Scott Anderson, CEO of Doubledare Executive Coaching & Consulting
Scott Anderson was born into an entrepreneurial family who understood the value of hard work, perseverance, and grit. Scott’s entry into business started when he was tasked with turning around a 3rd generation family group of construction equipment and industrial engine companies, which he was able to scale and sell at a premium.
Following this, Scott built 3 for-profit businesses, including an agency that he ran for over 25 years and later sold to his employees. Scott also combined his business acumen with his experience as a licensed mental health therapist to establish the not-for-profit, AtEaseUSA.org, which develops and deploys leading-edge PTSD treatment technology in partnership with Tel Aviv University and the Israeli government.
Scott’s experience in business is matched by his premier training in coaching and therapy. He trained at the preeminent Coaches Training Institute and is certified by the International Coaching Federation (IFC).
He also graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska School of Clinical Counseling.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- How Entrepreneurs Can Prevent (and Recover from) Burnout
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Coach the Coach radio brought to you by the Business RadioX Ambassador Program, the no cost business development strategy for coaches who want to spend more time serving local business clients and less time selling them. Go to brxambassador.com To learn more. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:33] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Coach the Coach Radio, and this is going to be a fun one today on the show, we have Scott Anderson and his with doubledare executive coaching and consulting. Welcome, Scott.
Scott Anderson: [00:00:44] Lee, thank you. Great to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:46] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about double dare. How are you serving, folks?
Scott Anderson: [00:00:51] Well, I coach mainly entrepreneurs. I’m a serial entrepreneur myself. I’ve started and sold. I’ve started nine businesses and sold eight businesses. And so I’m let’s see. I think that’s right. And so I coached mainly entrepreneurs, people who are growing businesses and especially people who have grown businesses to a point where they want. They’ve reached sort of a plateau and they really need to take it to the next level.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:18] Now what can you explain a little bit about the journey? I’ve talked to quite a few serial entrepreneurs, but I’ve never really dug into what is it about starting and selling businesses that is so attractive to you for to have done it so many times?
Scott Anderson: [00:01:34] You know, that’s a really good question. I really think it’s in the genes going back four generations. I just come from a long line of risk takers and, you know, people who have started, you know, starting with folks who immigrated to the United States, taking risks in farming and ranching and starting various different businesses getting involved in politics. But but just generally, folks who felt felt like it was less risky to run your own thing than it was to depend on somebody else to run their business that you’re an employee of.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:12] But how do you know when it’s time? Like, Are you? Are you starting these businesses to say, OK, in three years I’m selling this? Or are you starting it? And then you get kind of bored or burnt out with it? And then you say, OK, let me sell it and do something else, or I have this other opportunity. Let me exit from this one. Like, what does that look like?
Scott Anderson: [00:02:29] You know, I think you’ve covered it all really well. You know, I wish I could say that that I have always been opportunistic that is growing a business to a certain size with a certain liquidity number in mind. But in my case, and in the case of a lot of entrepreneurs, boredom is a big part of it. And a lot of the thrill is in the ideation and in the launching and in the growing. And unfortunately, entrepreneurs tend to have very short attention spans. I do anyway. And and very little patience. And so, you know, I don’t I’m not comparing myself at all to Elon Musk, but I totally understand wanting to get into a space program or get into a generator program or a solar panel program just because of boredom and and having really diverse interests.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:21] Now how can you counsel an entrepreneur who is maybe getting bored or, you know, has that shiny object syndrome where that other thing looks really attractive right now? And and instead kind of reevaluate, maybe I should, you know, focus on on my business a little bit and kind of see where this is going to play out rather than kind of be a little ad about what the next move is.
Scott Anderson: [00:03:46] Boy, that’s exactly right. And I spend a lot of time with my clients doing that. A lot of times clients will express frustration or burnout or boredom, pure boredom. When they first talked to me and just as a business is beginning to really bear fruit. I know I’ve been guilty of this sometimes, and you’re right, it is the shiny object syndrome for sure, and there is an addictive quality to this. There’s no question about that that that there is there is a kind of a predictable cycle of obsession, and then the obsession cools off and the entrepreneur loses interest. You know, what I found personally is that it’s been really important to try to break that, that sort of obsessive cycle and and see things through to completion. The key almost always, however, is in trying to recruit great people who are better at sustaining businesses and taking businesses to the next level surrounding yourself with those kinds of people. I’ve been incredibly fortunate over time to attract or recruit people that were just way better business people for that stage of growth than I was who had the patience. And and a lot of ways, the maturity to see things through to completion in a way that I didn’t have. But there’s also sort of this I’d call it almost a spiritual journey for entrepreneurs to hopefully over time begin to channel that impatience and that passion really in a more positive direction. And I found that over time and. Think has something to do with it, but I’ve become a lot more patient and less obsessive, let’s say. But yeah, it’s it’s the constant battle of the entrepreneur against that kind of an almost addictive cycle.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:46] Now is it part of the challenge in that it takes different types of skills to create something from nothing than it does to manage something that something?
Scott Anderson: [00:05:58] Exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly it. You know, they’re there. I mean, if the genes I’m grateful for having inherited from my, my father, my grandfathers, et cetera, et cetera, is is that ability to see something and nothing and to be really intrigued to the point of wanting to get it started? And that, I think, is sort of, by definition, the entrepreneurial either gift or or curse. I’m not sure, but you’re exactly right. It’s a very rare person that has both that entrepreneurial vision and also the ability to scale businesses beyond that plateau I described earlier. It’s at that plateau when growth may slow down, where the nuance of what you’re doing may dissipate, where entrepreneurs tend to lose interest and also tend to leave a lot of money on the table and a lot of value on the table by losing interest, by maybe micromanaging at that point and not seeing what you just said, the the need to bring in both the systems and the people that can take you to the next level.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:12] So how do you cancel your clients to do that? How do you identify who is the right person to take this baby of yours into adulthood and to, you know, exit in a way that you’re fairly compensated for the risk you took?
Scott Anderson: [00:07:29] Exactly. You know, the main thing is, and this is where I spend 90 percent of my time is to try to get it into the hearts and the minds of my entrepreneur clients to understand what they really, really want. And again, sometimes this almost obsessive hunger for new challenge and new adventure is is again a blessing and a curse, and something that in in your younger days can be a tremendous competitive advantage, can turn out to be a competitive threat going forward. So a lot of what we talk about is what I try to get my clients to focus on is what their values are beyond today and tomorrow. But but really what they want their legacy to be and and how they the commitment they want to make in terms of how they show up and live every day, which helps to transcend the the siren song sometimes of, you know, I’ve got to have something new every day anyway. So that’s how I work with my entrepreneur clients. And you know, it’s absolutely true that there is a different personality set in a different skill set of people that that take entrepreneurial companies and grow them into and scale them into bonafide businesses that transcend the personality and the whims and even the potential genius of the entrepreneur and turn them into a business that’s that’s bigger than any one personality or any one individual. And it’s a different skill set, but it’s also a different personality type. And we use a lot of assessments, in fact, to try to determine whether or not the the next generation of leadership that I typically help my clients recruit is, in fact, that kind of individual. But typically, they’re they are more patient than the entrepreneur. They can see through the end of of long term processes with more vigilance and patience and with maintained interest. Yeah, it’s a very different profile than the entrepreneurial profile.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:40] And I would think that because of that, it’s difficult without help. Like your firm to for an individual to find the right fit because they might have this inherent bias that they’re looking for someone like them. And that’s probably the last person they want is someone like that. They need the opposite of them.
Scott Anderson: [00:09:59] Exactly. Yeah, and you know, I mean that to the extent that I’ve been lucky and I really have been blessed to work with partners that are just so much better than I am at almost everything, that’s really true. I mean, you want people that are very different than you are as an entrepreneur because the again, that that entrepreneurial the shiny object syndrome can really torpedo really solid, healthy businesses left to its own devices. And you almost have to, as the entrepreneur with without a coach or a mentor or guide or some kind. Unfortunately, your gifts can really be can turn to destruction. You know, without that kind of without the perspective, it’s really hard to see that. So that’s yeah, that’s a very good point.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:51] Now, when you’re working with your clients, what is typically the pain that they’re having, where they’re like, Hey, I got a call, Scott and his team.
Scott Anderson: [00:11:01] Well, you know, typically, as I said, it’s it’s that the the the growth ambition. Well, it’s a couple of things, but the growth ambition of the founder is being frustrated, so they reach a point where they they have plateaued in some way or another. And often its sales growth or profit growth or market share growth has plateaued. Those are the most obvious signs, and those are, to an entrepreneur, deeply frustrating because growth and expansion and nuance are the lifeblood. Another thing, though, that happens a lot, is that the at least a somewhat enlightened entrepreneur will begin to see that they are the problem, or, in other words, that that their entrepreneurial zeal is in fact driving people away who they really, really need people who can see things through to a longer horizon. People who have who can sort of see the forest for the trees more clearly. And and so what often happens one of the symptoms is that there is a retention problem. This is we notice this, especially in the first quarter of this year, what’s been called the great resignation of of people leaving in droves. And the problem sometimes for the entrepreneur is that they tend to be somewhat egocentric, sometimes really egocentric. I know I’ve had that problem and and are not as conscious as they should be in terms of the the fulfillment of the rest of their team. In any case, for whatever reason, one of the symptoms that a lot of people come to me with is that they’re not able to retain the people that they know they secretly need the the people that can scale the business and take it beyond the plateau.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:54] Now, when they get to this level of frustration, is that something that they’re contemplating? Hey, this is the end. I’m over this. This is not working for me. I got to pull the rip cord. How do I exit? Or is it something where they’re just like, I just, this is my life. I’m just going to power through to the best of my ability and see where it goes.
Scott Anderson: [00:13:16] Well, you know, I certainly want to talk to people before the the first statement that you made before people reached the end of their rope. Sometimes they feel that way, though, that there that there really frustration that what them, what got them passed the back of a napkin idea for a business to a successful business that’s now plateaued. All of that energy is is now working against them. What got them to that point, they kind of know intuitively won’t get them past this plateau, you know, and I sometimes do talk to people that are really pretty desperate or exhausted or particularly today burned out. And so that sometimes happens. Other times there are, you know, and obviously there’s a continuum of entrepreneurship. Some people aren’t as extreme as others and can kind of see that that they’ve either taken the company as far as they can in and in one of two ways, either that that growth has plateaued or that they they sort of realize that their skill set is tapped out, that the entrepreneurial zeal can only take them as far as they are. And that would be a bit more conservative entrepreneur who realizes that if there is such a thing as a conservative entrepreneur. But yeah, somewhere in that continuum, I certainly want to talk to people before they reach the point of of wanting to shut it down. But sometimes that happens and particularly today with burnout.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:51] Now is there anything you can share with our listeners? Any tips or maybe low hanging fruit that an entrepreneur can be doing actively to prevent or even recover from burnout?
Scott Anderson: [00:15:03] Yeah. You know, we’ve spent because this is so common today in all kinds of companies and in well over 50 percent of employees nationwide, according to Gallup report that they feel burned out most of the time. So it’s really reached an epidemic point. And the great resignation that so many employers saw this spring this past spring of twenty one is a reflection of that. So as a result, we’ve created a specific program a process to both prevent and help people recover from burnout because it is such a unfortunately such a common phenomenon, and particularly in companies that are growing fast and that are run by entrepreneurs that insist on fast growth. So we’ve discovered a couple of things. I should probably mention that in addition to being an entrepreneur and a coach, I’m also a licensed therapist. And over the last we started about four years ago, actually pre-COVID, to identify best practices that have clinical proof of counteracting or reversing burnout. And fortunately, there are a lot of steps that people can take and and we’ve kind of codified this these steps into a program, a system that we make available to our clients. And you know, basically what what we’ve discovered is that and actually the World Health Organization in naming burnout a bona fide illness has listed three primary symptoms of burnout. The first is exhaustion, not just physical exhaustion, but psychological exhaustion. And it’s the kind of thing where our clients will report that even if they do get a good night’s sleep, which is usually not often they wake up in the morning still feeling tired and if not physically tired, emotionally tired, exhausted, depleted or done. Sometimes they, they say, and obviously it’s very, very difficult to to conquer the world.
Scott Anderson: [00:17:12] If you’re feeling done, if you’re feeling burned out or tapped out, and there are some specific techniques that we’ve developed that can really, really help with that exhaustion. And very simple, very practical techniques that that really, really help. There are a couple of specifically, there are some mindfulness techniques that are simple and easy, even for people who hate meditation or think they can’t meditate that only take five or 10 seconds to use. That, if used frequently, can really, really help not only help people recover from from burnout, but also help them prevent it from happening in the first place. One of the things we’re discovering is that burnout really is preventable, and we’re our contention is that that company is in the same way that they bring flu shots into the office every fall that the prudent employer should also be bringing in burnout prevention skills into the company. Obviously, you know, burnout has a lot to do with company culture, so employers have to really look themselves in the eyes and ask themselves, How are we contributing to burnout? You know, are we unreasonable or unrealistic? Do we have a culture that promotes fear, for example, which is which is one of the. And stress, you know, if we do, we’re going to have burnout. So the employer has to look themselves in the eye first and foremost because there is definitely a lot of burnout that comes as a result of company culture. But having said that, the there are a number of steps that individuals can take to prevent it because it’s burnout is really in the air. In that sense, it’s akin to COVID.
Scott Anderson: [00:19:03] It’s the social media that we read, the news that we see. It’s in the conversations that we have and actually in our experience, it predates COVID. It may go all the way back to the 2008 Great Recession and maybe even before that, maybe back to the 1998 tech bubble bursting. But COVID was really been the sort of the straw that crushed the camel’s back. But what we have found is that there are a number of skills that people can use to not only recover from burnout but prevent it. And so what we’re preaching to our to our clients is there are some simple programs that we’ve developed that have empirical data of success that you can bring into your companies, much like a flu shot. And if you can get your folks to practice even some of these techniques, they will. Their chances of of preventing burnout are actually quite good. Now this is again not to say that employers can shirk. Responsibility if they have a culture of micromanagement, of fear, of unrealistic expectations, et cetera. You know, they have to look themselves in the mirror and kind of go through a checklist we provide to ensure that their their culture isn’t itself causing the burnout. But we have found that burnout is more of a cultural epidemic than it is a individual business problem. And there are some specific steps that you can that you can take. In fact, if anybody would like to e-mail me afterwards, you know or reach out to my website, I’d be happy to share. We have a a burnout health checklist that I’d be happy to send them a PDF.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:46] All right. Well, what’s the website in case somebody wants to have a, you know, contact you and have a more substantive conversation about your practice and get a hold of these great resources?
Scott Anderson: [00:20:56] Sure. One thing they can do is just to get a to watch a a master class on burnout prevention. They can go to burnout. Breakthrough Burnout Breakthrough has a short webinar that explains the the issues involved with burnout and the steps that you can take to prevent it. And there are there are five shifts that that we’ve discovered that really will turn burnout around. We’ve proven this in hundreds and hundreds of cases. The other thing they can do is to reach me at my coaching website, which is double dare you accuse double dare y0u us? And there’s a link there to a program called Extinguishing Burnout. And there’s lots of information there about the process that we use, the science behind it and concrete steps that people can take right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:58] Good stuff. Well, Scott, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Scott Anderson: [00:22:03] My pleasure. Lee, thanks so much for having me on the show.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:06] All right, this is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on Coach the Coach radio.