Today’s podcast is all about how to successfully manage your team, both at work and at home.
Russ and Mika started this podcast because they wanted to talk about ways to successfully balance business and life.
As an entrepreneurial couple, it can be hard to draw the line between “work life” and “home life”.
Successfully balancing business and life isn’t possible without having an amazing team, both at work and at home.
On today’s episode, they are sharing lessons that they have learned from managing teams, as well as the strategies they use for managing the teams in their life.
In this episode, you will learn:
• Why you need to accept that you can’t do it all.
• Strategies that Russ and Mika have used to manage their teams at work.
• What it means to manage your team at home.
• Why managing a team is about finding out how your time is best spent.
Mentioned in this episode:
• Russ Perry on Instagram
• Mika Perry on Instagram
• The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
• The Russ Perry Show
• Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
• Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline
• mindbodygreen Podcast
• Optimal Living Daily
• Car Diffuser for Essential Oils
• Episode #6: Developing Great Morning Routines
• Episode #7: Developing Great Nighttime Routines
• Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
• This is America by Childish Gambino
• Me and Your Mama by Childish Gambino
• Wu-Tang Rap Name Generator
• Explore Inspired
• NEAT Method
• Google Calendar
• Make a Wish Foundation
Russ Perry: Everyone, welcome to another episode of Good To Be Home. I’m Russ Perry.
Mika Perry: And I am Mika Perry.
Russ Perry: Today is episode number 12. We are talking about this topic on managing teams, but not just in the business context, managing teams at work and at home.
Mika Perry: But before we do that-
Russ Perry: Before we do that, it’s my favorite segment as well as yours, this is what we’re reading, listening, eating, and loving. Also, if you want to go to our website, Goodtobehomepodcast.com, you can pop in your email and get the most up to date list of all of what we’ve talked about, and recommended, and loved in the past. So, who’s going to go first?
Mika Perry: I’ll go.
Russ Perry: Okay.
Mika Perry: Okay, so reading, I, as you know, am a slow reader and I finally finished two books. Woo!
Russ Perry: Woo hoo!
Mika Perry: I finished Big Little Lies, which is a fictional book, so a novel, just for fun. It was great. I heard it got made into a movie, and Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are in it.
Russ Perry: I think this is the third week that book has been on your list. This is like a big deal.
Mika Perry: Yeah, I did it, I wanted to let you guys know. Then another book I finished, Parenting with Love and Logic. I loved it, so if you are looking for a good parenting book, I highly recommend this one. I heard that there’s classes on it that you can take locally, so I am going to check that out. Listening, I just wanted to mention a few of my favorite podcasts. I know, Russ, you kind of tend to focus on music in this listening category. For me, I’ve been focusing on podcasts.
Just wanted to drop another few of my top favorites, Mindbodygreen, which is a great resource for all things wellness. They are actually having a retreat out here in Arizona. They have an annual retreat, they’re based out of New York, or Brooklyn, but I think they come out here now, Arizona, to do a retreat, and I really want to go, but we’re going to be in Italy, so hopefully next year. You have to apply and be invited to this retreat. I really want to go. We like, the best of doctor and experts in the wellness field. Anyway, since I can’t go to that, I listened to the podcast.
Russ Perry: You always have WebMD in the meantime.
Mika Perry: Which I go to all the time. No, it’s not just medical or health things. Really, just spiritual and just a well-being community. It’s really cool.
Russ Perry: Nice.
Mika Perry: It can get a little hippy-ish and a little new agey at times, but I like it. Then another one is called Optimal Living Daily, so whereas Mindbodygreen is a interview based podcast where they interview experts, Optimal Living Daily is a 10 minute or less daily podcast. They have an episode every day of the week and they also have branched out to Optimal Finance Daily, Optimal Relationship Daily, and Optimal Health Daily, and what they do is they read blogs for you, so it’s like an audio book situation, but they’re reading blog posts. Which is a weird concept, but try it if you have 10 minutes. It’s nice.
Russ Perry: It’s like the Cliff notes.
Mika Perry: Yeah, Cliff notes of blogs, so it’s really short and very concise. Eating, last night I made one of my favorite dishes to make. It’s so complicated guys, it’s called crock pot salsa chicken. You take chicken breasts and salsa, put it in the crock pot, turn it on, and come home to amazing shredded chicken. Gotta give props to our friend, , who gave me this very elaborate recipe. It’s in a rotation at home every night. What I did last night, I put it on quinoa, you can put it on a quesadilla, you can do anything. It’s really easy.
Then I am loving, so this category, something random but just something that we love, and right now I am loving my car diffuser for essential oils.
Russ Perry: I thought you had a fog machine in your car this morning.
Mika Perry: A smoke machine, so yeah.
Russ Perry: A smoke machine.
Mika Perry: I’ll link it in the show notes here, but you can put it in your cup holder, and put water, it’s USB connected, and your essential oils, and press on, and it diffuses your car with oils. If you know me if you’ve listened to the morning routines episode, or the night time routine episode, I am all about a good atmosphere and setting the tone for wherever you are, including my car.
Russ Perry: If you haven’t checked those episodes out, you can go back and look up morning routines, night routines, and Mika is all about the sense.
Mika Perry: That’s it.
Russ Perry: All right, very cool. Let’s get started. I’m finishing books and starting new ones over here, so my newest book that I’ve started, I’m about half way through, is called Let My People Go Surfing. It’s actually by Yvon Chouinard, who is the founder of Patagonia, and it originally was written as a manifesto for his company, and their eco philosophies on how to better the environment, but it’s just kind of amazing. I mean, I think they are approaching to be like a billion dollar company, and they are all about the exact opposites that you would find in product companies. They want their products to last forever, they do free repairs, they try to make something as high as quality as possible so that it doesn’t wear out, and just really, really motivated. I’ll get to why I’m reading that book here, with my loving section, ’cause it’s connected to what I’m loving.
As far as what I’m listening to, it is the new hit single by the Childish Gambino, This is America. You might know this man, he’s an American actor, comedian, writer, director, record producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and DJ, also who his original name is Donald Glover. But, I love this new song. It’s fantastic and it’s actually, this guy had one of my most favorite songs of 2016, which was his album Awaken My Love, and it was the single, Me and Your Mama, so you gotta check that out. Actually heard this on Beats One, they played it 10 times in a row, Me and Your Mama, and every single time, you just got into it. It’s soulful, you jam out to it.
Mika Perry: In a row.
Russ Perry: Yeah, they played that single 10 times, it was that good. It was amazing.
Mika Perry: Is this Danny Glover?
Russ Perry: No, Donald Glover.
Mika Perry: Okay.
Russ Perry: I don’t know if he’s related. I don’t think so. But yeah, his new single, This is America, is awesome, so shout out to my friend, Childish Gambino. Someone told me in the office here that he actually got his rapper name through the wu tang name rap generator.
I’m eating seven layer bean dip. Thanks, Mika, for buying it the other night.
Mika Perry: I got it at Costco.
Russ Perry: Oh man, I love … you know what, it’s really hard to find seven-layer bean dip that’s not at Taco Bell. I wish Trader Joe’s would sell it, ’cause I feel a little bit better buying it there.
Mika Perry: I think they do. They don’t?
Russ Perry: No, trust me, trust me, they don’t. That was good, I threw it away though, ’cause I was basically just eating it by myself.
Mika Perry: I totally saw it in the trash and I was like, I bet Russ threw this away so he wouldn’t eat the whole thing.
Russ Perry: Yep, yep, that’s ’cause I’ll just eat the whole thing of bean dip. I even put it on my salsa chicken last night. I had eight layer bean dip with salsa chicken added. What I’m loving, to wrap this up, I am loving mountaineering. I went recently to climb my first ever really crazy tall mountain. It was Mount Shasta up in Northern California with my friends [Jake Knight] and Jonathan Ronzio. Jonathan Ronzio also runs an incredible outdoor blog, content, he has great Instagram, Explore Inspired, so check him out and check out what he does. He basically got me to do my first ever backpacking trip, my first ever eat dehydrated food trip, my first ever sleep in the snow in the tent trip, and my first ever 14000 foot plus summit, which was really cool.
That is why I got into the book, ’cause he mentioned this book, Let My People Go Surfing, and how it was really influential for him.
Mika Perry: That is why you got seven-layer bean dip because you came home on Sunday, and I knew you were coming home and I knew you loved that, so when I was at Costco, I got that for you. I was like, I bet Russ is going to be hungry after climbing Mount Shasta.
Russ Perry: Yeah, we pretty much did not eat or drink enough water.
All right, so we’re going to get into the main topic today, managing teams at home, at work. As you guys know, this podcast’s kind of sort of tag line is balancing business and life, and as an entrepreneurial couple, we don’t have a lot of delineation sometimes between home life and work life. Great example is today, we went to our daughter’s kindergarten graduation and it was cool, got a cool slide show that Mika made, and then like minutes later, we’re here in the podcast studio recording, and then we’re going to be running our different ways, doing work, running errands, and then we have date night tonight.
So it’s this total blend of life, and it’s not possible without our teams. That could be our teams as a family, you know, Mika, you’re my teammate in all of this. This could be the teams of our businesses, the team here helping us make this podcast. We’re going to go through, talk about the lessons we’ve learned as well as kind of the approach and the practical ways we manage the work teams, and the business teams, as well as our family/life teams. Why don’t you kick us off, babe?
Mika Perry: Oh, thanks. Okay, so from a woman’s perspective, the phrase having it all, doing it all really comes to mind, and what I thought of when we approached this topic, managing teams, and that’s been critical in being able to do it all. I get side comments, not mean, but just so, you know, like how do you do it all, or I even think of other women I respect and admire and it’s like, wow, they’re doing so much, and you really can’t do it all yourself. I think that is critical, that’s where the having a team comes in. For work, currently my work is this creation of this podcast, our Sober brand, but prior to this, in managing my professional organizing business, I would feel that that was where I had the most team-based approach to a business.
That’s really what I’m going to be referencing here, as far as managing teams at work for me. Then reflecting on my time running that business, how I managed my team was through constant communication, I did weekly summary emails of our upcoming jobs, so we would go to client homes and organize. Even though it was on the calendar for everybody and everyone could see, I would still do a weekly touchpoint and summarize everything. I’m a detailed person and for me, I felt really good by outlining every single detail about every client job that was coming up. I do all the consults, I wanted my team to know everything about the clients, like personality, their home, how to get to their home, don’t do this when you’re there, little things I wanted them to be aware of.
I would send that in a weekly email. Then I would also do a quarterly review with them and I would do this in a phone call, because we all worked remotely and we didn’t have an office, so I did this as a way so that I can touch base with them, because some of them I wouldn’t see for a while, because they’d be off doing the job, I’d be doing meetings and working on the business, so I would schedule quarterly calls with them. That was really great. I remember I would detail, questions I would ask each one, and really make sure that I gave an opportunity for them to give me some constructive criticism, some suggestions, because I wanted them to be a very important part of the team, and feel that.
To launch my team, when I would hire them, I really invested a lot of time and effort into the team training and onboarding. I really kind of just created this on my own and I would take them to the container store, we’d sit down, we’d hash out a client scenario and talk about it, and then kind of talk about our philosophy as a business. As an entrepreneur, coming up with your own business model, I felt that a really well-done team training was important, especially as a first impression. When you’ve hired these new hires, and they’re coming on board, you want them to be excited. So I took them to a hotel and did breakfast, and nice experience hopefully, and just to get to know each other. That team now is still running, by the way, so I no longer am part of NEAT Method, my business, but one of my lead organizers now is running it. It is still the same team members, plus more.
I don’t know how Emily, who I adore, she is now the lead for NEAT Scottsdale, and I don’t know the details of how she’s running it, but I hope that she’s still … it seems like she’s still keeping that ship running tight and incentivizing the team.
Russ Perry: I want to add though because I think it will come back to my section and it’s totally applicable for you, the only way for you to be a really great teacher and for you to be able to train everyone was because you did it really well yourself first. In building teams and in creating training, or trying to hire people, that’s one of the biggest mistakes I think you can make, is you don’t have a clear process that you’re the master of, and then you try to delegate it. Then you’re frustrated because they’re not doing it right, but in reality, you don’t even really know how to do it right. That was not the case for you. You were the only person for a while, and then you started to bring on people, but when you were training and teaching them, you had been in the trenches and you knew exactly what the nuances of that were, so that you could train them effectively and accurately.
Mika Perry: That’s a good point in modeling, when I think about my career, my other career as a teacher, that’s how you start off your lesson plans, is you hook them. You get them interested and then you model the skill that you want them to learn. Then you let them practice, and then you come back and do a touchpoint and ensure that they got it. I kind of follow that plan, now that I think about it, with my business. I made sure that I found the strengths that each of my team members possessed and building roles around it. Russ, I think you mentioned this in a previous episode. Is that, if you find good people, you can find a role for them. For me too, it was really important that I found people that I got along with personality wise, and had a good morals, good work ethic, very articulate, presented themselves well in front of potential clients. Then if they can do that, you can teach them skills, you can teach them how the business works. Those are things that you can pass along.
A tip I guess I have for managing teams for work, is really listen to your team and give them ample time to share, and make the atmosphere open for them to share, because as a manager, as a business owner, it’s easy to tell, tell, tell, do this, do that, delegate here, do this, do that. I think it’s important that you also listen. That’s it for my work tips-
Russ Perry: Nice.
Mika Perry: -of managing a team. You want to do yours?
Russ Perry: Yeah, I’ll share my work and then we can go back to family. If you don’t know, I run a company called Design Pickle as well as a few other things. We are probably close to 175 people by the time you hear this episode, and it’s no small task to manage this team. We have quite a large organization and we have a ton of people doing a lot of roles, and to support our primary business of graphic design, we have clients all over the world that we help them out every day with our graphic designer that they can work with. There are some basic, basic fundamentals that we’ve had from day one, that haven’t changed, and they just have gotten bigger.
I believe if you are in any size organization, even if it’s an organization of two or three people, these things can apply to you. They’re definitely exactly what we use to grow. It’s not just theory, or it’s not just great ideas, it’s like legit, here’s what happened. I’ll start with the training part, because early on, we had great opportunity with a friend of the company, Chris Ronzio, and he had acquired a company, rebranded it, now runs it, called Trainual. It’s a very easy, E-learning type of software. You can get started pretty quick and creating just courses and embedding videos, and I was using that by myself, creating documentation on certain roles and processes before I even had employees for those roles.
It was literally stuff I was doing also, but I knew I wanted to hand it off to someone eventually, so I was making these little courses. Then when the chance came and I could hire somebody, there was literally a class on how to manage clients, or how to respond to customer success issues, or how to save a file as a certain way, all the pieces of our business. That’s my first tip here, is just document, document, document whatever you’re doing. You also, when you document, when things go wrong, you can improve it a lot easier, ’cause you can go back and you can see, okay, step 1, 2, 3 things are fine, but oh hey, step 4, things are going sideways and we’re not communicating this way or maybe it’s not clear on the training. Then you can fix that step 4 and then see if that improves it.
At my agency, there were zero documentations, so if something went well, it was like, oh, man.
Mika Perry: I remember you in, as Design Pickle has grown, how much you have been documenting the steps.
Russ Perry: Oh, it’s crazy.
Mika Perry: For sure. Do you do it, is there like an app or are you writing an actual document?
Russ Perry: Goes to my second sort of piece here, the best app I have ever seen. Now, we’re an online company, so a lot of what we do is just on the computer. I don’t think this would be hard to do without, but it’s an app called Loom, L-O-O-M, and I literally have it in my browser, I can click, it starts recording my screen, it starts recording my camera, it records my mouse clicks, so I could just talk it through. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s internal training, we’re not trying to sell this or have it high polished, high production quality, but anytime I do something more than once or twice, I would just create a Loom video, and then I can just copy and paste that into the Trainual module.
It was really, really easy. It’s much easier than typing it. If something changes, you just, the next time you do it, you just record yourself doing it. That’s actually also a pro tip, I always recommend you create the training when you’re doing it, ’cause I have spent so many hours thinking, and planning out the tasks, and the tips, and here’s how I do it, in my mind, from my mind, and then the next day actually go and do it and it’s totally different, and you waste all that time. So just, that’s a pro tip from creating a ton, a ton, a ton of training, is just try to create it in the moment if you are documenting it for someone else.
As far as our communication goes, we have a lot of online communication, our team’s all around the world, but we have the fundamentals of a weekly standup. Every week, me and the team that reports to me, we have about an hour to 90 minutes and we just give updates on what’s going well, what’s going bad. It’s about a five to ten-minute update, just general. It could be life, personal, professional, just whatever you feel like sharing. Then from there you have, like what you worked on last week, what your one thing was that you wanted to get done, and then the update on that, and then what your big thing is for this week.
Mika Perry: Do you guys do like an icebreaker or anything?
Russ Perry: No, I think that’s kind of the updates, ’cause sometimes they’re just like, man, I had a killer vacation and I got to do this, and this, and that. Other times it’s really stressful, like one of our team members who lived in California during all those fires, that was like her, what’s not going well? My house is at risk of burning down. It was pretty vulnerable and I think that generally breaks the ice. The way we host those meetings is with another app, I’m going to do a lot of apps today, and it’s called Zoom, Zoom.us. I’ve used every single freaking web conference tool imaginable. Zoom is the best. It’s free up to 40 minutes for a meeting, and then you can pay, and we just keep paying more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more, ’cause it’s easy, it’s easy to use, the mobile app’s great, you can do webinars.
That’s how we host our meetings and it automatically records them too, so if there’s ever something that was said that we need to go back to, it’s always available. The other tools we use, I already mentioned Trainual, but Slack is a crazy great one. It’s funny because I grew up in the 90s with chat rooms on AOL, and I remember those, and basically it’s that again, but cooler and trendier with Silicon Valley-backed money, and lots of emojis and gifs. Slack is just a chat room and you can create chat rooms for any topic, whether it’s a team or a project. It’s cool for us, because it isolates a lot of the conversations that you would normally send an email for, you can just do right then and there. Within Slack, we have an app that we use called Kyber, which is a task management tool.
That’s really great as well, because let’s say, Mika, I need you to review the podcast graphics and we’re in Slack, I can create a task for you, and then this app is, it’s just in there and it just will remind you, hey, Russ, you need to review this today, whenever it’s due. It’s like a to do list built into Slack, which is really cool.
Mika Perry: That’s awesome. I used Slack when I did NEAT Method. We did it nationally.
Russ Perry: Yeah, it’s crazy popular. By the way, if you’re using Slack and you’re using the free account, ’cause you’re too cheap to pay for the paid account, I did that for a really long time, until we got to about 100 users and then I was like, we gotta pay. It’s life changing to have a paid account, because on the free account, it doesn’t keep any of your history. You can’t go back and see any of the conversation threads from the past. It’s totally worth the money to pay for Slack. I think from tips and I can go on, and on, and on about apps, the one thing that I’d say is probably the best thing I’ve done to manage teams on the professional level, is being crystal clear on what everybody’s working towards.
We have what’s called a KPI for the company, it’s called a key performance indicator, and this is a single metric that everyone can understand, from the customer success team, to the production team, to the marketing team. For us, that’s what is our average monthly recurring revenue, which is how many clients do we have subscribed to our service, as well as what that number is times our monthly rate. This is like the heartbeat of our company, so if it’s growing and it’s expanding, then we’re doing well. If it’s static, then that’s something to be concerned about. If it’s shrinking or growing, like, reducing, then that’s obviously not great. Why I bring this up is it’s, you can always ask yourself when you’re working at Design Pickle is, is what I’m doing helping improve that number, or helping drive that number up, or influence something that can improve it.
It makes it a lot easier to manage people when you can have that conversation. Back to my agency days, the dark times of being an entrepreneur, I didn’t really have anything. It was really just like, gaw, we gotta get paid, let’s do this, come on. Just a lot of muscle and force towards a gray or no objective. It made it challenging to hold people accountable for their actions, ’cause there was no guiding light or path for it.
I can go on and on, I’ll stop there though, because as important as it is to manage your team at work and in business, there’s another side of managing teams, and that’s with children and significant others.
Mika Perry: Yes, I was going to say you and I as well, because we consider ourselves a team.
Russ Perry: Right.
Mika Perry: So I think it’s a really great way to think about managing your schedule and your life, and balancing that life component of your overall life of business, life, whatever you have going on, viewing your home life and the people in it as a team, because Design Pickle is working towards one single KPI, your family is too. You should have some core values and goals that you’re working on as a family. We have established some of those in our annual staycation, but you’re all in it together. Your family is just at the core of everything.
Russ Perry: What is our family KPI?
Mika Perry: Currently? Well, our main motto is Perrys to the top. So whether it’s your school work … Maddy came up with that motto. I mean, it’s really just doing your very best. It doesn’t mean beating everyone and being at the top, which I feel like Reese is very competitive, could take that as she gets older as like, you have to be number one. It’s not about being number one, it’s just striving for the top. Right now, our goal, our KPI is to establish those daily habits and thought processes around what am I doing today to get to the top.
Russ Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative), to do my best.
Mika Perry: Yeah, to do my best, exactly. I’ll start off with how I manage the home. Maybe I’ll have more to say on this, because this is kind of my jam. Okay, so managing home. Traditional things you think of when you are managing the home and the team that supports the home is like cleaning, taking care of the home itself, your house, your environment. We certainly do that. We do invest in professionals to come and help, and I consider them part of our home team. We do have house cleaners that come, we have landscapers that take care of our plants. I can’t keep a plant alive, I don’t know anything about plants, so they help with that, and the pool. We actually don’t have a pool, we just have a jacuzzi, but it’s just like a pool. It’s a miniature pool and has chemical levels that need to be balanced, and I also don’t know anything about that.
The thing about these three things, cleaning, landscaping, pool, you and I, Russ, can learn how to do these things. It’s not that hard if we trained ourselves. I know how to clean, in fact I actually like cleaning the house. The pool, I see the guy doing it, it takes him two seconds, and our jacuzzi’s small. It’s finding people that can do it faster and better than you, and choosing to let them handle that, and that investment of time and money so that you can do other things. I mentioned opportunity cost a while ago, it’s kind of the same idea, and really, this is how I sold professional organizing to my clients.
A lot of my clients were already super organized. They were great at it. They just didn’t have the time to do it. Organizing took, like if you really wanted to knock out a room well, in the most efficient way, you needed to set aside like six to eight hours just dedicated on that task. Not a lot of people have that. I certainly don’t have that very often, so for me in our home, organizing spaces?
Russ Perry: It’s in shambles.
Mika Perry: It’s not in shambles-
Russ Perry: I’m just kidding.
Mika Perry: -but it’s not to the level I want it to be, because I don’t consistently have eight hours that I can focus on a task without interruption. Investing in professionals I think is a huge win in managing your home and the team. Babysitting, child care, school, that’s another part of my team. I consider our kids’ education and the people involved in that, part of our team. Constant communication with their teachers, with the school, showing up, being there as much as we can, like we mentioned, we just came from Reese’s kindergarten class, I made the slide show for it, just find little ways that you can be involved in it, so that the line of communication stays open.
Childcare after school, date nights, we’re going on a date tonight, we have a babysitter that comes about once a week to help. I think investing in is someone that you trust and knows your children well, and cares about them, is very important in managing and balancing your life, is getting away for a little bit with a babysitter. Then my actual family members, I consider a team. You and I, Russ, we manage our partnership together, with Google calendar.
Russ Perry: Life changing.
Mika Perry: Life changing. If you don’t use some sort of scheduling calendar system right now, between you and your spouse, do it, because it is going to alleviate a lot of stress, a lot of texting back and forth, a lot of missed appointments, and misinformation. We use a Google calendar, we have it all color coded, and Russ shares his work calendar with me, so that if I’m thinking of scheduling something for the family, I can click on Russ’s calendar and all of his appointments show up, and instantly my calendar is filled with green, ’cause that’s his color.
I think being on some sort of, really, I mean, Google calendar I think is the best, don’t you think? It’s the easiest.
Russ Perry: Yeah, it’s the easiest, it’s cross-platform, it’s free. What’s nice about Google calendar is Mika can send me an invitation to say even a dentist appointment for the girls, and it automatically comes in my email, so I’m not actually having to go to the calendar app to check what is the availability, ’cause in my email I can see it right there. Now, I can click on it and it’ll pull up the calendar, and then if it’s something just like, she’ll … you put directions in there like, need you at home with the kids, and send an invite, or FYI, so it’s not necessarily I need to be there, but it’s to where you’re taking the kids somewhere, or I need to hold a time for a potential contractor, or a church event, or whatever.
Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and even date nights.
Russ Perry: Yeah.
Mika Perry: You invite … All of our date nights are on the calendar and you invite me.
Russ Perry: I invite you and the babysitter, so everyone’s on the same page. It really eliminates the back and forth. I think that’s the best part, is I can let you know whether or not that works for me with a simple click, versus with you requesting via text and then me having to go to find the calendar, and then getting back to you, and then you’re, oh wait, that wasn’t the date, this is the date, and then it’s just all in the calendar, all of that happens in the calendar without even saying anything. I love it. You didn’t … you used to not use a digital calendar before your career at NEAT Method.
Mika Perry: Correct.
Russ Perry: You used a paper calendar and you were like, I’ll never use digital calendar ever, and now look at you.
Mika Perry: I know, look at me. I actually do still use a paper planner. What I do is I start with my Google calendar on the weekend, I look at the week ahead, I write down, I transfer all of those events on to my paper planner, and then I also then go through my to-do list and delegate, and pop those into my calendar on my planner. I know that sounds redundant and repetitive, and maybe a step, but for me, you even said this once, Russ, is like write it down, you do a lot of actual paper and pen writing.
Russ Perry: Not so much anymore. I have my calendar scribe personal assistant write everything for me.
Mika Perry: No you don’t, knock it off.
Russ Perry: Just kidding. Opportunity cost base.
Mika Perry: The actual writing of your schedule and your plan helps me mentally. I can tell on the weeks that I do this and I don’t do this, when I coordinate my Google calendar with my paper planner and my to-do list.
Russ Perry: Actually, I’m giving you a hard time, but I actually do, I write it digitally in that app, Effortless, I mentioned way back when. I write that and most days, I post that to my Instagram too.
Mika Perry: Oh, I love that. Your agenda?
Russ Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mika Perry: Okay, so then family, our kids. They’re a part of our team and as they’ve gotten older, I’ve really tried hard to instill with them a sense of family responsibility, and then create a system for chores. Russ and I both believe that our kids are capable and should be doing chores and things around the house. First started with Maddy, I think I started like a chore board, and responsibilities, I think when she was like in kindergarten, or maybe even preschool. I know Reese I started with preschool. If you’re a mom, I think you understand the challenge of creating these chore systems. Do I give an allowance? What’s an appropriate chore? How do I display this? How do the kids know? Every year, starting with Maddix and now with Reese, every year I’ve created my own literal sheet that I show, or a board, a system because they change, and we change, and our needs change.
I can’t say that this is one way of doing your chores and responsibilities in the house that works for everybody because it just doesn’t. This year, I feel like it’s been okay, the systems that we created. I kind of fell off the, I don’t know if you can call it the wagon but, of being very good about Reese and her responsibilities. She doesn’t need a lot of reminders and kind of does a lot of things on her own, whereas Maddy, initially when she was younger, when she was about Reese’s age, needed a lot more direction because she’s a little bit like head in the clouds sometimes, or moves a little bit slower. She’s great, she’s very responsible, but needed the clear direction visually, and just knowing what to expect. When she has a checklist in front of her, she’s awesome.
Russ Perry: She crushes.
Mika Perry: She crushes it. For her, we have a very more grown-up spreadsheet of her responsibilities and instead of an allowance, we have been giving her this year money towards a school trip that she wanted to go on, to California. She went on the trip and she did chores and responsibilities, working towards that goal. She’s already gone on that trip, but I’m noticing she’s still doing the dishes, playing cello, because it’s just now kind of become a habit of hers.
Russ Perry: Right, and it’s going to change for each kid. Each kid’s going to be incentivized for different things, like for Maddix, she isn’t as motivated about having money in a bank account or wanting to buy new stuff. It’s like, I love to read, and I love music, and I love spending time with my friends and family, and that’s what she … that’s free, most of that, with whereas Reese, she’s like, I want to have money, I’m going to go sell things. What are you going to buy, Reese? I don’t know, I just need the money.
Mika Perry: She goes on the street and sells things.
Russ Perry: Sells popcorn in bags. Your systems and, ’cause we also have a pretty big age gap, 12 to 6, to 2, right now there’s going to be crazy differences in motivation and styles, and that just is part of why we reassess that on an annual basis. Sometimes just reset as well, ’cause summers are hard, you’re doing stuff, you’re having fun, you’re staying up late, it’s not as militant of a communication system.
Mika Perry: Yeah, I’ve learned from this year now, like, this past month was like, oh, I need, wait, I need to sharpen and tighten this chore responsibility system, and everyone’s falling off and not … and I realize summer’s coming up. I was ready to create a chore board last week, but then I realized, you know, this is not the right time to implement these, because I’m not giving them-
Russ Perry: And everyone was puking their brains out too, like half the month.
Mika Perry: Oh gosh, yeah, we were sick, so it was not a time to do all this. So, I’m going to restart after summer. Next year, Reese will be first grade, Maddy will be eighth grade, Reese will be in preschool, she’ll be three, I’m going to come up with something good, so stay tuned.
Russ Perry: Anything else?
Mika Perry: I think that’s about it. I think we’re ready to go to yours. Oh, you know what, one thing I want to mention is organization, because I know it’s on your list. Why organization is important in managing a home and a team is so that your brain power gets diverted to clutter. I heard this in a podcast and I was like, that’s a really good point, is that it draws your attention away and you lose focus, and so it’s really important for me to recruit my team at home, to maintain an orderly, and organized, and clean home, so that we run better.
Russ Perry: All right, well my home one I think starts with just kind of a little tirade. You ready for my tirade? Well, no, it’s not a tirade, it’s just I see a lot of financial people who just would roll over in their graves, and just be so against things like having a house cleaner, or having landscapers, and they’re like, that’s a waste of money, you shouldn’t do that, that’s so easy, it builds connection, you can clean as a family, and I just, all that stuff makes sense in a Google spreadsheet when you’re calculating out annualized interest of money that you’ll save over the next 35 years, however I don’t really care about that.
Where I got around this, was literally because for an entrepreneurial couple, your time is money. What you are doing can be put towards things that create wealth, whether that’s money wealth, whether that’s connections with your family and experiences, and that was far more important for me to make sure I maximize my time, than it is hedging the bets for a savings account 20 to 30 years down the road, by these micro decisions of frugality that I need to make right now. I might regret this decision in 20 to 30 years, but I also know that when we’re looking at what our retirement plans are, what we are going to do when we’re older, it’s through one, two, three, or many building and selling businesses. That’s what entrepreneurial people do.
Even if you don’t own your own business, it’s ideal if you’re in a position where you have a control of the lever of your income. You’ve created compensation systems for you, where you can make more if you do better, and the only way you can perform better, whether you own your own business or not, is if you can put more time and energy into that. In your, not you, Mika, but just the general population, is like, don’t get a landscaper, don’t get a pool guy, I’m like, screw that, I can literally work for two hours more when I’m not doing that work, and put that towards systems, processes, operations inside my for-profit businesses, that can return far greater than whatever I’m spending on those items, and I just stink at hanging lights and things. That’s just practicality of trying things that you’re not good at, trying to do it yourself.
I’ll build furniture all day long, I’ll do word working, I’ll do artwork, and all of those kinds of things, because if I don’t do it perfect, then it just kind of crooked, or it’s not attractive, it’s not great. However, if I try to hang my own light and it doesn’t work out, I could get electrocuted, I could have to do it again, there’s a hole in the wall, so there’s a ton of unintended consequences for those kinds of things that just I’d rather avoid.
Mika Perry: We do have a handyman.
Russ Perry: We do have a handyman. You gotta ask yourself, where is your time best spent, and also, girls are young, I mean, Reese, she’s in kindergarten today, I was really tearing up and getting emotional. If I have to come home and then there’s two to three hours of housework that I have to do, it’s bedtime. I’m working most of the day, they’re at home for two or three hours after school, then it’s bedtime, and if I’m plugged into other projects or things, or even on the weekend, that’s time I’m missing out for them. It’s tough though, ’cause I’m like, man, am I totally shortchanging all of our children, of like, a work ethic, ’cause we have these teams supporting us?
Mika Perry: Well, I do hear Maddy being like, well why don’t you have the house cleaner do that. She’s said that before, and I’m like, they’re not there to wait on us and have us do nothing, so that’s why she does the dishes every night. Me and the girls, we pick up around the house. It’s not like our house is pristine, but it’s because we invest in a team to help us, but we’re still doing it. They see that, I feel like … Reese did a mother’s day questionnaire, all about my mom, she said my mom, the best thing, she’s the best at cleaning. They still see us working and taking care of it, it’s just that we have a house that we would be cleaning, and doing something, and taking care of it all day long, if we wanted it to be to our expectations.
Russ Perry: I guess it just is different generationally. I saw my dad doing a ton of stuff, but he made the same amount of money, like, he just had a salary. When he was done at 5 or on the weekends, there wasn’t more work he could do or he chose not to do, to create more wealth for himself, so he worked on cars. He built stuff, he built fences, and I saw that hard work in him, which I now adopted. Same with my mom, she was always doing stuff. I guess to kind of answer my own question, we do work hard, it’s just in different ways.
Mika Perry: They see us investing in hobbies and things for personal growth, and improvement, for whether it’s … not just personal, but for our family too, so if they saw us outsourcing all this stuff and then sitting around watching TV, which we never do, I feel like that would be a different thing.
Russ Perry: Yeah, we’re using that time wisely. That’s a great way to look at it is, is if you do invest in someone or building a team, you’re going to have a surplus of time, ’cause now those tasks are off your plate, whether it’s professionally or personally. You have to be a good steward of that time, otherwise, you’re going to … it is the person who has everyone doing stuff and they’re watching YouTube.
Mika Perry: You mentioned about modeling for your kids, I want my kids as adults to outsource things, and manage a team, and think of how to leverage their resources. Showing them now how to do that, that you don’t have to do it all by yourself, I think is important.
Russ Perry: That’s great. Yeah, building a team, it’s definitely kind of one of those weird things you don’t really learn in school, until you kind of get into the higher grades and then … I always hated working in teams in college. I’d get stuck with bozos.
Mika Perry: I am the type that like, I’ll just do it myself. You know? So I think it’s interesting that we’re talking about managing a team, ’cause you and I both are like, we could do it ourselves.
Russ Perry: There’s just a plateau.
Mika Perry: There is a plateau of what you can achieve and I think the growth and the success that we’ve experienced in the last several years is because we’ve found that leverage, you know?
Russ Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mika Perry: Finding a team.
Russ Perry: So the last thing I want to mention is something that you touched on and I put in my notes here, giving in to being organized. I married into organization. It’s like I inherited the most beautiful, beautiful organizer ever, and I was just not an organized person. I wouldn’t think about it but the best thing that I did was sort of give in and pitch in, trying to keep things where they’re at, trying to understand the systems of organization. It’s rules for stuff, rules for stuff, like a plan for things. So if you live like a monk, you have nothing in your life, it’s probably not that big of a deal. You can have a few dirty dishes in the sink and your mattress on the floor, and your one shirt that you wear, and you’re good. Organization is not a big deal.
But if you have things in your life, physical objects, it is distracting if you are trying to find them, not sure where they’re at, you have too many of them, you’re using the wrong things at the wrong time, and that’s the gift of organization, if I can sum it up there. Managing a team, literally from this small example, Dad, where’s the tape? It’s in the top left drawer in the craft room, or in the office. Right now, I’m visualizing where the tape is. That’s where the tape is. I can give them that directive from anywhere in the house. They can text me, I know where it is. It’s not like, where’s the tape, everyone look for the tape, oh, I found the tape in the back of the car, or in the couch, or whatever, and it takes 20 minutes to try to find the tape.
You do that 10 times a week, it takes up a lot of time for it. That’s just a philosophical thing on managing your home teams, is organization just, it’s like lubrication to allow everything to just glide easier and move smoother, ’cause it’s already chaotic enough, especially if you’re married with kids.
This wraps up our episode, managing teams at home and at work, and I think whether your team is really big at home or whether your team is really small at work, or vice versa, that you just remember the better you are at thinking about how you put a plan to the way you manage them, and ultimately, I think what we talked about at the very beginning, is you just communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate. I can’t say I’ve ever been more frustrated in my team management, whether it’s with you, Mika, or my team here at Design Pickle, than when I’m not communicating. That is ultimately the downfall of managing anything.
Mika Perry: I remember my internship, senior year at ASU, I interned at Make a Wish Foundation, and I managed Kids for Wish Kids. It was a program of kids, school-aged kids, helping Wish kids. My manager there, at the end of that internship, the one constructive criticism she had of me was to communicate more. For me, I was sitting here like, I got this, like, I don’t need to tell her and I don’t want to bother her with what I’m doing, ’cause I’ve got it and I don’t think she needs to know. Turns out, she was like, how is she doing on this, what is she doing with that, and so she wanted me to communicate more. That’s something I’ve taken as a little seed of thought as I’ve gone in my careers, is communicate more than you think you need to at time, ’cause you never know what the other party’s thinking or wanting.
Russ Perry: Love it. Well, that’ll wrap it up. Guys, if you’re not following us on Instagram, you should, because well, that’s what all the cool kids are doing. You can go to Instagram, I’m Russ Perry, Mika is Mika Perry, and then we have all our episodes on our site, goodtobehomepodcast.com. You can check out past episodes, whether that is about Sobriety, our tasks and routines we do in the morning, or other fun topics like travel, as well as get the full list of things that we are into, that we mentioned at the top of the show. So, we’ll see you next time.
Mika Perry: And thank you for all of the reviews and ratings.
Russ Perry: Oh yeah, if you’re not subscribed, we’re on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, drop in those five-star ratings now.
Mika Perry: For Good To Be Home, we really appreciate it.
Russ Perry: Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next time.
Mika Perry: Thanks, guys.
Russ Perry: Bye.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.
Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.
Russ Perry: See you next time.