How to Leverage StrengthsFinder to Be a Better Team Leader In Your Business with La Tondra Murray

It’s one thing to have the right people on your team. But do you have them in the right roles?

Assessment tools like StrengthsFinder (now officially called CliftonStrengths®) can help you not just learn more about yourself and your team members but also give you the information you need to help put them in a better position for success. Specifically, StrengthsFinder helps you discover your top talents so you can maximize your personal and professional potential.

CEO Collective member La Tondra Murray has over a decade of experience with CliftonStrengths® and uses it as part of her strengths-based leadership coaching to help established entrepreneurs create business results with a lean team. She’s helped more than a thousand individuals and over 40 teams (including my own) in assessing their talent, work-life integration, and emerging leadership.

In this episode of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll learn about how using the CliftonStrengths® assessment tool can help you truly set your team members up for success. La Tondra will teach you how each of the four domains of StrengthsFinder can express itself in your role as leader, and you’ll even get a peek into what she discovered about me and members of my business team.

On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

6:14 – How did La Tondra first start working with strengths-based leadership as a powerful piece of her work?

10:32 – La Tondra explains what strengths are (specific to the CliftonStrengths assessment).

13:01 – La Tondra reveals what stands out to her the most when looking at others using their leadership strengths.

17:04 – What does La Tondra look for when assessing how members of a business team work together?

22:37 – La Tondra discusses what StrengthsFinder isn’t, the importance of all types of strengths, and pivoting from one domain to another.

28:07 – What are the four domains of the CliftonStrengths assessment, and how can they show up in leadership?

38:12 – La Tondra talks about her delightful discovery as a CEO Collective member for the last six months.

Our Team’s SterngthsFinder Graph

About La Tondra Murray

La Tondra Murray is a strengths-based leadership coach for established entrepreneurs who want to create epic business results through a lean team. La Tondra has coached 1000+ individuals and 40+ teams in the areas of talent assessment, work-life integration, and emerging leadership. She is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach (CPEC) as well as a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach, with more than a decade of experience with the CliftonStrengths® assessment.

La Tondra brings 25+ years of leadership experience in large-scale technology-based corporate and higher education environments to bear in her coaching practice. She holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering and undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Mentioned in How to Leverage StrengthsFinder to Be a Better Team Leader In Your Business with La Tondra Murray

Racheal Cook: One of the most common analogies used in business is that when you're growing a team, you need to get the right people on the bus. But an even more important question is are the right people in the right seats on the bus? Meaning, is everyone set up to succeed? Is every individual in your team set up to succeed? Are they actually playing to their strengths? Do they have the resources, the support, the leadership that they need to get the results that you hired them to get for your small business?

Well, in today's interview with LaTondra Murray, we are going to dive deep into how you can leverage the StrengthsFinder to not only be a better leader to your team but to understand how you can really truly set people up for success as part of your team.

Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.

Hey there, CEO. I cannot believe we're already at the final installment of this four-part series on creating an incredible culture in your small business within the team of your small business. As I shared in the very first episode, this was a conversation that really came out of our conversations at The CEO Retreat and continued happening with these different women in their time with us inside of The CEO Collective.

I love that I learned so much from the women inside of The CEO Collective. I don't ever claim to be a know-it-all expert at absolutely everything but I am a lifelong learner. I love, anytime there is an opportunity for me to dive deeper into a topic, to have conversations about a topic, and truly just get more understanding and more clarity about something, even if it's something I already maybe had some personal experience with or already had some opinions about something, it really solidified a lot of things to have these conversations.

I hope you have enjoyed the series as much as I have and I hope you go find all these incredible women to learn more from them if you are at that point in your business, that tipping point where you really are starting to build that team and you need things to gel. You need everyone to not only be on the bus, so the bus being your business, remember the analogy that this is the most common version is you need the right people on the bus.

When we kicked off the series, Tiffany and I talked about your vision is where you're going, your values are the rules of the road, so how you're doing what you're doing, then your culture being like how everybody feels as they are together, what's happening inside the bus. That becomes your culture.

Another huge part of that is making sure that everybody is on the right seat in the bus, making sure that you have fully empowered every person in your team to be supported, to have clarity, clear expectations about what they need to accomplish, to know what results they’re responsible for, to have their own autonomy over the work that they're doing, and really be able to lean into their strengths and trust that they are going to make the right decisions in their role to get you the results that you hired them to get.

In the last episode, we talked with Kendra Tillman about using the Kolbe assessment, which is really focused more on how people process problems and make decisions, what our first instincts are, but the StrengthsFinder is a little bit different because the StrengthsFinder really is all about your top talents so that you can maximize your personal and professional potential.

LaTondra Murray is a strengths-based leadership coach for established entrepreneurs who want to create epic business results with a lean team. LaTondra has coached a thousand-plus individuals and 40-plus teams in the areas of talent assessment, work-life integration, and emerging leadership.

She is a certified personal and executive coach as well as a certified Gallup Strengths Coach with more than a decade of experience with the CliftonStrengths Assessment. LaTondra brings 25-plus years of leadership experience and a large-scale technology-based corporate and higher education environment to bear in her coaching practice.

She holds a PhD in industrial engineering and undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. LaTondra is absolutely incredible. I have loved having her as a part of The CEO Collective and hearing her insights especially because she not only took my individual strengths, but we handed over all the strengths of the whole team.

It was amazing to see her insights and hear the nuggets she had to share with us about how we have actually really done a great job with our team leveraging everybody's strengths and the areas of opportunity we have moving forward in our business. I hope you really, really enjoy this conversation. Let’s get into it.

LaTondra Murray, thank you so much for joining me today here on the podcast. I'm so excited to dive into all things strengths with you.

LaTondra Murray: Racheal, thank you so much for having me. Likewise, I can't wait to get into it.

Racheal Cook: Well, when you first came into my world, I knew that we were going to be kindred spirits because I have always believed in leaning into what you are best at. I think this is something that is a major shift in the world of leadership, small business, and large business. Instead of trying to be well-rounded, it's more about having a well-rounded team but keeping your own edge and standing in your own strengths and areas of genius.

I'm really excited to have you dive into all things strengths. But before we get there, can you tell us a little bit about your own journey and how you found strengths-based leadership to be such a powerful piece of the work that you're doing now?

LaTondra Murray: Absolutely. Yes, I have a background in engineering, education, and entrepreneurship. I worked as an engineer and a technical manager in corporate and then I made a transition to a university environment as an administrator for a school of engineering.

I managed a team and I also taught graduate students. I really enjoyed professional development in both spaces. That led to my pursuit of a coaching certification. In 2014, I completed my certification at The CaPP Institute, and I was really thinking about how I could make coaching conversations more approachable.

It occurred to me as I worked with students, and I worked with my own coaching clients, sometimes it was hard to get into the discussion. I thought, “Hey, if we had an assessment as a foundation for the conversation, then we'd be talking about the data, then we'd be talking about the results, and the life, the feelings, and the challenges could get layered on top of that but we could start with the assessment.”

I took the CliftonStrengths Assessment in my early 30s and I really enjoyed it. I really thought it was a great tool. I said, “Hey, here's something that I can major in. This is something that I can make my own.” So I started working with the assessment with both my individual clients as well as my graduate students. I did that for about two years.

Then in the spirit of do no harm, I thought, “Okay, let me get trained by the folks who developed the assessment,” and that's when I completed the Gallup Certification. I've recertified three times now and so it's been more than 10 years that I've been working with the CliftonStrengths Assessment.

Racheal Cook: I love that and I think it's so interesting that your background, we can only connect the dots looking backwards, but you have clearly a very curious analytical mind. I think that is something that I very much connect with as we talk about my strengths. We're very similar in that regard.

But it's so interesting because I think so many of us come to our work and we're always bringing these different pieces of the puzzle forward and always using new tools. I shared with you before we hit record that I took the StrengthsFinder probably almost 20 years ago and have continuously come back to it again and again and have used it with clients.

Just like you said, it gives you a great jumping-off point for conversations with your coaching clients, but also as a small business owner, it gives you a great jumping-off point for working with your team. That's what we're really going to dig into today.

While it can be great if you are a coach or you're somebody working on somebody's personal development, some sort of behavioral change, or some sort of goal achievement, absolutely use something like the StrengthsFinder with your clients. But when it comes to growing a small business, I think this is a huge thing we tend to struggle with.

Because honestly, a lot of entrepreneurs have never really run a team. They've never really gone through traditional work ranks or gone through the corporate ranks. We tend to see a lot of entrepreneurs who the first time they're managing people is as a small business owner.

That's where I want to start the conversation today because I truly believe that when we understand the strengths of our team and we build our team around the strengths that we know that we need, it leads to a culture that is different than where people are struggling because they're not in their strengths.

It leads to a culture where we can truly hand things off because we know we're giving people things that are in their zone of genius. We're talking about the word strengths over and over again. Can you explain more about what we mean when we're talking about the strengths and specifically this tool, the StrengthsFinder?

LaTondra Murray: Absolutely, sure. When we talk about strengths, we're talking about your natural talents, the things that you are drawn to just inherently based on who you are. I think it's really important to note this is not about strengths as others define them, this is strengths that you recognize and resonate with from within, on your own.

I like to say that leadership looks like you. When I say leadership looks like you, I mean it literally looks like you, what you have to bring to bear, what you notice in the world, what you've developed in terms of skills, the experiences that you've curated, but just what you naturally do best.

The CliftonStrengths Assessment is really about helping people understand what they're naturally good at doing so they can do more of it. The Strengths Assessment may be familiar to some as StrengthsFinder, by the way, I did want to mention that, it was rebranded into CliftonStrengths, but StrengthsFinder, and StrengthsFinder 2.0, the book was a best seller for so, so long.

This work has been around for a long time, but I think many people are still just recognizing, “Hey, I can show up as myself,” and in fact, the more me I am, the more I lean into my natural gifts, the things that just organically come to me, the more value I can add in my own unique way.

Racheal Cook: This was such a big shift in my own mindset because I think anyone growing up in the 80s and 90s, we were told how much we needed to be well-rounded. That was the conversation. Everything was about you need to be a well-rounded student, you need to have a well-rounded resume, you need to have well-rounded interests and activities.

This has completely shifted that paradigm and it's actually shifted because now it's been so much of how I approach my own life and business. It's shifted the way I think about my kid's future too. I'm like, “I don't care about you guys being well-rounded. I want you to do what you're great at and what you love doing,” because I see the practical real-life application of that now. I'm living it.

As we're thinking about strengths in small businesses, you asked for our strengths and so I gathered the strengths from the whole team and I would love to hear your insights on that. First of all, what are the biggest things you see in leaders when you're looking at their strengths or the things that pop off the most when you're talking to them about using their strengths in their leadership?

LaTondra Murray: Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I think when we talk about using your strengths to grow your own leadership, just fundamentally how you can extend your own place as a leader, the first thing I would say is know your strengths. Start off just by making sure that you understand and acknowledge what you're good at, and maybe what's not in your wheelhouse.

I think leaders can find creative ways to leverage their top talent, and it can also shape the kind of leader that they are and that they want to show up as in the world. I think, to your point about being well-rounded, there are also stories that people get caught up in around what a good leader “looks like” or what a successful entrepreneur looks like.

I think this comes back to really acknowledging what you do well. In many cases, we have talents, especially as entrepreneurs, that we don't even acknowledge, we brush them off. Everybody's good at that. That's not something special. Acknowledging and owning your genius is key as a place to start if you really want to leverage strengths to grow your leadership. That's number one. That's the first thing that I would say.

Racheal Cook: I love that you brought that up because I've shared on this podcast, I grew up with a family of entrepreneurs. For a long time, I didn't see myself being a small business owner because my dad is the typical influencing strengths type, very much extroverted, can work a room, loves talking to people, is very much like big ideas, big energy, a lot of enthusiasm, and I thought that's what I would have to be like as a business owner.

When it clicked to me that, “Oh, I can actually just be myself. I don't have to try to be that. I don't have to be the opposite of what I am,” because I'm super introverted, I'm not going to go around and talk to everybody in the room unless I already know who you all are, which is why I have my own events. That's just not who I'm ever going to be. I'm not going to be like a star on a stage. I'm always going to be happiest burying myself in research and putting together frameworks.

I think that is one huge thing because a lot of us do have these misconceptions. I've heard this just because my business name is The CEO Collective, a lot of women would come to me and say, “I don't see myself as a CEO. CEO to me seems to be like a very stuffy boardroom situation.” I'm like, “Well actually, we can redefine that and we can define it around what it looks like for you.” We need all types.

LaTondra Murray: Yes, yes, absolutely. We need all types. I think as I work with leaders, and entrepreneurial leaders in particular because, to your point, I don’t think there’s a training ground for leadership for an entrepreneur. I think you often are it’s trial by fire, you’re learning as you’re going.

I think one of the important invitations that I hope is extended as entrepreneurs work with their strengths to shore up their leadership is that there’s also this ability and this understanding that certain things can be released, certain things can be dropped.

What that looks like is maybe as a solopreneur, you’ve done all the things and you did all the things because you had to. But once you step into your next level of leadership, there’s this notion that you can release things. In fact, you must release things. Not only because you can’t do it all but because you’re engaging talent that’s just sitting on the shelf if you don’t let people step up and do the things that they’re good at doing.

Letting things go as a CEO, letting things go as an entrepreneur is really about stepping closer to the things that are for you and that are aligned with the unique value you have to offer.

Racheal Cook: Absolutely. First, I want to hear, when you’re looking at a team, what is it that you look for as someone who does this? I know you love the research, you love the numbers, and looking at all the different results. I’ll have to put the snapshot in the show notes, y’all, she sent us a little Excel grid of how the entire team breaks down. It just made my brain so happy because it’s color-coded and everything. But to me, it was like, “Oh, my gosh. I can see in a snapshot exactly why my team gels. I can see why we are working together so clearly because we’re very aligned.”

LaTondra Murray: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I look for, Racheal, when I first look at a team grid, I’m looking for alignment. I’m looking for the pooling, the opportunity where themes may stick together, I look for the emergent patterns that jump out, and I also look for the opportunity to support whatever is top of mind for the team at that point.

There might be key initiatives that are coming online, there might be things that are aligned with clients or whatever it may be, and we can look at the team grid and say, “Okay, how can this organization best support those goals?” I really believe in the saying, “Use what you got to get what you want.”

This is not about gap analysis. A lot of people will start looking at the white space and talking about “what we don’t have.” There’s just no room for that because it’s about using what you got to pivot into creating that outcome.

Racheal Cook: Okay. I really love that you said that because I think you’re absolutely right, a lot of us use these assessments, whether it’s the Strengths or it’s the Kolbe, there are a couple of different other ones and they’ll say, “Well, who are we missing? Let’s go find those people.” But I think you have to be really clear about the purpose of your business and what you’re here to do.

In our business in The CEO Collective, we lead with strategy, we lead with strategy, systems, and frameworks. Forty-two percent of our strengths are in that category. Which is why everyone on the team is so aligned. They all have to be able to wrap their head around that if they’re going to work with all of our clients, and being a more strategic team means that I know I can give everyone the tools and the frameworks, and then the team can go work on those with our clients and they can manage those.

Whereas if our team didn’t look like this, they might not be able to use these frameworks and tools that I have as easily. It might come a little harder to them, it might be harder for them to wrap their head around or to really understand not just the tool, but how the application of the tools work with individuals.

LaTondra Murray: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think it's important to note, as I mentioned, the areas of alignment. For example, when we look at your team grid, and this is just the top five, I think I would see even more with the top 10 for your team, just the top five, it's clear that strategic thinking is the jumping off point. You have so many thought partners in your team and that's how you get down as you navigate systems, that's how you move.

Racheal Cook: It's exciting times around here, y'all. When we get together, it is like strategy, systems, and research. They are a very exciting bunch.

LaTondra Murray: It's funny, I always take notes on these when I'm doing my analyses and I wrote down “dreamy wonderland of thinking and ideas” because I'm sure this is exactly what it is.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, every call. It's great.

LaTondra Murray: The other thing I noticed, Racheal, that I think is really telling is almost everyone in their top five has Relator. You have a pool of Relators, and I know you have Relator in your top 10, I don't know about the other person but that Relator piece really reflects how you engage with your clients, how you likely engage with each other, how you pull people into places that can be very uncomfortable.

I think for entrepreneurs, you make it safe for people to show up and to ask questions. I know as a member of The CEO Collective myself, there is this very inclusive world created by the clients but also by you and the extended team. It's a place where you can show up, be yourself, and be vulnerable. That's how you grow, that's how you expand, and that's how you challenge yourself when you feel that you're held and seen in that way.

Racheal Cook: I love that. I was really surprised too, to see that every single one of our mentors had Relator in their top five. I was blown away by that. That was very telling and, again, it just felt so affirming. It actually helped me because as I was thinking about it, I've been going through my own, as we all do, thinking about the business and the messaging and how do we articulate how we're different and what we do differently, and this is the piece.

When I read the description of Relator, it clicked. I was like, “This is why we're able to create that space.” It's because it's naturally how the entire team operates. Awesome.

LaTondra Murray: Yeah, I think it's really great. Again, I think it's about looking at what you have versus what you don't have. I do want to also make the point that the CliftonStrengths Assessment is not what is considered a selection instrument. It's not an instrument that you would give someone and then say, “Oh, if only you had Achiever in your top five, we would have hired you.” “Oh, you've missed it,” or whatever, you wouldn't do that.

What you can do as you're building a team, though, is to think, as you mentioned, about your mission. How do you want to show up? What's the nature of the work you do and how you want to connect with your clients? How might someone's Strengths profile reflect their ability to deliver on those outcomes? How might they approach people? If they don't have a lot of relationship-building themes, you might say, “Well, how do you typically engage with other individuals? How do you manage conflict?”

Racheal Cook: Yeah, exactly. Well, the team that she is looking at, everyone who's listening, is primarily our mentor team, my director of operations, our mentor team, and then Stacey who is our podcast producer, but also I think of her as my marketing BFF because she and I go through everything marketing related.

It's very telling looking at the mentor roles that they are this strategic thinking and then relationships because that's what we need in the mentor roles. They're the ones who are taking this work and then going to our clients with it. I would imagine if I dug into every single person who does more of the behind-the-scenes work, we would get a whole different profile for those types of people as well.

LaTondra Murray: Yes, yes, yes. I think that's where we would see more in the executing domain, for example, which I know is naturally a part of your wheelhouse, in the second half of your top 10, we would see more purple. But I really think it's just an interesting way to think about what you're creating, how well the team aligns to that mission, and the toolkit that you have, the toolkit that you have to get things done.

You can always pivot from one domain to the other. This is, I think, an interesting thing for a team. But also I would say for individual leaders, I often have individual leaders who do come to me, and influencing is the biggest category that people are worried about.

Influencing is the category that makes people feel like, “I will never succeed. This person has Woo, they got Command, and they have all these themes that I don't have and so therefore, I'm not going to be able to thrive.” Not only do we need all types, not only do we need leaders who major in all sorts of areas, the other domains, strategic thinking, relationship building, executing, we need leaders who show up in those other domains, but you can also pivot from one domain to another.

For example, if influencing is your fourth domain, it's likely that you use something else to advocate for people, to gain people's trust, or to build rapport. Not only do we need the differences, but you can influence in another way. I think that that is one of the most important things that leaders can acknowledge.

I would say, Racheal, for you, being a member of The Collective, knowing how much of an ideas person you are, knowing how you process information, and your mind just thinks on the fly in such an amazing way, it's always great to listen inside The Collective calls and hear you coach people so quickly in those moments, that is part of your genius. Your ability to ideate, your ability to think on the fly, and strategize, that's how you influence, that's how you build efficacy for us as your clients but also in the world.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, and I can definitely see, like I said, I'm not going to lead with the Woo, I think Woo is actually one of my very bottom strengths, and I'm always jealous of those people because they're so magnetic to me, maybe opposites attract. Maybe this is why Shannon, who's one of our mentors, is like one of my best friends because she's very high on Woo.

But I definitely see that and as I've leaned into that more in my own business, for example, the podcast, I always knew the podcast was never going to be like tips and tricks and shiny objects, it was always going to be I'm going to influence by providing value, very in-depth value.

Same even with short-form content, the content I've been putting out on TikTok or Instagram Reels, it's not going to be the fluffy feel-good type of stuff, that's not what I'm ever going to lead with.

LaTondra Murray: Yeah. I think there is a power but also a vulnerability in acknowledging what you do well, and also what's not in your wheelhouse. So often, I think leaders are nervous about people seeing them sweat or people thinking that they can't do all the things. No one is good at everything. Not a single person is good at everything.

When we pretend, we just siphon energy away from the things that we really are outstanding at doing. We really rob our genius by trying to do these things that show up as mediocrity. Let it go and acknowledge it. Oh, by the way, there's likely someone else who loves doing the thing you hate. Let them embrace that. Let them shine in that and then everyone wins and clients win and results are epic.

Racheal Cook: I love that. We've covered so much ground here. I think the biggest next thing I want to ask for you, there are four domains that we're talking about, we've used this language a couple of times, can you briefly explain each of the four domains and then maybe also share a little bit about how you lead with those domains, if that's the domain that you're dominant in your top 5 or top 10 of these results, how does that usually show up in leadership?

LaTondra Murray: Yeah, absolutely. The first domain I'll talk about is executing. I’ll list the four domains and then I'll talk about each: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. Executing is all about how you do things in the world. It's all about how you operationalize something and make it real.

People who lead with the executing domain typically like to check things off. They may be very laser-focused. They may have the ability to put their head down, just grind through, and push through something. Leaders in this domain typically get a lot of stuff done. They're highly productive. They're focused on making it real, the rubber meets the road, making something real.

One of the challenges of leaders in this space is often that it can be hard for them to stop doing. They feel a responsibility to make something happen when really they need to delegate it or they need to step away and let someone take ownership. But executing, when you're a leader in this area, you're getting things done.

Influencing is all about how you advocate, how you share a message. I like to say that leaders in the space of influencing, it's almost like you're on the mic or you're on the stage. You're either crying out a message, you're giving a directive, or you're waving and getting someone's attention. It's all about pulling people into a centralized message that you can move them forward.

Influencing is a little bit different than executing in the sense that people who influence aren’t always directly doing the work. They might be but they're not always directly doing the work, but they might have others that they're shepherding or they're leading. I like to say the influencing, Woo in particular, is like the pied piper where you're playing a little pipe with people, “Where are you going? I'm going with you,” people just want to come along. You're compelling, captivating, and bringing people along.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, they're the ones who get people fired up about big new ideas. They're the ones who are the catalysts for big ideas and big movements. I often find where they struggle a lot is the follow-through. I often have to tell those people, “You're meant to get people excited and fired up. You don't have to be responsible for the follow-through, you don't have to be responsible for holding their hand. Just keep people fired up.”

LaTondra Murray: That's right. Often, people who lead with influencing this domain, they need to have someone to catch their ideas and operationalize them. They need to have someone who's going to make them real because if you wait for them, the energy may not be there, or they may be drawn to something else. They may be on to the next thing.

Racheal Cook: So they very much need a right hand behind the scenes.

LaTondra Murray: Absolutely. Then relationship building is all about rapport between individuals. It's all about how you see people, engage them, connect with them, support them, develop them. A leader who leads with relationship building is really going to focus on the people piece.

That may mean knowing their people really well or it may mean checking in with them to make sure they have what they need. It might mean finding ways to specifically develop them and support their growth. But there's a people focus and a people orientation. Everyone doesn't always understand, when people lead with relationship, people don't always understand what's happening or what's being done.

Sometimes I think those leaders can be misunderstood, because they're so people-focused, others are like, “What are you doing? What are you doing with the people?”

Racheal Cook: I definitely relate to that. I mean, Empathy and Relator are in my top 10. We have so many on our team who are very relationship-focused. When I work with clients who I can tell this is something that they're leading with is relationship building, these are the people I often see who really need connection with their clients.

When they try to shift towards business models where they are disconnected from their clients and community, they start to get really frustrated. I tend to find that people who are in this domain as small business owners, they need more of the high-touch business models in order to feel happy because the idea of having people buying something from them and they have no idea who that person is, it literally makes them crazy.

LaTondra Murray: That's right. I think it gets back to what kind of business are you creating and what kind of leader are you striving to be. It may mean that scale looks very different for a leader who steps out with relationship building versus one that leads with executing or one that leads with influence. I love that point, Racheal, I think that's really interesting and incredibly valid around what's going to work for you and what not depending on your strengths.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, and it's one thing I think about when I look out in the world and all the different examples we have, influencing seems to be the dominant for some of the loudest voices in a lot of industries. You have to look a little bit to find examples of other very successful small businesses that are just set up differently.

Maybe they're going after the same result, but they're going to be very different. I just want to reiterate for anyone, having a high-touch business does not mean it's unscalable. Period. There are plenty of businesses that scale with relationships in the forefront.

It doesn't just have to be an online course to scale your business. I think that's a huge myth that has hurt a lot of small businesses in the last 10 years or so because we see a lot of people in the relationship-building domain who really, really love building a team, and they really, really love having interaction with their clients.

LaTondra Murray: That's right. Yeah, that's right. I like to say don't mimic model. So often people want to mimic what other people are doing and then they wonder why it's not working for them, well, it's not an alignment. Model what really works for you.

Stand in and lean all the way into what is natural for you and what lights you up. Why build a business that sucks the life out of you and deflates you because you're working at the bottom of your strengths versus the top?

Racheal Cook: Yeah, exactly.

LaTondra Murray: Yeah. Then strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is all about the management of information and ideas. You can think about this in terms of knowledge. I like to think of the top portion of knowledge, input, and context, and some of those themes around knowledge. Then the bottom of that area on the table we're looking at is really about thinking, envisioning, and innovation. Being futuristic, ideation, all those things.

If you are a thinker, a dreamer, an ideator, a person who loves to brainstorm, then this might be your leadership style. If you're constantly curating information from sources, you love to learn new things, and you'd like to share those things with your clients or you'd like to infuse those things in your business, then that might be a place where you find yourself as a strategic thinker, a leader who steps out with that domain.

Again, thinking about some of the ways that we can have misfires of strengths, strengths can serve you, they can also sabotage you. We say that for all the strengths. For strategic thinkers, sometimes there can be a lot of shiny objects. Sometimes there can be a lot of “Wouldn't it be cool if we did this or if we did that?”

Racheal Cook: A lot of research rabbit holes.

LaTondra Murray: Yes, a lot of research rabbit holes, a lot of Wikipedia at 2:00 AM.

Racheal Cook: Don’t call me out like that.

LaTondra Murray: How do you think I know? How do you think I know?

Racheal Cook: I know because you do it too. You watch the documentary and you're researching it at the same time. That is me.

LaTondra Murray: Exactly, exactly.

Racheal Cook: That is me. Well, I think it's so fascinating to dig into each of these and I think it's so powerful. It's just so powerful. Being self-reflective is a challenge. Most of us want to understand ourselves better. We want to understand our team better, our clients better.

Sometimes it's really hard but like you said at the very top of this conversation, when you use tools like this, it gives you language and I think the language unlocks that understanding so powerfully. I love this as a jumping-off point. I think everything we've talked about today, just understanding who you are understanding the type of business you're building, what alignment in your team needs to look like, these are really powerful ideas and concepts and we just barely scratched the surface.

LaTondra Murray: We did, we did.

Racheal Cook: We just barely scratched the surface. LaTondra, how can people learn more about working with you and developing their own strengths as a leader but also the strengths of their team as they're growing their business?

LaTondra Murray: Yes, well, I would invite everyone to take my free CEO Style Quiz, you can gain insight about how to best apply your natural leadership abilities for more influence and impact for yourself as well as your team. If people go to, you can take the CEO Style Quiz and that's a great way to find out where you are, what you're working with, and what it can look like going forward. Come and find out whether you're the Builder, the Backer, the Bestie, or the Brainiac. I’ll kind of tease it a little bit.

Racheal Cook: I love it. Well, I'm going to make sure we link all of those things up. I encourage every single person to go check out that quiz because I know you're going to walk away with some amazing insights and clarity.

LaTondra, it’s been so great having you on the show today. Before we wrap up, like you mentioned, you've been a member of The CEO Collective now for, it's been at least six months, it might have been longer than that. I can't remember exactly when you joined.

LaTondra Murray: Yeah, no, you’re great, you’re right on top. Yeah, about six months.

Racheal Cook: But it's been so much fun to have you in and I would love to have you share with anyone who might be considering The CEO Collective a little bit about your experience. What would you say to someone who's considering joining us in this community?

LaTondra Murray: Yes. My experience in The CEO Collective has been amazing, very supportive. I think it's great to hear conversations from other entrepreneurs, people who have different perspectives and experiences, some people who are full-time in their businesses, some people like me who are working in business while also continuing in a day job. Very welcome space for anyone in terms of where you find yourself.

I've also been navigating some personal challenges during this time. I have to say, Racheal, speaking with you, with my mentor, and with others, having that support, I think it’s so powerful and so impactful to be in a place where if you need to pause your business, you need to slow down, or if you're speeding up, you've got the support to take care of and center yourself first.

I think that was just a delightful discovery on my part. I knew that I would learn so much from you, from the content, and from the team. I knew that the other business owners would be amazing because you were creating that community. But I was delighted to know that my care for myself and my ability to focus on my own well-being and just my own piece was something that really mattered in this space. I thank you for that.

Racheal Cook: Oh, I so appreciate that you shared that because I talk a lot about the challenges of being a small business owner. I think a lot of people look for community and mentorship and they think, “Okay, I signed up. Now I just have to go pedal to the metal and just crank things out.” But the reality is this is a marathon, it's not a sprint, and part of building a sustainable business is learning how to receive and accept support. Sometimes that support is going to look like telling you to go on vacation without your laptop, LaTondra.

LaTondra Murray: Exactly. That has served me much more than just forcing myself through ever could have. I’m just going to mention that it is a beautiful benefit in addition to the great community, in addition to your amazing leadership, and to the incredible mentors and team, just the focus on having a journey that's your own, and also taking care of yourself as part of the recipe. Thank you.

Racheal Cook: Well, I really appreciate that. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. Everyone listening in, make sure you go check out her quiz. We are going to have all the links in the show notes and keep on listening because we have another great episode coming up next week.