In this episode of the Rocket IT Business Podcast, we sit down with Holly Moore; an entrepreneur whose passion for leadership development and business strategy has led her on a 20-plus year journey through both corporate and nonprofit landscapes. From sailing international waters, to landing in the executive boardroom of a Fortune 500 company, Holly’s management insights have helped organizations expand their brands while increasing revenue growth. And now, with the recent launch of her new business, Hollis Strategies, Holly is looking to share these experiences; equipping like-minded leaders with the tools to grow the influence of their organizations.
In This Episode, You’ll Hear More About…
- Steps to overcome team kryptonites
- How to analyze your inner Peace Index
- What it takes to become a healthy leader
- How to jump start an entrepreneurial journey
- The importance of being adaptable in leadership positions
- What it takes to balance support and challenge within a team
- Why no experience should ever be considered a waste of time
- Successful businesses practices in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors
Holly Moore Contact Information
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Hello and welcome to the Rocket IT business podcast. This is episode number 11 and I’m your host Matt Hyatt. Today I’m sitting across from Holly Moore, a longtime friend whose passion for leadership development and business strategy has led her on a 20 plus year journey through both corporate and nonprofit landscapes,
From sailing, international waters to landing, and the executive boardroom of a fortune 500 company. Holly’s management and sites have helped organizations expand their brands while increasing revenue growth. And now with the recent launch of our new business Hollis Strategies, Holly is looking to share these experiences, equipping like-minded leaders with the tools to grow the influence of their organizations. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Holly to the show. Holly, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. So, so set the stage a little bit. Yes, you and I are friends. We have known each other for gosh, going on 10 I think 10 years. Wow. A whole decade. A good long time. We went through a program or leaders in our local community called Leadership Gwinnett and got to know each other there. And we’ve stayed in touch. Yes. All good. So why don’t we start with this? What are you doing right now? What are you doing today?
Well today I am the president of Hollis Strategies, which is a company I founded back in the summer of 2019 Matt, I just felt like I’d had a lot of experiences you alluded to in the introduction of a corporate career working in nonprofits, both a very large nonprofit as well as one that was smaller and really going through a decade of growth. And I felt that this season of my life I would like to be able to take the lessons that I have learned and really be able to use them to serve a variety of organizations. And so I am currently in my company working with for profit companies, a variety of nonprofits. And it really is all about how do you grow. So some are starting small and they’re trying to expand others. Maybe they’ve been at their business for 10 or 20 years, but they’re thinking we need to do something different for the next season. So I love to help companies grow. And as you and I have talked about so much, it’s so much depends on how are you developing and equipping the team and are you creating the right atmosphere for people to grow. So really coming along and helping organizations develop strategies around doing that.
Awesome. So I got to ask; Hollis strategy, where did that come from?
It’s my name, Hollis. So my whole entire life I’ve been known as Holly, but my name is actually Hollis and so
We’ve known each other 10 years and
You never told me your real name. So it was a way of actually honoring my parents and the name that they gave me.
No, it was awesome. I did not know that all this time I’ve been calling you about the wrong name. I was so sorry. I’ve been Holly, my whole life. Just get to use that name. Awesome. So something we talked about recently that I think it’d be fun to kind of cover today in our show a little bit is you were talking about as various organizations are trying to grow and adapt, many times there’s a tendency to look for a system for a process. Somebody who’s walked those shoes before and and maybe take some shortcuts. You know, I’ve, you said you’ve been in business for 20 plus years. I’ve been in business for 20 plus years and certainly there’s a lot of pathfinding in that and we all make mistakes and we tried things that all not always pan out the way we thought. So if we can find somebody who’s done it before, then it would make sense that we would do that, maybe take a shortcut rather than reinventing the wheel. But what I found interesting about what you were saying is many of these systems get down to maybe the mechanics and the nuts and bolts. But what they don’t tell you is you’ve introduced people and everything goes crazy. Right? And so tell me a little bit about how you plan to work with organizations. And how the people, part of it really is central to what you’re trying to do.
And I think you do that so well. And I just, with what you’ve done in 25 years of running Rocket IT, and you and I have talked about this a good bit and I’m all for learning different systems. I’m, I would say I’m still a student, Matt. I mean there’s so many systems out there for how people develop strategic plans. How do they create their goals or their big rocks and then what are their metrics or their key performance indicators and they have a strategic plan or an adaptive plan. And, and I’m for all that, we need it. Absolutely. But one of the things that I think is so important, and you and I have really talked about what, what’s the kind of culture and atmosphere that you create in a company where the plan can actually thrive and grow. And I think you have to back up.
And it starts with what communication patterns exist and how were those relationships. Because sometimes, especially if we’re kind of hard charging business people and we want to meet these different goals, then you can almost want to go straight to are we executing on our strategy? Did we hit our goal? Did we hit our metric for that month? And, and I’ve just found, and some of these lessons I’ve learned the hard way through trial and error is that I’ve got to back up and say, do we actually communicate well? Does every voice around the, is it heard? Is it valued? Do I appreciate the different contributions from different team members when we’re making decisions? Are the people in the room that need to be in the room? Am I willing to actively seek dissenting voices that might challenge me a bit? And so is the communication skills there?
And then have you developed strong relationships of trust? And I think when that foundation is laid then, the sky’s the limit of what that team can execute. But to go in and think we’re going to implement, you know, fill in the blank system, I think would be misguided. If you haven’t addressed the communication, the relationships first, right? Or people need to normally feel valued, but they need to feel heard. They need to be comfortable with expressing their opinions. Bringing challenge effectively is tough for a lot of people, including myself. And so yeah, those are, those are important skills, right? I mean, think about it, Matt, our opinion makes perfect sense to us, right? My opinion, I think it makes a lot of sense. My decisions make perfect sense to me. My logic makes perfect sense to me. And what I can try to do if I’m not careful is I can try to create an atmosphere where I just have a lot of people around me that are like me, that think like me.
But then I’ve really shot myself in the foot and I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Matt, I, I tend to be very future oriented. I want to think about where we’re going and I’ve got a personality that the word can’t is not in my vocabulary, but that was, is not always helpful. And so you can wear people out around you. It can be become really intense. And so it’s how do I make sure am I listening to questions that people have? But have you thought about this is the timing right for this? And so just creating that kind of atmosphere where really what we’re talking about Matt, is how do you create an atmosphere where people feel completely safe to be who they are. We talk about, there’s a lot of writing right now in corporate America and in nonprofit as well, talking about psychological safety. Have you created an atmosphere that people feel safe to bring their true selves to speak what they, what they feel? And so I think that’s something that I’m continuing to learn about and wanting to help people put that in place. Great. Something you said reminded me of something that I was reading it or heard it on a podcast or something like that a couple of days ago. It was kind of interesting. You were talking about how Hey, things make perfect sense in your head, right? Your ideas are well thought
Out through your brain, you know, that kind of thing. And what I was reading about was how all of us have our own reality. You know, I grew up in a certain environment with a certain kind of parents in a certain neighborhood, a certain kind of school. And with my own God-given brain and thoughts created a reality that makes perfect sense in my head, and as much as you and I, for example, have a lot in common, you grew up somewhere else with a different set of parents in a different scenario, different school, all those things, just different. And so your reality is in fact different. So our perspectives are different. So if we get in a room together, we might, it’s never happened before, but we might disagree about something, right? And both of us have a perfectly logical position in our argument.
So navigating that, which becomes exponentially harder when you add more people to the mix, right? You know, going from a one person organization, okay, we all agree right now it’s a two person organization for personal organization and so on. It gets tougher and tougher for everyone to agree. And I would agree with you also about our tendency, especially when we’re trying to grow an organization, is going to be, well, I like me, I like the guy that I see in the mirror, so I’m just going to hire more people like me and then we’ll just roll up our sleeves and there’s no limit to what we can accomplish. But you know, I’m a flawed person. I don’t always have perfect visibility into everything. I don’t always make the best decisions. I think you and I have in common a shared interest in the future and a a unique ability to see clearly what might happen 10 years from now.
I have a tough time seeing clearly what’s going to happen this afternoon or tomorrow in order to get where I want to go. But it’s very clear to me where we can go. And so I need people around me that are much more aware of all the little things that have to happen between right now and this evening and tomorrow morning and so on, in order to get to that place that I’ve clearly envisioned in my head. So that’s just an example of something that I think is so important that for many, including me, for years, it was just a blind spot. And so you can come in and help navigate that. It sounds like
I do Matt and I would say,
A good friend of ours, Steve Cockrum always says, I can’t prevent you from making every mistake, but I can at least tell you all of my mistakes and maybe you can avoid them. So a lot of this has just been working for a couple of decades and so sometimes when I’m working with a client, I can just, it let me tell you, when I was at this juncture I did this and it didn’t turn out well or I didn’t get the outcome that I wanted. Here’s a lesson that I learned from that. And so I like to be able to be able to share that.
Yeah. Well, one of the cool things about you is you have a pretty varied background. I mean you’ve got all kinds of fun stuff over the years. And I’d love to kind of spend some time on that because our, our listeners don’t know you yet. So let’s, let’s kind of walk through it.
I always tell people I haven’t had a career. I’ve had a series, but you know, Matt, you and I know I love spending time, especially with younger leaders and mentoring them. And one thing that I’ve often shared is sometimes a young person will go to school and they will have a cause that they feel like, I’m going to devote my life to this cause or this is this particular field. And I could see myself being in this field and growing in developing, but I’m going to be in this field for the rest of my life. And when we’re eighteen, we always have perfect clarity, but what I have found in my own life though, Matt and now as I kind of looked back and reflected. I think that I feel almost a calling to fill a certain role. And I have been able to do that role in a variety of settings.
And so I think it’s a good perspective to have on that, especially when people think, well, is there something wrong with me? Because I did this for three years and I did that for two. I would say, you want there to be purpose about what we’re doing. We’re not just bopping around, but having said that, I have been able to fulfill the role that I feel like I’m uniquely qualified to fill, but do it in a variety of settings. And I think that’s just as satisfying and just as career worthy in someone that may have had just one long stretch in a place for two decades. So yes. So you can, when you think about what I’ve done, I’ve done a variety of things for me. There’s a common theme in all of it.
Well, what I’d be curious about is. And now that you’ve people brought up the young folks, if you can remember back, you know, I know, I think back when I was a teenager, some of the things I was thinking about and what I thought I might do someday were you thinking about those things too.
I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but when I left to go to college, Matt, I knew I wanted to do something. Helping people. Yeah. I just, I wanted to do something that was connected with people, helping people. So when I went out for my freshman year, I was leaning toward potentially doing social work, but through between my freshman and sophomore years, I had a chance to do a job in a hospital and just got exposed to the field of nursing. And so I actually got my bachelor’s of science in nursing. Wow. And was that an internship program or I’m just curious? No, I just went to work at a hospital they had, there was a pharmacy in a hospital and I was the person that would run the, the prescriptions up to all the floors in the hospital. And so I just got a great perspective of things and just really thought, I think nursing is what I want to do and that here’s the cool thing is I just believe that no experience we have in life is wasted everything.
It’s layer upon, layer upon layer. And so even now at this stage in my career, there are things that I did in a job in my twenties that is still serving me well. So for example, I’m not doing hands on clinical nursing anymore, but the nursing process is you do a thorough assessment, you diagnose the problem, you develop an action plan and you evaluate its effectiveness. And I tell people, I do that every single day. And I think that that taught me how to be a really good problem solver. And so now when I’m working with my clients, it’s what’s really going on. Can we pinpoint what’s the problem that we’re trying to solve? What could we do that would really address that? And then are we constantly saying, is it working? What modifications do we need to make? And so again, I just think no, officially it has application.
It does. You know it’s funny, my wife Maureen, who worked in the medical field, I think you knew that, she was an ophthalmic tech and she picked up something working as an ophthalmic tech that we still use a Rocket IT. And that is a process of learning a new skill. Maybe this is common in other medical fields. I think it might be, but it was watch it once and then teach someone else. Do those three things. You probably have got it kind of down Pat. Isn’t that great? So I love it. It’s, you can take some of those things that you learned way back when and just carry it forward and still has application and you just keep applying. But it’s not always positive. Right? So there are, and what I mean by that is we can often build even on negative experiences. Absolutely. Some of it is in the form of, okay, well I’m not going to make that mistake again.
Right. But then I know I’ve had some experiences in the past that still counting guide my decisions today. Probably make better decisions. I think so. I mean as you go through life, I mean I look back at, you know, people that I worked with, you know, even 20 years ago, then I might say, wow, that was a really challenging, especially in my corporate career, just had some challenging situations. But one of the people that I worked with, he had a mantra mat that he would always say we manage by fact. And so even though there were things about his leadership style that I personally don’t want to emulate, I still think about that statement managed by fat all the time because it makes me think when I’m getting ready to make a decision, have I asked the right questions? Have I sought counsel, have I really, really done my homework so that I’m not making decisions in a vacuum? So I think I’ve wanted to challenge myself and other people. We, again, we can glean and learn something from every single experience and I think we want to be on the lookout to find what is that nugget I can take with me instead of kind of feeling jaded and say, well, that wasn’t a super positive experience, so I’m just, I’m going to completely put it on the shelf. I would argue, no, there’s things that you can carry with you that are going to help.
Right? I think a little bit about how we make decisions. One of the things that I have learned about myself is I tend to be very fact-based. What I’m very interested in discovering is what is, what is the truth. Sounds almost too, I don’t know, elevated for the, what I’m trying to get across, but what is, what is the fact or what is the current condition? And there’s not a lot of emotion tied to that. It just is. And so let’s attack what is, and so I’ll spend a lot of time trying to dig into what is just earlier today I met with a prospective vendor that I am acquainted with, but I don’t really know. And so our time together was you listening to him talking and trying to determine for myself, okay, what is, what’s present? But I think other folks and my wife I would include in this club would be more about seeking almost a I want to call it an emotional, maybe it is, it’s a connection.
She’s seeking a connection. What do we, you know, what do I have in common with the person across the desk from me and where can we find common ground, which is something I’m not as good I want, I’m looking to break it, right. I’m looking for what are the cracks and the flaws, the flies in the ointment versus I think she is more looking for what are the common veins and the more connections and it’s just a difference now put together. That’s a pretty powerful force, right? That works really well. It can, it can sometimes be just a difference of opinion, but together working in harmony, we’re able to make some pretty big decisions together. So all that to say, I’d love to hear what, what did, how do you think you make decisions? Where, where, where does that come from in you? How do you evaluate things?
I love it. I’m going to circle back because I’ve got a comment about you and Maureen. But I would say Matt, probably just my just my wiring, just kind of who I am. For anybody that’s listening, a fan of Myers-Briggs, I would lean more towards intuition as opposed to sensing. Sometimes I’m looking and I’m seeing what’s the pattern, what’s the trend? I will sometimes just think my gut is just telling me this is the right thing. But then also I do really filter things through people. And so I am thinking about how is that decision, how’s that going to impact people? But I always tell people that that doesn’t mean you can’t make a hard decision. When I was in my corporate career, we did a lot of merger and acquisition and a lot of times it was my job to go in and maybe we had acquired a new location and we had to decide are we going to keep the leadership team or let them all go and bring in our own people?
Are we going to just completely close the site? Are we, is the the leadership that’s there? Will it work? And so, you know, throughout the course of that year, Matt, I mean, it was a lot of releasing people into what might be next for them. So I would say I can make a hard decision, but I still would filter that through the people. So even that connection that that Maureen has. So I would circle back to what we were talking about at the beginning about do you have all the voices around the table represented on your team in your company? Because I would argue that you and Marine are such a dynamic duo because you all respect each other. You value what the other person brings and you know that if you don’t have both perspectives then you would have incomplete information to make a wise decision.
So I would say if we’re in a company setting, the teams that we’re leading, I’ve got to make sure that there’s these different perspectives. There’s a proverb that says plans will fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. And I think part of that is we’ve got to be willing to seek and receive different points of view. So for example, Matt, if you and I were making a decision, you might be looking a lot at, here’s the statistics, all of that. And I might be going, but my gut is just telling me, I’ve just got a good feeling about this vendor. We want to respect each other, but to say, but we’re going to stay engaged with each other. We’re going to keep asking questions, we’re going to keep being curious until we can come into alignment. Right? Yeah. And you know what, that part, a big part of that too is just respecting the contribution that the other person might be. Exactly what you were talking about. Relationships more even I would go back to Myers Briggs. We are almost polar opposites. We’re both introverted. Yes. That means that we both are able to recharge or find rest and being alone in our thoughts or in a quiet place. But other than that, every other metric it’s opposite.
You know, I’m, I’m more of the intuitive and she’s more of a sensing type of person. I tend to be the Dean versus her feeling and on. So it’s, so, I don’t know if that’s a real proverb, maybe an ancient Chinese proverb. Maybe you’ve heard it opposites attract.
But you see, you hear that all the time. Right. And it’s so true. For whatever reason, you see a lot of people tend to gravitate towards their polar opposite in relationships. Then fast forward two years, five years, 10 years, all of a sudden that seems like maybe they’re not getting along or they’re butting heads and that emphasis is being placed on those differences. When I think really a better way to think about things is, Hey, you know what, Maureen is strong in a lot of areas where I’m weak or she has visibility in an area where I’m more blind and vice versa. And that way we compliment one another and we’re able to be, you know, one plus one equals three, we’re able to get more accomplished maybe because of those differences. And I don’t think that everyone that comes naturally to us, right? I think a lot of people would tend to focus on the differences. First of all, this can’t work and it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. It can be with a coworker or business partner, a customer vendor, you know, it could be a number of things, a friend. So I like what you’re saying and I think it’s so important to dig into that.
Yup. So it makes me think of Matt before is you’ve have heard this, we’ve talked about this before, even with our friends at at GiANT that just like Superman, you know, he had unbelievable powers except the nemesis was kryptonite if he got around kryptonite, it just completely crippled him. When we have a missing voice, when we fix our teams where we just have like people around us, we’re hearing what we want to hear, then we would say when there’s a missing voice, it’s like kryptonite to your team. Your team will never be as strong as it could be. It’ll never make as good decisions as it could. So we have to really intentionally make sure that we’re valuing all the voices around the table because if we don’t, in the short term, you think you’re going to be able to do what you want to do, but in the long run you’ve actually weakened yourself. Right?
Yeah, absolutely. That’s, that’s true. I know you know, we’ve, we are, I’ll use the word proud. I think we are proud of the fact that we have a fairly diverse team, male and female, different ethnicities, different socioeconomic status and from backgrounds grew up in different places and so rocket, it has a number of folks. But you also talked about Myers Briggs and you’ve mentioned GiANT and voices, which we may get into a little bit here. I think there’s a great diversity of those voices at the table too. You’re right. I think that makes us better as long as there’s space for everyone to be heard because that’s super easy to fall into a trap of. Well, the loudest voices or the strongest personalities are the ones that are going to get hurt all the time and acquire the voices which might have some real value to bring to the table, might not get heard. And so creating an environment where it’s safe for everyone to do that, to your point is not only valuable, but it is really a requirement for success. Wouldn’t you agree? I completely agree. Well said. Well look, I wanna I want to make sure that we don’t pass over your background because it’s really pretty interesting all the things that you’ve done. Okay. So where we left off there was you were in college and they got interested in nursing. Mostly because you are attracted to wearing scrubs and some sensible shoes.
No, you love people, right?
So, what happened after that?
Yes. So I graduated, graduated and became a nurse and did intensive care unit nursing. I really loved the challenge of that and worked in the erosion and worked in the emergency room. And again, Matt, it’s so funny. I feel like it helps me be able to go in and kind of triage and diagnose what’s going on in a company in the midst when there’s chaotic things. Because I feel like that skill began to get honed in a literal sense. When I worked in the emergency room, I also had the opportunity to be with a couple of organizations to do volunteer medical work and underserved countries. So I was with an amazing organization called mercy ships, which runs the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world. And so I lived on a ship for two years. We would be anchored off different countries in West Africa and we did specialty surgery and trained in country physicians how to do different types of medical color.
When are we talking about here? I was in my twenties it was amazing. Came back. Oh, it was incredible. And I always, did you grow up traveling or is it not at all? Wow. No, I grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, which is about an hour North of here and a huge bustling metropolis. I don’t love my own town. It’s amazing. But my grandparents had been there. My parents, I grew up there and, and but man, there was just something inside of me after I went to college. I just, I just wanted to have a wider world view and I always encourage every young person I get to talk with. If you’d have the opportunity to travel, it’s, it’ll just change your life. So broadening. So had that amazing experience. Then came back to Atlanta, got into education with using my nursing degree in a hospital here in town and then parlayed that into working with a corporate pharmacy where I started out as a nurse educator.
And Matt, this is when I intersected with some mentors that ended up giving me some jobs that on paper it did not look like I was qualified for it, but they felt like they saw something in me. And I found that I had a knack for business and then had a decade long corporate career where I just increasing levels of responsibility. So continuing to use my medical background but in a corporate environment. And then probably about 15 years ago, just really wanted to take that business experience and apply it in a nonprofit setting. I had really so appreciate a different nonprofit causes, but I felt like sometimes a nonprofit was not, they did not use just best in class business practices processes to really exponentially do more. And so I really wanted to take my business background and apply it in a nonprofit setting and then had the opportunity to do that with some amazing organizations.
So I’ve enjoyed being in both worlds and there’s just been a lot of variety but have learned so much at every season. You know a funny, you’re talking about the, so the nonprofits I was in a meeting not long ago was in a room full of folks to support a not for profit organization and the one was may between nonprofit and not for profit. Nonprofit would sort of imply that we’re not going to make any money, we’re not going to keep any money versus not for profit. Leaves open the door just a little bit to where a profit can be earned. And the truth is as if you are growing any organization, capital is an absolute requirement. Completely agree. If you’re going to grow by definition, you have to increase capital. In other words, you have to earn a profit and that profit in some cases might be donor contributed potentially.
But there are other ways to, to earn a profit and a not for profit organization that all that to say that the business skillset that we would use to grow a business is largely the same. There are a lot of the same tools, the same strategies that must be used in a not for profit organization or nonprofit organization. The charity, if the goal, the goal is, Hey, we want to extend our reach, reach more people, serve more folk, you know, that kind of thing. It’s just critical. Completely agree. I think that there’s almost a stigma not only among the general public, but maybe even for the folks that are working inside the, not for profit organizations where they might feel guilty about growing and building base of capital
And things like that. So how do you work through all that? Have you, have you seen that?
I have completely seen it and I’ve kind of just been in this, on this mission in my life of saying you can apply best business practices in a nonprofit setting and to somehow say, no, our causes so important. Kind of like those rules don’t apply. Or if there’s almost this this mindset of if I tried to apply a business process, am I somehow lessening something about that nonprofit? Right. You know that. And I just completely fundamentally disagree with that. In fact, I would say if I’m a nonprofit that in, in at least some of my support is coming from a donor, then I would say then it’s such a stewardship issue. I should respond exactly. I should be wanting to work even harder to make sure am I implementing best business practices? Do I have strategic plans? Am I watching and managing money?
Well, and at the end of the day, I always say we shouldn’t be ashamed in a nonprofit environment that we’re keeping our eye on it to say, did we end up with a profit at the end? Because the great thing is, is that profit just gets to turn around and even invest and help more people and grow that organization even more. And so you can have an organization, a nonprofit that can be all about mission, but you’ve equally got to be about the margin, right? You gotta be thinking mission and margin and it would be incomplete if you had a balance more on one side or the other.
Well, I’m to just matching. If I’m a donor and I want to contribute a $1,000 or $1 million, what I rather have that contribution be eroded or grown. If I can multiply the impact of my contribution, then that’s what I want. Right? And so I better hope that the organizations that I choose to support at least have an eye towards basic business principles. Absolutely. One. So one of the things I love about doing this podcast series, and as I mentioned earlier where I’m episode 11 now, is that, you know, we get the chance to sit down often with friends and folks that we’ve known for a long time, but it’s also been fun to see how some of these relationships intersect. And so I want to point out a couple of those that I think are kind of fun. I mentioned earlier that we met through leadership one app, so we’ve had Lisa sake and executive director of the, of the leadership program. I’ll make sure I get that right. She’s been on our podcast before and so we both benefited from spending time with her. Nick Masino, CEO of our local chamber of commerce. He was actually an, our leadership went together. So that was a lot of fun.
Yeah, and in our study group study group ever, I will say it does seem that way. Yes,
Leadership Gwinnett was broken into smaller study groups where we really got to spend a lot of quality time with a small number of individuals. It was six or eight or so over the better part of a year and kind of roll up our sleeves work side of things about not only programs like Leadership Gwinnett, but also in our chambers of commerce when there are committees or when you’re on a board for a nonprofit or even a for profit organization, when two or more people roll up their sleeves together and work side by side to accomplish something, the relationships that are built out of that tend to be just long lasting and high quality.
That’s one thing I really have respected about you, Matt. I mean you are running a large company. You could let the running, well, you could let the running, you didn’t let the running of Rocket IT just completely consume you. But I have really seen you set the example to say no, it’s important to me to make sure am I involved in something like Leadership Gwinnett? Am I involved in something with the chamber? And I think for all of us as leaders, we have to say, I’ve got to schedule it. I’ve got to make it important. I’ve got to choose that. I’ve value that. So I know for me, I serve on several nonprofit boards and listen, we’re all busy and I’m wanting to grow my own company. But again, this theme that you and I are talking about of what are the relationships that we’re cultivating in our lives? What are the different voices that we’re listening to? Who am I listening to? How can I lend my voice on behalf of someone else? It just makes life richer and more fulfilling and more purpose. And so I think you do that so well.
Thank you. I as something that is interesting to me. You’d mentioned early, earlier that even as a little girl, you sort of recognized that helping people was important to you and that whatever you were doing professionally that you wanted to be geared towards, that I’m not nearly as smart or as advanced as you are. So it took me years to kind of figure that out for myself. But that’s, that’s very much what motivates me. And what makes me feel successful is when I feel like I’ve had an impact on someone else’s life that actually helps someone. And so Rocket IT is it’s stated purpose is to help people thrive. And what we mean by that is that we want to alter people’s lives in a positive way. And we want to do that. And all of our circles of influence water that’s with our team members and their families or the people that we serve or our community.
And so once you realize that, you say, okay, well how can I apply that? And it doesn’t take very long to realize, Oh, well I need to be involved in the organizations that are in my community. Whether that’s the chamber of commerce or our leadership program or the nonprofit down the street. Those are all places where we can add value and contribute. That’s, that’s important to me. And I certainly think that’s part of what I admire about you is you are similarly, well, I want to mention one other common relationship. So you mentioned Steve Cockrum earlier. For those that don’t know, Steve Cochran is the co founder and a business partner for Jeremy Kubichek, a running GiANT organization called GiANT. We’ve had Dan Fry, one of the, one of the GiANT consultants and a common mutual friend for you and I on the show before and soon.
I think it’s episode 12 or 13. We’ll have Jeremy Kubichek on the show as well. And so let’s talk about that just a little bit because that’s another shared experience that you and I have. We both were friends with Jeremy and Steve when they founded GiANT. We were lucky enough to be there and be involved in that. And so we both have an appreciation and admiration for those guys and what they’ve done with GiANT and the tools that they’ve developed. Tell me what are you, are you are you staying in touch with those guys?
Very much so and love being part of the GiANT family. So through what I’m doing with Hollis Strategies so much of the content that I’m using is observing my client. It’s coming straight from GiANTs. So whether it be five voices or just different things that they have for communication relationships, it’s really all about scalable people development. And I’ve recently just been doing so much investment in the GiANT platform, which allows there to be ongoing learning. And so it’s just an honor to really be collaborating with them. I think one of the reasons why Steve and Jeremy have just had an impact on my life personally and now that I’ve enjoyed collaborating with them professionally is this whole idea mat of how do you become a liberating leader? How do you become a leader that actually empowers other people, gives them opportunity to liberate them to feel like they can be their very best self.
And so just all around that idea of being a liberating leader just so resonated with me. And so again, Matt use so many the times it’s important for us to experience something personally. And because I’ve been through it personally, hopefully I can lead someone else. And so six years ago, Steve Cockram was my coach for a year and it was such a great learning experience for me and this whole idea of how do I know myself to lead myself? And that’s a journey that will you and I will continue to be on for the rest of our lives. But how do I know myself to lead myself and how do I continue to grow and develop as a leader that I’m not only liberating myself, I can liberate others around me and everything that GiANT is doing is a related around that. And so I just have so much respect for them.
That’s really great. So I think a lot of our listeners are probably at least peripherally familiar with what the folks at GiANT are doing. But to recap a little bit, GiANT has put together a number of visual tools and kind of a new vocabulary to help with communications and relationships between people, right? And so out of that, when we call a lot of those those visual tools, we’ll just shorten it to just tools. I certainly have some of my favorites. I’m curious, do you have any favorites out of the GiANT tool?
I do. It’s one that’s called the support challenge matrix. So if you think about it, it was for me as well. So if you think about it, some of us are just wired. It’s easy for us to support other people, encourage those that we’re leading our people. They feel very, very left, right? And that’s a great thing. Others of us are wired that it’s easy for us to bring challenge. It’s easy for us to say, here’s the goal, here’s the standard. Are we hitting it? Are we not hitting, you know, let’s push, push, push, let’s take the Hill. Well, their definition of a liberating leader is someone that has learned how to calibrate high support and high challenge for those that they lead. Right? But I think we all have to realize there are certain situations, Matt, that to be on the other side of Holly, it felt like a lot of challenge and maybe not as much support.
So there could be times when I was at a balance and then there can be other situations or people that were around that were all support. But in that particular situation, we find it very hard to confront. Very hard to have challenge. I, I’ve worked with people that have said, Holly, I think I’m a liberate or to my team. I think I’m a dominator to my children and I think I’m an advocator in my marriage. And I’m this in the community. It’s almost like we can bounce all around trying to figure out how do we calibrate that high support and high challenge. So that is something that I really think about a lot to be able to self reflect and just say, trying to train myself, Matt, that in every situation, every conversation that I’m going into to be able to say, what did this, does the person on the other side of main need right now? Do they need more challenge? Do they need more support? And how do I calibrate for that individual person to try to call them up to their highest and best? So that tool is so helpful.
I, like I said, that’s one of my favorites. Also, I think what you just touched on was, was pretty eye opening for me. Also realizing that one of the big aha’s for me when I started learning about that particular tool and this concept of support and challenge number one, I think maybe it didn’t come as a huge surprise to me, but I was telling you earlier, my default might be, you know, I wanna, I wanna figure out where the cracks are, which can come across as challenge. Hey, did you think about this? Well, what about that all about this other thing, you know, that you’re popping in with a new idea and I’m trying to poke holes in it so that I can understand it. That can come across as well. He doesn’t trust me. He doesn’t believe me. He doesn’t like my idea.
You know those things. And so you’re right, I have to sort of calibrate that a bit and say, Hey, that’s a great idea and maybe provide some support before I go into my, you know analysis of trying to figure things out for myself. And like you said, another thing is certainly we do present differently depending on where we are, who we are, our comfort level and so forth. One of the other things I realized, and and I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I realized that at work and that season that I was really providing a lot of support and not as much challenge. And there are reasons for that. You know, we’d had some turnover and there was some maybe fear of, Oh my goodness, you know, we can’t, you can’t lose anyone. So I’d better be super nice and super sweet, which can be a lot of support.
But if you’re not challenging, folks are missing part of the equation. And then I would go home where I’ve got small kids running around more comfortable to be who you are. And I think I would lean more towards the challenge on that side, which could probably be very difficult, especially for my small kids to understand. And so when I realized that it changed me, it changed me. So you know, for all those folks at Rocket IT who have you know, experienced challenge from me, you can send a letter to Steve Cochran or Jeremy Kubicek and thank them for that. But no, seriously. Oh yeah, absolutely. And it’s your one earlier, it’s a continuous process. It’s not going to stop. You don’t reach the end and say, okay, now it’s, now I’m educated. I think
It’s in fact, I just had breakfast with someone last week and, and just to get in this mode of thinking and being willing to ask myself a hard question, okay, what was I thinking? Why did I respond that way? What was the root issue at hand to try to understand ourselves, right? Because I know when I am feeling stressed, when I’m feeling tons of pressure, when I’m tired, when I kind of feel like I’ve been kind of bruised on all sides, then I know that I can default to the challenge, right? Because in my mind it’s, I’m going to figure out a way to solve this problem and I go there, but we just have to get more and more and more thinking about that self awareness and we’re going to continue to grow. I learned, but we have to be curious, Matt, I think about this. We need to be curious about other people and then we need to be curious about ourselves, right? To try to help understand ourselves that we can lead ourselves better.
You know, one of the things that you mentioned is, you know this is a pretty big change for you as a starting this business over the past year or so and kind of launching that and exploring what am I look like and I know you’ve got a variety of clients and go, I remember those days, you know a lot of, lot of startup types of companies. In the early days it was a lot of experimentation. Right? Okay, well I’m going to say yes a lot even if it maybe isn’t exactly precisely the idea that I came up with when I decided to start this company, but I’m going to have to learn how we’re going to put food on the table where I can contribute value, where what I have to contribute is needed and so we’ll say yes to a variety of things inside. It’s just a, it’s kind of a roller coaster of an experience can be very, very busy at times.
I wonder about something we were talking about before the show started a little bit was the application of another GiANT tool called the peace index that come into play for you when you’re kind of going through this, this process of Hey, you know what I’m in transition in my career and so I have this opportunity. I’m in a stage of my life where I could start a business and I would imagine that about the same time you’re probably also thinking, Oh really the world is my oyster. I can, you know, go back to mercy ships or I can stay here or I can go back to Gainesville or you know, there are a lot of different choices that you make when you’re sort of doing a, a big step in a different direction. I’m just curious
Piece Index part of part of the thought process as you brought that up Matt. And so again, a GiANT tool called the peace index and it, it’s something that we can use, people can use on a regular basis just to kind of see how it piece. Am I with where I am in my life right now and am I heading in the right direction? And really the five indicators of peace are the people you know, am I, am I doing work with the people that are life-giving to me?
Well, you know, I’m sorry, I’m going to interrupt you because we can be big on that. Just dig in on that just for a moment. You and I as a full blown have heard before this idea of surround yourself with people that are positive influence, right? Another way of saying that is choose your friends wisely and have that kind of thing and that’s what they’re talking about, right? If you’re finding that I love what you said or the people around you life giving and that can be our friends, it can be our family, it could be the team we’re working with at the office. So I love that you mention that first because I think that is a critical part of just how any of us are feeling is our relationships are healthy and in check.
Absolutely. What are those relationships like and what are the people around me? The next is just purpose. Think I mentioned at the beginning of this show, I really sat and thought, what do I want the next 10 years of my life to be like? And I felt that my purpose was I wanted to take this experience that I have had and do to be able to turn around and invest in steward that and help other organizations place, you know, every one of us we have to decide what’s the place that we want to, what place do we want to serve? For me in this season, I think it’s both that this season in my life, it was the place I want to serve as starting my own company as opposed to going back inside an organization. But then there have been other times where the place question for me has literally been geographically and years ago I moved to Texas for two and a half years for a job, which was an incredible experience.
But for that season of life, that was the place for now, for other reasons. You know, Atlanta is home. That’s the place that I want to be provision. We always have to look and see, you know, what, what’s that financial piece? What do I need right now? And I always counsel people just, you know, you’ve got to think through what, what are those standards that I have? How am I going to be able to meet that, that we’re, when we’re making changes, we’re planning for them. And then finally just looking at our physical health. I mean, Matt, years and years ago when I was transitioning and out, transitioning out of my corporate environment, I had had just was on the road, constantly, was struggling with a little bit of health issues and I just knew at that season I, I need to come off the road for awhile. That’s what I needed for my physical health. So again, on a weekly, monthly, annual basis, all of us can say, okay, where am I at peace with where I am in my life right now, looking at people purpose, place for vision, physical health, and I can kind of grade myself on those and it helps me to know what are some changes that I need to make, what adjustments do I need to make so that I’m living my life at peace?
I love it. I think we actually make sure we turn that into something that our folks could use just a little bit. Now, I’m pretty rusty at this stuff at my recollection is is that there’s a way we can sort of self assess this. If I’m in an uncomfortable place in my life or I realize I’m feeling a lot of stress or I’m unhappy for some reason that I can stop and I can do a quick self assessment on this, right?
If you give it a percentage, I could say, do you know what? As far as the place where I am right now, I think I’m only 30% do I think of I’m feeling at peace or that this and then someone you might say, but you know what my purpose, it’s so aligned with my purpose. I feel like the tasks that I’m doing are aligned with my strengths. And you might say, well, you know what, I’m at 90% are on my purpose so you can actually give yourself a score for each one of them and then look at that composite score and just gives us an idea of where do we need to get some, where do I need to put some focus? Where might I need to make some changes? Where do I need to pursue a mentor and get some counsel in an area to be proactive to increase that percentage of
Fantastic. Yeah. I don’t know that there’s a formal score there in terms of you know, you need to be at least an 88 in order to pass the test or something like that. But, but I think it probably is helpful, especially when you start breaking it down and say, okay, well you know, I did this little self assessment and feel like, Oh, you’ve mentioned place as one possibility. This is the area where I need to work a little bit and get some attention. I have been reassess a few months down the road or a year on the road and see, see how it’s going. Probably you know, where you place your attention is probably going to improve. I would absolutely love it. Okay. Tell me a little bit about, I want, I want to hear a little bit more about this team building part of it.
Something you said to me the other day, and again, understanding for our audience, this is a newer business for you and so you’re sort of finding your way and you’re able to add value in a lot of different areas. So it’s really about picking and choosing, right? It’s not, it’s almost like over time you got to probably take some things off the table early in any business. We’ll probably do a wide variety of things, but over time we say, okay, I want to really focus that attention and energy around these two or three things, but today I think you told me recently that you’re helping somebody with maybe a new book again promoting a business and sort of growing, growing that awareness for a particular brand. I know you’re working with some teams and for profit and nonprofit organizations, you and I bumped into each other sort of accidentally in Texas a couple of weeks ago in the airports. I know you’re traveling around some. Yeah. Where do you feel like you’re getting some traction on what’s most interesting to you right now? Where do you, where do you think this is going?
Well I have, I really gave myself a, maybe this’ll help someone else that’s maybe in a season that’s getting ready to start something. Matt, I gave myself for the first 12 to 24 months of my business that I was going to experiment. And, and here’s the thing is I think sometimes people will experiment but they don’t put any boundaries on that. And then all of a sudden five years have gone by and they’re still all over the place. Right? So I was talking with one of my mentors that said, Holly, why don’t you experiment for a period of time but set a time limit on it. And so right now I’m still I love the variety. Maybe Matt, it all goes back to the type of nursing that I chose was emergency room cause I wanted to be able to have a variety. It’s important to know what’s coming through the door.
So I enjoy on one day helping an author really craft a message of a book the next day, being able to really dive deep into some team dynamics and then maybe the next day helping the us CEO or executive director really think through a strategic plan. Again, the common theme is what are the action steps that need to take place. So that this person can maximize their influence to really be able to influence someone else. And so I, I am doing a variety of different things, but I’ve set a time limit on that. And then it’s always great as you go through, you think, I think that I did that well. I that felt natural. I felt like I had some natural intuition there. I got a really great result that I wanted and then there might be something else that might, I might say, you know, I have the skills to do that, but I’m, I only want to do that, you know, 10% of my time. Right? So I think when someone, I would coach someone that’s in my situation, give yourself room to experiment, journal along the way, ask for feedback from other people and then just set a time limit on, on that process and then be willing to come back and revisit it. And I think when I’ve done that, it’s allowed me to have a lot of peace that I still have this consistent purpose of wanting people to really maximize the influence that they have. But it’s giving me some freedom to kind of try it.
Yeah, no, I love that. I think so many times, especially in startup mode and probably especially with younger folks that are starting their first business or even just a project doesn’t have to be a business cause it’s just a project. They don’t put some of those boundaries in place. And so you’re very smart to to do that, but a timeline on it and give yourself permission to try different things to experiment as you, but maybe go down a path that wasn’t initially on your mind or just a, a door opens and lets walk through it and try it out. And it’s totally okay because you’ve set a limit to how long you’re going to do that. That’s great. That’s fantastic. Well, Holly, this has been a lot of fun. I want to, I want to wrap up with this. I’d like to kind of go through and ask some questions that were, so it’s a list that we’re developing that we’ll ask every person that comes on the rock and it business podcast. And so it is is still evolving and so they’re going to be some for folks. I’ve listened to a more than a few episodes. You’ll recognize some of the questions here, but we’ve added a couple new ones also. So speaking of experimentation, experiment with you. Tell me about one person in your life that has a had a profound impact.
At Bob Beatty, he was in the first person in my corporate career that saw me in a position and thought, Holly, I think you have the potential to do more. And he gave me a job that on a resume, I did not naturally have the qualifications and I will always be grateful to him and I’ve wanted to turn around and do that for other people as well, that you’re willing to give somebody a chance to try something. And so much of the success that I had in my corporate career is really attributed to his belief in me.
Isn’t that cool? Now, what do you think, what do you think he saw in you? What do you think it was that made him decide to do that? Because that, you know, I’ve, I’ve run an organization for awhile and sometimes you know, there’s just a need, Oh my gosh, there’s a, there’s a hole in my team here and I need to fill it. And so there’s some pressure to kind of figure that out with the resources that you have. We’ve just got to be imaginative and figure that out. But then there have been other times where you do see something in someone and say, wow, you know what? I got this person in particular role or working on a particular project. But there’s a certain thing about that person that I feel like we can tap for a higher calling somewhere else. And so going and doing that, what do you, what do you think Bob saw in you that made him feel that it was a good decision to say, Hey, I want you to try this, this other thing?
That’s a good question. And I think maybe part of it, well I would attribute the majority of it was he was a phenomenal leader and so I give the credit to him. But I think in my part it was interesting, the corporate headquarters for that company were in Tampa, Florida. And it just so happened that they were having a leadership meeting in Atlanta at a conference room close to the airport. And because I worked locally in Atlanta, they asked me to come and do a presentation. So one thing was I thought I have this opportunity and that I prepared. I practiced. I mean I thought, I have a moment in time that I have been asked to give this presentation and I am going to seize that moment. So I think the preparation to say I’m not going to wing it, I’m going to really be prepared to do that.
So that was a piece. And then Matt, the second was when it was finishing, Bob and a couple of other executives were running really, really tight on time, trying to get back to the airport. I needed to be somewhere else, but I could tell they were stressed and I said, Hey guys, just jump in the car with me and I will drive you to the airport and drop you off right at the door. And so number one, it just met a need that they had. They also just gave me some time in the car to talk with these three people. But I think that Bob maybe saw someone that was willing to jump in and kind of had a, I’ll do whatever it takes, kind of an attitude. And so I think that that helped it, it helped him remember who I was. So I will just say Matt having that that attitude throughout a career that no matter what position that you have, if you see a need, can you serve someone else? I know it sounds so cliche, but when we choose to serve someone else, I just think it’s a very powerful thing that comes back in return. Turn
To that. Oh, I think so too. What I love about that story. Yes, you did something that on the surface sounds simple but really is incredibly rare and it was really two things. One is your boss came to you and said, they have this task that I’d like you to do. I want you to do this presentation. And you went a long way to ensure that you did that. Well. You did that for the very best of your ability. Like you said, you prepared for it. You practiced, you went in planning to deliver a fantastic experience for the people of that in that room. Right. And so that’s something that not everyone does. A lot of people, I would say most people would wing it. They would just show up and kind of muddle their way through it. And that would probably show, but because you prepared, I think that sets you apart from the average person that might’ve come in and done that presentation.
And then you did what I like to call a plus one. As you drove him to the airport, you didn’t have to do that. That was not part of the job description. You detected that they were feeling some stress and you made a small personal sacrifice to get them there. You did a plus wine that was above and beyond the call of duty. And that is also very rare. And boy, you put those two things together. I think Bob made a great decision. It was an obvious choice for him. That’s why just I wished more people, I wish I was, I wish I did them more. And I certainly wish that more people in the world kind of approach things that way of, okay, I’ve been asked to do something or I have an opportunity to do something, let’s do it really well. You know what grandpa used to say was, anything worth doing is worth doing well, so do it well. And then let’s leave them with a plus one. If everybody did that world would be a better place. Right? I love that saying
And remember that. So what’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned in your professional career? Tim ha. I was thinking about that and I would say maybe it’s a lesson that I continue in wanting to learn myself and that is listening. It is, am I willing to listen? Am I willing to be curious? And Matt, I would say when I have really, really listened to what someone else was trying to say to me, that has always been a good thing. And times when maybe I made a decision that looking back, gosh, I would have handled that different or that didn’t turn out the way that I did. In many ways it’s, it’s the listening. And I think there’s a distinction. Matt listening does not mean agreeing. You can listen. And that does not mean that the person that came in your office and was hoping for a yes, they may still get a no.
But did I listen? And here’s the thing, Matt, I can think that I listened, but if the person on the other side of me doesn’t feel like I listen, it doesn’t matter if I went, I listened to that. I’ve got to think through, but what am I doing to make sure and ensure that a other person knows I’m listening. I’m curious. I heard you. And so that’s something I think Matt, I’m still continuing to want to grow into, but, but I think Bernay Brown, some of her most recent work that she’s done, she really talks about being sureness and that sometimes the things that, that divide us, if we could approach it with a posture of, talk to me about that. Help me understand your perspective on that. That was an interest, just interesting decision that you made. Can you kind of walk me through what were some of the deciding factors that led to that decision? You seem to feel really strongly about that. Talk to me about where does that, where does that passion come from? Those kinds of questions. I want wanna become an even better question asker.
Well, I’ll tell you about it. That’s great. You’re right. That’s something, it’s a lifelong thing, right? Well, Paul is approved on, that kind of brings us back. You were talking about how it’s important for the other person to feel heard, not just that I feel like I listened, but the person that I’m listening to feels like they were heard. And that kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier about just to, you know, our experiences create our real reality. Right. And if the person on the other side of this is not experiencing the feeling of being heard, well then that’s the reality, not going to be heard from their perspective. Right.
From their perspective. Yeah.
All right, cool. Tell me about a current book. What are you reading? You’re already avid reader.
I do and I read fiction and nonfiction, but I’m really, this past fall when I was really getting things going with my company, it’s not new book, but I’m a big fan of Jon Acuff and he wrote a book called start and really liked it. I would highly recommend it for anyone that’s wanting to start something new or they could still be in their same job, but there may be wanting to, they’ve moved into a new position or whatever that might be. And then I’m just on a kind of tactical standpoint, I’m so intrigued by social media and the impact that it has on companies and platform and brand building. And so there’s a new book that came out just about a month or so ago called social media success for any brand. And that was written by Claire Ortiz and it was published in conjunction with StoryBrand and Donald Miller. And so the way that Claire talks about how to think about social media I just have really found incredibly helpful.
Wow. Very cool. We’ve had Demming Bass on our show before also. And of course he is currently a consultant for a StoryBrand and I’m a big fan of Donald Miller’s work and really cool. Love it. Are you, do you listen to podcasts?
I mean obviously the Rocket IT Podcast. I’m sure it’s high on your list, but any others? I do. I love what we just talked about, Donald Miller, the StoryBrand podcast. I love, I think you would love it. And so it’s Donald Miller and his co-host is JJ Peterson who’s on his staff. And so it’s a definite go-to. And then just on a personal standpoint, I’m just a big fan of Dave Ramsey’s podcast and just really thinking about making wise financial decisions, especially now as an entrepreneur.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s important. I love it. Okay. Tell us a little bit about how can we reach you? How can we find out more about Hollis strategies?
You are so kind to ask. Well, the website, it’s easy. It’s Hollisstrategies.com and so Hollis Strategies and so people can just go to that website. There’s a way for them to contact me and would just love to hear from anybody. It’s always an honor to serve anybody that I can.
Wonderful. Well, good job, Holly. On that note, I believe it’s time to wrap things up, Holly, from myself and our audience, thank you for joining us today. To our listeners. Thank you for tuning into the Rocket IT business podcast. We hope this episode inspires you to build upon meaningful relationships and team dynamics that are necessary to an organization’s success. Should you have any questions on future topics that you’d like to hear more about, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org finally, a quick plug for Rocket IT. We work with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and municipalities in the areas of it. Support, information security and strategic planning. To learn more about Rocket IT and its services, simply visit rocketit.com thank you.