Getting the Right Things Done

In this The Faces of Business episode, our guest speaker was Susan Ganz. Susan is the C-Suite Advisor, Business Strategist, and Chief of Staff at Ganz Strategic Solutions.  Susan helps executives and management teams execute on their most important objectives.

Everyone wishes about getting the right things done. Whether it’s life or business or something else.

In this The Faces of Business episode, our guest speaker was Susan Ganz. Susan is the C-Suite Advisor, Business Strategist, and Chief of Staff at Ganz Strategic Solutions.  Susan helps executives and management teams execute on their most important objectives.

The conversation started with Susan sharing some parts of her background. She said that when she got her degree in Clinical psychology, that is where she learned the concept of active listening. Moreover, she was always interested in knowing how people achieve their maximum capacity.

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Furthermore, she shared that her first job was commercial lending for middle-market companies. There she learned that people like CFOs and CEOs get lonely at times. This is why she did her MBA

After this, she shared about how we can do the right things. She says that humans like staying in their comfort zone. Therefore, when you want to introduce a change to them, you have to make it sound interesting and fun. For her, this is why she makes her dealing always fun.

Moving on, Susan said that for her the biggest challenge is changing when it comes to getting the right things done. After this, Susan told about her role as a strategist and a Chief of Staff. She said that in this role, her job is to keep the founder of the team leader on track and working on their key priorities.

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Moreover, Susan talked about what issues are there in the life of CEOs or all the other big team leaders. This includes the pressure they go through. She also says that we need to talk about general things that these people do. As in what makes them get up in the morning.

Talking more about getting the right things done, Susan says that it also means focusing on the emotional factors of people. She further said that we live in a 2d world, where only two things matter to us. One is certainty and the other is human connection.

According to Susan, we must also focus on the third dimension, which is the real-life connections. By the end of the conversation, Susan explained a little about C suite advisory. She said that in this what she does is that she helps young companies in their expansion process. She also helps them throughout the transition phase.

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The conversation ended with Damon thanking Susan for her time.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

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Damon Pistulka, Susan Ganz


Damon Pistulka  00:04

All right. Welcome once again to the exit your way faces of business with me today. I have Susan ganz. So Susan, welcome to the show today.


Susan Ganz  00:16

Thank you so much for having me, Damon, I’m so excited to be here with you.


Damon Pistulka  00:21

Yeah, I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun today, you’re you, you have a very interesting work that you do. And I think it’s gonna be fun learning more about that and your background. So happy to have you. So great. We can do it today.


Susan Ganz  00:34

Thanks, again for the opportunity. Awesome,


Damon Pistulka  00:37

awesome. So, Susan, when we look at your background, can you just tell us a little bit about your background and kind of your career because it’s interesting that you’re helping executive teams, and leaders get more of the right things done? And you started off with a BS in clinical psychology?


Susan Ganz  00:57

Yeah. So David, thank you so much for asking, I always say that I operate at the intersection of business and human behavior. So how I got to my work is that backstory of having that psychology background, and where does that come in? comes in every day?

Yeah. It involves a lot of listening, you know, so you might have heard the saying, right, we have two ears and one mouth and that proportion for a reason. Mm hmm. And that’s where I really honed the active listening skills. It’s It started with that psychology journey. And I’ve always been curious about what motivates people to be at their best do their, their best. And I think that’s that curiosity also carries through, and business problem solving and working with, with teams.

So my first job out of college was doing commercial lending for middle market companies. And I learned very early on how lonely at the top it is, for CEOs and CFOs. Because as we were discussing their business, it wasn’t just about their financing needs, it was about broader business questions. And so that really inspired me to go get my MBA in business, you know, in finance and strategic management, so that I could career change to consulting. Yeah, and to be able to solve those larger problems.

And I went on to do consulting, from the standpoint of corporate finance, so sold companies and did strategy consulting, so help with growth strategies and marketing strategies, and then decided to settle down, if you will, with one company to be able to impact strategy over time, and worked on wall street for 10 years doing Technology Management. And that really gave me my experience in change management.


Damon Pistulka  03:05



Susan Ganz  03:06

Because in the technology management areas that I was hired for, it was really about introducing change, and people embracing new ways of doing things, new strategies. And I had to understand that the very nature of human beings is, is to reject anything that’s gonna, yes, it was off balance. It’s people want to be comfortable. And we’re wired, our brains are wired to keep us safe and small. So when you say, Oh, I’m going to introduce this new technology process or like, what, what?

And so you have to bring them along with you on the journey, and make it fun. And I’ve always made my projects fun. They’ve always involved people in the process, because that that’s the key is involving them from the beginning and giving them a voice. And so I did that for 10 years, and then went into financial planning and advisory work. And that’s, it’s also a challenge because you’re getting people to change behavior to try new habits relative to their, their money, new ways of thinking, same sort of thing. There’s that natural resistance. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  04:27

yeah. That’s for sure. Well, for our listeners here on LinkedIn, or Facebook, if you’re if you can, it’d be kind of interesting just for you to shout out, drop a comment from where you’re listening from. That’d be cool to see. And as we go along, well, we might post some of those up on the screen while we’re doing it. And, and you’re exactly right, Susan, I think that while you know when you’re doing change and technology change specifically, people are often very resistant to it and in technology, as we all know changes so Quickly that it can be pretty radical changes that you’re trying to introduce as well.


Susan Ganz  05:06

Absolutely. And it’s always about taking somebody’s temperature rate for tea. And, and really getting at naming the fear. I think that’s the biggest thing is okay. You know, what is it that makes you uncomfortable about the stranger? What is it that we can make this change more palatable? Like, what would help you? And I think when you involve people, it’s all about involving people in the process. And and that’s what I found is the biggest the biggest takeaways in my journey with change management is about involving people in the process.


Damon Pistulka  05:48

Yeah, yeah. I used to liken it to the fact that if you’re going to be a change agent in a business is when I was leading businesses is you have, you’re constantly selling, what you’re selling, what your changes are to everyone that that will listen, everyone you can talk to, and like you said, and involving asking questions, and and and, and helping them resolve their concerns. Yeah, buy in it is a form of selling almost. And I might not be using the right term, but it is you’re, you’re explaining what’s going to happen to allow people to become more comfortable.


Susan Ganz  06:24

Yes. And it’s getting people to be comfortable with the discomfort if that makes any sense said some I think people have been tested for example, in this pandemic, right to be uncomfortable. And and being comfortable with that uncomfortable in this the uncertainty around what’s happening during these challenging and changing times. Yes,


Damon Pistulka  06:51

yes. That’s for sure. So after you’re doing that, the it You said you went into financial management for financial? Yes, financial management, helping people planning their finances and stuff. So what did you find most challenging about that?


Susan Ganz  07:06

So to me, the biggest challenge goes back to change, right? When your people will say, Oh, I would like support for you planning my future. And we’d get to the nuts and bolts of, hey, what is it that’s important to you, your big why, you know, and unliking it to your values. But when the rubber meets the road is taking that action? Yes, in that first action and making things in bite sized chunks, so that it becomes palatable, because when you present the whole plan, people become overwhelmed. I can’t do that.

I expect you to do that. So I would always do a checklist like, here are some things you can do. Let’s tackle this one step at a time. And if you do one thing, we can work on the next thing. But it’s that initial hesitation to get over the initial inertia. Because again, the brain is keeping us small, can’t do that can’t do that have to protect you. Even though these things, these actions that we were describing are all in the best interest of the clock. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  08:22

yeah, exactly. Exactly. ran a couple notes down here because I want to ask some follow ups on that. It is and you’re, you’re exactly right. So this is kind of off off subject a little bit. But so do you think that we can actually over time, train our brain to not be resistant to change?


Susan Ganz  08:48

I think you can, we can change our brains rewire our brains to be open to new things and get comfortable with the discomfort I get. Like there are always be times where the brand’s gonna say, Oh, no, oh, no, I’m going to protect you. I’m going to protect you.

But think it’s it’s that signal, say wait a second. I’m going to be growing. But by doing this change, what’s changing the messaging changing? as some people say the movies in our head? Yeah. And we can change you can change up the energy. I was listening to something today and and something somebody said, Oh, I changed how I think about attention deficit disorder. This is something about I have attention expansion disorder or something like that. But just changing the wording of how we look at things that perspective. We can rewire our brains.


Damon Pistulka  09:57

Yeah. That’s a good that’s a great So we’re changing our perspective and the wording in our mind. Yeah, that’s, that’s really good. Because I know, a lot of people listening and a lot of people in general, and in you coach executives, behind the scenes, there’s a lot of strife that goes on with, you know, even at the highest levels, imposter syndrome, and, and, you know, just all kinds of internal that they fight with every single day that prevents them from being, you know, as good as they could be. That’s why I think that it’s interesting when it to, to understand the brain a little bit more in what we can actually do, if we work at it.


Susan Ganz  10:40

Yes, and it’s intention, it’s all about our intention, and what we give attention to our intentions and the attention. And it goes back to I always say is foundational is to know your why to really get clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Because that keeps you grounded, because when things get hard, you’ll want to retreat. But if you know your why you tend not to Oh, I remember the reason I’m doing this, and yes, it’s gonna be hard. When I power through this, I know I could get to the other side and accomplish this goal. That’s very important to me.


Damon Pistulka  11:25

Yes, yes. So as you as you progress from the financial planning world, you then you then decided that you are going to help, you’re going to be a C suite advisor, and it says, your C suite advisor, business strategist slash chief of staff. So you know, what, what kind of, first of all, how did you kind of go this is what I this is what I think I should be doing? Where was it? Where was the light bulb when the light bulb came on?


Susan Ganz  11:57

So the light bulb came on? About three plus years ago, as there are some changes in the financial services industry, in which my, my particular voice and brands couldn’t be fully heard, let’s let’s just say due to some legislative changes, and how the, my particular company I was working for interpreted those rules. And I started to think about, well, where is it that I want to play? What is my Why? What, what are the things that I like to do, and for me, it always comes down to I love strategy, I love change management, I love project management, I love coaching, business, Doctor, businesses, therapists.

I love making an impact. And for me, that’s one of my core values is about making an impact. And so I saw a broader opportunity, beyond financial planning to be able to do that. And so I formally launched right before the pandemic last year, as this Chief of Staff, this is strategist. And so you might be asking, Well, what, what does that mean? What do you what do you do in that role? And it’s really about focusing the business owner or entrepreneur on their key priorities and keep them on track, reminding them what’s your Why, what’s important to you.

Okay, and what are the activities that you’re doing to support that because often there’s a disconnect. And that’s why I’m a right hand person, to be able to keep them focused on what they’re good at, and what they want to do with the business. And then be able to hand it off to this right hand person to help get some of the drive the strategic initiatives that they’re getting not getting to, or also take care of some of their operational issues that maybe they shouldn’t be pulled into, or to present data to them so that they can make decisions and give free up their time.

It’s really about freeing up time, time is such a precious commodity that we can’t get back out focusing the C suite on what are the key things they need to get done, really want to get done with their business and be be mindful of bright, shiny objects getting in the way being mindful of, you know, operational issues that might be best handled by some other people or two, like I said, put it in in a form that where they can make decisions on it.


Damon Pistulka  14:54

Yeah, exactly. Because I think I think a lot of people it doesn’t really matter the business Business there’s, you can have a fairly sizable business and the owner is still more comfortable Say, say I’m a electrician, and I’m more comfortable being with the people in the field doing electrical work, where they really their business is large enough, they should be worrying about finance or something else, or long term sales or you know, all these kind of things.

But yeah, they got into business because they liked being an electrician, they knew they could do something different and make money, you know, more money or whatever, with having their own business. But yet, their businesses suffer because they want to be there with, you know, in the wrong place, essentially, at that time.


Susan Ganz  15:42

And I think that’s something that a business owner has needs to decide to do, you know, is it what drives them? Is it the work itself? Or is it running the business? Because there are two different things?


Damon Pistulka  15:57



Susan Ganz  15:58

And, and sometimes, yes, you can get involved in the work. But is that the, the main thing you want to be doing? Or is it also being a leader and setting the tone and the culture for the company and being the face of the company and going out talking to clients, perhaps identifying new markets, new products, new services to be offering? And, and so it’s just, it’s getting really clear with yourself? What what is really important to you? And I think that’s the hard work, right?


Damon Pistulka  16:32

Yeah. Yeah. So are there when when you’re working with these, these people, are there common themes that you see across the board? Do you go you know, this is really something that if a business school or whatever, people worked moron, that would it would help them?


Susan Ganz  16:51

So it’s funny you say that because I do a talk called the quick MBA. And there are three lessons that I share in that talk. So the first lesson, and these are all things I didn’t learn in Business School.


Damon Pistulka  17:07

Yeah, yeah, that’s good.


Susan Ganz  17:09

Um, so the first lesson is really about self care. So it’s getting clear on the why and then also, being mindful of your self care when it comes to your personal life when it comes to your financial life. And, and when it comes to your profession, your career. And it’s really about being mindful and embracing that you’re not only a CEO of a company, you’re also CEO of your life.


Damon Pistulka  17:37



Susan Ganz  17:39

And, and, to me, that was a big lesson, I’ve learned the hard way, I also have observed other people getting burned out in their careers and, and really have embraced doing my own morning routines to get grounded for the day. So I could be present for all the different people in my life. So not only Yeah, I am, and, and so forth, but my family members too.

And then on the financial end, it’s also making sure you have a solid foundation from which to work, you know, getting your your savings in order and your documents in order, and then having a plan for, you know, what it is how you want to approach your business from a financing standpoint, how do you want to fund other goals in your life, like, you know, home or college for your kid or charity, or whatever is important to you.

So it’s getting that grounded? And then it’s your profession, you know, what is it that you want to achieve? And who is it that you intentionally want to develop relationships with? Because no matter what the business, you’re always developing relationships with clients, with centers of influence with vendors, with peers, industry experts, so


Damon Pistulka  19:08

yeah, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting that you, number one is self care. And you talk about the three areas you did you know, when, and I’ll be honest here, when I was managing businesses in the 90s, and, you know, late 90s, at least in the early 2000s. You know, being being a CEO, oftentimes meant you’re going to be divorced. It was just a matter of time. And, and, you know, and that, obviously, is not the way it has to be, but in certain circles, that’s the way it is. And it’s not because it’s not because that person is any worse than anyone else.

It’s because they don’t understand how to do these things. And the the more I’ve looked back at this I think it’s almost like today, if you look at a major league baseball player football player, they the the leagues, bring financial planners in with them, because they’ve seen the horrors that happened before of, you know, I’d get a $20 million signing bonus, and I have nothing when I’m done playing, you know, business people don’t have that luxury, it doesn’t seem it other than someone like yourself that comes in and helps them. And I think it’s just as important as in ensuring that they have a good long term life alongside of their career.


Susan Ganz  20:41

Absolutely. And I think it’s about recognizing that one has different roles and in their lives, right. They’re, they’re a son or a daughter. Right? We come from somewhere, so we’re definitely a son or a daughter. Yeah. You could bring a brother or sister, you could be a father or mother, you could be a spouse, you could be a co worker, you could be a cheerleader or community person, there’s so many different roles that we play in our lives. And, and so I think it’s also recognizing that you’re not defined by your work alone.

It’s all these other things in your life. So I think that’s one. Another thing, you you, you talked about a divorce and challenges as as a CEO. And very vividly remember, at the beginning of business school, there was an article that came out in Business Week profiling these CEOs, you know, and they give you the highlight wheel, all these wonderful things, and how life is beautiful, and everything’s perfect.

And I was sitting, having a conversation with my colleagues, and we stopped our studies. And we had this conversation about this article, and said, wouldn’t it be great to really understand what were the sacrifices? What were the decisions that they these CEOs made? along the way? Was there something that they had to give up? Is there an and is it an or what is it? Because we’re not? You know, it just seemed like it was just this perfect step ladder? And we know life? It’s not like that’s really like that


Damon Pistulka  22:31

at all.


Susan Ganz  22:32

Exactly. And and so we wrote a letter to the editor, which they published to say, in future articles, we would love to hear what’s the backstory of these CEOs that you’re profiling? What are some of the challenges that they’ve faced real life challenges that they’ve faced in climbing the corporate ladder? And is there something that we should be mindful of? So I don’t remember that they actually did the profiling of that future. But we set our piece?


Damon Pistulka  23:07

Yes. Well, I mean, I think if you’ve read the Steve Jobs book, and it may be a good example, maybe a bad example, I don’t know. But as brilliant as he was in Apple and the other things that he did, personally, he was he there, there, there were challenges.

There are definitely challenges in life. They’re like everyone, like everyone is that everyone’s got challenges. But I think that what you’re doing by by identifying help people identify that and those different roles and help them work through them on their way to in their professional lives as well, is very valuable, because it is I also believe it is possible to have a decent personal life in a very vibrant career. And all around if if they are cognizant of the things that you’re helping them with.


Susan Ganz  24:04

Yeah, so I think it all goes back to a point back to the why, like Simon Sinek says, you know, it’s it starts with why and knowing your purpose, because that’s, that’s the thread throughout. So when I’m working with companies, and they say, Oh, I want to pursue XYZ strategy, or XYZ tactic, we go back to wait before you jump to all the fun stuff.





Susan Ganz  24:33

there’s just a little bit of other fun stuff we need to talk about. And that’s like, what is what’s the bigger picture here? Why you’re doing what you’re doing? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Like, why? And it’s not always an easy question for people to answer and I think that’s why they avoid it. Yeah. Yeah, it goes back to that comfort discomfort thing again.


Damon Pistulka  24:57

Yes, yes. So in your quick MBA we talked about the first one was self care. So what’s your sec number two.


Susan Ganz  25:04

So number two is about developing relationships and why relationship building is important. And being mindful of things like emotional intelligence. So how you manage your own emotions and your being self aware, and then how you manage relationships and being aware of, you know, others, and their emotions.

And then being intentional about the people that you want to develop relationships with them, and making a simple grid, if you will, of do, who are the types of people I want to meet for my business? And how often do I want to reach out have a touch point with them? And what does that touch point look like? Is that a virtual coffee? Is that touch point in emails at a text? Is it a phone call?

What is it? Yeah, and, and, and so it’s intentional about how that outreach happens. And it’s also being mindful of people’s human needs. What I what I find during the pandemic is that people tend to have two primary human needs, which is around certainty, who want to know, what’s going to happen. And the second human need is around connection. Because as I said, we’ve we’ve been in this 2d world for almost a year now. Yeah, I think a lot of people are missing that 3d in real life connection. So it’s acknowledging it and and, you know, creating experiences are are as close to 3d as as possible.


Damon Pistulka  26:53

Yeah. Yeah, that’s for sure. And I think that one of the things that, that you talked about it, you know, in developing relationships, I think it’s very easy for executives, to get so caught up in their work, that they neglect developing relationships. And, and you know, that in that, like you said, intentional, and in who I should be developing relationships, and dedicating time to that, and ensuring that those relationships, you’re continuing to nurture them and whatever you’ve got to do to to build those with the right people. It’s very easy for for those leaders to lose that just completely sometimes.


Susan Ganz  27:36

Yes, yeah.


Damon Pistulka  27:38

That’s cool. That’s cool. So developing relationships. So number three, in your quick MBA.


Susan Ganz  27:46

So number three, so we’ve talked about, okay, you have to know your why. What’s important to you this self care piece, then it’s about the relationships. And the third, we’ve somewhat touched upon earlier in the hour, which was about being comfortable with the uncomfortable.


Damon Pistulka  28:11



Susan Ganz  28:13

so it’s embracing that change being okay with the dis comfort. And it’s really about reframing that, as I said, it’s about, you know, saying, okay, here’s where the growth is. And there’s somebody who I recently interviewed for my web show who said, she has a 50% rule. She said, If I’m 50%, uncomfortable, that’s good. for that role. That’s how I know it’s right for me. Why? Because that means I’m going to learn and I’m going to grow, it’s going to challenge me. And you don’t necessarily always learn that in school, you know, you’re comfortable, you have to know. But, you know, what I’ve learned over time is, I don’t need to know everything. I can learn it and to be continuously learning.


Damon Pistulka  29:06

Yes. That’s very good. Is it just and it is so true is that you know, that that uncomfortable nature of the things that we do you think back to it, I mean, just about anything that you’ve done, that’s a big change, or something new to you, is uncomfortable in the beginning. And oftentimes, it turns out very nicely.


Susan Ganz  29:29

Yes. And you could turn back to various stages in your life, whether it was, you know, going to a new school, for the first time. We’ve all been to a new school at some point in our lives, or meeting new people. And event, you know, it doesn’t have to be this big thing. There are things that we do all the time, new foods that we try.


Damon Pistulka  29:56

Yep, write


Susan Ganz  29:57

a book that we haven’t read before. That’s new. Yeah, location that we haven’t been to before a restaurant, we haven’t tried a museum like these, all these smaller changes that that we have in our lives. And I think if we, again, if we train ourselves, oh, this is a new experience, and I’m going to learn something from it. Hmm. And putting ourselves in a learning and growing mindset as opposed to?

Well, I don’t know what it is, I’m afraid. And I use this analogy recently with a client, who is sort of white knuckling this whole thing. And I said, it just reminds me of the book, I don’t know if you read it as a kid called the monster at the end of this book. It had rover. So Grover was the monster. And he was afraid of getting to the end of the book, because he’s like, there was a monster at the end of the book. And each page was filled with all these different things he tried to do. So you wouldn’t turn the page. He’s like, Oh, no, you turn the page. And then the monster at the end of the book was him.


Damon Pistulka  31:07

No. Yeah, yeah, I think I remember that. Yeah.


Susan Ganz  31:15

That gets in the way. So it’s, what can you do now to reframe things so that it’s more of, Oh, I’m exploring something. And, and this exploration doesn’t need to be scary. Yes, maybe it’s uncomfortable, and I butterflies in my stomach, and those are good butterflies, that that’s a signal, it’s retraining your brain that the butterflies are actually a signal that you’re growing?


Damon Pistulka  31:43

Yes, yeah, that’s a great way to say it. It’s just a signal that you’re growing. You know, and I don’t know when there’s last week or something, I saw that old thing again, about it’s how people use failures. And it’s the someone building a wall with the bricks of failure, and someone else building a stepping stone, you know, where they’re going up to success.

And the other person build a wall of bricks that built, you know, cornered them in the two, and it’s just the one used it to propel themselves forward, and the other one, obviously, cornered themselves in to stifle what they could do. And that’s exactly what uncomfortable learning to be uncomfortable, I think, to help you grow is a good example of it.


Susan Ganz  32:30

And I think the way you exercise a muscle like that, to to embrace learning and change is to do something a little bit uncomfortable every day. And maybe that’s an email, maybe that’s you reach out to somebody on LinkedIn that you’re not sure if they’re going to accept your invite, but if you never send it then 100% they will never accept your invite. Yes, but if you send it a got a 5050 shot.


Damon Pistulka  33:03

Yes. That’s That’s for sure. Doing something uncomfortable every day. Huh? Yes. So when you’re when you’re so when you come back? And you’re now you’re the business strategist, Chief of Staff?


Susan Ganz  33:19



Damon Pistulka  33:20

What are you typically going to be helping? Are you helping an individual? Are you helping teams? How does it usually work?


Susan Ganz  33:28

Yes. And yes. So It usually starts with somebody in the C suite, at the executive ranks, who will say something like, no, we’re trying to get these strategic key strategic initiatives done. And we can’t just we can’t get to them. It, we don’t have the bandwidth, we need some support, and making sure that these things happen. And so can you come in and help us? So that’s typically what happens for more rapidly growing company, maybe they’re three to five years old. And they’re going from what I’ll call the infancy stage, to the adolescent stage. And now they need some more structure.

Because it’s, it’s no longer a handful of people. There are more people involved. And, and they want to grow up and they want to be mindful of Okay, what are our key goals? How are we going to measure them? What are the longer term vision, things that we need to be mindful of and what are the actions that we need to take today, in order to get there in the future, and somebody to sort of champion that to remind them, that’s what’s happening. And then when some operational issues come along, making sure that they’re communicated in a way way that you can make decisions and action on them not like, Oh, this doesn’t work. Great. What’s the data? What are our options?

You know, and, and so it’s more formalizing some of the things that might have been easier when it was five people in a company. But now that the company is, is growing, they need to have more of the structure in place. So that’s on the growing side, I also get involved with more established companies. So they may come and say, you know, Susan, as a result of the pandemic, we need to look at some different revenue streams as an example, and just mapping out Well, how do you do that? But even before you get to, okay, these revenue streams, and that could be a strategy, have to pull back the camera and say, what’s the bigger picture here? Like, why are you doing what you’re doing? Like?

Why don’t you just fold up now? Like, what is it that is so important to you, because that has to be the driver, because there’ll be, like I said, there’ll be days when things aren’t going so well. And you want to retreat? You have to remind yourself, what am I doing? Again? Oh, we have this bigger vision. And what we do today is going to impact that bigger vision later on. Yeah, so. So that’s how it works. Usually, there’s a situation where the C suite will say, you know, we’re stuck in getting to that next level of growth, and not sure what’s getting in the way. And, and typically, there’s some aspect of a human Roadblock, generally a mindset, you know, and, and so dig in to that.

And based on my background, early on, in my career as a commercial lender, I come at things like knowing the context, like so, understanding, okay, what’s going on the overall economy, what’s going on in their industry? What’s going on in that company? How’s that company compared to its peers? And then digging into when an opportunity is just an opportunity in the company? What are all the different steps and stages does that opportunity go through until it generates revenue? Because it’s, it’s that kind of, I’ll call it a 360 view, where you get insight into what’s really happening, what’s getting in the way, it’s those details that reveal what’s really happening?


Damon Pistulka  37:48

Yeah. So when you talked about mindset, what are some of the things that you run into mindset problems when, when you’re dealing with these things?


Susan Ganz  38:00

So I think, mindset issues play out in a few different ways. One set of mindset issues is saying, Well, I’m the CEO, and I’m the founder, so I’m the only one who can do it. I’m the only one that knows how nobody else can, it is going to take too much time to train somebody else for the talent doesn’t exist. So it’s, it’s, it’s going from a founder mindset, to a more of a business mindset, because if you’re going to scale, the tools, processes, approaches that you might use to get to your initial level of growth aren’t necessarily going to be the same for that next level of, of growth.

There are new tools and approaches, just like if you’re climbing a mountain, you need some different tools at different stages in the mountain, you certainly need different tools when you’re going down the mountain, then when you’re going up the mountain. So it’s recognizing that and you know that that takes some time to readiness for hearing that message.


Damon Pistulka  39:25

Yeah. Yeah. Because you’re not dealing with somebody that’s used to being told what they what they need to do it. I mean, what you do a lot of it, you know, because if you’re dealing with CEOs, I mean, they’re, they’re used to being the ones that looks into the mirror and makes the decision.


Susan Ganz  39:42

So it’s really about a collaboration, working with the CEO, right, because I’m not gonna pretend to know everything. I don’t, I’m not the subject matter expert. But when I come in, it’s about being a collaborative change agent. And hearing, what are you trying to achieve? And understanding what’s getting in the way? Often I find it’s some sort of communication issue 80% of the time, there’s an issue. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  40:18

Ah, communicate communication comes back to that again, that’s a lot. I mean, that’s a lot of stuff. I mean, you look in personal professional, whatever, it’s, it’s thinking, you know, that the other person really understands what you’re saying, but they don’t, you know, not receiving something right. Not saying something right. You know, it’s just that all kinds of things that, that affect that every single day, it’s interesting how that weaves itself into so many things.


Susan Ganz  40:46

Absolutely. And I can give you an example from earlier, my career, I worked with a design build firm, and the CEO was telling me, all these things that were wrong with his business. And he was convinced that the problem was marketing. How do you know the problem is marketing? Because sales are down, I said, and he was like, What do you mean?

And I said, let’s take a look at each stage of your business. And let’s figure this out. Is that okay? I’m game for that. So I go in. And I found out a couple of things one, and talking to the clients, what was happening is that CEO had strong opinions about how a remodeling of let’s say their home should go down. So he had a vision. The client had a vision, too. Sometimes those visions didn’t meet. But ultimately, it was the client’s vision really mattered because this is their home.


Damon Pistulka  41:49



Susan Ganz  41:50

Right. So when the client’s vision didn’t always meet the CEO, his vision and things were built to this that CEO his vision, he didn’t receive full price. Mayan said, but you didn’t. It’s beautiful, but it’s not built for me.


Damon Pistulka  42:12

Now what I wanted,


Susan Ganz  42:13

it’s not what I wanted. And so that goes back to ask me about psychology in the beginning. That’s active listening. Right? And and that was being headstrong and not listening to the client and building to what the client wanted. Now, there could have been issues along the way, maybe there’s, there’s something structurally that they could say, well, we can’t quite do it this way or that way. And, obviously, then there’s modifications. But most of the time, it was no, there was one vision and another vision. It didn’t look to didn’t meet. So it was one issue. And then another issue had to do with control.

And as part of this particular CEOs high need for control and information, he sometimes would overstep the super on the job and talk directly to the client. So now the client gets confused, because they’re like, am I talking to the CEO? Am I talking to the super Who am I speaking with and it doesn’t seem like the super and the CEO are talking. So I’m not sure what’s happening. And so in that case, a shine a light on that, and be put in place a few different things, one, role descriptions, and socialize those role descriptions with everyone in the company.

So everybody knew what they were responsible for. And when they had to be reformed in forums and who was involved in the decisions, but who is ultimately responsible for what, and then put in place some spreadsheets to give transparency into what was happening on the job, and where, what was the status and what things were open, and what were the issues. So it became transparent, and gave that CEO the control that he was seeking. But that was far from marketing had nothing to do with marketing.


Damon Pistulka  44:20

Yes, exactly. It’s a great example. Because it’s oftentimes we think it’s something else. Yeah, really get to the root cause it’s much different.


Susan Ganz  44:30



Damon Pistulka  44:32

So you’re really helping them figure out things and then make sure they’re doing the things that they need to to prevent that problem.


Susan Ganz  44:43

Yes, or when they run into a roadblock, to not my permit, but to really look into it and ask questions and get really curious and that’s another trick. You know, sometimes people jump to conclusions about things and I asked people to jump into questioning, but not accusatory today. But curiosity questioning,


Damon Pistulka  45:11

to try to just figure things out and get more details to get a more well rounded view of the situation.


Susan Ganz  45:18



Damon Pistulka  45:20

Very good. Very good. So, you mentioned one thing a while, a little bit back about these businesses, as a founder goes, you know, founder, they started out, there’s six people in a room and they, you know, business explodes, and everything’s great.

And they look around, and it’s, it’s a year later, and now there’s 25 people in the room. I mean, that’s something that a lot of business people never contemplate, or, or don’t consciously think about, I believe, because the way that you’re structured, the systems you use everything, every so often, kind of has to morph, and not kind of it has to, it has to morph because you cannot any longer, you know, when you go from one person that you’re supervising to that room, or even four or five, because you can do that, when you look at that same room, and it’s 25.

And they all look to you as a supervisor, that’s not effective anymore. And oftentimes, business people go right by that, and wonder why their business is being limited. But it’s them.


Susan Ganz  46:28

Yes, it’s about letting go to surrounding yourself, with a team of people, right, with your support staff, and trusting them to really do that they do the work that they need to do and to value their opinions, their thoughts, their feedback. And I think that’s really when the magic happens when you allow that runway for people to be their authentic selves, instead of one person just dictating what needs to get done. I think that becomes the magic sauce for it. Yeah, company.


Damon Pistulka  47:14

Yeah, yeah, you’re right. And it’s, it is hard. I mean, I, I came up as a technician, and then into a manager role in leadership roles. And it’s that that first transition is hard, because you’ve got a way that you do things. And it’s, it’s driven your success to a lot of times, right?

Yeah, no, it’s successful. And then when somebody else comes in, and they want to do it a little differently, or whatever, it as a, as a leader, manager, whatever, you really need to back off a little bit. And make sure that the end result is there with maybe the same efficiency and other things like that. But if the end result is there, it you got to let it go. I mean, you got to let it go. Because otherwise you’re, there’s no, you’re not going to allow them to really flourish as they should, nor will you.


Susan Ganz  48:03

Yes. And going back to what we were talking about before about failures, also making it okay to fail. And that’s a learning experience. And I say that to my daughters all the time, if they think they didn’t do so well on a particular test or project. I’ll say, did you learn? And what from the experience? And what did you learn from that experience? Because I’m more interested, and that learning journey for you?

Yeah. And just change it up so that they would even feel comfortable to even share that with me. And it’s the same thing with their, your team, making it Okay, to make a mistake. It’s, I think, when people are in an environment where they’re so afraid of their jobs, and like, I have to do everything perfectly, it just creates such anxiety and angst. I mean, just talking about it. I


Damon Pistulka  49:08

know Yeah, yeah, it just makes you nervous. Just lucky, just because there are places like that where people are a so afraid to make a mistake. And then B as soon as it happens is everybody the CIA kicks in and, and and it’s just it’s so unproductive.

And I think that when you make you’re taking calculated risks, making mistakes are all calculated risks, I think in my in my understanding of it, and the way that I look at it, because if you’re going to do something and the risk is low, make a mistake at it because you who cares at that point, if you’re going to try something that’s going to make it really a lot better and you make a mistake. If it’s a calculated risk, and it’s not a big loss of you.

There’s a lot more to gain out of the times that you win than often. few times that you’re going to lose, because you’re not going to do something, knowing you’re going to fail, or it’s not going to work, you’re going to try something that you think might work. And if your people around you and your team is good, just good, they don’t have to be great. All of them together thinking and they agree that Yeah, let’s take this calculated risk, you probably got a good shot that it’s gonna work out. And even if it’s calculated, it’s not a huge loss, if you do, go for it, because you’ll learn something in the process, and the next step will be better.


Susan Ganz  50:32

And that’s really where innovation happens. So think about three, and post it notes pose that mistake. Sounds


Damon Pistulka  50:42

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And you know, I had a role many years ago, where I told people I had a big, you know, the be hag big, hairy, audacious goals. And I love them, I think is why you wakes me up in the morning, right? And I told people as we we made a product, and there was a, it was a product that took about eight weeks to make that was the standard in the industry. And I said, Well, I think we should figure out how to do it in two. And everybody got a blank look at their face away.

Why would you ever want to do that? I said, because we will. A we have to, you have to be super efficient to do that. Be you can’t make mistakes, there’s no room for quality errors. And see, we will kill the market, we will take over the market, because everybody else is still laboring back here, and we’re way up here. And been in when we did it. It worked. A

nd two years later, and a lot of trials and tribulations. But those kind of things is where the innovation happens is by by taking those risks and, and laying those things out and then letting the talented people do the work. encouraging them through the failures, I think is is a part of that. Which is, like you said it’s where the magic happens. So much. So much fun. So well. You know, Susan, it’s been awesome talking to you about this. What haven’t I asked you that I should ask you?


Susan Ganz  52:12

So that’s a great question. I think, in summary, I’d like to say this is this is my approach to things. I call it C pass. So the C stands for clarity. So to get really clear on what’s important to you your goals. Going back to our earlier part of our conversation, the P is for permission. And that’s permission to put yourself on your agenda. And if you struggle with that one, I always say blame me, blame Susan Gantz. A is about having access to experts, and to others who can support you in your goals. So having a forum like this, to be able to discuss these issues, is all part of your access.

And the first S is for having a secure foundation for all aspects of your life as part of this self care that we we talked about in terms of your personal life, your financial life, and your professional life. And the final so in that process and approach is for support and making it okay for yourself to to reach out for for support, because we don’t all have the answers. And it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off of peers, to have a community, like the exit your way community in the faces of business, to be able to discuss various business issues and other issues relative to your life. It’s really about taking taking control, as I’ll repeat what he said, You are the CEO of your life.


Damon Pistulka  54:03

That is for sure. Those are great points. Because they just are there’s great points. That’s awesome, Susan. That’s, that in summary is wonderful. So thank you so much for being here today,





Damon Pistulka  54:21

And I’m just I’m just delighted that we had the opportunity to talk like this, and to learn from you and learn how you’re helping people. And if people want to reach out to you what’s the best way for them to do that?


Susan Ganz  54:34

Sure. So there’s a few ways you can reach me on my website Gan strategic so that’s ga NZ strategic solutions with an S at the end comm here on LinkedIn. You can get me at Susan GaNS of GaNS strategic solutions, or you can email me directly at Susan at gam strategic


Damon Pistulka  55:00

Awesome, awesome. And we’ll put that in the in the details of the post and of the YouTube video as well. People are listening to that. Well, again with me today on the faces of business, I realized I forgot to introduce myself at the beginning of that thing, but I’m Damon Pistulka. But I’ve got a wonderful guest with me today and Susan GaNS. And we’ve been talking about how she helps people as a business strategist and a chief of staff and talking about her background. I’m just so appreciative of you being here today. Thank you.


Susan Ganz  55:31

Thank you so much, Damon, I really appreciate this opportunity.


Damon Pistulka  55:36

Awesome. Well, if anyone wants to listen to this again, we’ll have it here. You can come to us live on LinkedIn. It’ll soon be on our website on our blog page. And right now we are also on Spotify and other podcasting channels. So thanks, everyone, for listening. Thank you, Susan. We’ll be back here on Thursday. We’ve got Bonnie Sussman stronger talking to us about building a brand with video and if you haven’t seen her talk before and the things that she does, this video is going to be a lot of fun. Thanks again, everyone, and we’ll talk with you soon.

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