People Processes Interviews: Kris Plachy

Today we’re speaking with Kris Plachy. Kris has poured her life’s work into learning about understanding, and then guiding leaders through the tricky path of learning how to lead a team in a space where there’s a lot of noise and advice. Kris has designed the “How to have team leadership” through her lead your team roadmap, and we’re super excited to have her. Before we dive in though, I want to ask you to please subscribe to our podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Google podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, any podcaster of your choice. You can also subscribe at where you will get some exclusive subscriber-only content, like our current telework checklist for going home base for your employees. 

Kris, thank you so much for joining us today. Welcome to the show.

Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here. 

I’m super excited to talk with you because a lot of business owners right now are going through some difficult times. And I want to hear about how your leadership strategy works. But first, not many little girls and boys dress up as HR and leadership experts when they’re going to Halloween, right. We’re not exactly firefighters here. How on earth did you wind up after 25 years in this sort of profession in this space? 

Well, yeah, it’s funny, you should say that. I think people who might have known me when I was eight might have said, “Oh, yeah, you’re gonna be a leader. A bit of applause.” Yeah, that’s funny. Let’s see. So it was a very natural process. I started my career right out of college with a recreation degree, so you might imagine that didn’t lead me to a lot of…. 

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, what is a recreation degree? I don’t want to take too long on your story. But you gotta tell me what that is.

Well it was, yes, there was one class where we learned how to do face painting. I’m not gonna lie. That actually did happen. But mostly it was quite interesting. We learned all about the importance of healthy leisure, and encouraging lifestyles of activity and recreation. So a lot of people who do study recreation go into the parks and recreation field, they become out as Park Rangers. You know, community park, district leaders, that kind of thing. I actually was interested in tourism, and travel and so I had every intention of staying in that space until I did about a year and a half stint and realized I hated it.

As we have with many colleagues.

Yeah, I needed to kind of stumble my way through that. So you know, but I did complete it. And I had this funny little minor in law because I wanted to be a lawyer first and then I decided I didn’t love that either. So yeah, I think when you’re sort of riffing there about, you know, little boys and girls don’t act like whatever this is for Halloween. I never knew what I wanted to be. I never had a clear career path. And so I just got a job when I graduated as a recruiter for a private startup online school program.


And I was good at it. I was good at sales. I was good at consulting, which I later realized was coaching and this one in the early 90’s, when I discovered a side class. So I realized there were more classes on being a coach, being a professional coach. And this was honestly like 1994, Rhamy.

A long time ago.

So I went to this class and I was immediately like, “Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do.” So what happened then, next many years, is I follow the trajectory of leadership. So I was a frontline recruiter for a couple years. Then I got promoted to manager for about four years. Then I got into training for several years. And then I got into senior leadership and I was leading upwards of 200-250 people. And all the while was continuing my learning and studies of coaching. And for those who have kind of followed the profession, that’s sort of been the trajectory as well, we started seeing more and more interest and support and resources and learning for people who wanted to be coaches and all sorts of different types of fields. So my last job in the organization I worked for was actually creating an internal performance coaching team. And I did something very different when I created that team, unlike most traditional learning and development organizations, I hired all high performing operations leaders to be my coaches on my team. And so then we ran a development program and on site performance coaching program for about 4000 leaders in this organization that I work with for. So that was my last gig in a business and then that company I was still in higher education. That was about eight years ago. That’s when just the floor fell out of that industry and everybody got laid off. And so that’s when I started my business. And I already had such a running start, because I’ve been coaching leaders for years, on how to manage, how to make decisions, how to coach, how to get out of their own way, when they have their own thoughts about their team that are affecting their ability to manage them. And I haven’t looked back, I absolutely love what I do, and what I’m able to help other people do.

Well, that sounds like an awesome journey. And now here you are, you’re consulting with great companies. You’re teaching them about leadership, and I want to learn more about that. But, before we do that, our listeners are entrepreneurs, some of them are an HR administrator, some of them are one man shops dreaming of their first employee and some of our listeners have five or 6000 employees they’re managing.


The thing that universally they all learn from is not our good stuff. It’s when we screw up.


So what I’d love for you to do is take us to the moment in this last eight years of you running your company, or even in your corporate life, that was your worst entrepreneurial management leadership screw up and really tell us that story and how that happened. And we’ll talk about what we learned from it later. But for now, I just want you to take us to that real bad time.

Well, I think honestly, I have a few crucible moments, is what I call them. I’m a George fan who wrote the book “True North”. If anyone’s read it, it’s an incredible book for leaders. But I have one that always is kind of that moment where I was like, “Oh, you do that?”


And it was honestly when I was a new manager. I had someone on my team. I was very young, I was 26. And most of the people on my team or my contemporaries, or a little younger than I, had one team member in particular who was very affected with herself. And now Rhamy, I live in California, so I think Taishan talked a lot like best and her face was really dramatic. And if she wasn’t happy, everybody knew it with her body language and her face and right like it was just so toxic and exhausting, as from a management perspective, I found her tedious to manage and we’ll call her Rhonda. That’s for anonymity sake.

And so…

I always call my guy Chad. I got in a lot of trouble at some point because I wound up with a longtime listener who reached out to say, “Hey, we really want to work with you.” And I was meeting with him and he said, “You know my name. My name is Chad by the way. In every episode you mentioned me.” And I’m like, “Oh, we’ll go with Rhonda now and we’ll hope that you don’t have a Rhonda as a client.

In the past, for me, it’s been Lucy and I actually use that name in my book that I wrote for manager and I had somebody who emailed me and she’s like, “Uhmm,”

Alright, so here’s Rhonda, there’s Rhonda traumatic valid girl Rhonda.

Hairy, dramatic, and one day after a meeting, we had Monday meetings. I had it, like she just sat in the meeting and huffed and I rolled and crossed her arms and through her pen and just, I had it and so I went into her office and closed the door. And that’s about as good as it got. Because after that, I looked at her and I said, “What is up with your attitude, Rhonda?” And I’ll never forget it. She stood up. She looked at me and cocked her head, you know how people do? And she crossed her arms, and very slowly raised her pointer finger and said, “I don’t have an attitude. You have an attitude.” And that was when I realized you don’t argue with team members. Never. Because you never win. It’s not. Then one of the tenants of my work is that performance is not an opinion. But all that was for me that in that moment was opinion and you can’t, there is no substance to this argument when it’s based on my opinion of you. Right. And so that was a powerful moment for me, where I learned I had to learn how to speak to my employees about observable behaviors and evidence and not my opinion about their behavior. Because what I’ve come to know is the majority of issues when it relates to employee performance are behaviors. It’s not usually a skill. Every now and then, it is, right? But mostly, it’s this stuff. People are late or they miss their deadlines, or they’re kind of snarky, or they gossip. So that was it for me. It was very painful. It was mortifying, I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t back out of it. Anyway, it was terrible.

I think that’s a great lesson to learn. Yeah. And HR 101 insight reporting and documentation. Right?


Here’s what I want to know about Kris. So you’re telling me and I love that story. And by the way, everyone who’s in this and going, I did that, we’ve all done that, right? And in years of doing this, at some point, you’ve said, “I don’t like the way you look,” right? The way you look at a person. I don’t know. But I got it. Here’s what I know. You’ve been doing this 25 years. You’re talking about the 90’s? 


Your worst moment was yelling at a single employee. You are either a god-thing or you have not told us the worst moment for you. What was the hardest part? 

I mean, you can all go through the list. I had to lay off 25 employees and rehire them. But one could only rehire I think it was like 18. And I was doing it with a colleague. So we laid them all off the day before and then told them if they wanted to reapply, we would meet them all the next day, and they got set up for half hour interviews. And I woke up that morning and I was sick to my stomach. But I thought, “No, I’m fine.” And I went, and then this woman came in and pleaded to keep her job because her husband was on dialysis, and she didn’t have a car and had to take the bus. And we knew we weren’t going to hire her. And I proceeded to get wretchedly ill and couldn’t do any of the rest of the interviews. I completely. My whole body shut down and I couldn’t show up for the job.

And so my colleague had to do it. She had to make all the decisions, which was like, mortifying to me. But I couldn’t be there. I was literally retching. I couldn’t sit there and listen to people beg for their job. And the thing is for me that it’s been a struggle I’ve had always that’s why I’m so inclined. I feel like to do this work is incredibly sensitive, which I think is a tough cocktail when you’re in a leadership role. And I’ve had to work on learning how to remain me and not be too passive or give in too easily, but also not shut it all off, right,? Because it is a superpower when I use it well, but it’s been hard. It was very hard on me. When I first started, the first 10 years of my job as I kept getting more and more responsibility. I would really have to work hard to muster through very difficult decisions which I’m sure is what led me to focusing on writing books about how to deal with difficult people and how to deal with difficult circumstances, like I ended up specializing in it, but it wasn’t because I was great at it. At first it was because I was terrible at it. And I know the pain and shame, right? Of knowing you’ve got to step up and you can’t, you can’t do it.

I am, early on in our company, we’ve been in business coming up on 11 years and I think about four years on, at some point, we had a sales staff of almost 15 people and we went down to three that I remember that week and how that went. It’s one of the hardest parts of leadership. 


That’s a real story.

Did you like that one? My first year that I made a lot of money as an entrepreneur and I didn’t pay my taxes.

Well that’s for a finance podcast. Those are bad days too.

Mistakes. Yeah. But for sure for me it’s been on that human to human level when it’s just the most palpable for me, but of course, the biggest learning. So now when clients call me and they tell me, “I have to lay off 27 people today,” which has been happening this week, we’re in the aspirants here in the States, right. “Man, I get it. I’m all in with you. But it doesn’t change the decision. It has to be made.”

So in your leadership training, I mean, obviously, you focus on a lot. And we want to talk about some of the processes that you’ve had, that maybe our listeners on a very simple level could hear the concept of and maybe adopt for themselves a little bit. But before we do, maybe if someone right now, this podcast is going to come out in April. There is a coronavirus thing, we’ve had of our clients almost 800 layoffs that we’ve had to manage on the process level. If they’re sitting there and as a business owner and going, we don’t have the money coming in or I can’t afford to pay this mandated sick leave or whatever it is that’s going on. What would your advice be to them on how to get through that or how to evaluate the decision? What could you in five or six minutes maybe give them a little ideas on?

Well, I actually have been, all week, I did two open coaching calls last weekend and had several hundred people come and then this week I’ve opened up tons of coaching hours to all of my current clients. And so I’ve been talking with mostly women all week about these very things. And so I’m actually putting together something for my clients about this very question and to me, I’ve come up, there’s really four areas you’ve got to focus on. 

The first one, is your own mind management. You as leaders going through this moment in time, we have all our own concerns personally about ourselves and our families and our communities. Our kids are at home, like there’s so much going on. So having a place to work through your own thinking is critical. Because your brain is where all of this is going to come from. And we need your mind clean, just like you’re washing your hands. You need to wash your brain. We got to flush out all of the things that are going on in it. 

The second thing is, everyone needs at least a 90-day plan. Now, the problem is when we build a 90-day plan, it makes us look at the stuff we don’t want to look at and for a lot of people right now, that’s scary to look at 90-days from now. And I asked them to do a worst case scenario, you got to look at it. And then I’m here as your coach. I’m going to help you think through it, you’re going to work on your brain because your brains are gonna have a tantrum. And it’s not going to want to think about 90-days of no revenue. But we have to, we have to get really, really honest about what the circumstances are. And because what I’m watching a lot of people doing is, they’re anticipating what could happen, but they’re not planning for it. And then what happens is, if you don’t have a plan, you take action in reaction mode, instead of in something you’ve already thought through, worked through, you already had the brain tantrum. Now you can take action you can execute. So a 90-day plan has to happen that looks at finances, looks at team and it looks at your life. You, especially for Small business owners, right? I realized the larger businesses have a lot of other factors. But if this is you and you know, 15 employees, you got to think about it all. 

Then there’s the team, what are we going to do with them? How do we want this to play out? I spend a lot of time with when in normal circumstances, we look at values and we look at expectations. That’s where the way that we pay people comes from, how we decide to pay people is born out of our value system. So all my clients need to gut check. That part of who they are, what is the right decision for you and your company, not based on what everybody else is doing or the government is telling you to do. What works for you all. And that’s the plan that has to get into place. And I’ve been so impressed with how some of my clients have been so creative with how to make this work right now. 

And then lastly, I’m just calling it focus. And what that means to me is, you have to watch where you spend your time. A lot of people at least initially have been eating news, social media and it’s not good. It’s not healthy. Everybody manages to find out what they need to find out without consuming copious amounts of terrifying information all day. 


Because what we want your brain doing is create. Like, your brain can’t create if it’s scared. And your brain can’t create if it doesn’t have a plan and I’ve watched this all week. It’s the plan in place. They start brainstorming new ideas. And what I know, you and I both know, Rhamy, is amazing stuff that will come out of this. 


I feel like we never would have thought of. So there will be that. That will happen but we have to watch what we focus on and we have to do what we can to get into creating versus focusing on the problems.

I interviewed John Lee Dumas, he runs a podcast called fire one of those hooked me into podcasting. I started listening years ago and he has focus, is acronym for it is follow one course until success. 


Always, I think about that. It’s like I’m not one of those people who like to post notes and like cute scripts on the wall. But if I ever did, that would be the one follow one course until success. But now to recap that.. 

So helpful right now, but it’s going on like, if you could just get that one thing that you give your brain to work on and figure out and solve and play with. It’s so good for you.

It is. So when you kind of went through your steps you said, “Hey, first wash your brain.” 


So that means, in that, you’re talking about getting away from everything, sit down. 

Yeah. Right. Which is to really understand that there, we have circumstances that are happening all day, but our brain is defining those, right and how your mind to find them will trigger how you feel. And so a lot of us just have very unsupervised thinking and we believe that what we think is true, but it’s not. It’s just our thoughts. Now, if you’re consuming copious amounts of news, you’re believing what those people’s thoughts are. Right? We have to get yours. Yeah.

I got into this business in 2009. December 2009, is when the Affordable Care Act was passed. And in the next two to three years, most of those provisions went into place. And for many companies in the insurance world, that was a disruption on us, believe it or not, it cut up revenue in the realm of up to 60%. And I mean, companies in our world folded left, right and center and I’ve been in business six months, right. And at first when that happened, I was pretty upset. And after the first couple months into it, we were constantly trying to learn more and more and more and try to figure something out and like, we’re only a year into this, as a time to, and I don’t remember what triggered it, but at some point, it transformed from a terrible thing to an opportunity. Interesting. And I truly believe even as awful as this virus and its effect on the economy and people’s health of course and families. The businesses that figure out how to turn who the business owners, the leaders who go, alright, this is awful. What is the opportunity here? How do I change this? How do I reposition ourselves to make this an opportunity? Are they going to be the ones that come out of this just on fire with success? Because tons of companies, they’re going to do exactly as you described. Yeah, they’re going to panic, they’re going to consume a pile of news and they’re gonna give up, they’re gonna keep doing what they did three months ago, and think it’s going to work three months from now. Yeah. And this is an opportunity, and it can be an opportunity for every business. I don’t care if you’re a restaurant. If you’re a salon. If you’re a consulting service, a CPA firm, a law firm, there is an opportunity here for every one of them. I don’t know what it is for all of you. But there is one.

Well, because if there’s always somebody in your interest who’s spearheading it and I’ll tell you one of the ones that’s been really fun to watch because I just happen to attract a lot of healthcare professionals. I have doctors and dentists and my husband’s a physical therapist. So I actually have several physical therapy clinic owners. telemedicine, it’s all gonna be totally different. Like, this is changing that landscape. Because first of all, everybody needs to still make money. And all of these, my husband is a physical therapist, they’re figuring out how to care for people and not touch them. Right? And what is not there, it’s not going to come back.

It’s not gonna come back. Right. And that’s the thing with all of these industries. Well, same thing. I don’t want to go sit in your freaking waiting room for 45 minutes.

Oh, I know I’m right.

It’s like, in every industry, I was talking with my staff about it. We have invested heavily over the years and telework and secure call centers separately and just all kinds of different stuff. And there was always a taboo to a degree of when you’re meeting with someone who’s discussing direct finances. Like, why are you sitting in your home and oh my god, hey, there’s a dog over there. Like, that taboo is dying. And in three months of this, it’s going to be like, well, I have no problem meeting my attorney. While he’s sitting on his back deck. It’s a heck of a lot more convenient. And we can both sit there and drink the preferred drink. I don’t have to drink your crap coffee. I can drink mine. Right. So there is an opportunity here. 

Oh, yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Because that really is so important. But if your brain, the sky is falling, everything’s awful and here’s the thing, right now, it might make you decisions you never wanted to have, to make conversations you never wanted to have to have. But if you hold on to, it’s awful you can’t create and we need you. We need leaders right now, more than any other time, at least in my existence, right? Like, we need people to step up and be willing to stand out and try something. And get the double edge, right? Like, what the heck is she doing? And, Whoa, the heck is she doing? Right? Like that’s what has to happen right now. And it’s so fascinating to watch who steps up and who’s willing.

You were so optimistic. You and I both are obviously HR people. It’s like, it’s all gonna be fine. Everything’s great. But…

Eventually it will. 

It will be and it will be. But let’s let’s dial it back. And let’s give some practical advice here. You are an expert at making these hard decisions. How does someone who is just right now evaluating gotta lay off 100 people or five people or their first employee, how do they fire them? And live, right? How do you fire that person?

Well, it’s an interesting way to have time to do it. It’s almost like at least this has been what my clients are telling me because I would say half of my clients have already had to layoff people but everybody understands. So…

It’s a lot harder in a way it’s harder to fire someone because they consistently under-perform than it is to be like, “Look, we don’t have any clients like what do you want from me?” 


That’s an interesting point.

And they get it. I’ve had people tell their boss, “I’ll just work for you anyway. You don’t have to pay me but I want to help you.” I do believe most people have the sense but this has an end to it versus the recession in 2008. 


What the hell was gonna happen? Right. But to answer your question,

Hold on HR insert, people can’t work for you for free. Hashtag compliance. Throw it out there. But I understand what you’re saying. Medical staff.

Do something different. I don’t follow mine on that one. To me, I guess is what I’m trying to say. 


Yeah, that could change. People could start to get more low on Maslow’s Hierarchy here and start to freak out. So what I have advised people and what I’m watching them do is they’re finding out on behalf of their employees, what the right solution is for the employee. And so in the case of several of my clients, the right answer was actually to lay them off, because then they qualify for a solution. So they set up the conversations that way, here’s how this is going to go, right. “I’m gonna fire you, I’m processing your employee history records, everything’s ready. You can file. And this is eventually once everything’s crankin, I will want to invite you back.” But the employers are doing some of that research on behalf of the employee so that the conversation has direction versus I can’t pay you anymore. You have to leave. Kind of. 


Now, everybody handles that a little differently. I appreciate there’s laws in different states. Again, I’ll defer to your expertise. But when we tell people that we have to lay them off right now, I think it’s incredibly important that we honor who they are as a human, we tell them how important they are. We tell them this has nothing to do with performance. If it doesn’t. I have actually also advised some employees and some clients. If you have people who are not performing this is the opportunity to make some decisions too. So, in a time when everything is in flux, you have to always come back to what is right for the business. And that is a gut check when we love our people, but we can loop back to them. I’m very confident that’s all going to work out for people. Right now, what’s the right thing for the business? And then what are the services provided in your world, wherever you are, that help your employees as best as possible? And it does seem like the government is stepping up to help here in a way.

All right. This is being recorded on March 20. On March 18, a major law was passed called, the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act. We’ve of course provided a lot of information about that. As of today, there will…

More information by so I read about it. So I’ll have to poke around on your site and see what…

I’ll forward your info and recorded webinar if you’d like. 

Thank you.

Also today, March 20, a new law was proposed called the Care Act, which by the time this episode airs will be enforced. If you are reviewing it, a very large bill includes things like loans of up to one quarter or one third of your year’s operating expenses, at no interest. All kinds of different things that can be done. Loan forgiveness programs, payroll tax holiday, lots of different pieces to this bill that are being reviewed. It has not yet passed as of this recording. But if you’re listening to this and you do not know the details of either the Care Act or the Family’s First purchase, the violence release links act which will go into effect on April 5, April 4. Both of those laws are very important and relevant to this, including things like requiring paid sick leave tax credit that allows you to provide up to 10 weeks of two thirds pay to your employees, all kinds of different things are going on there. So feel free to reach out to us at We have a chat window in the bottom right, you can also email us directly. We do have information about all of those and can assist you with designing the processes around applying for those. I don’t need a plug. But that’s right. 

Everybody needs to know that I read the bill yesterday and certainly also realize that there’s an exemption process that you can go through right as well if you can’t afford.

Right. If you have fewer than 25 employees. There’s two under 50. There’s a going concern exemption so if this would put you out of business, don’t do it. That’s always a good thing. Under 25, there are additional exemptions for job restoration. If you have fewer than 25 and you need to put people on long-term leave these sorts of things. You don’t necessarily have to rehire them. Whereas there are other ones there, there is a requirement to do that. It’s Family Medical Leave Act requirements. Okay. Restoration. But yeah, I’m sorry, I want to interview you about leadership. But no, these are important topics. Yeah. 

Yeah, absolutely. So just to respond to that, use your humaneness in the conversation, but do what’s best for the business and I think if you can do some research as a business owner ahead of time so that you can help educate your employees that you are releasing, it helps everybody feel like this is a mutual collective effort versus just getting left in the cold. The word employees are, I think a little bit, at this point that’s the rougher crowd.

Right. Well, we’ve found the biggest pain in the small to medium size is, part time. It’s painful, but they understand unemployment, they can hop on there and it’s a pretty quick turnaround. 


The biggest issue is those with medical insurance. That’s what we find the largest resistance to right. Cobra is unaffordable for most employees, especially after they lose their job. And if you’re someone who needs to terminate someone here on March 20, most of the time their insurance is going to end at the end of March. They are not allowed, there are no other individual insurance available until April 15. So there’s some gaps there that are quite distressing. So for those we’ve developed furlough programs where basically extend benefits offerings while terminating but those are the pieces that I don’t have an answer for. You mentioned that employee who you had to terminate all those years ago. Whose husband on dialysis? It’s just like, I don’t know what to do. So that’s the hardest piece for me to figure out.

Yeah. And there’s no right answer. I think that’s one of the things I had to do on every call I’ve been leading is, we all keep waiting. I think in a lot of ways someone’s gonna like the adults will show up and tell us what to do. And there’s no right answer. We have to really use our own compass here.

Right. And you got to, if you can’t stay in business, you can’t help at all. So I will also mention the Coronavirus Relief Act. The tax credit that I mentioned does cover the employer portion of health insurance. If you can keep them on. I’m just going to segue this. If you can keep people on provide the sick leave, the government’s basically going to pay you back for the employee, the employer insurance cost along with all those wages. You just have to be able to float for four months. And that’s where the Care Act is coming in the one that was proposed today that should be ratified the next week or so, probably before this episode airs to provide a long-term loan to cover that time period at no interest. So they are stepping in, they’re stepping up. But right now there’s a lot of uncertainty. 

Yes, for sure. 

So to circle back to your leadership experience, Kris, I want people to be able to take out a piece of paper. We’ve talked a lot of good stuff, but I want them to have a takeaway. In one of the things that I read, as part of your lead, your team roadmap, there are five steps that every entrepreneur should follow if they want to lead their team well, as they’re coming through this and they’re turning this into an opportunity. They’re getting through it. You said there were five steps that every person could take that would really help them lead their team. Could we go through those real quick so that they could start rocking?

Yeah. And I think it’s interesting because I’m happy to talk about them. And I think I want to make them relevant to where people are right now and their circumstance so we can flesh that out together.

That is true. Although I will say, one thing about these podcasts and I know Kris, you were on a podcast too, which we’ll make sure to drop in the link in the description. It blows me away. I mean, I have people listening to podcasts from 2018. 


So something about content needs to make sure that it’s always useful. We won’t be in a pandemic virus outbreak all the time. Hopefully.

This is my plan. I hope the world complies. 


I would like a 100% compliance with that request, please. That would be lovely. Thank you. 

*Random side note, before we go into that. I will say, I was speaking to a lot of healthcare practitioners. And we were talking, “Is it going to kill millions and so how bad is this thing really?” And he said, “It is as bad as it is.” I’m not giving any advice on that right now. I’m not doing that on this podcast. But he made a really interesting point, it’s not near as bad as it could be. He said in a lot of ways, this is the best wake up call you took speaking of what’s the opportunity on this? Where it’s gonna be terrible. There’s a lot of bad things that are going to happen yet. It’s not near as bad as some potential outbreaks that we’ve stopped and some outbreaks that we haven’t. And this is probably the best dry run that any pandemic expert could ask for. 

Okay, well, that…

In 10 years, we could have a real virus on influenza type virus with Ebola like symptoms with a 50% death rate.


And if that happens, we need to know what we can do. What are our responses we need to have already realized, “Oh shit, you know what we need masks.” Stuff that it’s right now was obvious six months ago and in another year, we’re going to learn so much that it’s going to be such an opportunity to protect us in the future. So I’ve taken some solace in that, this is a really bad fire drill.

I think somebody should go into business and create pandemic home kits.

They have, I guarantee it.

So whoever’s interested make that, that’d be good. There we go.

I’m sorry. But Kris, the five steps, the filing.

Here’s how I like to think about this. So I’m a Disneyland fan, Rhamy.

My wife did her MBA thesis on Disneyland. 

Oh, wow. 

Like, that is cool, that is you. Anyone who wants to run a business, study Disneyland.

Exactly. Right. And so my map is, you have to imagine a Disneyland map. Now I know that may not resonate for everyone, but….

It should though. A patient for that now.

When we look at that map we see lands, right?. We see areas on the map where you can go do different things. And that’s how I think about this because I use the word roadmap, because everybody knows what that is. But really, in my brain, it looks like that because no matter where you are as a business, you can always go and do each one of them. So I never want to lead her to think, “Uh, why didn’t do that part. So now I’m behind.” Like, “No, no, no,” but that’s part of what we want to do. So we’re going to work on that part, right. So getting through all of Disneyland takes a little while, it does take a while and sometimes we like one part better than the other. So we ignore the other part. And so that’s okay. But we really do need all of them to have the full experience. And that’s what I believe is true for people who lead and so at a high level, those five key areas are your team, your time, you as a founder and your money. Did I say four or five? And then your business. And so I’ll give you some examples of what those are. Now I will send you if you want, it’s like a little checklist around me that you can make available or we can.

Absolutely. We’ll put it on the People Processes website as a downloadable after you guys log in there, you should be able to log in and be able to download it. 

So it’s just a little Dougie widgets that you can cross off and just say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve done that.” So for example, like under team hiring. Do you have a process for deciding who to hire, what role they play and how you will pay them? Do you have job descriptions for every single person in your business? Do you have job postings for every position? Do you have a process for how you trial people if you do that? Do you have an onboarding process? Do you have a coaching process for how you develop people in your business? Do you have a management process for how you set goals, and you address performance gaps, and you produce and you do corrective action, and you conduct meetings, and you have a firing process? So those are the things that sit at for example, under a team. 

Under the founder, we look at things like your point of view, the rules you have for people, your expectations, your personal brand. The patterns in your decision making. Are you a people pleaser? That’s a specific issue. I like to work on with people, your decision making strategies and do you practice constraint as a visionary, which is a huge issue for missionaries, too many ideas, making the team crazy. 

Money. What do you think about money? Do you have processes for money? Do you track revenue? Do you do forward tracking? Do you have forecasting or only looking at it backwards, which is what I find most people do. If I asked you today, how much money have you generated as of this moment? Do you pay yourself as an entrepreneur? How do you pay people? How do you design bonus structures? I don’t teach people that like I always refer people to experts like you honestly, Rhamy. When it comes to the dynamic, the in nitty gritty of a bonus plan.

Well, like your team, those steps you went through is our People Processes Academy to design, implement and set each one of those. Yes. 

Yeah. And I help people think about the philosophy they want to have that will support all of it, right.

And that’s something we always run into. It’s like we’re here to give you the structure and to put in the systems. But if you don’t know what you think about people like, that’s not me, I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a coach. I’m an Automator. I’m a systems guy. It’s in the name that says, “Yeah, that’s a great synergy.” May definitely talk more about that.

I love that. Yeah. So fun. And then the last, well then we have time, which is honestly, how do you balance pinch yourself and your team within the constraints of time? Do you budget time? Do you have priorities? Are you good with your boundaries? Do you have oversight over the team and how they manage their days? Are you paying for time? Are you paying for results? This is a big one for me. I teach something called Monday hour one, which is a practice that was developed by Brooke Castillo, the Life Coach School. It’s an incredible structure for how you manage your week. And then the last area on the map is business. 

So we look at, do you have KPIs? Do you have policies and procedures? Do you have a business model? And if so, what are your revenue streams to values and vision and a company manifesto, an org chart, Human Capital Planning. I’m sure you’re hearing all of this right. So what happens in my practice is someone comes to me who runs a maid, you know, housekeeping service and has 30 employees and makes $2 million a year. And they have none of this right now. No story. Again, what happens first is their brain doesn’t want to do any of it. And so I have to get them really high up in the tree and get really clear about what you are building here? What are you creating? We’re going to create all of this from that vantage point, not from just one way.

Day in, day out. What do I do today? 

Yeah. We need to get clear about the big picture. And then it’s one thing to have a performance management process, but do you know how to have that conversation? How to deal with the employee who drives you nuts, and you ignore them all the time. Right? 

Whatever. Yeah.

The Rhondas of the world. Rhondas, we’d love you, Rhondas. 

And Jack we’d like you too.

So yeah. So that’s the map as it were, because if I’m going to help someone do it, it is similar, right? Scale and be the woman who grows a business from here to there. We have to change the way she thinks about all of these things. And a lot of entrepreneurs you might run into this. They think this is very corporate. And they aren’t corporate..

No, this is the soul. So good. Yeah.

I call it the business brain. And then once it’s done, I don’t have to read,figure stuff out all the time. 

It’s so nice.

Like, “Oh, I already made that decision. What was it? Look it up?”

Yeah. Recap those five main focus areas, your team, your time, you as a founder, your money and your business, and great checklist pieces to kind of review each one of those. The development of these is not an overnight thing, but every step you take is an outsized return. It’s, “Look, you gotta keep your clients, you can’t stop changing tires or whatever it is.” You do. But I tell you what, if you can’t make the time to do these things, you’re not gonna make it. This is the stuff that moves the needle.

Exactly gets to a point where the bolts start to fly off the wheels if we’re going to use that analogy, and that’s where people usually run into folks. They start working with me at about that two to $3 million mark in their revenue, because that’s when they’ve scaled enough to have a couple employees. And the frustration of not getting the work done the way they want and people not delivering the way they want it to want them to. And they can’t read my mind. And it just is easier for me to do it myself and all that cadence of experiences when people quit, because you have to learn how to manage, you have to learn how to lead. These things I talked about are just the structures you built underneath you, right? Your leadership voice and your presence and your decision making is what gets you through it and helps you grow a business that can function without you there and you can take a vacation once.

Kris, outstanding. I’m sure many of our listeners are very interested in this. You mentioned 2 to 3 million in revenue. If someone’s listening right now, and they’re thinking, “I don’t know, this sounds really interesting. Should I reach out to Kris?” What would be the tipping point that says, “All right, you’re a definite fit for me. And I think we can really make a difference here.” What’s the mentality or the space there in that?

Well, I work with women who are at least at seven figures, I have a program called the “Founders Lab.” And so if you’re at that point, and you’re starting to kind of not love your business anymore, maybe the people who are in it, then I would love to talk with you. And the truth is, since I started working in this space, there are so many people who need help that I’ve actually brought on a coach, Michelle Aran and she also coaches women, but she works with women who are under a million because there are some businesses that are at 500,000/400,000. They have two or three employees and they’re also cutting their teeth on, How do I do a performance review? Like, I don’t even know how to talk to these people. Should I be meeting with them?” That contractor moving cost from contractor to employee is a very different relationship. So yeah, I mean I love to talk with people. We meet with everybody one on one for a consultation. I do not run a huge membership thing where you don’t meet people. This is a very personal, intimate coaching community that I have and so….

What would be the best way for them to reach out to you?

Really, the easiest way is just to go to

Link down below.

All over the website, we have where to go to schedule a consultation. You can find my podcasts there. And once you’re in the community, you know I share with you things that I’m up to and we just put together a very short, four-week intensive for people trying to negotiate this very unexpected circumstance. So once we’re kind of connected, then you’ll know about other things that I put out there for the world to you. And leverage as well.

That’s outstanding. Kris, thank you so much for your time today. You’ve been an outstanding guest. And I look forward to hearing from you. Let me just recap one thing though, you said that first consultation, there’s no charge for that to kind of….

No and it’s either with Michelle or I depending on where you are with your business. And we just like to get to know you and talk about you and what you’re looking for and what we do and make sure that we’re suited for each other. And sometimes we’re not, but usually people know what they need and they’re ready.

Around 70% of our audience is women. That’s part of being in the HR world, but we actually also have a very high percentage of nonprofits in our organization. Do you work with nonprofits as well?

Yeah, absolutely. We have quite a few. And I also do work with the boys. I’ll just say… 

Okay, so guys too. You’re not putting them all.

I do a lot of one-on-one coaching. It’s a different agreement, but we cover very similar space. And I always am working with a handful of high level one-on-one clients as well. So yes, boys are invited. I do get every now and then. I get an email like, 


I need help to. Like, get. Yeah. No, I get you.

All right. Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you so much for tuning in today to the People Processes podcast. My name is Rhamy Alejeal, I’m the CEO of People Processes. And I very much appreciate you listening. I hope you learned something. Reach out to Kris on her website link down below. If you found something useful here. Please reach out to us on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. We’d love to hear from you. Any thoughts? Have questions, feel free to send to us as well. We’ll make sure Kris hears about them. Now it’s time for you to go out there. Have a great day and get your work done.

Learn more about Kris Plachy here:

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the senior insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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