210 West 8th Street,
In this episode, Royal Standley speaks with Lisa McClease-Kelly, Co-Owner of Kelly’s Automotive Services, as she opens up about her move to Oregon, the challenges she tackled while building her business, and why values and community support matter deeply. As a business coach, she dives into understanding different personalities and adapting leadership styles when cultivating a culture of gratitude within the workplace.
Intro: Royal Standley of Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors, offering securities through United Planners Financial Services, member FINRA SIPC, guides clients with empathy in discovering and reaching their financial goals and creates financial plans for clients so they can live their lives by design. In these episodes, he relates his financial insights and discusses timely topics. Royal strives for excellence and has a passion for sharing his knowledge and supporting his community. Now onto the show.
Royal Standley: Discussions in this show are for educational purposes only. Information presented should not be considered specific investment advice or a recommendation to take any particular course of action. Always consult with a financial professional regarding your personal situation before making any financial decisions. The views and opinions expressed are based on current economic and market conditions and are subject to change. All investing involves risk. Including the potential for loss of principle securities offered through United Planners Financial Services member FINRA, SIPC advisory service offered through Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors, Inc. Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors and United Planners are independent companies, and neither Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors nor United Planners offers tax or legal advice.
Bill Tucker: Hello, and welcome to the Life by Design podcast with Royal Standley of Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors. Royal, I understand you have a guest today.
Royal: I do. And I'm very excited to have Lisa McClease-Kelly here in the studio with me. I've known Lisa for probably going on, man, seven, eight years now, I would say,
Lisa McClease-Kelly: I think more than that.
Royal: Maybe I don't like to add up these years anymore. Um, but I'm just so excited because Lisa is one of the most dynamic and hardworking people that I know. If you are from the Southern Oregon area, you probably know her business. Kelly's Automotive, and she has not just that business, but a couple other, uh, businesses that she runs, plus a number of different organizations that she belongs to and causes that she feels really passionate about. So Lisa, thank you so much for being on the Life by Design podcast today. Lisa, how did you get here?
Lisa: To Southern Oregon specifically?
Royal: To the office specifically, can you just give us directions?
All: [Laughter] Royal: So, are you a native to Southern Oregon?
Lisa: No, I actually grew up in the California Bay area.
Royal: Oh, okay.
Lisa: I'm one of those transplants. Sorry, everybody.
Royal: That's terrible. That's terrible.
Lisa: But I consider myself an Oregonian because I'm going on 20 years.
Royal: So I moved up here when I was three and I still don't consider myself a full native. So you're going to have to do better than almost 20 years.
Lisa: Well, you know, I pay a lot of taxes here.
Royal: That is very true as most people do in Oregon. Uh, so, so Lisa, um, when did you start the, uh, the business?
Lisa: So, um, in order to get my husband here, I had to promise that we could buy a business. And so we looked for about eight months for the right business to buy. And it wasn’t automotive, even though he was a technician and he just happened to walk into The Toolbox in Grants Pass and say, Hey, do you guys know any businesses for sale?
And the owner said, well, as a matter of fact... And we kind of took it from there. It turned out that it didn't have a great reputation and they didn't have great technicians. They had mechanics and we have taken a lot of time and effort over the years to change all of that to where we have a pretty good reputation now and we have an excellent staff.
Royal: And you also have two locations now, one in Grants Pass and one in Medford.
Lisa: We do, yeah. We actually started out in the border of White City, it was technically Central Point. Out in the industrial park, if anybody knows where Rogue Scuba is, we had to, I had to be on the phone and coax people in and figure out how to get there and like wave a flag so they could find us. Was not a great location. And then eventually we moved to Biddle Road and it's a great location and we're doing quite well.
Royal: Excellent. Excellent. And I think you underplay it saying that Kelly's has a pretty good reputation. I feel like the reputation that Kelly's has is really top notch. How were you able to achieve such a high level of customer loyalty and, really, satisfaction with your staff?
Lisa: Well, I think it's because we talk about our values, right? So we're looking for people who work for us and people who want to do business with us based on our values. We talk about that. We talk about who we are. We don't try and sell very much. We just kind of talk about who we are and who our staff is and what's going on in the community and what other businesses can we support. And every once in a while we'll throw an actual ad in there, but it's not real often. And I think people appreciate that.
Royal: Well, you did have an interesting story here recently about one of your ads, uh, connecting, you know, a few hundred miles away. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Lisa: Yeah. So we advertised on the Dove, which is a local Christian television station. And somebody from Idaho had seen our commercials over the years and thought that we were like the bee's knees. So they came all the way down to Southern Oregon to get their car serviced and then to visit the Dove. And they took pictures and grabbed cards. And my staff said it was like they were going to Disneyland. They had so much fun, but I mean, what an honor, to have somebody think that of us and drive all that way to see us and the people at the Dove. It was quite an honor.
Royal: Yeah, because that's, that's about a probably 10 to 12 hour drive, depending on which, which route you take and how fast you want to drive. So that's, that's not an easy pop-in for folks.
Royal: So tell me a little about a little bit about what you were doing in the Bay Area before you moved up because I, I assume you weren't expecting to move up here and start an automotive business.
Lisa: No, I didn't know what we were going to do. I just wanted to get out of the Bay Area. So we, at the time we lived in Napa and my oldest son is Hispanic. And in that area, they were being pressured once they started high school to join gangs. So I wanted him out of that. So that's why. That was my motivation for moving. Um, but I was an advocate for victims of sexual assault for seven years before we moved here. So every time somebody was assaulted, uh, there was a molestation, I got a call. I met them at the hospital. I went through the exam with them. I, um, got them resources. I did some lay counseling and then I would sit up on the stand with them as they testified and help them go from victim to survivor. And then my husband worked at a automotive shop.
Royal: Very nice. Very nice. Yeah. What drew you to Southern Oregon?
Lisa: We were driving through one time on our way up to a family reunion in Washington, and we decided it would be a good idea with three kids in the car to pull over at a rest stop and try and get some sleep. And we happened to pull over in Rogue River at the rest stop there. It turned out that people didn't want to use the restroom provided there and they were partying in the parking lot. So we drove into Grants Pass and slept at the Travel Lodge and woke up the next morning to beautiful mountains and something called a Lube and Latte. And I went - What? They serve lattes at an oil in place? This has got to be the coolest place ever. So we just started looking at real estate and went, Oh my gosh, we could sell our house and buy two here. And that's, that was a, that enabled us to move up to something that would actually fit our family. As opposed to in Napa, had we sold our house, we would have had to sell that plus spend another $100,000 to buy a fixer-upper, but that was the right size. Spend another $100, 000 to fix that up.So it just made more sense for our family.
Royal: Yeah. The beauty of California real estate prices brings so many people to cross the Oregon border and, uh, just be able to, to really enhance their lifestyle just by selling that California house. So that's fantastic. So, so over the last 20 years, I mean, uh, you and Dave have done a fantastic job building the culture at Kelly's and building that reputation. But you also have some other jobs, which I think kind of build on some of that experience. Uh, and coaching that you've done. So can you, can you tell us about that as well?
Lisa: Yeah. So I do a couple of things. One is I coach other businesses on culture and communication and connecting with their community. And I do that through a couple of different ways, but my main way is with the DISC Assessment. I go into a business, I assess the staff -
Royal: And what, what is a DISC Assessment?
Lisa: A DISC Assessment, people will call it a personality styles, um, it's actually behavioral status. It's how we behave. Um, so we have the D which is the Dominant, the I, which is the Influencer, the S, which is the Steady and the C, which is the Conscientious. So it's how we come across. It's how we deal with people. It's whether we're task-motivated, people-motivated, or a blend of, you know, one or two or three of those. So it just depends on where we lie. And because of that, we communicate differently. So I tend to be very task oriented first and people second. So I would go right past my staff and straight to my office and they'd be like, hello, we're here. And I turned it into a task to stop and listen to them and talk to them about their grandkids. It's not that I didn't want to, but when I was in work mode, I always had something on my mind. I'm I'm constantly, I have to do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.
And I'm very task oriented. And what that said to my staff was she doesn't care about us, which was the furthest from the truth. Cause half of my tasks were to do something for them, but I wasn't coming across. So that's good for me as a leader to know. And it's good for them to know just in case I revert back to that behavior again, that it's not personal. Oh, Lisa's in task mode. We need a reminder. We're here again. I don't generally have that problem anymore because I've been doing this for about 20 years. So now it's pretty common for me just to come in and hang out with them and not even get any tasks done. But yeah, that's what the DISC is. So I go into a business, I assess the staff, they take the DISC Assessment.
And then because of what comes out from that as a report that says, um, the here's seven different options for you and the way that we think that you're motivated. Now, this assessment is 98% accurate based on the information going in. So as long as that information is accurate, it's 98% accurate coming out. Um, so we find out what motivates them, what their work preferences are, how they best like to communicate, what their strengths are. And we talk about, you know, are those things, are you being motivated in this way, in this business? How are they acknowledging you? How are they helping you in your work environment? And we find out kind of what the culture is there, how they feel about where they work and how they're communicating with the leaders. Then I go back to the stakeholders in the business and we go over the results and we decide whether or not I'm going to be coaching the stakeholders, coaching staff, if they're coachable or just letting them take that information and move on. Sometimes I'll go in and do a half day training as well.
Royal: Excellent. Excellent. What do you see as the big challenges right now with business culture?
Lisa: Well, things are changing. You know, it's funny because I, I have some friends that are, older and they're like, well, they should just be happy to have a job. That's first of all, I don't believe that's how you should look at it because I think we should be good stewards of the people who've been placed in our care. And this generation that's coming up, the millennials and younger, that's how they want to be taken care of. They don't feel like they should just be there getting a paycheck. They care about where they work. They care about what you're doing in the community and how they're being treated. And they want to be seen and heard. And right now, the biggest thing that we're having in small businesses is finding and keeping employees. In order to do that, we need to know how to talk to them, how to treat them, how to motivate them and how to use their strengths to help them get the job done.
I'll give an example that I as my. expert DISC person went in and, um, asked one of my managers to get some tedious work done. I said, Hey, I need this filled out, this filled out, this filled out where he is an IS, which is people, people, and he has no C, which is task. And I went in with three, very task-oriented things as my D self and just said, get ‘er done and kept asking why it wasn't done. Well, because for him to take what he does and write it down in detail it was extremely difficult for him and I didn't even go to his DISC results and look at it. Had I gone to the office manager, who’s People/Task, she could have gone and interviewed manager and said, tell me how you do this, documented it and helped him get it done. So why are we stressing people out in ways that we shouldn't be if we can find another way to help them get their work done? And that's one of the things that this assessment does for me.
Royal: And I think that brings up just an interesting point here of how often do we approach the world thinking that everyone else thinks like we do?
Lisa: Oh my gosh. Yeah, of course they do.
Royal: Everybody has the same outlook, has the same information. You know, I, I find myself falling into that all the time. So you know, right now we're going through a period of time where I think there's a lot of blame being thrown on workers of “Nobody wants to work. Everybody wants to be lazy. Everybody's out for themselves.” Do you think there's any truth to that?
Lisa: I think there's some truth to that. I also think that there's the other side of it, which is exactly what I said. This generation wants to be treated differently and our unemployment is not that low, or that high.
Lisa: So there's still people out there working. And it's time for us as the leaders to step up and figure out what they need so that we can have the right people in the right seats in the right business. And it's okay to be picky. I'm not saying that you should take people that are not a good fit for your business, because ultimately that's only going to hurt you and them. But we need to find the people who believe in our values and treat them well and move forward.
Royal: Since you're talking both to stakeholders and to, uh, you know, kind of more general employees, what do those general employees, what are they looking for?
Lisa: Like I said before, they they're looking for somebody that generally, and this, you know, it depends on the, on the generation, but I would say millennials and below are definitely looking for a business that they can identify with morally and with their values. So what are you doing in the community? And I'll, I'll use another example of me messing up in my business. So I took it upon myself to decide that we would give cars to single mothers from the local pregnancy care center. I didn't talk about it in the media. I didn't talk about anybody else. And in fact, I didn't even talk about it to my staff. And a few of them got wind of it, that we were doing it. And I was doing a DISC Assessment with one of our staff members. And one of his ways to be motivated was to identify with a company that agreed with his values. And I said, well, how are we doing there? He says, well, I really love everything we do in the community, but why didn't I know that we gave cars away to single moms? And I said, Oh, I didn't know that, that meant - he goes ‘well I want to be part of that.’ So what I was doing by unilaterally deciding this was robbing my staff of an opportunity to be connected with something that they cared about, to be part of that process. So we changed how we did that from then out. We said, okay, guys, we have an opportunity to give a car away to a single mom. Here's her situation. We never gave the, the name and they never saw her and this is, you know, she's homeless, she needs this kind of a car. She'll have to probably sleep in it from now and now and again. And they said, okay, we think that we should use this car. This is what it needs. And when they were working on it, they knew who it was going to and they got to be part of that process. They got to be part of something bigger instead of just a paycheck.
Royal: And how, how do you, how did you see that change your staff?
Lisa: Well, that and everything else that we do that reminds them of why they're there makes it, again, it's not just a paycheck. It's not just a job. In our morning meetings, every morning, the manager's just supposed to be acknowledging somebody for something they did the day before. So it could be, you know, they had a great job, they did a great job on a car. It was a really hard diagnosis or, um, somebody went above and beyond and um, stayed outside for a customer for 20 minutes while they had to run in to somewhere and it took a lot longer, whatever it was, we had one, one employee there was a young lady whose car we had, and she didn't have money to take the bus, she didn't have money to take the cab. So one of our staff members got up early every morning, picked her up, brought her to school, picked her up for lunch, and then dropped her back at school and then picked her up after work. On her own. She didn't ask if she could do it. She just did it on her own because those are our values.
So we want them to know that we want them to be able to make those decisions without us micromanaging them. And it makes a difference. It made a difference for our staff from it's just a place to work to, hey, we're a family. We're here to help people. We're here to be good stewards of the people who've been placed in our care.
Royal: That is just wonderful. I mean, that, that sort of initiative, as well as I think the freedom to make those decisions are just so powerful for employees to have that autonomy to say, here's how I can do good for you know, our, our customers, our clients, and be able to do that, You know, we, you and I have talked quite a bit about culture in businesses and that sort of thing. What can, what can the leaders of, you know, different size corporations do if they want to start finding more meaning, uh, that they can impart to their employees? To, to kind of create that kind of self-perpetuating positivity that you've been able to find there at Kelly's.
Lisa: Well, I think the first thing is to identify their values. Many businesses don't do that large and small. They don't identify their values. They usually have a two-page mission statement that nobody ever reads. So what is your purpose? Why are you there? Our purpose is to bless our staff, clients and community. That's it. It's pretty easy to understand that purpose. It's not a two-page thing that they have to go through and figure out what that means. So how can we do that? And there's a hundred different ways we can figure out to do that with their cars and beyond.
And then our values. So we've identified our values. We talk about our values. They're all over the place. We reward staff for identifying and following through with our values. And then talk to your staff, find out what's important to them because it's, it's not about a paycheck anymore. It's about something bigger. And in order to keep your staff and to make sure that they're happy and that you're going to be profitable, if they're happy. Then you just need to go a little bit further.
Royal: That is just such excellent advice. If a business has never really sat down to figure out their values, what does that process look like?
Lisa: Well, there's – I actually walk people through that process a little bit, but it's what, you know, what's important to you. What's important to the company. How do you want to go forward? What kind of people do you want working with you? What kind of people do you want to serve? That's how you come up with those values. And they change, like we've - I've changed our values a couple of times with the staff's request. So the first time was we sat down with the staff and we all gathered around and said, okay, what are our values? And we all kind of brainstormed it and came up with it. Now, in the end, Dave and I are going to figure out if those are truly our values because we're leading that company.
Lisa: But we wanted our staff to be part of that process. So then after we identified the values, we came up with what they meant. And after we did that, we had the staff go over it and they changed it. They wanted some changes. So we changed it. And now it's something that we both believe in, not just Dave and I.
Royal: So, so that, that, that took a little humility on your and Dave's part to kind of take in that input and take in that information from your employees. Like this isn't the perfect fit. We, we, we need more, uh, we need more from this.
Lisa: Yeah, so when it comes to humility, vulnerability, you know, not being the boss, I just don't get it. You know, people ask me all the time. You know, can I do this or can I bring my car in? I'm like, well, I'm not the boss. The boss is Jared, call Jared. He can tell you what you can do because he's kind of my boss, too. I don't just bring my car in and say, hey, you need to fix it. I go, when can I get on the schedule? Royal: And Jared is your manager?
Lisa: He's the manager in the Grants Pass shop. So, I guess I just don't have that in me, that whole boss mentality thing. I like to be a leader. I like to be connected to the people that are working with me because ultimately they're doing the things I either can't do or I don't want to do. And I'm extremely thankful that they do that because otherwise I'm going to be stuck doing things that are not my gift and they're not going to be done really well. So how can we. acknowledge that of the people that we bring into our team and stop thinking that, just because we're the leaders, quote unquote, of that company, that we have an opportunity to take advantage of people or to run stock over my, just don't, I don't get that.
Royal: Very nice. Very nice. So let's touch on another area that probably a lot of people locally know you for is you are a fantastic connector in the community. How did you get started doing that? Or is that something that just came naturally to you?
Lisa: It did not come naturally to me. So I was not super outgoing. My husband was a lot more outgoing. We had to do it because we bought a business. Royal: Right.
Lisa: So we started going to chamber in Grants Pass and then eventually Dave became the host, and then after that I became the host and, um, I was kind of forced into this spotlight if I wanted to grow my business and we had no money, like none, so networking was the way to go, and then after that, it just became really easy for me to go oh, you need to talk to this person. Oh, I know this person. You'd be a great fit for this person. Oh, you guys should do business together.
And then I got into something called BNI, Business Network International, became a member, became a director, became the area director, and then started winning awards for building chapters and training around the state. So I slowly grew into it because of that education. I think through that organization, I eventually left that organization. And when I did, I couldn't become a member because I couldn't put the time in, unfortunately, that that organization requires. So recently we started with another organization called Network in Action, which you are a part of, and we have two groups soon to start a third. And it is completely different where we do a lot more masterminding. We do, do a lot of growing and helping business owners and high-level executive learn how to make that next step, learn how to get education and things that they're not good at. Learning, how to become a better person outside of the business, because that's going to make you a better person inside of the business. And through that, we develop what I like to call something called transformational relationships. And You guys are able to connect with and refer each other in a deeper level now, rather than just standing up and giving your 30 seconds sales manager moment about who you are and what you do. You guys are connected. Some of our members are best friends, travel together, do things together. They know things about each other that their families don't even know because of those transformational relationships. Now that is something I can get passionate about.
Royal: And you are very passionate about, uh, about that.
So if I'm a business owner listening to this and, you know, I think your passion is just kind of ringing through, uh, the speakers right now - where do I get started? If I'm kind of stuck in a rut right now, you know, I've had a, had my business. I've just kind of kept my head down and, you know, just tried to make payroll get by, what should I be thinking about?
Lisa: You should be thinking about getting around other people who are in that same plight, right? We're all there as small business owners. We all cannot be experts at everything. That's why it's so important to connect with other people that can support you, be there for you, answer questions, and then say, which is the most powerful thing in the world, me too. I've been through that. I've had to fire somebody and gone home and cried or not even made it out of the office and cried because it was a terrible experience. I've spent marketing dollars on things that don't work. I've made all of these financial mistakes where I almost put myself out of business. So how can we help each other not to make those mistakes going forward? How can we learn together and you know, join a group, join the Chamber. We would love to talk to you if you've been in business for three years or more, or if you're with a business that's highly successful or highly established, we would love to interview and see if you might be a good group, good fit for one of our groups.
Royal: Excellent. Excellent. Personally, you spent a lot of time volunteering, uh, we're in Rotary together. You're, you're now embarking on your second go around as president of the Greater Grants Pass chapter.
Lisa: I am.
Royal: You're, you're making me feel quite guilty for not stepping up and being president. So, uh, I I'm sure that'll be, uh, coming down the road here soon, but what are the other things you're doing or what are the other things that you're passionate about that you're kind of help fulfilling through your time and your effort and, uh, where you're putting your focus.
Lisa: Well, most of my focus is on helping small businesses. And then I do a little bit with the Pregnancy Care Center in Grants Pass. I've been on their connection team, which is just basically going out and saying thank you to donors. You know, we're donors and so it, it helps us to be able to relate to the people who are also donating. I do a little bit of speaking in churches about the Pregnancy Care Center, that type of thing. Um, uh, what else do I do? I don't know. I've kind of cut back on my volunteering.
Royal: Well, tell us about the Pregnancy Care Center.
Lisa: So the Grants Pass Pregnancy Care Center is the one that I'm most involved with. Now, there's Pregnancy Care Centers all over the country, and they're all pretty darn fabulous. So in Grants Pass, it's really cool because we had Robin, who was our Executive Director for years, and she did a great job. And when she decided that she was going to move in a different location We got a man to lead us in a pregnancy care center. And his name is John and he does a great job and we had Mark in another capacity. We have three or four men in that organization, which is not normal for pregnancy care centers, but it's a breath of fresh air to see them there and leading this fight for life. It's basically, it's a place where if you are pregnant and you would like to one, have a pregnancy test. and a sonogram, then that's what they're there for. They're not there to judge you. They're not there to pressure you. If you decide that you want to follow through this pregnancy, there are so many classes that they have to offer that where you can earn car seats and swings and baby clothes and everything that you're going to need. They put on classes parenting classes, budgeting classes, how to run a home classes, just basic thing that a lot of people don't get in our school system, especially if you're going to be out on your own and be a parent. These are all things that they help people go through.
Royal: That's wonderful. That is wonderful. So as, as we wrap up here, if there's one thing that you could share that has been the most important thing to your, in your family's success, what is that?
Lisa: Well, for me, it's Jesus. We are Christians and I would not be where I am. I would not have my business and I would not have my marriage without my faith. And that's just who we are. Um, we try and run everything through that filter. Secondarily, I would say best thing I've ever done is ask for help, is not trying to do things on my own, because whenever I do that, it generally doesn't turn out really well. But if I go to somebody who's had that experience, if I ask for help from mentors, then I'm less likely to go through the same mistakes. And that's one of the things that I love to do other for other people is say, okay, we've already been through this, or I'll bet you we know somebody who's been through this. Let's run it through that filter and see what we can do to help avoid those mistakes for you as well.
Royal: That's fantastic. So Lisa, I just want to thank you so much for making the time in your busy schedule to come down here and just have a conversation with us. So Thank you. So with that, how do people find you if they want to either talk to you about networking, business coaching, or if they just need the car repaired?
Lisa: Yeah. So if you need your vehicle repaired, you can go to kellysautomotive.com and find either one of our locations in Grants Pass on 7th Street or 6th Street across from Dairy Queen or on Biddle Road across from Airport Chevrolet. If you would like coaching, you can go to coachlisamk.com. My information's there. And if you're interested in Network in Action, you can go to niaoregon.com, fill out the form and one of us will get back to you.
Royal: Excellent. Lisa, thank you so much.
Lisa: Thank you.
Royal: And Bill, I'll, I'll turn it over to you. Thank you so much for, uh, for riding shotgun on this episode.
Bill: Oh no, no. You know, that was fascinating. In fact, at that at one point I could see why somebody would drive maybe 10 to 12 hours to have them service the car. Oh, you know, they would have to then turn around and go back and have her service it again.
Royal: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
Bill: But a great guest as always. Thank you so much for presenting her to us and letting her, letting us listen into her philosophy, not only on business, but in life as well.
Royal: My pleasure.
Bill: And thank you listeners for listening to this podcast. If you're a new listener to the Life by Design podcast with Royal, and you like what you heard, be sure to hit the subscribe button at the bottom of the screen. So the next episode will be automatically delivered to your listening device and you won't miss an episode.
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