My Conversation with Carolyn Strauss: Managing People, Power and Priorities

My Conversation with Carolyn Strauss: Managing People, Power and Priorities

Carolyn Strauss knows a thing or two about getting stuff done. One of the things she knows is just how important it is to effectively manage yourself. That’s why I asked her to share some of her hard-won knowledge with CEOs and leaders in two of the Vistage groups I work with.

As a CEO who for 18 years repped her company’s apparel on The Home Shopping Network, Carolyn became adept at sales, persuasion, and execution. A member of the Screen Actors Guild and a Certified Speaking Professional™, she has parlayed her vast professional experience into programs that help business owners see real ROI.

When Carolyn worked with our groups, she walked us through a variety of exercises and techniques that folks can use to assess, prioritize, and effect positive change in their personal and professional relationships. Among other things, Carolyn helped everyone in my groups understand:

  • How to protect and create boundaries around their time and attention;
  • Determine where their teams must focus to create better productivity and generate higher DPM’s (Dollars Per Minute™); and
  • The basic instinctual differences between men and women—and how to communicate more effectively at work and at home by leveraging those differences.

The time Carolyn spent with us left me curious as to what advice she might provide others who haven’t engaged with one of her programs. So, I asked her what the one thing is that she wishes everyone might learn from her.

Watch my conversation with Carolyn to discover her answer, and then check out her website to learn more about her programs and how she might assist your organization.


Chad Harvey (00:04): Chad Harvey here with Carolyn Strauss. Carolyn had the fortunate, or maybe the misfortune, I don’t know, of working with both of my Vistage groups last week with her program, managing people, priorities and power. It was a fantastic program and it went so well that I thought it would be important to bring this to a wider audience. And while we can’t do the whole program, what we can do is talk a little bit about what we covered. And I can ask her one question for everybody out there in video land, which is what is the one thing that you’d love for everybody to take away from your program?

Carolyn Strauss (00:38): That managing people, power and priorities is about managing yourself. Like we talked about in the program, I believe that power now lies in sphere of influence. I believe knowing who you are, what you intend and who you have around you and what you intend for them to see, have, do, and be in all aspects of their life, in their business life of course, but in their personal life, their spiritual life, their relationships, their communication. If you’re a crystal clear about what you intend, then the people around you will want to keep around you. If you’re not clear about what you intend for people, then they’re going to get sucked into somebody else’s sphere and that’s not good.

Chad Harvey (01:24): That is a fantastic takeaway Carolyn. You and I talked a little bit during some of the breaks last week, and I think I mentioned you. One of the things I see often is that we force rank our employees. We do a lot of objective analysis of different things in our professional and our personal lives, but very rarely do we actually spend time and do what you’re talking about, which is an objective analyzation of those that surround us. Not in an employment context necessarily, but just in terms of their influence on us and us on them. Do you see that very often with the folks that you work with, that there’s this blind spot in terms of how we evaluate folks?

Carolyn Strauss (02:00): Well, we think people are like us. It’s natural human nature to think people are like us. I mean, you think about like the languages of appreciation. There are the five love languages, which I’m sure you guys have talked about. It’s gifts, touch, words, acts of service and quality time. And what happens for us as human beings is we always default back to ours. So we think that showing somebody appreciation and that’s super important right now, especially going into the next year, especially with the change that’s happened in the world to show somebody appreciation in their language will make them want to stay around you personally and professionally.

Chad Harvey (02:39): Wow, fantastic. I could easily talk with you for another two hours about this, but attention spans being what they are. I think we’ll wrap it up. Anything else you’d like to leave the audience with here before we go?

Carolyn Strauss (02:50): Lots of stuff. Lots of stuff. First of all, I think January… Let me just start with this. This past year has been so weird and I’m just going to call it weird because for everybody it’s been different, but it’s not been the same for anybody. So this is an incredible time in your business and in your personal life to make a change. So if something needs to shift, people aren’t going to be as shocked into the change as they would have been a year ago, because we’ve all been shocked into such a weird change anyway, that if you want to change something, get crystal clear about what you want to change and then get a clear strategy for how you want to implement that so that it serves you, your world and your ecology to people around you.

Chad Harvey (03:33): Oh, that’s fantastic. I love it. As you were talking, all I could think of was that the pump has been primed for each of us individually, and now we just need to make a plan, stick to it and execute.

Carolyn Strauss (03:43): Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And if you’re doing a leadership… I don’t call them retreat by the way. I don’t retreat. I don’t go back. And this year it’s impossible to go back. I call them advances. But if you guys are working on a leadership advance for your team and you want some structure around it or some help with it, that’s one of the things. So that’s one of the shifts that I’ve made in my business. Also is I’ve been doing a lot more of those with the teams that I work with.

Chad Harvey (04:08): Fantastic. I love the concept of a leadership advance. It’s funny, and we didn’t rehearse this ahead of time, I would always tell organizations that I worked with we are not going to retreat we’re going to advance. I thought I was the only one that ever said that.

Carolyn Strauss (04:19): That’s so funny. I Only facilitate advances. I don’t facilitate retreats because I don’t go back.

Chad Harvey (04:24): I love it. Well then here’s to advancing in 2021 and beyond. Thank you, Carolyn.

Carolyn Strauss (04:30): Blessings, everybody.

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