Overcoming the Geek's DilemmaLast week we spoke about the Geek’s dilemma and what it is.

P5 Radio interviewed Dr. Stephie Althouse, Geek Guru, founder, and CEO of Top-Notch CEO, again, this time with the goal to give a quick synopsis of the Geek’s Dilemma and then delve deeper into how to actually overcome the geek’s dilemma.

Here is the podcast of the interview:


If you would like to read the interview, here it is:

Robert: Hi everybody. This is Robert with P5 Radio. We are continuing our exploration of topics we think might be of interest to our listeners. This week’s guest is Dr. Stephie Althouse. She’s back again. Dr. Stephie is the CEO of Top-Notch CEO, which is a company that specializes in [supporting] geeks. Today’s topic fits very nicely in that. Today’s topic is overcoming the geek’s dilemma. I am fascinated. What is the geek’s dilemma?

What is the Geek’s Dilemma?

Dr. Stephie: Well, Robert, thank you for having me on again. The geek’s dilemma; let me paint you the picture. It’s you go to some kind of geek school… so, let’s say I have a Ph.D. in chemistry, so I went to undergrad and graduate school in chemistry, got my Ph.D., and so I became a chemistry geek. Now another person may go to law school, and they get their law degree, and so forth, and so forth. For example, today I was talking to a plant pathologist. He’s a plant pathologist geek. In all of these cases we go to some kind of “geek school,” and we get very deep knowledge in that particular field.

What, however, makes this into a geek’s dilemma, is the fact that most commonly, geeks do not get any training in leadership, and any training in business, along the way. Even if the school was offering that, which most schools aren’t, but even if it does offer it, it often is difficult to find the time to even take those courses then because I can remember being very busy doing research and taking classes and taking tests and all of these things, in just chemistry alone, and physics, and math. That’s the geek’s dilemma. As you then go into the career, as you then might even start your own business, you’re lacking those things, and that’s the geek’s dilemma.

What does One Do About the Geek’s Dilemma?

Robert: What does one do about it? I think the dilemma is clear and obvious. If you’re not going to just sit there at a bench and working away as part of a giant research project, then you need something more. What’s does the “something more” look like?

Dr. Stephie: We offer leadership training, and business coaching for geeks, specifically. It’s designed by geeks, because I am one, and the whole company is formed around that. One of the flagship programs that we offer is called The Top-Notch CEO Coaching Circle. It’s not just for CEOs. “CEO” also means “commitment to excellence in ownership”… whatever you’re working on, you’re taking ownership of it, and if you’re not taking ownership of it, then why are you doing it? That’s my philosophy, anyway. We also offer one-on-one business coaching and training but we could cover that a bit later.

It’s for Geeks by Geeks. That’s Really Important Because We Speak Geek.

Let’s focus on the coaching circle for the moment. It’s for geeks by geeks. That’s really important because we speak geek. If you don’t then it’s not going to be as effective because you’re not going to connect to the geeks as well. The way that the coaching circle works is we take four to six handpicked people who are not competing with each other, who are going to get along with each other, and we give them the material that we train them in, up front. We give that material to them in the way that’s quick to digest. So maybe 20 minutes or so, per week. We’re talking about a three-month program. They get access to a membership site that provides all of these materials right then and there, plus they get a book in the mail. It’s actually a quick-to-read book called “The 101 Quick Tips for high-talent companies,” and then we have another version, which is for employee owners, called “101 Quick Tips for ESOP leaders.” ESOP means Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Then what happens is we get together via video conference, for 90 minutes a week, and we discuss the application of the material in their respective world, so their respective business, their respective career, their respective life. We include some exercises and goals beyond the material that they have been given upfront. So all of this hands-on digestion in that very small circle leads to amazing breakthroughs. Then the thoughts and ideas that come up during that time, they’re captured in the worksheet, in bullet form. We’re working with a system, which I’ll tell you a little bit more about in a moment, but it’s called “The Transforming Talent to Wealth” System. This system has eight components. We give them 101 quick tips that are mapped into these eight components of that system. The bottom line is we systematically go through these eight components of the “Transforming Talent into Wealth” System.

It was Truly Transformational for Her, and It’s Truly Impacted the Way We Think About the Business, and the Way that We Go Forward.

Robert: I just have to tell my listeners, our listeners, that somebody in our company went through that program. I haven’t had a chance to go through it yet, but it was truly transformational for her, and it’s truly impacted the way we think about the business, and the way that we go forward. I’ve been made an honorary geek, but I can testify, if that’s appropriate. I really want you to know that the program works. Sorry for the interruption. So, the “Transforming Talent into Wealth” system, tell me what that is?

The “Transforming Talent into Wealth” System – Tell Me What That Is?

Dr. Stephie: Yeah, first of all, thank you for the kudos. In fact, somebody I work with and who also works with your company felt the transformation that the person in your company went through, and then he got very interested in what we’re doing. That’s really quite interesting.

Overcoming the Geek's dilemma with the "Transforming Talent into Wealth" systemOkay, the eight components of the “Transforming Talent into Wealth” System are; it starts with mindset mastery, because every result that you’re getting, it all starts with mindset. A lot of breakthroughs are happening right then and there, in that first component.

Then we go into vision, mission, and personal purpose. I remember when I was a geek prior to having business training. I was often really confused what even is a vision statement? What is a mission statement? Are these just some words on a piece of paper that are kind of useless? But no. They create a lot of clarity around what you see as being possible, and what even is the purpose of all this work that you’re doing here. Why are you doing that? It becomes a compass, like a compass needle, right? That shows you the direction of where you’re going. It is very important.
From there we go into SMARTER goal setting and practical business planning. That’s really around very powerful goal setting and very powerful business planning on a page or two, or maybe three. Not a 30 or 40-page business plan that you slave over for six months, and you stop working on all these other things you’re working on and then you go hunt for funding with it. No, it’s an instrument for clarity, crystal clear clarity, about what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, what the strategies are, what the action plan is. You can really run your team with it. You can run your project with it. You can run your company with it.

From there, we then go into working in your top talent, and your rich niche. Very important, again, to get very clear about this, and very focused. From there we go more. Now that you see how this is building, right, Robert?

Robert: Yup.

From There We Go Now Into Team Building, With Talent Positioning, and Systems, and Rules. Now, When Geeks Hear Rules, What Goes Through My Geek Head, is; “Wow, Rules?”

Dr. Stephie: From there we go now into team building, with talent positioning, and systems, and rules. Now, when geeks hear rules, what goes through my head, my geek head, is; “wow, rules?” You gotta break the rules, sometimes at least, etc. Do we really like rules? But what we’re talking about here are rules that work in high-talent, highly creative teams. It’s not to restrict you, but it’s to create a harmonious, productive, environment, in which you can thrive, and everyone can thrive.
From there we go into synergy and raising profits and impact even further.

Then we go into profitable work-life strategy because by now we have so many things under our belt that we start to understand that the things that create more profit, can also create more work-life balance. In fact, the work-life balance concept, we bring that to a whole new level.

The eighth component is legacy and succession planning. I submit that if it [the company] was worth building, then is it worth to make sure that it can keep on existing and keep on growing sustainably. There are a lot of breakthroughs for people all throughout these eight components. This is the “Transforming Talent into Wealth” system, which is part of our leadership training and business coaching for geeks, by geeks.

One of the Things You Touched On, in the Beginning, Was That the Geeks That Go Through This Program, Start to Learn, Essentially, Another Language…

Robert: I’m sure it’s in the unsaid, but one of the things you kind of touched on, in the beginning, was that the geeks that go through this program, start to learn, essentially, another language; the language of business, the language of leadership, the language of getting results from other people. I think that it’s almost like a language school.

Dr. Stephie: Yes. We call it Top-Notch CEO Academy – again, it’s not just for CEO’s, per se. CEO’s go to it, as well, but it is for geek professionals. Professional geeks. How’s that?

Robert: Professional geeks, yeah. Okay. When they graduate, what can they do next to continue to accelerate their business, their lives, their career? Do you have a continuation program for this?

Dr. Stephie: Yes, absolutely. Now you have learned a very systematic, easy to absorb, new language. You just put it very powerfully. Now then, you have several options; you can either go into what we call the Accelerator Circle – we have those for professionals and leaders geeks, who are working with small teams, and we have them for people who are responsible for a lot of people. The accelerator circle is executive coaching; continued coaching. It’s not as curriculum driven, but it’s driven by what the members need now to accelerate whatever that is important to them. They come out of the Top-Notch CEO Coaching Circle with a great deal of clarity on what are the top three things that they want to really drive forward.

They’ve also really identified where can they have the biggest transformation and improvement in what they’re doing. What are the areas that they really have found out they need to work on the most and want to work on the most?

The other option is to get one-on-one business coaching.

We Also Have Specific Workshops for Geeks, and For Women in STEM [STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math]

Workshop for leadership training for geeks by geeksWe also have specific interactive workshops for geeks, and for women in STEM [STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] – you can check on our website, under Top-Notch CEO Academy. It’s TopNotchCEO.com, and then you click on the services and you look under the academy button. You’ll see a number of workshops that are one to three-day workshops, and some of them can also be delivered as a video conference. They have to do with, for example, communication, or assertiveness for women in STEM, and “Break the code: business etiquette for geeks,” etc.

Can You Just Share Your Definition of Transformation, and Compare It, and Contrast it to Let’s Say, Improvement, or Progress, Which is How These Things are Normally Cast. You Use Transformation Instead. What’s the Difference?

Robert: You used one of my favorite words a few minutes ago when you described the process as transformation. Can you just share your definition of transformation, and compare it, and contrast it to let’s say, improvement, or progress, which is kind of how these things are normally cast. You use transformation instead. What’s the difference?

Dr. Stephie: Great question. Improvement, successive improvement is very valuable, of course. You’re improving by taking another little step, another little step, every day, that’s very important. Frankly, a lot of times the big overnight success that people go like, “ooh”, and “ahh” about, are the result of a series of baby steps.

However, a transformation is something much bigger than that. Transformation is where you all of a sudden see things that you didn’t see before. For example, a transformation is when you realize that you’re working on something that’s not your mission, but someone else’s mission and you find a way to make it your mission. You recast it, and all of sudden, you’re really engaged, and you become productive, and you take off. People go, “look at you”, and go, “God, what happened to this person?”

Or transformation is when someone realizes that they have all kinds of yucky thoughts about money rumbling around in their head that’s keeping them from making money, even though they say they want it – and need it. Transformation is when someone realizes that they have been working only part of the time in the flow of their top talent, and they make the correction. It’s basically, you have an insight, a breakthrough, a distinction that leads to instant, massive, change in the positive direction.

Robert: I think that’s truly the power of your program. We’re learning a new language, we’re going to make the continuous steps towards improvement, but we’re always searching for the possibility of a breakthrough transformation. I think that’s pretty powerful stuff.

Dr. Stephie: Before we go on, I just want to put this in, and trust me, it’s not to boast, but just to genuinely tell this to our audience; that thus far, every single person who’s gone through this program and has worked it, has had breakthroughs of the type I’m talking about. Every single person.

Robert: That’s about as strong a statement as you can make. I’m glad that you made it because it’s hard to imagine what a true transformation can offer people, so you don’t promise it but you’ve had pretty good results so far.

Dr. Stephie: The only way that people don’t get it, is if they don’t show up, and they don’t do it. That’s the only way, thus far. That’s my observation. Quite honestly. The only way is if you opt out of it, you don’t show up. You don’t work it.

Robert: You gotta be present to win, as they say. I think you touched on this maybe a little bit earlier, but some geeks don’t like working in groups. What would you suggest for “loner” geeks?

Some Geeks Don’t Like Working in Groups. What Would You Suggest For “Loner” Geeks?

Dr. Stephie: Yes, so we have a number of “loner geeks who I just absolutely love and adore. We do one-on-one business coaching with them. Of course, that is a little bit more of an investment, but it’s totally worth it, and it’s, of course, even more personalized. The coach can look at the person’s situation, the geek’s situation, with fresh eyes. That in itself is priceless. There may be opportunities hanging around in your blind spot, which by the way, everyone has, no matter how good they are. They could be the top expert in whatever, and still, there are blind spots. It’s just physics. The fresh eyes bring forth opportunities and also threats or challenges that maybe the person isn’t completely aware of, or maybe even completely unaware of.

We then are able to bring forth the elements of the “Transforming Talent to Wealth” system that I just outlined, into the conversation, as they need it. So whichever component is most needed for the client, when they’re needed, then we bring them in. Of course, it’s completely confidential. By the way, in the Top-Notch CEO coaching circle, we also have everyone sign that the conversations that take place in the circle are confidential, and cannot be reported to other people.

Robert: Super. We’re kind of getting a little long in time, but I have one more question that I can think of. If you’d like our audience to have just one concept to take home; what would it be?

If You’d Like Our Audience to Have Just One Concept to Take Home; What Would it Be?

Dr. Stephie: Awesome question. I’d say the take home is this; there’s now a highly effective way to overcome the geek’s dilemma, with which we started off this conversation.
There’s a formula, and that is simply this: take a geek, add leadership and training, and business coaching, for geeks by geeks, to it, and that equals success. The “for geeks by geeks” part is really essential for this to work best. What’s important to understand is there’s no need to stop anything that you’re doing now to do this. You don’t need to go and get a business degree. We have a system that makes that unnecessary. You can grow faster than you ever thought possible.

Overcoming the Geek’s Dilemma in Your Company Makes You Money. It Doesn’t Cost You Money, It Makes You Money.

If you’re somebody who manages geeks or maybe an HR person, or decision maker in a company, I just want to tell you this; solving the geek’s dilemma in your company makes you money. It doesn’t cost you money, it makes you money. What that means to you is geeks stay, instead of leaving, and you avoid talent drain. Think of the cost of recruiting new top talent, if you can even get them. If geeks leave by the droves, instead of staying with your company, that creates an unstable company culture. What it also means to you is that geeks become very effective leaders. You give them the tools to actually do that, rather than have them battle their way through it. Geeks get engaged productively in business decisions. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen geeks really fight for the survival, for example, of their pet project, instead of looking at the bigger picture, and looking at it as a business decision, you can change that with this program.

If you’re a geek running a company, you will finally figure out what creates the speed with which you progress. Whatever speed that is now. You may be going slowly, or faster, or really fast, but in any case, I’m willing to bet that we’re going to find something where we can undo a brake that slows you down in some area – maybe an area that you’re not even aware of.

Robert: Perfect. I think I’d like to have you come back and talk about the CEO geek. What challenges that geeks who are CEO’s face and help get a better ROI from their investment than they’re getting now. I know you do that for your clients. I think we should talk about how that works from a CEO perspective. What do you think?

Dr. Stephie: Yes, absolutely. In that conversation, I think we can talk about the CEO getting coaching; a geek CEO. We can also talk about CEO’s making the decision to actually foster the growth of the geeks in the company because those are both really critical issues.

Robert: Right, great. I really encourage everyone to visit Dr. Stephie’s website. There’s a treasure trove of articles and content, and education, where you can bring yourself up to speed on this topic, and others. That web address is TopnotchCEO.com. My guest this week has been Dr. Stephie, who is the CEO of Top-Notch CEO, and I’d like to thank her. Thank you, Dr. Stephie.

Dr. Stephie: Thank you!

Robert: And I will invite you back. We’ve got another interview podcast scheduled, so I look forward to bringing that to you in a week or so.

Dr. Stephie: Thank you, awesome.

Robert: Take care.