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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Imbriano

PODCAST: Building The Capacity To Sustain Business Growth With Joseph Imbriano

This episode appeared in Business Leadership Podcast with Bob Roark


Leaders are often so focused on growth that they overlook building the capacity around them to sustain that growth. Joseph Imbriano, CEO of Omnikai, knows the ins and outs of solving these problems to help companies build that capacity by strategically aligning growth with their mission. In this episode, he talks about the strategies needed to help your business grow that is aligned with your purpose. Joseph also talks about transmitting your message to your team and stakeholders through leadership buy-in, running a business in a bear market, differentiating between an owner and a leader, and more. He then shares with us some of his case studies and experiences in helping companies fully-function and thrive. Don’t miss out on Joseph’s wisdom as he shows you how to sustain the growth of your business.


Podcast Transcript

Bob: Today, we have Joseph Imbriano. He's the CEO of OmniKai, a transformational coaching agency that helps leaders of small and medium companies and nonprofit organizations (NGOs) build smarter so they can overcome today’s challenges and shape tomorrow's world. He has international experience helping organizations in China, Africa, Latin America and he is residing in the mile-high city of Denver. Joseph, welcome to the show.

Joseph: Thank you for having me.

Bob: Thank you for taking the time. Tell us about your business and who you serve.

Joseph: We help leaders through crisis. What that means is a lot of times, companies have focused on growth but haven't built the capacity around them to sustain that growth. This leads to asymmetry in the organization, meaning the inability to deliver to their clients; the inability to take their purpose and make it a reality; and the inability to serve their customers. What we do is help build that capacity for growth by strategically aligning (making sure that the business mission is intact and getting rid of all those shiny objects), systemizing (delegating and automating tasks that don't require human interaction), and hiring a team of people who can turn that vision into reality in a way that you couldn’t do on your own or with a team that doesn't work well together.

Bob: We've all read the business articles and they all say, “You should do this or you should do that,” and then say what to do in what part. A lot of us go, “I know what I should do, I just don't know how I should do that.” Why don't we take a look and maybe talk through a case study of a company that you worked with in the past. Problem, diagnosis, plan and execution.

Joseph: Most times, the client comes to me saying, “We need more revenue.” The actual problem is often the inability to handle the clients they already have. A few years ago, a tech company had a great influx of cash, investors pouring in from all areas, and they doubled down on current spending habits, on what had worked before. But they weren’t getting the results they were looking for.

They thought that more money in marketing equaled a better ROI or equaled more customers and higher growth. They forgot to build the organizational systems that was necessary to handle that growth. And that was killing their growth.

Bob: For that entrepreneurial ride, “we've done well and we built it. We've got an infusion of cash and now we're going to ramp and spend lots of money.” What do you think the tipping point was for them to reach out to you and saying, “We have a problem that we can’t figure it out?”

"A lot of times, companies have focused on growth but haven't built the capacity around them to sustain that growth."

Joseph: Well, they got a bunch of cash and then they hired a bunch of people, focusing on quick fixes.. They didn't have a clearly defined business mission and not everyone could connect what they did to that mission. Most couldn't connect what they did to that customer either. You had a bunch of people who were brought in, poorly trained, with no sense of where they fit into the entire structure. Productivity plummeted. So they hired me.

Often, we think that everyone shares our vision, but that's not the case. Not only do we as leaders need to share our vision, we need to share our vision at the level in the company that the person's role is at. By everyone understanding where they fit, it becomes an organism working together, instead of one leader dragging 100 people along with them.

Bob: I’m an employee of this company and they brought you onboard. Clearly, the expenses and the growth are out there, that's a symptom of the overarching problem or problems. After talking to the leadership team, when you walk through the door as a leadership team, what should that leadership team expect you to do in the first week or so?

What they should expect is for us to ask a bunch of uncomfortable questions. We want to figure out the fundamental problem. That involves understanding it. It also involves following the money. You follow the money, you realize their decisions. Often, fundamental problems arise when these decisions don't align with your business mission. That was what happened with this tech company. They took the money and money became their master. They started spending a lot on a bunch of cool things and they didn't have a purpose in mind. That reflected across all areas of the business.

Over the first week, it's understanding and clarifying the purpose of your business. If your mission isn’t clear, then we first focus on that. If your mission is clear, then we go to the next question: Why aren’t you moving into that direction? It becomes more of a tactical approach. If you know where you're going, then why aren't you headed there? After that, it comes down to looking at your operations. Let's see what are the headwinds that are keeping you from going there? Where is the poor decision-making that's preventing you from getting there?

Bob: You wonder or at least I do, about the things that get you to a certain level are the same things that can also prohibit you from getting to the next level. You look at, “We always did it this way. We figured we just double up.”

Joseph: Yes, and that's the wrong way of going about it. Getting from 0 to 1, from an idea to a market-validated product or service, is getting your head above water in the market. But let’s face it, you're just an idea that’s successful. To make it a business or an organization that's successful, you've got to build structure around your business so that you as a leader can remove yourself from the business and focus on the things that matter most, which are stakeholders’ interests and mid- to long-term direction.

At the same time, you need the organizational structures to be there. The people who are doing the work day in, day out, they need to understand their role and they have the resources that are necessary so that they can do it, pivot and iterate at once. Leaders need to trust their team. Trust the team that they hired to do the work and produce in a way that's bigger than the vision of the person who is leading it.

Bob: I think about the division and a lot of the catchphrases that we hear a lot of nowadays. You think about, “There's a big spread between what you're saying, what you do.” Let's say that you've gone to the diagnostic period. You've asked everybody you can think of and say, “We have a general idea of what I think some of the challenges are in this organization.” There's some level of buy-in from leadership. I'm sure there's some that don't and some that do. Once you have buy-in of leadership and you understand, what do you do to ensure its execution and also to transmit the execution to the rest of the stakeholders or employees in that firm?

"When your business is in a bear market, you need to find a way to remove yourself from the business and build a structure and a team that can survive without you."

Joseph: Buy-in isn't enough if it's just at the leadership level. A lot of executives make that mistake. They say, “We understand where we're going. We've hired these people. They will follow us.” That's not the way it works. You have to work on building buy-in from every person in that organization and all the stakeholders.Obviously, the people who started the company, will probably have a higher level of buy-in than everyone else. But there needs to be an understood level, an acceptable level of buy-in from everyone else. Once “my dream” as a leader becomes “our dream” as a company, it changes the game.

Bob: What's your preferred method or mechanism for transmitting from the idea with the leadership team now that you've got it distilled through the entire organization? What do you do?

Joseph: The leader must take the big picture vision and adjust the language so that it that helps each person, each team, hearing it understand how they fit in that vision. I find that when people clearly understand their role, not only in building the system, but how that system helps the customer and how that system moves the organization forward. That person can buy-in because he understands this place. He understands that the business can't operate without him doing his job. He understands his value.

Bob: I was thinking back, JFK was in Canaveral. He was walking down the hallway and there was a guy with a broom sweeping in the hallway. He stops and says, “What are you doing?” He says, “We’re putting a man on the moon, sir.” He understood exactly part of the role. I think about both in the military and other places, we have people come in and say we all should do whatever it is you should do. It was like the seagull approach. Are you familiar?

Joseph: I am.

Bob: The seagulls would come in and they would make their deposits and then they would leave. Everybody looks at each other. They go. “What's next?” For you, when you're talking about putting in the systems and processes in place and then there's some mechanism, I'm assuming that you use to monitor achievement of milestones, what does that look like and who is in charge of that in the organization?

Joseph: It depends on the organization. To be honest, it doesn't matter who controls it as much as who buys into it and uses that as a lever to push productivity up or to push creativity out. Usually after we figure out the mission and after we recalibrate operations towards the mission, the next thing is what are our goals over the next year, in six months? I prefer to look further into the future because a lot of leaders remain focused on fires. They hire for the fires and they communicate for the fires.

But a business that's constantly operating in fires doesn't have a direction. They're running to stand still. By putting that out there and figuring out the goals, then it becomes a measure of how to achieve them. The system can be made, can be customized for those goals and for the culture of the company, which is a critical piece of the success.

"Not only do CEOs need to share their vision, they need to share it at the level in the company that the person's role is at."

Bob: I'm going to take the role of the business owner. You've come in and we've all had this and we all have agreed we're going this way and the policies, procedures and techniques are all established and so on. When you go through to go, “Are we making progress?” What frequency do you typically recommend they look at and then to take and continue to bring along maybe some of the doubting employees along the way? How do you frame progress to the rank and file, for lack of a better term?

Joseph: It's less of the dynamics of the military and more the dynamics of a movement. In the military, you're required to carry out your orders. You can doubt as much as you want, but this is your role and that has its place. With movement, there's a bell curve of people and there's a bell curve of buy-in. There will be people who buy completely in and then there will be a lot of people who are on the fence. It's like a funnel of buy-in. As a leader, it's important to not focus everything on top-down communication, but let the people around the people on the fence, the ones who've already bought in, slowly convert the people on the fence. A movement takes a long time and there's never 100%.

Bob: Is there a recognition wave among the doubters from the believers? “This is working. We're seeing a change.” Do you typically see that tipping point with results?

Joseph: Yes, we need to show the results. Well, I as the coach don't, the leader actually needs to show the results so that they become the leaders that can bring about the movement. With the recognition of results brings the recognition that they organization is doing something that matters. This mission is worth waking up and working on every single day. It takes time. I don't expect to convert 100%, but I do understand the power of a movement and a power of just a few people across an organization that can evangelize and communicate that through results.

Bob: You've had a fair amount of international experience and in doing what you do. If you were to look at your experience on the international arena, how do you think that brings value to your current client base?

Joseph: I’ve been doing this since 2004. In my job back then, I fixed fires for European companies trying and failing to do business in China. What I would see is the equivalent of an ER doctor and what they would see on a battlefield. There were no rules of engagement and there were a lot of problems made because the European companies, my clients, would copy and paste models that worked in Germany or France and thought they would work in the northwestern part of China and that just couldn't happen. I got to see business at its worst, the effect of poor decision-making at the top.

Most entrepreneurs, most businesspeople haven't operated in a bear market. They haven't operated when the market is down, they don't understand and they confuse their success with their control that they brought it out and not recognizing the rising tides that lift all boats. When I started there, it was a poor economy. We had to make better decisions and understand the value and the cost of all consequences and still live with that decision.

Bob: How did you get into China? Did you speak Chinese?

"You should not just get customers to your doors. You should keep them in the house for as long as possible by giving exceptional service"

Joseph: Yes, I taught myself Chinese or Mandarin. At one point, I spoke well enough to be an interpreter though it's less so now. I wanted to be an investment banker out of college. When I graduated, I extended a semester. I was going to graduate in December and I applied in August for all the investment banks that I wanted, the prestigious one. I got one from one of the most prestigious ones that are out there. I had the offer in my hand and everything was wonderful. A few weeks later, September 11 happened. The offer was gone and I had no plan B. Around us, the world was in a stunned shock. You remember the time. That's how I entered the workforce. For two years, I did menial jobs because there was this trickle effect of high-skilled workers moving into lower-skilled jobs and would push out lower-skilled workers. A lot of people were not doing what they were trained to do.

Around 2003, this wasn't working. I needed a change. I went to China and after four months, I fell in love with the place. It felt like home to me. I said, “I should learn Chinese.” I taught myself Chinese every day in a cafe. It was called KFC Coffee. I'm sure it violated a whole bunch of IP law, but that's where I taught myself Chinese.

I was going to a place in the Western part of China near Pakistan called Kashgar where the Silk Roads met. It was always fascinating to me to understand the history of trade back then and how important the Silk Road was. I wanted to see it for myself. On the way, I stopped into a post office and in that post office there was a man screaming in English at the clerk. It was rare to see someone speaking a foreign language anywhere there.

This is 2004. A few people were even in China. This guy was screaming in a part of the desert where most people don't even go. I went over and I interpreted for him. On my way out, he's like, “Do you speak Chinese?” I said yes. He said, “I need you to come with me.” He took me to a place, where on one side was a group of Chinese businessmen. He sat on the other side. They were arguing/yelling/justifying themselves, but neither party could really speak the other language. In the middle of the meeting, after listening, I was like, “Here's an idea that would solve both parties and would give you guys revenue for the next X amount of years.” They both agreed.

That's how it began. In that meeting I went in as an interpreter and left as a fixer. He was a German entrepreneur and he said he was going to put me in contact with other owners doing business in China. I started getting a lot of calls and that's how I started.

I think about business interpreter.

Bob: Language is one barrier and is still even the same if you speak the same language. I think about the business owner that's growing his business thinks he's growing his business, but he's just creating a job. The business owner that's going in, since I'm creating a business that if I'm away for a month, it will still operate the same, which is a transferrable business. As you think about the inventory of clients, do you often get called into businesses where you look at it and go, “This business is a job.” Does the owner realize it? Do they ask to fix it?

Joseph: Oftentimes the owner recognizes the symptoms. Hands on too many things, feeling overwhelmed, afraid that if they just close their eyes for a second, it's all going to collapse. That is an owner of a business. That is not a leader of a business. The owner is a part of the business. If the owner lets go, the business collapses. I focus on turning owners into leaders by building that team and those systems that allow it to run on its own so the company can thrive on its own. Often, I'm not hired specifically for that. Instead I'm brought in to solve the symptoms - strategically aligning, getting the processes down and hiring a great team and then allowing the time to build trust. The owner realizes in time all the things he can do with all that time back and with all those additional resources that he now has.

That’s an important step to becoming a leader. Instead of focusing on the fires, you can focus on the mid to long-term. It's usually the end result of what they came to me for. It's critical not only for you as a leader but for a business. This bull run is not going to last forever and there are signs that it is weakening. We're going to be moving into a bear market. If you've never done business in a bear market, this is critical. You need to find a way to remove yourself from the business and build a structure and a team that can survive without you. If you're overwhelmed in a bull market, you don't even want to understand how you're going to feel in a bear market. You and I have seen a few of them. 2001, 2008, probably even before that.

Bob: I started in ‘87. We talked about this on the first time. How in the world did you get from all your international experience to Denver and why Denver?

Joseph: I looked for a place that had a great ecosystem for entrepreneurs, a rising group of entrepreneurs that come from all over the country that have hungry minds and for whatever reason had to leave their homes, which meant they were hungry in life. When you put great ideas with hungry minds and an ecosystem that can help turn their vision into reality, then those are the three ingredients for success. I looked around the world and Denver was that place for me.

A business that's constantly operating in fires doesn't have a direction. It's running to stand still."

Bob: I was thinking as you're talking. Let's say you're running across a business and there are certain things that you see in the business said, here are some levers you need to pull in. Some of that you don't, and policies and procedures you need to put in place. If I could have talked to you a few years ago, this is the advice I might have offered you. If you're talking to a typical business that enjoyed favorable economic conditions, what might be some of the policies and procedures you wish you could have told them a few years ago?

Joseph: If they're just starting out, five years ago was day zero, I would say build purpose and build exit into their business process, into their business. By building purpose, they’ll understand the point of getting up every day and then they can communicate that for the team. If they build exit, then they recognize what they need to build a business in a way that is attractive and can thrive without you being there. Purpose gives you the reason to get up and exit gives you what you need to do to build a business that lasts. It's important to build them both in the beginning.

If you're already an established one, let's say that you're already making seven digits or more. That means you're big enough that I would double down on saying two things. One, listen to your team. Your team is the pulse of your success.

Bob: We had this whole script planned out. We have absolutely ignored the script and led you across the board, which is fine. I think of the business owner that typically is so far in the business that they don't have much time to be on the business strategically. In your experience, what causes a business owner to develop the vision where he can see his business from the buyer's perspective? You have buyer's eyes instead of owner's eyes. What I find is a lot of business owners go, “What are you going to do next?” They go, “I don't know. This is so much business.” Where do they go? “My cousin, nephew, CPA, attorney, somebody said it's probably worth this.” The reality is it's probably worth something else than what they think, but I don't think very often that the business owner recognizes what a potential buyer looks at. I don't think they do.

Joseph: How could they, if they're focusing every day on the fires? If you're out there and you feel the same way, it's important for you to recognize the value as the owner of becoming the leader. Because when you become the leader, you don't have to worry as much on the operational fires because you've hired people for that. That means you can take your eyes and start listening to the stakeholders around you that are external.

Bob: As a business owner, you are like, “That's just an added expense to my company. If I hire a manager, I hire a staff that takes away from my bottom line.”

Joseph: There's going to be cost one way or another. How do you feel right now? Are you so overwhelmed that you can't spend time with your family? Are you so overwhelmed that you can’t think about next week? That cost is greater than the cost of building a team that can help take your business into what would be a bear market and will thrive without you. There are bottom lines and then there are bottom lines. Do you want to be spending day after day this overwhelmed, this disoriented to where you're trying to get? I recognize the pressure to have a rising bottom line, but at the same time, that's cart before horse right now. If you have a positive cashflow already, then it's time to invest in the business because growth requires an investment and it also requires a team.

Don't look at it as expense, look at it as you got lucky. You made it here without a team. That's not sustainable. You need instead of doubling down, going from 15 to 30 hours a day, which can happen. You need to recognize that you've been lucky and start to build right.

"Over time, the distance between where your destination was and where you are can be so large that you will see cracks within the systems, the business, the buy-in, and the trust."

Bob: I think there's a real disconnect between the notion of revenue and value. As you can push a lever, maybe increase revenue. I'm not altogether sure from a buyer's eye that represents and value. If you're the business owner and you go out into new clothes, your big contract. Let's say you had 100 clients before and then you go and kill the elephant and half of your revenue is from the elephant you just killed. That may take in effect your revenue, but from client concentration issues, you may not have done your company in favor by bringing the elephant on board.

Joseph: It comes down to your timeline. Is the goal to exit successfully on your terms? If you play a longer game, then you're able to make the investments upfront and watch those investments turn into higher revenue over the mid to long-term. If you're trying to do it all at once, then that's unsustainable.

Bob: How do people find you on social media that want to reach out to you?

Joseph: Look me up on LinkedIn, Joseph Imbriano. Also, reach out to me on Instagram if you want to have a conversation. If you have any questions for me, reach out to me on Instagram. You could also go to my site, and read a little bit more about me, read a bit more about the company. If you're interested, book an assessment and we can talk more about your problems and how we can help.

Bob: The thing that struck me interesting is when we first started talking and so you came to Denver, you said, “I’ve been going through a systematic approach in town.” What would be interesting is one, if you would, talk about your approach to entering this as a new market, trying to understand and see where you could make a difference.

Joseph: It all begins with recognizing that this is a long game. With that, I'm able to make more steps and focus more. I realized that at the center of coaching is trust. I'm an unknown here in Denver. I wanted to introduce myself. Most people start off like this: “I'm Joseph and I’ll do this.”

For me it was, “I'm Joseph. Tell me more about you.” What I wanted was to understand the dynamics of Denver. I may have had clients in Beijing, in Shanghai, in New Zealand, and in Columbia, but at the end of the day, those organizations may not be the best way to understand the needs of Denver. By now, I’ve had several hundred cups of coffee with several hundred people to understand what it is they're working on, what it is they're trying to do, what impact they're trying to have, and that’s helped me discover ways that I can plug in.

Bob: I think about process. It sounds like to me, if Denver was one large business, you came in to take the temperature of the one large business. The process is just at a larger level. If you were to comment on discovery, this is my overall impression of the gaps from my discussions. What would those gaps be?

Joseph: One thing that I found fascinating - it surprised me a little- was that there are a lot of successful entrepreneurs. Successful by their definition. When you ask them what they're doing and the revenue they're making fits into their business purpose, I find that there's a disconnect there. That operations is now leading strategy.

While that may work in a market where rising tides raise boats, it's won’t when we're moving into a different type of market. It doesn't allow us to be dynamic to the market ups and downs. A return to strategic guidance, a return to strategic alignment where strategy guides operations is critical. It's one of the areas that I want to plug in here in Denver. There's been a lot of people, a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of CEOs who when talking with them I realized that that was a problem and it's a root problem where they're feeling overwhelmed.

"The three ingredients for success are great ideas, hungry minds, and an ecosystem that can help turn  visions into reality."

Bob: Do you think they recognize this?

Joseph: I don't. A lot of companies, when they see results, let results become their guiding factor. While that can be great on the tactical level, the organization needs a strategy that guides it.

Bob: For a lot of folks, if you start with the end in mind and they go, “My life will look like 5, 8, 10 years like this. My destination has the following characteristics. My bed, like business, has the following characteristics.” You define the destination and then you start to backfill to your current location. You go, first, you needed to know an excruciating detail where you are at A, and then you need to define B. I freely admit I have a shiny object problem and lots of businesspeople go, “There's a revenue opportunity over there.” It's not consistent with what they said they wanted to go toward because they even had that discussion on the exit.

Joseph: This is something I do in my life. I look at life in chapters and so I have a chapter purpose, a chapter destination, as you call it, and a process to getting there. That's the same philosophy that I carry in to helping clients. It's where do you want to be? How are we going to get there? Understanding that once we make a decision, we can't control the consequences. It's still being flexible enough to be dynamic. A lot of times, people put cart before horse. While it sounds like a successful strategy, why you feel like you're being successful, you may be successful in one thing, but you're not going towards your destination.

Over time, the distance between your destination and where you are can be so large that fundamental cracks form in your organization.

Bob: Do you find when you work with business owners, do you get in their financial statements or much?

Joseph: Eventually, yes.

The reason I'm asking is when you look at a financial statement, do you find it's usually, “That's what my CPA did. Here's my tax return on financials. I have a P&L right here. Here's my P&L?” Do you think that tells them something or do you think it's just a document that they have?

"Understanding the financials is understanding the very breadth of the company. It shows where strategy meets action and the result"

Joseph: Many owners probably don’t check as often as they should, or if they've looked at it, they don't understand how those numbers got on that sheet. Because understanding the financials is understanding the very breadth of the company. It shows where strategy meets action and it shows results. Everything is right there.

Here's the thing, a lot of CEOs are visionary and so many of them are not financially capable. They're not operational people. They may not have hired an operational person, and if they have, they may not have built enough trust that in an event of a failing business, the operations guy can say, “This is where we're headed.”

A visionary believes in what can be, and it's hard sometimes to show them the reality of where they are so that they can see that they're not going to get there.

Bob: I spent some time talking to a CEO of a bank here and said in many cases that a business owner brings in a business plan. The business plan is incomplete or not useful, or they're going to like, “I understand my mortgage on my house. I don't understand my business loan.” I think it's a common issue. Many business owners have an idea. They have the passion and they work their butt off. Often, they bring it to life and they go, “I never went to business school. I don't know a financial statement from a cost of goods or anything else.” I'm just talking out loud and I was curious if it was my perception or if you see that rather frequently.

Joseph: I see it frequently. It doesn't become a problem if you've hired the right people around you. Every CEO needs to understand what the numbers mean. They need the right people to explain it to them. The CEO is the CEO. His or her role is to look at the external stakeholders and communicate the vision. He needs to surround himself with people who are willing to tell him the current reality of the company and what they need to do using the numbers, using the operations, using the results.

Bob: There's a misconception and I don't know if many business owners, maybe they're aware now, but you'd get a part-time CFO. You think when you're working with a stakeholder or you're working with a lending organization and they go, “I did the book myself,” or “I have a part-time CFO,” which is whole lot better than no time CFO.

Joseph: It's those types of investments that can be the difference between you calling me or you not calling me. A lot of times, people can view that as an expense and not an investment, but it is critical to be able to understand the financials, to understand where time and resources are going. To understand it in a way that you can pivot when you have to and understand your strategy. Everything has to align with your destination. I find it amazing. Just a few years ago, you couldn't get a part-time CFO. This is so new. The resources available to entrepreneurs now is unheard of. I started in 2004. When you started in ‘87, they were nothing like here. Yet I think in some ways, the ability to have a lot of options forces indecision. Whereas back when we started, we had to follow the process because our options were more limited. We focused on every step in the process. What are your thoughts on that?

Bob: I gave up doing my taxes a long time ago because there's not where I live. I do understand what goes into them and why they're there. In multiple businesses, I understand the levers that what I would say caused asymmetric value improvement. You don't spend $1 to make $0.50. You spend $1, can you make $3? They go, “I understand that leverage.” For the business owner, I’ve been curious. When they build their financials, do they build their financials where it has the levers that tell them this is a big part of my budget with a low return on investment and this is a small part of my budget. It has a great return on my investment.

Should I spend more or less there? Is that a legacy division and whatnot?

Before I get too far down the rabbit hole and forget what I was going to ask you: I'm a business owner in Denver. I'm not sure what my problem is by all measures, whether it's the bank or my friends, my revenue stream, my tax return, tax liability on the success. I feel like somebody sneaking up on me, getting to be uncomfortable. Maybe you've heard the business owners say it to you before. This is why I reached out to you. This was what was bothering me. This is the symptom. Can you recap a number of those types of things? If a reader goes, “That's me. I feel exactly that way.”

Joseph: If you’re saying things like, “I'm overwhelmed. I just don't have enough time in the day,” or, “I haven't seen my family in weeks,” I remember one client saying, “I'm leaking money and I don't know where it's going,” or “I'm trying to hire, but it isn't doing the job,” or “I'm in a place, but the team that I have isn’t able to handle these new fires,” which shows misallocation of resources, misallocation of your team, or “I got $100 million in an investment and I don't know what to do with it. How do I build properly?”, anything like that, then give us a call.

Also, reach out if the inverse in true, which is, “I pitched to ten investors and they keep telling me I have these systemic problems and I don't understand.” If you're a visionary as an owner and you want to understand operationally what is limiting you for growth, then we can help.

"Purpose gives you the reason to get up and exit gives you what you need to do to build a business that lasts."

Bob: I think about industries that you may either specialize in or prefer or that you can make a big difference. Are there specific industries that hit your radar screen?

I’ve worked across industries and across different cultural environments. I do prefer to work with companies that have a social purpose or at least a purpose that tries to leave the world better than it is now. This doesn't have to be the entire world, but your community and your marketplace. It has to be more than just profit-driven. While that is very important, I do prefer to work with companies that also have a mission to make the world better.

Bob: In your past, for example, what would that be?

Joseph: For example, there was a business that was helping communities that had come out of war or conflict 50 years to reintegrate into the community when part of the community was where the people who were laying landmines and part of the community where the people were hit by landmines. At the end of the process, they had to come back and forgive and move on as a community. Can you imagine that? That's an incredible purpose. That's an asymmetry between mission and bringing business into that mission. I love working with that, bolstering that mission with business practices. It doesn't have to be that intense of a social purpose. Just trying to improve your team's economic welfare by paying them more, giving them added benefits so that they can give back to their community. That is something important as well. It's broadly defined. If you want to help the City of Denver, come together through the movement that you create with your business, let's talk.

Bob: Joseph, I appreciate you taking your time. For the readers out there, you go, “I don't know.” They go, “The biggest mistake that you can make is a phone call is inexpensive. It's very easy to do and make the call and go, ‘Does it fit?”’ If you're still unsure, let's go grab coffee because clearly you're drinking lots of coffee.

Joseph: Let's grab coffee. Let's talk about your business. If we're not a good fit, then we're not a good fit. If we are, it could be the difference between a company that's struggling to survive and a fully functioning, thriving business.

Bob: Joseph, thank you so much for taking the time.

I appreciate it, Bob. Thank you.

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About Joseph Imbriano

Joseph Imbriano is CEO of OmniKai, a coaching agency that helps leaders build smart and sustainable organizations so they can overcome today's challenge and shape tomorrow's world. We serve small and medium businesses (SMEs) and nonprofit organizations (NGOs).

Most owners over-focus on growth and not enough on building an organization that can handle that growth. They become a slave to their own success - overwhelmed, constantly fighting fires, and barely keeping their head above water. They feel like they are one bad move away from total catastrophe.

If this sounds like you, you need guidance. And we are here to help. At OmniKai, we are a team of experts that has been coaching leaders through crisis around the world for decades. We can leverage all those hard earned lessons and wisdom to help you transform your organization to where you want it to be.

Joseph Imbriano has lived and worked in China, Southern Africa, the USA, and across Latin America, among other places. Joseph also led strategy at an international FinTech company, global operations for a finance company, and worked on critical infrastructure policy for the Department of Homeland Security.

Learn more about Joseph’s story:

Discover how OmniKai can help your organization:

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