Talent, Teamwork and Results

0:00:00.2 S1: Courage to Lead, episode 73.

0:00:03.6 S2: Your listening to the IB4E coaching podcast.

0:00:11.9 S1: Brought to you by IB4E coaching business coaching for executives, entrepreneurs and small business professionals, learn more at IB4E-coaching.com. Hey, Coach Harlan, welcome back to the podcast. Hope you guys are having a great week. I’m having a great week and I’m excited to introduce you to my guest today. Please help me welcome Jennifer Thornton. Jennifer is a sought-after business strategist, specializing in startups and large value-based organizations, she’s developed her expertise and talent strategy and leadership professional development over her exciting 20-plus year career as an HR professional. Jen assists her clients with building talent strategies that complement their business strategies to ensure exponential growth, Jen has led international teams across Greater China, Mexico, the UK and the US, expanding into new markets, managing franchise retailers and developing key strategic partnerships, all 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. Jen lives in Texas with her family and rescues, which we’re definitely gonna talk about. In her free time she enjoys reading historic preservation, remodeling her Lake home and spending time with friends.

0:01:37.8 S1: Or welcome to the show.

0:01:39.6 S2: Thank you for having me. It’s gonna be a fun time. It’s gonna be great.

0:01:43.7 S1: We’re gonna stop everything and we’re gonna talk about rescues, tell me about your issue.

0:01:48.4 S2: Oh go, Gosh, well, how many shows can we do talking about all the roses. So I have a soft spot for any animal that needs a home, and if a dog or cat has a large that bill coming their way, they usually find my front porch, I think there’s like the sign that can’t read, it says that Bill stop here. But we have four rescue dogs we have found or have found us or any of the other… We foster… Every month I contribute to all different rescue groups, and it’s just a huge part of who we are, we love… We love all animals.

0:02:26.8 S1: That is awesome. Yeah, my wife and I both love animals. Dogs, especially if we had our way… We would have a ranch. Just full of dogs. I think that would be a total… Be fun. Very cool. And a good place to do it is in Texas. So we had down there. Who knows? Alright, I definitely wanna talk about this, how you got your start, how you started through four Coaching, the work that you’re doing now. But before we get started, I have some questions and I ask all of my guests. These are questions made popular on the television show Inside the Actors Studio where host James Lipton asked these questions of his Hollywood elite, and if they’re good enough for those folks, they’re certainly good, but for my guests. So if you’re ready, I have some questions for you. By Eurasian number one. What is your favorite word? Humanity, what is your least favorite word? Now, what turns you on?

0:03:25.2 S2: I think a spirit that can conquer anything or look at anything, it’s just the opportunity to figure something out, I love that, that just openness to trying anything and just take life and live all of its challenges with grace.

0:03:43.7 S1: And what turns you off?

0:03:47.4 S2: Just probably the opposite of that. Something or situations where people just just kind of fell victim and talk like a victim or act like they’re not in control or blame others… I know. That’s ever fun.

0:04:01.5 S1: Absolutely. What sound or noise do you love?

0:04:05.4 S2: Oh, let’s see, I can hear my dogs barking in the background right now, which I actually love my dogs, but probably laughter the most.

0:04:14.6 S1: And what sound or noise do you hate…

0:04:18.6 S2: Anything that’s related to pain, I hate seeing anyone in pain… Yeah.

0:04:24.3 S1: What is your favorite curse word?

0:04:27.3 S2: I love this question. I usually say it is like what some… What? So I never say it from a bad standpoint, it’s always my like, Oh my gosh, version, very…

0:04:41.3 S1: You number at what profession other than your own… Would you like to attempt?

0:04:47.9 S2: Probably something artistic, like I wish I had more artistic abilities, if I could be a singer or a painter or a writer, I’d love to have some magical skills that I don’t have around the arts.

0:05:01.2 S1: And what profession would you not like to attempt anything.

0:05:05.9 S2: Medical at blows my mind… That’s a lot to remember. And a lot of big words I could never say.

0:05:10.2 S1: Exactly, exactly. I have the penmanship down though. So that’s easy. Alright, finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

0:05:22.4 S2: Welcome. And let’s have a good time.

0:05:24.4 S1: Awesome, let’s have a good time. Alright, we’re gonna have a good time talking about your background, how you got started, learn more about your career, 304 Coaching, and probably talk more about rescues too, and we’ll get to that right after this. So stick with us. Imagine having a trusted group of CEOS in your disposal, imagine having your very own Peer advisory team, you could work you through the problems and questions in your business before you had to make those difficult decisions. Imagine you had a group of advisors that had your back and met for the sole purpose of making you successful in your business, what would you be able to accomplish then? Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore, you can have that hand more when you join my business success master Miro, join my business success mastermind group today. Learn more at Iveco aching dot com, mastermind. And we are back with my guest, Jennifer Thornton. Thank you very much for joining us today, and glad you could be on the podcast. So tell me a little bit about how you got started. Did you grow up learning to be an air professional, or did you just kind of fall into it?

0:06:36.7 S2: I fell into it, I actually grew… It was growing up and wanted to work with them all… We won’t talk about my age, but back then, malls were pretty darn cool and the only place to shop, so that’s what I wanted to do is I love fashion, I love the sense of community, and I just really enjoy hanging out at the mall, but… Good news, dreams come true. And I got a job at the mall, and that started my retail career, you gotta start somewhere, and so I worked on the operations side of retail for half of my corporate career, doing all types of different roles and leadership positions, and then the second half of my career, I actually went into HR and it made a ton of sense. It was definitely who I was and what I was probably meant to do, because I always got my results from an operation standpoint, because I was really passionate about the team, I was passionate about who I hire, the dynamics, I put together the accountability of the team. Do a lot of retailers, KPIS is everything we can’t breathe without measuring something, and that’s just who we are as retailers, but most people did it from a competition standpoint, or this need to be number one.

0:07:49.5 S2: And for me, when I had those results, it was because I could assimilate this team and bring them together and figure them out, and so through years of really practicing that craft around talent strategy and driving business through talent strategy, there was a position in HR and the company was like, Hey, I know this is completely different, but what if you came over here and tried a few things, and I was like, Sure, I’ll give it a world. Why not? And so that’s when I went into HR and I did a ton of positions in that HR realm and eventually leading an international HR team around the world, so it was a pretty good career switch. Very cool.

0:08:30.7 S1: And then how long did you do that?

0:08:33.5 S2: Oh my gosh, I was in a corporate HR role for probably, I don’t know, 10, 12 years, and I did the International for about five, which again, was kind of one of those whims or… I got a phone call and the chief HR officer, I was like, Hey, you wanna move to Hong Kong for a few months? And I’m like, What you want me to… You, when I get there and he’s like, Figure it out. And I’m like, Okay. So off I went to Hong Kong, we had purchased some of our franchise stores back and made them own and operated, so I went to Hong Kong to kind of figure out what was going on, what was the kind of a crew of people that became life-long friends, that went well, and then I started working in international HR and going into new countries where we were setting up shop and starting all of that while maintaining the markets we were already open in. So it was exciting. It was a ton of fun. It looked amazing on Instagram. A little tiring was only a little bit of jet lag, and.

0:09:28.1 S1: That is a little bit… But HR is… There’s a lot more THR than just dealing with employees hiring and firing, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on there. Did you have to learn all the legal ins and outs for all those countries you were working in?

0:09:42.3 S2: I did, but with HR, it’s all about… Because it is somewhat of a generalist role, and I was definitely in a general situation, so it’s about understanding who their partners are and how to leverage partners, and that’s what… Any leadership position is, you have to know what you’re good at, and I think for top leaders, when you look at great skills for our leaders today, those that are fantastic at building partnerships and knowing how to deploy those partnerships are really successful and… Yeah, I had to know the basics. But we had great partners, I hired great teams, and we had plenty of attorneys to keep us busy like any good company, but it’s interesting, when you travel around the world and you think about how they look at employment and protecting employees, and then you go to the next country, they have a different view on it. You come home to America and you’re like, Well, this is really different from what I’ve been used to. Especially when I worked in Europe and there was so much to offer employees and I’d come back to the US and our benefits were obviously very different, so it was fascinating to see how different cultures viewed employment and the responsibility of employment.

0:10:54.8 S1: Yeah, what was the most interesting thing? You found out which country, so.

0:11:00.8 S2: Did you know… Here’s some fun facts. In Hong Kong, if you don’t ensure that your employee takes their statutory 10 days of vacation a year, you can be criminally liable and go to jail. Wow. Yeah, so kids out there, if you’re in Hong Kong, take your vacation to take your vacations. Take your vacation days. Yeah. A little fun fact there, I got a whole bunch of them, but I… Astonishment law in America.

0:11:28.1 S1: No, we don’t. Annotate should. Very cool. And then you started your coaching practice… Tell me about 304 coaching.

0:11:37.5 S2: So after doing international position for several years, I knew there was something more, I really wanted to focus more on that talent strategy and kind of find my voice in that, and I’d always said I would never start my own business, how could I wasn’t this… I wasn’t that… But when I started working internationally and for a big, large global retailer, I could be dropped off in a foreign country and figure out… I was like, You know what, I’ve probably figured it out if I had to, and so I was just at that point in my age, my career, where I was ready for something different. We had some big changes in my corporate job, and it’s just one of those perfect storms, and so I thought, You know what, I’m gonna take what I love most, and that is really helping teams come together, create incredible business results, help organizations understand that their business results only become reality when they’ve been fantastic teams and start working on that as my focus and the rest is history, in fact, today makes our four-year anniversary. Awesome, happy numbers.

0:12:43.5 S1: That is great, thank you. And where did you come up with the name? 304.

0:12:48.7 S2: So, you know, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And I got a phone call from someone I used to work with, and she knew I was going out on my own. And she knew what I was gonna do, and so she calls me like, I don’t know, late afternoon one day and says, I need you in here tomorrow morning, 90 am pitched to my CEO, he wants to hire a coach for our entire executive C-Suite, and I was like, I don’t even have a name. I’m still working at my job… I don’t know. And she’s like, Just figure it out. And I’m like, Alright, right. And so that night I’m on Canva trying to make a logo, I’m trying to make up a name for this company that’s still just in my mind, and I didn’t want anything kind of cheesy, I just wanted something different, and 3004’s always been my lucky number, it’s a combination of dates, and so I was like, Well, I’ll go with my lucky number and see what happens, and obviously since today is our anniversary, so far, so good.

0:13:40.1 S1: Good job. That is awesome. So this situation we’re in right now, thanks to covid and the lockdown and everything like that, the environment’s kinda changed a little bit, a lot of the clients I have are struggling to find and attract and hire and retain great employees. Is there a secret formula that they should know about how do you help companies that are struggling like this?

0:14:06.8 S2: It is, there’s a lot of moving parts right now with our employment base in the United States, and there are a ton of external factors, and they are everything from people retiring early, dropping out, homeschooling, immigration at all term time, low health concerns. I could go on and on, but all of those things have added up to do an employee shortage, and I know as an employer that is no fun, I know it’s really hard to find great talent and everyone’s fighting over that same poll of great talent, but what’s gonna happen, and what is happening is it’s forcing us as leaders to really think about who we are, think about how we treat people and think about what is truly our mission as an organization, and in today’s world, we’ve over the years, talked poorly towards millennials, like they have to have a purpose and they just can’t go do their job well, good for them like, yeah, if I’m going out of bed, I wanna make a difference. But what we’re seeing is that belief of making a difference through our changes over the last couple of years is actually through everyone, and so I think for organizations, if you want to retain people, you have to give them purpose, you have to give them a voice.

0:15:19.6 S2: You have to be supportive of their growth, and if you want to track top talent, you have to have an environment where people, again, can use their voice and grow as humans and really look at humanity, which is one of my favorite words, as we already talked about, look at humanity in a different way, and I always talk about, I don’t want Teamwork, I think teamwork kinda lame. Teamwork is really just some people willing to show up and do their job, and that’s not that exciting, but linkage… The language I like to use is linkage, ’cause if you think of a chain, the bigger lines longer it gets in that stronger it gets. And linkage is really thinking about what are differences in celebrating those differences, allowing those differences in the room and to be heard, whether that… And there’s a thousand things you can list as a difference, and that linkage is what’s creating teams that are performing well and creating teams that wanna stay on board and work with each other. And I think that’s kind of the secret sauce, how do you move from this kind of fake niceness of teamwork to an organization that’s truly linked together for a common good?

0:16:29.2 S1: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, when I was consulting, we had to be on-site because they didn’t… Managers or whoever didn’t think that you could be productive from home, but now they’re finding out that you can actually be productive even more so, but I think their drawbacks, ’cause it seems like people are working a lot more hours now because they’re at home, and it’s not like you go to a place and work and then come home again, you’re there, and the work is always around. Is that one of the downfalls? And what else have you seen?

0:17:00.9 S2: I think it is one of the downfalls because it’s out of sight, out of mind, you can really department alive when you go home, then there’s no work there, or when you go to work and there’s no home there, you can really department alive. But we are total human beings, how we view our job and we view our confidence in our achievements around our job does bleed into who we are at home, and who we are at home, and a support and the love we fell at home bleed into our performance so we’ve always tried to pretend like we are two humans, but good news, guys were just one, and that one humanity, that one person has been forced to be brought together at home, like right now, I’m like thinking, Oh my gosh, my dog’s barking in the background, I wonder if it’s gonna be on this recording, but that’s who I am, I am someone who loves dogs, and chances are, you’ll hear on in the background, and I used to freak out and think I was gonna be horrible, and I’m like, the dog park. And so when you think about allowing someone to be both of themselves together, you can see how the anxiety and stress goes down, where I’m not stressing it…

0:18:04.5 S2: My dog barks, I’m just saying, Well, yeah, I got a dog. Alright, let’s keep going. Exactly, and yeah, and so I think there’s some value in merging these two people that we’ve always thought we had to be into one…

0:18:16.4 S1: Yeah, and you brought up the millennials, I think they get a bad rap. Everybody says, Oh, they just want so much, they want the same thing we all want. Is just like my generation and before, if you had a job, you were lucky, you did whatever they asked you to do, you worked for 30, 40 years and stuff, and then you killed. And I think millennials now have access to see that there’s more to life, there are companies that treat you with value and respect, and they do listen to you and stuff, they know that that’s available, and that’s what they want. I think that’s what everybody wants.

0:18:50.1 S2: It is. Everyone wants that. I think that we were a little afraid to say that… We were afraid to say, This is what I want, because there were a time where there was only a list of so many jobs in the world, you could be an accountant, you could be a doctor, there was like a short list. Today, there are so many ways to make a dollar to support yourself and your family, it is actually endless, and because it’s endless, then we were allowed to have some expectations and we are in control of our happiness because there is endless ways to be financially independent. Now, and we don’t have to rely on a company to do that, and so employers need to remember that.

0:19:37.0 S1: And is that part of what’s happening, we’re… Like I said, some of my clients, they’re in the trades, trades are difficult, people don’t want to work, they wanna work, but they don’t wanna work with their hands, they don’t wanna get dirty and they don’t wanna get sweaty, these guys are really struggling, they have more work than they can handle, and they pay great wages, but they just can’t find the people that they wanna come in.

0:20:00.3 S2: It is interesting, I love that you bring that up. It’s one of the categories I’m really passionate about, trying to think about how do we get our shortage of trade experts… They are truly experts. How do we get that population who would excel in that type of environment educated, seeing the opportunity, most of them are making six-figure salaries, these are good paying fantastic jobs. And I think that as a country, we went through this thing about you how to have a college degree, or you were just nothing… Any companies were like, I won’t hire you unless you have a college degree and all that stuff, well, here’s the secret guys, I don’t have one, and I’ve done a ton of things and done just fine without one. Now, I’m a continuous learner, I’m always… In courses, I have more certificates than anyone, whatever think I should have, but we have created this environment where we feel like people should go down only one path, and again, there’s so many paths, and I think that we have to talk to our children about options, what do they truly love to do and how do you set them up to love that and not put your expectations on their happiness?

0:21:09.3 S1: Exactly. No, I love it. You also talk about, you can’t throw… Payroll, got a problem. Talk to me about that, ’cause I know businesses do that, so we’ll just give more money, it’s not about the money.

0:21:22.4 S2: Not about the money, you can’t throw apparel the problem and that kind of quote works for a myriad of reasons, and so too often you see a team that’s totally overwhelmed. And they’re pulling their hair. I’m like, You’ve gotta hire us some help and you’re like, okay, and you just throw that payroll at the problem and then you’re like, Why I hired two people and they’re still overwhelmed by what’s going on… Well, is ’cause you don’t look at the work, you didn’t look at efficiency, you didn’t look at how you lead, and are you leading in a way that causes all this mess and drama, is there another department who’s not being held accountable, so it’s causing double work over here, and when we throw a payroll up problems, we’re not stopping and saying, What is the work that needs to be done? How does it need to be done? Why should it be done? Who should do it? We’re also not taking the time of saying, is this a part-time, a full-time, is this a work from home, is it an office only… Is it blended? And just like there used to be kind of a list of, only so many jobs in the world, we used to think that the only way to have a job as full-time, certain hours in an office, and that is no longer true either.

0:22:30.8 S2: And so I just don’t think as companies are just getting as creative as they could a job sharing, there’s just an endless list of ways to have great people on your team, but you have to be open to some creativity…

0:22:45.2 S1: Absolutely, is that some of the coaching you do with companies… Eltham, be creative that way.

0:22:50.1 S2: Yeah, absolutely. How do we really look at the work and how do we think about… One of the things I always talk about is finding someone whose skills are exactly where you need it at that time, not to experience not enough experience in that Goldilocks. How do you find the Goldilocks? We find the Goldilocks by having multiple levels… Multiple ways to look at a job. So when you find a great candidate, there’s something along the way that would fit them, and too often, because when a organization is trying to figure out how to structure their work, they’re in it. And so you can’t see the forest through the trees. ’cause you’re right in it. And so that’s why it’s so great to come in and listen and hear and talk to people and get all the noise, because it’s like you can just kinda almost like Pick something out and go, Oh, Carey, the way, this is it. And they’re like, Oh, I didn’t see it. But it’s just right there.

0:23:41.0 S1: Yeah, having that extra set of… Yes, absolutely, but culture is a big issue too, a lot of companies don’t realize how important culture is, and maybe they started finding out now that their employees are working from home, that’s a tough… You’re trying to build a culture and maintain that culture… What recommendations do you have for folks?

0:24:02.1 S2: So obviously, there are two different types of culture, there’s someone that’s on the little poster and in the handbook, and then there’s the one that we actually… Leather, real one. I don’t know, I always like that when there’s two different ones… Absolutely, and to create a culture, there has to be a consistent accountability, it’s almost consistent accountability out ranks words on a paper any day, and we have to be an environment where we can say to someone, I understand why you see this decision, but at the end of the day, the impact of that decision isn’t it in line with our values, and it goes as far as when you’re interviewing people start to think about the language they’re using. I’m one of my clients, we worked really hard to get their culture on paper, but then we’re like, Okay, now what we do with it… I mean, paper actions, two different things, but one of the things that we do is when we’re interviewing someone, we have multiple people interview them, and one of the things they have to come back and talk about, I… Was their language consistent with our language. So for example, this organization collaboration is a huge piece ’cause we feel like collaboration is bigger than teamwork, and so we’re looking for people that talk about partnerships, we’re looking for people that talk about, I have this problem, but then I have lunch with someone from a different department, and it hit me, because then that means they know how to collaborate, and so we’re not only looking for skill set, but we’re looking at their views and how they attack their work, because that’s how you keep a culture true.

0:25:35.7 S1: Absolutely, yeah, that is so important. And talking to my clients and stuff, they can hire based on knowledge and skills, but it’s that attitude, if this person has a really good attitude, they do fit into the culture and everything. It’s a lot easier to teach them the skills that they need.

0:25:53.5 S2: It’s much easier to teach that then try to bang it in them…

0:25:56.8 S1: Yeah. Yeah, there’s laws against that. So I talk to my clients about business strategy, you talk a lot about talent strategy, what does a talent strategy consist of…

0:26:09.3 S2: Talent strategy is an overlay to your business strategy, and you know through your client work that everyone has a business strategy, we talk about it all the time, and then there is a cost of goods, there is a percentage for payroll, their supply chain, customers, the brain, which we sell through a million things that’s in the business plan, it is incredibly rare inside that business plan that I see someone with talent development in it, and it’s like they’ve got 98% of it there, and then they leave off talent development as part of the strategy. And then they’re surprised when nothing’s getting done, or they’re not meeting their objectives because they have a team that is not consistent with what they need, and that is why I think that building a talent strategy on top of your talents or a talent trading on top of your business strategy is so powerful because it’s never gonna come true unless you think about the people who are gonna do the work.

0:27:11.0 S1: And you’ll never be able to hire the exact skill sets you need, you have to be able to bring people in and grow them… Right. And I always tell my clients, you wanna build leaders. My job is to get them to where they have a Business it runs for them without them having to be there, and you can’t do that unless you have leaders you can delegate to and turn things over to and stuff like that. That should be part of that talent strategy, right?

0:27:35.6 S2: Yeah, it should be… And it should also be part of becoming a leader who is open to figuring out how to lead a team that can make decisions when you’re not there, and that is one of the biggest things I see people trip up on, is they wanna step out, they want their team to lead, but they’re leading in a way where that team can’t make a decision unless they’re there, and my favorite part of that story is I usually get a call, my team, they won’t make their own decision, if I’m there, nothing happens and I’m fantastic tell me, what you’re doing, now I can’t not meet. And I’m like, Absolutely, you have to build a culture where people feel good about the decisions they make, if you don’t want to be there every day, and even if you are every there every day. If you’re there every day, make sure that you’re teaching people how to make decisions because they’re gonna feel more empowered, they’re gonna be a better partner to you, and you’re gonna feel better about what you’re doing and… I’ll be so exhausted.

0:28:31.5 S1: Absolutely, yeah, I had one client that… He had a guy that would come in and almost every day I ask him a question, How do I do this again? How did we do this again? It’s like, stop answering him as her answer, encourage him to do this, ’cause that’s the only way they’re gonna break free and walk on their own, right. Communication, communication and business is huge, I think leadership is all about communicating to the people at different levels, saying the right thing at the right time when it needs to be said, and everything like that has the pandemic and us being remote working, has that damaged or communication?

0:29:08.0 S2: I think whatever you struggled with, whether it was communication or organization, whatever you struggled with before the pandemic, the pandemic just took like a big spotlight and stuck it on it and said, By the way, this is what your struggling… In case you’re curious, here it is, right? And good news. Now you know what it is. So I think that when you’re working virtually and we have virtual teams, communication needs to be a lot more organized, because a lot of communication happens organically in an office setting, you just bump into so and so from the other department, you’re like, Oh hey, now that I’ve seen you, I think I need to ask you this. Or I was talking to so and so the other day, and this, that and the other… Well, when you’re a virtual, you don’t have those bump-in moments, so you have to be organized, you have to know what your team needs, to know why they need to know why it’s important to them, you have to be… With touch-base is consistent with group conversations, and you have to have an incredible foundation of trust and way of work and way of decision-making, so that if you can’t just walk into someone’s office and say, Hey, how do you wanna do this? You’ve got to teach them how to do it without you there…

0:30:18.7 S1: Absolutely. Yeah, we just call those The drive-by meetings, right? You just walk down the hall and you see somebody in their office, you stick your head in.

0:30:24.8 S2: Any… And those are not there when you’re virtual, so you gotta go to organically make them.

0:30:31.2 S1: Absolutely, but the meetings too, you can’t just run meetings like log on, see what you need to say and log off, you have to allow people a chance to warm up and talk and joke, you don’t have fun, just like the other office. So how many people do you have working for you at 3-

0:30:48.8 S2: 04? So right now we’ve got to six that are key employees, and then we have a whole slew of experts, from video editors to voice-overs for training to a whole slow copywriters, so… Yes, so it’s a blend. I actually have no full-time employees because none of our work is generalist work, all of it is specialized…

0:31:14.4 S1: Nice seeing the team you need for each product. Right, nice.

0:31:18.2 S2: Yeah, ’cause I could bring in three full-time people and they’re gonna be good at only half of their job, or I can bring in six experts at 20 hours and they can be fantastic every minute that they’re doing work for me. And that’s how we look at it as we are bringing in experts to do what they do, and then we allow them to do it and allow them to tell me what’s going on, or Here’s our recommendation, and I trust them because they’re an expert. I’m not asking them to give me recommendations on something they’re not good at.

0:31:49.9 S1: A… Very cool. And then when you were in the HR space, ’cause you have employees working for you and reporting to… Yeah.

0:31:58.4 S2: Absolutely, yeah. All different… Throughout my life, big teams, small teams, medium teams, I think I’ve had them all. I’ve had a team where no one spoke the same language, English was everyone second or third language. So what’s interesting is even when someone learned American or Business English, how they learn it is different by country, and so you have to know how someone in Mexico thinks about… I always use the term I go fast in the English American English. Like we could go quick… We could go fast. We could go… Now, if you’re in Texas, you say pronto, ’cause we have this weird language, we speak it, so there’s all these ways to say it, but then you have to learn how each country applies those words, so no one ever speaks the same language and the idioms. You’ll say something and a couple of people on table understand what you said, and the rest of them have no clue.

0:32:51.2 S1: Like.

0:32:51.8 S2: The A… I know, but I picked up so many of those that were really cool guests or add gas to the Lantern, that was the China one, keep adding more gas and that meant speed up or put more into it, but yeah, it was fun to learn other people’s… Little sayings to…

0:33:11.5 S1: Absolutely, yeah, I was on a project one time where one of the guys on the project said, Well, let’s put this project to sleep, it’s like no, putting something to sleep as bad, put it to be, I guess that… Yeah, but it just… Yeah, if I was just happened to be walking down the street in China or Mexico or UK or wherever. And bumped into one of your employees, one of the people who used to work with, and I asked them about you, what would they tell me, what type of leader would they say You are…

0:33:37.1 S2: That’s such a good question. I think that what they would say is that I was incredibly consistent, that I was tough, and I challenge them, and they were able to teach me as much as I taught them. Nice. And that is so true, I learned so much every day, that was that role as a trip down humility every single minute of the day.

0:34:05.3 S1: But I love those opportunities to learn… Yeah, there are different perspectives. How they do things. How they think about things. That is awesome. So speaking about leadership still, what makes a good leader, what do you look for in a leader, because you help companies, not only coaching them, but you also do recruiting for them, if they’re looking for a leader, how do you pick those right people?

0:34:29.4 S2: So I think in general, when I look at the leadership, one of the fun things I love to do is predict future skills in 10 years, or what skills do we not even think of right now that we know we’re gonna need, or what competencies… And I always love to remind people the way we’ve been taught to lead our best practice, leadership skills, we’ve been given… We’re really created in 1950 1916. I think a few things have changed since then, we also didn’t know anything about the brain back fan, and I’m really a true believer in brain-based leadership and understanding the human brain and leading with that instead of against it. So I think those really strong talent, leaders are curious, they are open for someone to come and change their mind, as leaders, we have to have a view point, but we also have to be open to having someone change our mind, we can’t get overly attached to our plans, and I know that you have plan A, B or C, but sometimes there are something you’ve never thought about, and if you’re so overly attached to your plan when that thing comes out of left field, you stumble ’cause you’re like, don’t even know ’cause you’re just so attached to what you’re doing.

0:35:41.6 S2: And I think our leaders of the future have to be fantastic at leading people that do jobs if they have no idea how to do we and that takes some confidence.

0:35:52.2 S1: Yeah, it definitely does, but like you said, being open to learn, being open to have your ideas challenged and to learn new things. And to me, that’s part of the courage. We talk about the different types of courage that we have to tap into on a daily basis, either personally, professional, one of the types of courage we talk about is intellectual courage, being able to set aside Your long-held beliefs to make room for new information, because there’s always new information, like I said, a lot of the models that we use were created in the 50s and 60s, you have to be able to set that aside. Somebody has a new idea. Let’s entertain that, right. What type of courage? Well, let me ask you about your courage, where did you find the courage to just decide you wanted to go out on your own and do this for yourself? What did that come from?

0:36:39.9 S2: I don’t know where… I don’t necessarily know. I can’t say I woke up one day and there was this piece. But there’s obviously PC somewhere in me, I think I have a lot of determination. I really enjoy setting goals and figuring it out and thinking about the pieces, and that’s how I looked at it, it takes courage to do a lot of things, but I think it takes even more courage to say, I’m gonna do it my way. And so when I set out on this path, I had a lot of people that were more than happy to give me a ton of advice, and I was like, Thanks, but you know that’s yours. That’s for you, not for me. And I did things different, and I did things that people thought were not, and I did things that people told me I was gonna fail, and that’s okay ’cause I sold it at my way, so I think courage comes from being authentic to yourself.

0:37:33.8 S1: Nice, but did you have entrepreneurs in your family that you kind of looked at…

0:37:39.1 S2: I do have some, but not a ton. And definitely more of the male side of my family… Not the female side of my family. And so as a female having a business… Yeah, I’m not that you’re saying it, I might be one of the first. That’s awesome.

0:38:00.2 S1: Very cool. So the courage, you didn’t necessarily come from somebody, but I’m sure you’ve had leaders in your past and in working around the world and stuff like that, what have you seen, what have you learned specifically from these different leaders that it really impacted you?

0:38:20.1 S2: Oh my gosh. Long list there. That’s a fantastic question. So I think in general, what I learned is that there’s this fine balance for sticking up with what you believe in and being open to changing your mind, and I think that is probably one of the biggest lessons, and the other lesson was the importance of consistency within change, and as the world changes faster and faster, it’s overwhelming, it’s scary, our brains are like, No, don’t do it to me. And as a leader, you have to manage change, but you can only do that effectively in who you are as consistent, how you make decisions, what you believe, what your values are, when those can may remain the same and consistent and change doesn’t feel so crazy. And I think that’s one of the things I learned from a leader I had for… In the short time, it was international that he was really good at saying, This is the parameters, have at it, and then you could go back and say, This is what I did. And he could say, You know, I think that’s right on… Or I’m not real sure about that, or you might look at it different this time, but we never got in trouble for making a decision, and when you’re working…

0:39:35.8 S2: That’s important because you don’t know what country or someone’s awake or asleep, you can’t call someone… You have to figure it out, yeah.

0:39:42.9 S1: But I think that is important. As a leader. Here’s the goal. Here’s your submission, I accomplish this. You mentioned values, values are important, that’s one of things I work with my clients to identify what are the core values of the company? We as individuals, make our decisions based on our core values, same thing in business, do I invest in this, do I sell this, whatever, it’s all based on those core values, if you don’t share those with your employees, who knows what they’re using to make their decisions, you wanna make sure that that’s part of it.

0:40:14.9 S2: Yeah, absolutely, and what your goals are for an organization, especially if you’re a founder who’s running your company, there are some founders you wanna run up the revenue or run up the assets to sell, there are others who want to maintain it for generations. There are others who are wanting to see if they can break, so there’s a million different ways to think about your company, but you have to know that so that your team is making decisions with that in mind…

0:40:41.3 S1: Absolutely, yeah, like you said, consistency, you don’t want a leader that waffles work with that person before, not like.

0:40:52.1 S2: Me either. Every day is a new day.

0:40:54.5 S1: Yeah. Yeah, that’s kind of scary. So you’ve accomplished a lot, you’ve traveled all over, you’ve done all kinds of cool things, you’ve got through four coaching now you rescue animals. What’s next for you? Which Sexton? The Horizon…

0:41:08.7 S2: Oh, I think what’s next on the right horizon, and my team and I’ve talked a lot about recently, a scalability, how do you look at scalability? So that’s really important for us here at the company is what scalability look like, and then how do we give back to those who don’t have access to what we do? So we’re really fortunate, we work with companies who look at development as a line in a budget, X amount of X amount of payroll, X amount of developments from a percentage standpoint. And so if you’re in one of those companies, that’s amazing, but not everyone is or can’t be, and so with us thinking about scalability, it allows us to then think about how to help someone who doesn’t have access, and that’s a big piece of where we’re at, and during the pandemic as part of a solution. We started leading edge, we do it once a year. It’s a free workshop or a leadership academy workshop. We do two to three, sometimes four workshops, so we put that out for people, and then for our anniversary this month, we launched a YouTube channel that has leadership education program on it, and so really it’s that balance between scalability and then once you scale, how do you get back.

0:42:21.6 S1: Excellent, very cool. So this current landscape you’re in, do you see this continuing, do you see it morphing into something else… What’s your crystal ball say?

0:42:31.3 S2: Oh my Cristobal. So the Crystal has been very busy and trying to figure it out everyone… And I do think that this is where we’re going. I think that our leaders of the future have to be open to looking at things creative with creativity, they have to be able to say, I don’t care how I’m supposed to do it. I know that’s not gonna work, I’m gonna do this. And they’re going to have to start thinking about their responsibility when they employ someone, because we spend a lot of time and effort in our jobs, and yes, it’s a currency exchange for a paycheck, but it’s also a relationship, and we have to start thinking about how to take care of those relationships.

0:43:11.5 S1: In long term, not just… Short term, absolutely. Very cool. So gender, people wanna get in touch with you, how can they find… What’s your website? So.

0:43:22.6 S2: It is 304coaching.com. You can connect with me on LinkedIn at Jen Thornton or through our YouTube channel, which is Jen Thornton 304 coaching.

0:43:32.5 S1: Very cool. Good job. Well, this has been amazing. I would love to just have just a podcast just talking about the animals, ’cause I know we could… How many dogs you have? Four dogs right now.

0:43:44.7 S2: We got four, two bigs and two littles.

0:43:48.6 S1: That is awesome. Very cool. Well, thank you so much for being part of the podcast, I really appreciate you being here and thanks for everything that you’re doing and continue on doing, ’cause I think on the HR side, I think that’s where a lot of small Midas businesses struggle. I’m sure some of the bigger companies do too, but I know the small to mid-sized companies really struggle with this, they don’t have an HR team. It would be nice to have something that they could call in and say, Hey, what am I doing wrong? Right, how can you help? So, perfect. Well, thank you, thank you for being on the show. Listeners, hope you guys were taking notes, there’s a lot of good take aways from this if you were not taking notes, shame on you, listen to the podcast again this time, be prepared and share this with your family, friends and colleagues, and stick around ’cause there’s always more common. That’s it for me, Charlie saying so long for now.

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