Today, we’re excited to unveil the secrets of effective leadership with Lisa Gonzalez, a seasoned EOS implementer and the visionary author behind the groundbreaking book Process.

Lisa Gonzalez’s passion for supporting entrepreneurial leaders and their teams has been a driving force throughout her career. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, she developed a keen understanding of business operations and the importance of streamlined processes.

Her journey from practicing law to becoming a professional EOS implementer showcases her commitment to helping businesses thrive.

Join us as we embark on a strategic adventure with Lisa, exploring her insights and experiences in transforming businesses through the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

Watch the episode above or listen over at Spotify. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next great servant leader’s story!

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Episode Transcript

Nicholas Paulukow
So, welcome to Servant Leader’s Library, where leadership transforms and strategies take flight. Picture this, a dynamic force in the world of business strategy, an EOS implementer, and the visionary author behind the game-changing book Process. Today, we unveil the secrets of effective leadership with Lisa Gonzalez, a strategic leader dedicated to transforming businesses.

Get ready for a journey into the heart of proven driven success and servant leadership. I’m your host, Nick Paulukow, and this is Servant Leadership Library. Buckle up for a strategic adventure like no other.

So, let’s introduce our guest today. Lisa Gonzalez has been passionate about supporting entrepreneurial leaders and their team’s success since she was a young adult. Lisa grew up in an entrepreneurial family that was pursuing the American dream in Southern California.

She often jumped in to help many businesses run more effectively. Lisa graduated from UCLA and attended law school at the University of Texas. After practicing law for several years in Denver, Colorado, she missed the world of entrepreneurs and joined the operations team at a startup residential remodeling firm that was expanding to multiple locations in the United States.

After years of using various tools to improve operations with varying success, she implemented EOS in the residential remodeling firm, and it made all the difference. The startup grew to over $20 million in revenue, generated consistent profits, documented and simplified its processes, and developed a leadership team that was healthy and happy in their personal lives. The impact was so profound that Lisa became committed to sharing EOS with other growth-minded companies.

She transitioned out of the organization to become a professional EOS implementer. Today she is thrilled to help other entrepreneurs get what they want from their business and their lives. Lisa is a former board member of Young Professionals and a member of EO and Vistage.

She’s also a Titan 100 sponsor. She is passionate about supporting you and your leadership team and will help you take your business to the next level. Let’s welcome Lisa.

We’re excited to have you on the podcast today. Wow, what a career journey. That’s pretty amazing.

Can you kind of give us a little idea of what that looked like? That seems very impressive.

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely, thank you. I wanna first just say thank you. Thank you for inviting me to be on this podcast and to meet your people.

I love getting to know other entrepreneurs and organizations and the people that surround them to help just really impact and improve the lives of the people working with you. So just thanks for inviting me. I was really excited when you reached out to me and I thought it was a great opportunity to connect.

So thanks for having me here. Absolutely, it’s our honor.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, it’s our honor. You’re a very impressive leader and we’re really excited to learn from you today.

Lisa Gonzalez
Well, absolutely, my pleasure. So what was, I missed your original question. I just wanted to really just express my gratitude for being here.

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh, absolutely. Kind of just explain to the listeners a little bit about that impressive career, right? Like we all kind of go through that journey, right?

As myself is starting multiple businesses, you were keen in your write-up that it says that we’ve tried many things, but you finally found a system and you state that that’s EOS. So kind of help us understand that journey a little bit. What were the struggles?

What were the successes that kind of led you to that EOS model?

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely, I think it ties so well with your podcast too, because we, I grew up, as you mentioned, with a family of entrepreneurs and we did a lot of things right and a lot of things not so great. And so what’s not written down there, but I think if you’ve been in entrepreneurial life or a leader in an entrepreneurial company, you know what’s between the lines. You can read between the lines, which is a lot of, we’ve taken out money against our 401k and against our home to resurrect a business that was dying across the country.

Wow. And the amount of staff training and turnover and all the things that we experienced, that’s not written in there, but I think a lot of entrepreneurs know the unwritten. So yeah, we had a great organization.

We had a startup in the residential remodel space. I left the practice of law to join that in operations because I knew we were gonna open up in multiple cities. And that’s a lot of fits and starts.

Along the way, realized, well, I’ll step back. We had opened up an office in DC and we were great at selling, hit revenue goals out of the gate, but couldn’t really deliver on the product. And so I was, with my legal background, I was also on some level in kind of the first place when things started to go south where customers would call and employees would call.

And I really managed a lot of the struggles that we were having there and realized we were in trouble. And it all, frankly, came back to process. We had opened up one market in Minnesota, had a person with a lot of kind of tribal knowledge of our company that was able to repeat our processes in that other market.

With the companies headquartered in Colorado that we opened in Minnesota. When we expanded to DC, we hired people that we didn’t know at all. We thought they were, we paid a top dollar for them and thought they know what they’re doing, they’re gonna do great, but we didn’t give them any of the tools to be successful and with including our special sauce and our secret sauce.

And so didn’t give them the processes and very quickly within a year that we had to close the office down. We took out money against our own personal savings, rebuilt the product, the construction jobs that had not gone so well. And then we kind of left with our tail between our legs.

And I said that we vowed never to open up another office again. And then about a year later we did.

Nicholas Paulukow
That is amazing. I mean, you’re explaining kind of the standard entrepreneurial journey that not many people see, right? They see the success of a business and they’re like, wow, you did such a great job.

You must be so happy. But you’re explaining kind of the bruises that we all get, right? Like as we grow and develop a business, there is so many ups and downs.

It’s very highs and lows and you have to have some thick skin. But you talked about kind of recovering the business based on process. So what does that mean?

Process means different things to everyone. What did you have to do that made that secret sauce able to be replicated in areas that you weren’t very close to?

Lisa Gonzalez
Right, well, this is a great example. I’m a great example of what not to do and then figure it out along the way. And so when it comes to, I don’t know what the counter to servant leadership is, but after DC, I decided that’s never going to happen again.

And we did a kind of a postmortem and I decided to single-handedly capture all of our processes for the company to help both the two markets that were existing and having a hand that we’d probably open again. So I didn’t tell anybody in the leadership team and I worked nights and weekends documenting everything that I understood and interviewing and capturing the things I didn’t understand and rolled it out to my leadership team months later and said, ta-da, probably expecting to be put on people’s shoulders or maybe a small street named after me or something like that. And because of my terrible leadership at the time, of course, no one engaged.

People didn’t, they weren’t enrolled in the first place. The way I did it was completely wrong. It’s opposite of how I wrote in the book.

It’s I documented 100% of the steps for everything and how you do it. Super high detail. If you think of like a six-inch binder, it was just stuffed to the brim of like, this is how you do everything short of turning the handle to walk in the door of the office.

And that was just coming from a lot of anxiety and fear of like I didn’t want to lose money again and so I was leaving nothing to chance, right? And so I rolled it out and no one looked at it and even I, very quickly it made its way behind my desk on a very inaccessible bookshelf and I thought I didn’t pay much attention to it either because it was too detailed. No one else was even engaged in the process.

It was a perfect example of what not to do for your listeners out there and for anybody. And when I speak to people and companies on process or I speak to groups, so many people in the audience will nod their head of like, yeah, I tried that too. Just like I did it.

I captured it all and no one used it and so.

Nicholas Paulukow
Right. Well, and is that the difference between like process and like procedure? Like, did you feel that maybe your first book had processes but also procedures in there?

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely, I went very deep in your screenshots of how you log in all the way down and everything so. And so absolutely and what we teach in the book and what I teach to my teams now and workshops that I do is we do very high-level approaches, especially in an entrepreneurial company. We capture high-level, 20% of the major steps that will get you 80% of the way there because your company is moving and changing and so we capture what are the core processes we need to capture that we know to help people understand this is the right way to do things.

Nicholas Paulukow
Way to do it.

Lisa Gonzalez
And we know that maybe the procedures and sub-processes, whatever you call those things, those will change along the way, but as a high level, we’re gonna first look at this high-level approach, core processes, then we can do the sub-processes and everything else once we get people on board with identifying the right and best way.

Nicholas Paulukow
And what did you mean earlier that you said, so we’re all learning, right? So inquisitive of kind of your journey, but you said, hey, at that time, I felt like I was a bad leader. Maybe I misrepresented what you said, but to you, why did you feel that way?

What led you to feel that way?

Lisa Gonzalez
Oh, it was, well, thank you. You didn’t misrepresent, that’s probably what I said. Because I was, you know, I had come from a culture of either grinding it out and getting it done and I had been a lawyer beforehand and so I very much had a, you know, I’m gonna tell you how things need to be done approach and, you know, just drive for results.

And it’s an exhausting way to live life and to be a leader. And so, you know, decades later, that’s hopefully not how I show up anymore, Ben. But it’s, you know, my family was also, I have many lawyers in my family.

So I come from a family of lawyers and entrepreneurs. And so it just was the natural way to communicate. And it was incredibly ineffective and not kind.

And it didn’t really align with who I am as a person, but it’s just how I thought a leader showed up.

Nicholas Paulukow
I see. So like at that time, so that’s intriguing, right? So like at law school, you’re told to, I never went to law school, so I can’t even pretend, but I would only assume working with lawyers that you’re kind of taught to negotiate and to be right, right?

So like, I mean, that’s what gives you confidence and be able to do your job very well. So you’re saying that that was kind of the skill that you were taught to be successful in that career was not necessarily the secret sauce kind of when leading a team, you know? And so what did you have to do to kind of, was it trial and error or how did you move through that?

Lisa Gonzalez
All of the above. It was, you know, we, there’s so many things to say here. So I think as a result of being a part of great peer groups like Vistage and EO, and I was an EO spouse member and a YPO spouse member, today I’m an EO member, but so being a part of those groups, I was always kind of consuming, and even as a kid, consuming business books and understanding business stuff, whether it was on how to run your business or just leadership.

And along the way, something clicked. I think specifically when I became a lawyer, I worked in a big law firm and a corporate law firm and just started to observe what that looked like in mass of seeing other people like me and realizing that really wasn’t the model that I felt was in alignment with my own values, frankly. I think it also arose, frankly, in, even in my marriage.

You know, early on in my marriage, I’m married to a very, miraculously still married to this very, very nice person from the Midwest. And the way he communicated was so different. You know, I’m also Puerto Rican, so the way I communicate is so different and my family’s from the East Coast, just everything was so different.

And I realized that there’s an effective way to communicate that doesn’t have to, like winning is not the goal necessarily in a marriage or in any relationship. And so I many times would really think to myself, I could win this argument, but at what cost? Because I’m a lawyer, like I can do those things.

And so, yeah, be persuasive or do the things I need to do, but that wasn’t the goal. So yes, to answer your question in a very kind of vulnerable way is like, I just realized I can win the battle and lose the war kind of approach and that’s not my goal in my life. And so I really realized, you know, when you talk about servant leadership, that’s, you know, what would Jesus do?

And that’s, as a Christian, I started to lean more into that of like, this is the goal and what’s gonna help not, you know, not only me and my family, but my clients and my community and the world is that type of approach, you know, being an active listener and being more empathetic and all the things that the world, the corporate world that I had come from didn’t necessarily support showing up that way.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s a great way to say that. I think also too, it’s like that humbleness, right? Like Patrick Lencioni says, like, you know, show up humble, hungry and smart and you’re like, you embody all those, right?

Like you’re a humble, you know, as you grew, you became more humble, it sounds like, and yet you’re hungry to continue to strive to be successful and smart. I think, what does he say? You just understand your trait, right?

Like, and you continue to improve it. And I think what’s really important for those that are listening too, is that this is a lifestyle, like you’re continually learning if you want to improve. I work with a lot of people that wanna become leaders and they think, oh man, for 10 years I did this job so I should just lead, right?

Like I can just lead this organization when in reality they’re so used to doing it on their own and now they have to switch from more of a humble perspective of, it’s about the people that I lead, not about myself anymore. And that’s hard for a lot of people to make a transition. It’s very hard for them to be able to understand that.

So I really appreciate you opening up about that. It helps us all learn as well. That’s great.

Oh wow, so also family from the West Coast and you’re from the East Coast. Is that right?

Lisa Gonzalez
Yeah, well my family members, like my cousins are all from the East Coast and from Puerto Rico, but I grew up in Southern California.

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh wow, that’s different.

Lisa Gonzalez
My married family’s from the Midwest, so yeah, exactly.

Nicholas Paulukow
Wow, you have all the cultures.

Lisa Gonzalez
Yeah, well and learning through the school of hard knocks along the way, maybe people would have captured it more quickly, but I’ve realized there was some change, I’d say maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I was like, look, what I’m doing isn’t working, let’s figure something else out.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s amazing because that’s just the tried and true piece of an entrepreneur, right? Like we don’t stop and we work to improve and change. And you even took that further.

So you developed a process for the business that you were leading at that time to become successful, but then you even took it further and created a whole book about it. So like, I mean, it must have been that successful that you’re like, I have to share this with everyone. So kind of explain a little bit, I think in the book, you explore like the relationship between process-driven strategies and maybe adding some servant leadership into there.

Can you kind of go over that a little bit? What drew you to create this book in its essence?

Lisa Gonzalez
Sure, well, it’s part of, it’s all part of the journey of just the business growth we had. So as I mentioned, I did a lot of, we made it processes and captured a lot of detail. No one used it and we kept kind of just pushing.

We ended up opening an office in Naperville, Illinois. And this time though, we had already adopted EOS. Someone had handed us the Traction.

We didn’t know there were amazing EOS implementers out there like my peers and I, well, there goes the humble, right? But there’s a lot of people out there that can help you with EOS.

Nicholas Paulukow
No, that’s just confidence, that’s confidence, right?

Lisa Gonzalez
No, that was all. But I just want the world to know like we implemented ourselves, which you can do. And even I think Gino Wickman has said, like you can take that book and implement and we did it.

And it gave us a lot of great results. We implemented and we started, got all the promises. We got consistent revenue, consistent profit.

We grew our leadership team into an amazing group of cohesive and fun and loving people. And so the promises of EOS came true. It just took about five years longer than it needed to because we just, we were figuring it out as we went.

When I got a copy of that book, Traction, almost 10 years ago now, I went straight to the process page and did the approach that EOS recommends. And that’s where we started to get that leverage. And so then, fast forward five years later, I saw the benefits and became an EOS implementer because I wanted to bring EOS to everybody, to the world.

And so been blessed with just a great EOS journey myself and getting to see other companies benefit from just implementing EOS. Along the way, EOS was looking for the next co-author in the Traction library and I was selected and I was fortunate to work with the former visionary of EOS as well, Mike Payton. And so we wrote the book, launched it a couple of years ago and it’s been incredibly well-received because nothing like it exists.

It’s the, you know, don’t, it’s, we wrote it for my visionaries, like just to have them engage just enough to make it successful so they can get all the stuff they want from their business, freedom and growth and scalability and time to innovate rather than just constantly working on the same problems over and over and over again. And so that’s where that, that’s kind of where that, that’s how that happened. It’s been beautiful.

The EOS community has really embraced it and I get to speak and talk about process all the time which is really fun. And I get to do workshops and train other people on doing this work to really get results in like the least painful and hopefully a fun way that, the most fun way possible. That’s how that all played out.

Nicholas Paulukow
And for those who don’t know it, which I can’t believe they wouldn’t, but those that don’t know EOS, give a little understanding of what you and I understand as EOS. And you said the results, but can you kind of give a little understanding of what EOS is in its entirety?

Lisa Gonzalez
Correct. Sorry, and I hate when I jump into acronyms early. So EOS stands for-

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh, no, that’s all right. I’m in, I’m the technology field. Everything’s an acronym. So I apologize.

Lisa Gonzalez
Thanks for stopping me there. So EOS stands for the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It was started by Gino Wickman and his partner, Don Tinney, about maybe 15 years ago.

And it helps companies get better at three things that we call vision, traction, and healthy. So vision, through the work we do, and it’s not a software, but it’s just an operating system for your business. So vision’s getting everyone in your organization 100% aligned on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

And then traction is instilling discipline and accountability at all levels of the organization so that everywhere you look, everyone understands the vision and has the rhythms and tools to execute on that vision. And then healthy, because of the work that we do as in our companies that are running on EOS, we’re just very open and honest and we address the issues. And so we’ve become very healthy because we attack what’s getting in our way.

And so we’ve become more cohesive, more fun as a team. And so we first started at the leadership team level, and then we worked throughout the rest of the organization after the leadership team has done some work to make sure we’ve gotten that momentum. And it’s when people work with an implementer, it’s a minimum two-year journey or just mindset that this is the work we’re going to do to help you get what you want from your business.

And so it’s like the best career anybody could ever have and the best, when people work in companies running on EOS, they all, it just gets woven into how you run your business. And you just get to, we say, not only run a better business, but you just get to live a better life, which is why we, I love this work so much because I get to make that type of impact, not only for my leadership teams, but in the lives of their employees and more so like when those employees go home and they’re happier people and their kids are happier and the community is better. So it’s just this like amazing gift that keeps on giving.

And because I’ve done it so long, I get to see like the dreams really do come true. And it’s just such a blessing.

Nicholas Paulukow
It is a blessing. You’re absolutely right. I think you kind of paired to what you said earlier when you were starting that business, and then you kind of met EOS and it kind of just amplified or in our world we call traction, right?

What would you say like are the one or two things in the beginning that were kind of aha moments that allowed you to get some more traction? I know you self-implemented, but what were kind of the key things that helped you and your team kind of cohesively get together and be successful right away?

Lisa Gonzalez
So many things. And now I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of sessions with other companies. So I get to get the globally share in my experiences.

And it’s clarity for my leadership teams. It’s people being in the right seats. I think the visionaries under, so the founders typically of my companies, entrepreneurs, and I’d love to talk more about that too, but my founders really seeing their value in what they bring to an organization beyond just working endless hours in areas that they’re probably not in that stride on.

So helping them get better at putting the right people in the right seats, people that are really great at doing the thing they’re great at, and letting my visionaries be free to do the great stuff they do, whether it’s relationships or company culture, or just solving a problem with five minutes of thought because they have such a different way of thinking about things. I come from a family of, as you know, entrepreneurs are my children. I have those same kind of qualities to some of my children.

And I think that kind of creative, high energy, you know, often ADHD people that are so valuable to this world and that they see the world in such a different place. And I think often those are the people that, you know, school didn’t work so great for them. And me getting to sit in the room with them and say like, and you are seen and your value’s amazing is, I feel like it’s like what I’ve been put on this earth to do because these are the people that, you know, that say we’re gonna go to the moon or have a new idea.

And they actually, if they can get people around them to help them execute it, they can go on and innovate on the next thing. So yeah, it’s amazing. I talk about it forever.

So yeah, I’m interested.

Nicholas Paulukow
It is amazing.

Lisa Gonzalez
My favorite conversation.

Nicholas Paulukow
I get excited about it too, right? So one, we’ve been with EOS for maybe about three years going on three and a half years, maybe a little longer. And what I thought was interesting is I just thought I was weird, right?

Like as this bigger thinker, nobody ever understood me. So I’m like, I must just be a misunderstood person. And so as the business grew, then actually going through the process actually helped me realize that I wasn’t crazy.

Like, and that sounds weird, right? Like, but at a certain point you’re like, hey, you’re used to working with doers and executors. And they’re like, who is this guy?

He changes his ideas every five minutes. When in reality, I wasn’t changing my ideas. I was just talking to the wrong people.

And what was really empowering is what they call about kind of that visionary integrator and unnoticed us, we had the integrator, but there wasn’t a system to be able to actually talk about that separation. And when that happened, it was a huge aha moment of like, hey, we’re not as crazy as we thought. You actually, there is other, my integrator said, there is other people in this world like you in a kidding, jovial way.

But it was a very big aha moment of like, wow. Like, this can really hold back a lot of organizations if people are misunderstood.

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely. Well, it holds back human beings because if you’ve been told your whole life, focus, stick with one thing, follow through all the things that visionaries don’t do, it’s putting a square peg in a round hole. And I think there’s educational systems that I could have a whole conversation about too, but we need our visionaries.

And for those that aren’t familiar with the term, it’s typically the founders of an organization and they come to every meeting with 20 new ideas. They’re big picture thinkers. They’re actually creative problem solvers.

Think of all your creatives that are founders of companies. They’re willing to take risks, all those qualities of visionaries. If you haven’t read the book, there’s a book called Rocket Fuel that defines this relationship.

And little bonus tip, I believe I am married to a visionary. I am married to a visionary and I believe Rocket Fuel also just helps you understand like your marriage, because if you understand that the person that’s saying, kids don’t have to go to bed, let’s travel, let’s live in Costa Rica for a year. And as a very operational person, I’m like, no, I actually want people to go to bed on time and I want us to live in one city or all that.

So if you understand the balance and the benefit and between that relationship and that dynamic, if you respect each person’s qualities, Rocket Fuel is you can go to the moon if you combine them and respect them both. And so whole other topic there we can have another time.

Nicholas Paulukow
It actually is a great topic though, because it talks about kind of, you talk about a lot about process, but that process is also like, where does everyone fit? You used the term earlier, like right people in the right seat and kind of everybody kind of respecting and knowing where they sit and where they contribute, I think was key, right? It sounds very basic, like, well, this is where you contribute, but knowing that there is a structure where you can contribute.

I think that I’m smiling because you say about like at home, right? The same concept. So when that was figured out, it was like, okay, my children have similar capabilities and we had to work with them on how to communicate.

So we use Colby’s, which is part of EOS and different things that said, hey, listen, we’re all similar but different, but this is might be the best way to communicate to your mother who has system and process, whereas you might be creative and detailed and might have a hundred ideas. However, you have no intention of doing all a hundred ideas, but you’ve already frustrated the person working with you if they don’t know that that is not action, right? I think a lot of it was always around-

Lisa Gonzalez
We’ll make it happen.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, right. Yeah, I think they’re afraid of like visionaries in the standpoint of all those ideas are they’re just gonna now run with and make everybody else’s life difficult. And I think that is not the intention, but it is neat to see how it works in our personal and business life.

Lisa Gonzalez
Yeah. And in fact, since we’ve been a part of running EOS in our business for 10 years, we actually do run it at home as well. So we have weekly level 10 meetings with our, since our kids, I mean, our kids are now, one’s almost in, well, one’s in college, but when they were seven and nine, and now we have a third kid, but we have, and we, to this day, we have weekly level 10 meetings on Sunday and it’s not the same agenda.

I tried that, no one followed it, but it’s an agenda that works for kids, right? Which is, you know, what worked this week, what didn’t work and what are your issues? And we saw, and we check calendars, but it’s a very simple agenda that can hold everyone’s attention and keep our household running in a very peaceful way.

And so it’s, you know, it’s just another operating system just for your home. And so, so yeah, these tools just, and other implementers similarly in other companies, other families run on a similar model to help run the business of your family.

Nicholas Paulukow
Absolutely, I think that’s a great idea. Wow, very, very many similarities. So my wife and I instituted level 10s on Saturday mornings.

We go coffee, get away from the kids and kind of talk about their thing. You know, it doesn’t always work, but it’s fascinating when I think you’re talking about just in business, you know, process has a place of keeping us on the same page, but like these level 10 meetings also get us on the same page. And I think it’s very powerful to be, when you’re on the same page, you can move things along effectively.

And it’s amazing learning this journey that how often and how quickly we all get out of sync. And it’s not intentional, but when we can focus effectively, it’s very powerful. Yeah, that’s amazing.

That is neat. I love hearing that people are drawing that all the way into their family life as well. Let’s talk a little bit more about like process and kind of your book as well.

Like, can you give us some key principles or key kind of, you know, takeaways in the process book and maybe how that makes us better leaders or allows us to lead more effectively by instituting these processes and maybe define when we say process, what do you mean by that? Like, could you give an example for everybody to understand?

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely, so would love to. Every organization has a handful of core processes. You know, you have a process for HR, how you interview people, onboard them, manage them and exit them.

There’s a process for marketing, you know, how you nurture or draw potential clients into your funnel. You have a process for sales, how you qualify a lead and then close them and, you know, keep serving them. And at the point when you start to provide your service or product, you have operational processes, right?

So we just run through the whole line and we’re kind of a linear approach of every company has these core processes. You may call them something different and your processes look different, but every company has these processes down to multiple operational processes, finance processes, customer service, like to the end. And even if you’re running on EOS, you have a process for running your business.

And even if you’re not running on EOS, you probably have a process for running your business. Just is it consistent? And so we have proven ways that we know work in our organization on how we run the business.

That’s what we mean by our core processes. The book, when we wrote it, is intended to really written for my visionary leaders and entrepreneurs who hate the word process. When I bring up the word process, and for my operational people or integrators, you know, I’m like, this is for you to just give you like some level of empathy to, I understand because even early on in our residential remodel company with some of my clients before the book was written, they, I would talk about process and one actually put his head on the table and pretended to cry.

He’s like, why are you talking to me about this? Someone else was like, we can talk about it later. And just kept putting me off on it.

And the reality is it’s your ticket to freedom. And so the book is written for my visionaries to understand like the things you think about process just aren’t true. We’re not gonna turn your people into a bunch of robots.

And, you know, we are gonna, it’s actually process is gonna give you the freedom to do the innovation and growth that you want. You know, process does not take too much time because the approach we’re talking about isn’t what I did early on in my career. It’s a very high-level approach that, you know, month over month, quarter over quarter, we’re gonna get all of your processes documented and simplified and followed by all in the course of a year.

And so we just, and more importantly, we’re gonna document them, but then we’re gonna get the training started to have people to follow them. And we have a process in place for making sure they get updated. So all of the concerns that my visionaries or entrepreneurs have around process is just show how quickly they’re debunked because, and actually it’s the thing, you’re avoiding the thing you need the most as a leader.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. I think you’re obviously absolutely right. You’re kind of an expert in this area, but my affirmation is just from many of the people that say, hey, they don’t wanna deal with process probably are struggling to grow, I would imagine, right?

Because as you mentioned earlier, they have the process, but it’s probably in their head or one person knows it. I know from our experience, we had hyper growth and that was really exciting, but every one of our employees knew our process differently because they came into the organization at a complete different time. And that was prior to us implementing your book and utilizing creating those core processes because what we realized is, is that when we wrote them down oh my goodness, over 10, 15, five, however long it was, we realized that they actually changed amazingly enough.

And it gave us an opportunity to be like, ah, okay, wonder why this problem continues to happen. We never wrote that down or taught the person to kind of whisper down the lane and it gives you a great opportunity, I believe, to then onboard and scale a lot faster because you’re able to quickly educate someone on what is the core process, which I could also imagine lines better with accountability too. So would you agree with that or no?

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely true. And you said something that I think is so key. One is, we didn’t, either the tribal knowledge that people have is the issue.

And so if someone leaves, you lose that information. If someone joins at a different part of your stage of growth, that’s going to be an issue. And I’ve likened it to a game of, a very bad game of telephone, like business telephone, where I’m gonna tell one person how to do something, they’re gonna tell the next person.

We’re banking our business growth and success on that approach, which is not effective, of course, because you know how the game telephone goes, right? And so, and at the end of the day, I believe our people are trying to do the best and figure out the best way to get things done, but they’re figuring it out on their own. So maybe they’re bringing a way, an approach that came from another company or just whatever those options are, because this is the fastest way to get this done because I have these other things to get done.

It’s not necessarily the right and best way to do it. And that’s what we as leaders have to drive. And so the workshops I’m doing and the program I’m teaching companies on this is really about driving radical accountability.

It’s great to let people do things on their own until it isn’t. And so as we scale, we have to drive accountability for like reminding people, this is actually the right and best way to do it unless, until you hear otherwise, or you can show me that there’s another more effective way.

Nicholas Paulukow
Well, and I think what’s great too, and I might quote it incorrectly, but in the book, I thought it was fascinating that as a visionary, you’re like, oh man, I’m gonna have to write all that down. Like, I’m not interested in that. I don’t want to do that.

But in your book, you’re like, hey, like one simple concept is find someone that’s good at writing it down and just meet with them and go over it verbally, which we’re really great at. Many entrepreneurs are really great at verbally explaining it and let them write it down. And I was like, wow, what a simple concept that is just amazingly simple, but freeing, right?

Like, I don’t want to write it down. Like, and it may, it sounds silly, right? Like why wouldn’t you want to write it down so somebody else can do it, but you think that you don’t have enough time.

And that is a really great way to get the process documented because there’s a lot of people in your organization that probably love to document. They just don’t know what it is.

Lisa Gonzalez
Correct. They’re there for you, absolutely. I mean, I’ve even taught people, Nick, to just take out your phone and record, just talk through it because not everyone’s type, no, not everyone wants to type or do it.

Just record what you’re doing and then give it to somebody else to capture it. So there’s all sorts of ways and it all works. And so that’s the flexibility of our approach, but it’s effective, as you said.

So I think that that’s a great example of how this is just a little thing that gets in our way from getting this work done. And with support of the book or in coaching or whatever that looks like, you can push through those initial barriers and have the success that you deserve.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, how do you see then too most of them implement the process, right? Because many are like, okay, we have it written down or we got to get it all done, right? And so what we learned was, hey, listen, there was a set of core processes.

We can’t do it all right now. So we’re going to have to do a couple a quarter and work to do it our very best and work through the process. But how do you coach people to kind of like implement or train on those core processes after they’re documented?

Lisa Gonzalez
That’s exactly right. For companies that are running on EOS, they operate under a 90-day world where they create 90-day goals and accountabilities that we call ROCs. And my leadership teams will pick what are the processes we’re going to document this quarter?

What are the processes we’re going to get followed by all? And so the two tools we use to get our processes, become a strong process, a process-strong company is we call it the three-step process documenter and the followed by all checklist. In the three-step process documenter, we identify, document and simplify and package our processes and the followed by all checklist, we make sure we are doing the training to get those processes adopted.

We’re measuring using scorecards, we’re managing people to the results and we’re updating. So what we do just much like the approach you’ve taken is every quarter my leadership teams will select the process and what piece of it they’re going to work on through those 90 days. And eventually you’ll have the rest of the organization running on EOS.

So those teams are also going to be working on, hopefully picking a ROC around process because it’s a forever journey. And if we just chip away at it one week at a time, one quarter at a time, you’ll get the results you want.

Nicholas Paulukow
Very good. And Connie, you also explained like, hey, the processes need tweaked frequently. How do you know or when do you revisit, right?

They’re probably everybody’s listening going, oh goodness, like I have to document all this and now you’re telling me I have to update it. Like what’s the general, like one who, who generally is the one that calls out that it needs updated? And if not, there’s not somebody calling out, like what’s the general practice to go and look at those processes or update them?

Lisa Gonzalez
We, in our workshops, in our program we teach, it’s at least annually and we have an owner assigned to each process. And so that person’s accountable and to keep things simple for people running on EOS or for anyone that’s not on EOS and is trying to do this work, it’s just you use your calendar, right? You put on your calendar this process was launched and throughout the, whether it’s every quarter or half year or a year, you’re going to find there’s changes that need to happen and so who’s responsible for updating?

And it’s not only updating from a, you know, I’m going to correct the typos and stuff. It’s, I teach my teams to take the time to think about the process. Are there ways we can streamline it?

Update it with software? Stay ahead of our competitors? That’s what that looks like when we talk about update as well because I know my visionaries have ideas like, why can’t we do it this way now?

And we can and we just need to make sure, you know, what we’ve done is what we’re doing now effective and if we do need to update it, I would just capture that and roll it out. So, but a little more, I want to be clear. Sometimes my visionaries want to keep updating and changing a process.

And that’s just, you’re not really updating your process. Your test, you know, you’re doing like test cases and that’s different. So I wouldn’t update that.

I would update what we’re actually doing because it can get very confusing very quickly.

Nicholas Paulukow
Gotcha. And then a literal standpoint for people trying to connect this, like say I owned a restaurant and they had a process to make a sandwich. Is that the process you’re talking about?

Or like, you know, kind of put more visual to that for those to kind of connect to?

Lisa Gonzalez
Yeah, great idea. So your core process, let’s say, would be operations, right? Some level of operations, delivery of your product.

Your sub-process would be how I make the sandwich, how I make the side salads or the sodas or how we clean the restaurant when people leave or how we greet our guests. Those are all sub-processes. And undoubtedly those are going to change fairly often.

Or not fairly often, but those will change more frequently compared to your core process, which your core process, you’re always going to be delivering your product or your service to your customers. You’re always going to clean the restaurant at the end of the day. The sub-process may be, you know, now let’s use mops instead of brooms or the Swiffer.

I mean, those are sub-processes. And that stuff changes, which is why this is a forever journey because you’re always thinking and innovating to become the best company you can be.

Nicholas Paulukow
It can be. Yeah, I think that’s well said. I think many people that get scared and process think it’s like writing how to make the sandwich.

Whereas in reality, it’s bigger than that. It’s just steps that you take to get to the result, right? And it’s not, you know, all the details, which scares visionaries, right?

Like details, you know, I’m scared of that. That’s too much. It’s overwhelming.

And this is more about taking it even bigger, right? Which is why you probably say that this is for visionaries because, you know, it’s thinking that big. It’s not getting into the weeds of that.

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely. You know, another great example is, you know, I know that pay, like pay my employees is a part of my core processes. Now, whether I write a check to pay them or put it through ADP or direct deposit, those are the how, and we’re just going to start with the, what do you need to do?

So that we know this is what we need to do every two weeks. You know, the how will change however frequently it’s going to change.

Nicholas Paulukow
Change. That’s very good. That’s awesome.

It’s an amazing, amazing thing. We talk about process, but everybody thinks about it so differently. And I think you’re bringing a lot of clarity to that.

Kind of before we end here, but switching a little bit, I want to get back to kind of like your leadership, right? Can you educate us? You’re now in so many leadership roles, but can you kind of give some tips and tricks for people that might, are just starting their leadership journey?

Because it seems like you’ve learned a lot. Do you have any advice for anyone on what to do, how to improve in their leadership skills? That could be advantageous for them?

Lisa Gonzalez
Sure. I am a big fan of peer groups. So whether it is Vistage or EO, or there’s all sorts, I mean, beyond that, there’s other groups out there.

And so the reason is you have peers going through the same thing that will call you out on stuff. And so if they see you showing up, and you also get to model when you see, wow, I like this person’s leadership style. Let me learn more about that.

So surrounding yourself by people that, who you want to grow into is a beautiful thing. I think reading anything by Patrick Lencioni is fabulous. Just, I’m still constantly reading.

And so I think that’s a great, or listening, whatever that looks like for you is also a great, just a great way to continue growing. I mean, as you mentioned, this is a journey. If I’ve given any hint that I’ve arrived, I have not.

So, you know, but it’s just something that, thank goodness that people have given me grace to continue to grow in these roles. And especially as an EOS implementer, I get to be in the rooms with people. And so, you know, I’m constantly working on practice, active listening and being empathetic and asking questions versus just being a teller and driver of my agenda, because it’s so much more exhausting, first of all, to live out the former way.

So when I see people in my rooms, even that are still in that space as leaders, I just want to say, come to the gentler side, because it’s so much easier. And so much more impactful, not to mention.

Nicholas Paulukow
It is. You know, one thing that I heard from you too, is kind of that being inquisitive and asking questions. I think so many of us are taught that that’s not a good thing.

Like don’t question someone. However, in life, the more questions they ask, the more that you learn, right? And I think that that’s so impactful, but you said even as a leader, listening instead of talking as much, right?

That is very difficult for myself as well and kind of practice a lot, but you’re right. Peer groups, if you trust them also call you out in a great and wonderful way, not in a negative way, that allows you to be able to make that change. So that’s great.

That’s amazing. So what’s next in the journey? Tell us a little bit about, you talked about these workshops.

So you wrote the book and now you’re like, listen, I got to take this journey further. So talk to us a little bit more about your new journey with kind of these workshops and whatnot.

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely. Thank you for asking and thank you. You’ve made a lot of references to reading the process book and I appreciate that because it’s written for people like you.

And so I love that it resonated. I get to hear that often and it makes me, it just, it made it all worth it and it makes me happy. And so yeah, the next journey is we have a process success workshop or process success program for companies that are running on EOS and it’s really to help them, give them the radical accountability to get their, it’s courses and it’s a community and it’s coaching that really will help them get unstuck and teach them the leadership skills they actually need is the heart of it to get their processes documented and followed by all in the organization.

Nicholas Paulukow
So all those people that say, well, I don’t want to do this, you’re now empowering them and helping them work through it, takes kind of the nerves away. Is that what I’m hearing?

Lisa Gonzalez
Absolutely. It’s not even, I think it’s, so it’s not even the people that don’t want to do it. It’s because it’s for my process champions in there.

Nicholas Paulukow
Okay. So the ones that love to do it.

Lisa Gonzalez
The ones that love to do it, but that their leadership team or the visionary is, or even the organization just keeps getting stuck and not getting the progress. And at the end of the day, it’s for my visionaries and my founders to get the results they want a lot quicker. And at the end of the day, this work comes down to people or process and you’re doing great work with EOS and we just have to do the work to get our processes.

And so it’s just giving people the community of support, whether it’s the emotional support or the tools to share best practices when it comes to getting your processes documented. But more, you know, past that first stage is how do we get them followed? What’s a great training where those look like in our company?

How do we drive accountability so that we can just continue to grow and scale as companies or live, you don’t even have to grow, just run our companies and spend our time doing the thing we envisioned when we started either as the founder of a company or someone joining an entrepreneurial company so they can just kind of live the life of their dreams.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, that’s amazing. And you talked about kind of that champion for process, those that are new to EOS and maybe don’t have it all figured out yet are ones that are so inquisitive now about us talking about EOS, they’re gonna check it out. How does one find their champion?

Like how do you encourage them to find their champion of that process?

Lisa Gonzalez
So if they’re new to EOS and if they’re working with an EOS implementer, they will absolutely guide them. It’s typically either my integrator or my head of finance, like those are the types of personnel, or head of operations, typically those people. The leadership team picks the process champion together.

And it’s often the person that has their hand raised, like I’m on fire about this, let me do that. And if they’re not working with it, yeah, and if you’re not working with an implementer, it’s just those same people. You have an accountability chart, you’re clear on who’s accountable for what and who’s the person that says I wanna take this on and support at a leadership level, getting our work done so we can get the results that we want.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s wonderful. And so how can the listeners find out about your workshops or even the book? Where’s the best way to gather that information?

Lisa Gonzalez
Well, thank you. If anyone wants to join me, I have a website, and Gonzalez is all Z, so And you can sign up for our newsletter.

You can find out about, we have a new cohort starting every couple of months or every quarter for the process program. We’re kind of enrolling people and selecting people that we think can do the work. And to find out about the book, similar, you can find out on our website.

It’s also on and booksellers near you.

Nicholas Paulukow
That is awesome. I had a prospect I was talking to about EOS and I sent him your book on process cause they were struggling with that. So they were very excited to get the book.

And I think I’ve taken the opportunity to try to improve a little bit more than, because their growth has caused them to, I guess in essence, break some of their processes maybe that they thought they had. Yeah.

Lisa Gonzalez
Right, and I think that’s a big point, Nick, is both EOS and this process work, they’re for companies that are doing really well. Right. Companies that we know what we’re doing, we’re growing, and it’s just getting out of our, we can’t keep it together anymore and we need help.

So I’m rarely working with companies that we’re about to go out of business. That’s not who EOS is for because they have other things to attend to. They’re like, maybe, it could be anything.

But these are companies that are doing well and they just wanna take it to the next level and they know there’s a way to be more efficient, more effective. They’re tired of just the struggle of always either in firefighting mode, they’re frustrated and they just know there must be tools out there to help us deliver our company to the world in a much more efficient way. And so I think your point is very well taken.

Companies that do well, this is the space for them because they’re just at that next level of growth.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, it just amplifies it and gets them a little bit more, no pun intended, more traction as they develop in their business. Ah. Well, this has been wonderful.

You’ve spent a lot of time with us. We really, really appreciate it. And we’re gonna work to kind of wrap this up on this episode of Servant Leadership Library.

A big thank you to the queen of process herself, Lisa Gonzalez, for gracing us with her wisdom and giving Servant Leadership Library an upgrade. Now, listeners, you just had a masterclass in leadership served with a side of cheeky charm. If you enjoyed today’s episode, show us some love by hitting the subscribe button, share with your fellow leaders in crime and leave us a review.

That’s a glowing one, by the way. And check out Lisa’s insight at our website that she told you about earlier. And of course, don’t forget to check out the book Process.

You can find it on Amazon, you know, and spice up your life with a little bit of process. And Lisa, any parting words of wisdom that you wanna leave the visitors of the podcast today?

Lisa Gonzalez
Just keep up the continued growth and keep leaning into both Servant Leadership and this work because the world needs companies that run really well and the world needs leaders that are, you know, compassionate and empathetic. And so the more you can do this work, you know, the better off we’ll all be.

Nicholas Paulukow
Well said, Lisa. Well, there you have it. Until next time, keep leading with SaaS in class and touch of process magic.

This is Servant Leader’s Library signing off. Stay inspired and lead on.

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