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Aligning Your Team With The Company’s Vision with Kathy Hannun, Dandelion Energy

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October 20, 2021

Having a solid vision for your company is an excellent kick-starter, but what happens when you cannot convey it to your workforce as they continue to grow in numbers?

Serial entrepreneur Kathy Hannun joins A.J. in this episode to explore why you should write things down to streamline your journey as an entrepreneur. They also discuss navigating the different stages of the entrepreneurial journey, including finding answers to existential questions initially, why you cannot do everything on your own in a growing company, and how to always keep your workforce aligned with your company’s vision. 

Tune in to learn how to bring more clarity to your goals by recording every critical point in writing.

About our guest:

Kathy Hannun is the Founder and President of Dandelion Energy, a home geothermal systems company that spun out of Alphabet’s X in 2017. The company helps install home geothermal systems affordable for their customers so that renewable energy is accessible to anyone who wants it. Kathy has been mentioned in Albany Business Reviews 40 under 40, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and MIT’s Technology Review 35 under 35.

On today’s episode:

  • Meet Kathy Hannun, Founder and President at Dandelion (Home Geothermal) – 00:40
  • Where does Kathy see herself on her entrepreneurial journey today? – 02:47
  • Two reasons why you cannot do all of your company’s processes by yourself as it continues to grow – 04:04
  • How to make sure if all your co-workers and employees are on the same page with the company’s vision – 11:12
  • Five things Kathy learned on her entrepreneurial journey (including how to discover answers to existential questions) – 13:18
  • How does Dandelion Energy help in battling environmental issues, including climate change? – 16:28
  • The specifics of Dandelion Energy – is it a regulatory or an engineering delivery? Or is it all the above? – 18:33
  • What do Dandelion’s consumer marketing and referral programs look like? – 21:42
  • Does Dandelion Energy aim to expand beyond geothermal? – 23:37
  • How does Kathy view her success today? – 27:12
  • What does success mean to Kathy? – 29:29
  • Is there a thing as a failure? How do you distinguish it from learning and exploration? – 31:44

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Your business idea can develop from a problem space, just like Kathy’s idea of starting her company developed out of a strong need to solve a problem – how to bring in cost-effective geothermal heating and cooling for people.
  • It’s a great privilege to be able to work full-time on a problem that you deeply care about, and if you can make it your full-time profession, then that’s a bonus. 
  • At the start of your entrepreneurial journey, you feel like you can tackle any problem that arises. But as you progress, you realize that the idea is limiting for two reasons – 1. It isn’t an efficient way to run a company, 2. You’re limiting your company’s growth.
  • Cultivating a habit of writing important things down can help you in the long run. It can also help keep your organization’s vision intact when your company starts outgrowing a manageable number. 
  • Using tools like monday.com to record OKRs, Confluence to maintain shared documentation, and document everything that can act as a reference or help others can help keep the workforce aligned with the company’s goals and vision.

 

What causes disorganization in companies?

[09:47] – “If you do have a process that’s important to the business and it’s not written down anywhere, it’s pretty likely that everyone is doing the process differently because things tend towards disorganization.”

 

How do you align your team with your company’s vision? Tell us what role vision and mission play in your company, and don’t forget to say hello if you would like to share your entrepreneurship story on our podcast. 

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