Pop Quiz, Monday with Linda Carpenter

Linda Carpenter

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Linda Carpenter

Linda Carpenter
Photo credit: Linda Carpenter

What is your job role?
Founding Partner and Senior Consultant, Carpenter Smith Consulting.

Tell us about your company?
“I’d be a great leader if it weren’t for those f**king people.” This is a direct quote for one of our CEO clients who had, at that time, spent $20,000 on leadership development.

At Carpenter Smith Consulting, we work at the intersection of psychology and business. While many leaders understand, at a cognitive level, that their people matter to their success, they struggle to know how to work with their messiness and the messiness of the people who work with them.

We are all messy! It’s the nature of human beings, and when leaders come to understand that to get the best out of people, they need to lead with behaviors that demonstrate that people matter.

When people matter to you, there are two different conditions in play – you care about them, AND you can reflect them the way that they add value. Similarly, when you matter in your own life, something also critical to success, you care about yourself, and you acknowledge your unique gifts and talents – the way you add value.

What do you love most about your job?
It can bring me to tears to see someone “get it” – when they know, not just think, that they need to matter in their own lives and the people who they work with and interact with need to matter to them to achieve the most excellent and most satisfying success.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My clients and my team. I am privileged to consult a fantastic group of leaders – at all levels of organizations – and to do so with a tremendous group of leaders on our team.

There is nothing like working with people who are committed to their own growth, who are passionate about learning, and who care about the success of others.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
We are a small firm and our different skills and perspectives elevate us all! I am better because I work with this amazing team!

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Many days we have lunch together to stay connected about the work and to stay connected about our lives. We love the work and our lives, we laugh hard, and we support one another in our self-care, so we have the fuel to do more.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
There is always more to do than time in the day. As a small business, it’s challenging to find a balance between enough work and far too much or far too little work. We have the privilege of having been very successful with our clients who tell colleagues and friends what we can do for their organizations, their teams, and their personal success.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
A few years ago, we took on a large strategic planning effort with a health care organization. The moral of the providers was horrible – on an objective measure, it was at the 11th percentile. As we worked with the executive team to build out their strategic plan, we created a framework for successful engagement. Simple but extraordinarily powerful. Be sure to include the people impacted by decision-making IN the decision-making by following these simple steps: 1) tell people that their input and perspectives matter, 2) teach people how to provide input that you can use – seems so simple, but never happens!, 3) organize the input and ensure it gets to the relevant decision-makers, 4) use their input and perspectives, 5) provide participants with specific feedback on how their input was used or if it was not used, the rationale for the decision and 6) do it again and again and again to create a culture of leadership and engagement. Talk about helping people feel that they matter!

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Business consulting is not for the faint of heart. Daily you are dealing with people under high stress, making high stakes decisions, with less time and support than they ever imagined. It’s an incredible opportunity to contribute to the success of organizations, teams, and you and individuals need to bring your A-game while living in the understanding that it’s not about you.

As a new consultant, I would always suggest that you find a mentor or coach who can help you get clarity about your own priorities and purpose, develop mastery in the areas where you want to become an expert, and increase your independence and autonomy only after you have mastered the skills that matter in your industry and the ability to matter to yourself and demonstrate to your clients that they matter to you!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.