Michael King 0:00
According to the Harvard Business Review, job resignations are still up 23% above pre pandemic levels, and many organizations are short staffed. When just a few employees resign, their workloads can usually be redistributed amongst the remaining employees. In fact, many organizations are actually jumping on the hashtag quiet hiring bandwagon and unintentionally burning out their teams just to stay afloat. Today’s guest seems to be in the right place at the right time to help a very important niche in the dental industry. Welcome to the level of leader podcast. I’m your host Michael King. I’m an executive coach and founder of teams that coach I work with sea level leaders to clarify and expand the vision, elevate performance and elevate their leadership. On today’s podcast, I am joined by Melissa Brown, the CEO of concierge elite. Melissa holds a Master of Arts degree in business management specializing in human resources in several certifications in remote staffing, adult education and training development. Melissa is a veteran already in the entrepreneur space and is now paving away in the remote team industry. Everyone, please welcome Melissa Brown for the level up leader podcast.
Melissa Brown, welcome to the level of leader podcast. So great to have you today.
Melissa Brown 1:36
Thank you so much, Michael. Appreciate it.
Michael King 1:38
So we spent a little bit of time chatting about your story and getting caught up on on on mom life moving from California to Seattle to Texas, and you have three businesses that you have your feet in currently you are the CEO of of concierge elite, and you’re a fascinating person. So so get us kind of caught up on kind of where you’re at and how you got to where you are today.
Melissa Brown 2:03
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Well, as I mentioned before, I started kind of my business career when I was 17 years old. So I was partly in high school still and full time working as a manager. And that’s when I really decided I love managing I love leading people this is this is my thing. But you know, for a woman, when you get to that part in your life, you get married, you know, that sort of thing I was telling you, you know, you back 25 years ago, you didn’t really get a choice, whether or not you were going to raise a family and work. Or if you were going to just you know you were going to be a business person. And so I had to kind of come to that part in my life where I decided, you know, I think first I’m going to raise a family. And so I did, I’ve had seven children. And during that time, I really learned a lot because I worked as a volunteer, again, an entrepreneur, you can’t sit still, I worked. You know, as a volunteer, I worked in ministry, you know, children’s ministry, I did kids camps, I ran parties and events, I did all of this, right? Because I wanted to stay busy. And I learned so much about myself as a leader. And I think really, one of the biggest learning experiences was you can manage, or you can lead. And there are two different things. When we manage people, you that may be our natural ability, but really, sometimes that could be bullying or pushing people to do things that we want them to or, you know, I’m I’m saying to do this, because I’m your boss. When we learn to lead people, it’s a whole different mindset. It’s about investing in people, it’s about knowing that those small little things that you do every day to invest in that person personally, will get you ultimately the best results. So learning those things in and making a lot of mistakes, as a manager, going back into the workforce after my kids were grown, making those mistakes, making a lot of enemies in the meantime, having to shift how I saw that and how I really found that people are our biggest assets. And if we don’t do those things, if we don’t invest if we don’t take the time, we’re never going to grow businesses. And so really today, my passion lies, especially in concierge elite and in all of the things that I do, and really investing and seeing people’s success. I know that if I see them succeed, ultimately I succeed. And so I think that’s a huge thing.
Michael King 4:38
I was that’s absolutely it’s profound. It’s in its in its obvious one of the things that we have been spending a significant amount of time on over the last few years is is just kind of attaching ourselves to one of our core missions of raising emotional intelligence within the organization, appreciating and investing in people and investing in people Something that you do get a significant ROI when you invest in people. It’s something that we’re that I believe that we’re called to do. And, you know, with this from the systems and strategies that we’ve developed, even have, and one of the things, I feel like, we’re going to talk about why people don’t invest in people. But one of the things too, is that we found that that is a pretty big hurdle is just having unrealistic expectations, and having people in the wrong seats and not really taking some time to find out who you have on your team and work showing the best. And then all of a sudden, when you hire somebody, and you don’t know who they are, and they’re not performing the way that you want them to, and you haven’t taken the time to actually find out what is their superpower. Now, the next thing, you know, you’re trying to get rid of people, because you didn’t put them in the right seat, and you didn’t take the time to get to know who they are.
Melissa Brown 5:56
Exactly, exactly. Are we taking those times? Are we taking surveys of I was talking to someone else the other day, and they were talking about that very thing is that, have we stopped to ask our employee? Have we asked what makes you happy? What would make you happy? You know, that we talked about the quiet quitting? You know, why are people quietly quitting because they’re not doing what they love. They’re not doing what they enjoy. And man, we could just solve that problem right here. And right here now, by just stopping, just give them five minutes of our time to say, Hey, what are you passionate about? What do you like in life? What drives you? Why do you work? What gets you up? What gets you excited? And man, if we could just do a little bit of that, in our work life? Imagine the results, because now they’re excited to work. They’re excited to be there?
Michael King 6:47
Absolutely, absolutely. One of the things I’ve been chatting with, with our leaders about is this concept of, of what I what I call native infrastructure versus progressive infrastructure. And I think that this aligns a little bit with what you’re talking about, because everything always comes down to vision, by the way, like it always does. But the difference between something that you can actually get traction on and start moving things forward with is if you have the right team in place to be able to fulfill the mission that that the dreams, the big God dream that’s been put on your heart, per se, what I find is that with native vision you is that it’s been something that’s been cultivated, it’s been thought out, if you’re not just borrowing vision from an organization that you look at, you say, hey, I want to do what those guys are doing. But native vision comes in a place of you recognizing, okay, what are you going to call to what can you do better than anybody else? And then what is the team that you currently have? And how do you get them to, to fit within your within your vision? progressive vision is one of those things where you recognize the gaps in your vision in your current team infrastructure, and then you go to hire specifically for the gaps. So you can grow into that. How do you how do you see the disconnect there between vision? As far as what leaders want to do? What are they called to? What are they trying to build? What are they trying to push forward? Versus the disconnect between the teams that they have at times?
Melissa Brown 8:13
I think that you know, communication is a big thing, you know, are we communicating? Are we communicating with our staff? Are we again, finding what makes them work? And then are we filling the right gaps? You know, are we pushing our agenda? You know, we’re constantly moving and changing our teams, you know, you know, sometimes when I put somebody in sales, and then realize, hey, you know, that’s that’s not working, you know, are we willing to make changes, move and shake things? Are we as a leader looking and and developing people? Are we saying, you know, what, it’s okay, that you’re not great at sales, but, you know, move and change and invest in them and invest in what does make them happy? You know, are we pushing an agenda? You know, I think so many times in businesses, and as managers, not leaders, we’re pushing our agenda and what’s, what’s the thing I have to get done today? What do you guys have to do for me today? And I think, you know, those those things are, are tough. And we kind of started to talk on it a little bit is that why do we not invest in people? And I think the biggest thing is fear. And if we constantly live in fear that our people are going to outshine us as a leader, then are we really leading? You know, are we pushing our agenda versus investing and, you know, investing in people’s one of the best things we can do, and yet 98% of the population fail to do it. And it’s fear. You know, if I’m as a leader, fearful that my salesperson is going to outsell me or that my you know that my social media person is going to have more success than I had. Then you know what Are we really doing? And you’ve got to always give more than you take? And you know, we’ve got to stop being fearful as leaders.
Michael King 10:07
Yeah, that’s, that’s really that’s brilliant. You, you talk about fear, but it also taught it also sounds like you’re talking a little bit about insecurity.
Melissa Brown 10:16
Yeah, of course, of course, because our insecurities are typically our fears. You know, and I think that there’s a lot of people I can speak for being a woman, a mother, you know that I have my insecurities, I say, Oh, well, you know, I’m not as good as this person, I’m not as good as that person, or, Oh, my gosh, that person is selling more than I ever could, you know, whatever that is, that person is prettier than me, or, you know, we have all of these things that are within us, that we have to, we have to say, No, I’m going to overcome that. I’m going to overcome that insecurity, I’m going to put down that fear, and I’m going to rise up. And every day, it’s your choice to do that. Allow others to succeed so that you can ultimately, ultimately succeed.
Michael King 11:09
Yeah, it’s hard to it’s hard to make that shift. And, but I get it, though, I remember. We haven’t chatted about this, but I spent 20 years of my life as being a an executive pastor and also worship, recording artists. And before the whole, you know, executive coaching thing that we launched in 2015. And I remember, there’s a there’s a season there, because I had I had a large team and a large staff, but I was the number two on the team. And I remember I would walk into my, into my, into my leaders office at times, and, you know, we, you have those moments where you just get frustrated, and you got to just kind of dump it on somebody, right? Yeah. Time and time again, I’d walk in, and I would say, I don’t know how to navigate this. This is frustrating. And I knew what he was going to tell me like more times than not, he would he literally looked at me and says, It sounds like you’re dealing with some insecurities on this. And it pissed me off. Like, you’d frustrate me so much, because nobody likes to be told that they’re that they’re insecure. But in that process, I actually figured out that I was probably more afraid of the label of insecure than actually dealing with the issue itself. And so there was a part of me that just kind of learned to not get offended at the word insecure. And it allowed me to, to actually deal with it and kind of move through it. How so? How do you when you’re talking about these fears, when you’re talking about these insecurities to the senior leaders that and I promise you this, I bet you probably 60% of the senior leaders that we work with, they probably have a certain level of narcissism that they struggle with. Right? Right. So how do you talk to that person, and to help them deal with this insecurity and some of these fears?
Melissa Brown 12:55
Well, Michael, you know, again, we didn’t talk about this. But that time of volunteering, the time of me raising my children, I was working as a children’s pastor. And that’s where I learned most of my lessons, just as you mentioned, I was sat down one day and was told, nobody likes you. You’re not kind, you’re not friendly, you’re not a warm environment, you know, and hear you, you think you’re spending all this time, right? Investing in people. And here, you realize you’re doing it all wrong. And so my insecurity came from not being liked. And so when I went into business, thinking that I wanted to be everybody’s friend, you know, I wanted to be light, it created a whole nother level of insecurity. But through that, I realized, hey, I can do both I can be liked, but I can be a great leader as well. That’s really where my turn came. And every day, I have to still remind myself though, it’s, it’s when I invest in people, and when I give every day and to these people, whether it’s listening to what’s going on with them personally. It’s those investments that don’t ultimately get me in the business to where it needs to be. But yeah, very similar situation, you know, but But it’s in those moments that broke me. You know, and I, and dealing with that, right, and I know there are people there. I know that there are people out there as in a manager and a leader role, who want to be liked. And we have to we have to find a balance, we have to find a balance between light and still getting results. Right. And that’s where that that people passion comes in. Because how did I find that? It was in that? It was in that balance?
Michael King 14:45
Oh, that’s, that’s brilliant. I’m glad that you. I’m glad that you shared that. You know, about 20 to 30% of what we do, is that we still we still coach, you know, high performing church leaders and you have to qualify If you if you want to get into one of our coaching programs as a church, but there’s a part of me that still missional because I understand the pain of people being in ministry, and I want to make sure that we do whatever we possibly can to be able to help people win. But there is something about this and some of the things that I heard you say, right now, I’m so glad that you had those, those realizations, just because number one is that you, in order for you to move your organization forward, at some point in time, you’re going to have to start being a champion for the people that are on your team, you have to understand that your first level of client interaction is that your team is your first level of clients, like you serve them, they’re actually not buying your products, they’re actually buying you. So you kind of have to lead into that. But then the second part of that is, is once you kind of get over that hurdle, you know, and I’m hearing you say these things I’m hearing you say like investing in your team is going to be the best return that you’ll ever get. But then that second level is that you kind of have to get to this place to where you realize, I can only be responsible for me, I can be responsible for my character, my remit my drive, my vision, my mission, how I play out my values, I can be responsible for how I love people, however, I can’t be responsible for how you feel, right. And that’s it, that’s a pretty big Wait, once you have that moment of going, Man, I’m going to do whatever I can to love people unconditionally, to help pull out the best version of people, let’s go. But then that moment hits of saying, Man, we just live in a we just live in a world that’s really complicated. And as much as I love to take responsibility for making sure that people like me that they love me that they’re bought in the kid, you know, just gotta go.
Melissa Brown 16:37
Yeah, had that conversation actually yesterday, about about feelings and business and how that, you know, that all plays out, you know, and it’s it. That’s, that’s a generational difference that we’re starting to see now. And I was talking to someone who is in a different, totally different generation. And I said, Listen, I would love to help your feelings, I would love to talk about your feelings. And I think they are very important and very valid. But we’ve got to also talk about facts, we’ve got to talk about the things that are moving forward, what is and isn’t happening, you know, and all of those things. And so as we change generations, and we’ve got, you know, one generation running the business and another generation working in the business, you know, we were all learning how how to adapt with that particular thing.
Michael King 17:27
Oh, man, that’s, that’s absolutely brilliant. Let’s, let’s shift just a moment here, I want to I want to dive into the why behind you started concierge, and what you guys actually do. Very fascinating. You guys, you during COVID. You saw an opportunity. In fact, I believe that this is real, because we’re really talking about remote culture. And some of those things. According to a recent study put out by Microsoft 42% of every employee in the United States in the last year has considered quitting their jobs. 71% of pastors are actually thinking about quitting their jobs. That’s massive, by the way. So here you are, you’re actually seeing this trend happening when it comes to front lawn and and guest experience that type of stuff. Talk to us about that.
Melissa Brown 18:17
Yeah, so out of COVID, you know, I was working in the veterinary scope. And COVID saw a huge incline in the veterinary business. People came home, they realized, oh, I should probably pay attention to my pets, you know, let me do everything that was much over needed. So so in the medical industry as well, okay, now it’s time I’m going to take care of my health, you know, with the health scare and everything. And so working in the veterinary industry, we have a lot of veterinarians who are like help, I have an issue, a real issue, where I have to send all my employees home, but my business is booming. How do I do that? What do I do? How do I navigate this and out of that necessity, really became concierge elite, where we provide dedicated, so not a call center, we provide people in a remote setting to work for you as your front desk. So we’ve got people who are sitting in their homes, and they’re answering your calls just as if they are working. They’re answering your calls, booking your appointments integrated into your software integrated into your phone systems. They work specifically for those veterinarians, and they fill a need. And I think the biggest thing is COVID really showed that remote work is possible. I know many, many many years ago. I mean, remote work is not new, but it really showed that it was possible. And every business could adapt it in some way. And as you mentioned before, I mean, you talk about the quitting rates and all of that veterinarians are up there to 44% of veterinary private veterinary doctors are wanting to leave and then this is during the time of COVID. Right well, business is booming. They are totally overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that they can do possibly physically, they have no work life balance, and then they had to send all their staff home. So how do we fill that need? How do we meet that need, and that’s really where concierge elite came in.
Michael King 20:14
That’s, that’s amazing. So you started off with just kind of a, there’s, it was just a little bit of a gut instinct of going, I see I see an opportunity here, what was the first thing you did is start making your vision come to life of this.
Melissa Brown 20:27
So we actually started in a training program. And so kind of what you talked about at one point was, you know, we have this training program, and we were kind of in the phone systems, we were doing customer service, and we were hearing what was happening, plus seeing what was going on with COVID. And so, you know, it’s like, how can I help? And so I mean, I was like, well, they need help, they need hands. And so really just starting to bring some people in and says, Hey, can you answer the phones for them? Or hearing thing? Do you have anybody who can answer the phones, and so really just kind of digging in, I’ve never done anything like that before it did start as a call center. So I built a very quick call center that was able to pick up these calls, and evolved from there over the last couple years to really create and fine tune this process of recruiting, hiring, training, doing everything for the practice, and really just providing a well trained person to place into their practice hands off, they don’t do anything, we do it all for them. takes two hours, takes two hours of a practice manager or practice owners time to get this started. We’ve really perfected it, and provide the top 3% of talent in the industry.
Michael King 21:40
That’s incorrect top 3%,
Melissa Brown 21:43
top 3%. And we have a rigorous hiring process that we have have gotten down on our side. But it’s really we pride ourselves in that top 3% We have less than a 2% turnover rate of our staff. We continually grow weekly. I mean, we hired 10 in last week, we’re growing rapidly, because people when they get this, they realize I need another. So they start with one front desk receptionist and they say wait a minute, can I get another one? And it’s like, yes, absolutely. We can provide that for you. You know, and and it’s it’s happening once they realize that it works. I think the scariest thing for people is going does this really work remotely? You know, do you can I really have a front desk person be remote? And when they find out? Oh, absolutely. And it works great. And you handle everything for me? Then it’s like can Where do I sign up for another one? So
Michael King 22:43
So how fast is this grown? Where did you start? And where are you at now?
Melissa Brown 22:46
Well, we started with a handful of people. I mean, I think we had three in the very beginning. You know, like I said in a call center environment. And I think we had maybe, you know, in the beginning, six, seven practice veterinary practices sort of thing you know, and now we’ve got hundreds of practices, both in the veterinary and medical. And then we’ve got currently 75 dedicated agents currently working in practices. So they split their time, some are part time and some work in you know, different fields. And we also have virtual assistants as well. So we’re branching into that we do scribing. So lots of different things that we’re starting to branch into as this is growing.
Michael King 23:27
Oh, man, I love it. I love it a lot. So congratulations on the success and just being in the right place the right time syncing the right things. You’re, you’re a phenomenal leader. So congratulations on that. Thank you. So if people want to be able to get in touch with you, how do they do that?
Melissa Brown 23:46
Yeah, you could reach out to us at concierge elite.com. So super simple melissa.be like Brown at concierge elite.com as well. But check out our website. You can also go to understaffed.com. And check out the podcast as well that talks about remote work.
Michael King 24:06
Fantastic, though, you just mentioned as well that you have a special that to be able to offer for people that are looking for resources or books type of thing. So can you tell us a little bit about? Yeah,
Melissa Brown 24:17
so if you would like to reach out to us, we have two two things that we’re going to be giving away we’ll give you $200 off your services. If you mentioned this podcast and hearing us here. And then we also have a recruiting and hiring guidebook if you would like to take a look at that and see if you’d like to dive into this yourself if you need help in those areas.
Michael King 24:38
Fantastic. Well, Melissa, you are your your inspiration. I love everything that you’re doing. So congratulations and thank you for being a part of the level up leader podcast.
Melissa Brown 24:49
Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Michael King 24:52
Thank you for joining us today on the level up leader podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, consider leaving a review on Apple, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts, it helps to get the word out. And make sure to like and subscribe and follow so you get all of the episodes. In my conversation with Melissa, she opened up to me about her passion for investing in people. She stated that great leaders invest in people, investing in others creates margin in return. There’s no hidden costs. And the reason why over 98% of the population fails to invest is due to one thing and one thing only. It’s fear. Now, this reminded me that fear is the greatest enemy of progress that it could possibly ever exist more times than not, I’m found working with a leader that has backed themselves into a limited mindset or stalled the performance of their team just because they are afraid of something. Now the return on investment when it comes to investing in people is significant. This is one investment that will never give us a bad return. I want to remind you today that human capital is our greatest asset. A special thank you to our featured artists names without numbers for allowing us to use their music, we decided we only wanted to feature music that I actually produced in the studio as a music producer. So thank you guys for allowing me to do that. Now to find out more about everything that we’re up to check us out at www dot team dot coach. And don’t forget to join our Facebook group at WWW dot teams dot coach slash level of leaders.