To be a leader, you’re signing up to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to grow every single day… Easier said than done, right?! 

As you scale your company, your ability to face challenges head-on becomes the key ingredient for your success. I can guarantee you that when we hit $5MM a year I won’t be the same person I am today. I can’t be… to get there I have to GROW.

And to be honest, this is one of the areas I’ve struggled with the most… But I’ve had some MASSIVE leadership breakthroughs in the last few months. It’s shown in our delivery, our client retention, and the development of our team. 

In Episode #372 of the Not for Lazy Marketers Podcast, I’m going to share these game-changing takeaways with you… I’ll break down: 

  • How to build a team and support your leaders so they are able to make decisions for you
  • Why clear company values and a core company promise is foundational 
  • How to stop worrying about what other people will think about your feedback, your standards, and your choices
  • How to train your team to make decisions that aren’t necessarily on a checklist 
  • The #1 secret to grow and scale a team while maintaining exceptional quality (If you don’t have this, it’s NOT going to happen)
  • How I use role-playing and shadowing to keep my team in alignment with our company values
  • And the details of our monthly self-assessment sessions that makes sure no stone is left unturned 

As you grow your company, you can’t be involved in everything that’s happening…  and that can feel kinda scary. 

I’m giving you everything I wish someone explained to me when I started growing my team. 

…Not only because I would have avoided a few headaches, but because having a strong foundation in leadership has propelled me towards massive growth as a business and a human. 

If this episode inspired you to lead from your values, send me a message on Instagram (@EmilyHirsh) and let me know your thoughts! 

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Emily Hirsh:

 

Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast and happy Thursday will be the day. This episode comes out. I am prepping for our ultimate Facebook ads challenge. I am so excited. I haven’t done the format of a live challenge before, and I’m like, why have I not done this? Because what I love about it is how implementation is gonna be weaved into the challenge. So if you haven’t signed up and just like a quick background on that, before we dive into the episode, I am doing a challenge. It starts Monday, February 28th. It’s totally free live Facebook ads challenge. And my promise to you is that if you come, you participate, you do what I’m saying, which very basic, simple tasks each day, that in five days or less, you will attract a thousand plus new ideal clients with your messaging and your content. And we’re actually going to get ads live.

 

I’ve never done this, where we went that tactical in a free experience, but I’m gonna show you guys how to get ads live to specific content, the targeting, how to build an ads dashboard, to read your metrics. After you get them live, it’s gonna be amazing. And the biggest thing that I’m seeing is so many business owners are so exhausted by their marketing right now, exhausted trying to be on every platform, post a bunch of content, keep up with everything growing their, but it’s not growing and it’s slow. And this is what’s going to massively amplify those results. And it’s not gonna take months because we don’t have to build a funnel that can come after, but this is a fast hack in a way to amplify your results. So if you’re not signed up, we kick it off February 28th and you can sign up at hirshmarketing.com/challenge.

 

And I am so excited. We already have over a thousand people signed up and it’s gonna be amazing. All right, today’s episode, I’m going the route of talking about a leadership lesson and some things I’ve been learning, building my team recently. And I have made a lot of progress with things that I feel like I’ve been stuck on for like two years. So if you don’t have a team, you at, you might, this episode might be like, mm, over your head a little bit, or just harder to relate to. If you have a team, whether it’s small or big, or you’ve started to build a team or you’ve failed building a team, I think you’ll resonate a lot with this episode, but if you don’t have a team, you can still listen to this because these are things that I wish I had heard before I built my team ever.

 

So for the last few years, I feel like, and I’ve shared very transparently on the podcast. Like in 2021, I basically my business didn’t grow. It stayed the same. It maintained about where it was the year before. And that was super frustrating for me. And one of the things that I think I’ve struggled with the most, I, and is very hard, and this is commonly a very hard thing. And is it a transition that you have to overcome from about the 3 million a year run rate to 10 million and like getting to that next level, and that is your leadership team. Because at this point in my company, you know, the very front lines, ads, managers, copywriters people working directly with our clients are three levels removed from me. There are two other managers in between me and those people. And so as a business owner who your job as a CEO is to set standards is to set expectations, is to set quality and to build that out and then make sure your leadership team is enforcing it.

 

And it’s really hard to do because I know all day long that I can have direct conversations that I can cl create, you know, clear expectations and I can set people up and I can feel confident in what they are doing when I have that direct contact. But when I don’t have that direct contact, I have to trust and know that information is getting to those people. And, but I don’t actually see it happening real time. And so building your leadership team and building in a team that can actually make decisions for you and understands the core values of a company and expectations of a company is way harder, said than done or way harder done than said. So I have been really stuck here for the last couple of years because I have known, I need to build a leadership team, but not known what I was doing wrong, trying to build the leadership team.

 

And I have had amazing leaders, but I feel like I haven’t known how to support them in the right way. And so I’m sharing with you guys, some massive breakthroughs that I’ve had in the last probably month or two. And my team is the best it has ever been. Our leadership is growing every week. I see people developing and growing and us just really taking off and it’s shown in our numbers, it’s shown in our delivery, our retention and what we’re able to provide for clients. And, and here are some big, big takeaways. And these are things that it’s like, I knew I needed to do them, but I didn’t understand that I wasn’t doing them. Right. So the first one, and if I heard this a couple years ago, it would’ve been like, yeah, yeah. Like whatever, you know, I have this, but this has changed the game for us.

 

And that is having company values and a core company promise that is so clear, that is infused in everything you do. And people can actually use those values to make decisions. And I knew that I I’ve had company values since I started building a team because I had a coach who taught, you know, create a mission statement, create values, and then talk about that with your team. But the problem is I didn’t take the time to actually create because it’s really difficult to actually create impactful values that were truly me, that were truly what the company stands for, what the expectations I have in our delivery and not just our delivery, but everything we do in the company. And you hear about, you know, companies like for example, Southwest, right? They have very clear values. They offer an inexpensive service, but they keep things really simple and easy.

 

And so that allows, you know, when it, when it’s situation comes up where somebody says like, oh, we should start serving salads on south Southwest flights. The answer is no, because it doesn’t align with our core values. Well, in theory it sounds really great, right? It’s like, yeah, I wanna have those values where people could actually leverage those values to make decisions or our core company promise, you know, what is our promise to our customers and be able to say, are we fulfilling on that promise every day and week as an employee at that company, it’s way harder to do this. It takes a lot of time. And I finally got to a place where our values are so clear. They are talked about all the time in, you know, team meetings or discussion and like quoted. And they’re literally used to make decisions and to guide behavior in the company.

 

And I think what was missing for me and this may or may not help you, but I think it would’ve helped me. So I’m gonna share it. What was missing for me is a lot of times a company is built with the CEO values. So things that you do really well, things that are your cutting edge you know, advantage that you naturally do well, or you naturally value, or you, you know, what is something that you do different than other people that makes you different? So a company starts out and that’s all over, right? Because a C is involved in everything. And unless you have values that represent those things, that’s gonna get lost as the CEO grows a team and becomes removed. And so I think what I didn’t connect is our company values should be based off of my own values in the delivery of our, our service, the way we show up as a business and how we serve our clients.

 

And that’s where I had a disconnect. And so I realized things like, for example, one of our new values is speed is queen. And I’ve talked about this on the podcast because something that is very much a core part of me and is the reason why I’ve created my success. It’s the reason I am who I am. And I’m able to do so much and accomplish so much and create success at my age and blah, blah, blah. All the things people say is because of how fast I move. And instead of trying to suppress that, or think that that was wrong or worry about what other people thought about that. I came to this realization where I was like, no, like that’s actually an advantage. And my expectation is that our entire team, our leadership team, our delivery team, everybody executes with speed, faster speed than anybody else.

 

It, you know, in the industry. Another thing is, you know, as I’ve grown my business, when I was working directly with clients, I would always over deliver. I would always go above and beyond. And I would always, you know, go the extra mile to make their experience greater, to get them the results, even if it was a little bit outside of the scope. And it was just like, it needed to happen to get them results. And I think that again, I was worried, well, what people would think about that or would it create, you know, stress for the team and, and know like that’s a cutting edge piece to me that I want infused in everything we do. And so another one of our values is over deliver every single time. And what that does is if you do it right, and your values have serious meaning, and they represent you and the, and the culture and the expectations and your advantages and what makes you different as a CEO, then as long as you talk about them and as long as you make them front and center, constantly, your team will start to remember them.

 

They will start to use them to make decisions. And here’s the thing, no matter how much process that you create, no matter how much SOPs and checklists that you have, your team is going to be faced with decisions where it’s outside of what they necessarily have on a checklist. Right. And true leadership comes from when you can actually empower those decisions. And they’re making decisions in alignment with what you would want them to do to represent the value of your company. So for example, if an ads manager, this just him up, okay. So we have an ads manager who has one of our high spend clients. And our normal process is that every single month they, our team, our, our creative team meets with the client and gives ’em ideas and talks about new angles and tells the client like, Hey, record these reels or record these videos.

 

And then we refresh the crew creative. And it, it varies based on ad spend how much we’ve refreshed the creative, but we had a client where the once a month, it, it just wasn’t feeling like enough to them. And here’s an ad manager working with a client getting this feedback. And so they were faced with two options, right? They could have said the ads manager could have said, no, our process is we meet with you once a month, month is what it is. That’s that done? That’s our process. Right. And I, would’ve never known that that situation happened. And so how, you know, I couldn’t go put in my opinion or what I wanted them to do, because I didn’t know that it even happened. Right. Instead the ads manager brought it to our team huddle and said, here’s a situation. Is it okay if we increase their call to twice, twice a month so that I can over deliver for them?

 

And so the ads manager took a situation where they could have said, Nope, our process is once one call a month and I’m not gonna change it. Why would I it’s extra effort for me, it’s extra effort for the creative team. If it was me in that situation as an ads manager, I would’ve made the decision to accommodate and do that for the client. Right. But because I don’t even manage the ads manager, let alone meet with the client account. I would never have known that that situation would’ve come up. So I couldn’t have put in my opinion and expectation, but our company value drove their actions. So they knew when, when faced with an option or an opportunity to do what we always do or over deliver, I’m gonna choose over deliver because that’s the expectation the company has for me. That’s how we retain clients.

 

So do you see how powerful that is? Because as you grow your company, you can’t be involved in everything that’s happening. And you have to know that you have the culture and the values, and the foundation built that when you’re not looking and when you’re not involved. And when you have no idea what’s happening, the actions and decisions are being made, and that has to come from your values. And so I did not understand the power of this until like the last three months. And we, I finally feel like we have values that you can look at situations every day, every single week that are being led by our values. And so some things that we do to keep them front of front and center is twice a month. We have a company meeting and we share the values. And then we say, what are exact situations that you guys lived up to these values?

 

And then we share examples. And so we’re looking at our values all the time. They get referenced in meetings, they get referenced in those all team meetings, but also small team meetings, all be messaging with, you know, a team member and she’ll be doing something really fast and I’ll be like, speed is queen, you know, and just mention the values. And so it’s all these micro mentions and commitments to the values that add up and start to make a huge difference and you start to gain momentum. Okay. So that’s one big thing that I’ve learned. And then that is going to help you set very clear expectations. And I can tell you, you will not be able to grow a team and scale a team and get your business to the next level and maintain quality and maintain your own expectations. If you don’t have this.

 

And I was a hundred percent missing this until like the last three to six months. And it was impacting the success of our team and the decisions being made that I didn’t even know right. Were being made. Okay. The next thing is a couple of specific leadership things that I’ve learned and had some breakthroughs around. So again, as I shared, I have struggled with how do I support a leadership team? And I’m young, I’m 27. I don’t have leadership experience. I’m a natural leader, right? I was always like the leader at school or in a group. I would be the leader. So I naturally have leadership experience, but for me, a lot of it comes naturally. And I also, because of the industry and probably because of who I am, I happen to have a lot of younger leaders on my team who are also natural leaders, but they don’t have a ton of experience leading and they need growth.

 

They need to be pushed into that leadership. And so I’ve always struggled with like, how do I train leaders? Because I read books, right? Like that’s how I learn books and experience. And so how do I replicate that to support my, my leadership team and coach them because that’s my job. And if I can do that, right, it’s gonna impact the rest of the company. And so I was talking with one of our leaders who, who does have a ton of experience. She used to work at AAA she’s our HR manager. And I was sharing with her, like, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Like, how could I support our leaders? And she’s like at AAA, we used to do two things, role playing and shadowing. And I was like, why did I never think about that? So if you are trying to grow a leadership team and you have managers who manage other people in your company, these are two things that are gonna change the game.

 

And they seem weird and uncom, which is why I think people don’t do them, but it works. And one of those is role playing. So you literally set aside a meeting and, and your job is see your job as a leader, as coaching, you set aside a specific time where you’re not talking about like to-dos and updates, but you’re actually creating a space where they can practice their leadership skills with you. So I’ll get on and give them a scenario and say, Hey, you know, here’s a difficult conversation. You have this team member who didn’t do X, Y, Z, tell me how you would address it. Walk me through it, say, pretend I am that team member. And then it allows them to practice. And then I can give them feedback and say, you know, Hey, I would’ve said, said it this way, or I would recommend, you know, going about it this way or the way you said this.

 

Wasn’t very clear. There’s a lot of room for interpretation around that. And then they can do it again. And I promise you, like the only way you’re going to improve your leadership is just by practicing. And so much about out leadership comes down to having uncomfortable conversations, direct conversations, practicing, setting, clear expectations, and really pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, because it’s not human nature to directly address somebody and go against, you know, the herd right. Of, of human and be like, oh, you know, they might hate me for this. Right. And there’s a way to absolutely do it with leadership where people don’t hate you. They respect you for it, but it’s easier to not do that. And so one thing I found is that we have a co we have company self-assessment. So every single month the manager will meet with their direct report and go through a self and there’s opportunity for the direct report and the manager to provide feedback.

 

And I started looking at our self assessments and I was like, these are a waste of time because I know for a fact that they’re not a waste of time, they’re a waste of time how we were doing ’em. So let me finish before. You’re like, oh, I don’t need to do that. It’s a great process, but only if it’s being done. Right. And I looked at all of our self-assessments and I knew in certain situations that there was opportunities for the certain team member to grow, but it wasn’t making it into the self-assessment. And what I realized was from a manager’s perspective, it’s easier to go into a self-assessment and be like, well, this thing happened a couple weeks ago. I may as well not even mention it. And like, they’re doing better now. So I’m just not gonna say it because why would I have to do that?

 

And I’m just gonna rate them, you know, a four out of five because they’re really a three, but then I have to say that and they might hurt their feelings, you know? And they go through that. And so it’s like, it’s easier to not have the hard convers that’s the easy way out. So I had this conversation with my leadership team and I reminded them, you are a manager, you are a leader and it is your job to have direct conversations, to give direct feedback and to give every single person you’re managing the opportunity to grow. And if you’re gonna sit to down in a conversation and hold back on what they could be doing better or let things go because they’re working really hard and they’re doing pretty good. And so it’s not worth it to say it. You need to step down from being a leader because you’re not doing your job and you’re doing them a disservice because every single person wants to grow, wants to be told the truth about how they’re and does not wanna be surprised if they’re randomly told one day, Hey, this isn’t good enough.

 

And it’s like, well, you’ve been telling me for three months, it is good. So that is on the leader. And so I had this conversation and really laid it out for them, which is where the, the second piece that came from is shadowing. And I never thought of this and I do not know why, but you know, how in school, like, I don’t know in my school. And, and they do this in corporate all the time where you would have a teacher and there was like a week where another teacher or a higher up person would just like observe the teacher. I don’t know that happened in my school. Maybe it happened in your guys’ school, but I can remember it because the teacher was always like a little bit nervous and then someone could come sit in like the back of the classroom all week and observe them and be taking notes.

 

And I’m sure have a follow up meeting. And they do this in corporate, too, like just observing meetings. And I’m like, why did I never think of this? Because you can have all the conversations all day long with people where they’re giving you their perspective about how a conversation went or how delivering feedback win or how somebody took something. But unless you’re seeing it for real time, how are you going to actually know and provide feedback? Because you’re only receiving things through their perspective. And so I of course got my team’s permission and was like, are you guys comfortable with this? And is the person on the, you know, meeting comfortable with this? And I started shadowing, I started, I was not allowed to talk. That’s the rule. I cannot talk. There is no like Emily weigh in, have to pretend like I’m not there because otherwise it’s not real pretend I’m not there.

 

Sit there on mute, take notes, shadow. And then immediately after provide feedback. And so I started doing this with check-ins and then with self-assessment. So I’m shadowing the manager, delivering the self-assessment for their direct report. And then that manager of mine is doing that for their direct reports and shadowing, you know, team check-ins or group, team meetings and just observing. And it is so crazy how effective this has been because it’s a allowing us to give real time feedback. I’m able to see things through my perspective, not through somebody else’s perspective. Who’s telling to me later on in a boxer message, how something went, which is just not right. It’s always gonna be spun to their perspective of what they, how they felt like they were doing. And within a few weeks of implementing this, I have seen much tremendous growth, such clarity around expectations, feedback, accountability across my team.

 

That it’s actually crazy. And I’m like, why did I not do this before? So these are leadership lessons that I’ve learned the hard way. And I think are going to be catapults us to 10 million as a team. And it’s not easy. Like it is not easy managing a team and implementing these things. And like I said, you know, when I told my leadership team this, I said, you know, to be a leader, you’re basically signing up every single day to step out of where you were comfortable yesterday and into a more or uncomfortable zone. And if you’re not willing to do that, like if you don’t wanna do that, you shouldn’t be a leader. You shouldn’t be a manager because being a leader is going to constantly force you to step outta that comfort zone and to push yourself and push that growth edge. And the reality is you have to do that so that you can come along with me and get our company to the next level because I can guarantee you that in a year from now or when we hit, you know, 5 million a year or 10 million a year, I won’t be the same person because I can’t be, I have to grow.

 

I have to learn these things that I’m sharing with you today that I’m sure I’ll have more things in six to 12 months that I’m, or even like two months every month, you know, I’m learning, I am a different person than I was a year ago because I am constantly pushing myself outta my comfort zone, showing up, removing my ego, asking myself what I can do better. And then doing it, even if I don’t know how, even if I’m uncomfortable, even if I feel like I’m not good at it, that is how you grow. And I think that for us entrepreneurs, we don’t, we, we don’t always remember that employees don’t necessarily do that every day. They have to be pushed to do that. But as entrepreneurs you’re constantly out of your comfort zone, right? Like you’re, you’re building the plane while it’s flying always. And you’re figuring it out as you go. And that’s every day normal life to us, but it’s not the same for employees. And so you have to encourage that and create that space and coach them through that and push them to do that. And the really good ones will be totally here for it. And my team is

 

Incredible and here for it and wants to grow and is just eating up the feedback and the growth and the opportunity. And because of that, we’re able to create incredible things accomplished so much, but most importantly maintain the quality of our delivery as I am not involved in it. And that is extra, extremely difficult to do, but comes from doing these things. So I hope this was helpful for you guys today. Send me a message on Instagram at Emily Hersh or share this episode. If you loved it. I know a leadership episode is not necessarily marketing, but I get a lot of you guys who appreciate hearing from me and learning as I grow my team. And I think that this is truly something I would, somebody sat down and explained to me differently when I started growing my team. So I hope you guys found this as helpful. Make sure you guys join me in the challenge. Starting February 28th, we are going to get those ads live. We’re gonna amplify what you’re already doing and create an ad strategy that is going to generate in five days or less, a thousand new ideal customers to your business. So hirshmarketing.com/challenge. And I’ll see you guys soon.

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