Lean Into The Pause

Business Can Be A Force For Good

In life, there are moments to pause

These moments happen unexpectedly by design and, while we are busy running a company, we can miss the moment.

For the past ten years, I have been guided in my life by that pause. The very moment when you are doing your daily routine that in an instance you feel yourself stopping.

But you don’t know why. 

You reach for your laptop and stop with your hand mid-way in the air.

You turn to your favorite news channel in the morning and find yourself with your finger hovering over the power button but not pressing it and, next your arm lowers to the ground. You sit on the edge of your bed, puzzled by what just happened while you listen to the sound of silence in a room that’s normally buzzing with the morning news report.  

The pause takes over you as if you are standing in a field and the only thing moving is the air around you.

Life-changing moments happen in the pause 

And, when life changes, your company will too

2019 was one of the most successful years of my business. We worked with international companies, and I took my first business trips overseas to India and Africa.

The world seemed golden. The sun felt as if it shined differently. I was hopeful and confident about our future, so much so that I was viewing office space to expand VOS into India. Then one morning as I clung onto the backseat of a taxi while driving through the streets of Mumbai (if you’ve never taken a taxi in India all I can say is it’s a once in a lifetime experience and would put the Autobahn to shame)

As I looked out the window to take in this amazing world around me, I felt it, the pause.

By now, I’m accustomed to the feeling that comes with the pause. Trying to put it into words is challenging but, I will try my best.

 Imagine this.

You are going throughout your day and, suddenly everything around you slows down and you sense something is coming. Now, this isn’t a creepy watch-out for the boogeyman type feeling. This is a forewarning of what is coming, and it leaves you intrigued and excited all at once. And, for those of us A personalities coupled with a Project Management background, we want to snap into action ASAP!

That is what happened to me in the back of that taxi in Mumbai. But I didn’t take immediate action I waited for what would come next.

The pause had come to let me know change is coming and a change for the better. 

Over the next few days, I reflected on what needed to change and, two areas became clear to me. The first area was related to the business and, the other was personal, very personal. 

Let’s start with the personal change.

When I launched my company, the VOS Group, in 2014, I knew that my background in Business Process Design, Sales, and Leadership could help companies grow and sustain. However, to truly sustain would require the company and the leaders to be the best version of who they are because only when both happen does a company truly succeed.

VOS had challenges and growing pains in the beginning and, if you have been in our community for a while, you’ve heard my story of investing six figures into my business in the early years to only make $800 in sales (in two years).

In that moment of allowing the devastating reality of what had temporarily happened to my dream sink in, I committed to learning the formula to make VOS win! And years later, I’m still teaching this methodology to my clients and, a key part of this method is not first addressing the company it is identifying the needs of the leaders, the Founders & C-Suite team to be specific.

The reason for this area of focus is because of a moment that happened after the layoff in 2014. I reached out to former Senior Executives that I reported to and others who were stakeholders on projects, and the question I asked was simple “Would you be open to providing a letter of recommendation?”

Nearly all said yes.

During one conversation, an Executive Vice President (EVP) shared with me how they had to postpone retiring because they were not ready to be ‘retired’. After all, ‘What would I do with my time?’ they asked. And, in other conversations, I heard the frustration leaders felt that they had to stay in their corporate position because of being the primary breadwinner while their partners started businesses that fulfilled their life passion (but are not profitable).

I knew at that moment; my purpose was to help companies realign internal priorities so that the business model wasn’t dependent on a handful of executives but could be successful by the team collectively. I’ll share more about this approach in future emails.

Being reminded of those moments back in 2014 was the catalyst that helped me to see that the business model I had needed to evolve. Now, don’t get me wrong during this time of reflection we had one of our best years, and projections for the road ahead were for more expansion and growth.

But the growth was based on the traditional consultant model and, here is where lies the gap. Because all companies reach the point that the business model must change.

Completion of Tasks Isn't The Primary Goal

“After working with leaders for over 20 years what became clear is the change that’s needed was for all employees to be given the tools to lead the company with purpose driven profitability vs. leading only for profitability and completion of tasks.”

But how do you do this?

That is where the business change needed to come in.

Earlier this year I reached out to current and former clients, mentors, and trusted colleagues and I asked them all one question “What do you feel it is that I do well?”

The answers all had the same theme.

“LaDawn, you help leaders think differently about business”

That hit home in a real way and is where the change began.

Within the Corporate world in recent years, interest has grown in how Executives can think differently when it comes to the strategy and sustainability of the company. In previous years the focus was on the normal topics you would expect to hear Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Process Improvement, Marketing Strategies, Merger & Acquisitions, Investor Funding, the list can go on.

However, all of these are reactive actions that take place once the overall strategy for the company is identified.

To fulfill the vision for VOS, it required me to change to be open to being a disruptor in the space. To do this meant that our business model would change. This is what the pause was bringing forth.

All the change tasks risk, a risk I was and still am willing to take. 

To take this risk required me to be okay with not going with the flow of how everyone else may do it and realizing that to help leaders think differently about their business meant I had to be okay with being a disruptor.

Companies don’t work with my team and I when they want cupcakes and butterflies. They hire us because they know they need change and, with change comes disruption and with disruption, a revelation rises to the top of what is truly working in the best interest of the company.

I decided to be a disruptor. Because I believe business can be a force for good. But to be that force requires us to not think or settle for the status quo when we know our companies are meant for more.  

This has also given me the freedom to work with my clients in a format that I’ve wanted to do for seven years.

“If we are going to change how Executives think let’s do it in luxury”

Along this journey into creating our new business model, another area became clear. Our community enjoys the stories and images of my personal and business travel, a discovery I must admit shocked me at first but then I understood why this was so interesting.

In my years of working in corporate, I would plaster pictures around my cubicle of all the destinations I wanted to visit. The places included Hawaii, Paris, London, Singapore, and more. When I became a business owner, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t only have a vision board I would live out that vision board.

And that is what I’m bringing to my clients through the Purpose Driven Profits method we have taught over the past 7 years behind the scenes, we no longer want to be an industry secret. To help leaders shift how they think we have introduced the VOS Founders Mastermind a private advisory to Executives that includes our proven methodology of having a purpose-driven and profitable company.

Applications are being accepted, for this ultimate level of online and offline support for the discerning executive with luxury retreats included. To learn more visit www.purposedrivenprofits.org/founders

We are taking every measure for the safety of the clients that wish to join us for in-person events. If you’re not open to traveling at this time but still interested in the program, other accommodations can be made.  

Does this mean that at VOS we don’t offer strategy sessions or corporate training? No, not at all. There is a time and place that this works well and alongside that, we will also teach companies to be purpose-driven and profitable through our signature system.

There is still more I will share with you about leaning into the pause and how I’ve had to do this over the past two years and most of the time it was extremely uncomfortable but now the results were all worth it.

More to come on that in future emails in the meantime what areas do you need to lean into the pause?

I look forward to talking with you next time,

 

 

We are taking every measure for the safety of the clients that wish to join us for in-person events. If you’re not open to traveling at this time but still interested in the program, other accommodations can be made.  

Does this mean that at VOS we don’t offer strategy sessions or corporate training? No, not at all. There is a time and place that this works well and alongside that, we will also teach companies to be purpose-driven and profitable through our signature system.

There is still more I will share with you about leaning into the pause and how I’ve had to do this over the past two years and most of the time it was extremely uncomfortable but now the results were all worth it.

More to come on that in future emails in the meantime what areas do you need to lean into the pause?

I look forward to talking with you next time,

About the Author

LaDawn Townsend is an Executive with 20 years of experience delivering process improvement & customer experience profitability strategies to Fortune 50 Finance and Technology organizations. As the CEO of VOS she leads her team to support mid-market organizations to transform people, process and profits.

She has been featured on KTN News, is an International News Contributor, Board Member and hosts Critical Conversations in the C-Suite on VOS Group TV. To learn more visit www.vosgroup.org

LaDawn Townsend, CEO & Founder, VOS Group