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Find a Better Who Than You: How Doug Hall Helps Management Teams Build Better Business Operating Systems


Doug Hall S2F Podcast Image

Find a Better Who Than You: How Doug Hall Helps Coach Leadership and Management Teams to Build Better Business Operating Systems

Business owners and leaders are often pulled in a million different directions. And there are a million different business operating systems and programs to try to fix this! Doug Hall is a business coach who cuts through the noise to help companies find the right solutions to transform their business.

Doug Hall supports business owners who are not satisfied with the status quo—they know there’s more, but don’t know how to get there! Doug’s solutions are not one-size fits-all but is about the right solution at the right time. I invited him onto an episode of the Stride to Freedom podcast to learn more about what this might look like for business owners who are ready to make that change.

Questions Business Leaders Should Ask

Doug says that “retirement is the leading cause of death among leaders.” This is because most business leaders’ identity is completely intertwined with their position as a business leader. To avoid this, Doug says there are three questions business leaders need to be asking and answering:

  1. Are you on track to achieve your vision, both personal and professional?
  2. Are you getting more time freedom or is your business consuming your time?
  3. Are you planning for your exit?

The key to these three questions is building and strengthening a leadership team for your company. It’s the only way to get more time freedom, achieve goals, and eventually leave your company in a way that works for you.

A Better Who Than You: How to Scale Up Your Business Operating System

Many business leaders love the idea of a new operating system or to build up a leadership team. But they often believe they afford it or aren’t in a place where they can raise up a team.

The focus should be around finding a better who than you. Instead of business owners asking themselves, “how am I going to do this?” they need to ask, “who can I bring in to help?” When you have this mindset, you can stop doing everything yourself and start building up an effective leadership team. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Outsource as many of your tasks (i.e., bookkeeping) to other people as possible.
  • Build up a leader from within your organization.
  • Be careful about a “one size fits all” solutions and quick fixes—change takes time and is an ongoing process to work through.

The mindset shift of focusing on who can help you rather than how you can do it all yourself is the way to build truly sustainable and effective business operating systems.

Success and Failure Factors for Business Leaders

Doug has worked with a lot of clients and learned what the red and green flags are for successfully implementing a new business operating system.

For “red flags” or failure factors, Doug pointed out one scenario in which the leadership team was not 100% on the same page. Some wanted to work with him as a coach while others didn’t. This, alongside cultural differences, and a lack of open communication made the process impossible.

On the other side, Doug has a few “green flags” or predictors of success that he looks out for. They are, simply: humility, a hunger for growth, and the desire to enable a strong leadership team. These factors help business owners truly transform both their companies and personal lives.

We talked about so much more on Doug’s episode of the Stride for Freedom podcast. Make sure you check out the full episode to hear more about his process and how he works with business leaders. Keep up with Doug on LinkedIn or his coaching practice, Resources for CEOs.

The Stride for Freedom podcast is hosted by Stride Services. Contact us today to learn more about our back-office accounting and CFO services, including stable and efficient bookkeeping, cash flow management, and actionable analytics for growth.

You’ll enjoy this Podcast episode with Doug 

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We are fortunate to have Kate available to spend time with us on this edition of Stride 2 Freedom. If there is a speaker you’d like us to interview, click here and let us know. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Show Notes and Links From Episode:

Doug Hall: LinkedIn

Resources for CEOs: Website/LinkedIn

Doug Hall: Doug@ResourcesForCEOs.com

Episode Transcript:

Russell Benaroya: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Stride 2 Freedom podcast. My name is Russell Benaroya and I am your host.

What is the Stride 2 Freedom podcast? It is an opportunity for us to help you get and stay in your zone of genius. What’s your zone of genius? It is that thing you do that is uniquely yours to own. It is where things feel effortless, where you lose track of time, and where you are achieving your highest and best use. We bring guests on to the show that are in the business of helping business leaders get and stay in their genius zone.

The Stride 2 Freedom podcast is sponsored by Stride Services. We’re an outsourced back office, bookkeeping, accounting, and CFO advisory firm for professional service companies like managed service providers and marketing agencies. What is our genius zone? Our genius zone is helping business leaders use data to make better business decisions.

Let’s jump into the episode today. I am excited to introduce to everybody the infamous Doug Hall. Hey, Doug.

Doug Hall: Hi Russell. Good to be with you.

Russell Benaroya: Great to see you. Doug is a business coach that supports business owners that are unsatisfied with the status quo. He helps them upgrade their leadership and management teams. What I love about Doug is he is not a one-size-fits-all guy. There are a lot of business architects out there, like Michael Gerber, or Jim Collins, or Verne Harnish, or Patrick Lencioni, or the EOS, the entrepreneur operating system.

These different experts have architected business model operating system designs. What Doug does uniquely well is bring the right solution to the right company, the right leadership team at the right time. I am selfish because I’ve had an opportunity to spend quite a bit of more time with Doug. I admire his application for these operating systems and I also admire that he comes from the enterprise. He is an entrepreneur as well.

I wanted to have him on the show to help business leaders better understand what it means to bring someone like him into their organization, and what they might look for to determine if Doug can help. A great FIX IT guy. How are you, buddy?

Doug Hall: I am doing great. Great to be with you. That was a terrific intro. You covered a lot of ground there. We’ll unpack some of that for the folks so they understand what you said.

Russell Benaroya: First, I want to know where you love to ski and I want you to talk about the fact that you’ve been a ski patroller for 30 years. Why do you do it for so long? What is it about skiing that lights you up?

Doug Hall: When I was a kid in Wisconsin, my best friends in grade school said, “Hey, we’re going skiing at the local hill.” Wisconsin is flat but there is one official mountain in the middle of the state. It’s like 1000 feet high.

So we went to a place that’s a hill and they made the hill taller by putting trash on top and digging a hole at the bottom.  That gives you some idea of how dedicated we were to skiing. Back when I was a kid in the 60s, it was cold in Wisconsin. It was legitimately cold.

My friends made me fall in love with skiing. My parents never skied in their life. I was the oldest of five, so that started my other four siblings on their ski journeys. Anyway, I fell in love. They moved us to North Carolina. I’m like, “Oh no, there’s no snow in North Carolina.” They said, “Don’t worry. They have snowmaking down there.” That was my first exposure to water coming out of a gun underbrush.

My skiing continued as a high schooler there. I finished high school and went to college. When I went to college, I had one simple thing; I’m going to go skiing. Here I am in the 70s applying for college. Where did I apply? University of Colorado and University of Utah? I got accepted to both. I drove to Utah that fall, started college, finished, got out of there, came back to North Carolina and married my high school sweetheart.

And I told her early on, “Look, we’re going to have kids. Well, it’s pretty expensive to raise them on the ski slopes. How about if I become a ski patroller?” I had a couple of friends who were in it. Their family all got passes.

The long answer to your question is I grew up with all that. I decided to start ski patrolling as a young husband, not even a father yet. Then we carried one baby after another up to the ski areas wherever we lived. I patrolled at six different areas across the country in North Carolina, Virginia, northern Idaho, and finally up at Snoqualmie Seminole.

I retired in 2006 and went and took my last corporate job in Florida as a VP of marketing in the computer industry. That was the 30 to 35th year of my career. Somewhere in there, I realized, “Doug, you’re not a real good employee. You probably ought to be self-employed. You are probably a little wild for this crowd.” I took my ‌advice and took a package leave in 2011 from 2012.

I’m now celebrating my 10th year into my 11th year of self-employment. I’d moved coast to coast four times for different career opportunities. I decided that I have one more move in me from Central Florida back out to Seattle, my favorite place because it has big mountains, lots of snow and deep blue water. I’m a boater, golfer, and skier. I work to support my fun habits.

Russell Benaroya: I love that about you. I definitely perceive you as somebody who works to live, who is an architect of the life that they want to design. I wrote a book on the topic, but writing a book on the topic and living it right every day, that’s the journey and that’s the work. Is that some of what you try to bring to the leaders that you engage? Not only helping them architect the operating system for their business but aren’t you really helping them architect the operating system for their life?

Doug Hall: Yes, that is astute. I practice on myself. Now, I’m of Medicare age. If I were normal, I’d retire. I tell all my business owner friends, retirement is a leading cause of death among business owners because so much of their identity is wrapped up in their business. Not that it should be, but it is. If you suddenly retire, you’ll have an identity loss.

That feeds back to me getting these business owners to think about three things. Are you on track to achieve your vision, both business and personal? Are you getting more time freedom or is the business managing you? Are you building a business to be self-managing or is the business throttling you more and more? Too many times, it’s the ladder. Are you preparing for a better exit?

If you’re a business owner, you’re going to exit dead or alive. You’re going to exit intentionally or unintentionally. It’s better to be intentional. Now, I’m not an exit planner. I know all the factors, but that’s not my thing. My thing is preparing for a better exit. The key  to that is building and strengthening a leadership team.

When we start a business, we’re alone or a couple of people. We’re not even really a company yet. We’re just a small business. Adding a layer of management is the beginning step towards a leadership team. The next step is getting two or three lieutenants to whom the business owner can entrust key areas like sales and marketing, operations and quality, finance, admin, IT, HR, and all that.

When the owner can truly delegate all that and either have them operate as a three-headed beast running the business, or put somebody in charge as a general manager, now we have the beginning of true time freedom. And that asset, then is actually worth more money. So preparing for a better business exit means getting yourself out of the middle of making every decision and doing everything to drive the business. Let somebody else manage it for you.

Russell Benaroya: I’m going to project on many business leaders this question: but Doug, I love what you’re saying, but I can’t afford to do that yet. I need to get the business to a certain point where I have the ability to do all these things that you’re saying.

Doug Hall: You’re absolutely right, Russell. I’ve observed this firsthand for 10 years. The last six years of being committed to management leadership operating systems, I’ve gathered a bag of tricks. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. The whole idea is to integrate these ideas and turn them into your way of operating.

Here’s the first step: you don’t jump from zero to 100 mph in one jump. You accelerate as you can build your revenue. Start delegating to people who are either working for you full-time and have some capacity, or you bring in fractional experts. Why would you do bookkeeping and financial analysis if you could have it done by an expert like Stride Services?

You just extrapolate that. If I’m comfortable outsourcing bookkeeping, financial analysis, reports, financial statements, what else can I outsource or get fractional expert guidance on? You don’t need a full-time sales VP. How about a part time fractional one that does this for a living? How about a fractional chief marketing officer that takes care of four or five clients, and you pay for 1/5 of that expert instead of 100%? Just apply that to everything.

The tough one at the last step is, how do you get a general manager without jumping from zero to 100 mph? Well, you can grow one up internally, which can be uncertain. Better than that would be growing up a high potential person internally through operations and bringing in a fractional COO. A fractional COO would give you a day a week or a half day a week. They should be attuned to whatever management operating system you’re committed to.

Every business owner has a management operating system in their head. It’s going to limit how far they can go. What I do is I bring in a design system using the best of breed elements like you described: pieces from Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up, the versions of that that Gino Wickman put in Traction and The E-Myth Revisited. All of those are the blueprints behind the construction of these systems.

My view for folks is to be careful about buying into any one branded design system because you’re unique. We need to upgrade what’s unique inside you and not necessarily any one system perfectly fits you. I think there’s a concept of beyond EOS or beyond Rockefeller habits. Think of it as a continual growth process and fitting the right parts and pieces together to create your customized business operating system.

Russell Benaroya: What are the stories that you encourage me to either start telling myself or to stop telling myself? Stories that might not be serving me and creating some self-limitations or to start telling stories that are going to accelerate my path to the realization of what these operating systems and principles can help achieve.

Doug Hall: We are our own self-limiting factors as business owners. Every business owner I’ve ever met had a little bit of imposter syndrome saying, “I wonder if my employees are going to figure out that I don’t really know everything I’m doing.” Take a deep breath. It’s okay. It’s even okay to flirt with impostor syndrome because the real answer is to go find a better who than you.

So whenever you think of something, instead of delegating it to somebody that will do it poorly, in other words, less capable than you, go hire a part time specialist who’s better than you. Instead of figuring out how am I going to get this done, figure out who can I go get that’s naturally brilliant at this? And whatever I pay them, I can probably make more per hour.

Let’s say I pay them $100 an hour to do this function that I could do myself. Well, maybe I’m worth $250 an hour going out and getting a new account or doing something else that’s more within my genius zone. Who Not How, is a book that I’m now promoting for Dr. Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach. It’s a simple, but profound concept. Don’t think about how you’re going to do something; think about who is going to do something. Who’s my who that can do it better than me? Then now we can create a scalable entity, where you’re honing in on your unique ability. Find your unique ability; that’s where you add the most value in the world.

Russell Benaroya: Well said there’s nothing in these books, and I’ve read many of them, that I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought of that.” They’re all pretty fundamental. What is it that helps you build the bridge between the obviousness of the language and the execution of these things?

Doug Hall: I’ve had many conversations with business owners who said, “I read Traction, or I heard it in this group and it caught my ear. We’ve been trying to implement it ourselves.” I’m like, “How’s that going?” They’re like, “Well it could go better.” Some famous author in the systems environment said it’s really impossible to change the system when you’re part of the system.

I’m not discouraging people from implementing any of these tools. In fact, you can’t hurt yourself. For goodness sake, pick up these books and use them. You’re right, Russell, there’s no rocket science in there. What there is, is a bunch of stuff and you have a business to run. You don’t have time to sit around and figure out how to be an implementer. And as a business owner/founder, you’re not the most diligent, detail-oriented person in the world.

It takes some diligence and sometimes a kick in the rear from somebody who’s coaching you. Again, I’m not trying to sell people on hiring me or any coach, but I’m saying there’s a point of frustration where the business owners say, “I’m trying to upgrade my operating system; it’s just not working. What’s my next option?”

Then I’d say the option is, find a coach that fits you, find somebody that fits your culture. If you can do it yourself, my first love is EOS Traction. It’s got the most support system. It’s got the most books. It’s got the most stuff for people to work on doing it themselves. That’s where I encourage folks to go.

If you’re going to go into a coach relationship, you’ve got more flexibility starting from Traction on through the other systems. It can work either way. It’s really hard to change things and drive things when you’re running that business though. So just set your expectations that it won’t go super-fast.

Russell Benaroya: We’ve established that you are a rear kicker. When you rear kick inside of the organization, what is the dynamic? Are you coaching from behind the CEO, coaching out in front, or coaching their management teams? What’s your reach and visibility?

Doug Hall: Let me explain the three main roles in my work. First, I talk to the business owner and I check the veracity of their commitment. How big is their vision? Does the investment of time and money in me make sense to them? Could I see them getting a 5x or 10x return on the investment? I want to see that, first of all.

Then I need to meet with your leadership team to explain this and get to know each other. If there’s a chemistry problem between me and any of them, then that’s not going to work. Then we go through that step and I don’t charge for that. I do it on Zoom or a quick in-person meeting.

If all lights are green, we go through two or three onboarding days. In the onboarding days, I’m in role one, which is a teacher. I’m teaching these designed management system tools and methods, which are all built around getting aligned on a vision, getting a shared vision, getting the right people in the right seats on a great team, hitting the right numbers, and solving problems towards consistent execution with a sound strategy, and then generating superior financials and cash flow.

Those are the eight success drivers. What I’m doing is looking to see that they’re making progress as we go through each session. Then I move from a teacher into a strategic planning facilitator. So I’m in the front of the room or on Zoom with them and we’re going through structured questioning to get them to a 10-year vision BHAG to get them to a shared core purpose. Getting that down to a three-year vision, and then from three-year to a one-year plan.

Now we’re down to the plan for this coming year. Then we get into the 90-day execution. So my facilitation is every 90 days after we get through that first couple of months.

Then the third role is I’m a coach. Tiger Woods is very astute. He hasn’t yet figured out how to watch himself swing a golf club. So he hired a coach to watch him. Is that coach a better golfer than Tiger Woods? Not likely. But he’s a good watcher and a good technician. So he’ll be able to correct Tigers form.

The point is, teaching is conveying the information. Facilitating the magic of the group, getting the whole leadership team and the owner to work together openly, honestly, and build a vision that they believe in. Then build detailed plans all the way down to the next 90 days. Then coaching is watching them do that.

The way I usually coach is, of course, in the sessions. But in between the 90-day planning sessions, I’ll visit one or two of their weekly tactical meetings. In EOS, they call them a level 10 meeting and in Scaling Up; we call it a weekly tactical meeting. The whole idea is leadership teams together for an hour and a half a week. They’re solving problems, checking in, and doing accountability on their metrics; hitting the right numbers week by week.

We don’t wait till the end of the month for financials. We look at: did we win last week and are we on a path to win this week? And then accountability on rock projects. Rocks are things that we want to improve or grow and we plan those 90 days at a time.

So we have accountability each week among the leadership team. Then the leadership team pushes that down through the organization. It’s a bit hierarchic in that you start at the leadership team and the owner, get them aligned, get the right people in the right seats, and then continue that down through the organization chart. It’s all built on accountability, roles and responsibilities, metrics, and rock improvement projects. The cadence is every 90 days with weekly check-ins.

Russell Benaroya: What area of the experience gives you the most energy? What do you typically enjoy the most?

Doug Hall: I enjoy teaching at first, but really, I love the ongoing facilitation. Helping stir their pot every quarter knowing their business well but not really consulting them. Just asking them tough questions, challenging them a bit, holding them to account if they didn’t have a great quarter or celebrating with them if they did win a great quarter. And now they are teed up for another great quarter.

And by the way, expert facilitation of their planning is the lasting value. Coaching is too, and I’m always a resource to them. I don’t have an hourly billing clock, it’s just included in my fees. But facilitation is the magic. That’s where the team really harmonizes and comes up with expanding the vision and bringing it down to the next quarter.

Russell Benaroya: Share an experience that just did not go well where you worked with a client and it just didn’t work well for them. What are some ‌ingredients that result in a lack of success?

Doug Hall: I have a classic one. In fact, it’s a pileup of things. Any ‌of these could have been failure factors.

A friend of mine who I got to know through the networking community ends up going from a consulting mode into working full time as a head of operations and IT for an Asian-owned US company, multiple owners. Their culture was pretty hierarchic, so they had a mix of Asian people and Americans. A lovely Korean American CEO appointed by these privately held board of directors.

Somehow, they got the idea from my VP friend that they should use traction. I came in and I had a meeting with the management team. I had some weird feelings; it didn’t seem quite right, but they wanted to go forward. So we went through the first session, which is getting them ramped up and getting them on traction. Then, in the second and third sessions, we’re getting into their vision, backing all the way up to clarify their core values.

Everything was a pretty hard slog to get through. There wasn’t a lot of harmony between the fairly large leadership team. First off, the leadership team was not aligned. And come to find out after the third session, the Korean folks really didn’t want to do this. They were just going along with somebody. It just all blew up and melted down because there wasn’t a real agreement on wanting to improve the business and adopting the system.

There were fiefdoms in the leadership team that didn’t see eye to eye. They wouldn’t open up and talk about it. I couldn’t see any obvious signs of that. Maybe I didn’t have quite the experience toolset that I have right now. They really were not committed.

I like to tell people, what I do can’t be sold. The value prop has to come from the mind of the owner. I can’t come in and say, “I’m going to increase your sales by 20%?” Well, I don’t know. It’s not that direct.

So that was a pretty classic blow up that was a culture clash. It was hidden agendas and a lack of open communications.

Russell Benaroya: On the flip side, what are some ‌characteristics or attributes of clients or company profiles that you are really drawn to where you think you can have the greatest impact?

Doug Hall: When the owner is ready to be humble, and they’re hungry for growth, and they really want to enable a strong leadership team, those are the three essential ingredients

Russell Benaroya: Humble, hungry for growth, enables a strong leadership team.

Doug Hall: Yes. That combination is like oxygen, fuel, and heat to create combustion. T that creates owner, leadership, private company combustion.

Now, a couple of examples where that worked in the last couple of years: I had a 200 plus person landscaping company down in Oregon that hired me to help them. I drove down there, did the onboarding in-person. Great team; two owners with 75% and 25%. I worked with them for two and a half years, got them really disciplined on running their management system. And they recently sold at a 10x multiple to a private equity firm.

A similar situation with an agency up here. A young owner, only an entrepreneur and never in corporate America. I was able to leverage what they did with their management operating system; the discipline and more predictable profit to leverage it into the 10x to 12x range to a multinational advertising marketing agency.

Now I’m helping them fold into the culture of that multinational. I know a little about that having worked for multi-billion dollar companies back in the day. So it’s really fun to help them. So two really good success stories.

In both cases, they’re working. They didn’t completely exit and go play golf. The owners are staying on for an undetermined transition. And as long as it works, they’ll keep working in the private equity environment and in the multinational marketing company.

Russell Benaroya: I do pound the table that a demonstration of a disciplined operating system and demonstration of a disciplined financial backbone significantly increase the likelihood that a prospective buyer will fully value your company. What we often see is full value proposal is significantly less than full value at the ultimate transaction value because due diligence is a killer.

Doug Hall: I 100% believe it. I think what you guys do at Stride with building the chassis is give strength, and then the management operating system is the motor and the gearbox to transmit the power to the wheels.

Russell Benaroya: Totally. Now, you have a company, which is Resources for CEOs. Your website is resourcesforceos.com. That might be one of your most valuable assets. You might be able to unload that for seven figures one day. You also do some coaching work in a specific vertical, which is the managed service provider vertical via ConnectStrat?

Doug Hall: Let me tell you a little bit about ConnectStrat. ConnectStrat is a vision that my friend Jameson West came up with. My other friends Brett and Jason pulled it together and I’m sort of the Fourth Musketeer in that group. They’re 100% committed to serving IT managed service providers.

Thank you for working with ConnectStrat. It’s one of my affiliations. I’m part time committed to ConnectStrat. In fact, I’m going to be at an IT Nation Evolve group meeting in June in Denver with one of my colleagues from ConnectStrat. We’re going to be talking about sales to service handoffs and project management. We have some expertise on that from her current consulting and from my IT background.

That’ll be fun. I love working in the IT space. Probably 20% of my clients over time have been IT MSPs and there are a lot of moving parts. It’s a very human business, even though it’s very technical. It’s 100% dependent on humans to do the right thing. Sell the right thing at the right price and deliver services. It’s a great market; I really enjoy working there.

Russell Benaroya: Thank you for making that distinction. So resourcesforceos.com, you’re open and available to companies across a range of industries. Then you have a particular affiliation with ConnectStrat which is laser focused on the IT managed service provider space.

Doug Hall: Exactly. So any future IT service related clients, I’ll move them through the ConnectStrat system because we can add more value than I can just by myself. We do more than just the management leadership operating system. You get some other pieces.

Russell Benaroya: Great. What is something people don’t usually ask you about yourself or your business that you wish they did or you’d like to share when the opportunity arises?

Doug Hall: First off, I’m happy to help people. What lights me up and always has is helping people and I love answering questions. Like I said before, I’m 100% in favor of people taking either the Traction book or Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and starting to self-implement. There are lots of downloadable tools. There are a variety of websites. I have a passion for self-implementers so I run a monthly peer group for them on Zoom, two hours a month.

I very much have a heart for folks who are out there slogging through do-it-themselves with Traction or Rockefeller Habits. So I want to let people know that there’s no bad question. Ask questions, send me an email, call me, I’ll fit you in.

Russell Benaroya: You are that guy; I know that firsthand. I think you have very much a give-first orientation. With that intent, if people want to inquire, the best way to get a hold of you is?

Doug Hall: Go to the website and it’ll say, “Contact Doug.” It’ll shoot me an email through the website. Or you can find me on LinkedIn, Douglas M. Hall. You should recognize me if you get there. I have mountains in the background.

The other thing that’s a burden for me; I built Resources for CEOs to sort of be an umbrella. I consider Stride Services to be a partner in that regard. I haven’t built a listing there, but I have sort of a virtual listing of preferred services. One of the ones that I’ve known about for eight or nine years has recently been enhanced, and I’ve adopted them in. It’s sort of a joint venture. And that’s to fill in the gap of manager trainees.

First time managers and first time supervisors, we have a peer group that operates at the Marriott at Sea-Tac once a month. It’s similar to the Zoom base for people who do it themselves. This would be an in-person, four-hour experience that goes year round. We cover a certain curriculum every month like having hard conversations, dealing with conflict, holding people accountable. It’s an awesome program.

Then what we recently added because there are more people who want virtual, we have an eight-week boot camp for managers. I’d say it’s mid managers to senior managers and that’s to really get sharp on their manager-director level strategic planning. Again, it fits into whatever management system they have, whether it’s in their own head, or whether I’m teaching them something. It doesn’t matter. It’s the classic manager development training thing that, sadly, is missing in a lot of companies now. They’re just not investing in that.

Russell Benaroya: It’s so true. And one might wonder, why reserve coaching and mentorship for only the most senior levels of an organization when so much of your productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness resides at multiple organizational levels where they would probably have a steep learning curve and accelerate fast with some good coaching and guidance?

Doug Hall: Each of these is oriented towards a group experience. Birds of a feather being together can help each other. The point is, it’s not just being trained or being coached one on one. It’s being with other people who are on their own journey so you can learn from each other.

Russell Benaroya: There’s a group in Seattle called Journey CXO, which is bringing mid-level executives together. There’s a really popular company out of New York called Pavilion that is bringing sales and marketing professionals together in a community orientation to help each other to build their careers and their breadth and experience. Some of these companies are getting really well funded.

Some of this may be a function of, we’ve all been inside our homes for the last two years. That desire for peer-to-peer connection is maybe more powerful than it’s ever been. So I appreciate you helping to facilitate that in the work you’re doing.

Doug Hall: I think it’s a real need coming out of the COVID experience. People want to be together ‌and get the experience of other people instead of being isolated.

Russell Benaroya: I think I have a theme for this episode. You had such a great phrase which is “find a better who than you.” That just puts you as a leader in the right headspace to think of yourself as a conductor of the symphony orchestra, not necessarily being in the chair.

Doug Hall: Founders started in the first chair, then they built the orchestra, and then they’re trying to do all these things. No wonder they’re driving themselves nuts.

Russell Benaroya: Yes. I think you might actually be being interviewed by one right now. Doug, it’s such a pleasure to spend time with you. You have become a good friend. Our relationship was built out of a give-first orientation when you reached out to me probably two and a half years ago.

I appreciate you and I value both for what you do in the IT services space, as well as for the mid-sized companies ‌you help support. You do great work. I’m hopeful that everybody listening to this appreciates how you bring value to their organization or could bring value to their organization. Let’s just continue this journey together because it is a roller coaster, my friend.

Doug Hall: I like it, Russell. Appreciate it. Great to be with you as always. I hope some folks get some ideas out there. Give me a holler and I’ll navigate you to the best resource.

Russell Benaroya: Have a great week, everybody. We’ll talk to you on the next episode of the Stride 2 Freedom podcast. See you later. Bye.

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