Heather Marquez joins us to talk about why keeping true to your core values during change is necessary and important for keeping your company on track. Not only is she passionate about making sure teams are on track but also doing change better. Change can be hard and we know that.
Where you can find Heather:
- Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/heathermarquez/
- Her Website: https://actioncoach.com/
Full Transcription below (may contain typos...):
[00:00:00] Heather: [00:00:00] we took the team who was in a lot of conflict and strife. We identified some of the core values that the company had. the values that the team felt were very broken. And we did a 10 week study on those values where we. Talked about those values. And every week, everybody committed to taking particular actions in favor of living out those values more fully.
and that was about three years ago. And to this day they still, every week post one of the values posters in their office and they rotate it every week and that's continues to be a piece of their language [00:01:00]
Keerstyn: [00:01:00] welcome Heather Marquez. do you want to give us a brief bio or intro of how you got into work?
and then what you do now?
Heather: [00:01:09] Sure. so I started my illustrious career as a 16 year old kid in retail, a cashier with a large retailer and, worked in retail for about 25 years, doing a variety of things, including. Leading teams running a $20 million business unit in the last 10 years, I was also in addition to running my store, I'm involved in all of the executive onboarding, all the continuing education for our executives and found that I really had a passion for that.
And so when I decided to make the break from retail, I broke off into creating my own company around leadership development. And then I layered in the business coaching side of things because leadership development is a passion, but it wasn't really utilizing all of my skills [00:02:00] around operations, things like that.
So now I. Work with leaders, business owners and their teams, and help them really maximize the potential of their teams while protecting the vision of their organization and making better decisions to move in the direction of that vision. Yeah,
Keerstyn: [00:02:19] absolutely. Absolutely. So when your clients come to you, what are some of those things that they are struggling with in terms of whether it's the operation side or the leadership side?
What does that look like?
Heather: [00:02:32] it really comes down to three categories, time team or money, pretty much everything can fall into one of those categories. And that's really where we spend a lot of our time on depending on where they're at with things in their business. Okay.
Keerstyn: [00:02:48] Cool. And then what are some of those things that you bring them to?
Those almost like heaven spots, where they are thriving and not struggling anymore. What are some of those and how do you get them
Heather: [00:02:58] there? [00:03:00] Yeah. one of the things that I love about what I get to do every day is I have a variety of certifications. And resources and tools that I use, to really customize solutions for the business owners I work with.
And although we really start by creating a strong foundation with getting really clear on their vision, where is it that they're going, what do they want out of their company? The ultimate goal is to work towards a commercial profitable enterprise that. Works without them. and so a lot of that is really just digging in and helping them get clear on, for example, we'll take the time aspect, where are they spending their time?
How are they utilizing it? And what are the things that are really requiring their skill versus others. And that tends to lead us quite a bit into the team side of it, because what I often find is there are business owners out there that love what they do, And they love the hands-on part, but the higher [00:04:00] level leading the organization, dealing with the operations isn't necessarily what they went to school for or what they were passionate about.
And so that's out of their comfort zone, first of all. So they tend to go back into the things they're comfortable with, but two, they haven't learned to delegate well enough and in an appropriate manner so that it empowers their team to take things off their plate so that they can really spend time working.
On the business versus in the business. And, at the end of the day, it's really about helping that business owner get back to the reason that they started their business to begin with and then have time for the hobbies that they've probably forgotten they even had. and in time for their family, I don't necessarily think that there's such a thing as the perfect balance.
Between work and life. I think we all have instances where something is required of us. In a manner that we have to spend more time on one versus the other, but it's a matter of having whole life balance. And [00:05:00] when I work with business owners, we really focus on getting them to a place where they can feel good about taking the weekend off and spending it with their family or being done in 40 hours a week.
Versus the belief that a lot of business owners hold of. If I'm not working 60 or 70 hours, then I must not be a good business owner. That's not what it's about. It's about. Tapping into your team and building a team that can help you so that you don't have to be working that. Yeah,
Keerstyn: [00:05:28] absolutely. Absolutely.
so one thing that I want to jump into is can you talk a little bit more about those certifications and those different tools that you bring to the table in terms of helping these people build up solutions, to be able to have that 40 hour work week and of that 60 hour work week or. being able to spend time with their families.
What does that look
Heather: [00:05:47] like for you? Yeah. part of it starts with an assessment of where they're at, and assessing their team. So I use a lot of assessments around discs, Mo disc motivators, [00:06:00] values, emotional intelligence, those kinds of things. And then we have a really cool tool called the performance gap indicator, where we can measure where an organization is on five.
Nonfinancial key performance indicators. And once we get a level base of where we things out, we can start to hammer out the vision. And part of that is addressing what pops up with the assessments. So if the vision is to have this high performing team, that's getting along and there's reduced conflict, then we go back to the assessments and we start educating the team on things like.
Communication and personality styles. What does that mean to work well together? And how do you communicate in a way that you're heard? it might be having a team that is transitioning from managers to leaders, and there's a lot of different leadership tools that I would use in that case. and one of the things that I do, that's really the most.
Fun I think is we start off doing a planning and strategy [00:07:00] session where we do just a big brain dump. And so I'm a certified mind map instructor and, that's a tool where you can use it for creativity planning, just doing a brain dump, thinking through things. When I'm giving a speech, I plan all of my speeches and workshops using a mind map.
And, that allows us to see everything in the owner's head and then to prioritize all of that and then start to break it down into 90 day sprints or increments so that we can start to tackle those things. So a lot of different tools. But disk mind mapping. my John Maxwell team leadership certification, those are some of the things that I bucket under the solutions part of helping a business owner move from their current state to where they.
Desire to be.
Keerstyn: [00:07:48] Yeah, absolutely. That's awesome. That's awesome. You want to tell a story about how a company has gotten to that place of success and how that business owner has benefited from, [00:08:00] these tools and actionable items that you provide them?
Heather: [00:08:05] yeah. Gosh, there's so many different. Pieces for so many different businesses.
so just a couple of examples. I was brought into an organization that had been around for, almost 40 years at that point. And the owner was looking at selling. The company, but he knew that they had some pieces that they really needed to do differently in order to maximize the value of the company.
And part of it was implementing software that they had been paying for six years, but had never gotten to really implement. And take hold. And it was software that right now in their industry is really crucial for the value of the business. And so what we were able to do was create a strategy and an action plan with semantic accountability pieces in it.
And we actually implemented that software in five months. Versus the six years they had been trying and [00:09:00] now it's up and running. It works well. Everybody's embracing it. They're constantly tweaking it and finding ways to make it even better, but they don't even remember what it was like to not have the software now.
And so it was a really cool transition point because this had been a pain point for them. For a really long time. And it was also causing the leader to lose some credibility with the team because they kept saying this is important. Let's do it. And the initiative would break down and fall apart before it really got up and running and they, multiple times.
And so by the end of implementing it got back that credibility for the leader. And then it also added in the valuation of the business. another instance around leadership development. Is, we took a team that had multiple locations, geographical locations. They were a pretty young organization under 10 years, but they had grown exponentially fast.
the concept was really a [00:10:00] really cool concept and it just exploded. And so they just started bringing in people and promoting people. And what the leader eventually identified was that she had a lot of managers, but no leaders. So we took them through a 10 week curriculum on developing their leadership skills.
And by the end of it, the owner of the company said that for the first time, In the history of her organization, her managers were leaders. They were making decisions that were best for the organization. Best for their teams. They respected each other more. They respect their teams, respected them more, and it actually made her life a lot easier because they were so much more empowered to.
Stand up and be the leaders that she knew they were capable of. She just didn't necessarily know how to get them from point a to point B. so it's a lot of things like that. another organization, we actually worked on the values of the organization where we did. [00:11:00] Values-based leadership round tables.
And we took the team who was in a lot of conflict and strife. We identified some of the core values that the company had. the values that the team felt were very broken. And we did a 10 week study on those values where we. Talked about those values. And every week, everybody committed to taking particular actions in favor of living out those values more fully.
and that was about three years ago. And to this day they still, every week post one of the values posters in their office and they rotate it every week and that's continues to be a piece of their language. and that same company. Really exciting for, for me and them, they actually over the last.
Three years of us working together have had their best financial year in collections that they've had in four years. And even going through the current state of COVID-19, we were able to navigate everything in a way that even though [00:12:00] they're there. Client numbers were very down their billing and collections weren't as impacted because we had impacted their processes, in a different way, leading up to that.
And it was so much more efficient for them and they were actually getting paid, and didn't have so much outstanding. So it was really cool to see them reap the benefits of that during the COVID-19 crisis. Absolutely.
Keerstyn: [00:12:24] That's awesome. I am very grateful that you just explained those three stories. That was great.
I want to jump into that COVID-19 thing a little bit. So how have you seen the marketplace shift with this? COVID-19 have you seen people go back to their, their, before States of working with you? Or what does that look like for your current client base?
Heather: [00:12:45] wow. That's such a great question.
I don't know that I have a short answer for that, but what I will say is very early on, I realized that with the organizations that I'm, affiliated with the certifications I have, [00:13:00] I realized that I had a lot of tools and resources to help business owners through. This event more successfully than what they would be able to do on their own.
And in total transparency, that was a really heavy weight to carry because I hadn't up until that point understood the depth of my responsibility to be reaching out and supporting business owners. In a more massive way. And so with that, I committed to five hours of pro bono coaching, for non-clients a week, five hours of open office time a week for non-clients or clients to just jump in on a zoom meeting.
and then also doing educational webinars. Free educational webinars, just trying to help businesses see the light at the end of the tunnel, help them initially prepare for what was coming and then help them navigate the waters as they [00:14:00] went, because the goal is to help them be better when they come out of it than they were going into it.
If we don't learn something out of this, then it was really off or not. And so for me, The impact I saw, I had, some business owners that, because they were in those industries that completely closed down, they had no income coming in. And they, we just had to waive their fees because there was still work to be done, even though they were closed.
there were still things to make happen. There were still marketing to be done. There was still. A lot of mindset, stuff and emotion that they needed support working through. So I saw, that hit with. Clients not being able to necessarily pay to work with me at that point. and then I also saw on the flip side, whether they were in that state or still open, there was a need for more conversations, more support, more.
Frequent touches. And so I ended up about doubling my [00:15:00] time with each of my clients and some of them, we just agreed that we were just going to work through it and do the right thing, no matter what. And we pick up the billing once they get open and it was all good. And, for a lot of them, it was really helping them through the emotional and mental.
Struggles because there's a lot of head trash that happens in a situation like we've been going through, but then also taking some of that out of each of the situations and looking at it with logic, looking at it in a planful manner, because I saw businesses go into this, there's the fight flight or freeze response that we're all programmed as human beings to have.
And so some businesses. Just froze. Like they just stopped everything. They froze and nothing changed, and they're probably not going to be reopening other businesses. They took flight and they went home and they buried their head underneath the covers and binged on [00:16:00] Netflix. And then there were those businesses who decided to fight for their business, which was really cool.
But what we saw was they were. Confusing busy-ness with business. So they were getting in a flurry of activity and they were feeling good because they were taking action, but it wasn't necessarily purposeful action. It wasn't the right action. And so there started to be an increased amount of burnout going on with these businesses.
And the important thing that I did with the business owners that I work with is we stepped in and we hit the pause button, And we planned, we created a really strategic plan and talk through all the moving parts so that their time and energy could be focused on the right things. Instead of them feeling like even though they were closed, maybe they were working 50, 60 hours, but it wasn't the stuff that was going to help them when we opened it.
So it's been a really interesting. Time of seeing those shifts in businesses, helping them be really intentional, being that trusted [00:17:00] advisor, sharing educational points with them, helping them think through the strategy. and then, in one case just. Reminding them of all the resources they do have when they get stuck, because there are a lot of resources out there.
we just sometimes get into a different context, much like our kids who are, homeschooling. Now when they're in school, they get that they have all these resources, but you take them out of that environment and you put them at home and they forget that there's such a thing as Google or, a book on the bookshelf that will answer their problems.
They just, all of a sudden glaze over. That's what we saw with some business owners is that different contexts that they were having to live in, made them forget some of the things they had. And so a lot of it was just reminding them that they are resourced and helping connect them with other resources, if need be.
Keerstyn: [00:17:50] Yeah, absolutely. That was a wonderful response. And then the other question I did have about the COVID-19 thing is are you seeing managers coaching their employees to [00:18:00] make them better? oftentimes you're probably working with the higher, the higher up people helping them plan and process what their business is going to look like.
but how are these business owners then going to their employees and helping them understand what the next steps look like for them and how. What does work look like after this? what does that look like for a year clients currently?
Heather: [00:18:23] there's been a lot of conversation with my clients, about their teams.
And part of it is just helping them as leaders understand their roles and responsibilities during this time. So first of all, they have to be great communicators and they have to be positive in their communication. they're the hope dealers right now. And it's up to them to make sure that their teams are.
Going and surviving and thriving through this. So we've talked about a lot of different strategies around, using coaching skills. So asking better questions, digging deeper. There's been a lot of conversations around what it looks like [00:19:00] to work with remote teams. so I have a webinar on virtual leadership.
That, we put together because that's a big thing out there. More people are having to lead in a different way. And when you're in a remote situation, you don't have the ability to see the body language so much. You don't have the day-to-day interaction where you're just walking by somebody and you can just.
Feel that something's a little off, that's all gone. And so we've been encouraging a lot of things. Like what I like to call we care calls, just picking up the phone and calling somebody on your team for no reason, no agenda. Other than to say, how you holding up. What's going on in your life. What can I do for you?
How can I add value? What do you need from me? What resources can I provide for you just being there for them. So lots of those conversations, and then also reminding them that just because they're remote doesn't mean they can't recognize [00:20:00] and making sure that recognition is meaningful, meaning. If somebody likes public recognition, then giving them that recognition on the virtual call in front of the team.
But there are those people who cringe at that. So maybe it's dropping a quick, thank you note in the mail and sending it to them to help them understand that they are valued. Those are really the key components. And then I do work with some of my clients and their leaders teaching them. How do you use coaching skills for their teams?
And through that training, then they're equipped to actually have a better conversation and ask questions versus always directing and there's appropriate times to direct or ask questions. But that in itself is another training that we do in order to help them under stand and identify. When is the right time that they should give direction and when's the right time to ask questions and help people find their own answers.
And it's a really delicate balance as a leader. but it's crucial. And if [00:21:00] you can do it and match your leadership style appropriately. You will raise your employee engagement numbers, better than with, just about anything else. And that is a really important thing to keep in mind right now. So many people are fearful of their jobs, fearful of what's going to happen next.
that. We as leaders have to be responding and acknowledging those fears, and maybe they do get redeployed to a different job or a different job function because we find that it's better in the organization, but if there's a way that we can keep them and we can take good care of them, we really need to make sure that we're exploring all avenues of that as leaders.
So those have been a lot of the conversations. And then again, there's just a lot of. Training that builds those skills because those are all coaching and identifying somebody's skillset. That's all trainable, but it is a skill that requires some knowledge, some training around [00:22:00] to be able to do it well.
Keerstyn: [00:22:02] absolutely. Awesome. Thank you for that. That was really helpful to understand more about what you have been seeing in the workplace. Absolutely awesome. Heather. if people want to get in touch with you, where can they find you currently?
Heather: [00:22:17] So they can visit my website at www dot action coach. Oh, I'm sorry.
My gosh. I was thinking of something else. Www dot Heather Marquez. Dot actioncoach.com and then I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. So they can find me on the social media channels as well. and the company is usually listed under action. Action, coach mine links because action coach is a global organization.
So if they just look up action, coach, you might get a few other things in there. Okay.
Keerstyn: [00:22:53] Sounds good. Thank you so much. This was
Heather: [00:22:55] so fun. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.
Teams also need to get away and have time to think together and reflect together. Be able to spend just an hour to be curious about each other. -Denise Van Eck, Owner of Thought Design