. Next thing you know, we’re across that bridge that we didn’t even know we could cross.

Kathleen Winsor-Games (17:42):

That’s a great way to put it. And, you know, I guess I know you’re, you’re wanting some chips to leave. Here’s one that I really love and I’ve been reminded of lately by some of my clients. And I guess I, I refer to it as embracing the paradox. And what do I mean by that? I know that I have paradox existing within me and you know, a little about my background. So there, there are days when I, I am really in my kind, nurturing and gracious mode and I’m channeling my Southern Bell mama when I do that. And then other days I’m kind of in that kick butt, let’s move things, let’s get results and let’s measure, and let’s have some metrics that come out of this. And I know that those two things logically, some people would think don’t exist, but what I’ve discovered is if we embrace the paradox and we have some paradox in all of us, right. And I am not an or person I’m an and person, so can we have structure process, a roadmap, a plan? Absolutely. Can we have the leaps of logic? Can we move forward and have something really innovative and have it still here to that plan, but take us forward really, really quickly because we were exercising that other part of the brain that you’re your exercise with the improv people. Yeah. I think those two things exist quite well together. They’re, they’re not necessarily contradictory terms or existing in separate universes. And I believe by integrating things together in such a fashion, you’re going to tap into some strengths for your business, for you as a professional, as a person, it’s going to smooth things out, it’s going to help you take some of those darn sharp curves off the road ahead and make whatever transitions you’re making a lot more seamless, a lot more elegant and maybe even have a little bit fun too, as we go through this time.

Greg Olson (19:50):

Yeah. I think having a little fun, I’d like the, yes, and.” that’s an improv move that I’m, you know, saying yes. And rather saying, no, I think it opens up so many more possibilities and we spent kind of that “yes, and” with our clients to, to open up kind of marketing avenues channels and things like that, because there’s a lot of like new ways of thinking to reach our audience or our customers, customers, or customers, prospects. So I do like the yes. And so that is a really great tip. I‘m brace the paradox. Anything you want to wrap up with and final tip on anything that comes to mind?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (20:25):

Well, I think it does go back to brushing off that SWAT analysis who knows how long it’s been since some of us have had a chance to do that, whatever it was you did at the end of last year. I’m going to say that kind of got blown up a little bit and, you know, even taking a half a day or a day and focusing on revisiting that will, I think it helps companies uncover new opportunities. I had one CEO that I was talking to who was thinking about launching a new module of software that her company had developed. And they had all that shelved it at the beginning of COVID 19. And by going back and applying a really objective tool and a process to measure market size and opportunity, and the timing, the timing of it really drove the launch and caused her to move it up. And it’s the part of that software package. That’s selling more than any other on the platform that was already out there. So you just don’t know what you might uncover if you take the time to go back and do that.

Greg Olson (21:37):

Yeah. I, I agree. And it is time. If you haven’t looked at any of that, it is very different now. Well, I want to thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day. I know you‘re you have a lot going on helping people. One of the things I know we’ll put out on linked with this link is your contact information. I know you host these like little events monthly that you can invite CEOs and leaders of business. Do you want to just mention that quickly?

Kathleen Winsor-Games (22:07):

Okay. So, well, two things to know is that about every six weeks we do an executive briefing complimentary. I am going to be doing a CEO breakfast later this month. And it is going to be an in-person, but very limited scope. So we will only be able to accept the first eight invitations so that we can socially distance and keep everybody safe. We find that people are really missing the in-person collaboration like you alluded to. And so that’s going to take place on a Friday, September the 25th at our offices, and you can just provide our contact information out there, and we’ll be putting it up on our website here within about the next week. We’ll have that up there so people can get signed up for that.

Greg Olson (22:58):

Okay. We’ll have your contact information up and information about achievement dynamics, who I’ve been associated with for many years, great organization, great group of people. I’m always there to to help. And it’s a great collaborative group. So again, I want to thank you. This has been a wonderful grout connects. They, you can go to a to see upcoming events. We can also see we can also see all the recordings on past events too. And if anybody’s interested in being on the show or you have a topic, please let us know again, thank you very much, Kathleen, for taking time today.

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