EP 40: Becoming an Advocate for Change with Brianna Goodwin

Becoming an Advocate for Change

Brianna Goodwin is the President & CEO of Ver-Tex Construction, a specialty window treatment company that has been revolutionizing the industry since its inception more than 30 years ago. Throughout her career, Brianna has advocated for gender equality in the workplace, frequently being cited as an influential voice in the fight for women’s leadership across industries and her community. Today she joins the show to discuss how to identify what needs to be changed inside of your organization, while also diagnosing what’s going well and improving upon your team culture.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • The transition Brianna experienced when taking over as CEO and how the company culture shifted. (1:42)
  • Brianna’s advice for getting the right people in the right seats. (4:00)
  • The importance of being open to receiving feedback from your team. (8:30)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Always focus on getting the right person in the right seat. (16:15)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Ask for feedback. (14:55)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“Utilize your resources and don’t try to do it on your own.” - Brianna Goodwin Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to talent optimization my name is Tracy Scherck and today we are chatting about how we really look at.

Traci Scherck: Changes inside of our organization diagnose what’s going amazingly well and what are some of those key tweaks, we need to do to get the culture that we want and with me, I have brianna Goodwin and brianna is the CEO of vertex construction.

Traci Scherck: And brianna and I have worked together for several years in.

Traci Scherck: As coachees is in some coaching program and one of the things I most admire about brianna is how she can see into what individuals need and truly listen with vulnerability and we’ll chat about that as far as her successful we chat today so briana welcome.

Brianna Goodwin: Thanks Tracy happy to be here.

Traci Scherck: yeah so as we kind of chat about this idea of the Culture inside of our organization, I know what when you took over kind of the reins of vertex one of the things that you had to do was transition from this family owned organization into a larger organization, what did that look like.

Brianna Goodwin: yeah So when I took over, you know we were still operating as a small family run business, even though we’re probably.

Brianna Goodwin: we’re much larger than that we hadn’t updated our processes and getting a management structure in place, I was a new leader myself So for me.

Brianna Goodwin: The process was it was really challenging but it was learning do that balance of what made vertex really great, which is our our family oriented culture, the closeness of everybody really close knit community.

Brianna Goodwin: In keeping that feel as We grew also while we added accountability because there really wasn’t much accountability at the time there’s a lot of really great TEAM members not saying that people weren’t.

Brianna Goodwin: Great employees and we’re contributing, but in progress from a real culture, we did not have a culture of accountability, and it was.

Brianna Goodwin: You know, as we continue to grow and as i’ve moved into leadership, it was how do you how do you balance those two things, how do you add accountability to your.

Brianna Goodwin: Culture will still having that community of care, which was really important to me and still it as we continue to grow, how do you maintain that culture of care and grow into a larger organization.

Traci Scherck: I love, how you said that because so often, when we walk into organizations and start consulting with organizations, you know my first question is.

Traci Scherck: You know, tell me about your business strategy and then tell me about your business results are you hitting your business results and I typically get this look that’s like um yeah well kind of.

Traci Scherck: say yes.

Traci Scherck: And I can’t really right, so the question is always will what is stopping you from reaching that business strategy to those business results right.

Brianna Goodwin: yeah exactly.

Traci Scherck: And it’s two things typically hey do we have the processes in place to hold individuals accountable, which is how much of what by one right.

Traci Scherck: which is exactly what you just said, and we have the right people in the right.

Traci Scherck: seats with this as you talked about this culture and community of care.

Brianna Goodwin: Yes, absolutely.

Traci Scherck: And you know, so I know when we were prepping for this one of the key things you talked about was right people in the right seats and how do you do that with accountability so i’m so curious what was that journey like for you.

Brianna Goodwin: Well, you know, to be honest, I wish that I knew about pi back then, and how he consulted back then, because at the time, this was several years ago, it was a lot of trial and error, there was a lot of.

Brianna Goodwin: I would, I would say turmoil and chaos going on as made these transitions and we because you know it wasn’t just around.

Brianna Goodwin: The right people the right seats, it was creating the right roles, creating management structure the right management positions, we had to restructure departments and then on top of that, you had to make sure the right people who are in the right seats.

Brianna Goodwin: In that new structure, and so it was a challenge, and it was you know Luckily, we have such a great team and people took it in stride and.

Brianna Goodwin: Then really stuck with us, while we, while we went through those transitions um.

Brianna Goodwin: But there was a you know, like I said trial and error and and now knowing what I know both based on experience and having resources that I have in regards to predictive index and other consultants is that there’s definitely.

Brianna Goodwin: it’s an art it’s an art for sure, but there’s definitely more of a strategy around it versus just you know the fifth maybe 5050 you know, sometimes 25% you’re lucky if you get the right person, especially from a new hire that feels every part of that role that you’re looking for so.

Brianna Goodwin: You know, it was a lot of a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of time and energy that went into that and.

Brianna Goodwin: You know, we came out to the other side next day we’re we’re we’re pretty good at it now and identifying the right people and identifying the right goals we involve a lot more people in those decisions.

Brianna Goodwin: and

Brianna Goodwin: it’s you know it’s been a journey and.

Brianna Goodwin: I guess my advice for anyone else going through, it is to utilize your resources and try to do it on your own.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and when you talk about you know utilizing resources and not doing it on your own one of the things that you mentioned.

Traci Scherck: kind of i’m going to read between the lines, a little bit, but.

Traci Scherck: What is the data that we’re using to really ensure we have the right people in the right seats that we can truly execute our strategy to get the outcomes or our business results.

Traci Scherck: And you know we’ve talked about predictive index a little bit, and so, for those of you that are brand new to our podcast or don’t know what predictive index is essentially predictive index is your easy button to help you optimize the talent inside your organization.

Traci Scherck: Would you agree with that.

Traci Scherck: What it does is it actually gives you data to use for your people, so you can actually look at that data and diagnose, where the issues are.

Traci Scherck: And so, like we have data for every other metric inside of our organization right we’ve got sales data and we’ve got financial data but we’ve never really had people to have it, and this gives you that people that.

Traci Scherck: i’m in so you know, one of the things you talked a little bit about brianna was the that that journey and the tools and the You said this quote to me earlier and I loved it.

Traci Scherck: And it said I had a vision and did not know how to execute it, so I did it by sheer force versus through partnership tell us a little bit more about that, and how you kind of learn to become, in partnership with your team, while using some of those tools.

Brianna Goodwin: Sure alright so that’s a loaded question so i’ll try to.

Brianna Goodwin: cover all the points.

Brianna Goodwin: um.

Brianna Goodwin: So, you know as coming in, as a newer leader and having a vision, and you know I I definitely underestimated what it would take to get there.

Brianna Goodwin: You know I thought, when I first stepped into the position I thought the vision of what was missing, and so I have the vision i’ve got it all figured out i’m not realizing how much.

Brianna Goodwin: Support I would need from all of my team members of course I knew they would need their support, but getting you know people don’t like change and for me it’s easy to say oh change this change that.

Brianna Goodwin: i’m trying to drive people along with me and i’m implementing those changes on it instead.

Brianna Goodwin: You know, instead of actually working in partnership and looking at what needs to be changed, and how it needs to be changed, together with them.

Brianna Goodwin: And then, and then also enrolling them in actually implementing the change so um so that was definitely a learning process for me.

Brianna Goodwin: Until a few years, I guess i’m a slow learner but I was evolving over those years i’m getting a lot of coaching outside coaching executive coaching.

Brianna Goodwin: i’m working on myself reflecting on, you know how i’m landing getting a lot of feedback from my team members and other people in my life on.

Brianna Goodwin: You know power how am I landing and you know what are my results and what’s missing from you know where’s that that missing piece between my intent versus.

Brianna Goodwin: The impact um and so it’s been it’s been a process i’ve been doing development work for eight years now, and I continue to.

Brianna Goodwin: continue to do it because he’s such a vital part to my success new role success of the company is to constantly be working on myself and looking at those blind spots and looking at where Do I need to go next to help us get to the next level.

Brianna Goodwin: You know I certainly haven’t done it on my own i’ve done it with the help of coaches, with the help of peers, with the help of my team members i’m giving me the feedback.

Brianna Goodwin: i’m eternally grateful for the people that are that are open and honest with me, giving me that feedback, so I can learn and grow and so people get worried about giving that street feedback to the CEO and, for me it just it really touches my heart when someone does and.

Brianna Goodwin: Because, then so much I don’t know i’m blind to so many things about how I land and.

Brianna Goodwin: Knowing and hearing that from others really helps me gain that insight and help them work on myself so.

Brianna Goodwin: I think I covered all the points of your question, but I mean real oh I didn’t talk about the PI tool which is a huge was a huge benefit to us and a huge help which is again another outside resource that.

Brianna Goodwin: I was turned on to and once I researched it, I was like wow, this is a game changer for us because it does fill in that missing piece of.

Brianna Goodwin: You know you have a resume Okay, the resume looks great you like the person’s personality, I mean you get some help as much as you get from an interview.

Brianna Goodwin: But there’s certain characteristics, the behavioral characteristics that.

Brianna Goodwin: A person has a role requires you just don’t know if that’s the right fit until they’re in the role, but with PI you kind of take up that guesswork and you understand what.

Brianna Goodwin: their innate you know characteristics are how they like to work.

Brianna Goodwin: and communicate and you can see if that’s the right fit for the role, but in particular what I like about PI is it’s not like a pass or fail you don’t just get like.

Brianna Goodwin: Oh yes, this person is right in this person’s not you know there’s that kind of like a rating system you kind of see where they fall on a scale of a right fit or not right fit and you know someone doesn’t have to be a 10 out of 10 to be successful in that role.

Brianna Goodwin: But PR gives you those guidelines for the interview questions are for when you’re moving into someone in a role hey these are areas that may be a concern or an issue, these are the questions that you want to ask to see if the person can adapt appropriately.

Brianna Goodwin: And so, if the additional resources other than just the initial output of how they fit in the role but it’s those additional resources that really help us be successful, because then we can.

Brianna Goodwin: um you know it’s not black and white we’re very nuanced people, so you would just facilitate those conversations, to make sure that.

Brianna Goodwin: That works for everybody, before you go ahead and make the hire.

Traci Scherck: So, in other words, every single one of us is created perfectly the way we are we’re not creative perfectly for every role, but we can stretch at times into certain things if it’s a short period of time.

Brianna Goodwin: Absolutely, and the example I always give about that, when I talk about pi and talking about these.

Brianna Goodwin: You know behavioral competencies there there’s I grew up in my business, you have been at vertex for over 16 years i’ve done a lot of the rules myself.

Brianna Goodwin: started from the ground up and there are some rules like, for instance, during takeoff you know reading blueprints and putting the takeoff plan together from a plan.

Brianna Goodwin: I could do that rule no problem from a from a knowledge perspective, I know how to do it, you know very capable of doing that, if you look at like the pi.

Brianna Goodwin: pi I don’t even know what it’s called but like that profile profile for that type of role.

Brianna Goodwin: In my profile they’re literally completely opposite like i’m not the right fit for that role can’t Am I capable of it sure I can certainly do it long term wise I would not be happy, doing the whole like that.

Brianna Goodwin: And that’s something I would want to know from where I got hired you know if I was exploring different rules like that’s a rule that long term would not suit the way that I like to work because i’m definitely more.

Brianna Goodwin: i’m not a structured, you know i’m not I I want more freedom, I want to be able to work at a faster pace, etc, so these are the, these are the different, this is the feedback we get from the PI and the results from comparing the role to the person.

Traci Scherck: yeah what you just said, I absolutely love because it’s essentially will you do the job for a long period of time, and we can all do certain jobs for a short period of time right it’s just knowing what that is.

Traci Scherck: One of the things we didn’t talk about brianna and i’m going to kind of bring it up here is.

Traci Scherck: When we look at talent pathway planning and bringing a really green brand new College Grad in into where they want to grow in the organization, especially as somebody that’s going to.

Traci Scherck: You know sample all these different roles so hey there’s 12 roles you’re going to have a two year you know apprenticeship program and kind of bounced seats.

Traci Scherck: you’re not going to be a fit for every role but you’re going to learn that, overall, you know what that looks like in in our talent pathway plan, a lot of times we really utilize.

Traci Scherck: Those behavioral assessments to say guess what to get to this role into have that freedom, you have to understand how the job works, because the further you go up in an organization leadership roles.

Traci Scherck: you’re not doing tests anymore you’re leading people, and you have to understand intimately what those tasks are, which means you gotta roll up your sleeves and do it for a short period of time.

Traci Scherck: awesome so I want to just kind of do a quick bullet of what we’ve talked about in put this into some points because you made so many amazing points throughout our conversation today.

Traci Scherck: And one of those is what is that vision and culture, you know you really started with that we want a culture of care we’ve got a vision but guess what we have to have some metrics and some accountability to that vision.

Traci Scherck: To ensure that we’re actually reaching our business results, how do we do that we’re going to put a people plan in place.

Traci Scherck: I know you didn’t use that term, but essentially we’re going to put a people plan in place to bridge that business strategy to our business results.

Traci Scherck: And we have to enroll our team, and if we’re not great leaders, we can learn to be great leaders with that knowing what we can do for a long period of time and getting that right mix in place.

Traci Scherck: You know in and accepting that feedback I so love what you just what you talked about with feedback because it’s truly a gift, as long as we view it as a gift.

Brianna Goodwin: Yes, and there are times when it doesn’t feel like it, yes, when it’s coming at me.

Brianna Goodwin: So yeah and I.

Traci Scherck: Think we’ve been giving and receiving ends of that right.

Traci Scherck: right we learn how to give feedback and much better ways.


Traci Scherck: um and so as we kind of close out today what’s one takeaway that you have for our executive and CEO listeners.

Brianna Goodwin: So I would say the one takeaway for executives and CEOs is definitely in line with what I was talking about regarding feedback is.

Brianna Goodwin: is asked for feedback constantly consistently in many different forms and formats from all different levels of the organization and it’s, the only way to truly know how things are going and how you’re doing and it’s, the only way to know for sure.

Brianna Goodwin: To really know what what’s needed in the organization and for yourself and for your growth.

Brianna Goodwin: And I think that’s been the biggest thing for me is constantly asking as much as as much as it hurts sometimes to hear what you don’t know you don’t want to hear necessarily but.

Brianna Goodwin: You can tailor your business to the needs of your team members and facing.

Brianna Goodwin: You know your change initiatives on that feedback both from your from a personal growth perspective and from a company perspective and so it’s just being vulnerable and opening up your your ears and your heart and and hearing it and really taking it and making changes accordingly.

Traci Scherck: Thank you so much for that, and it does impact your financials when we listen to the feedback, you know and implement some of those things that you know our frontline staff here see that our pain points to them, it can increase production significantly because we’re removing those barriers.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely yeah and what’s one takeaway that you have for our human resource listeners and practitioners.

Brianna Goodwin: So for me and based on my experience as an executive and working with HR professionals, we have an HR manager at our company um it’s there’s a there’s a there’s always a tension when it comes to hiring TEAM members is different agendas, I think, for both from different parts of the company.

Brianna Goodwin: And you know, making sure a team managers and executives are aligned with the HR the HR goals and vice versa.

Brianna Goodwin: is important, and you know always keeping the focus of everyone involved in hiring on.

Brianna Goodwin: Getting the right person in the right seat, you know, make sure it’s the right person and don’t hire just because you need a body don’t just fill a role.

Brianna Goodwin: it’s very costly, not just financially energy wise it definitely hinders growth, because if you’re having turnover you’re not developing people long term and their roles it kills morale.

Brianna Goodwin: there’s so many drawbacks to it so taking the time to hire the right person from the get go, you know might take a little bit longer on the front end but it definitely pays off in the back end so.

Brianna Goodwin: really working HR partners, working with their executive manager teams on aligning on those goals and making sure the focus always stays on.

Brianna Goodwin: Getting that right person in the right seat versus just billing getting or However, I always have you said it oh converses output, you know, open up a body you that sometimes of people hire for versus the overall outcome.

Traci Scherck: Right and tying that outcome to what are the business results are looking to get based on the individual in this role.

Traci Scherck: And then we want to make sure that they’re fulfilled and they’re all I want to do it long term.


Traci Scherck: awesome brianna Thank you so much for sharing your journey your story, and some of those key insights that our listeners can really take and run with it will impact those business outcomes for their organization.

Traci Scherck: If you’re interested in following briana and learning more about vertex.

Traci Scherck: That information will be in our show notes and, by the way, if you are curious about some of the things that we do here at elevated talent consulting.

Traci Scherck: And how we align them put in place that people strategy for your business, we have our talent optimization foundation membership program also linked in the show notes, so thank you so much for joining us we hope you have a great rest of your day.