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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones, the Founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics first to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2: 00:31
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy: 00:35
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones, and I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Kris Boesch, the CEO and Founder of Choose People. Choose People is a company that transforms company cultures, increases employee happiness, and boosts the bottom line. Kris and her team have researched and tested across a variety of workplaces, key concepts and tangible tools to build an extraordinary workplace culture that not only puts smiles on faces, but brings joy to a business’ bottom line.Stacy: 01:04
She’s also the author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace, and has been featured as a workplace culture expert in Inc, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, and was recently named one of the top 100 leadership speakers of 2018 in Inc. Today we’re going to talk about how to create a culture that drives a powerful employment brand. We’ll learn what has worked with Kris’ experience, what maybe could be avoided, and where people are missing the mark. Kris, welcome.
Kris Boesch: 01:27 Thank you so much for having me, Stacy. Really a pleasure to be here.Stacy: 01:30
And super excited to have you here, because I love talking about corporate culture.Kris Boesch: 01:36
Woohoo. Excellent.Stacy: 01:37
Yes. Can you start off by giving us a little bit of a background on how you got to where you are today?Kris Boesch: 01:46
Yes. I would be happy to do that. Like anyone in my position, I have a master’s in Latin American literature. That is a must, right?Stacy: 01:55
That’s a must.
Kris Boesch: 01:57
That is a must. I can read, write, and speak Spanish fluently and tell you all about [foreign language 00:02:00], and in short, how I got here, so I have had Choose People, I opened the doors in 2010, so I’ve been doing this work for, it’s amazing, coming on nine years now because we opened in the summer.
Kris Boesch: 02:19
The year before that, I did, and actually let me actually even back up before that, so what got me into this work is that I was running a moving company of all things.
Stacy: 02:31 And you had a phenomenal title, which is why I think you got to where you are now. At least on LinkedIn you did.
Kris Boesch: 02:38
With the moving company?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Because what it says was CEO, Champion of Culture, Employee Engagement, Happiness, and Satisfaction.
Kris Boesch: 02:46
Yes. As the CEO, right? You are, I mean we’ll get into that. And we’ll talk about how you as the brand manager, you’re like, “Yeah, Kris, I’m not the CEO, so how do I impact this?” We’ll get there, but in short, how I got here is that I used to run a moving company and when I first came into that moving company, it was a mess. What I mean by that is that oh goodness, so people were yelling obscenities at each other and not in that, “Yo yo, we’re tight” way but like, “I’m going to take you out back where the sun doesn’t shine” and it was not pretty.
Kris Boesch: 03:25
We also were struggling to cover payroll, so yay, employees really like getting paid, that’s one thing that’s mission critical to culture, but this is back in 2002-2003, before culture was even in the business vernacular. So, here I was taking over executive leadership of this company and being like, “Okay, I don’t have time, I don’t have money and we’ve got to get this figured out.” Between books and mentors and that sort of thing, you know how sometimes the heavens open and shine down and give you a clue?
Kris Boesch: 04:04
That’s what happened for me and I just really got, “Okay, if my people feel good about coming to work, they’ll take good care of my customers who in turn will take care of the financial health of the organization.” I focused on what I called the employee experience at the time. It was like if they feel good about coming to work, and it was this emotional health piece, and I worked that and I worked that and I worked that. Because I was like, “My guys are the ones taking the piano up the switchback staircase, not me. They are the face of my company.”
Kris Boesch: 04:32
We got to where we had 40% less turnover than the industry average, and a bottom line twice that same average in one year.
Stacy: 04:40 That’s fantastic.
Kris Boesch: 04:41
Right? I know.
Kris Boesch: 04:43
I know. And I was like, “Why aren’t more organizations focusing on this? This is crazy.” Because it’s not about throwing money at people and there was just such a huge financial return on investment, and that was always just in the back of mine is I just kept focusing on the employee experience. Finally one day I was like, “All right, I’m really ready to start a company that focuses on this” and culture was just starting to get in the conversation in 2008-2009.
Kris Boesch: 05:13 So, I was like, “Well gosh, my experience is only with an organization of one size, one industry, one geography” and I said, “I want to know what makes employees feel good about coming to work, regardless of size, industry, blue collar, white collar, you name it.” Service, retail, product, and did over 1000 hours of research with a team in the industrial organizational psychology department, at Colorado State University, to really find out how do you measure [crosstalk 00:05:46] your employees feel good about coming to work?
Kris Boesch: 05:48
And basically came up with this diagnostic that measures eight factors, that figures out if your employees feel good about coming to work, and then we have a whole culture audit process that we then take companies through. That’s the short of it, right? It started with the moving company, and then did the research with the university, and then I’ve been doing this now for close to nine years, and it is such an honor to get to do this work. I can tell you that.
Do you think there are still any companies out there who think that their employees should just be happy because they’re getting a paycheck?
Kris Boesch: 06:23
Yes. Unfortunately there is still, you’d be surprised, like you would think how’s that possible? It’s much less common, much, much less common than what it used to be, but there is, and I have this conversation, because I do have CEOs and business owners who are like, “Kris, it’s not my job to make people happy.” I’m like, “You’re absolutely right, because really great news, you actually can’t make anyone happy.”
Kris Boesch: 06:52
However, culture is literally the air your team breathes while running your marathon, right? It’s literally the context, it’s the energy force field when they walk into your organization, and is it one that literally sucks the energy out of them or fills them up? Is it like Disney, the magic kingdom, or is it like the DMV? There’s just a piece of like what’s the energy force field there? Because you are responsible for creating an empowering context within which people can be happy.
Kris Boesch: 07:24
You’re crazy not to, because the financial return on investment is enormous, and then I also speak to the emotional return on investment.
That makes sense. What is the magic sauce? How do people start making that company culture fantastic?
Kris Boesch: 07:41
Yeah. Stacy, here’s what I’ll tell you, is having done this work now for as long as I have, there’s a lot of pieces that go into just having
foundational, pretty healthy culture. One of the things, and I would actually invite your listeners to think about this question, so on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy or unhappy do you think your team is? So, grab that number for yourself in your head, and then also I would ask you on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy or unhappy are you in your organization?
Kris Boesch: 08:18
Here’s what’s interesting is that when I ask that question, because I speak at a lot of national conferences and when I ask that question of audiences, usually about 80% of the audience will say seven.
Kris Boesch: 08:36
Specifically their team. It’s interesting, the numbers really, it’s interesting. Usually people have, their number is one or two off from their team, either higher or lower. Higher or lower. What’s interesting about seven is seven usually means either, “I don’t know,” like, “Good question, hadn’t thought about it” or, “We’re good, no one’s going to go postal” which I’m always like, “High five, way to make that happen.”
“No, we’re not [crosstalk 00:09:05].”
Kris Boesch: 09:07
That’s still a real thing, and they’d say, “It would be a stretch to say our people genuinely enjoy working here, and that we have a really, really extraordinary workplace culture.” Again, you get about, I’d say you get about 5% that go 8, 9, or 10, 5% who go less than seven, and then you’ve got the 10% who are trying to see what everyone else says, right?
Kris Boesch: 09:39
There’s some different culture challenges that are pretty common, right? Whether it’s apathy, gossip, silos, entitlement, drama, that exist and the world of culture, if you’re a seven, and you’re like, “But Kris, we really are aspirational, we genuinely do want to have an extraordinary workplace culture,” the secret ingredient to the secret sauce, so if culture is the secret sauce, the secret ingredient really is emotional intimacy. I’ve had people say to me, “Kris, I can’t go to my HR person and be like, ‘We need emotional intimacy.'” They’ll be like, “Are you serious? Are you not aware of that movement that we just had, that everyone’s up in arms in? Come on now.”
Kumbaya is not the plan?
Kris Boesch: 10:28
I’ll say the other language you can use is camaraderie, right? Or team cohesion is another way to think about it, and the way you create that within an organization, everything that I teach, share, train, speak on, consult on, really falls under these three pillars that are how you actually create emotional intimacy within a workplace culture. That is where your people feel like they’re known, so you know me as an individual, you care about me as a person, that I matter, that my contribution matters, that if I go above and beyond it matters, and also if I slack, it matters.
Kris Boesch: 11:08 And then finally included, where I feel a sense of belonging, there’s shared identity, there’s interdependency awareness, so that really is, those are the three keys to how you create that level of emotional intimacy that takes you from that, “Meh, it’s okay, it’s fine, it’s good. If someone asks me if I wanted to work down the street, I would definitely consider it” as compared to like, “Are you kidding? These are my people, this is my community, I’m loved here, I contribute here, I make a difference here, I’m honored here, I’m valued here,” all those things. Really having your people feel like they’re known, they matter, and they’re included.
Okay. So, how do you go about doing that?
Kris Boesch: 11:51
Kris Boesch: 11:58
Again, this is something I speak on and so I’ll give you guys some real tangible ways that you can create both how to create a sense where people feel known, where they matter, and where they’re included. So, on the known side, one of the things, and again, I don’t know how many of the folks that are your audience and listening are leading and managing teams, because a lot of what I’m going to recommend is for those who are leading and manage teams. And then, if you also want me to speak to the employment brand piece, I’m happy to do that as well.
Kris Boesch: 12:31
Yeah, so just to give you a real quick, tangible … Two things, I’ll share with you two pieces around the known, right? One of the biggest barriers, or actually before I even go there, in order to know someone, you actually have to be present to them. You actually have to take time and be present with them and be with them in a way where they feel seen and heard. One of the things that is painfully present in our society today is what I would call time poverty.
Kris Boesch: 13:11
A lot of people are in this experience of they have that they’re overwhelmed, they’re too busy, there’s not enough hours in the day, “I have a zillion things to do, [inaudible 00:13:20],” right? They’re just in the thick of like, “I can’t possibly” … Someone comes to your desk to say hi, and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, could you please go away? I have so much to get done.”
Kris Boesch: 13:31
Not because you don’t care about that person, not because you’re mean, but you’re just in this experience of, “I have so much to make happen.”
Kris Boesch: 13:40
The experience can be that you’re drowning, and so one of the things that I work with teams around is I’m like, “Okay, in this social epidemic that is also socially accepted, people actually kvetch and bond over how little time they have,” which I think is a riot. There’s a moment, and just so you know, this is an alligator that I wrestled for years and years, in which sometimes I felt like I had a handle on my schedule and what I needed to get done, and sometimes I didn’t, and it would go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.
Kris Boesch: 14:17
And one day again, was really appreciative when I got a clue, and I just really got it. I was like, “Wow, I actually am not a victim of time.” We all have 24 hours in a day, we all have seven days a week, it’s literally the one grand equalizer, and within that, I get to choose how I’m going to budget my time, how I’m going to spend my time, and rather than really thinking about, “Oh, I have to manage my time,” it’s like, “Well, what are my priorities?” I’m managing my priorities, and the whole thing around I always like to ask folks, “How many of you are time optimists? Who’s my time optimists here?”
Kris Boesch: 14:55
Those are the folks that are like, “I set aside an hour” and four hours in I’m like, “No. Please.” Or my productive procrastinators, those of you who get to the end of the day and you’re like, “I got so much done except for the very thing that I wanted to get done” so there’s those. You also have, I always like to speak to Lucille Ball and Ethel M Chocolate Factory, and we all remember the chocolates on the conveyor belt and it gets faster and faster and they start shoving the chocolates in their mouth and in their hat.
Kris Boesch: 15:26
At some point you had to stop the conveyor belt, you have to stop the machinery, and you have to fix the process. There’s something to look at on the process side of things. There’s just a piece there where you cannot get to know your people if you can’t be present to them. If you can’t make eye contact in a way where, and we all know it. We all know when we have an experience that someone is listening to us, there’s no one else in the world, there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing, and literally it could just be two minutes, but with all of the distractions that we choose to allow into our world, it’s so rare that when you do have that experience with someone, it’s a game changer.
Kris Boesch: 16:16
It is an absolute game changer, so then to go along with that, because I’m not like yes, if you can do a half day team building retreat to get to know your people, sweet, and I get in the world of, “We’ve got a lot to get done,” here’s just a couple of quick ways to get to know your people in a more meaningful way. Again, we tend to, so Stacy, you go to your team, you say, “Hey, how are you doing today?” What kind of answers do you get?
“I’m good. Oh, it’s an okay day. I’m tired.”
Kris Boesch: 16:51
Right. “Fine, good. I’m tired.”
“Okay.” Sometimes I get like, “It’s great.” Sometimes.
Kris Boesch: 16:53
Kris Boesch: 16:56
Sometimes there’ll be a little something something there. Awesome, awesome. You actually get a slight more than most. Usually most managers, they get the fine or the good, the plastic face, no eyes crinkling, good. Yeah, that one. The thing that’s challenging is when we ask that question, “How are you doing?” We have good intentions, we want to check in on our people, and yet we actually get no more information than we had before we asked the question.
Kris Boesch: 17:28
Instead, I do something I like to call the temperature check. You say, “Hey, on a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing today?” They give you whatever number they give you, and then you ask them, “What would make that a plus one?” It could be personal, it could be professional, and then what’s great is maybe you check back in a week, two weeks later, say, “Hey, on a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing today?”
Kris Boesch: 17:52
If they’re two more than they were last time, I’m like, “Sweet, what happened? What’s happened?” If they’re two or three less, you’re like, “Oh, let’s set aside some time to touch base this afternoon.” Just see what’s going on in their world. The other thing I’ll give you, you and your listeners, that I love, it’s a similar one. We ask people how their weekend was. You would think that would bring something really juicy to the table, to get to know people, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t tend to usually create much.
Kris Boesch: 18:24
So, instead I like to encourage people to do, and this came from the boy scouts, this idea, some people know about it. Most don’t. But it’s real simple, and you ask about people’s rose, bud, thorn. Rose is the thing they’re most excited about right now, bud is the thing they’re most looking forward to, and thorn is their biggest challenge. If you’re having a Monday morning meeting, it’s a great way to just, “Hey everyone, let’s each take a minute just to share our rose, bud, thorn. You can do personal, you can do professional, and you all decide how you’re going to roll with it.”
Kris Boesch: 18:57
But it’s way more meaningful and you actually learn your people in a way that you just normally don’t with, “How was your weekend?” It’s really simple and helpful and again, there’s a lot of those ways in which you can get to know your people in a meaningful way, and it doesn’t have to be, “Oh, I got to do a half day.” Some people love the team building, some people are like fork in eye, “Oh, my God, you’re killing me smalls.”
Kris Boesch: 19:24
I always have to add this, for any of you who have kids, and you ask your kids, “Hey, how was school today?” They’re like, “Fine” and you’re like, “What’d you learn?” “Nothing.” With your kids, you can do rose, bud, thorn. I do it with my beloved as well. It’s way better than, “What’s for dinner?” I’m telling you, it’s a surprisingly great tool to use in all different sorts of avenues.
Thanks to the boy scouts.
Kris Boesch: 19:51
Hey, hey. Yes.
Okay. Are there other things that you can bring into your office? I know we had an issue where we didn’t necessarily have … Everyone had good intent, but we didn’t necessarily have everyone be overly helpful to everyone else. We created a program that’s called the thank you program, and we created cards for everyone, and anytime someone does anything, it can be from stopping by and putting a cold water on your desk to telling you the best joke of the day, to actually helping you with work, you get a thank you card dropped into a box.
Every two weeks, coincidentally aligns with payday, right? We do a drawing of one of the cards, and then we read all the cards out loud in a team meeting. Everyone gets to hear all the wonderful, lovely things said about them, and one person actually wins a gift card that we contribute in there, so they have this fun little prizing. There’s an award on it. I think it’s really the win there is the acknowledgement by your peers of being able to be told thank you, and then to have everyone that you’re actually being thanked.
What we saw was the people who wrote the least cards got the least thanks. They would be teased by the rest of the team, because that’s the kind of office we are, just a little bit.
Kris Boesch: 21:17
Right. You’re like, “That’s part of our culture.”
That’s part of our culture. We tease quite a bit.
Kris Boesch: 21:21
That works, yep.
What would happen is they’d step it up. It changed our entire company culture, entirely.
Kris Boesch: 21:31
That’s amazing, isn’t it?
Yeah. It really is. Are there other things like that that you’ve seen work really well, that other companies could try to put in, that would help culture along without having that half a day team building, go do the ropes course and see who can climb the best?
Kris Boesch: 21:51
Right. First Stacy, I just want to point to what you just shared, which again, it’s a brilliant idea, if you guys aren’t already doing something around peer recognition, that’s a great way to do it. Because that acknowledgement piece, that appreciation piece, it really does matter to people. It really does make a difference, and I know sometimes managers are like, “Man, I feel like I don’t have the bandwidth to do ‘kudos.'”
Kris Boesch: 22:18
One thing I want to share within that, within the acknowledgement that sometimes I think we forget is incredibly powerful, is to have … There’s peer recognition, right? There’s also your manager recognizing you, but then there’s something about if you have, and again, it depends on how your organization is set up, but let’s say you’re in sales and you do a really great sale, right? You get a new client that everyone’s super excited about, and you have someone from the warehouse or someone from accounting that says, “Hey, I heard you made that sale. Way to go, high five.”
Kris Boesch: 23:02
There’s something really powerful when someone outside of your team reaches out and acknowledges you. I would say if you’re a manager, one of the most powerful things you can do is tell another manager to recognize someone on your team. It’s like passing on the praise, because it is, like there’s an experience of, “Wow, I have a reputation. I’m getting known beyond just my little team and be appreciated for this,” right?
Kris Boesch: 23:35
I do want to make sure I speak to this, Stacy, because again, whether it’s rose, bud, thorn, or temperature check, or this acknowledgement piece, these are all tools that you can take on, and even the mindset shift around time poverty, and I really do want to say if you’re like, “Kris, we’re a seven for a reason and we’re not going to pop up to an eight because” something that happened in the past, or because we have someone on our team that’s incredibly toxic that no one’s dealing with, or because gossip is rampant, or because there’s a huge divide between the leadership team and the staff, or because … There’s so many different possibilities.
Kris Boesch: 24:25
Right. There’s so many potential “reasons” and there is a piece there where, and again, I realize your audience are these brand managers, but you still can be the catalyst for this conversation. Anyone in the organization can be, it does take some courage, but there has to be an owning and a speaking to what’s in the space that’s not working, such that can be addressed. Because one of the things that happens unfortunately in organizations, is there’s a lot of what I call unkind niceness, where people put on their professional mask and they’re very polite, and they’re very nice, and they pretend, and they don’t say the thing that everyone can see, that is causing, maybe it’s causing turnover, maybe it is at the source of the gossip or the drama.
Kris Boesch: 25:17
It’s one of those things where within an organization, you have to whether it’s an event that happened in the past that no one’s gotten over, and you’re like, “Man, people should just get over it.” Well, there’s a reason why people aren’t getting over it, right? There was an impact that no one’s acknowledged on how it impacted people.
25:37 Just want to acknowledge that piece and then just say, because I just want to say, had I gone to my [movers 00:25:44] and said, “Hey you guys, we’re going to create emotional intimacy,” they would have been like, “Oh no.” I would not be sitting here before you today. You can’t build a healthy culture on challenges that are in the space. I just want to acknowledge if there’s stuff, if there’s things that are toxic, any of the recommendations that Stacy and I just shared, if you were to just go in and pretend, “Oh, we’re going to do rose, bud, thorn, now we’re going to have a great culture” they would be like, “Sit on it.” It just would not-
No. It’s true.
Kris Boesch: 26:20
It wouldn’t apply.
We did some clearing house over the years and we would not be … We have the best culture we’ve ever had, it can certainly improve right now. Because everything can always improve, right?
Kris Boesch: 26:31
We try new, innovative ideas, but if I had tried this a number of years ago, would not have worked. Would have pulled out that thank you card and I would have gotten eyes burning into my soul about what a horrible idea this was. [inaudible 00:26:48] karaoke in the office, we have a karaoke contest where we can all sing every day two different lines, and if you win, if you can guess the how to sing it correctly without looking it up, you get to write the next lyrics. We have everyone singing, including myself, who has never sung in front of people.
We really are doing fun things and our team’s coming up with new, fun ideas, but we did have a toxic culture. We did have to do some massive cleaning, which was hard to do, but it got us to where we are today.
Kris Boesch: 27:21
Yeah. Well, I love it, right? Because if you try to put things in place like a karaoke machine, it’ll just sit there, right? We know the companies that have bought the Foosball table that no one will play at. It’s like, “Ugh-uh, Mm-mm (negative),” either they’re resistant, they’re pissed off, the unwritten rule is you should be working, not at the Foosball table. There’s all the things, and so yeah, I want to acknowledge you for that turnaround, and there is, one thing that you spoke to, I think you called it housecleaning, but there are at times, I’ve got the whole happiness logo and people think, “Oh, Kris would never” … I’m like, they don’t get to be here. They’ve lost the right to get to be on your team.
Kris Boesch: 28:11
Because of who you are as a stand for your workplace culture, when you think about what your shared identity is, you’re really clear about what you stand for and what you stand against. I think one of the things that gets missed is when you look at your team, you’ve got the character and the competency, and you’ve got people on the character side, you love working with them, they’re fabulous, they’re fun to work with, they’re great team players, can-do attitude, whatever it is for you, and then the competency where they’re really good at the work.
Kris Boesch: 28:42
You have to have both. When you have someone who they’re lovely to work with but they don’t know how to do the job, you’ve got to train them up or support them in transitioning, and if you have someone who’s brilliant at the job but they’re a jerk to work with, you’ve got to coach them up, and if that doesn’t work, you have to support them in transitioning and doing that whole dismissal with dignity.
Kris Boesch: 29:02
But if you allow people to stay on the team who are mediocre and not quite like you’re saying, “You know what, it’s okay if we have a mediocre culture, it’s okay if you do mediocre work, it’s okay if you have a mediocre attitude.” We say we’re committed to this mission and at the end of the day it’s like meh, we’re a seven. We’re a solid seven.
I think what we’ve found is, what I’ve found is, whatever your lowest number is on that totem pole of all your team members, everyone will drop to that ultimately. It’s not that everyone’s rising to the top necessarily. I mean, you have to have somebody at the top to be able to rise up to, we all want to rise up, but if you have someone who’s dragging you all down, everyone’s going to get dragged down with that.
29:47 Yeah. The experience is it doesn’t matter if I go above and beyond. If it doesn’t matter, why would I? Versus if it actually makes a difference, if I actually get, no, it makes a difference, it matters.
I believe that people, for our team, I say that you have to have, and I keep on coming up with new ones to add and I change them around, but right now I say that you have to have passion, you have to have drive, and you have to have talent, and capability. Because what I’ve learned is I will see someone’s potential. Like, “Oh, you’re a great girl or a guy. You’re fantastic, you could be doing this because I know you have that in you.”
But if they don’t have the passion and drive to get there themselves, no matter what I do, no matter how many karaoke machines, how many thank you cards, employee lunches, 10 year anniversaries to Disneyland, whatever it is I do, I’ve done that, all of those things.
Kris Boesch: 30:51
Right, I can believe it.
We went to Disney.
Kris Boesch: 30:54
You’re like, “You can do it. I know you can. Come on.”
But you can’t get them to actually embrace the vision that you have of their capability. That’s just about changing how you hire ultimately too, and putting boundaries in on what your expectations are.
Kris Boesch: 31:14
You know what occurs to me in that? If people can’t see in themselves what you see in them, and there is something about they’ve said having high expectations is powerful as a manager, of your people, because people will be like, “Wow, if you think I can do it then maybe I can actually do it” but it occurs to me as a hiring question, I have a whole like, best hiring questions, all that stuff. But what I don’t have in there that in this conversation I’m discovering, would be a question around what do you see as your potential and how what do you think the best version of yourself looks like two years from now? That can be [crosstalk 00:31:58]-
That’s a great to ask someone. Because it’s not that everyone doesn’t have the ability to level up. The question is do they want to?
Kris Boesch: 32:07 Yeah. Well, like you said, the drive. If they can’t even see it, I don’t know, I’ll have to noodle on that one, just how are you actually evaluating that? Again, there’s lots of behavioral and past based questions you can ask to look at that, but the-
I think you actually end up just experiencing it on the job, quite frankly. I’m not sure how you can weed that out. I wish I would know, but I think it’s how you start day one, and where you’re at on month three, and what’s happened by year one, as far as how much you’ve progressed.
Kris Boesch: 32:46
Right. Well, and there’s a few things around drive you can evaluate in interviewing. Let me back up again just a little bit, because I did say I would share some things around matter and included, and to your point of what can organizations do, so one of the things with matter, again, knowing that my contribution matters, and both with the character and the competency piece, and with the drive piece, like everything that we’re talking about, I will tell you there are many organizations that reach out to me and say, “Kris, we need more accountability. We have to have more accountability.”
Kris Boesch: 33:28
I say, “Got it” because without accountability, your organization can’t be successful, and you have to know that when you go to your team and say, “We need more accountability,” if you thesaurus “To hold accountable,” the first thing that shows up is to place blame for wrongdoing.
That’s a nice negative.
Kris Boesch: 33:50
Isn’t that delightful? Isn’t that just great? Accountability has all this ridiculous baggage, and I think a lot of teams here, “Oh, you don’t trust me. You’re going to micromanage me.”
It’s how did you F up? That’s what you’re asking [inaudible 00:34:04].
Kris Boesch: 34:04
This is like, “We need more accountability because you all keep messing up.” I think there’s power, and it’s a little bit of a play on words, but again it is this mindset shift. Again, it’s not this top-down, “I have to hold you accountable,” which is exhausting. That’s not who you want on your team, these people who you do have to micromanage or anything like that, but really rather where you say, “Listen, when I say we need more accountability, I’m saying we all need to be more count-onable.”
Kris Boesch: 34:35
Because everyone considers themselves someone that can be counted on. No one would be like, “Hi, my name is Kris Boesch, I’m a flake.” People don’t introduce themselves that way. They have a, “You can count on me, I’ve got your back.”
One thing that would change dating really well [crosstalk 00:34:54]-
Kris Boesch: 34:53
Oh, my gosh. You can just tell me who you really are, that’d be great.
We can save the next six months.
Kris Boesch: 35:01
Please. But yeah, so that’s a piece around accountability and asking people, “What would it look like? What would you take on to be more count-onable? What requests do you have of me in leadership such that I am more count-onable?” Because clearly, if you’re in management or leadership, your team is a reflection of you. Bar none, you have to know that, your speaking, your actions, your behaviors, what you do, what you don’t do, it speaks volumes about what’s actually valued, what’s actually important.
Kris Boesch: 35:34
Yeah, it’s just one of those things where of course, it’s the real simple trait but super aligned, you’ve got to walk the talk.
Sure. When you’re working on culture, obviously things start at the top, then down, but is it the CEO or the COO? Where is it that it needs to come in, where it’s still strong enough? Does it have to be the head of the company, or the top, top top? Or, can it be fleshed out more middling ground?
Kris Boesch: 36:11
There’s two ways to think about it, and part of it does depend on the size of your organization. I will tell you to have an organization that has an extraordinary workplace culture, you have to have executive leadership. You have to have the CEO bought in. Actually, one of the things that I do to qualify the clients that I’ll work with, I’ve had COOs come to me, I’ve had HR executives come to me, and I say, “That’s great, and I have to talk with your CEO. I will not work with you all until I know that he or she is bought in, because I’m going to let them know, ‘Hey, we’re about to look under the hood, and there might be a mirror, and I’ve got your back, and I’m going to stand for your success and all that'” but I have to know that they’re willing to go there, that they have to be vulnerable in that way, because they do have so much influence on the team.
Kris Boesch: 37:09
Now, if you’re again, if you’re a brand manager, like many of you are, and you’re like, “Well Kris, I’m in corporate and the CEO’s in a whole nother state. I’ve never even met him or her. It’s a whole nother world over there,” then there’s this piece where there is the mothership culture. For example, I’m working with a college within a university right now, and the university has a culture, but then so does this college. I always say, “You can be responsible for your cul-de-sac in the neighborhood,” right? “You can still be really clear, what are the operating principles that we’re working by? What are we a stand for? What are we a stand against? What are we committed to creating in our workplace experience within our cul-de-sac?”
Kris Boesch: 37:59
Now, granted there are the rules of the neighborhood, whatever that looks like, if you will, but you can still take ownership and responsibility and personal responsibility for how are you going to create your own cul-de-sac, if you will? Again, you can do-
The Mr. Rogers neighborhood. It’s all [crosstalk 00:38:18]-
Kris Boesch: 38:18
There you go. There you go. Thank you. Thank you, Stacy.
The happy place to be.
Kris Boesch: 38:21
That’s right. That’s right. I don’t want to pretend that what the mothership does doesn’t matter, because it does. It does restrict you, or it can empower you, depending, but that’s still not a reason I’ve seen where people will, if you will, take victimhood and be like, “Oh, well because corporate and corporate and corporate and corporate and headquarters, and da, da, da” and it’s like yes, and got it, there’s certain things you don’t have control over. There’s certain policies. There’s even government regulations you have to work within that you might think are silly or don’t make sense.
Kris Boesch: 38:58
There is something around, if I choose to drive, if I choose to be employed by this company, then I am signing up that I will stay on my side of the road and I will follow the speed limit and all the things. There are some of those things that are in play, however, the music I play in my car, you still always have choices in your personal experience and what you’re going to create for yourself and for your coworkers and for your team. Is that helpful? Does that answer that?
I think so. That’s helpful. Where do people take culture shifts? They have, I’m sure, great intentions, and it just goes wrong. How can you mess it up when you’re trying to positively impact your culture?
Kris Boesch: 39:42
Yeah, I would say actually we spoke a little bit already, which is so there’s a few different ways. One is you can put lipstick on a pig, and I had a CEO who’s like, “Kris, I don’t know what to do. We’ve got the CrossFit gym, we’ve got the gourmet snacks, I’m tempted to put in a tornado slide.” He’s like, “Our turnover is brutal.” He’s like, “I don’t know what to do about it.” It’s one of those where perks are not going to work. So, people just have to know, perks are nice, I’m not saying don’t do perks, sure, but it can’t be the carrot. You really don’t want to lean on perks to try to make it, or incentivize people to be happy. That’s weird.
Trying to get them to go to the fair or Disney after work every day.
Kris Boesch: 40:33
Right. Like the forced fun. People are like, “No, please.” Then also again, where people just want people to forget about the past and pretend that things never happened. Until that conversation occurs where it actually gets resolved, where there’s actually ownership, usually honestly by the head of the team, is really owning what happened, the impact on the team, how it’s not going to occur again, acknowledging that people stayed through whatever that was. It actually, I would suggest, I mean it just makes people angry.
Kris Boesch: 41:14
If you try to come in and be really positive, that whole fakery again, that weird pretending. That’s actually probably one of the worst things you can do, is pretend, and then we all know about one of the best intentions that can go awry is like the mission, vision, and values work, without any operationalization. Where the teams come together, puts together mission, vision, and values, lots of good intentions, lot of effort, wordsmithing where again, people are fork in eye, but they get it.
Kris Boesch: 41:51
And then it just becomes this weird, dead document that people make fun of, rather than where it actually gets operationalized and is alive and well within the organization. Yeah, I would just say anytime you’re trying to build on anything that’s toxic that you’re not dealing with, it’s not going to go well.
Yeah. I will say what I’ve learned is it is amazing how hungry your team is to hear about things in the yesteryear that were really bad, but that you nipped and don’t exist now. It’s almost like you paint this history of where we were and what we will not allow, a boundary, to ever go back again. It becomes part of your culture in a positive way. “Okay, we had these bad things happen but this is where we are now and we’ll never allow that.” You even start like going down that path, you know that’s not allowed at this company. It’s a nice fairytale.
Kris Boesch: 42:51
Well, it’s your cannon of stories, right? It’s the history of your company and you get to share those epic moments when you guys had success and those epic moments when you failed, and those horrible people that were on your team, that you would never allow again, and amazing people that were, like without team we wouldn’t be here today. Every time you speak about any of those, you are re-instilling what it means to get to work here. Not just anybody gets to work here.
You make it a little bit more special that they are there.
Kris Boesch: 43:29
Right. It’s a pride piece. I mean, there’s nothing worse than to work at a company, and I know right now some industries are really, really struggling to get, I just spoke to an industry that they have 400% voluntary turnover. I mean, it’s just brutal, absolutely brutal. I get that, but where there’s this like, “We just need to get a warm body in here,” how does that make your people feel? Like, “Oh, I’m just a warm a body?” That’s horrible.
“We just need people.”
Kris Boesch: 44:00
Which is horrible, which again makes the people who’ve been there, “Well, I want to go somewhere where I’m not just a warm body” and then they leave you and you’re like, “Man.” It’s hard when you’re in that thick of desperateness to get help in, but really, you just have to be so thoughtful, every time you add someone to your team, and even doing dismissal with dignity. Every time you remove someone from your team, there really are ways to do it so that people, not that they think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but where there’s a real mutual respect, when someone leaves your organization, such that they might even be helping you find the person who’s their replacement.
I think it’s always interesting, we’ve had people over the years that I have fired, and they’ve come back to drop by and say hi. Our team’s always like, “They what? They what? They what?” It’s like, it wasn’t working out, but we can still be friends. We had to break up, but we can still be friends.
Kris Boesch: 45:00 Yeah, absolutely. Even just creating in your orientation, when people come onto your team, I mean listen, there will be a day, there may come a day-
There will be a day that you will be gone, and we will split most likely.
Kris Boesch: 45:18
But there’s also there may come a day when you decide you don’t want to be here anymore, and when that day comes, come tell me so I can support you in transitioning, you can help me get the next person trained up. It can be mutually beneficial, right? I can connect you with LinkedIn and I can give you a letter of recommendation.
Kris Boesch: 45:37
And all the things, rather than write those weird, people just leave out of nowhere, and then you’re stuck trying to scramble and get the work covered and take care of the clients and do all the things. Yeah, it’s amazing, some of the common, like we just accept that people aren’t going to tell us. We make it so people can’t tell us if they want to leave, because then we’re like, “Don’t hit the door hit you.” It’s like, “Really?”
Taking it personally when it shouldn’t necessarily be something personal. The reality is, we all eventually leave potentially. Unless you have a family business that is going to continue and go, from generation to generation, and you literally die sitting in your chair, and the people that work for you die sitting in their chairs, I mean the likelihood his, in today’s day and age-
Kris Boesch: 46:27
I just envisioned this office with all these dead people in their chairs and [crosstalk 00:46:31].
Yes. So, I mean, people are growing and they’re going to move on, and part of your job I think, as an executive of a company is to make sure that they have the tools when they move on, to be able to go forth with better serving and more capable than when they came to you, and you never know what’ll happen. We get referrals from people who have left, from when they get to new companies, or through friends, or you just don’t know anymore what will happen.
I remember always being terrified to tell a boss that I was going to leave, and get that horrible frozen look on their face, and they’re like, “Two weeks notice, you can leave right this second, goodbye,” right?
Kris Boesch: 47:16
It doesn’t work in a company anymore.
Kris Boesch: 47:18
It doesn’t need to be that way. It’s not beneficial for you either. Now it’s one thing, we all know about egregious stuff, and that’s a whole different bag of beans, but yeah.
Well, I have loved talking to you, and I’m sure our listeners have loved listening to all of this. I hope they have, but what I’d love to do right now is share where people can find out more information about you and what you offer, and you have a book, and do you want to share that with everyone?
Kris Boesch: 47:46
Yeah, thank you Stacy. Everything you ever wanted to know about me and my company is at ChoosePeople.com. Again, as Stacy mentioned, I do have a book at there called Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace. It really is a “how to” manual and even includes our culture assessment within it. We just actually are in the process of launching, we’ve had all of our pilot companies and just had rave reviews, our culture works system. If your leadership team, if your management team is really committed to creating an extraordinary workplace culture, and you’re at a seven, it is the most powerful and cost effective way to create that emotional intimacy so that you can go from that seven like, “Meh, it’s good, it’s okay” to, “We are off the hook. People love working here.” Yeah, that’s all again at ChoosePeople.com.
Awesome. Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we bid them adieu?
Kris Boesch: 48:53
Yeah, I think just the last piece, so again I just want to highlight, focus on having your people feel like they’re known, they matter, and they’re included, and also know that we have a free weekly culture tip that offers team building activities, as well as mindset shifts, and my three favorite finds, and again, that’s just something we give in abundance in the world of again, creating more joy in the workplace. Thank you all for your contributions to your team, your commitment in the world of getting the word out about your organizations, and yeah, just who you are in the world.
Fantastic. Kris, thank you again so much for being here.
Kris Boesch: 49:35
Yeah. Thank you, Stacy.
Listeners, thank you for tuning in and listening to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them), and I will talk to you all on our next podcast. Thanks again Kris.
Kris Boesch: 49:46
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