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Year 3 of Covid: How One Salon Owner Rediscovered Her “Why”


Leslie Winterrowd is co-owner of Goldwaves in Fort Worth, Texas. Her mother, Judy Rice, started the company 34 years ago. Leslie joined the company 22 years ago.

For perspective, Goldwaves did $1.7 million in 2021 and has 22 employees. They have been a Team-Based Pay company since the early ‘90s.

In addition to leading Goldwaves, Leslie is a long-time Strategies Coach. She’s a great leader and not afraid to share her emotions.

Leslie recently led Strategies monthly Power Hour Webinar on Team Meetings: From Snore to Score!

She began the webinar by reading a very personal message she wrote for the owners and employees in attendance. The chatbox quickly blew up with “that’s exactly what I’ve been feeling” comments and requests for a copy of Leslie’s message.

We can all benefit from Leslie’s heartfelt message. Be sure to read the wrap-up for Leslie’s powerful team meeting idea using Jenga game blocks.

Here's Leslie Winterrowd's letter read during her our recent webinar...

"As we began 2022, we were all excited for a new year and a fresh start. Unfortunately, 2022 had a different agenda. Right out of the gate, we were hit with a surge in Covid cases, clients canceling, staff out, productivity down, and coming up short of goal. It’s like hitting one hurdle after another.

As an owner, these past two years have been the hardest. We’re either so busy we don’t have time to breathe, or so slow we wonder if there’ll be enough money for payroll. Yes, these are challenging times for all of us.

Since March of 2020, it’s been non-stop craziness for owners.

  • We put on our leadership hats in ways we’ve never imagined.

  • We questioned if we would be able to keep our businesses and our team.

  • We stressed about finances.

  • We got the PPP and EIDL loans.

  • We paid our employees when they couldn’t work.

  • We started to allow flexibility to our team thinking that would keep them happy.

  • We got tired.

  • We wondered if it was worth it.

  • We wondered if maybe we should join the great resignation ourselves.

For employees, you remember that day you were told, “Hey, we’re shutting down — you need to file for unemployment.” From the shock of having your world turned upside down you had questions too.

  • Is my company going under?

  • Do I need to start looking for a new job?

  • What am I going to do?

  • How am I going to provide for my family?

  • Is this time for a career change?

For everyone, life became virtual. Virtual school. Virtual meetings. Virtual everything.

Through the daily putting out of fires, client cancellations, staffing challenges, covid protocols, and just plain trying to stay afloat, something else happened … we lost our “WHY” we do what we do.

As owners, we lost our clarity of vision, why we began this business journey, and where the heck are we going.

As employees, we started questioning if we should continue to work here, or even stay in this industry.

Everything had a question mark.

As an owner, I felt all this too. It became so unclear why I was doing this, my anger and resentment festered.

  • Resentful that my team is working three or four days a week and I am grinding for seven.

  • Resentful that I am paying huge salaries and giving raises, with no sense of appreciation.

  • Resentful because someone else had a better lunch option than me.

It took all my strength to keep resentment from consuming me. It created feelings of inadequacy. It had me questioning if I had what it takes to be the leader my company and team needed during these stressful times. These were unfamiliar feelings and hard to process.

Asking myself these tough questions was like hitting a mental reset button. I felt the rubble of these past two years begin to wash away.

Inadequacy and resentfulness are not who I am and will not define me. I am a fighter. I am better than this.

I regained my leadership clarity. Everything we’ve been through these past two years has been the mother of all leadership lessons. And don’t just learn the lessons — appreciate them.

Clarity brings your vision into focus. Vision brings renewed purpose. Purpose brings connection and gratitude.

Going from resentment and inadequacy to an attitude of gratitude was not an overnight shift. Achieving the right attitude came much faster when I started each day with the right intentions, thinking, and attitude. Think, the “butterfly effect.”

Today, I am extremely grateful for the past two years. The lessons learned wouldn’t have happened in a lifetime of trying.

So, if you’re thinking, “I thought this was a webinar about team meetings” it most definitely is. Why? Because for many owners, it’s time for an open and honest conversation with your team about the emotions of the past two years.

As a Strategies Coach, I welcome the opportunity to share what I have learned and help others. In doing so, I will be grateful and fulfilled knowing I have lived a purposeful life.

When you make your morning coffee with an attitude of gratitude, it tastes better, and you feel better. Try it. Start your day right.

We still have time to kick 2022 off right. So put on your excitement hat.

  • The one that gets you out of bed in the morning.

  • The one that shows you that clarity — that shows you your WHY.

  • The one that has you singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs when you drive to work.

That’s the hat you need to wear every day. Reconnect with our WHY. Recognize that today you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

You’re heading in the right direction. You have the right people around you. And you have the right attitude to make anything happen. 

To create a better tomorrow, you must appreciate where you are and what got you here.

That’s why, in these rapidly changing and stressful times, it’s time for a team meeting to reflect and appreciate so it can move forward with purpose."

BONUS: Leslie’s Jenga Team Meeting idea: Modify Leslie’s above message to best reflect your salon/spa. The intent is to be openly transparent so that deeper conversations can take place.

Using the Jenga block game, ask your team members to shout out things that cause the company to be unsteady and team stressed. Things like lateness, not coming to work, client cancelations, no shows, attitudes, gossiping, not recommending retail, not prebooking, etc.

Every time a team member shouts out a problem or challenge, push a block out of the Jenga tower. The more blocks you push out, the more unsteady the Jenga tower becomes. Eventually, the tower will tumble down.

As problems and challenges go unchecked in your salon/spa, it gets progressively unsteady and weaker until it grinds to a halt.

The goal is to get your entire team on the same page — to recognize that most frustration and stress are self-inflicted.

KEY: As in Leslie’s message … the change must begin with you, the leader.


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