Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 4:14

I want you to talk about your book for a second.

Nicole Martin 4:16

Okay. Um, I have a number of books. Which one were you thinking of

Jeremy Weisz 4:20

the negotiation one that you were okay.

Nicole Martin 4:22

Yeah, so No Fear Negotiation for Women. This is a collaboration project. It’s actually a passion project that came out of just the last year prior to COVID. Essentially, I had worked through a number of years in my business, being a female owner and somebody that scaling my business, like many entrepreneurs in Chicago, it’s something that people might think that I am, you know, not just just a woman business owner, but I happen to be a mother, I happen to have set my first goal back in 2015, when I joined Vistage to be how do I have my second child without stopping the growth in my business. So when you think about that, it’s really Where I look back over the trajectory of the years in my business, and I didn’t realize that I was being watched by other young women who wanted to do similar things with their life. And I started having people reach out to me. And at the same time, I was in my, This is CEO peer group for a number of years, and I happen to be very good friends with someone who is highly emotionally intelligent, and really, his mother had passed. And he wanted to give back to women, it was fascinating how he approached me. And when he approached me, I thought, you know, everybody can talk about negotiation, there’s a lot of books out there about it. And everyone can talk about the female perspective and the male perspective. But what we really wanted to do was work together on a unified front and show through example, how men and women can work together and bring their equal selves to the table without their gender necessarily, and create something together, that’s a shared partnership that can mutually benefit one another. And we shared some really practical tips and examples in our book, but we deal specifically my task was to deal specifically with the emotional journey that a woman takes. It’s quite different than a man, because we do look at the world differently. And we can talk about that all day long. But it doesn’t need to be a hinderance. And I think that if women kind of came at things a little more left brain sometimes, and there are left brain women that have to go to the right brain. But I think that if we really tackle the fact that we can leave our, our gender at the door, we’ll do a lot better. And so that’s the new book, it’s been out there, we have a lot of good conversations going on about it some workshops here in Chicago, and for companies that are wanting to empower women and help them feel invited into the organization in a real authentic way. And John, and I have a lot of fun doing that. We kicked it off in Kentucky, right before COVID. And it was exciting to have the energy of women, and not from a feminist perspective. But from a Yeah, we can negotiate the art of negotiation really is the art. And if we can take really nuts and bolts, like let’s say you had your shopping list, Jeremy, everybody could use a shopping list, just check the box, check the box right tick wouldn’t be great if like, we can hand that to women for negotiation. And that’s what we did

Jeremy Weisz 7:15

What was an example from the book that you remember that people love.

Nicole Martin 7:19

You know, a lot of things we did some samples of where women don’t, the hardest thing for women is to ask. And even though women will ask for help, and they’ll do it in such a way with their girlfriends, and they’ll give and take, when it comes to what women really want, they will dance around that they won’t necessarily just drop it on the table, men have a really good way of dropping it on the table. And sometimes assuming that the response, in fact, is deserved. They kind of have like a tenacity hardwired into them, which is like, well, I’m just gonna ask women don’t do it that way. And so women could think about the ask and get lost in the strategizing of what When will I ask, how will I ask? Maybe I shouldn’t ask, oh, I’m not gonna ask. And they can spend their wheels turning there for a long, long time. So we have some examples of their ways that they can get off that treadmill.

Jeremy Weisz 8:16

We sometimes talk ourselves out of things.

Nicole Martin 8:18

Oh, absolutely. And women do it all the time. I think that it has a lot to do with how we see ourselves, we like to see ourselves helpful and cooperative. And I can look at that example. In my own business years ago, one of the examples I put in, there was my own lived example of becoming a business owner, Jeremy, and this happened out of me doing what I love. I’ve been in HR for 18 years, you know, then before I started consulting, and jumping out on my own, and even then I saw myself as a consultant. And even then I was I hired employees, but I still call myself a consultant, I branded my business, I had an LLC for three years, I still call myself a consultant. Um, and I look back at that, and my clients weren’t perceiving me that way. They were perceiving me as a business. And I was a business, we were in business, but I mentally didn’t look in the mirror and think of myself as a woman business owner failing a business. And it took somebody else to really offer me a substantial amount of money to invest in my business for me to kind of go, but no, I, I’m not in business, and then coming back saying No, honey, yeah, you’re in business. And it took me an emotional journey, Jeremy a year of going through kind of 10,000 small businesses program with Goldman Sachs during the five year business plan and financial forecasting and really building the business case for something I was already doing. But figuring out really all the work that it takes to financially model a business and scale it. And when I got to the end zone of that then I could see in the mirror, oh, it’s the opportunity that we’re looking at, wasn’t me as a woman. It wasn’t anything else that we can cloud it with. It was the business opportunity, and then believing in me, and and really it was realizing I’m not looking at The mirror is I believe in Me too. And Heck yeah, I’m gonna go get that. And by the way, you can see right here on my dotted line, and thanks for being an angel investor, and let’s go. So it took me a year to get to that conversation with confidence, clarity. And the rest is history. But how many women don’t get to that place?

Jeremy Weisz 10:18

I want to, I want to pick I want to talk and dig a little bit deeper into, we’ll say, maybe the offer of $100,000 I don’t know if it changed the course of your life, but but change the mindset a bit before I ask that, I want to know, what you thought of and what your plan was. And you go, when you thought yourself, how do I not stop growth in my business and have my second child? How did you? You know, yeah, obviously as as a man, that’s not something that crop you know, I mean, it does in like, maybe a sliver of that. Right? But, but, you know, it’s tough being a female, I think, in that respect you, there’s so much balance, you know, if that involves, like, you have to carry a baby for nine months. I mean, there’s, there’s no voiding. I mean, unless you adapt to something, but if you’re having your own child, that’s, it’s in your body, and there’s a lot of sacrifice you have to make. What was your plan? How did you decide, okay, how am I going to not stop the growth of my business? And my second child?

Nicole Martin 11:19

Yeah, I think, um, I had to really do a value equation, which was like, life’s only worth it if I’m a mother. And so it was like, not a not something I was putting off. I’m, you know, I’m not a spring chicken anymore.

Jeremy Weisz 11:33

Like, I’m doing this regardless.

Nicole Martin 11:34

Right? Yeah, my husband and I made that commitment. It’s like, if we’re blessed with a child, we’re going to accept that. And once we became blessed, I realized, okay, now the calendar, and the clock is really ticking. I have nine months to replace myself. And why because I deserve a maternity leave. Because if I was working corporate, I would take a maternity leave. And so yeah, how do I disappear from my business for three months?

Jeremy Weisz 11:53

It’s a great exercise.

Nicole Martin 11:54

Yeah, yeah. And how does it prove that it’s not the Nicole Martin show, right? It’s like, it’s the team. And nothing like being pregnant with the child and having a clocking, you know, calendar ticking all those nine months, I literally handed my business over to my replacement, so to speak, in the field, on Nicole Dawson. She’s been on my team now for a number five years almost. And I literally said, here’s our book of business. And I’ve been working with her to show her how I worked and what I do, but I knew she could step into the issues of consulting at that level, that 20 plus years, you know, gray conversations with CEOs, not black and white thinker, and just deliver on the service. And so I said, you know, here’s the book of business. And basically, at that time, I was probably like the head of HR, so to speak for probably five or six middle market companies. And she stepped into that role with the team that I already had in place, kind of you always hire the lower level or tactical level people you can afford first in your business. I had those people on the team, but I needed to replace myself. So when I handed her the book of business, I was two weeks before my delivery date. Jeremy Wow. Literally,

Jeremy Weisz 13:02

for you in training your previous to that. It’s not like you just we interviewed

Nicole Martin 13:05

her hired her and put her on the job

Jeremy Weisz 13:07

in two weeks. Okay. Wow. That’s amazing. Really.

Nicole Martin 13:10

Trust, it’s trust. It was nothing means more to me that

Jeremy Weisz 13:16

that’s sort of your that’s what you do? Like, let’s Yeah, you know, it’s not an accident. Like if you take someone who’s not a skilled skilled at this, right. I mean, that’s what you do. Right? So, you know, you have Michael Jordan a basketball, he’s gonna, you know, make a shot, you have someone who’s a professional HR, they’re gonna make a good hire. Right? So what were you looking for? And how did you find that person in a short period of time and get them up and running so they can, you can do your thing.

Nicole Martin 13:45

I’m lucky, it came through a referral from an employment law kind of attorney that I knew it was her sister in law, who’d been out of the market and consulting. So what happened was, it’s hard to get high caliber talent, six figure talent and say, who wants to work part time. And that was my approach. And so when I did that, I brought her in. And I showed her that I trusted her and I went home, I gave her my cell phone, and I said, you can call me whatever you want. 24 seven, but I’m showing up for no meetings. I’m here to help you. And then I showed up. Three months later, I had my beautiful child, my Vistage chair was the one who showed up in my home and told me it’s time to come back to work. Right, time to come back to the meetings. And I think as women, it’s hard to leave our children no matter what, and you’re on this hormonal ride, I promise you. And so I think learning to get back in the saddle, so to speak, is as quick as just getting out of your house and putting your lipstick on and going to work. You know, it was it was like, wow, okay, I’m back. And I shut up at renewal renewal meetings with Nicole. And we went to see the clients and I kind of just asked the question, how we’ve been doing, are you going to renew your agreements, we sign annual agreements with some of our clients, and all of them renewed that year. And that’s the minute I knew I could scale what I’m doing, and that’s a huge gift. A lot of business owners don’t step away and let the business run without them. And if I could take it A man or woman, anybody in business, build your business so that it can run without you. That’s the goal. And pretend you’re pregnant, try it exactly, you’re delivering in nine months, give yourself a due date, and see if you can accomplish taking the summer off. You know, and if the if

Jeremy Weisz 15:18

I wanted you to talk about it, because it applies to anyone it doesn’t, you don’t have to be pregnant to do it. You can, you know, create something you can book I know people who book a vacation, they’ll book a month vacation in a year. And they’re like, Okay, I have a year, I’ve already booked it, I paid for it. You know, the time is ticking. So you could create that artificial, you know, goal. What were some of the system again, so you made it amazing, you hired someone? What were some of the other, if you thought about pivotal systems you put in place so that you were ready to hand hand the reins off and kind of step away?

Nicole Martin 15:54

Yeah, I think I did a lot of process mapping, we do process maps in our systems. And because every client we believe that HR has is not off the shelf. HR trust is built custom for each organization that we go into, we have a methodology of structure and actions that we go through, in theory, but really, each of those steps could be very different from client to client, one client could believe that we need to do poster poster for drug testing. The other one could say I don’t care if people smoke weed, you know, so it’s not by the book. So we did a lot of process mapping. And then we have a lot of, and that’s really taking someone through the steps in each phase of the business, from the sales to the business development from our HR assessments from the proposal process from pricing, I even give pricing to my senior level. And they have thresholds, and so they can price they don’t need me to bless that necessarily No. And then we really give them the the privilege to do the work to how they deem it to be necessary in partnership with our client. And so you give them keys, essentially. We give them some frameworks on the backside of when and what needs to be come up to me from for liability and our disclosures, we have transparency, we live transparency at HRBoost. And so we have a lot of technical systems use Zoho one for CRM. And we believe that everybody needs to like take notes and project management notes was seen across an entire team. Nothing’s too confidential within that framework, the field consultants. And that’s so that if somebody gets hit by a train tomorrow, God forbid, God, I saw that on the news this morning. No joke. I don’t know how that happens, Jeremy. But anyway, let’s just say somebody had something catastrophic happened. And they had to fall out a loop, your only best serving your client, if you can replace somebody who can come to see tomorrow, and nobody can come to speed tomorrow, if they can’t see the back to the back line of what’s been taking place there. So we have the systems to document all of that and make it transparent for the teams and give them fluid framework so that they can work together. And then we also put thresholds in place, you got to have thresholds. My idea of how fast something should get done is very different than somebody else’s, of course. And this is uniform in business, especially for manufacturing fields. But we have thresholds in terms of how long it should take from client service touch to actually quantify the amount of face to face time somebody should be getting their client. And if they’re not hitting that face to face threshold, then they’re probably not serving them to the delight that I expect. And so the all those things were defined.

Jeremy Weisz 18:27

How do you track those things? What is it certain software’s that you like to use? Yeah, I

Nicole Martin 18:32

think I got the gift of coming up from manufacturing back in the day. So we job cost everything, we have everything tied out by GL code. And time tracking is done by task under client and and then dropped into codes. So and we can and that allowed my business to build incrementally as well, because we then we can do our part for client. And the best part about it is actually on the client side, the client can see what they’re spending on HR, and we can help them identify when it’s right to staff, someone and how they’re using HR. Because not HR has a very broad bucket Jeremy, you know, some people say, Oh, I want a recruiter or some people will say, Oh, I want a compensation person. Sometimes you get into it, and they don’t, they don’t need they’re not using HR that way. So they might hire wrong if they don’t realize how they’re using HR.

Jeremy Weisz 19:18

Yeah, one thing that stuck out to me that I love that you said is is about the pricing piece, because I think oftentimes, as CEOs, founders, we are the bottlenecks for things. So I like that you pray you saw like, okay, here’s where I could see myself being a bottleneck and just gave them permission to take it over so that you didn’t have to handle that piece. So that stuck out for me and, you know, that goes to the next question is hrs broad, you know, it means something different for everyone. Talk about some of the services, you know, that you provide and kind of break it down because I know that you provide a suite of different things depending on what someone needs. So How do you bucket these services? so people know.

Nicole Martin 20:04

Yeah, I think it’s really important to know when we meet clients, we like to start with an emotion, which is our vision of HRBoost, which is we we believe or want our vision is that people have joy and purpose through their work. And I think it came out of an emotion for me, which was I worked in big corporate through the 90s, and downsizing. And just, you know, I’ve met 1000 people, or more probably more than that now who work with drudgery. And I just think that we deserve to have joy and purpose. And I realized I built a business doing what I love. And so the first people to join me were people, I say, Do you want to come and do what you love with me? Right? And you deserve that too. But then it goes to our clients. And so every client we start with, usually, it’s the CEO or CFO that we sell to, that’s feeling pain. Some people do things reactively, quite honestly, we do HR triage. And so we’ll get calls from people who are suffering pain and stress and losing sleep. And we’ll come back and say, you know, you deserve joy and purpose through your work, too. And

Jeremy Weisz 21:04

what what are they stressed about?

Nicole Martin 21:06

Well, talent, anything can happen within talent, right, they can sell something and not have the talent to deliver their work, they could lose somebody today who walked out the job, and they have to get back into the trench. They could have notices coming from the EEOC that they did something wrong when they’re, they don’t even know that they were supposed to protect themselves against that. They could have productivity concerns about presenteeism people just coming to work and taking money. And, you know, that whole idea that people just check in and check out and did they make a contribution. I mean, you name it, these things, affect CEOs, especially as they’re growing their businesses. And we love showing that we can deliver peace of mind at their pace and budget, the really, we try to hear the pain first. But we let them know that our ultimate goal is our vision, join purpose through your work, including the people who come to join you. And then we kind of get in and understand the 179 line items that are HR, and try to understand more about where they’re trying to go, and at what pace and budget they need to operate. And then we can plug in. Because pace and budget are two contingencies that a business needs to control I feel. And we like to let our clients know that they control that. And then we adapt to them.

Jeremy Weisz 22:20

Walk me through a little bit of how it works. I was watching a video with Armstrong Aerospace. Okay. And they were talking about they came in they had this amazing assessment, they helped us attract talent, they help with this cultural assessment of the team. Walk me through and you could use Armstrong Aerospace was the orange general jury. Yeah, one, you know, okay. You’re the best thing since he’s like you were recommended highly by another CEO says the CO Martin is the best thing since sliced bread and her company. When you first come on, talk about the process a little bit.

Nicole Martin 22:56

Yeah, we like to start with baselines. So I think a lot of people can understand that. Question is, where are you today? And where do you want to go? And how am I going to help you get there. And so we always start with a qualitative process at the beginning, which is called our discovery process. And any business can get the first page of our assessment for free on my website, 24, seven, and it’s simple. It’s red, yellow, green, and you answer your own questions, and you get that first page assessment from us. If you meet with us, we’ll do a consultative process. And it’s a comprehensive assessment where we ask 179 questions, and it’s gap analysis, you either have it or you don’t, then we sit down with you and we decide, is that relevant or not? Where are you trying to go. And then we give a proposal based on that. We also if you hire us then do a baseline on culture. So if you sign up with us on a retainer basis, we’re immediately going to measure your culture. And we’re going to figure out how the people are feeling in alignment with where you’re trying to go. And then we come back and we measure both of those baselines, we measure against those again, and again, and again. And if my team isn’t moving the needle on both of those things, well, then we didn’t do a good job for you. And so we measure ourselves against some of those baselines. And, and we like to establish trend lines that are positive. Most of our clients are looking for both of those things. They might come from either angle, either compliance reactive, or from culture proactive, they don’t realize that everything transactional has to be transformational. But they too have to align, they have to be done at the same time and back each other up for credibility. And so we walk the talk when it comes to taking a full picture, look at it and then moving the needle. And then what we do at HRBoost is work ourselves out of a job if we do a really good job, the client will need us anymore, and we’ll hand the baton to a maintainer which I will place

Jeremy Weisz 24:42

as soon as you place like an HR like at some point in house HR person for them is that

Nicole Martin 24:47

Yeah, so like some of our clients, they might coast. A typical client will go three years on retainer. That’s the pace and budget that they typically do with us whether they be a small organization or large and then what happens is that some point they decide, okay, now we’re ready to hire a full time HR manager or generalists. And we, we know best how to hire that person and place that person. So we’ll do that. And then we baton pass it, then the client will come back to us for our products like our culture surveys, our culture teams are facilitation, maybe some special training, like the person needed sexual harassment training at the beginning of the year, you know, for the compliance regulation thing last year, something like that, or the COVID bundle, something comes up, that HR person learns that we’re resourcing comes to us as needed on an allocator project basis to use them.

Jeremy Weisz 25:36

I mean, it’s a lonely world out there, we all need support with organizations. So I’m sure if there’s an HR manager, that there you’re an amazing resource for them. And what level Nicole would you say, you come in, and or they grow to a certain level, whether it’s staff wise, or revenue wise, that someone usually Okay, you’re ready to fly, you’re ready to give an HR manager?

Nicole Martin 25:58

Yeah, it’s usually once they it, I don’t even get into a revenue standpoint, because revenue has become irrelevant to me, I work on headcount. And honestly, we operate and serve businesses from one employee to 500 employees, which is pretty broad brush. And so it has a lot to do with the sophistication of the client and the pace at which the business is growing. I think the HR model, and the needs of the HR department fluctuate significantly, from when they’re growing from, let’s say, a 15, employee organization to a 50 employee organization, or 50, employee organization to 100, employee organization, 400 to 250, or 250 to 500, once they get to that place at each of those headquarters had headcount intervals that I just rattled off, the HR model shifts and the head at the table changes. And the question is, do you want to revolve the HR person or grow that person, if you’re lucky enough to get someone who wants to grow and invest in themselves at the same pace as your business? That happens? I’m a product of that. But I think it’s not the norm. And so we like to say that our HR department model flexes with your business as you grow. And then once you get to that sustaining place, whatever that sustaining places for that business, then it’s time to hire the type of HR person for that leadership team and the sophistication or performance level of that team. And then let them go, and then go touch another business, right? That’s really something that people don’t understand. It’s kind of similar in finance, though. Finance, you know, people might start off with an IRA person, and then they get a bookkeeper. And then they have an outsourced accountant. But at some point, they need like a controller, and then they need like a CFO at some point two. And then if they’re really lucky, they grow to the place where they need a CFO and a CEO who actually strategizes the two together. That’s a career journey in finance. And it’s very similar why financial outsourcing works.

Jeremy Weisz 27:54

Yeah, and I know when I, you know, with the the Armstrong Aerospace example, when he talked about, you know, you started off, and thanks for walking me through that process a bit. He said at the other end, you get that baseline. He’s like, I forgot what he eats. timewise. But he says, A year later, we’re a top 100 Best Companies to Work for, which is like a metric that I’m like, Wow. Okay, that’s really cool, how they not only, you know, our hiring and recruiting and also helping with the culture, but there’s actually a measurable piece there of how is the culture getting better growing and improving?

Nicole Martin 28:31

My my favorite clients are the ones who really are serious about that. Right? clients can say they’re, they’re interested in culture, but then they can like take the survey and decide they don’t want to have a team meeting about it. No, Joe. So a 10% of CEOs are like Michael and Rob. And I think that when those clients are ready, I used to think it was magic. Jeremy, when I was in house, before I was a mother and everything we were best and brightest company to work for, I hit that off of a challenge with a CFO was that I was an overhead department. And I’m like, No, we’re profit center. And so I won that bet. But it’s like you look back at it, I used to think it was the magic of that team, those guys that I worked with that company, the energy of our growth at that time, I didn’t think it was something that could be recreated, if that makes sense. And I got the opportunity to work in sir Armstrong Aerospace. I just did what I always had done. And then once we hit the winners list, after 12 months, I realized, Oh, I have a process. And so it’s that process that now I like to bring to all our clients. But there’s a lot of things that have to happen before you can do that rich work. Um, and it’s an emotional journey. Also for an entrepreneur or a company that’s growing and scaling. And they have to have, there’s some, you know, you don’t always get the right operational management team in place day one, right? It takes time. And so the synergy of all the things moving in the right direction. The point is, is that we’re a partner that wants you to be the best and brightest company to work for. And I’m the one who knows how to do that with the clients that are ready to. So that was exciting for our team, we actually are a strategic alliance partner with best and brightest companies to work for were one of the consulting firms nationally, that partners with winners, even companies that have five people in HR, they’ll call us, we might do a complete compensation benchmark or move their old school performance ladder framework to their performance lattice and achievement orientation, does some project lifting. And we’re proud of that. And I’m proud to serve on a lot of the different boards and I run the Chicago winters group, peer group virtually. So I stay involved in that. And I like to see what’s happening in some of the biggest companies in our backyard. And then I went to bring it to the little, you know, underdogs. And when

Jeremy Weisz 30:43

I know, Nicole you don’t help everyone, you know, we are

Nicole Martin 30:47

tired resources.

Jeremy Weisz 30:49

Yeah, I’m, who are our ideal clients, someone’s listening, like, Yeah, sounds great, who’s a good fit to work with HRBoost?

Nicole Martin 30:57

I think it’s a psychographic. I don’t even know if that’s something that is out there. But I call it a psychographic. It’s the type of person that really does want to have a team where people enjoy coming to work that really does want to build something where they might be like me, they built a business by accident, doing what they love, and all of a sudden, they have like, you know, 20 people who rely on them. And how do we make this go forward, because if you don’t do it with intention, it becomes the strongest personality in the room. And sometimes that’s not the founder. So I would say it’s a psychographic. It’s somebody who understands that, and somebody who still wants to be the leader of the cultural invitation, but then empower others to actually build something and show up. People who want that and get that we’re a perfect partner for them. Because those people that do want that and get that they will grow a business, they will be successful, because they will have people behind them. And some of them are already at a level of excellence. Maybe been there done it for a long time transformational type of businesses, we have some that have already been recognized maybe nationally for ISO 9000, or for food compliance, or excellence and other categories, okay, but they haven’t reached the excellence with their people. And so it might be just one more box, they’re trying to check, but they don’t know how we can help them from scratch do that. And those are great opportunities, especially when they have low hanging fruit, that they just haven’t put a common language around or put infrastructure in place to reinforce that. From a people perspective.

Jeremy Weisz 32:26

I feel like Nicole a common topic that comes up in some of the CEO Founder groups is bonuses, like people really want to appreciate their staff, not I mean, obviously, not just in money, but in, you know, other perks or benefits. But the conversation always comes up around how do I best bonus, my staff. So I don’t know if there’s any general rules, or some things that you see mistakes people make with, you know, compensating as far as offering bonus structures, or things that have worked or haven’t worked. So I’d love to hear some of your general thoughts on that.

Nicole Martin 33:02

You’re so right, I hear that all the time to bonuses. The first thing is to remember that money is a secondary motivator. It’s not a primary motivator. And I think people obviously desperate times are and resource times people can get focused on it. And it does, it can be solution driven for creating incentives, temporary type of things where you’re trying to ramp up excitement, enthusiasm and focus around something. I’m a fan of that I even do that in my own business. But I do think that bonus frameworks are reinforced performance, rewards, if you will, one place I see companies really go wrong is tying it to the wrong thing. So sometimes people will tie it like old school variable weighted programs, pay programs where it’s tied to getting something complete. That’s very individual, an individual type of performance. I think the greatest rewards or ROI, on putting your bonus dollars towards something are shared performance goals, or team performance goals. Because sometimes the individual things can create competition within silos, competition across department areas, things like that. And it can create culture problems, if you will. And so it can also create favoritism. And also the the wall effect, which is like, well, we do this and they get performance reviews all the time. But what about them inside, they’re just that they’re death, you know, like these old school kind of this and that and us versus then you will always run into those things if you have not created a bonus bonus framework or shared performance objective standpoint. So let’s get to what I’m talking about. So basically, I would say, if I went into a company, and I get this privilege, I have a client that’s been in business for five family generations, 100 years in business. My first conversation with these owners was what, what’s leadership here? I like to create a common framework and measurement and vernacular for everyone in the company, what is leadership? And what is it here And how does it live at the strategic level, the operational level and the grassroots level, the person you just hired, I did determine these different levels of leaders, if you will, because there’s leadership at all levels in my world, you have these three levels. Now we asked them to answer the question. And I just do this with white papers in a conference room, by the way, with round sticky posts that you can pick up. And I give people you know, it’s a democracy, I give people voting rights, and then we do something about it. And everybody has a handprint on it, Jeremy, that’s fun. And you can do this in like, 20 minutes. So you put up these white sheets, and it’s literally strategic leaders. Okay, everybody knows who the strategic leaders are here. They’re the people that, you know, are the top, you know, chiefs, if you will, of whatever their departments might be, but what do we expect these leaders to define for us? Please put that down here. For operational leaders, these are the people that are your managers, these are people that kind of should be modeling behaviors, what kind of behaviors Do you think these people should model for you to respect them? Then you go to the grassroots leaders, these are people who showed up like yesterday, and they’re brand new, how can they lead today? Like, how can they lead on day two, when they’re a new hire, tell them and then everyone gets that, then we come back with our sticky notes. And everybody gets two votes on each sheet of paper, and you and you prioritize that, and it usually becomes visually clear pretty quickly, what everybody thinks is the biggest emergency. And then you just commit, okay, we’re gonna knock these six things, these tactics, six things, six things about leadership and how it lives in our business this year. And then the owner or the person who’s responsible the budget, can go come back and say, every time I see you living this, and then living that, and then living that, whatever those things are, I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is, and I use bonuses for that, in my own business, honestly, is a platform where we could create our custom hashtags and our custom values of core values. And I literally gave my team each person gets 20 bucks a month to throw wherever they like to the person they thought was living leadership in my business. And I get to go to bed at night sitting down looking at my phone, you guys, and just go, Okay, I spent a couple 100 bucks this month on bonuses, right pure framework that I threw out there. And I don’t know where it goes, I give them the keys to decide where it goes. But then what you get to see at the end of the day is this social feed of your own team recognizing each other and all the good things they’re doing in the business that you love knowing they’re doing when you’re not in a room. And to me, that is the best use of dollars ever.

Jeremy Weisz 37:26

Nicole, amazing. Thank you for sharing that.

Nicole Martin 37:29

It’s best use of money. I just think it’ll come back and it comes back because you trusted people to recognize the good behavior, if you want lived in your business, and they will,

Jeremy Weisz 37:39

everyone should rewind, I’m going to re listen to that several times. You know, so I Oh, my gosh, all the things that you said there, it was really powerful. Are there and I love the team performance goals. You know, we do think often I think, you know, sometimes we default I default to like personal like, how do you reward these people individually. But if you look at any sport, I mean, the goal is to win the championship. And there’s a team goal. So what what are some examples of people can wrap their head around the thing that I think of is, you know, I know, you know, my sister worked for Salesforce, and they, you know, they had this team goal, they would get, you know, go to some trip, right would be a team goal. But what are some other examples of T like to give people ideas of goals that they could set for the I mean, I guess the reward on the other end?

Nicole Martin 38:28

Yeah, I think that people who are at the helm, so to speak of businesses, and also, you know, department leaders and things like that they have growth objectives, usually, or really tight objectives to increase margin or, you know, whatever it might be. And the bottom line is, is that not everybody thinks that way. So when you come to a shared goal, a shared performance goal, I think it has to have something very significant, which is what I call shared fate. Get in the game, we, we, if we achieve this, which my goal might mean nothing to you. But if we hit this, what do you guys want? It’s a very simple question. And it’s so funny how often people do not ask their people what they want. Um, in fact, I’ve even facilitated teams, and, you know, done this in practice. And I’ll find the answer that comes from the group as the number one thing that the maybe the owners had heard a couple times. And they were thinking, well, I’ll reward them and I’ll put benefits in place are all increase my contribution for health insurance are all give them more PTO or right, no, find out exactly what they want. And then put it on the wall and say, if we hit this now, I’m going to give you this and we will celebrate this. It could be like that Salesforce example a team trip. Right, a team trip will cost less money than actually the individual bonuses if they crunched it out and did them at dollars. Obviously, they’d have to build their growth plans to make sure they can afford that but then see it to the ends on themselves but then put it out there. I think, you know, that’s what I’ve done in my own team, people can rally, it’s a rally cry around shared fate. And it has to be something that excites them, it can’t, it will never excite the team if they can’t put a handprint on it or affect the outcome. And so sometimes you really have to have that conversation with each person. So they understand their nugget down here. however far away. This impacts this. And this impacts that and I am part of that, if I don’t do this, we won’t hit that. They have to have that visualization. And so that takes communication. It takes them love. But I think every company should have a shared performance goal and it shouldn’t be just something as blaz A as well. If we get 15% profit, everybody gets a kickback. That’s unemotional, they have to have shared faith.

Jeremy Weisz 40:48

Yeah. First of all, Nicole, I have one last question about a story that I want you to tell. But before I ask it, I want to point people to Check it out, check out more episodes I also want to point out where can people if they’re interested in taking that that assessment, you said there was a one page assessment, we’re on HRBoost is the best place to find that?

Nicole Martin 41:12

Yeah, you just go to, and then there’s a big circle, and it says click here for your scorecard.

Jeremy Weisz 41:17

So click on the scorecard. Yeah, go to,

Nicole Martin 41:21

they’ll answer a couple of questions about their business. And then we’ll send them a one pager of their current versus new. And that one pager Red, Yellow Green that I talked about on a strategic and tactical level. And that’s a freebie and we don’t even have to after you take it, it’s not hard sell. So take it, it’s free information. And we encourage you to learn about what’s going on here HR infrastructure,

Jeremy Weisz 41:41

check it out, check out more information, they have a blog, too, so poke around on their site. The last question, Nicole is you mentioned, you were offered $100,000. What happened leading up because you were working with this company, and then how what shifted for you?

Nicole Martin 42:01

I think that what I learned, people don’t give credit how emotional the journey is, as somebody who’s growing and scaling a business. And also how emotional, any kind of objective is for a human being, whether it be you’re trying to promote leaders, you’re trying to hit the next level wherever you’re going in your career. And I think the most important gift you can give yourself is finding out how other people view you. And you can only get that by having real conversations with people and asking them how they view you. And then helps you grow. I have always just done what I love to do, I have that privilege of just feeling like I deserve to do what I love. I don’t know, my mother must have beat it into me when I was young. But when that happened, I had to ask myself a question that I didn’t ask myself, which my husband asked me, which is, well, what do they want from you in return for that? And I was like, well, not what you’re thinking. So I have to go figure out the answer to that question. And my husband kind of by asking that skeptical kind of critical question. It took me a long time to answer the question. But I did do the work. And so don’t ever walk away from the questions people pose at you. If people are asking questions, it’s because they know you have the answer. And they see that in you. But pause long enough to go, Wow, I’m being challenged to grow and see myself here. And once you can see how other people view you. That’s a beautiful day to show up because you have evolved. And that was a challenge that was given to me was an opportunity, which I thought was a joke. But when I realized what was really going on, I realized there’s no reason why I should feel intimidated in this conversation or like I didn’t know what the conversation would be about or that I was being taken advantage of. Because really the question was given to me because somebody else knew what I could do with that money, and knew that I could grow it over time. So I just think giving yourself in every moment of your life, the opportunity to be self reflective, and kind of ask questions back and say, you know, that is a good question. I should go learn about that.

Jeremy Weisz 44:05

Yeah, because you were working with that company. And then they offered you $100,000 to invest in your company.

Nicole Martin 44:11

One of the one of the people that work there. Yeah, yeah. And so I think I didn’t see myself as a business owner, I didn’t see myself I saw myself as a consultant. And I think it wasn’t until I got proactive about my business and started working on it with a proactive lens instead of a reactive just like oh my gosh, answering calls and things that are coming in when you hit a niche, it’s high growth and you’re just on this hamster wheel. Once you can pause and kind of get this white space, which is a discipline by the way I had to learn how to do and then it takes rigor and accountability to keep it going as you grow because it just gets bigger. But I think once you can do that, take that white space to learn and grow. You can realize that you have the ability to actually drive and that you have the ability to maybe provide opportunities and connect People in a way you never imagined. And that’s been my privilege. And now it’s the privilege of me to share it openly and authentically with you emotional share the stripped down raw version, right, Jeremy so that hopefully I help another person go through that with without taking a year, my book The no fair negotiation was so that they took me a year to come back to the table. I heard the pitch of me a year, a full year, Jeremy, to go, come back, realize what was being asked and then realize, yes, you can give that and here’s what I’ll do with it and sign here. What if I had done that in 24 hours? So that is the gift is give back so that somebody else can hopefully do it in 24 hours? Now take a year journey on a tangent of law figuring it out God, what should I do with that? You know, time is money and time is your energy in our lives are obviously on a finite line of time graph. So I just think live right now live today. Be happy, joyful, do what you love. If you hate your job, leave it. Don’t be afraid. Go take the leap. And I’ve seen so much evidence I don’t know about you, Jeremy. Have you seen some evidence this last year of people actually overcoming fear, giving up their safety check and jumping and getting into what they love and finding a way to make money doing it?

Jeremy Weisz 46:24

Totally. Nicole I want to be the first one a thank you everyone. Check out and we’ll see you on the other side. Thanks, everyone.

Nicole Martin 46:32

Thanks, Jeremy. Thank you.