Meet Lauren Goldstein, the Business Doctor

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Lauren Goldstein, CEO of Golden Key Partnership

Lauren Goldstein has a superpower. This superpower is revealing the root cause of a business failing to reach the next level. For almost 10 years, Lauren has been using this superpower to lift business from the muck of the status quo and carry it toward lasting success and sustainable profits.

She founded Golden Key Partnership, a “globally successful boutique consulting firm,” that has been lifting business toward success since 2011. For her work, she has been dubbed the “business doctor,” for diagnosing the root cause of stagnating businesses and then fixing them up with an effective cure.

Before founding Golden Key Partnership, Lauren Goldstein used to be a doctor. After leaving the field, she combined her medical experience with her business education to gain her industry superpower.

Through her medical experience, Lauren Goldstein could see clearly the many indicators of a business’ success and failure. She can diagnose the health of your business and advise you on how to fix its ailments. With proper diagnosis, Lauren could come up with the proper strategies to “uncover threats, show patterns, and predict trajectories.” Armed with this information, she can help you “course correct, avoid pitfalls, as well as double down on what works.”

Lauren Goldstein and Golden Key Partnership makes the magic happen within the 2mm space separating a “great company and an exceptional one.” By making strategic small adjustments, you can close the gap and leap from stagnation to successful scaling.

Check out more in-depth interviews with thought leaders here. You can also check out Lauren Goldstein in conversation here.

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Lauren Goldstein: What I have been told by our clients over the years that makes us so much different than other consulting firms is that we diagnose first and we don’t focus just on front line revenue, we look at profitability as a whole.

So often consultants are hired by business owners to “fix something” that the business owner thinks is broken or the root cause of the problems they are seeing. In theory this is a good strategy — bringing in an outside expert — but in practice it is a bad strategy to bring someone in to treat something that may not actually be the root problem. Let me elaborate on what I mean.

Most consultants come in to, let’s say “fix sales,” they might go down a marketing or sales rabbit hole without looking for other contraindications, this is a bad strategy.

Where we are vastly different is we take the chief complaint at face value and then do an extensive diagnostic “exam” of the business.

The reason we do this is, nine times out of ten the problem our client thinks they have is only a surface level symptom and is most often not only connected to many other parts of the business, but not the actual root cause.

We view businesses as holistic entities and the neural network of business operations connects it all. So if you don’t diagnose before you treat, chances are you used a bandaid where you should have performed surgery. That’s what makes us different — we specialize in finding that one thing that will make the most amount of difference long term through diagnoses.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Lauren Goldstein: I love this question! As I shared before, burnout almost took me out so I am a huge advocate for putting in a system to help prevent it. My best tips are:

  1. Make sure your contracts with clients are well defined. I have found in the past that “scope creep” was one of the biggest triggers for burnout for me and my team. It felt like a moving target that we could never hit. Of course, with time and expertise we were able to better spot burnout and nip it in the bud but in the beginning it was tough.

  2. Office hours. This may seem silly but I remember in the beginning when I was working from home that the line between life and work was really blurred. I ate at my desk during “lunch” and went “back to the office” after dinner sometimes till 1 or 2 in the morning and then got up and did it all over again. When I was in those dark days, I realized I needed to draw a line in the sand between personal and business hours. This was a game changer. Now I work standard hours and set the expectations with my clients, and my team, that anything after 6pm or on weekends won’t be responded to or dealt with until the next day. This really changed so much because it gave me space to breathe and made sure that everyone else also had that same space.

  3. Ask for help and be willing to give up control. This one is definitely a big one. I don’t think any of us like to admit that we need help or to give up the reins, but this is one of the single biggest things that helps me avoid burnout. Help comes in many forms. It could be a mentor, a partner, an employee, or even just a sympathetic ear — heck even just admitting that you need help takes the pressure off! As for giving up control I like to think of it like a bakery. Sometimes we don’t want to give up a piece of our pie right? Well, what if you think of it not as an individual pie you are giving up, but rather you own a bakery and you design the menu and then you can bake as many pies as you want! Control the things you truly love, that are fun and easy for you, and then figure out who can take ownership of the rest of the process. That is where the magic happens.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Lauren Goldstein: The person I am most grateful to is my father. My Dad raised me to always question what was in front of me and never gave me the answers. Instead he gave me the tools of deductive reasoning and problem solving to not only solve the problem, but be creative in its solution. This is most likely why I am so good at what I do. This kind of thinking allows me to look at the giant puzzle of my client’s business and see not only what puzzle pieces go together, but which ones don’t fit, and which ones need to be taken out or added in.

In addition, he gave me my first consulting job in our family business. It was an amazing space to learn some great lessons, test my theories in real life, and develop new skills along the way. He is relentless in his support for me and continues to be a sounding board when I need to solve something in my own life or business.

For all of this and more, he truly is my hero.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?

Lauren Goldstein: Definitely! The main reason this is so important is because, in general, the person who started the business is not the best equipped to run the business day to day. Most business owners started their business because they had a great idea or saw a need and their innovation is what caught fire. That innovative spark gets dimmed or burns out if they go from visionary to operator — and burned out entrepreneurs burn down their businesses. If you want to build a successful business, you have to have help, no one can do it alone.

In addition, it is important to point out that more often than not, you are not the expert that is needed in other areas of your business and if you try to be, you will end up being the bottleneck and sometimes the downfall of your business success. The magic of sustainable growth and scaling comes from each person doubling down on their strengths which complement other members of the team’s weaknesses. This symbiotic relationship is how businesses start to get traction and momentum to eventually quantum leap into sustainable success.

The bottom line is if a leader doesn’t develop this skill, not only will the success of the business be in jeopardy, but the chances of the business surviving past the magic number of 5 years declines exponentially. Once you have a proven process/product, you simply must find the right people to help you grow sustainably and get out of your own way.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

Lauren Goldstein: The top reason, I believe, is fear. As I mentioned before, most people are hesitant to give away their secret pie recipe, but I have seen a bigger fear pop up and that is actually fear of success. I know that sounds silly but I have seen time and time again where business owners don’t delegate because they are uncomfortably comfortable. It is way scarier to grow their business into the unknown then it is to stay in their current comfy existence. The best antidotes for both of these is stepping it out into the future and going through the worst case scenario and best case scenario. It calms down the mind to see the two pathways and have the clarity on what you have to “give up” to get to the next level.

The second is control. This plays a little into the fear I mentioned before but this one is much more about feeling like if you own your 5 acres then you know what to expect and can plan for it because everything has to go through you. This is a false sense of security though, because what you don’t see happening is the leaks that you create become the cause of your bottlenecks. I have seen it time and time again with my business owner clients where they are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and profitability because, as the bottleneck in the business, they are stopping the flow and creating a decreased capacity to deliver. The antidote to this is to get crystal clear on what your big 3 are — the three things that you are so insanely talented at (which you enjoy) that move the business forward. Once you have this you can look at all the bits and pieces that are left and see who needs to own them.

The third is lack of experience. This is probably my favorite because it is so simple. Most business owners are not taught how to hire, develop, or delegate a team. Also, most people are taught that you should have more people who can “wear multiple hats” than experts who are top in their area of genius. I spend quite a lot of time with my clients busting this myth. The simple truth is your business and your bottom line will grow far more simply, harmoniously, efficiently, and sustainably when you find the experts you need whose strengths complement your weaknesses. When you have A Players on your team, you are not dolling out tasks to them, you are riding shotgun with them as they roll out their plans to help you accomplish your business goals. One type of team can drain your time and revenue (generalized as worker bees) the other creates time and revenue.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?

Lauren Goldstein: The biggest one is clarity.

As they say, if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to know when you arrive? This is as true in business as it is in life.

You need to first know exactly where the ship is headed. What is your vivid vision? What are the goals and milestones that your team is helping to build? Once you have the clarity of where you are going, those GPS coordinates are going to not only help you stay on track, but more effectively delegate and hire to help you arrive there in the most efficient manner.

The second part of this is the clarity around the roles you have on your team. Too often I see employee relationships with a company fall apart because of mismatched expectations and ambiguity around deliverables in the role. The more clear you can be about competencies and accountabilities for the role the higher you and your employees chances of success are.

The other work habit pivot I recommend is learning how to hunt antelope versus chasing mice. In other words, learning the difference between busy and productive. When you are able to be consistent with the items in your day that actually produce forward momentum and traction rather than the busy work that is really just another form of busyness/self-sabotage.

The way you tease out what your productive items are is asking yourself the simple question of: “If I did nothing else today, what must get done to get me closer to my vivid vision?” The second follow up to that when you have a team is: “What 3 things am I an expert in and enjoy that at the end of the day, only I can do?” An example of this might be, “meet with investors.” When you answer those two questions honestly you get the clarity you need on what to focus on and what to delegate day in and day out.

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Lauren Goldstein: That’s easy — the mental health of entrepreneurs! I know that being an entrepreneur is often glamified but it is one of the hardest and most emotionally tumultuous things that we can do. I sometimes call it personal development with a paycheck — it is not for the faint of heart and will make all your dragons come out to be slain.

I feel like it might be comparable to what it is like to step into the role of President of the US. No matter your background or experience, you’re never really prepared for what it is going to take to be successful.

It will consist of the highest highs, and lowest lows and almost always takes longer than you think.

To me, if we talked more about the lows, the mental game, and how to cope with the stressors in a healthy manner, not only would we have happier entrepreneurs, but healthier ones too.

In return, they would be able to be more successful, impactful, and fulfilled which creates a win-win for everyone involved.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Lauren Goldstein:







Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Lauren Goldstein: Thank you for having me!

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