Ep. #940 - Self Awareness
In this Startup Hustle episode, Lauren Conaway talks about self-awareness and cognitive diversity with Kirsten Moorefield, co-founder and COO of Cloverleaf.me. Her company is one of the top Cincinnati companies featured on our list. The empowered duo also dives into gender stereotypes and biases along with the steps to creating a strong team.
Covered In This Episode
In Lauren and Kirsten’s discussion, they shared that oftentimes you tend to “hire yourself” more often than not. This means you hire those with the same qualities as yourself. Why is this the case?
And what does cognitive diversity mean? How do gender stereotypes affect the entire working environment? Is there an effective way to build a better team?
All these questions are answered in this episode. Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode today!
- Kirsten Moorefield’s journey to entrepreneurship (02:11)
- Self-awareness and how Cloverleaf.me fits into the puzzle (04:42)
- Methodologies that help create actionable info (07:45)
- Managers hire themselves—but how? (09:25)
- Why is DEI challenging? (11:00)
- On creating a strong team environment (16:05)
- Statistics on men and women in leadership (17:20)
- Thoughts on gender biases (22:12)
- Actionable advice that makes your work or life better (25:29)
- On being an introvert (28:50)
- How to communicate better in teams (31:06)
- Getting comfortable by being uncomfortable (35:10)
- Kirsten’s advice for startup founders (38:05)
So one of the things that I noticed a lot when I’m brought in to look at a team is managers hire themselves. And it doesn’t always mean that you look the same, or you have the same gender, or anything like that. It’s cognitive that we hire and promote people who are similar to us, which makes a lot of sense.– Kirsten Moorefield
Diverse teams are more successful. It’s not necessarily because you’re ticking boxes and saying, okay, now we have a woman of color, and we have someone who identifies as gay. And we like it not because you’re checking the boxes. It’s because you’re adding perspective. You’re adding voices. You’re adding skills.– Lauren Conaway
What I love most about Cloverleaf is that it is teaching people the skills and the behaviors that result in an inclusive culture. So it’s teaching you the skill of listening, so you understand, oh, this person communicates differently than me.– Kirsten Moorefield
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And I gotta tell you about today’s episode sponsor. I think you all know by now that around Startup Hustle, we love Full Scale. And that is because Full Scale sponsors us. They make it possible for us to bring you the stories of entrepreneurs, the real stories, the hardship, the trials, the tribulations, the fun shit. However, the other thing that you need to know about Startup Hustle and FullScale.io is that we know hiring software developers can be really difficult. We’ve all experienced, at a time or two, that Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have a platform to help you manage that team. They do an amazing job supporting entrepreneurs who need that technical assistance and that technical team behind them. You can visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now, today, we have a guest that I’ve been looking forward to because today’s guest is one of our top Cincinnati startups. So definitely check out that episode, but very, very excited to have Kirsten Moorefield, co-founder, and CEO of Cloverleaf.me. Now, Kirsten, welcome to Startup Hustle. How are you doing today?
Kirsten Moorefield 01:20
I’m great. Thank you so much for having me. How are you doing today?
Lauren Conaway 01:23
I’m doing fabulously. And I’m really excited to crack into this. I’m going to ask you the perennial question. And I’m going to ask you to tell us about your journey.
Kirsten Moorefield 01:34
That is actually a really hard question to answer because I can think of many years worth of stories of what, how, you know, like, what’s the journey. But I will start with the first memory that comes to mind is my first like, you know, a real job, out-of-college work. And in a career around my office, I would hear some of the folks tell stories. Like one that stands out to me, as I’ve heard this guy talking about, he’s an external processor, and his wife is an internal processor. So she’ll, you know, bring him an idea of, hey, I think we should, you know, XYZ, and he would say what an interesting idea. Let me think about that. Did you consider this other thing? Did you consider ABC? And she would take that very personally. She’d say, of course, I thought about everything. How could you be like, you know, not thinking I’m, you know, trusting my decision, whatever, right? And he would say, oh, my gosh, why are you shutting me down? I need to think this through. I didn’t realize this was a decision you already made, you know, and then it would, right. And, you know, they obviously realize, like, okay, so she should bring him into the thinking earlier before she’s made up her mind. It’s not personal. If he wants to process it, he should also be sensitive to it. She probably thought about all these things, all that kind of stuff. And there were other stories like this I kept hearing my co-workers talk about that was really around self-awareness. And I was shocked. I had never thought about any of these things before. And I also never expected you to talk about that kind of stuff at an office, you know, you just talk about like, the project, you need to complete and do a good job and the client and you know, that kind of stuff. And so that definitely was really formative to me. Really helpful as a human but also little beans to me when I was 23. That was the beginning of some of the things that would birth Cloverleaf.
Lauren Conaway 03:26
Yeah, so I find Cloverleaf so fascinating. And actually, when Matt and I were recording the top Cincinnati startups episode, I remember we always do this thing where we talk about which startups resonated most with us personally. And if I remember correctly, Cloverleaf was mine because there is a great need and a great desire for people to understand how to communicate with each other. I mean, the fact is, like, I can tell someone like, Hey, I’m an introvert and I, you know, have a judging analytical kind of mind. But that doesn’t mean that you have the next steps, the actionable pieces that actually improve communication. And so Cloverleaf really, really intrigued me. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that and how Cloverleaf.me fits into that framework and that self-awareness piece?
Kirsten Moorefield 04:22
Yep, exactly. So spot on. You know, that experience I had where I was talking about his wife and how they communicate well is actually a really common experience that matters at work. You know, we all have those types of scenarios where we take something personal or where we don’t realize, you know, they’re asking questions because they’re that judging analytical person like you, Lauren. And so what we built with Cloverleaf is actually an automated coaching platform where you can come on and take some of the most popular psychological, while they’re called behavioral or Strengths Assessment.
Lauren Conaway 05:01
So if you think of like a 16 type or a disc, Myers Briggs there any grams, you know, there’s like a whole industry that is just devoted to helping people understand who they are and how they present to the world.
Kirsten Moorefield 05:13
And it’s genius. And it’s so helpful. And what’s hard about it is once you get your results, what do you do with them? You know, and to your example, you can tell someone is analytical, but what does that actually mean? How does that play out in the meeting, and so what we’ve done is, we partner with these assessment companies, you can come and take them on our site, or just import your scores, because you’ve probably taken them before, and, and then it generates automated coaching to you. So it’ll send you an email before a meeting and say, Hey, Kirsten, you’re about to meet with Lauren. She really likes to understand the details. So anticipate a lot of questions. And you know, I know that going into the meeting, right. And we receive this coaching about ourselves as well because self-awareness is key. I read a statistic recently that I think 90% of people would self-report that they are self-aware. But when actually tested, only 10 to 15% of people are actually self-aware.
Lauren Conaway 06:09
As you’re talking, that’s resonating with me because I’m sitting here, like, I’m self-aware, but now I have to wonder, you’ve put this little seed of doubt in my head. So thank you for that. Now, I’m gonna be wandering around, like all of my nearest and dearest today, just like hey, hey, do I know myself? Am I self-aware? So I, you, are to blame for that?
Kirsten Moorefield 06:31
Well, a good thing to do would be to say like, Hey, what three adjectives would you use to describe me? Or you know, like, just ask for some feedback and be like, is that what I thought of myself?
Lauren Conaway 06:41
Well, but I do want to point out that, you know, companies, organizations that are looking to do this work, it’s not. It’s not as easy as just writing down three adjectives and seeing if they match your partner. It is so much more complex than that. And so I’m really curious. And I’m going to ask you to dive a little bit more deeply into the methodology of Cloverleaf.me. Like, can you talk to us about these profiles and how they come together in a user interface to create actionable, useful info?
Kirsten Moorefield 07:11
Absolutely. So all of the assessments, as I said, we partner with providers who have been doing this research, in some cases for you know, decades, half a century, and they, they have all of the validation behind the psychology behind it, what we do that’s unique is we break it down into actionable work, applicable tips, right? So what, as I talked about, is the coaching that will arrive to you and your email and your calendar in your Microsoft Teams or your Slack or wherever you’re working already. But then, also inside the platform, you can come and see what’s the makeup of your team. And when we say team, it’s like the people you actually work with. So like, it wouldn’t be just the group of product managers, it would be like the Product Manager with the customer success person who you get a lot of input from with the engineers with the, you know, like these cross-functional teams, because that’s how people work today. And you can see, well, what’s the makeup? Oh, my goodness, I’m on the opposite side of, you know, this, this personality type than this other person is? And what does that mean? And how have I seen that play out? And what I mean, I could talk forever about the really interesting things that we see in the platform from that, like, for example, yeah.
Lauren Conaway 08:25
You can’t dangle that carrot and then just take it away from me. Let’s talk.
Kirsten Moorefield 08:30
I’ll tell you. Yeah. So one of the things that I noticed a lot when I’m brought in to look at a team is managers hire themselves. And it doesn’t always mean that you look the same, or you have the same gender, or anything like that. It’s cognitively where we hire and promote people that are similar to us, which makes a lot of sense. And there’s, you know, a ton of research behind all of that, but it’s just so interesting to me that we see that. And unfortunately, that’s actually one of the most vulnerable ways to grow a team that leaves you the weakest because you don’t have cognitive diversity. And cognitive diversity is where you can have multiple different perspectives to solve a problem that actually creates the best outcome, right? So like somebody who is really future oriented thinking about the big picture is going to miss the details. So you need a Lauren who’s analytical.
Lauren Conaway 09:28
On that, as well, because when we talk about diversity, even within the framework of like dei initiatives and inclusion, the fact is, we see time and time again, the data has shown that diverse teams are more successful. And it’s it’s not necessarily because you’re ticking boxes and saying okay, you know, now we have a woman of color and we have someone who identifies as gay and we have like, it’s not because you’re checking the boxes. It’s because you’re adding perspective. You’re adding voices, you’re adding skills, you’re adding history and institutional knowledge to your team. Like you’re setting an expectation that with as many skills and perspectives at the table as possible we make better decisions, right? But, you know, what’s
Kirsten Moorefield 10:17
one of the hardest things about DNI? Let’s hear it. It’s the AI part. So like, there’s a lot of tools out there for, like, get a diverse pipeline, and get diversity is inside your company and onto the team. But the inclusion part is extremely difficult. Because if you think about what I said earlier, like, managers hire and promote themselves, it’s totally unintentional. And it’s not that someone would say, like, Well, I think an analytical person is bad. And so I don’t want to learn on my team.
Lauren Conaway 10:47
They just, you just respond to someone better you speak their language, like is it more of like, a personal comfort and familiarity, is that?
Kirsten Moorefield 10:59
I mean, I think my observation is, we are all so in our own minds, like back to that thing about self awareness. And really, only 10 to 15% of people are self aware, we’re so in our own minds, that we literally don’t realize the ways that other people are different than us, in those in those invisible ways, like the big picture thinker versus the analytical, right. And so, unfortunately, what often happens is that it turns into a character judgment, like, let’s say, I’m futuristic, big picture, thinking to your analytical, I’m gonna pitch an idea, I’m gonna make this the best thing ever, it’s gonna totally change the world. And you’re gonna say, Well, I have a question on that. The default that somebody will do is judge your character, or feel that my character is being judged. So I would say, oh, my gosh, Lauren, just thinks I’m incompetent. She never trusts my opinion. Or I would say, Man, Lauren is so negative, she never thinks we can do this. She’s always the one to say, Well, did you consider it because she’s just not a believer, right?
Lauren Conaway 11:59
Gosh, you’re I’m laughing as you’re talking. I’m sorry. Please continue. But like, I’m vibrating with recognition. I’m like, Ah, I’ve been in these situations before.
Kirsten Moorefield 12:09
Everyone is in these situations every single day. It’s just the default mode that we operate in. But that’s what kills inclusion is that we don’t, we don’t realize what’s happening. And so we don’t realize that we’re being exclusionary, we literally think there is a right way and somebody else is going the wrong way. When really, they’re just diverse. They’re just cognitively diverse. They’re just seeing it from a different perspective. And you need that perspective.
Lauren Conaway 12:37
Yeah, well, because if you don’t have that analytical person who likes to think things through on your team, then you make rash decisions, and you move forward without having all of the context. It’s funny, I always, I always talk to people on my team. And I kind of forewarn them about a couple of things. I’m like, This is what it’s like to work with me. It’s that self awareness piece that comes in which I’m now you know, second-guessing, thank you. One of the things that I’m known for is that I’m a writer. I’m a good writer, but I’m not really great at self editing. And so when I write emails to people, particularly instructional emails, I am a context person. I want to have the background, all of the information, all of the links, all of the tags, like all of the things that I need. And so I write these like novel length emails. And so I always kind of have to forewarn my team, like, Hey, don’t be scared, like, I’m not really expecting you to do anything with like, 90% of what I write you, I’m just trying to provide you with information to keep you up to speed. But up until now, the onus has been on me to communicate that to my teams, this is how I work best. This is what you can expect from me, and this is what I expect from you. But what you’re telling me or what I’m hearing is that Cloverleaf.me is helping to create those communications. touchpoints Absolutely, who I am, this is what I’m about.
Kirsten Moorefield 14:02
Yeah, I mean, Lauren, why do you think it’s important for you to give that preface?
Lauren Conaway 14:07
Because it’s been not well taken at times, like I’ve had people write back to me and be like, Why are you giving me all of this information? And I have to explain this is more of a you are more of a me thing than a you thing, you know, and I’m just trying to present you with information in the way that I like being presented with information. That doesn’t mean it’s any less valid, but it might be different from what you’re used to. So just a heads up.
Kirsten Moorefield 14:32
Totally. And I mean, when you know when you’re talking about writing a really long email to give context, I could totally see how someone would take that as micromanagement right or inability to be concise.
Lauren Conaway 14:50
Right, everyone talks about whether concise communication written and oral definitely have a difficulty with being concise but that is a whole nother issue.
Kirsten Moorefield 14:56
But even there you say it’s an issue. Why is it an issue? It might actually be a really big strength that you have that yes, sometimes there’s a time and a place to not do it right to run. It is actually a strength to be able to give all of that context.
Lauren Conaway 15:14
Yeah, well, and I do, I love the idea of a platform that makes that work easier. Because when you’re talking, and I’m gonna go back to the inclusion piece that we talked about, you know, when we when we talk about creating a strong team environment, and for me, and feel free to like, interject or shore up, you know, what I’m saying with things that things that work for you. But you know, we’re talking about psychological safety, we’re talking about the ability to share feedback and to take risks. And we’re talking about setting people up for success. And so when you when we’re talking about the inclusion piece of Dei, when you see people who have been historically excluded or underrepresented in roles of leadership, you’re you’re working at a deficit, you’re starting from behind the eight ball, you not only have to create that hiring pipeline that everybody talks about ad nauseam. But you also have to make sure that once you get people in the door, you’re able to set them up for success, you’re able to support them in their decision making and give them the tools and resources that they need and give them the courage to be wrong at times. And so all of these things contribute to a really, really strong team environment. And yet, we’re operating under this assumption to your point that we’re all coming from the same point of reference and the same framework. Right. So Cloverleaf.me is here to circumvent that.
Kirsten Moorefield 16:44
Absolutely. Yeah. And I mean, you know, one of the things that comes to my mind when you’re talking about this is men and women have been entering the workforce at the same rate for decades. Yeah, the higher up you go in leadership, the more the proportion goes from being 5050 to further skewed male. So you know, I think it’s like, what is the percentage of women who are CEOs of Fortune 500? It’s like three percenters.
Lauren Conaway 17:11
It rose from between 2015 and 2018, it rose to 4% percent.
Kirsten Moorefield 17:17
Did a glass ceiling girls like, yeah, it’s a dubious victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Lauren Conaway 17:19
And venture capital, you know, to female founders, solo female founder teams, like where there’s not a male co-founder, right? It’s the percent. And then 80%. But then when you’re talking about women of color, that number drops way down. It’s like point 00 6%, or something ridiculous like that. It is a really crazy problem, like these statistics speak to systemic issues within these verticals and variables that we can’t control. But one of the things that we can control is how we communicate interpersonally with each other. Yep.
Kirsten Moorefield 17:59
And so I think that that is a really helpful point, when it comes to what you were mentioning a minute ago about, you know, you can get these people in your pipeline, but how do you actually have inclusion to where they’re accepted in the culture? Right, right. I think that, you know, the fact that for decades, men and women have been 5050, on entering the workforce and being at the entry-level. Yeah, one of the things about that is that what is expected of a leader are typically male type characteristics in it, in the academic research, it’s called agentic, you’re expected to be and agentic, which is like you’re going to be the first to speak up, you’re going to deal with conflict openly all those types of thing with which culturally, women, the academic word for women is communal, a culturally, women exhibit more communal characteristics, which is like, you know, I won’t be the first to speak up. And I’m not going to deal with conflict openly, because I’m creating space for other people and for them to like for the community to be safe, right. And what’s interesting is that one of our large customers is global. They’ve got like, 100,000 people that work there. They wanted to make sure that Cloverleaf wasn’t actually reinforcing these gender stereotypes. So we did a deep deep dive on all of our data. And it turns out that when you look at all those characteristics, there is literally no correlation with gender.
Lauren Conaway 19:29
Like, okay, and so, this was a proprietary study that you did, yeah, house, okay.
Kirsten Moorefield 19:34
We wanted it when the client brought it up. We wanted to make sure like, I don’t want to be encouraging, you know, social norms. That’s not actually true to psychology and to how people are innately wired right. Yeah. Um, so I just think that’s really interesting. But still I have the question of like, well, then why is it that women aren’t represented equally up the ladder? Letter and the chain. And I do think it really comes back to the area where we don’t accept differences when people come across in a different way. And so one of the things that actually a D and I consultant who uses Cloverleaf and all of her engagements told me, pure stone, what I love most about Cloverleaf is that it is teaching people the skills and the behaviors that result in an inclusive culture. So it’s teaching you the skill of listening. So you understand, oh, this person communicates differently than me. Listening doesn’t just mean being quiet. And taking in the information, it actually looks different with different types of people. Right, right. It’s teaching how to give feedback and how to receive feedback. Because again, you know, that like, an old like, would quote, wisdom of like, sandwich, your feedback, give the positive, the constructive, and then people love that.
Lauren Conaway 20:55
And I know, I know, I get it, I say, so I apologize. Like I have a very, like knee jerk reaction to that, because one of the things when we’re talking about traits that are you typically assigned to to women, we talk a lot about that, that kindness factor, and I believe, you know, women are kind human, I think a lot of humans are kind of like, I’m not gonna put a gender on it. But what I am going to say is that there seems to be this, this idea that if I don’t give the compliment sandwich as a woman, and being a bitch, you know, and we and I know so many women who’ve gotten that where it’s like, I could say something as impassioned and as flat as you know, the guy sitting next to me, but if it’s negative in connotation, whatever I’m saying, there is a there’s a kickback to that there is a an automatic, oh, well, you know, she, she’s being unreasonable, she’s being a bitch, you know. And so, I find it really interesting that your data is showing that you’re kind of kicking gender norms in the face a little bit, how do you feel about that?
Kirsten Moorefield 22:02
I mean, I, I, I feel like what we are doing, what we are always aiming to do is create cultures that are psychologically safe, and that value cognitive diversity, and so we’re not only kicking gender bias in the face, but it’s like all the biases, age, you know, gender, generational bias, ethnic sexuality, or orientation, you know, like all of that. It’s like, those things, I think, really, really matter to measure and, and, like, ensure that there is like care of and like intentionality behind a lot of things throughout a company. But what I love about our platform is it’s like, and remember, we are all human. And we all want to do great work, and we can be proud of our work. And so let’s figure out how to best work together. And that will involve getting comfortable with differences. Yeah, holding different perspectives and being actually not even just like comfortable and open to it, but like valuing it, wanting it, seeking it out.
Lauren Conaway 23:12
Yeah, I can’t tell you how enthusiastically I love everything that you just said. So thank you, thank you for sharing. You know, you’re talking about finding that team of, of experts and, you know, creating strong teams and I would be remiss if I didn’t talk a little bit about Full Scale, today’s episode sponsor, they are there to help you put together a team to help you do the really, really hard things. You know, you have a great idea for a technical product, and they’re going to be the ones to help you get off the ground. Finding experts, software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you go to FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. You can use their flip Full Scale platform to define your technical needs. And then see what available developers, testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Definitely visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now folks, I just kind of cut in there really quick. I do want to remind you that we are here with one of the representatives from the top Cincinnati startups brought to you by Startup Hustle. We have with us Kirsten Moorefield, and she is co-founder and CEO of Cloverleaf.me. Now, Kirsten, I am going to walk us back a little bit. Are you ready? I’m so ready. One of the things that I really really love to do on the show is I love to give our guests actionable advice, things that they can implement in their lives and their business tomorrow to make or even today to make their work and their life better. And so yours is a two parter. Actually, I’m going to ask you two of these questions. You’re very, I’ve never done this before. But the first part, we’ve talked about self awareness, and I know that everybody loves taking these personality profiles and kind of trying to get at the meat of who they are. But in your day to day if you don’t have access to what feels like hundreds of different personality profile tests out there. What are some things that you can do in your life to create an environment of self awareness to give yourself permission to be who you are and know who that is?
Kirsten Moorefield 25:18
Oh, my gosh, I have so much advice on that. So first and foremost, if you don’t have access to these assessments you actually do, you can go to Cloverleaf.me and start a free trial, you can take, I think six of them we have available for free.
Lauren Conaway 25:30
That’s so special, I thank you very much for picking that up. Because I didn’t even know you can take them and you can start a free team trial.
Kirsten Moorefield 25:36
And so you can start to experience what automated coaching is by inviting in your team. But also, let’s say you don’t do that, which I hope you do. But let’s say you don’t, I definitely think there’s so many important things to do. I think one is self reflection. What is it about when you notice you’re feeling an extreme? Like you’re extremely proud of what you just did, you just feel light and bubbly? And you’re just like, gosh, that was awesome. I think I rocked that. Or when you’re feeling really exhausted at the end of the day. And you’re just like, oh, all I want to do is go to bed or binge Netflix, right? When you’re feeling those, like very big feelings. Why? Like, reflect on what is happening? What is it that you feel so good about, and be very, very open to the fact that these things can be really contradictory. So for example, if I have a day of Back to Back zooms, I’m going to be so drained. But if I have a day of no zooms, I’m going to be so drained. And if I have a day of like, like some of my best, most exciting things come out of really what would appear to be extroverted things like talking to you right now, Lauren.
Lauren Conaway 27:01
You’re doing great. Yeah. And a little introvert.
Kirsten Moorefield 27:05
Yes. There’s also things where I do my very, very best if I am just all alone, and I mean, 100% alone, like there’s no technology, there’s nothing to interrupt me. And it’s just me and a notebook, and the thoughts collate and like come out like so. So well. And it’s just like, powerhouse, right? Yeah. And what’s really interesting is, I knew this about myself and I reflected on this about myself, but I didn’t really know how to articulate it actually, until a coach took me through an assessment called Berkman. And he told me, you know, hey, Kirsten, you are as introverted as they come and as people-oriented as they come.
Lauren Conaway 27:43
And so we wait, I need a timeout with you. Because I feel that in my soul, what does that mean to you? Because I’m the same, like, I’m an introvert, like, people take energy from me. And yet, I’m good at people. Like me, it’s not that I hate people. It’s just that it’s a lot. Yeah, no, it has a fondness for you.
Kirsten Moorefield 28:03
Yeah, I mean, Lauren, it might be different for you. But what it was for me is that, like, I just really, really, really care about people. And my brain will shut down. Like, I literally stopped being able to form sentences, I can’t make really good decisions, I’m totally out of touch with my intuition, I feel a lot more fatigue, and I have to analyze things more before I feel comfortable with them. Whereas if I just get alone, and I can just reflect on it, like, oh, boom, it comes out. But if I stay alone for too long, I don’t have those people that I really care about. Right. So back to your question of practical tactics, for other people, I hope that story is helpful in just recognizing you, when you reflect on what it is that gives you energy or that takes your energy or that makes you proud or that makes you feel like you failed. Those things don’t always have to be fully logically like in mesh together, we are all actually quite complex, people are complicated. And so, but taking inventory of them can help you start to see I want to do more of this thing. And I want to do less of that thing. And you can’t make wholesale changes today. But you can, you can, you can start to edge things that way and nudge them that way. Another thing that’s critical to self awareness is actually how you come across to other people. So I said hey, ask somebody else three adjectives about yourself. Oh my gosh, I can’t suggest that enough. Even if you just text like three people in your life that right now like you’re gonna learn something because they probably also probably won’t just text you three words. Do some explanation and like it is just so it’s encouraging. It’s insightful and it sparks really great conversation.
Lauren Conaway 29:48
That’s awesome. If you know what, I’m actually going to take that challenge. Kirsten. When we hop off, I’m going to text my besties and be like, Hey, let’s do a little exercise and eagerness tell me about Help me. I’m definitely going to do that. No, that’s awesome. All right, I have promised you a second part to the question. So this one are you reading? I feel like you’re reading, you’ve been reading everything that I’ve thrown at you as far as you’re, you’re doing great. Here goes, we’ve talked about how to be self aware, but how do you? How do you communicate better in teams? What are some actionable things that you can do to, I guess, communicate about allow for, like these differences in personality and these differences in communication styles that we’re talking about here?
Kirsten Moorefield 30:45
Um, well, I think one of the key things is to actually ask the question about that. So, for example, one of the things that I’ve become self aware about is within about 30 seconds of a meeting, if nobody else has said, Alright, guys, here’s what we’re doing. I jump right on it. Even if I didn’t organize the meeting, I’m like, we’re wasting time, it’s time to go. I will, I’ve learned, instead of doing that, say, Hey, would it be helpful if I got this kicked off? Or hey, are you like, Do you have a plan here? You know, like, instead of just assuming, like, oh, my gosh, they’re unprepared, I’m gonna, I’m gonna make this meaningful, which is one of those default things, right? Like, it’s default to me that if no one’s stepping up, I’m going to do it. But actually, there are more people who aren’t going to do that, but who are very prepared. They’re just letting the small talk go on. Right. Right. And, and I could have steamrolled, I have steamrolled so many times, unintentionally. I think I like learning to ask questions. And I think also, one of the biggest keys is when you notice yourself, like tensing up or taking something personal or getting frustrated, ask a question about it. Because most of the time, it’s not actually the story, you’re telling yourself in your mind. Like, it’s not that when Lauren asks me questions, she’s thinking, I just can’t handle this on my own. It’s actually Lauren is like, you know, really analytical just wants to understand the details. And that’s good for me. So asking you a question like, well, help me understand why you think that’s important right now, or help me understand where you’re coming from on this helped me understand is like, just a great beginning.
Lauren Conaway 32:29
I love that. Like, it’s your point. Like, I think it’s really fascinating. But I think that people often feel more comfortable when they have those back pocket statements and questions like those things that they can kind of naturally fall back on. Like with enough use, it just becomes second nature. So I love that I’m going to add that to my repertoire. Help me understand.
Kirsten Moorefield 32:49
So important. Yeah, I’m a big Brene Brown fan. And she’ll, she’ll say, the story I’m believing is, you know, like, the, for the example I just gave, the story I’m believing is you’re not prepared for this meeting. And I need to step in and organize it right? I would never say that to somebody, but it’s really tough. Because it sounds insulting. But what I like is if you can catch yourself thinking something like Oh, my gosh, they’re not prepared and be like, Oh, no, no, actually, that’s just the story. I’m telling myself. Right. Let me ask you a question to get a better understanding. Hey, do we have an agenda for this meeting? Hey, would it be helpful if I organize this getting started? You know, just ask the question.
Lauren Conaway 33:36
Yeah. I like that. And honestly, I feel like that is really, really great business advice. All it’s really great life advice. In fact, like, often, so often, we come from a place of assumption. And assumptions tend to be informed by our own personal experiences, the way that we view the world, our lenses, and perspectives. And so when we’re making those assumptions, rather than just taking a pause and asking the question, we’re not coming from a place of pure knowledge. We come from a place of impressions and biases. And when we’re talking about that inclusion piece that, you know, psychological safety piece, like we have to stay away from those we have to be comfortable making the ask and we have to feel uncomfortable, or we have to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable with who that was a sentence. But we have to make sure that we’re leaving space for those kinds of questions to come about rather than just thinking that we’re the authority on it on the topic.
Kirsten Moorefield 34:35
Yeah, it’s so true. And you mentioned the word ego, which is just, I think that most people when they think of ego, they think it’s negative, you know, like you you joked like, Oh, I’ll do an ego thing and all you know, asking your friends, right? Actually, getting a really, really clear understanding of yourself is very selfless. Like it actually is really, I mean, It’s also selfish. If you’re doing it, if you get a better understanding of what will make you the most satisfied in life, like, you will feel the most satisfied. But also, you will be doing the things that you are best at and in the places where they’re needed. So like, I am best at kicking off a meeting, but it’s not best if I’m doing that where it’s not needed, like steamrolling somebody else, right? And so I am getting to understand, okay, that’s my default. So I can pick up when I’m at the beginning of the meeting or two minutes in, and I’m starting to feel antsy and frustrated that nobody’s organized this. I kept, like, I think that’s the hardest part is to recognize those triggers like, oh, actually, this, I shouldn’t judge their character, I should actually stop, pause and recognize this is how I would approach the situation, and this person is doing something different. And I don’t understand why. And so I’m going to ask a question, or I’m going to be curious and open-minded about what’s really happening here.
Lauren Conaway 35:59
Yeah, well, and I do, I’m gonna, I’m gonna give a little caveat here and see this is, this is a perfect example. The communication that Justin and I just had is a classic case of we’re just coming from two different lenses. So like, when I say ego, in my head, I actually view ego as a good thing within reasonable amounts. You know, and it’s funny, because I’ve talked about this on the show before, but I actually think entrepreneurs, you have to have a little bit of ego somewhere in there, right? Because you, if you look at a problem, and you say, my solution, the thing that I can do can solve this problem better than anyone else. That requires an ego that requires a belief in oneself, that as long as it’s supported, and it’s not, you know, ridiculous or cruel, that’s actually a good thing. It can be a very motivating factor, but because Kirsten doesn’t know me and doesn’t know, I think that way, like she has an ego, and she’s like, Hey, real quick, I’m gonna push back when in fact, I think we kind of believe the same thing. Yeah. I mean, it’s a perfect example. Yeah, perfect example, what’s happened, like right here at the little micro level while we’re having this conversation. So, so I’m going to, I’m going to go ahead, I’m going to pop in with some advice. If you are a startup founder, or if you are looking to maximize your team, you know, help your team figure out how to really communicate well with each other. Definitely check out Cloverleaf.me. And you have a free trial. How long does the free trial, two weeks, two weeks, take some investments? Let’s get self-aware. Let’s get talking to our teams and figure out how we can all work together. Because when we all work together, well, our businesses are more successful, our personal lives are more profitable, and we’re happier or more fulfilled. All of those things are wonderful. And I just have to thank you so much for your work in this area. Kirsten, thank you.
Kirsten Moorefield 38:06
Thank you. No, thank you, Lauren. I appreciate that. And one thing I would specifically add for founders is like as your team grows, it’s so critical to be self-aware of what you need to stop doing and what you are the best stat so that you can keep doing those things that really only you can do, and are going to be the best thing which for some people is going to be like heads down coding for other people, it’s going to be like communicating and evangelizing your message to the whole world. And for other people, it’s going to be creating systems and processes to scale your team. You know, like, there are so many different things. And it’s critical that you are self-aware of what is going to energize you and what is your unique wiring because that’s what your team needs from you. That’s what your customers and your vendors all need from you. And it’s gonna help you avoid burnout because startups are really, really long marathons. Right? So, so take care of yourself and build yourself. I mean, it’s one of the best parts of being a founder. You get to build your job description to who you are. Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 39:06
As you can scale, you know, I love that. And actually, so I’m about to ask you the human question, and I usually don’t do this, Kirsten. Usually, it has nothing to do. The question has nothing to do with the conversation that we’ve had previously. But I keep on making me throw curveballs at you. Look at what you made me do. And you’re right now and wagging a finger. You did this. Great to ask you. Give us three words that describe you.
Kirsten Moorefield 39:32
Oh my gosh. I’m enthusiastic. I’m pensive and strategic.
Lauren Conaway 39:47
Okay, so you believe those about yourself, and I’m going to give you three adjectives for you. I’m going to say that you’re clearly brilliant. Oh, you’re you are you’re inclusive like you have an inclusive Have you lens which I, which I just love and enjoy so much. And as a female founder, you are inspiring.
Kirsten Moorefield 40:09
There may be so many female founders and founders of all kinds, like every ethnicity, country of origin, or like I have all kinds of there. We all have such good ideas. And I just hope that if I can, if I can be inspiring, that’s incredible, because I just hope that more and more people who are sitting on these incredible ideas see that it’s possible to see that they have representation matters.
Lauren Conaway 40:34
That’s like 99.9% of my job. All right. Well, Kirsten, I can’t thank you enough. It has been. I love it all right. I love talking to all of the Startup Hustle guests. But when I talk to a guest, I’m just like, Ah, I see you, I feel what you’re saying. Like, there’s, there’s a synergy that happens they get like, I have a big old shit eating grin on my face right now. Just you know, because this has been a good interview. And you are to blame. Again, I’m blaming you for all kinds of things right now.
Kirsten Moorefield 41:11
I really appreciate it. You have such good energy. It’s really been so fun talking with you. Thank you very much. So if you do want to come to sales, it sounds like you’re really good at selling Cloverleaf, so yay.
Lauren Conaway 41:22
All right. That’s job security, right? Their biggest. All right, well, friends, I also have to tell you about Full Scale one more time. I know that we talk about Full Scale a lot. And there’s a reason for that, you know, they make Startup Hustle possible. But really, what we’re all about as Startup Hustle is making the entrepreneurial experience better for founders. How can we help you learn, become more effective, be more strategic, all of those things? Full Scale is right there. If you are building a technical product, if you need software developers, it doesn’t have to be hard. So just visit FullScale.io. They will help you build a software team quickly and affordably. You know, they can help you define your technical needs. They can get you developers, testers, and leaders that are ready to help you and take you to the next level. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Friends, I also want to ask you a favor. You know, we build this thing, and we do this thing for you. We love telling entrepreneurial stories, but more importantly, we love having your ear, week after week. And so we want you to get engaged. We want you to tell us what you want to hear and what stories you want to be a part of. So help us out. You can find Startup Hustle chat, whether that’s on Facebook. You can find us on LinkedIn. Go to StartupHustle.xyz. Give us show suggestions. We want to hear from you. This is all for you. Help us to do it better. And keep on coming back and listening week after week. Friends, we really appreciate this time with you, and we will catch you on the flip side.