Adam Kaplan

Episode Description

How To Date Visionaries In The Business World: With Adam Kaplan

Finding a partner can be a difficult thing to achieve, especially when it comes to your business. Surely you’ve asked yourself before: How do I find a good partner?

For our last episode of 2021, I want you to meet my guest. His name is Adam Kaplan and he is COO at Kapsarino Consulting. As an integrator, Adam comes to the show with that exact challenge. He wants to find a good visionary to “date" before agreeing to anything more permanent, and he’s struggling with that. As much as he tries, he can’t seem to find the one that brings to the table what he needs.

From my point of view, what Adam needs to do to finally stop the search is pick the visionaries with whom he thinks a potential partnership could work and give them a small project to tackle.  That way he can see their strengths and weaknesses clearly. And that way, he’ll be able to choose the right partner for his company.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ podcast, where we invite guests from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.  


Today my guest is Adam Kaplan and he runs a company called Kapsarino Consulting. I had to look down to make sure I was reading it properly. Adam, welcome!  


[00:00:31] Adam Kaplan:
Thank you, Kim. Nice to be here with you.  


[00:00:34] Kim Ades:
So where are you in the world for starters?  


[00:00:37] Adam Kaplan:
I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.  


[00:00:40] Kim Ades:
Okay, Detroit. Amazing. And tell us, what is Kapsarino Consulting?  


[00:00:47] Adam Kaplan:
We're a fractional consulting company specializing in companies that run on the EOS operating system.  


[00:00:54] Kim Ades:
Okay, yeah.  


[00:00:56] Adam Kaplan:
And I'm an integrator for hire.  


[00:00:59] Kim Ades:
Oh! Okay, that's very interesting. I can't tell you how many people I work with who are looking for integrators. People I work with who are visionaries and for the life of them, can't find the right partner per se, that would cover the integrator role. So that's very exciting. I rarely talk to integrators, I mostly talk to the visionaries.  


[00:01:24] Adam Kaplan:
I can imagine.  


[00:01:25] Kim Ades:
Yeah, yeah. 


[00:01:26] Adam Kaplan:
So, hopefully you'll enjoy this discussion.  


[00:01:28] Kim Ades:
Well, I know that I will, I'm already enjoying it. So tell us a little bit about yourself. What's going on? What is your greatest challenge right now that you want to discuss?  


[00:01:41] Adam Kaplan:
Sure. So, really what I like to, what I'd like to talk about is that match, right? Everything is in the details and the best way to find the right visionary to be partnering with.  


[00:01:58] Kim Ades:
Okay. So are you... How are you going about it currently?  


[00:02:04] Adam Kaplan:
Well, truthfully, I just hung up my own shingle to do this because I was engaged full time with a visionary as an integrator. 


[00:02:16] Kim Ades:
Okay.  


[00:02:16] Adam Kaplan:
And what I decided was I didn't want to go hook, line and sinker and partner with someone full-time now, but I wanted to kind of date a little bit before I got married.  


[00:02:32] Kim Ades:
And if you don't mind me asking, why did you make that decision to switch out?  


[00:02:37] Adam Kaplan:
Well, you know, we weren't really aligned on the vision for the business, which happens frequently in all kinds of partnerships and relationships. So that's a very normal thing. 


[00:02:50] Kim Ades:
Yeah.  


[00:02:50] Adam Kaplan:
I wish the company well. It's a great company, it's a great visionary. But we just didn't really see eye to eye and where to take the business going forward.  


[00:03:00] Kim Ades:
Okay, so I'm going to ask you a very odd question. Are you sure you're an integrator and not a visionary yourself?  


[00:03:06] Adam Kaplan:
I'm pretty sure, yeah. Yeah. 


[00:03:08] Kim Ades:
Okay.  


[00:03:08] Adam Kaplan:
I can tell you why I'm sure. 


[00:03:10] Kim Ades:
Please. 


[00:03:11] Adam Kaplan:
Yeah. So, you know, there are certain characteristics that you tend to find in a visionary. Some of those can be assessed through profiles, so they tend to be very high, quick start, in terms of kind of... they tend to be very sales oriented. And I'm much more of an analyst, I'm much more of a fact finder, I'm very good at following through. But I'm not as much of a quick starter and I'm not as much of a... I'm a relationship builder, but I'm not much of a salesperson per se. 


So, I'm 48 years old, I've been through the rodeo a few times and I'm pretty confident that my better seat is in the integrator working with a visionary to move the company forward.  


[00:04:00] Kim Ades:
Have you ever read the book "Good to great"?  


[00:04:02] Adam Kaplan:
Yeah.  


[00:04:03] Kim Ades:
Okay. I mean, it's been a while. I'm a little older than you, it's been a while. But I remember one of the things in that book was that phenomenal leaders are actually not quick starts, that phenomenal leaders are a little slower, are a little analytical, are a little quieter in fact, and not necessarily the sales types. What do you make of that?  


[00:04:32] Adam Kaplan:
Well, I think it can be. You know, there are some great leaders, you know, Tim Cook's an introvert, yeah, I'm an introvert, and there's some great leaders that are introverts. As I recall, I think that was more of the tenor of what he was talking about, Jim Collins in the book.  


Not everyone wants to be front and center all the time. You know, I love working in teams, I love getting up in front of a room, but I like getting up in front of a small room. You know, I like getting up in front of three or four people and really digging in and having a good discussion with them. 


[00:05:09] Kim Ades:
Yeah.  


[00:05:09] Adam Kaplan:
As opposed to getting up in front of a big audience. You know, that's not where I get my energy. 


[00:05:16] Kim Ades:
Right. So the reason why I'm pushing back on some of this is because essentially when you hang up your shingle, like, you know, the one where you're the fractional integrator, you're essentially running a business of your own.  


[00:05:32] Adam Kaplan:
So no doubt, and I've done it before. So, before I took on this assignment, I had my own search business recruiting integrators for nine years. 


[00:05:41] Kim Ades:
Okay.  


[00:05:42] Adam Kaplan:
So I did that and I sat in the seat and actually I came out of that business recognizing, you know, "I really should have hired a salesperson who was better than me earlier on". So, that's kind of the recognition where I come from. And that's why I'm happy to come on this show, you know, because I always want to be coachable and I always want to learn. I'm not the kind of person that feels that I know everything.  


[00:06:13] Kim Ades:
Okay. So, my question is you ran this recruiting integrator company and it did okay. 


[00:06:19] Adam Kaplan:
Yeah.  


[00:06:19] Kim Ades:
It sounds like there was a little weakness on the sales front.  


[00:06:23] Adam Kaplan:
Yeah.  


[00:06:23] Kim Ades:
Am I understanding you correctly? You're not actually interested in running a company right now. You're interested in finding your next marriage. Is that correct?  


[00:06:32] Adam Kaplan:
That's what I'm looking for at the moment. That's correct.  


[00:06:34] Kim Ades:
Okay. And so right now, my question for you would be two things. Is that actually what you want? Because from my perspective, it sounds like you have strong opinions about where a vision should go, right? Because if you didn't have that strong opinion, you'd follow your previous partner, who was the visionary, and you play your role, integrator.  


[00:07:04] Adam Kaplan:
It's a fair point. I need to think about that a little bit more. I think that a good vision is one born out of collaboration and partnership. I think that someone who just has their-- and I'm not talking really about a personal vision, because I think we all need to have our own personal visions for where we want to go in life professionally, personally, in our communities. 


But I think a business, especially today, is so complex to run. There are so many dimensions in it. It's not just buying low and selling high, the whole marketing component, digital component, the technology component. The world is changing so quickly, there are so many disruptors and then the disruptors are being disrupted. 


I mean, there's so much capital right now going in all kinds of different directions. So, I think it's really hard to develop a great vision by yourself. I think today. And I think visionaries, the ones I've worked with, the ones I've consulted for and placed for, I think they're hungry for that collaboration because I think the better ones can see the future, but they also, when they see the future, they can see what they don't know. 


[00:09:02] Kim Ades:
So you're looking for someone then who is willing to tune into the experts in the business and gather relevant data to make an appropriate decision about what it looks like to move forward.  


[00:09:22] Adam Kaplan:
Right. And by the way, my daughters historically have gone to camp in Algonquin Park in Canada. So we love our Canadian neighbors to the North. 


[00:09:34] Kim Ades:
[Chuckles]  


[00:09:34] Adam Kaplan:
And sometimes to the South, actually. Canada is to the south of Detroit, many people don't know that. So yeah, I mean, I think different people bring different things to the table, right? Most visionaries are not good with numbers and they're not real analytical types and... you know, I'm a finance MBA, so that's one of the things I bring to the table. 


[00:10:01] Kim Ades:
So if I were to simply, like, talk about your problem, which is "how do I find more visionaries to date", right? That's one way to look at it.  


[00:10:13] Adam Kaplan:
More good ones. I would-- sorry, if I may clarify the problem, I would define it: how do I find more good visionaries to date. Right?  


[00:10:21] Kim Ades:
Yeah. So, I don't know if you're familiar with a whole bunch of organizations that are constantly looking for integrators. Organizations like Entrepreneurs' Organization, Vistage, that kind of thing. In addition, there are actually operator or integrator organizations that are specifically designed to help the integrator master their skills, etc. So, I would definitely tune into those organizations to find people that might be a good fit for you.  


But in addition to that, I might also offer a small project or a small pilot so that they can date you as well. And so what does that small pilot look like? It might look like "Hey, let me help you save money" or "let me help you improve the productivity of this particular department". I don't know, you're the integrator, right? But something small, something manageable, tangible and affordable, so that they can see how you operate and how you work. 


So, I too love to date before getting married. And so what I do is I run small pilots, I run small experiments. I'll give you an example. We're starting a brand new project. It's called The Journal That Talks Back™ and it's basically accessible coaching for young professionals. And we were looking for some help in really producing a lot of writing, right?  


We needed a writer and there are lots of writers out there with very, very different qualities and very different capabilities. And so, I gave maybe six different writers the same project so that I was able to assess the difference in the writing skills and the quality, the creativity, the grammar, even, right? I was able to assess that. And so, I was able to choose the one that was the best fit for us.  


But in your case, I would try to find that small project and say "Hey, test me out. Just test me out". And so, that you're actually giving yourself an opportunity to be on the dance floor with these people. Right? We're not even dating yet. Let's just dance first and then I'll ask you out, right?  


And so, I think the question becomes what is that small, compact offering that you can introduce yourself with, where a smart visionary will say "that sounds really good. Why not? What do I have to lose? It's really low risk. And the value it could bring to the table could be incremental and yes, we could get to know each other".  


[00:13:08] Adam Kaplan:
It's a really good idea. You know, the other thing that I'm wondering now that I've kind of hung up my shingle and I'm open to doing this is... how many people are going to be open to building a relationship like this remotely? Because the pandemic has changed a lot and we've learned how to work remotely, we've learned how to use this medium Zoom and other media to communicate and connect. For people who are organized there are a lot of benefits to that. What do you think?  


[00:13:46] Kim Ades:
I don't think that that's necessarily your greatest challenge. It might be a little bit of a challenge, I don't think it's your greatest challenge. I think you need to identify the greatest pain point for visionaries. And again, create a small project that addresses the most significant pain point. So that's like thing number one. How do you get in the door?  


But the second part of it is I would urge you to really think about what it is that you want. Do you want to be an integrator for someone permanently, full-time? Or do you want to be running your own business with a whole bunch of fractional integrators? And what does that look like? Because my sense is that you have a very strong opinion about how things need to operate and when you're clashing with a visionary, that means you're somewhat of a visionary yourself. 


And I would urge you to kind of look internally and say "what actually do I want? Do I want to be running a business or do I want to go work with someone else who's driving the vision and driving the ship forward? Am I really, truly comfortable with that?" And I would question that right now.  


So, that's the coaching for today.  


[00:15:03] Adam Kaplan:
Okay, thank you! 


[00:15:06] Kim Ades:
I hope that I gave you some food for thought.  


[00:15:08] Adam Kaplan:
Certainly did.  


[00:15:11] Kim Ades:
Adam, I want to thank you for joining us today. If someone out there is looking for a fractional integrator, how do they find you?  


[00:15:19] Adam Kaplan:
Sure. So the best way is to look me up on LinkedIn. I'm Adam Kaplan, in Michigan. Or email me at adamkaplanexec@gmail.com. And I'd be happy to have a discussion.  


[00:15:46] Kim Ades:
Amazing. Again, thank you so much for being on the show with us. For those of you who are listening, please like, please share, and please reach out to us. If you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.  


And reach out to us as well if there's a challenge you have that maybe are not so willing to share on the podcast. Again, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Adam, thank you. 


[00:16:18] Adam Kaplan:
Thank you, Kim.