Building Meaningful Relationships

PK Kriha, Employee Benefits Consultant, Marsh McLennan Agency

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PK Kriha is an employee benefits consultant with Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA). She provides advice on health and welfare plans, wellbeing/wellness programs to a diverse base of corporate clients. She helps corporate leaders understand the full scope, implications and cost of various employee benefits strategies and potential plan design changes, not just the immediate line item expense.

 Along with her team, she also helps solve business challenges by deploying strategies that create better health care consumers and keeps employers current on regulatory issues, including those related to health care reform legislation. PK has a natural ability to make strong business connections, network with talented individuals, and match people to cultures. These talents and more have earned her a reputation of integrity and as a professional resource extending beyond employee benefits. PK joined RJF in 2002, where she quickly became a partner. Acquired by MMA in 2011, she continues to provide leadership in multiple areas within MMA.

 PK was honored with the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal’s 2020 Women In Business Award and also Employee Benefit Adviser’s Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising for 2017. She has also been recognized for her extensive knowledge, customer service philosophy and her involvement in leadership development and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives at MMA.

She is involved in several community organizations including Giving WoMN, Benilde St. Margaret’s School, the College of St. Benedict, Youth Frontiers, Family Enhancement Center, Banyan, and she sits on the board of trustees for Washburn Center for Children. PK has two children and resides in St. Louis Park.

PK Kriha is an employee benefits consultant with Marsh McLennan Agency. She works with employers to guide them on their total reward strategy, which means all of their group employee benefits, health insurance, dental life, disability, and everything in between. PK joins us today to share her expertise in well-being and wellness programs.

PK shares the knowledge she has learned from her 20-year career journey. From how to say No gracefully, to work-life integration, and many more gems.

Talking Points:

{01:40} Why PK loves to lift up other women.

{03:25} Building relationships with new clients

{09:15} Part-time work and full-time mom

{14:10} Principles that lead to consistency. 

{17:10} How to say “no” gracefully

{21:50} Overcoming imposter syndrome.

{33:20} How to bring people together successfully.

Welcome, welcome, Welcome to the Talent Empowerment Podcast, where we support human transformation and share the stories of great leaders of all backgrounds. So, you can borrow their vision, their tools, and their tactics to build your own plan toward happiness. 

I am your host, the real Tom Finn, and on today's show, we have PK, Kriha. PK, Welcome to the show. 

Thanks so much for having me, Tom. 

If you don't know PK, let me just take a second and introduce you to this fabulous human. She's an employee benefits consultant with Marsh McLennan Agency and provides advice on health and welfare plans. If you don't know what that is, don't worry, we'll explain it in just a second. 

She's an expert in well-being and Wellness programs. Has a diverse base of corporate clients’ work and she helps corporate leaders understand the full scope and implications of costs in various employee benefits strategies. 

Now, PK was honored in Minneapolis and St. Paul, in the Business Journal as a woman in the business award and has won that and has also won awards as the Employee Benefit Advisors Most Influential Woman in Benefits Advising which is pretty cool as well. She's involved in several community organizations as you would expect in the Minneapolis, MN area. 

I am just thrilled to spend some time with her today. I will tell you, you know, PK, you've done a lot for women in business and we're going to get to your career and what you do and how you do it, all those things. But what about serving other women tends to lift you up? 

Well, when other women shine, I think that's really me passing on the torch. And I think of all the women that really showed me the way, and I owe it to all the future leaders to also give back in the manner in which others have given back to me. 

Well, beautifully said, and a great opening to our discussion. I've known PK for about a year, and I'll tell you she just does things differently. And I think you're going to hear that through our conversation today, things are just done a little differently in the way PK touches each of her relationships, so help us understand what you do and what kind of business you're in. 

Well, as you mentioned, I'm an employee benefits consultant, and my team and I work with employers on their total reward strategy, which means all of their group employee benefits, health insurance, dental life, disability, and everything in between. And we are strategic partners with our clients. I like to think of us as trusted advisors. And we support not only HR leaders but the CFO, the CEO, the entire suite C-Suite as well as all the employee population that actually utilizes the benefits that we consult about. 

So, I've got a little background in employee benefits and did that as part of my career journey. But I will tell you that these roles as consultants to large organizations, medium and small organizations really aren't wanted. The size is really tough. They are really intricate around product details, scalability, and then relationship building at the corporate level. How do you build relationships with a new client because you're very good at this? Help our listeners understand what that looks like in your model. 

Making connections is my mantra and really truly trying to find a common thread with each person that I meet. And when I do, I home in on that. And then, of course, you know, sales 101, you need to establish trust and you can't do that without really having something to lead you there. 

So, I almost look at it like a research project. How can I figure out what it is? What do I have in common with this person and how can I build upon that to establish a relationship and build trust? And that is what I do, and I learned that early in my sales career and I continue to strive to do that today. And that's why I also coach a lot of young people to do the same. 

Yeah, well, well. And so, as you're building these relationships and you're being authentic, what do you actually deliver for your clients? What's yours? You mentioned healthcare and dental and life insurance and Wellness programs. So, what does that actually look like for those that are not experts in this field and there, you know, within an organization, what does that mean? 

I think of it, you know, we are not, we don't sell a product, we sell consulting services. So, we consult with employers to guide them on what they Should do. How should They invest in their employees? With what types? Of whether it's insurance coverage or other benefits. Anything that an employer offers to an employee to engage them; to create an incredible employment experience. 

So, the actual work itself, all the fine details around negotiating price and thinking of us almost like a wholesaler where the carriers come to the broker, the broker negotiates the price and the contracts while the true recipient is the employee. And our job is to make sure the employees understand what it is they have from an insurance perspective. But our true job really is consulting. And guiding and coaching. And providing expertise.

Yeah, and this is a deep and rich field with lots of products and lots of partners, and lots of tentacles that go in a lot of different directions. How do you as a leader keep your head on straight with all of these different things that you're supposed to know and quite frankly, be an expert in?

Quite frankly, it's the power of a Team. I have a really, really rock-solid rock star. The team and I couldn't do it without them, so I gave them all the accolades. I lead them there and they take over. I always say I use the analogy. A conductor of an orchestra. I don't play instruments. My team plays the instrument, they understand deeply the intricacies and all the details and all the plans. And if they don't, I Find someone else who does, and I know enough to be dangerous and that is a truly honest answer to your question. I can't know everything, my team can't know everything. If we don't know it, we'll find an answer, or we'll find someone. 

Who does? 

And that's really the way that great leaders answer that question, my friends, it's always about the team. It's never about the individual. Great organizations, great teams, and great communities are team players.

And you've got to be on a team with a great leader to understand that or you've got to be a great leader yourself that respects the team along the way. Either one is great. It's just when you're missing one of those that you fall into a little bit of a trap. 

So, let's get to know you a little bit because we understand the business. And we know you're focused on relationships. But did you just always start and benefit? How did this, you know, progression take place? 

I actually didn't start on benefits. I started my career in the staffing industry and that's where I first learned the career of sales and I sold to HR leaders and people who managed their talent. And I did that for quite a long period of time. And then I got bored and was looking to make a change. And who did I ask that… My financial planner? 

Hey, I could have that kind of confidential conversation. I'm thinking about doing something else. And he introduced me to the founders of our company, and we had breakfast. And very candidly, I knew nothing about this industry. I just wanted to know if there was another industry that I could leverage. My network and use my sales skills. And they said they'd teach me the business. I really liked them. I thought I could work for These guys. That's how I landed here 20 years ago. 

That's amazing. So, you're looking for a new job. You're thinking it through. What are my options? You end up landing at breakfast and you have a great conversation. And here we are, 20 years later, that captures that pretty quickly.

We did, we did, and I started working part-time. I was a new mom and I thought. I can't. I don't want to do this full-time; I feel like sales is a great career that you can work on your schedule and still produce if you're real. So, I literally started in this industry part-time not knowing or understanding the industry. 

That's amazing. So, let's talk about this mom period early on because I think there are a lot of women out there that face that challenge as well. There are a lot of conflicting opinions here, but I would tell you it's not easy. I watch my wife do it. She's a working mom. We've got 3, three kids, one on the way and it's not easy to do. So how did you do it? How did you leverage part-time work? And being my goodness a full-time mom as well. 

I did the best I could. With what I had. I literally thrive on utilizing resources and I'm Pretty decent at it. Finding and identifying Whatever it is that There's a gap. I found it, and so I had people to help me with my kids. I had a really strong team to help me with the industry. And then very much Unlike other high performers, it was on me to rein it in and navigate how much I work versus how much I'm parenting and trying to blend that. I've always said I never use the word balance because balance implies imbalance. You're on the top of the teeter or totter on the bottom. And you rarely can get it. It is like that. 

So, I firmly believe in the work-life blend. And how do you blend? The whole person comes to work. So, I've spent my career, you know I've spoken about it. I live it. My team knows. I'm authentic with my team. I'm not hiding personal things on my calendar. That's not how we're going to progress as a gender. 

We have a life Outside of work we merge them together and do our best. And so, I'm very Proud of that and my kids know that. And there's a lot that they benefit from When they watch and listen and learn, whether it's just sitting in the Car with me. 

Yeah, I always called it work-life integration rather than work-life balance, and I completely agree with you. You've got to figure out how to integrate your personal and your professional life. And then you know all that personal life could have a lot of bullets under it. That's totally OK. 

But you've got to figure out how to do both and integrate them. And you've got to be with an employer. This is important. An employer who gets it. And there are certainly those that don’t, and we've all come across them, we hear about them in the news as well. 

But what's your take on how somebody can actually model this type of behavior? You mentioned a couple of tips there. Keep your calendar open. Don't be afraid to have personal events. I would imagine during the week. Is that kind of what you're saying there? What are some other things that we can think about on how to integrate this well? 

I think it's really important to protect your calendar and let's not forget about “me” time because if we're not good, I'm not good for my team or my family, or my clients, so making sure you're allowing in-person time, you know, taking care of yourself time and I protect my calendar. For that reason, I really struggle to have early morning Meetings because I need my “me” time. 

So, my meetings generally start at 8:00. I will do it. I used to when I was younger in my career have 7:00 and 7:30 meetings all the time. As I've aged, I like 8:00 o'clock meetings because I really need that time in the morning to get centered, and take care of myself. 

So, I believe you know step one is we have to take care of ourselves first to make sure we can take care of others. And when you're in a servant leadership role, that's just so important. 

Yeah, well said. And most good leaders, as you outline, have some sort of morning routine that is well protected, and some people say I don't want to get up at 5:00 AM. You don't have to. You can slide your day around as it fits your sleep patterns and how it fits your energy, but it should be pretty consistent where on a daily basis, you know hey from X to Y time. I'm doing these two or three things that get me centered for the day. Tell us about your morning routine, PK. 

The morning routine is. 1st I need a really good night's rest and that's not always the case. And then it's 6:00 AM and a 20-minute or 30-minute Pilates video. A really good cup of coffee. And let my dogs out. And then the day begins.

Perfect. And for everybody, it's going to be different, depending on where you live and what your activities are that center you, but some form of exercise in the morning is always a good idea to get our bodies moving and stretched and you know behaving in the way that we want so that we can have a great mental game throughout the day. So certainly, I agree with that. 

As we start to learn more about you, what are the key principles that you use for consistency and results? Because you're at the top of your game in sales. There's got to be some principles that you're leaning on for consistency because it's not like it wasn't an accident that you got to this point in your career. 

From a business development perspective. If we take COVID out of the picture. We must eat. We must have beverages. And so literally, I try to meet people for coffee, lunch, and or dinner or happy hour, because that's how you create relationships. That's how you get to know people's conversations. You really get to learn about someone. 

Truthfully, I used to say someone in business development shouldn't ever be in their office. Because they needed to be out talking to people. If I'm not talking to people, I'm not developing relationships or earning trust. So that is one of my fundamental goals. Another one is you know at this stage of my career I hold meetings and network anytime someone reaches out. I don't like to say no. Because I want to give back to the people who gave to me. I want to give back and that might be a 20-minute meeting. 

There's a really good book by an author, Marcia Ballinger, called the 20-minute networking meeting. And if you follow that? And you think in your mind everyone can say yes to 20 minutes and COVID changes that. I don't have to. If someone used to say, can you meet me for a cup of coffee, and I have to drive 30 minutes and then meet the person for an hour? And then another 30, that's two hours. I'm not saying no in this virtual environment because I can carve out 20 minutes for anyone. 

So, I really like to do that. It's respectful. And you never know when someone might provide you with a nugget that can help you. I believe in reverse mentoring so these young people I might learn. From them. You know, that's another mantra of mine. As I say, yes. 

Just say yes.

And there's an art to saying no and you might get to that question, Tom, but because you also need to learn to say no to things that don't fill yours. And so that frees you to be able to say yes to the things you want to say yes to. You don't want to be like that. Busy that you have to say No to something you really want to do. 

That's right. The yes sometimes feels easy, right? Because most people genuinely want to help. They want to say yes. How do you say no, then gracefully without coming across as maybe, maybe arrogant, or less than that? Maybe just a stick in the mud, or too busy, or whatever. The thing is that you think you're going to be labeled. 

One of the answers to that is the 20 minutes. So instead of saying no, which I previously may have done to more people that have reached out to me. I'll say a 20 minute virtual meeting. I also am a big proponent of the word, “and” I don't like to use the word “but”. If it doesn't work to meet. I will make sure that I at least provide. They’re with one nugget, maybe it's A link to a website of a company, or if I have a good understanding of what it is they're looking for that I still give them. At least this might be something you Want to check out or might this Be a better person for you to connect with Based on why you've reached Out to me? 

I will give an example. People come to me looking for an HR job or a finance job. I can help them. If an IT person comes to Me for a programmer job? I don't have as many contacts to program. Our jobs. So, I might refer them to someone else who does. If I have a good understanding of what? They're looking for. That helps me know how to guide them. But I don't like to say no. 

Well, that is a beautiful way to do it and I love how you're trying to provide value at every turn. You're trying to give value to others along your journey in which they will give value to you. Maybe not immediately, but at some point, down the road and that's the way a fair value exchange happens within personal and professional relationships, it is just that simple. 

I mean, I think of it in a really simple way as chips on a table. You know your green chips and your red chips. And when I'm giving, I'm you know, I'm giving my green chips away. And when I'm talking, we've got the red chips moving right. We want to have a balance of giving and receiving in our relationships and it sounds Like you are very conscious of that within your own philosophy. 

Is there a point in your career that you get to where you're at the height of your career, where you have some regrets along the way?

I got to think about that one Tom. I mean I think Once you start really feeling successful, you will always worry that you didn't spend enough time with your kids or weren't present in those moments. And I have. Regrets that for sure. Because I wasn't always present. Because I was thinking about work, thinking about closing a deal, thinking about solving a problem for a client when maybe my kids needed me. And that was more important and that's on me, the ability to Be present, which is something I. Have to work on it. 

Yeah, I think we all feel that way as parents, right? Even if we were 100% present, we'd probably feel like we weren't 100% present. 


For our kids. Like we're, we're our own worst critics when it comes to being parents. Is there something in your business career that you felt like perhaps you stubbed your toe along the way because all of this sounds rosy? And great and we know how successful you are and how talented you are in your space, but there are a couple of moments where you did stub your toe. 

I mean, this didn't come easy for me. I worked in an industry prior to this one where I could sell something every day and this industry has a very long sales cycle. I'm often asked about the early part of my career, and I would say the first five years, I would not want to do it again, that was hard. It tested the core of my being. I was comfortable and confident in my previous role, and I came into this business. With a lack of confidence, what did I do? Did I really give up something that I was decent at to try this unknown? And those first five years were really hard. And it was. Hard to learn everything I needed to learn. And it is very hard to stay motivated. When the sales cycle is as long as it is. 

So, I'll challenge young people who join this business. There are 365 days in a year. If you close one deal a month, that's 12 deals. What do you do for 353 days to keep yourself motivated, confident, courageous, energetic, and not give up? And so, I still face that. There's a lot of, you know, that impostor syndrome that goes on and it still happens.

Can you explain a little bit more about that? 

I think you know there's always fear. That I'm not showing up or I'm missing something? Or that someone else is doing it better. And on the one hand, I think that drives a lot of people to be their best, right, because you need healthy competition and on the other hand, you. Really have to work through that self-doubt. And I get a lot of energy from that. And it's exhausting. 

Perfectly placed and has a lot of energy. And it's exhausting. So, we all have a little bit of impostor syndrome and I think what you highlighted. This is how hard it is for those that have long sales cycles. And may only close 10 or 12 deals a year, on 10 or 12 really good days out of 365. So, when you're explaining this to somebody. Who's new in the industry or building their customer base? How do you tell them to get through those first five years? Where are they actually going to be facing? How do they overcome this? 

I am begging to be encouraged… tracking so track how many people are you talking to, and how many emails are you sending. How many Handwritten note cards are you writing? Because if you're writing. A handwritten note card means. You've talked to somebody. So, track it. Make a spreadsheet. You know whatever it is however you like to measure or quantify, make sure you're quantifying so that on a Friday you can look back On Monday - Thursday and say wow, I talked to a lot of people. This is what I Learned about them. 

This is What it led me. To the other thing, I'll tell people. If you never ever know. What one person might bring? You in your career. I like to tell stories about my daughter’s Godfather, who was a retired lawyer, I told him about my new career change. He's not working anymore. I thought. Why, you know? I just told him. What I was doing well, he referred me to his former law firm, there's still a client. And he referred me to his best friend's company. There's still a client. Wow, and I Never would have thought that. 

And so, I encourage people. That's another reason you say yes to a meeting because you don't know some person in a career transitioned vulnerable moment that just needs some words of wisdom. Their friend may own a business and could Be a potential client. Or their friend may have A need For something that I have some insight on. Another relationship-building moment. Did I answer your question, I think. 

I think so. And you're back to your core theme of providing value at all turns and also building relationships with people over time. 

So that example of I've had that client for 20 years from one conversation is a great example to others in any business, it doesn't matter if you're in health and Wellness, it's really any business. How do you build relationships over a couple of decade periods? I would imagine That it would be Really hard for somebody to go in and try to compete with you on those clients, would you? 

I'd like to think so, yeah. 

And it's relationship-driven, right? We're all humans. We're all looking for that human connection and we're all looking for those deep and meaningful relationships. I think you've got this unique view of the world and I want to double-click on this just a little bit because when you look at product and service and consulting. You don't tend to look at products and services. I feel like you tend to look at people and how people are going to feel and react. 

Talk a little bit about your vision and how you view the human experience. 

I think it's really like the most important thing for us when we enter a partnership with the client is understanding their business, understanding their core values, understanding how they lead, how they differentiate themselves as an employer and the employment experience. Which then guides how we consult with them. So, we have to understand the company and culture first. 

The products are second. And so that's my team that is a differentiator for us. We don't just dive right into all the lines of coverage, for example. What's going on in the business? How? What's your growth strategy? What is your turnover? What is yours? You know, some of your succession planning. A lot of companies. Going through that right now, do you plan to grow? Through M&A? Are you moving into new markets? We do our best work when we, you know, still go back to Stephen Covey, you. Know to seek first to understand and then to be understood. We've got to understand. Their business first. 

Do you think a lot of people forget that part? 

I do. Not intentionally, but I think it's easy to go into Your comfort zone. Which is product knowledge. And I just… Our culture… And what I've learned and how we've branded ourselves and my personal brand. That we get to know them first. We can't try to... It's like, you know, selling anything. You can't just try to sell someone, afford it if they came. To the lot wanting a Toyota, You got to figure that out first. So maybe they're at the wrong dealership.

Maybe they are, or maybe, or maybe through a conversation you can figure out that they just needed a pickup truck, and it didn't matter what the brand was, they just needed a haul of Stuff right? And that's really where it comes together through a consultative discussion is what you're saying. And I think a lot of people forget this part. We go right into where we're comfortable. Product knowledge. Let me tell you all the things I know; versus let me ask you about yourself and your business. 

Do you ever feel like you get stuck? In those conversations early on, meaning you haven't built trust yet, it's still an early relationship, and they don't want to answer your questions because they're not comfortable with you yet, do You feel that ever? 

Yes, and I really like asking “what” and “how” questions, and whenever you're talking to an entrepreneur or a business leader, they want to talk about their business. It makes them feel good. So, when you ask “what” Are you doing differently in your market to Position yourself… “how, what” makes your employer-employee experience different from your competitor’s? 

Why would I want to work for you? Ask “what, how, Why,” Questions all day long about them. Walls come down generally and then of course if you do your homework first. I see that… I researched you and… It's really impressive. 

So, you show them that you've invested in them. That feels good too. You know when I meet with candidates who are looking for a job and in transition. It means a lot to me that they knew a little bit About me first and didn't just enter a conversation with no background on me.

And I will often Coach people on that. You shouldn't meet someone. Blindly without doing the research, because when I went. I was young. I didn't have access to the Internet. That is my age today. You can find out a lot about me on the Internet, so there's no excuses today for not coming prepared to understand people in their business. 

Yeah, these are great tips and tricks that people can use to have a sound business. Jumping off point right, you got to look. It's as easy as looking at LinkedIn. Let's not get too fancy here. Go to LinkedIn, find the person, and click on their profile. Read through it. Connect with them, potentially after you meet with them. That's the kind of way I like to do it. I'll look at their LinkedIn profile, and I'll go through it. I'll look at the schools they went to. Did I go to any of those schools, or do I know? Right. And then I'll look at the interest that they have. Maybe their community organizations. I certainly want to know where. They live because I don't want to say something silly like “Hey, isn't New York great” when they live in Minnesota? Because that shows right off the bat, I'm not paying attention. 

And so, this little step that PK just Saves us all, is it? Sounds simple, but I would argue that less than 10% of people do it. And good salespeople do it. And we know that, and I imagine PK, your entire team does it because they're developed by you. But I don't see people doing it as often as maybe they should, and it's simple and it only takes a second and sometimes. I mean I don't know how you are, but if I'm jammed with time. I can do it really quickly within 60 seconds of going to a call. Well, I'm between. I'm between calls, right? And I've got 60 seconds. Oh, my goodness. Let me just type in LinkedIn really quickly to find this person. Do a quick review of their online resume there and get a better understanding of who they are. 

And you're honoring them. You know you're making you. You're showing someone that they're, they're special. And they're worthy of 60 seconds. 

Right. And it doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be a long elaborate, you know down a rabbit hole. We go into all the social media platforms and looking at this person from every angle doesn't have to be that it can if it can. If you want. Certainly, if the relationship that you're looking for is a long-term relationship, you kind of want to like this person if you're going to be working with them for a long time, right, you just want to like them. And if you look at their hobbies, their activities, their family, all the cool stuff that they're doing, and you really enjoy what they're up to, you're going to do. A better job for them as well. 

I always feel like that’s such an important part of this sales cycle. I was asking you about some of the people’s experiences earlier. And I want to phrase the question a little bit differently because you look at the experience of the employee and how that affects the executive team and how that affects the Community and how you bring people together from multiple companies to create an experience. 

So, talk about just the way you look at putting people together from different companies and how you do that in terms of building, you know the community for yourself and for your customer. 

Thank you for the question, Tom, one of the things I Did - I think it was 2016- I really wanted to bring them together. My clients and an Advisory Board fashion a lens of  “Me learning from them”. What's important to them is that they learn from one another almost in a unique coaching model. And a collaborative model. 

So, in 2016, I formed a client Advisory Board. I would just say. As you know, they were handpicked. I knew they would. I just knew their personalities. I knew that synergy would be right. And I think that that is a dynamic that is Super important when you put groups together and not always easy and sometimes taken for granted when it really works well. But all it takes is to have one person who is not quite fit for you to understand how challenging that might be. 

Then COVID had and I and my colleagues and I. Said we got to do more of this. They're just, it's our leaders who are craving support. So Fast forward to 2023, I have three more HR round tables and then I also have CFO, round tables, and people want to support one another and feel supported. 

And so, you create a platform, and you make it easy for them. Another mantra for me is to make it easy for them. How do you make it easy for them? It's a monthly meeting. It's every Wednesday at 8:00 AM, the first of the month. First Wednesday of the month and it's one hour and it's virtual. It used to be 2016 when I started these, it was every other month for two hours in person. That got challenging because of logistics, and the weather. 

So, we're still meeting in person. We're getting back to that, but not every month and attendance is much higher when you can pop in a call, and just start Supporting one another and that's what we do. 

Yeah, look, it sounds easy the way you said it. It sounds super easy. The nuance here for those that are listening is you've got to put the right people together. So, what do you think about that? What do you think about their personalities? What do you think about their job titles? Do you think about what they're into Personally, their demographics in terms of location and gender and age and those types of things, what do you do, how do you do it? What do you think about that?

I don't have a perfect answer for you, Tom, because I'm still learning. I do like having similar roles, they do not need to be similar-sized companies. One thing I've learned in my career is the perception that you need to have big company leaders talking to big company leaders. I disagree. You can learn so much from one another.

And so, the size of the company is not Important the role itself is important. And so now what's changed for me is, you know, I have more total rewards for people in one group. I have managers, and directors in one group and then I Have VPS, CHRs, and chief people officers in another group. And that's not perfect, because there might be a day that works better for someone than the other and will slide them in and it might not fit perfectly, but they're still going to get some nuggets and they're still going to be able to feel supported. And I'd rather have them feel supported than not supported and say no I don't have a group for you. 

Yeah, I love the way you're doing this. 

So, you're doing it by title and experience, where they're around other like-minded people and the same types of roles and then they get to bring whether it's a large company, small, medium company experience to the table because it’s Just experienced in business, and we have different angles that we can look at when we're thinking. About these things, I love it. I absolutely love it. I think it's a great idea and it's no surprise why everybody looks to you as a cherished advisor. You know along their journey when you're bringing everybody together in a community. 

Can I add one more thing? 

Of course, you can.

From a sales perspective, what I also do is I'll bring prospects in there. HR leaders, I've met. But I'm really enjoying getting to know people that maybe would benefit from having this kind of support. So, from a sales perspective, you know then there's a little bit of pressure perhaps. Like, wow. Oh, you're getting that with your consulting services. We're not getting that. So, it can happen kind of naturally. And then I'm not selling them. 

Yeah, that is a really nice playbook. So, what you do is you put your list of customers together by Title, and then you bring in prospects within those titles to let them experience it, be a part of it, and meet some new people in your industry, in the HR or finance space, whatever it might be. That way you build your community along the way, and naturally they say, “Hey, PK, I really like this group. Can I stay? And oh, by the way, can we talk about working with you?” Is that how it goes? 

Right. Well, in a perfect world, Tom.

Thanks. It's just that easy. 

Or you know if there's somebody else that you know, one thing I should be asking is there anybody else that you. Think might benefit from joining the group. And you know what? I get so much energy from doing things differently than my peers. I'm in a male-dominated industry. 85% of my competitors are men. I like doing it differently.

Yeah, well said. Well, you stand out above the crowd, male, male-dominated industry or not, it sounds like you are dominating the industry. And I am thrilled to have had the chance to share this time with you and quite frankly, get to know you over the last year as we started to work together on a few things which I'm very grateful for as well. 

So, PK, thanks for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I'm thrilled to have you on the show. If people want to get in touch with you, they want to be a part of your community. Maybe they're in the Minneapolis area and they want to meet you for a 20-minute meeting online or have coffee, lunch, or cocktails with you. How do they get a hold of you? 

Good old-fashioned. LinkedIn is the best place to start. Or they can e-mail me, and we can put that in the show, notes Tom. Thank you. So much for having me. 

Yeah, we are thrilled to have you. We'll put all of that in the show notes, including the book reference that PK made earlier. We'll get a link to that as well and thank you, my friends, for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope you transform yourself and your business by placing humans at the center and leveraging technology at speed and enabling innovation at scale. Let's get back to people and culture together. We'll see you in the next episode, everybody.

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