Jessica Markowitz – On Culture and Values – Ep.139

I’m very excited to share that starting today Think Like An Owner will now be publishing episodes twice per week. This change coincides with our decision to close the Operators Handbook and move those topic-specific conversations to the podcast for Thursday morning episodes. You can expect these episodes to focus on topics like sales, culture, hiring, debt, capital allocation, leadership, board meetings, and dozens of other topics. This is an addition I’ve wanted to make for a long time, and I finally feel like the podcast is ready to go to this next level towards our endless pursuit of better in small business.

The second episode also means we have more availability to partner with great companies serving operators and investors through podcast sponsorships. If you’re interested, please send me an email at [email protected] or connect with me on Twitter or our website alexbridgeman.com. I’d love to chat.

Jessica Markowitz, President and COO at Paragon Legal, kicks off our new topic-specific episodes. Paragon offers outsourced legal services to corporate legal departments, which Jessica and her partner Trista Angele acquired in 2018. Our conversation covers all things culture, including defining culture, maintaining and enforcing culture, and how to build a culture in a remote-first company. Enjoy.

Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherBreaker, and TuneIn

Links:

Jessica Markowitz on LinkedIn

Paragon Legal 

Topics:

(2:58) – What is the purpose of Paragon Legal?

(5:10) – What values do you view as incomplete and what are some complete ones?

(9:47) – Is there one value that you see as most difficult to live out?

(11:55) – What are some of the most recent adjustments you’ve made to Paragon’s values?

(13:31) – How do you sus out whether someone will live out your values in the interviewing and onboarding process?

(16:42) – Do you have some way to quantify an employee’s alignment with values during performance reviews?

(17:54) – How do you maintain and communicate values to the team?

(19:33) – Have there been any particular challenges with enforcing values?

(23:03) – How have you approached building a culture in a remote-natured company?

(29:07) – What are you considering adding or changing concerning communication or trust building?

(30:20) – How do you approach a situation where a team member is continuously not living up to the Paragon values?

(31:59) – What are some other benefits you’ve seen from focusing so much on values and culture?

(34:04) – Have you found any way to accelerate the process of building trust with a new employee to be open and honest with management?

(37:38) – Do you view the act of building a strong culture allows you to trust your team much easier in terms of delegation?

(39:30) – Where are you focusing on improving right now in terms of culture?

(43:05) – Do you have a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?

(44:02) – What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

Think Like an Owner Sponsors:

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Hood & Strong, LLP — Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. Hood & Strong is highly skilled in working with search funds, providing quality of earnings and due diligence services during the search, along with assurance and tax services post-acquisition. They offer a unique way to approach acquisition diligence and manage costs effectively. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected] 

Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and employee benefits programs. Over the past decade, August Felker and his team have engaged with hundreds of searchers to provide due diligence and ultimately place the most competitive insurance program at closing. Given August’s experience as a searcher himself, he and his team understand all that goes into buying a business and pride themselves on making the insurance portion of closing seamless and hassle-free.

If you are under LOI, please reach out to August to learn more about how Oberle can help with insurance due diligence at oberle-risk.com. Or reach out to August directly at [email protected].

Oakbourne Advisors– Oakbourne is an independent retirement plan consulting firm that helps small companies design and implement great retirement plans for their teams.  Whether you already have a 401(k) in place or are looking to start one for your team, please reach out to learn more about how Oakbourne can set your people up for success in retirement at oakbourne.com/think.

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