Price and Value Journey host John Ray recently presented on generous leadership to a group of business owners and leaders, organized and led by Julie Keyes of KeyeStrategies. In his presentation, John discussed a generous mindset vs. a mindset of scarcity, focusing on assets vs. deficits, characteristics of generous leadership, including laughter, listening, and stability, and how generous leadership shows up with employees and team members, clients, and in marketing to prospects.
Julie Keyes, Founder/President, KeyeStrategies, LLC
Julie Keyes is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) the founder of KeyeStrategies, LLC in Minneapolis, MN specializing in exit and transition consulting for owners of lower and middle market companies. Julie has been an entrepreneur most of her life. As the founder and operator of several companies, she understands what keeps owners up at night.
She works with business owners who seek to understand and maximize their exit and critical transition options. She is actively involved with the Exit Planning Institute, as a faculty member and regular content contributor, and winner of EPI’s “Thought Leader of Year” in 2017 and 2022.
She is also on faculty for Hoopis Performance Network and a Speaker Network member. Her speaking engagements for the financial services and entrepreneurial organizations have included NAIFA, WIFS, FPA, NAWBO, Merrill, UBS, LIMRA, Lincoln Financial Services, Principal Financial Group and Frost Bank.
Julie recently released the 2nd Edition of “Poised for Exit” a book which helps owners of privately held companies navigate the process of business exit. Her weekly podcast, also called “Poised for Exit”, provides content relevant to business owners and advisors alike, and can be found on all major podcast platforms.
She also produced an online course specifically to help advisers educate their clients and prospects on the process of Exit Planning called “Business Transition Readiness: An Owner’s Guide to the Process”.
On a personal note, Julie and her husband Shaun have 8 children and 10 grandchildren, so when she’s not working, she’s spending time with them doing something fun, active, and outdoors.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello. I’m John Ray on The Price and Value Journey. Recently, I was honored to be invited by Julie Keyes to present to her group that meets once a month to learn about various issues around leadership and other important issues in team management, personal development, professional development and so forth.
And I was fortunate enough to be invited by Julie to present to her group about the power of a generous approach in team management and leadership. With her permission, I’ve been able to repurpose that presentation in this podcast. I hope you enjoy it.
Julie Keyes: [00:00:45] So, welcome everybody to another Keyes Strategies Learning session. This is something that we just started this year in 2023 on a quarterly basis to present on topics that we have been told and are hearing that are super important to business leaders all over the country.
And today, we have the honor of John Ray presenting for us, talking about leading with a generosity mindset. We know that we have a lot of businesses out there, privately held businesses, with leadership that’s going to be changing hands and has been changing hands. I have clients who are in the throes of doing that right now, and I have many who will be, right.
And so, what does that take? What does it take to be a really good leader? And what is having a generosity mindset? What does that got to do with it? So, John is a radio host and a podcast producer. We were just talking about podcasts. And he is also a partner with Studio, or I’m sorry, with North Fulton Studio of Business RadioX.
And he helps business to business professionals with pricing. That’s a huge topic. It’s a hot topic. It’s kind of a touchy topic sometimes with professional advisors, right, on pricing and he’s an expert on it. But today he’s going to be talking about grooming those leaders. And so, I’m just going to mute myself and take it away, John. And then when you’re finished, we will jump into some questions.
John Ray: [00:02:15] Thank you, Julie. And again, I’m so grateful that you had asked me to present to your group. That’s an honor and I appreciate the work you do. You and I have known each other a while now, and you do terrific work. And I appreciate following your work. So, thank you.
Julie Keyes: [00:02:32] Thanks for being here. It’s an honor to have you, too. You’ve got great expertise, and I’m anxious to hear what you have to say.
John Ray: [00:02:38] Yeah. Well, thank you. Well, just jumping off. So just to set this up for everyone and thank you for taking the time to come on, because your time is valuable, and I appreciate that.
As Julie said, I have a business advisory practice, and it’s aimed mostly at professional services firms. And I do some outside CFO work that I don’t really advertise that much. But most of that practice is oriented toward, as Julie said, helping professional services providers with their pricing. And then my fun job is I’m a podcast host and do that work and I’ll allude to that in a second.
But I’m working on a book, and the book is called The Price and Value Journey, Raising Your Confidence, Your Value and Your Prices using the Generosity Mindset Method. Now, this seems contradictory to people when I talk to them about this. It’s like, how do I be generous? How is being generous and raising my prices, how does that all fit together Well?
Well, that’s a great question, and I’m going to answer it in that book. But as I’ve written that book, what has occurred to me, and this may be my second book. Julie, we’ll see, you can challenge me on this later. But is that there’s a mindset of generosity that we can bring to our leadership roles, that is really important and valuable.
And so that’s really what I want to talk about, is what is the generous leadership and where does that show up and how do we think about that. Now, one way to define this for me is that generous leadership is leading through giving without the certainty of how that giving will come back to you.
Now, this flies in the face of a lot of things we learn in business school. It flies in the face of a lot of things that we have grown up believing. And I’m not saying that return on investment is suddenly a bad thing. So don’t get me wrong. But it is a belief in some principles that I think we know intuitively. I mean, one of those principles is the law of reciprocity.
So, a lot of you may have heard of the law of reciprocity where, you know, for example, if Julie does something nice for me, then I feel an obligation to Julie or I feel drawn to Julie, even better said, right, in some way, because she’s done something for me that’s thoughtful and generous and I’m drawn to her, right. And I want to reciprocate that in some way.
So when you’ve ever been in a business meeting and you’ve done something for someone as part of that meeting and they say, well, what can I do for you? Well, see, this is the law of reciprocity at work. But here’s the big but, I think generosity is the law of reciprocity without a giving to get mentality.
So, you’re not giving to get out of a particular relationship or out of a particular membership in an organization or out of a particular initiative that you’re doing. But your belief is that if I give to, and I’m going to say the universe, but you fill in the blank, if I give to my employees, if I give to my company, if I give to my community, I’m going to say the universe, if I give to the universe, that the universe will give back to me in multiple and unexpected ways.
And for me, that’s part of the fun. And the satisfaction of life is that when you do that, you get those gifts come back to you in unexpected ways. This avoids giving, which is transactional. And I’m not criticizing, I’m just observing, okay, here. But, you know, people give all the time to get their name on a building or, you know, what have you. And that’s good. It performs great work, but there’s something transactional in that, right.
And that doesn’t make, again, does not make it bad, but what it says, I think there’s something more here that we’re, I think as human beings, called to do. And that we don’t want to get ourselves in a situation where the only time we give is when it’s transactional. And I guess that’s the tension that we always have in our heads, to me, about this topic, right.
The reason I bring this up is because people’s radar is very acute. People can sniff transactional a mile away. This is whether it’s true from employees, our customers, our colleagues in our respective industries, they can sniff out when the transactional a mile away.
So, with that said, let me talk a little bit about, I guess, kind of what the characteristics or I guess the dichotomy is here. I mean, because what you’re talking about at its extremes or a generosity mindset versus a mindset of scarcity. Okay. And by the way, one point, any mindsets that we have, whether it’s about generosity or scarcity or anything else, they are not binary. And they’re not fixed.
We have a tendency, all of us, to be somewhere in the middle of these things. And none of us in most cases are at one extreme or the other. And we drift between these two extremes based on our predilections, how we were raised, the self-talk we have in our heads, our influences in life and our circumstances.
So, it’s kind of important for us to interrogate where we are and to be honest with where we are, right. So, let’s talk about some of what the characteristics of a generosity mindset versus a mindset of scarcity. For example, abundance. Abundance is present, always, and can be shared. Versus a mindset of scarcity which says resources are limited and must be hoarded.
So the world is a generous place. It gives to us if we give to it. It sometimes gives to us when we don’t give to it versus an idea that the pie is fixed. Enjoyment in giving and sharing and helping others versus seeing giving as a loss that must be avoided in some way or made up later.
And by the way, this outline that I’m working off of, I’m happy to send out later. So if that takes pressure off writing it down, I’m happy to give it to Julie and let her send it out to everyone. Being grateful for what’s given and seeking opportunities to give back in that gratefulness, in that gratitude versus the fear of not having enough. A collaborative approach seeking win-win solutions versus a competitive approach that everyone’s our competitor that, you know, it’s a tooth and claw world, right?
Encouraging personal growth and development versus hindering personal growth and development. I’ll talk about this with employees later. That life is full of abundance and possibilities versus limitations and obstacles. Again, just to reiterate, this is not — most people are not on either pole here. And we drift between these poles and sometimes we score higher on one of these elements than another.
So we’re not consistent all the way down the line here, but — oh, here’s another one I missed. Money and capital. Money and capital as a tool for creating opportunities and enriching lives versus money and capital as a scarce resource to be protected at all cost.
One example of that is I’m reading Bernie Marcus’ book right now. Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. And one of the lines in that book that struck me was that they operated the company off this philosophy. They grew a little bit, you might say, over the years. Right. But they operated out of a philosophy of payroll is an investment. That’s what we’re talking about. Payroll creates opportunities and enriches lives versus being a scarce resource.
One place that this shows up here in the nonprofit world is a concept called asset-based community development. And this is a really important trend that we have seen in the way a lot of nonprofits and charitable organizations have looked at their role. And a lot of them have been real frank with themselves in saying the problem we’re trying to solve is not getting better. And so, we need to look at why that is.
And part of that has to do with looking at the community they serve. I’ll put it in that context. Instead of focusing on deficits, focusing on the assets in a community and building from there versus focusing on the deficits and needs. So, for example, looking at what is there versus what’s missing. Looking at possibilities versus problems, strengths, capacities and assets versus needs.
What are our strengths that we have? What are our assets that we have? Let’s go deep on that question. Doing with and enabling to do with whatever you have versus doing to. So working inside out in a community or in an organization versus a top-down command and control kind of philosophy.
There’s a lot more to say about ABCD, but I encourage you to maybe dip into it and think about it and I can answer more questions about it. But putting it into practice involves several things that I think all of us can take and use in our teams and our organizations. One is collecting stories. That’s one of the places ABCD starts is collecting stories.
And the idea of collecting stories is, number one, the stories are powerful. It’s almost built into our DNA in terms of how we respond to stories. Collecting stories in this case helps reinforce strengths. It helps discover strengths and discover assets. Sometimes when we ask people to share, we learn things about them that we never knew before.
One of the things I do when I facilitate a group is I go around as a — because I’m like the guy that knows nothing about anybody, right? So I go in and I say, tell me the one thing that you wish people would ask you about that they don’t know. Right. Tell me the one thing that people would be surprised about if they knew about you.
And it’s amazing what comes out of that. Just that one question. Right. And you discover assets that people have that they have been shy to talk about or have never shared before. And sometimes those assets are those capabilities you can use in some way in the organization.
Then mapping assets, gifts, and capabilities of group members. So, you collect these stories. And basically, you’re doing a census of the assets, the gifts, the capabilities of this group, of this community, of this organization, whatever you’re talking about here and you’re mapping those or compiling those, another way to say it.
And what that does is create a balance sheet of soft assets that you did not know maybe that you fully had, right, that you can utilize to the good of your organization. And then asking the group, because the group is already participating here, asking the group to contribute to a shared vision and plan that is based on those assets.
So that might be something very specific. That might be something wider, but you’ve done the work to help bring the group along toward being able to see the assets that maybe they didn’t recognize that can be used to fulfill that shared vision.
Let’s talk a little bit about characteristics of generous leadership. And this is not an all-inclusive list. But there are things that occur to me as I have done some of the work I’ve done and observed the people that I think are successful at putting this leadership of generosity mindset into place.
I’m going to — number one I’ve got on my list is laughter. That’s not the one that people would expect to be number one, but I put it number one for a simple reason is that the world sorely needs it right now. And if the world sorely needs it right now, then you can bet the people in your organization need it right now. Unless you’re doing a fantastic job keeping people in a good frame of mind all the time, and it’s hard.
Even if you’re trying, it’s hard, right, because unfortunately, they’re consuming a whole lot of stuff out there that you can’t control. But if you’re not thinking about that, I would encourage it.
And here’s the thing. Just the ability for us as leaders to laugh at ourselves is so important. It’s a trust builder. I mean, think about it. If I’m able to the people — well, let me put it this way. The people that I think about in my life, one of their consistent themes that stand out for the most successful ones are the ones that they have a great sense of humor about their mistakes. Right. I screwed that up. You know, I screwed that up bigger than Dallas. You know what I mean. I can hear some of them in my head, you know.
And that creates an openness. It relieves tension, and it relieves stress that people have. And it builds trust. And trust is the biggest currency I think we have in business, particularly today with the lack of trust that’s going on in the world, whether it — well, really across the board when it comes to institutions. And we know all those statistics and we see it played out in the world all the time.
I actually know of a company that for their awards dinner every year, they bring in a comedian and that comedian does the homework to make his emceeing work around that awards. He does his homework to figure out like where he needs to poke a little fun and have fun.
I know another company that they’re an accounting search firm. So they do executive search for accountants and CPAs. And their big thing is every year they raise, they have a big event where they raise money for junior achievement, but then the whole theme of it is they give an award to the world’s funniest accountant.
So they recruit accountants or CPAs from their network to enter this competition. And they rent out a whole comedy club. They close the place down and rent it out and they do a big fundraiser for junior achievement. And it’s a big deal, you know. And I love that because it’s not only laughter, but it goes against type, right? And so, it creates a different mindset around their whole business. And I love that.
So, another characteristic of generous leadership, you would expect me to say gratitude. And yes, I’m going to say gratitude. And gratitude is — let me just say this. Yes, gratitude is about being thankful. It’s about building relationships that get created and deepened because of gratitude. It’s creating a positive feedback loop because you’re encouraging gratitude in others. Right?
But I would say just one thing about gratitude is let’s think about using gratitude in a way beyond just, hey, great job on this thing I assigned you to. Here’s an idea. Thank you for having the courage to try something different. See, that really opens people up to innovation and ideas. And innovation and ideas are what drive our organizations in ways that we might not go otherwise.
Listening. So, you know, this is one of these things where I’ll just say we all think we listen better than we do. And that’s just not my opinion. That’s what the stats say. And we all think people have a perception of us that it’s not quite right because we don’t listen effectively enough. And everybody knows that two ears and one mouth thing. But it’s something we — it’s a lifetime amount of work to be an effective listener.
And so I’m constantly — well, I did another show on this. I’m posting it tomorrow on LinkedIn about an expert on listening. I’m doing that not because I think the world needs it as much as I need it. Okay. So, I do it for myself. And if somebody else wants to come along and benefit from that, great. But it reminds me of sharpening that skill because we can never sharpen that skill enough.
A subset of listing is asking questions and learning how to ask effective questions because you cannot ask effective questions if you’re not listening effectively. Catalytic questions are really important. Catalytic questions, this is a term, if you will, by a fellow named Hal Gregerson who talked about questions that break open and get the truth in the room.
One of the things he encourages, and we don’t have time to go into it right now, but he encourages a practice called Question Burst, where you attack a problem only with a group, small group, simply by asking questions about it. You’re limited to asking questions. Not providing solutions, asking questions. What if we did this? What about that?
And I know that sounds weird, but I’ve been through this exercise and it’s very powerful what comes out of it. So I’ll have that in the outline for you and you can look at that later. But so vulnerability, now, this is one where I know some people like want to hit like leave the meeting because we’ve heard so much about vulnerability. Right.
Here’s my thought about vulnerability. It’s not dramatically oversharing who you are. It’s just being human. Right. Because we have to examine our motivations for sharing what we share. Because sometimes it can be a little transactional, right?
I mean, you’ve seen that where people share in order to get a response and that’s not what vulnerability at its best is. It’s just being human and saying, hey, I’ve got these same problems you do, right. In the middle of the pandemic. I’m feeling the same things you’re feeling. That’s it.
And you don’t have to say, hey, my spouse has depression right now and it’s really dragging me down. You can say I’ve got things going on at home right now, and I just need your grace. That’s all you have to say. So I get the concern about what vulnerability is. That’s one way I think about it.
And then there’s stability. So stability in a very chaotic world is really, really important. I think calm is part of that as well. One of the most popular things I ever put up is a post was something I put up right at the beginning of the pandemic, was about calm.
Is that like as professional services providers, which is my tribe, our biggest value that we can give to people we could have given to people at that moment And frankly, right now, because it’s a crazy time right now, too, is calm. It just being the non-anxious presence that people can rely on. That we don’t bring a can of gasoline to the conversation.
Sometimes how we react to a negative event is much more important because it’s more memorable than the implications of the event itself. Now, think about that. Think about the people that you’ve run into in the past. Like think about the pandemic. Maybe that’s an example where we have come through that. Right. But you still remember those who reacted in certain ways, right. That really, again, brought gasoline to the problem instead of calm, instead of stability.
And then when we are calm and when we offer stability to our team, we’re modeling healthy coping mechanisms. And people need that today. That’s one thing people are lacking is healthy coping mechanisms. So I’m going to give a few examples of where generous leadership shows up. And I’ve got a few examples that involve customers, employees, and sales and marketing. So prospective clients.
Okay. So let’s talk about employees first. Encouraging personal growth and development. You know, I get really dismayed when I see corporate — major corporations are generally guilty of this. I will invite someone on a show. And they’ll tell me, well, I’m not allowed to speak for the organization or that has to go up through, you know, media approval or whatever. And I’m like, well, you know, or such and such speaks for the organization. I’m like, what, the invite’s not to such and such, I want to talk to you. Right.
And it’s odd to me that big corporations, as smart as they claim to be, can’t figure out a way to highlight their people any better than that. And that has a lot to do with encouraging personal growth and development. Right. Encouraging people to — figuring out a way to let people expand their horizons. Right. And that might not have anything to do with employee’s current role. And isn’t that kind of part of the point, right? We’re supposed to be developing people.
Speaking of Julie’s comment about, you know, developing leadership through the generations. How are you going to do that if you’re not actively trying to encourage bigger thinking and more capability in your employees in some way? And that’s a generous act. And sometimes you don’t get anything out back out of that that’s immediate at all.
But the practice itself comes back. A willingness to tolerate mistakes even when you know what the outcome will be. Boy, there’s a big one right there. When, you know, as the leader of the organization or the leader of the team, you know that everybody’s going down the wrong way, right — sorry, I’ve got Bernie Marcus on my mind because I’m finishing up his book right now.
But he talks about a meeting he had with Arthur Blank and a couple of other people and where he was on one side, and they were on the other side on a particular issue. And he said, you know, by George, I’m the CFO. I think the language was more colorful, but by George, I’m the CEO here and this is my decision. This is my company. And, you know, I’m making this decision. And so because he was tired of the arguing.
He slept on it and came back the next morning and he realized that was not the way to conclude that meeting. And he said., you all come back in here and we want to talk about this. And of course, everybody comes back in with heads down, you know, right, because they’re discouraged about that.
And he said to them, he says, I think I may have cut off that discussion in a way that was terrible. In fact, I didn’t — it wasn’t a situation where it was possible that I might have done that. I did it. Okay, so that’s the deal. I did it. So let’s talk it through.
I want to start at the beginning and let’s talk it through. And what I want to hear from everybody on why do you think this is the right way to go. And it turns out that they went ahead and they did that. And whatever decision was made on, I can’t remember what the topic was turned out to be the right decision and he was wrong.
That’s not always the case, we know this, but people cannot learn without making mistakes. And we know this in our lives, right? What we learn from are the mistakes that we’ve made. And we’ve got to tolerate mistakes, not the ones that take the organization off a cliff. I get that. But the ones that we know are simply tuition that we’re paying for people to learn.
I’m not pushing anything here because I don’t own one, but there are employee assistance programs that some of you may have in your organization. But they provide counseling and support services for employees, stress management services, financial counseling. Boy, that’s an important one for a lot of younger people that cannot afford a home, where home affordability is a problem across the United States in a lot of communities. Legal advice where younger employees cannot afford that.
These programs create much higher job satisfaction, lower levels of stress and anxiety, improved relations with coworkers. Statistically, that’s the case. So this is a work life balance question. That is a way to address work life balance without that having to be a big deal, right? So I just put that out there for you to think about real quickly, because I want to get to the end of this. And I’d rather hear your questions and thoughts as opposed to me talking much longer.
Let’s talk about customers. So empowering employees to fix problems. Ever been in an environment where somebody could fix a problem that you had without having to like go up eight levels to get that done? And how you felt about that organization when that happened? You felt a lot better about doing business with them, right? I mean, because we all know problems are going to occur. But when the employees are empowered to fix those problems, that really improves customer retention.
Listening and empathy. Just like we were talking about earlier about where the world is in terms of where people are in terms of the negatives that they see in the world. I think sometimes people are walking around with a chip on their shoulder just looking for a reason to unload.
And their problem is really not with your company. It’s really the fact that they can’t find anybody that will listen to them. And it’s not just the little old lady or the little old guy that is alone in the assisted living place and doesn’t have anybody to talk to and is calling customer service. It’s not just those folks, although they exist, but it’s people that don’t have any place to listen and they’re frustrated. They think the world’s a pretty negative place and they unload because that’s the way they see the world.
And sometimes just listening and being able to give employees tools with which to like diagnose that, and deal with that, and give them the grace to have a conversation. As opposed to — and we’re not giving people therapy, of course, but what we are doing is giving people a chance just to be human. Right.
And instead of doing the — I won’t mention any names, but, you know, the big mail order company that we all know and love and we’re all customers of that times their employee interactions and phone calls and make sure that their customer service number cannot be found, so, you know, that’s the difference, right?
Rooting customer complaint calls to the highest-ranking senior executive. Again, Home Depot did this for years until they got successor management and that got all screwed up, but they referred to it as calling Ben Hill. Ben Hill is actually the name of a road here in Atlanta.
And when a customer complaint would come in that was pretty serious, the operators were instructed to route that to Ben Hill. And Ben Hill happened to be whoever the highest-ranking senior executive that could be found. And that sometimes was Bernie Marcus. It sometimes was Arthur Blank.
But what they found was they learned a whole lot about the organization and its shortcomings by doing that. And, you know, there’s the old Bill Gates quote that people repeat, but maybe we all don’t put it into practice as much as we could, is our biggest source of learning is a disgruntled customer. So that’s what you’re really doing by creating a process around dealing with disgruntled customers.
Then sales and marketing. So let’s talk about that real briefly. And I see your question or your comment there, Julie, so I’ll come to that in a second. Sales as helping others find solutions to their problems. So sales defined that way. This means that their problem may not be one you have a solution for. So let’s just be frank about that, right? We don’t have a solution for everybody’s problem.
And so sometimes our solution may be simply to help them find answer to their problem elsewhere. And by the way, that’s better for us because if we’re taking on customers that we can’t really solve their problems, then we’re creating a monster.
So that’s getting comfortable with the idea that a successful sale might not result in immediate revenue. And I put “sale” in quotes there. That if we say that a sale is a solution, and sometimes the solution comes from outside our organization, then by definition we might not get revenue from that, but that act of generosity will come back. It always comes back. That’s what I have found in my work.
One of the little tactics this involves is getting rid of all the pre-made decks and presentations, okay, so on what my thing is. For example, I can help you with your pricing and having a pre-done deck that I dutifully march every prospect through. Wow, what a way to say that everybody’s going to fit in my box, not I’m going to try to understand them first. Right? Because that’s really what that involves.
This is why one reason talking about podcasting, just to bring that in for a second, this is one thing that really why I ended up getting involved in this as another business. Because, and actually Julie’s a great example of this, so. I’m just going to highlight you, Julie.
You can create a podcast that has — there are variations on this, of course, but you can do a podcast that is you as the guru talking about your thing, whatever that is, and sharing your expertise with the world. Some of that I can’t imagine anybody wants to listen to. I can’t imagine, I mean as much as I love my CPA, I can’t imagine listening to him go drone on and on about the latest tax act versus the idea that I’m going to highlight others.
I’m going to highlight others, interview others and showcase them. And I’m comfortable with that. Right. I don’t have the ego need of having to, like, talk about myself. I can highlight others. And here’s the interesting thing about that. When you have that kind of philosophy, that philosophy of generosity in a podcast, what happens is I’ve got a friend of mine who used to be an anchor here in Atlanta, one of the big television stations.
And he said, John, he says, when I was anchor, he said people thought I knew a lot just because I had a mic. Right. And he said, I get all these invites all over the place to speak and to be an emcee and, you know, be the master of ceremonies for this dinner and that dinner. You know, that was a lot of fun and profitable.
And it’s interesting that when you highlight others, and you do that in an organized way, and that’s really what Julie does in her podcast, you create that tribe. Really, you’re the mic at the center of that tribe, and that tribe wants to help you. And that’s what always happens in that environment.
And that’s what I advocate for my clients that do a podcast is to do it that way and quit talking about yourself. And you will get something out of it. And I actually had a — I’ve got an attorney right now, and if you know anything about the business of law, it’s extremely hard to recruit attorneys if you’re trying to build a firm.
And this guy has figured out I love this idea is the way he’s recruiting is to go out and interview other attorneys. Now, if you know anything about attorneys, you know that they like to talk. So they always are happy to get that invitation, right.
And so he’s building relationships out there among attorneys and hiring some of them for his firm through a podcast. And now that is pretty — that’s the best recruiting story I’ve got for you today. That’s a pretty good one. So those are some ideas about generosity in sales and marketing.
Yeah. So I think we’re getting kind of down to the end here, aren’t we, Julie?
Julie Keyes: [00:47:56] Sure. Yeah. There were a couple of questions that had come in from some folks previously that I popped into the chat.
John Ray: [00:48:04] Okay.
Julie Keyes: [00:48:05] And so, and I don’t see that there are any other questions right now, but if anyone out there has a question for John, we have a few minutes, so please feel free to pop one in while he’s addressing what we have here.
John Ray: [00:48:20] Yeah. So my background in the military. So I can’t claim to have that. The only background I’ve got is a proud father of a young man that’s in the Air Force and walking the line in Germany right now. So.
Julie Keyes: [00:48:40] Oh, wow.
John Ray: [00:48:40] Yeah.
Julie Keyes: [00:48:41] My apologies. I thought it was you that was in the military. That’s your son?
John Ray: [00:48:43] Yeah, it’s my son. So he –.
Julie Keyes: [00:48:46] That’s great.
John Ray: [00:48:46] Yeah, he’s —
Julie Keyes: [00:48:48] Congratulations.
John Ray: [00:48:48] Yeah. Thank you. Well, he’s doing good work, and he’s a combat arms instructor in Germany. So that’s what he does. So employee program. So you mean the employee assistance programs?
Julie Keyes: [00:49:04] Yeah. You briefly mentioned that. And I’ve got a client that actually is using the Dave Ramsey program under — it’s an employee like finance mentoring or advice or whatever. I’m not exactly sure how it runs, but it’s meant to help the employees with managing their finances, saving money, understanding how money works, that kind of thing, which we think we’d all know.
But they don’t teach you that in school. And if you didn’t get it at home, then you need to go find it, right. And they have a lot of young employees that work in the field. And so they’re using that program right now to help them out as an employee benefit, but you mentioned other ones that I had not heard of before.
John Ray: [00:49:50] Yeah. So if you — and I’m not going to like mention any names, because it’s like I’m endorsing them and I don’t know what, necessarily who is the best and whatnot. But if you do a search on employee assistance programs, you’ll find a whole series of organizations that will do that. And they do that for both larger and smaller organizations.
So the way they kind of bundle up their services, they give the benefit of what they do to smaller organizations as well. So they will have — I think I mentioned therapists on call.
Julie Keyes: [00:50:37] Yes.
John Ray: [00:50:39] Financial counselors, legal advice. And this is just some — one of these real basic things that employees run into that they don’t really necessarily want to share with the boss, us, right, but they need help and you’re acknowledging that fact.
Julie Keyes: [00:50:58] Yes.
John Ray: [00:50:58] Right. So that’s what I’m referring to there.
Julie Keyes: [00:51:04] For sure. I actually was in another meeting before we started this today And there were two people that were in the group. It’s like a women entrepreneurial roundtable who were both specifically mental health specialists. So, one actually goes into companies and helps them create programs to foster mental health because the suicide rate is so high everywhere in the country, not just with lower-level employees or mid-level employees, but like executives, too.
And so that’s what they were both actually just talking about that. So thanks for bringing that up because that’s a huge topic. We have a question here from Tara. What are other specific examples for a generous leadership with your employees? That’s a good question.
John Ray: [00:51:50] Yeah. That’s a great question. You know, I think trusting in poise with where they see their development. Sometimes we’ve got — or maybe we don’t, maybe we don’t think about this enough. Is giving people a clear path as to where they can go in the organization.
Julie Keyes: [00:52:29] Right.
John Ray: [00:52:29] Right. And having conversations around that. And sometimes it’s also saying you know what, we’ve done all we can do for you here and you need to go someplace else. And I had that circumstance happen to me. If I can just share that. I had a lady in a company that I ran, smaller company, 15 employees. And she was the person at the front desk. And given what we did, there was no place for her to go. And she had been there, I don’t know, three years or something like that.
And I called her in. And I gave this some thought. I called her in, and I said I’m doing you a favor and I’m letting You go because you need to do something better for yourself than what you’re doing right now. And you’re going along in this role, but you’ve done all you can do and you’re not growing anymore.
Well, she is now at Emory University running some sort of prevention program that Emory has. It’s a big job. And she called me several years later and said, I want to have lunch with you. And I was a little trepidatious for this, right, because I’d essentially let her go, fired her, right, with love, but I had fired her.
And she said to me, she says that was the best thing that anybody’s ever done for me, the biggest gift. And so, if we’re just looking out for people’s own individual development in whatever direction that takes, it will come back to us.
Julie Keyes: [00:54:22] For sure. Well, maybe we could summarize really quick here because we got to wrap up. So some of the key takeaways that you talked about that I think all of us could spend more time pondering. One that you said was learning how to be a better listener. You said that you’ve got an event tomorrow. You also are working on a new book that you’re going to be publishing soon. So we’re going to definitely have that in as a link in our recording. So you’ll have to send me a link on how to go about ordering that book.
But you said listening. You said letting employees make mistakes. What else did you say, John? Assistance programs.
John Ray: [00:55:09] Yes.
Julie Keyes: [00:55:10] Let’s put in the chat here so that we have a good summary. Just like you said before, trusting the employees with understanding and knowing their own development or wanting what they really — like there’s a question that I have my clients ask a lot, and that is of their employees, where do you see yourself in the future within the company?
John Ray: [00:55:31] Right.
Julie Keyes: [00:55:32] They don’t always ask that question. And I think it’s important for them to ask that question.
John Ray: [00:55:37] Yeah.
Julie Keyes: [00:55:38] Because we might get surprised by the answer.
John Ray: [00:55:39] Well, and to be comfortable with the answer, right. So how do we react to the answer is sometimes just as important as the answer. Maybe more important.
Julie Keyes: [00:55:50] Well, great. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Thank you, John, for your generosity and for being a part of this program. We really appreciate it.
John Ray: [00:56:01] And that’s it. And I would like to thank again Julie Keys of Keye Strategies so much for inviting me to present to her group. If you’d like to know more about Julie, go to keyestrategies.com, K-E-Y-E-strategies.com. You can learn more about her and her work.
And I particularly endorse her Poised for Exit podcast. It’s a show for and by business owners about a range of issues in planning your business exit strategy. So check that out. It’s on your favorite podcast app. Again, Poised for Exit podcast.
And if you would like to know more about this series, go to pricevaluejourney.com. You can find the show archive series there. You can also find the series on your favorite podcast app. And I’d be honored if you’re not already subscriber to subscribe. Thank you in advance for that.
If you’d like to know more about my upcoming book that will be released later in 2023. You can also find out more information at pricevaluejourney.com. The name of the book is The Price and Value Journey, Raising Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices Using the Generosity Mindset Method. If you’d like to connect with me directly, feel free to send me an email, John@JohnRay.co. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire, and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translates into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 2,000 podcast episodes.
Coming in 2023: A New Book!
John’s working on a book that will be released in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices Using The Generosity Mindset. The book covers topics like value and adopting a mindset of value, pricing your services more effectively, proposals, and essential elements of growing your business. For more information or to sign up to receive updates on the book release, go to pricevaluejourney.com.