Lori Irvine – Keeping Your Business Running On Rails | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Lori Irvine - Keeping Your Business Running On Rails | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

Lori is just as sharp and insightful as I remembered from our first chat, and we had another excellent talk in today’s episode. We focused a great deal on the lessons and skills we’ve all learned through the pandemic, and how important it is to use our newfound insights to shine a light on all the reasons why certain ways of working are still massively important. The connection and creativity of in-person work, the camaraderie that comes from sharing space together, and making sure that we don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” as we negotiate the different strengths and weaknesses of remote and in-person work.

I almost let Lori go after that conversation…but then I thought of another question I wanted to hear her take on. And she sure didn’t disappoint! Lori and I went on to discuss the power of “structured communication”, and how our systems for working together as teams (meetings, standups, agendas, tasking out, recording results, reviews, etc.) allow for everyone to bring their best work to the table, and keep your business “running on rails”.

In case you don’t remember Lori from her last episode, she’s an expert in professional empowerment; she motivates teams to maximize their capacity for excellence. She inspires by supporting clients in the discovery of their true potential. Lori enjoys meeting new people and is fascinated by their uniqueness. She’s open-minded and passionate about helping individuals to identify and enhance their strengths.

To learn more about Lori:

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Kevin Stafford 0:05
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the conversations with coaches podcast. I have a another another returning guests for you today. This is another one of my favorites, Laurie Irvine. Laurie is an expert in professional empowerment. She motivates teams to maximize their capacity for excellence she inspires by supporting clients in the discovery of their true potential. Lori enjoys meeting new people, of course, and is fascinated by their uniqueness. She is open minded and passionate about helping individuals to identify and enhance their strengths. Laurie, it’s really great to have you back on the you so much for coming back on the podcast, so we can converse some more.

Lori Irvine 0:43
My pleasure, my pleasure.

Kevin Stafford 0:46
So you are you’re one of the sharpest cookies, I’ve had a chance to talk to you I say sharp cookie, I mean that like you’re the sharpest knife in the drawer, that guy just taught me for this podcast. And so I love I’d love to get your, your thoughts, your opinions, your experiences on, let me see how I want to phrase this, we have a dynamic set of tools for communication now in 2023. And we’ve had it for years now, especially as we’ve transitioned or moved through whatever COVID that right now, or the pandemic is right now. And so we have like the tool we’re using right now zoom to be able to connect and talk and really like, you know, record a podcast, but also get to know each other better. Obviously, in person is always going to be in person, but it has its own challenges, you know, pandemics and sicknesses aside, telephones have existed for a very long time, but the way we use them has evolved quite a bit. Lots of people will never pick up the phone, if you call them no matter what the circumstances, they’ll demand that you not leave a message and you have to text them. So all that said, talk a little bit about what your experiences and your thoughts are on our communication tools for for coaching, in particular within the context of coaching and in business today, and how you how you use those tools and how you think they can be used maybe even better.

Lori Irvine 1:57
So communication for sure has to happen. And depending on whether or not you’re able to do it in person number one is in person. So impact with respect to impact, number one would be effective for effectiveness would be in person, because there’s body language, there’s other things that you can distract from communication in person different than you would from any other form of communication, secondary zoom would be the second way to go. And that would be because you still have a bit of the body language, you can see a little bit more of eye contact, those kinds of things. And then the last one obviously, would be through other kinds of communication. But frankly, the best way to be able to communicate and the best way that you can do that would be in person secondarily with Zoom, now that we’ve moved on a little bit more from the COVID protocols, I think it’s a really good idea to switch and a lot of people are kind of stuck in the sense that while during COVID, we did it this way, during COVID, we kind of stopped our meetings, those kinds of things are the things that are red flags to me with respect to coaching teams, is Yeah, we did that for a while. But now we’ve moved on. So how are you to get back to what we used to do when we used to meet? How do we get back to meeting in person, those kinds of things are some of the things that are a struggle with change management right now. So I say let’s let’s go back to what we used to do, because we know that that used to work. And what we did before and during COVID was what we had to do in order to be able to bridge the gap, which was zoom calls, phone calls, whatever right now, I think it’s more or less get back to where we used to be.

Kevin Stafford 3:44
And it’s funny too, because a lot of people will, they’ll look at what we were doing in this, as this bridge, bridging the gap as what we were doing to try to get through the gap that was a COVID-19 a pandemic and a lock downs and all that stuff. But what I think too few people do, too few still planning. But I think more and more people are doing and should be encouraged to do is to look at this as not a chance to replace some old model with something new. But to look back at what we were doing and look to improve it based on the lessons we’ve learned. You know, you don’t have to just throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Although that might not be the best metaphor. It’s when I like to use a lot because you’re throwing babies is like Whoa, don’t do that. But we have so much we have so much extra perspective I think that we did not have before the pandemic about what the value of the in person communication is what the potency of the in the room moments, the brainstorms the moments of serendipity, the inspiration, the creativity that can flow that can really only come from that kind of interaction. And I feel like there’s there’s a real opportunity here to look the way that we did things before and learn to not just value them for what they were but also improve upon them. While reimbursing them now, on the other side of what we just went through with, you know, forced to remote and use the tools that we have at our disposal not to replace an old way but to enhance it and to grow it that I like to use the term change management, I think that’s a very, that’s a very important, it’s a very important concept for people to keep in mind or change, managing the change that is going to come whether you like it or not, whether you’re ready for it or not, and really just look for improvement rather than replacement that vibe with you, as I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

Lori Irvine 5:32
Absolutely, I think then during COVID, I think a lot of people started to get a real feel for what, how to appreciate and how to understand and bring value to what are some of the things that we have in place that we lost for that time. So a lot of times when I work with teams, and they talk about the morning huddle, or the daily strategy meeting, you know, what is it that we get from that? Why is that important to us? Right? So what brings more importance to that is knowing when it’s gone, what does it look like, when it’s gone? What is the outcome when it’s gone, there’s things missing, there’s missing communication, there’s missing, we don’t understand what’s going on day to day, we don’t really have a vibe on what what the day looks like it takes away from managing the stress in the day. So while during COVID, when we take away the systems that we had in place before, it’s a true appreciation of WoW, when those things are missing, this is the kind of things that were the fallout of coming back from this and not being able to manage those systems. And what are some of the things that made our day a little bit more stressful? What are some of the things that gotten away? Right? Yeah, so it was a true appreciation of wow, these are why these systems are in places why this is important to us. This is why we should continue them. So in a way the experience of COVID was, we can’t do it now. But we need to bring it back. So why is it that it’s important? Ended up being like a point for discussion as to this is why we do these things. And most adults understand things and want to do things that are more motivated to do things according to why does it make sense to us? How does that make a difference in my day? What is it what’s in it for me right to be able to put this process forward. So in this sense of communication, a lot has happened with respect to before and after what was available in COVID. And that is, we just need to talk to our people, we need to speak to one another, we need to be more comfortable in speaking with one another. And that’s a whole nother ballgame. But we need to speak to each other in a way that we need to do what we can what’s best it because it’s in everybody’s interest to make the day go as smooth as we can with what we have in our resources and what we know in our schedule, right?

Kevin Stafford 8:09
Yeah, it’s just like an invitation to if, for whatever reason, I Well, for whatever reason, I think it kind of kind of vibes with what we’re talking about here. But the that classic line absence makes the heart grow fonder. And it’s like it’s, it’s kind of a cousin to I’m thinking about how it’s like, well, we had this thing, and we were we were doing things a certain way. And I think a lot of us were doing them, they were we were doing them that way. We were doing them unconsciously, even as they were giving us the value that we needed. And they were carrying us forward, it was a structure that was carrying a lot of weight. We weren’t very aware of the value or aware of the potential and the pitfalls. And also, you know, going along with that we weren’t talking about them. We weren’t conversing about them. And so now we’ve had this, this gap that we’ve bridged, and we’re looking around, we’re like, Okay, now we’re gonna think about why were we doing it that way? Why are why should we do it that way? Now? How should we how can we evolve that to be even better than it was before? And that’s, that’s sparking and provoking conversations like this, like, oh, okay, now I understand more about why I’m doubly excited to go to go back to this particular way of things, because now it’s like, I’ve seen life without it. I’ve seen life without the morning, huddles, or without the, you know, the creativity of the group. I’ve seen life without those structures. And I, I realized now how much weight they were carrying, how much how much weight, how much structure they were supporting, it’s like, okay, now I know my why. And I’m being supported by those structures. Let’s go. Yeah, I’m stumped. I’m getting like almost excited thinking about I’m like, imagine in the conversations I’m having with people. I’m getting excited about their excitement and their understanding.

Lori Irvine 9:35
Absolutely. Yeah. So it’s important for people to understand the value of it there. It’s important that people understand what the y is. And if you look at Simon cynics book, The Power of y all those kinds of things, what is meaningful to me and with respect to why this is important with my day to day and acknowledging your team for This important for all of us. And this is why and this is what is going to be the outcome in the event that we are able to communicate in the best way that we can, with a way that is most impactful, which is in person, right. And to be able to dispel any kind of, you know, things that can happen moving forward, and do a risk assessment on how we can manage the day in the best way that we can with the communication we have in place moving forward. And to make it a day that works best for everybody, right.

Kevin Stafford 10:38
Before I hit record, we were talking about how long this would go. And I was like sometimes the conversation just kind of there’s so many different jumping off points. And but also sometimes the the conversation comes to a nice, natural close. And I feel like I’m kind of torn because I have like a half dozen different ways. I feel like we can carry the conversation. But also we’ve been chatting, we’ve been recording for a little over 10 minutes. Now I’m like, you just you sum that up perfectly right there. And I was like, That’s why That’s why I wanted to sit there for a couple of seconds, let the silence risks. I was like that was just that was very well said Laurie, do I want to go anywhere else with that? And so I’m thinking, You know what, I do have one one little addition, I think I want to make to this or maybe an audition but something else I wanted a different angle, which look at this. So I’m wondering how, how are you approaching these conversations and you in your coaching practice with people who are looking to the people who are just looking for how to conduct themselves professionally, in 2023? And beyond? How are those conversations? I know it’s really early in the year. But how are those conversations going for you right now in your in your in your coaching practice?

Lori Irvine 11:37
So we’re talking about a? So let me just ask you this. So when you’re talking about professionalism, are you talking about within the team? Are you talking about with customers?

Kevin Stafford 11:47
I think within the team is what I’m most what I’m most interested in right now, obviously, they both both, both of those have very fruitful paths to go down. But I’m thinking in particular because with with the team dynamics,

Lori Irvine 11:59
okay, so if you’re talking about like structured meetings, yeah. I could talk about structured meetings, and I can talk about how you have to follow a structure. Because if you don’t do it that way, then it’s a little bit. I don’t know how to say it. If it’s structured, then it’s there’s a little bit more accountability and all that kind of stuff. If you want me to go there.

Kevin Stafford 12:23
That’s a great word for that. Yeah, absolutely.

Lori Irvine 12:26
Okay, so you just bring it up, you’re gonna edit this right?

Kevin Stafford 12:31
Well, I mean, I might leave this part in.

Lori Irvine 12:34
Okay. All right. So most people find, okay, let me go with it. Okay, so most people find, one of the things that I find that is very valuable to clients is something that they didn’t have that they used to have before that at least a thought that they had before. And that was a good structured way of communicating with their team. Unfortunately, a lot of people see that as something that’s easy to do. But you have to put structure around that just like you would any other Protocol, or any other policy that you would with an organization because communication is a system just like any other system, whether it’s to gauge productivity or gauge performance, a system for communication is just as important is anything else. And it deserves a structure that surrounds what it is and what it means. And everybody has to understand how to follow through with that. Typically, a structure of communication deals with, we need to make sure that that everybody that’s involved in that conversation, which is the team has a venue of communication. So everybody has to understand when is the communication going to happen. So first step is to make sure that everybody has a team meeting in place so that everybody knows that there’s going to be a venue of communication to come. Prior to the team meeting, it’s important that everybody puts forth, whatever they have is ideas or whether it’s an idea and innovation or if it is an issue that needs to be discussed or problem solved within the meeting that needs to be brought forth ahead of time. The reason it has to be brought forth ahead of time is because it gives everybody an opportunity to be able to think about and strategize ways to get through issues prior to the meeting. So they’re all set up for the meeting before they even show up. When those things are in place, the meeting can happen and everybody’s comfortable with what’s going to be presented because they all know what it is ahead of time. They all have some ideas or solutions to bring forward to the meeting ahead of time, and they’re able to come up with some kind of action or initiative or a conclusion or resolve before before the meeting even happens and then they just talk it through within the meeting. What has to happen after that then is the follow up up, what are the action items? What are the things that we’ve decided, according to the issues, the problems, the solutions? What are we going to do to make positive change? Those things have to be recorded within the SMART goals. So they have to have an end date, they have to have a who’s going to do it, when’s it going to be done by? Right? So it has to have like a SMART goal. So it has to be specific, measurable, time based all those things, to make sure that when the next meeting happens, you can look back and say, Wow, okay, so this is what we can acknowledge this is what’s been done so far, this is what still needs to be done, we’re moving forward to there’s momentum. And that is already positive recognition and positive reinforcement to move forward. Those things, even though they don’t seem like they’re systems, they are systems in order to move forward. It’s, it’s key to communication structure, communication is way different than casual communication. If you want results

Kevin Stafford 16:03
100% I, for whatever reason, I think this makes sense. But you, you don’t really think of the rails of a train the rails, the train runs on as a structure, you don’t really think of them that way. They’re just what the train runs on. But without those rails in place, the train is not going anywhere, you can you can you can, you can put all the power in the world you’ve got and it’ll, it’ll grind its way slowly, but surely nowhere. But with those rails, you can really go places. And I feel like that’s, that, for me. That’s exactly what you’re talking about. I felt like I felt like I just locked into a rail. And I started just like gliding because like I think about meetings I go into, like when I love the the pre structure, that earliest structure for communication, because when everybody knows what’s on the table to be discussed, it allows everyone to bring their best foot forward, they have time to think to consider and to bring ideas to bring their own to put their own best foot forward, because they have an idea of what’s going to be discussed and what’s going to be prioritized, what’s going to be valued. And so everybody’s bringing their best because they’ve got the opportunity to bring their best. And then going through that their structure to action things out, and how to assign time and responsibilities. And so there’s so much that doesn’t have to be thought about because it’s already been thought about all that all that structure, stuff has already been carefully planned out and laid out so that everyone can bring their best to every stage of the process, from conversation and communication through action into accomplishment and review. It’s everything is laid out, and everyone’s able to do their best work. It, it excites me, it really excites me because I again, I feel my like my body clicked into the rails. And I’m just gliding forward with with a little bit of power going along way

Lori Irvine 17:44
100%. And that’s what the team feels. So if the team feels are engaged in decision making, and the team feels that they are being recognized or acknowledged for what they’re going to bring forward, it makes a whole difference in the amount of engagement and the employee satisfaction with respect to Oh, somebody’s listening to me, oh, people understand where I’m coming from frontline. Like those are the things are the gems, and a lot of times that gets ignored. And to have a venue of communication to be able to tap into those things. And to be able to get people involved to help with those things. And to delegate certain tasks. It’s a great way to provide synergy and to provide a balance in the load of what’s important and to indicate everybody into where do we want to move from here, we’re all in this together in this company or in this organization. We all want to contribute to that, how can we do that best? And what can you do to provide that and just alone, being able to, for people to understand that yeah, we’re listening to you and we understand where you’re coming from and we’re hearing you that alone is acknowledgement. So I think you know when with with respect to be able to bring us together as a team effort, and to bring this together with respect to acknowledgment and engagement and in a company. These are crucial things and opportunities that a lot of times are missed, right?

Kevin Stafford 19:23
Yeah, absolutely. I am I’m so glad I asked her that that follow up question. Laurie thing we’ve talked for almost a half an hour now. Thank you so much for coming back on. I have I can think of I just I love like I said I wasn’t just blowing smoke up you but you are one of the sharpest knives I’ve got a chance to talk to you and I love the way that you structure your thought and your communication. It just it makes so much sense to me in ways it also gives me things to think about and and go further with. So yeah, thank you for who you are. for talking to me. This has been great. Oh I’m sorry. That may have you back on again, these conversations they always go interesting directions that, yeah, I’m never quite sure where they’re gonna go. But I’m always happy with where they land. I could I couldn’t hope for anything more. So yeah, once again, thank you, Laurie for coming on. I really appreciate your time today. I appreciate it to and to the audience out there, I hope but secretly, I know that you got a lot out of this conversation. If you ever want to get to know Laurie better. When you can find her on her website, go to her LinkedIn profile, you can go you can go everywhere from her LinkedIn profile. She’s she’s there, she exists. She’s lovely. She is smart, and she will make your business better just by talking with her. I already feel more structured in my own like business dealings just for having spoken with her. So you’ve heard this whole you’ve heard this conversation. Go back and listen to our first one. It’s been a while since I have I think we recorded like, you know, six, nine months ago, however long ago was the first one too is just just as good. So anyway, thank you for listening, and we’ll talk to you again very soon. Thank you

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