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Podcast Interview with Kristi Pastore

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of IAMCEO podcast, Kristi Pastore, the CEO of Culture Works, speaks about how she helps businesses reach their full potential by aligning their purpose, people, and processes.

Culture Works is a San Diego-based company that focuses on creating dynamic operations within a company through its culture. Kristi and her team work with small to mid-sized clients who might not have an HR department or only one person fulfilling this role. They aim to understand these companies' purpose and how they align with their employees, improving their HR and talent management strategies to facilitate growth.

Key insights from the podcast include:

CEO Story: A long-time passion for people and business led Kristi to the field of HR and eventually to start Culture Works. She saw a significant need in the market to develop middle management and to support companies that constantly evolve in their thought process on people and build.

CEO Hack: Kristi uses a family vision board both at home and at work to keep track of her goals and to inspire herself to keep pushing forward.

CEO Nugget: She urges everyone to listen closely to themselves and to those who believe in you and support you.

CEO Defined: To Kristi, being a CEO is about creating a vision and aligning your energy with the direction you're leading.

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Kristi Pastore Teaser 00:00

So we look at all three different levels. We look at their talent, their culture, and their HR in those different facets, and really try to understand where they're at as a life cycle of the company and how we can fit in.

Intro 00:13

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 00:40

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresham from the IAMCEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, or what I like to call CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focused on innovation, disruption, women entrepreneurship, DEI, gig economy, remote economy, even the cannabis industry. Think about these industries and these disruptive technologies that really sometimes aren't as disruptive but there are people that are just paying attention to what the market needs, and they're providing that. So really think about the things that are quote and quote outside of the norm, but really help entrepreneurship to grow and fully develop.

I think it's an extremely exciting time when you're talking about any type of innovation or disruption, because I think that there are so many opportunities and needs that aren't felt that are starting to be filled by different groups, different organizations, or even different industries. So what I want you to do is sit back and enjoy this special episode of the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Kristi Pastore of CultureWorks. Kristi, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Kristi Pastore 02:04

So nice to be here. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:06

No problem. Super excited to have you on. Before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Kristi so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Kristi Pastore is of CultureWorks and she's the CEO of CultureWorks, a San Diego-based company focused on aligning purpose, people in process to maximize success through dynamic company culture operations.

Kristi, are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Kristi Pastore 02:30

I am. Let's do it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:31

Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and go through what I call your CEO story, hear what led you to start your business.

Kristi Pastore 02:40

Awesome. I have been in, I guess the people business for a while now. I fell into HR, worked my way into HR operations. I love people. And then I really found my passion with people and connecting business owners. So, really enjoy working with business owners and trying to find them the right team and helping them build the right team.

It's a true passion of mine. So, I decided, if I could do it and teach 20 people, and those 20 people can teach 50 people, and so on that's my jam and the vision I have. Obviously the need in the market is huge for what we're doing in our space right now to develop middle management and what that looks like. I'm a businesswoman too so I think there's a huge need in the market and the workforces.

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I think it's something most companies need right now with where we're at in society.

Gresham Harkless 03:28

Yeah, it's so funny you said you're in the people business. I almost feel and I don't know if you would definitely agree with me that I feel like all businesses should be in the people business because when we peel back the onion of businesses, we forget that it's made up of people.

Understanding how to communicate, connect with, get the right people on board, those are some of the foundational bricks, at least in my opinion, to what builds a successful business.

Kristi Pastore 03:50

Absolutely. Yeah. The people are the building blocks of our future, right? So you can get that all aligned with companies. You're golden.

Gresham Harkless 03:59

Yeah, absolutely. I know that's what exactly you guys focus on, so I wanted to drill down a little bit more, hear a little bit more on how exactly you do that. Can you tell us how you serve the clients you work with?

Kristi Pastore 04:09

Of course. Yeah we meet the client in the middle where they're at. So we really like to work with small to mid-sized clients that either don't have a HR department or they maybe have one person wearing a HR hat and they need some help there and support. So we really partner with small and mid-sized companies and we align purpose people and process. That's our main thing is understanding their purpose the same way we have our purpose and then understanding how they kind of align with people and then what processes also might be needed in their company.

So we look at all three different levels. We look at their talent, their culture, and their HR in those different facets and really try to understand where they're at as a life cycle, as a company and how we can fit in, right? Because I think HR is always changing. People are always changing and we really working with companies that are evolving in that same thought process with people and build and all of that.

Gresham Harkless 05:05

Yeah, that's absolutely huge. It sounds like somewhat obviously you have the expertise, but also listening to the client and understanding exactly what their purpose is, the people that are there and then making sure that you set them up for success as best as possible.

Kristi Pastore 05:20

Yeah, absolutely. It's so important to me to be aligned with the right companies on our end too, because I believe you get what you attract. So if we're a company that cares about people and purpose and process, and that's our jam internally, we're going to get the same clients. And so it's really aligning that and making sure they wanna talk about that stuff just like we do, because then we know we can make an impact.

Gresham Harkless 05:42

Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes what you are is what you attract, whether it be individually or as an organization. I think that's why it's so important to get those three rungs in place and personally, and then it starts to manifest itself in a lot of the work that you do.

Kristi Pastore 05:55

Yeah for sure.

Gresham Harkless 05:56

Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for you personally or your business, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Kristi Pastore 06:05

You probably won't be surprised by hearing this answer, but I think it's the people, to be honest. The people is what differentiates us. I think for us, we really tried to find the people that are fired up about what we're doing, right? It's not like we're doing fractional HR leadership development and recruiting and layman's terms, right? So if you think about that, it's really finding the people that are fired up about that and that care about that cause and they want to do it.

Our differentiator is really like that hands on piece. So I consider ourselves hands on consultants of service. I really feel like HR needs to be redirected to a service-oriented, type business. They need to think about it like a business. They need to think about employees like their customers and so really having that mindset of a service approach, that's what I look for in the people that we hire because then you know they're willing to roll up their sleeves and get shit done with business owners.

Gresham Harkless 06:58

And at the end of the day it comes down to being able to execute and get shit done, as you said. That mindset that you touched on, where a lot of times when you have your team and you're helping out these businesses and these organizations, it creates that domino effect. Where if you're helping to empower them, they're helping to empower their employees and so on and so forth, increase this kind of cultural transition or movement towards having a better workplace.

Kristi Pastore 07:21

That's it. That's it. That's our jam. That's culture operations. It's we operationalize the culture and it's finding people on my team that enjoy working with Operations and not just a HR and silo, right? Like I like to hire people that come from hospitality, have worked in operations and really want to connect with the people that they're going to help create processes that are connected.

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Gresham Harkless 07:43

That's extremely powerful. And even like I said, I feel because we forget about that people part of business so much that being able to have people from different backgrounds, different levels of expertise, it sounds like to that presents these different perspectives, this different opportunity to engage and create connections and relationships. And again, creates a phenomenal environment.

Kristi Pastore 08:03

Yeah, that's it.

Gresham Harkless 08:04

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So 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?

Kristi Pastore 08:17

Yeah. So something I've been doing for three years, something like tangible that I wanted. I think is an awesome exercise. We do a family vision board every year. We do it on New Year's day. It's pretty rad. I have my family go through purpose exercises, like what are their goals? How can we create self-accountability, but then hold each other as a family unit accountable to that. I'm all about creating like personal connection goals, so we do a family vision board. We pick our bucket list of where we're going that year on vacation. We pick our family values, our accountability with personal goals that actually translates into business. We do that at work as well.

From a CEO perspective, I think I replaced TV with books and podcasts as much as possible. Get a coach, do meditation. Do whatever you need to do to figure out your own emotional intelligence and self-awareness because I believe that's the ticket. So whatever your jam is, find it, but keep evolving. I have a lot of books I'd recommend. I think Four Agreements is one of a personal favorite.

Emotional Intelligence 2. 0 is another favorite. Good to great, of course. It's an old school one, but still a favorite. But yeah, I think in the biggest thing I can tell you is your people will solve your problems when you have issues. Talk to your people. They're the closest to the solution usually, and really leveraging your team, and people outside of you.

Gresham Harkless 09:39

Yeah, absolutely. And I think what they're saying is if you're the quote and quote smartest person in the room, you need to find a different room because I think that's why you lean on your teammates. You lean on the people because they have that expertise. They are closer maybe to being able to solve the problem. I think as leaders, especially if we aren't aware of those things that the teammates can provide and make sure we're having the right people in place that can be to our detriment.

I absolutely love having that done, through the family and understanding exactly like what success even is, because I think so many times we can start out the year or go through life and go through every day and not even sure where we're trying to go. It's hard to reach success or even be, I think, happier or fulfilled if we don't understand what success is, what our goals are going to be. So I love that from the family and organization and all around.

Kristi Pastore 10:23

Yeah it's true because I truly believe that every person has a different idea of success. And I don't think that needs to be monetary. I think that could be anything. And so I think it's like aligning that for the individual then that translates exactly what you said to role alignment with the company and value alignment with the company.

When you have that synergy, you're like golden after that, like I'm on my third fractional HR company because role and value alignment didn't mesh up. So it's the ticket, it's the key.

Gresham Harkless 10:54

Yeah, it definitely creates that win-win, and that's where awesome things and awesomeness starts to happen. I love how you mentioned the emotional intelligence, because I think so many times we say, Oh, so and so has the goal of doing, X, Y, and Z. So I need to have the goal of doing X, Y, and Z, but really drilling down into yourself.

Because I think a lot of times even coaches will say, Hey, the answers you're looking for are sometimes within. So a lot of times you have to do the work within yourself and then you start to put it on the whiteboard or the bulletin board and start to go towards those goals.

Kristi Pastore 11:23

Totally. Yeah. That's it.

Gresham Harkless 11:25

Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. This could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Kristi Pastore 11:38

Do you stop all the noise around you and really just listen to your emotions and your self-awareness of making sure you're aligned with all the people that believe in you and support you and surrounding yourself with people that support you?

So if I did that five years ago. It's hard because everything that's flowed in my journey has been an opportunity for learning and involvement and all of that. So honestly, there's not much I regret, but if I look back at my younger self and what I could have done better, it's surrounding myself with the right people and walking away when it was time, right?

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Gresham Harkless 12:12

Absolutely. And let me ask you this, because I think there's a book by Seth Godin. I can't remember the name of it, but how do you know, or how have you found that is the right time? Like when you're trying to make those decisions, when it's time to pivot, or maybe things have evolved and changed and you're trying to get clarity on, yes, I should do this.

Is this something that you just find internally?

Kristi Pastore 12:31

I think it goes back to the emotions and knowing if there's value alignment that exists. And for me, it's looking at when there are emotions that are not good, understanding the root cause of where those are coming from, and then drilling down to like, all right, do I have value alignment with this person that I'm surrounding myself with?

I'm all about honesty. Is this person, is this one of their top values, right? Or is there a misalignment going on? So that's how I do it. I'm very emotionally driven. It's taken me a long time in life to figure out how to like manage that but with that comes awareness of like really knowing where it comes from. And if you're aligned with the right people, yeah, I think that's it.

Gresham Harkless 13:10

Yeah, it's extremely powerful. And I love again the exercise you had, as you mentioned with the family at the beginning of the year, because I think so many times we don't realize that we evolve as well, too, as much as the people around us evolve.

If we're not always checking in and seeing like where we are emotionally goals-wise, we can easily be running the wrong race, so to speak. It's important to check in on that on a regular basis, and I love that you're able to do that and remind us of how important it is as well.

Kristi Pastore 13:37

Yeah, yeah, it's all about law of attraction and focus for me, like I believe that wholeheartedly.

Gresham Harkless 13:43

Yeah, absolutely. You get what you sometimes put out or attract or look for. So you got to be very aware of what you're putting into your mind and your body and every aspect of yourself.

I wanted 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 quote and quote CEOs on the show. So Kristi, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Kristi Pastore 14:06

One of my favorite coaches told me it was like a chief energy officer, right? And to me, that's a great analogy. I didn't really think of this question before right now, but I love it because to me, it's energy, right?

If you're leading a team, to me, the biggest job of a CEO is like connecting the vision with the people and the team and making sure that happens. So for me, it's creating the vision that's aligned with the energy of the direction that you're making, that you're leading.

Gresham Harkless 14:35

Yeah, and that's so powerful. I think I'm not even sure if this is a science thing or what I've heard. Everything is energy. So understanding that and being aware of that and harnessing that or at least directing it, I think might be a better way to say it is a great way that you can do it within our clients, our team, even our family as we touched on as well.

Kristi Pastore 14:54

Yeah. Yep.

Gresham Harkless 14:56

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Kristi, truly appreciate that perspective. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Kristi Pastore 15:12

Of course. Thank you. So no other tips, I think just do you and talk to your people. They're the ones with the answers. I'd love to talk to anyone about what we do and what my passions are.

You can find me at www.cultureworkshr.com and kristi@cultureworkshr.com. Yeah, I think the more we can really infuse culture and the operations of the company and leadership, our world will be a better place.

Gresham Harkless 15:43

Yeah, absolutely and we will have those links and information in the show notes as well so that everybody can follow up with you. But I love everything that you're doing, of course the things that we talked about today, like we all need to be in the people business.

I think that being able to glean and learn so much from you and be able to bring you into our organization so that we can be successful and understand how to maximize and get the most energy, out of our, I think, our most valuable resources is so important. So I love everything that you're doing, again I appreciate your time and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:14

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. IAMCEO it's not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co.

This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. 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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