IAM1613 – CEO Provides Strategy and Solutions to Businesses

Podcast Interview with Amanda Russo

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Amanda and her team have so much knowledge and experience but I think what was so impactful was hearing about how she approaches helping to support clients. The strategy and space she helps to create for clients allow businesses and leaders to make a bigger impact. I love that their phrase is “It doesn't have to be this way.”

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Amanda Russo Teaser 0:00

There is no other way to solve business problems unless you understand the current state and I mean really fully in detail at a very almost elementary level understand the current state. What my team and I do is we capture the current state and put it up on a process map, it is very very granular and that is deliberately done.

Intro 0:22

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs startups and CEOs without listening to a long long long interview if so you've come to the right place Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of this is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:49

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest, I have Amanda Russo of Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting LLC. Amanda, super excited to have you on the show.

Amanda Russo  1:00

Thanks so much for having me Gresh.

Gresham Harkless 1:02

Yes excited to have you on and talk about all the awesome things that you're doing and of course before we do that I want to read a little bit more about Amanda so you can hear about some of those awesome things. As CEO and founder of Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting LLC, Amanda empowers companies to dream bigger by fixing what isn't working so that they can make room for larger and better things. It is gratifying to her to be the go-to professional they come to for advice. Her company focuses on end-to-end business operations, they concentrate on the people, the processes, technology and the customer experience. She provides business advice strategy solutions and solutions to scale your business. Amanda, again excited to have you on the show, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Amanda Russo 1:44

I so am. Thanks so much, appreciate it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 1:47

Absolutely. I appreciate you. So, let's definitely make that happen, so to kind of kick everything off I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Amanda Russo  1:56

You know I think early on in starting this business I knew just from my career trajectory that I could have a greater impact on a lot more businesses than I could working in-house for someone. In-house are a little bit more limited in what you can do and there's budget and so on and so forth. When I started this business, I knew that one we could be agnostic as far as the industry goes and we could have such a greater impact on more businesses and so I believe we just pride ourselves on doing exactly that. It's just kind of preaching the message of I know that this is how you do things today but it doesn't have to be this way and I feel like that's kind of our motto is, like it doesn't have to be this way. Yeah

Gresham Harkless 2:45

Nice I absolutely love that phrase. I love the word impact that you said because I think it really speaks, sometimes we forget as organizations, businesses CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, whatever the title might be it's all about what we're doing to make that impact. I really love that and really I feel like that might even be like a phrase from the pandemic of it doesn't have to be this way because I think so many times we've had the shift, we've had to adjust, we've even talked a little bit offline on how that needs to change for so many people in so many different ways.

Amanda Russo 3:19

Yeah, and I would say this, as a result of the pandemic I think businesses were making really drastic decisions that they may not have had to make if they had engaged someone like myself and my team early on. I think up until the pandemic companies, in general and we work with larger companies but this applies to any company, companies in general were kind of operating in that state of mind, if it's not broke don't fix it and they weren't investing in their business as far as technology and process improvement and really investing and understanding the customer experience until I think personally it was too late. I think that's why my team and I have seen such a drastic increase in my business as the pandemic started to unfold because people really realized holy smokes like we need to do something about this now, and arguably I would say, not that I would say any time is too late because it's better late than never, but it's always a good idea once you have some kind of indication that something in your business is frankly not working, is kind of backing you into a corner that's when you should really start the conversation with someone like myself at the business operations expert and get to the root cause of it and fix .Because you don't have to cut head count and frankly you might not even have to increase head count and you don't have to do a lot of the other drastic measures that I saw businesses doing like in the news and even private businesses as a result of the pandemic.

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Gresham Harkless 5:01

Yeah that makes so much sense and I love that you said you know getting to the root. I think so many times you'll hear people that'll treat the symptoms so to speak and they're not thinking progressively, they're not ahead of the curve and not thinking of how can I run a better business, how can I make more impact that word that we said rather than saying now this is broke, now we need to do it. I feel like that the pandemic time actually forced a lot of people to make those changes even though they knew that they should, but they maybe kind of kicked the bucket so to speak.

Amanda Russo 5:31

Yeah, and what I find a lot is even today which is very funny, I find a lot of businesses believe that their business is so complicated and so complex and they have this sort of niche market and whatever they're doing is just the way it's got to be done because they're so unusual. I would say this to them, if we can get robots to help us do perform brain surgery we can find something and it's not going to be potentially not one thing it's going to be  more than one thing. We'll stack it obviously and it'll communicate to one another but we can find solutions that are going to work for you or your business, for the team and obviously deliver an exceptional customer and or patient experience. So I would say for business leaders that believe that their business is so unusual that this is the way it's got to be, it doesn't have to be this way and I can assure you that my team and I are experts in helping you along with that journey. And frankly whatever you invest in the company and invest in working with us and invest in the solution will pay for itself in a much shorter amount of time than you probably realize. Typically our clients will come back to us and say like whatever we paid you was silly, we've saved millions of dollars and we don't cost millions of dollars but we've saved companies: small, medium, large. We typically spend 100 million dollars in up that space, Millions, tens of millions of dollars and so if you when you compare what you paid someone like us to fix the thing against the ROI, it's silly it becomes silly.

Gresham Harkless 7:19


Amanda Russo 7:20

I think that's why they keep us around, right?

Gresham Harkless 7:22


Amanda Russo  7:23

Well a lot cheaper than the mistake.

Gresham Harkless 7:24

Exactly and that's why I was going to use the word investment because you're making that investment so that you don't have to pay more much more costly mistake or something that was ignored or you know wasn't attended to as much as it should have been. I know you touched a little bit upon how you work with your clients so I wanted to see if there's anything additional that you want to mention and what you feel is kind of what I like to call either your personal or the organization's secret sauce, which you feel kind of sets it apart it makes it unique.

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Amanda Russo 7:51

Yes. I actually would would say this and it's become our secret sauce which I don't know why it's a secret but frankly, the only way to solve business problems and there is no other way if you're asking me and I am an expert and you can send me hate mail all you want, there is no other way to solve business problems unless you understand the current state and I mean really fully in detail at a very almost elementary level understand the current state. What my team and I do is we capture the current state, we put it up on a process map, it is very very granular and that is deliberately done. Understanding the current state tells a much larger story. We're capturing current state from a process perspective, the technology perspective we're going to say a naughty word which is shadow I.T perspective which is a whole another topic. We capture shadow I.T, which is just a fancy way of saying third-party applications, and then we have a larger conversation about how do you want to proceed, fix it and what are your choices so there's more than one way to skin a cat for lack of a better way to say it. We offer those choices but it's very calculated and planned and it's very well thought out, it's not just this is wrong let's pick this, it's very very thought out. Change management starts from the Inception of the project so I do I think that's why we are so successful. Process map and just our strategy and how we go about getting to the root cause, solving for change creating an environment for adoption and so on and so forth. Sorry that was a little bit windy .

Gresham Harkless 9:38

That was excellent. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be like an app a book or a habit that you have but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient .

Amanda Russo 9:50

One I get up very very early and I hit the gym and when I say very early I mean 4 am. I'm up at 4am almost every day, I hit the gym, do my workout, it's not an epic workout. I I take my time on some of it because it is early. I hit the gym pretty early. Another hack that I don't know that I could ever function without it is my calendar so for a Microsoft shop, I would tell anyone else who is a Microsoft shop set up your bookings app, get your calendar connected to it. I personally live and die by my calendar and without it I feel like I'd be pretty lost and so those would be two hacks that I would say. Staying organized is the third thing. So staying organized, my bookings app so when I say yes grab an appointment on my calendar do that, because I really do I live and die by it and and getting up early so the consistency in that are some of the hacks that I used yet.

Gresham Harkless 10:59

Yeah I love those hacks and and just how impactful that is by making sure that you are paying attention to those quote and quote small things that become huge things if they're not tended to and taken care of very well. I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. This is a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice, I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client or if you hopped into a time machine you might tell the younger business self.

Amanda Russo  11:23

You know some of my favorite I don't have any favorite children but if I did, this is what I would and have said to them is you know our part of our motto is and you said it earlier in the beginning of the show is we help clients dream bigger and we just get them there. It's your dream, we might just help you get there. I give you the steps so most of the time we roll it out for you and so dreaming bigger is exciting for you because now you know it's possible. But I tell and I have told full clients in the past, be careful who you share your dreams with and I say that because depending on who you're sharing that dream with or that aspiration, you want to get into a global market or you want to break into a market on another continent or whatever it is, depending on who you're talking to their response can be a result of their experiences in business and in life and so on and so forth. That's what I would say is just be careful who you share your dreams with because their response could have nothing to do with you and for some they may take that as like that's the way it's going to be for them but remember they also don't have me which is another thing that I said to a client that I'm thinking of is that they don't have a me to show them how to get there in the right way right and. Just be careful is what I say, take everything that you share with whoever with a grain of salt and if you ever have questions, is it possible likely it is and work with a professional that has actually done it before.

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Gresham Harkless 13:08

I absolutely love that. I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question which is the definition what it means to be a CEO. We're going to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show, so Amanda what does being a CEO mean to you?

Amanda Russo 13:20

I would say it's not as easy as one might think or as glamorous as one might think. I think my role as a CEO is to light the fire that's in the folks that work for me. I don't know that I'm in this role to create mini me’s and so I've hired and entrusted the folks that I've hired to do whatever it is that they are here to do. I think it's my role as their leader to one listen of course, but to two light the fire that's in them and pull out their skills and help them grow as a person and as a professional. That's what I think it means to me is guiding others to go on their own journey because it's going to be different than mine.

Gresham Harkless 14:15

Absolutely. Like we talked about all the things that you sometimes have to worry about operationally, there's just so many things that you have to juggle whether it's emotional, leadership, financially there's just so much involved. I truly appreciate you for sharing the true journey of the CEO and I appreciate your time even more so what I want to do now is pass you the mic so to speak just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best people can get a hold of you, find out about all the awesome things you're in your team are working on.

Amanda Russo 14:47

Yeah I would say for all the listeners you know my advice to you is do your homework. Don't be so quick to pick solutions or make quick decisions to whether to hire or fire, to invest this money. I would encourage you to really listen to an expert really and make sure that you do your homework on them as well. If you are looking for more information we have a pretty robust blog as well as we have a live show as well every Tuesday Eastern Standard Time on YouTube, and our CPC TV. There's a couple of other places you can head to our website www.cpcchangeagent.com check out our blog it's pretty robust, we also offer E-books so there's lots of tools and resources there to help business leaders of any science. If you're ever interested in having a conversation you can contact us there, hop on a call with myself or one of my team members and we're happy to chat with you.

Gresham Harkless 15:57

Awesome. Well Amanda to make that even easier we'll have the links and information in the show notes too so that everybody can follow up with you but I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Amanda Russo 16:05

Thank you too. Thanks so much. Speak soon. thanks.

Outro 16:08

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by CB nation and blue 16 media, tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I am CEO is not just a phrase It's a community don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at blue16media.com This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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