In this fun-filled episode, Patti Mara, CEO of Maranet Inc., shares how she took the experiences she’s had from a part-time job in college through 20 years of coaching business owners and leaders to help local businesses succeed.
– The four pillars of team success
– What sets A-players apart from the rest
– How to leverage your #1 profit center in the Fun stage
Hello, hello, and welcome. Welcome once again to the secrets of the high demand coach podcast and I am here with yet another high demand coach. And that is the one and only Patti Mara. She spent the last 20 years helping companies and individuals to take a fresh look at the way people operate. This unique insight helps them to reach their full potential enhancing customer experiences, and dramatically increasing their growth, customer retention and profit. Now in her coaching business, Patti is always looking for what she calls the shifting point. It’s that one piece of the puzzle that opens up a new level of results. She’s also the author of up solutions, turning your team into heroes and customers into raving fans. And she’s also the creator of up solutions, team success training, and the business accelerator blueprint. And Patti, I’m so excited to have you here on the show. And what I’d like to do before we get into because there’s so much in here that we can unpack and and I’m excited about our conversation, but I’d love to just take a couple steps back to start. Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before your coaching and consulting and how you ultimately decided to make the leap.
Perfect. Well, thank you, Scott, pleasure to be on your secrets of the high demand coach podcast. So it’s an interesting piece, when I started to figure out what next, and the the obvious evolution was coaching. When I actually reflected back pretty much everything I did, regardless of what I did was I coach, you know, when I held a sales position, my method of selling was to anyone who would talk to me, I’d find it about their business, and what were their, you know, leverage points and what were their constriction points, and I would coach them. And when they saw a value, they would buy what I was selling. So um, so it’s an interesting piece, what got me down the path of customer experience was working in a small bookstore chain bookstore, when I was going through university, and I had a really great manager. And she taught all of us that whenever somebody came in the store, we stopped over doing, we found if they’re looking for something, we took them to the section put the book in their hand, if we didn’t have it, we make alternatives, or we tried to order it in and just fully focused. When customers were in the store. They were our total focus, there was no sidebar conversations. So an interesting piece of that was and what stayed with me, first of all, it was fun, mostly students as team members, and we had almost no turnover. And at the end of the year, we doubled our gross revenue. Well, so profitable. Yeah, so anyways, it was it was a real, it stayed with me. And that was that was in the late 80s. And that really stayed with me. So you know, trying to figure out where I fit in my 30s. And I came across an organization called strategic coach, and I hadn’t even recognized that I was coaching until I was in a structured coach program, right. And then that everything took off from there.
Amazing, amazing. So one of the things that fascinated me by your bio, and as I was looking through your site, and LinkedIn, and everything was your, your kind of dual focus, if you will, on customer experience, external facing and teamwork internal facing, which, you know, in the industry, lots of times you’ll have customer experience folks, and you’ll have kind of organizational design or or you know, leadership management. But very few people tie those two together, which, especially in the world of small business is absolutely essential. And again, again, when you have these large businesses that become so focused on themselves, it becomes a really, really big deal. Again, how do we get focus back on the customer? So we heard little bits and pieces of this, but why is it that you’re so there’s such a heavy conviction that you have to drive both?
Yes. So it’s a really important point that so thank you for focusing on it. It’s, for me, it’s it’s hand in glove or book ends. You know, I only work with entrepreneurs, businesses, I actually describe myself as a passionate advocate for locally owned businesses, right, I believe in thriving local businesses as a thriving community. And most of them don’t realize that what they sell isn’t their business. It’s just the vehicle for creating value in the value of your business. So that really was my starting point. It’s like for, for business owners to really understand where the power was, what differentiated them why people chose them what that was and defining them. But as soon as you do that, you have to engage the team because your team are the ones delivering experience. Is it an aligned experience to the value or does it take away from the value does it end up? You know, if you define and start Communicating Why choose your business and then your team doesn’t deliver an aligned experience, then, you know, you’re back to being commoditized, you completely negate back to being judged just on what you sell. So the team focus. And it’s, there are just a couple layers with that a lot of businesses, first of all, all owners tend to be good at whatever their business is. And what was it the E Myth? You know, well, I’m gonna say, you know, the E Myth with building structure around you when you’re good at whatever the business is. And then strategic coach in the book, who not how, with having the right people in place, right, you have to have to have the right people in place, but then they need to be set up to win. And what I found is that when you create an environment for the team to win, when they tap into the purpose of their role, yeah, in other words, they get to show up every day and have an impact, purpose led passion, really is what you’re tapping into. It’s like you wake up this incredibly productive machine that’s engaged, that’s committed, that shows up to make a difference that works well with each other, that creates great experiences that engages the customer, that for me, I think it’s the most important profit center on a business. And focusing on that it ties into you have to communicate the value upfront, you have to differentiate your business. But that piece becomes his engine in a business. Yeah. And that, for me, that’s just fun. It’s playful. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s rewarding. It turns everything on its head.
Yeah. So I love that you, you’ve kept using this word again, and again, and I believe intentionally, but like, we actually call the stage that most of these businesses function and fun. It’s actually the name of the stage is very, very technical term, I know, but you get it up off the ground, right? We call it early struggle, you get out of early struggle, and you’re in this second stage called fun. And, and that’s where, you know, most kind of locally owned businesses should actually stay right, there’s not necessarily a need to scale up into some massive thing. Sure, that’s wonderful. And you know, it’s a lot of it’s a lot of fun in its own way. But there’s something really special about that fun stage, but the relative simplicity of it. What I found, though, is that most owners, especially founders don’t recognize the the fun stage until they’ve left it. Right. One of the one of the main things we get because I do a lot of work in the next stage is called Whitewater. Not fun, right? And we actually realized that less of the guy who’s creating the model, my business partner now realized, he struggled for the longest time to name the fun stage, right? He’s like, What is it organic growth? Now? That’s kind of boring, is it? You know, what is it? And he realized, no one comes in says, I’m in the fun stage, what they do is they come in Whitewater and say, it’s not fun anymore. And so what I what I love about your approach to it is you’ve had the experience of being in a fun environment, right? And you caught how, how special that is, it’s not just about the profit and everything. It’s about genuinely structuring an organization that can have fun, because that’s actually the best way to drive profit in that fun stage. So I love that. Now, the challenge with it, though, like I mentioned, is that most folks don’t realize their infant, right? Not until it’s gone. They’re so concerned about all of the challenges, because it’s not easy, right? There’s so many things going on, especially for a founder, they’re doing the work right, to an extent while they’re also trying to get a team moving in the same direction. And that can be a challenge, right? So how do you help folks be here? The biggest thing is I just don’t have time for this, right? And also, like, what’s wrong with these people? is a big question that they’re asking, right? So how do you help them to take those first couple of steps in the direction of moving toward an aligned team around an aligned customer promise? What’s the how do you get that snowball rolling?
Yes, perfect. And and you said something, Scott, I don’t have time for this. So an interesting piece of the puzzle is I talked about setting your team up to win. And I believe there are four pillars of team success. And I’ll go through them, I’ll go through them quickly, because they’re not complicated. But each of the four pillars are time generators. So it takes effort to put them in place. However, when you have them in place, your teams working together, you’re not dealing with issue after issue after issue. What’s what’s, what’s the rule of thumb, you want to systematize the routine so you can humanize the exception. So we need this, you know the four pillars Does that team structure? So the first pillar is understanding the why of your business? Right? You know, the communicating the value, why choose you? And your team needs to understand what that is, because everyone’s delivering that. The second pillar are position agreements. That’s beyond job descriptions, job descriptions, usually identify the tasks in a roll out position agreement, goes, you know, identifies the task, but what’s the standards of success? Yeah, what’s the outcome? And how does this role contribute to the overall success of the business. So you want to identify results, not just tasks, right? The third, and your team’s already doing it. So it’s not like you have to recreate the wheel, it’s middle of capturing what your team is doing. The third pillar art is team communication. And it’s a fundamental if you do not have some level of basic communication in place, your team’s making it up. And most of the time, they’re making it up wrong. And you’re frustrated, and they’re frustrated. And they don’t feel in the loop. Yeah. Right. So basic communication, once a week, huddle could be daily, but at least once a week, huddle, maybe once a week, an hour long training once or twice a year retreat. But the very basic is a weekly huddle. The fourth pillar is regular feedback. So not just what’s not working, but also what is working, right. Rule of thumb is five to one, right five to one, acknowledging, wherever we put our attention, that’s what expands, you want to reinforce what is working while also dealing with what’s not working. And a key piece with this, one of the things I hear this a lot actually at the moment, is we just can’t find good people. So all of a sudden, I’ve seen business owners not pulled their team accountable, not put the structure in place afraid to rock the boat, because they don’t want to lose who they have. Because it’s hard to hire, hire someone new. Yeah. And the problem with that it’s actually causing, it’s causing what you don’t want. Oh, what’s his name? No, Scott. There, there’s a really, really good book, and I’ll see if it comes to me that he, he qualifies a players, B players, C players, a players show up and you just let them loose, and they’re going to produce results, you know, almost like give them the structure, given the context and let them go. See players produce results, but you have to manage them and see players are disengaged, actively or passively, they’re disengaged, maybe they’re the wrong fit. And they’re invulnerable, but they’re disengaged. So the challenge is, if you don’t create an environment for for a players to win, they will lead right, they will not your best team members will not stay in environment that they cannot win. So if you are talking about time generators, it’s like this vicious wheel. And of course, the owners frustrated and of course the team frustrated, right.
So that yeah, and there’s so much in there, you know, changing personnel is is, you know, it seems like one of the obvious choices, right? But it tends to be one of the harder ones as well. So, and to your point, you can swap everybody out. But if you swap in all eight players, and you haven’t built an environment for them to thrive, it’s not going to help much. So going back to this idea of how do we how do we start getting some momentum in this? Do you work those four pillars in that order? Or Or how do you how do you do that with a client?
You know, not necessarily they don’t have to be in order. You know, there is a there’s a flow to the four pillars one through four. But really my first thing if I was to start anywhere, would be having a weekly huddle. If the if a team if a company aren’t having, at a minimum, a weekly huddle, I would start there. Now saying that there are some businesses that we started with getting clarity and position agreements first. But the low hanging fruit or the weekly hurdles, and I’m talking 1520 minutes, everyone reports on what they accomplished last week, they talk you know, talk about what the key focus is this week, everyone says what they’re going to accomplish this week that they’re going to report on an X week, basic structure. But that alone will shift the culture in the company.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s so good. All right. So and then there’s so many different routes to run in this. But there’s a question that I like to ask all, all of my guests and I don’t want to miss it with you. I’m excited to hear what you have to say. And it’s this what’s the what’s the one thing the biggest secret that you wish wasn’t a secret at all? What’s that one thing that you wish everybody listening today knew?
That your team is the most important profit driver in your business? Well, you have to invest in your team. You have it’s you could say that it’s the owners responsibility to create a thriving, growing profitable business. And part of that is creating an environment that culture that the team gets to win. And if you do that, it’s like you unlock productivity and profit in your business. Let them go.
Yeah, yeah. And just for a second, because I know and I’ve been there a couple of times, but like, when you’re down in it, right, you’re in just that, like, you’re out of time you’ve hired a bunch of people, you don’t necessarily know how to manage them? Well, you feel like you’re out over your skis. It’s exhausting, right? You just wake up every day exhausted. So paint us a little bit of a picture, maybe even a story from a client, where you you met them there, right? You help them get these four pillars in place? What does life look like on the other side of that?
Hmm, absolutely. That, you know, you talked about fun, I talked about freedom. Right. So the other side of that it’s literally and and, Scott, you kind of talked about this, when, with an entrepreneur who has started their business, they went through that scrapping phases, like just figuring out what the model was what they were selling, building a team, you know, building a marketplace, and figuring out how it actually works. You know, the design is one thing, the practicals and other, right, so you go through that scrapping phase. And it’s, it’s kind of like you have to be a rugged individual, or you have to get things done. But when you go to the next phase, which is developing your team, which is putting that infrastructure in place, which is the Hunan have, which is, you know, creating an environment for them to win. The other side of that is freedom. So, all of a sudden, the an owner or an entrepreneur can spend time in growing the business. And often that’s what they’re passionate about what they love to do. Problem solving, you know, figuring out what next. But you can only do that when you’ve really created an environment for your team to thrive.
That’s so true. That is so true. So good. Next question here, I’m going to shift gears on you a little bit. And then love to hear I know that this is resonating with some folks that I like I have to know more. So we’ll help folks find out how to get with you in just a moment. But before we get there, I’m going to have you take off your coach, consultant advisor had put on your CEO hat of your own, if you will, and talk to us a little bit about what the next stage of growth looks like for you and your business and what challenge or challenges you think you’ll have to overcome to get there.
Perfect. But Scott to answer that I’ll go back because I live just outside of Toronto, Canada. And going through the last several years, we went through almost two years of lockdown, I had to completely reject my business model. Because what I used to do before was, in fact, my main target audience are independent pharmacy owners. And so I used to travel and do on sites. And I couldn’t do that. So that had me create this online program that I do a combination of live coaching and a three month you know, weekly training, that’s it’s all captured and just delivered in a drip. And so at an end yet that took off well beyond what I expected it to. So all of a sudden, you know, it’s just exploded, and we have an app coming out. So pharmacy success is our is our new app coming out. And we’ll have a free four pillars training in the app. It’s so we’re quite excited about that. So that’s our next piece is, you know, a little bit harnessing technology, going beyond the current market, and expanding and seeing what I like to say, you know, I launched what I thought would be successful, and then I paid attention to what people wanted more of. And so we’re going in that. So I’ve already got I’ve got some coaches being developed within our organization. So we’re in the scale, we’re very much testing phase and having fun with it.
How exciting, how exciting. I’m very cool. All right. So again, I know there’s some folks listening to this right now. And they’re like, yes, yes. And yes, you know, they’re in that place of, you know, they’re exhausted, they’re worn out, but they know that that it can be better. And and they just resonating with what you had to say how can how can they find out more about what you do in your business?
Perfect. Thank you, Scott. So my website is pattimara.com. And we’ve created a special page, a resource page that actually is a tool that people can download called the touchpoint scorecard and a short training on how to use it. It’s a way for your team to start looking from your customers perspective. And that is pattimara.com/secrets for secrets of a high demand coach. And then there’s actually a there is actually a we’re just basically developing the website right now but pharmacysuccess.com And on that page You can actually download the four pillars ebook.
Amazing amazing so pattimara.com/secrets. And pharmacysuccess.com. I love it. So head on over there, get the grab some of those resources. I had a chance to check out Patty site earlier and just full of fantastic information and you will not be disappointed. Well, Patti, thank you so much for being on the show. It was an absolute pleasure having you here. And for everyone listening today, your time and attention means the world to us. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as I did, and I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Patti Mara
Patti Mara has spent over 20 years helping companies and individuals take a fresh look at the way they operate. This unique insight helps them reach their full potential, enhancing customer experiences and dramatically increasing their growth, customer retention, and profit. In her coaching and her business, Patti is always looking for the “shifting point”—the piece of the puzzle that opens up a new level of results. She is the author of UpSolutions – Turning Your Team into Heroes and Customers into Ravings Fans; creator of The UpSolutions Team Success Training and The Business Accelerator Blueprint.
Want to learn more about Patti Mara’s work at Maranet Inc? Check out her website at https://www.pattimara.com/
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