Team Takeover with Cassandra Bald & Adan Kovinich
Tune in this week for a very special Team Takeover episode of She Talks Business as two members of Lisa’s team, Cass Bald and Adan Kovinich, share their favourite lessons from Lisa.
In this episode, you’ll learn how common it is for employees to not feel confident or comfortable until they have the right person in their corner. With Lisa’s guidance, both Cass and Adan are leading and inspiring their team to produce exceptional work and provide a stellar client experience.
If you’re an employee and have ever had a shred of skepticism about what you’re capable of, listen in to find out what fruitful advice these young women have received to dramatically transform their careers.
If you’re an employer, let this episode be a lesson in the power you have to positively impact the people who work for you.
What’s in This Episode
- Why you cannot please everyone and that’s a good thing!
- What it means to borrow courage
- The key to becoming great at the things you’re not good at
- Why you should break the rules and question everything
- The myth of the “early bird” and productivity
- The untold impact mentors can have on their team
What To Do Next
- Join The Strategy Lab, Lisa’s insider entrepreneurial community that is learning, tackling, and coming together to support and challenge each other on all things business. Click here to join!
- Join Thought Readers and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs in this popular book club for business owners.
- Subscribe to receive this podcast and regular weekly strategies to grow and shape your business. You’ll also be the first to know about upcoming courses, programs and exclusive LIVE training.
- Join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn and share your insights from the show.
Books Mentioned in This Episode
Where to Find Cass and Adan
CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE FULL TRANSCRIPT
Lisa Larter (00:01):
Welcome to, She Talks Business. If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or aspiring mogul, chances are you want to learn more about marketing and mastering and monetizing your business. She Talks Business is where you’ll learn all of that and more. My name is Lisa Larter and I’m an entrepreneur, high school dropout, wiener dog enthusiast and your host. Let’s get started.
Cass Bald (00:24):
Hello. Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of She Talks Business. If you are a regular listener of the show, you are likely realizing that the voice coming to you through your headphones right now is not that of Lisa Larter. And that is because we are doing a team takeover episode this week. So my name is Cass. I am the Marketing Team and Program Manager for the Lisa Larter Group. And I am here with Adan.
Adan Kovinich (00:55):
Yeah. My name’s Adan and I am the Marketing Team Manager for the Lisa Larter Group. That role has heavily evolved over the last five, six months, and I wear many different hats. And so for the purposes of LinkedIn and this podcast, my title is Marketing Team Manager.
Cass Bald (01:15):
Adan, I’m pretty sure we made the joke just the other day that if your title had listed everything that you actually do for the company, it would be a novel because you do so much.
Adan Kovinich (01:27):
I love that I can do so much for Lisa and enjoy every part of it. And I feel the same way about you Cass. I think our roles, we have titles, but it doesn’t define all of the many things that we do, especially because Lisa is a small business owner. So we have to wear many hats and it’s a lot of fun. Every day is different.
Cass Bald (01:47):
Yeah. 100%. And this episode is actually a perfect example of that. That’s something new that we’re adding to our resumes, podcast hosts now too. So yeah, this is my first time ever recording a podcast episode, which is really exciting for me. It’s a little bit out of my comfort zone and we’re going to talk a little bit more about that shortly, about how Lisa does push us out of our comfort zones on the daily.
Cass Bald (02:15):
Essentially what we want to do for this week’s episode is a lot different than what you’re likely used to hearing from Lisa. But we came up with this idea the other day when we were just having a conversation about all the different things that we’ve learned from Lisa since starting to work with her. And there are so many of them. We could probably talk about this for hours on end, but the lessons that we were sharing with each other were so valuable that we thought it would make a really fantastic podcast episode. So we brought that idea to Lisa and she was more than happy to have us take over and go rogue.
Adan Kovinich (03:02):
Steal She Talks Business.
Cass Bald (03:05):
Yeah, absolutely. Without further ado, let’s jump right in. And the first Lisa lesson that we were talking about was how not everyone has to like you.
Adan Kovinich (03:20):
Yeah. When I hear not everyone has to like you, and Cass, I don’t know about you, but for me, I have a really hard time just letting go and allowing people not to like me, I feel like I almost have to fight for people to like me and do things, stick my neck out for people and it’s a bad habit. And I think that, I’ve always struggled with it, but I’ve voiced it to Lisa and said, “I really wish I lived in a world where everyone liked me,” and she brought up this really great analogy about food.
Adan Kovinich (03:55):
She asked me, “What food do you hate the most? Or which one do you dislike the most? And I said, “I dislike olives.” And she said, “Well, I love them, which one of us is right?” And I said, “We’re both right.” And she said, “Did olives do anything bad?” And I said, “No.” And she said, “Do olives care that you don’t like them?” And I said, “No.” She said, “Be more like an olive. It doesn’t matter if people like you or not. As long as you like you, that’s all that matters.”
Cass Bald (04:25):
Yeah. “Be like an olive.” I love that.
Adan Kovinich (04:30):
I think that should be our motto every time you and I are worried about something or we start talking about like, I hope this person likes me. Then we can just say to each other, “Be like an olive.”
Cass Bald (04:40):
“Be like an olive.” Yeah. I think Lisa also exemplifies that lesson through her own behavior in the sense that when she is online, posting on social media, or talking to clients, or her audience, or on She Talks Business, she doesn’t care about whether or not every single person will like her. And so part of my role on the team is actually to help Lisa create that content from her, which has required a lot of work to learn her voice, and to learn her brand, and to write more like her.
Cass Bald (05:18):
Something she said to me was, “Cass, I don’t care about being liked by everyone. I’m not an influencer. I don’t want to be rote, I don’t show up on Instagram and Facebook or Twitter to try and make people like me. I care more about showing up authentically, and as myself, and to provide value.” And that was a huge aha moment for me, because it made me realize that the number of followers that you have, isn’t what matters, it is that the right people are following you. And if you try so hard to be liked by everyone, you’ll end up connecting with no one. And that is a marketing fail honestly.
Adan Kovinich (06:07):
There’s something I hear you say often, because I mean, you and I spend so much time on the phone in silence, just working, it’s nice to have a work buddy whenever you’re working from home alone. And I often hear you say to yourself, “Nope, that sounds too editorial. Nope, that sounds like I’m trying too hard. Nope.” You’re saying it to yourself, but through that, you’re speaking to yourself, even though you’re writing Lisa’s content, you’re speaking to yourself and so it’s almost like she’s teaching you through your writing [crosstalk 00:06:37]-
Cass Bald (06:36):
That’s Lisa’s little voice in my head as I’m writing. I’m constantly looking at what I’m writing and I’m thinking, “Is this what Lisa would say?” Like, no, it’s not because it’s not as authentic or it sounds too flashy or something like that. Lisa, she really doesn’t care about being liked by everyone and I love that about her.
Adan Kovinich (07:02):
Yeah. And you do a good job of it too.
Cass Bald (07:04):
Adan Kovinich (07:07):
Thought I’d just throw that little compliment in there for you.
Cass Bald (07:11):
On that note, the next Lisa lesson that I wanted to talk about is something that she says all the time and it’s super quotable. So I find myself saying it too, and it’s actually how she ends every single episode of She Talks Business. And it is that, “Done is always better than perfect.” And that to me is such an important lesson because I’ve always considered myself to be a perfectionist and I will often stop myself from doing something because I don’t think I can do it good enough, that ends up resulting in it just never getting done at all.
Adan Kovinich (07:52):
Yeah. When I think about, “Done is better than perfect.” I think of all the times that I’ve tried to redo something so many times over that it ends up being worse than it was before I tried to redo it 10 times over, you know what I mean?
Cass Bald (08:07):
Adan Kovinich (08:08):
I think like about writing a blog, I’ve had writer’s block for a really long time and every time I go to write, it’s like, I just end up erasing the whole thing. And so I really need to take this advice. It like a come-to-Jesus moment right now on this podcast, thinking about how I just have to write it and let it go. And done is better than perfect.
Cass Bald (08:28):
Yeah. Sometimes you have to just believe that good enough is good enough. And when Lisa talks about this, she doesn’t mean you can produce something bad and call it a day. She doesn’t mean put up a blog with a million spelling errors and never go back to it. But what she means by that is, if you try so hard to make it perfect, you’re going to get stuck in analysis paralysis. And not producing anything at all is worse than producing something that is slightly flawed. And we’re all flawed, everything that everyone does ever is going to be flawed because nobody is perfect so don’t try to be.
Adan Kovinich (09:13):
And that even leads us in… That’s a great segue into number three, which is owning mistakes.
Cass Bald (09:20):
Oh, this is… This one makes me uncomfortable.
Adan Kovinich (09:26):
Ah, yeah. And you know what? You know why it makes me uncomfortable, is because Lisa makes us uncomfortable to grow when we make a mistake. I remember a time when I would beat around the bush with a, “Hey, I made a mistake,” and Lisa quickly taught me that you just need to own it. And when you own it, it’s like ripping the bandaid off. Own it, say, “This is mine. Don’t finger point.” She talked about that recently in one of our meetings, don’t finger point and say this person did this and so it’s not my fault. Just own it and say, “Hey, you know what? Yeah, I should have noticed that. Yeah, I should have looked at that deeper and say it.” See something, say something.
Cass Bald (10:09):
Yeah. And I think what it comes down to is that the most direct and fastest path to growth and to solutions is by owning it and getting to the bottom of what happened so that you can fix it for next time. I used to be the type of person to tiptoe around something too. I used to try and rationalize why a mistake happened or why balls were dropped. And I used to try to not necessarily blame someone else, but I would definitely try to take some of the blame off of myself because I felt like if I made a mistake, then I just wasn’t good enough. And you’re right, Lisa is really good at calling people up to admit when they are wrong, acknowledge a mistake, and she’s taught me that it’s not a bad thing to admit that you made a mistake. I used to feel like that was so horrible and it looked so bad on me, but she really taught me that it’s not a bad thing to admit that you’ve made a mistake.
Adan Kovinich (11:21):
Yeah 100%. And that it makes your life easier when you just admit it. That is something that she taught me more times than once that you just have to be open and honest. And when you’re honest about your mistakes, then the person on the other end doesn’t lose trust for you, they recognize we’re all human, we make mistakes. It’s not that you admit that you’re wrong, and now I hate you and I don’t want you to work for me. And you’re gone and I don’t trust you anymore. It’s like, thank you for admitting it, I appreciate it. Here’s some feedback which petrifies me in itself, which is probably why mistakes petrify me, but here’s some feedback so it doesn’t happen in the future and let’s move on.
Cass Bald (12:03):
[crosstalk 00:12:03] Yeah, I’m really grateful that she holds the space for us to feel comfortable going to her with mistakes too.
Adan Kovinich (12:11):
Cass Bald (12:12):
Not every employer is so open to that, but she really does. She holds a space for us so that we can feel comfortable to go to our boss and bring up problems. We don’t hide problems, we don’t hide from them, we bring them forward to her.
Adan Kovinich (12:32):
Yeah. And because of that, I’m not afraid to say I’ve made a mistake in other areas of my life. I messed up here, simple things like I booked the hotel date wrong and I have to admit to my partner, “Hey, Dominic, I messed up. I booked the wrong day.” Whereas maybe I would’ve avoided that before, and been like, “Oh, well the website messed up.” That’s a bold lie, but I might have tried to, I might have tried to avoid telling him that I messed up and just tried to fix it versus being like, “I messed up, can you help me?” And Lisa has shown me how to do that in a really special way.
Cass Bald (13:15):
Okay. Number four on our list of Lisa lessons is probably one of my favorites. And it’s definitely easier to talk about than owning mistakes. And I think you’ll probably agree with me Adan-
Adan Kovinich (13:27):
Cass Bald (13:27):
… but lesson number four is the power of reading. And I know Lisa has talked about reading and the impact it’s had on her life, on She Talks Business before we did a whole season of reading, but I don’t know if she realizes just how much of an impact she has had on us and has on others through her reading.
Adan Kovinich (13:55):
Yeah. Just as simple as maybe 30 minutes before we started this, Lisa’s like, “Got a new book for you,” sent me a picture. I would’ve never thought to go and look at that book or even thought of it, but Lisa recommended it so now I’m like, “Okay, she’s going to read a little bit of it, tell me what she thinks, and then I’m next in line, right, to get that book.”
Cass Bald (14:15):
And she does that all the time.
Adan Kovinich (14:17):
Cass Bald (14:18):
I don’t know any other employer that sends their employees as many books as Lisa sends us. Part of our whole onboarding process, I think Lisa sends us four books, every single employee and they’re books about marketing, they’re books about social media, books will really help all of us perform better in our jobs. And that’s just the first thing she does. And then on top of that, I call it my Lisa library. I have an entire bookshelf that is growing and growing and growing of books that Lisa sends me all the time because she sees them and thinks I’ll like them, or because she thinks it will help us perform in our roles better. I think the last one she sent us was Multipliers. It’s a book about leadership and we’re reading it as a team and it’s already making a huge impact in the company so.
Adan Kovinich (15:14):
And even like, I was thinking today, you and I, I called you and I was like, “Is this multiplier of me? Do you think I’m being a multiplier right now? Is this right?” And we went through it together and it became a little win for me that I identified this ability for me to be able to be a multiplier for our team. And that’s through reading this book with Lisa. I said this to you earlier today, Cass. If you put two people side by side, somebody who doesn’t read often, and then somebody who reads every day or reads, tries to read one book a month, let’s say, or even one book every two months, the person that reads is going to have better language, they’re going to have more insight, they’re going to be able to contribute to a conversation better, and that’s Lisa. I can tell Lisa reads and you’d never know, you’ve said it, you’d never know that she’s a high school dropout. You’d think that she has an MBA.
Cass Bald (16:07):
Yeah. 100%. It’s so wild to me to think that Lisa doesn’t have an MBA because when she speaks, she’s so intelligent and she’s so well versed, and she really knows her stuff. And all of that is attributed to reading and she’s the first one to tell you that too. I think I was also telling you the other day about how, if we’re talking about the impact that books have on Lisa and then the impact that Lisa’s reading has on us, I can also take that one step further and how I have peers that work in the same industry or whether it’s marketing or in entrepreneurship.
Cass Bald (16:49):
They will come over to my apartment and they love to visit the library of Lisa. They love to visit my bookshelf and borrow a book and I’ll usually give it to them with, it’ll be filled with sticky notes and underlines and highlights of my own. But when they bring it back to me, there’s even more sticky notes in it because they have pulled so many insights for themselves too. So it’s just the impact going that much further.
Adan Kovinich (17:16):
Yeah. It’s the Lisa effect.
Cass Bald (17:19):
The Lisa effect, we’re going to, that’s it, we’re coining a new term.
Adan Kovinich (17:22):
I love what you wrote in our notes here because it’s really impactful and it’s something that Lisa has said and really stands out to me. It’s respected when you stand up for yourself and what you want, takes courage and bravery. And that feels so close to home for me, because not everyone respects when you stand up for yourself. Some people think you’re being a certain type of way when you stand up for yourself. So I think this is really impactful.
Cass Bald (17:52):
It’s probably one of the biggest lessons that I have learned in the past year. And I think that just comes with being a young person, a young woman, especially.
Adan Kovinich (18:09):
Cass Bald (18:11):
We’re not always taught how to advocate for ourself and how to ask for what we want, and really how to know what we deserve and what our self worth is. But Lisa is really great when it comes to listening to what her employees’ needs are. And so I think fairly recently, I moved from an account manager position into a leadership position on the team. And I did that because I asked for it, because I felt like I was happier in a role that I could help others on the team to succeed. And I felt like my skills were best used in that way, as opposed to writing social media posts. And that was a really big thing for me to go to my boss and ask for what I want and ask for a promotion essentially. It’s terrifying. I, I was absolutely terrified, but at the end of the day after I had that conversation, that really difficult conversation with Lisa, she came to me and said, “You know what Cass, more than anything, I’ve just gained so much more respect for you.”
Adan Kovinich (19:36):
Something that you said triggered something for me, you said that we’re not taught as women to stand up for ourselves. And I instantly had a flashback to my grandmother saying, “Children are seen, not heard.” And then her saying to me, that was as a child, and my grandmother grew up Germany, wartime, 1940s. Then Yugoslavia wartime, early ’50s so she really lived through a time when you just let the man do the work. And so, as I got older into my teens, she’d say things like, “When you find a man, you need to be able to listen to him and speak less.” And it was just a mindset at the time. And when you learned that from somebody, I really looked up to my grandmother, which at the time that was normal, we’re very different times in 2022.
Adan Kovinich (20:37):
But that was her mindset and she wanted to share that with me. When I look at Lisa, she’s the absolute opposite of that. She does not feel like you can’t stand up for yourself, because you’re a woman. She’s a powerhouse and has really showed me that, you need to stand up for yourself because who else will? If you don’t have your own back, nobody else will. And I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself and saying, “Hey, I want this.” I’ve done it with Lisa too and she’s always respected that I’ve said, “Hey, this needs to change.” Or, “This is how I’m feeling and I need it to change.” So yeah, she’s really a great example of how to stand up for yourself because she does it too.
Cass Bald (21:22):
Yeah, absolutely. And because it is so nerve-wracking to do that, I think the one bit of advice that I would give is that, look to people who have done it before you and borrow courage from someone else. There’s no shame in asking for help and for seeking advice if you do need to have a conversation like that. If you do need to advocate for yourself. It is nerve-wracking, it’s terrifying to do.
Adan Kovinich (21:55):
Yeah. I don’t know if this was your reference point, but she wrote a blog about Eddy and Sunshine and the borrowed courage from Eddy-
Cass Bald (22:05):
[crosstalk 00:22:05] 100%-
Adan Kovinich (22:05):
Or from Sunshine to Eddy.
Cass Bald (22:06):
That’s one of my favorite stories.
Adan Kovinich (22:10):
Cass Bald (22:10):
That’s one of my favorite stories.
Adan Kovinich (22:11):
Mine too. And I think about that and I think I’ve even quoted that blog in regular life because sometimes you just got to borrow courage from someone else for the time being, and use that to your advantage for a little while.
Cass Bald (22:26):
Okay. So number six on our list here is something that Lisa actually said to me about six months ago. And what she said was, “Do you feel like you have the ability to test things in this business?” And that was a product of a book that we were reading, Thought Readers at the time, or in Thought Readers at the time, called Big Little Breakthroughs. And a section on the book is all about how you have to test things, test little ideas, to see if they’re viable. And that’s where big breakthrough was come from. And so Lisa asked me that if I felt like I was trusted to do that, or if I was allowed to test things in the business. And at the time, I didn’t. I felt like if I had an idea that I wanted to test out, I had to write a proposal about it and send Lisa an email and try and convince her why it was worth a shot, and do all the research behind it and stuff.
Cass Bald (23:38):
But when she came to me and said, “I trust you, try it out, test it. Let’s get some big little breakthroughs in this company.” That changed everything for me. And if I look at the person I was and the employee that I was, and the leader that I was before her and I had that conversation, I am a drastically different person now. I have come up with some ideas that I’m so proud of. I have found myself better able to empower others on the team to do that as well. And I think I’ve just grown a lot in terms of my confidence, because my boss, this amazing business leader who I admire and look up to, came to me and said, “I trust you. I trust you. You have great ideas, run with them and see how it works.” And that did it, it changed everything for me.
Adan Kovinich (24:42):
Yeah. I see you testing things all the time or bringing up ideas. And I know you shared this in the leadership meeting this week and it’s cool to hear someone else say it because Lisa’s let me do things that are outside of regular norms, right? And so she’s with the strategic marketing roadmaps and for anyone who doesn’t know what that is, the strategic marketing roadmap is basically an entire analysis of your digital space, I guess. Your website, your social media platforms, we go deep dive into the customer. What does the customer do? Where are they located? Or where are they spending time? And so with Lisa, we dig deep into finding all of those answers and creating a strategy that is an evergreen strategy that needs to change probably once a year. But the base core of it is evergreen.
Adan Kovinich (25:43):
I remember the first time I did one, I wrote something and I maybe did 30 pages of it. And I walked into a meeting, walked in as if we’re meeting a person. I turned on Zoom and I just started talking about it, and then Lisa asked one question and I instantly started crying. And she was like, “Okay, okay, we’re going to take a break. Let’s take a second. Let’s look back at this. And why does this make you so uncomfortable?” And I said, “Because it’s not mine. I don’t feel like I have room to change anything.” And she’s like, she looked at me with kind of like a scrunch face and said, “You can change is whatever you want as long as you have a backing for it when you show it to me.” And so I kind of went a little nuts and I made a lot of changes, but in the end, Lisa loved so many of them and kept 90% of them. And it was a really great moment to know that I can change things and she’s not married to all of her work.
Cass Bald (26:50):
She’s really great about saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.” You had new ideas and you were able to bring those new ideas to her. There were just things that she hadn’t thought of before, because you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s also huge, the fact that you guys made that progress on the strategic marketing roadmaps together. Because until pretty recently, Lisa was the one that was doing all the leg work on those. That’s a product or a service that we offer to our clients. And until very recently, Lisa did all of that work on her own or most of it anyway. So for her to trust you with that is really incredible.
Adan Kovinich (27:39):
Yes. Sandra, our copywriter did it before me and I was happy and excited to take that from Sandra because it’s hard work and it’s 90 to 100 pages. And I couldn’t believe how quickly she trusted me with 90 to 100 pages of work to be done. And it meant a lot to me that I get to be a part of that, and I get to be a part of the evolving product. And I think you can say the same because you work on all of Lisa’s programs and I watch you help evolve so many of them.
Cass Bald (28:18):
Lisa has also entrusted me immensely to take on a role in her programs like The Strategy Lab and in Thought Readers. And it has been almost a little uncomfortable for me. I don’t know about you, but Lisa is really, really great about pushing you past your comfort zone and into discomfort, because that is the best way to learn and to grow. And if something ever makes you uncomfortable, and you mention to Lisa that you don’t want to do it because it makes you uncomfortable. You better believe she is going to force you to do it and get good at it so that it no longer makes you uncomfortable. She’s really at stretching people in that way.
Adan Kovinich (29:08):
Yeah. She’s incredible at stretching people. And you’re right, if you tell Lisa you don’t like something, all of a sudden that is your job, that you’re going to be doing this until you’re good at it. Two things happen-
Cass Bald (29:23):
And we mean that in the best way possible, like-
Adan Kovinich (29:26):
Cass Bald (29:27):
She’s not forcing us to do things that we really dislike doing, but she forces us to do things that make us uncomfortable because, and this is actually Lisa lesson number seven on our list, but the best things in life lie on the other side of fear. You will never get to experience half of the great things that a job, or a role, or the world has to offer if you never do things that make you uncomfortable.
Adan Kovinich (29:58):
You only grow when you’re uncomfortable. Nobody grows in comfort. And that goes for everything, in business, in life, in relationships. If you are comfortable, you’re not growing. And so Lisa loves to find ways to make us uncomfortable because she believes in us being able to grow. I think that’s such a testament to Lisa as being able to see value in so many people and in everyone that even when you say to her, “I don’t want to do that anymore, it’s stressing me out. I’m feeling uncomfortable. This is the last thing on earth I want to be doing.” And Lisa says, “I’m going to make you the best at that and I’m going to show you how to get there. And we’re going to work together, and we’re going to grow together.” And you’re going to be uncomfortable. And you’re going to have to look in the mirror and really think to yourself like, “Whoa, that’s what I’ve been doing.” And then we’re going to push past it, and you’re right on the other side are the best things in life. I totally butchered that, the best things in life are on the other side of fear.
Cass Bald (31:00):
I think this podcast episode is actually a really great example of that too because I don’t really like the sound of my own voice. And I don’t always think I sound the most intelligent when I’m speaking and it makes me uncomfortable. But when we said, “Okay, we kind of want to record an episode.” She was all for it and she pushed us to do this.
Adan Kovinich (31:31):
Yeah, she was excited. I had said to her, “I’m looking forward to recording the episode and don’t worry, we are going to take care of your podcast.” And she said, “Don’t worry, I know.” Like there was no question. I think the doubt was more in me than in her.
Cass Bald (31:49):
She said, “Don’t worry, I know you guys will do great. Just don’t drop any F bombs.”
Adan Kovinich (31:55):
Which I think we’re doing pretty well, right. I don’t think we’ve dropped a single one.
Cass Bald (31:59):
No, no profanity so far. Okay. So then number eight is that Lisa’s just an incredible leader. And the reason she wants us to grow as much as she does is because she cares so deeply about her employees. And I look up to her and her leadership because I respect so much how much she does for every single one of her employees and how much she cares about every single one of us. Adan, I think you have the best story to explain just how much Lisa cares. I think in your first day of being on the team, you tell it, what happened?
Adan Kovinich (32:50):
Yeah. I started April 1st, so this is like April 16th. I actually remember the day, it was a Sunday afternoon. And my dog is a… I rescued my dog from South Korea and he is a runner. He will run away from just about anything. And he was hit by a car and it was really touch and go for a little while, thank God he’s still alive today to tell the tale of his second time being hit by a car. But I had to tell Lisa and Cassy, “Hey, I know I just started here. I know you guys hardly know me, but my dog was hit by a car. And I really need to take care of him.” He had a broken hip and a broken jaw and I couldn’t be a present employee.
Adan Kovinich (33:38):
So my first three weeks really being an employee of LLG, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. And Lisa was sending me words of encouragement, asking me how my dog was all the time. And it meant so much because I knew in my role, I wasn’t going to see Lisa a lot because of managing the whole team but made herself known to me. She made herself a support system for me, if something bad happened to Tito, she was the first person to say something and help me out, words of encouragement talking about her dogs. And she has dachshunds. And Tito is also a dog with short legs. And so we were talking about that and she just, she made me feel a part of the team right away, even though it was under terrible circumstances. She made me really feel I was in a special place-
Cass Bald (34:31):
She cares about-
Adan Kovinich (34:32):
[inaudible 00:34:32] always do that.
Cass Bald (34:33):
Yeah. She cares about her business. Obviously, her business is extremely important to her, but she understands that your employees need to be happy and healthy and good if you want them to be good employees for you.
Adan Kovinich (34:56):
Yeah. And even if you think about Christmas time, every single employee worked so hard last year. And we went through a lot together and you guys had a change in management with myself and Adrian coming in. And there was just so much, and we all worked so hard and for her to close the office for a week to let us be with family was unbelievable and so well needed by every person. And she saw that, knew that we needed a break, and then gave it to us.
Cass Bald (35:27):
Sometimes as a business owner, you are so busy and it’s so easy to get caught up in all the things that you have on your plate and not take time to connect with all of your employees. And that’s especially true in larger businesses, but I’ve never felt that way about Lisa. I have always felt that I can go to her at any time. And she’s always made an effort to reach out to me as well.
Adan Kovinich (35:56):
And it makes you want to be a good leader.
Cass Bald (35:58):
100% [crosstalk 00:35:59] it does. Yeah, that is the lesson in this. I respect her so much for the way she treats us as employees that I want to rise to the occasion, and I want to be that too.
Adan Kovinich (36:12):
Yeah. So something else that Lisa’s taught me is that there’s opportunities to make money everywhere. But in saying that, she’s also taught me that money is not the only objection or the objective, sorry. So when I started to move into this, more of the strategic writing and sales parts of my role, I shared with Lisa because I have a background in telecommunication sales. So I worked in a retail store selling cell phones and I shared with her what my tactics were for sales and I sent her a blog.
Adan Kovinich (36:53):
She looked at it and she said, “I love the way you approach sales and I love how you do that, but I don’t think that you are… I think you care more about what the customer needs are and not necessarily about how much money you’re going to make from it.” And it’s so true. And at the same hand though, she knows that, if you want to make more money, there’s always a way to do it while still keeping the customer in mind. And she always gives us opportunities to stand up and say, “Hey, I’ll do that.” And helps us almost always have an entrepreneurial side inside of her business, which is so, so cool that we get to do that.
Cass Bald (37:36):
You hear people say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Or, “You can’t pull money out of thin air.” But I think what Lisa has shown us is that in fact you can, and I think back to a story that Lisa has told before about her first job. I put in air quotations again, that she had as a child and she wanted to purchase something for herself. To earn the money to do it, she gathered up her toys that she didn’t use anymore and she made some crafts that she could sell. And she did, she went to a flea market and sold them so that she could earn the money. And that is entrepreneurial spirit at its most basic level but she does give us those opportunities too. If ever we want to find opportunities to earn more, she gives us the space to do that.
Adan Kovinich (38:41):
She encourages it. We’re young, right? So often I have conversations with Lisa and she says things like, “When you’re an entrepreneur,” because she knows that we have it in us to be able to be that even if we don’t see it in ourselves all the time.
Cass Bald (38:57):
I completely agree.
Adan Kovinich (38:59):
This is our last one, number 10. And it’s, question everything and break the rules, don’t follow mindlessly.
Cass Bald (39:07):
I think my favorite way that Lisa explains this is through a story that she tells, and I know she’s told it on She Talks Business before, but it’s just so good that I can’t help but not tell it again. But she calls it the roast beef story. And Adan, have you heard this story?
Adan Kovinich (39:28):
Yes and I love it. I fully expect you to read it as a dramatic reading of the roast beef story.
Cass Bald (39:35):
Absolutely. I’ll tell it as dramatically as I can, but essentially the story is about questioning the rules. And it starts with a young woman who is making dinner for her partner and she is following her grandma’s roast beef recipe. And so she cooks this dinner and they eat and it’s so good, and he says to her, “This was amazing. I just have one question. Why did you cut the ends off the roast beef? That’s usually my favorite part because it’s just so tender and good.” And she pauses for a moment and thinks I don’t really know why I did that. I was just following the recipe, that’s what my grandma’s recipe called for so that’s what I did. Let me call up my mom and ask her. So she gets her mom on the phone and she says, “Mom, why did I cut the ends off the roast beef? Why does the recipe call for that?”
Cass Bald (40:35):
Her mom, who has been making that recipe for years as well, pauses for a moment and says, “You know what, I don’t really know. I don’t know why the recipe calls for that. Let’s find out from grandma.” So they call up grandma and grandma says to them, “The reason I cut the ends off the roast beef was to make it fit in the pan.” And that is just the most hilarious to me explanation of why you need to question everything, social norms, and processes that we are expected to follow.
Cass Bald (41:21):
Why? Why do we do things the way that we do? And I think another great example of this in action is, Adan, when you joined this company, you said to Lisa, “I really don’t like mornings. I’m not a morning person. I don’t like having to get up early. And I sometimes struggle to be at my desk for 9:00 AM.” And Lisa said to you, “Well, then why don’t you just work 10:00 to 6:00 instead,” right?
Adan Kovinich (41:56):
Cass Bald (41:57):
But it’s like an expectation that to be productive, you have to get up early, you have to start work at the crack of dawn. And we, for some reason assume or have this belief that if you aren’t working early in the day, then you’re lazy or you’re not going to be as productive. But I don’t understand why somebody who works early is any less productive than somebody who works late, because that’s the truth for you, right?
Adan Kovinich (42:29):
Cass Bald (42:29):
You feel more productive in the evenings.
Adan Kovinich (42:32):
Yeah, I do. And it comes back to, “Early bird gets the worm.” Why doesn’t the late bird get the worm, why doesn’t [crosstalk 00:42:41]-
Cass Bald (42:41):
Yeah, how is 5:00 AM any different than midnight, right?
Adan Kovinich (42:45):
Exactly, yeah. And if the bird goes out at midnight and gets the worm, what’s the difference? And there is none. If I work from 10:00 AM or even 10:30 and then I finish my day at seven o’clock, why is that different than someone that starts their day at 8:00 AM and ends it at 4:30? There’s no difference.
Adan Kovinich (43:10):
Some people say, “Oh, well, I like to get up early and be ahead of everyone in the office and be there first so that I have time to do things by myself.” I have that time. I have that exact same time, it’s just that mine’s at the end of the day. And that’s when I’m the most productive. Everyone leaves around 4:30, five o’clock, we have a couple of stragglers, you and me. But at that five o’clock mark, when everyone’s gone, I’m all alone and can do things without anyone around. And that’s the same thing for the person that comes in early to do that. But I just tack it on to the end of the day.
Cass Bald (43:49):
I think, similar to the roast beef story, that social norm or that expectation actually goes back to a very outdated way of thinking. I think it goes back to when everyone was farmers and you had to get up early to make the most out of your daylight and the sunlight, right? And we’ve just continued to adopt that over time, even though it really doesn’t apply anymore. And so I think we need to, something that Lisa encouraged us to do is to question things like that all the time and to not just follow mindlessly, but to rather be a disrupter. Find new ways to do things because there isn’t just one right way, there’s many right ways.
Adan Kovinich (44:37):
She doesn’t just tell us to do that and then like, it’s not just words for Lisa. She says, “Think outside of the box, don’t be stuck in this box where you’re thinking of one thing.” And then when we share it, she doesn’t shut it down, she looks into it. She explores it with us. And I think that’s so important and it makes me want to explore it with others when they bring me ideas that are, something I may not have ever thought of before.
Adan Kovinich (45:04):
All right, we hit our 10 lessons. I probably have a hundred more that I could think of. And I could go on and talk about Lisa forever and all the incredible things that she does for us all the time, but Lisa’s really made a lasting impact in my career. I’m a very young millennial, they call us the Zillennials. And I’m very thankful that she sees things in me that I don’t see and has shown me just how much I can be a better employee, a better person, a harder worker. And I want to just take this opportunity to just thank you, Lisa, for all of the many, many lessons that you’ve taught me. And for the many more you will teach me, and the way you push me and make me uncomfortable, I can’t thank you enough for all that you do.
Cass Bald (45:53):
I would love to echo everything that you just said, Adan, because I 100% feel that way about Lisa as well. I’m so grateful to be able to work with her every day and continue to learn and grow. And on that note, I do want to just say to the listeners that you can expect Adan and I to be back next week with some insights from a millennial perspective on leadership and what it’s like to be learning leadership from a Gen Xer. So thank you for sticking with us and listening if you’re still here and we will talk to you next time.
Lisa Larter (46:34):
Thank you for joining me for this episode of She Talks Business. If you enjoyed the show, you know the drill, leave us a review, tell someone about it and join the conversation on social media. Thanks for listening and until next time remember, done is always better than perfect.