A Conversation About Talent Strategies

“I get up every day and I love what I do, and you really can teach people how to be fantastic leaders if you slow down enough to do it.”

– Jen

0:00:03.1 S1: Train people well enough so that they can leave… Treat them well enough so that they don’t want to. That is a quote by Richard Branson. Welcome to Trina Talk. This is the podcast where guests share their stories of pursuing their passions, living a fulfilled life and empowering others. Each week I talk with inspiring leaders, business owners and people with amazing stories from around the world in unscripted conversations as they share their successes and failures. This podcast is all about empowering you to keep striving in your personal and professional life. I am your host, Trina L. Martin, welcome to episode 159. The topic of this week’s episode is talent strategy. My guest this week is Jennifer Thornton. Jennifer has developed her expertise in talent strategy and leadership professional development over her exciting 20-plus year career as an HR professional, she’s led international teams across Greater China, Mexico and the UK and the US to expand into new markets, managing franchise retailers and developing key strategic partnerships all while exceeding business objectives and financial results, the rapid growth of her consulting firm, 304 Coaching has been largely due to Jennifer’s unconventional approach to building innovative workforce development solutions for companies who are facing breakthrough growth and accelerated hiring patterns.

0:01:52.9 S1: She is a sought after business strategist, specializing in startups and large value-based organizations, She assists her clients in building talent strategies that complement their business strategies to ensure exponential growth.

0:02:07.6 S2: Hi, Jen, welcome to train or talk. Hello, and thanks for having me. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to be with me. And usually how I start the podcast office, I ask all my guests to tell the listeners who you are and how you came to be the gym that you are today. Oh, I love that question, and there’s a thousand different routes I could probably go, but I think how I got to where I am today is I am someone who just really enjoys getting up every day and living life, I enjoy the challenges of life, I actually enjoy the ups and downs, ’cause we’re not learning a ton when we’re on the UPS, how I got to where I am today is by actually doing what I love to do when I was a kid growing up, all I ever wanted to do was work in the mall, now, that probably sounds crazy, especially in today’s world, we won’t say how old I am, but that back when the malls were so cool, and that’s what I did, and I grew up in the land of retail, which allowed me to be a leader at a very young age, I worked myself up through operations, I worked in HR, I’ve worked in HR around the entire world and lived in multiple countries doing that, and so I think what made me who I am today is the diversity of my experiences, I think taking on challenges volunteering, when no one else wanted to do a job, I was like, Well, sure, I’ll do it, but what I did is not knowing at the time, as I blunted a ton of experiences.

0:03:45.0 S2: And all of that led me to what I do today, and over the last four years, I’ve owned my own business. And it’s been a ton of fun, and if I hadn’t taken all of those opportunities growing up, even at a very young age, or no way, I would be where I am today.

0:03:59.2 S1: I love that, I love how you speak about those failures as well as successes, because that’s something that I love to talk about with my guests, because as we know, we’re an instant gratification world now… Right, everybody’s living their Instagram best life, and we know that’s not how life really is, you have your update good with your bad, so I like to touch on that with my guests, but you have a plethora of experience in… Tell us about your business.

0:04:33.8 S2: So 304 Coaching, we are a leadership education organization, and there’s a ton of those out there, but what makes us unique is we are really focused on learning about the brain and the neuroscience of how the brain actually works, because when we were all taught to lead or a lot of the best practice leadership techniques that people are selling, and we’re buying today, we’re actually created in the 1900, 1950-60s. When businesses did not look like they do today, they were not managed like they are today, we didn’t have the information, speed that we have today, but most importantly, we didn’t know much about the brain, if anything, and so how we’ve been taught to lead is really fear based it’s very… I always laugh. It’s kind of passive aggressive. And what we do here at three of our coaching as we are really passionate about leading in a way that works with the brain and not against it, because number one, your results are gonna be better, which is fantastic and great, but you’re gonna have a healthy relationships therefore, you’ll have healthier people, and therefore they will have have healthier homes and healthier communities and all of that too, so we’re really focused on that neuroscience and helping leaders learn how to leverage it.

0:05:50.3 S1: So I love that, and that’s something I’ve been hearing a lot of that neuroscience, NLP. What is it that has made it… Like you said, it’s been around for a while, but what has made it so popular today.

0:06:05.5 S2: A lot of it’s just information, and so when we think about knowledge of our organs, you could take a heart out and look at it and stick it back in, and it still works, you could do that with the kidney, you can’t do that with the brain, you can’t take it out and put it back in, and so it was really hard to study the brain because you couldn’t access it, and so technology had to catch up and so now we’re in a place where we can look at how chemicals in the brain react, we have the technology to watch different experiences, and how does that impact the brain, so that’s a piece of it is just knowledge, and now we have some knowledge, but it changes daily the research is continuing to evolve, now people are saying, Okay, we have research, what do we do with it and how do we leverage it? And that’s why you’re starting to see that come on to the scene, and I was really fortunate to study with a woman who spent 40 years of her life studying the neuroscience of the brain in the workplace, and she was definitely a child laser…

0:07:08.5 S2: Definitely before her time, but she really helped me understand about trust and fear and how when we have relationships around trust and we decrease fear that the business results truly do change.

0:07:22.9 S1: And let’s go into that because me being a big proponent of leadership… And I do leadership coaching, I’m a retired naval officer that… Just leadership in general, especially in corporate always boggles mark, just how they do things, and I’m pretty sure you do, it does for you as well. So tell us about what you have seen, how you help people in all of that…

0:07:47.7 S2: My gosh, if I look at some examples of kind of the way we were taught to lead and thinking about it from a different perspective, really simple things like your team comes to you and they’ve got this idea and they’re excited about it, in your mind, you’re like, That’s not gonna work. And you may know all the reasons why, and as a leader because we’re busy because we are just trying to move so fast, oftentimes you would just say to that person, Hey, that’s not gonna work, don’t bring me a different idea now, and what’s now happening from an unconscious neuroscience standpoint is that person’s been told your ideas don’t matter, and if you bring the wrong idea to the table, you might be looked on poorly, so then that person will bring less and less ideas over time, and then the best part of that is in the supervisor’s like, you know, she never has any good ideas, well, no, you taught or not to have them, but it doesn’t mean that we have to accept all of those ideas, but what we can say to someone and be incredibly honest and say, I know you’re passionate about this idea, I can tell that, I don’t see it from your perspective, so change my mind.

0:08:55.2 S2: And what that does is tell the truth, Hey, I’m not seeing it, but it opens up a conversation and then yet a person that gets to voice their opinion, they get to talk about their research or whatever is important to them. And what’s funny, when leaders start to do that, they start to engage in conversations and even things that they don’t believe in, they actually start learning a few things. I have seen their mind changed more often than not, but it creates this environment where even if I have a different opinion, I’m respected and heard, therefore I’m gonna stretch myself and find more unique thoughts, I’m gonna be more innovative because there’s not judgment, there’s a conversation. And so that’s just a really simple example in the world happens every day, that through language change, we create better employees.

0:09:40.7 S1: And you know what? And it is so simple, because I remember when I was working, exactly, you go to say something or you voice an opinion or whatever the case may be, and you’re shot down or you’re ignored, and you’re like, Okay, well, that’s the last time I’m gonna do that. And then you’re marked as, Okay, well, she’s not a team player, it’s, No, I am, but if you’re gonna ignore me and not give at least credence to what I’m saying, I’m gonna stop trying to share my value… Yeah.

0:10:13.2 S2: And decisions, I think that’s one of the things I hear from leaders really often as my team doesn’t make their own decisions, well, my first question is, what about your language and leadership has made that come true? And leaders and always love that when I put it back on them, but then when we stop and think about it, there is something that happened, either people make decisions and we don’t like them, and so they get in trouble for them, or they make a decision and we don’t like what color pen they picked, not that it even mattered, so we get on to with that, and so through what we think is coaching and feedback, we create environments where people aren’t comfortable making decisions, and then again, we get mad at him for not making decisions, and it’s interesting to see how our language really does have an impact on how people show up every single day.

0:11:00.9 S1: And when you’re working with these leaders and you bring that to their attention, how long does it take them to actually understand that and get it because like you said, a lot of people… Man, it… I won’t even say leave, I manage… Like you said, the fear, like, Okay, I’m the ruler, and this is what you should do.

0:11:22.1 S2: So I think it’s… The journey is unique to every single person, and there’s a factor that comes into play that does impact that journey, and there is actually research that shows us we can get addicted to being right. So just like your brain gets addicted to the dopamine head of sugar shopping and Instagram, like whatever your choice is that we kind of crave being right also has the same chemical reaction within our brain is over time we can get addicted to that dopamine hit. And so if I engage with a leader and they’re right, everyone else is wrong, I’m as far as person in the room, everyone else is stupid, all that kind of stuff, then I start to get curious, are we a little addicted to our own beliefs, are we addicted to being right, because if we are… When we allow someone else’s voice in the room, we’re actually giving up our drug of choice and that that’s a problem, no person addicted is gonna wanna give up their drug of choice, and so that piece of it, if that comes into play… And it does at some level, often, especially in high level executives, we start there, we start talking about that addiction and why they’re attached to being right, and how does that hold them back because like any addiction, the pain of staying there has to be great or greater than the pain of changing.

0:12:44.1 S2: And so we have to do a lot of work around what would be possible for you if you came to terms of the fact that you’re not always right, and that it doesn’t always have to be your way, and so that’s kind of that first journey for those who are really deep into that addiction.

0:12:59.3 S1: Wow. And I was reading, you have the Seven Sins of being addicted in leadership, and you talk about some of those. I’m very interested.

0:13:09.7 S2: Yeah, so that’s just kind of a fun take it to think about, What does being addicted to be right. What does that mean for your team? And when you think of those seven sons, so you think of wrath, right, so that’s one of our sins, so if you are always right and everyone else is always wrong, you’re kind of a mean leader, you’re probably yelling at people, you’re probably pulling people… You’re doing those types of things. If you are glutton, then you’re… When you think of that sin, you’re addicted to that dopamine hit, and so you’re glutton for it, you just have to be more right every single day, and you have to feed into that last comes to mind, and when you’re adopted being right in the corporate environment oftentimes, it’s not necessarily your lost, but it’s your list that you expect other people to have around you, you expect everyone to think you’re the smartest person in the room, you expect everyone to think you’re this great person, and you have these expectations that when others don’t have that… Then you’re disappointed and therefore, again, there are horrible people, and you go back through that cycle, so it’s one of the things that we talk about is really just the impact of being right or being addicted to being right, it’s hard on an organization, it’s hard on teams and I really feel like it’s one of those first steps to organization to start to fall, because if you cannot hear the truth from the person closest to the customer or closest to the end result, if you’re not willing to hear that, then you’re not willing to move your business forward, and you need to screen that from the mountain top.

0:14:46.1 S1: So I’ve been in some organizations where I’m like, Oh my goodness, how does this work like this? And I just, I’m curious, I’m gonna get your opinion because you have the expertise in it, these… They call them 360 reviews, right? But I’ve been in corporations where they’re like, Oh, we do the 360, but then when it comes to the employees evaluating the leaders, isn’t that… So 360s, it’s like, Oh, here’s a control question and you have four options to choose from.

0:15:17.5 S2: What do you think about that? ’cause

0:15:18.5 S1: That’s not really a 360, if you’re not letting people actually freely voice what they think.

0:15:24.9 S2: You know what… And that is true, and I have a lot of opinions about 360s if used, right? And infused set up, I think there’s value to them, but what happens to opt in as organizations to make them very limited, just like you said, and so there’s not an option for the truth, the other thing is they do them, whether that’s just to check the box or to say We do it. But they do nothing with the information. And we do this with culture surveys too, right? We did a culture survey. Well, fantastic. What the heck changed? And there’s nothing more dangerous to an environment than promising change and not delivering on it, and then asking for more change and continue not to deliver on it, and that’s what 360s do, and that’s what culture surveys do, if we do not really think about, alright, this is the information we have now. We’re responsible for doing something with it.

0:16:17.4 S1: I love that because… Yeah, so many times you do, you get that… Oh, take the survey and it’s like… They survey you out. Then you go, what’s changing? Why did I place 20 minutes of my day to do this? If you’re not really gonna take what we said and implement some changes… Oh my goodness, this… Yeah, so you talk about something called the Talent Cliff. What exactly is that?

0:16:43.7 S2: So the talent Cliff, and it happens all the time, especially to fast-growing organizations, and when you think about a fast organization, the day they open their doors or open their services or they have this concept, the individuals leading the organization, skill set is higher or more elevated than their business or it would never have gotten off the ground in the first place, right. And so then what happens is because they are elevated over their business needs, the business grows rapidly. Fantastic, that’s all great. And then they typically start investing a ton of money into infrastructure, supply chain products, new applications, all of this stuff to build a business, but what typically happens because you start chasing your business, you don’t stop and build capabilities of your team and the capabilities of the team, have to grow a little bit more than the actual business is actually growing, ’cause then what happens is when you don’t do that, the business out arcs, the skill of your team, your leaders go into fear, which means they go into high directive, which creates more fear your good people leave, the ones that aren’t so great, usually stick around and that’s what you’re left with, and then once your great talent has left, you got off the cliff and your business is right behind it, and we see it way too many times, especially in start-ups

0:18:06.9 S1: Wow, wow. So you have the talent Cliff and then you have talent strategy. Are they the same or are they different? So

0:18:17.3 S2: The strategy, the goal of that is to prevent the talent class, and when we look at a talent strategy, everyone has a business strategy, everyone projects their business, everyone projects what their needs are. And all of the things it takes to run the business. Your finances, your performers, but no one ever says, Alright, based on those projections, here are the skill sets that are different and unique that our team currently doesn’t have, and how do we continue to develop them so that when we get to this finish line or the next level that our team is ready and willing to manage it, and so your talent strategy should really lay on top of that business strategy or the business strategy will never happen.

0:19:05.3 S1: So the talent strategy, if I’m understanding correctly, it’s more of a forecasting where you want your people or you’re inside your business to go, so not so much as the over-arching of the business, but the internals of the business…

0:19:22.9 S2: Yeah, that’s such a great way to put it, yes. It’s about projecting what skills and competencies, the way of work that your team needs, and then what do you put in place to make sure that happens? So do you put in place executive coaching, do you put in place per advisory boards, maybe an organization that people are part of, do you give someone who’s a manager today and you know you’ll need a director in two years, do you offer them some kind of education course or shadowing, mentorship. And so not only are you projecting what you’ll need, then you say, Okay, what has to happen so that those needs are there in two, three, five years, and if you project out and manage your talent, like you do your supply chain or your services or your widget who knows what anyone is capable of, I think it would just be amazing when all that comes together…

0:20:14.2 S1: Oh yeah, it seems like they work hand-in hand, if done correctly, you can build the insight while building… So I guess you equated to building your foundation of the house and then doing your interior decorating insight.

0:20:31.1 S2: Exactly, yes. Love that. So just tell me what made you get into doing what you do with your business, because

0:20:44.4 S1: I know you have the HR experience and you’ve done leadership, but what was it… ’cause I always like to ask people, what was it that made you just say, You know what, let me do this to really help people…

0:20:57.4 S2: I love that I get to talk about that because I have two really important wise, and they’re on two different scopes of the world, but one of my wise is I spend a ton of time in corporate America, I was always on the new team or the new project or the new this or new that. And that either went well or a crash and burned, and when I look back on that, the only difference was the team that was in charge and the decisions in which that team made, and so why should we set ourselves up for failure when we could set ourself up for success around talent, and that’s the business side of it, but the personal side of that for me is when you put someone in a situation and you haven’t built the right talent around it and someone fails, whether that’s somewhat on their own or some situational and maybe that that project ends and that person’s job gets eliminated, you have impacted someone’s career for the rest of their lives, you’ve impacted their family, you’ve impacted their emotional state, and so there’s so much responsibilities and organizations to hire the right person for the right job, to take care of them to create this environment where people can come to work and do their best job, because when you do that, they’re better at home, and therefore they’re better in their community, and I am really passionate about building better communities every day, and how we feel about ourselves emotionally and our job is a piece of how that plays in into the world.

0:22:29.6 S1: Yeah, and let’s talk about that because we spend a lot of time on a job from the time we get up to commuting to being in there, a commuting back home, and I’ve been in situations where I’ve dreaded to go to work because the manager or supervisor has that mission to make your life miserable, and it’s like, Why do we have to operate like this, why is that, and how do you point that out to businesses so that they don’t fall into that trap?

0:23:03.1 S2: So oftentimes, I think that as leaders, we don’t really understand our impact, so in that scenario… And you don’t wanna go to work. Imagine the parent who is dreading their day, the kids are kinda walking around slow that day, the lunch didn’t get made the night before, and you have that stress of the job that you don’t even wanna go to. We know we’re not gonna parent and the way in which we could, but if we knew that when we got to work it was all gonna be Okay, we’re still smart individuals, we’ve got this… All of this stuff that was happening through our parenting we would handle in a better way because we didn’t have this looming thing around our job, and so… That’s what leaders don’t understand. Leaders think that we’re two different people where this home person in this work person and we are one person that we share amongst a lot of things, and when we are better to people, they are better at home, and when they’re better at home, they come back the next day about our person, and I don’t know if we always recognize that, and when leaders start to help people be better humans, they get the business results, and that’s what they’re there for, right.

0:24:10.6 S2: We’re there to have a business, and how we treat people has a direct impact on the bottom line.

0:24:17.9 S1: And that is so important, and I’m glad you said that because there are so many people in positions of leadership that just don’t get that, and you would think in this day and age, they will see that, yeah, how you treat people is affected, but it seems like people have a power play or a power trip that they’re trying to use to really like, I guess, enforce their… I don’t know their power on other people to let people know, Okay, I’m the boss.

0:24:50.3 S2: And I see this happen sometimes a lot in owner… Like a company where the owner and the CEO are the same person, the person in charge owns, they had a dream and they’ve built it, and everyone’s decisions is impacting their dream. And I always remind those CEOS when I work with them, out of the 100200 people that are in this building, only one person has this dream, and that’s you… Everyone else has a different dream, and if that dream is to be the best parent, but then obviously provide housing and food and all that, then how do you help them deliver on their dream so that they impact positively your dream? But I think too often we walk around and think, Well, we built this, we’re this, we’re that, and everyone else should jump on our very… But it’s only one person’s in the office.

0:25:41.7 S1: Wow, that is very critical. Very critical, and I hope people are listening to that, What have Soco work with leaders and making leadership better and for not only for the leader, but for the employees, what have you seen with our day and age now with the pandemic… I don’t even wanna say post-pandemic, ’cause we’re still in it. What have you seen as far as how people are leading because of that…

0:26:12.8 S2: Gosh, I’ve seen things all over the board coming out of it, what we saw was a high directive communication, which is what you need in crisis management, and when it started… And pandemic started early 2020. Crisis management was what we needed… Building is on fire. Everyone get out. Literally, people were just like, run out of the building. We’re closing down today. Right. And so we got in this high directive communication because was a crisis situation. Well, crisis management only works in crisis, and so as we started to pull out of it, we were into some habits that were really hard on teams in his high direction, and especially when people were having to get creative with their families and virtual… And there was just a lot going on with that high creativity of how do you do the job, but then this person telling you, Well, this is how you have to do it, so there was a lot of bump up against that, where I think we are right now is that we’re starting to see organizations figure it out, we’re starting to see some poll and get really tight, like everyone’s back in the office, everyone has to do this.

0:27:17.0 S2: And I think they’re gonna see a tough time, I think that if they don’t… Recognize that every situation is unique. And does there have to be a level of consistency? Absolutely, but inside that consistency, how do we help each person come back to work if that’s what we need them to do in a way that makes sense, and how do we help those individuals feel good about the work we do? There is a labor shortage in America right now. And for organizations who like to pretend that they get to lead in the old way, it’s gonna be a hard road for them because there’s a shortage and people are gonna get to pick where they wanna work, and that is just the facts. And I think what it’s gonna do is it’s gonna push some companies into a new place of leading, and I really hope that there’s some really positive things that come out of that through the hard times.

0:28:07.8 S1: So what are a couple of ways that you can just off the top of your head that you can tell businesses that it would be better going forward in their leadership style and working with their employees. So

0:28:23.7 S2: I think it depends on your business, your atmosphere, all of those things, but if you’re in a situation where you would like everyone to come back to work, maybe you’re an organization who never had flex time, you were 100% in person, you never did anything virtual but you were forced to figure it out, then I would look at what would work for the organization and what would work for the employees, and it doesn’t have to be 100% when for the organization, it doesn’t have to be 100% win for the employee, but even if it was a 70, 30, 70% of what the organization needs and 30% of what the employee needs, then that employee is gonna show up and deliver better than that 70% that you’ve asked for, and I’m not saying 70% at work, like actual production or your job capabilities, but that piece, that extra stuff around what we’re supposed to do it, that high collaboration, that high initiative innovation, when people aren’t worried about the stuff, they can use their brain energy to really drive your business. And it’ll be interesting, and I think that having conversations…

0:29:32.8 S2: I think one of the things that I’m seeing a lot right now on a trend as people are scared to have conversations or scared to say something that might offend someone, they’re scared to say something that’s not right, and that causes all of these assumptions and animosity and when we sat down and just have really good conversations about, Tell me what’s important to you, what are your dreams, what are your goals… When you think about coming back to work, what are the three things you’re excited about, what’s the challenge, and how can I help you look through that.

0:30:06.0 S1: And having those conversations and not being scared of them, I think is really key, and you know you mentioned something that I don’t think anyone does any business that I know of is asking people, yeah, what are your goals? Because so many times we have goals for the employee, okay, well, you need to get this done, that done, or you should do this training, that training, very seldom. Our employees ask, what are your goals? What is it that you want to achieve? And are they given the opportunity to actually do it because sometimes… And what I find is sometimes the employee has goes that maybe don’t necessarily fit a business goal, but it’s a personal goal that they would like to attain, and that it’s not so far reaching that like you said, if they could accomplish that, they would show up as a better employee.

0:30:58.8 S2: Yeah, and it’s even small stuff like say that person, I’m gonna do something really kind of not trivial, but just small, like say someone’s like, You know what, I always wanted to figure out how to be a stand-up comedian. I don’t know, something like that. Well, you think about that, if you encourage them to do that, you encourage them to go to improv classes, you encourage them to get comfortable on the stage, all of those skills they’re learning will help them at work, it’ll help them improvise and problem solve, it’ll help them lead meetings better will help them get more comfortable having conversations or just talking with people, and so even when someone’s dreams are outside of the workplace, when you encourage them, all of those skills, competencies, energies, they’re transferable and they will start to show up in a positive way in the workplace. But we don’t ever talk about that. And again, it goes back to managing the whole person and not just managing the sliver of their life, right.

0:31:55.7 S1: And when do you actually think that we will get to that point where we’re managing the whole person, or are we still to this day and age, and for the foreseeable future, gonna be stuck managing how we’ve been managing for… I don’t know how many years now.

0:32:14.6 S2: I think it will be a slow process, and I think that… I know that young workers get a bad rap because they don’t it up, and I’m like, You got to please make the workplace better, all of… Yes. Yeah, and so we… Change happens through force, and change happens over time. And we also have to acknowledge progress, if there’s 100 million companies that never let anyone work from home, and half of those then do this flexible 80-20 time, that’s progress, and then when people get used to that and that feels normal, then we can add more than another company do it, who didn’t do it before, and I think because progress is really hard to recognize at the time, we give up and we get frustrated or we talk bad about it, we talk down on it, but progress is movement. And what I always love to be at the finish line overnight, he… Yeah, but I also, I’m not gonna give up on progress if there’s a chance to get there…

0:33:18.2 S1: Right. Oh my goodness. Yeah, that… It’s just so important. It’s just amazing how we just don’t get it, we don’t get it, and it makes… And then people wonder what this employee so bad… Well, I don’t think people wake up and say, I’m not gonna go to work and be a horrible employee today, there may be some, but the majority of people don’t want to because we do… We spend so much time at work, most people don’t wanna go to work and do a crappy job or feel like, Oh my God, this is just like trying to break around my ankle, so it just boggles my mind how leaders don’t see that and figure, okay, let me make this place as harmonious as possible so that I could get the best out of people in return, they get to be their best selves.

0:34:10.1 S2: Yeah, I had an experience with a client recently that just came to my mind as you said that, and they have a fantastic manager of their business, she is amazing, they love her, and she’s got a lot going on with her kids, and so she’s kinda having to take off here and there. And that’s kind of disruptive. And at first they were like, Oh, this is disruptive. And they were kind of thinking about that, and then they were like, but we wanna make this work. ’cause she’s fantastic. And so what they did is they went over to her and they said, Hey, we need you typically to work nine to five, but we know that being super mom is important to you, so if you would be open to it, we would move your ship to 80 to 230. And we would… Maybe every other party off, we would allow you to get your kids to school, your home to pick them up, and when you’re here, you’re focused instead of trying to do it all, so you’re doing a better job here, you’re getting to be the mom you wanna be… And it’s kind of a win-win for everyone.

0:35:14.0 S2: Would that work? And she was over the moon. She felt guilty ’cause she wasn’t with her kids when she wanted… She felt guilty when she was with her kids ’cause she wasn’t delivering on our work, and so through his simple conversation, we found a solution so that everyone won in some way, and that’s the kind of stuff that we don’t stop and think about to save our best employees

0:35:37.2 S1: Is so true. And like you say, you don’t think about it. We’re thinking about the bottom line, and of course, that’s important, but unless you have someone who’s happy to be there, you’re not gonna achieve your bottom line, so why not have someone who’s happy to come in and happy to work with you, and it’s the little things like that right there, that would have made my day because that would have let me know that, Okay, what I’m going through matters to you in return, and I’m pretty sure this person did the same thing in return, I’m gonna show up really 120 because you just worked with me on something that was very important to me, but it’s things like that, and I often talk about this, I get the story of how I had a second line supervisor who would see me and say, Hey, how are you doing your two boys? And I was like, I don’t have two boys, and he would ask me this all the time, and then pretty soon I got to the point where I was like, You know what, I’m not gonna even correct them because obviously it’s not important, him…

0:36:41.0 S1: And I don’t know where he got two boys from, I think somebody may have told him, but the fact that he didn’t care enough to vet that and then he didn’t listen when I said, I don’t have two boys, I just thought, You know what? He’s really a poor or a leader because that’s something that… It should matter to you. I mean, if you’re not gonna get it correct, just say, Well, how are your kids…

0:37:05.9 S2: I would take that better than you saying, How are your two boys and I’m going, I don’t have two boys, you should have these imaginary boys and give imaginary names like… Well, one and the Olympics one’s doing this. I think it would have been fun to mess with them and you don’t have a…

0:37:21.3 S1: Almost thought I was like, Oh, I should just buy a frame with the pictures in them and the

0:37:25.8 S2: Ones… Oh, these are my two boys. What is little things like that? That really show people how you are and what you think about them. Yeah, I talk to people about, How do you build engage teams, and the first step of engagement is getting to know your employees, and one of our academies, we have a building engaged team workshop. And one of the first things they do is they go out and they get questions, they kind of interview their employees, but it’s just to practice and start to get to know them, and I’ll never forget the first time we deploy that exercise, someone came back and they had someone that was on their succession plan and they planned on promoting in the next 90 days, and they sat down and they said, What do you wanna do, what are your dreams for your career… ’cause she was in nursing school. This was an operation position, and this leader had no idea she was a nursing school and she was graduating that semester and she was gonna go be a nurse, and he had her on the succession plan and was planning on promoting her in 90 days and talk about a disconnect.

0:38:31.7 S2: I mean, she was shown up for work, obviously doing a great job, she was on the assessing plan, he was clueless that she was a nursing school and she wanted to be a nurse. And I’ll never forget that moment when I was like, Okay, this exercise works. That is, that’s why we have to get to know people. You don’t know if they have two boys or no cost… We need to know it. If we’re planning to promote them in an operation position and they’re over here in nursing school… There’s just all this stuff going on that we need to know about our team. My goodness.

0:39:05.0 S1: Yeah. That’s like the epitome of, Yeah, you’re not knowing your team, and no one asks you don’t have to sit down and know every little detail of their life.

0:39:13.6 S2: But… No, that’s critical. Knowing that your employees going, nurses, ’cause that’s something

0:39:17.7 S1: That’s very demanding, and the fact that you don’t know that… Yeah, that really says something.

0:39:27.1 S2: Yeah, it was a good eye-opener. The whole room was like, Well, you know, it was that moment where people had those little light bulb that goes off like, Oh, maybe I should probably get to know my Penguin.

0:39:37.4 S1: That goes back to what you’re saying as far as asking what their goals are, because I’m pretty sure if that had been asked to her a year or two in advance, you would have said, You know what, I wanna be a nurse.

0:39:47.8 S2: Yeah, no, absolutely. So I wanna be a nurse, I’m gonna show up every day and do a great job, but at some point, this is what I’m gonna do, and I think also that old school knowledge of an ME higher employee, they’re gonna work for you forever. That is not how the world works right now. And turnover is expensive, retaining people is the objective, but there will be people who will do a great job for you in a set period of time, and that’s gonna have to get… Okay, with leaders. Yeah.

0:40:18.8 S1: And on that same note, what do you think, because I’m pretty sure she probably didn’t volunteer the information because she didn’t know how that was gonna come back at her, because a lot of times, employees don’t… They have these aspirations and dreams that don’t include being at the company for the rest of their lives, but they don’t wanna say that because they’re like, Okay, well, will that mean that they eventually eat… Let me go, Well, they decrease my work, what’s gonna happen? What do you think about that and how can businesses do better with that and… That there are people in that kind of position.

0:40:56.7 S2: You know, it’s a tough one. I think it’s tough for the employee, it’s stuff for the employer, I think as an employee, you have to know where you work and you have to be conscious to what could impact you and be conscious of what you share, but for employers, any time you support someone with their growth, you will get the benefit every time, and you’re gonna benefit maybe short term, long-term. I’ve seen organizations who support someone and say they have someone in position that’s probably not gonna leave for the next five years, and they’ve got a heavy hitter that want some experience, and if you said, You know what, let’s stay in contact. I will help you get that experience. And when this person retires, you’re gonna be the first person I call back, but letting them go and get a ton of experience knowing you might be able to call them back in a couple of years, you’re gonna get a great employer, you’re gonna get all this experience but people just look at this kind of like, These are my toys and don’t touch them and no one else can play with my team, and this protection which backfires on companies all the time.

0:42:04.7 S1: Oh, it. Yeah, that is so vital, and I think more companies need to understand that and realize that because again, it’s a win-win, it’s a win-win for the employer, is win-win for the employee, but again, that’s the old style leadership. We don’t look at it that way. Oh my goodness. So we’re gonna go into the question ’cause I’m on a topic that I am on a role and you and a rope can talk forever about this, but

0:42:35.6 S2: We gotta move. So are you ready for your questions? I am. Okay.

0:42:41.7 S1: Who or what motivates you?

0:42:46.9 S2: Life, I really just love living, I just… I wish I could live 500 years and see how the world evolves, but I just love getting up every day and living…

0:42:59.5 S1: What de-motivates you?

0:43:03.3 S2: What de-motivates me is when people give up fast or when people don’t see progress, and so they just stop when they have so much potential.

0:43:14.8 S1: When was a time that something was said or done to hurt you, but I work for your good…

0:43:21.6 S2: Oh gosh, I think all feedbacks like that, right. I think I got feedback very early in my career from a wonderful supervisor around my sense of detail of his in a detail, and she really helped me learn how to manage it in the way that I was productive. And that was great.

0:43:39.3 S1: What is your fear?

0:43:42.9 S2: Oh, my fear is not doing enough, my fear is not using the gifts I was given and just making sure that I can really make an impact on the world.

0:43:55.1 S1: Is there a time when you wish you had done something that you did…

0:44:02.0 S2: Yes, absolutely. I think that I live in a very inner city neighborhood. And it took me a few years to figure out how to help people who needed help. And I wish I had helped me, I wish I had the maturity and the understanding to help more people earlier.

0:44:19.6 S1: Is there a time and you wish you had not done something… Oh gosh.

0:44:25.9 S2: I’m sure there’s something upset over the life, I’m sure there’s things I’ve said, especially when I didn’t know what I know today about the brain, I’ve said a lot of things that sparked fear, not knowing, and I wish I would not have said those things, what is your definition of success? My definition of success is that whatever you want is what you go out and get, and no two people could ever define success the same, and so my definition is, if that person has what they want and that’s a success, I

0:45:00.8 S1: That… How do you recharge?

0:45:05.2 S2: Play with my dogs. I have a whole pack of rescue dogs and just sit on the porch through the ball and just relax with the dogs.

0:45:14.6 S1: What do you… Awesome at

0:45:18.8 S2: What I also… I feel like I’m really good at allowing people space without judgment… That’s good.

0:45:27.9 S1: What legacy do you want to leave? It’s a hard one.

0:45:32.8 S2: Right? I wanted… My legacy I wanna leave is that I was a good friend, and I was a good steward of the communities in which I touched…

0:45:44.8 S1: Give the listeners one motivational take

0:45:48.1 S2: Away. What motivational takeaway? Alright, so what I would say is, Fear is only a chemical reaction, there is no truth to it other than the truth you give it, and so when you are in fear of doing something, just take a deep breath and go out there and do it.

0:46:05.2 S1: And I like that, tell the listeners how they can connect with you if they want to work with their company or whatever else you have going on.

0:46:15.9 S2: So you can connect with us on our website at 304coaching.com, you can connect with us on our YouTube channel Jen Thornton 304coaching.com, and also on LinkedIn.

0:46:27.6 S1: Wow, gen, I really thank you for being on the show with me today, I love what you’re doing. You need to just get out and spread that all over because you know, and I was talking to someone else and just to digress a little bit, but they were saying how people get promoted to leadership positions, but there’s really no training for leaders, so… Yeah, so you need to go out and help all of these issue leadership.

0:46:58.6 S2: Well, thank you. I get up every day and I love what I do, and you really can teach people how to be fantastic leaders if you slow down enough to do it.

0:47:07.8 S1: If you like to in a top podcast, please don’t forget to go out to iTunes and rate it five stars and leave a review. Also, who else in your life do you know that needs some motivation and inspiration in their lives, don’t forget to share train of… Talk with them. I hope you have a great week. And remember, if you change your mindset, you can change your life, keep striving, because success is a journey, not a destination.


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