Lisa Levy is a trusted advisor, bestselling author, speaker, and internationally recognized authority helping leaders and organizations adapt and transform quickly to achieve their strategic goals. She is the Founder and CEO of Lcubed Consulting, a firm that helps companies exceed business objectives by optimizing processes and aligning culture while fostering creativity and innovation. Lisa is also the #1 best selling author of Future-Proofing Cubed: The Definitive Guide to Improving Productivity, Refining Process and Bolstering Profitability and a frequent speaker at conferences for business executives across the country.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am an only child. My mom was a teacher, my dad was a real estate developer. This is interesting as an example of their varied perspectives, which had a profound impact on shaping some of my choices. My mom followed the established path for a woman of her generation, she went to college to become a teacher and married as she graduated. She is risk-averse! My dad spent four years in the Air Force, to pay for college and then followed his own path. He loves risk! And it provided for some significant ups and downs in the stability of our family; it also ended their marriage.
I started my adult life wanting to mitigate risk with a plan to build a career working in a corporate job. I was looking for steady income, perception of long-term growth, and safety. The approach seemed safe and reasonable. I learned it was also boring and not at all safe. So, I decided to take a risk and build something of my own. I started down the entrepreneurial path twelve years ago. It isn’t easy, but I cannot imagine going back to a traditional job.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Don’t make a decision out of fear. Every time I have, it was short-sighted and blew up in my face. It is important to pause, understand the real motivation, and think through options.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Try something and see what sticks.
At first glance, it may seem like a contradiction to my desire to treat everything like an experiment; however, there is a critical distinction. Experimentation is a structured process, there are plan and desired outcome. It is testing a hypothesis to prove or disprove it. The actions taken are deliberate and have a purpose.
As opposed to doing many somethings and hoping for positive outcomes. This approach wastes time, energy, and ultimately money
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
There is a commonly held belief that employees do not quit the company, they quit their bad manager. I totally agree!
Many years ago, I worked for an amazing organization and had a horrid manager. I spent five years building a highly capable team, while constantly being diminished and demoralized, by my manager. Every successful outcome the team leads, he took the credit. For every poor decision he made, I bore the blame. It was imperative to me the team never be the focus of his wrath. I was the buffer between his lack of capability and a team doing fabulous work.
The experience broke me. I questioned my ability as a leader and my fundamental ability to do anything. Coming back from this experience was hard. It took a poor decision made from fear, time, and a lot of reflection. Looking back, it was the catalyst for building my company!
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Being resilient is key to my success. By nature, I am a planner, but we all know nothing ever goes according to the plan. So, being able and willing to keep moving forward into the unknown was necessary. I also believe in
What is your morning routine?
I must be very honest; I am not a morning person! I know the research shows the importance of a morning routine, but it is a struggle for me to embrace one.
My day starts with a cup of decaf coffee and a little cuddle/play time with my two Basset Hounds. I typically wake up around 7:30.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Physical workouts improve my life and help me manage stress and anxiety. I am a big fan of shadow Boxing/Kickboxing and Pilates. I have regular massages as part of my routine, too.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I time-box activities each week. As I wrap up the week, I look at the upcoming week and stage my schedule. I try to protect 90 minutes each day for ‘thought work.’ It does not always work out that way, but it allows me to adjust as needed.
Recently, I started turning off my technology every other weekend and making my family the priority. It is nice to take a break from all the inbound information and funny how little of it is important when I review it on Monday!
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
I love books and read them daily. I admit my passion is fiction and I read to give my brain a break from working. When asked this question, the first book that comes to mind is The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. I fell in love with Lady Brett Ashley. Hemingway created a strong independent female character, who disrupts all the societal norms of her time. She is flawed and very human. Brett left a lasting impression on my 13-year-old psyche.
More recently and possibly a more relevant example is The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham. The writing is crisp, and the stories shared are impactful to business leaders. The underlying theme is to take the time and think before you act. It’s not about acting on your ‘great idea’ the moment you have it. You need to understand the implications and risks. That requires critical thinking!
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway
I decided to build on the earlier question. This quote reminds me that life is a “four-letter word!” There are no guarantees, we get what we make of our experiences. We have total control of the choices we make, sometimes they work out, sometimes they hurt deeply and sometimes they fail brilliantly. I am learning to treat everything like an experiment, so I am positioned to learn continuously.