Creative Genius Podcast

Season 1 Episode 9

Grow as You Go or No? (Lisa Kahn)

Grow as You Go or No? (Lisa Kahn)

A natural progression for many new businesses is to add staff bit by bit as you have a need for more help or new expertise. A downside is that you can end up with the team you have instead of the team you want. There is a better way.

In today’s episode, Gail and Erin talk with Lisa Kahn, lead designer and CEO of Lisa Kahn Designs in Naples, Florida, who specializes in creating peaceful, nurturing sanctuary spaces that harmonize the built environment, the natural world, and the human spirit.

In this episode, Gail and Erin talk about:

  • How to build culture and why it’s important.
  • How you business can give you the resources to fulfill other aspects of yourself

Like many independent interior designers, Lisa started out as a sole practitioner and then eventually hired a bookkeeper, then an assistant, and so on—“hiring to fill a hole,” as she puts it. In time, she realized that she needed not just to build a team but to build a culture for her firm. She and her husband, who serves as the director of marketing, wrote a culture statement, which guides what they do, who they work with, and who they have on their team. “I am now more discriminating, focused, and intentional in my hiring practices,” says Lisa.

In 2008, when the economy fell into recession and she was going through a difficult period personally, the business shrank and Lisa scaled back her staff. Later, when conditions improved, she decided to scale her business back up so that it could support the life she envisioned for herself, being careful to hire only those individuals who would support and contribute to the firm culture.

In a free-flowing conversation, Gail and Erin ask Lisa to talk about the journey her business has gone through and her plans for the future. She recounts how she is taking her passion for improving people’s lives and wellbeing through sanctuary spaces in new directions, both within and outside interior design. Gail comments that she and Erin talk about what they call “beyond business” with their Boardroom group, that your business can give you the means and opportunities to do other things and fulfill other aspects of yourself.

Before parting ways, Gail and Erin asked Lisa for three insights she has gained from her business that listeners could take away with them and apply to their firms. She says:

  • When you are growing a business, building a culture is a very noble endeavor.
  • Do whatever you can to nurture your own resilience.
  • Feed your inner need, whatever that is for you.

Lisa had a lot more to say about how her vision for herself is taking her in new directions. It makes for inspiring listening. Press “PLAY” now.

Mentioned in This Podcast

To find out more about Lisa, her firm, and her vision for sanctuary spaces, go the firm’s website at Lisa Kahn Designs.

Lisa mentions a book Gail advised her read, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday. You can get more information on his website at Ryan Holiday.

Gail refers to a quote from Dr. Benjamin Hardy. You can find out more about him and his writings on achieving your ideal self at Benjamin Hardy.

If you’re curious about the sanctuary spaces Lisa mentioned, you can find entries on Wikipedia for Carl Jung’s Bollingen Tower in Switzerland and Rudolf Steiner’s Goetheanum.

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