IAM1614 – Business Advisor Helps Businesses Drive Extraordinary Growth

Podcast Interview with Susan Katz

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Susan is the definition of a Giver and has so much experience and knowledge to help leaders and business owners. It was also great to hear about her journey and how sometimes being out of alignment can push you into alignment (e.g. just like a car). Sometimes the best strategy you can have is being in alignment. She provides great advice for startups and more established businesses including helping people to work “ON” the business rather than “IN” the business.

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Previous Episode:



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Susan Katz 0:00

And that willingness to reach out and get help, so often people think it's a weakness to reach out and get help from all of those people that you mentioned. I think some of the most successful people I've seen are the ones who reach out to the most people and it really can come from so many different directions. So I think success is really built on getting that kind of help and support.

Intro 0:25

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 to I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:52

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today, I have Susan Katz of Susan Katz Advantage. Susan excited to have you on the show.

Susan Katz 1:02

And I am very excited to be on your show Gresh.

Gresham Harkless 1:05

Yes it should definitely be a great time and before we jump into the interview I want to read a little bit more about Susan so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's working on. Susan is known for helping businesses drive extraordinary growth. As a business growth advisor, Susan helps individuals and organizations align, focus on revenue generating opportunities, and create the Strategic changes necessary to achieve unlimited and lasting growth. Prior to starting her business, Susan was in executive management with two major publishing firms where she was responsible for revenue and profit growth throughout most of her career. Susan is the author of Create your dream job, change your mindset, change your future where she shares her secrets and practical tips for creating a fulfilling and meaningful feature. Susan's key to successes is believing that everyone has unique strengths in town notes and that anything is possible as long as you are aligned with your strengths and believe in your self. Susan excited again to have you on the show, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Susan Katz 2:03

I am ready.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 2:05

Awesome. Well let's get it started then. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock, hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Susan Katz 2:14

Well actually it starts way back when I was in the Social Services many years ago and realized that that wasn't a fit for me. I ended up just kind of landing in publishing, starting in sales working my way up the ladder and spent 29 to 30 years in executive management. Then I was part of the early layoffs in 2008 and it was time, I had a great career in publishing and decided it was time to do what I was really passionate about which was helping business owners and individuals to achieve long-lasting success and growth in their lives, through their businesses and in some cases within organizations. So that's the short version of it and have been doing it since 2008 and I feel very blessed every day to to have a business that I love.

Gresham Harkless 3:03

Yes absolutely. I love how you said things kind of started with the social services when you realized that it wasn't the right path for you because I think almost as great as it is to correspond the thing that you love and are passionate about, sometimes the things that you don't and aren't passionate about actually directly lead you towards that opportunity.

Susan Katz 3:24

Yeah it's being able to recognize when you're not passionate about something or you've made a decision that's not quite the right fit because alignment is so important to doing what you do. Well I'm sure that's why you podcast because it's probably in great alignment with what you do.

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Gresham Harkless 3:39

Yes it's actually absolutely something I love dearly and I often say if you've run your own race you can't lose. I think it's so important to kind of keep that in mind when you are doing those things and trying to make sure that you get an alignment.

Susan Katz 3:52

Yeah absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 3:54

Awesome. I wanted to drill down a little bit more on how you're serving your clients. Could you take us through a little bit more on what that looks like and how you are serving the clients you work with?

Susan Katz 4:02

Sure I work with business owners, executives, and teams. With business owners what I do is I help them to get out of their own way, to help them work on the business not in the business. Very often people start businesses and then what they discover along the way is they're doing everything, which is natural at the very beginning and they grow and then all of a sudden they hit a bottleneck because there's only 24 hours in the day. So helping them to be really strategic about their growth, figure out what they need to what their unique talents are in order to grow the business and then how to find other people to how to create jobs so that they can continue to grow the business. That's a big part of what I do, is working with business owners in a variety of capacities and then very often I'll get called into an organization to work with some of the executives around communication or training or growth and working with teams as well. Baltimore Ravens have been one of my long-standing clients. I work a lot, I've done teamwork with them with the business side not the coaches and players and I've also worked generally every year with some of their leaders and managers doing some coaching, just to help them navigate the environment and be more effective at what they do. Then I do have a program called Next Generation leader for the up and coming leaders and vets having spent many years in corporate life going off to a week away for one and done. This is a 15-month program that allows people to learn in small bits and pieces and really develop their leadership. Those next generation leaders that are up and coming, such an important group who very often they're not trained, they're just kind of thrown into management and not given any kind of training so those are kind of the core the main focus of what I do.

Gresham Harkless 6:04

Nice. I appreciate you having each of those aspects and how you're serving the clients that you work with. I almost feel like and I don't know if you feel or have had this experience where leadership is something that people feel like you are born a leader, you don't necessarily aren't able to learn how to be a leader but I feel like that's definitely not the case. I feel like that's part of why you started the Next Generation Leader but I imagine that probably comes out in a lot of the conversations that you're having.

Susan Katz 6:32

Yeah. People just assume that because you did well in the job that you were doing that you will make a great leader and that's not. Not everybody is meant to. You can learn leadership skills, some people are more inclined to learning those skills than other people, and they need training whether or not you're inclined. You still need to be given the opportunity if you're putting in a leadership position to get training and learn the skills necessary to be an effective leader, and that willingness to reach out and get help, so often people think it's a weakness to reach out and get help from all of those people that you mentioned. I think some of the most successful people I've seen are the ones who reach out to the most people and it really can come from so many different directions. So I think success is really built on getting that kind of help and support.

Gresham Harkless 7:24

I will definitely echo that as well. Would you consider that to be what I like to call your secret sauce which is kind of what you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique. Is it that ability to understand that and also I think too like you know as I touched on with your bio be able to understand how important alignment and leaning into your strengths are, do you feel like those are the things that set you and your organizational apart and makes it unique?

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Susan Katz 7:46

Yeah that's actually a really interesting question. I think one of the things, certainly alignment is a big focus because when you are in alignment with the work that you're doing you will do it all day every day and you'll be totally fulfilled. When you're out of alignment much like when your car is out of alignment and it rattles because it's out of alignment that's what happens, you'll find ways to put things off and reinvent them or do them differently. Same thing for employees, alignment is really critical that you have the right people in the right seat doing the right work. I would say the other part of the people who work with me if you if you're willing to be in, if you're coachable, willing to be in action and be held accountable those are the people who work well with me. I would say I am part coach, part consultant so I ask a lot of questions, I listen, I help people come to their own decisions and I will often where it's appropriate I'll offer advice, that's kind of the consulting part of it. The people who are willing to be in action and take whatever we've come up with or take the advice those are the people who resonate in working with me. The people who don't want to take action or aren't very coachable are probably not a good fit. So, breaking it down for people, getting them in action, and holding them accountable are probably the things that really set me apart.

Gresham Harkless 9:22

Nice I absolutely love that. Would you consider that to be your main hack the thing you feel makes you more effective or are there some other things that you feel might be you know apps or other books or habits that you know have really led you to be able to succeed?

Susan Katz 9:36

Oh boy asking me about my main hack. Yeah, I also think it is that and I am willing to be very direct with people when I see something in a very respectful and supportive way. I will call somebody on it, is probably not quite the way I will bring it up and put it in front of them to be able to see what as I see certain habits and behaviors that they're engaging in that are making them less effective. Because very much what I do is helping people with habit change or behavior change. You've got to change your behaviors whether it's delegation or how you communicate or the words that you use to communicate. Those are all very important in terms of moving forward. So it's those small things that I notice, I see a lot of it all the time so I start to see patterns with people and then I point it out to them and shine a mirror and let them decide what they're going to do about it.

Gresham Harkless 10:44

Yeah that's huge in being able to recognize that and definitely help people out that I love that as a hack. What would you consider to be what I like to call a CEO nugget. This is a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice. I usually say it might be something you were to tell your favorite business client or if you were to hop into a time machine you might tell your younger business self.

Susan Katz 11:05

Favorite nugget, well one would be anybody starting out in a business would be to make sure you have enough of a financial runway so that you do not become desperate. Having had experience with that I had some financial runway but not long enough. Everybody who's in business sell their business whether it's a product or a service and you never want to sell desperate, so you know whether you start it while you're doing something else that's paying you or you save to make sure that you have enough of a cushion so that you can build the business comfortably without selling desperate. That would be one big nugget that I see when people ask me advice about starting businesses. Probably the second piece would be for the people who are in business look at where your genius is your highest and best use, focus on that and get other people to do the other work that doesn't need you. You can hire people for a lot less money than your time is worth to get them to do the work for you. Finding the right people and having trust in them is important, really becoming familiar with what are you best at and what do you need other people who are experts for instance. I'm not thankful my husband is the back office of our business, if he weren't the back office of our business I would hire somebody to do bookkeeping and accounting because if not it would take me way many more hours than somebody who has that expertise. So really looking for those areas of what's consuming your time that is not a good use of your time.

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Gresham Harkless 13:01

Awesome. So I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO we're hoping to have different quoteunquote CEOs on the show, so Susan what does being a CEO mean to you?

Susan Katz 13:13

It means somebody who carries the vision for the future of the organization. They're the ones who are the vision people and that's why it becomes so important to hire other people as you evolve in your organization so that you can continue strategy creating, Vision or implementing vision and strategizing around how to implement the vision. So a CEO really and a business owner, it's really about your job is really to create vision strategy direction and coach and guide the people who work for you and it's a hard transition for people sometimes because they're used to gauging their productivity based on doing the work rather than driving towards the future. So I think that's one of the hardest transitions for people but that's my definition of CEO.

Gresham Harkless 14:07

I love that. I love how you said carrying the vision and I think so many times when we you know you carry that Vision you strategize a lot of those things, you spend more time I imagine strategizing and not as much time doing. I think the quote is if I was to cut something and measure seven times and cut once rather than cutting eight times and doing it over again, it really speaks to being able to measure and continue to measure and continue to get it where it needs to be and hold that vision for yourself but also the people that are dependent upon you within the organization.

Susan Katz 14:43

That's how you keep the organization in alignment, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 14:47

It's nice. Well truly appreciate that definition, of course I appreciate your time even more so what I wanted to do now was 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 and find out about all the awesome things that you working on.

Susan Katz 15:02

Ah, well the best way to get hold of me is via susan@susankatzsadvantage.com I'm sure you'll provide in the show notes the information. I'm always happy to do a 30-minute business breakthrough session for anybody who's a business owner, complimentary if they want to learn even if all we do is I help you in the half hour that we speak, just reach out to me and happy to set something up.

Gresham Harkless 15:37

Awesome. To make that even easier we'll have the links and information on the show notes as well too. I absolutely love and appreciate you taking time out today and all the awesome work that you're doing. I think so many times it just helps out at having that light shine on the things that we do whether it be our genius but also sometimes the things that we don't see. I love that you help us lean into our genius but also help us to maybe see what is not our genius and how we can bring people on so at the end of the day we can be successful. So thank you so much for all you do Susan of course your time again today and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Susan Katz 16:09

Well thank you for having me on your podcast. I'm super excited to have the opportunity, so thanks so much Gresham.

Outro 16:14

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, want to level up your business even more read blogs listen to podcasts and watch videos at cbnation.co Also check out our I am CEO Facebook group 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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