Ep.103: Positive Growth in Difficult Situations with Kathy O’Brien
We talk about the J Curve a lot around here — picture a lower-case J. When you apply change principles to your business — new people, systems, and processes — they can initially send your business on a downward trajectory before soaring with your success. If you want to grow your company, listen carefully!
Our guest today breaks this process down into four stages of development:
- Forming: The getting to know you stage
- Storming: When conflicts arise (the bottom of the J)
- Norming: Common goals are defined, an agreement is reached
- Performing: Working toward a common goal and looking forward
In this episode, Kathy O’Brien talks to Victoria and Mark about how to manage your growth strategies and the importance of being a strong leader in challenging times.
Kathy was the founding CEO of the St. Louis Alzheimer’s Association for over 25 years and then served as Senior Vice President of the National Office in Chicago. She received numerous awards and recognition for her work. Kathy now volunteers as a mentor/consultant to 5stone Construction in St. Louis, MO, helping with business growth strategies — she first got to know the company as a client. She was so impressed with the quality of the work and the people, she has worked with 5stone for the last several years, developing systems and processes, determining annual goals and individual employee performance indicators, hiring to get “the right people on the bus,” and managing fast growth over the last four years.
Kathy says those four stages of development apply to making positive growth in professional development, organizational development, and personal development. You go through the stages in every business relationship, personal relationship, and client relationship. She breaks down the stages, and how they present themselves in the remodeling business, including:
- How it plays out with employees
- Why it’s a continuous process
- Getting through the storming stage successfully
- How one person can cause a storm
- Why leadership and core values are important through all the stages
- Making it okay to disagree, and fostering honest dialog
- What to do when you’re still sinking
- And more …
If you’re finding yourself stuck in the storming stage, Kathy says there’s great value in having support with other leaders, by networking or in peer groups. She also recommends three books to read to boost your leadership skills: