1853 – From Micromanagement to Leadership with Valerie Delforge

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO & Founder of The Delforge Group LTD, Valerie Delforge.

Delforge Wide

Valerie Delforge is just the founder and CEO of The Delforge Group. She's a visionary who has carved a niche in the consulting world, guiding business owners toward exponential growth. Although rooted in the spa and beauty sector, her expertise transcends industries, offering a universal blueprint for entrepreneurial success.

Valerie began her career immersed in the beauty industry, climbing the ranks to oversee spa operations for a leading corporation. Her experiences there sparked a realization: she had more to offer. This epiphany led to the birth of her consulting firm, where she now nurtures the growth of businesses, helping owners refine their strategies and mindsets.

Valerie's book, “I'd Rather Do It Myself: From Micromanagement to Leadership,” serves as a manifesto for entrepreneurs trapped in the cycle of micromanagement. She delved into the heart of this challenge—relinquishing control—and its profound effects on leadership dynamics and team morale.

Through her work, Valerie has witnessed firsthand the destructive nature of micromanagement. It erodes trust, stifles creativity, and upsets the delicate work-life balance. She recounted stories of clients who, despite their best intentions, suffocated their teams under the weight of excessive oversight, leading to diminished business performance.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Valerie Delforge's background in the beauty industry and her transition to founding The Delforge Group
  • Challenges entrepreneurs face in letting go of control as their businesses grow
  • Impact of micromanagement on leadership and team dynamics
  • Importance of understanding one's leadership style and its impact on the business
  • Negative consequences of micromanagement on trust, team culture, and work-life balance
  • Examples of clients who struggled with micromanagement and its effects on their businesses
  • Valerie's approach to helping leaders, focusing on soft skills of leadership

About Valerie Delforge:

Valerie Delforge, an International Business Strategy Consultant since 2013, leverages her extensive experience in the beauty and wellness industry to guide entrepreneurs, owners, and CEOs towards success.

With a remarkable career that includes roles at Clinique, Clarins, Urban Retreat, L’Occitane, Bliss Spa, and as Head of Spa Operation for Steiner Europe, Valerie founded The Delforge Group®. This online training hub offers a mix of one-to-one coaching and online training programs focusing on retail training for teams and managers, management to leadership, and reception.

Valerie’s mission is to boost her clients’ profitability and cash flow while helping them achieve their dreams. She shares her vast knowledge and passion for coaching to empower businesses to reach new heights.

About The Delforge Group LTD:

Founded by Valerie Delforge in 2013, The Delforge Group® LTD specializes in bespoke programs designed to set businesses up for success. With a strong foundation in operational management, the company offers comprehensive support for various business needs, including launching new ventures, restructuring existing ones, or reviewing current performance.

The inception of The Delforge Group® stemmed from Valerie's recruitment to support a large-scale project, showcasing her expertise and leading the company to flourish. Focused on achieving clients' goals, The Delforge Group® combines Valerie's vast industry experience with personalized strategies, ensuring tailored solutions that drive growth and efficiency for businesses across different stages of their development.

Tweetable Moments:

08:04 – “I think the lack of trust becomes a real impact in a team.”

10:59 – “We want them to succeed. I want them to be better than me because if you're better than me, you're going to do even more things.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out The Delforge Group LTD website at

Check out The Delforge Group LTD on LinkedIn at

Check out The Delforge Group LTD on Facebook at

Check out The Delforge Group LTD on Instagram at

Check out Valerie Delforge on LinkedIn at

Check out Valerie Delforge on Instagram at

Check out Valerie Delforge on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, thoughtful listener, before we get going. Did you know that my company up my influence? Com has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks, I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my influence. Com where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my influence. Com where you'll see shows like Profit, Powerhouse with Glenn Close, sales negotiations, and business insights. This isn't just another business podcast. It's a deep dive into the strategies that truly drive success. Hosted by Glenn Poulos, a seasoned sales strategist and business growth expert, each episode is packed with insights from top executives and business leaders. If you're a high level executive looking to share your expertise and story, we want you on profit powerhouse.

Josh (00:01:19) - Your experiences could be the exact insights Glenn's audience of ambitious business leaders are craving. And for our listeners, if you're ready to elevate your business acumen and learn from the best in the industry, profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos is your go to resource. Subscribe now and join a community of professionals who are transforming the business world. Ready to be a part of something groundbreaking? Visit up my influence and click on the podcast tab to find profit powerhouse. Whether you're looking to be the next guest or just seeking invaluable business wisdom. This is where your journey begins. Again, just go to up my influence. Com and click on the podcast tab. With us right now. Valerie. Delle forge. Valerie, you are the founder and CEO of the Dell Forge Group. You are found on the web at the Del Forge Group. Co.Uk. Valerie, thank you so much for joining us.

Valerie (00:02:24) - Thank you so much for having me. It's a real pleasure to be talking to you today.

Josh (00:02:28) - Yes, yes. So I would love to learn more about who you serve.

Josh (00:02:32) - I kind of know because I'm looking at your website, but for our friend that's listening to our conversation, let's tell them who you work with and the impact that you have create in the world for sure.

Valerie (00:02:43) - I thank you. So I'm basically a French girl in London, UK. I arrived when I was much younger or 30 odd years ago and started in the beauty industry very, very quickly. And so my last role before becoming a consultant was head of spa operations for Stena Europe, which is kind of a big corporation in the beauty world and the hairdresser world. And ten years ago I kind of took the leap and I started my consulting company, where I'll support owners and,, to really grow their business and grow the the thought process, the mindset and the strategy around what they want to achieve. Because a lot of time just I'm sure you're aware that we have so many factors that perhaps are affecting the growth, and sometimes we're not aware of that. So I just love doing 1 to 1 coaching and understanding the business inside out and then growing that business.

Valerie (00:03:38) - But predominantly, of course, it's a spa beauty industry, but I do kind of coach other industries or coach entrepreneurs or coach consultants who want to grow their business. So it's kind of varied. But the main bulk of the business, obviously, for us is coming from the beauty and spa industry.

Josh (00:03:58) - Yeah. Well, okay, so your book and this is what I'm really excited to talk about is titled I'd Rather Do It myself from micromanagement to leadership. All right, Valerie, from your lips to God's ears, let's help some well-intended leaders in the world who need to let it go. Let it go and let our teams and our great people that we surround ourselves do what they do best. I'd love to hear your mini Ted talk on this topic.

Valerie (00:04:35) - I mean, you know, I grew up in the the known Facebook and the Non-google worlds and, you know, you had to kind of network a lot more and you had to really structure your business in a certain way. And as all of this came, we are actually perhaps surrounded with so many resources and we have so much things that we can do.

Valerie (00:04:59) - Sometimes what we do as an entrepreneur is we create something so we it's our babies. And what we've done is we've, we've nurtured it from the infancy to what it is now. So we know every aspect of the business. And as we grow, it's very, very difficult to let go of things and let go of the certain things that you don't really want to do anymore, but you just want to control. And as I was growing in my roles,, what I do remember from these times is that I wanted to learn about leadership, manage very, very large teams very, very quickly in my career, you know, up to 230 people at some point. So, you know, I had to learn about leadership and there was no Google, no Facebook, etc.. So I learned a lot about leadership on different industries. And what really is trying to me was very much about me as a leader. And you know how I need to behave as a leader. But I always felt I like to see something and kind of flip it around a little bit.

Valerie (00:06:00) - And I thought, actually, okay, how is my leadership? Because I'm going to be a different leader to yourself or to someone else. How is my leadership affecting my staff? How are my leadership is going to affect my structure, and how is my leadership is going to affect the operation of the business? So when you start looking at it on a different kind of perspective, it allows you to understand what you need, what you don't need anymore. And how do you want to work as an entrepreneur, as a leader, you know, because the work life balance is very important. Yet we meet we meet entrepreneurs and owners who are absolutely on the brink of a burnout because they're doing too much and they're not structured anymore. So their leadership is just literally,, weighed down by all the day to day operation. That's what they need to do. And actually, there's no more leadership in the end. And this is where the micromanagement starts to become bigger and bigger and bigger., and we're not even aware of it a lot of time, you know? Yeah.

Valerie (00:07:00) - Recently I was talking to a client who said, you know, on Sunday when I do my VAT, I was like, why do you do your VAT on Sunday? You know? Oh, well, you know, it's just a it's just a lot. You know, we don't do VAT on a Sunday. You ask the accountant how much does that cost? And she called me and say an extra £100. Right. It's going to be the best hundred pound you've ever spent. But we are in a habit. And as the business grow, we don't really understand, you know, what could help and what could support us? Because we in that habit.

Josh (00:07:30) - There are big consequences to leaders who are meddling too much. Can you talk about. And I'm sure you have some really great examples in your world of, you know, organizations or companies where the leader is just way too up in their teams stuff. And probably a lot of, I mean, this unintended consequences of this, would you mind maybe sharing some of like how this ends up manifesting in a pretty negative way?

Valerie (00:08:01) - I mean, the most negative way is a lack of trust.

Valerie (00:08:04) - So I think that's what comes to the team is that I'm not being trusted. If I'm being given something and you're not really trusting the process of how I need to learn as a team member,, perhaps I don't. You know, we forget. I think we forget. We've acquired that experience. We forget that we need to teach that experience sometimes, and we assume it's going to be very quick. So the lack of trust becomes a real impact in a team. And the senior teams as well, where they feel like they can't do anything right or they can't really have an impact on anything that they want to do because it's micromanaged to the minutes. I mean, I had a client of mine who basically, you know, wanted an email in the morning, in the evening of what the manager had done. And he's like, why? Why do you need an email in the morning and evening? And it's just too much. It's just going to all she's going to do is worry about that email morning and night.

Valerie (00:08:59) - But I just need to know what she's doing. Well, it is a trust that needs to be,, that needs to be there. And a lot of time. The micromanager is not aware that that's what they're doing, if that makes sense. You know, so I think the lack of trust is a big, big one. And also. A lot of teams. When there's a micromanager that's just too involved, it's it's just suffocating. And actually it's not enjoyable. There's no team culture. So the team culture becomes just, you know, well, just wait and see what the boss is going to say or the boss is going to do, because there's no point doing it, you know. So the team culture is really, really suffers in terms of that kind of micromanagement style., but I feel that it's,, you know, every time I kind of assess it. Micromanager. The biggest aspect of it is the lack of the work life balance which we all craving. But somehow we expecting as a micromanager, that everyone's got the same standards, but they don't.

Valerie (00:10:02) - And there's some people value that time at home. Some people value their time. Well,, you know, in what they want to do and somehow is not well perceived. There's been a lot of talk about quite quitting and all these things that have happened over the recent years, and I'm not surprised, you know, I'm not surprised because we can blaming they don't do this. They don't do that. But actually are we letting them get on with the work in a certain time period. So I'll give you an example. One of my clients had a manager where, you know, she was expecting her to deliver services and to manage, but she had one hour admin time a week when really when you assess the workload, she needs a day, but I can't give her a whole day. Why why can't we give her a whole day if we want her to achieve otherwise we setting people up for failure. And you know, I've been in jobs where I've been set up for failure no matter what I did wasn't going to be good enough or it wasn't going to be strong enough.

Valerie (00:10:59) - And to me, that's a huge lack of leadership we wanted when we onboard someone, when we employ someone, we want them to succeed. I want them to be better than me, because if you better than me, you're going to do even more things, you know, and you're going to be excited to do things. But I think it's the lack of thing culture, the lack of, you know, support from the the boss. It just becomes very, very one sided. And that's just not great in terms of,, kind of longevity and enjoyment, full stop, if I'm totally honest. And then we wonder why we can't recruit, you know.

Josh (00:11:34) - Okay, so, Valerie, how do you help leaders?

Valerie (00:11:39) - , yeah. I think the key things, to be honest with you, the first thing a lot of people were expecting me that know me anyway, were expecting me to write about how to run a successful beauty salon and hair salon and spa's,. And I could have done that.

Valerie (00:11:54) - But what I had assessed since the pandemic is that there have been a lot of a lot of,, fear. And fear is one of the side of why we micromanage. You know, since the pandemic, there's a lot of fear on the recruitment, on losing the business, etc.. So we've kind of really taken everything back ourselves instead of feeling that we can,, you know, we can trust people around us. And the first thing we do,, before even looking at numbers, before looking at businesses, before looking at what's going on in the business, is we focus on the leader and number one, soft skills of leadership, which to me is the most important. One is time management. And time management is sometimes underrated. I feel that we oh yes, I'm fine. I've got my to do list. But actually the to do list is very overwhelming. The to do list is not delegated, which is another soft skill of, the leader and others of skill of leadership is communication.

Valerie (00:12:56) - So those three skills is what I focus on. First. How do we time manage ourselves? How do we delegate, and what do we do in order to communicate efficiently? A lot of time we meet owners that are entrepreneurs, you know. But I've told them ten times. Yes. So maybe the communication is not right. How do you communicate? What do you do in order to reinforce that communication? So we quick to blame the others, but perhaps we need to look on how what the systems in place,, what are the system in place in order to kind of be able to grow that business. And so this first thing we do is really understanding how you function as a leader. And then from that, then we really actually the the owner feels a lot better. The entrepreneur feels a lot better. They feel more focused. They've got a time management that makes sense to them. I believe there's no coaching that is one size fits all. I think it needs to be very adapted to you as a as a, as a manager, as a owner, because ultimately, you know, you could have children at home you want to go back to, you could have, you know, a very clear goal you want to get to.

Valerie (00:14:04) - You could have a budget you need to adhere to. So we've got to adapt all of this according to to the leader's situation. And after that, we really dig down into the business and we give a very strong strategy on how to achieve that dream basically. Yeah. So in a nutshell.

Josh (00:14:22) - Yeah. Valerie, you know, to our friend that's listening, go get this book. It's called I'd rather Do It myself from micromanagement to leadership. But also there's your website and that's the Dell Forge Group. Co.Uk again, to our friend that's listening, who should be reaching out and what would you recommend they do?

Valerie (00:14:41) - I think Find Me on LinkedIn is probably the easiest Valerie Dell Forge and,, you know, I'll be very happy to have a little chat with you if you feel is something we can work together on. If you feel there's something that you can recognise yourself in, you know. Are you overworking yourself? Are you are you finding that your goal is becoming distant, more and more distant? Are you finding that the team is not trusting you? Is there something here that there is an element of the team not really dealing with you? Why are they not dealing with you? So, you know, sometimes it's it's a matter of having that conversation and finding out if I can support you in what you want to achieve.

Valerie (00:15:19) - Really?

Josh (00:15:21) - Yeah. Excellent. Valerie Delle Forge, again, founder and CEO of the Dell Forge Group. Your website, the Del Forge Group. Co.Uk. And the book, I'd rather do it myself from micromanagement to leadership. Valerie Del Forge, thank you for joining us.

Valerie (00:15:36) - Thank you so much for having me.

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