Business & Talent Strategy

0:00:05.4 S1: Welcome to Savvy, Booked, and Blessed, a podcast for bold female leaders making bold moves. I’m your host, founder and CEO of Pro Savvy Strategic Performance Agency. Stick around to the end of the show. Reveal how you can be our next… Let’s get started.

0:00:25.4 S2: I welcome to savvy book and blessed. In this episode, we have the founder of 304 Coaching Jennifer Thornton. Jennifer 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. Jennifer developed her expertise in talent strategy and leadership professional development during over her 20-plus year career as an HR professional, she’s led international teams across Greater China, Mexico, the UK and the US, to expand into new markets, managing franchise retailers and developing key strategic partnerships. All all exceeding business objectives and financial results. Hi Jennifer. Hello and thanks for having me.

0:01:13.4 S2: Oh yeah, thanks for joining. Okay, HR. So not just HR, but a lot of things. So I think a lot of people when they’re thinking of HR, they’re like, you go into a room and there’s someone sitting across the table or in charge of the thing, maybe finger wagging, maybe super boring training videos, which.

0:01:32.8 S1: Are all important and we need all of those things… We tell us a little bit more about what you do and how do you save your clients. So I have a unique look at HR and… Are there people out there that do all those things? Unfortunately, absolutely, but I started my career on the operation side of the business, so I have always looked at your talent as a way to deliver the business results, if you have all of these business goals and all of these ambitions, if you don’t have the right people around you, you don’t lead them correctly, then none of that can come true, and so I’ve always looked at HR as a strategy, it’s a talent strategy, and looking at that talent strategy, and that’s how I work with my clients today, it is, what is your business objectives? What do we need to do to make those come true? And I know all of us were taught how to make business plans and all the financials and how are you gonna do all of this, but nowhere do they ever say, What’s your talent strategy? And that is the only way of making that business objectives, those business plans come to life is for the people…

0:02:39.1 S2: Yeah, so when you say talent, talent strategy, what’s your talent… What are you saying in that… Like you play that a little bit more.

0:02:49.5 S1: There’s a lot in there, it’s a lot of different spices to make the sauce, I guess, and you have to start with what your company culture is, how you want to work with each other, you have to start to decide who you hire, why you hire them, how will those individuals work together, that’s more important than ever today, because people have different expectations around in-person remote and blended working styles. So if you have a strong opinion of this is how we’ll always work together, then you’ve got to… For people who want to work that way, so there’s all of those types of things, then it goes into how do you continuously develop people, and how do you ensure that everyone on your team is able to contribute… They feel good, they’re able to contribute with innovation and really do it without fear, and be able to think or be able to know that they’re making a difference every single day, and that’s why people stay at jobs, they wanna do good work, and I wanna make a difference.

0:03:49.6 S2: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Wow, have you seen how you’re in practices on both ends, being the person coming in, the employee employer, switch over the last three years, I feel like it’s been a major, or would assume there’s been a major shift in maybe what people are looking for and who they’re wanting to work for, and then also the types of people that they wanna bring in.

0:04:16.4 S1: So we’ve definitely seen a switch over the last two to three years, those switches were coming, those were noises that we were starting to hear, it was a hand force because of our situation with covid, and so all of the things that people were really wanting, but may be afraid to ask or didn’t know how it work, or we had leaders who thought it wouldn’t work and guess what it does work. And so all of those things started to happen in a way that was out of necessity, but often times out of necessity, you find new ways of working that are incredibly productive and really allows you to create a workforce that’s important to you. I think the other thing that is coming to fruition, and a lot of leaders either aren’t understanding it or aren’t necessarily excited about adapting it or haven’t thought about it, is really looking more at your workforce as… Not all full-time employees, oftentimes we think, Well, we need three full-time employees, I’ll just say the word is just three, but then… But there’s enough work that’s unique that you really need like seven or eight different experts, and so if you hire three people and they can do one or things when you’re asking them to do three or four things that they don’t know how to do, they are…

0:05:29.1 S1: No good at it. So half the time they’re disappointing themselves in you, that happens too often, and so really starting to look at who needs to be full-time, maybe you have someone that’s a contractor or someone part-time, and starting to look at your workforce and a lot more of a creative lens, and thinking about the work in a new way so that you can find the people to do it. And the success is there.

0:05:54.3 S2: Yeah, I really like that. I think everyone can relate to a time when you’re working, you’re wearing too many hats, and that really shouldn’t be wearing, you have no business wearing or It’s too much to take on, or even sounds like you just don’t like doing… And so I like that there’s more encouragement for leadership to bring on strategic people working in their genius, working in there, of course, there’s gotta be reflex ability and take on different things depending on what’s going on with the business, but I really like to see that culture that culture shift that seems to be happening.

0:06:35.7 S1: And there’s people out there now that we’re working for themselves or they’re working on a contract basis, so when we have always like to done that maybe so, but there wasn’t people that really had the ability to maybe have three different people they work for, but only to what they were good at it, because so many people are taking the opportunity to do a single entrepreneur or contract work, and again, opens up all this flexibility that we’ve never had before between technology through forcing our hand of just economy and things that are going on in around us, there’s all these new ways of looking at work that we’ve never been able to think about in the past.

0:07:16.2 S2: Yeah, definitely, you mentioned just also, one thing you mentioned was creating a culture where people feel like they can take ownership in their positions, and then also maybe communicate any changes or anything like that. I have… How do you coach your teams to foster that type of environment?

0:07:39.6 S1: It’s such a great question. One of the things that we’ve been taught through best practices of leadership, it’s very fear-based, I own the ion information, an I on the power, you will either make me happy or you will disappoint me, and it’s this idea that leadership is this very top-heavy, but if you don’t do a good job, you’ll lose your job, this fear base where we have to be perfectionist all the time, and straight A students, we’re in trouble, and there’s a lot of reasons why that is and why that’s kind of happened over the history of leadership, but well, what happens is that creates a lot of fear and your employees… And it’s the fear of failure, the fear of not wanting to try something new, ’cause it might not be good, a fear of getting in trouble. There’s all this fear that we have in the workplace, but what would we have to know is from a neurological standpoint, the more fear in, the less access you have to your prefrontal cortex, which is for all the good stuff happens, your innovation, you’re emotional control, you’re problem solving. And so as a leader, if you’re installing fear through the way you leave to the language, then you’re closing down people’s ability to be innovative and problem-solving, really enjoy their job.

0:08:56.3 S1: And so, too often, we have people who, through our language have told people, I don’t wanna hear your new ideas, they shoot them down all the time, and so then all of a sudden they’re complaining, no one’s bringing me new ideas anymore, no one shares anything with me anymore, and I’m like, Well, that’s because you’ve taught them that that’s not a good idea, and so it’s just so much out there that we don’t necessarily always think about, but if you want a team sharing their ideas, they’re sharing their opinions, are really engaged, then you have to learn how to lead without fear.

0:09:27.8 S2: Yeah, how would you… ’cause I think a majority of leaders, they didn’t choose or sought out to be that type of leader, something happened to me, balls were dropped, stress, fear, all the traumas that we all have that lead us to not the best behaviors that we don’t even wanna own. So what are some maybe tips, tricks, tools that you encourage for these types of leaders who are like, I don’t wanna be like this, but I can’t stop… How would you encourage them to… Yeah, to shift that culture within their team to allow for more collaborative communication.

0:10:08.0 S1: The first thing you have to do is you have to deal with your own fear, we are fear-based animals, we’re always gonna have a sense of fear, and that’s okay because that’s how we were built, but as a leader, if you’re not managing your own fear then you can’t lead in a four-less environment as long as you have your personal fear, it’s gonna come out of you, and just like you said, sometimes someone feels like too many balls were dropped, and so now they’re really clamping down on things… Yeah, ’cause they’re in fear that it’s gonna be wrong or they’re in fear, they’re gonna get in trouble because their team didn’t do it right, and so that’s the first piece of it, is really checking your own fear and say, What am I fearful of… Why am I telling myself these stories that things are going to go wrong, maybe it did go wrong, and so this time it needs to go right, so for it to go right. What has to be done differently? So instead of being upset or on, people really come at it from, Well, we know what doesn’t work, because last time it did not go well, so now this time, let’s talk about it going right, and let’s talk about what it would take for it to go right.

0:11:16.4 S1: Just by changing your language of What would it take for this to go Right, changes the chemicals in your mind if you walked in and said, Last time we got this wrong, so we can’t get it wrong this time… Everyone better get it together. Everyone’s like, Oh, okay. Or if you say, Hey, if we want… If this was to happen and it were to pull this off with just amazing success, what will we have to do to make that happen? You can see that just a slight language changes makes a difference, work is the same, but how we interpret that and how we respond to it and our level of innovation changes completely.

0:11:55.3 S2: Yeah, absolutely, definitely, yeah, going into a space that is changing that mindset, open for success, can just change the energy within yourself, of course, and everyone in the room, so they’re already starting in a space of like, Yes, it’s all gonna go right, and if things go wrong, we’ll figure it out because we know how to, but not already, I guess calling that in before it even starts… Yeah, which really… Totally makes sense. So for those who are maybe on the other end out looking for jobs, wanting to align a little bit more in their own personal or ethics is have a workplace… They wanna be in any of those things. What are some things that you would share with them to maybe help them either identify if a business is right for them, or even how to beef up their resume, if there’s any changes that have happened in the last few years, how would you… Just preparing them to showcase their talents better. So I think they’re with two things.

0:13:02.5 S1: So one, if you’re trying to find a company that fits you and how you wanna work, because you can do the same job in three different companies, and even though the job descriptions are exactly the same, it is three very different jobs, because of how that company works, so one of the questions I like to teach people to ask their potential supervisor is, Tell me about your best relationship at work, and why does it work and what makes it work? Not a question most people get asked, so they’re not gonna have a stock answer, the person’s going to have to think, and you’ll start to see what they expect, what do they expect around people is that you know we have a great relationship? Because we’ve always been honest with each other, is it… We have a great relationship because we can depend on each other, you start to learn what’s important to that leader, and then you start to decide… Is that how you want to work? Is that what you want? You can also ask a question around, Tell me about a difficult relationship you have and why is it difficult, and then you can start to see the differences of what that person does well and what that person doesn’t…

0:14:09.6 S1: If they talk about a difficult relationship and they say, Well, gosh, they’re always just… They’re always just trying to change things or come up with something new, and it just sometimes gets noisy when maybe that person doesn’t like change, that person doesn’t like things to be different, guess what, if you’re a big person to change, that’s not the right bus for you. So I think that’s the piece is really talking to this potential employer, it is a relationship, you have to interview them from a relationship standpoint, ’cause that’s when you do your good work now to showcase your talents and to make sure that you feel good going into an interview, one of the things I like to think about is, what value do you bring to the organization? Now, we get asked that all the time, but I wanna think about it in a deeper way. So for example, if someone is highly creative when it comes problem-solving than what they are worth and what they bring to the table is the ability to manage change, the ability to look for alternative solutions when things are difficult, and so it’s kind of this exercise you do in your head like, What do I bring to the table? But what is that worth to an organization, and then when you go into the interview, your mind’s gonna know what you’re worth, and you’re gonna have all those ideas top of mind to discuss when the interview starts to go.

0:15:28.6 S2: Yeah, I really like that the more challenging questions to the employer, I feel like that could get a little spicy and provocative and just really showcase, I’m like, Ooh, I don’t love that. That’s triggering, maybe something in me, if something ever experienced in the past that you may not find out until six months down the line or something on the flip end, something that you realize that you really need in a leader that maybe again, you didn’t experience in the past or something or something that helps you to grow past where you’re at, that you find to be really helpful and encouraging… Yeah, really like that. So you talk a little bit about the Talent Cliff, if I have that, correct. Tell us a little bit more about that.

0:16:16.2 S1: So that’s talent Cliff. This happens all too often, especially a new company startups and fast-growing organizations, that kind of collective group. So what happens is when there is a new idea that someone’s gonna sell a new service or a widget, they come up with this idea and it gets off the ground and starts going, and typically can get off the ground and start going really quickly, if it’s a fast curing company, it’s because the people who are starting the organization, those first people are heavy hitters, there are people who are experts in what they do, and their skill set is more than what the business may need at that time. Maybe they have the ability to come up with the idea. And so they’re still in their first phases, so the counting is not difficult or you’re not leading a ton of people, there are things that just aren’t difficult, and so they’re able to get going… Well, then all of a sudden it takes off and they’re like, Oh well, now I’ve got to make sure that my supply chain is this and my pricing is this, and they start really focusing in on the business.

0:17:16.4 S1: So it continues to grow, but what happens too often, and what creates the talent Cliff is that we focus 100% on the service or the widget and not the talent that’s going to deliver it, and so all of a sudden the business just takes off and now the business is at a place where the skill set of the team can no longer manage it, and I see this happen all the time, and it’s always heartbreaking when you see a business outpace the skills or are the people that are running it. And when that happens, typically the leaders go into fear because they’re like, What am I gonna do, and they get upset with everyone and it’s everyone’s fault, and then when fear sets in, were also highly directive, so we’re shutting down new ideas and innovation. Your best people will not work underneath that and they will start to leave, and as your best people start to leave your organization, your cells are right behind it and everything goes off the cliff, and your business typically falls off with it. Yeah, Gary. Yeah, it happens all the time. And it’s heartbreaking, just so heartbreaking because if we put as much work into our teams and creating or the team that is always their skill sets, always a smudge higher than what the business means, that’s how you grow, but when the business needs are higher than the skills, I’ll just crash the company.

0:18:42.5 S2: I like that having people that are a little bit forward thinking, forward working, skill set and prepared for that. Yeah, so what other tips would you give for our businesses to avoid that from the beginning, what type of maybe conversations in the strategic planning would you suggest for them from the beginning to avoid that horrible CII.

0:19:07.9 S1: Think for the leaders of that organization? They have to get really honest about what they’re good at and what they are not, and even if they’re okay at it, don’t do it, stay in a place where you’re doing what you are the best at, and you’re allowing entrusting experts around you. And then as the business starts to develop, when you’re putting energy into your surface and you’ve put… If you’re putting 50000 one day and it’s X amount of hours and you don’t spend any of that money or time on your people, that’s where it goes to always have a percentage of your business that goes to developments, have a culture. We’re growing and learning is super cool, if the leaders are always talking about what they’ve learned or a book they read, or a podcast or a conference, or just, Hey, I screwed this up, but then I figured it out when the leaders just talk about learning and developing and growing that, it makes it kind of cool for everyone else to also be doing that as shows, it’s okay not to know it all, but we’re all growing together, and that’s the type of leadership you have to show up with, if you want some…

0:20:18.8 S1: An innovative growth mindset team. Yeah.

0:20:21.4 S2: I love that, I love that it’s… I could totally see that happening all the time and being heartbreaking, ’cause then what do you do you’re scrambling to find people, maybe not having the the proper mindset to find the right people, you’re just trying to find someone to fill space, and then it just ends up being kind of maybe cyclical stress where things aren’t handled properly… Yeah, yeah.

0:20:48.8 S1: And stressed, once you get into that stress mode, it’s so hard to get out of it, just more stress creates more stress creates more, and as an organization and you’re leading it, when you start to see people with that little bit of frazzled, if they’re a smoke there will eventually be fire. And as soon as you start to see a little bit of a frazzled, you’ve got to put a pause on what’s going on and really starting to think about… And I’ve got the right talent. Am I giving them the tools they need? Are they doing the right jobs and making sure that they are protected to ensure that they can deliver the business results…

0:21:24.2 S2: Yeah, definitely. What is something in your job and jobs and working with people and the work that you do that really just like you up like when you’re having these types of conversations or when you see these types of results and you’re just like, Yep, that’s exactly what I’m doing. This share some of those things that happen with you. Oh.

0:21:46.2 S1: My gosh, just thinking about that lights me up when I get to work with an executive or any leader at any level, really, and they start to wake up in the morning and feel confident, and they start to notice the change in themselves, and then they start to notice the change around them as individuals, and we change, we change first, but it takes a while for everyone around us to change to who we currently are, who are we coming… And so when you see someone who’s maybe struggled with leading a team in a difficult situation, but then all of a sudden difficult situation shows up and they don’t go into fear, they into solutions and innovation and helping that team get through it, and they are able to get through it. I think as an executive coach, that’s what lights me up when I see people achieving their goals and feeling confident, and there’s nothing worse than getting out of the bed and not feeling good about what you do, and so knowing when someone gets up and says, You know no matter what, my job will throw up me today, I can handle it, then I think that’s great.

0:22:56.3 S1: And then the other cool thing about that is when you feel good about the work you’re doing, you’re better to your family, you’re better to your friends, you’re better to your community, your Potter to yourself, and so feeling confident at work isn’t just about that, it’s about creating a life in which you feel better with everyone that you work around or live around…

0:23:16.6 S2: Yeah, absolutely, I love that. Okay, so we’re gonna get into the speed round, I typically do at the end, these are just fun question, just a little… A little bit more about you. Okay, so first question, What is a book or a podcast or something that you’ve read over maybe the last year that still sits with you that you really enjoyed.

0:23:43.2 S1: So it probably won’t be your typical answer, it’s a historical fiction book, it’s called The personal librarian, and I look at historic fiction as such a great way to think about living your life in it ’cause there, there’s always the crisis and something someone’s learned, and so I’ll read the historical fiction over your typical leadership book, any day. Yeah, the personal librarian is a true story. And it is phenomenal.

0:24:10.9 S2: Cool, that’s a good one. I like that. How do you take care of yourself? In Mind, Body soul.

0:24:17.5 S1: I would say I’m not great at that, but I should be better. But what I always do and never forget is to spend time with my friends and laugh and encourage each other, and feel like no matter what… There’s someone by my side.

0:24:34.1 S2: Yeah, I that… And I recently just won the lottery, and I’m like, I have to give my friend 10000 in a plane ticket to wherever she would like to go. Where are you going and how are you spending the money?

0:24:48.8 S1: Oh, I’m going to anchor Wat in Cambodia. Okay, why there? It’s on my bucket list. A place I’ve always wanted to go, I just seemed to feel very connected to ancient Asian colonies and the history there is some of the oldest places in the world that humans existed, and I’ve just always wanted to go see anchor what…

0:25:13.4 S2: Cool, and then, how are you spending the 10000?

0:25:16.8 S1: Oh, how I’m in a spend it when I get there. Well, applying ticket, but I leadership in a 100000 that I would find the local non-profits, I would more than likely find something that would help young women be successful in their life, and then I would also… ’cause I am a huge advocate for animal health, and so I would find another one that I could help around animals.

0:25:41.9 S2: All of that. Perfect, so if anyone’s listening and they are like, We need your help, please help me with all the things of… Where can they find you?

0:25:54.1 S1: You can find me at, you can find me on LinkedIn at Jen Thornton ACC, and then I also have a YouTube channel with lots of tips and tricks, say this, not that, to help you with the language of neuroscience, and that is at 304 Coaching.

0:26:09.2 S2: Awesome, thank you so much, Janis. Great chatting with you. Thank you, it was a lot of fun. Alright, have a good one.

0:26:20.7 S1: I’m listening to Savvy, Booked, and Blessed. If you are a successful six to seven-figure female entrepreneur would like to be on this program, please visit podcast, Boas dot com, podcast says if you got something out of this interview, would you share this episode on social media, just do a quick screenshot on your phone, it takes a two trend or posted on the socials, if you know someone that would be a great astounding them into Hamdi and let them know about the show and include hashtag says I love seeing your posts and I love your destour regularly putting out new episodes and content, to make sure you don’t miss out on any episodes, go ahead and subscribe, give your thumbs up, ratings and reviews to definitely do lingerie the show. It means a lot to me in my teletext.

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