Betsy Kauffman is a globally recognized Organizational Agility Coach with more than 20 years of experience working in Fortune 500 companies. Her company, Cross Impact Coaching, is an Organizational Design Firm focused on working with companies to help them solve the big problems impeding them from achieving agility, collaboration, alignment, and innovation.
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Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Betsy Kauffman: As an Organizational Agility Consultant, I get the opportunity to work with various corporate clients supporting them in several different ways. Some of our work currently includes – coaching and consulting with multiple global teams to help turn them into high performing delivery teams, facilitating and consulting on building and executing realistic product roadmaps, creating a new set of meaningful metrics for a Project Management Office to support their new ways of working, consulting with a global Fortune 500 retail company to implement new processes to support a rapid product delivery cycle, coaching leaders 1:1 so they can lead their organizations with confidence and clarity, and rolling up our sleeves to help create a Next-Gen Product Delivery organization where we are turning this organization on its head by reimaging everything including people, processes, systems, and technologies.
Our work is exciting, challenging, and keeps us on our toes to bring new ways of working in the virtual world. I have owned Cross Impact Coaching for 8 years with our focus being an organizational [re]design firm. Our mission is to create workplaces where people wake up each morning feeling motivated and inspired by their work, so they end their days feeling fulfilled and valued. My TED talk launched in September of 2020, this really helped to catapult our work because the topic – “4 tips for Kickstarting Honest Conversations at Work” resonated with so many people. Once TED brought it to the main stage in January of 2021, we were bombarded with requests to come work and support our current clients to help them build open and transparent organizations.
I have experienced firsthand what it feels like to work in high-performing organizations for transparent and inspiring leaders as well as in organizations that were toxic and not psychologically safe. Therefore, I decided to create an organization focused on helping other organizations to become innovative, collaborative, aligned, agile, and most importantly inspirational.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Betsy Kauffman: Yes, I was working in a large Fortune 100 Financial services firm and had just finished giving a presentation on how to set up successful global teams when a gentleman I never met approached me. After hearing me speak, he recommended I quit my day job and take my show on the road as an independent consultant.
So, I did! I quit my job with the financial services firm, started my company, Cross Impact Coaching, and began partnering with different firms to offer agile coaching and training services. This gentleman became a good friend and mentor for me for the past several years.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Betsy Kauffman: The worst advice I ever received was when I was working with my first-ever business coach and she recommended not to hire people to help support the company as we scaled. She was able to manage her business this way with no problems. Well- I DO NOT recommend taking that advice. As an entrepreneur looking to scale their business, it is important you have the right team in place to support you. This not only helps you to focus on running and growing your business but also brings balance and different perspectives to help run your business more efficiently.
I was joking the other day with a conference organizer who was fortunate to work with some of my team members. She was commenting on what a great team I have supported me. I told her as the saying goes- It takes a village and it definitely takes a small village to support and grow a scaling entrepreneur.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Betsy Kauffman: Resilience for me is the ability to persevere and navigate tough times. I believe adaptability comes with resilience and being able to implement creative and adaptable solutions to help lead an organization and team members when faced with ambiguity and uncertainty. Lastly, resilience is the ability to be smart regarding decision-making and bounce back better than before during tough times.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision, or values?
Betsy Kauffman: Our Mission is to help create workplaces where people wake up each morning feeling motivated and inspired by their work, so they end their days feeling fulfilled and valued. I find when our actions fully embody our mission while working with our clients, we end up designing workplaces that embody our core values: Collaboration, Transparency, Simplicity, Trust, and Balance.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Betsy Kauffman: I believe my ability to give honest feedback, openly call out the elephants in the (virtual) room, and being transparent are my core strengths in everything I do. Here is a testimonial from one of our clients:
“Betsy has an amazing ability to listen and provide feedback that is spot-on, providing valuable perspective. As a result, we’ve become more predictable, have improved quality, and created an environment in which a diverse group of individuals understand the unique value each brings to the team.” Dana Seehale, Sr Director, IT Enterprise Systems & Lab Informatics, Cell Signaling Technology.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Betsy Kauffman: I run a values workshop with individuals and organizations centered around identifying your personal values. The workshop takes you through a series of questions and situations in your life which support the identification of your values and then challenges each person to understand if they are honoring their values both personally and professionally. I did a similar exercise a few years ago while I was going through a coach training program and the impact in knowing and realizing my personal values continues to help me to be an authentic leader as well as make decisions on behalf of my company and myself both personally and professionally.
How would you define “leadership”?
Betsy Kauffman: Leadership has both an art and a science to it. First, it involves trust – trusting your people and allowing them to do their best work. It also involves providing clarity, clear decision-making, consistency, and transparency in everything you do. A good leader creates an environment where employees feel psychologically safe, heard, challenged, and able to connect their work to the bigger picture. Leadership also entails being humble and understanding your role is to serve and support your team.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Betsy Kauffman: Do it! Don’t wait for the perfect time or scenarios to be in place because that will never happen. Have a clear and strong vision for what you want your business to be every year and work to make it happen. It is a lot of hard work, perseverance, and emotions but with it comes rewards, freedom, and fun. Challenge yourself and surround yourself with others who are entrepreneurs as a support system. Don’t forget to hire a fantastic team to support you as you scale and grow. The sky’s the limit!
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Betsy Kauffman: ‘Life is not about finding yourself but about creating yourself.’ – George Bernard Shaw
I have had a magnet of this on my refrigerator for at least 15+ years. I think at some point in our early years we are fed the myth that our true calling will magically appear and find us. Most of us walk around looking and hoping for that vision to find us. I truly believe you must envision the life you want and it’s up to each of us to work like mad to create that life – both personally and professionally.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Betsy Kauffman for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Betsy Kauffman or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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