Episode Description

Ep. 125 – In this episode, Chris is joined by Sandra Halling, founder of The Data Mavens, to discuss finding balance in your business. Sandra is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and executives design their workflow and systems to feel organized, have peace of mind, and prioritize what matters to them. If you’re ready to learn how to develop better work habits and achieve aligned productivity, you don’t want to miss this episode.

Check Out Our Show Notes

Narrator 0:00
You’re listening to the all systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sell systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis

Chris Davis 0:32
Welcome to another episode of The all systems go podcast where we invite founders and digital marketers alike to discuss marketing and sales strategies and software used to build automated marketing systems that scale I’m your host Chris L. Davis, the founder of automation bridge, and on this episode, I have Sandra hauling and she is the business he quit the business equivalent of a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle and can make it look like the pitcher in the box. Right for all my my puzzlers out there, you know the the the journey of how many times you look at that picture. While you’re putting a piece together, I’m so in business this is invaluable. As the founder of data mavens, she’s dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and executives design their workflow and systems to feel organized, have peace of mind and prioritize what matters to them. She’s an expert on platforms like Dell tech vision notion and click up. You all know how I feel about clickup. So we will be nerding out a bit about that. But her real priority is helping you develop better work habits by achieving aligned productivity. We’re going to talk about balancing people and processes today, everyone, Sandra’s here to help us do it. Sandra, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing?

Sandra Halling 2:02
Hey, Chris, thanks. I’m glad to be here.

Chris Davis 2:05
Yes, yes. Glad to have you. And before we jump into it, I love talking process. Every process is everything. Everything is a process. And depending on the type of personality and way that your brain is wired that can overwhelm you or that can excite you. And it excites me I like to get into the weeds of things. Tell us tell our listeners a bit about your journey to data mavens. Have you always been a tinkerer have a puzzle piece put together? Figure it out? Just go as Sandra, or was this something more of an evolution over over the years?

Sandra Halling 2:48
Yeah, absolutely. I’d say a little bit of both. So funny story when I was a kid I used to binge watch Matlock, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that show. It’s like this old school old school crime drama with this lawyer, who was just always up to shenanigans. And so when I was a kid, I either wanted to be a lawyer, or I wanted to be a ballerina. And I was like, maybe I’ll be a ballerina, and then a lawyer. And what’s funny to me now is I basically do that just in a different way, right? Like systems and planning and automation and productivity. And all the things that we work in require the same level of care and precision that being a lawyer does, but they also require sort of an aesthetic vision of creativity that would come from like the artistic nature of being a ballerina. So I love the juxtaposition there. I think it does a good job of explaining, like how I view where I show up, it’s a mix of heart and tech. You know, I spent most of my career either as an employee in corporate organizations, professional service firms, automating workflow for marketing and operations. But then I left in 2011, and started my own business and started doing the exact same thing just as an entrepreneur and I fell into that trap that I think all experts subject matter experts do is that you kind of become the technician if we borrow the term from Emyth revisited, you know, oh, yeah, and right so fast forward eventually I realized I needed to apply apply my own systems brain to my own business, and I think that’s when the shift happened. And then once you see it, you can’t unsee it right. So that’s that’s the evolution part. Yeah,

Chris Davis 4:39
I love it. Let’s Let’s park right here for a moment because this is a a transition that I see a lot so I have a program. My target is digital marketers that want to do automation, marketing, automation for living, they want to become a professional. I’ve got a certification in everything. And it’s it’s amazing. Everybody comes in at the same, the same path, right? Like, I want to go deeper with automation. Now as they start to learn the skills and learn the framework in and produce results in the marketplace, they’re at a fork in the road, do I want to build my business around me doing it? Or do I want to be the person outside of it, and build the infrastructure for people on the inside to execute it? So for you, you reach that fork in the road? Now you, you’re a techy person, you can you can take with the best of them, right? All the tools give them to me, I can figure out my database and whatever. So how was that for you? That hard isn’t

Sandra Halling 5:50
hard, like, I’m not, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, it really is a decision to like, do you want this lifestyle business, not like a brand per se, but just the way where you get to decide the pace of the work, you get to decide how many clients you get to hold all the levers. But with that comes also the responsibility of managing that capacity constantly. Right? And, and what the, the breaking point for me or the the place where I was like, Okay, we’re just I need to be the strategist, I need to be the expert that I am, was that I realized I was spending so much time managing my own capacity, to be the solopreneur to be the technician all the time. That it just wasn’t, it wasn’t worth it anymore to I was I would have to spend that same amount of time whether I had the team or not. And so at a certain point, it got to a place where I was just inadvertently capping my own revenue, by not allowing myself to grow and share and, and also I feel like you get to a certain point you, it’s sometimes hard to see your own skill set and realize how much knowledge you could bequeath to someone else. And so most of the people on my team now, consulting wise, you know, from a technical standpoint, they’re whizzes. And in some ways, it’s interesting to see like, they’re deeper on the tech side than I am. And I never thought I’d be in that place, right? Where it’s like, no, my job really is strategy now. And it’s better to have somebody else who’s the expert, but then they get to have me come in on sales calls and have a different sort of conversation. And they know I have their back. And so now my, my joy comes in, because I get to mentor to in addition to doing strategy, and I, there’s still plenty of places for me to get nerdy. So you know,

Chris Davis 7:39
yeah, yeah. So those are good points. And what I hear in it all is you just weren’t afraid to let go and grow? You know,

Sandra Halling 7:49
at a certain point, yeah. The pain of change wasn’t always not, not any worse than the pain of staying the same, I think.

Chris Davis 7:57
Yep, absolutely. And, and, you know, I will say, the E Myth was one of those books, too, that had me assess myself and say, just a paid technician of my own company, did I just create myself as a boss? And I’m just, I just have another job. Wait, hold on. Yeah, I really was. Yeah, that pump the brakes. So you’ve, you’ve had some corporate experience, you’d like that you emulated it in your personal life or professional as you say, you started your business, then you’re you’re you’re doing the techie, it’s, it’s all good, then you’re realizing you know what, I need to change my approach. So I can operate bigger help, and in a bigger capacity. So you’ve got data mavens, you’ve got people to help with the tech, you’re on the strategy. Talk to us a little bit about what you mean by aligned productivity.

Sandra Halling 8:50
Oh, yeah. This is like my favorite topic right now. So aligned productivity at the like, individual level is really just redefining the definition of what it means to be productive for ourselves as individuals. So like, as entrepreneurs, and I’m sure you’ve been through this, like your to do list will never be done, ever. There’s always something else. So you have to decide when are you honoring your endpoint in the day, even though XYZ thing didn’t get done? And where’s your mindset in that moment? Are you actually beating up on yourself? Are you are you on that self critical train? Or are you able to lean into that moment where you’re honoring your endpoint, even though not all the things are done, and you’re able to do it with compassion so that you’re able to, like get up the next day and go at it again, right, like, so aligning productivity at the individual level is it really is about redefining what it means to be productive. What does that look like on a day to day basis? How are you aligning your actions with your bigger picture goals? And I actually have a community that I run for people to play around with this whole concept. And we meet once a week to do a weekly review, very sort of GTD Getting Things Done style, weekly review, and some coaching. And there’s a community and circle too. So it’s an it’s a really tight knit amazing group of humans that are doing awesome work. Not all of them are entrepreneurs, we get a lot of academics and, and other people, nonprofit, and so on. And a lot of it is getting clear with ourselves about the life we want to be living. And it kind of goes back to that question of like, do you want the lifestyle business where you’re controlling all the levers and you can? You’re just you’re the boss, but you’re also the technician? Or do you want the business where you’re helping, you have greater impact, but you’re also responsible for mentoring your team, right? Like, there’s a decision there, there’s a decision in the at the individual level, regardless of what path you pick as an entrepreneur. And where I think that this work matters so much is so many people are would identify as being like recovering perfectionist, if you will. And I think a lot of tinkerers and systems people are definitely recovering perfectionist, right? Like we want it to work, we want it to work well, we, this is why we put the care in and why people trust us to do it is because we’re going to apply that level of, you know, meticulous sight to what what it is we’re doing, but there’s a point where it becomes detrimental. And I think we all have to decide for ourselves where it is. So that’s aligned productivity at the individual level. And at the team level, you take all of that, and you just say like, what culture are we creating? How are we empowering our individual team members? To be human at work? Are we creating a culture where people can make mistakes where they can learn and grow? Are we actually mentoring them? Or are we like, you know, kind of pulling back and expecting them to sort of figure it out on their own? And I’m sure you can tell, by the way I’m explaining it which way I lean? But

Chris Davis 12:03
yes, yes. So, you know, when I when I first heard it, you know, you can go many ways with it. But But as you’re talking, there are so many moving parts, when it comes to being productive, whether it’s productive in your day, your week, your month productive with your client productive with anything. And there’s these two things that are ever present, people and processes you got and not productivity without both

Sandra Halling 12:33
of them, sir, no, right.

Chris Davis 12:36
Right. People have this, specially solopreneurs, this, I can do it on my own, I don’t need anybody. And you’ll see that their productivity is always kept in some capacity until they realize, alright, I may not need to hire a full time staff. But I need freelancers, I need some additional hands to help. And it’s very easy to get excited. I was sharing with you before we started to record the podcast that I’ve been, I’ve worked for startups that got more excited about process than people. And the people just became a means of executing the process. Then you have other startups that really value people. And those people are the ones that improve the processes that help you produce more out of them. For you, you’re you see both how what keys can you give the entrepreneur, the small business owners that’s that’s listening to this now that wants to be productive, but also wants to value their team and make their team feel valued in the process?

Sandra Halling 13:40
Yeah, I mean, I think the first tool, the first step is slowing it down. Like we often get into this like race for revenue, shall we say, and race to solve the next problem. And I think one of the ways we can really quickly overwhelm our teams is to not have a process for vetting ideas for not managing capacity, right, in an intentional way. And so we’re, we’re process this is this can be a process, in fact, like having a designated place for your team to put ideas, having a designated time and schedule with which you review those ideas, applying them systematically, so you can actually see their impact. And then collectively, like both each individual as a group, or each individual, by themselves, review the impact that they had and then coming together as a group to discuss what other people saw and noticed about the impact of that one idea that one change you had. And then you know, I feel like this, this allows this process doesn’t matter how big you are like you could be yourself in a team of two and still be very intentional and slow down the changes that you’re making and actually be able to see their impact and know if they’re working and and then you’re also in a better place to say it’s worth is investing the time in refining this because we can tell it is having an impact. And we want to, you know, enhance that further. Or we can say, actually, this isn’t really impacting anything, maybe we need to try a different path. And that whole process I’ve just described, helps. That is part of creating your culture, right? It’s like all of those micro interactions that you’re having is what knit together to form the experience of working with you?

Chris Davis 15:32
Yeah, there was a I do not remember where I saw this. But there was a term a few years back, it was Ha, human assisted automation. Right. And it stuck with me, I would give the attribution to the website, but I just don’t know where it was. And it stuck with me, because I’ve always viewed humans as a part of automation. Right? A lot of people who maybe are a little more early will say, in their expectations of automating a business may think that you just click a button one day, and then it goes forever, money just pouring into your account. Yeah, couldn’t

Sandra Halling 16:15
be further from Yeah, right.

Chris Davis 16:20
So with this term, human assisted automation has stuck with me, because there’s always a form of human element required. But the better the processes, the better the performance of the people is what I found. So what are some of the things that that you, you all have learned to do? Simplifying processes to ensure that the people that are on the team can actually shine and in produce?

Sandra Halling 16:50
Yeah. So I think one thing is always being very clear about the objective. So kind of like managing capacity, being intentional about that, and vetting ideas and having a process even for how we decide who’s working on what and what our goals are for a particular time period. But also, yeah, leaning into well, also, another thing that’s popping into my head is just having a checklist. It sounds so simple, but we go down this path of developing SOPs, standard operating procedures in this like really detailed the robust way that we then often, like, don’t want to have to read to execute the task. And if you’re hiring smart people, they shouldn’t be reading it anyway, they should be using that noggin that you hired them for. And and, you know, kind of existing with the task and say, seeing where can we improve this constantly. It’s like a constant incremental improvement, right? Like you have the SOP so that you have the baseline, you have the checklist, so it’s easy to make sure you don’t drop balls, but you still need the human to actually be engaged with it. Because we’re the ones are going to be like, Yeah, this does work technically. But we’ve lost all human touch with our client, because we’ve automated our entire sales process, or whatever the case may be. And that doesn’t actually match up to our values. And that’s where I feel like it always comes back to and why I’m, I personally do more management strategy at this point is because we’re looking at at it from a value standpoint, it’s fascinating how fast you get into the weeds of how things are being done, in order to uphold that. Bigger Picture, vision and mission and identity. And yeah, so

Chris Davis 18:38
yeah, I’ll say this. As you’re talking, I was just thinking, you I’ve got I’m putting myself on the operating table here, say, Hey, does that fit? Do I do that? Do I need to change that? And to my benefit, I will say I’ve always valued people, right. And it’s through that value of people that has always informed my processes. So earlier, my process were processes were very advanced, very much. I could execute it. Nobody else could know

Sandra Halling 19:10
Guilty as charged. Right? Totally. So easy. You’re tech savvy and capable,

Chris Davis 19:16
right? It’s so easy. But I have to say, I think it was Michael Jordan, who talked about when he became a general owner of the Bobcats at the time, I think it was a podcast, the Hornets whatever the Charlotte team was, but they were talking about how would a ring fail to win it as a general manager and he said, It would feel even greater than the rings that he’s won because he’s not on the floor. He’s literally telling building the team to do the execution. And that stuck with me because that’s what I want. I want processes laid out to where when people come in, they just look like superstars right Not overly complicated. And one of the ways that I found that works is what you mentioned, is yes have an SOP. SOP is for like the first or second time someone goes through something. But then it should live as a checklist. And it should be spun up every time somebody has to perform that task. Because now we start to see that balance of process, okay, these are the things you need to do. And people that person gets, they build momentum. Every time they do that, that yes, the right way. They build this confidence. This

Sandra Halling 20:35
is where we have to nerd out about click up a notion, right? Because, right, there’s so many tools out there where you could store your process, but the more modern ones, click up being, I think, your favorite and my favorite right now. Like you can just build it right in. So it’s like, almost it’s like the checklist literally gets recreated every time you have a recurring task like, yes. I don’t know how else to say it. But it’s just like at your fingertips. Right. And also I It reminds me of when I was in corporate and I was automating marketing process. And every so often, you know, you’d run into somebody who was a little concerned about job security, like sound, or you’re automating us out of a job. And I’m like, no, no, no, what we’re doing is automating the onry bits of your job, so that you can actually be the brilliant human that you are, and pay more attention to the message that you’re crafting and the conversations that you’re having, and the strategy that’s being done not formatting project pages, and resumes or whatever little nuance thing you’re putting in your proposal for your client is right. So it’s like, having excellent systems and technical tools, like click up can allow all of those pieces when you enter the automation into the puzzle, just like it runs like a well oiled machine. And like you said, then the employees get to be the superstars.

Chris Davis 21:56
Yes, yes. I’ll tell you a story. So the first time this is about click up in checklists, and all this watch this first time i i ran a podcast, I was at Active Campaign. I did the entire podcast using active campaigns, deals and stages. It was just me, Sandra, okay, so I’m moving stuff. It’s sending emails to people who are on the podcast XYZ. Now, when I introduced someone else in the process, I was like, oh, wait a minute. I’ve got I had to change some things, right. But for the most part, I could still do it all within Active Campaign a few just that tool alone, right. So I start my own business full time, and I start my own podcasts, which are on right now. And immediately, I had a different mindset. I was like, Look, I want people involved in this process, I learned I do not want to be part of producing this entire thing. Well, what it immediately forced me to do is introduce more tools, so that nobody had to go in learn Active Campaign. So I move most of the management of it into airtable. That’s my first pass. That’s the first version of this the second version, I guess, or the first pass of version two, right? gateway drugs. Yeah, right. Now man air table. And it’s it’s working. But Sandra is working. If you know what to do when a record goes to that’s a big game, right? So big F. So now introduce clickup. Click up now when it goes into a stage, creates the checklist assigns it to the appropriate person for every single episode.

Sandra Halling 23:47
Right? So and then your mind explodes? Because you’re like, oh, my gosh, how much easier? Could it be like that? Is it right there? Right. And I think that that if I want to come back to that, if it’s like, I love that you moved it out of Active Campaign to air table to start with, because the first thing that we talk about a lot is who are you hiring, what type of people are coming into your organization? And what is their general level of tech savviness now you and I, we’re probably going to lean towards we’re hiring pretty tech savvy people just because of the nature of what we’re doing. But that’s not necessarily going to be true for everyone. And I’ve had like I love notion I spent a year working on the notion mastery team and like I have a soft spot for it. But I also think that it has a much higher learning curve, kind of like air table to an extent right, where you put somebody in click up and there’s just this like slight lean towards it being more intuitive. It’s insanely powerful once you understand how it works, but you don’t have to understand it to be in it and use it every day. And that is a game changer right there.

Chris Davis 24:50
I agree. I agree. I can’t. I can’t even stress how valuable having those checklists. I’m them sending each emails, notifications, and somebody logging in. Now we’re doing. Let’s nerd out a little bit. So we linked to everything. There is no such thing as a task with a description that’s not linked to a resource. There’s a loom video, something in there, you want to make it easy for the person checking the list off. And by default, every task links to the SOP, just in case, right? Why not? Why not?

Sandra Halling 25:27
You can so why not write? One click to just skim the SOP and like, oh, is this current like? Because that’s I think one of the things that is really tricky for smaller entrepreneurs is like documenting all that stuff is it feels time consuming. And then they’re not going to go back and look at it every single time. And it really helps to just narrow it down and say, does everybody have a core focus, like each person on your team? And what is the primary thing that they’re responsible for? And is that documented? Let’s start there. Like, what is the job to be done, essentially, for each person, and let’s get that documented and LinkedIn, and then you have a little more breathing room, and you can get to work we’re talking about now where it’s like, actually all the core routines of the business. And I think this also is a good place to bring in just this really core concept that I feel kind of goes back to the E Myth revisited book. But it’s like, the whole idea of businesses that we are creating efficiencies, we are more efficient at doing things for our clients, than our clients would be at doing it for themselves, like, more efficient. And often because we’re subject matter experts, we can do a better job, we just have more information. So we’re faster, right? Which starts to go into a whole other topic that I’m passionate about, which is not working on an hourly basis, because you’re basically penalized for being efficient at that point. But we’re building efficiencies into our business and having this clear role and responsibility and clear tasks and jobs defined and then supported by SOP and making the SOP. Like the question I always say is, how can you make it feel easy to get started with creating it? And then kind of go from there? So

Chris Davis 27:19
yeah, I want to I want to ask you about a couple cool things that you’re doing and click up in notion. But before I get there, I feel like this is a better question to lead us there. I’d have to assume Sandra, correct me if I’m wrong, but I have to assume that most of the most of the time, when you engage with a new company, they do not have their documentation in order.

Sandra Halling 27:44
Oh, almost never. It doesn’t matter whether they are like a teeny tiny entrepreneur who wants a strategy session. And they like, you know, they’re happy earning 60k a year. Yeah. And these massive companies that are earning 60 million, doesn’t matter.

Chris Davis 27:58
None of them, right. Never. So how tell us about your approach to and how you get by into the documentation. Do you all create it? Do you train the team to do it as they are executing new things? How what’s your approach to doing that documentation?

Sandra Halling 28:15
Yeah, so it varies greatly based on the size of the organization, in my opinion, or the best practice would vary greatly. The smaller the team, the more I think it’s critical that you focus on key functions, key, you know, not just tasks, but functions. And saying, like, what are the systems that we have in place, not just tools like technical tools, but systems for marketing? What are the systems for our sales process, and making sure that the workflow the process, the pathway is documented, so that if nothing else, like as you’re bringing new people in, like, they have some place to go and understand how the business operates, like, what is the the literal pathway through from lead acquisition to sales to delivery to so on and so forth, right, customer satisfaction and so on. It so, like I said, with thing, it varies a little bit based on the size of the organization, the larger the organization, the more it makes sense to pick a department, right? Pick a pick a team, pick a studio, whatever label you want to put on it. And again, you’re looking at, what’s our core process? What’s the core job of that process? And like keep inching it down. It’s not that different actually. Then if we think about the way I would coach somebody into cleaning up their own personal to do list, it’s like how often do we put something on our to do list that’s like, right book, plan a state, right under like, okay, that’s not just a project that’s probably like five projects, nevermind, like 27 tasks each and no process with any of them. So it’s like, break it down. Is it something you can do? 15 to 30 minutes, no, okay, break it down again. And if you’re not sure how to break it down, everything has a beginning, middle or an end. So just start with that, right? And then so it’s the same thing on the process side, it’s like, what’s the beginning, middle? Or the end? Where are we starting? And how can we just break this down a little bit more, a little bit more, until we get to a very clear job that needs to be done to kind of paraphrase, and, and then look at it from that angle and really focus on the core pieces first, and kind of holistically, I’m a big believer in, you know, you, you fix your sales process airco, you’re going to impact other things. Right. So, you know, this is why working with the data mavens gives you, this gives our clients a very different edge in the sense that I’m going to look at the big picture no matter what. And then I have various people who we pull in, depending on what the technical problem is that we need to solve first. And kind of working between those flows a little bit like a seesaw, right? You gotta do a little big picture, solve a problem, little more big picture, solve another problem and kind of work through it that way.

Chris Davis 31:08
Yeah. These are one of the principles I teach. And it’s a document Wow, you do? And I listened, Sandra, I try hard. I really do. I, there’s some sometimes if I’m in the process, if I’m the one in it responsible for producing it, sometimes I just get excited. I do and it’s just like, I can see it. It’s you know, I’ve got a whole process that hey, map it out, solve all your problems analog, then go do I get it, I know. But most of the time for me what I’m learning is the old Chris would just jump into it, and then tell my team, my Hey, I did this thing, then I had to record a video. And that’s fine. Because we have documentation and everything else. The new me, I will either start a doc, that’s like a log of everything that I’m doing, or it will be a manual, I’ll keep my notebook open. And I’ll just create checklists, as I go through it in my notes 100%. That’s

Sandra Halling 32:09
the easiest way and and I think it’s more accurate. Like if you sit down to create a process and you put your process hat on dollars to doughnuts, you’re not executing the same way you would if you were actually doing it for real. So what happens when on two o’clock on Tuesday, you gotta whip this task out. And and you know, that process isn’t documented yet. What if you just gave yourself a little bit of buffer 15 minutes, right? To have a little notebook next to you and jot down the steps as you’re doing them. And then take that checklist and throw it into the task for the next time. Right? It makes it so much smoother. It’s like believing that you can document something in 15 minutes, I think is the first step. Because if you don’t believe that it will always feel arduous, you know, it’s always gonna feel like this big task that you don’t want to tackle.

Chris Davis 32:55
I agree. And where I’m at now, at the time of recording this is making sure that even my note taking has a framework, so that I can because I’m really good analog I just am I’m better analog than anything digital. And any day of the week, it makes my heart

Sandra Halling 33:11
happy. I’m glad I know another techie who’s like, can I just be analog? Because people are like, no, not actually married to my computer.

Chris Davis 33:21
The right is something freeing about it. But what I’ve what I’ve learned more recently is that my analog is very much how my digital used to be. Whereas only I can read it only I can understand it. So now as I’m modularizing my notes to be more portable, I can take a snapshot, I can take a picture of my whiteboard, attach it to a task, and have someone on my team, make the digital version of it. Create the checklist out of that. So this is I feel like this really captures the whole part of balancing process and people. And then within there, there’s technology, right? There’s right yeah, smack dab in the middle right in the middle using them to create this alignment that you speak of this this orchestrated product. It’s just like, wow, I got the picture in a click up task. And it notifies someone Someone came in, looked at the picture created the checklist. Now they hooked that checklist up to an automation, that every time a task like this is created, the checklist is produced. And man we’ve not been having any issues with this process, or people.

Sandra Halling 34:35
Yeah, no, I always think like, you know, we’re business owners, right? And I think the operative word there isn’t business, its owner, right? We’re not business doers. We can’t do it all ourselves, right? We’re owning something. We’re owning a process of methodology and approach, probably some intellectual property. And our function is really to, like you were saying, almost like an orchestra like conductor’s right like a little more flute over here, a little more trombone here, like, how are we bringing in all of the pieces and making them? You know, work together so that it sounds like a piece of music and not like the orchestra tuning up? Yeah,

Chris Davis 35:15
absolutely. So I have to ask you this. I’ve got this notion, this notion and clickup. Tell me about the moment that it the light bulb turned off for you like, Oh, my goodness, click up is the app for me? Oh, my goodness. notion is the app for me, because you know how it goes, you start, you start with the tool. It’s all exciting. And then you start breaking US data people real technical, we start pushing the boundaries. Oh, yeah, limit.

Sandra Halling 35:47
But really, it’s step 1. It’s like,

Chris Davis 35:49
okay, what can it do? I get all of the documentation what it can or can’t do this can’t do this. So what was that moment? Was it a particular feature? Or was it a particular result? What was it for both clickup and notion for you where you were like, Oh, my gosh, this is the tool for me. Yeah. Okay.

Sandra Halling 36:04
So first confession time. I’ve used like every project management tool out there in the last 12 years of running my business, Reich Smartsheet, Basecamp, multiple versions of Basecamp. I’m trying to think of what else Monday, like you name it, Asana, I’ve messed with all of them. Yeah. So what happened, what was happening is I kept ending up back in of all things, one note, right. And the reason I kept ending up, you know, as corporate, so I use Microsoft Office products and all that. But I kept ending up back in OneNote, because it was the only thing that would manage the highly detailed technical notes I needed for development, plus tasks in an organized way, a lot of project management tools do not handle that level, that detailed level of notes. Right. And so that was what made me fall in love with notion, in the beginning was that I could have super detailed notes, even with, you know, super kind of complex, complex mini databases that would allow me to filter through all the changes we were making in someone else’s system. And the irony was never lost on me that I was basically building a database to implement a database. But right. That’s just how we roll around here, right. So I loved it. And and then what happened is my team started growing. And granted, Notion just came out with some new features, like just last week, they were displaying some new things. And so things are changing, for the better in terms of using notion to manage a team, but at the time, you couldn’t lock pages from being changed. And I was spending a lot of time just updating filters, trying to get a handle on what everybody was working on. You know, notion wasn’t designed originally as a task manager, or we’re all using it differently now, but it’s not really what it was designed for. From the get go. So you put click up in front of me. And it’s like, the AHA, right? The the number one thing I would say is just the way it handles dates, right? Dates in click up where it’s like, so easy to recur and recur without creating a new task, like, I don’t care, when it got done, I just know that when I do it, I’m going to have to do it again, like that’s a very unique process that has to be thought through as opposed to know I need to know every instance of a completed task, right? And so you can get into that level of detail in click up. And with the docs feature, you’ve got that power with the notes. And so for me, in my work, and with the level of technical stuff that we do, it’s the blend of note taking, and how does it handle dates and assigning and like recurring things? It’s like, trying to find that happy medium. So that’s what that’s what made me Yeah. Grab on to click up and hold on to it for sure.

Chris Davis 38:50
Yeah, I’ll say for me for notion I’ll go here and me for notion was the embedded page approach ever, like it was a full page that you can embed within a minute, it just made organization a lot easier, like clicking around trying to find things. And so that was what first attracted me. And then what got me was the database ability. Yeah, it’s like, wait, I can put a database within a page in that page is not dedicated to just be a database, I can actually have other notes,

Sandra Halling 39:21
you can have a database inside a database. This is where notion starts to become a merry go round. It’s like where do you start? Where do you stop? Yes. And I think when you have a team goes back to what I was saying earlier, if you have a team with different technical backgrounds, coming into something like notion, being able to protect who’s creating new pages and who’s met, like monitoring and managing the structure of notion, once we have control over that makes notion a lot more feasible for a larger team, but in click up like you’ve got a home view, it’s already there. You know, so like for teams that have a more wide variety of people on them. Being able to come in and have that, you know, the checklist separate from subtasks. Right, which are two separate things, you’ve got process and you’ve got pieces that might be assigned. Plus the Recurring Dates. I think if there’s, you know, things like launch strategy, or you know, marketing automation that requires like, we were talking earlier, the human element, having something like click up all of that can be predefined and then launch with a template with one click of a button like, Hello,

Chris Davis 40:30
yes, yes. So it’s great. Click up for me were the automations. Before then I was a user of it. I kind of liked it. But when they launched automation, I was like, You have me. I can’t leave you now. Yeah, so All right. Well, Sandra, this was great. If our listeners want to find out more about you about the data mavens about how to engage with you learn more from you. Where should they go?

Sandra Halling 40:56
Absolutely. So you can come over to the datamavens.com/allsystemsgo. And I actually have a special treat for the listeners who are curious about the aligned productivity community I was talking about, we’re doing 10% off for the listeners. So you can use the code all systems go and get 10% off of joining us, which will be awesome. I’d love to have you.

Chris Davis 41:19
Oh, amazing. I appreciate that. And we will have that link. If you missed it. Everyone. It is in the show notes. You can go to it right now in the show notes and get there. Sandra, I can’t thank you enough for coming on to the podcast. Anytime I get an opportunity to talk about people process and technology. Sign me up, right. I’m in right. Yes. So I appreciate it. Yes, you have been a great guest. Nothing but the best wishes to you. And in the data mavens was if there’s any way that our communities can be in sync or help in any way Don’t hesitate. But I thank you for your your presence on the podcast today. I love that. Thank you, Chris. Yes. All right. Have a good one. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcast, Google podcast, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday. So make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly and you can access them all at allsystemsgopodcast.com. Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friends

You'll Learn

  • [2:30] Sandra shares what her journey to Data Mavens looked like
  • [5:10] How Sandra navigated which path to take in business with her automation skills
  • [8:45] What aligned productivity means
  • [12:38] How to find balance in valuing both people and processes
  • [16:20] Why simplifying processes will help your team shine and produce at their highest level
  • [20:00] Chris shares about finding a balance between SOP’s and checklists
  • [23:34] How to use ClickUp to empower your team
  • [27:32] Sandra’s approach to helping companies get their documentation in order
  • [32:52] “Believing that you can document a process in 15 minutes, is the first step.”
  • [35:17] What Sandra first loved about Notion and ClickUp

Today's Guest

Give Sandra Halling the business equivalent of a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and she can make it look like the picture on the box. As founder of The Data Mavens, she’s dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and executives design their workflow and systems to feel organized, have peace of mind, and prioritize what matters to them. Sandra is an expert on platforms like Deltek Vision, Notion, and Clickup but her real priority is helping you develop better work habits by achieving Aligned Productivity—that is to say, aligning your work with your values.

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About the Show

On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.

Discover how to deploy automated marketing, sales, and delivery systems to scale your business without working long hours to do so.

Chris L. Davis - Chief Automation Officer

Chris L. Davis

Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant