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Dr. Karen's Leadership Strategy for Heart-Centered Business Growth With Military Precision Learn her five-step process to select and retain the best people, create high-performance teams and develop cultures that rapidly get innovative results.

By Mike Koenigs Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, CEOs spend 72% of their work time in meetings, 6% of their time with rank and file employees, and just 3% of their time with customers.

That's a lot of time spent in the business, instead of on the business.

Does this sound familiar? You're an executive, CEO, entrepreneur, or business leader, you're working hard, and you feel like your resources and time are tapped out. You're doing the job of two to three people and putting in 60-hour or more weeks. You are losing employees and you don't know why. You're frustrated, overwhelmed, and annoyed.

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Teams aren't talking to each other and they're making expensive, unnecessary mistakes because important information isn't being shared between them. There's no accountability. It's becoming harder to attract and retain the right clients or employees, and the company culture is starting to slip. You feel like your people don't care about their work and aren't putting in 100% because you're repeating yourself over and over but not seeing changes.

You're so far in the weeds that you can't see the big picture. You're losing your confidence in making decisions. Feeling stuck in your indecision is driving your teams crazy. You might even question yourself, your strengths, and what the company needs moving forward. You're resenting the business that you built - and it's not giving you the freedom you wanted or expected.

If this sounds like you then you'll love what Dr. Karen Wilson-Starks has to say. She provides heart-centered business growth and customized strategy, implemented with military precision. At the same time, her approach is nimble enough to optimize growth, expand culture, improve productivity, and increase morale.

Dr. Karen graduated from the University of Maryland with her bachelor's degree in psychology then went on to the University of Connecticut to get her master's degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. From there she went into the Army, as an active-duty Army officer, and psychologist.

While serving in the Army she became interested in what she calls, the "business application of psychology.' In the Army, she worked with both individual soldiers and commanders of units. Dr. Karen looked at leadership and how to create the right culture for soldiers to be highly effective in high-performance teams. People think of the Army as only a strict set of rules; however, high-performance units combine the latest knowledge on productivity, technology, and the human side for an elevated return on investment.

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Dr. Karen gets called to work with many organizations because of her expertise, passion for leadership, partnership approach, and her system that consistently produces real results. Dr. Karen is passionate about people. People are the backbone of every organization.

The two basic reasons organizations call her are first to pursue a growth opportunity or second to address a turnaround situation where something is not going well, and they need to stop the bleeding. Both cases require a reinvention of what they're doing and that's when Dr. Karen gets activated.

She not only creates Reinvention Maps for her clients, but she also creates an Atlas for their reinvention in five steps.

Dr. Karen says "You need a map to understand the terrain in which you are operating (this goes back to military leadership). Military and executive leaders navigate a lot of terrain. To better understand the landscape, leaders of all types need a map of the territory.'

In today's world, we often navigate by GPS. To get where you want to go, you need to put in the coordinates. What Dr. Karen has found with her clients is they need to know what else is possible on the map. Once they have a broader view, they may want to navigate to a place they didn't previously know about. This is how her 5 step process was born. The net result is executive leaders walk out with clarity, confidence, and courage. They move forward with a plan on how to get to their desired destination.

The Five-Step Reinvention Atlas for Business

Step One: Clarity Map -- Clarity is all about understanding the big picture. Often when a company is in a crisis, the people get lost in the "weeds" and they can't see the big picture. Dr. Karen shows leaders how to pull back enough to get clear about what they want to do and why.

Step Two: Opportunity Map -- In this step, leaders consider different perspectives and options. Dr. Karen says, "Clients often prematurely narrow their focus and don't see the full panoply of available opportunities." For optimal results, they must decide both what to do and what not to do. Looking at opportunities also gets people talking together as opposed to operating in silos. When challenges pop up, it's usually because people have been too long in their silos and not talking to each other. They don't yet see the collective opportunity or the benefit of co-creating together.

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Step Three: Priority Map -- Leaders need to figure out what to do first, then second and so on. When thinking of priorities Dr. Karen says, "Consider the biggest levers for change." Select a priority that knocks down a bunch of dominoes and leads the organization in the direction they want to go. In businesses that struggle, the executives tend to get mired in day-to-day operations and don't have clarity about priorities.

Step Four: Culture Map -- To dial in the kind of change that leads to meaningful results, struggling businesses must create a culture that supports those changes. Sometimes people don't see how the culture holds them back. Dr. Karen spends a lot of time and energy looking at and enhancing the overall corporate culture and the specialized cultures within the organization.

Step Five: Mindset Map -- Dr. Karen says, "Whatever mindset you have defines what you're able to create." Even though this is step Five, Dr. Karen works on mindset from day one with clients. Senior leaders often don't see or understand their own contribution to their internal challenges. When they complain about the behavior of their people, the complaint reinforces the behavior. Much more effective is for senior leaders to reinforce more of what they want and to also model what they want so the organization can see the behavior in action.

Dr. Karen uses her five-step process to show clients how to select and retain the best people, create high-performance teams, and develop cultures that rapidly get innovative results.

When employees and team members are in crisis, they want someone who is there to walk with them through the difficulty, not just come in and drop off a map and say, "Okay good luck, see you later." Dr. Karen's clients recognize that she cares about them. She comes alongside them with tools, resources, knowledge, and information from a variety of different industries. With multiple decades of working with many kinds of businesses, she walks the journey with them no matter how difficult. They partner together, leverage their collective strengths, and achieve the desired reinvention and transformation.

To learn more about Dr. Karen, go to her website and to apply to work with her, go to

Watch the whole video interview here:

Mike Koenigs

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Superpower Accelerator

Peter Diamandis calls Mike Koenigs An Arsonist of The Mind. He helps entrepreneurs create their “Next Act,” high net, low overhead, high impact, fewest moving parts, lifestyle-compatible businesses they love. Serial Entrepreneur with 5 exits, 17x bestselling author and the secret weapon of founders.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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