Episode 75: 3 Common Struggles with Your Growing Design Team with Shelli Warren
Shelli Warren is a team and leadership coach and the host of the BizChix sister podcast, Stacking Your Team. At BizChix Inc., she leverages her 26 years of experience leading technical teams to deliver multi-million dollar projects for billion-dollar brands to now helping small business owners hire, fire, and inspire an incredible team of high performers.
In this episode, Shelli and I chat about how business owners can step out of day-to-day operations, the importance of retention and team culture, and the value of letting go and giving team leaders the space to lead their teams.
Follow Shelli on Instagram @stackingyourteampodcast, on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/shelliwarren2, and don’t forget to check out the Stacking Your Team Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.
The 3rd Annual Interior Design Business Success Summit will be October 12-14, 2022. Visit www.designedforthecreativemind.com/summit for more details and to reserve your ticket.
Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
Connect with Michelle
Have ideas or suggestions or want to be considered as a guest on the show? Email me!
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back. I'm Michelle Lynne. And I'm excited to introduce you here, I have today, Shelli Warren. She is a team and leadership coach, and she is the host of the BizChix sister podcast, Stacking Your Team. At BizChix Inc., she leverages her 26 years of experience leading technical teams to deliver multimillion-dollar projects for billion-dollar brands at Procter and Gamble. Now she's helping small business owners hire, fire, and inspire. That's fun, an incredible team of high performers. Shelli's also known for her teaching style, her passion to inspire more women leaders, and her ability to say the right thing in delicate situations. She lives in Canada, where she coaches BizChix clients across the globe and spends her Flow Fridays with her daughter Danielle, and her grandbaby Ellie. So Shelli, welcome to the podcast. I'm glad you're here.
Shelli Warren: Hello, Michelle, I'm thrilled to be here.
Michelle Lynne: So fun. And I love that, I think I interrupted myself, where you help small business owners hire, fire, and inspire. That's just a good mouthful.
Shelli Warren: It's really, I learned how to do this over decades in corporate. And so what I like to do now is I like to take all of the cumbersome processes and workflows and just styles of leading teams from the corporate world and strip it right down to what that small business owner truly needs to be able to have that team and workplace experience where people really do want to come and have a career with her. They're not there for a J-O-B, or a pension, they're there for a career. And so I just love working with those small business owners to help her do that.
Michelle Lynne: Well, and I think it makes such a difference. Because interior designers, we need help. Like, I honestly have no idea how a solopreneur business functions, like I'm just like, I don't want to do that. Granted, you can outsource things. But I like having a hands-on team where we can share experiences, and also elevate our design sometimes with just the collaboration. But what you're bringing to small businesses is such a benefit for individuals who have never managed a team before. Like, they might have been a mom and they manage that team, which I think really prepares a lot of people for management, but there's so much more to it. How do you drill down and figure out what the company needs? Is there a process that you go through?
Shelli Warren: Yes, so first of all, I like to encourage all of our clients, within the Leadership Lab, which is the group coaching program that I host. And that program is for women who have a service-based business, with five or more team members, including remote team members, some of them in multiple locations. Some of them have a secondary, complementary digital revenue stream to their brick and mortar. But it's always interesting. What I like to do with women who first come and join the Leadership Lab is to really initially tell them that it's okay that they don't feel like they know how to lead. And I'll remind them all the time, you know, like you went to university, to become this incredible person that you are, and you've built this incredible skill set that it becomes the beacon as to why people are attracted to you, why clients are wanting to come and work with you. You are it, you are that beacon of light. And it's through your stellar reputation and your stellar services and the quality of services that you provide, but it's continuing to attract those clients. So as those clients continue to become, you know, they just love you and they're just delighted to continue to work with you and they start referring you to others, now all of a sudden you realize, oh my gosh, I have to get some quality help in here or else I'm going to burn out or my family is going to stop speaking to me altogether. So the first thing we do is we really look at, you know, there's really certain aspects of their business that I'd like to really give her, ask her to rate herself on, like in terms of red, yellow and green. Green, meaning you're totally on track. Yellow, meaning you've started to drift. So you were making some momentum, making some headway. And now either the business exploded, or your life has exploded, and now you've drifted off your goals. And then the last one being red, meaning you're totally off the rails, you're so stuck, you haven't even made one move in the right direction. And so what we do is we ask those clients to rate themselves in terms of where are they in their team? Where are they in terms of operations? Where are they in terms of their strategy? Which includes their marketing, their positioning, their online presence, their local footprint, their local network. And then when we look at their operations, it really comes down to how much time are you spending, doing what we call those $100 tasks, $500 tasks? When what we really want you to do is to have more time over there doing the $10,000 tasks, $20,000 tasks, so she rates herself. And from there, then we decide, okay, here's what we're gonna go focus on, because what we want to do is you want to have, we want to get you out of the red and at least into yellow, and then moving closer to green. And also knowing that for some women, there's different stages of their business where they really were on top of things. When things were smaller, when the client roster was smaller, when the value or the price point of the jobs were smaller, you could be that incredible solopreneur. But as the business grew, and as your clientele grew and the demands grew, now you know, you do need some additional help for sure.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And I think you know that in the pit of your stomach before you even mention it. So how do you help business owners, or how can business owners step out of like the day-to-day, like putting out fires? Like, I think that that's, yeah, let's talk about that.
Shelli Warren: So I like to call that moving from practitioner to CEO. So what you're doing is you're moving away from service delivery, not 100% of your service delivery, because I mean, it's a journey to get there from having taken care of all the clients, to taking care of very few clients, to then taking care of zero clients, and putting all your efforts into business development, and serving your team. So it's a journey to get there. But what we start with is we start with looking at moving you out of the day-to-day operations, meaning moving you out of making all those decisions. And we do that by putting people in leadership positions. So we'll either look at the existing team, and see if there's someone there, a couple of people there, that are ready to take on more responsibility, including all the decision factors that come along with that. And if you don't have that person, then let's get you that person in the business. And I like to divide it out into two actual streams. So let's get a leader that's leading billable work. And let's get a leader that's focusing on non-billable work.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's an interesting way to separate it.
Shelli Warren: Yeah, I find it's just the simplest way to begin. Because most businesses have a back office, right? There's all the admin work that needs to get done. But too often, the CEO is tucked up in her bed at night with her laptop, trying to get invoices paid, or at least the invoices sent out. You know, doing payroll, all those kinds of things. So let's get someone in a leadership position that's going to lead your admin part of the business. And included in that is creating workflows and work processes that are incredibly repeatable and effective.
Michelle Lynne: That's my love language.
Shelli Warren: Let's stop trying to create new fancy, sexy things. Let's look at what's working right now and let's just do more of it, and make it so streamlined, that that leader can then train other people move that aspect of the business forward.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I think that's fantastic. And we call that the Fiji factor. So we try to put processes together so if one of us wins a ticket to Fiji, laying on the beach with no Wi-Fi, that business can still operate.
Shelli Warren: Yes, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: So yeah. And it's just such a relief as the leader of the company to know that you don't have to have your finger on the pulse every minute of the day, you know, all day, all week, all year.
Shelli Warren: You're building in self-sufficiency. Right across your team.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And I love the whole thought about the billable versus non-billable leaders because that makes it very easy to delineate. So with that, like, are you having meetings all the time? Like, can you have too many meetings? Not enough meetings? Like, it sounds like getting that up and running, yeah, let's talk about those meetings.
Shelli Warren: I actually, I like to get CEOs out of meetings. That's the whole reason why we're putting people in these leadership positions, is so that they can lead the meetings. So, you know, it's such a, I feel bad, I really do feel bad for those CEOs, that when they show me their calendar, it's just, you know, back-to-back to back meetings, sometimes there's not even a buffer for the ladies room, there's not a buffer to have lunch. They're not factoring in travel time. They're not factoring in note taking time. They're not factoring in just clearing your workspace, to start the next thing. So what ends up happening is too many women leaders are just, I call it like pile driving, they're just pile driving through their day. And then they wonder why at the end of the day, they're just so bloody exhausted. Then they have to go home, where the second shift starts. Like the second shift starts, so whether you're coming out of your office, that you work from home, into your living space, or whether you're pulling up in the driveway, there's a whole other team of people there, they're called the home team. And they're waiting for their leader to walk through the door and start making things happen for them. And then if you have littles, then there's a high potential that you're going to have a third shift in the middle of the night when someone wakes up for a bottle, or they need a bum change, or they just have a nightmare, or whatever. So as a leader, your whole day, it's just going from one thing to the next thing to the next thing that inevitably you think you need to handle. So what we want to do in the workplace is put these leaders in a position where you're there to share the overarching strategy, the overarching outcomes, here's the desired outcomes, here's your decision space, including, here's how much money you have, here is how much time you have, here's where I will help, here's where Judy will step in and help. You need to set up all those boundaries and then you let that leader go and execute and let her be that extension of the brand. Let her do what you hired her to do. And that includes leading people. So that includes leading team meetings. And for you, that CEO, there's really only a few team meetings that you really need to be there for. One, is you need to be hosting one-to-ones with those leadership team meetings on what I like to call it drumbeat. Meaning it's predictable. It's on the calendar. Everyone knows, when am I going to have my next one-to-one with Michelle? So therefore, how can I come prepared to really take advantage of her time, and her focus and let's be efficient there. The other meeting that you want to make sure that you're hosting on an annual basis as the CEO, is the state of the business rollout. That you want at least once a year, preferably twice a year, but at least once a year, you want to bring your whole team in together and talk about the state of the business. Here's where we are. Here's where we're going. Here's what we've learned. Here's where we fell down and scraped our knees.
Michelle Lynne: It's so funny. I'm so glad you said that. Because we used to do this and then the 'Rona hit and we've all been kind of separated. I need to get my butt back in gear and schedule that. It was completely off the calendar.
Shelli Warren: Team members love knowing where they're going. And then as you tell that story, you tell the story that really showcases what role every person is going to play. And now they're engaged. Now that becomes a significant part of your retention strategy. People want to stay in a place where they know what role they're going to play and how they're going to impact the business.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, and they feel important, and they feel dialed in, a part of something bigger than just themselves. And, yeah, and plus, like for, in my experience, you get all of that momentum from all the other people and it doesn't feel like you're carrying all the weight.
Shelli Warren: That's right. For sure.
Michelle Lynne: Just so you know, as soon as we're done here Shelli, I'm going to be putting that on the calendar.
Shelli Warren: Oh my gosh, that's wonderful. The next meeting that you need to be in is some sort of a weekly touch point with the extended team. So I like to encourage those leaders to have their daily huddles. And a daily huddle can literally be a 10-minute stand-up meeting. You can do it in a room standing up, or you can do it on Zoom standing up. But it's really about that leader saying okay, here's the focus for today. Here's what's happened since yesterday that we need to take into consideration for how we're moving forward today. I know yesterday I said the priority was this. But this happened last night, so now our first priority has changed, and this is our focus for today. You know, Cheryl, I need you to focus on this today. Jennifer, can you step in and take care of this. It's all that direction setting. And those leaders are going to lead those huddles. For you as the CEO, I like to encourage our leaders to be able to have some sort of a weekly wrap up, where it could be a 15-minute meeting, again, standing up, doesn't have to be sitting down. But that's where you as the CEO is going to come in and ask to hear from your leaders and your extended team. Where are we at this week? Did we hit our goals? Where are we on our KPIs? Who needs help for next week? Is there anything critical that we need to do over the weekend to set us up for success on Monday? But it's all of those conversations that need to happen so that you're always looking out front and setting people up for success. But as the CEO, I find, it's a problem with letting go of control. And so that CEO believes she needs to be in every single conversation, every single email, every single Slack conversation, and every single team meeting.
Michelle Lynne: I see that a lot.
Shelli Warren: And in reality, what you're telling your team, even though you don't know this, but what you're telling your team is, I don't trust you enough to make the right decisions. I feel like I need to be on top of you all the time to make sure you're doing what I expect of you. And I'm not really seeing the level of drive as a mirror image of what I bring to the company, I haven't seen that in you yet. So I feel like I need to be there to hold your hand.
Michelle Lynne: But at the same time, because you're smothering them, they're not going to step out and push you away because you're the boss. So you're not giving them room to fly.
Shelli Warren: Yeah, so when you're in control, no one grows. You have to start letting go of this control. And we do that by putting these people in these leadership positions, and giving them their space, their decision space. And what I mean by that is an actual budget, you give them timeline boundaries. You give them resources, and you say to them, you know, here's the milestone date on this, you're gonna own it, this is your ownership area and make it all happen. I'm totally confident your ability to do this. Oh, and by the way, I'm available every Thursday between 2-2:30. If a crisis comes up, that you just want my opinion on something, or you want to just run something by me, I will always have time available to you on my calendar at that time.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. What do you think about, like, if they fail? How do you create a safe space to fail?
Shelli Warren: So I like to call those learn from experiences, LFE. So when we make it normal, right across the team, that when we learn from our experience, that's what helps you earn your stripes in terms of respectability. And that's where you show up as a highly valued team member. So even if your front desk person, the person that is handling inquiries that are coming through your website, or just walk-in traffic, if that person makes a mistake, so they give a client the wrong information, they may not have treated them as well as you would have hoped they would, by coming forward and having the conversation with the individual about how they could make that better, right. That's your good, better, best. That was good, here's how we can make that better. What do you think you could do next time to make sure that you feel best about that, in that situation? When we use those as learning experiences, people just become very comfortable in saying, oh, my gosh, I messed up yesterday so bad. And I want to share it with everyone here so that no one has to feel as terrible as I did yesterday. And so here's what happened. Here's what I did. I talked to Michelle about it, we agreed that we would do this moving forward. And so now, here's how we're going to handle this moving forward. So the more you create those types of teachable moments for everyone on your team, every single person on that team, regardless of how long they've been there, or how big the mistake was, or how big their role is, they will be much more inclined to come forward and saying, I made a mistake yesterday. Here's what I learned from it, and here's what we're gonna do to make sure that doesn't happen again,
Michelle Lynne: Compared to, Michelle ripped me a new one. And she was such a B-I-T-C-H about it. Because that's what they would come back and say anyway, so we also, I think we have to give grace to individuals if they will step into owning their errors.
Shelli Warren: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: And give them that opportunity to do so because otherwise it just gets hidden, and you don't find out about it as the leader until it comes up and bites you in the butt.
Shelli Warren: Exactly, and it's such a great way to be able to say, okay, what's your action step to make sure this doesn't happen again? Because that's where you close the loop for the team. You're demonstrating to the team that in this particular situation, the reason why she made the wrong decision, or she went down that path was because there was literally no policy on that.
Michelle Lynne: Right. No training.
Shelli Warren: There was also no SOP on that. There was no handout resource to give to that potential client that would explain what our services are. Like, when you realize that the reason why the individual made the mistake is because they guessed wrong, or they made the wrong decision because they didn't have the training or they didn't have a resource to point them in the right direction, that's a red flag for you and the team to create those tools for the team, which I consider business assets. So whether you make a business asset that is sold externally, where it's actually bringing revenue in, or you make a business asset that's helping to simplify your work process for your team, that has value attached to it, too. And it's called retention.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, let's drive down that a little bit. Because I think that, so my background Shelli, is I've been in management since I graduated college, like literally, I was hired as a manager at a restaurant. I would walk up to a table, and they would think I was the hostess, I was like, a little baby. So I've learned from that industry, and then I was in another corporate industry, that when you have somebody leave, holy crap, it is a pain to try to replace them. So retention is huge. How do you teach that? I mean, like, I know it inherently just from experience. But how do you go about, or how do you teach it to your clients? Or how do you put it into practice in a company? Because that's like, that's intangible. It's just like, holy crap, don't leave me.
Shelli Warren: It is. And it's, you know, I like to call this, helping your team members to stop thinking like employees and start thinking like business owners. And how we do that is it starts right at the onboarding stage, where you and your trainers, your lead trainers, or team leaders, those people in those leadership positions, are making a verbal commitment to this newest person that's come to join you, to work alongside you, where they're declaring out loud that we are here, we're committed to you. We're committed to helping you have an incredible career with us and here's how we do that. You know, then you have a whole plan of how you move people through the different roles, how they get raises, how they can get considered for promotion. But the most basic thing you want to ensure that they understand right from day one, is that the tool that we use the most here to help all of us grow, and all of us stretch our capabilities is through providing feedback. And we do that with a simple framework called start, stop, continue. I need you to start doing this. I need you to stop doing this. And I need you to continue doing this, and here's why.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's great.
Shelli Warren: So when we get people used to that, your team culture, where it's just normal for everyone to talk that way with each other, what you're creating is your own little ecosystem where everybody is shown the way to how to be more successful. Because you're giving them this transparent, genuine feedback. It's not criticism, it's coaching. So coaching always feels helpful. Criticizing always feels hurtful.
Michelle Lynne: I think that is key. Because a lot of business owners, a lot of leaders, fear giving that feedback, and therefore things don't get fixed or upleveled, or whatever the case may be. But in my experience, people love the feedback. They love to know what they're doing right, and how they can get better in other areas. Like, we all do. You just have to frame it so that it doesn't hurt.
Shelli Warren: Right? It's framed as coaching. And it's framed as another example of how you're demonstrating to this individual that you want to keep them here. If you if you didn't want to keep them here, you would just terminate them. But you're wanting to pour into them. You're wanting them to see how much they've progressed as a professional. And you want to celebrate those milestone moments along the way, and have those conversations that says, remember when you first started here? Oh my gosh, look at you now. We want to keep doing that over and over and over again. And that truly becomes part of how people think about coming to work with you. It's that whole idea of, wow, I feel so valued there. I feel so seen, people hear me, people pour into me.
Michelle Lynne: Well, and especially these days, like for interior design, it's hard to find help. So when you find them, you better be taking really good care of them. And it's not always financial.
Shelli Warren: That's right.
Michelle Lynne: Like you said, they need to feel seen and heard and valued. Interesting. And you know what else I've learned over my time. In fact, back in my restaurant days, I used to manage an Italian restaurant. And we had a real Italian chef, like, Antonio Yoki was his name like, right, very Italian. So he taught me when I left that industry, he said, Michelle, some feedback is, let your people do, like, let them do what they do best. So here I was this little punk, trying to manage my Italian chef over the Italian kitchen. So letting the people who know what they do best, let them do it. So like, my designers, they're better than I am. They're better than I ever want to be. Like, who am I to tell an Italian chef how to sauté?
Shelli Warren: Yeah, I like to call that, you know, the people who are closest to the work, know the most about the work.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Shelli Warren: So let those individuals create the SOPs, the workflows, gather the feedback from clientele, you know, have that moment where we're going to really sit and listen and learn from each other. What did we learn this last month, through our own errors, through scraping our own knuckles on the ground, what can we do to make that so that it doesn't happen again? Because anyone in a leadership position, what you're really doing is you're wanting to make their jobs easier, not harder. That's part of what you're being paid to do, is to help your teams move through their days with less constraints, less bottlenecks, more flow, more decision space, and more of this feeling that they really do own this aspect of the business, or they own this client relationship. They own this project. They own this intended outcome.
Michelle Lynne: So true. And it's so hard. Because dealing with people is always harder, like coming up with a design is one thing because nothing talks back. Like, right? I like that sofa, okay, it's not gonna argue or have an opinion. Dealing with people is definitely harder.
Shelli Warren: It's usually the most difficult part of running a business.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. So I think we could probably wrap it up in saying that retention and team culture is everything.
Shelli Warren: It is everything, especially in this day and age where people are becoming incredibly vocal about what they want to do, in terms of their career and what they don't want to do in terms of their career. And then the other thing I would encourage all of you, as design agency owners and studio owners, is to really, when you're hiring people, ask some questions to figure out, does this person want to someday own their own business? And if that answer is yes, then let's think about how we can leverage them while they're with you.
Michelle Lynne: Don't be threatened.
Shelli Warren: So it's not a bad thing, don't be threatened by it. What you want to do is become a mentor to this person, where they will always reflect back positively on their time with you. And most often, like, you know yourself, we all have mentors over the years, and we know them by name. And we often give them shoutouts because we're just so appreciative of what they've done. But so thinking that you're going to hire a team of people, and be worried that they're all going to leave and start their own agency someday, that's not a great way for you to come to work every day. But what we want to do is talk about it openly. Because a lot of times people, they get caught up in the glamour of having their own business, but then the more they come into a really well-run agency like yours, then they start to see, oh, my gosh, I had no idea this is what it's going to take. I don't think I want to have my own agency anymore. What I want to be is a highly valued team member, a creative person here at Michelle's agency, and she's going to give me leeway and a decision space. I'm going to be able to be that creative person. And I'm going to learn so much more about the design industry and how an agency runs by watching her in action and learning from her, versus thinking about starting my own spot.
Michelle Lynne: I'll tell you that you've nailed it. I'm blessed with team members that some of them wouldn't mind having their own. And I'm happy to teach them and others that are like, oh, hell, no, I see what a pain in the ass This is. Yeah, that's a lot of work. And especially as creatives, that's definitely not something that feeds the fulfillment as much. So retention, and then the people closest to the work know the most about the work, I think we need to remember that as well. And then the people side of the business, I think it's the most rewarding, but it's also the most difficult.
Shelli Warren: Exactly, both. Very rewarding, and very challenging.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I love this. Shelli, I could talk to you for ages, because this is just, I mean, it brings me back out of my day-to-day and reminds me of where just personally I can focus a little bit more on that leadership aspect. Because it is, it's easy to get sucked in, easy to get sucked in. And I'm not even doing the designs. So I know that a lot of our listeners are going to relate to that.
Shelli Warren: Yeah, it's easy to stay in the day-to-day. Because it feels busy. And it feels like you've accomplished a lot. And it feels like you're guiding a lot of people, and it feels like you're moving the projects together. But in reality, we need to be taking that time and focusing on designing out where the business is headed.
Michelle Lynne: Mm hmm.
Shelli Warren: You know, what are the most profitable services that you're offering?
Michelle Lynne: And let's do more of them.
Shelli Warren: And let's do more of those.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, no, I love that. So what I want to do now is hop into our rapid fire Q&A session. And then at the end, because I know that a lot of our listeners are going to want to know how to connect with you. So we'll definitely drop that information at the end. And then we'll drop it into the show notes also because I think this has been very, very simple but not easy. You know, I think you've broken it down and just kind of said, here's the basics. This is what you do. And it's not complicated. Love that. And I know that a lot of our listeners can probably sign up for your program and get some help with that. I'm gonna be looking into it as a good reminder too. All right, let's have a little bit of fun. Are you ready?
Shelli Warren: I'm ready.
Michelle Lynne: All right. What's your favorite ice cream?
Shelli Warren: Chocolate.
Michelle Lynne: Where do you find inspiration?
Shelli Warren: I find inspiration through, you're gonna find this odd, but Instagram. And my Instagram feed is full of designers, vacation homes, clothing designers, because I'm always inspired by people who are creative. And I need to have that in my sight every day. So I know a lot of people think oh, her Instagram is probably full of, you know, all business stuff. No, it's actually the exact opposite.
Michelle Lynne: It just feeds the other part of your brain and lets the business part kind of relax.
Shelli Warren: Yeah, now I certainly follow all my clients, for sure. Because I'd love to see people in action. I love to see women in action, for sure. But by far, my Instagram feed is highly creative.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. Love, love, love it. So what is your favorite book?
Shelli Warren: I would have to say, The Signature of All Things, which is a, it's an Elizabeth Gilbert book. So Elizabeth Gilbert, who has an incredible library of books that she's written, most notably Eat, Pray, Love. She wrote a book called The Signature of All Things, which was after Eat, Pray, Love. And after the next one, that was like the sequel to that. And this book is historical. It's from a different era. And it's all about, you know, that woman, very highly intelligent, highly creative, but back in an era where there's a lot of boundaries and a lot of challenges, just being who she wanted to be, but I highly recommend that book. If you're an Elizabeth Gilbert fan, you're gonna love that book.
Michelle Lynne: Fun. That's one of the things I love about these questions, because I'm getting this whole list of books to start reading. Okay, so Shelli, what is your biggest failure and what did you learn from the experience?
Shelli Warren: My biggest failure was back in corporate where I lead very large teams. Like, I'm talking sometimes up to 60 people at once and we were doing multimillion-dollar projects for billion-dollar brands. And with a lot at stake and a lot of supply chain factors at stake. And one of the biggest mistakes I made was not asking for help. So we had come up to a technical problem with our automation and our equipment. And I was, the story I was telling myself was, I'm going to buffer and protect my team, my technical team, so that they can solve the problem themselves. And I'm going to act like a shield, and not let anybody distract them or get in their way. When in reality, what I should have done, was gone outside of my team and grabbed an external resource, or couple, and brought them over to act as mentors, and just additional help to get the problem solved. So what ended up happening was, there was a delay on our startup. So it impacted our supply chain and our delivery milestone dates, because I didn't, instead of being Mama Bear, and just trying to protect my team and give them the headspace to go and do their best problem solving, I should have been more proactive and went and got a couple of outside resources and brought them in. And because money was no object either, I mean, come on. No joke. There was no barrier to me to going and getting those, flying those people in even, to have them come and stay with us for a couple of weeks to solve the problem.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Isn't that crazy, how sometimes we just think that we're doing, yeah. And I think that's very applicable to small business too. Maybe even more so because it feels a little bit more personal. Like, it is our brand. So the buck stops here. No, that's interesting. That's very interesting. Okay, so moving forward if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Shelli Warren: Oh, bar none, language. I think it would be an incredible superpower, to be able to go anywhere in the world and have a conversation with anyone because you knew the language.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's a cool one. Yeah, that's true, just to kind of drill down and have meaningful conversations, deeper than the surface.
Shelli Warren: Or even just get directions or just, you know, get a referral for something, or find your way around. I just think it's, I've watched it, being from Canada, we are such a multicultural nation. I mean, we are very welcoming to anyone that wants to live here, you can come and live here, and we will set you up for success. We will give you housing, we will give you money, we will get you a job, we will give you daycare, we will give you healthcare, all of that is provided for you as someone that's coming new to live here in the country. But what it does is it creates this incredible auditory, like when you're in a big city, there's all these different languages of people talking amongst themselves. And I've often thought, wow, that would be amazing. If I understood what all these different people were saying.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that would be very, very cool. And you could even comment in there as well. So fun. Well, Shelli, thank you so much for being on the show today. I know that the audience definitely loved everything you had to say. And I could have this conversation for another two hours, but I think our listeners would probably like, tune it out. Can you tell our audience how they can connect with you, please?
Shelli Warren: I would love to invite them to come and subscribe to the Stacking Your Team podcast. So a new episode drops every Tuesday. And I know that you're already a podcast fan because you're tuning into Michelle's show. So absolutely, come and subscribe to the Stacking Your Team podcast. And I'm on Instagram @stackingyourteampodcast, that's where I am on Instagram. And on LinkedIn, you can also follow me where I'm ShelliLWarren2, so Shelli with an I, L for LinkedIn, Warren, and then the number two, happy to connect with you there. And if you are looking for some help, if you are that business owner who has a service-based business with a team of five or more, including remote team members, and if you're looking to be able to join a program where you're going to learn how to lead and your team gets trained too, and you get to be surrounded by all these other women who are doing the same thing, I would invite you to consider the Leadership Lab. So a new cohort will start in January. So we have an early enrollment program in December. So it's high touch, high value and high impact. So if you love the Stacking Your Team podcast and what we're talking about today, and you want to take that further in terms of, well, I want the thing, I don't have time to create the thing. Shelli, will you create the thing? Yes, I will. It's already created for you, here it is. Just it's an incredible way to accelerate your effectiveness in leading your team, especially if your team is growing. And it doesn't matter if they're all part-timers, if they're all freelancers, if they're all contractors, or if they're all full-time employees.
Michelle Lynne: Well, that's good clarification. And I think that oftentimes, this audience, they've just grown organically. And leadership isn't something that is taught in school, per se. And it's different than management, but it does go hand in hand. So having your experience and your breadth of knowledge, and the way you break it down into such simplicity, I think would be a benefit to a lot of people. So y'all, bookmark this podcast. So even if you don't have five people, you will eventually, so you can come back. That is awesome. And I'll make sure that all of those details are listed in the show notes as well. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join the growing community on Facebook's private group, it's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And also, don't forget, we've got the paid program, the Interior Design Business Bakery, and each year, we hold a summit in Dallas, Texas, currently. And that is the Interior Design Business Success Summit. It's going to be held in 2022, October 12th, 13th, and 14th. All that information is on my website designedforthecreativemind.com. So thank you so much for being here, Shelli. Thank you for listening. And until next time.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with a name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, The Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition. So let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.