As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about strong women leaders who attained success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen C, Jackie & Karen K.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”- Steve Jobs
Karen Kessler is a motivational speaker, author, and co-founder of ‘Triad Group of Companies,’ which helps accomplished professionals, entrepreneurs, and seekers of all stripes simplify leadership, clarify the skills required, and amplify the call for collective success.
With the combined experience at interviews and dynamically made videos of other two founders, Karen Collacut and Jackie Stickwood, Kessler has created this business specifically designed to give entrepreneurs and business owners the skills and resources to increase their impact and reach during and post quarantine.
Some of the utmost works of ‘Triad Group’ from 2020 are:
- Creation of ‘Triad Group of Companies,’ virtual office experience that increases productivity and engagement – bigbluedoor.triadgrouphq.com
- Their vital answers and discussions for entrepreneurs finding that networking is not working, including training, mentoring, and numerous curriculum development and learning platforms.
- Launch of the Next-Level Leader Centre of Excellence that houses all E-Learning and hybrid programs focused on Transformational Leadership skills.
Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about the three of you and your business?
TRIAD was created as a force for the truth to create limitless development opportunities in a world of work that is undergoing dramatic change.
We exist to guide a leader’s eagerness to impact, enable Change Makers to go faster, and hold space for personal development and clarity. Connecting people with their Inner Mastery, we are passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to simplify their path, clarify their offering, and amplify their impact. Our legacy is empowered, capable, and resilient Change Makers who make change happen now and in the future.
You don’t do business with a company; you do business with people you like and trust. There is power in relationships that extends beyond a generic introduction. Shared values, goals, and stories lead to the types of connections that last forever -it’s like home.
The TRIAD team has woven together over the last ten years. Like magnets, Jackie, Karen K, and Karen C were drawn together on the instinct of a shared belief that good and generous souls can be successful in business. The magic would be combining their unique, hard-earned, extensive knowledge with their mastered skills and experience delivering change. Along the way, collaborating with others to achieve a unifying purpose for goodwill bring joy.
Alone, a person has power; but collectively, we have an impact. Traditionally, we have been taught to be competitive with one another because there was a scarcity of jobs, customers, and success. It’s so clear now that this old strategy was false. The truth is that raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is how we have changed the equation – and experience a lot more fun along the way.
Everyone deserves to know that they are beautiful, strong, courageous, powerful, and competent. We defy that inner voice asking you to prove you have a voice. We can move through the fear, doubt, and anything else set in our way. We rise by lifting others.
How did the three of you get this business idea, and what skills do you think are most important for today’s entrepreneurs?
We started with knowing we wanted to work and play together. The quarantine provided a unique space to bring our perspectives, beliefs, and skills together. The project we started to see how we would work together was abandoned quickly as we found that our mix was magical and needed to be something much more than a project. Our first focus was to take what we knew about curriculum development, training, and eLearning systems to assist anyone who wanted to avoid the struggle of the building that know/like/trust factor online when they excelled at in-person connection. Our Share, Your Brilliance bundle, was born!
Here are the three skills we prioritized for our fellow Entrepreneurs and set out to teach them.
- It is true that networking is not working – at least not like before. The ability to create deep value even when you are not present is key. This is where curriculum development skills come in. There are key patterns of training that create personal experiences and lead to deep and engaging learning.
- Hierarchy of Ideas – the skill of switching perspectives. This is a key skill in life. In business, it is critical. Large corporations hire people to hold the strategic, management, and tactical perspectives. Solopreneurs will be challenged by their bandwidth (how abstract and how specific they can go). For us, each one excels at a different point on the scale, and together we have a very large bandwidth.
- Next-Level Leadership skills. Our own research into leadership has identified five spectrums of leadership that weave together to increase the possibility of impact and reach for leaders. Personal Mastery, Interdependence, Active Growth, Influence, and Grounded Alignment.
What makes your successful marketing strategies different from other business people? How do you make it productive?
We invested early in a marketing company that really got us. They were as excited about our offerings as we were. They created a cohesive brand and started with an awareness strategy. There is consistency to the branding that is working well. The next phase will be a program launch, and we are engaging with another firm that loves the numbers. It is so key to have everyone doing their ‘piece of cake’ – the thing they love to do.
What are your plans for the future? How do you plan to grow this company?
We discovered early on that this is a very large company, and it is key that it does not depend solely on the three of us. We have three strategies to support and create growth.
- Foundations – we have evolved our systems twice and are doing it again now. It is so key that processes are documented and that roles are defined. This way, as we bring on amazing people, they can participate fully in the growth of Triad Group of Companies.
- Program Advisors – we know that having five divisions in a company that is about a year old feels confusing for those on the outside. So, as they join us, they are assigned a program advisor. This personal connection means we can find out what people really need and match them up with the programs that best suit their needs. We want people to feel at home.
- Leverage – We have so much content that used to be delivered in professional programs in person. We have pulled that all apart and now delivering it in smaller pieces that created a deeper learning experience. We can also offer these courses as part of programs. We are also offering done-for-you packages. As we continue to offer programs that can all be leveraged, we expand without needing more resources.
As per you, what things today’s millennials are lacking that drop them to be an entrepreneur? What advice you would like to give them?
I don’t think that millennials are missing anything different than other entrepreneurs who are struggling. There are some key things for success,
- Know what motivates you – there are deep internal programs that dictate what kind of environment we need to be motivated. It is key that each person designs their business to suit themselves.
- Be certain you actually want to be an entrepreneur. Many people are looking for a chance to shine personally or to give back to the world. There are lots of jobs that give this without risking everything.
- Strong network – isolation and pride will not build a business. Find people who are doing what you want to do and build a relationship that gives you personal access – then you don’t have to learn everything the hard way!
Build your own capacity to lead yourself. This will keep your resilience and motivation high through changing times. The Next-Level Leader framework contains key perspectives, beliefs, and skills that every entrepreneur needs for business and life. The community of other Next-level Leaders is vital too.
What were the top three mistakes you made starting your business, and what did you learn from them?
- Mistake #1: Cart before the horse. We each have fallen prey to the idea that business must be fully formed as it is born. So many gurus will tell you things that you need that are actually not necessary until your business has matured a bit.
- Mistake #2: Shame. There was such a need to be seen as successful. Especially when people you care about are concerned about your choices to go into business. It made it hard to ask for help. Shame also pulls you down just when you need to be soaring the most.
- Mistake #3: Marketing. When we were new to the business, we were told that marketing was the way to success. As it turns out, you need some experience with your clients to know who you want in your market. I give the advice to chill out and go chat with people. Do some market research that will lead to clients. Taking your time means that your marketing can be targeted and create an ROI.
Between us, we have had 30 years of hits and misses. We also have amazing advisors that we put into place. We finally understood the importance of interdependence and have built the skill to apply it liberally.
What have been your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
- Big Challenge # 1: Speed of the Ideas. It is so easy to get distracted by every new idea that comes our way. We have learned that we can do just about anything – just not all at the same time! We track them and practice patience.
- Big Challenge #2: Limited Resources. We overcame this with strategy and reporting. We have an Executive Status Report that gets completed every four weeks for each division as well as for any large projects. This keeps us on track and communicating which resources are needed when and triggers hiring.
- Big Challenge #3: Data/Project Management. So much information! We have learned innovative ways to use Trello with a multi-board setup that allows us to share with our clients, keeps us on track, and stores information in a way to find it easily. KC created an index board that is amazing!
If you start your business again, what things would you do differently?
Well, seeing as for each of us, it was like starting over again; there isn’t too much we would do differently. The values conversations, dreaming, and ‘piece of cake’ policy have created a business that we all love to be in.
If we would do anything differently, I think it would be to trust ourselves even faster. Even the things we needed to stop all led to decisions that have advanced our cause.
Do you practice yoga & meditation to keep your mind, body healthy and calm?
Staying grounded and aligned is key. There are a number of things that we embrace. They differ for each of us because our needs vary.
- KC – yoga, walks in the woods, great food, close the door when work is done
- KK – contemplation, laughing, listening to the birds, and watching the foxes, Tai Chi, and video games
- JaiK – Sound healing, snuggling with her partner, time with her horses, meditation
What’s a productivity tip you swear by?
Celebration. We created our virtual workspace because people are not taking the time to celebrate. When I complete this document, I will announce it, and everyone will celebrate with me. This gives a great hit of dopamine and then I look for the next task I can bring to completion.
What helps you stay driven and motivated to keep going in your business?
Knowing our deep program values and staying aligned. We know that values are deep in the unconscious and determine what we spend our resources of time, money, and energy on outside of our awareness. We elicited them early. Staying aligned with them is critical because this is the well of motivation we can keep going back to again and again. Here are our values:
- L O V E: Base ingredient and presupposed in all we do
- J O Y: Emanation from deep within that season’s everything – let’s put that shit on everything
- P L A Y: How we do Love
- 9 X 1: Getting shit done. Think it and have it
- M A G I C: Our creations that generate awe, wonder, and fun
- G R O W T H: How we measure – the evidence of alignment
- S U C C E S S: Inevitable outcome of aligning to our values
- H O M E B A S E: Warm and Welcome place to touch down/take off and feel nurtured/challenged and experience kick-ass kitchen parties
- E N R I C H E S: Value the magnificence of people and add to their own fertile ground to produce an impact
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living? How do you personally overcome fear?
It’s a conversation about courage. We know that the amount of courage required is measured by the gap between who we think we are and who we think we need to be to succeed.
By letting people know that they just need to be who they are to take the first steps, this decreases the amount of courage needed. Also, creating a proof of concept is a great way to collect real data about whether this is the life they want and what it will take to succeed.
We are all for making decisions with real data instead of some scary imaginings. After all, we do create what we consistently imagine!
What is your favorite quote? And your definition of success?
Ooh – so many! “You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.” ― Richard Bach.
And the definition of success is- I am feeling like I am playing at work while I am impacting the world. I like to have my friends play with me too, and together we set goals for the fun of it and blow them out of the water.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself, “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
KK – Yes! I was out of alignment, and everything felt like a slog. I reached out and spoke with a few people about it. As I listened to myself, I heard which of my needs was not getting met. Also, I let myself look for jobs and realized that there wasn’t anything there that would make me happy. So the answer was to make some key adjustments to my business that brought me back into alignment, and immediately that pleasant buzz started to form again.
What helps you stay driven and motivated to keep going in your business?
KC – Challenges, puzzles, and shifting a student or business partner with just a few words. Oh, and hanging out with KK and JaiK.
KK – stays in contact with my students. She will always find a way to teach/speak live and to be there to help people. It’s her superpower, and it will not abide being hidden under any bushel.
JaiK – staying plugged into the strategy and how Triad Group of Companies will continue to impact and reach the world. She is also the fun police and insists there is fun even when things start to feel too real.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.