Dom Farnan

DotConnect Chief Conscious Connector Dom Farnan

Dom FarnanFounder and Chief Conscious Connector

Today, we welcome Dom Farnan back to the podcast! She is the Founder and Chief Conscious Connector at DotConnect. Dom begins by giving us a rundown of who DotConnect is as a company and a breakdown of some of their recent projects. Then, she opens up about the introspection that led to her discovering that she’d been a toxic boss. That leads to Dom describing how she knew that she needed to shift her focus, how her personal development coach made her focus on the right things, and how her personal growth led to positive organizational changes at work, creating a healthier work culture. We find out why performance-based values alone are not enough for DotConnect, what the company’s core values are, how our guest ensures that the company values and the work being done are interconnected, and the type of responsibilities that she places on her team leaders’ shoulders. The change in values altered the way that Dom and DotConnect do business and she stresses the importance of only saying yes to healthy business propositions. In this information-packed episode, you’ll learn how DotConnect differs from other RPOs, what scrum methodology is and how it applies to the talent space, and how Dom and her company made some changes after retrospective sessions with clients.


Dom’s previous appearance on the podcast

Episode Transcript


[00:00:05] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

[00:00:12] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life. We want to understand how they make decisions, where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

[00:00:22] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.

[00:00:31] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt something was missing.

[00:00:39] MALE: Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career. You are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C-suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

[00:00:52] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you’re about to hear the best in the biz. Talk Talent To Me.


[00:00:59] RS: Here with me today on Talk Talent to Me is returning champion and Founder and Chief Conscious Connector over at DotConnect, Dom Farnan. Dom, welcome back to the podcast, how the heck are ya?

[00:01:11] DF: Hi, Rob. I’m so happy to be back. Good to hear from you again.

[00:01:15] RS: Yeah, pleased to have you. I should call out that I think you were the last person I did an in person interview with at late, January, February 2020. Somewhere in there was the last time we spoke. What’s been going on with you? As anything interesting happened in the last two years, you want to know?

[00:01:32] DF: Slightly a little bit. I don’t know where you want me to start?

[00:01:36] RS: I mean, there’s so much here. I’m being cheeky. I guess let’s hear about DotConnect a little bit for the folks at home, would you mind sharing a little bit about the business and what you all are working on? Then I guess for the long-term listeners will then do the update, the two year update?

[00:01:50] DF: Sure. Awesome. DotConnect is a global talent advisory. We are akin to an RPO, but we also do other things as well. We have about 100 people on our team globally. That’s grown quite a bit from where we were last time we talked, I think we’re about 25. We support a variety of different clients, primarily filling full time roles for US-based positions across a multitude of functions, including product engineering design, go to market, you name it, we probably worked on it.

[00:02:20] RS: Got it. You are probably, I know you hate the characterization of an RPO, right? Because I think, DotConnect is not your parents RPO to put it one way, right?

[00:02:29] DF: Yeah. I mean, I have nothing against RPOs, since that is technically the bucket that we fall in, but me being in recruiting for as long as I’ve been and having been payroll through probably every RPO on the block, we are very different. I like to go to market with that edge and intention. Especially in the last couple of years, I’ve been on quite the personal journey that has led me to really redefine what DotConnect is. So we really to look at ourselves as conscious connectors who are excited to help build companies, through building meaningful relationships and actually making hiring enjoyable.

[00:03:03] RS: When you talk about that self-reflection, what was the shift? I guess let’s start with how did you know it was time for a shift?

[00:03:09] DF: For me COVID. That was my rock bottom. So coming after seeing you that was the last trip that I actually took. I’m seeing a lot of my clients in San Francisco, getting back home to New Jersey and the world was locked down. Then we saw a lot of our clients cut contracts overnight. It was pretty scary. The team got down to about 15 people. We spread out the little amount of work that we had. We continued to stay connected. Some of the team went got other contracts and roles as they could. We all just ducked and covered, but tried to stay a team and continue to build our skills and stay in communication, but during that same time, I went from traveling all over the world all the time to being grounded at my house, having to be a mom everyday 24/7 with a kid in schools, zoom school and just, it really changed my lifestyle.

With that came a pretty deep depression that led me to taking action and, getting a coach, that was the first step in my inner work journey. Then from there, it’s been now a couple of years of personal self-development work, but that inner work and healing has really transformed my business.

[00:04:19] RS: What direction did the coach push you in?

[00:04:21] DF: She really pushed me to take a look at myself. I joke that it was really just holding up the mirror and going, “Huh, all this stuff isn’t working well in your life. Oh, your relationship isn’t going well. Okay, what is the constant and all of these things? Let’s start with that.” Then we can go through line by line on how we’re going to cover these things and really unlearn a lot of things, because for me, I was probably 35 at the time, I was very well defined in my worldview, and very much, while growth mindset is a value of mine, I like to learn a lot of things, but the same time I was pretty rooted in who I was what I stood for, and I didn’t think I could change. It was a lot of unlearning, and waking up to myself and going, “Oh, damn, I could heal that.” Or, “Oh, I can cry about that and feel better and move forward.” Really just taking a step back, looking at myself in the mirror, unlearning, and then creating a lot of awareness around this.

[00:05:21] RS: Creating awareness within your organization or?

[00:05:24] DF: Yeah. So really, I took a lot of responsibility for the culture that was being built at the company and the early days, so 2019 and 2020, was a very different place for my team. I was a very different leader. I was a micromanager. I was highly toxic. I was slacking people in all hours, at night, I was a perfectionist. It was just crazy. I took responsibility for that and really made an intentional effort and commitment to undoing that and coming back and building a culture with intention, and committing to being what is a conscious leader. I joined a Conscious Leaders Mastermind. I read the book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. We actually read that at our company, and also send it to our clients when they kick off engagements with us, so that we can really be the ones who are being the change that we wish to seek.

A lot of that just came up through doing this inner work and taking an inventory of all of the trauma that I had both working in corporate, working as a female aspiring leader in technology. That was when I knew it was time to take responsibility and change the direction of how we were doing things.

[00:06:38] RS: I’m impressed, you’re able to admit you’re a toxic boss, because I think it’s characteristic of toxic individuals to have no idea that they’re toxic, or worse, to believe that that is necessary and the only way to really lead or do the job. How did you have that clarity?

[00:06:55] DF: That was probably six months into my coaching. I remember it was an October and Angie, my coach was asking me like, “Why did I feel the need to work every weekend?” I was like, “Well, because it’s all on me and da, da, da and all this.” It was so, so ego. It was all in my own head, the stories that I was making up. We were just talking about the impact of that on my team or the impact of my perfectionism throughout my whole adult life and childhood, how that was impacting my team. It was hard for me, initially when I started, to put layers between me and the end user client work, to relinquish that control or to trust people to deliver the same quality work that I had always delivered, and when it wasn’t perfect like be okay with that, like have that margin for it to still be alright, and not freak out and melt down.

It took about six months. I had a realization. I had a cry about it. I was just holy shit. No wonder we are in the place that we’re in. No wonder my team probably feels scared to come to me with anything. It’s like walking on eggshells and working for me. I felt so bad, because I don’t think that was ever my intention. I just didn’t know, and to your point, a lot of toxic people, they just don’t know. When they do know, you’re either going to go my way, like, “Oh, my gosh. I feel so bad.” That was not at all what I intended. I really wanted to level you up or give you exposure to different things or push you like a coach, but in not the right way. Or you can just continue on your merry way and think that it’s not going to come back at you, but really, if you look at it, toxic people are the ones where they have a lot of turnover on their teams, or they’re not taking responsibility for the circumstances of their life, their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

[00:08:45] RS: Yeah, yeah. What organizational change did this result in?

[00:08:51] DF: For us, it really came down to taking a look at the company’s values and doing a refresh. We only really rolled out new values this year. We started talking through and identifying core values that were different from the ones we put out in 2019. That really, were all performance based and not truly in alignment with this evolution that I was going through, and that I was hoping my team would follow me on. So last year, we started toying with some new values.

Then this year, we landed on the ones that felt right for us. Then we’ve rolled them out. But what led me to even thinking about this was when I asked the team, my leadership team, in a meeting what our values were, and nobody knew. So I’m like, “Oh, that’s concerning. Can you just pull up the website and read them to me?” Then also asking the broader team on an all hands if anybody knew the values, and nobody said anything? I knew that clearly, we weren’t embodying the values if our whole team didn’t know them, starting with our leadership team.

[00:09:54] RS: Right. It’s interesting, the shift away from performance-based values, because I can see why you would go there, right? It’s oh, we expect this level of expertise and performance, so let that be our true north. Why was that not enough?

[00:10:10] DF: Because I think one thing that COVID taught me, especially, was we are whole people. We aren’t just work people and then personal people. We are all one human being. It’s really hard to just have a set of values, that’s all about numbers, metrics and performance when we have emotions, and we are highly irrational human beings in our human experience, and everybody has different things going on in their lives, that impacts their ability to perform. Now, when we looked at our values, we really reset them and they’re a balance of both. One of our values is mindful, that means you have positive energy and you’re calm with compassion, you have a strong awareness of yourself and others, willingness to help.

You have grit, you have self-determination, and you persevere, when things aren’t easy. You are willing to help your team members. Growth mindset, you’re coachable, you meet conflict with curiosity, you don’t get defensive. Ownership and delivery, there’s your performance value, you’re the owner of your work product, and you deliver results. Also driven, another performance when you’re hard working, you’re hungry, you’re eager. Then lastly, fun in the scheme of life, that work is just a facet of it. So you choose to make it fun while you’re doing it. I think that was missing before. I think I would always catastrophize things or I’d always be on edge or waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Being in the RPO world or being in recruiting, you’re constantly in the middle of not always the best news. It’s like, tell the candidate I don’t like them. Tell the hiring manager, I reject the job all day long. That does something to you, so why not bring some levity to it?

[00:11:49] RS: Yeah, of course. Companies will have their values. I think there’s a difference between the espoused values and the way work actually gets done. How do you ensure those two things are close together?

[00:12:01] DF: Yeah. I think we hire, we reward, and we call people forward. I guess discipline based on these values. They are anchor, they’re our foundation, they’re part of our interview process, we talk about them in every touchpoint. So we have weekly pod syncs, we have an all hands, we have an all hands and then get shit done award every month and that’s tied to somebody exhibiting a certain one or set of those values. We talk a lot about specific things that people do to embody those values to our clients, our candidates, and our team members.

[00:12:37] RS: Got it. I’m putting myself on the candidate side here, because we keep hearing how important mission is to candidates, particularly younger generations. I’m not arguing that, but I do think that more important than the difference you’re making in the world is the company’s value in terms of how do you to do work, right? Am I going to feel supported healthy or is this a toxic workplace? These are the things you want to learn about a company when you’re interviewing there.

I do love the signal about looking at what gets rewarded at that company, so that can be hard to do from the outside, but in general, going even further than what gets called out in an all hands, who’s getting promoted? Who’s getting more resources? Who’s getting the investment? What behaviors are typical of that person? Those are your real values, right? Whether no matter what it says on the website.

[00:13:25] DF: Yeah, I know, exactly. Really, my role as a leader and my leaders’ role as leaders of people is to build their skills and competence. So if they’re not doing that, it’s going to be pretty apparent. If my leaders are coming to me with excuses as to why their teams who are earlier career recruiters are new to the industry, recruiters aren’t getting it, well, I really just wave the mirror up to them and say, “Okay, well, who leads that team?” It starts and ends with your people leader. Your sole purpose is to build skills and competence of your team, period. So how are you doing that?

[00:14:03] RS: I do also like how you mentioned you send that leadership book to your clients. Has this value refresh also impacted the way you basically choose business or partners?

[00:14:12] DF: Yeah, exactly. It really has, because last year, we were in a growth mode and our sights set specifically on very specific companies, like logos we wanted to get and business we wanted to land. We landed a lot of the work we wanted. Then we got into these places and we didn’t do a values check and soft skills match between our organizations and theirs. There were projects that we wrapped up early, because it was not a good fit, or things started to come out after we had kicked off that it wasn’t in alignment. I think that was also a big learning for me.

I’m less inclined to go work for every cool company on the block. I’m more inclined to work with good people, regardless of industry, regardless of logo, I don’t care. If you’re somebody who is in alignment, and a lot of our work still comes from my personal network of when I was recruiting. I actually love that, because we walk in and we have this solid level of trust and understanding with each other. We almost skipped to the really good part of a relationship.

We don’t have to do all the storming and norming, because we already got you. I know you. I work with you. I got your back, you got mine. We can have hard conversations in a non-combative way. We can just cut to the chase and figure things out together and walk away being the resolution and creating win for all scenarios. Those are the types of people we want to work with. If you look at our client roster now, it’s a hodgepodge, but it’s all because of the people who are there who we want to work with.

[00:15:51] RS: Yeah. I’ve gone through that, too. I look back at certain clients I’ve had and thought to myself, I should have said no to them. But it’s hard to say no to business. The whole point when you’re a freelancer or when you’re trying to build something, you just want to say yes, because you need to get paid and you need customers. But maybe it’s a point of privilege to be able to say no. I really do think that whatever temporary financial need is met by saying yes, is not as important as your own health or your own ability to show up to work in a way that you believe is authentic. We’re off the rails of recruitment now, but this is something I think about all the time.

[00:16:23] DF: Yeah. I think that with every mismatch, you learn something. I look at a couple years ago, I would do anything to try and just get business and keep it and keep my team going and keep my team learning and growing. So that was a very different approach than now being a little bit more selective. Even now, we’ve had people who I personally love and adore and want to help and work with, but the projects aren’t that easy for my team, you know what I mean? There’s still a balance, and they’re still learning and some of these things. It’s not super straightforward and ironed out, but I look at every project and every engagement, every opportunity is just some lesson for us to learn from and keep moving forward.

[00:17:03] RS: Yeah. That’s an important call out. You cannot beat up the earlier version of you for not having the clarity that future you has, right.

[00:17:11] DF: Yeah, totally.

[00:17:12] RS: I want to get into the business itself a little bit. We’ve been sharing the values and how you choose work and show up to work a little bit. I’m just curious. You say you do fall in the RPO bucket, even though you maybe you don’t love the term or the connotation? How is it that DotConnect differentiates from what people think when they hear RPO?

[00:17:30] DF: Yeah. I think, because we’re really striving to bring consciousness into the way that we recruit and move away from being reactive, emotionally volatile recruiters who work with companies who live on autopilot, and really always do what they’ve always done, because that’s how they are. That’s where we’re different. We are not your cookie-cutter recruitment approach that uses the same methods to every agency who focus just on vanity metrics, instead of really culture cultivation and leveraging creativity and actually bringing ideas to the table and iterating on different things.

I’m all for experimentation. We experiment, a lot of different things here, tools, technologies, process. We’re just going to pile it out, running scrum with one of our clients in recruiting. It seems pretty basic, but I don’t think a lot of people are doing it or doing it well. We are in parallel, running our scrum process with a client to see if they want to run it and then roll it out to other clients. You’re probably not going to see that in more traditional RPOs. I think, also with other RPOs at least the ones I’ve been a part of, there’s been a different process across their recruiters and they don’t always have a high-quality bar.

I’ve been payroll through every RPO you can imagine. I never once had any of them trained me. Nobody would ever train me. They just fill, here’s your client, go work. Okay, cool. It was good that I was capable, but what if I wasn’t? Who would I go to for help? So that’s another difference. Our team has a huge team of support, and we have each other’s backs. We’re constantly upskilling and it’s not just from your technical skills, but it’s also really working on inner work and emotional intelligence and emotional mastery. Some of the things that we do as a team are breathwork.

I have a zoom breathwork session once a month with the team with this guy, Avery Whitmore. He’s amazing. That’s really helped my team to get their emotions together and in check and drop in. We work on Morning mindset, so that we have the right way to enter the day. So we’re not all frazzled and freaking out about every slack that came through last night. All of this is like what I learned. It’s my playbook of don’t do what I did, because you’re going to be 20 years burnout, don’t do that, do the new things. Try these new things that I’m working on and that have really helped change the quality of my life.

[00:19:57] RS: Right, right. I think I’ve only heard scrum applied to engineering teams? What form does it take in talent?

[00:20:04] DF: I mean, we’re literally running two-week sprints. The whole full scrum process in recruiting from when we’re kicking off stuff all the way through, obviously you’re probably not going to fill a wreck in 30 days. I’d be great if you could, but just running it through your cycles from kickoff to check ins to daily stand ups with the recruiters to making sure that they’re on point, and really being able to push through delivery and get your candidates to a certain stage in the process within that one month.

Also doing retrospectives, so that we can look back and see what went well, what’s not going well, where our bottlenecks are? Maybe it’s the hiring manager, maybe it’s not us, maybe it’s not the talent pool. We’re rolling that out now. I’m excited to try these, it’s been something we’ve been thinking about for a while, but I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

[00:20:48] RS: Yeah, let me know. What does it mean? What does scrum methodology refer to?

[00:20:53] DF: It’s an agile software development process. Some companies run scrum, other companies run a waterfall software development release cycle. This will be for when software engineering teams are actually shipping production level code into the market. Essentially that’s it. It’s like a project management workflow and process for software development.

[00:21:13] RS: Got it. The idea is to condense the process to remove wait times, is that it?

[00:21:20] DF: Yeah. You break down the bigger project into your monthly sprint cycles, so that you can stay on track with your overarching go live date, I guess. It’s the best way to put it.

[00:21:31] RS: Got it. When you do the retrospective, what things are coming up?

[00:21:35] DF: We do retros with our clients. I follow for a four-pronged approach. What do you like? What was lacking? What are we longing for moving forward? Like, lack, long for, and I need to find the other L. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but you follow the four Ls and essentially, that gives you a good indication of what you want to change moving forward. It’s almost a start, stop, continue, but it’s in these four buckets.

[00:22:04] RS: Got it. Okay. Can you give an example, what’s something that you stopped doing? I like to be additive by subtraction sometimes.

[00:22:10] DF: Yeah. So something we stopped doing, as per retro. I’ll give you a good example. We just did a retro with a client. One thing we stopped doing was having the hiring managers schedule their own phone interviews. That sounds crazy. Most clients never do that anyways, but we have a client that does that. So in a retro, it came up that they were doing that and how much time it was costing the hiring managers to do this. Then we brought in a coordinator to take that over and streamline the process. Now the hiring managers removed and it’s actually a more seamless process. It feels better to the hiring manager and the candidate and having to play ping pong with their calendars.

[00:22:50] RS: Yeah. So that is interesting. I mean, I’m sure again, in the traditional RPO model, no one’s offering to do scheduling, right, for hiring managers or are they? I don’t know.

[00:22:59] DF: Some of them might, they might have coordinators, depends on the scope of the project. Yeah.

[00:23:06] RS: Got it. Okay. Yeah, that’s a good example. I’m curious for you, Dom. You obviously had another life in recruitment before DotConnect, what was it about the space that you thought, “Okay, I can do this better than what I’m seeing out there in the marketplace”, or what was the gap that you thought this is a service that’s really needed?

[00:23:25] DF: Care and consideration. Literally, care and consideration. That’s it. I would always say to people, when they would ask me how do you have all these clients or where are you getting all this work? I’m like, I don’t know. It’s magic. I guess, I just care, I just care. I consider people I deeply want people to find whatever their life’s work is, if that’s what the open role that I was recruiting them for, great. If it wasn’t, I also want to just connect people. I’m a super connector at heart. I’ve always been like that. Anyone who knows me knows that they’ll come to me and I’ll connect them with whoever, however, and make that work. It sounds basic, but that was it.

That was why I was like, am I going to make a company with a bunch of recruiters trying to recruit the way that I did when really, I didn’t do anything different. I just cared, which seemed to be so wildly different than a lot of people that I work with. It was funny and almost sad to hear when you talk to candidates and you hear like, wow, you really cared, thanks for listening to me, or thanks for connecting me with so on and so forth, even though I didn’t get this job or I was always like, that’s all, I had to do was just show up normally how I am, and care. Okay, perfect. Well, then let’s do it. Let’s build a team around that, but that said, not everyone I’ve hired at my own team has stuck around, because not everyone has cared.

They’ve made it through the process and will know pretty quickly like, oh, yeah, you’re not aligned, because you don’t care. That’s the most frustrating part I think, is when you find that people don’t have that same level of consideration for others that you do.

[00:24:59] RS: Right. That notion of caring about people connecting them to jobs they truly love. That is what I think is attractive about this career, to people. Certainly in the beginning, people told me this all the time, I never thought I’d be a recruiter. I never planned on this, but I just tried it. I really loved it for those reasons I just outlined. Not everyone hangs on to that youthful, starry-eyed thing. Is it beaten out of people? Why do people lose that?

[00:25:27] DF: Yeah. I think for sure. I see it, even with my own recruiters now who are maybe early in their career recruiting or early in their professional history total or even career pivoters that are just brand new to recruiting, but they’ve been working in other industries for a while. It can be beaten out of you pretty quickly, because people are people. Everybody has their own human experience that they’re going through that is colored by all of their things. Their life story, their own set of values, their own traumas and everything, right? I think it’s challenging.

I see my recruiters sometimes they’re sad when they tell a candidate, you don’t get a job, and the candidate goes postal on them or they do work and they put an effort around a roll and find talent that they think is great, and the hiring manager says the talent isn’t great and you feel deflated. You know what I mean? I definitely think that, I always say, I can teach anyone how to recruit, but it’s not for everyone. You really have to get into it. You have to feel it in your heart and you have to have resilience, and you have to be motivated by challenge and you have to be more on the optimistic side of things, because if you’re not, then it can be a role that can turn into a drag and a role that can feel not amazing.

I also do a lot of work with my team around mindset and really understanding that a lot of times, when you’re getting projected on, that’s exactly what it is. It’s nothing to do with you. You call a candidate. They’re having a bad day already. They hang up on you. Whatever the situation is, it’s always someone else’s stuff. It’s never your own stuff. All you can control is your response and your energy, not everybody else’s. I think once you have that shift, recruiting is not that bad. There are other roles that are probably not in the same bucket.

[00:27:22] RS: That journey towards cynicism, I don’t think is unique to talent. I think it happens to people in every career. If you started out in whatever your skill set is, whatever your career is, and you’re like, “I was so excited to get this job, and I just loved the function. I loved doing that thing and seeing it work, that was really fulfilling to me.” Now you’re a few years further in your career and you’re resentful, you are feeling detached. I don’t necessarily think that means you’re in the wrong job. What should people do if they are reflecting on that journey and saying, I used to love this, I used to really enjoy this. Now I’m resentful of it. What do you think they should ask themselves to reorient?

[00:27:59] DF: Yeah. I mean, I think it starts with what brings you joy? What brings you joy? How do you want to feel? Because a lot of times people think that their career defines who they are. It’s a part of who you are. It’s a big part of who you are, but it’s not all of who you are. Really sinking into outside of the way that you make money, what brings you joy, and also thinking about what’s good.

I got to a place of burnout in 2018 before I started Dot, as a team. I was like, “I’m done. I’m done with recruiting. I’ve been doing these 20 years. Everyone’s all over me. They’re all the things. I can’t handle it.” Then that was around the same time when I started working with my coach. A year and a half later, when she asked me what brings me joy, and I couldn’t really articulate, because I didn’t even focus on bringing myself joy outside of my day job.

What was really validating for me was my work. Despite it being stressful, it still felt like my identity. I think understanding that your work is part of who you are, but it’s not all of who you are, and not letting that overshadow you to make your life miserable, is a big thing, and just thinking about what is good in your role, because it’s not always bad, even in recruiting in our stressful days. I’ll start our meetings with hey, let’s talk about what’s good. We all know the stuff that is the stuff and all the annoying things that happen, but let’s talk about what’s good and let’s get grounded in that first. Then we’ll talk about all the issues that are always going to happen, because people are people.

[00:29:33] RS: Yeah, I love that. Also I think don’t accept the bad parts of your job, right? Call them out, identify them and then find ways to remove it. I found myself in that position where I didn’t dislike my job, I just dislike doing certain facets of it, that were stopping me from doing the thing I really liked doing, right?

[00:29:47] DF: Totally.

[00:29:48] RS: In multiple different occasions. I brought those to a boss, I’m like, “All right, well let’s figure out a way to take that off of your plate or maybe they said, “Hey, sorry. I know you don’t love it, but I need you to keep doing it for X amount of time and then we’ll—some kind of solution, as opposed to just lighting the match, which is tempting and seductive, don’t you think?

[00:30:08] DF: No, fully. I felt like lighting a match couple times in last few years and even in my role. So in post burnout, pre-COVID, then COVID hit. I felt like I don’t want to be in my leadership role anymore, because it’s too hard for me and I’m over it. There was points of it where I was I can’t do this anymore. However, I took a zoom out, to your point, and almost did an inventory of things I do love. I love motivating and inspiring and coaching my team, but I don’t like performance management, and that aspect of leadership. But as part of it, I also don’t like trying to be in a leadership role, while also running payroll and doing all the back office stuff.

Okay, so there was a clear distinction that I needed to really hire somebody to be my right hand person and be my COO, so that I could be in my zone of genius, which is the vision and the forward momentum and the ideas and the big relationships with our clients, and not be the one doing operations and the back office stuff. With that, I was able to really carve off a position that is my COO now. She does all the things. She takes my ideas and makes it a viable thing. That’s been really helpful for me, because, to your point, I was getting more like, I don’t like doing this. I’m not good at it. I don’t like it. I find no joy in it. So let’s get me in my zone of genius where I love it and I’m joyful. Then also get her in her zone of genius where she loves doing all the things that I’m not necessarily great at.

[00:31:42] RS: Yeah, of course. Dom, this has been a special episode of Talk Talent To Me in the best way. A little unique to our normal, standard fare, but those are my favorite kinds, frankly, of episodes. At this point, I would just say, thank you so much for being here and for showing up with your candor and your own honestly. I really loved chatting with you and hearing about your journey today.

[00:32:03] DF: Yeah, awesome. Thanks, Rob. It was so good to catch up with you.


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