Link To Guest Websites: Cassia Partners
Title: “Building Good Teams & Utilizing Trusted Advisors”
Guest: Keziah Robinson – Cassia Partners
Interviewers: Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs, Evan Macedo – Sapers & Wallack, Peter Myerson – Author & Retired Attorney
Click here to read the transcript
Welcome back radio entrepreneurs, listeners and fans. I’m producer Nathan Gobes, filling in for Jeffrey Davis this morning. I’m very excited because I have a double co-host team with me. I have the one and only Peter Myerson, retired attorney and author. Welcome Peter.
I’m so happy to be here. Nathan’s going to be here.
Thank you. And of course we have Evan Macedo, vice president of finance and operations at Cypress and Wallach. Welcome Evan.
Thank you, Nathan. It’s a pleasure to be here as well, and I’m very excited for today’s show.
Yeah. And since Evan is here, that means this is a FEI segment, financial executives, international, glad to have them as a partner of our show. And I want to introduce our next guest Keziah Robinson of Cassia Partners. Welcome Keziah.
Thanks so much for having me. I feel so special having all you gentlemen at my disposal.
Yup. As you can see by our triple duplicate backgrounds here, the mics are on and a happy to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling our audience a little about a little bit about Cassia Partners, what it is you do?
Keziah (1m 9s):
So what I do at casita, I’m a kind of a business strategist as well as a leadership and business coach. And I work primarily with CEOs, founders, top of the stack business owners of small businesses, however, on navigating hypergrowth or sometimes hypergrowth that may have stalled out. So I really helped them get their mojo back, both as a leader and as a business.
Nathan (1m 39s):
Evan (1m 41s):
It sounds like it’s some very important work that you do, you know, companies going through hyper-growth, I’m sure there’s a lot of stress that they go in through challenges. And speaking about challenges, what would you say are some of the top challenges that your clients are facing in today’s economy?
Keziah (1m 58s):
Well, the one thing that’s great about small businesses is you are not the economy. We that’s a conversation I have with all of my clients, for the most part, their market share in anything is less than 5%, even in a regional concentration. So as always, I say like, let somebody else have a bad year. This is your year to shine. So we don’t focus too much on the economy other than knowing that it’s an overall presence. Right. What I think is the biggest challenge. And this is probably the biggest challenge. Anyone faces is themselves. Most people are their own greatest enemy. We also our greatest asset. So a lot of the work that I do, especially in the back half of the programs I work with people on is around getting out of your own way.
Keziah (2m 42s):
So that’s, I would say if you were to look at number one thing, it’s comes on that coaching side and less on the strategy and consulting,
Peter (2m 50s):
Do you find it hard to get people to move out of their own way? And how do you do
Keziah (2m 58s):
That? Yeah, well, absolutely. And, and I would say the kind of person who signs up to work with me to work with any kind of coach already has a desire to be different. They want things to be different. That is the biggest thing. Often people say, well, what do you do if somebody doesn’t want to be different and say, well, I’d say, do you want to be different? Or do you not want to be different? Because if you don’t under the wrong person for you, but assuming somebody actually has the intent to be different, the first thing we do is we do a lot of visioning and dreaming. You’ve got to have something to pull you forward in order for you to begin to let go. And especially delegation is a key thing. So if we work a lot on bringing the vision of what are you as a leader, in order for you to be able to understand why it’s important to delegate, and then there’s a bunch of processes, things about how you actually build the skill, the baby steps to delegation, but the biggest focus is on what are you growing into, even if you’re selling your business, what is the next step?
Keziah (3m 57s):
What’s the vision for the other side? Because if you don’t have that, you’ll sabotage the process and you’ll sabotage the growth as a leader.
Nathan (4m 4s):
Delegation is a good segue into my question. I was going to ask next, which is, you know, obviously it’s the leader’s important, but also the team around them is very important too. So what do you find is, is, you know, important about for looking for good team members?
Keziah (4m 21s):
So I believe in helping people play to their strengths. So especially with smaller businesses, you’re not, you know, Goldman Sachs, right? You’re not going out and just recruiting hordes and hordes and hordes of employees. You’re also, usually not, unless you’re running a franchise, you’re usually not. McDonald’s recruiting a bunch of, you know, robots, essentially people who are performing the same function. So a lot of what I do with people is let’s take, look at what you’ve got on hand. What are your assets in place? Who do you already have and how do you play to their strengths? How do you actually build their ability as a team to self-regulate to swap tests, right? And to take you out of the day-to-day micromanagement, then we look at well, when you flexed up the team and it’s got more adaptability, then what, what do you need to fill?
Keziah (5m 6s):
And a lot of times what you need to fill is not actually a skills gap. You can go and hire somebody outside to do a skills function, which are usually looking to fill is some sort of inner role. You need some more energy on the team. Maybe you need somebody who’s more of a devil’s advocate. You’re losing sight of the skeptic, you know, the, the downside protection. And so there’s a lot of ability to go in and say, what do we really need on this team? And again, can we maybe outsource the technical piece for a little longer when you’re smaller and rebalance internally, like to have a devil’s advocate hat, right? And you said, we don’t need to hire skeptic. We just need to have a skeptic in every meeting. Those are the types of things that I do to help people get the most out of their team before they start adding new team members in.
Peter (5m 52s):
Is there any market segment that you tend to or business that you tend to work more with? And if so, why?
Keziah (6m 4s):
Well, I used to say B2B services and then I started getting like B to C consumer products. So I don’t have a specific industry. What I would say is I do specialize in co-founders and partnerships. So partnerships will tend to lead lead you towards law firms and professional. Anything that is set up in a structure where there’s partners professional services, but with co-founders that’s often that can be franchise purchasers. Lot of times you get married couple then really interesting, lots of dynamics or startups. Most startups are now being asked, at least if not required to have come in with a co-founder. So I that’s what I would say the specialty area, it crops up across a lot of different industries.
Evan (6m 49s):
Casey, I wanted to ask earlier, you were talking about, you know, outsourcing some of the services, having a skeptic in every room. And before this call, we were talking about, you know, making sure you have the right trusted advisors in your network, how are you making sure that you’re bringing in the right sort of out source, trusted advisors into your client’s practices and making sure your clients are utilizing them properly?
Keziah (7m 13s):
Well, I think, I mean, and one of the great things ever night, you know, work together and, and he’s in my kind of circle of trusted advisors is that one of the things we really focus on and I focus on personally, is getting to know people and to really build out like, are you a kindred spirit? Do you have the same attitude towards clients? Do you have the same attitude towards growth? Do you have the same attitudes towards employees? Right. And showing respect for the employees, even if they maybe are earlier in their career, don’t have the same technical capacity. Do you have the same kind of attitude towards business and towards engaging with people in business that I do, then we look at the technical skill and sometimes look, you need to know somebody who does tax law and you may not necessarily find a kindred spirit right away.
Keziah (8m 2s):
Then I’m really looking for just someone who I, based on referrals from other people, centers of influence. I know has the great, has a great technical skills, but for the most part, I’m trying to get technical skills. Plus the kindred spirit element, then bringing in and making sure my job is to make sure that the business, the CEO is ready to engage. They have their ducks sufficiently in a row that you’re not going to walk into something that’s a complete mess or something where the state, this scope of work is expanding or you’re expected to do work that’s below your pay grid. So that’s really a lot of it on my side is to bring the team up and then look at bringing them all together in the room and having that kind of just like you would with a team, how we want to work together.
Keziah (8m 45s):
What do we do if things aren’t going well and really lead and, and kind of put the owner in a place to lead the team, not me.
Nathan (8m 55s):
Interesting. We’ve touched on a bunch of different topics today, but I’m wondering, you know, if there are business owners that are feel like they’re struggling to attain the growth that they’re looking for, maybe do you have any top tips either from, you know, stuff that we’ve already mentioned or something we haven’t hit on yet?
Keziah (9m 13s):
Well, the sort of one thing I always tell people is anytime you’re stressed out, get a good night’s sleep. It looks different in the morning. It really does. We’ve all had that experience. But when I work with people, the vision is important. You know, if you, do you care more about your product or your market, right? Do you care more about your employees and the way you structure their business or how big your company gets that clarity of what you really want will allow you to basically map a route and to map multiple routes out. And I find that a lot of Tim’s when I get in with people, I’m like, well, what do you want? And they’re like a $5 million business. And I’m like, okay, what, what does that mean?
Keziah (9m 53s):
Right. $5 million revenue, profit. You want to make money? If I million dollars, do you want to lose money? What do you want? And so there’s a lot of this anchoring around like a number, or I want to be number one in apps. And it’s like, what does it mean to be number one? Is that even the category, you’re trying to be number one in. So a lot of what we do is work on the vision. That’s going to be the biggest thing. If you’re stalled out on growth, it’s not the market’s fault. It’s not sometimes it’s your team’s fault, but it’s really your, your problem. If you’re stalled out on growth. And so it’s like, let’s move you forward as a leader, then you may be rebalancing the team. You might need to leave, have some new people coming out, building out partnerships, whatever it is, it’s natural to your business, but it really I’ve never hit somebody where they could not get growing.
Nathan (10m 42s):
Excellent. Well, I mean, it sounds like people should be reaching out to you if they need some help. And which is a great segue into how we usually end these segments, which is if people are interested in getting in touch with you, finding more about Casio partners, how can they get in touch with you?
Keziah (11m 1s):
I’m on LinkedIn. I know that that I’ll my contact info should be linked, linked here. And I’m pretty much the only KZ at Robinson that I’ve seen around. So it’s K E Z as in zebra, I H M or you can check out my website and contact me through that. That’s www.cassius-partners.com and that’s C a S S I a-partners.com.
Nathan (11m 24s):
Great. And Evan, if people want to find out more about Cyprus and Wallach or get in touch with you or FEI, how can they do so
Evan (11m 34s):
Great question, Nathan. So if you want to reach out to us at St person wallet, you can go to Cypress hype and wallet.com. We just spent a lot of time building out a brand new website, a brand new resource, a resource learning center. So we asked people to go check it out, let us know your thoughts. If you are looking to be a joined financial executives, international or FBI, you can go to FBI, boston.org. That’ll take you to the site. You can see the different events coming up and we have about 400 plus professional members in growing and look forward to having some more people in the mix. So thank you, Nathan.
Nathan (12m 11s):
You’re welcome. I’ve seen the website. It does look great. And I, I can concur that a FEI is a, is a wonderful group, FEI, Boston, the biggest in the country, if I’m not mistaken, correct. And Peter, if people want to get in touch with you, find out more about you or the book you’re working on, how can they do so?
Peter (12m 32s):
Oh, they can look at either, send me an email with PP. Meyerson that aol.com or they can just go to Amazon and, you know, type in my name and my book, the existing work will come up. The next port will come up yet, but it will also. So the thank you. I wish I had a nice website, like, like Evans, but it’s
Nathan (13m 2s):
Well, great. I want to thank everyone for joining today. Kasia you especially, but of course, Evan and Peter as well. I want to thank you all for joining us on radio entrepreneurs.
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