[00:00:00] Sean Pritzkau: All right. Hey there and welcome to episode 30 of We Can Do This. Today I'm really excited to have Molly Grisham join me as my guest on the podcast. Molly is an experiential facilitator who works with teams to help them grow and become the best version of themselves. Now entrepreneurs, we tend to talk about growing our teams and building these large teams that help us achieve our mission.
[00:00:30] Sean Pritzkau: But what we don't often talk about is how to build healthy teams and how to foster healthy environments for those teams to work in. And that's what Molly and I talk about today. We talk about how to identify signs that our teams are growing apart or what you'll hear Molly say is dying apart. We will talk about what it looks like to become healthy versions of ourselves in order to help demonstrate and model healthy leadership for others. So I'm really excited for you to join Molly and I for this conversation. I had the opportunity to hear Molly give a keynote presentation just probably over a year ago in Nashville for an event that I attended. And I remember being so challenged by that talk.
[00:01:16] Sean Pritzkau: And I actually recently went through my notes from that. that's a little bit of a life hack is to actually go back through your notes from experiences like that and kind of relive what you were learning in the moment, because how quickly we forget what we may have invested a lot of time or energy or money into.
[00:01:34] Sean Pritzkau: Experiences for ourselves. And then once we get back into life and work, we, we forget all about those experiences, but I went through my notebook and it was, it was kind of tapping into what I learned and a lot of what I learned from that event. And that experience was from Molly's experience. Of really communicating a lot of what we share today, but guiding us through exercises.
[00:01:58] Sean Pritzkau: And it really was an experience. And I'm really grateful that she was willing to jump on the podcast and have a conversation with me about some of these topics. And I'm glad that you're gonna be able to experience those listening today. So let's go ahead and jump into. This conversation with our guest Molly Grisham.
[00:02:30] Sean Pritzkau: All right. Hey there. And welcome to the podcast today. I'm here with Molly Grisham. Molly helps to build and sustain teams in a wide variety of in. She believes that teams don't grow apart. They die apart. And she knows that elite high performing teams in all industries get stretched and pressed by the demand to perform.
[00:02:54] Sean Pritzkau: I've invited Molly on the podcast because she is passionate about helping teams to rediscover their strengths and restore their relationships so they can rebuild their teams become healthy teams. So Molly, I'm really excited to have you here. Thanks for joining me on the podcast.
[00:03:11] Molly Grisham: Thanks for having me.
[00:03:12] Molly Grisham: I'm excited for the conversation.
[00:03:13] Sean Pritzkau: Yeah. Well, let's jump in. If you wanna share with our audience for people that might not be familiar with you, maybe what you do and maybe a little bit about your background and your history that got you to this point in helping team succeed.
[00:03:27] Molly Grisham: Yeah, thanks. I spent the first two decades of my life in education.
[00:03:32] Molly Grisham: So I was a communication professor, at several different, colleges and also was a college soccer coach and eventually became full time college soccer coach. That's all I was doing, but I realized while I was coaching. And while I was teaching that, what I loved about both of those things were simply helping people grow and.
[00:03:52] Molly Grisham: Of course, that was nowhere in my job description. it didn't say make your people better. It listed a whole lot of other things like fundraising and recruiting and retention and admissions tours and winning, but it didn't say anything about growing your people. And so I became really curious. Does it matter if we invest in our people?
[00:04:11] Molly Grisham: Like, would that change the outcome of their sport experience? So I became super intentional about that and started developing our leaders with a lot of purpose and getting a lot of clarity around our culture. And what I noticed was a lot of the teams that we were competing against were calling me and saying, I don't know what you're doing with your team, but it's working.
[00:04:31] Molly Grisham: Can you help us figure it out? And they knew we weren't getting a budget increase. We didn't get a new stadium. It wasn't that there was something happening internally. So I began to wonder, could I just create a path where I do the one thing that I love. Every day, all day, every day, could I just help people grow and develop?
[00:04:50] Molly Grisham: So about six years ago, I walked into my boss's office and I quit. I just said, I'm done. I got this other thing. I, I gotta go do this thing. I gotta go pursue it. So I started my own business and I now work with teams and organizations and school systems. And non-profits all over the country on that personal growth component.
[00:05:10] Molly Grisham: It oftentimes starts with the team. And then we kind of cover a couple of other areas that tend to surface, but I get to come alongside people and help them be the best version of themselves and help them work through what I would call their speed, bumps, the stuff that's just slowing them down over and over again and help 'em be at their best.
[00:05:29] Molly Grisham: And it is a privilege. And an honor, every time I get to do.
[00:05:33] Sean Pritzkau: Yeah, I absolutely love it. I love the mission behind what you do, and I love that. It seems like it's something that you can't not do. You are, have been really compelled to, to make this your mission behind your life and work. So you mentioned that you kind of come alongside teams and partner with them and help them grow.
[00:05:51] Sean Pritzkau: And I imagine every team is different, but is there something about your approach and your methodology that you have found has been pretty consistent in helping people. Achieve that dream of becoming better versions of themselves and even collectively better, better us
[00:06:07] Molly Grisham: together. Yeah. I, I think you're right.
[00:06:10] Molly Grisham: Every team is unique, but I would also say there are. Like the general things that apply to all of us. And then there's the specific ways they show up on each team. So there are some things I can, I can count on with almost every team I work with. Like, oh, there the there's that thing again. Yeah. That shows up with everything.
[00:06:28] Molly Grisham: No surprise. right. But my process is very similar. For almost every group I work with and yet the content can be a little unique. Like we're gonna, we're gonna figure out, okay, I'm, I'm gonna use these tools, these resources, but then let's figure out what their specific issues are. So my process would fall under what would be known as experiential facilitation.
[00:06:50] Molly Grisham: Which simply means it's a very hands on process. It's an, it's an experience. Like I use that word a lot in my work. We're gonna have an experience together, and that is directly connected to my sport background. You think about any sport? If you wanna learn it, you go do it. if you said to me, I think I wanna be like, the greatest tennis player ever, I would say, well, do you have a racket?
[00:07:14] Molly Grisham: Do you have a ball? Like, let's, let's go do that. And so maybe you would go listen to someone lecture and maybe you would watch some YouTube videos, but the truth is you'd, you'd go out and do that thing. So when I come in with a group and they. We struggle with communication, or we struggle with leadership or we struggle under adversity, or we do not know how to resolve conflict.
[00:07:34] Molly Grisham: We're gonna put them in environments where we get to do those things and we get to practice those things. And then we get to zoom out a little bit and say, okay, what did we just experience? What showed up in the room in a really safe environment? Because the truth is no, one's gonna get fired over this.
[00:07:52] Molly Grisham: No, one's gonna get demoted. It's not gonna show up in your performance, review that while we were doing this activity, you didn't perform at the highest level. So people are a little in a little bit more relaxed state, but we start to see these patterns. I was working with a group a couple of weeks ago, and the leader had told me we are very much siloed.
[00:08:12] Molly Grisham: Everybody just takes care of their own thing. So we did this activity that you cannot solve unless everyone shares the information that they have. And sure enough, they went into silo mode, like they were struggling and struggling and struggling and, and it was an opportunity for us to talk about it in a safe way.
[00:08:31] Molly Grisham: So we didn't have to like name people. We could just talk about what just happened right here. Oh my gosh. We became siloed. Oh, let's talk about that. Does that show up in any other places? Oh, okay. Well now we can talk about that. We can, we can segue into that. So it's very hands on. It's very experiential.
[00:08:51] Molly Grisham: I, I think a lot of times when people hear the phrase team building, they assume it's a trust fall. , it's not a trust fall. It's much more applicable to the work that you're doing to the context that you're in. It just allows us to say like, what's going on here and now let's be able to address.
[00:09:08] Sean Pritzkau: I love it.
[00:09:09] Sean Pritzkau: I like how you, you call this an, you know, experiential learning. I've been able to experience a little bit of, you know, when you've presented in the past, I've been able to experience some of that. And I remember a little bit feeling uncomfortable in a good way. With some of the questions you were asking, and it's clear that you have tools that help, you know, get people to actually put in the practice, the things that you're exercising and it's, it's very, very cool to see.
[00:09:33] Sean Pritzkau: And I think a lot of ways you, you don't think of the practical, you're thinking about maybe this exercise in the moment, and then it's very, very clear that this is, whatever you're experiencing in the moment is maybe, you know, shown in the workplace. One of the key components I know that you talk about is vulnerability.
[00:09:50] Sean Pritzkau: And that's a really, really important topic. And everyone has a specific level of comfort when it comes to being vulnerable period. But especially with, you know, in the context of, with your colleagues, do you wanna share with us a little bit about vulnerability? I know we can't force vulnerability. But we can create environments where you can be vulnerable in a healthy way.
[00:10:14] Sean Pritzkau: What does that look like? And how can we create those environments where people feel comfortable being vulnerable with one another?
[00:10:20] Molly Grisham: Yeah, I, I am. Big believer to your point that you cannot force vulnerability. I would call it manufactured vulnerability. It's where you're sitting in a circle and, and somebody says like, we're all gonna break down today.
[00:10:34] Molly Grisham: We're getting our walls down and everybody's gonna cry. And I'm one of those people that I see through that. Immediately. I'm like, oh, this is just for show. This is to check a box. Everybody cried, everybody was uncomfortable. Now we pretend this never happened. And we go back to work and we're no better, no better for that.
[00:10:53] Molly Grisham: So whenever I'm working with a group, I often say the phrase, everything we do today is an invitation, not an expectation. I want people to know that they get to choose where they set their boundaries. They get to choose how they participate. I often say that being present is a form of participation.
[00:11:09] Molly Grisham: Certainly in our culture, we value extroversion. We value the loudest voice in the room. That's not always the most valuable voice. Sometimes that person who sits there all day. Doesn't say anything. And then in the, the seventh hour raises their hand and I, I just wanted to mention something and they say like one sentence and it's yeah.
[00:11:31] Molly Grisham: Just blows everybody away. Like, oh, okay. Well that's pure magic. Let's end on that note. And so we can't equate vulnerability with how much we talk. Because the truth is sometimes just being there is about as vulnerable as a person can be. Just sit, staying in the room, choosing to walk in, choosing to put my phone down, choosing to be present.
[00:11:54] Molly Grisham: That's a form of vulnerability that we don't often name in our groups. And so I, I try to tell people immediately you get to choose what your boundaries are. I don't set your boundaries for you because we're all in, in very different places. And I try to be really intentional about not using the word safe space while it has great intentions.
[00:12:18] Molly Grisham: We're using my definition then of what safe is. And if you were just like assaulted in the parking lot and you walk into the room and I say, you need to leave it all at the door. This is safe space, whatever your worries were, check 'em at the. Well, I'm not honoring like the wholeness of who you are as a human by doing that.
[00:12:38] we're going off of my definition of safe and maybe you've had bad experiences with groups before. Maybe someone like me has done damage to you before. And you're coming in guarded. I have to honor the fact that you chose to walk into the room. Now in terms of like, how do we make it happen? I don't think we make it happen.
[00:12:58] Molly Grisham: I think we use tools and processes that just allow people that invitation. And I think we have to do a couple of things. One as leaders, we have to model it in really healthy ways. And I think when we talk about vulnerability, the healthy version for me means we're speaking from our scars and not our wounds.
[00:13:17] Molly Grisham: And you've probably been with someone who's done that interpersonal work. Who's been self reflective, who's gone to therapy, who's done retreats and they can talk about really hard stuff. But they're talking about it from a place that's healed in them that scar has, has healed over. And then maybe you've been with someone else who's talking about an experience that's raw.
[00:13:38] Molly Grisham: Like it's just a scab that just keeps getting ripped open. And it's really uncomfortable when they talk about it, cuz they haven't gone down that healing path. And so that means for us as leaders, we have to do the work of healing ourselves so that we can model for others. What that looks like otherwise it's manufactured vulnerability.
[00:13:59] Molly Grisham: It's let me think about the hardest thing in my life I could talk about that would make me cry and make you cry. And I'll share that that's not vulnerability. Vulnerability is being able to say, Hey, had some hard stuff in my life and I've done the work. And let me tell you what's on the other side of doing that work.
[00:14:15] Molly Grisham: We, we need leaders who will do that for us. And then the other piece I would add to that is how do we respond when someone is vulner? Do we make them uncomfortable? Do we talk about it? Do we bring it up months later or do we let that just kind of be in the room and be, be that moment? I think the latter of the options is the healthiest option.
[00:14:39] Molly Grisham: I think we can do some real damage to people when. The next day, we're saying, Hey, when you were crying yesterday, that really, Nope. That was their moment. That let that moment be that one moment. It's not for us to keep stirring that up again, but I, I just believe that. Healthier humans create healthier teams.
[00:15:00] Molly Grisham: And so as leaders, we've gotta model what that health looks like. And when we get ourselves into a state of health, then the vulnerability is just sharing what that journey has been with others.
[00:15:10] Sean Pritzkau: Hmm. Well, that's really, really important. I have heard you say before about, you know, the importance of good leaders actually like loving people because our teams are comprised.
[00:15:21] Sean Pritzkau: People. And what I hear when you share that, I hear that we need to have compassion and empathy when people share maybe vulnerable or important things, trusted things with us, and to really honor those moments in spaces and let them be what they need to be in the moment and not take advantage of that for maybe our own gain in some way later on.
[00:15:43] Sean Pritzkau: That is that's so huge. Thanks for sharing that.
[00:15:46] Molly Grisham: Yeah, I, yeah, I, I believe leadership is. It's just, it's that simple. And I think sometimes we make leadership so complex. Just love your people. You're gonna do fine. You look at the best, most effective leaders in history. Their people felt like they were loved by that person.
[00:16:03] Molly Grisham: And if every leader just said, I'm just gonna show up today and love my people in whatever way they need things would get done really quickly. Yeah.
[00:16:12] Sean Pritzkau: That's so good. So up top in the show, I, I read another quote or saying for me that you said that teams don't grow apart, they die apart. Share with us what you mean by that.
[00:16:23] Sean Pritzkau: And, you know, if we sense that maybe our team is beginning to pull apart or, you know, to borrow silo, like you were talking about earlier, how do we acknowledge that? And what do we do with that?
[00:16:35] Molly Grisham: I'm a big believer that naming things matters. That if we don't name the problem, the odds are pretty high.
[00:16:42] Molly Grisham: We're not gonna solve the right problem. And when we don't solve the right problem, we're actually creating another problem. And so if we don't name what's happening appropriately, we're creating solutions for problems that don't exist. And then creating more problems in the process. And most of us who have led teams at some point have said, we just worked on that for like six months.
[00:17:03] Molly Grisham: It was the, it was the wrong solution that wasn't even the problem. What, what were we doing? So the reason I love that phrase is we're naming what is happening. So I will have people say to me all the time, ah, you know, we're just, we're in a season where we're growing apart. We've just because of COVID we had to be hybrid or, or we had to be remote.
[00:17:20] Molly Grisham: We just grew apart and I'm like, you actually know you're not growing because growth is health, right? Like we're, we're healthy when we're growing. You're not growing apart. Let's name that correctly. You're dying. And every time I say that to a leader, they're like, oh, sh that just totally changed the whole context.
[00:17:40] Molly Grisham: Right? Cause to say, we're growing apart. It just kind of feels okay. But to say we are dying as a team, as a completely different feel and a completely different path that you wanna take. There's a sense of urgency there. If, if you are a leader and you're sitting front of your people and you say, I think we're growing apart, ah, let's circle back in three months.
[00:18:04] Molly Grisham: If you say, as a leader to your people, I think we're dying as an organization. I think we're dying as a team. It becomes priority. Number one, let's tackle this right now. So to me, the value in that statement is we're naming what's happening so we can figure out the right solution to the right problem and not spin our wheels going down the wrong path.
[00:18:24] Sean Pritzkau: Yeah, that language is really key. that's really important when we sense that that's happening. And I think it's probably important that it's not just like the leader is sensing that's happening, but maybe even the team member is noticing, Hey, we are dying apart here. What are some ways that we can foster environments where it is okay.
[00:18:43] Sean Pritzkau: To kind like name that out loud and, and bring it up and say, Hey, I sense maybe. Being pulled apart or dividing a little bit here. And, I don't know. What is the first thing do we do? Do we call a professional? Do we have a meeting? Do we do a retreat? Like what is, what do we do?
[00:18:58] Molly Grisham: Yeah, I think you mentioned it at the beginning.
[00:19:00] Molly Grisham: My belief is that the path to team building is to rediscover our strengths and restore our relationships. So when somebody says to me, like, we're dying, what do we do? Okay. Let's rediscover our strengths. Let's figure out what makes this team tick? What, what are we so good at? What is it that makes us say we gotta have Sean on this team because he's magical at X, Y, and Z.
[00:19:21] Molly Grisham: Like what on this team? Are our strengths because people get excited about their strengths. Our strengths are fun. Our strengths are what we wanna invest in. And then we have to restore our relationships. And when we do that, we naturally rebuild the team. So I think oftentimes when a team or an individual says like, oh, I think we're dying apart.
[00:19:41] Molly Grisham: They think, oh gosh, this has gotta be like a 50 step solution. I don't think it is. I think it's two things. I think once you rediscover your strengths and once you restore your relationship, you are on a path to health. Now, I often do think that that requires an outside voice, that, that someone can come in with some neutrality and some perspective.
[00:20:00] Molly Grisham: And that depends a little bit on the health of the leader. the healthiest leaders, I know, throw the doors wide open, like come, come on in, tell us what we're not seeing, help us see our blind spots. Tell us what we're good at. Cuz we kind of forgot that we were just. We just kind of operate in our, in what's good.
[00:20:16] Molly Grisham: And we forgot that that's really good about it. So having some fresh eyes can be really valuable. And it's interesting to me, people often say to me, well, how do you work with the leader? Who's just like a jerk. How do you work with that leader who doesn't listen to you? How do you work with the leader who doesn't care about your opinion and the answer's so easy?
[00:20:34] Molly Grisham: Like those people don't call. That's not my client base. Like the people who call me are the healthy leaders who say, like help us get from where we are to where we want to be. And I think that's a sign of healthy leadership that you're willing to have some other perspectives and outside voices and that, you know, As a leader, your job isn't to do it all, but your leader is to be responsible for making sure it happens.
[00:20:56] Molly Grisham: And sometimes in that responsibility, it means trusting some outside voices to help you get there.
[00:21:01] Sean Pritzkau: Yeah. Oh, that's great. There's humility is huge. And that can be acknowledging that maybe as a leader, there's something I did that fostered this and it's time to call someone in to, to. or it can just acknowledge, Hey, it isn't even, because anything I did or didn't do, it's just, like you said, maybe the environment, maybe COVID maybe something, something changed new team member, new director knew something.
[00:21:25] Sean Pritzkau: Let's just get this figured out. It's so, so good. So like, I, like I mentioned to you, like a lot of the listeners of the show are working toward. purpose, right? There is something that they're doing either professionally or as part of their organization that is engaging in creating a better future for others or the world.
[00:21:44] Sean Pritzkau: What would you say to people that are maybe listening to this podcast that are looking to grow. A healthy team, but they haven't even started yet. Where should our mind be? Where should our hearts be? Where, where should we be orienting ourself? If our goal is to build a really healthy team, pulling out people's strengths, helping them become the best version of themselves so that they can make an impact.
[00:22:10] Sean Pritzkau: That is great and meaningful
[00:22:12] Molly Grisham: to me, the best leaders I work with are all in, on the personal growth of the people that they're leading. To the point that they are comfortable with the idea that their people might surpass them in their own personal growth. And that takes a, that takes a special leader to say, I will give you every resource, every idea, every bit of wisdom I can give you and you might surpass me, but I love my people so much that I'm willing to do.
[00:22:40] Molly Grisham: And so if a leader, if, if someone said to me like, I'm about to go on this leadership path, I'm building my team, I'm building my vision. I'm go all in, double down on the personal growth of your people, go all in on it, because the more you maximize your people, the more they have to give to the team to propel the team forward, it will take care of.
[00:23:01] Molly Grisham: A hundred percent. It will take care of itself. If you go all in, on taking care of your people, those are the kind of people who aren't gonna wanna leave. The culture that they're in. Those are the kind of people who are gonna have your back during really hard times. And those are the kind of people that are gonna put the mission first, because you put them first, double down on the personal growth of your people.
[00:23:22] I often say that your personal growth capacity is your leadership capacity. So I, I would tag onto that. That as a leader, while you have to be all in on everyone, else's personal growth, you also have to be all in on your personal growth. If the assumption is once I achieve a leadership status I'm done growing, then you like a team are now dying.
[00:23:44] Molly Grisham: You gotta double down on your own personal growth too, because those are one and the same.
[00:23:48] Sean Pritzkau: Yeah. That's a fantastic recommendation there. What I hear also in that is if we don't put people. We're gonna hire, bring in great people that do and perform poorly. And a few episodes back. I think we actually had a mutual friend of ours using Cho and yeah, he had a very, man, he had a, a very similar, I hear echo in that sense of, you know, people in this space can tend to be people that put others first, but if we don't actually take care of ourselves, we are actually sacrificing caring for others.
[00:24:19] Sean Pritzkau: We can't care for others if we don't care for ourselves. Molly. I really appreciate you ha joining me today before we like sign off. Is there anything else that you wanna share and if people wanna connect with you and the work that you do, where do they find you?
[00:24:36] Molly Grisham: Yeah, well, it start at the end of that question.
[00:24:38] Molly Grisham: You can find email@example.com. So my website's got links to on my social media. It's got a link to my mailing list, but I would love to connect with any of your listeners. I, I think that entrepreneurship. Can feel lonely at at times we feel like no one understands what I'm trying to do here. So if I can connect with, with any of your audience and just support them on that journey, there have been times in my life where somebody just showed up and said, yeah, you're onto something.
[00:25:06] Molly Grisham: Keep going, keep going. I'm like, that's all I needed. I just needed somebody to, to, fuel my tank a little bit. So if I can do that for folks, I'm glad to do it. And then I think I would add. You know, my background was athletics. And for the first couple years of my work, most of my clients were in athletics.
[00:25:21] Molly Grisham: And now I'm in this space where I'm working with educators and nonprofits and entrepreneurs, and I'm seeing how it's all interconnected. Everything that I'm teaching it. It literally doesn't matter what the industry is because the tools and processes work with humans. And as long as I'm working with humans, we're good to go.
[00:25:41] Molly Grisham: So if there are ways I can, can support, encourage, be a resource for anyone in your audience, I would be more than glad to do that.
[00:25:47] Sean Pritzkau: Awesome. Well, I'll include some information about you in the show notes. If people wanna find you they'll be able to do it, but we'll make it easy for them and throw those links in.
[00:25:57] Sean Pritzkau: But I definitely everyone, I, I really encourage you follow Molly and keep up with what she is doing. you're just a, such an encouraging presence and, your expertise really, really shines through the work that you do. And I really appreciate your generosity and sharing that with us today. So thanks again for joining me.
[00:26:14] Sean Pritzkau: And I know everyone's gonna be really grateful that they listen to this episode. So thank you. Thanks
[00:26:19] Sean Pritzkau: for having me.
[00:26:35] Sean Pritzkau: All right. Awesome conversation with Molly. Like I said, she is just such an encouraging presence and voice, and just being around her and just hearing her teach and guide and facilitate these experiences, it just makes you wanna become a better version of yourself. I think she really practices what she preaches in that regard is.
[00:26:59] Sean Pritzkau: You can tell that she is through her teaching, really modeling healthy leadership. So I hope you were able to gain and glean some wisdom from her and to how to lead your own teams, maybe some exercises or things that you can do to help your team grow together. And I hope that I really do hope that you, you follow Molly and stay in touch and keep in touch with what she's working.
[00:27:26] Sean Pritzkau: So, thanks again for listening to the podcast. I know it's been a few weeks since we've really released an episode. I'm really doing some work here to build like the next iteration of what this show looks like. And what it's looking like is you'll really be able to expect more episodes from the podcast, both from more guests, from people in the social impact space, as well as expert voices, that can really help us grow like Molly.
[00:27:52] Sean Pritzkau: And you can expect to hear more. Episodes for me, sharing from the work that I do with helping entrepreneurs and, and clients of all sizes, grow their business and ultimately achieve greater impact. So if you're listening and you've made it really, to this point, I would love to hear. From you, what you're hoping to see and hear from the podcast, what you feel like you're missing in the work that you do in helping you achieve more impact.
[00:28:21] Sean Pritzkau: And I'd really just love to hear what you're up to. So you can go ahead and jump on Twitter or Instagram. Those links are in the bio of this episode, but my handle is @seanpritzkau. And just send me a message. I'd love to hear about what you're working on and what ways that this show can really support you and, and how we can really build a community of people that are helping each other and championing for causes that are really important.
[00:28:49] Sean Pritzkau: So thanks for listening, excited to hear from you. And I'm looking forward to joining again together for the next episode of the podcast. See you next week.