Why the Rebrand?

Why the Rebrand?

By Laura Gallaher, PhD, LHEP™

Summary Points:

  • Speaking to my clients made me realize the impact I was having on them
  • The perception people had of my previous brand name was a little off
  • My fear was holding me back from what I really wanted


read time: 4-5 minutes 

Listen Now: Why the Rebrand?
Listen Now

We’ve rebranded the company which means we’re rebranding the show! Kayla and I chat about why we decided to rebrand our company and what the new name is all about. She also asks me about the origin of the business – why I started the company and why I chose to leave an exciting career at NASA (and Disney!) to do my own thing. We talk about the genesis of our core values, Progress over perfection, Uninhibited Teamwork, and Power of Choice, all of which came from the Human Element® and Radical Collaboration® programs.

View Transcript

Kayla: I was like, “She did it. I wanna do it now.”
[Laughter 00:00:02]
Laura: I think we should start every podcast we do together with, like, just noises.
Laura: Didn’t we do that last time?
Kayla: I don’t know.
[Laughter 00:00:11]
Laura: I’m recording now, by the way.
Kayla: That’s really funny.
Laura: So, um, hi everybody.
[Laughter 00:00:21]
Kayla: I had no idea you were recording. I was just like, “I’ll make noises.”
Laura: I’m like, click. Record. Uh, so, you all know me. I’m Laura. And Kayla, welcome back to the show.
Kayla: Hello.
Laura: You all are going to be hearing a lot more from me and Kayla, uh, ’cause you may remember I had Kayla on the show, um, I don’t even know, a couple months back, I guess, to talk.
Kayla: Maybe a month back. Yeah.
Laura: Is it just a month?
Kayla: ‘Cause the Remote Year thing was like still new. Maybe two months. Maybe a couple.
Laura: Maybe two months.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: ‘Cause this will come out in January.
Kayla: Okay.
Laura: Two months. Something like that.
Kayla: Something like that. Couple months.
Laura: Couple months. Sometime– at some point in the past, Kayla was on this show. She’s on the show again. She’s going to be on the show quite a bit as we move forward and as we travel around. Um, at the time of recording it’s January 12th, which means we are 16 days away from, um, our traveling adventure around the world. We’re flying to Kuala Lumpur together, uh, and we’ll be there for a month and then on from there. And, uh, go ahead and just listen to that other episode if you wanna hear more about that, ’cause we got something else to talk about today.
Kayla: Yeah. That’s a whole ‘nother story.
Laura: That’s a whole other story. What are we talking about today, Kayla?
Kayla: We’re talking about your rebrand.
Laura: Oh, is there a rebrand happening?
[Laughter 00:01:31]
Kayla: Oh, so tell me about this rebrand.
Laura: Has there been any work involved in that process, Kayla?
Kayla: There’s been a lot of work involved in the process of–
Laura: Just a little bit.
Kayla: –the rebrand.
Laura: Just a little bit.
Kayla: So, um, have you told anybody or have you told the show what your new company name is going to be?
Laura: I have not. This is what this is. Here it is right now. Oh, man. I need like a drum roll or something.
[Vocal drum roll 00:01:54]
[Laughter 00:01:55]
Kayla: It’s like, “I am not prepared for sounds!”
Laura: You didn’t bring any instruments or anything?
Kayla: I didn’t bring any instruments. I left the drum in the car.
Laura: [00:02:04] Ah, dang.
Kayla: I suck.
Laura: Alright. Yeah, so, we are officially rebranding the company. And the name of the company from here on out is going to be Gallaher Edge.
Kayla: Woot woot.
Laura: Woot woot! So, previously we were known as Key Talent Solutions. That was the name that I developed when I started the company five years ago. Uh, you know, I really liked it at the time. I thought it was cool. Part of me will always have an attachment to it, I think.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: You know, we talked a lot about, “Unlock your potential” and “key” and to talk about “key talent” in the organization is something that would actually come up quite a bit with our clients and, you know, I thought it was great. But what was happening all the time is people would be like, “Oh. Yeah. Key Talen– okay, so you’re like, recruiting?” And I was like, “No.”
[Laughter 00:02:49]
Laura: And like, “Oh. Oh. Staffing.” And I’m like, “Still no.” And then some people would think, “Oh yeah. You do like a– you’re like a talent agent? Like for actors and stuff?” I was like, “That sounds fun. But no.”
[Laughter 00:03:02]
Kayla: That’s what my family thought they were. They were like, “Oh, so she does scouting for talent?” I’m like, “Did you go on the website? No.”
Laura: I know. And I have this whole explanation for, you know, how I came up with the name back when and why I loved it. But that doesn’t really matter now–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –because we made a choice, we made a decision to change the name of the company. Uh, my expectation is that very few people will even think that they have any idea what the company does based on the name of it.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And I’m okay with that.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: We’ll just tell you.
[Laughter 00:03:31]
Kayla: We’ll just–
Laura: You just can get to know us and, uh, we’ll tell you what we do and we’ll have, uh, I think far fewer cases of mistaken identity–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –in terms of what we’re here to do.
Kayla: Yeah. And I really like that the new, um, the new brand name does have your name in it, ’cause I feel like that’s a really important part.
Laura: Thank you. I appreciate that. It was, um– I made a really intentional choice when I started the company in 2013 to not include my name.
Kayla: Oh, okay.
Laura: [00:03:59] Um, I had all my reasons for it, but a lot of it was fear. You know? I had these stories in my head that if I put my own name in the company that that’s somehow narcissistic or self-centered or arrogant or something like that. And I also had it in my head that I knew I wanted this company to be bigger than me.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: I’ve had people on the team in the past, I have people on the team now. I fully expect to continue to grow the company and I thought perhaps people could identify with it more if it didn’t have my name. So, I had all these reasons for not including it but part of what happened as I was considering doing the rebrand, as I started to do customer discovery interviews, and I was not a purist so if I have any purists listening I let go of my perfectionism around this and I was like, “Look. I’m just gonna talk to people. Alright? I’m not gonna do it just right. I’m not gonna do it by the textbook. I’m just gonna talk to people.” So, I talked to people and the clients that have worked with me the longest were super clear that, you know, for them, what stands out to them about the company is me. They’re like, “I don’t even, I don’t even talk about the company.”
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: Um, I mean, I think that they know the name of the company but they don’t even, like, they don’t even refer to it that way.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: Um, so I had, you know, one of my CEOs said, “When I went to talk to my leadership team about hiring your company, I talked about you. I talked about your experience, your background, your expertise, you know, your, your degree, you working for NASA. And, and most importantly, I talked about you and what the experience is of working with you, ’cause this work that we do, it feels very personal. You know? This is all in the human space.” And so the people that worked with me the longest and the most and believed the most in what we do said, “This is about you. Like, this is your company. You know? You are the brand. Make it about you.” And I had other conversations. One person said, “I have no idea what the name of your company is–
[Laughter 00:05:56]
Laura: –but I know who you are.” She’s like, “And, and don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t think other people really know what the name of your company is but they know who Laura Gallaher is. Like, people know you in this community.” And, you know, it’s not that big of a community, downtown Orlando–
Kayla: [00:06:07] Yeah–
Laura: You hang out here for a few months and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I see everybody. I get it. I know.” But people– I found out, like, one of my clients, I found out maybe like a year into it, that they were all calling me Dr. Laura. Not to my face–
[Laughter 00:06:24]
Laura: –but like when I wasn’t there. Um, I met somebody who I hadn’t met before and I said, “Oh hi. I’m, I’m Laura.” And he introduced himself. He goes, “Oh! So you’re, you’re Doctor Laura!” And I said, “What’s that now?”
[Laughter 00:06:35]
Laura: And apparently they had been referring to me that way–
Kayla: Doctor who?
Laura: –when I wasn’t around and I had never introduced myself that way and so I thought that was kind of funny.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: Another one of my clients, we did a, it was like a four day, uh, strategic alignment workshop. We included Human Element concepts and things and, and I found out afterwards that they’ve started to call that Laura Week.
[Laughter 00:06:57]
Laura: “Ever since Laura week…” And I talk about language and so they, they talk about that too. Like, “Laura Language.” And they, they put this label and it’s kind of funny and you know a lot of our clients work with other really, really talented people on the team like Gabriela and Phillip and Stephanie. And so, it’s not just me and I think a lot of people know that. At the same time, this is my company. I, I started it because it was important to me and I believed in it and it was just me in the beginning and, anyway, I’m definitely rambling.
[Laughter 00:07:31]
Laura: They made it so clear. Like, it is you. It’s your brand. You know? Own it.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And so I realized that I kind of just had to actually get over myself in order to just own it and be okay with it.
Kayla: Get over that whole perfectionist thing.
Laura: Yeah. And, and really fear.
Kayla: And the fear, yeah.
Laura: I was, I was afraid of what people might think about me if I did that–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –and it’s, I don’t know, it’s– now I can look at it and I think it’s a little bit silly. Um, and I know that there are some people out there that will still think those things.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: There are people that will look at that and go, “Oh man. That’s, like, so arrogant. She like named the whole company after herself.” That’s fine. They can think that. I’m never gonna come up with a name of the company that everyone’s gonna love.
Kayla: [00:08:10] Yeah.
Laura: Somebody else told me, um, ’cause I was kind of shopping some of the names around when I was considering different ideas and they were like, “Alright. Yeah. So, stop doing that. ‘Cause it’s like naming a baby, you know?”
Kayla: Totally.
Laura: If you’re expecting a baby and you tell people, like, “Oh, we’re thinking of naming our baby this.” Somebody’s gonna be like, “Ugh. Oh, I don’t like that name.”
[Laughter 00:08:32]
Kayla: Who is that somebody?
Laura: It’s real. But if you say, “This is my child and I’ve named my child this,” very few people, almost nobody is gonna be like, “Ugh. I don’t like that name.” So, it’s like–
Kayla: Gross.
Laura: –once I’ve named my baby, people are a lot less likely to shit all over it.
Kayla: Yeah.
[Laughter 00:08:49]
Kayla: Please don’t shit on my child.
Laura: So, they’re like, “Just name your baby and then that’s it. You know? And name it for you and, and don’t worry about it.” It’s that whole, it’s part of what I preach to other people. People are gonna judge me no matter what I do–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –so let me just do me.
Kayla: Yeah. Do what you want.
Laura: Yeah. So, I was like, uh, The Gallaher Company? The Gallaher Group? Gallaher Group? I don’t know. I didn’t know what to call it. And, um, it was actually Dean Caravelis of Blezoo (I think I’ve mentioned him once before on the, this show), he gave me the idea. So, we were talking about the rebrand. Um, Blezoo is a really, really cool company. They, they’re a niche-marketing company and they do these strategic promotions. So, they work with you to figure out what kind of, uh, giveaways, promotional products, do you want to give to your clients that, you know, align with your brand, align with your story, align with your purpose and your value and how you serve other people. And it’s really cool. It’s really–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –fun to watch them work. And Dean’s come up with a lot of really neat ideas right in front of us. Uh, we use them. We’re working with them, obviously, for, uh, you know, the rebrand.
Kayla: His brain’s just always going.
Laura: [00:09:58] Oh, it is. It’s always going. So, I highly recommend them. Check them out. And so Dean was the one that suggested Gallaher Edge. He said, “Well, what if it’s, you know, not just like The Gallaher Company or something but you use something that can play out, you know–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –in some of the messaging around what you do?” And he mentioned Gallaher Edge and then it could be this, you know, do you have the Gallaher Edge? And at first I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. That sounds kind of cheesy.”
[Laughter 00:10:23]
Laura: But I feel like a lot of things– I, yeah. It just becomes a thing and I’m cool with it. I remember when I named the Grounded Life workshop. Like, that was a massive brainstorm and I came up with Leading a Grounded Life.
Kayla: Yeah, I didn’t know you named that.
Laura: I did. Yeah.
Kayla: Oh, yeah. Awesome.
Laura: Yeah, ’cause that’s, yeah, ’cause that’s, yeah, my workshop that I put together and then–
Kayla: That’s amazing.
Laura: –the meet up just became Grounded Life.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: And that’s such a thing now.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So a bunch of people in the community have gone through that and you and I talk about it and it just feels like it’s just a thing. It’s just Grounded Life. It’s awesome. So, I feel like Gallaher Edge is gonna become that same thing. Just gonna be like–
Kayla: Yeah, it’s just– well, from the first time I heard you say it I was like, “Oh. That makes sense.”
Laura: Yeah?
Kayla: Like, you know, just having, like, I don’t know, that name just rolls right off the tongue and I really liked it.
Laura: Nice.
Kayla: And then, um, I wanted to ask, like, why Edge?
Laura: Yeah.
Kayla: Why Edge? Yeah.
Laura: So, there were so many things that I feel like I can play off of with Edge–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –and the first one, which I got directly from Dean, had to do with getting the edge over your competition.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, um, and if you look at the icon, right, which takes a G and an E and puts them together and it’s very cool and artistic and I totally love it, which is what matters–
[Laughter 00:11:38]
Laura: Um, so we’ve got the edge, you know, of the icon, it’s kind of poking out the side and that’s the edge that you get from, from working with us. And then the G is pointing inward as the letter G does, that’s what it looks like. And so I look at the icon and, to me, it’s like, yeah, I believe that you can get the edge over your competition by looking inward.
Kayla: [00:12:00] Yeah.
Laura: So often we’re focused on, you know, the ideas of the company and the strategy of the company (and that’s all totally important, don’t get me wrong), processes and stuff like that. What about the people? Uh, what if we were to really have each individual person inside the organization become introspective, look at how they can be more self-accountable? I feel like that’s so important to the work that I do. I feel like that’s really kind of the thesis of the work that I do and that we do as a team. So, I think you can get your competitive edge by looking inward first. If I can introspect first, if I can always ask myself, “How did I contribute to this situation and how can I contribute to the solution that I want to bring?” that is where teamwork is really just off the charts. Like, I want every team that I’m a part of to be filled with self-accountable individuals and I believe– well, I want to live in a world of self-accountable individuals. I think that’s a better world to live in so that’s the world that I’m working to create. And I’m using “I” because I’m so big on I Language. Um, but I, I want to emphasize so much that it is a team effort and–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –you know, in terms of doing the line work, you know, me, Gabriela*, Phillip*, Stephanie. And as far as a lot of the support work, the work that you do, Kayla, is– I can’t even imagine not having you.
[Laughter 00:13:18]
Laura: Like, you’re indispensable to the company. Doing the podcast for example. Something I love so much. I think that it’s adding a lot of value to people that are listening and, like, you are so instrumental in making that happen.
Kayla: I’m smiling. You can’t see. You can’t see it through the mic but there’s a smile.
Laura: We haven’t started, started doing all the videos yet. But we will and, as we do more and more video, you’ll see Kayla’s gorgeous smile.
Kayla: Aww. Thanks.
[Laughter 00:13:42]
Laura: You’re doing that thing where you get small.
Kayla: I get really tiny.
Laura: Say thanks in your normal voice.
Kayla: Thank you, Laura, for complimenting my beautiful smile.
[Laughter 00:13:53]
Laura: We’re working on it. We’re working on it.
Kayla: We’re working on my confidence.
Laura: [00:13:57] And you know what? Mine too. It’s, it’s constant. It’s always a journey. So, um, I do believe whole-heartedly in the team. Um, I don’t wanna do it without a team. And I couldn’t do all that I do without the team. So, it is us. It’s, it’s what we’re all about. Um, so that was the first part. Gallaher Edge and so the other thing, for me, is I really wanna push people past the edge of their comfort zone. I don’t know how to grow without doing that. So, when it comes to the work of self-awareness, it requires a lot of courage and I know that I’ve experienced a lot of discomfort as I, historically, started to explore my own behavior. Why am I behaving the way that I am? What are the stories in my head? Some of the things that I uncover, I don’t enjoy uncovering them in the moment. At least that’s how it started. I will say, though, it’s not really nearly as uncomfortable for me now because I have so much more self-compassion and I actually think that I continue to grow now in a way that’s not painful.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: Sometimes it’s still painful, but I’m not even sure if it has to be. But I do, especially in the beginning, wanna push people past the edge of their comfort zone because I do think that that’s where real learning happens.
Kayla: No, I agree.
Laura: Um, and then the “edge” that I think fits is people talk a lot about, like, you know, how somebody might have some rough edges–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –and so I think about maybe smoothing out the rough edges. But what feels important to me to say about that is that when I talk about smoothing out rough edges, it’s not about somebody hiding who they are, it’s about somebody being more of who they actually are.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, to me, when somebody has rough edges, that’s our armor, that’s our defensiveness. You know, that’s that prickly thing that we do because we’re trying to self-protect. And so if I can just get people to take the armor off, let go of that prickly nature, be more who they are, then they’ve smoothed out the rough edges.
Kayla: [00:16:01] Yeah.
Laura: So, I feel that there’s several ways that we’ll continue to use the concept of edge in our work that really fits with what we’re all about.
Kayla: I liked all of those a lot. They all mean something slightly different but they all resonate and make so much sense.
Laura: Yeah.
Kayla: And I really like the smoothing out the rough edges.
Laura: Yeah.
Kayla: ‘Cause–
Laura: People say that–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –a lot about somebody. They’re like, “Yeah, if we could just smooth out the rough edges.”
[Laughter 00:16:28]
Laura: I don’t know if they know, like what’s in my mind about what that actually means, but I definitely think that, uh, you know, our company, our team, we have a process–
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: –for how to help somebody do that. And, of course, we often describe that as, like, I’m talking about somebody else, I want them to smooth out the rough edges but really, if you are somebody that wants to smooth out your rough edges, then you’re the kind of person that I wanna work with.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: If you want me to go fix somebody else, you’re maybe not my client.
Kayla: Yeah, you probably have to look at yourself.
Laura: Uh yeah. I want people who, yeah, it’s all about them. When I was working on, um, putting together like a signature talk with Carol Cox from Speaking Your Brand, who’s awesome, I would love to have her on the show. I will. I intend to have her on the show. One of the things I mentioned and I think will probably include at the end of my talks is, “So, who here feels like they know somebody that they really wish could hear everything that I just said?” You know? And then have them raise their hand. And inevitably–
Kayla: The whole room.
Laura: –everybody’s gonna be like, “Oh, yeah. I want other people to hear this.” And then say, “Oh, cool. So, if that’s your main focus, then you’re not my client.” And, of course, it’s not their main focus. But we do have this tendency to go, “Oh, man. This other person needs to hear that.” No, man. Like, it’s right here. And I’m pointing at myself. You can’t see that. It’s right here. If I’m looking at myself, how can I smooth out my rough edges? How can I push myself past the edge of my comfort zone? That’s the kind of person that I want to work with because that’s who I can actually help.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: I can’t help anybody that doesn’t want my help.
Kayla: [00:17:59] That’s very true.
Laura: So, that’s why “Edge.”
Kayla: So, so that’s edge.
Laura: That’s edge. So, Gallaher Edge. And that’s the name, at least for now.
Kayla: At least for now. In five years–
Laura: Maybe in five years we’ll change it. And yeah, so, like, I mentioned I started the company, um, almost five years ago so we’re turning five soon. We’re having a celebration about that. I feel like it’s, it’s pretty great and the company’s probably a little bit different than I specifically envisioned but I’m even happier doing what I’m doing than I ever could have imagined. So, it’s been a really, really awesome journey so far.
Kayla: Yeah. So, what are you most excited for in the, like, with the transition? Like you said, it’s not the same company. Well, it is the same company but it’s not the same company that it used to be so are there things that you’re just like getting rid of or…?
Laura: Um, we’ve definitely talked about that. You know, niching down and getting even more focused. For me, so much of it comes back to team cohesion and how do we get teams working together better, which, if you wanna get teams working together better, it’s gonna come back to each individual person showing up in that self-accountable way. I, I think that the biggest shift moving forward is maybe somewhat less about the rebrand and changing the name of the company and more about the nature of what 2018 looks like for us.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: As we’re traveling around. So, I’ll still be doing some face-to-face engagements ’cause I don’t work for Remote Year, I still work for me–
[Laughter 00:18:24]
Laura: –so I can do whatever I want. I can travel around and I can be with the clients that I wanna be with and I intend to. Um, but we’re gonna be doing so much more online content. The podcast has been so fun. I love doing it. I get to have such great conversations with amazing people and that’s gonna keep going and Logan’s coming along and he’s a filmmaker and he’s incredibly good at it and we’re gonna be making some awesome video content. So, I’ve done just a handful of videos up to this point, but it’s gonna become a much bigger medium for us.
Kayla: I’m really excited about the video content aspect of it as well, just–
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Kayla: [00:20:02] –I personally have so many ideas of, like, where we can go with that and I think it’s gonna be amazing.
Laura: Yeah. And I think that’s gonna be a big shift for you, is you’re moving more and more into that marketing role.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And, for us, when we talk about marketing it’s really content marketing which is how do we put content out there in the world that adds value?
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: Um, and by the way, and I often say that I want to put this out there on the podcast and then I forget, I really want to hear from you all about what do you want me to talk about? You know, as things come up as I interview people and as we share our stories, I, I try to play Devil’s Advocate or represent the voice of the listener at times, but I can get really in my own world and I lose sight of it so if you’ve ever been listening and you’ve thought to yourself, “Okay, but what about ‘-.'”
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: -I really want to hear that. Um, so you can email me directly or you can email Kayla so my email is laura@gallaheredge.com and Kayla is kayla@gallaheredge.com. And let us know what you want to hear. Um, honestly, we’re super open book and I am so excited just to continue to deliver content that is what people want.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: I wanna help answer the questions as best I can. And it’s not because I have the perfect answer, I don’t think there is a perfect answer, but I feel like in the podcast forum and in the video forum, that’s gonna be our way to use our process and talk through, given all the tools we have and given what we think we know about the world and human behavior. What if it was like this?
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And it’s not– there’s no right or wrong. There’s no absolute. We can just have conversations about “This is how I think I would want to handle it and how can I be most authentic and what would it mean to be green line in this moment” and all that type of stuff. So, so yeah. Please let us know what you want to hear from, from us.
Kayla: And to add to that I would say, um, ’cause you, Laura, and I’m with you a lot so I would say we’re around this stuff all the time.
Laura: [00:22:02] Yeah.
Kayla: So, it’s easy for, you know, to just maybe not even cover something that to us is common.
Laura: Yes. Absolutely. That happens to me all the time and so I, I love hearing from people that are maybe just new into this space, just kind of starting to explore self-awareness, just starting to look at interpersonal skills. That’s a whole set of competencies that they’re looking to develop. And even just some of the concepts around mindset, um, I, I can remember when I stop and I think about it I can remember how profound a lot of these concepts were for me in the beginning. Um, so, like, here’s one concept that will illustrate this point in a couple ways. There’s that whole conscious/competence ladder where (and this is just what happens anytime anybody is learning anything) I start out being, um, unconsciously incompetent which means I don’t even know what I don’t know.
Laura: I don’t even know that I’m lacking this skill. I didn’t even know that there was a skill set out there, or a set of knowledge or whatever. So, I’m unconscious about my incompetence. The very next step is that I become consciously incompetent, which means now I become aware of something that I don’t know, like, oh, here’s this thing, but I don’t know enough about it, or I, I’m not skilled in this yet, and if I choose to put energy into it, learn about it, practice it, then I’m moving into the conscious competent place.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: When I’m consciously competent, I like the analogy of learning to drive a car. So, when I was learning to drive a car, I’m fifteen years old, and…
Kayla: Aw, so cute.
Laura: Aw.
[Laughter 00:23:48]
Laura: That was just a couple years ago. You know, I remember that I could not have the radio on and still drive safely. I remember being so conscious about where my hands were on the wheel and so conscious of my foot on the accelerator or the brake and the pressure, and I remember checking the mirrors, “Am I checking the mirrors?” and there was just so much for me to think about all at once, and it was, like, ugh. So, I was consciously competent. It was taking so much of my conscious bandwidth to do what I was doing. I don’t think that’s a weird experience. I think that’s a human experience. And then, you know, now, most of us that drive around have the experience all the time where you go somewhere you’ve been before and you don’t even remember driving there.
Laura: And, some people, that freaks them out, and they’re, like, scared, and I’m like, “No, no, no, it’s cool, man.” Like, it’s in the cerebellum. You know, our brains adapt, and we just, it becomes, uh, the last step, which is unconsciously competent. So, I’m not thinking about doing it, I’m just doing it.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, use the driving example. Uh, but the same thing is true in any skill set or any knowledge set. So, if you talk about interpersonal skills or self-awareness skills, um, and self-awareness knowledge, yeah, there’s that step first, where everything’s, like, brand new and I’m in that, you know, first it’s unconscious incompetence, and then I move to conscious incompetence, and so, if you’re at that place, um, in any of these areas where it’s “I’m consciously incompetent,” tell us what you think we could talk about in this form of the podcast or in the video media that I know we’re going to be putting out there that could help you move maybe faster into that conscious competence and then up into unconscious competence. And I feel like we’ll put a visual of this maybe on the website.
Kayla: Awesome. A little stare.
[Laughter 00:25:42]
Laura: I’m always, like, so, I even find myself feeling like I’m in conscious competence as I describe the levels because the words are, like, close and similar, and anyway. It’s a whole thing.
Kayla: That’s a thing.
Laura: So, yeah, like anything. When something is new, everything feels big and profound, and, like, whoa. So, like, finances.
Kayla: Bombs dropping.
Laura: What?
Kayla: Bombs just dropping.
Laura: Bombs dropping. Yeah, like, totally. [bomb explosion sound]
Laura: My head just exploded.
Laura: Yeah, I can remember those same moments for me with a lot of these insights and sometimes somebody would drop the insight and it wouldn’t actually land with me and I wouldn’t fully integrate it for months or maybe even a couple of years and then I’d be like “Ohhhhh!”
Laura: “Oh my gosh, I get it now!”
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, we all just integrate at our own pace. And so, my hope is that listening to this show and hearing…hearing people’s stories and examples and everything is useful. Maybe, one person’s story didn’t resonate but somebody else’s story did and maybe, even going back and listening to that other story would hit you in a different way now.
Kayla: In a different way, yeah.
Laura: I’ve had that experience, for sure.
Kayla: what was happening for you when you started Key Talent Solutions?
Laura: So, officially I started it in March of 2013. I was working internally at NASA at the time and I had been playing with the idea at least seven or eight months at that point about starting my own business because I’d gone through coaching certification and I was aware of several other people, at the time, in the agency who had education. They were doing a lot of internal coaching and then they started to do external coaching as well, and I really loved the coaching and thought this could be a cool way for me to continue to practice it. Maybe have some extra income, like, “Yeah that sounds cool.” But I was dragging my feet on it; nothing was happening. You know, it was just an idea. It was an idea, it was an idea. In 2012, I had submitted a symposium to a conference and my piece of that was actually my doctoral dissertation which by the way, was called “The Moderating Effect of Gender on the Use of Humor During a Job Interview: That’s What She Said”. And um, so it was part of this really cool symposium about impression management and selection, it was called like, “Pretty, Funny and Crude: Impression Management in Employment Interviews,” or something. And the way that submissions worked for this conference, so I was super attached to this conference; it was this Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology, or SIOP conference, so this was like my conference. I had gotten my dissertation accepted. I can’t just submit the same thing the next year, it doesn’t work like that. And NASA, for my last several months, last, like, nine months of my dissertation, I was on fellowship where they gave me some time during normal work hours to go and finish my dissertation, so because they supported me, I was going as a NASA representative. But there were budget constraints – there’s always budget constraints with the government, and it became more about optics than anything else. But they started canceling a lot of people’s travel. Anything they deemed nonessential, which is basically arbitrary. I was non-essential and so, they weren’t gonna fund it. I was like, that’s a bummer, but I’m going. And they said “Oh, you can’t.” and I was like, “Say what now?”
Kayla: [Laughter 00:30:04]
Laura: Like, “Yeah, you can’t go. You cannot go and represent NASA when we are not funding your trip”. And this idea – oh my god, I don’t get to present my dissertation, which was like, 2+ years of my life – uh-uh. Uh-uh. Uh-uh. And it’s funny, I historically, especially, was such a rule follower. So if they’re telling me like, “You can’t do it,” I’m like, “Oh… okay..” and I won’t. But this was like, nope, nope. And I remember –
Kayla: Not this time.
Laura: – I had the intention, man. I was like dude, I’m gonna go and I’ll just get in trouble. Like whatever the consequence is, I’ll take it. Because I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fire me. But even if they would suspend me or take disciplinary action, whatever, I’m doing this. And I had a sense of “adamance” about it and this rigidity and this, like, defiance. But, of course my natural rule follower and, you know, not wanting to be disruptive in a negative way, I thought, “Well maybe there’s a way I can do this that’s legit. I had obviously been thinking about starting my own company, and so I talked to legal and said “So, if I change my affiliation and I’m not going as a representative of NASA, can I still do it?” And they said, “Yeah, that’d be fine. Can you get them to change the affiliation?” and I thought, “Oh man, they print these programs literally months in advance and send them out via mail…shit!”. And I go, I can get them to change it online, is that enough? And she’s like, “Sure, just send it over to me.” And I was like, “Oh man, ok, this happening!”
Kayla: Nailed it.
Laura: Yeah! So, I was like, alright, I just have to go as a different affiliation. What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? And I actually, I could have just chosen to represent the University of Central Florida, which is where I got my PhD, that would have been just quick and easy.
Kayla: Oh, okay.
Laura: But I saw it as a beautiful opportunity to make this whole “my own company thing” happen. So I started the business. I registered and remember going through the decision-making process and naming the company fairly quickly and massive brainstorm. I got really excited about it, and I was like, “Yeah!”
Kayla: [Laughter 00:32:12]
Laura: I bought the domain name. At the time, it was like .org because the .com was outside my budget.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: I got it later. And then of course, we’re changing the name of the company. That was the real rush job. I went and presented at the conference and it was, like, standing room only – it was phenomenal. It was awesome, it was so great. And I was like, “This is cool! I’ve officially now done my first presentation as a representative of my own company.
Kayla: Oh, that’s awesome.
Laura: Then I came back from that was like, I guess I have a company now…so what am I doing with this?
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: And so, I just started to fumble my way through entrepreneurship and I learned about how to niche down and I chose technology as my first area of focus because I had been working with a technology directorate at Kennedy Space Center for about six years; I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed technology, so I got some intros and got my first client in I think June or July, maybe, so a few months.
Kayla: I always wondered why the technology. Because a lot of your clients are in tech.
Laura: Yeah!
Kayla: I was like, I don’t know why.
Laura: How’d that happen?
Kayla: Random assortment? But yeah, that makes a lot more sense. That’s funny.
Laura: Yeah. And so, I think the genuine origin story is really funny because it was just so driven by me like, no, I’m gonna present this stuff and make it happen.
Kayla: Yeah, you’re like, I’m making this happen.
Laura: Yeah. I was still working at NASA at the time, and besides that blip, you know, I liked a lot of what I was doing, but then the next eight or nine months of my experience there at NASA started to cement my decision to leave.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And I feel like that became where I started to really get clear about what I wanted my company to be and how I wanted to be different than some of what I was experiencing. And, I’ll be clear – the majority, the vast majority of my experience at NASA was incredible.
Kayla: [00:34:08] Yeah.
Laura: I had some great, great leaders and there are some fantastic people out there. I am still in contact with so many of them. Um, and there were some things happening there that I personally didn’t like, that were not in alignment with what felt true for me and real for me and felt good for me. One example is we would sometimes hire external consultants and external coaches to come in and I had, just, my own experience of how they showed up. And part of my story about what was happening for them is, “I don’t want to give bad news to the decision maker or tell them something negative about them, because they’re going to be the one that decides if I get the next contract.”
Kayla: Yeah.
I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s the negative story that formed in my mind about at least some of the external consultants that we engaged with. And I thought, “That sucks.” This is not how I want to be.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: It’s not how I was when I was internal, because for me there was no money attached to, you know, the work I was doing. I was an internal consultant, I got paid no matter what.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, when I was going external I was like, I definitely want to be willing to lose a client if I believe that I am being honest and open with them. I’m not sugarcoating nor am I exhibiting brutal honesty; I’m just being real.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And so, I want every leader that I work with to be able to accept feedback from me about how they’re showing up. That was one of the most important things when I started the business and it’s funny even as I tell this story now, ’cause I do give feedback to people, but the feedback that I give is framed so much more around “I can share with you my experience of view and I also want to know, how you feel in this moment, what would be more authentic for you?” instead of it being like, “Oh I’ve got feedback: this person is not being a good leader in these ways and I’m going to tell them that”.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: There’s an element of rigidity to that that I think sucks.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: So, you know, I’ve continued to morph and grow how I show up with clients and I’m still totally open and honest and in fact, by my definition, I’m more open, because I don’t tell them what’s true about them, I tell them what’s true about me and how I experience them.
Kayla: [00:36:36] Experience them, yeah.
Laura: Which is totally different. I continue to either not be afraid or not let fear stop me from being open with clients about what’s going on for me. At least as soon as I become aware of the fear. So, that was some of the origin story for me around what I thought was really important about how I want to be as an external consultant.
Kayla: And that is really important. You want to make sure that you’re working with people that can, for lack of better words, handle, you know, what you’re going to say to them – and not be like “Off with this person”.
Laura: Yeah. If they’re going to choose to not work with me from that, then I’m glad to know that.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laur7: Um, and actually, I, I started to vet my clients. So, in the beginning, it felt like I –
Kayla: Recently?
[Cut at 37:33]
Laura: Um, probably in the last couple of years.
Kayla: Okay.
Laura: Where, I used to have a little bit of a scarcity mentality, so I’d let fear come into play and I felt like, “Oh man, I really gotta get this client” and I was looking and trying to get them and make the sale and I didn’t identify as a sales person internally, so that, it was just really really hard for me. When I started to think about it as, “I want us to have a conversation about whether we think we are going to work together well.” When that became the conversation, everything shifted for me about that whole sales process. ‘Cause yeah, I’m selling, I sell every day – I think we all sell every day, we just call it other things.
Kayla: [00:38:14] Yeah.
Laura: I realized that I cannot help anybody that doesn’t want my help, and I can only help somebody who’s willing to look inside first and look first at “How am I contributing to this.” If the general mentality is, “I want you to come in and fix my people”, then that’s not going to be a good client for me.
Kayla: Fix me and my people.
Laura: Right! Yeah. Even the word fix is kind of on my list of language like… “mmmm…”
Kayla: Change, maybe? [Laughter]
Laura: Maybe there’s a different word we can use here.
Kayla: What was happening for you when you decided to leave NASA?
Laura: So, there are a couple of things that really stand out to me about that decision. One thing was that I did not feel that I was in alignment, at all, with the executive leadership inside my own organization. I really wanted to be and I was doing the best I could at that time – all kinds of ways that I was contributing to my own, you know, messy situation and how I was not making it better, even though I wanted to. I was intending to, working to, failing at it.
Kayla: [00:40:32] [Laughter]
Laura: Um, but not feeling aligned with the executive leadership was starting to weigh on me in a way that I just wasn’t really willing to put up with it anymore. So that was something that I was kind of feeling for about a year and I had taken on some other opportunities inside NASA, moved around, got some experience doing budget, learned I never want to do that again, oh man.
Kayla: [Laughter] I was like, she did budget?!
Laura: I learned some things, which was great. One of the things I learned is that I don’t enjoy this. I think I already knew that.
Kayla: [Laughter] And that was the most important lesson.
Laura: So, I moved around and did some other roles. Oh man, I think I already knew this too, but it just cemented for me, like, I love doing the work that I do as a coach and consultant around the people things in an organization. This is just what I want to do. I feel super lucky to have found that and discovered for myself how much I love doing that from such a young age, because part of detailing around just centered in for me. NASA’s awesome and super cool, but I am not somebody that’s willing to do anything to work for NASA.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: I care about the work that I do and I care about the impact that I can have. And so, I was positioning myself to do a really exciting role that was more agency focused, but it required funding and I thought it would come through, and at the last minute, it didn’t come through. My choices at the point, as I understood them, were to stay inside the organization and work for this leader that I was struggling to align with or leave. So, I left. And there was – I had an executive coach, at a certain point, and it’s funny – part of why I had a coach was because – getting certified as a coach, they want you to experience that but also, my executive later felt that I needed one.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: Like, we’re gonna get you a coach. And I’m like, okay I’m gonna use this. I’m not gonna allow this to be, like a stigmatized thing that I have a coach, I’m gonna use this coach. I was really struggling with and I remember having these conversations where I was expressing all my dissatisfaction with how it was going. I was definitely trying to be over-responsible. I was bending over backwards trying so hard to make her happy or change the relationship. That, like, over-accountability was not working. In fact, it was having a negative impact on other people on my team. He was working to help me get to a place of acceptance. And he said, “So, if she does x and she does y,” and I’m describing some basic compliance things –
Kayla: [00:43:09] Mh-hmm.
Laura: He said, “Are you okay with that?” and I said, “No!”. And then I was like “So what’s the magical answer? Like, what do I do? I’m not okay with that.” And I actually don’t know the exact words he said to me at that point, but the just of it was if you’re not okay with that and you’re not in control of it, then what do you want to do? And I think that that was the first time that I genuinely considered leaving.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And I thought, “oh man”. So if my experience of being on this team is that I don’t get what I want in the leadership above me, I don’t feel like I’m in alignment, I’m struggling with inner harmony, I’m not enjoying the journey, I can’t change her. And I’ve exhausted all the possibilities I could think of for myself. Oh my gosh…I guess I could leave?
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: And it was this really weird moment where I genuinely hadn’t considered it until that point. That always stands out to me and it became one of our core values, actually is power of choice.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: The more I feel like I’m stuck, the more I feel like I’m a victim, the more I find myself trying to either be over-responsible or under-responsible, that’s when it’s like, hang on. How am I contributing to this? Can I float I the ways that I want to? And if I can’t, do I choose to stay? Because I can make that choice and own it, instead of bitching about it every day, or I can make a choice to leave.
Kayla: And did you leave and go straight into doing Key Talent Solutions or did you, like, do something else in between?
Laura: So, I made the choice to leave. I was already doing this…I had taken on some teaching responsibilities. So I became an adjunct professor for the University of Central Florida. I was teaching some psychology courses for the graduate program. And, um, I also decided to teach at Rollins, which is a private college here in Central Florida. And so, I started to teach and it’s so funny because I had it in my head that I would just do that “on the side.”
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And mostly I would be focusing on my business. But the reality was that I’d actually signed myself up to teach three classes that were all different at different institutions, and so I had a tremendous amount of learning to do, I had a tremendous amount of curriculum development and content creation to go through. And I calculated, I was spending a good 40 hours a week teaching.
Kayla: Wow.
Laura: And the pay was crap. It was terrible!
[00:45:44] [Laughter]
Laura: I was getting paid way less than when I was at NASA and so, I had the same amount of bandwidth, basically, to do the business. And, I think I approached doing the business stuff in an ineffective way too, because I was focused on the wrong things; I was trying to learn how to run a business so I was trying to build a website and I was trying to do the marketing, and so I found myself spending the vast majority of my time doing things that I wasn’t good at and that I didn’t enjoy.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: That’s kind of miserable.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: And that’s not a good use of my time – so that, and then some personal life things that were going on for me I think is why my first leap into entrepreneurship “full time” which I want to put in air quotes, was maybe four or five months. So, I accepted a role at Disney. I went back into day-job life. Disney has a great brand and then, I had more clients coming to me on the side. I was still teaching and still super overextending myself.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And, I ended up just not being terrified fulfilled by the role at Disney. You know, I communicated with my boss when I left, I just don’t think that I was the right fit and made some suggestions for maybe someone else who could fill the role (and probably a cheaper way than paying me to do what I’m doing). The second time that I made the entrepreneurial leap to do my own business full-time was far more effective.
Kayla: Okay.
Laura: And that actually wasn’t even that long ago. That was April…the end of April of 2015.
Kayla: Oh!
Laura: Not even three years ago. And then, of course, then I taught again.
Laura: This time for the College of Business at UCF. Pay was much better than the psychology department — sorry psych department, you guys just do not have the funds.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: But again, I found that teaching in an academic setting is not – it’s not my bag. So I’m not gonna sign myself up to do that anymore. At least not in this structured way that it was set up at the time.
Kayla: [00:47:49] Yeah.
Laura: If I factor in the teaching, when that was fully off my plate, I’ve only been doing the business full time, technically now, since May of 2016.
Kayla: Hmm, I didn’t know that.
Laura: Yeah! Which is like a year and a half, coming up on two years that I’ve been truly full time dedicated to just the business.
Kayla: [Laughter] I wanted to ask, uhm
Kayla: I know that you did the Human Element originally at NASA, was it always your plan to bring the human element into Gallaher Edge?
Laura: So, the Human Element changed my life, I think I talked about that before. And I started to use those concepts and principles daily in my life all the time, and I started to incorporate it into my coaching and my consulting all the time. In my mind, even though in the more formal way it’s been a more recent addition to what we offer, it’s been, like, how I work and how I think and how I walk through the world since 2009. So much of what I’ve learned in that experience is for me, things that I can never unlearn. And I normally don’t want to!
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: In times where I get really self-“judge-y” or self-“blame-y”, sometimes that whole “what bugs me about you is really what bugs me about me” thing gets exhausting, but to the extent that I can have self-compassion and let go of self-judgment, I’m totally okay with that. Like, “Oh! This person is pissing me off, cool, I get to learn now-“.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: “-Learn something else about myself and close this self-awareness gap”. Yeah, I think that it was an almost unconscious decision at that point because it’s just how I operate.
Kayla: How you live your life, yeah.
Laura: Yeah, I talked about defensiveness all the time and I always wanted people to understand their own contribution to situations and so I think I really did integrate that into everything I did, probably more so than going “For sure, I’m going to make the Human Element a formal option to do”. I think it was probably –
Kayla: The Human Element is something I do.
Laura: It was, yeah! It’s just how I work.
Kayla: You need this. Well, not need, but you know.
Laura: I think it was Gabriela and Stephanie, actually, and their conviction around the program itself that solidified for me, “Yeah, this is something I want to, in a more formal way, offer”. And, it’s been a fantastic decision. Every time that I do this work, even when I’m on the practitioner side of it, I learn more about myself and I feel like I understand the concepts better and I make more and more integrations and its really fun and super rewarding.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: So yeah, to me, the Human Element and those concepts and power of choice, I think I really learned that from the Human Element. That’s one of our core values: uninhibited teamwork. I don’t want to have to feel that I’m trying to be any kind of way. I want to be fully myself and fully open with you. That’s one of our core values, that’s absolutely from the Human Element.
Kayla: [00:50:59] Yeah.
Laura: You know, so…so much, I think, of, yeah, who I am and what the company is it’s just – it’s so integrated.
Kayla: I like that
Laura: So then the other core value for us is progress over perfection. I actually think that that for me probably came more salient through Radical Collaboration than through Human Element. Now, Radical Collaboration is powered by Human Element, so it comes from Human Element, but I don’t know that it fully resonated with me. I think the perfectionist was still strong in me after I took the Human Element in 2009 and my exposure to Radical Collaboration and also the work of Brene Brown, um, and this idea of being a recovering perfectionist helped me to really solidify it. I think that I used to think of it as continuous improvement, like always getting better and always growing, self-awareness never ends, and I morphed it to be Progress over Perfection, meaning focus on progress instead of perfection.
Kayla: [00:53:52] [Laughter]
Laura: Because, I realized that I can have a focus and want to get better and want to get better and want to get better, all the while allowing myself to feel anxious and self-judge-y and self-blame-y and that I can let go of perfectionism. And, I can fully accept exactly where I am right now. And so, it is absolutely all elements that come from the Human Element, even if pieces of it didn’t fully resonate with me. It’s like we were just talking about the integration. I mean, there’s so much that we cover in the Human Element, it’s a time release capsule and that’s true for me, too.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And I love that! I love that I’m always constantly still learning new things. I was doing a different podcast recording earlier today and somebody posed a perspective that was different than mine and I had a hesitation and thought, “Huh. That’s actually the opposite of how I think.” I didn’t want to come out and say, “I think you’re wrong” because I didn’t think he was wrong, I just know I think of it differently. And so, I noticed that I kept myself really open and said “Hmm, I wonder if there is any truth to what he’s saying”. Of course, there’s truth in probably almost everything.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: And I presented my perspective. As it happened, he liked my perspective better.
Kayla: It just so happened.
Laura: But I, when I can let go of perfectionism, then I can let go of knowing everything I always had this story that I don’t know enough and the reality is I do know enough. I always know enough and I can always know more.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: I’m not gonna stop learning just because I tell myself that I know enough to add value to somebody else. And so, yeah, um, “Progress over perfection” at its core, at its essence, comes from The Human Element. So, once I had the experience, I couldn’t take it out of myself, nor would I want to.
Kayla: I’m really excited to have the experience.
Laura: [Laughter] I know! Oh my gosh, you go through it –
Kayla: In like a week!
Laura: [00:55:18] A little over a week, yeah. Ugh. And we’re totally gonna talk about that.
Kayla: Oh hell, yeah.
Laura: I think by the time…oh, no, this is gonna air when you’re in it!
Kayla: Oh.
Laura: Yeah, so this is scheduled to come out on the 22nd, which is day one of Human Element.
Kayla: Before I learn myself.
Laura: So, like, if you’re listening to this anytime during January 22nd – 26th, Kayla right now is sitting in a room —
Kayla: She’s already gone.
Laura: “She’s gone!” No, you’re finding yourself even more.
Kayla: I’m leveling up.
Laura: You’re more becoming who you are. You’re probably having {sound} moments right now.
Kayla & Laura: Right now!
Laura: If you’re listening to this after January 26th, maybe the 28th or onward, then we are –
Kayla: My mind is still getting blown!
Laura: Your mind is still getting blown, but this time in Asia.
Kayla: And this time, in Asia.
Laura: Yeah. And I’m so excited, too, for you to go through the human element, given everything that you do already now. Because you’re so integrated with the work and such a sponge for everything. So I think a lot of it is going to feel really familiar, and at the same time, you’ll be going through experiences that you’ve only heard about to a certain degree.
Kayla: Well, it’s funny even spending every day with you (besides Saturday and Sunday, but sometimes)…
Kayla: I do spend so much time with you but it’s still so impactful. During – going through Radical Collaboration, I heard you go over these things with me when you’re planning and I’m like, that makes sense but it doesn’t make sense until –
Laura: Yeah.
Laura: Love it! Yeah, that’s the integration aspect and I think that’s why The Human Element and Radical Collaboration are such powerful experiences, ’cause it really is experiential learning. We create structured experiences so that people can have these “ah-ha” moments and insights and there’s context and there’s framing, and there’s discussion and so many tools that we use to generate self-awareness in somebody. And uh –
Kayla: [00:57:22] It’s amazing.
Laura: Yeah! It’s funny as we say that because the podcast is in audio format, this is a chance for people to just listen. The integration may or may not happen. So, whether it’s Human Element or Radical Collaboration, or any of the other – there are other fantastic programs out there, I have no doubt, um and other fantastic coaches. I’m such a huge advocate for everybody doing something where they actually do it. Like keep listening, keep listening! Tell your friends.
Kayla: [Laughter]
Laura: Um, but, I don’t think that listening is ever quite enough. It’s about putting it into practice, and so, if you are a regular listener, or even if you’re a new listener, you know, my request of you for your own learning is to take these concepts and practice it, even just once. What if I was just a little bit more open? What if I practiced self-compassion in this moment, you know? Until you actually do it, you’re not likely to genuinely change the wiring in your brain, at least not to the same degree, so…
Kayla: Yeah, I have a friend who went to your Human Element Evening, which is just two hours. And he was rocked. He said, like, in the moment, he was like, cool, whatever and over the next four or five days he was thinking about it and thinking about and decided to try this and just be more open and just, ever since, he’s come back to me and told me multiple times – ever since he’s just been more open as a person you know, just more direct, whether it’s his mother or a friend – and I even notice. That was from two hours.
Laura: Yeah! Two hours.
Kayla: Two hours of him just going, what if I could be more open? That’s just one little second.
Laura: Oh my gosh, it’s just a tiny fraction. And I hear that from people all the time that it blows their mind. It blows their minds. These two hours. Not only do we explain openness and talk about it, but we do one of the structured experiences and it transforms people. They cannot even believe what happens in such a short time in terms of the dynamic of the group.
Kayla: Yeah.
Laura: So, it’s really beautiful. I love doing those! It’s just, you know, free offerings for the community. I love doing it, we’re gonna keep doing that for sure.
Kayla: I love them.
Laura: Except in like, Malaysia.
Kayla: Let’s do them in Malaysia.
Laura: Thailand, Vietnam.
Kayla: We’ll do them everywhere.
Laura: So, you know, I’ll be my brand’s story is still something that I’m kind of forming. I know the stuff in my head really well and I’m looking forward to when it’s a crisper story that I can share with people in a way that resonates really clearly. Thanks for listening to all my rambling today! We’re really excited about the rebrand. I want to thank you, Kayla, for all the work you’ve done.
Kayla: Thank you.
Laura: There’s a lot – I’ve thrown a lot at you these last couple of months, not to mention moving out of the country…Hey-o! Let’s just do all that at once!
Kayla: [Laughter] People ask me how I’m feeling about it, and it’s like…I have so many other things to do right now!
Laura: There’s not even time to feel about it. I don’t even think you’ll feel about on the 27th, because that’s the first day after Human Element! You’ll just be like, what’s happening? Maybe you’ll process it once you’re actually in Malaysia. You’re like, oh, I’m in Malaysia.
Kayla: I’m feeling like the plane ride is processing time. I’ll just process. Process it all.
Laura: You got a lot of time on the plane.
Kayla: Just, you know, 30 hours.
Laura: Planes. Plural.
Kayla: That’s something else I’m blocking out. I’m like…16 hours on a plane, that’s nothing!
Laura: It’ll go by in a blink, do stream of consciousness writing.
Kayla: The whole time!
Laura: No problem. Just constant – 30 hours.
Kayla: So, I wrote a book.
Laura: Yeah, right??
Laura: Oh man. Knock it out, Knock. It. Out.
Kayla: Knock it out. I knocked out a book.
Laura: Bang it out. Alright, well, thank you so much, Kayla for chatting with me.
Kayla: Of course, and thank you for having me.
Laura: Yeah…Alright ya’ll, peace!
Kayla: Peace out!
Kayla: Peace.
Laura: Peace.
Outro: So we’re changing the name of the show, which you’ve maybe been wondering since we’ve been talking about changing the name of the company – up until now we have been Unlock Your Potential, which worked well when we were Key Talent Solutions, but we are now officially Gallaher Edge, and this show is now going to be called Expand Your Edge. It is about expanding your edge over the competition, and it is also about expanding the edge where black meets white – or the gray. Living in the gray, and letting go of right and wrong creates flexibility in our thoughts and behavior, which is what we want to maximize the productivity and effectiveness of teams. So, thanks for listening, and please take a moment to share this show, #gallaheredge #expandyouredge #getyouredge #getyouredge – if you think that anybody can benefit from listening. And please do let us know what you want to hear from us on future episodes – our emails are open: laura@gallaheredge.com and Kayla@gallaheredge.com.

Outro Music: Success as One

1 – I listened to my clients

I talked to a bunch of my clients to find out why they have worked with me and my company over the years, and the majority of them, especially the ones that have worked with me the longest said: “It’s really you. I don’t talk about your company, I talk about you. When I wanted to sell my team on working with your company, I described your expertise, your background, and what it’s like to work with you.” I remember talking with a colleague at a networking event, and she said, “I don’t think most people know the name of your company. But people in this community know YOU. They know who Laura Gallaher is.”

2 – We’re not a staffing company, a recruiting company, or a talent management agency in the entertainment world

One of the worst things, I’ve realized, is when somebody thinks they know what your company does, and they’re wrong. Previously being called “Key Talent Solutions” people often thought they knew what that meant. But they were mistaken.

Do I expect anybody is going to know what Gallaher Edge does based on the name of the company? No. And thank goodness for that!!!

3 – I got over myself

When I started the company, I was adamantly opposed to putting my name in the name of the company. I had all these stories in my head about how it is self-centered or narcissistic. And I always knew that I wanted the company to be bigger than me, and I had it in my head that it would be harder to make it bigger if my name was part of the company name. Until people reminded me about companies like Booz Allen Hamilton. McKinsey. Deloitte. All of these companies started out being named for specific people, and their reputation transcends any one individual.

Plus, to go back to #1, I paid attention to what my clients were saying. One of my clients was calling me “Dr. Laura” when I wasn’t around for almost a year before I even knew that was happening. They report that I even became a verb around the office: “I’m going to Dr. Laura you for a minute here…” before they practice one of the communication tools I taught them. Another one of my clients was referring to our team cohesion week as “Laura week.” “I really feel like things are going better ever since ‘Laura week.’”

4 – Keeping it interesting

I struggled with the name for a good year…I thought I was going to rebrand at the beginning of 2017, but I got so stuck that it took me another year to commit. Once I settled on including my name in the company, I then wanted to keep it interesting. Gallaher and Associates. The Gallaher Group (that is a tobacco company, btw). The Gallaher Company.

Hmm…. Shout out to Dean Caravelis from Blezoo for giving me the name of my company. He suggested “Gallaher Edge” because of all the things to do with it, including “Do you have the Gallaher Edge?”

At first, I was unsure about it, but as I mentioned before, I did customer interviews last year, and legit – most of my CEO’s told me that they genuinely believed that working with me and my team was something unique and different that gave them an edge over their competition. So I was sold.

And here are the main ways I see myself playing with the “edge” in the name:

1. Give yourself an edge over your competition
2. Push yourself past the edge of your comfort zone
3. Smooth out your “rough edges” to increase your effectiveness

And I think my current favorite is the following:

4. We don’t live in a black and white world. Black and white thinking is rigid and fear-based. The edge of black and white is gray. Expand the edge and live in the gray, where fear and rigidity don’t control you.

5 – Don’t tell people until you’re ready

One of the other mistakes I made earlier in my decision-making process was telling people outside the company what I was considering about the name of the company. “It’s like naming your baby,” one friend told me. “Somebody will always dislike the name you choose for your baby, but most of them won’t say anything if your baby is already named.” Ahh…so true. I’ve witnessed friends and family share their baby name ideas and seen people respond negatively, but it’s quite rare that new parents introduce the world to their named baby, and somebody still responds in kind.

Got it. So, I mostly kept it to myself until now.

And there it is. It’s not perfect, because there is no such thing. But I think it will work just fine for now, and I’m excited to let more of the world know what we do, now that they will stop assuming we recruit or staff positions!

  • Wendy

    I really loved reading this. I think you nailed the rebrand. Well done!

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