Today our interview is with Vision Master, Dr. Stephie Althouse, a scientist by training, a professional consultant by design, a turn around specialist, the author of two books, and the creator of several innovative business processes that dramatically improve revenues.
In this interview, we are talking to Dr. Stephie about one of her propriety methods, Brilliance Extraction™. The name gives you your first peek into the process.
Dr. Stephie observed that all the companies she worked with had varying degrees of untapped Intellectual Capital (IC), unmapped policies, and procedures, key staff with “siloed” knowledge that went on vacation with them or left if they moved on. The result of these overlooked resources are costs vs. profits. Even the most talented CEOs had no set methods for extracting the knowledge that lived in their minds and the minds of key people. Missing was how to turn that knowledge into increased efficiency (cost savings) or new revenue streams (profit-producing) that positively affect the bottom line. It was a problem without a solution.
For Dr. Stephie, it was a challenge, not a problem. One that she could see would grow the revenue outcome for deserving companies once a methodology was applied. All companies are focused on making profits as they must. When CEOs and founders are looking for investors, reporting to their board of directors, or positioning their companies for sale, this becomes even more critical. Brilliance Extraction is one of the most innovative, problem-solving, and results-producing processes available to smart executives today.
At Intelliversity, it is a primary goal to give our readers every edge for business success.
Robert Steven K…: This is Robert Steven Kramarz, founder of Intelliversity, and this is the Vision Master podcast. And today we have with us somebody I’ve really loved working with in the past, looking forward to working with her again. This is Dr. Stephie Althouse. Stephie, how are you today?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Fabulous. Thank you for having me on, Rob.
Robert Steven K…: It’ll be fun. Stephie, before we go any further, what are you a doctor of?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Chemistry. But really I’ve worked in chemistry and physics and lots of adjoining areas, including engineering and other science endeavors. And then from there, dovetailed right into business.
Robert Steven K…: In the business world, what is the most recent news in your career?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Well, most recently I have become part of the advising team to a venture capital firm. The initial conversation was about vetting companies, and that is definitely very important to what I do, but it’s not stopping there. I’m acting as Thinking Partner™ to the founder, and I’m going to be acting as a Thinking Partner to the CEOs and key staff of the portfolio companies we take on. And I’m involved in helping the scaling up of the companies as well.
Robert Steven K…: So, what do you mean by Thinking Partner?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Yeah, a Thinking Partner is someone who helps you think things through and with fresh eyes, because you’re always too close to yourself. So it has to be somebody who’s not so close to yourself, but who can look at it with fresh eyes and discover new perspectives. And that means unearthing and revealing new opportunities, as well as also some threats that might have to be addressed.
Robert Steven K…: So what is the … You said threat, right?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Threat, yeah.
Robert Steven K…: What is the biggest threat that CEOs you’re working with are facing?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Well, there can be a number of them. I mean, a lot of times CEOs will try to do everything themselves. And they will have way too many hats on and they have a really hard time ever get out of that cycle. So that’s definitely one of them. Sometimes you’re stuck in a belief system that something is so until someone comes along and says, “Why does it have to be that way?” Well, and so then now they have to explain it and then eventually they discover, “Wait, maybe it doesn’t have to be the way I thought it.
Robert Steven K…: So in terms of scaling up a company, how does this bring value to the CEO?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Well, we have created a process. I have created a process called Brilliance Extraction™. And basically this is how it works. It’s innovators, visionaries, and key staff who carry a lot of the vision, expertise, and knowledge in their heads, but it’s hard for other people to get at that knowledge or to replicate it for training, processes, Intellectual Capital, manuals, job descriptions or perhaps most important, expression the vision and mission of the company in a way that employees can participate.
And so what we do is we figure out what of that knowledge is the most important to extract right now, we extract it. There are simple methods that don’t take very much time, so it’s not tying down the visionary. But we do it while we run alongside the everyday functions that are building everything. Then we take this brilliance and build it into a system. Now, with the system, now you can train others, you can make your business run more efficiently and you can scale up effectively. And it also gets the visionary out of the minutiae, out of the feeling that he or she cannot take their eyes off the business for a break. That is what CEOs and founders tell me they most frequently hate about being tied down.
Robert Steven K…: So a visionary who’s learned really how to be a CEO. What do I call that?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: A visionary who has learned to be CEO is the Vision Master. And then you have, of course, the Execution Master, which works optimally if that is a second person like the CFO, COO, or other C-Suite officers. So the distinction, I’m sure your audience is familiar with it, is the Vision Master’s responsible for the vision and the new innovation. And also the face of it all, which is, typically the role of the CEO.
And then you have the Execution Master, and they might be the president or the CEO. Frankly, the title doesn’t matter so much. But that’s the person who holds the nuts and bolts together and is the conduit between the Vision Master and the rest of the team and makes sure that it actually happens. They are the glue that holds it all together. Think of Elon Musk (VM) and Gwynn Shotwell (EM) or Steve Jobs (VM) and Tim Cook (EM). Note that when Tim Cook took over as the VM the company did not do as well as when he was the nuts and bolts guy.
Robert Steven K…: We’ve agreed on this for so long that it’s old for us, but it may not be old for the Vision Master who is listening to this.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Absolutely. Well, and there are many reasons why Vision Masters, CEOs think that they are indispensable. Initially, of course, it’s also funding, holding the vision, and then sometimes it’s a bit of ego. But when you park the ego on the side and actually get a bit of help, that can help get funding that maybe you can’t get without that help. And then there is the profit factor. See new pathways to lower costs and increasing revenue is the hallmark of a great CEO or founder. When you see what the reward is of uncuffing yourself from what you have in your head, what you in many cases have actually forgotten you have in your head, that’s magic.
It’s actually surprisingly hard to tap into your own brilliance and productize or processize it. Many people think it’s hard to train other people in what you know so well or have others create train programs. It’s challenging to step back from what you or your staff do unconsciously to the mind of new employees, but the best training happens when you can do just that. Anyway, that’s another story for another time.
There’s so much that people forget they know that they take for granted but can make a huge difference to the company when that knowledge is shared effectively. We tickle that kind of knowledge out of them over time and we build a system. Then we test the system and improve it until its flawless.
Robert Steven K…: So could we actually create an AI version of the CEO Vision Master to actually run the company? Do you think there’s a future in that?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Sure. I mean, I think it is theoretically possible. Let me think about that, but yes. I mean, as soon as you have the knowledge available, then yes, I don’t see why you could not put it into an AI system.
Robert Steven K…: I exaggerate the present state of AI, but still it’s coming.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Yeah. Theoretically it’s possible.
Robert Steven K…: I know Elon Musk would love that.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Yes.
Robert Steven K…: Just me and my machines. That would be perfect
Dr. Stephie Alt…: But I think in this context now, since you brought up AI, which produces a lot of fear that experts could be replaced by AI, which is already happening in lots of areas. But let’s just remember one thing, that may be in the old days, the role of an expert was to be indispensable by holding back on the expertise that they have already. I actually speak about this frequently.
But in the new model of leveraging your expertise, your job is to make sure you stay relevant and come up with new things. But you can’t come up with new things because you won’t have time. Because you won’t have time because you’re wrapped up in this minutiae to execute in things you already thought of., already going on Brilliance Extraction solves that problem. It is a pain for the people who are still cuffed by that. And it’s just sigh of relief when they finally get out of it. And don’t get me started on that “bottom draw” of brilliant thoughts and ideas that got shoved away due to time constraints.
Robert Steven K…: Wow. It sounds like you can be of some help to companies scaling up before they raise money, in order to clarify the vision and to build a better team, more effective team. And as well as after they’ve gotten their funding or maybe both.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Absolutely, yes.
Robert Steven K…: Yes.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Part of how we do that is to suss out the vision with them and to make it into a succinct and simple, tellable, and transferrable vision. You want other people can get it without having to sit at the conference table for half a day and still come out confused. It’s unfortunate because some visionaries really can change the world, but they can’t articulate their vision to save their lives.
Robert Steven K…: Well, I might be calling you for myself. Stephie, we got to go. How can people reach out to you and contact you? How can our Vision Masters reach you?
Dr. Stephie Alt…: The easiest way is to go to https://drstephie.com. Or you can also call me, 760-707-9977. I always love to talk with people who do interesting things. We can always chat and see what comes up. Go to drstephie.com, and you’ll get links there to the other sites that we have.
Robert Steven K…: Thank you, Stephie, I’m looking forward to working with you again in the near future. This is Robert Steven Kramarz, founder of Intelliversity on your Vision Master podcast. And that’s the way it will be. Thank you, Stephie.
Dr. Stephie Alt…: Thank you.