Profiles of Success with Kerry Goyette.

What’s the name of your company? What exactly does your company do, how do you help people?

I created Aperio to help companies face their challenges and build high performance cultures.

We have two core components.  First, we use science to build high performing teams.  Second, we measure outcomes.  It’s been my experience that companies that promise team building and engagement don’t always root their work in brain science (which is the basis for emotional intelligence), and they don’t always measure their outcomes.  With every client, I work with the leadership team to determine what kinds of measurements would be the most meaningful.

Here’s an example.  My firm worked with a manufacturing company that had a goal of reducing expenses in their plant.  The leadership team at the firm decided that building leadership capacity and increasing employee engagement were the two biggest, measurable goals.

After 15 months, the plant’s expenses went down by 47%. Guess what the biggest savings was?  Overtime.  Once leadership really began to engage their teams, the employee productivity increased and not as much overtime was needed.  One member of the leadership team, the plant manager, had been very skeptical about working with me.  After he was responsible for tracking the metrics, he completely changed his tune.  When leaders can see tangible positive outcomes, it becomes easy for leaders to invest in training and development.

What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

When I decided to start my business, I had no idea how hard it would be. I didn’t realize how exposed you feel – when you fail, it feels like you’re on center stage and there is no one standing there but you. It was challenging in the beginning to build a brand and a reputation, especially in a business to business market. In the first few years, I wasn’t sure if my business would make it.

When I reflect on those times, I think it’s my competitive drive and persistence that got me through it. I was determined to make it work. I got a lot of advice from people I trusted to shore up areas of weakness, which was crucial.  Admitting I didn’t have all the answers and was willing to ask for advice was key to my growth. I’ve realized there are a lot of really smart people out there who are willing to help if you just ask.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

I wish I had known more about saying “no” to clients that aren’t ready to take on their side of the work.  Aperio can’t come in and fix problems if the client isn’t willing to work on their root issues.  It’s a team effort between us and the company.

Early on, a client I accepted a client who said they wanted to work together, but then wasn’t willing to make changes they needed to make on a daily basis.  There was no way one person who came in from the outside could solve their problems.  They had no desire for change, so there was little I could do.  The relationship ended with both of us frustrated by the results.  It was a tough lesson to learn.


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