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About The Guest
Dr. Kimberly Janson is CEO of Janson Associates, a talent and organizational development company, and was named a Top 10 Thought Leader, Top 10 Executive Coach in 2021, and Top 10 Inspirational Leader in 2022. Dr. Janson is also the author of Demystifying Talent Management, the winner of the Axiom Book Award.
Janson Associates works with firms from the start-up level to Fortune 100 companies in all industries. Kim is considered a premier executive coach, is a member of the Forbes Coaching Council, and serves as an executive coach and instructor at the Harvard Business School.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 02:56 — Dr. Kim Janson’s origin story
- 08:20 — What do you learn in a business Ph.D.?
- 11:09 — Why is leadership broken?
- 15:48 — The four elements of leadership
- 17:20 — Traits found in most Fortune 500 leaders
- 19:33 — How does this principle fit into a high-performing framework?
- 24:03 — When do problems start to creep into a company?
- 25:51 — The formula for diagnosing every single aspect of a company
- 31:30 — Building culture in a company
- 33:56 — A perfect case study of company culture
- 35:53 — How to align all the people in a company?
- 41:35 — What leadership lessons do we get from horses?
- 46:07 — Where can people connect with Dr. Kimberly Janson?
- 47:45 — What keeps Kim up at night?
- 48:22 — The biggest challenge Dr. Kim Janson has ever faced in her life
- 50:23 — The most impactful person in Dr. Kim Janson’s life
- 52:15 — Dr. Kim Janson’s book or podcast recommendation
- 53:23 — What would Dr. Kim Janson tell her 20-year-old self?
- 54:16 — What does success mean to Dr. Kimberly Janson?
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- HUBSPOT – http://hubspot.com/successpod/
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
Host of the Success Story Podcast: https://www.successstorypodcast.com
Machine Generated Transcript
people, leadership, work, companies, leaders, big, organization, business, horses, helping, ceo, point, ideas, hubspot, thought, talent, fortune, complexity, understand, culture
Scott D Clary, Dr. Kimberly Janson
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Scott D Clary 00:30
Welcome to success story. I’m your host Scott D Clary. This success story podcast is part of the HubSpot podcast network that was bought Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like nudge, hosted by Phil Agnew, where you’ll learn the science behind great marketing with bite sized 20 minute episodes packed with practical advice from world class marketers and behavioral scientists. Nudge is fast paced and insightful with real world examples that you can apply to your business. Listen to nudge or success story wherever you listen to your podcast. today. My guest is Dr. Kim Janson, she’s the president and CEO of Janssen Associates, a firm dedicated to unleashing people’s potential globally. She is the author of demystifying talent management, the winner of the axiom Book Award. She is also a principal contributor to Forbes, as well as Boston Business Journal as a membership of their leadership trust. She has two books soon to be published, determining leadership potential and becoming top talent. She works with firms along with her organization from startup level to Fortune 100 companies across all industries. She has been on the ground working with leadership teams in over 40 countries for more than 25 years, and has held C suite positions in multiple fortune 500. So we spoke all about leadership and why leadership is so broken. We spoke about the studies, the data points, the things that she’s researched and investigated on how to actually lead and major recommendations of what to focus on when determining leadership potential. We also spoke about high performance, so for leadership, but also for individuals, her trademarked framework fast, simple, good done, why this is the ultimate high performance framework for anyone within any size organization. We spoke about how she takes good companies and makes them even better lessons, obviously, that you can apply to any organization. She focuses on culture, leadership competence, leadership, team cohesion, strategy, talent management, work efficiency and effectiveness. We went into all of that. And then lastly, she is extremely passionate about horses to the point where her kids are competing at an international level in terms of equestrian and whatnot. And she has a ton of leadership lessons that she will eventually codify into a manuscript from her experience, raising the highest performing show horses. So let’s jump right into it. A ton of great leadership and organizational frameworks from somebody who’s worked with some of the largest organizations in the world. This is Dr. Kim Janson, President and CEO of Janson associates.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 03:27
Well, my origin story, I’ve been blessed with a lot of wonderful things in my history that have helped me get to this point. So from a family standpoint, I’m the youngest of 10 kids. So nine kids in 10 years. And then six years later, they had me so people ask where I learned a lot of my skills, navigating 11 adults who thought they were my parents, and then also raising myself was an interesting combination. The other thing that was formative for me is, I’m a horse woman, you know, I had the good fortune of having ponies in my backyard. And I just decided they were mine and, and from there, built a relationship and continued to grow and competed nationally, and they’ve always been a big piece of my life, and they continue to be so education has been really important to me. I I do love learning. I have undergraduate degrees in English history and education. I also have a master’s in teaching Master’s in organizational development and my PhD is in business. And in several of those, there’s a focus on psychology as well. So the business of business is really intriguing and I love helping companies figure out how to make money, how to be more productive, how to grow, but I like doing that for people too. And my tagline is unleashing people’s potential because we box ourselves in with a lot of garbage Honestly, and I like to help get out a big old weed whacker and get rid of the crap in the way so that we can be really high performing. And then I have the pleasure of working with some amazing companies and amazing people, I was largely the chief talent officer at a number of different institutions. So Heinz, the ketchup, people you might know, I also was at essentially for Hasbro, chief diversity officer in a couple of capacities. And then also, head of head of leadership for the Global Wealth group at Bank of America. So some good 14 there.
Scott D Clary 05:41
So when you when you work in all these Oh, go ahead. Sorry, what were you gonna say? Well, yeah,
Dr. Kimberly Janson 05:46
no, no, I was gonna say, and that just brought me to start my own business. Because I’m like a good matchmaking friend who knows a lot of people and ideas having worked on the ground in 40 countries, more than 40 countries and having touched hundreds of companies. I feel like I am a good facilitator of bringing people and ideas together to make things better.
Scott D Clary 06:07
I appreciate that, I think I think you are and you’ve operated at such a high level in such large organizations. And then also on top of that, you haven’t messed around with your education, either. I don’t think I know too many people that have a PhD in business. So what are the what are the lessons? What are the learnings? What are the problems in the world that you wanted to solve for after you’ve operated at C suite and multiple, probably fortune 500? If not fortune 1000 organizations and your PhD that you’ve learned some of the psychology of what makes business work? And what makes people tick? What is the thing that you’re trying to solve in the world right now?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 06:47
Yeah, I think there’s two components. Good work comes out of good leadership. And we have a leadership crisis right now. And if we were to backtrack about why we have either a gap in the number of leaders we need, or the amount of poor leaders we have in the world, in my opinion, it’s a root cause issue of being really not great at determining leadership potential and picking the right people to begin with. And so I’ve dedicated a lot of time and space to helping solve for that not only with clients in company organizations, but also a large amount of research dedicated to that. And then I have a book coming out this summer, it’s, it’s on presale now dedicated to that topic. So that’s one big thing that I want to flip the script on, which is helping people get the joke about leadership. And then using that as an enabler for organizational transformation. The second piece is we get in our own way, in companies, we add a tremendous amount of complexity. And it’s non value added. And it gets in the way of not only productivity, but actually getting the real results. And I have a trademark framework that I designed based on working with high performing companies, but also helping companies to become high performing. And that trademark framework is called fast, simple, good done. Because when companies work those four things in in tandem, then you are able to alleviate yourself to a lot of the things that are just anchors from your productivity. So, you know, culminating all the experience in the work in the PhD, those are two big nuts that I want us to crack. And particularly with the first one, the leadership piece, I want to do nothing less than change the world because the fish rots from the top. We see it day in and day out.
Scott D Clary 08:50
Okay, so I want to go into everything. But I also want to understand, give me give listeners some context as to what do you learn in the business PhD? Because I got the MBA, and I already thought with an MBA, I was like, Well, I’ve already figured out more than I’m learning in my MBA just by doing. So what does the PhD add on? Yeah.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 09:12
Yeah, it’s a great question. So you do learn so much in in the environment. And that practicum experience gives you a good cadre of different things to try. What the PhD does for you, is it gets you deep into thought leadership. It gets you deep into research, to pull out a lot of big ideas and see what people have done with them from a scientific standpoint. And so academia in and of itself has a purpose. But a lot of times it doesn’t necessarily link back that thought leadership into the workplace and make it real. What I wanted to do is I wanted to bridge those things and to become more powerful by a database based approach fueled by thought leaders, fueled by me as a thought leader that came from a lot of my practicum experience and marry the two so that we have a better hit rate in what we’re trying to do. And so there was a huge immersion in understanding the science of how companies have been successful, a real deep immersion in different leadership methodologies and philosophies and theories, etc. And what I have found is, I’m good at sorting through that stuff, and stripping away a lot of the fluff and pulling out some big ideas. So for example, if I sit with a client, and they’re wondering about anything, employee retention, I will have current knowledge on where we are in terms of how to think about employee retention. And it’s not just because I worked with hundreds of companies, but it’s because I’m very tied into the people who are doing deep research in this area. Does that answer?
Scott D Clary 11:01
It does 100%. And I think that that’s something where, unless you’re a large organization, you would never have access to those kinds of data points. So you’re all you’re getting the information, not as it’s happening, but you’re getting the information that’s eventually disseminated to you through your mentors, or your peers, or through YouTube or whatever that whatever your research you’re able to do at an early stage. And that’s where it’s difficult for founders to really be on the cutting edge. Even if they try their best you can you definitely can do your you know, you’re an autodidact, you you do your research, you do your learning. But still, it’s very difficult. So when you speak about things from the most current datasets and trends, now let’s go into leadership. Let’s look at the things that impact leadership, let’s look at statistically and maybe with less with more granularity, why leadership is broken. Let’s look at the things that we know don’t work. Because a lot of people speak about the leadership is broken. And I’m going to teach you how to be a better leader, but I don’t ever feel like it comes from. It doesn’t come from like what you mentioned, data sets and trends and statistical analysis and all the different things that can really prove out thesis a versus thesis B. So let’s understand that. And that’s obviously what you’re most passionate about one of the two things, that’s why I want to dive into it a little bit more. So what’s broken with leadership, based on your experience?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 12:21
I think the biggest thing that’s broken is when choosing the wrong people to be leaders. And in addition to this meta analysis on thought leadership that I mentioned, I’ve conducted a number of sanctioned studies myself. And so one, for example, I looked at a number of different companies in the same industry in interviewed leaders at four different levels in the organization, the amount of variation on how those people think about what’s required for leadership, or what to look for in leaders was crazy. So how can you build a pipeline of leaders if everybody’s looking for something else? Alright, how do you find some good acorns to grow into elm trees, if we’ve got all this disjointed approach, in terms of how we’re thinking about them, that study was also powerful, because what I found is the CEOs were more similar to each other than they were in their own company. And so it prompted a third study I ended up doing the second study was a global quantitative study of more than 600 people. The third study, though, was with CEOs that I sat with companies, you know, the head of the CEO of target, the CEO of Panera footlocker Build A Bear, really strong, powerful people who have ascended to success. And I wanted to get into their minds, not only to see where the convergence was, and their point of view, but to also give anecdotes to people on how to do this stuff well. And so what I think is the biggest gap is the fact that we’re not choosing folks because of this level of variation. And we’re using poor indicators on leadership potential. So for example, one of the things you’ll most recent most frequently hear is I choose leaders based on their performance. Well, that’s great if the performance is the same for the same job, right? But it is not absolutely not a predictor of performance at the next level, is your ticket to entry to get into the conversation to be considered. But there’s actually four in my opinion, and well researched and tested for dynamics you should look for when choosing leaders or even just assessing potential. One is intelligence. Things only become more complex as you go up. You got to have that cognitive horsepower. Because you what you get with what you come with when you arrive is what you have to work with. And we’ve got to Be honest about that. The second one is personality. I’ve been the chief diversity officer in to Fortune 500 company. So in no way do I advise it, only one personality type. But there’s a lot of derailing personality types. I mean, you and I could have an hour conversation right now about all the bad leaders you’ve seen along the way, because they were incredibly self absorbed, or because they couldn’t get out of their own way and make a decision, etc, etc. So the second dynamic is look for people who do have that fundamental gap in terms of a personality derailleur. The third is motivation. You gotta hire people with big engines. And if you want them to do more and be more in the future, they’ve got to have their own engine. And then the fourth is learning agility. We need people who are committed to reinventing themselves, and also who couldn’t assimilate ideas and information quickly and reapply them. So I think that the biggest issue is that companies and leaders do not really understand leadership. And they don’t understand how to choose leaders. Because if someone has those four elements, I can teach them anything, and I do. But if they don’t have them, then it’s a matter of compensating, masking, hiding, and eventually, lack of success.
Scott D Clary 16:18
Now, someone’s listening to this podcast, they know the four elements, they know that great if I had that person, everything would work out. How do you actually find that person? How do you solve for those four elements?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 16:29
Yeah, I think you have to have Ninja interviewing skills. I rejected a lot of people that my, my clients say, Oh, we think we have somebody who’s strong. And it’s, although I reference having black magic as part of what I do, I really, I don’t in the interview process, I just ask questions where people reveal themselves. I don’t care about simple things in the interview process. Don’t tell me about your resume. But how do you maintain your self awareness? How are you most most frequently misunderstood? If you are going to tell me about the most recent time you get difficult feedback, what did they tell you? You will things that are uncomfortable sometimes for us to ask. But if you ask in that way, then it’s okay for people to answer. So the first is that people don’t have the tools yet to figure out how to assess. And the second is that people think they’re better than they are.
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Dr. Kimberly Janson 18:31
we are when they are when they do assess, oh we know that person has this thing. But we’ll coach them we’ll teach them it’ll be fine. No, if it works by two in the in the process of buying them, you know or is lame in the process of buying them don’t buy the horse. It’s it’s just quite simple.
Scott D Clary 18:51
And I’m curious when you speak to because now we understand at a very high level, what we should look for in leaders. But when you speak to all these leaders of all these companies, I think that it’s important to note that if the person who would actually be looking for these things, does not have these things, it could be hard for them to actually look for the right person, even if they do have these four attributes. So when you speak to the leaders of target, or a Panera or anonymous company, probably a better example. Do these leaders actually encompass these things? Is this something that you see fortune 500 CEOs have? Or do you feel like leadership is broken at a higher level? And even the leaders that are building these companies do not have these traits?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 19:37
One of the biggest derailing personality characteristics is narcissism. And one of the more recent studies there’s that I saw was there’s a minimum of 30% of the CEOs who are narcissistic. So depends, depends on who you’re talking to. And the best way to get around that is To have a group that’s good at a cross functional group that’s interviewing with you, or to have an external partner who can help you understand what you’re saying, I coach a lot of CEOs and the power that a CEO can bring, even if that person has narcissistic tendencies, the power that they can bring is amazing. The challenge is, they often don’t have someone who can be a good thought leader with them. You know, they can think with their CFO, they can think with their general counsel. But the the way thing, things shake out for CEOs, they often need somebody who can partner with them on their most private thoughts or their insecurities. There’s a lot of impostor syndrome out there, by the way. Now, when are they going to find out I’m not as good as they think they are. And so helping CEOs and senior leaders push through that and come to understand different ways of doing work. That’s that’s a lot of what I do in terms of helping them get out of their own way.
Scott D Clary 21:04
Now, how does this how does this play into your other framework was, which is a high performance framework? Because we’re right now we’re talking about finding the best leadership’s determined determining leadership potential that’s obviously integral for a successful organization. And you even mentioned right now, like there’s a lot of big companies that do it, but the high performance piece, the high performing framework, the fast simple, good done, is this leadership principle. Is this just a principle for me? I’m trying to accelerate in my career. What’s that? What, what does that how does that fit into the success of a business?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 21:36
Yeah, it’s really a lens by which you should look at the work in front of you. So let me just spend a moment flushing that out. So the first is, fast speed wins the game. Most times, speed is a way to help you be first to market and not lose on needless things, etc. So how do we think about the things that are going to slow us down? Most likely in this scenario, and then let’s, let’s plan for that upfront. The second is because you know, the expression give it to a busy person, they’ll get it done, right? Someone has birthed to them. And then they can get a lot more done. And so there’s a real return on that Verb. simple complexity often doesn’t add value, it just adds time or cost more money. And complexity creeps in from, oh, this leader said this, so we have to make a change in the process, or we’ve done it like this for so long, etc. In most organizations, if I throw a process up on the wall, and I have a red pen, and I say what’s the shortest distance, and then I challenge all of the assumptions about how we’ve done it, we’re able to really cut things down. But what complexity does is it creates distance from people in the work and they get exhausted, or it impacts morale. So let’s strive for simplicity, and then focus on addressing complexity where it makes sense, where it’s a complex idea, but let’s be judicious in that fast, simple, good. What’s good enough, we have a lot of perfectionist out there. And this new generation in particular, is very perfectionist oriented. But perfectionism is faulty thinking it’s tricking us to thinking that something isn’t good enough or or it isn’t finished. But here’s the way to think about that. If we were to buy a house for $10, why would we pay $15 for it? Right? Why don’t we take that five extra dollars and put it in a new house? But what what blowing past good does for us? Is we expend energy and time and resources in ways that maybe not are a good return on investment. There’s a company in the US that if I said their name, you would say oh, yes, but they’re often voted the worst company in America. And your experience with them is really frustrating. They have figured out what the right threshold is for customer satisfaction. And they also know if let’s just say it’s 80% they know if they go above that they don’t get any more customers, they don’t get any more revenue. That that’s it’s nice to say it’s a 97% satisfaction. But if it if you don’t make money from that, don’t do it. And so this idea of done what’s good enough, let’s all agree upfront, what good enough is is a major transformational component because it helps us recap, resources that are being spent foolishly and then the last one is done. There is an energy when you finish something, there is a learning that can happen but a lot of times things in organizations have a long tail, and they don’t really finish hard. We need to be better at finishing. The imagery I think about on this one is in organizations, if I had a sweater, and every undone thing had a fishing hook, and that was stuck in my sweater, I drag around a lot of garbage. So how do we what is done look like? Let’s celebrate it because people want more positive feedback, by the way, and then let’s learn from it. And then let’s really repurpose those resources towards something new.
Scott D Clary 25:35
When do these problems start to creep into companies? Because I’m now I’m looking at it from an entrepreneur, I’m starting and I’m listening to this. And I’m thinking, I don’t want this to happen to me, I know that right now. I’m a solopreneur. And then I hire my first team member, then I hire five, then we have 10 people and 21 of these problems start to creep in. How do we avoid them from the get go?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 25:55
Yeah, they start with one. Because I’m just you’re like any other person I’ve worked with. You’ve added needless complexity, you losing time spending time on things that are non value added. I mean, just even make a list of on the left, what are the things I’m doing someone else could? And what are the things on the right that only I can do. And I need to do more of, if you have things on both of those, then we already are starting with a base. And sometimes, especially entrepreneurs, we get in a mindset where we’re desperate to do things and to create our footprint or to build a company and we say I’m going to do it all. It’s not a necessarily good return on the investment of the time. And so sometimes a little expenditure of money over here, that frees you up can really repurpose to a much higher level. Now you add in more people, they all have their own lens by which they’re looking at things. And now you start to add in complexity, and you start to slow things down, etc. So a group starting with an individual that says, Okay, how can we be stealth? How do we have this fast, simple, good done framework? And then how do we be able to look at our projects and our work that way, ongoingly, that’s a group that’s going to really be higher performing.
Scott D Clary 27:22
And when you look at when you look at organizations, I find all the perspective. So we look at the CEO or the CEO that you’re optimizing, we look at the talent and the people that you’re optimizing. But even when when you go into an organization as as a coach as a trusted adviser and a mentor to these companies, because I know a lot of people that try and follow in your footsteps. And they try and after having so much success, they want to go into this advisory position where you can help companies optimize and you look from the outside. And but I’ve tried to it’s like not It’s not easy to do this, like it’s very difficult to diagnose, prescribe it, diagnose and prescribe all these things for all these different companies. So as a coach is an I don’t I don’t want to use the word coach, but as an advisor to companies, when you go in? How do you look at every single facet of a business? How do you wrap your mind around a fortune 500 company that has a billion in one moving parts and properly understand which levers to pull? What’s the formula for going in and sort of diagnosing?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 28:22
Yeah, so I really helps I have been in a number of fortune 500 companies at the most senior levels. And so that along with my skill set of being able to think at a systems level perspective, it’s an organism, right, it’s, it’s, it’s got to work in concert with each other. What you often have is individual lines of businesses, or functions that are operating as unique entities. And that doesn’t work as a unit or a machine. So the first thing I start with, frankly, is culture. And what is our belief system, and culture gets a lot of press, but people don’t really understand culture. And in my experience, and I define culture simply as a set of shared beliefs. So if we want to be this thing over here, what’s the belief system by which we need to subscribe to to get there? So for example, if we want to be first to market agile, grow, etc. And I think of the responsibilities in terms of lead yourself, lead others and lead the business and what’s your responsibility in that area. Under lead yourself, we got to have people have a can do attitude, for example, that’s a share it has to be a shared beliefs. Because my beliefs my values drive my behavior, we need to have an overt agreed upon set of shared beliefs. That’s the placemat for everything else. We then need to look at where we want to go. So let’s plant a flag and three years we’re going to be x, y and z. And then we have to back into it. With an operating plan for you one plus two plus three, that will get us there. That’s the macro view of it. And then we say, okay, marketing function, sales function, finance function, what’s your piece of this work for year one, and then they should take a piece of that and shape it out. But we should then be working to help that function be its best self, what’s working, what’s not working, how does leadership look, etc. Because over all of that, you should have a talent plan, we should know our talent is a great expression. from Bank of America, where we would say know the talent, know the role, grow the talent, move the talent. And that was a self sustaining mindset, where we were always in motion, knowing that the talent was the solution to everything. So as you set as you set your culture, you tick and tie your cultural beliefs and everything communication, hiring, etc, you then plant a flag three years out, you back into operating plans. Now you’ve got to get your functional areas to pony up and figure out where they’re going to contribute. But then you have to make each of them better. And one of the biggest barriers to doing that is often the senior leadership team is made up of very capable people, but their functional heads there, what you have is a team of leaders, functional leaders, rather than a true leadership team, where they’re like The Avengers, where they lock arms, and they lead across the enterprise together. Because when you do that as a unit, then you can support each other’s people, you can care for each other’s functions in a way that you care for yourself. So a lot of times my next work will be at that leadership level to make sure that they have made the shift and most haven’t, I would say, 80% of the organizations that I walk into, haven’t made that shift yet. But when you do all of that, then we can solve both macro problems, and then make functions stronger, because you’ve got a whole different level of engagement and transparency in how you go about it.
Scott D Clary 32:18
I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. Now, because at this time of the year, we like to think about new ways to solve problems, right New year, new you, we’d like to think creative, innovative, scalable solutions that make our jobs easier, and 2023. That’s where HubSpot comes in. It’s a connected all in one CRM platform that serves as a single source of truth for managing customer relationships across all your teams, so that you don’t have to worry about the time sucking management and mind boggling costs of multiple solutions. Best of all, it’s free to get started, learn how HubSpot can help your business grow better, and get a special offer of 20% off on eligible plans at hubspot.com/success pod. Two questions out of that first question will be at the macro level, then I want to go into the actual the functional leadership and how we get that unit to be cohesive, and all those individuals to be cohesive. But first, at a macro level, how do we culture is the is the is the is the main thing that you have to figure out that will sort of bleed into everything else and form everything else. So how do you how do you build that culture? How do you hire for that culture? What is the what are the tactical things that a business can do if they haven’t really figured out that culture that they can do right now? So that they have something functional to work with?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 33:38
Yeah, it’s a great question. I’m doing that work with three clients right now simultaneously, the the first thing you need to do is to get a handle on where their pain points are. And you got to get a handle on where they want to go. And by pulling key leaders into the conversation and asking a set of robust questions, we’re able to decide what are the biggest things that are going to be transformational, and that’s I call it a leadership model. And from there, you need to see that in the organization, we’ve got to say, this is our belief system. We write questions to hire against it. We put it in our performance management process, which is not only the what of what you’re delivering, but the how counts as much. And we compensate based on that. So the how is the leadership model or whatever we said are the most important attributes that we drive towards. You talk about it with talent planning, when you do CEO level recognition. You talk about people who have demonstrated these things, your communication weaves in big ideas from now it’s when you’re in a meeting, you’ll say hey, we value can do attitude. You just killed that that was Awesome, that’s a great example of can do attitude. So you synthesize it into the fabric of the organization with all the people touchpoints. And then it’s about recognizing as people operationalize it, or if they don’t, then holding them accountable for that. And so that also means rotating out people who just aren’t willing to demonstrate the behaviors that we said, are necessary to get us where we want.
Scott D Clary 35:27
And and one more question on this, what would be the best example of a company’s culture that we should aspire to move towards? What’s one person that does this exceptionally well?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 35:44
You know, there’s a lot of public examples of companies, you’ll hear about Disney, but you’ll hear the counter story to Disney, you’ll hear about Google etc. I’ll tell you a company that’s doing it really well, right now is a company called Buckingham companies. They’re a real estate development company. I have never seen a group of leaders who have have conjoined around this idea more brilliantly than any other company. They’re good people, they are willing to be coached. By the way. coachability is job one, right? Like, if people aren’t willing to be coached, we have no room room for them. But there were some interesting dynamics with the CEO taking on a civic second responsibility. And it created an opportunity for people to step up, it created an opportunity for them to come in come together in a way that hasn’t happened before for them. They are the absolute poster child on how to do it well. And we’re going to reap the benefits of that, that will then contribute to their aggressive growth strategy. And it doesn’t have to be big, magnificent examples. That’s a midsize company, who, who got the joke, and are all in and they’re going to completely flip the script on how they did it, and they’re going to reap the benefits of it. Absolutely.
Scott D Clary 37:23
Okay, perfect nods. That’s exactly what I was looking for. And then now, I think that as you as you give this one example, part of my next question is already answered, but I’ll ask it anyway. So when you look at the second problem you’re solving for so you figure out culture, but then you said the second problem you’re solving for? Is all these different individual leaders, leaders across an organization that all seem to function in their silos. How do we how do we break this? Again, you’re obviously, maybe maybe managing some of them out is a solution. But you see, you’re going to an organization, you don’t want to you don’t want to fire like 20 3050 people, that’s not ideal. So what do you what do you do to get all these people synched up and aligned?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 38:02
Yeah, well, building off of that last point, many people don’t know the blind spots that they have, in many people haven’t had someone be courageous and helping them understand how they show up or the impact. So the place I start is individual leadership assessment. And that’s typically a combination of a qualitative engagement, interviewing a bunch of key stakeholders on their behalf, and creating a leadership report. And then combining that with something like the Hogan executive assessment, it’s 10 million people have taken it, it helps you understand where you are on a normative comparison. It’s really insightful. But the combination of those two things gives you the inside out perspective, but then the outside in perspective of how people are experiencing you, that’s essential, before you walk in the room, because you gotta own your stuff. And how can people on their stuff if we’re just assuming that they understand how they’re showing up or etc. And so once we get them in the room, you’ve got to have the senior leader, the CEO, for example, be willing to hold these people accountable for being different. And they have to be different with them. But it’s, it starts with an organic conversation, let’s talk about who we want to be, and do really good work about what great looks like for us as a team. And then let’s take a sit back and say, what does it look like today? And be really honest with that. And then we focus on the Delta. We solve for what needs to be different based on the difference between what we said today looks like versus tomorrow looks like through that set of commitments or the work or specific projects. We then have to have a lot of accountability, and then we need to commit equate that to the organization. And if leaders are not demonstrating those commitments, that’s when we need to hold them accountable. And if they don’t demonstrate those commitments over time, and also work on their own stuff, then they’re not the right match for the organization, but I’m with you, like, don’t go in and, you know, with with a, with a fire, you know, fire starter and blow up place. Yeah. There’s a lot of value in the organization typically.
Scott D Clary 40:31
Okay, so I want to you know, we were speaking previously about horses and your love for horses. And I want to go into that for a second. Because there is a there is a business, there is a business point of that conversation. But before I pivot, was there anything else that you wanted to go into that that you were working on, or working with companies in leadership potential and or individual potential that we didn’t touch on that you want it to highlight?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 40:56
Yeah, I think one of the big gaps in organizations is people don’t have a strong ability to diagnose and assess. You mentioned that earlier, you know, how do we get those good skills, like anything like a golf swing, that stuff comes with practice, but you’ve got to be intentional about knowing what to look for, you’ve got to have the, the tools in the science, and then you’ve got to apply it with an expert. But if we had more people who could size up who’s in front of them in a more easily way more easily done, then we wouldn’t have the level of discord we have with different people. And it’s not hard to do. But it does take some practice. And it’s some discipline. And when you can meet people where they are, and then walk forward with them, rather than standing where you are, and try to yank them to you, the results are exponentially better. And there’s some great instruments just even from a style instrument, you know, one set you might know, or like, the disc has been around forever. A colleague that I used at both Hasbro and Heinz wrote a great book called The Power of understanding people, he’s got an assessment and that it, there’s a lot of availability of resources. But what I find is people don’t take the time to really immerse themselves in this space, and learn different styles, and then figure out how to adjust their styles based on who’s in front of them. And I had one CEO, say to me, Kim, like, Why do I have to adjust my style? I’m the CEO. Well, you don’t technically, but here’s the thing. Do you want this person reacting to the packaging of the message? Or do you want them to get after the message more quickly? And if you can package something in red, because they like red or green? Because they like green? And I hear it differently? And better? Why wouldn’t you? Well, the reason why we’re not is we don’t have that skill set. So that’s a hugely transformational, very subtle skill set that I think we got to do. We need to do more with organizations in that space.
Scott D Clary 43:05
Okay, so my last question or point is, like, this is something that I thought was interesting. There was a point of you mentioning, you’re writing a manuscript that is titled leadership lessons through horses. I know you love horses. I feel like, I feel like they’re, I feel like that’s like a passion that you’re like combining the two things that like mean something in your life together. So walk me through why you’re doing this. What what what leadership lessons do we get through horses, there’s something there. That’s why you’re writing a manuscript on it, give, like, teach it over. Go ahead.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 43:39
Yeah. So I’m more than love horses. I we’ve parlayed that into a business. So it’s a family business, Legacy farms. Baiser breeds high end showjumpers. And so with both us trying to position my son so he can get to the World Cup. We are also building a cadre of high performing athletes. And just like the athletes who have Olympic level training programs, we approach it the same way. So the the lens by which we think about the horses, there’s so many parallels. So for example, each one of the horses, and these are Grand Prix level horses, where you think about the Olympics, they jumped the big jumps. Every horse has on average for interactions every day. And it could be that they’re on the treadmill. Yes, they have a treadmill twice a day. They’re turned out they’re lunged or they’re written, everybody’s written six days a week because athletic people have less injuries. And so if you think about being physically fit, but also mentally fit, coming into work, there’s less injuries, there’s less emotional noise, there’s lots less opportunity to go It pulled off your track excetera. But then the other lessons to horses are really quite simple. People do more for you, when you use a positive mindset, right, nobody wants to come and walk into a situation where they’re crushed, we know people who work for horrific people. And the horses will jump these big jumps for one of those red and white Starlight mints that you get walking out of a restaurant, they’ll do anything you want for that. And if you if I walk in the barn, and I have that, and I go watch, and they hear it, the they’ll lay their life on the line for me. So sugar cubes work, you know, positive reinforcement works. Another big lesson through horses is as you engage, it’s about influence, not force. And if you think about leadership, where you can get someone to think about this being their own idea, then they’re going to internalize it and do it more often. If you force somebody and aggressively go after them, they’re gonna do it as long as you’re standing in front of them. So this 2000 pound animal, if you influence them, and present good choices to them, and encourage them, and oh, by the way, an influence could be your jumping a five foot fence, and you just have a bar on an angle to help them jump more in the middle that’s influence rather than, you know, really aggressively ripping their mouth out or big spur event. So there are a number of principles like that, that are very applicable to the workplace. And I often will offer a practicum here on the horse farm, where we teach vital leadership principles. And then we go out and we work with the horses and have a practicum approach to it. Because I also found that when you pull people out into unique settings, that they can learn differently, and they hear differently, and then it becomes that much more memorable.
Scott D Clary 46:59
Very smart. And I think that if, if you are if you’re in a corporate boardroom, and you’re watching another PowerPoint, some of it ends up being white noise after a certain point, but if you if you if you look at it, and you’re like how do I, you know, how do I manage this? Not this not this employee that’s dependent on a paycheck, but how do I use some of these principles to manage something that doesn’t care about me, could kick me in the face? If I don’t treat it properly? Then I have to start to think outside the box because if I yell they’re not gonna care.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 47:28
They demand respect, right? Yeah. We have
Scott D Clary 47:31
everyone as everyone should, as everyone should.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 47:35
But doesn’t. Yeah, that’s very good.
Scott D Clary 47:37
Okay, I’m gonna ask couple, like, I’m going to pivot into some rapid fire stuff to close it out. Any other things you wanted to touch on? So open floor is yours, but also give me your your social, your website, all the all the links you want to send people?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 47:52
Yeah. So we’re really trying to do a lot around thought leadership. I am I write for Forbes Boston Business Journal, I write a blog, we have a couple of 100,000 Instagram followers on Jensen associates, my life’s work is about trying to help people get the most out of their life. And so inserting Big Ideas daily is what we’re trying to do. And that’s both on LinkedIn, and Instagram. The other big thing is, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a book coming out determining leadership potential. It’s on presale now. So if you Google that on Amazon, you’ll get it. But we want I wanted to put a lot more in that book so that people could use it with their groups or think through things. And so we built a website determining leadership, potential.com, that will have good articles, lots of ideas, interview questions on how to get after some of this stuff. When the book comes out, we’re going to put a bunch of case studies on there, etc. So whether it’s Janssen, associates.com, or determining leadership potential.com, check in there for things to use for yourself, for your team, etc.
Scott D Clary 49:10
Amazing, okay, perfect. And I’ll link all that stuff in the show notes as well. So let’s do a couple rapid fire. You’ve had, you know, incredible career, a lot of success. But what keeps you up at night. Now, it could be a problem you’re trying to solve in the world, it could be something in your own in your own business that’s stressing you out what keeps you up at night.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 49:29
So I sleep like a log. But the good things that are on my mind is I’m barely started. I feel like I’ve been a bottom feeder to this point. And there’s so much to be done. And I’m running out of time. I only have like 150 more years to live. So that’s the thing that creates a little panic in me at times.
Scott D Clary 49:54
What was the biggest challenge that you’ve overcome in your own life and how did you solve for that? What did you learn from it?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 50:02
the starting of the business was was great the first year, the second year, I had quite a lot of commitments on business development. And for all good reasons they all fell through, it was a horrific time scary because I also have this other business that in at the time, kids in high school and college, etc. And it was a very transformational moment. For me, the first part of that is, don’t ever assume that things are gonna go your way. So second and third level planning, do business development before you need it. That’s a big one for all entrepreneurs. It’s it’s a crux of doing the work versus getting the work and figuring that out. And so I think I’ve helped a lot of small businesses with that. But then the third is you figure out who the people are, who are real in your, in your life, when you have had a lot of success, people like to be part of success, when you trip and stumble. It’s interesting to see how people react to that. And so it was it was some really good life lessons to kind of kick me in the teeth on some things. And I think I’ve parlayed that into helping people as they’ve handled other similar difficult things. So that I would say that was the biggest challenge. And I still carry it with me. And I still have that sense of, I don’t want to get into that place again. And I think it propels a lot of my success as well. But we’re back into year nine. So I’m pretty excited.
Scott D Clary 51:41
That’s pretty damn good. I mean, you get all that stuff out of your system, you’re too and you’re good, but I get it like you’d have to go through that. You have to go through and it’s better to go through that year to than your nine, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. If you had to choose one person, obviously, there’s been many, but even if you had to pick one person’s had a major impact on your life, who was that person? And what did they teach you?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 52:04
I have to say, I’ll have to be I’m going to cheat on this answer. It was a couple of which is my, my parents, I mean, they were unbelievably outrageous role models. And my mother was, she’s 96, she lives on the horse farm with us. She’s wild woman, she plays Christmas music during the year to keep her positive, etc. And she was one of the early women to go to brown, she ran a whole nursing program for Rhode Island hospital, she had 10 kids, and never thought about herself, etc. My father started as a box boy and steeple Jack and ended up being a CEO of a large jewelry manufacturer, and family was always his priority. And he could have be could have run Google or any of these. And he got to a very good level of success. But family was always a big priority. And so I’ve dedicated myself to my god bless my husband, he’s a saint to my husband and my children. And at the same time, both of them said to me, you grew out of a very fortunate set of circumstances you were born with a lot, you are given a lot because of, you know, the talented people around you make a lot of it. And so that’s a big message I’ve carried coupled with, if you can, you should. And so those are, you know, I can’t differentiate my mother from from my father, because they really were a tight unit and had such a profound impact on me.
Scott D Clary 53:42
I love that. No, it’s okay. You’re allowed to cheat on that question. That’s fine. If you had to pick a book, or podcasts or some sources that had a major impact on your life, that somebody should go check out, what would it be?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 53:55
Yeah, leadership and self deception is a book I encourage people to read once or twice a year. It’s a quick read. But it’s like, you know, a V eight moment whenever we read it, because we always, not always, we often look outside for the reason why something’s not working. And so much of it is within us. And even though the book The Secret is a little hokey in terms of the extreme pieces that it will take, you know, with all due respect, there’s some big ideas in that book as well in terms of the power positive thinking, and to create energy by giving energy, etc, etc. Those are two that I’ll take some of the big ideas out and use it to give myself an infusion to making sure that I’ve got a very strong mindset that’s about personal effectiveness and high performance.
Scott D Clary 54:53
Amazing. Okay, if you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be? Hmm.
Dr. Kimberly Janson 55:01
Man oh man, I tell her so many things I would tell her. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I would tell her. Also, when people say that the child years go by fast, don’t take that as a Oh, yeah, yeah, I know. But really listen. And it just I mean, my kids are 23 and 26. And amazing kids, I just couldn’t be more proud of them. But when I’m trying to do so much and be so much, and if I could sit on the floor and take a breath and being in the moment a little bit more, I would I would do that if I could do it again.
Scott D Clary 55:48
And last question, what does success mean to you?
Dr. Kimberly Janson 55:53
Success means I have a large thriving business because that means I’m personally effectuating change for a lot of people, whether that’s at the individual or the organizational level level, I want to make. I want to help people be wildly successful. Like that’s it. That’s everything. And so the more robust my business, and thank goodness, it’s really strong and thriving and growing. 95% of my business comes from referrals. So it’s, it’s at a great point, but the bigger the footprint that we have, that means the more people that we’re helping, and then it’s like the pond, the pebble in the pond, it has a ripple effect, because those people can go as they go home and have dinner with their family. They can make that that situation better. So that’s, that’s Yeah, I think that’s it.