Creating World-Class Teams With Jen Du Plessis

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Podcasts

Speakers Who Get Results | Jen Du Plessis | World-Class Teams

 

If you truly want your business to succeed, you must not only be contented on finding talented individuals to work with. You must also guide them on their professional development journey, ultimately creating world-class teams. Elizabeth Bachman sits down with award-winning international speaker Jen Du Plessis, who talks about the art of true leadership that leads to well-rounded and highly productive teamwork. Jen explains how leaders can put together their dream team while prioritizing relationships and connections along the way. She also discusses how to live above and beyond as you consistently work to elevate your business, leading to a balanced and fulfilled life.

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Creating World-Class Teams With Jen Du Plessis

The Art of True Leadership

Before I get into the interview, I’d like to invite you to see how your presentation skills are doing by taking our free four-minute assessment at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where your presentation skills are strong and where perhaps a little bit of support could get you the results you need and the recognition that you deserve. If you score highly enough, you’ll get a free conversation about this assessment so that you can learn how to apply what you learned.

In this episode, my guest is Jen Du Plessis. She is a very interesting leader in terms of leadership, having built multiple teams. I was very excited to bring her in because she’s great at talking about creating world-class teams. I’m always looking for advice and tips for that. The official bio is Lady Jen Du Plessis is known as the leading expert in creating world-class teams. Jen works with high-achieving leaders and entrepreneurs who are earning six figures and those who are looking to up their game to reach seven figures a year, whether it’s within an organization, or as an entrepreneur.

She’s been in the financial services industry for decades, was listed in the Top 200 nationally-ranked mortgage organizations, and funded over $1 billion in mortgage loans. She’s the author of numerous Amazon #1 bestselling books and a host of two top-ranking podcasts. That’s a lot of work. I am amazed. She was the producer and host of her TV show, Tell Me I Can’t, which was streaming on Zondra TV, JD3TV.com, and the C-Suite Network. Jen is a very charismatic speaker. She’s shared the stage with such icons as Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, Jeff Hoffman, Sharon Lechter, and many more.

Most importantly, Jen believes that you can live your legacy while building it. It’s time to break free from the daily grind with strong leadership skills and powerful teams. She mentors people to stop working in and on their business or their career and start working above and beyond. I love that phrase. I was excited to interview her. It was very useful. I know you’ll enjoy it. Onto the interview with Jen Du Plessis.

Introduction

Jen Du Plessis, thank you so much for joining us.

I’m happy to be here. I can’t wait to explore whatever it is you’re going to be asking me.

Jen’s Dream Interview

I had a great time talking on your podcast. I’m delighted to be able to share you with my audience. Before I get into the many questions I have for you, tell us quickly who would be your dream interview. If you could interview someone who’s no longer with this, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who should be listening?

That would be Mother Teresa. What I would ask her? The most important thing that I’m interested in about her is that pinnacle moment when she took her faith to a deeper level. For me, that’s always been a challenge. “Am I deep enough? Do I need to go deeper? What are the words I should use? Should I let go and let God?” That’s one thing that I admire so much about her. As a visionary, she did that. She let go and let God. We all try to be. When you look at the word Christian, it means to be like Christ so we’re trying. When people say, “Are you a Christian,” I go, “I’m trying.” She has a unique ability and I would love to know how she did it and what that moment was.

Jen’s Career Path

That sounds wonderful and so awesome. I used to live up the hill near her convent in San Francisco. They were our neighbors. We saw the sisters walking around. It was always something very interesting. Jen, one of the reasons I wanted to ask you to get to the show is that a lot of my work deals with, not just women, but people who are being taken for granted within their organization or not being heard or listened to. You’ve had a major experience with that. I’d be curious to hear your story. What happened to you? How did you solve it? When did you decide to take a stand?

It is an interesting story because I was in the mortgage space for 40 years and I started in 1983. I was in a little bit earlier but that’s a whole other story. It was in 1983 and at that time, women were all operational. Nobody was in sales or management. Even managing operations was a difficult thing but over the years, I climbed the corporate ladder. I was a branch manager for a mortgage company. I had a unique ability to lead people and read people. I’m an empath. I had a lot of training in DISC profiling, situational leadership, and utilizing the management cycle.

What ended up happening was I got to the point where I was being moved around from branch to branch. On a Friday, they call me into an office and say, “We’re going to move you to another office on Monday because it’s falling apart. The culture is a mess. Everybody doesn’t like each other. The sales are down. We’re going to swap you and another manager because we want you to go there and fix it.”

That happened 4 or 5 times in my career at this company for over some time. What ended up happening was I became a pioneer and not a settler. I never got to realize the results of my work. As I was getting there and excited about the future, they would yank me out of that branch and move me to another branch. What’s ended up happening with all these men would go to the President’s Club and Chairman’s Club, even though I’m the one who built their branches for them.

The men were brought in after you fixed the situation.

Yes, they were brought in afterward. There was never a case where there was a woman who was brought in and there was never another woman who was a pioneer. I didn’t see any that were like that. I had enough. It wasn’t about the President’s Club or anything but I wanted to have some consistency. I wanted to be able to challenge my abilities to ensure that I could be a settler and that I was not going to be just the person who chased the shiny objects and went to the next best thing. I could see that that was a habit that was starting to happen to me. I was seeing it in other areas of my life as well.

Pioneer Vs. Settler

Before we go on to what you did, can you define the difference between pioneer and settler, especially for our international audience?

Pioneers are people who are innovators and creative. They go out to new territories. It started back in the 1800s. They are explorers. They started town and got everything all setup. The settlers come in once they hear about this town that’s been created. They’re the ones who make all the money because they’re the ones who open the casino and barbershop and have the general store. They raise their children there. They have this beautiful consistency and continuity in their lives, whereas the pioneer then says, “See you. I’m going to go find the next best thing.” It’s tiring and lonely. It’s dangerous sometimes. There’s a lot of risk associated with it.

For our international audience, this is a metaphor for the American West. If you watch any Western movies, that’s where this comes from. You wanted to be a settler. They kept wanting you to be a pioneer and you got tired of it. You wanted to settle down and enjoy the results. What made you decide, “Wait. This is not what I want.” I imagine you felt uncomfortable for a while before you did something about it.

I was starting to see this pattern develop in my personal life. I wanted friends but I didn’t want them because we wouldn’t go deep. I wouldn’t take my armor off because maybe they won’t be there. Maybe I don’t want them that long. Everything was superficial. I saw that if I took on a new sport or hobby, it was short-lived because that had become a habit for me. I realize that I didn’t want that. I was never concerned it was going to be my marriage.

It wasn’t fair to me not to have real strong relationships and see the development of my staff, employees, and team. I grew and realized that I wanted to challenge myself to ensure that I had the capability to do that. There was a time when it came up and I said, “No. You’ve done this to me X amount of times. Let me show you the results that I’ve created in each of those branches. They haven’t created those. I created them. Those employees are staying there because I created a culture that this manager then came into and adapted to.”

Some came in and messed it all up again but I never had to go back to the same place, which was good. I put my foot down and led with facts to get me to where I wanted to go so that I could have that sustainability in one specific area. What was great was that when that happened, they saw how great I was. I went straight up the ladder. Instead of hopping from a different ladder, I was climbing the ladder of success. It was constantly like this. I am shooting straight up to the top and ended up becoming a National Sales Manager.

Speakers Who Get Results | Jen Du Plessis | World-Class Teams

World-Class Teams: Instead of constantly chasing for the next big thing, put your foot down and find sustainability in one specific area.

 

Creating World-Class Teams

What you did was frame it in a language they could understand and call attention to what you’re good at. Good for you. This leads me to what I was going to ask you. You are known for creating great teams. How do you create a world-class team?

I don’t feel that people are managed anymore. It’s more leadership. There’s something called the management cycle that I no longer call it that. I call it the leadership cycle because it’s the same thing. No one wants to be managed. Everyone wants to be led. We want to be inspired. We don’t want to be micro-managed. What I find is entrepreneurship is so large. With the pandemic, many people are doing hybrid work.

Many people who have decided to start their business or who are in management positions whether before or after the pandemic lack management/leadership skills. They lack the real technical piece of this. It’s by attrition that they become managers and they want everyone to be like them. They treat everybody the same which is not what you do when you’re a leader. You have to meet people where they are. Having management experience and training, I trained all the managers of this company and became a national manager trainer. I still do that.

I do it for corporations, companies, small businesses, and teams. I come in and teach them how to manage and lead. It’s a long drawn-out thing. It doesn’t happen overnight but it stems from the lack of that training. It means that most people aren’t as good leaders as they are so they hire on emotion and at the last second when they run out of all the other options.

They point fingers at everyone else saying they’re horrible instead of, “I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t train you. I didn’t have a correct onboarding.” That costs money to turn people like that and opportunity costs that are left on the table when someone leaves. You have to dive into all those pieces. It’s about leveling up and understanding what the growth is of your team members. There are so many aspects but we can dive into a couple of things with it. Where it stems is not having any education about being a manager or a leader.

Understanding Work Roles

Say you’re in an organization. One of the things about opera is it is a business. Years being part of that, some companies were well-managed and sometimes they weren’t. Sometimes it was a leader who was charismatic and got people to come and donate. They’re bringing in the money but the staff was a mess. Here’s a couple of quick preliminary questions. If you feel like maybe you’re not as good a manager as you should be, how do you give yourself permission to ask for help? Let’s put it that way.

There are a couple of ways that we can go with this question. The example you’re using is the opera house or the whole opera. You have production people, stars, painters, musicians, ticket sellers, and all kinds of people. We have to understand what the roles are for our team members as well as our roles. Our role is as the visionary. We let everyone else know what we want to accomplish rather than having them focus on their one little job and not understand how it fits into the bigger picture.

Leaders should let everyone else in the team know what they want to accomplish rather than focus on their little jobs without understanding how it fits into the bigger picture. Click To Tweet

That’s something that leaders don’t do. They come in and want to tell everybody what to do. This is a lack of leadership skills. They come in and say, “I’m the manager and it’s going to be done my way.” That’s part of the bigger issue. 1) Understand everyone’s roles, including your own. 2) Where do they overlap? How do they facilitate and serve one another?

For example, if you have your company, everything is A to Z by you. You do everything, from A to Z. When you start hiring a team, you might do A and B. Someone else has to do C but they need to understand what happens at B and D so that they do the best possible job. Instead of going horizontal, it becomes a vertical business. That’s something that people need to understand to start hiring good team members.

The other thing is that we tend to hire the need that’s right in our face and it’s a knee-jerk reaction as opposed to, “Where is my time being spent or drained where it’s taking away from my genius zone and realizing that I need to hire for a role and not hire because I think they’re nice?” We worry about, “I think you’d be great. You’re nice. You seem great with people. Let’s bring you on and we’ll find a place for you.” It’s the worst thing you could ever do.

We’re not clear on the roles that we want in building our dream team and then always being a talent scout for those roles. Whether it’s today or five years from now, always have our fingers out there and create relationships so that when the time comes, we don’t start from scratch. We reach into our second and third strings or our pool of talent that we have created relationships with over a long period.

There’s a huge opportunity cost when somebody leaves, plus you have to have people scrambling to get the work done. You’ve got to take 2 or 3 months at least to recruit somebody new and then train them. If you can hire the right people in the first place, it is a good thing.

Also, cross-pollinating and cross-training so that when there’s a void in that position, the person who does E and F comes in and fills that void temporarily so there’s no gap in your business. What tends to happen is everyone works in these silos and then you’ve got this big hole. We want these people to be cross-trained to be able to go in. It’s not your job to say, “I’m going to go in and do it.” Have these people cross-trained for that.

You don’t have to wait for three months. If you’re doing a great job at managing and leading, the signs will be there. There’s some analysis that you can do on a monthly basis. There are some meetings you can have with people and some questioning you can do so that you’re not surprised. Even if it happened, because you’ve got this pool of talent that you’ve been recruiting over a long period that says, “I want to be your friend,” they rise, be able to call 4 or 5 people all at once, and get someone on right away.

Cultivating Pool Of Talent

Talk a little bit about cultivating this pool of talent. It sounds a little cold to say making friends with people because you might need them later.

I have a client and she said, “I have to start over again because they quit.” I said, “No. Work to be a talent scout.” That’s our job as a leader or owner of a company. Our job is to always have people around whom we can pull from and create relationships with. These are crazy things. We tend to look for someone who’s looking for a job, and that’s fine, but what if we were to pull from someone who already works in a field similar to ours or has skills that we’re seeking because we’re clear on the role? We’re always very aware of the skills that they have and we’re having conversations.

Speakers Who Get Results | Jen Du Plessis | World-Class Teams

World-Class Teams: Businesses tend to hire someone looking for a job, and that’s fine. But it’s much better to get someone who already works in a similar field and has the appropriate skills for your available role.

 

Let me give an example. I was working on something and talking to an insurance company. The people who are serving me and taking care of me, their customer experience skills were unbelievable. I knew they were great at their job but what I did was make sure that I kept communication. I wrote a thank you note to them. I wrote to their manager and said she’s fantastic. She helped me do this and went above and beyond. I love it.

I kept in touch with her. I would call her every 3 to 6 months saying, “I’m touching base. One day, I’m going to have you on my team but I know you’re happy now. I wanted to catch up with you to see how you’re doing. Are you still happy? What are you learning?” I did that with many people. The servers do an outstanding job and I want to connect with them and stay in touch with them. Someone leaves and I’ve got a complete database of possible people who could come in.

I could pick up the phone and say, “I know where you’re at but I’d love to talk to you about an opportunity that I have.” I can tell you that only once in my 40-year career have I left a job and was looking for a job. Every other time, I was recruited away from my company and I told them no many times but that one time they called, I said, “I’m glad you called. I was thinking about making a move.”

That’s what I’m talking about. Keep these business relationships for the long haul for that opportunity when maybe it happens. You never know. They might call you and say, “I was let go. I’m not happy there.” You can create a position. Maybe it’s a little too soon for somebody you wanted to hire but you know that it’s good talent so you bring them on anyway. You cross-train them in all the positions that they might be able to fit into.

Living Above And Beyond

How do you manage all of that and run the business at the same time? How do you keep track? You must have a system, a CRM, or some way of keeping track of that waiter and so forth.

I know my roles. What I’ve done with my roles is I’ve assigned them numbers. On my team, I have a relationship manager and an operations director but I also call them O1 and P2. I have some numbers for them. I categorize them in my CRM. When I meet someone who might be good at something, I put them in my database that way so that I recognize them. If someone were to leave or I need to let someone go or get another one if I’m growing and scaling, I can go to my database, carve those out, and make those phone calls but I’m always making those phone calls anyway. The CRM helps me with that.

It starts with the roles that I’m looking for. As a business owner, we start with everything as me. Have you heard of, “Don’t work in your business but work on your business?” I believe you should not work in or on. I have a phrase that I use, which is, “Stop working in and on your business. Start living above and beyond your business.” If I’m in my business, everything is me. I’m a solopreneur. I’m the everything like all the deal.

Stop working IN and ON your business or career. Start living ABOVE and BEYOND. Click To Tweet

This would relate to your career too. Stop working in and on your career but live above and beyond. If you’re not a solo entrepreneur but within an organization, it still applies.

It still applies because this is all the me-me-me. You have a job so you do everything in your job. You then get elevated to a manager or a team lead. That’s working on but to go above, this is that big jump of increasing your leadership skills. There’s one thing to manage people and there’s another thing to lead people. The “me” is everything about me. Everything gets done by me and it’s the long hours.

When we start working on our business, we’re tethering ourselves away from the minutiae of everything and starting to say, “What does my team look like? This is what I want to do. This is what I need someone to do. There’s a couple of those.” We start developing that role, writing that job description, and listing the tasks and duties. We’re building the dream team on paper.

When we’re ready to take that leap and we’re a manager, we can say, “I need an assistant to help me.” I don’t use those words. I have all these different titles. What are some of the skills that they need? Also, the personalities and experience. I’ve built that team and I’m out looking for that specific thing rather than anyone. I’ll try to shove them in there and then it won’t work.

I’m starting to do that in the “on” but what ends up happening in the “on” is you’re managing your methods. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re spending all your time going, ”Did you do it?” “I don’t know.” We have to write out not only the roles that we want to fill and the job descriptions but we also have to write out our process and procedures so that we can let people do things.

When we don’t, we’re in an enabling capacity and we can never get out of that. That’s why people are back and forth between in and on. “I try to get out and get business but I had to go back and do everything because they quit.” We oscillate and walk back and forth between that because we don’t have our systems written down. We’re in an enabling situation where they need to go to Mommy and Daddy to get questions answered.

When you go into leadership, you start working above when everyone on your team is enabled. They’re all empowered. They speak your language. There are three pieces to this. Do they know your vision? Do you have one? Do they know the core values that you have for your department, team, or company? Do they know the values or is it assumptive? Do your personal values from your work values?

You know you’re a leader when everyone on your team is empowered. Click To Tweet

The third is, do they know your voice? This is everywhere in the world. You can go to Starbucks and they will say, “What can we get started for you?” That’s a voice. When you go to McDonald’s, they say, “Can I take your order?” That is voice. When a client calls, it is like speaking to you because they know what the expectations are, what they want to accomplish, and their vision. They know what the values are, the non-negotiables, and the principles that you have. They have your voice.

Are you an email or an emoji person? Are you humorous? Are you strict and stern? Do you pick up the phone or do you text? They learn all that from you. It allows you to have that tethering be further and further away so you can do what you love to do, which is bring the business in. They’re all running and humming. That allows you to go beyond, whether that’s sitting on the beach, playing with your grandkids, or starting another business.

Inter/Generational Leadership

Can you say a few things about generational leadership?

The thing about generational leadership that I love is especially in an environment, understanding personality traits is layered by situational leadership and leadership cycle. We also have to think about all of these people that come from these different generations. It’s almost like inter-generational leadership because it’s international and generational leadership. It’s tough to be a leader.

We have four generations that are working in our economy. We will have the last generation starting to enter the workforce but they aren’t yet. We have the Silent Generation. This is the people from the Great Depression in the United States. There are people who were born in the ‘30s and ‘40s. We have Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. All of these generations come with a different set of values, work ethic, and accolades that they’re looking for.

I always think about Gen X-ers being pretty funny. When you go into a young Boomer and an older Gen X-er’s office, they have all of their trophies. It’s everything that they want because that’s how they love to be seen. The Silent Generation just says, “Take care of me.” A newer generation is going to say, “How are we serving the community?” That’s the best way to say, “Thank you.” They don’t want a plaque. They want to know that you donated money on their behalf or give them money to donate to a cause.

Speakers Who Get Results | Jen Du Plessis | World-Class Teams

World-Class Teams: The newer generation is curious about how businesses are serving the community. They want to know that you donated money on their behalf for a noble cause.

 

How do we interact with them? Whether we require that they come into the office every day or whether they are independent workers, whether they’re driven or whether they need, I don’t want to say micromanagement but some management, it’s got some more structure. We have to be not only aware of where people are when they’re committed to you and they’re loyal to you, and where they are with their competency in their job.

We also have to be thinking about all these other peripherals as we approach them, look at them, and say, “They’re from this generation. They have this personality, competence, and commitment.” That’s why it’s called situational leadership so that you can approach them as a chameleon, talk to them, and get what you need from them. Create the culture they’re looking for and the most productivity out of it.

You said something about CRM. To manage that, I have Excel spreadsheets all the time where I’m looking and saying, “Where’s their development, productivity, customer experience, product, accountability, and technical skills?” That has an impact on how I approach, work, and interact with every single person that I work with. It becomes second nature.

Resources For Leadership Improvement

Rule number one is to know your audience and who you’re working for. Make it about them. Put yourself in their shoes so that you can speak to them in a language that they’ll understand. Jen, if someone’s reading this and saying, “She’s speaking my language,” where is one place you could start being a better leader whether it’s generational, getting help, or all the many things that we talked about from this conversation?

Talking to me would be great but you can go to JenDuPlessis.com. I have a very quick course that’s $197. It’s called Letting Go to Grow. It’s all digital. It’s very quick. There are no modules other than me talking to you and giving you an assignment to let go. That’s one place that you can go. Other than that, my recommendation is to go to Eventbrite. Go to Facebook groups and look for leadership conferences. Learn the DISC profile or Myers Briggs. Some of those things are important.

We all talk about personal development so much but invest in your professional development as well. There are lots of places out there that are helping people become leaders. I happen to do it in a very unique way. Mine is to get to know your people and be the leader that they’re looking up to so that you can go do what you love to do as well and that you aren’t trapped in the babysitting mode that so many people are in.

Become the leader people will look up to so that you can do what you love. This way, you aren’t trapped in the babysitting mode many other leaders are in. Click To Tweet

Closing Words

Jen Du Plessis, thank you so much for joining us on the show. This has been full of great information, which is what I knew you would do. Thank you. If you enjoy this conversation, please tell your friends. Subscribe to us on whatever platform you use and also on YouTube. Do us a favor. Leave a good review on Apple Podcasts. That’s the one that counts. Knowing that we have reviews on Apple Podcasts, we get more visibility and then we can have more great conversations like this episode with Jen Du Plessis. I’ll see you on the next one.

 

Important Links

 

About Jen Du Plessis

Speakers Who Get Results | Jen Du Plessis | World-Class TeamsLady Jen Du Plessis is known as the Leading expert in Creating World Class Teams. Jen works with high-achieving leaders and entrepreneurs earning 6-figures who are looking to up their game to reach 7-figures a year.

She has been in the financial services industry for 4 decades, was listed in the Top 200 nationally ranked mortgage originators and funded over $1 billion in mortgage loans. She is the author of numerous Amazon #1 best-selling books, host of two (2) top-ranking podcasts, and was the Producer and Host of her own TV Show–Tell Me I Can’t streaming tv show on Zondra TV, JD3TV.com, and C-Suite Network.

Jen is a charismatic speaker, having shared stages with such icons as Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, Jeff Hoffman, Sharon Lechter, and many more!

Jen believes that you can Live your Legacy while Building it, and it’s time to break free from the daily grind with strong leadership skills and powerful teams. She mentors people to stop working in and on their business or career and start working above and beyond.