Dr. Ali Lankerani (“Dr. L”) and Debra Dinnocenzo enjoy a wide-ranging discussion about the brain/heart connection and how leaders can leverage their “zone of genius” by focusing on what they do well, caring about the people they lead, and finding ways to automate/delegate the things they do that could be automated or delegated. Building on his background as a practicing neuroscientist and his expertise in working with parents to help them become more effective, Dr. L suggests ways leaders can build strong connections and rapport with their teams to improve team member retention, satisfaction, and performance. Dr. L is also the founder of Role Model Maker which offers virtual assistance services, and he offers listeners a free resource listing the Top 10 Virtual Assistant Tasks downloadable at https://debradinnocenzo–rolemodelmaker.thrivecart.com/top-10-va-task-new/
About the Guest:
Dr. Ali Lankerani is a clinical neuroscientist, affectionately known by his patients as Dr. L, The Parent Whisperer.
He is an internationally published best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and coach; was twice-voted as one of America’s Top Doctors; Is the host of Role Model TV, Family Circle, & creator of the Amazing Parents’ Network. Dr. L ran an award-winning private practice helping kids with autism spectrum disorders. He focuses on children’s performance optimization, and currently holds online events & programs that support parents & their children; and encourages healthy development & growing relationships.
Dr. L enjoys being the active father of his two Amazing Kids and proudly serves as the founder of the Legacy Builders’ Programs & CEO of the RoleModelMaker.com. He is involved with the United Nations through the Global Alliance Offices on Drugs and Crime, an NGO with ECOSOC status. His mission is to promote brain-based healthcare options to support parents and their children to foster their optimum potential and their quest for personal fulfillment. You can find him regularly speaking at a variety of venues on health, lifestyle, and personal as well as child development.
About the Host:
Since publishing her first book on telecommuting in 1999, Debra has been a pioneer in the shift to virtual work and remote leadership. Few practitioners in the field have the depth of knowledge and hands-on experience that distinguishes Debra in the hybrid workplace and remote leadership space. As a nationally recognized expert in remote workplace and distance leadership, Debra has spoken widely on related topics, and developed and taught “Leadership in the Virtual Workplace,” an online graduate-level course.
Debra A. Dinnocenzo is president and founder of VirtualWorks!, a consulting, coaching, and training firm that specializes in virtual work issues. Debra is a dynamic keynote speaker, innovative educator, impactful coach, seasoned executive, and successful author.
Debra is the co-author of the recently released book, REMOTE LEADERSHIP – Successfully Leading Work-from-Anywhere and Hybrid Teams, as well as several other books on remote and virtual teams.
Schedule a call with Debra HERE
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the remote leadership podcast. And I'm particularly excited today to have Dr. Ali Lankerani , join me today are Dr. L, as he goes by, has been twice voted as America's top doctors. And he's a clinical neuroscientist, and you're wondering why why is a clinical neuroscientist on the podcast where you'll find out why. And but he is also an international inspirational speaker and a best selling author. As I mentioned, he's affectionately known as Dr. L, the parent whisperer. And he's the legendary builder's mentor. And he's a children's performance optimizer. So many of my listeners will have an interest in what Dr. Ll does, aside from what he does in terms of leading remotely. So Dr. L is on a mission to support, inspire and empower families and experts to step into their thrive and leave a legacy for the next generation very powerful stuff. He's the founder of family circle and the legacy builders community, and the creator of role model maker, and the amazing parents network. So welcome, Dr. L.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Thank you, Debra, I'm super happy to be here. Excited. Hello, everyone.Debra Dinnocenzo:
So tell us a little bit aside from everything I just mentioned, your journey, what you've done, how you got to where you are. And of course I know you because of another business that you have with virtual assistants. And so how you got to where you are?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Absolutely. Well, the story is pretty long guy at this point, I'm actually either a contributor or a founder of three, seven figure businesses. So it goes way back. But I started, as you mentioned, as a physician. And really quickly I kind of am the an implementation guy, right. So from early on, as soon as I got out of school, I started wanting to see how could I implement the stuff that I had learned. And a lot of the stuff in the healthcare setting was set up that it would get in the way of people being able to physicians to be able to practice that what they were taught at school simply because of insurance because of all these other things, right. So I had to realize pretty early on that I needed some help. As far as business is concerned, I did go through some management and consulting firms and learned a lot as implemented as much of it as I could, which really helped me in my private practice, improve how I practice related to the patients, build rapport and ultimately increase my patient outcomes. Because if you have better rapport, patients tend to follow your instructions better and big surprise, you follow the doctor's instructions, you actually get the results you get. Sorry, yep. Okay. And then what ended up happening is that started getting the attention of other management firms, as well as some schools that were looking for sending their interns for fellowship. So that's basically how I got to where I am, that I started coaching for physicians that were coming out of school. And we were able to do this remotely. My main goal was to basically make sure that they start these businesses. And they were in the black the first month that they were out. So how many of us would like that, and that was a brick and mortar office. Right. So that was that was a good accomplishment, a very good experience and very fulfilling want to see these heart centered, physicians actually be able to succeed and focus on their craft. So then I took a sabbatical, I wanted to focus on my children, this family has always been really important generationally back. And when I decided to come back, I did not want to actually go ahead and start and redo what I had already learned. I wanted to increase my reach, make a bigger impact in the world. And despite the accomplishments, what ended up happening was I actually entered into the online world and say hello to all the entrepreneurs out there. Right. And very quickly, I realized that the although the principles are the same as the brick and mortar, the tools are different. And so I had to go once again, through coaching and mentorship. So I definitely want to encourage all of our listeners to make sure that they invest in themselves by asking people to give them insight and speed up their development process. But what ended up happening is, within a short period of time, I was able to establish my online business. And then COVID happens. So everybody decided to join us online and the company grew 10 folds. Wow. And I did hundreds of coaching calls basically during those first couple of years when we had COVID Because many people were trying to figure out a way to bring their skills and craft to the online world. And I started noticing that many of these people, they had a message, yet they didn't have the technology or the time in many cases to actually go ahead and meaningfully make a difference with their message. So we started supporting them. Out came everything that has happened since and we've been doubling and tripling our growth pretty much every year for three, four years now.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Very interesting. So. So what does it mean that you're the parent whisperer, tell us more about what you've done in that area. Because, you know, our listeners are often listening for skills and techniques and strategies for leading from a distance. But you know, underlying what everybody does every day in their work is really what's really talked about heart centered, what's at the heart for most people is taking care of their families, right, and being truly connected with their children. And so tell us a little bit about what what the parent whisperer does. Absolutely.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: I love that you asked that question, because the history of it dates back to when I had the private practice, my main area of focus was neurodevelopmental disorders. So nowadays, we call it neurodiverse. But back in the days, used to say that I used to work with families who had children with autism spectrum disorder. So everything from Asperger's and Tourette's to dyslexia, abd ADHD, the list kind of goes on. And it only has gotten more prevalent over the years, hence the change name because people are more accepting of this being more of a normal part of society. And we should, because a lot of our geniuses and changemakers in the world come from that lineage basically, right. But one of the things that parents would often come to me and read, but we would realize is that parents inadvertently based on upbringings, based on culture, whatever it happened to be social norms, they were inadvertently pushing their children into places where these kind of things would manifest itself in a bigger way. And so we had to actually address these. And that would require not a change actually in the children, but actually in the parents lifestyle. So I had to whisper the parents into changing their lifestyle, which is not as easy task as changing children, because they don't have built in habits and they change on a dime, parents take a lot longer. And somehow, they could not only see the effects of it in their children, but also in their own lifestyle and in their own personal lives as well. So that's where it came about. And after private practice, I basically decided, you know, what, enough preaching to all the parents out there, I'm gonna put everything to test myself. And that's what my sabbatical pretty much was, as I basically was the primary caretaker for both of my kids when they were first born. So that whole process really got me to fine tune and hone all the stuff that I used to give advice on, but I wasn't apparent yet. And that's really got on then. And then when I came into the online world, that title kind of stuck, because, as you mentioned, many of these things that we want to do in our business, really, its impact first starts at home and what you're doing at home, so we always serve families, it's just that for me, it wasn't enough just to serve the families, I wanted to also serve the speaker experts and the entrepreneurs that also serve family. So it wasn't about my message anymore. It was about anybody who wanted to support families. Here we are. Yeah,Debra Dinnocenzo:
and you know, in the workplace, in many ways that people we work with our work family, right, some people have their best friends at work. Some people spend at least back when everyone was in the office five days a week, more time with their some people actually had like their, they would call it their, you know, their their work wife or their work husband, which is a little strange. But you know, one of the things that pops into my mind as you're talking, and it wouldn't, it wouldn't be extreme to use the term neurodiversity in this context. But one of the issues I hear about a lot now when I'm working with leaders is the challenge they have in understanding how people have a different generation. For most leaders, it's the young people coming into the workplace, how they think because they it's like a complete disconnect. In many cases. They don't get how they think, and I am sure some of the people coming into younger people coming into the workplace are looking at some of us and saying, Well, what are they thinking? And so I and you know, the other parallel I'm, I'm sensing and what you're saying is, it's really the responsibility of the parent in the workplace, the responsibility for the leader to adapt to understand that and to adapt. And so I'm not sure if you've done any work with leaders So, in that context, but I'd be interested in your thoughts about and that's just an observation I just had.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: That actually is a really good observation because especially last year, I talked about this with our community quite a bit. Because, like, for instance, I serve families, right. But if I look at the people that are in my generation, they're either empty nesters or they have teenager kids. But believe it or not a lot of young up and coming new and expecting parents aren't the millennials. And it's weird for me to think that way. Because I always thought I am the parent community, my generation is, and I'm like, You know what, I'm kind of moving out. So you have to realize that if you plan to serve this age group, this generation, you have to meet them where they're at, you have to speak their language, you have to address their needs, and the world has moved on from when you and I were kids, and growing up that is a very different community. So if you do not understand that you can relate to that, then your your clients have so many different needs. And you're not kind of getting in touch with those needs. So you can serve them and not all of those needs need to be served by you. But being able to know what their needs are, enables you to become a resource to direct people to many experts that you already know, that actually serve those needs, specifically, right. So you have to relate to your co workers, you have to be able to relate to people that they work with. Right,Debra Dinnocenzo:
and it's a challenge, you know, I was just reading an article the other day, in some places we have, will continue to have the five generation workplace. I mean, you know, years ago, that never happened, you know, there might be two at the most three, but now there's five. And people do have different values, they've had different experiences. You know, we have people coming into the workplace who didn't experience 911 As an example, you can't use that as a common shared experience anymore. And so, you know, the idea of meeting people where they are understanding where they are understanding the language, they use the values that they have, I think is vitally important for leaders, for entrepreneurs, with clients, but for leaders as well. And it probably, you know, it prompted in my mind as you were talking, because it's I hear it a lot from leaders what a challenge this is. And on top of everything else that leaders have to do, we now have to, you know, be mindful of the, the people that we that we work with. And I don't want to say the children that work for us, but some people, some leaders that actually like they just they think they just don't get how they are, or I hear a lot, you know that they weren't like that when they were in the workforce. Okay, so get over it. No, you weren't, you were different. And these people are different. So again, it's not as extreme as neurodiversity, but it's a big disconnect.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Absolutely, and connections in this global world, and in this internet world, is key, I really appreciate what you're doing. Because this is what internet was designed to do to bring us together cohesively to make for a better experience and to improve things faster for the next generation.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Right. So and, you know, also in the workplace a big part of why, you know, we've been hearing about the great resignation, and, and quiet quitting, you know, where people are just, they don't, they don't leave, they hang around, they're not engaged. It's really the role of the the supervisor, their leader. That impacts that that a lot of why people leave as they don't feel valued and appreciated. And the challenges people need to leaders now need to demonstrate value and appreciation and caring in ways that you and I didn't benefit from. I'm you, obviously people can't see you because this is a podcast, and it's just audio, but you know, you have gray hair. So I know you went to medical school, when, you know, probably even bedside manner skills weren't taught, you know, I mean, it's just you learn fundamental science, that's fine. But it is that report. You're not going to be surprised by this. But you know, there was a study done a few years ago, because they sit on a couple of hospital boards. So we look at, you know, malpractice cases who gets who gets sued, and there was clear evidence that people were less inclined to sue their doctor, even if there was a mistake or something that was done wrong. If they liked the doctor.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Absolutely. Never. I gotta mention this, you're bringing up something that is very key, whether it's your business, in healthcare, whatever it happens to be. People are people and most of our programs because of my background tend to have this brain base thing. And I follow this model of how the brain has evolved, which is basically the connections within the brain, and then how the brain connects to the world outside, right? So whether it's your health, whether it is wealth, whether it is bringing joy and happiness to your life, both of those components need to be there, right? So when it comes to relationships, it's the same thing. How do you connect with yourself? How do you connect with the world around you, when you secure a company? What's happening with your connections in your relationships within the company, and then your clients and the world at large? Right? So it's the same model, and people who benefit from being with one another, enjoy each other's companies tend to be more cooperative, to be more collaborative. Right?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Right. Right. So, you know, building that rapport building trust people, really, and this is one of the challenges in the remote world in the remote workplace. And I just did a research project. So I'm hearing this a lot as well. You know, we, we don't feel that we have authentic communications with each other through this technology, it still feels not phony. I mean, it's way better than it used to be when we didn't even have the video element, right? And we would complain to say, well, you know, I can't I can't read any verbal cues. Well, you know, now we've got a, you know, we've got verbal cues, visual cues, we've got, you know, emojis that we can express ourselves, we can raise our hand virtually and for real, but we still feel that something is missing. And it's that human connection, that we've got great connectivity, right? We get fabulous connectivity, you know, you're on the other side of the country, and we're doing this real time, we can see each other, I can see when you're nodding, you can see if I look confused by something that you say, but that that real connection. And so I mean, you you must work with, with your families that you're working with, I mean, they live together, so they have the ability to have those connections. So from, from your perspective, thinking about it from the brain to the heart, and this is what you know, I'm sensing is that, you know, you're kind of rooted in brain that where it starts with the brain that it has to go from the heart to allow those connections to happen. What is it that you think leaders in in workplaces could be doing better to to have better connections?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Good one. So when it comes in, in my opinion, I will share what has been my practice. And there's a little story to this. I'm the 42nd, generation of Persian Empire, Emperor basically. And what that empire was known for, is basically bringing a very diverse group of people in the middle east of all places together so that they can collaborate and cooperate to the point where they created the strongest Empire for 1000 years, basically, that at the time, basically covered about 40% of the population on Earth. And this lasted for 1000 years. And the goal was cooperation. I mean, they are the creators of federal government, as we know it, whatever you feel about the federal government, but butDebra Dinnocenzo:
the reality was, we won't go there. But that's okay. But that's howDebra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: nations were built, that they had this common interest for people, and people collaborate and cooperate it. So when it comes to companies, it's the same thing, the ability to be able to value dialogue, to be able to open up and have a culture of openness, to hear different backgrounds, different ways of thinking, different ways of processing, come together, and at least express. And then also put people as Malcolm Gladwell says, put the right people in the right seat on the bus, right. So we want to make sure that they are there to do what they do best. And that's how they feel valued. And they feel part of the team in the families is the same thing, right? We don't want to always boss or kids to tell them what to do. But they love to be part of a team to be included in the decision making in performing tasks. And companies are no different. So that is the number one thing creating a culture of openness for sharing, and hearing people out and then going from there.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Yeah, this would fix a lot of challenges and problems right now. Even though as parents, we know, it's so much easier just to tell our kids because we know, right. And this is the sense that I get from some leaders as well as you know, if people would just listen to me, they would do what I would tell them it would be okay. But that's just not how it's working right now. It's just not it's not.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Um, you think about it when you have a child that is eventually going to become a teenager Jen is going to leave they have to make adult decisions at some point, right. Would you rather have those decisions made in house in a cold open culture, or suppress, and until they leave, and you have no control over it. And if they make a mistake, they're on their own right. So within the company would be the same thing. You have to at some point, let people try, make mistakes, and then promote a system where they can learn from their mistakes, of course, correct. And do deductive reasoning, empirical thinking, and be able to go ahead and solve the issue without involving you ultimately, how many of you would like to have multiple companies and not be involved in the day to day micromanaging of the operations? That's the definition of success forDebra Dinnocenzo:
most business? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So that's, you know, beyond nurturing, that's a lot of coaching that's sharing what you know, but helping to develop people. And as we increasingly have more hybrid work environments, though, that is a challenge. And, you know, just people having time and having intentional focus on reaching out to people and maintaining those connections, that used to happen more organically when we were all in the office. And, you know, while we might go back a little bit more than we were in the office during COVID, we're not going back wholesale the way things used to be. And so we really do need to figure this out. So how did you then evolve from the parenting business? Which sounds really interesting, and sounds like there's a real need for that in the world? So you know, I commend you for, for transitioning to that. But then you also have this virtual assistant focus, and how did you see the need for that? And then leverage that? Oh,Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: perfect question. Thank you for the segue. Yeah, cuz it is a big job. Well,Debra Dinnocenzo:
yeah, it's a big jump. But it's to me really manifest the the CIP, the challenge that we have now, because we're saying, Yeah, like that totally virtual, we're never going to see those people that support us.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: So when I left private practice, part of the reason was, you know, everybody questioned my sanity for going on the sabbatical and shutting things down. They're like your award winning doctor your practices recognized. But the thing is, I either had to create multiple practices, which would turn me into just a purely business person, I didn't have to deal with patients anymore. And I would have missed that. Or I would have a big center, and I will become the town doctor. And I felt like I had more gifts to offer than just my physician skills. So when I came to the online world, I went from seeing one patient at a time to dealing with entire families, multiple families at one point through our programs, right. And then the next step naturally would have been for me to actually start looking for joint venture partners, that actually would have access to additional families. So that it wasn't just me talking about how great I am, this network, learn about what we do, and they would get spread the word and then I could go ahead and present to their communities. So it became one to many as you can tell. And but the challenge in many of the cases was that many of the people that I was trying to form partnerships with, they were struggling from technology and time constraints. And many of the stuff that I had built within my company was lacking. So a lot of times we would meet, we would come up with these great ideas, we would get excited. And then nothing would happen. There was no follow up. And there was no consistency even if there was follow up. So I started saying, hey, you know what, I can clearly see you are overwhelmed. There's too many things. And this is not your forte, anyways, you showed up to actually talk about this message. And next thing, you know, you're talking about platforms and marketing. And none of these are really your areas of expertise. So the question becomes, how can I go ahead and empower them so that they can share their message and we can work together in a bigger way. So out of that came the process of me lending my team, literally, to my partners. And from there, the VA program was born. And the next thing I know, I realized, again, this goes back to relationships and understanding the needs of who you're serving, I realized that many of them, that wasn't the only thing. They needed a business model, many of them needed basically content or is way to actually structure their content. So out of that came a whole different program that ultimately included the VA services in it as one of the systems but it has all these other bells and whistles, so that you can go ahead and singularly focus on your message and making a bigger impact in the world. So but basically, that's how the VA services started and came from the desire to want to play in a bigger way with those people that I was relating to.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Yeah, so for people who don't know much about the whole virtual assist To the world, how does that basically work? And I mean, I see it as a way to, in many ways automate, although you're really delegating to somebody else who automates the things that aren't really core to what you should be doing. And again, I want to remind listeners who are listening for tips and techniques for remote leaders and virtual leaders and hybrid leaders, you know, what are the things that are most critical, which is those connections with people, I mean, obviously, management performance and getting results. And all of that, was it that in his book, Good to Great, said, You know, everybody has a to do list, but we need to all have a stop doing list. Call and it was Jim Collins, and you know, so the things that we should stop doing or give to somebody else to do because we have other more critical things to do. So how does the VA virtual assistant work for people who might not be as familiar with that,Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: I love it. So number one, is we always use the motto Done is better than perfect, right. So that's the first one and I in practice, I was focused on perfection, because there was lives at stake. But now, here I am, is still lives at stake. But when you just focus on perfection, first of all, it's not attainable. Second of all, you become a best kept secrets within your community. So if you want to make a big impact, you have to let that go. You have to realize that over time, you can always make things better, but it's much more important for you to reach out. So for you to scale horizontally within your business, as well as scaling vertically. And for many of our audience members, this is really important to consider that the wealth is created by you, keeping what you have spent time and resources on, and being able having the capacity to do more. If you create something, and then you have to give that up to go to the next big invest thing, you're just trading one thing for another, you might live a bigger life, but you're always dependent on that single source of income or whatever business or idea it is. Right? So at this point, my focus is only these three things, I connect to people, I come up with ideas. And then we focus on how to monetize it. Okay. All right, the rest of it is automated and delegated. So when you think about your daily routine as a business owner, and you sit down and you see that you do something every single day, well guess what? That is a systematized double and delegate double task. So if you start thinking about that, if you just go and start talking about what you do on a given day, and you see that you're doing the same thing over again, if you keep a log of it, the very first thing you need to do is separate those things that you do on a daily basis and see how you can systematize that, and then ultimately finding the people that actually can deliver that. So a little bit of background about me, I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD, I always joke that it took me a postdoctorate to figure out what was wrong with me. Not that there's anything wrong with me.Debra Dinnocenzo:
But we got to figure it out right. Now I understandDebra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: how I process so I can embrace it and work with it better. Whereas before, I was constantly frustrated, because the world was lagging me by 10 years. Now I could think as fast as I wanted to, and the world could play catch up. Yeah. And this is where the VAs came in, because they would speed up the execution, and the bearing of fruit of your ideas that much faster. So for many people, I'll give you an example. Email is a perfect example of this, all of us receive email on a daily basis. And we know that lots of it is things that doesn't require attention, but we start to sift through it to get the important ones. And then when you get the important ones, many of them occur on a regular basis, many of them really needs our response. And nobody else can respond to that. Right? Well, that's just a handful. I have not checked my email in over two years. Because I over the two years, I have systematized it in such a way where not only the things that need attention get sifted out. But the things that need my attention are brought to me in a 15 minute meeting every single day. And he addressed it and it's done. So all I have seven different email accounts, and dozens more through my team. And I don't check any of them and we have like more operations and projects that I can think about. All of it is moving forward without requiring my attention. So when you look at the effective time that I'm actually delivering and being in front of people, it's about five hours over We to run this company, how many people would like to run a company with file?Debra Dinnocenzo:
That lots of people, lots of people listening are jealous that you are not having to read your email every morning, or every minute or everyDebra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: go to bed. And that's just one task. Imagine if you do that with everything. And if you're working five hours to run the company, how many companies can you have? Great, if you want to work 40 hours, you can have eight companies, right? So diversification becomes a possibility new ideas become a possibility. New your interest as you evolve as a human being become a possibility that you can pursue your interests and your hobbies. And all of that is essential to your health to your wholeness and fulfillment in life, and also in expanding your relationship with the world and the people in it. Yeah.Debra Dinnocenzo:
So I mean, the application of that is kind of endless. I mean, it's not just if you're an entrepreneur and running businesses, but with how we live, how we manage all the tasks in our homes, as well as and, you know, my sense when I talk to leaders is everybody's working so hard just to keep up with things. There's not a lot of stepping back and looking at where do we have opportunities for improvement or for delegation or for systematizing things? Streamlining things, because we're just running to keep up right? Because the demands are ever present, and the time in which to do all of that. And now we're doing much of it remotely as well. So how do you ensure that your clients manage and are best able to handle their virtual assistant relationships, because that's, that's not beyond hybrid, it's highly, highly remote, to make sure that these are good relationships, and people are being productive and focused. ButDebra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: so a lot of it all, like any other thing, it always starts with you, right? So number one, what kind of a culture do you want to promote. So if I end up in an office, where everybody's afraid of making a mistake is, then that's not going to be conducive specially for remote? Right? And at the same time, here's another thing about remote you are not sitting on top of a cubicle to know what everybody's doing. So do I want to create an environment that is not open, that I have to parent, everybody that I have to supervise? And possibly course correct? I did not. So right from the get go. I want to bring aboard onboard people that are self thinkers, critical thinkers, they are fast learners, they learn from their mistakes. So that's the very first thing when it comes to looking for potential yes, they need to be good quick communicators, you'd be amazed how many times I actually post for positions. And the people that response, they haven't put thought into what they're putting back. So they disqualify themselves, simply with their responses, basically. So you can learn a lot about that. Also communication, especially if our audience is North American, they have a certain way of thinking about things doing things. And so your team rubric, regardless of what part of the world they're coming from, they have to have that understanding. Because when they are going to send an email on your behalf to your clients in North America, they need to be able to understand the culture, the language, the way you show up in the world, so that they can reflect that for you. And those things are all things that you want to consider when you're looking for a VA and the community that you ultimately create needs to have very clear guidelines. So I do create a lot of scripts and protocols, but they are there as a guide. Ultimately, my goal is for my team to kind of be able to run my company without my presence. If they can do that, then they truly belong in my company. If they can't do that, then they are technicians. And there is a place for technicians to it's very important for us to have people that can do redundant repetitive work, but more important than that are people who can actually go ahead and take a project and run with it. And if there is an issue as almost always there is one you want to make sure that they can course correct it without needing to sit and wait for inputDebra Dinnocenzo:
right they take the have the their self starting enough that they just figure it out and or ask for help when they need help. So okay, so So you screen for those factors to make sure that you have a pool of virtual assistants that that meet your expectations. And then where have you seen then the your clients that then hire some of these virtual assistants not manage them? Well? Where are the where are the breakdowns there, where do they go off the rails?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: So I I'll give you some common pitfalls, because it is very common actually. And that is that oftentimes when I offer it to our community, for instance, to utilize the VA services, they understand the point of it. They take me up on the offer. And then what ends up happening is they're like, I ran out of things to give them. I'm like, How can you possibly run out of things to do? Like, I'm pretty sure. And the answer comes back to well, list the stuff that you're doing repetitively. First of all, that will help you identify it. The second part is getting out of that perfectionist mentality that this has to be done by me. Instead of saying, I need to do this, ask yourself, How can somebody else do what I do? And if you can answer that question, you're on your path to be able to delegate and systematize. And yes, not everything can be, but about 90% of what you think has to be done by you can be whittled down to one or two tweaks, and the rest of it can be taken care of by other human beings on this planet.Debra Dinnocenzo:
You know, many of the leaders that I work with and talk with aren't in a position to hire in corporate environments unnecessarily virtual assistants, but they're failing on those very areas and term with their own teams. And because many of them have come up through the ranks, and they they know the jobs of all those people really well, they know how they did it. They know how they think it should be done. And so they tend to keep more than they should they tend to not delegate, because you have to trust to delegate, right? You have to trust and you have to course correct when something isn't going exactly right. And we're fearful of things going awry. So we just hold on to it. So what are some of the major pieces of advice you would give to someone that was going to utilize a virtual assistant to be able to do that really well and get that to get the best result.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: So for our remote entrepreneurs, the very first thing that I would say, if you are on Zoom, and I am assuming that after COVID, everybody knows what that is, yeah, if you know zoom, and you can get on Zoom, I need you to when you show up in the morning, anytime you sit behind your computer, and you're about to start your day, get on Zoom, hit record and start talking out what you do during the day. And let that run within a week, you're gonna get tired of repeating certain certain sentences over and over again, that is the starting. So that's number one. The second part, the second key point, especially when it comes to finding VAs is instead of looking for skill sets. Look for human beings with good communication, and learning skills. Most of the world out there oftentimes is overqualified to be helping in the capacity of virtual assistants. However, the world at large is in the situation where jobs are scarce, opportunities are rare, and they are in a position to be able to actually make a difference, at least in this little way, in putting food on the table in terms of empowering terms of connecting the very people that want to serve with the people that needs service. And those are entrepreneurs basically. And in doing that, you will be able to serve more people yourself, basically. So instead of looking for skill sets, look for these decent human beings with good communication skills, and realize that with time, they can learn everything. So it's not an issue of this part of your virtual assistants task is to actually find out about platforms and things that you might be too busy to figure out or might not be tech savvy enough to figure they can figure it out and bring it to you. There's many things in about my company, I don't even know how it's run, is that I designate it to somebody to figure out, give us a brief report on it, create a protocol for it, and then teach other people to do it. And then they can administrate. And that's how they also get to move up through the company by taking on the responsibility, tackling new projects, and then in the process, helping other people to move up as well and helping the company as well. Interesting.Debra Dinnocenzo:
So you mentioned that sometimes people will say I don't I've run out of things for them to do. What are some of the things that that people should think about having people on their team or their virtual assistants do for them?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Beautiful? Well, first of all, I do have a gift for our audience members about the top 10 tasks that VAs should take over and you can delegate so that's number one. Everybody right on top of that list, I would say the emails and the reason I say that is because let's take this scenario that you go through systematically and do a great job with your emails, the result of it is that now you become successful, and you now have more emails. So now you have to spend more time on that. So it becomes an unsustainable business model, you're successful actually sabotage, it's your business. Because the like, it's not supportive. So So you have to be able to think about, if I get more busy, for instance, in teaching people, at some point, you're gonna get to a point where there are not enough hours in the day for you to teach. So what do you have to do that. So if you start thinking this way about what would success mean in different parts of your business. And if that really means that ultimately your business breaks down, or you go through this roller coaster practice, like in the case of marketing, that's another good example. So email, second one is marketing, social media management, those type of things, that would be the second one, like those things need to be addressed by a team and not you. Right? Another one would be scheduling. And this kind of falls into the category of correspondents are usually a bunch of bundle it up with emails, basically. So anything correspondence related scheduling, meeting people, those that, then the next part is actually content creation, you don't have to figure out all the editing for your stuff. And first of all, don't edit stuff, it's simpler to actually recreate the content, because it takes three times as long for you to edit it. But if you actually have people that can focus on your products, and fine tuning it, then that allows you to create more products. So your focus needs to be on securing additional sources of revenue for your company, not as in figuring out how to sustain the revenue. That's, that's, that's a bad business model. Because as you get more successful, then that narrows down the number of ways that you can generate revenue. So now you are reliant on one or two sources of income for your business. That's risky. Yeah, soDebra Dinnocenzo:
So figuring out how to best use a virtual assistant or someone else on your team, what I hear you saying is really forces you to, to think through what are the things that are repetitive that you don't need to touch, you don't need to do that someone else can handle so you can get back to the core of what it is you're supposed to be doing. So if that's revenue generation, or in the case of, you know, virtual or hybrid leaders, that might mean spending more time just picking up the phone, calling people on your team doing those check ins that we're saying, you know, don't happen as spontaneously as when we were in the office. But but we that's really what leaders should be focusing on developing those people asking them where they need help, and letting some of these other more repetitive or mundane things be handled by someone who's better at doing those things?Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: Absolutely, absolutely. I kind of go back to parenting, because that's the world that I came from. And there are two types of people when it comes to parenting, the ones that see it as a chore thing that they have to do. And the ones that really, that's their lifelong mission that they look forward to. And when they have it, they enjoy the process. So when it comes to your business, is kind of the same thing. When it comes to personnel, you either deal with it, and it's a chore like human resources, and you got to deal with it. Or it's something that not only empowers new human beings to make a difference in their lives and many other lives, but also empowers you to make a bigger impact and influence the world and show up in all your glorious different ways. So you decide which experience you want to choose. But for me, it's the latter. Yeah,Debra Dinnocenzo:
you know, as you were just saying that it was thinking, you know, there are some people who, and you know, there are stages of parenting where it does is a little burdensome, right? And it does feel like a job, it is a job. But for you, you can tell the difference for that for people for whom it is their passion. And this is the challenge for leaders in many cases, you know, people are coming in doing jobs, and I sometimes have to say, you know, the jobs that they're doing are not these, these are not their passion jobs, this is not their life's work job. And so motivating people in those situations, is challenging, like motivating kids. Sometimes it's challenging to write, you know, particularly if the kids have challenges of their own. But, you know, we we all need to you know, play the hand that's dealt us so to speak and and be clear about, you know, what, what our role is and how we can best do it. So, okay, well,Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: final thing on this topic because you as I mentioned, it starts with you. So you have I have to understand what are your zones of genius, what brings you joy. And if something falls outside of your zone of genius and doesn't bring you joy, then oftentimes that is something that you need to delegate to somebody else, no matter how important it is, in your business, or even in parenting, if it doesn't bring you joy, it's not your zone of genius, find help find support to actually do that. And in our case, in many cases, it happens to be virtual assistants.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Yeah, yeah. Yep. And I think this is a whole other podcast and another topic. But, you know, I think COVID did a lot of bad things, but COVID created some real opportunities for us as well. And I think, you know, part of the struggle I see right now, in organizations and with leaders is, you know, we all had a collective near death experience. And we many people reflected on really, what, what is their, their passion, their zone of genius, what's important to them, and, you know, kind of trying to manifest that in our work environments, is an ongoing challenge. But but it's really important for leaders to be in touch with that and to recognize that their team members are going through the same thing. They're just going through it different in different generations in different ways. And so it's quite the mix right now. So so we'll put in the, in the show notes, how to access that your free gift, which is the top 10 tasks for virtual assistants, which sounds really interesting. And I'll probably have to review that myself to get better at doing this myself. So is there anything you'd like to add, before we wrap up, this has been really interesting.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: I am a brain guy. So I always finish by saying, optimize your brain and you can optimize humanity's potential. And that means physically in your health, mentally, in discovering more about yourself, and ultimately, socially and spiritually as in what you want to achieve in this world, and how to you do want to leave this world basically.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Yeah, that's a great point to end on. And a great reminder for leaders to, you know, they need they spend so much time thinking, but they also need to connect that and be more heart centered, and and to care about people because that that's what impacts the bottom line retention. And people being happier at work and you know, life is too short not to be a little bit happy, right. All right, Dr. L. This has been really interesting. Thank you for your time and your input. And I will also include in the show notes, ways for people to reach you, and if they would like to learn more about what you do,Debra Dinnocenzo:
Dr. Ali Lankerani: absolutely beautifully. Thank you, Debra, appreciate you. Cheers.