Tuesdays with Corey interview with Liz Parker

Liz Parker is Founder and Principal of LT Consultants. Liz is a seasoned facilitator and performance coach. She works with executives and teams to inspire leaders and ignite results. Together, they identify areas of misalignment then focus on those projects that will truly transform the client’s organization. Her experience entailed 13 years of working within a global network that operated with virtual teams. This experience helps her relate to the needs, issues, and concerns of many clients who are facing similar situations like these today. A key component of Liz’s 19 years of consulting success is selecting the most appropriate “intervention” for the business or cultural situation. This includes surveys and assessment tools to engage and empower individuals to become aware of their own behaviors and capabilities. She has worked with multinational organizations in worldwide leadership development, cross-functional team dynamics, strategic planning and coaching across Asia-Pacific, Australia, Europe and the UK, the Middle East, South America and the U.S.

Liz thrives on finding commonalities among various cultures as well as respecting differences so that all can work together, using their strengths, to obtain the desired results. She uses assessment tools to provide objective feedback. Liz relies on her honesty and integrity to address sensitive issues that others are afraid to discuss. She helps leaders at all levels re-discover their passion and purpose and do it with practical thinking.

Connect with Liz on LinkedIn and follow LT Consultants on Facebook.

Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city's best businesses and the people who lead them.

Stone Payton: Welcome to this very special edition of Atlanta Business Radio. It is time for my favorite series, Tuesdays with Corey with our friend and yours, Mr. Corey Rieck. How are you, sir?

Corey Rieck: Stone, I'm doing great. How are you today?

Stone Payton: I am doing well. And I know you've got a guest. I know you want to get to that conversation. But could we talk a little bit about this thing you had this morning? Can you talk a little bit about this breakfast thing?

Corey Rieck: Yes, we had a Tuesdays with Corey Breakfast. It was a business building breakfast. And what we did is we invited the guests, of which there'd been 40 since we started the show, to come at breakfast, and do some networking, and some relationship building.

Stone Payton: It sounds marvelous. I wasn't there. I want to be at the next one. Am I allowed or do I have to be a guest first?

Corey Rieck: Well, I have to put it to the board. They'll have to take a vote on that.

Stone Payton: All right. So, who'd you bring with you, man?

Corey Rieck: So, today, Stone, we have Liz Parker, and she's the President and Founder of LT Consultants. And what they do is they help companies get better. Liz, welcome.

Liz Parker: Thank you very much, Corey. And hi, Stone.

Stone Payton: Hello there.

Corey Rieck: So, Liz comes to us from Greenville, South Carolina. And she participated in the breakfast this morning. And now, she's on the show here. She's got a great story about how she got into her business and how she helps companies. So, tell us a little bit about how you got to LT Consultants and what led you to start it?

Liz Parker: Well, I would love to share that with you. And I first have to give a plug for the breakfast too. It was phenomenal. You did a fabulous job-

Corey Rieck: Oh, thank you.

Liz Parker: ... bringing all the women together and fabulous speakers. It's great interaction. So, thank you for that invitation.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. Thank you very much.

Liz Parker: So, back to LT Consultants. The way I got started is I was working with DHL Worldwide Express over in Hong Kong. I was their sales training manager. And while I was over there, they had asked me to move a couple different times, and they were wanting me to go to Europe. And I wasn't quite ready to go to Europe because my helper wasn't coming along, and I had a young 5-year-old son. So, I ended up deciding I was coming back to the States. And at the very last minute, the owner of DHL in Hong Kong came to me and said, "Hey, I'm going to be doing some strategic planning for nonprofit foundations, and I like your facilitation style, and I want to have you work with me." So, I was like, "Okay, what does that look like?" This is the Saturday before I'm to fly out on Sunday to go back to the United States to live.

Corey Rieck: Nice for him to give you some notice.

Liz Parker: So, on the spot, I said, "Okay. I'm looking forward to this. It sounds great." And he was like, "Oh, but I don't want an employee." He said, "You need to start your own business." And I'm looking at him like, "What? I don't even know how to start my own business." So, he put me in touch with one of his contacts through networking. And on Monday, I had my own business, LT Consultants. And this July, I'll be in business 20 years.

Corey Rieck: Congratulations. I know you've helped a lot of folks with that. What was it like living in Hong Kong? How long were you over there?

Liz Parker: I was over there for seven years, and it was absolutely phenomenal.

Corey Rieck: How so?

Liz Parker: Just from the standpoint of the people, there were so many different types of people there. It isn't just the Asians. You've got the Europeans over there. I mean, everyone is. It was a hubbub of activity. So, from that standpoint, the energy of the island is just incredible. And people are all about business, all about creating, all about innovation. So, every time you turned around, somebody was creating something new.

Corey Rieck: How far a flight is that from Atlanta to where you are in Hong Kong? Just curious.

Liz Parker: Well, I can tell you, I wasn't living in Atlanta at the time, but it's 16 hours direct from Chicago. And they do it nonstop in the summers. In the winters, they can't do it. You got to go through someplace. But it's 16 hours nonstop from Chicago.

Corey Rieck: So, it sounds like you enjoyed your time over there living abroad. And what kind of adjustments did you have to make moving from the United States, and living here, and then moving and living in a different country for so long?

Liz Parker: Well, one of the things that, really, you have to do is just be yourself. And what I found-.

Corey Rieck: Yeah, you have no problem with that.

Liz Parker: Well, what's funny is that I did try and pull myself back, believe it or not, when I was over in Asia.

Corey Rieck: Did you succeed?

Liz Parker: Well, for me, I did, but I was still over the top for most Asians, as you can imagine. If you could imagine this, I went over wearing bright pinks, bright reds, every color under the rainbow in suits. And by the time I came back, I was wearing black, gray, everything was muted, everything was toned down. So, it is a matter of the biggest things were just adjusting to the culture. I knew the content and that worked well. But I learned people are people. It doesn't matter where you are.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, sounds like you really enjoyed your time over there. But you haven't always lived in Atlanta. You haven't always lived in Hong Kong. Where else have you lived?

Liz Parker: Well, West Palm Beach, Florida; Elk Horn, Iowa.

Corey Rieck: God's country.

Liz Parker: Yes. We do have that Iowa sharing knowledge-

Corey Rieck: We do.

Liz Parker: ... that we love the Iowa, except for the winters. So-

Corey Rieck: Yeah, you can have that.

Liz Parker: Exactly.

Corey Rieck: I don't need that.

Liz Parker: And that's why we're down here. So, let's see. Greenville, South Carolina is where I am right now. And we have really enjoyed being in Greenville. It's a nice hop, skip, and a jump from Atlanta. So, I can pop over here whenever I need to.

Corey Rieck: It's a great city. It seems to be growing. I enjoy going there. There's a lot going on there. A lot of restaurants, a lot of companies are putting offices there, headquarters there. I think it's an excellent city.

Liz Parker: That was one of the reasons we ended up deciding to go there. I had a client down there or over there, and we had decided that we'd just try it out, see what we thought of it. My husband and I were tired of the Iowa winters. We'd gone back to take care of some things with our parents, and we were pretty tired of it. So, we went south. We'd lived down in West Palm Beach, Florida before we went to Iowa. So, it was a big culture shock and we thought maybe Atlanta, Greenville, those were kind of the areas to land. And Greenville was a little bit smaller. And it allowed us to get to the other cities. And I was looking to find a client base to kind of renew the connections that I had and build my business for the strategic planning.

Corey Rieck: You're kind of within striking distance when you're living in Greenville to Charlotte, and then also to Atlanta. And I think you get all the big city pleasures that you need in Greenville. But if you want more, you can always go to Charlotte or Atlanta.

Liz Parker: That is exactly it.

Corey Rieck: And you're only a couple hour car drive away depending upon where you go.

Liz Parker: Just a short audible book ride.

Corey Rieck: Out of all the places you've lived, where have you liked living the best?

Liz Parker: The warm countries. So, I would have to say I really did enjoy Hong Kong. It was hot, and humid, and nasty sometimes, but I really enjoyed the weather. I also have found that I'm enjoying Greenville during the winters or the summers. The winters are a little too cool for me. So, I do like these warmer climates, I've decided. And I remember when we came back, when I came back from Hong Kong, I landed in Atlanta first, and it was just fabulous until we got snow. And then, I went, "Oh, no, I'm not far enough south."

Corey Rieck: Yeah, it's interesting how as I get older, I really don't care for the cold. And having grown up in Southern Minnesota and living in the Midwest for the first 33 years of my existence, I really wanted to go someplace where the weather was sort of more temperate. And when you look at all the snow that they've gotten in Minnesota, in the Midwest this last year, and how cold it's been, that's just not something that I care to do anymore.

Liz Parker: And I have to just tell you that this is such a Midwestern conversation because we could spend an hour talking about the weather.

Corey Rieck: We could.

Liz Parker: And I love that because-

Corey Rieck: But we're not going to.

Liz Parker: Okay. Well, I just want to say thank you. That makes me feel like I'm at home.

Corey Rieck: Yes, it does. So, you've helped a lot of companies. You've got, obviously, great experience of strategy. I know that in my company, you've helped me enormously by really helping me define roles for the various people in my organization. Tell us about how you help organizations with that? And why is it important?

Liz Parker: Well, what I find is I have used TTI assessments for years. And in fact, I started with them, I realized, about 15 years ago. So, I was in business to kind of try and help people uncover where their real potential was, not just the individuals, but the organizations that we leave so much talent on the table that we just don't even realize. And then, if you can actually hire to the right talent, you can really capitalize on that. So, what I realized is through these assessments, we have a job benchmarking process that we use to help organizations and individuals look at who is at I need to be a superior performer in my organization. Look at that role very specifically, and by doing that, we actually find out how we can match individuals to those jobs. And when you do that, the employee is engaged, the company is happy, everybody's more productive, and it results in success for both the employee and the business.

Corey Rieck: Well, I think for me, it was very useful. I know I spent a lot of time preparing the first time that we did this when I came to Greenville and really thinking about, "Okay, what are all the results that I need for this position? What are the priorities? What are the A, B and C? And what are all the tasks that this position needs to complete during the course of a day?" And I realized that the people that I've hired in the past, I didn't take this amount of consideration. I don't want to say I didn't take it seriously, but I just didn't know that there was a systematic, deliberate way to spell out this is everything that needs to be done. Because like in my company, I know what needs to be done. I don't always write it down but you know.

Corey Rieck: And Stone and I were talking about this yesterday at breakfast, "I've got to do this, I got to do that. I've got to do this." But somebody that's not been in your company wouldn't know that. And you have to spell it out for them, so we can all be successful. And it was an arduous undertaking, but certainly worth it. And you were able to coach me through, "Okay, if these are all of the things that you need to do, what order do we have? And what percentage of time with these group of tasks do you need to be spending time on in?" I'd never given it that much thought. And that was extremely helpful for me.

Liz Parker: And so, did it show up in your hire when you actually brought the person on board? Do you see that they go to that document and they look to see what to do?

Corey Rieck: It did, because early on, when you think about, "Okay, here's a position," no matter what it is, position X, you think about, "Okay, what needs to be done?" and you think, "Okay. There's eight or ten things that need to be done every day, but maybe there's different things that need to be done sort of intermittently, or maybe there's things that once a month I have a high priority of being done. And there's just a lot more to it than jotting down a couple of bullets." And so, I wondered about, "Okay, let's think the job through." And we did that. We spent a lot of time doing that.

But then, for you to give me the benchmarking test, asking the questions, so we could determine, "Hey, what's required?" And it was time consuming, but it was worthwhile because I was able to spell out, "Oh, these are the things that I think are important in addition to the job description, and the benchmarking, and the time allotments that we've given." And then, from that, you were able to get the right person, or you're sort of able to take further measures to make sure that you put yourself in a position to have the right hire.

And ironically, after we completed our work shortly thereafter, I had started asking clients, "Hey, I need this kind of help, I need this person. The job is this. I just want to make a connection with someone and see if they like the job." And I remember, the first person that I talked to was a perfect match. And it just made sense to me the way that you laid everything out. And I'm answering the question for you. A long answer to a short question.

Liz Parker: I wanted you to answer the question. Thank you.

Corey Rieck: But like anything, anything worthwhile isn't easy, and it isn't always straightforward. And I trusted you because we've known each other for a number of years, and I knew that I needed the help, and I knew that I needed to do things differently. So, that's what led me to ask for your help on the positions that you've helped me really define and the company.

Liz Parker: Well, and you'll also find that you like structure, and you've learned structure really is what needs to be in order. And in the business that you have with the Long Term Care Planning, you have so much detail that goes on that you need to have that kind of person in place. And if you don't, it is an issue because you're not going to serve the clients that you need to serve.

Corey Rieck: Well, it's very good. You know my business, you know kind of what I'm trying to do, you sort of know how I'm going to react. And so, that's extremely helpful. And I think we learned at the breakfast today that I've surrounded myself with these technicians that are subject matter experts. I don't pretend to know everything. I've had a tremendous amount of support and help. And I think it makes sense to access people that this is their fastball. They do it every day. And it made sense for me to get your help on the positions that you've created. And it made sense to me because, okay, we had the conversation, we did the benchmarking, you created the job description, and then we did the assessments and the testing. And it all makes sense to me.

And so, now that we have the jobs laid out, okay, so a person may be with me for a period of time, and then they may move on. Well, at least, I know here's what I have to have done and here's the adjustments maybe that I'll make from the last person that did it. And we've done that too. But I really feel like I'm in a very good position to make sure that I hire the right person and I have somebody like you that knows my business, knows me to sort of watch over me and save me from myself really.

Liz Parker: Well, you did all the steps that we needed to do. And by doing that, you were able to create a benchmark that stays in place as long as you don't change that role. And so, people can come and go. You have customized interview questions. You have the process laid out, so that it falls in line with what the EEOC requires, that you're totally legal and aboveboard on how you bring in people, very open minded. And so, it really makes a difference in your business when you do that because the person comes with the behaviors, the motivators, and the competencies you need, and you know which things you can coach, and you know which things you have to hire to.

Corey Rieck: Well, I think the other thing that was helpful is I had wanted to create the first position you helped me with, where there is certainty and uncertainty. And through the assessment, you were able to determine this person is going to respond to those things, this person needed flexibility in terms of the hours. And honestly, I didn't care when the person came in. I just care that the stuff got done. And it made a big difference to her that she had great flexibility to come and go. And she knew what needed to be done. And I don't see any reason to have somebody at a certain time beginning and end as long as the job gets done.

Liz Parker: Well, and they knew what the job was because you spent all the time putting those tasks down.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. You really did help me kind of spell that out. And I think it makes it easier. And I think in the past, people that I've hired, I didn't have all that clarified. So, it created uncertainty. It created a gray area. And I think if you have to ask yourself, what's getting done when you walk out of the office, you already have your answer. And I think spelling it out really helped me figure out, "All right. These are the five key result areas that we need to have done." And I think you gave me the idea of at the end of every day, the people that I have working for me, send me a summary of what got done, what didn't get done, what needs my attention. And it's just useful, but it is a process to figure all that out and kind of figure out what exactly needs to be done each day.

Liz Parker: Well, and as much as it sounds intensive and laborious to go through it, we can-

Corey Rieck: It's worthwhile.

Liz Parker: ... actually get it done in a fairly short period of time. I love to have people walk in with a blank slate because it allows them to just put everything that's in that brain down and with a couple hours. I mean, if you think about it, we did that within a couple of hours. You had the assessment done. And by the time you left, you had the benchmark ready to go. And that was about a four or five-hour period.

Corey Rieck: Yeah, it was very useful to see the process, and then knowing, "Okay, if we have to add somebody, this is the position." And it's just, "Okay, I want to have coffee with someone and see if there's a connection." And really tell them about, "Here's the job. Here are all the things that need to be done. Here's kind of how we've laid this out." And if somebody likes that, then we can pursue it, maybe another discussion and perhaps taking the assessment. But I like the backup. I like the fact that you know my business, and you can tell me and coach me, and say, "This person is not the right one," or, "This person is the right one," or "Here are the things you're going to have problems with, with this person." And it just makes a lot more sense than hiring people off the cuff. And let's be frank, anybody you meet the first couple of interviews, they're gonna put their best foot forward. It's like dating. And you're able to sort of do the trust but verify. That's kind of how I see how you've helped me with that.

Liz Parker: Well, good. I'm glad I could help because that's the whole idea. It's to make sure that you are happy but, also, people are nice ... just like you said, if they're coming in thinking this is a job they want, but when they start to see what those skills are, it really turns them off. They are not going to be productive for you, and they're not going to be happy. So, you want those engaged people.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. And I think you've been able to really clarify all those things. And for that, I'm most grateful because I think it took something that seemed like an enormous undertaking, and you made it straightforward and fairly pain-free.

Liz Parker: Good.

Corey Rieck: It is painful to assess and get asked questions for a period of time about what needs to be done. But it's a necessary step in the process.

Liz Parker: It is.

Corey Rieck: And the other side of this is if you hire the wrong person because you didn't do that work, well, then, that's my own fault if I don't do that.

Liz Parker: And that's why they have to stay in the office next to you because they are waiting for their next order rather than having the freedom to know what they need to be doing.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. And I think that somebody, to me, an employee that has freedom, that is able to move about, come in and go, there is structure because there's stuff that has to be done every day. But one of the ladies that helps me, she gets stuff done sometimes at 3:00 in the morning while she has two small kids. And so, like I said, it doesn't matter to me. I mean, I'm not up at 3:00 in the morning, so I'm not looking at it. But I think it's helpful for her that she has the flexibility that she does have. And I think the process, and the assessment, and all the things that you set up really was very, very crucial in me getting to that point.

Liz Parker: Well, I'm glad to hear that. So, I know we're working on a second one right now, and I think that you'll find that's an even quicker process the second time 'cause you know what to expect.

Corey Rieck: It has been in. And as time has gone on, we sort of morphed. We've created this new position. And it's funny. I mean, when we created the last position, I kept thinking, "I wonder how I'm going to find somebody." And it wasn't a couple weeks later, I met somebody, and then I met somebody, a couple of others. And I think putting the word out to clients, and friends, and contacts, if they have a relationship with you, they may feel some level of vesting, and they may feel a need to connect that person to you.

Liz Parker: Yeah. And you know what to ask for.

Corey Rieck: Well, I know-

Liz Parker: That's the difference.

Corey Rieck: And I know what I need. And if I have a question, I'm just going to call you. So, you're not getting away. I have your phone number to text, email. So-

Liz Parker: Well, I am delighted.

Corey Rieck: Yeah. And that part is just a component of your business.

Liz Parker: Right, it is.

Corey Rieck: There are other things that you do at LT Consultants. Like I know I met you through Vistage. And Vistage is executive coaching for business owners, executives. It's a tremendous organization. And you are now a Vistage chair.

Liz Parker: Yes, I am.

Corey Rieck: And how do you like that?

Liz Parker: I absolutely love it. I was a member as you were. We're at seven-year memberships, I think, when we were-

Corey Rieck: Yes.

Liz Parker: ... when we first got together there. So, we're both seven-year members. But what I did was in Greenville, and I was coming into Atlanta to the Vistage meeting here, because it is that worth it to drive for a half day meeting because we get so much quality out of it. We had one of the chairs retire in Greenville, so I took over his group. And I've had the group for a year. And we've got nine people right now where are CEOs that are anywhere between 2 million and 40 million in revenue, and we are always looking. It's non-competing industries as far as the group goes.

So, these CEOs are building off of each other. And the gift that I bring to them and the gift they give to me is just not always learning from each other, but my background in strategic planning has made a huge difference in looking at the seven stages of growth that entrepreneurs go through. So, I'm able to provide value from that standpoint as well as we look at how these businesses grow and what they need to do to take that next business challenge and push themselves and each other to do that.

Corey Rieck: While I missed you in our group, I think that you're meant to do that. I think you're in a great position. And I think I look forward to hearing all the great things that you're going to do there. I think the experience is useful because you have a group of people of 10 to 15 people roughly in each group, and they can function on many levels as a de facto board because you can bring in things that you're struggling with or that you are not sure you have an answer on. And chances are there's somebody in your group that has been through it or you could give you counsel on how to do it or, in some cases, how not to do it.

Liz Parker: Exactly. And we find that, especially when we have family businesses in, people who have had to go through something.

Corey Rieck: Families fight? This just in.

Liz Parker: It is amazing, isn't it?

Corey Rieck: So, when you have those family businesses, if somebody has been through it already with a parent, or grandparent, or a brother, or sister, being able to kind of give them the guidance to dodge that in the future or know what documentation to have, know what advisor to go to, whatever that happens to be. I mean, this is how it all links back to what you do. You connect people, and that's what these CEOs do too. They connect each other. It is all about who do you know, and how can we help each other in a very giving manner, not in a greedy manner.

Yeah. I think it's important to be able to have ... with my experience in Vistage, I think it's been important to go to a place where you can get an unvarnished opinion. You may not like what's said, but it's unvarnished and, usually, without any sort of bias or agenda. And I think that's useful because I think of you have a company, many times, people that work for you are going to tell you what you want to hear and that may not be what you need to hear.

Liz Parker: That's exactly what it is. CEOs are on their own. Executives are on their own. They do not have people give them direct feedback. And so, they might be operating thinking they're doing super well because people are yes people around them and afraid to irritate them; when, in fact, they are doing something that is detrimental to the business, and somebody needs to share that.

Corey Rieck: What do you like best about what you're doing?

Liz Parker: It is getting to know the people and having the connection with the people. I find it extremely fulfilling to be able to ... and it may be because after you're over 50, you start to go, "Hey, I actually know something."

Corey Rieck: You're over 50?

Liz Parker: I am over 50. And that was really nice of you to do that?

Corey Rieck: It can't be that far over 50.

Liz Parker: Well, let it just stay right there. So, hair color will do wonders for a person.

Corey Rieck: Maybe I should consider that with all the gray I have.

Liz Parker: It is definitely one of those where you just feel like you can share something that you have gone through, and it really becomes much more about not just ... well, businesses are people. And so, when you look at the culture in this, and you want to see how people want their legacy to go on, it's helping them become self-aware, so that as they become self-aware, their businesses become self-aware, and their businesses start to reflect who they are. And a lot of times, there's a big disconnect with that. So, I look for alignment in really who they are, what they were meant to do on this earth, and are they doing it, and how can we help them do it better?

Corey Rieck: When I think of your company and how you've served our organization, I think about your words of like resource, clarity, systematic come to mind. And I think that a lot of times, do you find that business owners fight you on wanting to get more clear and wanting to be sort of more deliberate with their planning and their actions?

Liz Parker: Yes.

Corey Rieck: Why do you suppose that is?

Liz Parker: Well, entrepreneurs are successful because they're risk takers, they go out of the box, and they do things their own way. That works for a while, but that's also where the seven stages of growth comes in that at a certain point, in order to be scalable, you have to start to put systems in place, so that you can do what you're doing, hiring people to come in, do the things that you don't have time to do, but you can still be the visionary. You can still be that person saying, "Hey, I am the one that's thinking this business up, knowing where it's going. I'm the one connecting the people. I need somebody else to do more the detailed work or do some of the other processes that need to be in place to make this business run." We know that they fail after three to five years if they don't have that structure in place. A great idea will not get off the ground if you don't put some structure around it.

Corey Rieck: I think that as time goes on, relationships are really important. They've always been important to me, but perhaps, now, maybe even more so. And I think about the leverage that I have with a business relationship with you and saying, "All right, I'm thinking about this, this job, or that job." Man, I have the advantage because you already have all the local knowledge of kind of what I've done and kind of how I build things. And so, you're able to look at it and say, "I think this might be the direction you want to go." Because I know we talked about a number of things and going in another direction, and it wasn't the right direction, which is why I took so long not to do it. And-.

Liz Parker: But you knew that in your heart.

Corey Rieck: I think that the leverage that you have was specialized knowledge. I wouldn't think of starting a radio station. Why would I do that? I got these guys here at Business RadioX. They already know it. They do it every day. They touch it every day. And it just makes sense to me that I would come here, show up, do my show, and there they've been incredibly supportive. But it's interesting to me to watch people kind of try and do things themselves when it's not their fastball, or they don't want to do it, or worse, they're not qualified to do it.

Liz Parker: Well, and it does seem that when you start out, you think that you can do it all yourself. And then, you start to realize you can't, and you don't have all the talents. I remember being in a Vistage group four or five years ago and having them go, "Are you kidding? You're not an accountant. What the heck are you doing trying to do your own books," right? "That's not a forte. Go work with the people. Do the facilitation. Do all the things that you do well. Hire that out."

And I think what ends up happening is we're afraid. A lot of times that fear lives in us that says, "Hey, I can't do that 'cause I'm not making enough money." And sometimes, what you've got to do is take that leap of faith. So, being where I am, I try to be that outside ... give him that outside perspective and say, "Hey, if you did this, what's the worst thing that could happen?" And take them down that path and say, "And if you were not happy to do the books, which is taking you three times longer than it should, what would it look like? What could you do with your time?"

Corey Rieck: It may not even be right if you're doing.

Liz Parker: Exactly, which, by the way, I have had that experience too. So, it is. It's a matter of just kind of being that voice in somebody's head where they need that quiet space to just say, "Hey, I need to think about my business for a little bit, and I just need to hear myself talk."

Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, I think the subject matter experts or call them technicians, and I think the more granular you get with your business, I think about if I have all the positions defined in my company, it makes things more straightforward. It might even make it more saleable.

Liz Parker: Yes.

Corey Rieck: I think that to the extent possible, I mentioned Stone and his organization here with their radio station, your CPA, your bookkeeper, the person that helps you with your web, or the person helps with branding or printing, maybe I could do all those but there's no way I would do it as well as the people that I would outsource it to. And if you value your time, by the time you do it yourself, it probably wouldn't be as good as the person that has a subject matter expertise. And it will probably take you far longer to do it not as well. And it just doesn't make sense to me.

Liz Parker: And do you remember the days when you thought you could do it all?

Corey Rieck: Yeah.

Liz Parker: And it is the self-awareness that you end up having about saying, "Wow, this is really not my gift. My gift is doing something else." And that really makes a huge difference.

Corey Rieck: Well, don't you think that letting go and control are significant issues for business owners and entrepreneurs? And just the idea of control, I mean, isn't the reason that a lot of people go out on their own for control, control their destiny, and so on, and so forth. And so, these things-

Liz Parker: I know. That's why I did my business.

Corey Rieck: But did you find it hard to let go of some of these things?

Liz Parker: Yeah.

Corey Rieck: How did you do it?

Liz Parker: Well, I still haven't let go of some of them, but I have been smart enough-.

Corey Rieck: The truth is coming out.

Liz Parker: I have been smart enough to say, "Okay, if I decide I'm not going to do that, I also know I can't be as productive, and I can't feel as fulfilled. I do stuff that just doesn't feel right." And physically, right, it can relate to your body, it can relate to illness. When you are going against something that is not right, it shows up somewhere in your life. And messages will come through loud and clear if you just pay attention to them. So, I've just learned you've got to do it. And the more self-awareness, the more understanding you can have about who you are, the more that your people will start to follow that as well. People just build off of that if you model that behavior.

Corey Rieck: I think of the work that you've done for me, and I realize that there's a couple of checks that I ... a couple of boxes that I have checked-

Liz Parker: Financial? Oh.

Corey Rieck: ... in terms of having it defined, having the clarity because if I need to find another person or were replicating, it would be far more straightforward than it was the first time. And I think that there are many times each month where I'll go to the team that I have people that help me and say," I'm thinking about doing this."And they'll say, "You shouldn't do this," or "This is how we do this task." And and I think I'm a lot happier offloading all those things, not trying to be everything in my business, because the people that do the graphics and printing, I couldn't make it look like they make it. The work that you did for me, there's no way it would look like that if I did it.

Corey Rieck: [And I realize that, I think, as a business owner and as an executive, you realize, "All right. There are things I'm not qualified to do. There are things I don't really want to do." And how do you do performance-wise with things that you're not qualified to do and that you don't want to do? You do a lousy job.

Liz Parker: You do.

Corey Rieck: So, that, knowing that, why would you do that?

Liz Parker: It's not making any sense, is it? And somebody has to stop and actually have you look at that yourself. If you have no one, and that's part of what happens with Vistage, if you have no one that is looking at your company or you, you get into a group of CEOs who are sitting there or executives that have their own businesses, they can see themselves in you. One of the biggest things I have learned in working with these other people and just clients in general of the last 20 years is the low self-esteem that many of us carry, thinking that we can do things, and we're trying to do things. But inside, we're just running around like little squirrels in our head trying to get it all done and trying to just have somebody not discover that. It happens more often than not.

Corey Rieck: That is true.

Liz Parker: Right. It is just one of those things where you're just like, "Oh, if they find me out, then who am I going to be?" And it's a matter of it's okay that you don't have to do all those things. That's where we can ask for help. But as an entrepreneur, you think you have to do it all, and you don't. That's part of it.

Corey Rieck: Well, I think that there is a leverage with time. Think about the technology and to leverage all of the technology that we have with software, whether it's LinkedIn, or email, or social media. You think of the leverage that you have of putting whatever your message is out there for people to consume it. And there isn't a lot of leverage trying to be all things to all people because you might be frustrated with how you do things that I know I get frustrated with things that I say to myself, "You know you're not qualified to do this, right? You know you're not. You don't want to do it. And you know you're not going to do a very good job." And that's a trifecta of lethal ... That's a lethal cocktail.

Liz Parker: Proportions

Corey Rieck: That's a lethal cocktail for incompetence.

Liz Parker: It is, it is. And some can't see that. Some can when you are sitting stewing in your office. And I tell you, I have days like that where you'll sit there, and just spin your wheels, and it's like, "Why am I sitting here? Hold on. Let's step back and take a look at this and go, 'How could I be doing this better?'"

Corey Rieck: Well, I think there is a ... if you value your time at X dollars per hour, and I go back to the work, the fine work that you did for me, and I think, "All right, if I value my time at X, I don't know what you know, I tried to do this. I probably spend three or four times the time that you do. And it's probably not going to look like ... it's gonna look like I did it," right? So, I've learned that at age 54. I think I've learned, "Okay, Stay away from things you're not good at that you don't want to do that you're not qualified to do." It is hard to admit that.

Liz Parker: It is.

Corey Rieck: And I think that the way that you are is very non-judgmental, very information gathering, systematic. And for me, it provides a level of comfort because I know you're going to tell me what I don't know what I should be doing. And I certainly appreciate that. Now, I'm sure many don't, but I certainly do.

Liz Parker: Well, you've asked me kind of about my business and things that have happened in my business, and I would say that it's really being able to connect with people like we're doing now. That is the most powerful thing that I believe I bring to people is to say, "I can see what you're feeling. Some cases, I've been there. Some cases, I haven't. But I'm going to hold a space for you to be able to kind of talk about that, because our wisdom is in ourselves many times, and we just need that space. So, if I can be somebody that can reflect back to you the wisdom coming out of you, that's even better."

Corey Rieck: Well, I think that you mentioned the word connect. And there's a lot of events that get held, and there's a lot of people that you meet. But connection, it's so important. And I had a friend of mine say to me, I've had other coaches say this, "Like no trust." And I realize that it's very hard to get things done with people that you may not like. It's hard to get things done with people that you don't know. And if you don't have that trifecta, it just doesn't lend itself to a productive relationship.

Liz Parker: And that's true in everything, isn't it?

Corey Rieck: Yeah, it is. And being able to connect is really important. And I think you learn that as you get older, the importance of that, because if there isn't a connection there, maybe there's reluctance on one end or the other to to actually pursue a relationship, whether it's business or personal.

Liz Parker: I know this is supposed to be for me and about me, but I got to tell you, you are the master connector. You have done a beautiful job.

Corey Rieck: Why do you say that?

Liz Parker: Because not just the work that you do with your Long Term Care Planning as far as the business goes, you are serving people on a very personal level when they're looking at those end-of-life things.

Corey Rieck: Well, we try to.

Liz Parker: That is the most personal thing that you're going to get to for somebody. And what you do is approach that with such sincerity in order to talk about that. People won't even go there if you don't make a connection with them. And so, you come across. And I like to always say it's the Iowa piece of you, even if you are Minnesota, I'll give you that, but it's Iowa-

Corey Rieck: I'll take it.

Liz Parker: ... and it's coming out in you.

Corey Rieck: Well, the subject can be intense and it can be confusing and complicated. And we try with our web-based systems and paper-based systems to fill in the blanks. And we use the personal interaction part of it to make sure that people get their questions answered because this is not for everybody, but understanding what it is and perhaps, more importantly, understanding what it isn't. And so, I think that in doing this for 20 years, it's important for me to make sure that I leave people better off than when they came to me in terms of their knowledge about the subject of long-term care. And they don't need to be judged by me or anyone else about what their position is or if they do anything about it or not, but they do need to get their questions answered. And so, I appreciate you saying that. We endeavor to treat people the way that we'd want to be treated. And if my mom and dad were here, that's a standard. I treat people the way I would expect them to treat my mom and dad.

Liz Parker: That's exactly right. And because of that, whatever you have done with that business, you are now doing with connecting the professional women, holding these networking events. This is giving to the max. And I have to tell you that it is inspiring to be able to just be around and meet these people you are pulling together that we all want to help each other. And it is such a giving, abundant mindset. It's not a ... in the old days, remember back in the '80s, everything was very competitive, and it just seemed like it's doggy dog out there, and maybe it still is, but I don't see the world that way anymore.

Corey Rieck: I don't either. I think you get to a place where if you can help somebody, maybe there's an obligation there or maybe you want to, but one thing that maybe isn't talked about is how it makes you feel when you help somebody. And I think, having a feeling of gratitude, I think, is very important. And being grateful, I think, is important because it can shape. There are numerous studies and articles that I read about being grateful and how important it is to do it at the beginning of the day because it can shape the rest of your day, and it can make the bumps in the road not seem like such large obstacles.

Liz Parker: That is entirely true. I do this exercise called One Words that a lot of people look at one word that they're going to use for the year. It's usually something that kind of holds you back and you need to kind of work on this through the whole entire year. So, I do this with my CEOs on a regular basis, and they just think I'm crazy when I make them do this. But it ends up ... and my husband, I got to share this part too. My husband never does a one word. And for the seventh year, he's gotten his one word. it just shows up. He just hates it when his word shows up because it doesn't leave his brain, but it's always something that you need to work on. And this year, mine came up as thankful. And I was just shocked when that we're just started coming to me because I thought, "Am I not being thankful?"

Corey Rieck: So, did you think of that, or did somebody else think of that?

Liz Parker: Oh, it was pretty much in my own meditation. It came in through heaven, I swear. It was a loud message repeatedly. And it was like repeated days were happening where the word thankful kept popping up in front of me at certain times. And I was like, "Oh, wait a minute, what's this about?" because I thought I was a very thankful person, but I also realized we can get into our own little world of doing little complaining here or there. It's not quite perfect here or there. And I realize that by being thankful, you start to look at what you do have, and you'll let the other stuff go away, and you try not to get so picky about it. So, I encourage people when I work with them, I'm just like, "Find that one word because it's going to help you in just your physical, and your mental, your emotional, your financial, your relationships, you will find that word will help you throughout the years." So, I'm hoping that the listeners are gonna pick a word because, usually, by now, it comes to mind.

Corey Rieck: I found over the years that if it's easy to see things that aren't right, it's easy to see where improvement can be made. And I think one has to pay some attention to that, but I think the whole idea of being grateful can make what you have enough. And I think it's really important because I don't know the percentage of people that are sort of with this keep up with the Joneses type thing. I think that that can be a cycle that adversely affects you. And certainly okay to be competitive, but I think there is something to being thankful for your friends, and your family, and the things that are going on good, bad, and different each day. I mean, even if you have a bad day, you can still learn something from it. We can still be grateful for that.

Liz Parker: And we can think of those days, can't we?

Corey Rieck:Yeah.

Liz Parker: Now, we can be grateful about them, but at the time, it didn't feel like we were going to be any too grateful about them.

Corey Rieck: So, what are you grateful for now?

Liz Parker: I am truly grateful for each and every day when I get to start to meet people. These opportunities like coming into Atlanta and meeting some of the people that I've worked with before, meeting new people, it's been able to have some kind of impact in each person's life. And it does sound like it becomes about me at that point, but it really is one that I want to bring the gift I have of facilitation and conversation to helping people see themselves better. So, for me, that's really what I'm grateful that I have finally figured out in my life what a gift is, and that is that I have the conversations and help people see themselves.

Corey Rieck: So, I've never picked up at all that this is about you.

Liz Parker: Oh, good.

Corey Rieck: Your business. I know when I ask you for things, you follow through, you get it done. Usually, it's far sooner rather than later. And being dependable is is very, very important. And that's something that might be a Midwestern thing. Who knows?

Liz Parker: Yeah.

Corey Rieck: Showing up early before you're supposed to be there.

Liz Parker: Well, that, I don't always do well.

Corey Rieck: But I think that you follow through.

Liz Parker: Yes.

Corey Rieck: And I have never picked up in any of our interactions that any of this has been about you.

Liz Parker: Wonderful.

Corey Rieck: And to me, I think, you've been very committed to making sure that you give an unvarnished opinion based on your experience and expertise, so you can afford your client the best outcome.

Liz Parker: Right. I do. One of the things I learned, I don't know how long ago it was, but I found that I'm extremely practical. And that's probably the Midwestern thing, too. It's like I am not a luxurious type person. I am like, "Let's get some return on whatever we're gonna do." If it's time, if it's enjoyment, whatever it is, I want to make sure that what we do is practical and not a waste of time, because I like to go have fun, and I'm like, "I'll work as long as I need to work. I'll put in 12 hour days if I have to. But boy, after that 12-hour day, we're gonna go out. We're gonna have a good time."

Corey Rieck: I think that having something my dad taught me, having something to look forward to, no matter how small it is, is really important. And I know I have this routine, and part of the routine is in the morning, I go drink coffee. Not a small amount of coffee. And I like to read the paper. And it's something I look forward to every day. And of course, my friends razz me about the paper. "You know that stuff's available on your phone." Yeah, but I like the newspaper. I like tactile-

Liz Parker: The feel, yeah.

Corey Rieck: ... sense of the newspaper and the paper. Yeah, but you get ink all over your hands. Yeah, but there are washrooms there that even have soap there where you can wash your hands. You can take it off. But it's something I look forward to every day, so I can get engaged. I like the taste of black coffee, and I'm able to kind of get clued in as to what's going on, so I can sound reasonably informed on things that are going on with clients. And what habits do you have that make you comfortable that help you re-energize?

Liz Parker: Oh, that is such a good one because my personal style is one that I don't like habits. I don't like to be put in a box somewhere. I like to do things different each and every day. And one of the things, though I have found is I have to start my day with my own meditation, my own quiet time. I won't even hardly say hello to my husband. If he's awake, he knows I'm grabbing my coffee because, of course, that's important to me too. That black coffee has got to be ready to go, grab my cup, I go into another room and I spend my own little time, and my journal, meditating, just reflecting on trying to get a piece of inspiration for the day, and setting my intention for the day. And if I don't do that, you can guarantee I'm going to be just kind of off all day long. I might be a little nastier than I normally would be. Not that you wouldn't ever see me nasty, but it's just one of those where if I don't set that intention for the morning, it's a rough day, I can tell.

Corey Rieck: How long do you spend during that time when you first get up?

Liz Parker: I really try and spend 20 to 30 minutes easy. I try and do like a 20-minute meditation. And I just love the Oprah and Deepak Chopra Meditation series they do. I know that Oprah's probably not the most common person people would think of for meditation, but they've done a really nice 21-day series that really helps people look at different things, and they come out regularly with those. So, I like to spend 20 minutes doing one of those, plus then doing my own reflection, my own journaling, my own thoughts for the day, and trying to say, what do I want to get done for the day?

Corey Rieck: I’d made mention earlier about looking forward to something, even if it is something, a habit, or if it's exercise, or if it's going out to eat, or if it's a vacation, or if it's just going for a walk. I mean, I think my offices are right across the street from SunTrust Park where the Braves play baseball. When they were building the stadium, I would always say, "Okay, in an hour, I'm going to go check on the progress." I am going to walk out there. And that was really kind of cool to watch that be built. But no matter how small it is, I really believe it's important to have something to look forward to.

Liz Parker: Well, and I agree. And where I am as far as working out of my office, it's a home office, and I'm able to go out and see my clients when I need to. So, the days I get to go out and see my clients, I'm always very excited, and it's something I look forward to. But the days I work at home is another thing I look forward to. It's that time that I can think differently, I can be in a different space, I can get outside, I do a lot of kind of innovative thinking, I would say, when I can be outside doing yard work. If I get stuck on something, I'm like, "Okay, where's the mower? Where's the weeder? I got to do something." I got to get out there and do something physical to allow my brain to just kind of have some downtime. So, I think it's really important that people figure out when that time is and how they get that space.

Corey Rieck: One of the things that has always impressed me about you is your candor and you seem to be happy. You come across that way. And I think one of the things that's also crucial is that no matter what role you're playing in your business, you have to be happy because that comes out, it comes across, it comes in your intonation, it comes out in your emails, and it comes in your interaction with people. And it seems to me that you just said that you are equally as happy being at home, driving your desk, and doing the work that's associated with that, as opposed to being out and seeing people.

Liz Parker: Yeah.

Corey Rieck: Me, I'd rather be out and about. And that is why this next person that we are needing to get hired is really important because I think being happy with what you do, whatever it is, is really important. It's important for you. It's important for your family, spouses, family, and so forth. And I think realizing what you're good at, what you're not good at, and what you don't want to do, I think just being real about that, and it took me personally a while to do that. But I think that all those things can contribute to effectiveness and being happy.

Liz Parker: Well, I would agree. I can say that coming over to Atlanta today to actually be with you, be with the other women in it-

Corey Rieck: You're dreading it?

Liz Parker: I was looking forward to this one. It's like a, man, it's a day out of the office to go do something, go to the big city.

Corey Rieck: How has your business evolved over the years?

Liz Parker: It has changed forms somewhat. The core piece of it, I think, is still there from the strategic planning, the team alignment, things along that line. The way the business has probably evolved is I've gotten smarter about how to work with the things we've talked about, outsourcing things, doing things that are more productive. But really, the evolution of it has just come from deeper understanding of people, deeper understanding that this is the right work, and that we each have a gift we bring to the table.

Liz Parker: And if we do that gift, there is plenty of work. There's plenty of business for everybody. And that we don't have to have that jealous, competitive nature about us. I think what's evolved more than anything else is I used to be more closed off when I first started, afraid that somebody was going to take my business. And now, I look at it as, "Hey, that's just not the right business for me." Now, I am more open to saying, "The people who need me will find me and I will find them." And I have more trust in the universe and the people around me knowing what I do to send me the people that seem to click.

Corey Rieck: How are you getting your new clients?

Liz Parker: Through referrals. I like to get them through referrals. And a lot of that comes through Vistage. When I came down to Greenville, South Carolina about 11 years ago, one of my biggest things was to join a Vistage group because I saw the power of what was happening through the clients that were actually in it. And so, as I have gotten exposed to that, these small and medium-sized businesses, we carry those values of transparency, and challenging, and growth. So, I find those mindsets of clients are the ones that are best for me.

And so, through Vistage is where I've gotten a lot of those people. And then, if it's not Vistage or it's somebody who's been in Vistage, who has a friend who's not in Vistage, and they passed on somebody else, it tends to be through the values of I find clients through people who trust, who want challenge, who want growth, who aren't afraid to look at themselves. People who do, I don't even see them. They don't come to me.

Corey Rieck: You've been selected to be on the show because you have been a success. You have a certain way of doing things, and you are a successful business owner. What sets you apart in your opinion?

Liz Parker: Whoo! That's a good question. I even was thinking about that kind of question earlier. But what sets me apart is probably my sincerity, my sincerity and the fact that I want to be practical about what we're gonna do. I am not coming in here to spend all your money. I am coming in to say, "Let's get something done. Let's make sure it gets done." I do not like to waste somebody's time.

Corey Rieck: I think considerate, you left that out. I think follow through, you left that out. And I think a sense of urgency. And those are all the things I've experienced with you. But resource is a word that really comes to top of mind. And you've always been someone that, hey, if this wasn't your fast ball, you would not hesitate to connect me to someone that did have that.

Liz Parker: Yes. Thank you.

Corey Rieck: What things do you feel strongly about? You have a charity or charities that you feel strongly about?

Liz Parker: I feel strongly about just my spiritual relationship. I end up looking at life saying, "Hey, we are put on this earth to do things." So, I find that I'm not drawn to a certain charity, but I am drawn to people who if they have charities that they're interested in, and I see there's a connection with them, and there's a way I can give, I give that way. It's more of an intentional charity related to people. But my faith is very strong, and I want to spend time with that.

Corey Rieck: What do you like least about what you do?

Liz Parker: The details. I know-

Corey Rieck: I never would've picked on that.

Liz Parker: I know. That's because I adapt and make sure of that because I need to do the details for you. But my own bookkeeping details.

Corey Rieck: I love that about you. I was like, "This is a detail person." And now, you've outed yourself. You're not.

Liz Parker: I know, I know. Well, because what I do for you, the process is established. So, I've made it into such a way that it's easier to do, but no details. If I have to look at all these little tiny details, it just makes me crazy. So, I have to put them in a process to make it less painful.

Corey Rieck: With any free time you have, how do you spend it?

Liz Parker: I like to golf. I like to garden. I like to cook. I like to see the grandkids. I like to see my own kids. I love to travel. I love to eat.

Corey Rieck: You've got plenty of really nice restaurants in Greenville.

Liz Parker: [We do.

Corey Rieck: That seems to be a hotbed for restaurants to open up. And I just think Greenville is a great city.

Liz Parker: Well, thank you. You need to get back up there. It's your turn to come up.

Corey Rieck: It's your turn to buy.

Liz Parker: Exactly.

Corey Rieck: Well, you've had great success over the years. You bring a great history to the show, and you're gonna be a great resource to our group. One question that I always ask folks is, if you could give the younger version of you, of Liz, some advice, what would it be?

Liz Parker: Not to be afraid to step out and be and do who you want to be and do. I started that way. I think I was truly not looking at the issues that could happen and that got me in trouble. But it's stepping out, being that risk taker, and having the support around you, not thinking you had to do it alone.

Corey Rieck: Appreciate that. If there was a young lady that wanted to follow your path and your footsteps, what would you tell her? What advice would you give her?

Liz Parker: I would say to reach out to as many people as you can, learn from them, find out what they know that you can share in too, treat them to coffee. Everybody will go for coffee or lunch. But making sure that you ask what you need. There's so many of us that don't ask. And just even our speaker today talked about that. So, asking.

Corey Rieck: And isn't it amazing how we make that up in our heads that I don't want to ask this person this because they're not going to help me. And I think people, the right people genuinely want to help you.

Liz Parker: Yes.

Corey Rieck: They're not jealous of the success that you have, or they're not envious, or any of those things. But we make a lot of stuff up. We can make a lot of stuff up like that in our heads. And I think it's important to just ... I think people like being asked for help. Well, you've had a great, great run, great career. You've had a lot of success. Liz, if people wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that?

Liz Parker: They can find me on my website-

Corey Rieck: Which is?

Liz Parker: ... at ltresults.com. So, ltresults.com Or email me at liz@ltresults.com.

Corey Rieck: Well, Liz, you've been a fantastic guest. Really appreciate you coming to the breakfast this morning and spending some time with us here on Tuesdays with Corey. Continued success. And thanks again for being such a great guest.

Liz Parker: Thank you, Corey.

Listen to the episode