female founders

Talk-Commerce-Morgan Gist MacDonald

Lucrative Launch Pad: Converting Readers into Revenue with Morgan Gist MacDonald

In this episode, Brent interviews Morgan Gist MacDonald, the CEO and founder of Paper Raven Books, about the importance of writing a book for entrepreneurs. They discuss the process of writing a book, including identifying the scope and topic and navigating the book funnel. Morgan emphasizes the need to consider the reader’s perspective and the relevance and timeliness of the book. She also shares insights on monetizing a book and the different types of nonfiction books. The conversation concludes with a discussion on getting reviews for a book and the services offered by Paper Raven Books.


  • Writing a book can position entrepreneurs as experts and provide credibility in their field.
  • The process of writing a book helps authors discover new angles and nuances to their frameworks and stories.
  • A book funnel is a marketing strategy that includes offering bonuses and upsells to readers.
  • Authors can monetize their books through backend products and services.
  • It is important to consider the reader’s perspective and the relevance and timeliness of the book.
  • Different types of nonfiction books, such as how-to guides and inspirational stories, can work for different business models.
  • Building an email list and getting reviews are important for book marketing.
  • Paper Raven Books offers services for authors at different stages of the book-writing process.
  • Authors can choose different formats for their books, including ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook.
  • Writing multiple books can create more income streams and increase an author’s visibility.
  • Authors should focus on solving a specific problem or providing a specific outcome for readers.
  • Using keywords and categories on Amazon can help increase the visibility of a book.
  • Turning blog posts into a book requires organizing the content and ensuring a cohesive narrative.
  • Authors should consider their goals and the specific outcome they want to achieve with their book.

More podcasts about what entrepreneurs are doing in their fields.


00:00Introduction and Background

02:26The Importance of Writing a Book for Entrepreneurs

04:32Navigating the Book Writing Process

05:30Identifying the Scope of the Book

07:26Choosing a Relevant and Timely Topic

10:15Considering Different Types of Nonfiction Books

14:47Understanding the Book Funnel

19:53Building a Book Funnel

23:38Monetizing a Book

25:13Making Money from Books

27:04Different Types of Nonfiction Books

30:25Types of Clients at Paper Raven Books

32:18Getting Reviews for a Book

36:27Working with Paper Raven Books

37:33Choosing Different Book Formats

39:54When to Write a Book

41:51Using Keywords and Categories on Amazon

44:26Turning Blog Posts into a Book

45:38Shameless Plug

Talk-Commerce Laura Hanlon

Driving Multi-Channel Ecommerce Success: Optimizing Social, Search, Email with Laura Hanlon

For ecommerce brands looking to grow, implementing a strategic multi-channel approach is essential. Relying solely on one marketing platform – be it email, paid social ads, SEO, or otherwise – leaves significant opportunities on the table. By effectively leveraging multiple integrated channels, businesses can gain a more complete view of the customer journey and use those insights to maximize conversions across touchpoints.

In this episode, we talk to Laura Hanlon, the Company Director at Pink Leopard. We’ll explore key strategies and tactics for optimizing a diversified digital marketing mix to accelerate sales. Topics covered include:

  • Efficiently capturing email addresses
  • Crafting on-site popups that convert
  • Advanced email sequencing techniques
  • Cross-channel retargeting best practices
  • Attribution modeling and data analytics
  • Channel optimization & testing
  • And more…

Let’s dive in and uncover exactly how leading ecommerce marketers are connecting the dots between social, search, email, and additional platforms to profitably scale their online businesses.

Expand Email Lists Through Lead Gen Campaigns

Email marketing remains one of the highest converting digital channels available to ecommerce brands. But to fully capitalize, you need a substantial list of engaged subscribers. Relying solely on visitors stumbling upon opt-ins or organically signing up during checkout is not enough. Savvy marketers are proactively growing their lists by running targeted lead gen initiatives across multiple channels.

Run Dedicated On-Site Pop-Ups

Having a pop-up form for collecting email addresses is a quick win for boosting sign ups. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe by prominently displaying the opt-in on site. Offer an incentive like a discount code or free gift for further motivation. Just be sure to avoid intrusive placement that disrupts the user experience. Limit to first-time visitors only and don’t show again after sign up.

Promote Through Social Ads

Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms provide extensive targeting capabilities to home in on your ideal audience. Create campaigns with the specific goal of generating email sign ups rather than direct sales. Offer an irresistible lead magnet to capture interest. And utilize built-in lead forms for seamless list building right within the ad units.

Search Retargeting for conversions

Running paid search ads can help drive targeted traffic, but retargeting those who don’t initially convert is crucial for maximizing ROI. Remarketing past visitors with new email list promotion messaging helps capture leads that may have previously slipped away.

Influencer Partnerships

Teaming up with influencers who align with your brand can provide access to new, qualified audiences. Negotiate promotions where the influencers specifically promote your email subscriptions to their follower base to grow your list rapidly.

The larger and higher-quality your email list, the greater potential revenue it can drive through effective ongoing nurturing and retention campaigns. Invest time upfront in strategic list growth for long-term payoffs.

Craft On-Site Pop-Ups That Convert

As discussed above, on-site pop-ups present a convenient opportunity to capture visitor email addresses. But the most effective pop-ups balance list building with driving immediate sales. Follow these best practices for maximizing popup success:

Promotional Messaging

The messaging itself is key – it needs to clearly communicate the pop-up goal, whether email sign up, limited-time discount or both. Keep copy crisp and direct.

Placement and Timing

Don’t immediately blast visitors with a pop-up the moment they land on your site. Allow them to browse first before triggering the popup. And when it does appear, avoid disrupting if they are actively navigating pages or have items in their cart.

Mobile Responsiveness

With the majority of ecommerce traffic now on mobile, pop-ups must function seamlessly on all devices. Test across smartphones to ensure usability.

Offer Relevance

Whatever promotional offer or coupon you include should relate directly to products the visitor has been viewing. For example, if they were checking out apparel, the deal should apply to apparel purchases rather than unrelated items.

Limit Frequency

Nothing frustrates visitors more than being bombarded with the same pop-up over and over. Use frequency capping to ensure users only see it once.

Tasteful, strategically-timed pop-ups can boost conversions without annoying customers. Continuously test new variations to refine your approach.

Advanced Email Sequencing Techniques

Sophisticated email sequencing takes your campaigns to the next level. Instead of just bulk blasting promotional messaging, properly structured sequences nurture subscribers through customized journeys personalized to their behaviors. Let’s explore proven sequencing strategies for increased sales:

Welcome Series

The initial welcome series introduces new subscribers to your brand. Share valuable content that establishes your expertise and highlights product benefits. End by offering a coupon or promo to incentivize their first purchase.

Browse Abandonment

If a subscriber browses your site but leaves without buying, trigger a follow-up reminding them of items they showed interest in and offer a discount or free shipping to nudge them towards conversion.

Cart Abandonment

Similarly, if a customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete checkout, send an automated follow-up highlighting their would-be purchases. Offer a coupon and gently encourage them to finalize the transaction.

Win-Back Series

For subscribers who haven’t purchased in awhile, win-back messaging attempts to re-engage them. Ask why they haven’t bought recently, promote new arrivals and remind them of your brand.


For subscribers who have bought certain products in the past, send a reminder when it may be time to replenish those items. Include links for easy reordering.


Requesting product reviews from recent purchasers helps build social proof. Follow up post-purchase asking if they’d take a moment to leave a review.

Get creative with sequences tied to specific subscriber actions and preferences to maximize relevancy.

Retarget Across Channels

To fully capitalize on hard-won site traffic, savvy marketers retarget visitors across channels even after they leave. Here are proven cross-channel retargeting strategies:

Paid Social Retargeting

If someone bounces from your site without converting, you can continue engaging them through paid social ads on Facebook/Instagram. Tailor creative and offers to reconnect based on pages visited.

Search Retargeting

Similarly, you can remarket to site visitors via paid search ads on Google. This allows you to promote products they showed interest in across the web.

Email Retargeting

As discussed above, email sequences provide powerful retargeting capabilities. Automated flows can follow up with subscribers after on-site interactions to re-engage them.

SMS Retargeting

For subscribers who have provided their phone number, SMS messages are another channel for post-visit outreach. Send timely alerts on limited-time sales or promotions.

Direct Mail Retargeting

Even direct mail can play a role in cross-channel retargeting through services like Printi. Upload customer lists and retarget past site visitors with customized print catalogs.

Each retargeting touch is another chance to win conversions from promising leads. Continuity across channels improves results.

Attribution Modeling

To accurately gauge channel performance, ecommerce brands need effective attribution modeling in place. This analyzes how each touchpoint contributes to conversions across customer journeys. Here are key considerations when configuring attribution:

Algorithm Selection

Various algorithms like last-click, first-click or multi-touch assign conversion credit differently. Select a model that fits with your goals and reflects true channel impact.

Platform Limitations

Native channel analytics like Facebook Ads Manager often only report on activity within siloed channels. Leverage multi-touch attribution solutions for a unified view.

Data Connectivity

Connecting data across marketing and analytics systems is essential for Attribution. Ensure platforms share cross-channel insights.

Analysis Cadence

Continuously analyze attribution data to identify optimization opportunities. Review channel contributions regularly and tweak strategies accordingly.

Proper attribution provides visibility into how your assorted initiatives are driving sales. These insights empower smart optimization decisions.

Continuously Test and Optimize

To maximize results from a multi-pronged digital strategy, savvy ecommerce brands constantly test and optimize across channels. Here are impactful ways to improve performance:

A/B Test Email Content

Regularly A/B test email content like subject lines, preview text and calls-to-action to determine what resonates most with subscribers. Apply learnings to future campaigns.

Experiment with New Channels

Adding emerging channels like TikTok ads, SMS marketing or direct mail to your mix allows you to evaluate new customer touchpoints.

Dynamic Segmentation

Divide lists into highly-targeted segments based on behaviors and attributes. Send hyper-personalized messaging to boost engagement.

Iteratively Refine Offers

Test different promotional tactics like dollar-off coupons vs. percent-off discounts to see what best incentivizes purchases.

Monitor ROI

Dig into channel revenue attribution and profitability metrics. Double down on high-performing drivers and prune inefficient spend.

Agile marketers avoid stagnation by continuously evaluating and evolving their multi-channel programs. A/B testing and data analysis are invaluable for guiding enhancements.


What are the top marketing channels ecommerce brands should focus on?

For most ecommerce businesses, paid social ads, email marketing, SEO, and paid search tend to provide the highest ROI. But emerging options like SMS and TikTok ads are worth testing as supplemental channels.

How much budget should go towards each channel?

There are no fixed allocation percentages that will work across the board. Analyze attribution data to understand your unique channel contributions, then allocate budget proportionately to the sales impact of each.

When does it make sense to bring on an agency versus handling marketing internally?

In the early growth stages, outsourcing to an expert ecommerce agency can provide greater focus on optimizing channel performance. Later on, larger in-house teams may offer benefits like institutional knowledge and integrated workflows.

What metrics indicate poor multi-channel optimization?

Indicators like decreasing conversion rates across channels, low referral traffic between platforms and poor attribution to certain touchpoints all signal opportunities to improve integration.

In Closing

By coordinating social media advertising, email marketing, SEO and additional digital initiatives, ecommerce brands can gain a holistic view of each customer’s journey. Strategic nurturing and retargeting across channels maximizes engagement at every touchpoint.

Continuously track channel analytics through multi-touch attribution to allocate resources appropriately based on ROI. And keep testing and optimizing campaigns through A/B experiments and customer segmentation for sustained innovation.

With the right integrated multi-channel strategy fueled by hard data, elevating performance across all digital drivers is an attainable reality for forward-thinking ecommerce marketers.

SEO Meta Title: Driving Multi-Channel Ecommerce Success: Strategies for Optimizing Social, Search, Email & More

Meta Description: Grow your ecommerce business by effectively leveraging social ads, email marketing, SEO, PPC and other integrated digital channels.

Key Phrase: ecommerce multi-channel optimization

Excerpt: Implementing a strategic multi-channel approach is essential for ecommerce brands looking to grow. This article explores proven tactics for optimizing social, search, email and more to maximize sales.

Tags: ecommerce, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid search, attribution modeling

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Talk-Commerce-Lauren Schwartz

Harnessing the Power of TikTok for E-commerce: A Conversation with Lauren Schwartz

In this podcast episode, Brent welcomes Lauren Schwartz, the owner of The Loft 325, a creative studio specializing in ad creatives for e-commerce brands. They discuss the importance of creativity in TikTok videos and how it offers a new way for brands to engage with audiences.

Lauren advises brands to balance creativity with taking action by developing content on various topics and working with content creators. They also discuss the challenge of convincing B2B brands to try TikTok and how to grab viewers’ attention quickly. They discuss the importance of content creation and organic user-generated content for e-commerce merchants.

Ready to dive into the world of TikTok and e-commerce? Join me in this episode as we explore the importance of creativity, content creators, and the benefits of using TikTok for advertising. Get inspired and stay one step ahead!

The Loft 325: A Creative Hub for E-commerce Brands

Lauren Schwartz is not just the founder of The Loft 325, but she also plays a pivotal role in running the studio and educating new creatives on the platforms they will be working on. Her passion lies in helping designers and video editors find their creative direction.

TikTok: A New Avenue for E-commerce Brands

Our conversation quickly moved to the topic of TikTok and its role in e-commerce. Lauren explained that TikTok offers a unique element of entertainment that allows brands to step away from being overly salesy. It provides a fresh way to engage with audiences and showcase products in a fun and entertaining manner.

Balancing Creativity and Action

When asked about how brands can balance creativity with taking action, Lauren advised brand owners to start developing content on various topics, including interviews with employees and industry experts. She emphasized the importance of working with content creators who can provide fresh perspectives on the brand.

Overcoming Skepticism: The TikTok Challenge

We also discussed the challenge of convincing B2B brands to try TikTok. Lauren acknowledged the skepticism but suggested allocating a budget to test the platform. She recommended working with content creators to bring a fresh perspective to the brand’s image.

The Importance of Quick Engagement on TikTok

Lauren highlighted the importance of grabbing viewers’ attention quickly on TikTok. With users scrolling through content rapidly, the “three-second hook” is actually less than a second. Understanding what is trending on TikTok can help in creating engaging content that resonates with the audience.

Engaging Older Generations on TikTok

When asked about engaging older generations, like Gen Xers, on TikTok, Lauren suggested that by being on TikTok and understanding what people like, one can adapt their content accordingly. She also emphasized the importance of analyzing trends and incorporating them into ad formats to make them look more like TikTok content and less like traditional ads.

Getting Discovered on TikTok

Lauren explained that while going viral is challenging, using trending hashtags and creating engaging content can help in getting discovered on TikTok.

Advice for E-commerce Merchants

Lauren’s advice to e-commerce merchants, especially leading up to Black Friday, is to focus on content creation and organic user-generated content (UGC). She emphasized that working with creators can be highly effective across all platforms and recommended investing time in content creation because it consistently yields positive results.

The Power of Testing and Trying New Things

I agreed with Lauren’s point and added that testing different approaches is crucial to determine what works best. Creators bring a fresh perspective and encourage trying new things. The cost of creating content has significantly decreased with the availability of tools and the ability to reach multiple platforms.

A Final Word

As our conversation came to a close, Lauren announced that she will be launching a designer course for aspiring creatives looking to enter the field of paid social advertising.In conclusion, our conversation with Lauren Schwartz highlighted the potential of TikTok as a powerful tool for e-commerce brands. By understanding the platform’s unique dynamics and leveraging its creative potential, brands can engage with their audience in a fresh and entertaining way.

More Podcasts about Marketing

Notable moments:

The importance of creativity on TikTok [00:02:25] TikTok allows brands to step away from branded content and be more creative and entertaining in how they talk about their products.

The role of content creators in brand marketing [00:04:58] Working with content creators provides new perspectives and fresh ideas for brands, helping them showcase their products in a unique way.

Testing TikTok for B2B brands [00:06:04] While there may be skepticism, it is recommended to at least test TikTok by allocating budget for creative and ad spend to see if it brings value to the brand.

The importance of grabbing attention quickly [00:09:24] The speaker discusses the need to capture viewers’ attention within a second on TikTok due to the fast-scrolling nature of the platform.

Analyzing trends on TikTok for ad creatives [00:10:55] The speaker talks about the importance of understanding and incorporating trending content into ad creatives on TikTok.

Organic growth versus paid growth on TikTok [00:13:35] The speaker discusses the benefits of both organic and paid growth on TikTok and emphasizes the importance of having an organic presence on the platform.

Content creation and working with creators [00:19:43] The importance of investing in content creation and collaborating with creators for e-commerce businesses.

Testing and the cost of creative [00:20:18] The significance of testing different strategies and the lower cost of creating content across multiple platforms.

Shameless plug for designer course [00:21:01] Lauren’s upcoming designer course for new creatives in the paid social advertising field.


  • The Loft 325: 00:00:11
  • TikTok: 00:01:35
  • Instagram: 00:01:35
  • Reels: 00:01:35
  • YouTube: 00:01:35
  • TikTok: 00:09:24, 00:10:21, 00:10:55, 00:11:13, 00:11:45, 00:12:18, 00:13:03, 00:13:35, 00:14:39, 00:15:11, 00:15:43, 00:16:21, 00:17:33, 00:17:58, 00:18:08, 00:18:43, 00:19:05
  • Facebook: 00:16:50, 00:17:21
  • Content creation and organic UGC: 00:19:43
  • Working with creators: 00:19:43
  • Testing different strategies: 00:20:18
  • Tools for creating content across multiple platforms: 00:20:18
  • Designer course for brand new creatives in paid social advertising: 00:21:01
Talk-Commerce-Chloe Thomas

Maximizing Ecommerce Efficiency and Driving Towards Net Zero: A Discussion with Chloe Thomas

In the podcast “Maximizing Ecommerce Efficiency and Driving Towards Net Zero: A Discussion with Chloe Thomas,” Brent interviews Chloe, a globally recognized expert in eCommerce marketing problem-solving.

As the author of several best-selling books, a keynote speaker, advisor, and host of the award-winning podcasts eCommerce MasterPlan and Keep Optimising, Chloe shares insightful perspectives on sustainability, marketing trends, artificial intelligence (AI), and the role of AI in content creation.

Chloe passionately emphasizes the importance of small sustainable steps towards eco-friendly practices in the e-commerce ecosystem. Her approach suggests conducting a comprehensive supplier audit to spotlight potential areas for improvement. Besides, she underlines the need for businesses to communicate transparently with customers about their sustainability efforts.

Regarding the evolving dynamics of marketing in 2023, Chloe urges businesses to harness a deep understanding of their customers’ emotional connections to their brands. Further, she talks about the imperative of staying abreast of changes in platforms like Google Ads, which could potentially impact profitability and sales if overlooked. Concerning AI in content creation, Chloe articulates a vision where AI plays a supportive role rather than replacing human teams.

While AI can generate base content, it’s crucial to interweave brand identity and align messages with customer expectations using a human touch. Currently, Chloe is focusing on growing her podcasts, finding new partners and sponsors, and planning new initiatives for 2023 to help her audience and sponsors more effectively. She also contributes to in-person and virtual events in the eCommerce space as a speaker and chairperson.

Chloe guides eCommerce business owners and marketers on business growth strategies. As a speaker, she frequently participates in premier online marketing events. As a writer, Chloe contributes regularly to the eCommerce and retail press, writes white papers, and has authored five books on eCommerce.

Chloe offers assistance in a variety of areas, including guest-speaking on podcasts or virtual summits, providing expert quotes, guesting on her podcasts, or becoming a board-level advisor for your company. Away from her professional pursuits, Chloe has a flair for locating interesting TV shows on Amazon Prime, relishes pancakes and Lubeck marzipan, and enjoys reading works by authors such as Irvine Welsh, Susan Cain, and Chuck Palanuik.

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Talk-CommerceRuth Even Haim

Introducing the Reconvert Rate: A Game-changing eCommerce Metric with Ruth Even Haim

Today we have a special guest, Ruth Even Haim, who is the co-founder of ReConvert, a post-purchase upselling app for Shopify. Throughout her journey as an entrepreneur, Ruth and her brother both had Shopify stores and realized that the default ‘Thank You’ page on Shopify was essentially an ‘exit door’ from the store.

This realization gave rise to the creation of ReConvert, an app designed to make this exit door obsolete by facilitating post-purchase upselling. How does that work? ReConvert essentially transforms the ‘Thank You’ page into another landing page that confounds customer appreciation and promotes other products for potential immediate post-purchase.

The goal is to retain the customer’s attention after purchase and spur additional sales. In addition to her entrepreneurial work, Ruth also has a passion for content and writing. This passion translates into the work she does at ReConvert, creating a more engaging and interesting post-purchase experience for customers. A true testament to how personal passions can positively influence one’s work!

Join us as we delve deeper into the subject of post-purchase upselling, its potential for increasing revenues, and how Reconvert is changing the game for Shopify merchants. We will also explore the challenges and opportunities that come with being an entrepreneur and have a few laughs along the way.

To all the entrepreneurs out there – don’t miss out on this informative episode as we explore the insights of post-purchase upselling with our guest, Ruth Even Haim. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or just starting out, there are lessons to be learned and insights to be gained. Stay tuned!

Download the app today here.

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Revolutionizing Returns: Harnessing the Power of Reverse Logistics with Amena Ali

In this engaging episode of Talk Commerce, Brent Peterson sits down with Amena Ali, CEO of Optoro, a company specializing in optimizing returns and reverse logistics for businesses. They delve deep into the world of e-commerce returns, discussing how an effective returns management process can greatly enhance customer experience and loyalty.

Amena shares insights on how retailers can manage returns to improve their bottom line, using AI to evaluate fraud risks and facilitate instant exchanges. She sheds light on the importance for businesses to adopt a customer-centric returns policy similar to Amazon’s and the role of technology in making this happen. From discussing the importance of efficient inventory restocking to the increasingly critical role of reverse logistics, Amena provides merchants with valuable advice on enhancing their e-commerce strategy.

This episode is an eye-opener for retailers seeking to upgrade their returns management system, raise customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, increase sales. Whether you’re a small-scale e-commerce business owner or an enterprise-level retailer, this candid conversation with Amena Ali offers valuable insights into transforming returns from a problem into an opportunity.

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Talk-Commerce Tiffany Uman

Are You a Toxic Boss with Tiffany Uman

We often hear about toxic workplaces, but what about toxic bosses? As a boss or leader, your behavior and actions can significantly impact your team’s productivity, morale, and overall well-being. But how do you know if you’re a toxic boss? And more importantly, how can you fix it?

In this episode, we will dive deep into the signs and characteristics of a toxic boss. We will discuss the effects of toxic leadership on employees and the organization as a whole. We will also provide practical tips and strategies for improving your leadership style and creating a healthy work environment for your team.

Whether you’re a new or experienced leader, or just starting out this episode is a must-listen. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started on the journey to becoming a better boss!

Workplace Essentials Workshop


Tiffany is a career strategy coach and a former Fortune 500 senior director, and she is passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. She spends a lot of time with her family and enjoys the quality moments they have together.

Tiffany: When it comes to people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about which ones need to be taken very seriously and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot better.

Tiffany: I think subjectivity versus objectivity is really important. Subjectivity leads to a lot of room for interpretation. Moving towards the objective is what’s going to get the best buy-in, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers.

Brent: I know one thing, and it’s that everybody should have a number.

Tiffany: I agree, and I think that key performance indicators are really essential to help you track your own progression as well.

When you don’t have a proper baseline to go off of, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve. It’s still subjective and surface level, and so it leads to stagnation and frustration for the employee. It’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven.

If your manager or boss tends to stay very surface level in their answers, try to get more specificity. If they use a condescending tone, try to explain why you don’t understand what they’re trying to say.

Tiffany: When a manager doesn’t make it clear what they want, the employee feels bad and insecure. To counter this, the manager should explain what they want and how they want it done, and the employee should be able to see the other side of the coin.

Brent: I can relate to the fact that sometimes I’m a visionary in assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, and then I get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it.

Brent and Tiffany discuss how to motivate people to achieve their goals, including writing out, creating clear goals, and making sure that everybody is tracking them. They also discuss the importance of sharing the vision and why their involvement in the vision is so critical.

Tiffany: Managing expectations is about knowing what the vision means for you and your colleagues, and mobilizing your people in the right way.

Tiffany: It doesn’t always have to be you that gives those action steps, it could be a collaborative effort. It could be like, this is the vision that I want us to achieve, let’s talk about some strategy.

Brent: When something goes wrong with a client’s website, a boss can either help or hinder the situation. I was a very poor crisis boss, and I try to avoid “shoulding” on people. When in a crisis, you as the leader should be looking at the solution, let’s work together to find ways to move past this and be proactive. This means having processes in place, and different types of mechanisms that will help should things end up going sour.

In those actual moments when it happens, you want to be able to motivate your team and stay calm and level-headed. Try to look at the crisis from an objective point of view and act on the things you can control.

Tiffany: I think the most important thing is to get people’s involvement, without falling into a dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or why don’t you do that. And then you as a leader have to take responsibility for it if it goes wrong.

When a leader says you should do this, and it didn’t work. Then the person who did it screws up, and suddenly we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong, I think as a leader you must take on that responsibility and then not shift the blame to anybody else.

Tiffany: A lot of companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just to move on to the next thing. We don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. But taking ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings more respect than anything else.

Brent: We talk about having a feedback loop and having the ability for employees to talk to their boss. One lady said her boss would give her 30 minutes every other week to bitch and complain.

Tiffany: I definitely think leaders should lead by example, and encourage others to do the same. However, it’s important to be cautious when using openness to share and vent, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision-makers around internal movement.

If employees get the sense that you can speak about people in a certain way, they will feel more comfortable sharing. But I think there is a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available.

Brent: To fill out the surveys, right?

Tiffany: To learn more about them, to know something a little bit about them, to understand how they think things might play out in this current work setting.

I think anonymity as you said, is really important. It’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that are going to help people feel more open to sharing feedback.

Tiffany: HR is normally the person that employees feel comfortable going to with any sort of complaint, but it depends on the type of organizational culture. If you have a complaint, bring it forward, but pair it with a solution. This helps them already get the ball rolling, and it becomes much more collaborative and well-received at the end of HR.

Tiffany: Maybe it’s worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to their door, and I’m part of a community where often people have a complaint about the community without a solution.

Tiffany: It’s so easy for people to complain about something, but they’re the last to share a solution. I think that is a skill that needs to be developed.

Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and are exposed to senior leaders as well, they’re going to expect that of you. Take ownership of what can be done to be improved.

Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood, they start speaking with you at a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. This helps whatever strategies, and recommendations elements you bring forward to be so much better received.

Tiffany: Take the time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points. This will help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport faster.

Tiffany: A little bit of anticipation factor as well as the realization that if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, Y, Z. So it’s your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.

Employee turnover has been a big thing in the last couple of years. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving?

Tiffany suggests that when you’re onboarding team members, really take the time to understand what motivates them, and what gets them excited to come to work, and then help them do work that feeds into that direction, you’ll have a lot less turnover.

Tiffany: You constantly have conversations with them. If there are tough times in the organization, check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, and let them know that you’re there with them and that they’re not alone.

Tiffany: Maybe a different opportunity came their way that they were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But by having these types of conversations more actively, you can avoid this situation.

Tiffany: I think the employee review process should cover a little of that, but I don’t limit it to that. Having a more continuous dialogue with your team is another aspect that I’m a big believer in, and that might be a reflection of your boss.

If your boss doesn’t understand your job, it is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you are showcasing in your role. It could be impromptu, pre-prep for a certain eval, or something that you are prompting more in an ongoing way.

Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand.

Tiffany: Show them the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, and they understand at least the value that you play. One approach is to write things out for them, or share something more visually that they can follow along with you, and that helps them see the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required.

Tiffany is hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop that will help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful self. If you’re open to joining again, the workshop is on March 22nd at 12:00 PM EST.

Brent: I have a lot of different free resources as well, Tiffany. One of them is a LinkedIn learning course, a nano course all around answering common interview questions, and if people want a little bit of one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.


[00:03:54] Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce. Today I have Tiffany Uman. Tiffany is a career coach. Tiffany, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us about your day-to-day role and maybe one of your passions in life. 

[00:04:05] Tiffany: Sure. Thanks so much for having me, Brent. Really happy to be here. So I am a career strategy coach. I focus on empowering high achievers.

[00:04:14] Tiffany: To become the top 1% in their career, really fast, track their success and start becoming very much fast tracked in their promotions, raises, job opportunities, and ultimately filling in a lot of the gaps that school never teaches us. Formerly from becoming a career strategy coach, I was a former Fortune 500 senior director in the Fortune 500 space, so a lot of firsthand learnings.

[00:04:40] Tiffany: Fuel into my coaching practice today, and I’m very passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. And what it takes to really become that top 1% something that I am, I’m really passionate about. I’d say definitely my family when I’m not working, I’m definitely spending a lot of time with them and soaking up the quality moments that we have together brings a lot of light into my life.

[00:05:03] Tiffany: So I, I’m definitely prioritizing that more and more. 

[00:05:07] Brent: That’s awesome. So we met because one of my employees sent me a link that you had done an Instagram link and I thought it was very good. 

[00:05:16] Brent: But but we did want to talk about bad bosses and I thought I guess I was a little bit encouraged that an employee would send me something about a bad boss tell us some of the toxicity that can come with bad bosses. 

[00:05:30] Tiffany: Oh yes. Unfortunately it’s a little bit too prevalent.

[00:05:34] Tiffany: I’ve heard a lot of horror stories over the last few years alone, and I’ve definitely experienced some very challenging moments myself. I’ve had great bosses, I’ve had not so great bosses, and I really feel for people going through some of those darker moments because it can really take a toll, to your point, Brent, it can impact your confidence, your self-esteem, your self.

[00:05:56] Tiffany: How you view your capabilities and what your abilities are. And I think bad bosses, toxic bosses, that word is thrown a lot around a lot, and there is a really important distinction around, a true toxicity driven boss versus maybe just having. A clash of leadership style versus what you need as an employee to be best supported.

[00:06:17] Tiffany: So that is a really important distinction because when it’s really talking about people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about, which ones need to be taken very seriously, especially when it comes to wellbeing and mental health, and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot.

[00:06:39] Tiffany: Better. But we see things from, micromanagement to nepotism, to favoritism, to down, talking to, throwing under the bus, not looking out for your best interest as their employee really yelling at you or just being really mean and embarrassing in, in many work moments.

[00:06:59] Tiffany: The list goes on. There could be also very unethical behavior. I’ve certainly. Supported quite a few of my clients with those types of really unfortunate circumstances around harassment. Things that have taken a turn, for the worst in those moments. So I never want anybody to feel alone going through that because there is hope, there is light at the end of this, but often we need that kind of support in an objective way to help you get to the other.

[00:07:25] Brent: Yeah. You bring up a lot of good points about the how you interact with your subordinates and how your subordinates theoretically should interact with you as the boss. . I know that laughter in the workplaces of value and we talked about. The free joke project, which I completely forgot when we did our interest.

[00:07:44] Brent: So waiting up front. Yeah, I’m sorry. We’re gonna pause. Take 30 seconds and I’m gonna tell you a joke. And we decided if this joke should be toxic or not. So it could be the toxic joke project and I don’t have any toxic jokes. They’re all dad jokes, I apologize. We’re just gonna take 30 seconds.

[00:08:00] Brent: I’m gonna tell you the joke. All you have to do is tell me if you feel that joke should be free, or if someday we should charge for it. And it’s an easy one. Okay? We had a contest at work for the best neckwear. It was a tie. . Yeah I agree. We had to get it out of the way cause, but up bum . Yes.

[00:08:21] Brent: Yeah. I’m sorry. I like it. Delivery was a very poor on that one. Alright, so let’s, it’s okay. I like 

[00:08:26] Tiffany: it. It’s clever. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that joke. . 

[00:08:31] Brent: Yeah. Yeah, it’s I won’t make any more. I was gonna make a bunch of puns cuz I’m also good at that, but I 

[00:08:36] Tiffany: won’t do that.

[00:08:36] Tiffany: Yeah I was saying that’s a good pun. a good play on words for sure. . 

[00:08:40] Brent: Alright let’s just talk with let’s come back to the toxic boss and talk about how. You mentioned throwing under the bus. You mentioned not supporting you playing favoritism. , a lot of those things really work against having a great team.

[00:08:57] Brent: And Oh yeah. I know that I’ve been in situations where somebody leaves and then all of a sudden that person is the worst person in the world. Or if there’s somebody that you know is in a company and you as the boss are saying bad things about that person . Talk a little bit about the differences between.

[00:09:15] Brent: say subjective things you’re saying about somebody and being objective in terms of how you would like to that person to improve. Oh 

[00:09:24] Tiffany: yeah. I think the subjectivity versus objectivity is a really important one because, subjectivity leads a lot of room for interpretation. What’s really actionable there?

[00:09:34] Tiffany: What is actually founded in something that has some weight to it? When it comes to whether it’s feedback, whether it’s improving in a certain situation, I definitely tend to recommend moving towards objective because that’s what’s gonna get the best buy-in. It doesn’t seem like it’s emotionally driven.

[00:09:53] Tiffany: It doesn’t seem like it’s just based off of feeling, but rather something that’s going to help move the situation. Forward, and I think that’s really important, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers. You don’t wanna stay in that emotional subjective. Likely going to backfire.

[00:10:10] Tiffany: We need to be able to move into more of an objective lens and dialogue that’s going to help your case and at least put some cards on your side to see if this is a relationship that’s worth, that’s able to be improved and salvaged. . 

[00:10:24] Brent: Yeah, I know one thing. So I’m a big believer in EOS entrepreneurial operating system, and in that framework we have a scorecard that, and the kind of the rule is, or not the rule, but best practice is that everybody should have a number.

[00:10:37] Brent: And a lot of people look at that. Maybe employees would look at that as saying, Hey, I’m only a number. . But I think that, that gives you an objective way of measuring your perform. and it also gives your boss a way of saying, Hey, here’s some objectives that we would like to achieve. Here’s the data that helps us to determine if we’re being successful in that or not.

[00:10:56] Brent: . And it doesn’t have to necessarily be bad. It could be something that points to something else that says, I wasn’t able to achieve my number because of blah, blah, blah, or, but I think it’s a great starting point to have something concrete to look at, to measure how well you’re 

[00:11:11] Tiffany: doing. . Oh, a hundred percent.

[00:11:13] Tiffany: Yeah. Key performance indicators are really essential. Otherwise, how can you hold yourself accountable? Your boss can’t really hold you accountable otherwise and these are really critical to help you track your own progression as well. If goals, objectives are very surface level, are very qualitative only, it’s going to lead to a little bit of messy waters ahead.

[00:11:34] Tiffany: I can say it like that because you don’t really have a proper baseline to go off of. To your point, Brent, when you’ve got those numbers, when you’ve got those types of metrics, To use as a bit of a guideline. Now you know what your targets are and now you know what kind of room you have for improvement and you can use that to your advantage if you’re, really intentional and strategic about it.

[00:11:56] Brent: Yeah. And I think you as an employee are more comfortable when you know where the playing field is and the goalpost isn’t getting moved. Oh, yeah. In the subjectivity. And when it’s subjective, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this. . . And you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve.

[00:12:12] Tiffany: Exactly. Exactly. I’ve seen it a lot, right? I’ve seen it happen a lot where, someone will have a conversation with their boss. They’ll say, yeah, you’re on your way to your next step. We just need to see this. They work on that and it’s such a surface level type of thing. So they think they’re doing what they need to do, and then sure enough, they have another conversation a little while later and their boss throws in something else in the mix being like, no we also still need you to do this.

[00:12:36] Tiffany: And it’s still very subjective and surface level, and so it leads you to stay in your positions a lot longer than needed. It creates a lot of stagnation and frustration for the employee because they’re trying to follow suit on what feedback they’re being given. But the issue there is that it’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven that will allow them to have a better sense of accountability to drive their progression forward as well.

[00:13:03] Tiffany: So if you have a manager or a boss who just tends to stay very surface level in their answers giving you a little bit of direction, but not enough that you can really sink your teeth into, that’s likely a, a big watch out that you wanna try to get more specificity. , what 

[00:13:19] Brent: about when you consistently hear your boss say, I was very clear in what I was trying to say, and, but nobody is clear in what they’re trying to say.

[00:13:31] Brent: , how from and this is, I suppose more for the for the manager or the boss to help them understand why they’re not clear. . Yeah. Just I’m a big proponent of simply putting it in writing and saying, this is what we’re trying to do. Yeah. Rather than just stating it. , and.

[00:13:49] Brent: Look, comment on that. I’m so clear that, why don’t you understand 

[00:13:52] Tiffany: what I’m saying? Oh, yeah. And it could also depend on the tone, right? Are they using like a condescending tone on top of it when they’re telling you that of I was very clear in what I said. I don’t understand why you don’t get it.

[00:14:02] Tiffany: Like that again is really making the employee feel very bad and insecure in that moment of, okay, maybe I am missing something, maybe. Me when it could absolutely be the onus of the manager, but they’re projecting that onto their employees as if they’re doing something wrong. But the big thing here is a lot of managers, because they are so distant from the day-to-day work or the execution, let’s say that their team is handling, they might say something, thinking that it is super clear, but there’s other flares to this, other facets to it that they don’t have as.

[00:14:33] Tiffany: They don’t have as much connection to anymore. So for them it sounds very obvious what they’re asking, but the employee who’s the one that’s actually doing it is hang on a second. That’s actually not very clear, because in order to do what I think you’re asking, it actually involves X, Y, Z and you’re not mentioning X, Y, Z.

[00:14:50] Tiffany: So a good way to counter that is the employees, to help them see the other side of that coin, right? You could of course, give them feedback on maybe how they’re actually delivering. The message if that’s where the issue lies. But if it’s more around a disconnect between what they think they’re sharing with you and what actually needs to get done, you need to be able to close that gap of saying, I understand.

[00:15:13] Tiffany: That you want us to work towards, fill in the blank. In order to do that though, there is a piece that you haven’t mentioned, and I believe that’s where the confusion is coming from. And then share more around that part so they understand where you’re coming from, and you could find a middle ground to move forward more effectively than stay in this limbo state of confusion and disarray.

[00:15:34] Brent: Yeah, I can relate to the fact that so I’m in a visionary and oftentimes there’s 4 million things going in my head, and I’m assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, right? Yeah. And that assumption is not met because they’re not doing it. And then I get frustrated.

[00:15:52] Brent: , I’m gonna use past tenses because I’m hoping I’m doing better. I would get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it, even though. They should have, I, put me putting some projection or whatever that on the other person is often a problem in the sense that I’m, my expectation is, you know everything I know, right?

[00:16:13] Brent: Yeah. And that you can just go ahead and do it, and I don’t have to give you much direction. All you have to do is do it. Yeah. And then if you don’t. , I’ll get a little bit frustrated in that. And yeah, it, for me it’s vis I’m very visible. When I’m frustrated. You can see it right. On Zoom even. Yeah.

[00:16:28] Brent: Again I think it probably comes down to writing it out and creating some clear goals. Yeah. And making sure that everybody’s tracking those. Yeah, that’s 

[00:16:37] Tiffany: a big part of it. And I would also add to manage, expect. There’s nothing wrong with being visionary. I think that’s what’s really gonna inspire people, especially if you’re really passionate about it and you’re sharing it in a way where they could feel your excitement.

[00:16:50] Tiffany: They can feel like this could be something amazing that they get to be a part of, but to really get their buy-in. Yes. It’s part around sharing the vision. , but also, why their involvement in that vision is so critical. And to help break down more of the action steps that’s gonna help deliver on that.

[00:17:06] Tiffany: And that’s what I mean by managing expectations, because it’s one thing to get the vision, but then, okay, what does that actually mean for me as this particular employer? What does that mean for my colleague who’s also working on this? And it will help you as that manager and the leader to know that you’re mobilizing your people in the right way.

[00:17:22] Tiffany: And it doesn’t always have to be you. Necessarily being the one giving those action steps. It could be like a collaborative effort. It could be like, Hey, this is the vision that, I want us to achieve. Let’s have a conversation around some strategy that will help us get there, or some goals that will help be be good milestone indicators.

[00:17:40] Tiffany: Towards the end outcome, as an example. So there’s ways of doing it that makes it a little bit more tangible without taking away you as a visionary, because that’s probably what makes you and what can make someone really a great boss and leader. 

[00:17:54] Brent: I want to talk a little bit about crisis and how a boss can either help or hinder in a crisis.

[00:18:02] Brent: And I’m gonna again, share my own personal experience on how. I can now look back and see. I was a very poor crisis boss. When something happens and, let’s just say in the software, in industry, something is going wrong with the client’s website and you as the boss are were disconnected from the day-to-day actions of whatever is happening in that project.

[00:18:28] Brent: You’re asked to come in to try to help and solve something. And I used to, and I’m I’m hoping I don’t do this anymore, but I used to immediately start doing the shoulds. And in EO Entrepreneurs’ organization, we have this thing called we don’t should on anybody. We try to share our own experience rather than shoulding on people.

[00:18:46] Brent: And as I look back at my, myself, my previous self, in the last 10 years, even I can remember how many times that I entered a stressful time. And instead of being a good coach or a mentor or in somebody to try to help somebody move forward, I started saying, I’m so disappointed in this team. I, you should have done this.

[00:19:10] Brent: Why didn’t we do that? When, at that time of crisis, you as the leader should be looking at, and I just used the word, should I should have been doing things. , let’s find the solution. Let’s work together to find ways to move past this or whatever. Yeah. To talk a little bit about how a leader can come in and either be a hindrance or a big asset in that type of situation.

[00:19:32] Tiffany: It’s such a great point, Brent. There’s a few things that come to mind. I’ll say, as a starting point when it comes to crisis manage. being proactive is going to help so much. What I mean by this is you almost wanna be ready for the crisis before it even happens. You don’t want to necessarily be in crisis mode to start coming up with strategy backup plans and spread the team a little bit thin when they’re already likely a little bit stressed about what’s going on.

[00:20:00] Tiffany: So that level of anticipation as a leader and a boss can be really helpful of, know. When times are good, that’s actually a good time to have things in place, have processes different types of mechanisms that will help should things, end up going sour a little bit later on.

[00:20:17] Tiffany: But in those actual moments when it happens, I the key is obviously, You wanna be able to still motivate your team during that time of challenge because that’s where a lot of their light can shine through of how they rise above in a very difficult occasion. And yes, I’m with you on the should.

[00:20:35] Tiffany: It’s sometimes tempting to say of you should just do this, or, why didn’t we think of that and get a little bit accusatory, but that’s probably very counterproductive in those moments. When the crisis is happening, obviously trying to stay calm and levelheaded and more solution focused and really putting on that problem solver hat is going to be key because that’s gonna show that you’re leading by example of saying, okay, look, let’s, bring our heads together.

[00:20:58] Tiffany: This is obviously not an ideal situation, but getting overly stressed and worked up is probably only gonna make matters worse. So let’s, try to keep calm and look at this from as an objective. Point of view as possible. What are things that are in our control that we can actually action right now?

[00:21:15] Tiffany: And then get people’s involvement so they feel okay, I have a voice in this. I am being valued in what my contributions are without it falling into a little bit of that dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or, why don’t you do that? And that’s will probably make them feel even worse in an already very difficult situation.

[00:21:33] Brent: Yeah. And I, there is a balance there because I can think of, I maybe I’ve swayed sometimes the opposite direction where all I’m doing is sharing my experience and hoping that somebody gleans something off of that. Where sometimes in a crisis you do need a leader that says, go this way. Do these things.

[00:21:52] Brent: Let’s just, let’s head down this. and then it’s of course on me as the leader to take responsibility for it. I think that’s the second part of that is , you as a leader, say, here’s the direction we’re gonna take. We’re gonna solve it this way, and I’m taking responsibility. If it goes wrong, right?

[00:22:07] Brent: Oh, yeah. Because the other side to that is, if you as a leader say You should do this, and that should didn’t work, and then the person who did it screws up and then suddenly, like you said earlier, we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong. . I think as a leader, absolutely. Taking it taking on that responsibility and then not shifting the blame to anybody else.

[00:22:29] Brent: At the end of the day, you as the owner or the ceo, are ultimately responsible for everything that happens. . Yeah. And certainly a one off or a two off could be your team, but a three off, a four off and a 10 off is usually a management problem or a leadership problem. 

[00:22:46] Tiffany: It’s so true. It’s so true.

[00:22:48] Tiffany: Being able to take that ownership. And that’s a really great way to inspire your team as well if they can see that, hey, Brent is, not afraid to say, this was the wrong decision, or, maybe we should have taken a different direction. Often those postmortem learnings are just as important as the learnings throughout the process.

[00:23:05] Tiffany: And a lot of, companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just onto the next thing. Or we don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. We can prevent it happening another time. So tho those elements are really important because there’s a lot of gold that can come from those types of learnings and retrospective on, what might have happened and how to serve up differently moving forward.

[00:23:30] Tiffany: But taking the ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings a lot more respect than anything else. If you are the type of boss that’s gonna just blame it on your team. Shame on you as the boss because you’re still their boss and you let that happen. So it’s just gonna backfire either way if you try to almost brush it onto your team members, when at the end of the day, you’re the one that made the decision.

[00:23:51] Tiffany: You’re the one that helped guided things in that way, and you have to take some level of responsibility if not a full part of that responsibility. 

[00:24:00] Brent: We talk you talk about having a feedback loop and having an ability for. The having a safe place for employees to be able to talk to their boss.

[00:24:11] Brent: I, I did an interview a couple of months ago where a lady who was a VP said that her, the owner of the company would give her 30 minutes every other week to simply bitch and complain about what’s wrong at work without any feedback. No problem solving, just listening. How would you recommend a, an owner open up that channel and make people feel comfortable doing that?

[00:24:42] Tiffany: Definitely leading by example. If they can show that, they’re open to doing it and encourage others to do it, that. It starts there because this is something that trickles down from leadership. I love that example because I don’t think we see enough companies doing that there.

[00:24:56] Tiffany: There’s always kind of two sides to that coin too, right? As much as we might feel, okay, there’s an openness to share and vent, it’s also sometimes begs the question, will this somehow backfire or will this get back to someone? You don’t wanna necessarily use that opening as a way to bash other people or throw your boss under the bus or, say really bad things about other individuals, because I think that’s just a testament to your character as well, and how you wanna present yourself in a professional setting.

[00:25:24] Tiffany: I don’t think there’s anything wrong though about fostering a feedback culture around. Weights that things can be improved, maybe around more processes, inefficiencies, things like that. But I could see a little bit of delicacy in how open people are in those settings, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision makers around internal movement.

[00:25:45] Tiffany: If they get the sense that, you can speak about people in a certain way. So the intention is good because of course, Employees are thinking this and they wanna be able to create that environment where they feel comfortable sharing. But I think there’s a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available because of.

[00:26:04] Tiffany: Will people truly be as transparent? Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of organizations choose to have more of these anonymous surveys where they can actually collect information and get a better sense of where problems are and where people feel more comfortable sharing because it is anonymous. So if there is an a anonym anonymity to the type of platform and sharing that will probably help go a long way in the openness of what people are willing to share.

[00:26:29] Brent: Yeah. We used a system called Office Vibe that allow you, that allowed you to put in anonymous feedback and there was a number of questions that came out every week. Yeah. I found when I was managing it, I found it hard to often get everybody or main, make sure everybody stayed engaged in it, if we had a hundred people, you would slowly see that engagement rate drop down unless you went back and encourage people to.

[00:26:55] Brent: To fill out the surveys, right? Yeah. I can also share that six months ago I started doing the ask me anything you want and nobody took me up on it. I’ll correct myself. I think out of six months, in about 200 meetings, I probably had had three people who just had that, who wanted to use that 15 minutes to vent.

[00:27:19] Brent: Yeah. And most of the time people wanted to just tell me about their jobs and Yeah. My, I was trying, my goal was to learn more about them, and I would steer them towards how is your family, how many kids do you have? Blah, blah, blah. Cause you, at some point you can’t know everybody on the team, that and I was trying to just know something a little bit about somebody. I can see that. . Yeah, I can I see where you’re saying, I, I can definitely understand what you’re saying about it could get off the rails. 

[00:27:47] Tiffany: It can, and it might not even be anything to do with you as an example, Brent.

[00:27:51] Tiffany: It could be maybe a past experience that they had that didn’t play out very well. So now they’ve got a bit of a guard up. Of how things might play out in this current work setting, as an example. So it’s always good to come from a place. I think the anonymity, like you said, is really important.

[00:28:06] Tiffany: There’s gonna be the people who choose to take you up on it, who are really eager to fill feedback. Others that might feel like I don’t feel like if I say anything, it’s gonna change anything. So I’m just not gonna say anything at all, which is a little unfortunate, but that’s probably being trickled down by the leadership that’s making them feel that their voice doesn’t matter and that’s a bigger problem.

[00:28:25] Tiffany: So there, there’s different nuances here to play into all of this, but I am still a very big advocate of trying to foster feedback in a way that will work for a specific individual. Company’s culture because that’s where it starts. The more that this becomes second nature, the more that it becomes a habit is going to help, employees really feel a lot more comfortable sharing.

[00:28:45] Tiffany: And this is something that, I had done and been part of in my corporate work. And it, it made a big changes in a good way of allowing people to feel more open to share feedback, whereas prior, it wasn’t something that was actively welcome. So it’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that.

[00:29:02] Tiffany: If it’s something that is, walking the walk and talking the talk from a leadership standpoint with time, it will move things in the right direction. 

[00:29:11] Brent: Is the HR person that person who should be open to listening to any sort of complaint? Is there somebody in the company that anybody should feel comfortable with?

[00:29:22] Brent: If they have some huge concern or gripe? 

[00:29:27] Tiffany: Technically, yes. HR is normally that entity that will do that and be that, that sounding board. Will that always be the case? Not necessarily. I’ve certainly heard and seen a lot of stories where HR wasn’t necessarily the one that helped in that situation, but I’ve seen situations where they absolutely have.

[00:29:48] Tiffany: So I, I think it really depends on the type of organizational culture. But generally, because a HR plays a pretty pivotal role in, employee development and growth and enablement internally, they normally are quite a good. Type of department to get on your side and bring these types of topics forward.

[00:30:07] Tiffany: Especially if you’re bringing it in a way where there’s opportunity for improvement. It’s not just coming to complaint. I think that’s could be a really big pet peeve for someone in HR where they’re just hearing complaint after complaint, but no solutions. So I’m a big believer of, okay, if you have a complaint, bring it forward.

[00:30:25] Tiffany: but pair it with an with a solution, help them already get the ball rolling. You’re, if you’re the one feeling this particular challenge, you probably also have a sense of what can change to make it better, and at least bring that part to the conversation as well. So it becomes much more collaborative and well received on the end of HR to say, okay, you know what?

[00:30:45] Tiffany: They actually have a good point. Maybe, that’s something that is worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to 

[00:30:51] Brent: their door. . Yeah. And I’m that applies to almost every situation in life. And I’m part of a community or a bunch of, a number of communities, and oftentimes people in the Comu community have a complaint about the community without a solution.

[00:31:06] Brent: And for me, that’s, that is you’re gonna complain about this, but you don’t have anything that you would like to add to it. It’s kinda like you want to chisel it down, but you don’t want to Oh, yeah. Help 

[00:31:17] Tiffany: repair it. So easy for people to do that. You’re so right, Brendan. All, I think we could all relate in with people in our lives who are very quick to complain about something, to bring something down, that yet they’re the last person that will actually share a solution, right?

[00:31:32] Tiffany: It’s okay, what are you gonna do about it? And then their face goes blank, right? They’re not ready for that, but they’re ready to openly share what’s not working. So I think that is definitely a skill that needs to be developed. But adopting that problem solving mindset is a real.

[00:31:48] Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and be and are more exposed with senior leaders as well, they’re gonna expect that of you, right? They’re gonna expect that it’s not just about bringing problems forward. You have to be already taking some ownership on what can be done to be improved.

[00:32:05] Brent: How about the word empathy? As a leader, how important is that? 

[00:32:10] Tiffany: Oh my gosh, friends, huge. Huge. I can tell you I am a huge advocate of empathy. Especially in leadership styles it really moves mountains. It’s definitely not as prominent as it should be, and is something that can make mountains move like in a beautiful way in a workplace setting.

[00:32:32] Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood and really identified with you, you start speaking with them in such a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. When people feel like they are on the same page, that you are understanding where they’re coming from and really listening with them to understand them, it’s going to help whatever strategies, recommendations elements that you bring forward to be so much better received because it’s coming from a place of really tapping into those insights, right?

[00:33:05] Tiffany: I say this, as like a new boss as an example. If you’re starting on a team, Whether as a first time people manager or just a new boss on a team, take the time to really speak with your team members, understand where are the pain points, where are things that have been challenges for them?

[00:33:20] Tiffany: Really take that time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points so that they’re gonna be like, oh my gosh, where was this strategy, a year ago or six months ago? And it’s going to help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport a lot faster.

[00:33:39] Tiffany: So I’m huge believer in empathy as a very effective leadership style and integrated in how you manage your teams for success. 

[00:33:49] Brent: You’ve mentioned, take the time to speak and listen. What if, so as an employee, what if you are in a meeting? and your boss is telling you the same thing that, that to solve a problem that’s been happening for a year, let’s say, or two years or something like that, and then he or she starts discounting the problem saying, it’s not really a problem, let’s just sweep it under the rug and move on.

[00:34:16] Tiffany: Oh yes. In those moments, it’s really key to. Let them know that it’s not something that should be discounted. That could be done by sharing facts or data as to maybe the gravity of keeping that unresolved. It could be showing that this has already created quite a few consequences on the business results.

[00:34:36] Tiffany: It could also be sharing, if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, y, Z. So a little bit of that anticipation factor as well. But also because sometimes they might not realize, How significant of an issue it is they might be, again, at a bit more of a bird’s eye view. So I’m like, oh, it’s not really as much of a problem, or we probably don’t need to fix that.

[00:34:56] Tiffany: But by not fixing that, it’s gonna create a much. Much worse ripple effect that will then bite them afterwards. So as the employee, maybe even as the manager of that team, it really is your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.

[00:35:15] Tiffany: Help them understand that by making a change here, there’s actually a big benefit in doing that and here’s why. And help them see what that is, versus just leaving it untouched and hoping for the best, which will probably really work against them. 

[00:35:31] Brent: The employee turnover has been such a big thing now in the last couple years.

[00:35:35] Brent: Yeah. And it’s only gotten worse if you’ve consistently had ploy turnover or. You’re seeing it more and more. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving? And if they’re if they’re there for a year, if you can, I know you, you pointed out to data and I’m a firm believer in data.

[00:35:57] Brent: Yeah. If you can determine they’re there for six months and then they leave or they’re there for a year, then they leave and nobody else has ever been here longer than two years, is what is the issue there? Where can we try to dig in and figure out. And try to solve that employee turnover 

[00:36:11] Tiffany: problem.

[00:36:12] Tiffany: Yeah, it’s a great point, Brent. I’m not a opposed to exit interviews, but I do believe that they’re a little bit too late in the game. That’s the point where they’ve already made their decision to leave and we’re not early enough in the process to avoid getting to that point. A much more important thing to do would be almost like, Intro interviews and I don’t treat it that way with my clients, but it’s more around, when you’re onboarding team members, when you’re welcoming new people, really take the time to understand what motivates them, what gets them excited to come to work.

[00:36:46] Tiffany: Really, again, empathy, understand, identify with your employees because if you know that very early on and you are helping them do work and have a role that feeds into that directly you’re gonna have a lot less turnover. I can tell you, I, I was case in point of this with my teams, I had hardly any turnover.

[00:37:05] Tiffany: The only turnover I had was people moving on to different teams because they were getting promoted, which was more of a reflection of their progress they were making. There’s something to be said about really taking the time to understand. What drives your team members so that you constantly have a pulse and it’s not just a one-time thing.

[00:37:21] Tiffany: You constantly have conversations. Check in with them. Be in touch with them. See if you’re recognizing changes in their behavior that might prompt something about their happiness level, their motivation level. Don’t just ignore it. And be like, ah, it’s probably just tough times right now. If there’s tough times in the organization, that’s all the more important to check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, help them know that you’re there with them, that they’re not alone.

[00:37:46] Tiffany: And that’s going to help alleviate a lot of need for exit interviews because there won’t be so many people leaving the organization. They’re gonna feel really well taken care of. Of course, there’s always gonna be circumstances that what might leave someone to leave could be personal circumstances.

[00:37:59] Tiffany: Maybe it’s, a different opportunity that came their way that. They really just were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But I guarantee by having these types of conversations more actively, it’s going to get to the root of the situation before waiting till exit interviews and this entire exodus of, turnover of what’s happening, what is going on here?

[00:38:23] Tiffany: Ole didn’t realize, oh, there’s probably things we should have been doing. Earlier on in our onboarding or follow through with employee development, that would’ve avoided us being in this situation. 

[00:38:34] Brent: The employee review process should cover a little of that, do you think? 

[00:38:39] Tiffany: It definitely should. But I don’t limit it to that.

[00:38:42] Tiffany: I think, performance reviews is one aspect that I’m a big believer in. Having more continuous dialogue to really check in with your team and help guide them and make sure they’re on track with their goals and helping to be a champion. Obviously, coming to the beginning part of our conversation, if you have a really bad boss or a toxic boss, they might not be so supportive in that, and that might be a reflection of.

[00:39:05] Tiffany: Them as a leader, but also possibly for you to move to a different team or maybe find a different type of organization that will enable really effective managers versus ones that are driving talent out the door. But it’s definitely something that plays into performance reviews and evaluations that goes beyond that.

[00:39:22] Tiffany: If it’s a really good boss, they’re gonna take the time to have more conversations and make sure that their team feels really motivated at all times. , 

[00:39:32] Brent: do you recommend as an employee pressing for interim reviews and maybe some kind of pre-performance check in with your immediate supervisor to make sure you’re on track?

[00:39:45] Brent:

[00:39:45] Tiffany: do. Yes, I do. And it doesn’t even have to be anything formal. , it could be pretty informal. Just check in. And again, as the employee, this is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you’re showcasing in your role. You don’t wanna just rely on your boss to just know everything that you’re doing because they, they probably don’t, and you don’t wanna miss.

[00:40:08] Tiffany: Those golden moments to share, how much that you’ve advanced or progressed in a certain way. So having those continuity of conversations is really important. And it could definitely be impromptu, pre prep for a certain eval or something that you’re prompting more in an ongoing way that your boss and you can really discuss together.

[00:40:28] Brent: All right. One last topic cuz I know we’re going along here, but let’s just say your boss doesn’t understand your job. and you are working hard to figure out what are the key points that I need to communicate to show that I’m doing my job. And you feel as though you, maybe you’re not appreciated in what you’re doing because they don’t understand it and you can’t.

[00:40:52] Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand 

[00:40:56] Tiffany: it. Yeah. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. There’s a couple things. I think obviously there’s a gap there in their understanding of the roles. So finding those opportunities of filling them in on maybe the complexity of the work that you’re managing or that.

[00:41:12] Tiffany: things wouldn’t get done without you doing X, Y, Z, and showing like really the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, that could be one way to get their attention without even needing to understand every single detail. They understand at least the value that you play in the work that you do.

[00:41:30] Tiffany: That’s one approach that you can take. Another is to also almost lay it out for them. You said it earlier, writing things out maybe. Sharing something more visually that they can follow along with you, and you can really walk them through, a little bit of the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required, or the amount of stakeholders that might be involved on a certain project, and that this is something that you’re really leading and owning in your work to get to that end outcome.

[00:41:58] Tiffany: So sometimes visual support can help them see it a lot more clearly. and allow you to then pair that with the value that you’re bringing in those tasks and projects as well. . 

[00:42:09] Brent: And that’s great. And I have so many more questions, but I think we’re gonna have to , we’re gonna have to round it out here.

[00:42:14] Brent: Tiffany, as we close out the podcast, I give everybody an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to plug. What would you like to plug today? . 

[00:42:22] Tiffany: Thanks Fred. I love how you coined this the joke and the shameless pluck. If anybody is interested and it’s timely with the topic of today.

[00:42:30] Tiffany: Next week on March 22nd, I’m actually hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop. It’s a very exciting workshop, a 60 minute event that is going to help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful. You. There’s a lot of things that school never teaches us.

[00:42:48] Tiffany: A lot of what Brent and I talked about today fall into that camp as well. And I’d love to really be there. Fill in those gaps and set you up for so much success in the workplace, because that’s the foundation of inevitable success for you, and we wanna get those things right. So yes, if you’re open to joining again, it’s March 22nd at 12:00 PM e s t.

[00:43:09] Brent: Awesome. So you have just, I’m gonna commit, cuz my podcast comes out every Tuesday. So this will be, I’m gonna make this one come out on the 21st of March. Oh, . And so we’ll get it live by then. And I will put all the contact information in the show notes as well. Okay. And maybe I’ll write something as a blog post in advance if you wanna send it.

[00:43:30] Brent: And we can direct you some people your way. 

[00:43:32] Tiffany: Oh, I appreciate that. And I have a lot of different free resources as well, Brent. I just published a new free LinkedIn learning course as well, a nano course all around answering common interview questions. So that is readily available, but if people want a little bit one, one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.

[00:43:51] Tiffany: It’d be great to see them join us there as well. And, 

[00:43:54] Brent: One last question. Are you Canadian? I am. All right, good. So I got my accent right? Yes. Still . I had a Canadian yesterday as well. So where are you calling 

[00:44:03] Tiffany: in from? I’m from Montreal. 

[00:44:05] Brent: Oh, wow. Okay. Excellent. Yes. Good. Tiffany, this has been so enjoyable.

[00:44:09] Brent: I had another topic I wanted to talk about. It was the fluffy pancake versus the crepe. Or you, either you spread somebody so thin that it’s, loose and flavor or versus the oven pancake where everything is all rich and inside and you have plenty of space to work Anyways, maybe it’ll be a new topic we can do in the future.

[00:44:27] Tiffany: I love it. Brent, thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of 

[00:44:30] Brent: fun. Thank you. 

Talk-Commerce-Laura Boyd

Leading a Culture of Trust with Laura Boyd

We are at a time when organizations are changing, and leadership is changing from a command control environment. Brent and Laura discuss the changing landscape of how leaders lead and how times are changing.

In this episode, we talk about accountability and how important it relates to communication in leadership. The leader has to be accountable to their team. Leaders can learn more about how a culture of trust is one of the most important aspects of today’s work culture.

Business leaders may think that all the recent layoffs are giving them opportunities for more hires, but the truth is that we are still seeing historically low employment. Now enjoy this episode of Talk Commerce with Laura Boyd.

What you will learn from this podcast

It’s about helping people with their resolutions, and it’s about having a culture where we’re helping one another and being accountable to one another.

  • Leadership is changing from a command control environment to a culture of trust.
  • Accountability is just as important as communication.
  • Technology allows for both good and bad connectivity.
  • Leaders need to have the confidence to be vulnerable.
  • Competence, compassion, integrity, and an emotional bank account are important for building trust.
  • Have open conversations and call each other out when needed.
  • External facilitators can help create a culture of accountability. Don’t burn bridges during exit interviews.
  • Use cultural assessments to gauge buy-in.
  • Have a Fresh Start program to help people with their resolutions.

Tweet about it.

Brent and Laura discuss how leadership is changing and how accountability is just as important as communication. #Leadership #Accountability @LeadershipLaura

Laura explains that to build trust, you need to have competence, compassion, integrity, and an emotional bank account. #Trust #Compassion @LeadershipLaura

Laura suggests holding a focus group to find out what is it that we’re doing well and what is it that we’re not. #FocusGroup #Feedback @LeadershipLaura

Laura: We want this open conversation, but you don’t have to be an ass, if I can say that. #Conversation #Culture @LeadershipLaura

Laura: We have a Fresh Start program that you can sign up for at the beginning of every year. #FreshStart @LeadershipLaura


[00:00:00] Ruth: We are at a time that organizations are changing and leadership is changing from a command control enviroment. Brent and Laura discuss the changing landscape of how leaders lead and how times are changing. Brent what else did you talk about in this episode?

[00:00:12] Brent (2): Ruth, we talked about how accountibility is just as important as communication in leadership. The leader has to be accountable to their team.

[00:00:20] Ruth: Thanks Brent, I will add that in this episode leaders can learn more about how a culture of trust is one of the most important aspects in todays work culture. Business leaders may think that all the recent layoffs are giving them opprotunities for more hires but the truth is that we are still seeing historic low employeement. Now enjoy this episode of Talk Commerce with Laura Boyd.

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And then we track the performance of this content, reassess it and make it better. Go to content basis.io to learn more. The Open Beta program is available to new users. Go to content basis.io talk. Commerce is sponsored by Haifa, or as the Europeans say. Or the right way to say it. HofA is rapidly becoming the biggest magenta front end after Luma.

For those who don’t know it, Luma is the basic theme that comes with Magenta and it is giantly slow. If you’re looking for a template based front end with the fastest loading times in the e-commerce industry, while saving costs on development time and hosting infrastructure, HofA is your best. Everybody loves a fast sight, including Google.

Improve your Google ranking and conversion rates and make your customers happy. Learn more@hyv.io. That’s H Y V a.io. My name is Brent Peterson and I’m your host. Please remember to subscribe wherever you download your podcasts and now talk commerce.

[00:02:52] Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce. Today I have Laura Boyd. She is the CEO and founder of Leadership Delta. Laura, go ahead and give us a better introduction that I just gave and maybe one of your passions in.

[00:03:04] Laura: Excellent. Thank you Brent. I appreciate it. And I do have to say Brent is my brother’s name, so it should be easy for me to remember. So yes. My name is Laura Boyd, and I can give you a quick background. I have been in sales and marketing basically my whole career. Seven years ago, walked out and was trying to figure out what am I gonna be when I grow up?

[00:03:25] Laura: And what I realized is I have a really strong passion for growing organizations through leadership. And I am a strong believer in the fact that leaders make a difference in the organization and the culture. And so I wanted to build an organization for myself that could help other organizations thrive in a human centered culture.

[00:03:47] Laura: that would help them grow from the inside out. So that’s what we’ve been doing. Great. 

[00:03:53] Brent: Perfect. And one of you, you have a passion that you follow or, oh gosh, 

[00:03:57] Laura: When you own your own business, do you have time for passions? I don’t know. The only thing I could think of is I love working out and now I am a new empty nester.

[00:04:07] Laura: And so pickleball has become, Quite a phenomenon in, in with my husband and I. So I guess I’d say that’s my passion. I don’t know that. No, 

[00:04:16] Brent: that’s great. Yeah, pickleball. I I tried it a couple years ago and it was super fun. I haven’t en, I haven’t embraced it specifically, but I do enjoy playing pickleball.

[00:04:24] Brent: Laura, I know that we, in our green room, we had a quick talk about participating in the free joke project. So I’m just gonna tell you a joke and. And this one is it’s, we’re not going to, we’re gonna do this one as a, is this gonna help our work culture or is this going to lead into a worse work culture?

[00:04:41] Brent: And I found a specific joke just for this, so here we go. Excellent. I phoned my work this morning and said, sorry, boss, I can’t come in today. I have a we cough. He said, you have a, we cough. Really. Thanks, boss. See you next week.

[00:05:01] Laura: Oh, Brent. I’m trying to, I’m gonna see this one. It might hinder the culture. I think it might hinder it. I’m just saying 

[00:05:15] Brent: Yeah. Feel like we need we’ve Yeah, I think you’re right. And I, my, my delivery wasn’t the greatest. And and I think we could have used some kind of dramatic music around that one as well.

[00:05:24] Laura: maybe next time. Next time. The dramatic music. 

[00:05:27] Brent: I agree. All right, so let’s I know today we want to talk about a little bit about work culture and some topics around, around that. Why don’t you tell us your story, give us a little intro on your story and why this has become such a passion for you.

[00:05:41] Laura: , thank you this has become a passion for me because I think that we 

[00:05:46] Ruth: are in this transition of organizations leading from a command and control environment. 

[00:05:56] Laura: And I work with a lot of manufacturers, so I think that is how they have raised the generation of leaders that are there currently.

[00:06:04] Laura: It’s been very much a command and control type of scenario. Not negative or positive, but that’s just how it has been. But yet we have raised the next generations coming up in a different a transformational or more of a high performing type of generat. . So you’ve got leaders within organizations that have grown up in this command and control, and then you’ve got the new generation of leaders that are coming in from a high performing transformation type of background and how they’re raised and there’s a clash.

[00:06:39] Laura: And so it’s really interesting because you’ll have some people in this the current leadership who will call me and they’ll say, Hey, Laura, we have a problem with. Do you think you can come fix Bob? And I love that because we all know it’s never just usually, I shouldn’t say not never, but usually it’s not just Bob.

[00:07:03] Laura: It usually is the culture that has exuded and now there’s this clash. And so they don’t know how quite to deal with some of the consequences of bad behavior or desired behavior. . And so they build these cultures and they say, these are our values. These are the great things that we have in our organization.

[00:07:23] Laura: Oh, except for Bob. And so they don’t know how to reframe Bob and redirect him or say, this is not our desired culture anymore, and so you’re no longer the right fit. Now we can use it in a different capacity maybe, but not to lead other people. So that’s what we’re in is this transit. I got my master’s in organizational leadership in the late nineties, so I was like one of the first classes to get the organizational leadership bandwagon. And I love it because I think leadership hasn’t really changed that much to be honest. You could go back to, from my personal idea is you can go back biblically, right?

[00:08:01] Laura: I All the way. And it hasn’t really changed that much if you look at it. And so that was something that I was very passionate about, is how do you connect that human-centered leadership to move this transitional generation from here to here? That was a really long answer, but that is exactly what I love doing.

[00:08:23] Brent: So have two follow up on that. The first one is, do you think that there’s a, there’s gotta be some kind of a transformation in leading, in how we lead leaders, right? And that new leaders are going to be more in tuned with what the millennials, the people that are signing up for the great Reg resignation.

[00:08:40] Brent: The new leaders are gonna be more in tune to that. Do you think there’s a, there’s gonna be. Is there an issue with how the old guard is now bringing in the new leaders and how those new leaders are seeing what should be done and, but they’re not the original aren’t on board with that?

[00:08:57] Brent: Or do you think there’s a disparity in there? 

[00:09:01] Laura: I think this is the 

[00:09:03] Brent: question ahead. Okay. . 

[00:09:03] Laura: So here’s one thing I will say. So just because somebody has, I think you had said the old guard, but I think more of the command and control type of leaders, many of them are shifting so that transformation is happening.

[00:09:19] Laura: But there are still some that aren’t. And I think those are some of the leaders that the culture is trying to figure out, how do we change this? not possible. Or how do we get this person out? And so there are some transformational leaders within the current leader structure. And so I don’t know if that, if I answered that question the right way, is that what you’re asking me, Brent?

[00:09:46] Laura: Or is there a follow 

[00:09:47] Brent: up question on that? Yeah, I think a lot of times we look at how we’re leading and we look at the people where we are leading and that we don’t we discount the person who’s the leader because they’re, maybe they’re not in tune with the, I don’t know, the hierarchy of how the organization should happen, but I think the underlying thing that I heard in your, in what you’ve said earlier, , they’re not matching our culture and neither the culture changed or somebody hired him not to match the culture.

[00:10:16] Brent: I think that’s probably more of a root cause in that. . And how would you say to leaders that have that problem and is it a new problem or is it something recurring? 

[00:10:28] Laura: So I do think that every generation you’re gonna have a transformation or a transition technology. , as we all know, it transitions cultures and it transit transitions organizations.

[00:10:39] Laura: I do think that people forget about the culture when they are hiring, and especially today because we need people. And so sometimes wego ah, they don’t really fit, but close enough. And so then we hire ’em and they don’t fit at all. And then they end up leaving and they’re like, oh, why did they leave?

[00:10:59] Laura: I don’t understand. I do think that it is something that happens on a cyclical basis. I do think that cultures do change and the leaders have to change with it. And some of those leaders are able to do it, and some of ’em. One of the things I do want to bring up is that I’m talking more about the current leaders titled leaders, right?

[00:11:20] Laura: I think everybody can be leader, but the titled leaders, I’m talking more about them and we often say cuz they’ve always done it this way. They don’t want to change all of those kinds of things. The, I think part of the challenge is this next generation of leaders doesn’t give grace.

[00:11:38] Laura: They’re not very open to hearing, this is how we’ve done things. So there’s a little bit of a clash because we’ve raised them to push the envelope. Do this, do that. Be perfect. Focus on one thing, go after it. Whatever you want is yours. And a lot of times they don’t give enough grace, I think, to the current titled leaders.

[00:12:03] Laura: And that is a challenge too. And they have to know that too. 

[00:12:08] Brent: Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. On that. Maybe new leadership isn’t listening enough or it doesn’t have the concerns of the higher, I don’t know how to describe them, but the ones that are running the higher ups are setting the tone and there’s a shift, but maybe we need to have a more of a conciliatory view on how that shift is happening.

[00:12:28] Brent: Right, 

[00:12:29] Laura: absolutely. I agree with that 100%. I do call ’em titled leaders because I think you can be a leader wherever you’re at, doesn’t matter where you’re at in the organization, but these are the titled leaders. And so I, but I agree. Just as much as the titled leaders need to have compassion, the next generation of leaders need to have compassion.

[00:12:50] Laura: How do think help We forget about that. 

[00:12:52] Brent: Sorry. Yeah. How do you, no. How do you help people describe their culture? I think a lot of. The leader can’t even describe their culture. How do you get that into everybody? , so everybody is on the same page in terms of culture. 

[00:13:07] Laura: Yeah. So we actually, it’s interesting because when you have worked at an organization, let’s say 30 years, 20 years, 15 years, and you’re at this titled leader position, you see the culture differently than maybe somebody that comes in at more of a entry level position.

[00:13:23] Laura: And so what we do is we talk. if the more you can talk about culture and the more you can talk about desired behaviors, being part of that culture, the openness to doing it isn’t gonna make it be a taboo subject. If I continue to talk about culture and the, I’m working with an organization, we talk about the culture of accountability and leader.

[00:13:46] Laura: because accountability, I swear that comes up number one right next to communication as a challenge for organizations. And so this one organization I’m working with, we talk about culture of accountability and leadership. What does that mean to you? And so what we’ve done is we’ve taken we’re at about 450 employees from the leadership team all the way through frontline Super.

[00:14:13] Laura: and we’ve had that same conversation because we’re trying to create that. It’s not a taboo subject, let’s talk about it. It’s just culture. What is it that we want it to look like? How do we want to treat each other? What are our guiding principles? And so the more we can talk about it, the less taboo it feels and seems.

[00:14:32] Laura: And sorry, Brent, one more thing is there has to be consequences for people that are outside of a desired behavior. , there has to be consequences. Doesn’t mean it’s a termination, but something otherwise it’s not gonna matter. This particular organization, somebody came in and blew a gasket to five of his team members and in an appropriate way, and he actually was terminated and so that’s no longer how they wanted to operate in their culture.

[00:15:05] Laura: Now may it have, it maybe had worked 15 years ago, maybe. But not today. 

[00:15:10] Brent: Let’s just say the leader doesn’t, is talking the talk, but they’re not walking the walk. How do you get some accountability in leadership if they’re saying to be this way, but the leaders are demonstrating something different in a culture?

[00:15:23] Brent: Is that just that, is that just straight up toxic and it’s gonna lead to ruin ? 

[00:15:28] Laura: No, I don’t think it’s gonna lead to. I do think, this is why I think outside consultants or facilitators where there really isn’t any what’s the word I’m looking for? Not fear, but where it gives me the opportunity to say, is that really what you wanted to say?

[00:15:44] Laura: And I will call people on things in an appropriate manner, but I don’t have any skin in the game, so it’s easy enough for me to do. And that’s when we work with the leadership. throughout the process as we’re going from, top down across all of that. But working with that leadership team, cuz it has to start at the top.

[00:16:03] Laura: This is where the decisions get made at the titled leadership, but you have these centers of influence within it. So you’ve gotta figure out who are those people that are influencing either toxic or positive or, so you have to figure out from a social architect standpoint, what that looks like.

[00:16:24] Laura: So yes, I think it’s having those open conversations. I think it’s about the leadership team calling each other on things, and I am seeing that is happening and I think we’ve got a great group of current titled leaders. I think we’ve got a handful that aren’t amazing, but it really takes each person individually.

[00:16:47] Brent: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. We implemented e. Oh sure. About five, six years ago and having an implementer there was key to the success because nobody could push, or nobody could. It’s easy for a leader to not be accountable to something that they don’t want to be accountable to, cuz they’re the top of the food chain.

[00:17:04] Brent: It’s easy for that. If you’re talking about the culture, how do you not, how do you focus on the culture rather. focus on control of the culture. 

[00:17:17] Laura: Tell me more what you mean by that. 

[00:17:20] Brent: So you wanna make sure that you’re watching the culture, but you also don’t want to focus too much on control of the culture because the culture should be something.

[00:17:30] Brent: Built grassroots, right? Ideally your culture would come from the bottom up and the top down. . Is it a problem if leadership is trying to exert too much control over the culture and then in turn pushes a bunch of people out? 

[00:17:44] Laura: And that’s how you’ll know that leadership is trying to control it too much if people are leaving.

[00:17:49] Laura: I do believe though, when you look at high performing organiz. . There are five areas in the middle that they have direct control over, and the leadership team and the senior managers in that group, they actually own the strategy and the culture. It doesn’t mean that nobody has input and collaboration and all of that, but they own the strategy and the culture.

[00:18:11] Laura: That is what they’re responsible for. The rest of the organiz. Focuses on the structure, the systems, and the processes. And what they do is they bring that to the leaders and they allow them to make the choices. So they say, this isn’t working, this is working. Here’s how. It’s that kind of up and down, exactly what you said, but really the ownership for the strategy and the culture belong within the leadership teams. 

[00:18:42] Brent: Just going back to eos and EOS for the people who don’t know is entrepreneur operating system. So it’s a way of running your business or a systematic way. I one of the, it’s a systematic way and it is based on hiring people for their core values. And one thing that we do every quarter is working isn’t working.

[00:18:59] Brent: And I think one thing that maybe we miss out on, and I’ve heard you say this earlier, was how does that not working? tie in with the culture of the company, and then taking that one step further, how does it tie in with the core values? How do you help companies make sure that isn’t working ties in with culture, which should tie in your, to your core values?

[00:19:21] Laura: For one thing, and I know EOS has this too, I, I’m a firm believer that the entire strategy and the values and everything should be on one. , like there’s a focus area. This is how we do things. These are our guiding principles, right? And so I think if everybody has access to that and it’s communicated and there’s alignment and what that looks like, it’s easier to call someone out on something.

[00:19:47] Laura: If there is alignment, it’s been communicated. Then if you don’t really know or, Hey, I heard this is what our strategy is, or our culture is, but if you don’t have that and you’re not actually communicating it and have that alignment, doesn’t matter. So I think a leader’s role is really to set the vision, right?

[00:20:09] Laura: This is where we’re going build the alignment and then the execution. So those are the three pieces. And again, when I say leader, it could be anybody within the organiz. . But when we’re talking about vision, alignment, and execution, those are the three core pieces of top level leaders that need to address that.

[00:20:31] Laura: And again, I think it’s mostly Brent, it’s consequential challenges that people don’t want to deal with because so many people don’t like conflict and so they don’t, they just like what if I just ignore it? It’ll just go. Or they’re gonna retire in a couple years anyway. We’ve all heard this.

[00:20:48] Laura: So it’s that, and I know EOS has the same thing too. Let’s fix it right now. And if this is not the, get it, want a capacity to have it right. If this is not the right person in the right seat, then let’s find a different seat for this person. They’re very valuable, but maybe not today.

[00:21:04] Laura: And where we need them to. Maybe they were 15 years ago in this position, but not to date. We need their expertise to help us build this technical platform or whatever, to write out what the process is or whatever the situation is. 

[00:21:17] Brent: If a leader is struggling with a culture of trust, and you’d mentioned accountability and communication.

[00:21:24] Brent: How is there some simple steps that a leader could, or leadership team could start to assess that trust factor and then start working on building that trust? 

[00:21:38] Laura: ? Yeah, the, that’s a great question and because trust is a foundation of everything, every relationship you. Is the confidence. Trust is really, that’s the definition, right?

[00:21:49] Laura: Trust is my perception. Trust is the confidence you have in your relationship with others. That’s what trust is, the confidence I have in my relationship with you to do X or to do Y, and to break it down even further, when you talk about trust, it really has to start with me. I need to give trust first. As a leader, I have to be trust.

[00:22:16] Laura: And when you talk about trustworthiness, a lot of that comes from vulnerability, right? And I think that’s part of our challenge as leaders is, I know how we grew up. It was you don’t make a mistake and you just work 70 hours a week, 80 hours a week until it gets done. That’s not what we’re dealing with today.

[00:22:39] Laura: And so we have to have that opportunity to be trusting in our virtual environ. , there’s a lot of trust that has to be given. Like I know that this person is working because I trust that person. And so I think, the trust has to be given first and you have to be trustworthy. And I look at trust as in three areas.

[00:23:02] Laura: One is competence, can they do the job? And two is compassion. Do they have compassion for themselves and others? And giving grace And that type of. Competence, compassion, and integrity, right? Do you do what you say you’re gonna do? And then you have this emotional bank account component of it too. The more you can fill someone’s cup or fill up the emotional bank account, the more likely you can make a mistake and it’s gonna roll right off.

[00:23:35] Laura: But if you are in a negative deficit and you make a mistake or you do something, . It’s hard to build that trust back up. And when you talk about emotional bank account, we work on this, it’s just saying, Brent, thank you so much for a job well done. Or Brent, I really appreciate your expertise. Or Brent, I appreciate you giving me a hand when I needed it.

[00:23:55] Laura: Whatever it is, it’s the small things. It doesn’t have to be this grandiose. Here’s your, million dollars Brent for convers. . It could just be small things that add home. 

[00:24:05] Brent: And so that communication part of it you mentioned the company with 400 employees the leadership team can’t possibly talk to every single one of those employees, or they could, I suppose it would take some time.

[00:24:17] Brent: Is there methods in which that, or maybe you start with a one-on-one and then you move into a more of a scaled version of that. Is there ways to. Leadership, communicate some of those things to get feedback from their team? 

[00:24:32] Laura: I do think that it is important for them to have access to the leadership team, people the organization, to have access to ’em. Now, this one-on-one gets a little tricky because it’s just time. Time is of the essence, right? So I think when you do the connectivity, it could just be a town hall. , it could be that opportunity where I’m gonna, there’s three of us this month or this quarter, whatever.

[00:24:54] Laura: We’re gonna do a town hall meeting. Put your, send your questions in. That’s an option. Another one is when we go throughout the organization and build out the leadership development series, we have different leaders come in and do the introduction. So when they’re talking when they’re in front of the hundreds of people that are going through the program.

[00:25:14] Laura: They’re doing the introduction, they’re connecting with everybody at that level. I think that it is a challenge and an opportunity for the leadership team to look at focusing on the business, not in the business. And so when I say that, so many of our leaders tend to be technical experts, and that’s what they enjoy doing.

[00:25:36] Laura: So they like to just stay heads down instead of, that’s not your role anymore. Your role has shift. Where you need to be thinking about the organization as a whole and not just your area. So that’s a shift for some leaders also. But that, I do think that there’s a lot of opportunity. I Technology today has allowed for really nice connectivity and really bad connectivity too, cuz you can take everything out of context and you put your own story, thought or meaning behind something and it could blow up.

[00:26:07] Laura: And that’s oh, that’s not even what I meant. Technology’s good and bad, as always. Kurt Vank talks about that in his books in the fifties. But anyway, don’t get me started on that. 

[00:26:15] Brent: You mentioned a little bit about retention and, how we need to be attentive to the cultural needs.

[00:26:22] Brent: If there’s a high turnover. How do you get the new people involved in culture? 

[00:26:30] Laura: So if there is a high turnover, that’s a data. . So that is something where I think immediately some sort of focus group pulling out different people to have that conversation and finding out what is it, if we’ve got this culture laid out on our wall yet, we’re not living by it, we need to figure out what’s the gap.

[00:26:52] Laura: So what is it that we’re doing well and what is it that we’re not? . Right? So we talk a lot about what do you want us to stop doing? What do you want us to start doing, and what do you want us to continue to do? That’s a thousand years ago people have been talking about that, but it’s that ha that’s, it’s actually having that conversation.

[00:27:10] Laura: You’ll learn so much from the team members. But again, I think you need an outside person to come in and do it, because I think if you’ve got somebody from the inside and you’ve lost all these people, there’s a little bit. Fear paradigm they might be living in. I don’t know if I wanna share that. So is it’s easier to have somebody from the outside come in.

[00:27:30] Laura: Sorry, Brent. 

[00:27:31] Brent: No, it’s okay. Is there an easy way in an extra interview to get a leaving employee to talk about some of those? What’s not working? Okay. 

[00:27:41] Laura: So here’s how I think that most people see exit interviews. Most people, some people will share. a challenge, but don’t burn bridges. How often have we heard that?

[00:27:52] Laura: Don’t burn your bridges. Okay. So if that’s sitting in the back of your head, are you going to be truthful in what you wanna share? I don’t know. And quite honestly, the exit interview is passe we need to get in front of these people before they get to an exit interview, before they terminate and get to an exit interview.

[00:28:11] Laura: We need to get to connect with them ahead of. . 

[00:28:15] Brent: Yeah. That’s, that’s a really good point. Getting it before they quit. Is there something in the great resignation that has changed so much that maybe leaders aren’t understanding that?

[00:28:28] Laura: I think the great designation from everything I’ve read, I know that there are a lot of different opinions on it. I think the great resignation was a time when people. Reevaluated their life and what they wanted to be doing. And so a lot of times it wasn’t necessarily about the culture of the organization, but perhaps more about the role or that they wanted to do something different with their lives.

[00:28:58] Laura: Or they decided, I’m done. I’m retiring, we got enough money. This is how I wanna live. I. , I don’t wanna work anymore. It’s too stressful. Whatever the scenario is, I think people got the opportunity to take a step back and look at their lives and evaluate their lives. So that’s my take on it from everything I’ve read.

[00:29:17] Brent: I think that’s a really good point. I think that some leaders have now taken the opportunity as an excuse for high turn. and they just point to that the industry standard is now whatever it is, 60% turnover, some crazy high number . But I do feel as though there’s a place that we can find common ground.

[00:29:38] Brent: A as we, as you started out with, we can find common ground with the whole team to build a culture that. Do you think that we have to start shifting? I guess we, if everybody’s leaving, there has to be, there has to be a shift in culture. And if your attrition rate is so high that it’s affecting productivity.

[00:29:55] Brent: Cause I think also that pro productivity and retention are the two highest things that can lead to profitability. . So having some focus on that is gonna, one of the most important things a leadership team should examine. How would you say that

[00:30:11] Brent: you get feedback from the team and also you mentioned the in it’s too late in the exit interview, anonymizing some of these things. So the old idea of having. Little thing next to the time clock where people can put in their anonymous feedback. Is that a good idea? 

[00:30:30] Laura: I go back and forth on that because I would hope that people are in a culture where they can have those conversations, and that’s what I would say most people would wanna get to.

[00:30:42] Laura: I think this generation of leaders that’s coming. That is gonna be something that’s important to them, and they’re gonna build cultures out like that. I just think of my own kids who are in college and I just, I think they have such a different mindset that it will get to that point where they’re just speaking truth, right?

[00:31:01] Laura: They’re just speaking, but it’s about the delivery, which goes back to the emotional intelligence. It’s about delivery. So we want this open conversation, but you don’t have to be an ass, if I can say that. The air , you just don’t have to be that way. It’s about being curious. It’s about having connection.

[00:31:21] Laura: So I think that hopefully we’ll move to that point where we’re having more conversations and more open conversations where there isn’t that fear paradigm that necessarily living. 

[00:31:34] Brent: All right, we’re running out of time, but one last question is, I know back, going back to us as a people analyzer, it would be great to have a Culture Analyzer tool.

[00:31:44] Brent: Do you know of anything like that to say, so you could, somebody could objectively this isn’t working. How can we apply each of our core values to that not working and run it through the tool and come back with a number? ? 

[00:31:57] Laura: Yeah. What’d be great? There’s a, an analyzer, an assessment for everything, Brent, you know that to be true.

[00:32:03] Laura: So there’s one that, I think it’s university of Michigan I wanna say is working, there’s an Ohio, anyway, sorry. But they’re working on a cultural assessment. There are a lot of ’em out there. Actually, when I started the business seven years ago, I was thinking of going down this path with an organization that, that’s what they did was cultural assessments.

[00:32:24] Laura: They’ve been out there. I think the challenge that I have with that is that leadership component needs to be there if you don’t have buy-in. Cuz I’m this believer, like you have to have awareness of something like our culture’s not working or what we have on the wall is not what we’re seeing here.

[00:32:43] Laura: So you have to have that awareness and then you have to have the desire to change it. So if the leaders don’t have a desire to change, it doesn’t matter what kind of assessment comes. but you have to have the desire to change it. And then the commitment, what does that look like? So is it bringing people in, having focus groups.

[00:33:01] Laura: It’s not just the pinball machines anymore, it’s really about what’s true about the culture, and that’s the commitment and then practicing and failing. So it’s really pretty easy though. Pretty easy. I say that those four steps, awareness, desire, commitment, and practicing it. 

[00:33:16] Brent: That’s very Laura, as I close out the podcast, I give everybody a chance to do a shameless plug.

[00:33:22] Brent: What would you like to plug today? 

[00:33:24] Laura: We have at the, at the beginning of every year, but it’s our Fresh Start program and it is just a micro version of you can sign up and it’s yours. It’s videos, it’s holding you on track. That’s something to consider. And you can go to leadership delta.com and it’s right there is the opportunity to sign up for that.

[00:33:48] Brent: Great. And I will put all those in the show notes. Laura, this has been a very fun conversation. Should I say enlightening is a good word. Fun and enlightening. How’s that? I. Very enjoyable to talk to you today. Thank you so much. 

[00:34:00] Laura: Thank you, Brent. Take care.

[00:34:03] Ruth: Listen, Brent works hard on this Podcast, he would really appreciate it if you could rate it where ever you download your podcasts. Don’t forget to go to Content Basis dot eye oh and sign up for the content creator beta program. It is a great opprotunity.

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