As a small business owner, your constantly under pressure to juggle many different tasks. We deem some as more of a priority and others get pushed to the bottom of the list. With today’s environment of transparency and zero tolerance in the workplace, sexual harassment training for your team is one of those tasks that you may want to move to the top of that list. Tune-in to our interview with J.C. Baker, CEO, and Founder of J.C. Baker and Associates where he discusses today’s scrutinous work environment and how you can protect your yourself and your employees.
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Joe: J.C. Baker’s the CEO and founder of J.C. Baker and Associates. A company that has worked with clients such as Google, the NBA, Macy’s, and Kellogg’s. When it comes to topics like live coaching, strategy coaching, top management training, corporate sustainability, and business planning. J.C. is the one we call here on ASBN. J.C., thanks for joining us.
J.C. Baker: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Joe.
Joe: All right, so J.C., knowing how to begin something is useless without actually doing something about it. It’s the doing part some small business owners have a problem with. In fact, I’ve heard you say this before, an idea without a plan is just a dream. When it comes to writing a winning business plan, what would you encourage people to do as far as small business companies?
J.C. Baker: Well, there’s a couple things. Most people are familiar with business plans or some level of content that goes into a business plan. What’s more appropriate than just a business plan is the market research, viability and feasibility reporting. Here’s why that’s different.
Business plan tells you your action steps, but those action steps might be fruitless if the company you have is not viable or feasible. That’s where it becomes a lot more complicated. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
You could have the greatest idea that you believe in the world, but there’s no market for it. If the trend is going in the opposite direction, if you don’t understand the substitutes and complements or you don’t have a legitimate minimal viable product, the reality is, there’s no entry for you, nor is there any sustainability.
Therefore, any new business has to do the qualitative research to be able to understand exactly how to take their dream to make it something that they can bring to the table.
Joe: Yeah, no doubt about that. Exactly. Qualitative research. Okay, so here’s another topic that’s trending right now, J.C. We currently live in the most fragile environment I have ever seen in 45 years. We can’t say this or we can’t do that. Anything and everything seems as if it’s off limits. What would you say to small business owners that are thinking about providing sexual harassment training to their small staff or any training at all on being PC?
J.C. Baker: Well, that’s a really important topic because the reality is no company is anything without their stakeholders and a part of their stakeholders is that consumer base along with the employees of that company. So let me talk to you about a few aspects on that.
Number one, we live in a climate where some people are male, some people are female, some people are gender neutral. So what do you mean by gender neutral? We literally live in a climate where people identify themselves with how they identify themselves.
Concepts such as sexual harassment, identification, connectivity. All of those things have to be held with the utmost care. You would think that that’s an obvious scenario, but it isn’t. It actually takes a level of what we call metacognition. It’s the study of thinking about what you think about.
Therefore, training in metacognition is actually beneficial to force top management teams, appointed leaders, other support nets and members within the organization to start thinking about their treatment of one another, what that actually means and what it looks like in the workplace.
Joe: Yeah, J.C., I spoke to a CEO recently about this. He is from Atlanta. He grew up in the south. He moved to San Francisco. He’s a CEO of a smaller company out there. He says it’s so bad now that he can’t even the door, something that he learned here in Atlanta, he can’t even open a door for most females because they get offended. Because then they come back with, “What? You don’t think I’m able to do it myself?” And that type of thing. So he just stopped doing that type of thing completely. Is that how bad it is now?
J.C. Baker: Well, I think the difference is communication. This is going to seem unrelated, but it’s very relatable. Is that I was playing in a recreational basketball league game just last night and had some conversation with one of the refs.
Well, one of the other players said, “Don’t argue with the refs. Don’t argue with the refs,” and I said, “I’m not arguing. I’m actually communicating.” So what does that then mean?
You can articulate certain viewpoints. For an example, for that individual you just mentioned, is it okay or is it appropriate for me to get the door for you? It’s actually okay to ask that question. Or it’s okay to say, “How do you like to be identified as?” Because the reality is, it’s not about what we want, it’s always about what someone else wants. It’s going to seem like I’m deviating here, but my specialty of my doctrine is in transformational leadership productivity theory.
One of the four constructs is individual consideration. We have to take every person individually and how they see the world and be able to connect to it as an appointed leader.
Joe: Oh, man. I get that, okay. So let’s sort of stay on that topic. Small businesses that have only five employees, do they need to provide them with manuals since it’s such a small group?
J.C. Baker: Absolutely. The reason why is, it’s your playbook. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 or it’s 200. The reality is, the goal is to work as a unit to have proper team cohesiveness and to be able to understand the values of that company.
The very first thing that any entrepreneur has to do is to understand what do they stand for and what are their goals? It’s really amazing because we were a start up at one time as a small business. My number one assistant, he’s the managing director of my company, Marcus Thompson. He and I sat down and said, “What does J.C. Baker and Associates stand for? Who are we? What are our goals? What is our mission? What is our vision? What are going to be the things that we’re going to be identified as?” We had to actually put that in writing because that’s our baseline of operation.
It doesn’t matter how large an organization is. That’s an exercise that puts you in position to be able to carry your organizational culture.
Joe: J.C., what’s the best work environment for today’s worker? Or what should it be and does it matter what age someone is?
J.C. Baker: Well, it doesn’t really matter the age and here’s why. The way that people learn is so dramatically different, their experiences are different and their perceptions are different. I’ll let you know exactly why I know that to be true.
Even though I’m completing my Doctorate this year in Organizational Leadership, I’m certified in finance, I’ve written three books, you would think from an educated standpoint, I know a whole lot more than my managing director, Marcus Thompson because he does not have the same level of education.
However, even though we’ve got 15 years difference in age, we’ve got volumes of experience difference in the business world, he knows things that I would never know. Half the time, I don’t even understand how he even knows what he knows.
The reality is the success of my company falls on his back as well, even though our credential levels are different. What am I actually saying?
Where you work, how you work is all predicated upon what you’re trying to accomplish and the team that you build around it.
For an example, one of the chapters in my book is called, in my first book, Common Cents, How Much Does it Cost?, is called H2O. H2O, obviously are the molecules for water. Bruce Lee, his style was Jeet Kune Do. His style was actually about lack of a style. What he was saying is that you must be like water to be able to fit whatever environment you’re in or whatever course of action you need to be able to take.
So when you talk about what’s the best work environment, so to speak, it’s predicated upon the people and it’s predicated upon the goal that you’re trying to obtain.
Joe: How does a small business owner have a work/life experience or a balance because they could get caught up working 14, 15, 19 hours a day and never see the light of day?
J.C. Baker: Well, a part of that is one, having a very strong plan. Two, having a very good team. When I say team, it doesn’t mean 20 people again. It could only be two. But whatever it is that you’re doing with your team, making sure that you delegate appropriately, you trust individuals to be able to work and then three, really being conscious about your workflow.
Let me give you an example. As a small business owner, and I’m going to use myself in this instance. I don’t want to speak about anyone else. I sleep eight hours a day. No matter what, I’m sleeping eight hours. I eat three meals a day and I eat them sitting down, never in my car, never in a rush. I also work out six days a week whether it’s basketball as you just heard me say. I’m on a flag football team. I have a weight room at home and I run consistently and bike.
But also I have a wife with three children. I have date night program and I have family time program. You say, “What do you mean?” If you have a calendar, if you have a schedule, if you have a team, you have to program your balance in and around it. Understand what you want to get out of every interaction and be really good at your craft.
For an example on this. Don’t do things that you’re terrible at. Only do things that you’re great at. So, if your company is spending time doing things that you don’t know how to do, do something else and stop doing that thing. Because if you do the things that you’re great at, you’ll do them faster and it will open your time up to have balance.
Joe: Yep. Then hire someone who’s not good at the things, correct?
J.C. Baker: That’s exactly right, which is why we go by J.C. Baker and Associates. So many people think that J.C. Baker’s the important part, but really my associates are, because I’ve got about 20 experts that help me do things that I have no idea how to do.