Nate Shaw and Peira Moinester are business partners at Brooklyn Music Factory and they want to know, what do they do if they’re not confident that their people are the right people to get them to $3 million in annual revenue? Clate and Scott tackle this question in our very first hot seat.
Clate and Scott point out that, if you want your people to be the people to get you to a goal, you need to first be the owner that gets your company to its goal. Listen as they coach Nate and Peira on getting clear on how to move to the next stage of their business.
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Want to learn more about Brooklyn Music Factory? Check out the story we wrote when we visited them, The Kids Are Coming Up From Behind.
Mentioned in this episode: “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman
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Scott Martineau: Welcome everybody to this episode of the small business success podcast. I’m Scott Martineau.
Clate Mask: And I’m Clate Mask. And we’ve got a really cool format today for this episode. We’re gonna do a hot seat format which is a way for business owners to ask a question about their business and then to work on that question. We have got a really cool customer with us – I should say customers with us. We’ve got Nate Shaw and we’ve got Peira from the Brooklyn Music Factory. They are last year’s icon winner. And they’ve got a question they want to bring to us that we can workshop together and hopefully you listening can think about the issue and put it in your context in your business. So let’s fire away. Peira – what’s the question?
Peira Moinester: All right. Me and Nate are not confident that the people in our business that got us to this point are gonna get us to the three million point.
Our challenge is that we see value in everyone. Everyone offers something. How do we know when that something is not enough?
Clate Mask: Great question. How do you know when the people who got you here aren’t gonna get you there – that’s the question, right? Let me ask a couple of clarifying questions so the way we like to do this is just understand the question better before we dive in. so what are you seeing that’s causing you to think, hey, not sure if these guys are gonna help us get to $3 million.
Nate Shaw: Yeah, I’d say first of all, it’s just a lack of – it’s not 100% investment. And I don’t mean necessarily in the values or the purpose of what we’re doing. But it’s more like they’re not getting all the way to the finish line on the projects. They’re not giving that extra effort that’s all about our 20/20 mission.
They’re showing up. They may be doing a great job in one role but they may not be getting all the way there in the two or three hats that they’re wearing. And we’re at the size of a business right now where you know some people are teaching but also wearing another hat. We’re still in a multi-hat business if that’s such a thing.
Clate Mask: Oh yeah.
Scott Martineau: Is that ever not a thing?
Peira Moinester: I would also add that there are people in the community who are not part of the community. What I mean by that is we have people who are invested in the certain things that they’re doing, but as far as the big picture, they’re not fitting into the entire whole.
Clate Mask: So when you say community, you mean your employees?
Nate Shaw: Yeah.
Clate Mask: Okay, in other words you’re seeing they’re doing some things well but not all of their responsibilities well. They’re not getting us to the finish line or at least on time.
Nate Shaw: Right.
Clate Mask: And they are maybe more invested in their own pet projects than they are in the company’s objectives?
Peira Moinester: Bingo.
Clate Mask: Okay.
Nate Shaw: Yeah, I love that last one, Clate.
Peira Moinester: Yeah.
Nate Shaw: That captures it well.
Clate Mask: Okay what – so do you have a question, Scott?
Scott Martineau: I do. How well are the two of you at getting things to the finish line.
Nate Shaw: Mm – that one hurts.
____ ____ with that Scott?
Peira Moinester: Why you gotta go there?
Scott Martineau: That was a question – I think and I do want to hear your answer. I’ll just explain why I think Clate’s coach – I don’t know if this is you coach or mine, I don’t know if this is Steve or Brannon. But we’ve used the terminology of trafficking in – we don’t want to traffic in excuses.
Nate Shaw: Nice.
Scott Martineau: Meaning, you know - And so there’s probably at the core of this we’ll talk about integrity and the way we create a culture of integrity. We know, it starts with us and we set the pattern and we set the culture. So yeah, let’s go ahead –
bear your souls.
Nate Shaw: I think – okay, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. I would say Peira is stronger at follow through with what she says she will commit to. I am strong at the open. I can get the team off the line – jump off the block strong and I can set the vision for where it’s gonna go and then I may not be there at the finish line because I might be at the next starting line. Would you agree with that, Peira?
Peira Moinester: Well, it’s really nice of you to say. I should just take it.
But I’m not that smart. I think we both struggle with getting to the finish line and getting derailed. And it hurts to say that.
Scott Martineau: Well maybe one distinction we can create too is I think this concept of – I don’t think it’s required that you are involved in every aspect of a project until it gets to the finish – let me tease apart those words a little bit.
I think what I’m getting at more is how –
effective are you, when you say, “I’m going to get this job done,” it gets done no matter what. And if there’s ever a point in time when it appears the job is not gonna get done, you’re creating a new agreement with people. So that’s probably the more important aspect of the culture that needs to be created. I think it’s fantastic that you would have other people – you would leverage your strengths, others would leverage their strengths. But I think what’s at the essence of this is do we have a culture where we say this is gonna get done and it gets done. Right?
Peira Moinester: I would say sometimes, if I’m being completely honest.
Nate Shaw: and concrete examples of that would be very clear sales and goals and outcomes like for example, we have a summer camp that’s grown by 30% or 40% every year. There’s gonna be 450 students that the camp is gonna serve this summer. That’s a very concrete metric. We know when it begins, we know when it ends.
It’s a service that starts and ends. We have re-enrollment for the fall. It’s very real with our sales team to say these are the daily numbers that you need to get to to ensure that we’re gonna enroll 300 families by September 1. Those feel very doable from my perspective. But the sometimes I think is not all the projects feel real enough or something – tangible enough to me to want to take that same level of start to finish, you know? Or as you put it which I loved, is which we stall – renegotiating – not renegotiating, rewriting the agreement, and saying we’re picking up now, let’s get clear on what the new agreement is.
Scott Martineau: Yeah, I think it’s insane to think that the world as I saw it when we created the plan is always gonna be exactly as we saw it. it’s not. So we gotta create space for there to be new learnings, new insight, that helps us make a different decision.
Now, we’re not gonna use that obviously as a way to allow people to not work hard and do their best. But.
Clate Mask: So let’s keep going on this point of agreement. So now you have people working – so you got people working for you. There’s an agreement, it’s an employment contract although people usually don’t’ sign it. that you’re going to pay them for certain things that they’re going to do. In the spirit of agreement, how clear is it what those people are going to do that you are paying them for.
Peira Moinester: We were just talking about this in our last hot seat –
Scott Martineau: you go from hot seat to hot seat?
Peira Moinester: Do you want me to start crying again?
I’d say that the job description is not entirely clear. The expectations are not entirely clear. And we made a really huge shift this year that -
has taken – we – people had a certain level of expectation last year in terms of their commitment and this year we changed it on everybody and that has confused people. And me and Nate look at each other goin’ “Why doesn’t everybody get it?” and then you know, we go to a hot seat and people are like, “People don’t get it because you didn’t communicate it with them properly and follow up on the expectations and make it an ongoing conversation.”
Clate Mask: Yeah, ‘cause you said to once and you thought they heard you and then you gotta say it about ten times.
Peira Moinester: Yes, we said it last august when they signed their contract for the school year.
Nate Shaw: And I would say a lot of the ideas that we’ve adopted have grown out of the time this year we’ve spent in lead forum and momentum. We’ve adopted a lot of infusionsoft concepts. And I would say actually our – at the ground level, arguably the most important level – our teachers, our faculty, have a very clear big three. And then – and so we know we can – they have a very clear set of expectations.
Clate Mask: Big three are the three –
important objectives that they have got to achieve, essentially the employment contract.
Nate Shaw: That is the employment contract in my mind simmered down to the essentials. So I think one of the discoveries we’re making here slowly but surely, a year into this, is that and someone just said this actually, that it’s a lot harder to create those agreements as you move up because they’re not as concrete and easy to measure in a way. For my faculty members and for our faculty members, it’s very clear. You know, student retention at 95%. Consistent communication every day with your families and then our final one is a little more abstract, but not really – it’s how many performances. How many gigs are their students connecting on with other students? And we have a – you know, our database shows exactly what they have achieved. So that’s very real. But as we move up it’s just getting a little bit. It’s not clear, Clate.
That’s the bottom line is it isn’t.
Clate Mask: Okay, so let’s go back to the original question which is how do we know if we have the people who are gonna get us to $3 million. And we flushed out a couple of other things. Well, you know, you’re seeing that they’re working on pet projects instead of company objectives, or they’re not getting projects over the finish line or they’re not doing it on time. We talked about a few different things, but I think Scott’s point about agreement and getting it clear, what needs to happen for us to be a three million dollar company and then helping people understand – do you want to do that job or not? And sometimes they won’t want to do that job and that’s a really good way to know if you have the people who can get you to where you’re going.
If when you make it really clear, here’s what we need to do to get there and they go, “Whoa, I’m not sure I’m up for that.” And you say, “Well, I’m really clear, this is what we need to do to get here. I want you to get there. Are you up for that?”
Scott Martineau: Yeah, maybe – I’d love to know how you’d characterize the situation. Is it a situation where –
you’re both clear on what Clate is talking about here. You’re clear what’s required, the person is clear that that’s required and they’re not willing to do their work to get there. Or is it kind of like they’re not self-aware that they don’t have it and can you diagnose where the –
Clate Mask: While you’re thinking about that, let me just say what’s normal.
Peira Moinester: You can see the steam coming out of my ears just then.
Clate Mask: It’s normal that neither the leader, nor the employee, is clear what’s needed to get to there. So to three million. It’s normal that the leaders haven’t taken the time to say, “Here’s what we need to do by role, by individual, by leader, whatever it is – in order to get to where we’re going.” So therefore, the leader doesn’t have that clarity and that confidence and that conviction, this is what we need. So it’s not surprising that when the employee also doesn’t understand where we’re going, we live in this place of, I’m getting a paycheck.
I’m working on projects that are really important to me, how come you don’t see how valuable they are because they’re really, really valuable? And everybody is working really hard. And can’t this just be okay? Why do we need to grow anyway? Isn’t it okay that we just stay right where we are and all that kind of thing happens.
Peira Moinester: So are you saying that Nate and I are the people that aren’t gonna get us the three million?
Scott Martineau: Usually.
Peira Moinester: Is that what is happening here? This is all one big mind game.
Clate Mask: Do you remember that all problems are leadership problems?
Scott Martineau: Actually, you know, I think Clate has done a great job of modelling. This is a phrase he says all the time, I am not the CEO this company needs me to be in six months, but you can better believe I will be by the time we get there. And I think that modelling you know – modelling and sort of acknowledgement of okay, this is an area of my leadership that is off and I realize that – you create the culture, right?
Nate Shaw: And to answer your question just to circle back, I think we’re hovering in – we’re absolutely where Clate, you said we were. A lack of clarity – I think we’ve done -
I think we a year ago Peira and I said, “We’re definitely not the leaders necessary to grow from one million to three million, but we’ve put in a lot of time and effort to try to help us get there.” But I think we now need to take that same level of investment that we’ve put into us. And commit it to those who say they do want to get us to three million and we couple that with getting really clear on what we think is needed. Because I think that is what – I feel like that’s one of the key components right now. We literally had someone say to you – I don’t know if I shared this with you, Peira. But someone said, “I don’t understand why we’re spending all this money to send Peira and Nate, you know, to Infusionsoft to train when we don’t have the equipment we need for X for some gig.” And this -
regardless of if we had what we needed or not, the sentiment was what really resonated. Because like, wait a minute, they’re asking for something. It’s not the gear they’re asking for.
Scott Martineau: They’re asking for training.
Nate Shaw: They’re asking for an investment from us, because they may want to help us get there.
Peira Moinester: And I would also add to that that they’re asking for a connection. They feel separate form whatever it is that we’re doing here. They probably don’t even know what’s going on here. So that to me is somebody – whoever that was – reaching out for connection.
Nate Shaw: Yeah.
Clate Mask: I want to be really clear – you are the leaders that will take it to $3 million.
Peira Moinester: Okay, so it doesn’t end with you kicking us out –
Clate Mask: Yeah, that’s right. But it also does require you to invest the time thinking and getting to clarity and getting clear on what needs to happen for us to get there and holding that clear standard for your team and enrolling them to say, “Do you want to do it? Can you do it?” and some will say –
“You know what? I’m realizing I need to just be a trainer.” I’m not saying the trainer isn’t a great thing. I’m saying if they’re doing three things, I need to be just one of the three things I’m trying to do. Or if the company can’t pay me to do just one, I – maybe I need to actually not be here. When you make it clear what’s needed, then you can actually – you can make a decision with people. They can make a decision.
Nate Shaw: Those are the hard – they feel like the hard conversations to me right now. And I don’t know what the outcome is gonna be. I mean, the surprise is almost part of the fear –
Clate Mask: It’s actually why you don’t have the conversation. Half because you don’t have the clarity and half because you’re not sure how it’s gonna turn out.
Peira Moinester: And ____ the solution.
Scott Martineau: But think about how empowering that conversation is. Because what do I know – you know, like if you approach me and you say, “Hey, look, I want to take your mind into the future.”
“And I want to have a conversation with you about what I think is required for you to be here.”
Peira Moinester: I love that language.
Scott Martineau: Great, I don’t remember what it was – but you could probably listen to the podcast.
Clate Mask: If I take your mind into the future, help you see what’s required to be here.
Scott Martineau: And what the message of that sentence to the individual is I actually believe that you can do this but we’re gonna have a conversation to find out if you want to do this.
Peira Moinester: I am gonna listen to this back.
Scott Martineau: I mean, because that’s – you know, we send a lot of messages in the way you approach it and in reality that’s what you were doing. And I can sense in your heart, by the way you phrase the question, it’s like look – I actually want these people to be prepared in the future. And so I do think there’s a point where your mission and your care for the business and the others in the business has to say, you know what? This is not gonna work, but right now you’re coming from that place of power and I think it’s fantastic. But you gotta have that question. And then there’s clarity in their mind and when they create that commitment and that agreement –
this is kind of a bigger level agreement. You have something to go back to and say, look, we’ve had this conversation.
Clate Mask: Ladies and gentlemen – Scott Martineau.
No, Scott’s awesome – I think you said it well and I appreciate the willingness that you have for us to talk through it and challenge you a little bit. But I’m totally confident that if you get clear on what’s needed, and then you have those conversations that are super powerful because they’re either enrolling or they’re helping them to see this isn’t the right thing. Where it really comes into play is in the people you need to kind of – to take a significant role and they want to do it but they start to realize, you know what? I just -
Nate Shaw: Yes.
Clate Mask: - I can’t quite do that. And they’ll take a different role or they might leave. But those are the key ones. Those are critical conversations that will happen. So you can do it. make sure you get clear first on what is needed and then go have those conversations.
Scott Martineau: Have you read Multipliers– the book? You have it –
Peira Moinester: And I just went to the presentation which was awesome. It was very helpful.
Scott Martineau: Great. So I want to just end with one – this is a music story.
Nate Shaw: Oh sweet – love those.
Scott Martineau: For those who haven’t read Multipliers, you should. But Multipliers helps you see that as a leader you literally have the ability to unlock several multiples of performance in your team member and that we tend to be accidental diminishers instead. But I want to just emphasize the point that Multipliers does not equal, in fact, Liz Weisman came and spoke –this is one of the points that she emphasized.
Clate Mask: She’s the author of Multipliers.
Scott Martineau: That a Multiplier does not equal nice, you know? Or kind. It’s not that. It’s about what I see. It just reminded me of a story. My daughter was going in for piano lessons. They would take the iPad and record it because you’d give them very specific instruction on what to do. So I was watching one of these recording sessions. And Megan goes in – Megan’s 14. I think she was probably 11 at the time. And she’s playing her piece.
And you know, Brandon is like, “Hold on, Megan. Let’s stop. Megan – last time we talked I played this piece for you, exactly this part and I asked you to go watch it five times and to play it perfectly three times in a row every single day. Did you do that?” “No.” and she starts to cry. He doesn’t back down. He says, “Megan, do you believe that you can go nail this competition?” And she’s like, “I think so.” And he’s like, “Megan, I know you can. But you are not gonna do it unless you follow the instructions that I’m giving you.” And so she came out with this confidence and ended up doing a fantastic job in the competition. But the thing that just emphasized for me the story emphasized for me is the ability we have to light people on fire.
And it comes from a belief in them, and then we ask them to rise up and do the hard things.
Peira Moinester: And I’m hearing from you also about the expectations. That the expectations were clear.
Scott Martineau: Yeah, the agreements.
The agreements that we create are clear. And I’m using that just because expectations maybe can be one sided. Agreement – you know.
Peira Moinester: Right.
Clate Mask: Expectations understood.
Scott Martineau: All right, well you’re awesome.
Peira Moinester: This was great.
Nate Shaw: Thank you guys.
Scott Martineau: Can’t wait to hear –
Clate Mask: You guys can do it.
Scott Martineau: We can’t wait for the next – you get a hot seat, what? Every day. So we’ll be excited for your next one.
Nate Shaw: We’ve been doing daily hot seats.
Peira Moinester: This is like therapy, right? People pay $200.00 for this stuff.
Scott Martineau: We’re excited for the $3 million to $10 million hot seat next time.
Nate Shaw: Okay, see you in a month.
Scott Martineau: All right, thanks guys.
Peira Moinester: Thank you.
Scott Martineau: If you want to hear more about the Brooklyn Music factory, you can find their story on our Medium channel. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes. And also, if any of you want to be on this podcast in a hot seat, go to small business success dot com slash questions and then click on hot seat. We’ll call this a wrap for this episode of the small business success podcast.