Meet Alisha Mitten. Leadership & Workflow Consultant at Mitten Systems
August 10, 2021
MK: Alisha, we would like to hear a little bit about your story. Tell us about how you got started and your experiences along the way.
AM: I’m originally from Ohio but my career aspirations have taken me all over the country. I started in accounting and have made my way through quite a few industries and departments. Oh, let’s see – sales, operations, event planning, venue management and even a little cooking! You could say I’m a bit of a generalist, but I’ve learned that one thing is certain no matter the industry you’re in: a fiery desire for continuous improvement is the key to effective leadership.
I learned this a while back when working in hospitality management, opening wedding and event venues for a nationwide banquet services company. It was such a blast scaling all of these venues from the ground up. And as you can imagine, there was a lot of opportunity for improvement in just about every department. Whether I was working to strengthen our team bond or figuring out how to save enough money for a new dishwasher, I found that my desire to improve my environment brought out the best in me. It made me an effective problem solver, a stronger communicator, and simply a better leader than I ever was before.
After about 15 years of being boots to the ground, I established my framework for success and decided that I wanted to share these experiences with other entrepreneurs and organizations. Today I am a consultant, teaching others how to untangle messy processes and create systems that work for their teams.
MK: That’s a lot of experience right there! And how has the journey as a consultant been? Smooth sailing?!
AM: Absolutely not! Ha – it has been a long road and I continue to face challenges on this journey.
The thing that entrepreneurs and established leaders don’t tell you is that the hardest part of achieving your goals has nothing to do with the outside world – it’s facing your own personal weaknesses. It’s working through the self-doubt and knowing how to pick yourself back up with grace after any given failure, even when you feel like you can’t go on.
I was given the opportunity to be in leadership at a young age so I felt these challenges at a time where I was still figuring out who I was as a person. I’ve led teams where people were older, wiser, more experienced, better spoken and quite talented in their field. For a long time I felt threatened, like they were my competition and I had to outperform anyone that made me feel less confident. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I passed on because I was fearful that someone else could do it better or that people would judge me. It took a lot of processing and personal development to understand that I was the one standing in the way of my success. And even though I sometimes dip into self-doubt still today, I can recognize it and move past it.
Could you imagine what our world would look like if people didn’t let their own fears hold them back? I’d love to see those people reach their true potential.
MK: What’s the saying? “You are your own worst enemy”? Embracing how you view your fears is where real personal growth takes place. Now, tell us about your business, Mitten Systems.
AM: Mitten Systems helps organizations retain their top talent and reduce costs related to inefficient processes by providing workflow audits, leadership audits and leadership training.
I’m known for taking something concrete, like company KPIs, and translating those objectives into actionable items for entrepreneurs and businesses. I then work with the leadership team to tackle these goals through either process improvement and/or leadership training opportunities.
Overall, my goal is remove barriers for the team, give leaders the confidence to optimize their environment, and cut unnecessary costs for the company.
MK: That sounds great! I do think so many businesses out there could take advantage of improving processes. On a different note, how would you define success?
AM: I define success as having balance in your life. Every day, I try to accomplish one thing that I have to do, one thing that I need to do, and one thing that I want to do. (Example: today I have to prepare a presentation that I’m going give next week, I need to get outside and take a walk, and I want to start a new book.)
It doesn’t always work out that way but I try to make sure there is at least some overlap when it comes those three buckets. Doing so keeps me creative and engaged but also well-rested.
I also think it’s important to have your own personal values to hold yourself to. Here are three of mine that keep me accountable, both in business and in life:
Creative solutions come from being open-minded and embracing change.
I’m committed to developing processes that actually work. A great system is nothing without team buy-in.
No burnout allowed. Health is too important to take a backseat.
MK: That’s one of the best definitions for success we’ve seen. Last but not least, do you have any recommendations for our readers?
AM: Definitely! Here are a few people who have impacted my journey:
Danny Meyer: restauranteur and hospitality mindset guru. Definitely read his book called Setting the Table.
Casey Brown: thought leader in pricing strategy. Every entrepreneur needs to hear her Ted Talk on “Knowing your worth and asking for it.”
Dr. Laurie Santos: professor of psychology at Yale who created a podcast on happiness and a free course on the science of well-being.
Today’s Featured Guest:
Leadership & Workflow Consultant