Michael: Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And this is the podcast that helps business leaders like you build companies full passion and provision with more profit, purpose, and legacy. Our goal is to equip you with skills and tips and encourage you and give you hope that it's possible. We've done it. Our friends have done it. We know people who have done it. We've consulted with people who've done it. You can do it.
Kathryn: Wow. You almost didn't breathe. That was a big sentence.
Michael: That was a big sentence. We're going to run that through Rev. We're going to take it out, and we're going to-
Kathryn: I believe in you, too, by the way. All of you out there, I do believe in you. You can do it.
Michael: All right. So today we're going to do something a little different. We've been interviewing a lot of people lately, having great interviews. Wouldn't you say?
Kathryn: Oh yeah. Really, really. So much fun.
Michael: So much fun.
Kathryn: It's the best.
Michael: And today, as we're talking about things, I know that we're a duo and we talk a lot together, but today I'm going to interview you.
Kathryn: Okay. He did not warn me about this. That's so unkind.
Michael: I'm going to interview you, and folks, you're going to listen to me talk to my wife. So there's no prep, and it's really not ... I'm talking to my business partner, my friend, my compadre in arms. So Kathryn ...
Kathryn: Mike, well, I'm going to take a quick sip of coffee and take a deep breath. Okay. Here we go.
Michael: For you, what is the biggest driver for your success?
Kathryn: So when you say driver, are you thinking motivator? The thing that keeps me going?
Kathryn: Is that what you're thinking?
Michael: For you, what's one of your biggest .... And maybe it's not one, but what's one of your biggest motivators for actually creating success in business and in life?
Kathryn: I really love making other people's lives easier and helping them solve problems and helping them see potential that they couldn't see. And yeah, I love helping people solve problems.
Michael: Do you think you naturally came to that? Is that something you came out of crib?
Kathryn: Out of the womb?
Kathryn: You know what? Maybe. Growing up, definitely as a kid, I was the kid who always got called on to tutor other kids. I was the kid who did well in school and then was always like, "Well, could you come help this person? Could you come tutor that person?" And so even in elementary school, I was tutoring kids a couple grades behind me in different skills and stuff. So I think helping and teaching and training and stuff has ... Yeah, I think I came out that way, and I come from a long line of teachers and trainers.
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, how far back do you think that goes?
Kathryn: That's a great question. On my father's side, I would say that goes back four generations.
Kathryn: That we know of. I think so. Yeah. His father, his father's father. I'm trying to think. I'd have to go a little further back to figure out past that, but yeah. Not on my mom's side. My mom's side, normal working class humans, but on my dad's side, it was always leadership and teaching and stuff.
Michael: Well, it's interesting on your mom's side, you have the gift of helps. Those people are helpful. Your mother just likes to help people.
Kathryn: She does.
Michael: She just likes to serve. And I would imagine her dad ... I don't know much about them except they had [crosstalk 00:03:03]
Kathryn: Walter and Rose?
Michael: Yeah, because I never met them.
Kathryn: They're very short people, as all British relatives of mine are.
Michael: Your British relatives, yes.
Kathryn: My British relatives are all very short.
Michael: There are tall British people.
Kathryn: My brother made it to five nine, and he's the giant of the family.
Michael: The family giant.
Kathryn: I remember we had one grandfather, Granddad Spate on my mom's side, and Grandad Spate somehow, miraculously, was five 11 or six foot. It was just such a mystery in our family how that happened. But there you go.
Michael: So when it comes to helping people, it's something that we probably have been doing since just a young child. You enjoy it. Is it enough motivation to get you over the things that are really, really hard? What happens when it gets really, really tough?
Kathryn: I don't know if this is true for other people or if it's just for me, but you know how you have that one project or that one client, and no matter what happens, it just is always hard. Even the simple things seem difficult.
Michael: Yeah, I don't know anything about that.
Kathryn: They're just like, "It's not this hard. Why is this this hard?" I can get pretty discouraged when things are hard over long periods of time, but I still want to solve it. I still want to make it right, and I think part of what motivates me is on the Enneagram, I'm a nine. So if you're an Enneagram person, I'm a peacemaker. I want people to be happy, and so whether that means mediating between two unhappy people to find a happy place, or whether that means solving a problem that is really difficult for them and not difficult for me. Right?
Kathryn: Because one of the things that's interesting when you're working in your strengths is that people look at what you do and go, "Hey, I would have no idea how to do that." And for you, it's easy. Like, "This is what I do." So I love that part, and that's part of what gets me past the really hard things. But I would say when it gets really tough, the bigger motivator for me is I don't want somebody to be mad at me. So it's like, "I have got to solve this. I've got to push this through. I've got to make this happen." And that keeps me moving forward in the hard things, and believing that if I solve it, it's going to be better. And that will be a good gift.
Michael: So you said working in your gifts is like ... When you're working in your sweet spots, in your gifts, other people go, "That looks easy."
Kathryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael: "Well, I could never do that," and you said, "It's easy," because you're in your sweet spot.
Michael: So does that mean that success, for you, has always been easy?
Kathryn: No, it doesn't mean that. It just means that there are things that I know and I have learned over the course of time that I am just uniquely skilled at doing. And when I'm doing those, those things come easy. But they're only a part of what I get to do. So overall success is bigger than that. Overall success is not just the three or four things where it's like, "Dang, that is good." And the other thing, too, is that even the things that I'm good at, let's think about public speaking.
Kathryn: I love to public speak. I'm one of those weird ... I don't know what the percentile is in the population, but most of the population would rather die than stand on stage and speak. But even though I'm really good at that, it still requires preparation. It still requires a lot of work to make it happen. So success, it's not like I just can stand up and talk. There'd be nothing meaningful. So I think there's two components. One, the things that you're good at, you still have to work at, and two, the other pieces that really bring success, they involve a commitment to working on the things that you don't love sometimes.
Michael: So give me an example.
Kathryn: I will give you an example. We are working really hard in our business, currently, to put in systems.
Kathryn: And all of that.
Michael: Yes, we are.
Kathryn: And I am not a systems thinker. I know we wrote about systems in the book. I know they're important, and I have people to help me because I do not think in systems. I don't think sequentially and step-by-step. I jump big steps in my mind. I miss the details because I can see where we're going, and it's like, "Can't we just get there?" Like, "Why do we have to spend all this time doing this plan? Why can't we just get there?
Kathryn: So that is an interesting challenge for me to really systematize the things that are in my head so that they're translatable, and I just don't love doing it. I just would rather sit down and get something done than have to sit down and explain to you how I got something done.
Michael: That's challenging, huh?
Kathryn: Well, for you as well, it's challenging.
Michael: Yeah. But I keep pushing-
Kathryn: I meant your challenge with me. Yeah, I know you challenge. You're challenged with me because it's a struggle.
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Kathryn: As a business partner, it's not the best trait. It's hard.
Michael: Yeah. What's the biggest challenge, you think, or one of the biggest challenges to growing our company, to actually continuing to pursue growth?
Kathryn: I would say that one of the biggest challenges, and I know it's not just on me, but it really is you and I getting out of the way.
Michael: What do you mean by that?
Kathryn: So there are a lot of things that we have done to grow this company, and there are a lot of day-to-day tasks that I do, and one of the things that makes me happy is getting stuff done and getting stuff off the list of things to do, and making people happy.
Michael: Which is good for running a business.
Kathryn: It is super good for running a business.
Michael: Especially a service-based business.
Kathryn: I know. And when they say, "My gosh, you're so fast," I just think, "Yeah, I am. I know. Thanks." And that makes me happy. So here's where it's challenging, is there are things that I need to let go of, and we've been talking about this for ... No, I'm not going to confess how long. It's been a minute, and it's just hard to let go of stuff because some of those things, some of it is that the evolution of leadership where it's like, "If I let those things go and I'm not doing those things, and I'm not sure I'm good at the next thing that I have to do to be a good leader, then what happens?"
Kathryn: So some of my identity gets wrapped up in getting stuff done for people, and yet the reality is that if we're going to grow the company, I have to pull back on some of the day-to-day things so that there's time to be strategic and to do the things that you and I have to do to be able to be prepared, to teach and train and speak and all of those things. So extracting myself from the day to day is one of the biggest struggles for me. And I enter into it and then I don't, and we've even had times where I've actually handed stuff off and then we lose that person, and then I'm like, "Ah, daft." So then I just have to take it back anyway. So then I'm just like, "Waah!" So it really is the training and the learning, how to just let stuff go, how to allow someone else to do it. So those are probably the biggest challenges for me.
Michael: Yeah. So that delegation part, part of it is you're frustrated because people come and go and you've had to take things back.
Kathryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael: So we haven't been able to pass it off to anybody else type of stuff. Part of it is you don't want to take the time to sit and actually be patient enough to do it, right?
Kathryn: Yeah. Some of it is just the patience to train someone else to do it. I was laughing. We were at Panera the other day picking up food, and we ran into a client of ours, and we were talking about ... I don't know what the conversation was, but she said, "It's really hard for me to let things go because I can do something in 15 minutes, but if have to train someone to do it, it's going to take an hour and a half and I just don't have the time." Right?
Kathryn: That's a very, very real statement. So I can do it super fast, and I know I can trust the end result. But I think it's harder for me to let things go and even allow people to know they're not going to do it as well as I do it or as fast as I do it and to be okay with that. Right? So figuring out how to communicate my expectations and how to feel like they're going to live up to the standard that I've set and then questioning, "Did I set an impossible standard?" Right?
Kathryn: So I think all of this piece is plan. And again, it's not wanting to take the time, whatever, but the bigger wrestle place is my identity is wrapped up in achieving those things and in keeping people happy. And so it's like that, "How do I let go of that?"
Michael: Let's talk about setting an impossible standard. That's an interesting thing.
Kathryn: Let's not.
Michael: Let's talk about that. You said that, and I went, "Huh? That's interesting."
Kathryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael: Unpack that for me. I've never heard this before, folks. This is new to me.
Kathryn: So I think that I have a way of running my life, my world, my inbox, my task list, that seems like the only way to do it, and I'm pretty efficient. So I think the question that I'm asking is ... I'll try and make it tangible.
Kathryn: Okay. So I am a little freaked out in my world if my inbox, which is my actual ... It functions partly is my task list. If my inbox is over 100 emails, I start to panic. So I call stuff. I make sure ... Because if it's in my inbox, if it's actually in my inbox and not just on the junk list, not just the Wall Street Journal or something, but something that is in my inbox because there's an activity, then I'm like, "That's all the stuff I have to do to make people happy, to do my part, to move it along, to not be in the way of somebody else succeeding or whatever else," because sometimes those things are staff saying, "Hey, can you check this out or look at this or whatever."
Kathryn: So I'm very like on that, and I think that I get really frustrated because I'm very quick. So when I pass something along, I think I have this internal expectation that because I've handed it to you, my emergency, my need for it to be done needs to be your emergency, your [inaudible 00:13:23].
Kathryn: Right? And I hate it when clients do that. I hate that. So I've had to really be cognizant that that's what happens for me, is that I have this expectation. So if I email someone on our staff, if I hand something off, I want to know they've taken care of it, but I want to know now, like quickly. Right?
Michael: So where's the balance between reasonable expectation of they took care of it and not, or your business partner taking care of it or not?
Kathryn: You're a whole different story. I think with staff, it's like ... I think that I have to assign the urgency, and I have to be able to say to them, "Hey, I've sent you this and I need it by ..." And I have to be able to allow my own personal need, which is, again, that delegation thing because if I could do it, I'd solve it now.
Kathryn: Because I solve what's in front of me, which is not always healthy. So I think my impossible standard is I want them to respond the way that I do, and I'm owning, and this is a little vulnerable. I'm not sure that the way I do it is the best way. I'm pretty reactive.
Michael: But if somebody's listening right now, and I could argue, too, "Well, but what you do makes customers happy."
Kathryn: It does.
Michael: So how is that an impossible standard? How could that ever be an impossible standard?
Kathryn: Because customers will still be happy if the email is answered within the day. It doesn't have to be answered within the hour.
Kathryn: That's why. So even the learning curve, ting, ting, ting. I feel like I just got an A. So even the learning curve of managing my emotional need to clear my list, so I've had to learn to do things like not open my email so that I can actually work on that project that is more important than probably whatever's in my inbox.
Michael: So for the listeners right now, can we talk about another example that I can think of at the moment?
Michael: No, this is something you learned that was pretty powerful, and it had to do with our CFO and cashflow.
Kathryn: I think he might still be mad at me sometimes, but yes, that's a pretty funny one. So when we first brought our CFO in ... Okay, for those of you who've taken this ... Is it StrengthsFinders?
Michael: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, maybe. Yeah.
Kathryn: So I'm surrounded by all these people who were like, "Woo," you know?
Michael: That would be me.
Kathryn: My strongest thing is responsibility. I'm so boring.
Michael: You have woo hidden there somewhere. There's something wooish about you.
Kathryn: No, it is not in my top five. So responsibility is way high in my StrengthFinders. So one of the things that he did was he came in and he looked at our finances, and he looked at our cashflow, and he said, "Kathryn, you pay bills too fast." And I was like, "How could that be? It's responsible to pay the bill when it comes." And he's like, "No. If they're net 30, it's responsible to pay it on day 30. You don't have to pay it on day five, and it's not good for your cashflow when you do." And I'm like, "Oh."
Kathryn: And why do I need to pay it? I need to pay it because I just need to get it done and out of my way so that I can keep moving forward. Right? So this need to just get stuff done.
Kathryn: It makes it hard for me to put something aside that I could get done right now.
Kathryn: I feel like I'm at a counseling session.
Michael: I am not intending that.
Kathryn: Oh my goodness. What else would you like to know?
Michael: I'm just curious. So I'm trying to think about this from the listener's perspective, too, because there are some of our listeners who are, personality-wise, very similar to you. They set standards. They have done a phenomenal job, and then they turn around in they're frustrated when nobody else can respond the way they respond.
Kathryn: Right, or keep up or-
Michael: Or keep up. And sometimes those standards where you're walking in your gift, and that's great, just because somebody might do it half as fast as you and still be considered timely, that's a tricky place because not only does it feel like, for many of us, "This is what I do well, and this is what I do ..." Like the backstroke. This is just easy. I'm cruising along. And yet, there are people who, no matter how hard they try, they can't do a backstroke. They are just not that coordinated. They're on their back, and they feel like a turtle upside-down.
Kathryn: You know what I can't do? You know which one makes me feel totally uncoordinated? The butterfly.
Michael: The butterfly.
Kathryn: I could never do the butterfly. I could do the backstroke, but no butterfly for me.
Michael: The butterfly.
Michael: But let's take our other business partner, [inaudible 00:18:27] and how much he can accomplish.
Kathryn: His brain moves at the speed of lightning. I just watch him and go, "Dude."
Michael: And how much he does spreadsheets and how he flies through them, and you can't keep up.
Kathryn: I cannot keep up. And I'm ahead of you.
Michael: And you're ahead of me.
Kathryn: And I still can't keep up.
Michael: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
Kathryn: It's like, "Uh oh."
Michael: It makes me feel good that there's somebody else out there ahead of you, sometimes. And I'm like, "Okay, good. The field is not just me behind her." So I think there's a challenge, and when we do things really well, and realizing if that's what we've done for the client, sometimes when we pass people off, clients are upset. But it's not because the expectation in the world is incorrect or the timing or the employees aren't great. It's because we set an expectation that we could do everything for them in this sweet spot right away, or at a certain quality when that's over and above what they need and would pay for.
Michael: Or take care of, or feel appreciated with, or be happy with.
Kathryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Over-deliver, baby. It's a good value, over-deliver.
Michael: There's all these quick quips in business that are true, and yet, it's like, "Okay, where's the balance and how does that look?" I think part of this conversation is good because every time we do an interview, we get to see into somebody that we're interviewing and look in and go, "Okay, there's a real human being there and what are they doing and how are they challenging it, and how could that be a bad thing?" And there's some people right now going, "Look, the bottom line is, the way Kathryn operates is perfect."
Kathryn: Don't ever stop. We like it.
Michael: "Because she's just like me, or I want to be just like her, and that's the way it should be done." And then some things you do absolutely 100%, I want anybody and everybody in our company to be able to go, "This is the quality." We have time, money and quality are the three big things that we all deal with in business. And the old axiom is, "Pick two."
Michael: Right? You can have time and-
Kathryn: I can do this fast.
Michael: Right. Fast. Fast and cheap, but you're not going to get quality.
Michael: You can have great quality and do it fast. That's going to cost you a buttload of money.
Michael: You can have it cheap. Well, no. Let's see.
Kathryn: Well, less expensive, but it's going to take longer.
Michael: And a medium amount of quality, right? A standard quality or whatever. All those things, and most of our listeners know that. Some of them have never heard that before. I remember the first time I ever heard it, and I was just like, "Why?" We were already working. We already had a company. I'm like, "Why has nobody ever told me this? This is the bizarre ..." I think [Valerios 00:21:15]-
Kathryn: Speed costs money.
Michael: I think the [Valerios 00:21:17] early on was the very first person I ever heard say that.
Michael: So when we're looking at these things, it's like, "Okay, what is it?" So the little time we have left, because what I've heard from you several times is the word, "delegation" or "delegate," or some conjugation thereof.
Kathryn: To delegate. Having delegated.
Michael: What are you learning about delegation right now?
Kathryn: That I need to continue to grow in the ability to do it.
Michael: Okay, that's the Sunday School answer. Yes? Do you think you're learning anything new about delegation in the last three or four months?
Kathryn: I think that I am learning, and this is going to sound super cliche. So don't accuse me of being Sunday School again. But I think that there's the old adage that if somebody can do a job 80% as well as you, you probably should give that up.
Michael: Now, see, I don't think that is cliché. Partly because you're thinking about it and giving it a thoughtful answer.
Kathryn: Yeah. So I think that my continual grow place in this delegation thing is, "Can somebody do this 80% as well as I can do it?" Well, then I probably need to hand it off.
Michael: What do you-
Kathryn: And then the other piece is really having to sit back with you and Vick and our staff and go, "Okay, what are the pieces that I ought to be able to give up so that I can map out how to do that?" So it's the whole being intentional about it and figuring out, based on where we're going, what we're doing, what the strategic plan is, what are those things that I can no longer have on my plate in order to succeed for the betterment of the company?"
Michael: Yeah. So I keep thinking about the trough of sorrow. Do you want to explain the trough of sorrow to people?
Kathryn: Why don't you explain it? Because I'm afraid I'm going to miss out. I understand what it is and I have lived in it, but I want you to explain it.
Michael: Okay, so I was taught this. All right? I learned this recently from some folks. Actually, the folks over at, at greatassistant.com. They have a great explanation of it on their sales page. And a friend of mine actually turned me on to them because he's a friend of the CEO. And so we were talking ... So a couple of concepts. One, the trough of sorrow. Love terms like this. They're super dorky, and yet memorable-
Kathryn: Sounds very Princess Bride.
Michael: Right. It does, doesn't it? Right after the ROUS's, rodents of unusual size. Okay, so the trough of sorrow is what is the reality that's the mirror image of what we think is going to happen when we delegate.
Kathryn: Oh yeah. So that concept of. "I'm going to hand this off, and then it's just going to be super more productive and everything is going to be great."
Michael: I'm going to be so much more productive because I'm going to just hand this off and they're going to get it done, and I can go onto something else. Right? But what actually happens is we become as unsuccessful or inefficient, as inefficient as we thought we might become efficient, maybe exponentially more.
Kathryn: Because we're training.
Michael: Because we're training, and it takes time to do that and to figure out what it is. And there is an art and a science to delegation that most of us have never ever been taught. It's almost so basic. It's like, "Well, somebody delegated something to us, so we did it. So we must have experienced it, and so therefore, we've experienced it in our life. We must know how to do it." But the fact is, as I realized, I don't really know how to teach somebody how to delegate. It's like, "Well, go find somebody and tell them to do it. That's delegation." That is not efficient or effective delegation.
Kathryn: Well, one of the-
Michael: That's got too many pitfalls in it.
Kathryn: One of the things that they do really well is they talk about how do you define what "done" looks like?
Michael: Well, let's go back to the trough of sorrow first, and let's close that loop real quick. The trough of sorrow is the period of time between when you start with somebody and they actually do become as efficient at allowing you to get back to your efficiency and allowing you to get back to being productive, and then you become more productive as they're actually competently handling things. And so definition of done now. That's one of those things it's important to get out of the trough of sorrow is to define that.
Kathryn: Yeah. So really, part of the art of delegation that we're learning and processing through is this issue of what does it look like to clearly outline a task, first of all, to outline every single step, which as you know, is my systems challenge, but every step so that there's nothing missed, make it really, really clear, and then what does "done" look like?
Kathryn: What's the actual definition of "done" on this particular project. So if there's something simple, like a print order, it's done after the order has been placed and you have handed it off to accounting for the billing, right?
Michael: Right, right, right.
Kathryn: So simple things like that, and so often when we try and delegate, we hand things off, but we don't define what "done" looks like. And then there's no sense of, "Oh, I can check that off. Success has happened," or anything to evaluate if we've not really clearly outlined it.
Michael: It's a big journey, and this is a bigger conversation for another time that we can get into, but I appreciate you just being willing to let me interview you and in the midst of this, because I didn't know exactly where this was going to go today, but this is helpful because I have watched you grow over the last 20 ... Well, we've known each other for a long time. Way longer than we've been married, but we've been in business 18 years. I've watched you grow in that. I've watched you grow in the last 27 and plus years, 28 years of our marriage in May and-
Michael: In April.
Michael: I am a loser. We started the company in may. Wow. That jumped out. I was trying to be poignant-
Kathryn: I know what's more important. I see what's more important here.
Michael: I was trying to be poignant for a moment, and then that just went out the window.
Kathryn: And I can't let it go.
Michael: Deal with things right there in front of you. Okay. So I'm trying to compliment your *ss.
Kathryn: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. My *ss will shut up.
Michael: And it's a very nice one, but when it comes to you doing a good job, you do a phenomenal job. You're growing and you're learning, and the issue is not really what you can't do. The issue is, for me, that you've continued to grow and you're willing to challenge it. And even though it's taken you several times around the growth helix that we have, the idea that you keep coming back to certain things, but continuing to chip away at them and try and grow with them is one of the reasons why I trust you, because I know you'll keep coming back to it, and you do a good job and you're moving in that direction, which gives me great hope for the future.
Kathryn: Thank you.
Michael: And you rock at these things, and you do a great job in the midst of it all. So you have everybody's respect. And then it's a matter of you being willing to continue to stay committed to growth because that's your character in your life, that you will. And you'll work through the hard parts of it. This is an example, folks, of what it might look like if you're delivering services or products, you've got a company, you've developed a good company, you've got a great reputation, and then all of a sudden you're like, "If we're going to grow, we have to hand off."
Michael: So I hope this interview was helpful today. I hope it was interesting. A little bit of insight into Kathryn, maybe a little bit of insight into our marriage. Maybe not. Into our business partnership, but this is the way we do business. We talk about these things. We wrestle with these things. We struggle with these things, and we want to encourage you to continue to grow and find those people in your life you can talk with, and even your own struggles of leaving today with the question, "What is the place where you need to wrestle and struggle?" So thank you so much for joining us today. Really quick, I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: This is the HaBO Village podcast, and our goal is to encourage you and equip you to build a passion and provision company where you have more profit, more purpose, and legacy.
Kathryn: So hopefully having a peek inside my struggles somehow encourages and helps you realize that you can do this, and we believe in you, and you know what? There is nothing more fun than growing a company and walking this out and seeing life fulfilled, which is really where we are.
Kathryn: So yay!
Kathryn: Yay! Now I have to go.
Michael: Have a great week, everybody. Bye-bye.