Are you aware of how much value good communication creates in a professional relationship?
Today my Director of Operations (DOO) expert coach is Claire Crum, the founder and CEO of Calm Ops. Claire and her team move social enterprise CEOs and executive directors from reactionary to relaxed, expanding their capacity to reach their next level milestones. She is a veteran of the nonprofit sector and an efficiency enthusiast. A graduate of the DOO program, she now serves as the value and worth coach in our DOO certification program, and a facilitator of the Calm Ops mastermind group. A wife and mom of 3 kids, she is dedicated to bringing sustainable business practices to those beside her on this entrepreneurial journey.
Meet Claire Crum
We have been listening to DOO expert coaches, and learning from ladies who have come through the certification. We’ve heard how they have leveraged their expertise to layer on top of the good I share with them through certification.
Claire has the experience, background and demeanor and all of those come together to create a leadership style that is not abrupt or authoritative, but very clear, calm, and natural.
If you are an excellent communicator and innate leadership is in you, you are naturally going to be a strategic partner. You bring and hold space for the leaders you are serving, and that space allows them to show up as their true authentic self.
- Claire’s background is in nonprofit, filling multiple roles (executive assistant, event planner, volunteer manager, etc.)
- Learned a lot about working with different types people, and how volunteers need to be managed differently
- Has always enjoyed leading
- Stayed at home with kids for a time, then as they grew she started training in the VA space
- Felt uneasy jumping in to the VA world, but learned to appreciate her skill set and has gained confidence
Describe how you get the work done in your business:
- Runs a VA agency
- DOO certification was integral in helping her understand what her role had to be in her business and how she would grow the business to suit her needs
- Works as a fractional DOO and provides strategic mapping services
- Hires team members (VA or OBM) to support where necessary
How have you built a team who understands what you deliver, and how do you communicate with them?
- Wants to know who the person truly is, what their motivations and values are
- Hires people for their fit on the team, and potential for learning rather than the precise skill set
- Needs people who are teachable and can communicate with a variety of people
- Values honesty, follow thru, openness, good communication, vulnerability and getting to know one another as a team
“The pre-existing relationship of working together well is what allows us to go into businesses and avoid hiccups.” — Claire Crum
How long do people stay on your team?
- She started the agency model last year
- Has had people stay with her from the beginning, and grow with her.
Under the umbrella of operations there are many areas, including financials, human resources, communications and leadership, project management… which matches you best?
- Definitely communications
- Believes that communications is arguably the most important component of all
“You can be the most excellent project planner, but if you can’t communicate those things well, you will fall flat.” — Claire Crum
When did you realize you had an expertise in communication?
- When people told her she did; external validation was really valuable for her
- She didn’t have a corporate background, so she felt intimidated because she thought she would need that background to do this type of work
- Also thought she might have been looking for a unicorn client, seeking those who didn’t have the hustle mindset, or were actively trying to remedy it
“The better the communicator you are… the more value clients will have in the role they are doing and the more worth you will fill, you will be able to step into leadership in a different way.”– Natalie Gingrich
How do you show up as an expert?
Three pillars Claire cultivates in herself and her team:
- Know yourself: so many things will flavor your experience, and it’s important to have awareness in your own mindset. Also, you need to know how you can handle difficult conversations and how to approach them in a way you are communicating effectively.
- Know your audience: besides empathy, there are other key communication pieces and often you have to read between the lines. For example, neurodiversity. A CEO and a DOO’s brains each work differently, but it will allow you to become a team, and to push a mission forward and do something that couldn’t be done on your own.
- Get clear: Clear is kind, being unclear is unkind, ala Brene Brown. Delegation is an art form which will serve you well on any team you are working with.
What is “Paint Done” and how do you deal with leaders who don’t want elongated conversations?
- “Paint Done” is giving the most complete picture of the thing you are explaining. Think stick figure vs. Mona Lisa
- You have to know your audience; some will be appreciative and some won’t even need it
- Take their lead. What is necessary for them to know?
- Requires you to be an excellent facilitator of thought
How have you melded your agency as a result of coming through the DOO Certification?
- Didn’t think of herself as an operator because she didn’t have the corporate background piece
- Didn’t know exactly what she had, but was able to gain confidence in her skill set
- Has taken specific skills from the program and offered them as services
- Works with people who are more seasoned and needs a little more help than just a VA
- Makes it a point to serve clients who are building their businesses in a sustainable way so both parties can be effective
What is next for you?
- Getting better and better at the CEO role
- Has done strategic mapping on herself and has a plan built out
- Starting The Calm Ops mastermind for accountability and coaching for women in business
Do not ever discount the act of improving your communication skills. If you take the time to refine them, it can make all the difference in your success!
Claire Crum, is the founder and CEO of Calm Ops, where she and her team move social enterprise CEO’s and ED’s from reactionary to relaxed, expanding their capacity to reach next-level milestones.
A veteran of the nonprofit sector and efficiency enthusiast, Claire has a heart for highlighting and supporting the unique individual strengths of her team and the clients they serve.
She is a graduate of the Director of Operations Certification, now serving as the Value + Worth Expert Coach for the DOO community and facilitator of the Calm Ops Mastermind group. As a wife and mom of 3, she is dedicated to bringing sustainable business practices to those beside her on their entrepreneurial journey.
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