S2 EP9 How Owning a Business is Like Parenting

October 03, 2019

Time to Pull Back the Curtain on Impulse Creative

On this episode, Remington and Dan unpack the growth journey at Impulse Creative. This idea came from a conversation they'd had, where Remington mentioned casually that "Owning a business is a lot like being a parent." 

Dan wondered what that meant - are employees children? - so you get to hear how one business owner views the parallel between parenting and running an agency with other humans. 

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It's all About Relationships

Why is owning a business like parenting? Remington thinks of employees as family, and knows that it's all about relationships and influence. 

Have you ever tried to "make your kids" do something? You can influence, but sometimes it's more art than science. You want to lead by example. It's difficult to run a healthy business with an iron fist. 

"I have 14 'children.' I have to work through different personalities and I have to try and design the outcomes. My job is make sure the ball rolls. But now we're at the point where I have to get out of the way of the ball rolling." 

"I think of Team Impulse as my family." - Remington Begg

Impulse Creative Family

Leading, like parenting, can sometimes include corrections: "Hey, you're not in trouble but let's not do that again."

It also includes celebrating: "Someone made a goal - that's awesome!"

Remington believes that if you have employees or direct reports and you treat them like family, you'll see success. Part of this philosophy includes realizing that when you hire someone, you shouldn't try to change them. Ask yourself if this will work long term, sort of like a marriage

And while it can be risky to see employees as family, Remington says it's worth the risk. When a team gets to know, like, and trust each other like a healthy family unit, they'll fire on all cylinders. 

Guide Versus Force

In any leadership role, you have a choice to make. Will you try and force people to do what you want, or will you guide them in the direction of mutual goals. 

While there isn't necessarily an easy-button-answer to how to make this happen, Remington offers a few thoughts on how he navigates this role.

Leading from the front is an important goal of this CEO. Rather than pointing and saying, 'Go here,' Remington tries to ask things like 'What if we tried this,' or 'Have you thought about this.' 

He's also willing to do the work his team does, and has been in the same shoes as each of them. It's not an ivory tower he sits in and shouts commands from; it's a shoulder-to-shoulder culture of navigating the same course together.

The downside? Influence is difficult. 

"You can lead a horse to water, but you'll drown them trying to make them drink."

Remington asks the question, "How do you get them to the water, and get them to drink when we know as leaders they need to drink to survive?" 

We don't have all the answers, but we're always working on learning.

Be a Lifelong Learner

If you're leading a company or a team, the best tool in your navigational tool set is your penchant for learning. 

Books, leadership videos, podcast, parallel industries, and other sources of information will help keep you learning and improving. Remington also points to self-awareness as a major part of the journey. 

Own Tings Personally, Don't Take Them Personally

This may be the best advice you'll hear on this episode. Whether it's personal or professional relationships, this advice can help you navigate all kinds of choppy waters. 

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