Creating a Culture of Growth: Maximizing Employee Potential

w/ Jim Frawley

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Transcript - Creating a Culture of Growth: Maximizing Employee Potential

Rich: On this episode of Team Building saves the world.

Jim: It sounds harsh, but they’re ultimately there to make money. That’s it.

Rich: That’s why it’s called the bottom line, right? That means that it’s called the bottom Line and All Be All. Yeah. Is this something employees are asking for? Or

Jim: Yes.

Rich: So this is important to them that you’ve noticed in your own experiences?

Jim: It is, and here’s why. A lot of people talk about humility, and we’re told to be humble, but what real people are really telling you is don’t be an arrogant ass. Right. And, and people don’t understand what humility really means.

Rich: Hello team. It’s me, your old friend, Rich Rininsland host of team building saves the world, a show where I speak to thought leaders from around the world discussing variable strategies and tools to help you and your team build a better work environment. And today we’re giving back to the employees as we discuss employee investment with executive coach, corporate trainer, and author of Adapting in Motion, Jim Frawley.

But first, I need to share some love with the rest of my supporters at Team Bonding. If your team is ready to experience teamwork, the power of play, to visit team to learn more now, team, join me in welcoming my guest, the founder of bellweather and host of the Bellweather. Another hub podcast, Jim Frawley.

Hi Jim.

Jim: I love that intro. I’m the applause. Very,

Rich: very good. Thank you my friend. Thank you very much. That’s just a small group of people. I keep trapped under my desk just to applaud

Jim: you that, that’s great. Hey, they are. That’s money Well spent, money well spent. Very

Rich: good. So let’s start off just real quick, let’s explain to my team out there who you are, uh, what Bellweather is and how you got involved in this area of

Jim: the business.

Sure. So Bellweather, most people don’t know. I always kick this off by explaining what a bellwether is. Most people don’t know. What a bellwether is. And years ago when you have, uh, herd of sheep, the strongest and, and most diligent and the leader of the sheep, they would put a bell around its neck and everyone would naturally just follow that one.

So that’s the bellwether and it’s turned into different meanings, especially in law. You’ve got bellwether cases, but now it’s anyone who’s just leading a group of people and, and is really a front runner in, in all of that. And so, When I was launching my business, my daughter’s name is Isabelle. I had to include Bell Oh in something.

So yes, it’s, it’s named up to her. But I spent, um, about 15 years in corporate. Primarily in the financial industry, did some corporate training, chief of staff roles, uh, public relations, executive communications. And I was incredibly frustrated with where I was in it. And I actually engaged a coach, put together a bunch of business plans on saying, what’s next?

There’s gotta be something better if I’m gonna be doing this for another 30, 40 years.

Rich: Sure.

Jim: And, uh, found out that there was a really good coaching program at Columbia University and I said, that’s it. I just saw what it was. And I said, that’s exactly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but that’s what I wanted to do when it hit me.

Hmm. And it made a lot of sense cuz I was very disappointed with what was out there from a coaching product perspective. It was either too focused on theory and the corporate, and it doesn’t really help anyone or it’s people without really, they never really felt the pain of working in the ranks. So that’s what launched Bellweather and now I pair that corporate theory, but really the individual accountability, what did I not learn that I wished I knew back when I was in corporate?

And that was a, a big push. For everything that I’ve been doing over, over the past 10 years.

Rich: Well, what’s the difference between that and what Bellweather offers?

Jim: Well, so bellwether is that almost community for what everybody is looking to do. So when I come in and I do a workshop, you know, what are the questions you should be asking?

So many of my clients from an executive coaching perspective, say, I don’t get the feedback that I, that I need. Mm-hmm. In order to do that. Well, the first question is, well, how are you asking for feedback? It’s your responsibility to get that and Right. You know, this person wants to be chief strategy officer or chief marketing officer.

They’re not ready. How do we get them through to do that? Because it’s their all, they lie in the bed that they make. A lot of people don’t realize this. When you go into coaching, there is really, there should be three levels of accountability when you’re doing coaching and workshops. The organization’s paying the bill, that’s one.

Mm-hmm. I need to be held accountable to get you to where you need to be. So the coach needs metrics, but you going through this, they’re making an investment in you is what are you doing to get to that next level and how do we put that framework together within the context of your bigger workplace. And so we have a community of people now that come out and it’s part of the Bellweather community, the Bellweather program, and it’s how do you become the leader and take that accountability on to, to push through in your organization.

Rich: So let’s move on to actually what we’re here to talk about. Let’s talk about giving back to the employees employee investment. What do we, what do we even mean when we talk

Jim: about that? That’s a great question. You know, when you’re talking about employee investment, everybody’s got a, th again, it’s theory.

It’s right. What, the word that I think that should come out of the English language is should, because a lot of people say this is what you should do with employee investment without the context, uh, of anything. So when we, when we think about employee investment and no engagement at Bellweather starts.

Without two discussions. One is, when is this engagement going to end? Mm-hmm. And what’s the ROI on this investment that you’re actually making? So investment naturally comes down to roi. So if a company is making an investment in you, how do you get your employees to articulate back, well, this is how it’s gonna benefit me and

how is it going to benefit the company as well? So there is an r o i naturally with an investment that we need to, to discuss now with things changing as quickly as possible and we want to build culture in all of this theoretical stuff. A culture is just this natural kind of what comes out of your investment in employees and what your employees do.

Mm-hmm. All this change that’s happening, all macro change to change management programs and everything, and, and learning and development and all of this, it all requires an individual. To take ownership of it so that they can realize it for themselves. So when we’re putting together an investment program for an organization, it’s not what the corporate tells you that you should be doing this.

You should have listening skills, right? I throw listening skills out in the garbage. It’s not, it’s so 1990s corporate training, ridiculousness. How do we teach something tangible like. How do you ask really good questions. Yeah. And what is a question? How do you define a question? You know, my favorite to ask people is how do you define a question?

Most people don’t know how to do that. Mm-hmm. Most people just think you put a question mark at the end of it. But no, a question is a request for information where you legitimately do not know the answer. And so how do we go into, that’s a, a real deep conversation of how do you ask a really good question.

And how do you find that the, the buzzwords like vulnerability, resiliency, humility, all this stuff that we’re supposed to be doing. It all comes down to basic steps and tangible steps that we can teach our people so that they feel like they’re invested and they can use something tangible to elevate their product for whatever it is that the business needs.

Rich: Okay. Just for anybody on my team out there who might not be aware, what do you mean by roi?

Jim: Good question. ROI is return on investment. Gotcha. So if we’re going, so let’s say for the people in the audience, the company’s gonna spend, let’s say, $10,000 on a workshop for you, or $20,000 on individual coaching or something like that.

When you’re going through three months, six months, and afternoon. How do you go back and say, you know what? They spent five, 10, $20,000 on me. How is this gonna translate into $60,000 a benefit for the company? Right? And, and that’s ultimately because when we think about power to the people and power to the organization, and there’s this constant dynamic going on of, you know, invest in me.

A lot of this talk right now is invest in me, invest in your people. What are you giving me? Hmm. So that I could come work for you. Look, at the end of the day, you’re getting paid $50,000, a hundred thousand dollars, $200,000 to create more money for that company. And a lot of people forget that a business exists to make money.

That is it. Right? And it sounds harsh, but they’re ultimately there to make money. That’s it. That’s why it’s called the bottom line, right? That means that’s, it’s called the bottom line. And I’ll be all, yeah. When we lose sight of the bottom line, you know, your feelings, your work, your, you know, investment in me has to benefit the bottom line in some kind of way.

Otherwise you’re gonna be left behind. They’re gonna find someone who could translate that into a better roi, return on investment for the organization.

Rich: Okay. How do we convince the corporation that, that it’s a good roi? That giving back to the employee, that giving them the tools that they need is worth the investment.

Jim: So it comes down to measurement.

Rich: Okay.

Jim: Uh, what are we measuring? That’s the easiest one. I mean, the first one is how are you going to measure? And, and any coaching engagement or workshop we start with is how are you going to measure the value of this? And so are we measuring how people are spending their time?

Are we measuring turnover? You know, what are the metrics objectively that we can measure to say this was a good investment because X goes up, sales go up, or whatever goes up. And how do we translate that in, in different types of ways? Um, coaching works. We know that coaching works. However, it has to be a good coach and it has to be a good program.

Mm-hmm. And any coaching engagement, when you start to say, look, I wanna invest in this sales team. We should naturally see an uptake in, in their sales and how they’re, and a change in behavior and how they’re spending their time and everything else. So we can measure so many different things that we could do when you guarantee.

So we guarantee an an ROI on our work. If you come in, you wanna say, let’s say it’s gonna be a $50,000 investment for all of these people. We’re gonna do all of this work. We’re gonna guarantee that you’re gonna see that ROI in a ROI in a certain amount of time. We come up to that agreement. Otherwise you get the money back.

And so most coaches don’t. Or most coaches, one, don’t guarantee the work, but also most organizations don’t look at the learning and development investment in the way that you should to say, what’s the ROI in this? They just say, oh, we have to do learning and development, slap together this coaching program and put together this PowerPoint presentation, and everybody’s fine.

There’s no real. We rethink the entire learning and development process that most organizations have because the context of the workplace has changed so much. Yeah. That a typical PowerPoint presentation isn’t gonna work. It has to be experiential. People have to take ownership, and we talk about creating these entrepreneurs within the business that we want these many CEOs to take ownership and accountability.

They have to be treated in that way through learning and development as well. And part of that is setting up their own ROI so that they can dictate it back to the company.

Rich: And how do we do it? What are some of the tactics we take in order to get there?

Jim: So one is rewriting the entire learning and development program is what are the assumptions that you have and throw them out the window.

The second one is, anytime I do a workshop, every participant in the workshop has to fill out their intake form on this is how it’s an ROI for the organization. This is what I’m looking to get out of it. This is my focus. And then third, What’s the focus tactically of your organization? So when we talk about, and this is the big one, that that most leadership programs, we say a lot of the PR things that we need to say, but we don’t really adopt ’em to make them real for the organization.

So is it vulnerability, is it resiliency? Is it a learning agenda? Is it curiosity? Is it mental health? Or at the beginning of mental health month, is it mental health? We say we want to do all of these things and we’re throwing all of these classes at people, but it’s never a priority. And the things that stick.

Are the ones that we actually make a priority. And so rather than scattershot all of this stuff out is how do we create a learning agenda for our people and then make that the priority. I had a, I worked for a financial firm once, and the owners big. push was learning. I wanna change the way people think.

I want to change the, the way that they do everything because this isn’t, we’re not moving fast enough to keep up. Okay. And so the simple thing that we did tactically was the beginning of every meeting was, what did you learn last week? And what are you learning this week? And everybody had to go around the room.

Hmm. And every week when you went into your team meeting, you knew that that was the priority. We’re changing the way that we think. We change the way that we’re learning. We’re changing the way that we focus. Everybody knows they have to come prepared. And over time, That discussion evolved into something much bigger where people would tack on, on top of it.

Oh, you’re learning that. You know what? We have something in our department here that’s gonna be really relevant to that. We’re looking at something similar. And a meeting would come outta that and it would build new business and it would build, it would really hit the bottom line in different types of ways.

So tactically, that is one thing. Whatever you prioritize. That’s what’s going to come out in your work, right? So rather than just say, mental health, resiliency, vulnerability, humility. We want all of these things. We want these buzzwords, and we want the mantras that we’re going to have for the organization.

How is that gonna manifest every day in terms of your expectations of what people are going to deliver? Yeah. And lead them along so that they’re able to do it.

Rich: How do you make sure, though, how can you make sure after the workshops that those priorities are being met?

Jim: So it again, comes down to measurement is what are those individual things that you’re gonna measure?

So when we’re looking at, let’s say the priority is mental health and everyone’s got a report on that. Hmm. It’s d it also depends in terms of context. What’s the, what’s the size of your company, right? So when I’m coming through, in my mind we’ve got large 20,000, 50,000, a hundred thousand dollars employees with large bureaucratic systems, and it gets lost in the shuffle.

And we put it all on middle management to kind of own it. But then you also might have a team of 5, 10, 20 people, right? So we can measure in terms of, you know, one, set up a measurement and say, are you doing this? Yes or no? Right? We can ask that. We can put that part of their review. We can measure it that way, but we also have to give the ownership of, when I work with companies now, what we’re really looking to do, or the questions that are coming up, is what can we do with 25 to 50% of our workforce?

And when we take a look at what people are measuring in terms of productivity, we’re looking at how much people are logged in working from home. Mm-hmm. We’re looking at beyond just, uh, an individual’s productivity, is the business moving forward in the way that we said it was going to move forward? And if it’s not going forward, how are we tying individual personal decisions to the bigger individual picture?

So everyone’s got to create their own learning agenda. Mm-hmm. And are you one, are you going to hit it? So put that together as part of your annual review. This is my learning agenda for the year. For the quarter, for the month, how does this tie to the bigger goal? And then did you deliver it or did you not?

Right. And we’re measuring people on that just as much because they’re tying it to it because we’re be creating many CEOs. Mm. And when I talk to a company about 25% of the workforce, they’re just gonna say, here’s $5 million, turn it into 10. And they’re looking at it in a very different way, right. Than the traditional way that we think about people and everything else.

So what I would say to people listening to this is if someone took your, your. Let’s say you make $150,000 a year for whatever they’re gonna say, we’re gonna up that to $2 million. Mm-hmm. You can take your salary out of it, but you have to come back with $5 million or x. Mm-hmm. Right. And can you do that?

Do you have the capability to do that? And if you don’t, and it’s a fun exercise to go through, how would you adopt ai? How would you leverage your team? How would you rethink all of these different types of things to raise your, the black line over the red line revenue? Good expense is bad. Mm-hmm. How would you take a look at that?

And build almost a learning agenda of a business plan for your group and start thinking differently rather than just waiting for someone to tell you what to do. To say, this is the plan to actually build a business and build more revenue for the organization.

Rich: Is this something employees are asking for or,

Jim: yes.

Rich: So this is important to them that you’ve noticed in your own experiences?

Jim: It is, and here’s why. It’s almost like a round, they don’t know they’re asking for it right After I work with them. They don’t realize that they’re asking for it, but what they’re really asking for is, They want more accountability.

They want elevated expectations. They want more responsibility. What they want is creativity. Uh, when we talk about purpose, when we talk about this is, you know, I want meaning in my work. I want, uh, all of these types of things, right? You get that when you leave corporate and you start your own business.

And the reason you get that is because you’re creating something and you’ve released the shackles of what it is. You know, this environment that, that we’re saying, all right, you have to do this in this way and you can’t go this way because of this boss, and you have to go and do this way, and you know you have to do this Excel work and everything else.

Yeah. What we’re really looking for when we talk about. When we talk about purpose and we talk about meaning, we’re talking about owning something, and that’s why entrepreneurs love entrepreneurship is they own their business and they’re proud of it, and they do whatever it takes and they’re working crazy hours.

So when we talk about ownership, we talk about creativity. If I were to just give you a bunch of money and say creatively, legally, but creatively, how would you come up with this? You’ll see this ownership in this, people will meet these elevated expectations that you want. The challenge most people have is the expectations are so low of our people.

Mm-hmm. That almost in this dismissive way where I don’t want to do work, that I’m being assigned 99% of the advice, uh, the advice that we’re given, we just completely ignore it. Right. Because it’s, people are giving us this advice. It’s without the context. It’s coming from your perspective, not my perspective.

If you were to ask your people, To say, come up with a business plan for this group. Right. Everything’s wide open. I want to hear about it not in a group. You know, we’re gonna do this one-on-one and, and create. I want you to be really creative and do this in this different type of way. The creativity juices, once they’re able to flow and people can take ownership and they can get really excited about what they’re working on.

Mm-hmm. That’s what people want, but we have to elevate our expectations of them and give them kind of this open framework so that they’re able to do that and come with something so that they’re not challenged, uh, in a negative way, but in a really positive way.

Rich: Awesome. Uh, Jim, I wanna take a breath here just for a quick second.

I do need to step away if you don’t mind. Because I need to tell everybody out there about a company that helps me feel the most creative I can be. Team Bonding. Team Bonding was founded over 20 years ago with one simple question. How can employees have a great time while fostering strong authentic bonds between people who work together no matter where your company’s located?

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The team bonding of activities, be it live, virtual, or hybrid, maximizes the impact of team building with an accent on fun. So visit team to schedule your event now. Team bonding when you want. Seriously. Fun results. And we are back talking about giving back to the employee with Jim Frawley jim, let’s talk about team building for a quick second, if you don’t mind.

Is this some, is this an investment that you would recommend to an

Jim: employer if it’s done correctly, which means what? The thing that I think separates good teams from others is the relationship among team members. Right? And so it’s focused, you have to focus on relationships first and the human being first.

Mm-hmm. And that’s what makes a really good team building exercise. It’s not trust falls, it’s not this other kind of, you know, nonsense or anything else. So when we think about relationships and camaraderie, And recognizing, you know, this is how I like to think and how do you like to think? And this curiosity about other people is that team building in that sense, and building that is really, really good.

One of the favorite team building exercises I like to do. Mm-hmm. Is Adam Grant wrote a book called Giving and Taking, and it’s a, we watched the TED talk about giving and taking and how there are givers at work, at takers at work, and every team has givers and takers. Right, right. The givers give too much.

The takers take too much, and it’s this big rub, whatever. And you just put a team of six people together, put ’em in a, in a circle, and you say, everyone has to ask help for something and everyone has to give something an answer to it. So nice. You go around, I need help with. A chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I got people coming, or I need help with how to build a PowerPoint deck, or I need, you know, whatever. Mm-hmm. And someone in the group has to say, you know what? I could be helpful in this way. I have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe, or I know I’ve got this amazing PowerPoint person on my team. And, and you could build whatever the challenge is, right?

And it builds this vulnerability, it builds, this is what I’m working on. It gives so much discussion type so you can learn about what people’s challenges are, what they’re good at, what they’re not. But it adds in this other thing. So you know what, I’m gonna follow up after this to give you, you know, everyone’s accountable to follow up after and do the follow up.

And we’re all gonna report back to say that you actually did it. And that builds these relationships so that you can learn about what other people are doing and, and what’s interesting to them and the way they like to think. And so that’s, that’s one of the things that I like to do from a, from a team building.

It’s not in the traditional sense. I would do, you can do something so that you can learn about other people, but it should leverage something that’s gonna benefit the business later as well.

Rich: Sure. Okay. What about any other kind of programs that you might recommend? Not necessarily team building, but I’m talking about like, you know, mental health awareness, uh, physical health awareness, you know, I mean, these things can cost money and Yes.

So how do you make sure that even like giving a percentage back to the employees so that they can get, you know, a gym membership so that we know that they’re gonna be healthy enough to continue working. How can we be sure that that’s paying back.

Jim: What I would say to that is not everyone’s, so the challenge most people have when they’re putting together these programs is not everyone’s going to adopt it.

Right? Right. And I’ve been a place where they give you a yoga membership and they give you a gym membership and nobody uses it. And it’s Sure, sure, sure. You know, how do you, can you really leave your desk to go use the gym and all that other kind of stuff. What I do with people is I walk them through, I just recently did a TEDx talk outlining my how do you prepare for change when you don’t know what change is coming?

And I gave people a grid. And for these to work, everyone’s gotta, it’s gotta be bespoke to you. So years ago I lost a bet. I was sitting in a cab and there was this ad that came up on the cab. You can train with Marines in Manhattan or something like that, and you do it. And they rented out an office space and I ran my mouth and they said, all right, bet you can’t do it.

So I had to do it for 30 days and I’d be there five 30 in the morning. But what they did was they were all levels of people. Mm. Painting with Marines, you had these like jacked crazy people and then you had these people just getting started out, right? Everyone had to do the same thing, but they went at a different pace.

So carry this 20 pound bag up 10 flights of steps. Some people did it five times. One person barely did it once, but it took the same amount of time and they did it at their individual level. So in my TEDx, what I talked about was, here’s the framework to prepare for change from a physical, from a mental and from a social perspective.

You need to fill in your gap from a, you know, physical as your diet. You finish your sleep. How’s your diet? How’s your fitness? Mm-hmm. How’s your sleep? What works for you? Some people wanna do running. Some people want to do weight training, some people want to play pickleball. Fine. Whatever you do, whatever it is you want to do, you create your agenda to do that.

What’s your diet and what’s your sleep? From a mental, how do we go through this experiential thing to talk about your self-love, your self-care? What does self-care mean for you versus others rather than someone tell you what your self-care is, right? You need to dictate it for yourself. And then what’s your belief system?

What do you believe? And that’s a deep one that people could take farther away. And then finally put together your social network. Who’s your support system? Who are new people that you can meet? And how do you put yourself in an environment where you can have these new experiences? And then these micro interactions, how do we get out and see the librarian, get on the bus, see the train, whatever it is where you’re reminded of something bigger.

And when people have this framework to say, I can dictate. Whatever it is as part of this now, to create a budget for people to do that, you can almost, you create your parameters. How many people do you have and everything else to say, all right, you want money for a physical thing? Fine. You know what, if you want.

You could join a gym or I could give you money to do an Ironman. If someone wanted to do an iron, let ’em do an Ironman. That would be amazing. And so how do you, how do you find what’s meaningful to each person to say, this is good for you versus good for somebody else. And you can, part of that learning agenda, how do you become accountable for the money that we’re investing in you and reporting that back to the business.

Rich: When you talk about building relationships though, how is it that building relationships correlates to releasing the hidden potential of the employee?

Jim: Building relationships and releasing? It’s a good question. So when I think about any kind of social relationships, I put them into three categories. One is support system.

And you need someone who is going to, you need a group, uh, ideally a group, but at least one person who cares only about you. Now, when we think about finding hidden potential, we think about finding a mentor, a coach, or all of these types of things. A lot of them are just giving the advice that they had when they were in work 20 years ago.

Workplace isn’t the same and it’s not necessarily as relevant today. Okay? And so a support system is, you know, where do you feel most comfortable, where you can articulate what those hopes and dreams are going to be. So then you can then say, you know what, where can I take a safe risk? Because we’re unleashing hidden potential.

We want a safe risk. We then need to meet new people who are already maybe taking those risks and we can learn from them. And those are newbies, those are new experiences who can give you a new perspective to challenge the traditional way that you’re thinking. Hmm. So that you could say, you know what?

Maybe I need to ask a question in this way. Or, what assumption do I have that’s actually holding my, holding me back? A lot of people talk about humility, and we’re told to be humble, but what real people are really telling you is don’t be an arrogant ass. Right, and, and people don’t understand what humility really means.

And so how do you find someone who truly understands what humility means so that you could still take ownership of the things that you’re proud of and that you could say, yes, I’m proud of this. I accomplished this, and I could still do it. It’s not being arrogant, but how do we switch that arrogant humility button into something that says, I’m confident for something.

And then how do we continue to push forward and do different things in terms of, I am recognizing that there are different people around me who can elevate me these micro interactions that we see and challenge my kind of social network and, and do that in different types of ways.

Rich: Hmm. And if I were the employee, and I don’t think that enough is being done from the management on down to help me with these things, how can I advocate for myself?

Jim: What’s the best way? It’s a good question. The company will never do enough for you. Right. That is a truth. Well, actually it’s a belief. I shouldn’t say it’s a truth, but it’s a belief. Okay. Uh, beliefs are not truths. They’re very different things. You lie in the bed that you make. And I ended the, the TED talk with a story.

One time I climbed a mountain and there was this guy at the top and I climbed the mountain every year. And it’s like this whole story, but so I get to the top and I kind of reflect, you see Manhattan in the distance, it’s great. Mm-hmm. And this guy asked me to take a picture and I was struggling that time with the business about a couple things that I couldn’t really think.

Right. And so I now, I think, which sounds ridiculous. I met my future self. But he looked at me and he said, can you take a picture? I wanted to convince my wife that I actually biked up to the top of mountain. I said, sure. Took a picture. I’m about to leave. And he just started talking to me about all this stuff, and I’m not, wasn’t in the mood to talk, but his name was Jim, just like me.

He quit drinking a number of years before, just like me. He realized his relationships weren’t the right kind of way and all kinds of stuff, and, but he ended up looking at me. He goes, if you wait for anybody to do anything for you, you’ll be dead in a box before it happens. And I didn’t lead him on with anything.

I didn’t talk to him about anybody. It was almost like he was just living this message and it was like, I took this two hour loop back to my car on Australia, and I was like, it totally got in my head. Your response of the company will never give you enough. Right? But you don’t rely on the company for your own personal development.

We can’t re, we we, you know, and the way we’ve structured these things is you get your healthcare from work, you get all these things from work. We get all these things and, and we’ve tied up so much into this kind of package of work, right? But learning development comes much beyond work. Now you can tap into them as best you can to say, I want this.

It’ll probably get denied, right? Will you invest in this learning? Will you invest in this? But if you were to come with an ROI discussion to say, this is good for the business mm-hmm for you to invest in this, but there are many different ways to accomplish many different things in terms of free meetups from other people, and how do you get social to learn from the people?

Everybody’s willing to give time to do that. How do you get up early and put on some kind of learning agenda? What are you reading? What are you, you know, everything that we ingest from a, from a knowledge perspective, it’s up to you to do that, right? And it’s up to you to question your assumptions and identify your assumptions, because if you don’t, somebody else will.

And they’re going to elevate ahead of you. So we can’t just say, work won’t pay for this. Mm-hmm. How do we do it? Now? I would say to the business owners, it’s a good investment to do this, right? And we talk about the ROI and all of these things, and we can put together the package and everything else. It does bode well for the workforce and happy employees make good and yada, yada, yada.

We know this, but still for you as an individual, they gave me meditation classes. I’m not gonna do meditation classes and people complain about that, then go find something else, right? Rather than just complain about it. Go dictate what it is that would be meaningful for you. And present it to the company.

If they’re not going to do it, then we could find other ways to say, you know what? I’m gonna take Friday afternoons at four o’clock. I’m gonna go do this thing. You’re not paying for it, but, right. I’m gonna find the time. And how do you have that conversation with people? If you are creating the value at work, that $200,000 of value on a hundred thousand dollars salary, you’re gonna be given the time to go do whatever it is that you need.

But you have to articulate and define that value first so that people, so that the organization’s willing to make that investment in you.

Rich: With the changing market that we’ve been, that we’ve been seeing. I mean we all know since the pandemic, how the entirety of the world’s market has changed. What kind of differences are we seeing here?

What kind of focuses should we be seeing? Cuz you were talking earlier about how people are still working from home and as well they should be in, in my own personal opinion, you know, if they can do the job from home, let them do the job from home, but. How can these people also still be sure that, that the company knows they’re giving, that they have the ROI coming back?

Jim: Yeah. A lot of people wanna work from home. Yeah. And. A couple of things on that. It may work in certain contexts. Right. And I agree with that. Yes, you could do it. And you know, in my whole PR team, they all work from home and they are at it. Like they just, they work, they’re constantly going. They are go, go, go, go, go.

Mm-hmm. You see the value, they present the value and everything else. They’re great. And we see that in a number of companies that I work with, where everybody’s remote and they do it depending on the size of the organization and the type of the organization. However, an individual could be productive, right?

But the business is not. And that’s two very different conversations. So we’re seeing some companies saying, you gotta come back in the office. Mm-hmm. Because the business, we’re not hitting our metrics from a revenue perspective or anything else. You may be in your small little world, but the business is not, so there is this kind of push pull that we always have.

A lot of power went to the people during the pandemic. Yeah. Right. We got to work from home. We got to, we got a lot of luxuries that, that we traditionally didn’t have. And I think it’s an important part of the conversation. However, companies. Also saw how not productive people were. Mm-hmm. And so just because you as an individual, productive, there’s a bigger picture than just you.

And so there are a lot of people just because you are productive, these 15 people are not. Hmm. And so now, um, it’s a lot harder. Working from home, not to get your work done, but to articulate your value. Okay. And it’s stuck on middle management to kind of manage this, which is unfair to them, right? You get the ivory Tower C-suite kind of talking about, well, I’ll bring the people back in the office, but the middle managers managing the people v virtually, and they’ve got no training or anything else.

So it’s K. It still hasn’t been solved and it hasn’t been figured out yet. But one of your things, one of the costs I guess of you working from home has to be your new, you have a new work project to elevate your profile to show your value. Mm-hmm. Right? You don’t just get to work from home for free. You now have work to do.

One of your work agendas is to articulate your value and say, this is what I’m doing. How are you getting in front of different types of people and how are you getting the visibility that you actually need to, to do? Secretly, not secretly, but here’s what companies are doing, is companies now have the the vision and the insight and the data to say we can do the work with at least half of our workforce.

Rich: Huh?

Jim: And so now that they do that, and I remember this back in 2008, the only reason they didn’t do it in 2008 was the technology wasn’t in place. Right. But now we’ve got ai, we’ve got all of this data on how productive people are, be what time of day. We know when people are logged in, we know what. If and the exercises we’re going through, we used to do this exercise when I was in finance.

You’ve got your budget. If the market goes up 50% or down 50%, what are you going to do with the money? And if it goes down 50%, well obviously we’re gonna have to cut people out. We’re gonna have to cut these initiatives, we’re gonna have to do that. If it goes up 50%, well then able to do that. And it’s more of like a modeling exercise.

And it’s a good exercise. It’s a smart exercise. Every business does it. Okay. A company right now is doing the exact same thing as if we have 50% of the workforce, what work can we get done? And they’re having those conversations. So most workers aren’t part of that conversation, right? But what you need to know is you need to be in that top 50%, because at some point when things get crushed, you want to be the person who knows how to use ai.

You want to be the person who knows how to do these different types of things. Who can create value, who can do these types of things and be ready to, and that articulation should be starting now. We should be asking you good questions of other leaders in the organization, getting their advice and creating those relationships, being visible on that type of way.

Those are the steps that we need to be taking now. So that if a big market crash comes and they need to cut 50% and they’re mm-hmm. Adopting, you know, we’re now going to remodel the entire organization and we’re gonna do this test and we’re gonna create this AI division, and now you have these CEOs and everything else, how are you positioning yourself to be in that top 50% of your organization and show your value?

That’s where you should be focused. That’s one of your working from home projects that nobody will tell you. But you need to be doing that as part of, do you go into the office maybe once every other week just to get FaceTime invisibility so that people can remember you? One of the things that nobody ever told me, and I wish they did, nobody thinks about you at work.

Unless they have to. And so your boss isn’t thinking about you. They think about you at your quarterly review when they have to fill out a form, nobody to, or your annual review or whenever it is. Yeah. So you actually have to insert yourself in these different types of ways so that people can remember you.

It’s like this branding and marketing thing. People don’t think about you unless they have to. Hmm. And so how do you make them think about you in different types of ways so that when these conversations are happening, Your name is saying, oh no, I see that person all the time. Or I know that person’s creating value in this way.

We want to keep them. Or, I know this person’s been, this person told me on my team that they were doing this free AI class so they can learn it. I know that they’re gonna position themselves in this kind of way. And how do you articulate that and, and get people to notice you in this, in this new kind of world that we’re living in.

Rich: So two questions immediately pop to mind. Number one, do you think the power is swinging back to the corporate side?

Jim: A hundred percent.

Rich: Okay. Number two is ai and this incoming technology, then something employees should fear because it sounds like you’re talking to me like the, the inevitability of some people are gonna go by the wayside and there’s no way to avoid it.

Jim: There are a lot of things that we should fear, and one of the things that we fear, especially with big change, is the fear of being left behind. Mm-hmm. However, fear goes away when we become familiar with something. And so what I would encourage everyone to do is you shouldn’t fear ai. It’s an inevitability.

It’s coming or it’s here, right? But the way it’s going to fundamentally change everything over the next couple of years, you shouldn’t fear it. But you should embrace it and get pretty familiar with it, and there’s so many free things that you could do to just toy with ai. Make my weekly meal plan. My kid has an egg allergy, make me a weekly meal plan without eggs and mm-hmm.

Just kind of see we’re learning a new way of thinking and requesting information and, and thinking and parameters to say, what can you do? The real benefit of AI for those who don’t know, is that it could take away the mundane work so that you can be creative. So that you could come up with new ideas.

This is what we all want at work, is we want this creativity, this right, this passion and this stuff to build something new and do something. So if you can, and it’s exciting and fun to do it, it’s actually really cool. AI is really fun and cool when you get to do it and start make your house, just create your AI robot for the house.

Or, you know what? Create our weekly routine. What’s our workout plan as a family, what’s, you know, what’s a good routine for cleaning the house? Who knows? Like, come up with whatever it is you need. Create a learning agenda for me. Like there are so many and so many videos out there of different ways that you could use it.

Become familiar. And as you become more familiar, you start to train yourself on this different way of thinking. It will naturally go into work because work and home are the same now. Mm-hmm. And so the more you become familiar with it, And then you understand how it works. You’ll see someone else come up with this idea, which creates a new idea for you.

You say, oh, that’s awesome. And then you could kind of do that. It becomes exciting. So we shouldn’t fear ai. Right. But you should definitely it. It’s a necessity for you to become familiar with it.

Rich: Okay. How would you recommend that for the older generations that are still in the workforce? I mean, we, we know that the Gen Zs and, and the millennials, they’re probably diving in already, but how do you get somebody who’s used to doing things a certain way to change themselves?

Jim: Yeah, the, the biggest disruption I think AI is going to have is primarily men aged 45 to 65, and not just men. It’s gonna be people aged 45 to 65, but I think it’s gonna hit men. Harder because there’s a higher population of men in senior leadership, white collar positions mm-hmm. Than are women. And it’s going to eliminate that first.

Um, and that’s gonna be kind of the big one. Okay. A lot of the discussions that people have, they like to put their head in the sand and say, well, I have experience. Right. I have a lot of experience and that’s my value. And I bring experience that I could teach people. Experience is nice, but it doesn’t hit the bottom line.

And it’s not enough to be an idea person anymore. It’s not enough to, you actually have to be a doer, and Gen X is okay, better than I would say like the boomer generation. If this hit 10 years ago, the boomers would’ve been really screwed, but Gen X has some familiarity with it. But you can’t ignore it.

Yeah, and I would say if you’re an executive director level, just below C-suite, below managing director level, you’re kind of in that upper middle management area. Mm-hmm. You are in you, there’s a spotlight on you right now where you have to become pretty familiar to tell people who know how to use ai.

You need to know how to leverage it in some way, whether you’re using a person who knows how to use ai. Or you know how to use it yourself. You need to understand it. And so the only way you’re really gonna understand AI because it’s so different, is to start using it. And again, go back to that simple kind of what do you need at home and how do I create my weekly schedule, whatever it is.

But those are the, the Gen X. Um, I have experience close to my heart, right? I’m a Gen X Xer myself. I’m at the talent end of Gen X. The desire to work in the traditional sense is gone. So when you’re managing a J z, gen Z mm-hmm. You have to understand how to manage them. They’re like, there’s a whole different element to Gen X, not just using ai, but also managing, uh Right.

An AI type of workforce and people who use it and, and what’s important to them.

Rich: Jim, thank you so much for coming on. I’ve had a, this has been a fantastic conversation. I’ve really enjoyed it and you’ve brought up, thank you. You’ve brought up so many more topics that I want to dive into, but unfortunately we’re at a limited time here.

So before we move on though, can I just say, or have you say to my team out there, Where they can reach you or find out about your book, your podcast, TED Talks, all that,

Jim: all of it. So, uh, the recent Ted Talk was called Thriving Amid Constant Change, a Personal Accountability Framework. It was from TEDx Downpatrick in Northern Ireland.

The website is jim or bellwether The podcast is Bellwether Hub and the book is adapting in motion. Adapting is another way that you could find me, so I’m all over the place.

Rich: Fantastic, my team out there. Please give a big round of applause once again for Jim Frawley. Jim, I hope you had as much fun being here as I did.

See, that’s all they have to do. They just have to clap twice. That’s their entire, I love it. That’s their entire,

Jim: it’s a good gig if you can get it.

Rich: But listen, buddy, as I was telling you in the beginning, this actually, this entire podcast did start out as a, uh, a show about team building. And Yes, you and I both have seen it now, and you’ve, you’ve even admitted to it about how people can’t stand team building.

Well, As a little bit of a payback, I’ve created a fun little event, a fun little game at the end that I call my speed round.

Jim: Okay,

Rich: speed round, speed round, speed round, speed round. So basically all this is, is I’m gonna have 60 seconds here on a clock. I’m gonna actually play a little bit of music plays for 60 seconds.

That just helps me keep track of the time. I’m gonna ask you a series of quickfire, innocuous questions, just. Come up with the first answer that comes off the top of your head. It’s just a way for us to get to know you a little bit better. You feeling up to it?

Jim: Okay. I’m, I have to be, I have to be up for it.

Rich: There you go. That’s what I want to hear. All right, my friend, when you hear the music, I’ll ask the first question and away we go. Oh. In case you’re feeling competitive, the number to beat is 13. 13 questions.

Jim: Okay.

Rich: Okay. All right, here we go. What’s your name?

Jim: Jim.

Rich: How many kids do you have?

Jim: Two.

Rich: Which one’s your favorite?

Jim: Both.

Rich: Nice. Uh, using one word, how would you describe your family?

Jim: Uh, patient.

Rich: What’s your favorite smell in the world?

Jim: Uh, pizza.

Rich: Do you talk to yourself all the time? What kind of things do you say?

Jim: A lot of questions

Rich: would you rather win an Olympic medal, an Academy Award, or the Nobel Peace Prize?

Jim: Nobel Peace Prize.

Rich: Favorite time of day

Jim: 4:00 AM

Rich: What is your favorite season?

Jim: Uh, spring.

Rich: What is one type of food you wanna be able to eat for the rest of your life?

Jim: Oh man. Greek salad.

Rich: Favorite movie quote.

Jim: Uh, there is nothing that can’t be done from usual suspects.

Rich: Nice. What’s your pet peeve

Jim: uh, ignorance.

Rich: And do you sleep with the sheets tucked in or out?

Jim: Uh, out.

Rich: You my friend. Hit 14. Alright. Yeah, Jim, we finally did it.

Jim: It took so long on the Greek salad question. I think so.

Rich: It’s okay. That’s okay because it’s, I asked the questions as long as that music is playing and there you go. You got it. Thank you so much again for coming on board. Jim, I wanna reach out to you again in the future cuz there’s so much about this I want to talk about and I know that it’s just gonna keep growing and growing.

So I love it. Yes. I’d love to hear from you again. Thank you so much and thank you my team. That’s it. We’re wrapping up yet another episode of Team Building Saves the World. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, whether you knew the podcast or an old fan of the show, please be sure to share with everyone you know, whether they’re a coworker, friend, or family.

It just helps us to share all of this vital information. You can find out all about us, including all past [email protected] slash podcast. You can also find us wherever you find your favorite podcast. Google Podcast, apple Podcast, Spotify, wherever you go to, listen, I want to be there and if. If we’re not there, I want you to hit us up on the social media as a Team Bond podcast.

Leave us a message telling me where we’re not so I can be sure to get on there cuz I want to be where you are. Also, while you’re on the, these, the social medias, go ahead, leave us a comment about the episode, something you’d like, something you didn’t like, what you want to hear on the future episode. I want to hear from you cuz you are on my team.

Speaking of which, before we say our final farewells for this episode of Team Building Saves the World. Please never forget. If you are within the sound of my voice, you’re on my team now and I am forever gonna be on yours song team. I’ll see you next time.

It’s been said that you learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation, so why not put your coworkers to play with the help of the team at Team Bonding? Team Bonding was founded over 20 years ago with one simple question, how can employees have a great time while fostering strong?

Authentic bonds between people who work together. Their catalog of innovative events includes scavenger hunts, jeopardy, and much more. Each activity, whether live virtual or hybrid, maximizes the impact of team building with an accent on fun. Visit team to schedule your event now. Team bonding when you want.


fun results. Alts.

In this episode, listen as Rich speaks with the Founder of Bellwether, Jim Frawley. Jim shares valuable insights on how to invest in employee potential to create a culture of growth in organizations. The discussion delves into various strategies such as identifying hidden potential in employees, how to measure success, adapting to new technical advancements, and promoting continuous learning and development.

The episode emphasizes the importance of cultivating a mindset and commitment to ongoing improvement to create innovation, growth, and success. Tune in to discover how adopting these tactics can lead to a thriving workplace culture.

About Jim Frawley:

Jim is the Founder of Bellwether, an executive development community, dedicated to helping both individuals and organizations build resiliency, adapt to change and thrive in rapidly shifting contexts.

Jim provides a range of services, including Keynote Speaking, Executive and Business Coaching and Workshop development and facilitation. He is the Author of “Adapting in Motion: Finding Your Place in the New Economy” and Host of the Bellwether Hub Podcast, building a library of resources for teams and individuals to continually develop themselves.

He has worked with clients in eight countries and thirty-nine states to date to create and implement change management, corporate training, and strategic planning programs, as well as organizational re-designs.

His specialties include executive communications, self-efficacy and accountability, and preparing for change when we don’t know what change is coming. 

Jim has a unique capability in getting people to do things they didn’t think they could (as evidenced by convincing an Irish cousin to swim in the Hudson River.)

Learn more about the importance of investing in your employees in our blog.

" There are a lot of things that we should fear, and one of the things that we fear, especially with big change, is the fear of being left behind. However, fear goes away when we become familiar with something. And so what I would encourage everyone to do is you shouldn't fear AI. It's an inevitability. It's coming or it's here, right? But the way it's going to fundamentally change everything over the next couple of years, you shouldn't fear it. But you should embrace it and get pretty familiar with it."
- Jim Frawley

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