Unleashing Creative Systems Thinking with Crista Grasso

In this episode, we have special guest Crista Grasso, the go-to strategic planning and systems expert for online businesses. Crista shares her unique perspective as a creative systems thinker, bridging the gap between structured thinking and creative problem-solving. 

We cover the power of systems in propelling business success, advocating for a lean approach rather than burdensome documentation. The key take away is emphasis on sustainability, both in terms of capacity and results. 

Leaving you with encouragement to leave room for unexpected events by preserving 30% of unscheduled space in your schedule. Tune in to gain insights into unleashing your superpower of creative systems thinking and achieving sustainable business growth.


  • Crista talks about discovering a passion for a creative business and wanted to continue focusing on it.
  • Launching a creative business and scaling too quickly, almost going out of business.
  • Introducing the “lean out method” as a means of saving their own business and addressing the complexity and mistakes commonly made during rapid scaling.
  • The challenges faced by the speaker in scaling their jewelry business are universal and applicable to various types of businesses.
  • Scaling a business involves dealing with increased complexity and feeling overwhelmed.
  • The transition from hand-making jewelry to selling and manufacturing thousands of pieces a day, highlighting the shift in focus from selling to delivering products at scale.
  • Maintaining exceptional client experience and quality while scaling is crucial.
  • Many businesses struggle with issues related to insufficient systems, support, and team when scaling.
  • The speaker worked excessively, experiencing health implications and strain on their marriage due to the demands of scaling.
  • Growth in business involves reaching more people and increasing revenue, but it can also lead to increased expenses and lower profit margins if not managed carefully.
  • It is important to be intentional and simplify the growth process to increase profitability.
  • Scaling is about leverage and optimizing resources to sell more with less time and higher profits.
  • Businesses often struggle to say no and eliminate unnecessary tasks, leading to overwork and time mismanagement.
  • Taking the time to assess the business context and vision is crucial for lean out methods.
  • Building a business model that aligns with desired work capacity is important for long-term success.
  • Crista emphasizes the power of systems in business and their approach to systems as a visual and creative activity.
  • The idea of providing 20% systems to team members, allowing room for individual expertise and innovation.
  • They highlight the importance of intentionality and alignment in strategic planning to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Sustainability is emphasized, both in terms of capacity and effort, as well as sustainable results.
  • Capacity-based planning is recommended, taking into account personal and team capacities and leaving space for unexpected tasks.
  • Crista suggests leaving a 30% open unscheduled space for unforeseen events or tasks.

Quotable moments:

“I bridged both worlds and it took me a long time to realize that’s actually my superpower.” #CreativeSystems #BusinessSuccess

“Leave 30% protected space when committing to things. Unexpected events always arise, and flexibility is key.” #LeanPlanning #Sustainability