NextGen Rockstars with Matt Schuyler

Matt Schuyler: Leading 5 Generations in the Workplace

How do you manage over 405,000 employees worldwide that represent 5 generations in the workplace? According to Matt Schuyler, CHRO of Hilton, you do it by developing leaders who understand and can bring out the best of everyone, regardless of generation.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Leading 5 Generations in the Workplace

Welcome to the Next generation Rock Stars Podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:56
Normally I do my all my interviews via zoom, but we had the opportunity to sit down when I was invited to be a part of the guest's media at the great place to work for 2019 where Hilton hotels were honored as the number one greatest place to work for 2019. So Matt and I had a wonderful conversation about the recruiting and developing, but also about the differences between the five generations that we have in the workplace today. And what does that mean for leadership? How does leadership have to evolve? And really just, you know, what, what do we need to do in order to, to make each and every generation at work happy and productive? So listen in on what Matt has to share with you because he has got some great nuggets to share. Enjoy.

Amanda Hammett: 01:51
All right, so this is Amanda Hammett and I am the host of the next generation rock stars. And I am here today with Matt Schuyler, who is the CHRO of Hilton hotels. Welcome to the show, Matt.

Matt Schuyler: 02:02
Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Amanda Hammett: 02:04
So, Matt, you have a tremendous honor, and this is actually why I'm sitting down with you because Hilton is the number one greatest place to work in 2019. Is that correct?

Matt Schuyler: 02:14
We are pleased to be ranked and humbled to be ranked number one best company to work for in the US by a great place to work and fortune this cycle.

Amanda Hammett: 02:21
That's amazing. So you and I had a couple of conversations earlier about what I study and that is millennials and Gen z and the whole next generation of talent. So tell us a little bit about what you guys have at Hilton as far as your makeup of generations.

Matt Schuyler: 02:37
Yeah, we are just, right now, passing the 50% mark with respect to millennials in our workforce globally, we have over 405,000 team members under Hilton flags around the world. We track, of course, the demographics associated with that workforce just passing 50% certain parts of the world, though we're well above 50%. In fact, Asia is a great example where we're, 80% millennial in our workforce serving our guests in our Asia Pacific region.

Amanda Hammett: 03:05
That's amazing. So one of the things that I'm really interested in is how this rising generation of millennials has affected the way you recruit and the way that you retain your employees

Matt Schuyler: 03:17
Deeply. In many ways. the way we recruit, the way we engage, the way we retain, the way we motivate and teach have all changed, I think as a result of this generation called millennial who have entered the workplace with technology as a backdrop, high expectations with respect to the impact that they'll make it, the workplace as well as the work they do and with a high demand to learn and grow in their careers, uh, as part of the workforce. So that's, in many ways driven, our programs and initiatives over the past, I'd say four or five years as we start to leverage technology that they've become accustomed to using to help them learn, grow, develop as we've created jobs that we think will be compelling for them for the long run. And as we've worked to engage them in more meaningful ways, in a broader purpose, that we provide to society as a whole and our local communities where we do business.

Amanda Hammett: 04:20
That's amazing. And I know that they really appreciate that. Now let's talk a little bit about retaining them because a lot of what I hear from companies is that millennials are job hoppers. But how do you see that and how have you combated that?

Matt Schuyler: 04:32
Yeah, I understand the sentiment and certainly, I think it's born out of what I mentioned, which is a, there's a deep desire in this generation to Kenny's. You learn, grow, develop, and limited patients. We all live in now the age of service in a moment. And so if I want something this afternoon, I can get it this afternoon. That's different than previous generations. Uh, and so when you lift and shift that to the workplace, if they, this generation of worker, the millennial doesn't see a line of sight to the next opportunity, they will certainly be vocal about it first and foremost. If nothing comes of that vocality they'll choose to leave or move onto something else. Yeah. They will seek out leaders who will help them grow their careers and more meaningful and potentially fast-paced ways. It's not, extreme when you think about it in light of what's happening societally where the world is just moving faster. We have access to so much more information now and so do they internally. I have often said that it used to be that leadership traded on the currency of tenure and that's just not the case any longer because anything, I know technically you can look up in an instant using your mobile device. And so we now believe that leadership must trade on the currency of connecting dots and help to enable the workforce to achieve its objectives and goals. And this resonates with the millennial population. We believe.

Amanda Hammett: 05:55
That was wonderful in the wrapped up very nicely. The question that I was going to ask about how are you helping your leaders to really leverage those millennials?

Matt Schuyler: 06:04
We are just being open and authentic about the fact that for the first time ever, there are five generations in the workplace. Each of those generations has bespoke expectations. But the core underlying tenant of each of those generations interestingly is the same. They want to may have meaningful work. They want to contribute, they want to learn, they want to grow, they want to develop, they want to have some fun. The difference that we see with the millennial generation is just, it's an accelerated expectation set relative to those same goals. They expected faster. They're not willing to wait years and years and years, sometimes decades to achieve those goals. We don't find this to be a bad thing. We think it's helping us sharpen our instrumentation. Yep. And we think it's making us a better employer, which is helping the entire workforce. So this isn't something that we're doing just for millennials. The work that we're doing now to accommodate the new expectations we see in the millennial generation is helping the entire workforce.

Amanda Hammett: 07:00
That is amazing. And every millennial and Gen z is probably going to hear this and a lineup and want to come work at Hilton.

Matt Schuyler: 07:06
We would love that are welcome. We welcome all and we've got great jobs, so we'll look forward to that.

Amanda Hammett: 07:11
Oh, wonderful. Matt, thank you so much for your time. You are amazing and congratulations on your big accomplishment with great places to work.

Matt Schuyler: 07:18
Thanks for the opportunity to share about it. Appreciate it.

Amanda Hammett: 07:21
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the next generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all about recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Featuring Rick Sbrocca

Rick Sbrocca: Helping Employees Become the CEO of Their Lives

Company leaders often fear developing employees only to have them leave. CEO & Founder, Rick Sbrocca takes a different approach to employee development. Rick offers all employees a program he created called "CEO of Your Life" where he encourages employees to not only develop professionally but personally as well.


FREE Download "Fillable CEO of Your Life PDF"

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Helping Employees Become the CEO of Their Lives

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: Hi, this is Amanda Hammett. I am with Rick Sbrocca today and Rick is one of my leaders who was nominated to be on the show because he is doing a phenomenal job of developing the next generation talent and really leading them up into that, those next levels of their career. So let's welcome Rick to the show. Thanks for being here.

Rick Sbrocca: You Bet. Good Morning Amanda. Thank you for having me on the show.

Amanda Hammett: No worries, no worries. You know, honestly, when I put out the call to have guests on the show, I went to people that I trust and people that I have worked with before clients, all those different people. And Joe Doll, I was really hoping he would nominate you and he did. So I'm so happy to have you.

Rick Sbrocca: Awesome. I'm sorry, I'm happy to be here.

Amanda Hammett: Well good. So why don't you tell the audience a little bit about you?

Rick Sbrocca: Sure. So from a business perspective, I started my career after business school, Corporate America, focused on that season for 17 years and had a very successful run to a global leadership position of various business units that were successful. And then my family and I moved from southern California to Northern California to change up our quality of life. And we founded a new company named spirit solutions and it turns co-founded another company named five 11 enterprises and they are focused on helping companies and individuals grow and the high tech space. And that's where we really changed it up. Amanda, when I was in the corporate space working for Fortune 50 companies, the focus was always primarily on the customer as it should be. And when we did our own thing, we decided to conduct an experiment and to make the team members the priorities. So we set a vision statement that put forth, we would create an environment where talents flourish and that was our priority with the values tied to the acronym team for trust, empowerment, accountability and mentoring. So obviously without trust, you can't do anything. We focus very much on empowering them with the right professional development plans and onboarding, holding them accountable through dashboards. And then we're early adopters, leaders in professional mentoring, which really has made the difference in our business. So that's a quick summary of our background and where we're at now.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I want, you know, I know a little bit about five 11 seasons one we had Denay from five 11 on the show and she was phenomenal. And again, she also was on the show because of Joe Doll. But the way that she talked about the culture and the support that she got a growing professionally, you know, since day one has been, it was something that you, you could just tell was special, not just to her, but just, it's just special and it's different. And I really applaud you and Joe and the whole team over there for, for building this up. He is somebody that probably looking at her resume, she told the story. I mean she was slinging pizza and when she came to work, Joe saw something in her and chat.

Rick Sbrocca: I think the CEO, so he played a major role in that. Yes. You know, our DNA really is predicated upon that vision statement and we took a radical move forward to state that our objective is for the team members to accelerate in all areas of their life. And if we're not doing that in this workspace, then we're failing. Oh, of course, they have to take personal accountability. So that's a very powerful statement and overall, not in all cases, but overall it's, it's been successful. And, and Denay is a perfect example of that. She was delivering pizzas to us on Friday afternoon and we saw really a deep intelligence in her and critical thinking, although her, her IQ hadn't been developed in her confidence. So we took a risk on her and her ascension from pizza delivery person to sales development rep. Now two data analysts really quadrupling her comp is the greatness of the workplace. I mean, that's where we spend most of our time and Harvard Business Review and nailed it where they stated the battlefield is talent, period. It's about recruiting, training, retaining talent.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

Rick Sbrocca: So that's our focus.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. That's phenomenal. So let me ask you this. Let's, let's look, take a little look back to your days and the fortune 50 worlds. Um, and I would imagine as you were coming up yourself that you probably witnessed other forms of leadership, other forms of development if you will. And how did that shape own vision for what you wanted in spirit is in 5/11.

Rick Sbrocca: Sure. Thank you. So I was very blessed to have a couple of great mentors that I could go to that taught me how to mature because I always had the talent and the skill, but it was a matter of maturity and managing well to fulfill that, that destiny. So that was, that was the challenge and the solution to the mentors regarding my specific managers and leaders. I saw many examples of what not to do, what to do. And I really break it down into two areas. Either an abundance mentality or a scarcity mentality. And there were those managers that really believed that their team members were infinitely scalable. And if they helped you grow, the tide would rise and everybody would grow with them. And those are the best environments. The opposite of that was scarcity mentality that I've been given this unit of power and control and I'm going to hold onto it very tightly and keep people in their place. And then that limits personal growth and company grows. So those are really the two experiences I had and obviously adopted the if we grow people and surround ourselves with people that are smarter, brighter, better versed in certain areas in ourselves we'll do much better as leaders.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I agree with that wholeheartedly. Actually, my company did a study my partner Gene actually works and studies hybrid companies and he focuses on the ink 5,000, and he has studied them significantly and they have all come back and said, it's employee first. We focus on developing employees and they'll take care of the customers 91% of them said that.

Rick Sbrocca: Can't be that.

Amanda Hammett: You can't. Wonderful. So as you were coming up in your own leadership, uh, in, in these fortune 50 companies, did you ever feel pressure from higher-ups or corporate boards or, or anything like that to focus more on the numbers and delivering performance versus, you know, developing your people?

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, absolutely. At the end of the day it's about the numbers and, and hopefully, the metrics are well balanced. I liked the Drucker institute scoreboard that they keep a card that they keep around financial health, employee health, customer health innovation, and social responsibility. So hopefully the numbers are balanced within that context. I was in the sales marketing channels area, so typically there was a quota and you know, when it got to the end of the quarter, sometimes we had values free moments where we had to focus on getting the number and that's what it was about. And over time, as I became more confident in myself and my own character, I made certain that I was honoring relationships and results and that they are not mutually exclusive. They're jointly exhausted and that has served me well.

Amanda Hammett: Perfect. Now, what about, you know, you've had quite a long career so far but you've seen the influx of millennials, now you're starting to see the influx of Gen z and to the workplace, you know, what influence have they brought into the workplace? What changes have you seen and what do you, what do you predict going forward?

Rick Sbrocca: Sure, great question. So I operate on a universal code regardless of the generational big man. And that is that everybody longs to feel and be significant and that every human being is infinitely scalable. So I start with that precept and from there really seek to be truthful and authentic and real and to listen and then to find the common vision for, for excellence. So without is the foundation. I've discovered that it's more important than ever to be very open-minded and to listen carefully as we started hiring millennials. And that's a very broad age range now. Yes, in 23 and 38 and there's a lot of factors within now regarding the country of origin, socioeconomic factors, gender, creation, diversity, etc. So I don't want to over homogenize them, but I have found them to be absolutely delightful and inspiring.

Rick Sbrocca: They're extremely energetic. They're extremely bright, they're tech-savvy, and they're not settling. They want to change the world for the better. They've been through some economic downturns. They have been through situations where the families have always stayed together and they have great ideas. I think it's a disservice for us to be wrapped up, not us specifically, but the space in this word entitlement. I don't, I don't really see that at all. I see that as a leadership responsibility to teach a process that they would come regarding their, they're great ambitions in there. They're phenomenal energy and work ethic that we would, we would meet that with our wisdom on what's the process look like and teach the process and engage in multigenerational mentoring where we're listening first and then responding and together we're moving the ball forward. So they've taught me to be a much better listener and how to, to work together regarding Gen Z. We're starting to work with them more and more.

Rick Sbrocca: I'm in. This isn't based on scientific research, it's, it's our experience. I'm finding them to be equally high potential in a different way. Seem to be focusing more on a conservative approach of job security and a career path. Mentoring is very important, not quite as radical. If I can use that term about changing the world and changing things that aren't right. They're looking to create a strong, stable career path and lifestyle at 10. Again, we're having to listen very closely to them and understand where they're coming from. Handshake is their professional community. They did a survey, very interesting in the top five. Gen Z is asking for mental health resources at work. So I think that's an important trend you're asking about where I see it going. That's an important trend. Google did a study a few years back entitled Aristotle, and it was about cultural development.

Rick Sbrocca: One of the findings was psychological safety or trust in the workplace. So a couple of the trends that I see and that we're helping to shape our, our number one, what I would call humanistic influencers. So we hear about AI and ml over and over and over and that's awesome. I'm, I'm fully for that. I think it's also going to create info versus reserve funds of humanistic influencers that are important to merge with the rise of A.I For our best overall success. And it goes back to talent. At the end of the day, this is all about talent, so I find that to be very fascinating. The other one that we focused on as we've discussed them and Israeli life-work integration, Apple hired me a while back to talk to them about work-life balance because one of their managers, it's said, this is a quote that the sheer velocity and ambiguity, that business is breaking down our people and it's spilling over into their personal lives.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely good.

Rick Sbrocca: After this work-life balance thing, we found out it was really a myth. You know, there is no work-life balance. It's a series of sprints and recoveries. It's a sprint sprinter, Ethan, and so we've developed our own content around life-work integration and work has certainly crept in through our life. Has it not?

Amanda Hammett: Oh, for sure. For sure.

Rick Sbrocca: Very important. Now that we give equal respect and integrity to live being honored within this new growing, changing, dynamic workspace, what we focus on that very much what we call a complete life victory. We prepare professional development person. This is all voluntary per the team members desire to state their overall goals around getting out of debt. Right. We're in relationships or whatever it may be. And we found that if we can tap into that, because Gallup's found approximately 70% of the people really aren't highly engaged at work. So, you know, that's unacceptable. Why is that? And people are going to have to do certain jobs that they may or may not like, but if you can tie it to their burning passion for moving their life forward, then you have a win-win together. And that's what we see is a major trend and a major differentiator.

Amanda Hammett: Right. Absolutely. Well, you know, I think you've touched on this a little bit, but I'd like for you to be pretty specific right here. you know, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about your program, the CEO of your life program and how that has really affected your, your leadership style. And you know, you've definitely touched on it, but let's, let's be very specific with, with the audience on this.

Rick Sbrocca: Sure, Well, when I was in a corporate position and rising rapidly work was my priority and I was doing an excellent job at work. However, I was not doing an excellent job managing my other priorities in myself by my spirit, my soul, and my body, my family, etc. And through that painful lesson, I learned the importance of what we call complete like victory. So we teach complete lie victory through workshops to our team members. These are off hours and we typically, you're getting 98% attendance. And it's about really maximizing your purpose, your life, and your work together as CEO of your life. That you're accountable. It is a meritocracy. And here's the operative word, Amanda. It's processing. A lot of people are understanding why. Yeah. But they don't know the process to really understand where they're at in life.

Rick Sbrocca: You know, we, I don't want to get too deep into this, but we have heredity and environment, which we can't really control. But then we have our response-ability response table or what we can't control. So we're helping a lot of people just process things even are very focused on them. Speaking with professional counselors to let it go, burn, burn it down, whatever is holding you back, here's your future. And then from there then we can set goals around what we call a life echo system. It's not a balanced wheel, it's an always changing ecosystem. And then we taught them to go through setting goals, plans, resources, and how to actually achieve results. Yeah, that's what the core curriculum is all about. We've put over 400 people through the, through the program, their graduates and I mentor many of them. And for the people that do the work for the people that work the plan, it works. And we've, yeah, we've seen some miraculous transformations from people that were desperate. They've gone to a very high level of earning and that's secondary. That's important. But it's secondary walking in confidence and economic empowerment and feeling significant and then being able to raise a family in a strong manner and then support your community. And so work is vital and were runs on the fuel of talent and it's becoming much broader in the sense of our responsibilities that we're seeing today.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, I would agree with that.

Rick Sbrocca: Will help that talent stay engaged.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Yeah. So let me ask you this if I understand this correctly, you said that this is something that you offer to your employees' free benefit. And to me, that's a tremendous value. I mean, that's almost something you can't put a number on as far as what that's going to teach them and allow them to set up for themselves if they do the work moving forward for the rest of their lives. I mean, that's, that's tremendous. yeah, that, that is really tremendous. I really don't even have words around that. That's a tremendous benefit beyond the normal salary. And vacation time and health benefits, those things. I mean, that's a tremendous additional benefit that most young people probably aren't aware of or even thinking of like this is a possibility that a company could offer this to me. I'm going to have to figure this out myself. So that's wonderful.

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, it's, it's, it's our responsibility to meet them where they're at. And especially Gen Z, they're coming in. It's the first generation fully raised on technology and there are some great positives from that. There are also some challenges around maturity and communicating and listening and processing this avalanche of information every day and how to sort it and then how to move to a maturation path. So we're not caught in the Peter Pan Principle. Right. And I think a lot of companies allow their workers to stay in and it, it's not a solid, healthy longterm for the individual or the company.

Amanda Hammett: No, it's, unfortunately, it's not. And it fuels and an additional retention issue for these companies, which is expensive. Exactly. Not to mention productivity and all that good stuff. So it's a machine that feeds itself, so, yeah. All right. Well, what would you, I would imagine that there has been some sort of financial benefit to that you found through developing your employees in this way or are in developing them. And another way that maybe you haven't mentioned it, have you found there to be a direct correlation between their development and the bottom line at the end of the quarter, at the end of the year, things like that?

Rick Sbrocca: Absolutely. There's a, there's a strong specific ROI case around this type of leadership and first and foremost, it relates to the customer experience. Yeah. And we receive incredible feedback from our prospects and customers even when they don't do business with us because our team is engaged, it's energetic and they care. They're not robots making their calls and just trying to hit it hit a quota. And that matters more and more the marketplace has become numb and certain areas because there's been so activity around selling things and we're adopting a very personalized approach to that in a very respectful approach. So the first Roi is in the net promoters scores the NPS scores that are indexing the norm. And I think that's number one. And then number two is in pure profit, our retention rates are of the talent are exponentially better than the benchmark competitors we have and in design in different cities because you know, the cost of training somebody in losing them straight away and on average our team members are attained to a multiple of two to three x her the per the norm.

Amanda Hammett: really?

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, that'd be perfect. It's huge. And I think the other metric that we don't have is, is the quality of their work while there while they're working to be excited about going to work, doing a great job, which takes a tremendous amount of energy. But the Roi case is absolutely there. And I believe corporations are starting to realize that HR is vital. I know they realize this because I read the human capital trends research and it's important that we accelerate our adoption of, of programs like ours to help the employees succeed, which in turn will help the company succeed.

Amanda Hammett: I couldn't agree with that more. And just going back to your, your client base, I happen to know one of your clients and him, he was actually the reason I was introduced to Joe Dell, to begin with, and he just raved about your, an SDR rep about how good they were and just how vital they were. And he was raving not only to me but to a group of other people about how good they were. And actually, Joe was a little like embarrassed for a moment because he was just going on and on about how great.

Rick Sbrocca: Grateful to hear that.

Amanda Hammett: All right. So let me ask you this. I know that you have millennial children of your own yes. But you also mentor a lot of people as you've mentioned. So if you could only give one piece of advice, just one thing, um, to early career. So somebody who's been in the workforce less than five years if you could give them one piece of advice about their career, what would it be?

Rick Sbrocca: It would be focused on dynamic, personalized learning that they would, they would prioritize that not just through their formal academic experience and their onboarding, but every single day because things are changing that much and there's a technology that can help us through micro learning platforms, etc. But I believe it's very important if I was starting out to focus on that, to dedicate a percentage of the week to formal learning in my space and then more importantly to listen, listen, listen to my team and to also study other companies that are doing well on how they're treating their team members. And I would suggest under this umbrella of active dynamic personalized learning that they would establish multigenerational advisory councils. So they would have team members that they're managing other seasoned wise leaders in the company that would, that would collaborate around what needs to get done. And we've seen great, great, great results in that area. Chip Conley is really a thought leader in this space of multigenerational mentoring. It's, it's so simple yet, I don't know why more companies don't invest in it and do it well, I can tell you some stories that will blow your mind when you go offline. But that's what I would focus on learning but in a very creative dynamic, personalized way that that orchestrates different resources.

Amanda Hammett: Excellent. That's a great, fantastic answer actually. Perfect. Perfect. So I would like to share with the audience something really quickly. Rick has been really generous. He has offered to give me a copy of his CEO of your life program, which is phenomenal. I, he's told you a little bit about it today, but I feel like that's probably just scratching the surface. And in turn, he is actually allowing me to share it with you. So there it is right there on the screen. So if you are interested, we are going to have a link below where you can go ahead and snag a copy for yourself because I don't know if your company is offering anything like this, but if they aren't, you guys need to get in touch with Rick and see about bringing it to your company. Well, Rick, thank you so much.

Amanda Hammett: This has been such a pleasure. You know, I feel like you and I are really in line with a lot of the ways that we see things and I'm just, I'm really, I feel very fortunate to have met you even though it's been through the screen, but still, I feel very much.

Rick Sbrocca: Okay. Take care.

Amanda Hammett: All right. See you guys in the next episode up. Next Generation Rock stars. All right, so I hope that you took lots and lots of notes just like I did during that interview with Rick Sbrocca of the spirit of solutions. Rick shared so much in that short amount of time. I think one of the biggest takeaways though for me was his CEO of your life program and that program, he is just, he's using it to develop his people not just in their professional life but also in their personal lives and so that they can grow very holistically and hopefully eventually that that means long, long term retention.

Amanda Hammett: That means higher levels of productivity, which of course were salts and higher levels of profitability. And Rick has been gracious enough to offer that to me so that I can share it with you guys in this audience of I do hope that you click on the link below and you download the CEO of your life program. But more importantly than just downloading the program, I hope that you actually implement it because implementing the program is where it is all about it. That's where life change happens. That's where the increases in, in your happiness really in your life. That is where it happens. So you've gotta be willing to change to make those big leaps in your life. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us for this episode of Next Generation Rockstars. Keep listening for next week where we will have another phenomenal leader who is helping to develop the next generation of talent. See you then.

Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Featuring AlanCherry

Alan Cherry: Company Culture is More Than Beer in the Fridge

Employee development pays long term dividends. However, most companies only focus on developing employees at certain levels. Learn how creating a culture where developing employees at ALL levels can change an entire community.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Company Culture is More Than Beer in the Fridge

Welcome to the next generation Rock Stars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: Welcome to today's episode up Next Generation Rock Stars. We are featuring Alan Cherry who is the head of HR and a company called rPlanet earth, which is doing some phenomenal things for the environment. I'm really excited for you to hear all about them, but not just the environment as a whole. Actually rPlanet earth is doing some really cool things too in a very disadvantaged part of la where they are based, where their plant is based. Uh, so you'll definitely have to check that out. But one of the things that Alan and I talked about was his experience being in HR for some major startup companies, companies like Tesla just to name one that have really built cultures and he's played a major and pivotal role in building these cultures of working with really smart, talented people.

Amanda Hammett: But also what is that like and how do you find that? So he talks a lot about, about company culture. He talks a lot about some, maybe some red flags for you, younger listeners who are looking at getting a new job or your very first job. But he also talks about leaders and what they need to know and how they need to build their own skillset so that they can really get and retain that top talent and actually how to motivate that talent and keep them moving forward. So check out this episode. I think that you are going to love it. Alan is just a wonderful, wonderful guests. Um, and yeah, to see you at the end.

Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the next generation rockstars. And today I have a super special guest. I have Alan Cherry of our planet earth. Alan, welcome to the show.

Alan Cherry: Thank you so much. I'm delighted to be here.

Amanda Hammett: Well, wonderful. Wonderful. So Alan, I have already given a little bit of an intro to you leading into this, but why don't you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

Alan Cherry: So I'm a long time a HR professional who's worked been fortunate enough to work for a number of the very smart companies. I've always chosen to follow a product or a passion as I think you just are more motivated when you do that. So I've worked for companies that have been part of fortune's 500 great places to work. I like Greek cultures. I like great people. I like working with smart and talented individuals.

Amanda Hammett: Fantastic. Well wonderful. Don't we all like working with smart and talented in jury trials.

Alan Cherry: Whenever possible. Yeah.

Amanda Hammett: It makes the world a little bit easier. All right. So, since you are in the position of really helping a company shape their culture by bringing in their people, why don't you share with us a little bit about your general ideas around company culture? Like what are you, what are you looking for? What are you looking to shape and learn each time?

Alan Cherry: So I think with company culture there is no magic one that you wave and you have a beautiful culture. I think it's the actions and behaviors of every individual every day that makes the culture. So when you, when you're in a startup, as I have been in many companies and I am here and there's, you know, five guys around the kitchen table talking about what we're interested in, it's at that point that you get them to align with the ideas that building a culture is about finding individuals one by one and telling them a story, getting them to buy into a vision of what we're trying to create. And finding people that share your values, people that share your passion because you, as you grow, you're never going to be in a position where you can totally control the culture. If you think about it, every time you double the amount of people you have, that's half as many people again, who don't share the original culture of the founding five.

Alan Cherry: So you keep doubling the numbers. You have to have people that actually buy into it and are aligned with it and we'll pass it on. So it becomes a kind of self propagating a deal here. And that's what we're looking for. We are hiring individuals with a similar mindset, you know, and it can be as dumb as, you know, people who pick up trash on the way and people who shut the door, people who treat each other respectfully. People who just want to be part of something special.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah.

Alan Cherry: And then elevate their game in order to do that. And that is what builds a culture. It's not about giving free snacks or buying company lunches. That's not the culture at all three, you know? So I think it's a very much down to the individuals that you hire. And if you bring in the right quality, the right talent, they will create the culture for you.

Amanda Hammett: Fantastic. All right. So that's really some interesting things that you had to say about company culture. I love that because I think so many people are wrapped up in this idea of I need to provide ping pong tables and beer in the fridge and things like that. And that's fine if that's what you want, but it's not about that. It's about that.

Alan Cherry: It wasn't that proven in the great crash of 2001 where all these startups and incubators had as you say, pool tables and beer in the fridge and no business, you know, I mean you have to start with a good business plan, a good idea. You have to have individuals that can talk to the story and then people join because they believe in what you're doing and they're passionate about it. That's what makes great business performance. Not beer in the fringe.

Amanda Hammett: I agree wholeheartedly. So let's talk a little bit about your ideas around um, developing and leading next generation talent. I mean you, you spend a lot of time in the trenches and the looking at recruiting and looking at bringing in those people. So what is your idea around that? How do you see that for a company?

Alan Cherry: So the, what we practice here and what we talk about here is that learning and development is available to everyone. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what job you do. I work closely with the managers every day to ensure the messaging that's going out to the employees is that everybody can learn, everybody can grow and there are opportunities to build a career plan and to get the development to that you're seeking in order to get a more responsible job and to move on in that way. So, you know, a lot of people only think about exempt professional employees when they think about learning and development. And that's just not there in my mind, the right way to go about it. You know, we have people here who are, you know, Allie Page sweepers and cleaners and we get good retention because we give them an opportunity to learn and grow an opportunity to, you know work up to a forklift driver to go from a forklift driver to a machine operator to go from a machine operator to a supervisor or a lead to get some professional help. In terms of developing your relationship skills, how do you build a team? How do you motivate employees? You know, pretty basic skills, you might argue, but a lot of people, you know, they didn't go to school and didn't go to university like the professional people, but they still want to learn. And I think we, we feed that beast.

Amanda Hammett: Right. Well, I mean just to your point, their eyes on, you know, the differences between people that went to university and that didn't, you know, some of the people that did go to university, they may have learned some of those management and leadership skills, but actually putting them into practice I have found sometimes is a, there seems to be a block there.

Alan Cherry: Absolutely. No, I mean I, some of the worst managers I've seen have been the most educated, you know, so it's, it's not a question that education makes the person and they're all you know, popped out like great managers. They think they're great managers because they've got an MBA. Actually they're horrible managers because they haven't got any of the soft skills that I would value. Yes. I think that management is a, you know, is a contact sport. It's really about getting in close, talking to people, building relationships and coaching them, coaching such an underrated you know, a skill. People tend to think that you're going to do some fancy a, you know, career planning and you're going to talk about sending people on a program. And really 99% of what you learn is on the job day to day, being coached and on and actually understanding the value of what you're doing. It's not about going on a program.

Amanda Hammett: I couldn't agree with that more. I think that that's a really valuable and valid point there. Oh gosh, I have so many things that I, now I'm all like, oh, I need to ask

Alan Cherry: What was interesting. Let's talk about that. The important thing here is to say that, you know, what we're trying to do here and it's the first time for me is to do something very different with a whole range of people that typically a lot of, uh, you know, high tech professional HR people don't really come into contact with, which is that are, you know, that our array of people from the very lowest level, you know, cleaner sweeper kind of person up to the professional leaders and to try and be a beacon in the community for doing things better. You know, we're in a very disadvantaged area here. You know, typically we wouldn't be the kind of company with the kind of jobs that you would see in this area. And so we're trying to prove that it's possible to do the, you know, the holy grail of being successful in business with a great culture that treats people properly and that we believe everybody will respond to that message saying, we're working with the local community association, we're working with homeboy industries who have previously incarcerated people and they just like everybody else want to actually do better. They want to learn and grow and they want to build a career. So we're offering something that's very, very different in this area to a range of people. When we found that the take up, the interest, the passion is there across the board.

Amanda Hammett: I agree. So what I want to point out and for the audience here is that our planet earth is actually located in an area of La that is, you know, disadvantage. It's not the, it's not the, you know, palm tree lined streets that when you think of La that you think of, I mean, this is a very disadvantaged area. This is the socioeconomic area is just

Alan Cherry: Not immigrants. Second generation immigrants who are very close to poverty, a number of people sleeping on the streets. You know, this is, this is, this is not the high tech Silicon Valley areas that you see on the, in the press every day or on the news. But we're fighting a different battle here, but it's one that we've chosen to, to take on one that I believe we're winning.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. So I'd like for you to share with the a little bit more. And you and I had a previous conversation about this and I just, I love what you're doing. Um, so I would like for you guys to share with us, you know, what, what is the whole idea around recruiting? How are you guys going about making a shift in that, in that area? And not just a shift economically in that area, but also in the people that live in that area. How are you affecting?

Alan Cherry: We're basically reaching out to a lot of different people in many different walks of life. And my belief is that there's no one single program that will bring you all the people that you need. So we do work closely with the local community association. We do work with homeboy industries. We put banners on the side of our building. We do all the basic stuff that would, uh, you know, attract hourly pay people who are not looking on, you know, one of the social media sites to find their next position. So that's where we get our kind of a more basic level people. Then we also talk to the a recruitment agents. We have a group of recruitment agents that work very closely with us who have been to the plant to done a tall, they understand our positions, they understand our culture, they know the kind of talent that we're looking for.

Alan Cherry: And then right up to the more senior professionals, the professional engineers, um, and the leadership positions, we work either with agencies or we would post positions ourselves. We run on an interesting website that explains our business, explains after philosophy. And I think that's where the connection comes. And you do find that everybody, you know, from the very lowest level, right the way through. We'll have access to a computer these days. We'll find our website and we'll read what we've written and they'll buy into the vision that we're doing something good for the community. We're doing something good for the environment. It's a job that even if even at the lowest level is satisfying because you understand the vision of the company, you know, removing all the plastic from the oceans and removing plastic from landfill, giving people an opportunity to have end to end closed loop recycling where in essence a used bottle can become a new bottle again is something that will change the way that we recycled plastic and the way we think about plastic. So that's really the vision that we sell and it resonates with people.

Amanda Hammett: And it sounds like it resonates with people at all levels.

Alan Cherry: Yeah. Right across the board you'll find, you know, almost everybody has a story. You know, very often I get some guy comes in, he's going to be a, you know, a machine operator and I'm talking to him about why he's interested and he says, my daughter says we have to do this. And then that's the truth. You know, maybe some of the older people that we have don't quite get it, but certainly their family doesn't, their kids do. And the kids have told them, you should do that. It's really important, and that's really, it's the truth. It is really important. And what we wanted to do in HR is to make it important, not just because of the passion and the vision of the company and the business success, but also because we can be this beacon in the community and we can prove that you don't have to have dirty low paying jobs just because it's a tough area. You can bring a progressive professional environment into this area and be successful in business and give people the opportunities they deserve.

Amanda Hammett: That's amazing. So let me ask you this question. When you're interviewing or when you're looking to bring in someone new at any level and they're considered young talents, so 30 and under, What is it that really stands out to you? Is there a specific character trait? Is there a specific skill set? I don't know that you're looking at that makes you go, that person's going to be a rock star and they're going to be very successful here?

Alan Cherry: Yeah. I think you know, whether it's a millennial or anybody else, there's, there's this, the similar kind of themes that play here. You know, I really liked to talk to somebody that has a plan, somebody that's thoughtful about why they're picking the companies they're working for, why they're picking the managers that they're going to be working closely under. You know, why are they picking this company? Because it has learning and development because it has a good culture because it has a good vision. You know, we're looking for that energy, that passion, that thoughtfulness. And I think they're on a trajectory that you can see all the way through their career. You know, they didn't just do a, this school and this type of education because it was kind of fun. They did it because they thought about it and they knew where it would fit in as part of the building block of their career.

Alan Cherry: And so when they go to take their first or second and the third job, you can see that they're mindful of where they're headed and they're confident of their approach. I also like to see a little humility. You know, one of the biggest things that trips people up is arrogance. You know, people who are, they have a great education. They're definitely on a great trajectory, but they're not right for us if there are arrogant and not right for us if they think just deserved, you know, we want people to still have that little bit of hunger, have that passion, have that burning in their eyes that they're looking for something and they're appreciative of the opportunity. And they know they have to prove themselves.

Amanda Hammett: That's fantastic. I really do agree with that. Arrogance is the downfall of some of the greatest people in the world or, you know, so

Alan Cherry: Let me know if you, if you're comparing cultures, you know, you can see, you know, cultures build and grow and do excellent work at attracting and retaining and making performance. And you can see, uh, you know, other cultures that completely, squash that. And he's normally where you have very strong, very aggressive, you know, arrogant leaders who basically pushed down on the people and they believe poor performance is gained, you know, by the stick rather than the carrot. And it's been pretty well proven that yeah, you can get some short term gains if you Talenti but you're not going to do it long term. People will figure it out and they'll go and work somewhere else. And I think the thing that I'm really thankful for millennials for is that they basically pushed back on that kind of management and background of the company and they've said, no, we're actually, we're not purely, you know, driven by money. We're actually looking for satisfying careers in companies that are trying to make a difference in the environment. We want to do better for the world. And it can be accused of being a little soft, but I don't think that's anything near as bad as being a little too hard. So I'll take a little soft every time. Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: Thank you, Alan Cherry, that was quite an endorsement from you. Um, so let's, let's talk a little bit about this and you, you kind of alluded to this in the last answer that you gave, but I would imagine through your career you've been at multiple startups, you've been at some wonderful companies. But I would imagine that you have witnessed and experienced on your own some other different forms of leadership, different styles of leadership and how did that actually shape your vision of the kind of culture you want it to help create and also your own leadership style?

Alan Cherry: Yeah, I've seen some, I mean, at a certain point you, you turn around in your career maybe when you're like mid career and you think, well now I've worked for four or five companies, I've seen a range of different cultures and management styles and I've seen varying degrees of business success. And you start to, if you're thoughtful, put together, where would I like to work? What would be my perfect company if I had that dream to do whatever I wanted? And you're playing off usually between business success and a great culture. And it's almost as though people tell you those things are binary and you can't have both. I'm a bit of a dreamer and I do believe you can have both. You know, I don't want to work for a great company that's totally unsuccessful, but neither do I want to work for a totally successful company that's miserable to work for.

Alan Cherry: I think you've got to find that happy balance in the middle. And I think with the right leadership and the right employees and the culture that you're building, you know, one employee at a time, then I think you do create that culture that is both a driven, a successful business, successful company with a great culture does treat people well. It doesn't mean you give people an easy ride or a free ride. We're not saying that at all. We're actually saying you're going to get challenged every day. You're going to get pushed to do more. You're gonna get driven to sign up the bigger responsibilities and to do more with your life and your career. But we're not, you know, we're not going to relent at all on that side because that's what leads to great business success. And we're looking for people that stay the course, not people that come in and do nine months and then quit. We want people that will stick with us. We want people that are in this for the long haul and they'll seek, seek out the kind of companies that have that longer term vision and they'll be successful and they'll stay with those companies and they will learn and grow and they will develop much better skills and have more satisfaction.

Amanda Hammett: So let me ask you this, and this just totally popped in my head when you were talking. What is your take on failure at work?

Alan Cherry: So I mean, failure is it, that's like saying, you know, what are your weaknesses? You know what I mean? And we turned weaknesses and we say that there are no weaknesses. There's only development, you know. And this, the same with failure. Failure. Usually a council, it could be business failure or it could be failure of a personal nature and is okay, use good. If you, if you learn from it you can go to a startup. And I've been at a startup that had a great vision. It had a great product, had incredible technology, but it was technology chasing a market and the market didn't really exist. So we were kidding ourselves and telling ourselves how wonderfully clever we are on we're to develop this product, to have this technology, have all these smart people. But really we were diluting ourselves because there was no market there.

Alan Cherry: So the learning was great. You know, you can be as smart as you like. It doesn't matter if there's no market for what you're selling, you'll never be business successful. You know, this is like the difference between if you're old enough to remember Betamax and DHS, you know, in the different a recording systems, you know, Betamax was actually a much better system, technically much better, more advanced than VHS. But it didn't when VHS won because the market wanted achieve the lighter, softer, more available system. And so once again, you know, the learning comes through every time that you have to have alignment with everything that you're doing. So an individual can learn and accompany can learn. And when you choose the place that you work, when you choose the, uh, the company with a product or a technology, you have to ask yourself that question because it will obviously influence everything you do when you get to that company.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. So let me ask you this. What would you say has been the biggest influence or shifts that you've seen in the workforce as these younger generations have come on as millennials have come in and now we're starting to see genex come into the workforce? What shifts and changes are you seeing?

Alan Cherry: So I think there is a shift in terms of, as we've kind of alluded to earlier, that, uh, you know, you see the younger people come in and on one hand, one side, they're exactly the same as every other generation. And there's a bunch of really smart ones as a bunch of really hard working ones. There's some people that are still finding their way and there's some people that have given up. And that's the same in every generation. I think the, the millennials and the gen x people have started to shift the world a little in that they're pushing back on some of the accepted ways of working which were very old school where, you know, you have to come in on this hour and you have to leave at that hour. You can't really do anything else unless you come to work. You know, working from home means you're a slacker.

Alan Cherry: I think those notions are changing dramatically where, I don't know what the latest number is, but I think they said something like 60% of people work at home at some time during during the month or the week nowadays. And I think that is a much greater degree of freedom for people. And I think you'll find, not that they will abuse it, but they will actually respect it and perform better because of it. Whether they're able to raise a child, whether they're able to take a job with a longer commute because they don't have to go every day, you know, it gives so much more flexibility to the workforce. Then also we would thank that those new generations for pointing out that you know, satisfying, meaningful work that actually is valuable to the community and the environment and the world is actually a really, really good thing. And people will be so much more passionate and hardworking about it rather than just taking a job that pays well.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, absolutely. And it's not a, it's not a pipe dream. It actually can be reality.

Alan Cherry: And actually the, once again, the two things come together. If you find something that's really meaningful to you, you work hard at it, you're successful on it. And guess what? The world likes it as well. They buy it and we're all successful. So you can have both sides of the house. It doesn't have to be business success or a great culture. It can be both.

Amanda Hammett: I agree with that. I agree wholeheartedly. So what I see a lot of leaders struggle with is making that connection. They may be at a company, that has a great vision and is doing good in the world, but they're having a hard time making those connections for some of their employees that maybe aren't on the front lines and doing the cool innovative things. They may be, you know, sweeping the floor or you know, doing payroll or something that's maybe not quote unquote exciting and innovative, but they're having a hard time making connection as to why that's important. So what would you say to a leader who's struggling with that?

Alan Cherry: So again, it's really back to the, the fact that it's, you know, talking to the individuals every day in every way. You know, management is not an end of year writing of the review. And I'm a manager, no management does every day in every way. And it's, it's a, it's like gardening, you know, you want, you have to wait and feed every day. You can't just go and do the garden. We do weeding on once a month. It doesn't work like that, you know? And I think that's what good leaders do. Good leaders know. They have to, build a relationship with that. People they have to, you know, before they tell them something, they have to ask some questions. You know, what's going on in your life, where are you today? How are you feeling? You know, because we all live arrange of different lives. You know, where the worker, where the, where the father, where the sun, where whatever, you know, there's tons of different pieces to our world and we don't all show up every day completely brimming with passion. And that's not the reality of it. Sometimes we needed a little pick me up. Sometimes we need you to put an arm around my shoulder. Sometimes I need a little bit of a kick to get me going. You know? And all those things are the right answer at the right time.

Alan Cherry: So I think the good managers, good leaders, they take that responsibility and they explained to people that, you know, they, they look at the bread crumbs and they joined the dots for them to show that, hey, you might be a sweep for today, but do you realize if you did that job really well in three months, you might get the next job, which would be a forklift driver. And then you're taking the bales of used plastic and you're putting them into the recycling so that we can grind them up and we can make them into new plastic structures, which means we don't have to bury them in the ground or throw them in the ocean. That's why it's important.

Alan Cherry: You can make those connections that every level with every different job. And I think the good managers will engage their employees. You know, I mean an engagement and motivation are very different. You know, I can beat you with a stick and tell you you're motivated to do the job, but if I engage you, you do that yourself. You provide the motivation and it's worth three x me motivating you. And that that's where the good managers go. Yeah. Hey, sweeping the streets in whatever is maybe not the most exciting job, but it has a career element to it. Think about the skills that you could learn. You know, we would send, we send our people at that level, they go on English training, so they're going to basically develop their language skills so they can be more effective in the workplace. You know, there are a lot of things you can learn. They come to our toastmasters club and learn how to communicate better. You know? So yeah, maybe the cleaning and sweeping and driving forklifts, but they're still doing some skill building which will be useful in the future.

Amanda Hammett: I love that. And you know, one of the things that I think that Millennials have done a good job as really pushing back on that leadership style. Because when I early in my career join the workforce, I worked for Fortune 50 Company and the leadership style was very much like, you do this because I told you to do this. There was no guiding, there was no coaching, there was no nothing. It was just get it done. I don't care how it happens, just do it. And so now I think that that's one of the things that Millennials have done is they have really pressed that issue and required managers to grow from just get it done to actually empathetic heart more heartlab like we're human to human connecting here at at work and this is what we need to do to accomplish a goal together as a team.

Alan Cherry: Absolutely. If you hire the right people, then a good manager, a good leader would never want to just tell you what to do because the, the, the trick of of leadership is I will tell you what needs to be done. Yes. But you to bring the creativity and the passion and the involvement into how it is done. Yes. And we can discuss the standard to which it will be finished and I think that's where the interest is and the young people that I work with or are so passionate and so hardworking and so enthusiastic about what we're doing and how it is impacting the world. They love coming to work in the morning and doing that whole, whether it's as you say, a payroll manager or a junior engineer or a technician, you see the same responsibility, the same pickup that you get in, in any level of work. And it changes the way we actually get business performance. And I don't think, you know, the old school manager who tells you what to do and tells you how to do it looks over your shoulder every five minutes to get anywhere near the same result that we see.

Amanda Hammett: I love that. So let me ask you this. What advice would you give for any young talent, any young employee or are actually for anybody for that matter, as you're looking at as they're looking at companies that are out there interviewing, they're looking for a new position. Are there any red flags that would just tell them, hey, that that culture is not great, that's going to be toxic. You're not going to be happy. Is there anything that just really stands out to you?

Alan Cherry: It's terrible. I think I, when I teach interview skills and I'm teaching my managers, I say to them, you know, I'll teach you all the skills and then at the end of the day, the most important thing I'm going to teach you is trust your gut. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right? Yes. If the person is interviewing you, feels aggressive, feels controlling, discusses this is what you will do. This is how you will do it. You know, it's an automaton speaking, and I think that tells you far more than anything that they've actually told you. You know, the words they can say can mean anything, but the way that they say the relationship, even in an interview, that they build, the messages you got as you walk through the front door, as you talk to the receptionist, as you walk through the offices, as you sat down in the interview room, you're picking up signals all the way along do not ignore those signals. You will know if you're in a good company with good energy, you will know if it's a company that has a vision and a business that interests you, if you don't follow your passion is only going to be a job, right? And then you could be successful but not really successful. It'll never be satisfying and successful and therefore you'll never really get your dream job.

Amanda Hammett: All right. So Alan, what is your favorite leadership book of all time?

Alan Cherry: I didn't really have a favorite, but I liked sacred hoops, um, by Phil Jackson, which I, uh, I know nothing about basketball so I put my arms up there, but I liked the fact that he, he was able to take very strong minded individuals who, uh, extremely, uh, passionate veering into arrogant and basically show them that they would never achieve anything unless they could work with others and collaborate and build a vision together and then go execute. And that's the, an incredible metaphor for business in that you will never achieve anything if you think you're going to do it all on your own. You know, business is a collaborative sport. There is nothing we do here that an individual does completely on their own to be successful. They're always working in a team and they're always part of a successful company.

Amanda Hammett: Wow. I so I have nothing that I can add to that. So thank you very much Alan, for being here.

Alan Cherry: Thank you. It's been pleasure.

Amanda Hammett: Thank you. All right, audience. Thank you guys so much for joining Alan and I and we will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars where we have discussed all about recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Featuring Ben Wright

Ben Wright: How to Hire Next Generation Rockstars

Rapid growth as a company can be challenging...but growing over 39,000% brings its own set of headaches. Learn from Ben Wright, CEO of Velocity Global on how they only hire 10's.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - How to Hire Next Generation Rockstars

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett with the Next Generation of Rockstars. And today we have Ben Wright with Velocity Global. Ben, welcome to the show.

Ben Wright: Great to be here. Thanks for having me, Amanda.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, no problems, no problems. So you are actually a guest on my husband's show. My husband's show, is Leaders in the Trenches, and he really digs in and studies the Inc 5,000 and after he interviewed you, he was like, he needs to be on your show. So tell us a little bit about you, Ben.

Ben Wright: A little bit about me? Oh my gosh. I'll try to keep it to a little bit. Founder, CEO of a company called Velocity Global. We're headquartered based in Denver, Colorado. , blessed, average. Dan said to be on your husband, show leader in the trenches because we, we built a company that's, that's grown really, really quickly. We ended up number four on the Inc 5,000 last year, which is pretty amazing. I'm still kind of have to pinch myself every time I say that. Uh, but we've got a really incredible team. , husband, a father of two kids, Ted and Seven. , and I don't know what else to tell ya that occupies just about all of my time.

Amanda Hammett: Well, that's a lot. I mean, just being a CEO and a founder is a lot, but a CEO and a founder who grew, yeah, 39000% or over 39000% in three years. That's full, that's more than a full-time job. So congratulations to you.

Ben Wright: Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: All right. So wonderful. Wonderful. So a couple of things that I wanted to dig in and get to know about you, is that okay?

Ben Wright: Yeah.

Amanda Hammett: You guys, in order to grow that fast, you've really got to feed a machine, but you've got to have a machine that is made up of phenomenal people. So where do you find these phenomenal people and how do you get them in there to velocity global?

Ben Wright: Yeah. A great question. , any organization, the dad kind of has grown as we have, has to feed that machine with people. We are a technology-enabled service. There's nursing. So that's particularly the case with us. , we're not just a dyed in the wool technology solution that has this incredible scale where you achieve a certain size and then, you know, you can grow, grow, grow, grow, grow without having to add as many people to the organization. , and so han capitals big for us. And so getting a feeding the machine with candidates and the right people and getting the right people on the bus is huge, particularly for an organization like us. , and, and we've, you know, we've taken the approach since day one of the organization. Uh, literally the very first person I hired who is now my COO, Kevin, the name of Rob Crabtree took the approach from day one is that, uh, you know, we want to make sure that we get the very best people in the mix organization.

Ben Wright: And every company can say that. But we took the mantras that we only want to have penned. , and so if, if we are out there and interviewing and talking to people, typically in the last question we asked ourselves is, you know, is this individual attention? Uh, and if not, despite how much we like them, we'll take a pass and we'll wait until we can find that, that that grade standard comes in. We have passed on people who honestly and objectively are probably tens, but may not actually be tens in our system as well. And so there's, there are multiple angles to it. , and, and frankly, I think for us, it as odd as it may sound, it doesn't have all that much to do with your, the very specific details of your professional experience in terms of kind of the exact roles that you served or are Kennedy accomplishments along the way. It's more sore about who you are as a person. , your ability to learn, your ability to analyze information, to assimilate information, to really be a team player. And can I have a sense of where do you want to go in life? That's all been a pretty good, pretty good Gbo for us.

Amanda Hammett: I'm pretty good Gbo. Okay. Wonderful. So when you're putting people through this process, you mentioned it's not all about what's on the rese, which I think is phenomenal. It's, I think it's really more about culture versus specific skill. , so are you guys relying more on the softer skills or those abilities or how do you judge those softer skills? Let's start with that.

Ben Wright: Yeah, great question. So we've got, we've got a whole process that we put people through. And it's interesting. I was, I'm just happy to be on kind of glass door the other day and right notice that a few folks have kind of interviewed and apply with us and it didn't get past that first phone screen and couldn't figure out why the heck we weren't. Yeah. Talking about their rese. And I kind of got a chuckle out of it because that's on purpose and I'm sorry to those folks who applied and didn't get past that bed first round. But we really start out talking about you know, what makes you passionate. What are the thing is that you are most proud of, you know, what are some low points kind of throughout your, and really kind of understanding and painting a picture of almost kind of what it means in a quick 30-minute conversation about what it is to be you in a professional setting?

Ben Wright: And that's where it, that's where you either you're either onto the next round or you're not, uh, beyond then in future rounds we do actually start going into kind of the different roles that you've had over your career. But honestly, we don't focus as much about really the blocking and tackling of what each individual position entails. It's more about what did you learn? How did you work with other people? Uh, you know, how, how did you work with your boss? How were you as a manager? How were you as a peer? When you were in those positions, you know, what did you gain the most satisfaction out of? And, and how does it all kind of weave a tapestry? And too, it's a what it is that you're going to do next and what makes you most passionate. And the perfect situation does, is we have incredibly passionate, incredibly intelligent people, who may not be able to articulate perfectly, but together we can come up with kind of, this is, this is really what this next step looks like for you. And when that fits into what we need as an organization, it's magic.

Amanda Hammett: That's, that's wonderful. I love to hear things like that. I love to hear when, when people bring that whole recruiting process in and make it magic. That's, that's amazing. So, hmm. What about when people are in the recruiting process or in the interviewing process and you're asking them these questions. Yup. Are you relying, and I hate to say this, but are you relying on exactly taking their word for it or are, how are you backing this information up? Let me, let me go about it that way.

Ben Wright: Yes. So, yeah, you know, we, I don't want to, I don't want to give us too much credit in case I, I think there's, there's a lot of people who do some really great things around there through an interview process. And I don't think that we are just completely, you know, off the grid genius in terms of what we do. But we do have a process that is really good about getting down to, okay, this is what you told me, but, but, but, but, but digging deeper, digging deeper, digging deeper, and then repetition, repetition, repetition, right? , I am a firm believer, that we can and should learn as we go through our careers. Right? , and the Times that are the challenging times, I'm the great times. Those are fantastic. And that's what we always want to talk about in the interview.

Ben Wright: Those are easy. Exactly right. But it's the, you know, it's the tough ones where we literally learned the most. And, and that's where you understand someone's character. That's what you understand their metal. And most importantly, that's where you understand them, not only how did they overcome, but what did you then take that to the next know? How did you take that to the next position and the next company? Right? And what are the learnings that you did from there? And my goodness, if you continued to kind of make those kinds of same issues in Saint Mary's, in Sanford stakes, , I hope that you learn at some point, but you're probably not going to be a good fit here, right? And come back when you, you kind of have that, that ability to be able to kind of incorporate and information. And then so, so all of that can of paint that whole picture. One of the final steps is absolutely talking to references and talking to people, , who you've worked with in the past and it's, yes, it's validating the job and the job description of the job requirements, but it's more so validating. Here's what, here's the picture that we think we've kind of painted about this individual and we ride, are we wrong? Help keep us honest on this thing.

Amanda Hammett: That's really, I, I love that you put that kind of care and effort into it. , it seems like, and I could be wrong, but it seems like you guys really take your time through the hiring process. You slow it down.

Ben Wright: Yeah, so yes, we are very, the way I describe it as we are incredibly purposeful and for studios, but we also move fast. So, uh, you know, we, we named ourselves velocity global for a reason. We moved fast in just about everything that we do. Uh, but we are in certain that we kind of purposeful and taking the right amount of time kind of through that process.

Amanda Hammett: I love that. Oh, fantastic. All right. I'm gonna switch gears a little bit. So I know that this is not this first round as a founder and you blew it out of the water. Congratulations on that. But before that, you have various other roles working for other companies. And I would imagine that you have experienced other forms of leadership and how did those shape who you became as a leader?

Ben Wright: Yeah, I often tell the story and, and I don't even know, I'd have to actually go back and do the math again because there's so many. , so take us to the grain of salt. But I think over the first 10 years of my career I worked for seven different companies. Some of that was my, of my own decision making. Some of it was, you know, market forces, like the company, was bought out. I was fired a couple of times, so that was not my choice.

Amanda Hammett: I appreciate the honesty here.

Ben Wright: Was pretty sure it, and I honestly probably deserved it in both cases, but the one where do you learn, right? What are you learning?

Amanda Hammett: You learned something apparently.

Ben Wright: because you tried to be hope. You too. , but I only raise that because you know, seven different companies under the first 10 years. I have lots of different managers, pods of different cultures and it's not how I would've scripted my career by any means. I would have scripted it really, really, definitely. But the silver lining is, it honestly gave me, you know, experience after experience after experience. And I was able to kind of look and view and absorb and say, here's the culture's, here are the themes, here are the personalities. Here's the direction. Here's the strategy that I love and here's the ones that I, that, that I really don't care for. Uh, and don't make sense to me. And honestly,

Ben Wright: In my opinion, that hasn't necessarily led to success in those organizations. Right. These things have held those companies back, these things ever really let those companies shine and grow. And so I really sort of took that collection of experience. You're not just in terms of cultures of organizations, but the leaders themselves. MMM. And there's, you know of them, of this, the seven different companies over the first 10 years, probably 10 or more, you know, bosses or leaders that I worked for in that time, you know, there's, there's probably two or three that really stand out, uh, as amazing. , there's four or five that were pretty middle of the road as far as I'm concerned. And, you know, there's a couple that I hope they, they really continue to grow and evolve as leaders and managers.

Amanda Hammett: So that was a very polite yeah.

Ben Wright: Because I'm certain there's, you know, there's probably somebody out there and maybe say the same thing about me and so I'm just hoping they would offer me that same grace.

Amanda Hammett: That's wonderful. So I am an expert on developing next-generation talent and I noticed just going through your website that you have quite the population of millennials. Do you have any Gen Z's on your staff when your team does

Ben Wright: What's Gen z? What's the oldest?

Amanda Hammett: Gen Z would just be starting to graduate from college. So the oldest would be around 22, 23

Ben Wright: so we do, so we did, we have, I couldn't tell you how many, but we have a handful of folks who are kind of just out of university, , in a handful of folks who are, who are interns with us, who are still at the university level. So, so yes, we're starting to get into that Gen z, but we do have quite a few, quite a few millennials.

Amanda Hammett: What would you say the makeup is of millennials versus everyone else?

Ben Wright: I haven't looked, but my gut says are the average age in our organization is somewhere between 28 and 30. Okay. Guy like me, that's at 42 is really dragging that mean up quite a bit. And there's a few of us there that are, you know, again really kind of do dragon that the dragon that numbers up. For better or for worse. I don't know if I like the fact that I did that, but it's just simply the fact. So you know, quite a bit. I, I would say that the majority of our, uh, of the team of our population is probably in that millennial group.

Amanda Hammett: Wonderful. Yeah. Well, I would imagine in such a fast growth arena, you guys really do need to rely on that millennial talent in particular. I mean across the world globally, it's going to be 75% by the year 2020 or 2025. Excuse me. But I'm glad to see that you guys have already reached that. A lot of the people I work with are already at 90%, so I'm not surprised by that at all. Not at all. So I'm all right. What, what do you think is the difference in the workplace or in the culture of a workplace now versus maybe when you first came in? Cause you're, you're a little, not much, but a little tiny outside of that millennial age range. I mean, just a little like, oh, I'm actually being serious. It, you know, it's more of a flow thing versus a hard date. So,

Ben Wright: Well, listen, when I started my career, we were in cubicles, right? I mean that in and of itself is, is out the door. You know, with us, the velocity global, we not only have a completely open office environment, nobody has, nobody has an assigned desk. , and, and that includes me. I don't have an office. I don't have an assigned desk, you know, we'd float. And it is totally wide open and there's, you know, there's space where you can sit at a desk there space where you can sit in the couches, you can set me at a huddle rooms, you know, it's this incredible use of space, which was so sterile when, when I came out and frankly I hated it, right? I'd go sit in my cubicle and it didn't matter how high the walls were and it felt like they were always ridiculously high.

Ben Wright: You know, you had to poke your head around just to talk to somebody and they're giving me this look like, why are you poking your head around the cubicle, the toxin, you know, the collaboration and the relationships and the bombs kind of bogus. This, you know, the millennial generation is, it is incredible and it's so powerful and I think it's an incredible boon to business because people care about each other. They know each other at a much deeper level that I feel like I did with my colleagues when I started my career. And that leads to it are really a much richer tapestry that allows you to kind of get stuff done. All right in a way you've never been able to do. , you know, and it's funny and it's ironic because we always read this stuff, you know, in the Internet generation and, and phones and social media and know these millennials are going to be able to talk to each other. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's wrong, right? It's absolutely wrong. They are, they have deeper relationships and they communicate at a, at a much deeper level than you, the than I was ever able to do. We get early in my career.

Amanda Hammett: Wow. I, that's a that's quite an accolade that you just threw out, so I appreciate that. That's wonderful. So, all right, let's talk a little bit about developing your employees because as we mentioned, a lot of these are on the younger side. You've got some interns, you've got fresh out of university all the way up the to late thirties, early forties. , what is the development path look like for you guys? Is there a set in stone? Everybody goes through this or is it more individual? How do you guys go about that?

Ben Wright: It's individual. It's very much individual. So what we do at velocity global is we have this thing called an employee development plan. EDP. and while not required, we strongly encourage everybody that goes to the process and its symbol and it's one page and it's, you know, what are my goals? and we encourage people to not think about it from a velocity, global perspective. Think about it in terms of a personal and professional perspective and almost going to take the philosophy where will thing out of the equation, what do I care about, what I want to do short term, medium term or long term. And we know that coming out of the interview process, but then once you're on board, we, we create the CDP together. Yeah. We make sure that we understand what that is and then we updated on a periodic basis because the best that we can understand from employee's perspective about what really makes them tick, really made some h.

Ben Wright: And frankly, what gets them the most passionate and an alliance. And that alignment can change and it should as you go through your career, but, but what aligns with what I want. I really want to do what I really want to accomplish. Okay. We take that and then we take a look at kind of the goals of the business, right? Where are there holes? Where do we need, you know, kind of future leaders, where do we need, you know, where do we need gaps that people are going to have to be able to go in? So it's a run this machine as you say. And then we make that alignment. And it's not, you know, it's never perfect. But the closest it gets to perfect is when both sides are being really radically candid with each other. , and went on the company side.

Ben Wright: We're saying this, here's the honest to God, the truth about what kind of this role in this direction looks like and the demands that entail. And, uh, you know, and this is why I think you can or potentially are not [inaudible] yet ready to do this job. And then on the individual side, you know, it's a two-way street, you know, our colleagues have to be ready and willing to be really open and honest like this is, this is what I want to do. And you know, the conversations that I honestly love the most is when that really doesn't have a current company Lens on it. When they say, you know, in five years' time I really want to go start a not profit or whatever the case may be. Right. Yeah. Perfect. I'm going to be really sad to lose you when that time comes, but now we know and so we can together create this directional flow that will help get you ready for that while at the same time help us accomplish the goals.

Amanda Hammett: Okay. That's amazing. I love that. That's so I'm, I'm almost me, I have so many questions and things I want to say. I love that because I think that so many people are afraid to say, this is my five-year goal, this is 10 years where I want to be, and I know it doesn't align with my company's goals. And so they keep that in and they're like, oh, I want to be a manager. I want to be a director by that point when really that's not what they want. But if you're using that as a, as an ability to not only teach them and to be able to leverage those skills in the meantime, but also prepare them to leave you, that's something you don't, you don't see a lot of. And I love that you guys are doing, I love that you're offering that to, to your employees, because one thing that you probably haven't thought of but that I'm immediately thinking of is the fact creates loyalty too.

Ben Wright: For sure.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. And that's something that I always hear. Millennials aren't loyal employees, their job hoppers, but if they love what they're doing and they know that you're supporting them, of course, they're going to love it and they're going to stay. That's great.

Ben Wright: Yeah, Bingo. Certainly, no surprise. Couldn't have said it any better myself, Amanda. But, uh, that was, yeah, perfectly captured. And you know, you've gotta, you've gotta walk the walk with a philosophy like this. , and what I'm really psyched about it is, you know, in a few weeks we're going to celebrate our five year anniversary as a company. And I believe that we have batted a thousand. We have every single case, , walk the walk as it relates to that, that, you know, we will work with you if you're willing to open up and kind of work with us. And, and we have never, there have never been negative consequences of someone has ever opened up and said, this is my five-year path. Right. And so, so the data has proven, just think about us as an organization that we have shown you can, you can open up right. Not Everybody has the courage to do that. And I get it. And sometimes we come with prior professional baggage, right. And you can't stop that, but all we can do is give, you know, obviously, try to create the right culture and environment ourselves. , and then my hope is that everybody sees that, hey, this is actually a really great way to get people to buy in, to be a part of a team, to remain loyal, but also, you know, create that goodwill and help them get to that next stage in their career, whether it's within this company or not. And so the navy then goes forth and become the leaders that we all hope they'll do.

Amanda Hammett: This is, this is an amazing and beautiful conversation and I'm sad that it's almost over and I don't even know so many other things to ask about. So. All right, we touched on this a little bit, but let's be very specific here. If you had an early in career employee come to you, And I don't know, are they saying, are they going, I don't know, it's up to you. What would be the one piece number one piece of advice that you would give them

Ben Wright: Early in their career employees.

Amanda Hammett: Early in their career? So they've been in the workforce full time, less than five years.

Ben Wright: Okay. So the advice that I would give to them is, and this is, I'm kind of thinking back about my own path is that have a plan, right? Have a plan and work would be, I mean, give your all to that plan, right? Give you all that plan and give your all to whatever it is that you're doing. And you have to do it every single day, right? You really can't, you can't take days off. Don't get me wrong, you need to take days to sharpen your ax. I'm not saying that when you come to work or when you're following that plan, you gotta, you know, you got to suit up and show up every single day when you're doing that and be purposeful about it. , because that's what kind of builds the right habits to get there and have that plan, but yet, don't be so headstrong and you know, heads down about that plan that you miss the incredible opportunities and promises as they come. You know, again, if my own career path is, is any sort of example, there've been a, there's been several instances along the way where opportunities were presented and if I hadn't been paying attention and if I hadn't been willing to take the leap, you know, just like kind of this current, you know, organization that I'm running today, it would have been a very different path. I'm sure it would have been great, but you know, you gotta be willing to take that plunge when the opportunities come.

Amanda Hammett: That's great advice. Very solid. All right, one last question. This is something I'm asking all of the leaders, what is your favorite leadership book?

Ben Wright: My favorite leadership book. And that's tough to only name one, but I think it's probably the five dysfunctions of the team. Okay.

Ben Wright: Ah, yeah, you pull it off the shelve. Yes. Yeah, it was plugged. yeah, it is just, it is so quick. It assembles it. It is so well written. , and into those lessons you just, you just see, you can take with your time and time and time again. It just came up in conversation with some of the executive team yesterday.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, I love it. I love it. Well, this is actually the field guides, so if you haven't gotten nice, try that one out too. I'm writing this down. , well, wonderful. Thank you so much Ben, for being on the show. Thank you for sharing and being honest and really sharing with the world about how awesome the culture is at velocity global, but also about what you guys are building. I think that that's really amazing and important and so thank you for sharing with us.

Ben Wright: Well thank you. It's an honor and we're hiring, so come check it out.

Amanda Hammett: Right. We will link to the hiring page for velocity global, which obviously I think it's a pretty awesome place to be if you make it through the cuts. So thank you again and we'll talk to you soon. It's a pleasure. Thanks so much. Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the next generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward.

Amanda Hammett: Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen featuring Horst Schulze

Horst Schulze: Excellence & Joining the Dream

In a world where "good enough" is the reality, learn how Horst Schulze, Co-Founder of the Ritz-Carlton, goes against the grain seeking out Excellence in each employee.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Excellence & Joining the Dream

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent while you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: Hi, this is Amanda Hammett and on today's episode of the Next Generation Rock stars, we have Horst Schulze says he is the co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton. Now I think we all know and love the brand of the Ritz-Carlton. They are known for their excellence in everything they do, customer service, their food, their beverages, their rooms, they're beautiful properties, but it's not just excellence in those things. It's excellence all behind the scenes with the people that are there. A Horst actually walks us through how that idea of excellence was really brought into his life as a 14-year-old working as a busboy in a hotel and how he carried that with him and some lessons he learned along the way. But I think what you're really going to walk away from his horse ideas around developing people and learning those lessons and taking them on with you throughout your career. So join us for today's episode and take lots and lots of notes.

Amanda Hammett: Hi, this is Amanda Hammett with the next generation rockstars. And today I have a phenomenal interview for you. I Have Horst Schulze say, ah, he is here with us and he is going to tell us all about his ideas around leadership and developing next-generation talent. Horst, welcome to the show.

Horst Schulze: I'm glad to be here Amanda.

Amanda Hammett: Wonderful. Wonderful. So I know a lot about you because I have this little book right here. Um, but I would imagine our audience may not know a lot about you, so why don't you share with us a little bit about yourself?

Horst Schulze: Well, it really starts when I left home when I was 14 and started working, I bought a hundred miles away, a hundred kilometers away, an awesome busboy in the best talent in the region. That's why a Honda phenomenon, Sabine from home, they're living with the kids in a dorm room and working and learning the business slowly and was quite lucky. That's why I refer to that time. I had a huge mentor at that time when I was very, and it's accessible to information very young. Do you understand? I was 14 and had a huge man that was the Maitre d of the hotel. He impacted my life dramatically.

Horst Schulze: In fact, the first day I met him, he said, now there by other kids who started the same day, no. Yeah, guys don't come to work to just work, come to work to create excellence. And that was kind of impact that mid traumatically throughout my life. Now at that time of went over my head, frankly that's not, and for by on one, what does excellence and washing dishes and dishes and cleaning floors. But however he kept on staying with that theme and he presented himself as a human being of excellence and work workout excellence. So you could sooner or later, after a couple of years working there, I could connect to that very clearly and could, you could feel it, you could see it. And he impacted my life and from down, I've worked in the top hotels in Europe. I mean truly you had that at the very best hotels in Europe and in Switzerland and France.

Horst Schulze: And hold on, hold American Lion, England, Germany. And then I came to the United States in 1964 worked, worked in San Francisco, Chicago, worked for Hilton or for Hilton, Dan Hyatt. And finally, when I worked for hired, I was, I started as a director of food and beverage for a hotel.

Amanda Hammett: Right.

Horst Schulze: They came director of rooms, became a general manager, regional vice president, over 10 hotels, a corporate vice president, 65 hotels. When somebody offered me to come to Atlanta and start a new hotel company, I was not very interested in that because I had my golden handcuffs and everything you want. But they kept on offering me the shop and slowly at Treme start developing what I would do with the new hotel company. That dream started to control my total, totally controlled by the vision. I started the job, gave up my, the handcuff and Arizona, all my friends and everything and moved to Atlanta to start a new hotel company. A year of that coming to Atlanta, we opened our first hotel, which turned out the Ritz-Carlton Bucket, which doesn't exist anymore. But that is the beginning and I live 20 years later, nearly 20 years later and Ritz Carlton had become the leading hotel company in the world. Absolutely. And many countries, four continents. That's my story.

Amanda Hammett: So I will say that when you do think of excellence, so you manage to thread that through the entire, the entire company.

Horst Schulze: Yeah.

Amanda Hammett: Wonderful.

Horst Schulze: I think so as thing, so that was my whole purpose and I have and dismayed with deans and of course I'm new, the project and we all are, are the, are there is salt of influence of many, many people with a, with a major influenced by this gentleman and this gentleman, the Maitre d just hard us think excellence and not work more hours, but while your work, instead of painting a wall, pin the painting and that was kind of his mantra and, and you cannot help it, you're so young. You, you adopt some of it. And of course [inaudible] Ritz Carlton, that was the whole thinking. I could not, I saw him in front of me saying, create excellence.

Amanda Hammett: That's amazing. That's really amazing. How that one story of mentorship has shaped your life and the trajectory. So let's talk a little bit more about that. I would imagine that throughout your career that you've experienced, you know, other forms of leadership besides this one.

Horst Schulze: Yeah, sure.

Amanda Hammett: How did that go into helping your style of leadership that you would go on to develop?

Horst Schulze: Yeah, there are many people who have impacted me that way and I can look, and if you're lucky, you have got people who impact you. If you're lucky, you're dumb. And that's really it because the effect is we are a result of that. And it had some great leaders and I remember that the president of, of Higher Ed who was affable and what was fun was relaxed but didn't compromise who was, it was a friend. Right? But didn't, that didn't mean you compromise. I remember a gentleman by the name of Colgate homes, we'll absolutely be precise, communicated. It showed a future to our own, showed us why we do things, not just for the function of the day, but for results in the future, et Cetera, et cetera. So a lot of impacts. And I had a, a mentor I've been on right after I finished my apprenticeship as a young man and gender men who reminded me to, to, to come to work. Also asked a gentleman to act rides, to behave right, to, to understand your work in a place where a certain amount of certain type of customer comes to trust yourself to those people, et cetera. So different in pumps in different learning moments in life is what formed me. Right or wrong. That's who I am.

Amanda Hammett: Of course, of course. Well, fantastic. Now, especially on as you grew through your career, did you ever feel pressure from your bosses, maybe from a board when you were at the Ritz Carlton or any of those positions that you've held that you really had to focus on numbers and not on really, because the way I see it as you're developing people, did they want you more to focus on numbers and profitability versus just the people will do what they gotta do?

Horst Schulze: Just to curse of today. That curse exists forevermore. And, and what is a serious mistake that is for organizations, but your organization can tell and cannot have it, tell it your organization is pressured by investors, by Wall Street, et Cetera. So look at a dollar. Consequently, the organization measures and identifies success by the dollar, the mansion. There's the headquartered in Chicago and it's a hotel or a business. Doesn't matter what it is. I of course report to hotels or hotel thousand months of eight. How does Chicago headquarter evaluates the leadership in that hotel? Nothing but the bottom line.

Amanda Hammett: That's right.

Horst Schulze: And yet at the same time, if I'm down and the vape, I can really impact on that. But that bottom line by cutting and my services to the customer by not painting anymore, by not cleaning so much for taking the flowers away and so on. Sadly that's the same thing but, but excellence. That's the point about excellence. Excellence concentrates on the things that make money and not under money.

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Horst Schulze: That is the difference. And that's what I tried to show everybody. Let's concentrate on our product concentrate what the market ones and do that superior to the competition that infects, we'll create money on the end.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

Horst Schulze: And that's not how things are measured today.

Amanda Hammett: Unfortunately, you're correct. Yes, absolutely. So Horst what would you say the difference, because how long have you been working since you were 14 so quite a while. What would you say the biggest difference is that millennials have brought into the workplace.

Horst Schulze: You know, that is why in my opinion it's widely understood and I've worked with them. Now mind you, it's not that I'm applying to them. I work with them quite a while. The millennials ask the questions, which we would have liked to ask, but they're afraid to ask this, say the milling and said, what's in it for me? Yeah, we were wondering what's in it for me. We would have liked to know, we would have liked to ask the question of why and the Millennials and says why. And you know, this is kind of fascinating, but because Adam Smith of course, who rode belts of nations 300 years ago, when you wrote another boom of which incidentally was more proud and in that book he studied the human being and he came to the conclusion 300 some years ago, came to the conclusion that human beings cannot relate to all this and direction. Yet what do we do? We give orders and direction. He said, human beings can relate to objective and motive and that's what the animal in its want to know. What's the reasoning, what's the more devoted and what's in it for me? So it really is not new. It's only newly expressed and we're not used to it. I all leadership like me, I'm not used to, we're not used to it. All of a sudden the young person comes in and says, why? So what? What's in it for me? We would have liked to sentencing, the same thing, but we were afraid.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. I agree with that answer wholeheartedly. Wholeheartedly.

Horst Schulze: The other things, of course, the medallions, it as a market, as a customer, the millennial, it's, it's really the same thing. They mainly the millennials say, do it my way. [inaudible] do it my way. Nope, you're not your way. No, your way. The businesses way but I wanted my own way and we went also Ribet willing to subordinate two, the producers, what they produced to us missing too, even though we would have liked to have a different the millennials said I take the hamburger, but I won two slices of cucumbers on a sort of one.

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Horst Schulze: Do it my way. And that's really the differences and you can expand on that, but it's all the same.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. They, they very much appreciate that into individualized attention. Whether it's at work or whether it's as a guest. Absolutely. Exactly.

Horst Schulze: Yeah.

Amanda Hammett: You absolutely. Absolutely. So let me ask, how did this influence millennials coming into the workplace and coming in under you? How did that influence the way that you lead them?

Horst Schulze: Well, I had come to a conclusion much earlier anyway that, eh, I don't want people to come to in my organization to fulfill the function. [inaudible] I want them to join my tree, my objective. In other words, I was almost willing to go higher, join me. And that's what the and then that millennials want to do, but have the knowledge what that chosen. But or because organizations still say, join me and then they say, go to work and, and make the speech about we are a team. [inaudible] we are a team. That is, it is ridiculous team speech. But a team is a group of key people who have a common objective. Yeah. And that's what a millennial wants to know. What's the objective?

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Horst Schulze: And, but the boss says, we're a team here. No, go to work.

Amanda Hammett: Yes, do what I said.

Horst Schulze: You know the team, unless you on the understand the objective and the motives of the organization, I always believed that because I grew up through the ranks.

Horst Schulze: I want you to know that I was up north. I was afraid to ask, but when I was started and Scott and I met very clear, I want people to join us. I wonder if you have an orientation maybe explained fully who we are, explained our three, invited them that showing the dream and then told him, told them our motive for this dream and connected our motive to death. For example, one the girl you want opportunity, we wanted to be on that. You want to be respected it Cetera, et cetera. So I didn't change my approach. I know that because it was deep in me and, and I said, boss, I look back. That came from, I came from being a busboy. I wrote as weight and as a coconut from this, I have done the work our employees do. I know the pain and I know the pleasure of it.

Amanda Hammett: All right, so you are, what I just heard is that you are a man way before your time.

Horst Schulze: No, I know I don't know what that, yes, I was probably a little bit before everybody, but then when many, I was not the only one. Let's understand that. But it's the course I grew up and I had the right influences. I was influenced by the right people and the head of the ride experience. I didn't fall through the ceiling one day and say, Hey, I liked those hotels. I'm the president of. I had worked myself through it. So I know the pain of the employees and I and it was very good. And some of my leaders in the past told me vaping and gentleman, but never cook home set, you know, employees who wanted to do the job do better work better than the ones that have to do a shop. Absolutely. So it's very symbol. So knowing that I have to look back and say, all right, how do you want to be a child? If you feel part of something you say it all is very simple. I also like the, I read the old philosophers and even our sense people, people in order to be fulfilled in life, have to have the excellence of purpose and belonged to that purpose. So why would I hire employees for the function? I hired them for the purpose and let them feel a part of it. Absolutely.

Amanda Hammett: So let me ask you since you just brought this up, let's, let's talk about this hiring process and the recruiting process. Yeah. I mean if you're hiring them for the dream, how do you communicate that through a job listing or how do you communicate that to them, to a wider audience of potential employees? How do you communicate this?

Horst Schulze: Probably to the listening part of it through the first and interview. Okay. To the first interview by the, and by the way, I'll say clearly I identified the processes clearly in my book how to do that. And uh, it is sort of the first interview, invite them to join an organization. Make it clear. Don't just come here to vogue, come here to join us to function, which you fulfill. I why? Why would I hire people? Trust for the function, right. Did, did come here to fulfill a function for its purpose to accomplish a certain goal, which is if you're creative leader, you determined if that objective, the long-term objective is good for all concerned is my objective, is my train good for the Organization of course. But the investments [inaudible] for the, for the customer, for the employee influence society as a whole. Once I determine this, my objective is good for all concerns. I build my systems so that everybody joins me in that objective. So a hire you for my objective, not the function because you see the chairman which was sitting is fulfilling a function. But I'm hiring human beings. Right? We know since Aristotle wants to be part of something. Yes. So I'm offering that on, of course, I made it very clear The function has to be fulfilled better than the competition fulfills it so that we can accomplish our dream.

Amanda Hammett: Right. Okay, that's wonderful. So let me ask you this. You obviously came up through the ranks starting as a busboy. Um, and, and I feel like I, I'm guessing here, I'm going to put words in your mouth for a second, but I would assume that you got a lot out of that development process. Coming up through the ranks and it has influenced who you've become as a leader, who you've become as, as a co-founder. It's influenced by everything. Yes. What would you say is the benefit today of starting at the bottom, at the busboy, at the whatever and working your way up? What would be, what would you say to someone today to try to a young person trying to tell them, hey, join us in this dream. I need you to start here.

Horst Schulze: Yes. Well, yes, I would show him, show him all have, obviously that is a Korea, no matter on what level you are going to start. It's quite simple. In fact that career [inaudible] it's a guarantee. It's a guarantee that we have a guarantee. Don't you have a current, a career? If you take any trip that you're in, I can give you examples of people that started as a dishwasher. There's one very close by over here. The manager ended in a Marriott over here, but you know in Atlanta. I remember when he was oriented in the first Ritz-Carlton. I was still running that hotel. He was a dishwasher, a refugee from Nairobi.

Amanda Hammett: Really?

Horst Schulze: It was a dishwasher, but what he did is exactly what I met my career. He was a little better than hours. We didn't come five minutes late. He came five minutes early, maybe ask them to do something. He didn't say, why me? He said, I'm happy to thank you for letting me doing et Cetera, and said, Ron, he was excellent in every shop they had soon after. He was excellent as additional sham, the room service manager, ours can. I have them work for me and it became the best room service with them and soon the banquet manager said, can I have them worked for me? Everybody wanted him because he was excellent at what he was doing. That's the story. That's the story. I, that's my story. I wrote as room service that in the Hilton in San Francisco when the cam first United States and I made the decision that I will be the best after I real. After somebody got promoted ahead of me and I realized that person is served at a little bit more than me. I came to work tired in the morning, sometimes five minutes late because I was young, was partying, and then I didn't get a promotion.

Horst Schulze: Now first as thought stupid management by didn't I get the promotion and to every few months. Of course, it taught me a few months to realize the other guy disrupted more. He said when he was told something, he didn't say, why me? Is that I'm happy to, and that's when I made the decision. I will be excellent and average shop category that I will ever have and I've consequently had a career just like eBay, the Manitoba, then the Marriott who was nothing but promote along because in every job he was excellent. He came to work to be excellent and not just fulfill the function. That was his decision. That decision can be made if you're a millennial or not a millennial.

Amanda Hammett: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I agree with that. I'm curious, how old were you when you were passed over for that promotion?

Horst Schulze: 24 I was a room service waiter.

Horst Schulze: It impacted my life. Totally impacted my life. I suddenly now no manual. I wanted that promotion. I didn't get it. Of course I knew it was the best waiter there, technically I was good when I was in a funny book up in the morning, but when you come in, come in every day and they look a little tired and sometimes you lead and the other, the other guys, every morning there are a few minutes early and says front the good morning. And that was a difference. And when I saw it, I saw something beautiful. I looked once I've taught me a few months mind you have called me a few months to overcome my ego, my ego, or in the stem, it's not me. Obviously, in about suddenly, I looked at my hand and there was a key to success. That's from now on. I'm going to create excellence now all of a sudden. And as so in front of me, my first made a deal saying to me, I told you, come to work for excellence. I saw him, I saw it in front of me and I said, this will never ever happen to me again.

Amanda Hammett: And it did. There you go. It was a wonderful learning lesson for you. Sure.

Horst Schulze: Hopefully we all have those lessons or we all have them. But if you recognize them or not, that's the question.

Amanda Hammett: That is the question. That is the thing. You have those opportunities to learn, but do you take it as a learning experience or do you take it as a, Oh, that's, that's not why.

Horst Schulze: Why not be planned? Somebody [inaudible] and player management, which I did for a few months. Of course, something that makes you feel bad that, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

Amanda Hammett: No, it doesn't. It sure doesn't. So wonderful. I'm glad that you have that experience for sure. So, um, I think you've touched on this a little bit, but I want to really hammer this home, especially for our younger audience. What advice would you give an early career employee? Is it coming to work five minutes early or is it?

Horst Schulze: Well, it is so it's the same words. There's nothing different. If you're starting in your career, be excellent and what you're doing standout. I recommend this to my children. I have four daughters. I urge everyone to go to work five minutes earlier, be heavy. When you walked a road, make a decision. It was used to decide. Make a decision that you like to get shot. You know, today, half the people in the, in any given job go to work happy and the others are pretty happy.

Horst Schulze: What is it? It's a decision. It's not a feeling. Control your feelings. Make a decision as a chop protected. Be early, be happy if you have extra roping given, gives you a chance to learn this. Be Excellent today, every day for day. And you will get rewarded. The rewards will come. Oh, it takes much too long before somebody recognizes. I know it takes much longer, but it will be recognized. It will be rewarded. The rewards will come. The reward is in the future. And you're working for the future young people.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. I think that a lot of times it's hard to, I have been guilty of this myself as a young employee. You know, you see the frustration today. That's what you're living in is this today and it's hard. It is hard to look beyond that and say, okay, what it can be in six months.

Horst Schulze: Exactly. So yeah, exactly. And so it's so important to it. I'm, I'm at a point, once I had done the experience and for God's, the message from my first met with excellent, I infect them for years wrote and my on my mirror, their shape in the morning, go to work for excellence. I had to remind myself so that I wouldn't to live away from it. I had to manage myself. We have the manage, we have to be leaders of ourselves first before we are leaders of others and wait to be led by artists. The most important form of leadership is self-leadership. Lead yourself to excellence. Have a vision for yourself and commit yourself to implement the steps that get you there. And I'm focused on it that that is where the pain comes into focus in because you see, you find excuses, you find apologies that make you feel good for a moment but doesn't take you anywhere. The only division takes you somewhere. Have a vision for excellence.

Amanda Hammett: All right, I love that. I love that actually. So you know, if something popped up in my head when you were just talking just now, what would you advise someone who is, when you're looking to promote people, say you're looking to promote somebody to lead a team. What's more important to you that they are a rock star as an individual contributor or they understand they have a better understanding of how to lead people?

Horst Schulze: Well, I have a better understanding of how to lead people. However, contrary to what everybody says it, leadership can be learned. Leadership can be learned. Some people said that porn, it's not true. And there is, I have seen creatively the crib leaders that I touched on earlier, they had all totally different styles. It's not the style leadership is in my opinion, the understanding that the objective of the organization must be of excellence for all concerned.

Horst Schulze: If it lets out one, one of their constituencies, if you, if you will. It's not good leadership. I have to have to think if, if my company here is an objective for my company and if I do that as a, as a leader and set the objective and see something beautiful, it has to be beautiful. It's not something that you can do. It's something you wish to be. I said out before the first Ritz-Carlton, I came here, I took that job because I wanted to create the best hotel company in the world. Yes. That was my dream and when I hired people I said show me for that. There are some of the lovings of us. We don't even have a hotel you're talking about like that. But that's the dream. Once I understand this stream is good for all concerned, I want to underline that it's not a train for you only it's self-constraint.

Horst Schulze: No, it must be good for all concerned and then align your people behind it and hire people for it. Align everybody behind it. That's leadership to see something beautiful and how people on a journey to that destination help them and management is that to do what? To help them to get there but not compromise. You do not compromise. That's because of the moment that compromise if my vision isn't created one and good for Arkansas and soon the moment when a compromise, I'm going against everybody, I can't do that. Done my direction is clearly a set.

Amanda Hammett: That's wonderful. So I actually, I think that we should end on that note because you had so much wonderful, so many wonderful things to say about development and talent and excellence and of course excellent, right?

Horst Schulze: Yeah. In the book, [inaudible] all pretty clear how to go on a kind. Of course, I can not detail everything here, but I think it will be oh of volume for young people particularly.

Amanda Hammett: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time and thank you so much for being here.

Horst Schulze: Amanda, great to be with you.

Amanda Hammett: Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rock stars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Episode 2 featuring Howard Behar

Howard Behar: Servant Leadership for Next Generation Talent

Being a leader is really about serving others, not managing others. Learn how Howard Behar and Starbucks harnessed servant leadership to become a worldwide juggernaut.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Servant Leadership for Next Generation Talent

Amanda Hammett: Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place. So welcome to today's episode of Millennial Rock Stars. We have a really awesome, interesting gas to kick off season two. We have Mr. Howard Behar and you know him from the world of Starbucks. So Howard, welcome to the show.

Howard Behar: Thanks very much. Great to be here.

Amanda Hammett: All right, so Howard, what did you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

Howard Behar: Well, I'm not a millennial or from the other millennium. I am, I was born and raised in Seattle and grew up in retailing and pretty much spent my whole life and consumer services or goods. And so, which, you know, made me have to be a people person, whether I liked it or not. I had those instincts early on. And um, when I was in my mid forties, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And I met this young guy named Howard Schultz who was about 10 years younger than I was, is the modern day founder of Starbucks. He actually didn't found the company. He asked me to join Starbucks and then my life changed forever after that and it was an incredible ride. You know, you couldn't, you couldn't have predicted it. It's one of those things, it just happens to you. You know, when you're living the life right now. I can't tell you I enjoyed every day of it are pretty much I did.

Amanda Hammett: That's wonderful. Well, I think how is being a little humble here. You actually, you came in to Starbucks as what the VP of sales and operations and then you eventually helped them. You became the president and you eventually help them become the international Starbucks that we know today. They were a regional chain when you came in, right?

Howard Behar: Yeah, a very small, there were only 28 stores when I started.

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Howard Behar: There are $50,000, like 28.

Amanda Hammett: There are quite a few. But what I, what I love about Starbucks is so you can go to anyone around the world and they have their own little community built on and to the people that go there along with the Baristas and people working there, it's a small like microcosm of a community and it's fine.

Howard Behar: Right? How many stores? Starbucks as it can only be one. It's the one that you experienced. And if that's not right, right. Yeah. So, you know, big is not an excuse for not being good. You know, to take care of each individual human being one, one customer at a time, one cup at a time.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. So you are a big, big believer in the idea of being a servant leader. Now, how does that concept come about for you?

Howard Behar: When I was my early or mid twenties, uh, uh, one of my mentors, my most important mentor, a guy named Jim Johnson, who I still know today, and he in our, he gave me this little booklet called the servant as leader, written by a man named Robert Greenleaf, a little orange pamphlet, more than 50 pages. And so I read that book and I probably read it a hundred times. That began my journey because it put into words the things that I felt mattered in my life. I never had a definition for it, never thought of it. And the context of being servant leadership. Um, and so that began a journey. And from that on, you know, I realized that servant leadership was primarily about learning to lead yourself first. And then once you figure that out, then you learn how to lead others through serving others. Not through managing others, but actually being of service to others.

Howard Behar: The people that you work with, people who report to you or, or those human beings we call customers canceling. Servant leadership at its core is really the understanding that our job is to serve other people and their journeys to accomplish and attain the things that they want in their life. And in so doing, we will get what we want to know. But you can't with the other way around.

Amanda Hammett: Correct. That is, that is very, very true. So, Howard, I would imagine that throughout your career you have witnessed and maybe even bit have experienced other forms of leadership now, how did that actually shape your leadership style?

Howard Behar: Well, you know, all the, all those experiences, you know, you observe your, you participate, you're affected by different leadership styles. And, I was never very good with the autocratic leadership style and I would fight back against those things. I had a guy that you're my boss, and every morning he'd come in and he'd say, hi, a dummy. How you doing?

Amanda Hammett: That's terrible.

Howard Behar: Thought he was being funny.

Amanda Hammett: Right.

Howard Behar: It made me mad. One day came in and he was a big guy who's like six foot four. His name was Irwin Greenwalt. Then I went up to him and I got, I couldn't put my nose in his face, so I put my nose in his chest and I pointed out and I said, Irwin, don't you ever call me a dummy again? You know, a month later I was fired, you know, but you know, it's, you know, it's the way things are, right?

Howard Behar: I needed it. I needed leaders that, uh, the gave me opportunity that, uh, you know, explained what the values and the mission of the organization where, and then sent me on my way and left me alone. Nobody would be harder on, on me than myself if I made a mistake right into something, right. I'd be the first one to admit it. But bosses, it, we're always pointing out what I did wrong versus pointing out the things that I did write really affected me.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah.

Howard Behar: I said, I am never going to be like that. And it's amazing how many bosses are like that. They, they, they think that the way you help people improve is by, uh, pointing out what they do wrong so they can correct. But the way you get people to improve is to have point out the things they do, right?

Howard Behar: Because we all gravitate towards that right? So it was that kind of leader, the kind of leadership that empowered me, that gave me responsibility and accountability and then left me alone. Um, yeah, that really made a difference in my life. And I used to say that before I started at Starbucks and my manager, I said, everybody gets to vote in my organization and their areas of responsibility and areas of expertise, even if sometimes it's not, there is a expertise. And when I got to Starbucks, I kind of, different Frazier said, the person who sweeps the floor should choose the bro and essence. I want her to be the kind of leader that hire great people that, that brought him into the organization properly and then send them on their way and helped him whatever they needed help. And so that's where I blossomed and I felt other people would blossom under the same kind of leadership style I was, I was not good under an autocratic leader. Okay.

Amanda Hammett: I, you know, I really don't think anybody thrives as an employee under that kind of leadership style.

Howard Behar: I don't either. Yeah. I don't either.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah. And that is something that I heard in season one of millennial rock stars. Every single a millennial that was nominated to be on the show, they all mentioned in one form or another that they wanted the, the ability to go in and do their job and not be micromanaged and not, and really to be empowered to do what they were hired to do in the first place. And that's where they grew the most. They may have made mistakes, yes, but they grew under that kind of leadership. So I applaud you for recognizing that at a time when probably it wasn't in vogue, he wasn't cool to do it.

Howard Behar: That was 50 years ago, lobby for the millennials were even thought about

Amanda Hammett: Love it. Now, were you ever pressured by a board or higher ups or at any point in your career to focus more on the numbers and less on the people and what was your response?

Howard Behar: Yeah, that was, there was always that perceived conflict, but I was always, I used to give, you know, say back to them, Hey, wait a minute. You know, there's no inherent conflict between achieving results and treating people well. Right. As a matter of fact, it's the opposite way around. So I said, if you don't like around my results farming, but I need to lead the way I need to leave now. And that happened a lot of times. You know, I wasn't a soft later. I wasn't a person that didn't hold people accountable. I did. I hold myself accountable. I hold others accountable. But again, in a way that put people up, not put people down because that's what I needed. Money.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

Howard Behar: That just the way that it was. But that's there all the time. It's amazing how many leaders, how many bosses, you know, think that way. I, I've given hundreds of speeches around the world and how many times people say, well, it's too soft. How do you possibly get results? I said, you, I said, I get it. I said, I'll tell you what. I'm always willing to have a contest with you. What man? Your Organization for a year. And I'll show you what, what, how trading people well gets better results in the way you're doing it.

Amanda Hammett: Has anyone ever taken you up on that?

Howard Behar: Nobody's ever taken me up because they know in their hearts, which, right cause see it's an exact, you know, leadership in organizations. Exactly the same as as relationships and families. Yes. I mean does it really work to come home and tell your wife every day what you, what they did wrong, right or right. It doesn't, does it? No, it does not. Doesn't, doesn't work. Come home yelling and screaming all the time. No it doesn't. Yeah. I used to tell a story about Harris. I used to challenge people. Should I want you to go home tonight, watch on your way home. I want you to buy a really nice bottle of wine. Something that your significant other really liked and then also by two really expensive, right? L glasses. Those are really nice crystal glasses for drinking wine and when you get home, I want you to say, honey, I brought to your favorite wine.

Howard Behar: Come on, let's have a conversation. First of all, she or he will know something's wrong. But because you just did that, let's say you sit down and you pour a nice little sip wine and Annie and you look at and they say, honey, this is your lucky day. This is going to be your annual performance review and you know how to give don some things well and you've done some things wrong and you know how well does that, how well is that going to work as your ass has bounced and out the front door right now? That's not the way relationships work at home or in business.

Amanda Hammett: No, you're absolutely correct. You are absolutely correct. Yeah. So we kind of touched on this before I turned on the recording, but um, in your opinion, what is the difference or what is the influence that millennials have brought into corporate America?

Howard Behar: Well, you know, certainly technology, right? No, they're there a familiarity with, with technology, their understanding of how to use technology, I think has been great. Um, I think, uh, you know, I mean, it's like all new generations, you know, they bring their point of view about the world and where the world is and, and how they think the organization should address the issues in the world. There are much more likely to attach to purpose then I think my generation was, you know, uh, you know, we never talked about purpose. You know, now everything is about purpose. Everything as well about why are we here? Why are we doing what we're doing and are we living up to that purpose? And so I think that's a, that's a big one too. I think one of the things that I think they've brought that I'm not so, I shouldn't say happy about, but, but that I don't subscribe so much to, as this constant focus on the data.

Amanda Hammett: Okay.

Howard Behar: You know, if I had more data, I can make a better decision. You know, there are points in time where you don't need more data. What you need to do is look inside yourself, right? From a human perspective and look at the people that you're serving from a human perspective and say what's good for them. You know at that.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, I would agree wholeheartedly.

Howard Behar: It's just too much data. Dadda Dadda Dadda Dadda you don't have, your wife comes home one night and says, you know, I'm not happy in my marriage. Do you need any other points of data? That's one point. You just had to listen to your wife. If you listened to your customers, you listen to the people that are working in your organization. You know you get enough data, people get lazy. They want this technology to solve their problems for them. They don't want to spend the time talking to people.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

Howard Behar: I grew up with that data. My data, my data came from having a talk one on one to the people I was serving and to the people that worked in the organization. That's how I got my data and it was much more human and it gave me insights that you could never get by asking people questions on a computer.

Amanda Hammett: I agree. I completely agree and it's really interesting. What I've seen is this generation has actually grown up being studied and you know, taking surveys and the test, I mean from day one and it's really interesting. You can hand them a survey to take, they can hand it back to you and then you can ask them verbally the same questions. And they don't always match up because they, they've been taught to take the test. They've been taught to, you know, they're giving you the information they think you want. But in reality, when you're having a actual human to human conversation, sometimes that can change

Howard Behar: And they're looking at somebody. Yeah. They're in their eyes and you see their face sort down, sort out the wheat from the chaff real quickly. You know what's true and what's bullshit. Right. There was an explosion.

Amanda Hammett: And that's okay. That's okay. So, all right. How would you say that millennials really influenced the workplace? Or how did it change your leadership style or, or did it change your leadership style?

Howard Behar: I don't think it really did. Yeah. I've been, I've been managing organizations for 53 years. And you know, through from my own generation to, to, um, you know, millennials, Steven to generation x. You know, and it did because I, I felt that human beings were human beings and, you know, are there some differences? Yeah. But this generation is much more sensitive to input, you know, they, they tend to see all and put his criticism versus helping. So I have found that I have to do it a little bit differently. You know I have to be a lot. I always was gentle, but I found that I had to ask for permission for him to give input more. And once I got permission, then it was clear. And I do that today. And I do that with everybody now, you know? Yeah. Just these generations. I do it with my own generation, you know, permission to coach. I say.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Howard Behar: And that way they, once they say yes, then they kind of open up, you know, or at least there's, they're conscious of where they are. So, you know, I think that's, that's, uh, that's, other than that, you know.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah.

Howard Behar: Hi, just I'm up guy that believes that human beings are human beings and that if I say I love you, you know, people understand that. You know, and if I say I trust you, people understand that and when I don't trust them or I don't love on, they understand that too. And that, you know, so you know, there are there really, you know, and, and it's across, like I said before, it's across cultures. It is, you know, I mean there's much more, a bigger difference across cultures then there is a cross our own culture and the different generations.

Amanda Hammett: Okay.

Amanda Hammett: I would agree. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Howard Behar: You know, you learn to deal with that and then you can deal with anything.

Howard Behar: You know, I, um, one of the things when I am leading groups of company leaders, whether it's from a huge fortune 500 are a small startup, one of the most,

Amanda Hammett: okay

Howard Behar: Common things that I bring up very early on in the conversation is this idea of generational strife is not new. Um, I can't tell you how many conversations I've had over the years that are just like, oh, these millennials, they're the worst. Like how do you do what you do? But actually this idea of generational style strife has been around since the beginning of civilization. Others, a lot of famous quotes from Socrates and Plato complaining about younger generations and their lack of respect for authority. And there was a lack of respect for their elders and, and just being too, you know, too much of everything. And, and I just think that it's really interesting as you, as each youngest generation comes through, they are quote unquote the worst. And I just, I think it's

Howard Behar: true. That's, that's fallacy. They're not that different. I agree. Uh, you know, there are some differences and it's good to be aware of it, but you know, if you ask them, they'll tell you.

Amanda Hammett: Okay.

Howard Behar: But I find it's almost individual by individual. When you take this brush and painted across a broad category of people, you're going to make huge years. If you, if you talked to each individual different, uh, uh, on their own, you know, individually, then you learn.

Amanda Hammett: Okay.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. You've got to learn to lead the people that you're with and what each person responds to you. Because the way I respond to things maybe completely different than the way you respond to things. Exactly. And that, you know, we have different drivers, we have different motivators and a really great leader can recognize those things and give, you know, help you with those.

Howard Behar: Yeah, I agree. Perfect.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, I love it. So now what are the benefits for leaders? What are the benefits to focusing on the individual development and education of your people on your team?

Howard Behar: Well, look at team is made up of a bunch of individuals. Yes, I'll, I'll try to live their lives. You know, I'll be treated with respect, find love or whatever it is and our or per and find purpose in their lives. And unless you, unless you have individual communication, you don't know what those things are. They're not things that they can put down in a questionnaire and get underneath it all. And you know, you need to know about their families of origin. You need to know about, you know, when I interview people or talk to people, I, one of the questions I ask is if they have a brother and sister, I said, what does your brother or sister like a batch of what don't they like about you? Wish you would have become versus what you've become, you know, uh, you know, uh, you know, who's your best friend and why are they best friend and when, when did your best friend disappoints you and what disappointed you in them and when did you disappoint your best friend and what did you do to disappoint your friend?

Howard Behar: And trying to find out who they are, what matters to them. And then once you do that, then then you know, because they, they respond individually to say one thing to one person that reported to me say exactly the same thing to another person. They'd take it completely differently. Yes, yes. So I had when I retired once from Starbucks and when I came back, uh, to, uh, be present in North America, I had still been on the board, but there was a guy that I inherited from a guy that preceded me and he was in charge of strategy for North American retail and his name was Dan. And Dan was one of those kind of guys that he, his office was right next door to me. He was in my office every day over something. He was the most high maintenance guy I've ever worked with my life.

Howard Behar: And some people just couldn't deal with them. Always believed I wanted blonde hair, brown hair. I want a blue eyes, green eyes. I wanted people that thought differently from the other people I wanted. I wanted real diversity is about diversity of thought.

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Howard Behar: And so I learned to deal with Dan and I figured out what the, you know, that he was, he was a guy that just needed lots of caring, but he was the smartest guy in my team. Abs without a question. He, he could see around corners like nobody else could see. Really. Yeah. He was the guy. He basically saved the food business. It's Starbucks and you know, he wasn't always the most, you know, people would complain that, uh, that he would, that he would break a lot of glass and he did. It wasn't that he didn't care about people but, but that, you know, he was the only dealt 50 cards and the 52 card deck and the two cards he was missing was where these empathy cards.

Howard Behar: Ah, I had to work with them all the time on the empathy. Did I ever get in perfect. Not while he reported it to me, but I still know him today and he really has moved because he focused.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah. That's fantastic.

Howard Behar: Yeah. He really moved. But he did it because he wanted to. So I had lots of different people and they were, they all were different. And I had to know each one individually what motivated them, what they cared about, where their strengths for where their weaknesses were and that helped them. Absolutely. And I'll be all they can be,

Amanda Hammett: That is fantastic. And what's even more fantastic is that he was able to accept the coaching from you, you know?

Howard Behar: Well, if you do, I want, if you can do, you can say anything to anybody as long as this with love in your heart and with caring and people know that you know it. Do they feel it? Yeah. If you constantly are beating people up, they're never going to listen to you. But you know, and nine times out of 10, the conversations we were having were always positive. So I had a lot of rocks on that scale. So when I said, you know, uh, uh, permission to coach, you know, I had ears open and heart open, which is most important.

Amanda Hammett: Yes. Because he was ready to accept whatever coach. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I love that. So I'm now in the past and I've watched some other interviews that you've done in the past. Um, you have actually said that Starbucks has a really great recruiting program. Yeah. Now, what do you think really sets it apart? I mean, what, what makes it so special?

Howard Behar: Well, we, we lead with purpose, right? So that, that's the thing we talk about first and, and the truth is our recruiting program is our people. Yes. Right. That's what really works. In the early days, you know, we weren't exactly so people focused, and I coined this phrase that we weren't in the coffee business serving people. We are in the people business serving coffee. Yes. It took us time to really bring that into our organization. But once it was there, then you know, like Jim Collins says, you know, people that didn't fit would inject themselves like a virus, that virus and had started to be that all of the people that fit would start applying. And so our organization became, you know, the, the recruiters and, but it really was about purpose. First. It wasn't about skill sets first. And it was about who the human being was first.

Howard Behar: It wasn't about what their skills were, right or not. Because if you don't get, if you don't get to him inside, right, nothing else will happen. I don't care how smart you are. I don't care how technology technologically fit you are a professional. You are, it doesn't work. And we actually, you know, we made lots of mistakes, bring the wrong people into the organization, but the organization moved 'em out because they realized they didn't fit. And uh, that it was all about, you know, at the end of the day how we treated each other. And the first guiding principle at Starbucks is that we treat each other with respect and dignity. And the last guiding principle was we recognize it. Profitability is essential to our future growth and success. That wasn't the first thing was the last thing. That's what came out of all the guiding principles. Yes, yes.

Amanda Hammett: I agree. You know, one of the things, I started my career as a recruiter at a major fortune 500, and it was just, it was amazing. It was all about the skills, what's on the resume, what's on the resume? And I'm like, but if you can't work on a team, if you don't fit, this doesn't, this isn't going to work. And they're like, no, no, just focus on the skill. Um, and it's amazing because it's still like that today. And I've been in the workforce for years and I'm no longer a recruiter, but when I go in and work with these large companies, it's still very much, well what's on their resume? And I'm like, you don't understand. Like you need to really focus on the individual person, not what's on the skillset, but actually the individual person, how are they going to match? How are they gonna mold skills can be developed, but personality and who they are as a human being, that's, that's already there, that's already developed that determines the success or failure of an organization emotionally and what your culture is, you know, because the culture is a reflection of how you act, not what you say.

Howard Behar: And so if you bring people that don't fit into the organization, then people start to think, oh, that's how I need to behave. And then all of a sudden you get to call it. You don't, you know the culture you thought you had. You don't. And it's, there's no question about it. Focus on the people side first. I look, if you're hiring somebody that needs to be technically proficient and it, or accounting or something like that, fine. That that's their right, right. But at the end of the day, it's do they fit on the team and do they have what I need or can I teach, are they smart enough where I can teach them the skills because there's such a good people. I always hired people first. Yes. Always. You know, and uh, you know, and then, and then, you know, if there was something that they technically are experience that they needed to have.

Howard Behar: But you know, I heard a lot of people that didn't have perceived the resumes skills you wouldn't have, you had said, well, Geez, they don't have the resume that I need, but they had the people skills and I hired them and they fit perfectly and they learned the skills. Yes. Yup. Absolutely. So what career advice, because you know, one of the other things that I do a lot of, or I find myself doing a lot of his coaching and helping, uh, people who are earlier in their career. So what advice would you give for an early career employee? So someone who's fresh out of college. Oh Great. That's a good question. Number one, you got to know who you are, right? What are your, what are your values, right? And define those values and how do they inform the actions and the decisions you make in your life that's bad. And then, you know, right. What, what is your mission in life? Remember, all these things are not written in stone. This is not have to be the rest of your life. You know, they're not, they're not the 10 commandments there things that you can change, but you need to know what, why you're here, or at least an idea of why you're here. You know, I want to work, I want to help people. Right.

Amanda Hammett: Okay.

Howard Behar: You know, and I, I want to serve people that are in need, you know? And that helps guide you. And then you use those things to decide what kind of organization that you want to work in. C, we don't need to, we're not after a job.

Howard Behar: You know, we're trying to build a life. Yeah, we're trying to build a fulfilling life, which work is part of. And so you take your values and you overlay your values over the company's values, the organization's values. You overlay your mission over the company's mission and you'll say to these things, at least on paper, do they fit? Then if I paper they fit, then your work has just started because then what you want to do is go talk to people that work in the company. And the first question you should ask is, I, I've read your mission statement and the company's guiding principles or values statement, where, where do they not, where are they? The actions not in sync with the words. That's a great question cause you see it all the time because it's, it's there everywhere has that everywhere. They, even the wonderful Starbucks that I love dearly has that right. And you better when you've done that, then you better say, are these things I can live with or not live with? And another question you should ask is what are the, what are the, uh, what are the rewards, uh, spoken or the intrinsic rewards and what are the intrinsic penalties that happen when somebody does something well and somebody does something wrong? What happens when you screw something up in this organization?

Howard Behar: Oh, it tells us calibrate this mistakes or do they penalize mistakes? Does the organization shove you often in the noodle land, Netherlands and nobody will eat lunch with you because you made a mistake, you know, or did they all gather around and support you? So how do they act as human beings and you, you want to know the good, the bad and the ugly about any organization you're going to go to work with. And then before you go to work, I would not go to work for an organization that doesn't have you interview with your potential boss and there's lots of that do that. You'd never meet your boss until after you've been hired.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah.

Howard Behar: I would never take a job like that because I don't care how good the organization is, you know, or even sometimes how bad the organization is. If you get the right boss, somebody that respects other people and that you can respect and trust you and you trust stamp the world will be right. I agree.

Amanda Hammett: That is that, that was some fantastic advice right there. That was just like perfection.

Howard Behar: I would walk down the street and look at the person walking down the street or say, God, he's good looking. I'm going to marry that person. You know, you might fall in love because of how they look or something like that. Or maybe the clothes are wearing or you might get, you know, whatever. But you'll want to know more about them once. Yah, absolutely. That's what dating is about. That's what spending time together is about. And you find those things out, find the truth out.

Amanda Hammett: That isn't very, very true. Very true. All right, so similar question and this is our last question. Um, what advice would you give to a first time leader?

Howard Behar: I first time later. Don't take yourself too seriously, right? That uh, you know, on both sides of the ball you're not that good and you're not that bad. Love your people. And I mean love them. Use that word love right. You know, help your people be all they can be and you'll get what you need out of them. And they are read all the books you can get on servant leadership. And I, my, one of my favorites is a book from a gym. Uh, Jim James Autry does servant leadership and then get the daily Drucker. It's a book that, uh, that Peter Drucker, you know, it's all his stuff and he was a practitioner of servant leadership. He was a personal friend of Robert Greenleaf's. And use that as your guide and you know, and be willing to make mistakes and be willing to own up to your mistakes.That's number one, be vulnerable, be authentic. You know, you don't need to be the boss. Yes. You know, you don't need to be the boss. Screw up. Be the first one to raise your hand and say, I am sorry. served me well at home and in the office.

Amanda Hammett: I think that being able to own up to your mistakes is a major thing that people are so afraid of. But it's hard to do. It's so important because it builds trust with your, with your team, especially with millennials, they're very, they to have a little tendency to be distrusting. But if you are authentic and you own up to your mistakes, they see that and they build loyalty with that quicker than anything else.

Howard Behar: The boss who takes the bullets versus dodge the bullets, it will be my will be respected and the people will go to battle for them. If you dodge the bullets and let the bullet hit one of your people, they will. They trust me. They will never go to battle for you. And all you have to do is do that once you've totally broken trust and it takes forever to gain it back.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Howard Behar: And I've seen it happen so many times.

Howard Behar: Oh yes. It, it does. It happens unfortunately very regularly. Well, Mr be hard. Thank you so much for being on the show. This is, uh, been a wonderful, just chock full of great information both for young know next generation of leadership, but also for the current leaders out there who are looking to learn from one of the greats out there. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for being on the show and we will.

Howard Behar: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I always late to talk about leadership.

Amanda Hammett: Well fantastic. Well you had so much to share and I appreciate it. Alright, take care. Thank you. Bye. Bye. Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars where we have discussed all about recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent.

Amanda Hammett: So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

S2-EP1: Exploring Leadership Lessons for a Multi-Generational Workforce

Gen Z: Welcome to the Workforce! Now that we officially have 5 generations in the workforce, what strategies do we use to keep our multi-generational workforce engaged and productive? Season 2 will look at the leadership of all levels within companies from the Chief Human Resource Officer to a front line manager of early in career talent. What can each of these leaders bring to the table to help you as you navigate this new frontier in the workplace?

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The Transcript - Exploring Leadership Lessons for a Multi-Generational Workforce

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rockstar talent? Well, you are in the right place. Alright, welcome, welcome, welcome to Season Two of the Next Generation Rockstars.

Now you heard that right, I didn't say millennial rock stars, I said next-generation rock stars. That is because, over our little break between seasons, we decided to do a whole name-change and rebrand so that we could really, fully welcome in Gen Z into the workforce. So now that Gen Z is here, they are starting to make their own waves on workplace culture, and we're really excited to see how that pans out for everyone. But this is a really interesting time to be in the working culture, to see really how all the generations combine and mix together because we do have five generations at work currently.

We've got Gen Z, we've got millennial, we have got of course Gen X, baby boomers, but we also still have some of the silent generations still there in the workplace and really giving it their all, even at this point in their career.

So, now that we're mixing things up, and now that we are all together, what can we learn from each other, what do we each bring to the table? Now it's really interesting because so far early in 2019, there have been multiple studies that have come up, or surveys of CEOs that have been put out asking CEOs, what are their top three concerns? In every survey so far that I've seen, they have listed recruiting talent and retaining talent as two of their top three concerns. Two of their top three concerns revolve around talent. That has got to tell you something. The war for talent is on, and it has been on for years and years, and years.

Now I know that there are people out there that are predicting a recession is coming, and that is very likely based on the cyclical nature of our economies. But what you should know is that that, when there's good talent on the line, there is always a war for that good talent, recession or not.

So Season Two is really gonna look at the development of talent, the recruitment of talent, and we're gonna be doing that, looking at that from the lens of leaders of young talent. So it is, we've interviewed CHROs, like Matt Schuyler from Hilton, I interviewed the Chief People Officer from Cisco Systems, Fran Katsoudas. I also interviewed the former Head of HR at Tesla, Alan Cherry. Howard Behar from Starbucks, former President of Starbucks, as well as numerous other major leaders in the talent development area. But, I didn't just stop there.

I went back to Season One's rock stars, and I started asking them, or I started really going back and looking, who did they specifically mention as people that have been pivotal in their careers? So, I went back and I gathered some of the leaders that made a big impression on some of Season One's rock stars, and I've got them coming on the show giving wonderful day-to-day in the trenches advice on how did they really go out there and developed rockstar talent? So they're in the trenches with them and they can give you some nuts-and-bolts advice. That, maybe someone from a CHRO perspective can give you a wide-angle view, but they're gonna be able to give you that in the job, day-to-day experience knowledge.

So, I hope that you will join us for the rest of Season Two, we've got a lot of wonderful, wonderful interviews, and trust me you are going to want to listen to each episode a couple of times, because some of these are just so chockfull of knowledge that you just need your notebook to follow along. Another thing that you might want to know is that I am listening, I am reading all of your comments, all of your messages. I was inundated with LinkedIn messages last year, I loved it, keep them coming, I want to read each and every one. And actually, one of the listeners suggested that Season Two examine the leadership of young talent, and I felt that that was a wonderful idea so I took it to heart.

So again, I am listening, I would love to hear what you have to say, and of course always, please subscribe, please share this with your friends, make some comments on your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and we will see you in the rest of Season Two.

Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I am guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's Rockstar leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret. Share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent, because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward.

Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Delanie Olsen Social Media

21: Breaking Millennial Stereotypes

Millennials are often accused of having zero work ethic. That common misconception drove this young millennial to go out of her way to make sure she was not seen as a "lazy employee". Check out what happens next when she leans into her company's culture.

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The Transcript - Breaking Millennial Stereotypes

Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett, and this is the Millennial Rockstar podcast. So, today's rockstar is Delanie Olsen, and Delanie is this amazing, creative marketing and brand strategy just go-to juggernaut. And she is very young, only about three years out of college, and she has had a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and the reason she was given so much responsibility in my opinion, was that she was very aware from the get-go right out of college, that there were all these negative stereotypes around the work ethic of millennials, and she wanted nothing more than to prove that she was nothing like that stereotype. And I think you'll find that her supervisors and all the people within the company that she was with really understood that she was nothing like those millennial stereotypes. So, tune in and find out what Delanie has to share. Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast. All right, today we have a super-duper special rockstar on the show, her name is Delanie Olsen. Delanie, welcome to the show.

Delanie Olsen: Hi there, thank you Amanda.

Amanda Hammett: So, I have to be very honest with you. There are some people in the business world that I absolutely love and adore. And one of them is from OneBridge Technologies, his name is Daryle Johnson. And Daryle was actually one of two people that recommended you to be on this show. So, Delanie, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Delanie Olsen: So I graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis about three years ago now, and my first job out of college was at OneBridge with Daryle. And I was the Marketing Coordinator to start off with and then I got promoted to be Marketing Specialist. And after two years of living, working in Indianapolis, I decided it was time to go home, my whole family lived up in Chicago, so I ended up finding a marketing specialist role with an events company called Total Event Resources in Chicago, and so I just moved up here about three months ago and started this new role.

Amanda Hammett: Very, very cool. So it's a really exciting time of transition in your career, which is awesome. But I happened to know that you learned a lot in your old role.

Delanie Olsen: Yes. OneBridge was very important to me, the people there were out of this world. I remember being so incredibly nervous and thinking that I was just gonna fall flat on my face from day one, and it was the complete opposite of that, and I grew into this marketing professional that I just never thought I would even become five years from now, let alone a year and a half, two years after first starting there.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Well, that is one thing that Eric told me when he and I spoke about you. He actually said that he had taken over that role, and he said, "You know, it's always worrisome "when you're taking on a new role "knowing that you're inheriting some employees. "I was worried going into it, "but after spending like a week with her, "I knew that this was meant to be."

Delanie Olsen: Yes. I was just as worried as he was. I was really close with my first supervisor, and that was the first person that really didn't treat me like a millennial, and I respected that, so I was a little nervous with the change in positions. When Eric came in, it was the same exact thing. He didn't look at me as a different generation than him, or that I wasn't as experienced as him yet. He wanted to know what I was good at, and then he put those abilities to work.

Amanda Hammett: That's great. That's what a good leader does.

Delanie Olsen: Yes.

Amanda Hammett: That's exactly what a good leader does. Well, fantastic. All right, so I know that you are three years into your career, but I would assume that you have hit some bumps along the road already. Could you give us a little background or a little bit of information about those little bumps for you?

Delanie Olsen: Yes, of course. The biggest one was probably, I was thrown into a very, very large project. OneBridge was rebranding. They were originally SmartIT, and then were transitioning over to OneBridge. It was pretty exciting, because I loved brand marketing, I was super passionate about it, and they wanted the marketing department to take on that responsibility, to come up with this rebrand and put it into action, which was great. But during the rebrand, I had a change in supervisors. So I just remember, I was like okay, they're gonna take everything that I've started and it's just gonna get flipped over and turned around because who's gonna trust the girl who's been out of school for a year and a half to finish off an entire company's rebrand? They hadn't found someone else yet to fill my supervisor's position, and I was extremely nervous about it. I remember I went into my first meeting and it was with Kim, the Director of Employee Engagement, it was the exact opposite of that. She took everything, she said, "Okay, let's lay it out. "What have you been doing so far, "what do you want to do moving forward, "and let's make sure that all of your ideas "and plans get executed like you wanted "them to from day one." And I respected that so much because she wasn't looking at my work as my old supervisor's work. She wanted to know, she knew I had a part in it, and that was that. So I got to move forward with it, but the whole process was a bump in the road because it was scary being that young and being given that role. And then Eric eventually did jump in, and that was a breath of fresh air because I had someone else to help me launch this new brand, so he was there for the last three months of it, and all in all, the project lasted a year. It was a lot of work, we had one company we were working on the website with, and I thought I had nailed down and it was going smoothly, and then a month before we were supposed to launch the new brand and the website, they said "We can't get it done until three months from now," and so we just had to roll with it. It was surprising how many people, no matter what generation they were, they knew I didn't have that much experience, they still trusted me because they knew I worked hard and I really appreciated that.

Amanda Hammett: Now, I have a question here. I love your CEO over there, I think she is phenomenal. We've already talked about it, I love Daryle. But you are young. And that is an incredible, I mean the CEO of there, she has built that up to what, like 50 million?

Delanie Olsen: Yes.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah. I mean, that's not a small enterprise over there and they have some incredible clients, and huge, huge enterprise clients, and for them to make this huge transition in branding, naming, business model, I mean that's a lot to put on your shoulders at 23, 24?

Delanie Olsen: Yes, 23-24.

Amanda Hammett: I'm just curious, how did you get it to the point where they trusted you to do that?

Delanie Olsen: Well, that's funny because Daryle always talks. He says, "You were a flip of a switch." I don't know why but I've always had this. Right when I graduated college, I felt like the millennial stereotype was huge at that time and that was the last thing I wanted. I never wanted to be seen as this lazy worker, or I only wanted to be there for perks, or anything like that. And so I was paranoid about that. So I remember for probably like the first six months of working there, I wasn't really myself because I was like, "I gotta be this person." It wasn't because of anyone I was working with and that they made me feel like I couldn't be, it was just that I felt like I needed to be someone because of that millennial stereotype. And then, I don't know what actually changed, and it was even like how I was dressing and everything, I wasn't really showing my personality in my clothes, and I was wearing all black every day, and I was like, "That's not me," and so something changed and I just started to speak up a little bit more and show my personality in the work that I was doing and just in my demeanor every day, I started to, we had to dress business professional every day, and I kept that up but I was still being myself in how I was dressing. People started to notice. I remember my supervisor at the time said, "I follow you on social media, "and I feel like you're acting "more like yourself now to me." And I don't know what it was, but once that happened, I think people started to realize that yes, I am younger but even if when I am being myself I was still a hard worker, I got things done, and I got them done well. So Daryle even says, "There was this one day where you "just came into this meeting," and he's like, "You just blew me away. "You were talking more than you've ever talked, "and you had ideas and you knew that "they needed to be done, and you got them done." So I think it was a good feeling that other people around me besides just people who are higher up in the company saw this in me and trusted me because they would come to me then every day with whatever it was. So then I think people higher up started to see that, "Oh, Delanie's wearing a lot of hats. "She's helping out people in departments "that probably doesn't even have to do with marketing, "but she jumped in to help out." And so I think that that's what really kind of put the trust in me when it came to that, because they were under a time constraint and they saw that I was getting stuff done on a usual basis, so why not trust that I would get it done now, even though I didn't necessarily have someone directly supervising me. And Kim played a huge role in that. She had so much going on, the last thing she needed to worry about was the rebrand of a company, but she made time for me and made time to hear what I had to say and wanted to know why I was doing something a certain way, and I really respected that. So I think that that helped as well, having her by my side to kind of support me, even though it wasn't necessarily her forte.

Amanda Hammett: Right. That's amazing, and it sounds like, and having just bee a third-party spectator to this whole rebrand, it really really sounds like the communication lines were very open in all directions. Sometimes it's just from the top down, but it really sounds like it was coming out from everyone.

Delanie Olsen: They did an amazing job with that. They told me from day one, "If you're questioning "something about the brand and you "were in a meeting and everyone was one way "but you feel another way, come back to us "and re-present it then. "Tell us why it needs to be that way." And so I really appreciated that because again, they let me have a voice and they knew that it was something that I was passionate about and I was good at, so they let me run with it. And they have an open-door policy there and I know that's so cliche and you probably hear that all the time, but they truly mean it. The CEO sat in the Indianapolis office, and he, didn't matter when it was, if he just got a really important call, he just got off of it and he needed to debrief, no, if you needed something, if there was a concern, come into his office and talk to him about it. I think that that was really beneficial too.

Amanda Hammett: That's fantastic. Especially in a time of these major, major transitions, that's really

Delanie Olsen: Yes.

Amanda Hammett: All right, so we've talked over some stumbling blocks and some lessons learned, but let's circle back a little bit further. You graduated from college three years ago, right?

Delanie Olsen: Yes.

Amanda Hammett: Okay. So think back to Delanie three years ago, pre-work Delanie. Did you have this idea in your mind about what corporate America or the working world was gonna be like? And how does that interface with the realities of working the working world?

Delanie Olsen: So, I had this image that it was cubicles and cubicles, and I was gonna sit there all day and you weren't gonna see the sunlight and you got your work done...


Delanie Olsen: Not that you weren't friends with people, but why would you go out after work with people if you work with them all day? I had that image in my head. I don't know, have you been to the OneBridge office before?

Amanda Hammett: No, I have not.

Delanie Olsen: So, this will change your mindset on everything. I walked into this office, and it's so modern, it's very open and they have collaborative workspaces and they have a huge break room with a ping-pong table, and I walked in there and I was like, where am I interviewing? What is this? And I was so blown away by that and it was funny because my parents, I get out of the interview and I'm telling them all about the office, and my Dad goes, "Well, I don't care about the office. "What about the position? "What about the people?" And I was like, "Oh, you're right." That was bad that I was so concerned about the office, but I think as millennials we kind of have that picture in our head that that's what something's gonna be like, so that really threw me off. But luckily OneBridge doesn't just focus on the perks. They focus on you as an employee first and the perks come second. That is what I've come to love and have looked for in companies, and I know other people appreciate it at OneBridge. So it was different, going into that environment and people said, be like, "How do you get work done? "Like, you guys have a beer fridge." And you know, it's just whatever, but it's there, it's different. They focus on you as an employee and educating you and making sure you are advancing in your career and the perks were just second nature. So I did have a very different thought in my head about what it was all gonna be like, and OneBridge threw all of those out the door. Especially work from home life balance. Sometimes I was like, "Oh, I have a doctor's appointment "and it's an hour across town with traffic, "and then I gotta come back to the office." And they're like, "Well, why don't you just work from home?" And I was like, is that allowed? Can you do that? So that was another one that I kinda had in my head, that you went to work eight to five, and you were there unless your really did have a vacation day and you took it. But they threw that one out the door too. If you were honestly sick or if you just needed to work from home 'cause you needed a different environment, go for it. As long as you're getting your work done and it's done on time, it doesn't matter where you're doing it. I really did appreciate that as well, and that was definitely a change of what was going on in my head when I was interviewing at places.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That's cool. I mean, I am a big fan of the leadership over there at OneBridge. It obviously is well documented, my love for Daryle.

Delanie Olsen: Oh yes. I get that. There was another actually, I guess he would be a millennial as well, that worked at OneBridge. He's still there, he's in the recruiting department, and he wrote a blog post all about how it's not about the perks. That's great, I love them, I love having the snack bar and all that, but I think he said something like great perks should be the symptom of a great company culture, that they can't be the cause of it. That it's...

Amanda Hammett: I like that.

Delanie Olsen: And yes. I'll have to send you the link to the blog...

Amanda Hammett: You know.

Delanie Olsen: their website. But when he wrote that and obviously it came to me first in marketing, and he's like, "What do you think? 'Cause we just won an award for the best places to work and he's like, "Should this be, should we put this on the site? "Should we put it on social?" And I was like, "Yes." Because I think so many younger kids are now seeing all of these perks in these companies and they want to work there right away. And they're like, "Oh, they have a LaCroix fridge." Oh, well, that's great, but are they gonna treat you right as an employee? So I think it's good to have people who are younger already noticing those things. A company might have all those great perks, but if they're not treating you right as an employee and not wanting you to succeed and advance and become educated even more, then there's no point in taking that job.

Amanda Hammett: I agree, and you would be surprised how often you see that.

Delanie Olsen: Yes, I can imagine. Well, even like I said, OneBridge is, I'm sure people walk into there and they're like, "Yup, I'm in. "I'm done. "I'm walking to work here." But you know, it was a good experience for me to take a step back and say, is this actually gonna be a good company for me to work at?

Amanda Hammett: I agree, I agree. With Karen Cooper at the helm, I don't think you could go wrong.

Delanie Olsen: You can't go wrong, I know. She's amazing.

Amanda Hammett: I want to be Karen Cooper when I grow up.

Delanie Olsen: Oh, yes,agree. And I don't know if I'm attracted to this women-owned companies that are just absolutely killing it, but the new company I'm working at is actually a woman-owned one as well and that really stood out to me. And I feel that now that I had that experience with Karen, and had such a strong relationship, and there was a few other women as well that were higher up at OneBridge that just, they beat all of the stereotypes and they really cared about me and my future, and so when I was moving to Chicago I wanted that again. I was lucky enough to find that again, but it's definitely something that I appreciate in an organization.

Amanda Hammett: That's amazing. I love, love, love, love, love that. So, let's take a look back either at OneBridge or at your current company. Is there anything specific, and we've kinda touched on this already, but is there anything specific that your boss or a mentor has done that keeps you engaged and productive and really wanting to work hard? Besides, let's think outside of that whole rebranding experience.

Delanie Olsen: Yes. I definitely say caring about my passions outside of work. And I know that sounds a little like, oh, well work is work and home is home, and maybe that's a stereotype I had as well when I was first looking for a job, but every mentor that I've had either at OneBridge or I already see it now with my current supervisor at Total Events, is they're asking me questions about well, I have a blog on the side. "So, well, what's going on with that? "Let's see it. "How are things going with that?" And I just truly appreciate that because sometimes you do need to take a step back from work. And sometimes you're so stressed out about something at work that I wasn't getting things done because I was letting it clog my mind, but if I could focus on other things and you kind of relax and then you can go back to something. So I really appreciated it because Eric did a really good job at that. He was always like, "What's going on?" He was excited about things I was doing on the side and I really appreciated that. Even my first supervisor, when I first told her, "Oh, I wanna start this blog," she got me a new jacket and was like, "I want to help your passion for fashion, "and I want you to roll with it." I did not expect that at all, and I really appreciated that because then it made your everyday job that much better because people actually did care about you and cared about you outside of work as well. So I definitely think that that helped because work is a lot, and sometimes you're gonna get worn out and so it's good to take a step back and I really do appreciate that from people. And also Daryle did a really good job of this. Even when I know I might be wrong about something, or if I don't know if the idea's totally there yet, he makes me run with it until it gets to that point where it's like, nope, I need to change gears here. Sometimes you have to see something totally through for all of your creative ideas, and just all of that to come out, and I've had people in my life in internships before to talk to those, where they stop you so quickly. It's, "Ah, nah, we did that before "and it didn't work and we're not gonna "let you go there." But someone could bring a totally different experience to something like that, so Daryle did a really good job with always telling me to fully finish something through. If I have an idea, run with it, and wait until it gets to the total end before I say, "Ah, that was a flop."


Delanie Olsen: So he did a really good job with that and I 100% appreciate that. And it was funny because I would see that in him, too. He would come to me with some crazy idea and at first I'd be like, "Wait, I don't know if we got time for this. "I don't know if we should keep talking about this." And then he would keep going more and I'd let him keep going, and it would spin out into something amazing, and I'm like, we should have been doing this a year ago. So I think it's good for a mentor, a supervisor, whatever, to really let you take the reins on a project or just something and let you see it through because you teach yourself a lot in that as well.

Amanda Hammett: Yes. You do, you do learn a lot about the process but also about yourself and your skills and all right, that's not where I need to be going or maybe this is something I need to investigate further.

Delanie Olsen: Exactly.

Delanie Olsen: Yeah, absolutely. But you don't find these things out if you're in this little box.

Delanie Olsen: And I've been in that, I feel like I've been in that box with some internships I felt I was just so restricted. And I get, you're an intern and whatever, but I had an internship where it wasn't like that and it was like go for it and that's when I first realized that I wanted to find a company after college that still gave me that freedom.

Amanda Hammett: Very cool, very cool. All right, so we just discussed the perks that you guys have and I know about the beer fridge, Karen and I had discussed it. But what is it about the perks or the culture, or what is it that just keeps you just excited and engaged and wanting to get up every day and let's do this again, let's fix something, let's do this again?

Delanie Olsen: Oh yeah. I again think it's getting to see a project all the way through. I've even seen this now, so I'm not fully immersed yet in my new company. I'm still getting the hang of things, but my supervisor was helping out with an event and it was finally the day of the event and she was there all day. She got there at eight in the morning, was there until five, and the actual main part of the event wasn't starting until 10:00 at night, but she just had a little girl and so she had to get home, and so she asked me, she said, "Can you be there and can you see this through?" And I saw how hard it was for her to not be there, that that project was her baby and she really wanted to see it all through and I remember feeling that way about certain projects, where you're like, I just need to see this through and I wanna see the end of it, and when you get to see all of that it's the best feeling in the world and that's what gets you go back the next day and then do it all over again for another client or another event or whatever it is. So I saw how hard it was for her and so I made sure I was taking videos and photos left and right because I wanted her to still kind of experience it, but I think that that is one way to definitely keep you motivated because everyone loves that feeling of accomplishment. You don't necessarily need to hear it from everyone, like, "Oh, you did such a great job with this." If you just see it with your own eyes that's the best feeling and then that gets me going again and I wanna come up with another idea and see that one through. So, I definitely think just focusing on just wanting to do things from start to finish and just maybe on your own saying I can handle this by myself and then seeing it all the way through. It keeps me motivated at least.

Amanda Hammett: I think that your answer there really circles back to at the beginning when you were talking about you wanted to prove that you were this hard worker. I think that that answer alone because you're like, I have a hard time giving up projects that I wanted to see to fruition. And I think that that's a sign of someone who has poured their heart and soul into something.

Delanie Olsen: Yes, I agree. I think that also goes back to this millennial stereotype too, because it is the not as hard working as some of the older generations and things like that, but honestly I feel like I worked great with some of the older generations, and they never said to me, "Oh, you're a millennial." People might have made jokes here and there when I did something, and I really appreciated that because they wanted to learn things that I knew about that they didn't know about like social media, and I wanted to learn things that I didn't know either from the beginning. I think it's good to kind of have that mix in the workplace as well, it's important. And I've seen some people of the older generation jump on social media. When we had to do a social media branding for the company, they wanted people to try and be more engaging on LinkedIn and things like that. I had people coming up to me, "Well, I already have a LinkedIn, "I want a Twitter now. "I want you to help me out with this, "and I want to recruit candidates through Twitter." I loved that 'cause it didn't make me feel like the millennial who just sits on social media all day, because they actually saw some value out of it and so I think it's good to have that mix in the workplace. I think it's very important because everyone's gonna bring something else to the table.

Amanda Hammett: That is something that I talk about all the time. We each bring strengths and from our generations to the table, and it's just about accepting them and learning from each other. You'd be surprised how many companies I talk to and they're like, "Yeah, we don't hire millennials," and I'm like...

Delanie Olsen: I would not think that.

Amanda Hammett: I don't understand like, literally, how is this going to work for you.

Delanie Olsen: Yes. And I've gotten since I was going through this process of looking for a job, and I actually remember getting this even before I got my job at OneBridge when I was looking for a company. It was the strangest thing, in an interview I'd sit there for 20 minutes and show in my portfolio or talk about all of my hard work and my experience. And then they would ask me the question, "So, as a millennial, what do you think "your work ethic is like?" And I'm like, "I just told you what my work "ethic is like. Just because you put a name "on it doesn't mean I change my work ethic "all of a sudden, I swear it's the "same that I just talked about." So I always found that question to be so strange in an interview. I just kind of defer it back, and I'd say, "Well, you know, I just went over everything, "and I don't think it changes just because "you put a millennial phrase in front of my name." So I definitely find that weird that some companies focus so highly on that when I think it is important to have a mix of different generations.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Well, I will tell you that in speaking with Eric and Karen and Daryle, they all will attest to the fact that you have a very, very strong work ethic.

Delanie Olsen: Well, that makes me happy, thank you.

Amanda Hammett: So the next time you need to look for a job, just take this tape I swear, I'm a great hard worker. A CEO and all these other people say that I'm a very hard worker.

Delanie Olsen: I love that. I mean, they were one good company to land after college that is for sure. I definitely lucked out there.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. They're fantastic. Is there anything, you've kind of touched on this but I'd like to dig into this a little bit more, is there anything that you wish that companies knew about recruiting younger employees?

Delanie Olsen: That is a good question. Let me think about this one. Definitely the whole stereotype around the work from home, how millennials are the ones who want to work from home and we've got to start to accommodate for that in our organization. Which I think is great if you are starting to like, maybe like a one day a week, things like that, but I think it's funny 'cause I don't think it just has to do with millennials. As I talk to other people, other generations, even my Dad, he's been starting to work from home at least two days a week, and he is all about it. He is getting more done first of all, because he's probably like me and he talks a lot when he's at work. He loves to socialize. But I don't think that the working from home should be a thing that's connected to millennials because I think it's just a fact that we have so much technology nowadays and a lot of positions, some not so much, but a lot of positions you can work from home now and get all of the same work done just as hard as anyone else. So for a company that's maybe trying to appeal to millennials, don't necessarily just throw those certain things out there 'cause you're like oh they'll grab onto that. I think that goes to anyone. If you're wanting to hire good talent for your organization, everyone feels that way nowadays and with all the technology giving them a little bit of that freedom is a positive thing.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

Delanie Olsen: That's definitely one of them. Just I love the idea of ongoing education. I'm not saying it necessarily needs to be where you have money set aside, because you may not be at that point if you're a smaller company but still wanting to appeal to millennials. But there's a lot of free resources out there so maybe if it is a class on... There was a class on SEO and I was really interested in taking it. It ended up being a free class in but it was at I-30s and it was gonna take me an hour to get there. So I told my supervisor, "Hey, I'm really interested in this "and I think it will be beneficial for us." And she's like, "Get your butt over there." She's like, "That's okay that you're leaving early." She's like, "This is good for us." So, I think ongoing education, I think it's the CEO maybe of Microsoft that said this. I'm not taking credit for this 'cause I love this quote. But he said, "I'm not a know-it-all, I'm a learn-it-all." I love that because I'm definitely not a know-it-all, I have to teach myself things over and over again, I have a terrible memory. So when I heard that, I appreciated that a lot. I think if companies really focus on just that ongoing education because with technology everything changes so quickly especially in the marketing world that I'm in I swear there's something new every day. Just having that ability for my supervisor to say, "Hey, you should go to this workshop. "I know it's during the day, "but it's free, even if it's not in our budget, "and I think that you're gonna learn from it "and I know you'll provide value to the organization." I just started two months ago at this company, and in the first two weeks the CEO sent me an email and was like, "Hey, there's this social media workshop "downtown, I want you to go to this, "I think it's gonna be great, "it's a women-owned organization and "I know you're passionate about that." And I was like, "Oh, I just started here two weeks ago." So I think that ongoing education should be important to millennials but also everyone, so using that kind of as a way to look for that top talent is super important.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. What I see over and over again just in the 20 interviews that I've done for the Rockstars so far, almost everybody that I can think of off the top of my head that I've interviewed thus far has mentioned this need for ongoing learning, this ongoing challenge of what can they learn next? They're not content to just sit in this stationery position day in day out doing the exact same thing. They want that learning because it's challenging to them and it keeps them going and it keeps them wanting to go.

Delanie Olsen: I've had friends who started out as an organization as one position, and as two years pass and they've kind of started to dip their feet into other things and they've got interested in other things, the organizations let them completely switch to a different department. And when I hear that, I love that because again work is kind of lower, life is short and work is lower on that totem pole, and if you know that you're not super happy with something but you love the organization, if they let you kind of flop that quickly to something else and jump into it, I totally respect that. I think that is amazing across the board. And yes it is harder with smaller companies again, but it is probably a little bit easier with the bigger organization but I think that's a really cool trait to have as an organization.

Amanda Hammett: It is. And you hit the nail on the head when you said two years, because that seems to be the magic number, right? In that timeframe we start getting a little antsy, and what can I do to add to my skillset, and yes absolutely.

Delanie Olsen: I do think, give a position or just anything, time because like you said, the two years. I feel like when I've jumped from something, one thing to the other and I didn't give it enough time then I'm mad at myself. Because I'm like what it if was something I would have been passionate about. And that's why internships are always hard for me 'cause I'm like this wasn't enough time.


Delanie Olsen: How do I know that this isn't... I had an internship at a radio station and I was doing live on air types stuff and I loved it but at the same time I was like, "I don't know if this is me," but then after three months, I was gone. And I was like, I don't really have that opportunity again. So internships are a struggle for me because I was kinda mad that it was, it kinda kept me in that short time period and I didn't know if I fully felt one way or another about it.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, that's hilarious. I've actually never heard anyone say that about an internship, I mean I've talked to thousands of people about internships...

Delanie Olsen: Well, this just shows you how weird I am about that. I had an internship and it wasn't like fully what I thought I was gonna be into but after I was done, they were like, "Hey, you were really good at this. "We need to pull our freelancer because "we're still just really super swamped with clients." And I was in college, I was like this is a good opportunity, in the end I'll know if I really don't like this. And my mom's like, are you sure you want to keep going? And sure enough, after about four more months of that, I knew I didn't want to keep doing that.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. X that one off.

Delanie Olsen: Yes. I think it's a good chance to keep things rolling. But I guess if you know within a week and you're like, oh no, then maybe it is not meant to be.

Amanda Hammett: All right. Well, there you go. Delanie, this has just been an absolute pleasure. I mean, I knew it would be just based on the two people that recommended you and just how phenomenal they are and just the high praises they had for you. But it really has been a pleasure, thank you so much for sharing with me and our audience, thank you. All right everybody. Thank you so much for joining us in this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Be sure and check out the next episodes coming live to you, and we will see you soon. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at the link is below, it's There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millenials engaged on a day to day basis because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

featuring Jarred C. Morgan

20: Millennials: Learning to Communicate Across Generations

For those who are looking to develop millennials, it is important to realize they value their personal lives. This millennial learned through mentorship that service both in his personal and his professional life not only fulfills him both also those around him.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Learning to Communicate Across Generations

00:05 Amanda: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast.

00:10 Amanda: Hey, and welcome to this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. So in today's podcast, the rockstar we had is Jarred Morgan of ExpressWorks International. And Jarred had, I don't know, so many pieces of great advice throughout the entire interview, but the one thing that really sticks out to me is when he said, "Show up on time, and do what you say you're going to do." And I think that that's fantastic advice. Not only for millennials in the workforce, but for everybody in the workforce. Can you imagine the different world that we would live in if everybody lived by that philosophy? So join me and watch Jarred Morgan as he shares with us even more fantastic information.

00:52 Amanda: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett. And I'm known as Millennial Translator® because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent. And today's episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast brings us a very special and hard to get rockstar. Today's rockstar is Jarred Morgan. Jarred, welcome to the show.

01:13 Jarred: Thank you, thank you for having me. And I'm so sorry for the constant follow-ups that we've had, chasing each other down. I take ownership for that.

01:24 Amanda: No sir, no sir, this was... We've had some difficulties getting on each other's schedules but I just chalk it up to we are two busy, in-demand people. How about that?

01:38 Jarred: I will not deny that. If that's what you wanna bestow upon me, for sure.

01:41 Amanda: Absolutely. So the interesting thing about this show is that everybody who is a guest on the show has to be nominated by a coworker, a boss, or somebody who can really vouch for your work ethic, who can vouch for the fact that you are nothing like a millennial stereotype of lazy and entitled. And the interesting thing is, is I put the call out to my network and a gentleman in my network put it out to his network. And that's where you came from, you were actually nominated by, anonymously, by an organization that you are very involved with. So you don't know the person. I don't know who it was either. But tell us a little bit about that organization that nominated you, the Emerging 100.

02:28 Jarred: Thank you to whoever felt me worthy to do so. Emerging 100 of Houston is an auxiliary organization of 100 Black Men of America, originally founded about... Over 60 years ago in New York City. And it was geared toward making sure that there was a pipeline of mentoring from many men of color toward boys of color, and it's since expanded to include young girls as well, and even young adult women. So, through the Collegiate 100 chapters that we have across the nation in various universities, it's over 50-something chapters, I think, for Collegiate. Within Emerging, Emerging is really somewhat new. Ties into the aspect of your show. Millennials. So it tries to grab that 35 through 22 bracket and provide them with an opportunity to fellowship among themselves, drive results within the community and without the heavy-handed oversight of, say, differences in generation. So normally what would have happened is someone would apply to become a part of 100 Black Men of America, but now there is an age limit there. And so it allows us to create our own space and be creative in it, and deliver impact to the community.

04:01 Amanda: That is fantastic, I'm always for delivering impact to the community. Whatever that...

04:07 Jarred: Yeah, yeah. I'm a huge, huge proponent of that for sure.

04:09 Amanda: That is amazing, and I appreciate that. So one of the things that they had to say about you in the nomination form was that you put your money, your time, and your effort into where your mouth is. So you don't just talk, you do. And I think that that's important. That action taking, I think is important. And I would imagine that you don't just have that action taking in your outside, your extracurricular. I would imagine you have that in your career as well. So tell us a little bit about your career, what do you do now, what's going on there?

04:47 Jarred: So let me see, the best phrase for what I do... Management consulting is the more, I guess, accepted term but more specifically in that space among those who know about management consulting, I'm in OCM. So people management, behavioral influence, and corporate communications, internally speaking, are the three main buckets of what I focus my nine-to-five skill set on. I currently work for ExpressWorks International. It's a firm of consultants that are located pretty much all over the globe. But specifically with strongholds in Houston, San Francisco, and the Netherlands, England. But that's who I work for. I enjoy it very much. I have been with this firm for the past five months and it's honestly been transformational to my career.

05:49 Amanda: Transformational is not a word that you hear a whole lot in talking about careers and career paths.

05:57 Jarred: So those who don't like quote unquote "empty phrases" from the corporate world, please forgive me, you'll hear a lot of them as I use them often. But what is perceived as to be empty, I try to provide more impact and context around. So I don't just say things to just say it on an email, I say it out into that there's some way you can say that you can see that word somewhere. So I do apologize that I do have some skills in corporate speak, but not necessarily in a quote unquote corporate do... I'm a doer. Or I strive to be.

06:34 Amanda: I picked that up in your nomination form a little bit. So tell us a little bit about... So you were telling me before, we are on the call that you just turned 33. So again, happy birthday.

06:47 Jarred: Are you sure of my age?

06:51 Amanda: Oh, I'm so sorry, you turned 23. I'm so sorry.


06:54 Jarred: How dare you? Okay.

06:56 Amanda: So you just had a birthday, which means that you've been in the workforce for a little while, you have some years under your belt, you're not just new into the career path, into your career path. Now, tell us a little bit about... Have you found anything that has really worked for you in your career? Whether it's a mantra or a methodology or something in particular. What's worked for you?

07:23 Jarred: Well, it sounds weird and not to be a corporate shrill if you will, but we have a saying here that if you show up on time and do what you say, that's huge. I've even had the examples of whether someone will say, "Hey, if I didn't have everything I needed to have," it's a meeting call, "Is it okay for maybe just cancel it? And wait till I have more of it?" And it's important to show up and do as you said you would do. So if you don't even have that, at least have the response of why you don't have it, what are some of the things you need to, in order to get to it, but still stick to those times. Sticking to those times are huge. It's something that I have previously struggled with because I'm such a fluid thinker. I think, is it left-brain? Left brain is the more creative hemisphere? Or is it right?

08:20 Amanda: I always get it confused.

08:22 Jarred: I should know that and especially if I'm bringing it up. But I am naturally that type of person, and so I've had to get better at being hard stopping to dates and times, but it's a priority struggle in terms of understanding that. Especially when you're in my space of being somewhat of a seasoned rookie, if that makes any sense, right? Like this person who has a little bit more experience under his belt but still has plenty of room for growth. So I would say that that one, one of the quotes that I think I have in my signature is "Service is the rent you pay for the space that you occupy on Earth." And so for all the things that you have been given, an opportunity to work for, an opportunity to go out and get, you have to pay it forward. And it feels good to pay it forward. Usually that energy, I think, trumps any personal achievement.

09:22 Jarred: And I'm willing to test anyone on that theory, but I say those two and maybe one more. Keep it simple, stupid. You gotta keep things very simple. I have a tendency to be very verbose and I've had to learn how to narrow that down. And so a lot of times what I noticed is that people who seem to be a little struggling in their career or in general, is that they don't really keep it simple, they think more is better, but a lot of times in more is less. I get lost in translation, I don't see your main points, I'm confused and now I'm immobilized now. So now I'm paralyzed to do nothing for you. So keep it simple. Don't just throw information to just throw it. Data is just data until you give it context and a story, it's just data. No actual items can come from it. So I would say those are the things that I learned, and probably learned a little of it the hard way in the beginning of my career. But... 'cause I... Audiences matter, who's reading, what you're getting and what are their intentions with that information and everything like that matters. I'm one of those people that, you could throw me in front of an almanac and I can read it all day long. Because I'm a fact information-based person, but there are people who are creative, there are people who are listeners, there are people who are visual, and so you have to really understand your audience in order to communicate effectively. So in a roundabout way, everything in my life has been a...


11:03 Jarred: Everything is an example. Sorry, but yeah, I'm passionate about those three things, I think.

11:10 Amanda: That's awesome.

11:10 Jarred: At least today.

11:11 Amanda: At least today.

11:12 Jarred: At least today.


11:16 Amanda: Let's talk about some of the harder lessons learned, some of the stumbling blocks that you've faced. Because I know that I've had multiple, multiple stumbling blocks in my own career. So tell us, give us an example of one major stumbling block that you faced and how did you overcome it? What did you do?

11:38 Jarred: So it was within the gold program at Johnson and Johnson, where I went after graduating from grad school. So it was my first big boy job, if you will. And on my second rotation, I was put in in a Quality Engineer role. Totally outside of my background, I have no background in bio mix. I have very little understanding of engineering outside, say, some high school training. So a lot of that was foreign to me, and a lot of the jobs in which I was responsible for were older. So older generation. And so I got some lumps when I tried to jump straight into work with a... I could pinpoint who they were, right? I could read that characteristics of baby boomers. What are some of the challenges they face? What are some of their communication styles? I can read that. And so I had some of that when I didn't understand how they viewed me. They saw as me as this millennial. And I don't consider myself a millennial, you know what I mean? In different contexts, I think... When I came out of college, I was called Gen-Y. SO I didn't know where millennial came from. But they see me as that because they're continuously seeing it in marketing feeds, you name it.

13:07 Amanda: Yup, everywhere.

13:08 Jarred: One of the millennials. He's gonna rush to judgement. He's not gonna take your opinion into factoring. He's not going to have an appreciation for what you know or what you've taken time to learn. And he's gonna always need constant gratification and re-affirmation of who he is or what he's doing. All of which of knowing me equally. And so when I finally understood that that was how he they were viewing me, I was able to create an environment where we could have some of that real talk of... Back in my day, those conversations and they were realizing how different I was from what they had perceived was huge. And then from then on, I mean we're talking about week turnaround on stuff that I needed when it was taking three weeks or more. I started to get prioritized and the things that nature. Some of it is just truly human interaction. I'm naturally an introvert. So even though I can crack jokes, I can be social, it's been a learned attribute. So if I can sit at my computer and send emails, the natural side of me will be quite okay with that. That's not how people react, it's not how people move in the world. And so, those lumps, I think, were mostly from a social standpoint: Finding how to hear my own voice in a corporate setting, being okay with that voice, and making sure that that was communicated to others. So it took some time to get there.

14:46 Amanda: Oh, that's cool. Alright. That's a very, very good example. And I think that it's something that I hear a lot of, is millennials, younger millennials, are in a position where they're now managing or depending on older generations, and they're being looked at as this kid. And nobody wants to take the kid seriously, and so how do you manage that? And I think that you managed it beautifully, honestly. I know that it was a learning curve for you, but I feel like you did a good job. So, congratulations.

15:19 Jarred: Oh, thank you. And I think sometimes all learning opportunities will be successful. So sometimes there won't be a good result. Sometimes you might end up being let go, fired, etc., but as long you learned something from all those experiences, it's a lesson learned. It doesn't have to necessarily end with a favorable conclusion that you desire, as long as you learn. That's really the key. So learn from all situations.

15:48 Amanda: I absolutely agree with that whole-heartedly.

15:51 Jarred: I think if I didn't have the support of upper management in different spaces that weren't even in that particular location, if I didn't have their support, I might not have been as confident to take the approach that I took right now. We need to kind of step our faith or step out and trust that what sounded good most likely is good. I needed to hear that comforting support. So I don't understate that by any means because I know it helps me still to this day, is support. Support is important.

16:23 Amanda: Absolutely. I don't think that you get anywhere in the corporate world without support.

16:28 Jarred: Anywhere in the world, really. You should have a champion in each and every thing that you do.

16:34 Amanda: I agree. Absolutely.

16:37 Jarred: Someone who understands your core values, understands you beyond the nice little cards and cut-outs that they give for every generation and every personality. Somebody who really gets you, and that takes time to build. I think a lot of times people don't take the time to build.

16:55 Amanda: I agree. I agree. I think that we sometimes rely too heavily on technology and what it gives to us, but it takes away that human-to-human connection. And we're hard-wired for that. And we need it, and we crave it, and it's... Yeah.

17:11 Jarred: Yeah, I know. Just the other day... I don't think they will see this, anyway, but it was on a group meet where someone's suggesting that they use LinkedIn to find mentors, which I think is smart. But they find their mentor and then say something along the things of, "Be my mentor." How many times has this person seen that? How is what you're doing standing out in a real connection? LinkedIn is an aid. It's not the replacement. So you should be leveraging. "Can we meet for coffee?" And pay for it like a responsible adult and earn the time, earn the face time in front of someone. I think sometimes we just think, "I pinged you. I messaged you. So now we have a relationship." Uh-uh.


18:02 Jarred: That doesn't work in people's dating lives, so why would that work here?

18:08 Amanda: Oh, Jarred, we're gonna be friends, I can just tell.


18:13 Jarred: I look forward to it, Amanda.


18:19 Amanda: Alright. Now you have an interesting educational background. You want to Florida A&M, but then...

18:25 Jarred: AMU. Just had to do that, real quick.


18:28 Amanda: Then we... Not we, you went Shanghai University for your graduate. Did you have any of these preconceived ideas about what work or the working world was gonna be like before you left the confines of the classroom? And what were the differences between the idealized version from college and the reality version?

18:57 Jarred: So I felt like I'm pretty good on paper. I'm a masterful communicator in terms of casual conversation, so then by natural ordained, I would become successful. No. Not at all. And I say the real world was just totally different. It's a constant show me, constant proving yourself. And that's okay, because it keeps you naturally growing. It keeps you energized to develop and push yourself to those limits. So I would say that that was... I thought corporate... I thought I could charm corporate America and, naw!


19:38 Amanda: Naw!

19:39 Jarred: And the funny thing is, if I saw myself now, I would either pull myself to the side or totally disregard the person, 'cause I know what that's like now. So it's like, "No. It's too much fluff and probably not enough substance or something," which wasn't the case, but if you're not cognizant of the those things that you give off, it can impact you in how people feel about you. So I would say that that was it, for me at least. I thought you could charm corporate America and charm yourself into a situation. You say, "Oh, I'm smart, so then people will give me jobs and give me promotions." No, no. You got to work, man. There's no substitute.

20:22 Amanda: It doesn't work that way? Man!

20:25 Jarred: At least not in my world.


20:28 Jarred: Well, I don't know if that's working for you, Amanda. By all means, give us the code? What's the key code?

20:32 Amanda: It did not work that way. It did not work that way at all.


20:37 Amanda: So you've been at a couple of different companies throughout your career and had some different positions. Is there been a boss or a mentor, or maybe through the Emerging 100 program... I know that you guys do some mentoring there. Is there anything that they have done that has helped you stay mentally engaged at work, and productive at work?

21:00 Jarred: Yeah, the brothers that I work with, Emerging 100 Houston, are just as accomplished if not more, in really good stages of the their lives, and the fact that they keep grinding makes me wanna grind, so the fact that they work hard. I see them working hard. I'm like, "Oh, I'm sleeping through lunch. I need to work." So it's just different things like that, that competitive juices and competitive nature, and then as far as boss, two people who really stick out to me, TaKeisha Rayson, who was my long-term director prior to me coming to this new firm. And then the current firm that I'm at, the guy who brought me in. His name is William Mouton. Ooh, he's gonna hurt me.

21:49 Amanda: Yes he is.

21:49 Jarred: William Mouten, William Mouten, who I found in my organization. He's a part of the older version of the organization, and just feeling comfort around finding someone who knew OCM work, organizational change management. Who knew OCM work, was familiar with a lot of the hurdles that I had encountered from corporate America space. Also, being from my same... What would you call it? Affinity group I think is the corporate word. But my racial background, we tend to get treated in monoliths whether it be race, gender, age, you name it, right? So to be around someone who had came out on the other side of that navigation was important. So yeah, I would say those two people are huge in terms of where I am today in the last five years.

22:45 Amanda: That's awesome. I love that, I love that. And I love that it was a... That gave you those learning experiences, and I'm sure that they pushed you sometimes when you didn't wanna be pushed. That's what bosses do.

22:57 Jarred: Yeah, absolutely. And when there are times when I see things my way, and I assume that that must be...

23:08 Amanda: The way.

23:09 Jarred: Forgive me, I'm gonna get very real. The black man, 30-year-old way of viewing it, and then when you see someone else not view it that way you go, "Wait." You say, "Am I missing the connection?" And oftentimes you are. You're missing a perspective that you don't see, and they are wonderful at giving it.


23:28 Jarred: They are some of the best at giving it. So yeah, those two people really stick out in my mind. I'd give them an island if I could.

23:38 Amanda: Alright. Well, if you're giving out islands...


23:40 Jarred: I don't know if I say it, because we on day one now.

23:46 Amanda: Day one.


23:49 Jarred: Yeah. Baby crawls.

23:51 Amanda: So let me ask you this. Whether this is your current company or maybe one that you've been at in the past, is there anything about the perks or the benefits or maybe even the culture of the company or the subculture of your specific team that it's just helped you to create a sense of loyalty to the company where you're like, "Man, I got to get up. I want to do awesome by this company today"?

24:18 Jarred: It's interesting 'cause I have this conversation with my wife. And it was along the lines of if an opportunity came along and paid me X, Y, and Z, more, would I take it? And the honest answer is, "No," because this company, even in this short timeframe, has done more for my professional growth in wanting to be interested, invested in me than all the companies I've been a part of. And that's not to knock them. Some of them aren't geared or designed in that way, but it's been much more than a learning factory for me. This has been an investment in seeing me five years from now. And I immediately have seen the payback on that. So I would say that this group is really, really interested in the right answer. I've never seen a company really hone in on the right answer, not who, not where it came from, the right answer, the right solution to things.

25:22 Jarred: And so I've been really diving into that, because it's energized me to believe that the right way can win and that we don't have to enter in all these other factors that have nothing to do with the solution. So yeah. I hope I hit the nail on the head in my subgroup or my sub-project team. Absolutely amazing. Very flexible. I'm going to miss them when I no longer have the project, I'm sure. It's just extremely flexible, lighthearted. We're always joking with each other. There's a huge social connection that we share, and I think it helps us get each other's back. Alright? So, it's because we share those commonalities, whether it's... I mean, it's not... We're not the same background-wise by any means, but because we have those social interactions and joke and we do all these other different things, it makes extra work on a Sunday easier. Makes extra work on a Saturday easier. So I would say those are the things that stick out to me at least.

26:33 Amanda: Okay. So I just wanna clear this one, and I just wanna hone in on it for just a second...

26:40 Jarred: No problem.

26:41 Amanda: On that last thing on the subculture of your particular team. You actually mean the human-to-human connection that you have with these people. Correct?

26:52 Jarred: Yeah. Yeah, there's no other way to explain it. Doesn't necessarily always come through the medium of physically being in front of each other. Sometimes it's...

27:06 Amanda: Of course. Not possible. Not possible. Yeah.

27:06 Jarred: Through Skype and joking in that manner. But there's definitely a human aspect, right, that is not relegated to emoticons and memes and GIFs. It's just genuine conversation with two human beings with similar interests.

27:23 Amanda: Two human beings being human beings together. I love it. [laughter]

27:28 Jarred: So is this your anti-social media manifesto?

27:31 Amanda: It is not. It is not. [laughter] No, no. But it's just, it's really interesting. I think that a lot of people... And millennials definitely do this, but if you go in and you notice that other generations have started tending to do this as well, is that they default a lot of times to difficult conversations, or get to know you conversations are done through technology. And I just don't think that it quite builds the same rapport and relationships with it. That's it. I love technology.

28:05 Jarred: No, I think that's fair.

28:07 Amanda: Yeah. I mean, you know. So...

28:09 Jarred: Yeah. But I think, yeah, and I think to which your point is, naturally, human beings will side with the path of least resistance.

28:18 Amanda: Of course.

28:19 Jarred: So if they have an opportunity to turn a difficult conversation into a tweet, a tweet war, then they'd rather do that than actually deal with the ramifications of impacting someone's life.

28:29 Amanda: No. I absolutely agree. And I mean, there's a whole psychological study on exactly what's going on in your brain when you can do it via technology versus face to face. I mean, there's data out there. So alright. So tell me about this. You have a pretty varied background, both professionally and in your extracurricular activities. So tell us what is it that made you stand out in the hiring process? What was it that made your boss... Well, I know that your boss knew you through Emerging 100. But what was it in maybe another role that made your boss say, "Yeah. We gotta call this Jarred guy and get him in here and interview him." What was it about it?

29:16 Jarred: Personal relationship. Personal relationship. Nothing has superseded that. Sure, once the connection is there, you're put in a certain position to where you can sell yourself. You still have to do that, but I'm 100% confident it's the personal relationship. Without question. I mean, because there are the things that come with it that are unintended consequences like I now can have a candid conversation on the dos and don'ts before I go into an interview. If a person doesn't know you, they can't really give that to you in a very comforting way. So yeah. It, literally, the personal relationship took every other aspect to the next level in terms of preparation.

30:04 Amanda: Very good. Yeah, I think that that's fantastic. So tell me a little bit about... I mean you have been through the hiring process with multiple companies. Is there anything you wish companies knew about hiring a younger employee? Is there anything that you think that they should change or anything that you think they do spectacularly well?

30:26 Jarred: Which industry am I talking to right now?

30:27 Amanda: Any industry.

30:29 Jarred: I want to tell them something. No, I'm just kidding. [laughter] What about young people... Get to the point, ask what you want to know. I think, with young people, if you go in a casual format, it's hard to switch to a very serious tone in terms of trying to extract work capabilities or work skills. So ask what you wanna know. You can definitely open with some light stuff but don't allow yourself to stay in that mode. Allow the young person to actually extract their skills and their talents and don't be so hard on things that you find comforting. So you like to do X, Y, and Z, and what you'll tend to do is then take that with you into the interview and anything contrary to that you don't like the person. But it's the contrary that builds the team. It's what they can see that you can't. And so instead of focusing or what is not the same, talk about how magnificent the differences can be, how magnifying the differences can be, what are the things you are missing that you could be adding? 'Cause if you were everything, then you wouldn't be hiring.


31:53 Amanda: Right.

31:55 Jarred: That's an advice to all my baby boomers out there is that you guys can be really deep into your positions, and you tend to have a larger knowledge base in your generation and so I get why you feel it's a superior conclusion to your counterparts, but still there's an opportunity to learn and don't miss out on an opportunity because someone doesn't mirror how you felt you were at 25.

32:32 Amanda: Absolutely. That is some fantastic advice, Jarred, really, really, that is some fantastic advice. And I think that you have actually given a lot of really good advice in this, what, 15-20, I don't know how long we've been on this call, but in this call, but in this very...

32:46 Jarred: Might have been motivated by these other short phone calls of tough love. [laughter] Maybe I was in that mood today, I don't know. You ask me tomorrow and I might tell you a whole different story. [laughter]

33:00 Amanda: I love it, I love it, I love it. Well, Jarred, this, like I said, has been fantastic. Would it be okay with you if I share a link to your LinkedIn profile on the show notes?

33:16 Jarred: Not at all. It's probably the only way they can even find me on social media. I don't even have most of the other mediums.

33:23 Amanda: Well... [laughter]

33:23 Jarred: I was about to name them then I thought that might be press. I don't want to give them unsolicited press.

33:30 Amanda: No, no, let's... We'll stick with LinkedIn to keep it professional, I will include that into the show notes. But otherwise this has been a fantastic interview and I want to thank Jarred Morgan for being on the show. I also want to thank the Emerging 100 of Houston for nominating him to be on the show. And of course I want to thank the audience for checking us out today. So thank you guys so much and I will see you next time. Bye.

33:57 Jarred: Thank you.

33:57 Amanda: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at, the link is below, it's There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

19: The Power of Mentoring Millennials

The war for top talent is always going to be fierce. But while some large Fortune 500s are spending millions on recruiting millennials in all the usual places, other companies are finding top talent in unconventional places.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - The Power of Mentoring Millennials

00:05 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstar podcast. So in today's episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast, we're gonna hear from Danae Villarreal who's with 511 Enterprises, and Danae shares with us all about the power of mentoring and how one mentor actually found her when she was at her worst early on in her career and how he really has poured into her, and has changed not only the trajectory of her career path, but also the trajectory of her life. So listen in and see what Danae has to share.

00:39 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Welcome to the show today. I have a really fascinating rockstar with me today. Today's rockstar is Danae Villarreal. Danae, welcome to the show.


00:55 Danae Villarreal: Thank you, thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure.

01:00 Amanda Hammett: I'm super excited to talk to you. So Danae, tell us a little bit about you.

01:04 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, grew up in Washington, moved to Northern California when I was like 23, did the whole higher education thing. I've been working in sales development for the last year and a half, and I recently started a data analytics program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

01:25 Amanda Hammett: Very cool, very cool. Alright. So I happen to meet your direct boss, I don't know, months ago, at a conference, and he was telling me about the philosophy at your company and all that good stuff, and about his personal hiring philosophy, and so I knew that he was like good people. So I was like, "Oh, do you have any rockstars? And he immediately told me a little bit about you. He didn't tell me your name, that would come later. So, tell us why does your boss, Joe Odell, why does he consider you to be a rockstar?

02:01 Danae Villarreal: That's a great question. [laughter] This is a long story, I hope you're ready.

02:07 Amanda Hammett: I'm ready.

02:10 Danae Villarreal: It was a year and a half ago, a little over a year and a half ago, I was working a pizza job, [chuckle] and kinda went through like a quarter life crisis so I was like not sure what I wanted to do, and that crisis ended up in me getting fired at the pizza job. I spent three months on the couch, trying to figure out what I was gonna do, putting in countless applications, and did everything I could to prepare myself for interviews and everything.

02:41 Danae Villarreal: And just like randomly happened upon a job opening for 511 Enterprises, and I was really not sure of it at first. But I go in for a job shadow, and I meet Joe Odell, and his first reaction to me was, "I looked at your LinkedIn, and I noticed that you have roller derby on there. Is that something you do?" And then I was like, "Yeah," [chuckle] but interview turned into me, inviting him out to my game the following weekend. [chuckle] The thing about roller derby is you can invite people all the time, but most of the time people don't show, and Joe shows up with his whole family that weekend.

03:25 Amanda Hammett: I've met him.

03:25 Danae Villarreal: And I was so impressed. [chuckle] I knew that even if I didn't know exactly if I had what it took to do the whole sales thing, I knew that Joe was someone that I wanted to learn from, and I have been ever since. It's been a year and a half of his mentorship, and it's just completely changed the trajectory of my life. He has championed me like no one else has before. And so, what went for me was a pizza delivery gig. I'm pursuing my dreams because he saw me, and he saw something in me, and believed in me, and has not stopped fighting for me since that day.

04:14 Amanda Hammett: That's an awesome story, and I can totally see him doing all of those things. [laughter] He's just that kind of person.

04:24 Danae Villarreal: Totally.

04:26 Amanda Hammett: So tell us a little bit, I mean, I know that you mentioned you got fired from your pizza job, but tell us a little bit about, in your current role, 'cause you're in a sales development role at 511, tell us a little bit about what has worked for you in your career path and growing, as you have.

04:47 Danae Villarreal: Yeah. So I think that, I personally, I'm in the belief that sales development is probably one of the hardest jobs that is out there.

04:58 Amanda Hammett: I'm out there with you.


05:00 Danae Villarreal: Like we're dealing with rejection every single day, multiple times a day. People hanging up on us, whatever. And I think that for me, the biggest part of my success in the last year and a half has been intentionally pursuing emotional health, choosing to not place my identity completely in the role, like whether or not someone says no to me, and just brushing it off and moving on to the next person and consistently practicing resilience because it's such a practice. Like it's not something that we just have innately within us. Maybe a little bit, but in sales, like you gotta be in that mindset. And so, yeah, I think that that for me has been like the biggest thing, making sure that I'm taking care of myself and just like my, yeah, like my mental attitude in keeping that on board, you know.

06:02 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely, I mean, well there's... And with that resilience there's also a certain level of mental toughness that you've had to develop. And I know that you mentioned taking care of yourself from an emotional level, and that is something that actually Joe and I discussed, is just those roles that you're in, and it's just hard on anybody. And so to make it, and to be successful, you've gotta have those things. So, good for you. Very good for you!

06:30 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, thank you! Yeah...

06:31 Amanda Hammett: No...

06:31 Danae Villarreal: Joe... Also... Sorry...

06:33 Amanda Hammett: Oh, no, please.

06:34 Danae Villarreal: Also has been super helpful for me in that because when I started, I didn't know what I was doing. He has so very graciously led me along the path of asking good questions. And making me actually ask myself like, "What? Like why do I feel so tied to this right now? Am I still gonna be okay if this deal falls through? Am I still gonna be okay and not letting the roller coaster of the sales cycle dictate the way that I feel about who I am or where I'm going? So...

07:09 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Very cool, very cool. So is there anything in this particular job or maybe in a past job that has not worked for you?

07:23 Danae Villarreal: Anything that has not worked for me?

07:25 Amanda Hammett: Mm-hmm.

07:27 Danae Villarreal: Oh, that's a great question. I think that... Like no matter the product or whatever, I've had like... The nature of my business is I've had multiple clients over the last year and half. And so, it's rapidly changing and stuff. But I think that as long as I stay tied to the why. The why of like making people's lives better. No matter what the product is. If I am bringing the value and saying, "Hey, I can make this easier for you. I can take away your headaches, whatever." I think that that has been something that I've needed. And to go back to the question that what hasn't worked for me, has been like getting caught up in the small hiccups that happen within the sales process.


08:27 Danae Villarreal: And like, you know like, it's administrative nightmare sometimes. And so, just really keeping my cool and just remembering why, has been something that, like I've realized that that's something I need on the day-to-day.

08:42 Amanda Hammett: It is, and not just in business, I think. You know?

08:45 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, right.

08:47 Amanda Hammett: So in those times when you feel in your current role where you're stumbling, or you've hit like a roadblock or something like that. What's really helped you through that?


09:03 Danae Villarreal: We're gonna bring back to Joe. [laughter]


09:06 Amanda Hammett: Is this like a long Joe commercial? Is this... [laughter]

09:11 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, this is, this is... [laughter] I've approved this message for Joe Odell. No. I think that mentorship, that has been one of the biggest things is, find people that can tell you what is true about you. No matter where you're at in life, we're all gonna hit those hard times or whatever, those stress, whatever. It's so easy to get caught up in lives. But having people around you that can remind you of who you are and why you're doing what you're doing, and to just kind of reset your baselines, that for me has been one of the biggest things. It was even yesterday. I was like, I had like a thousand things on my plate and I was like, had even a moment where I'm like, I feel like I can't get anything done to the level of excellence I want or whatever. And so I just, I called Joe, and I was like, "Hey, these are the thousand things that are happening right now. Like help."


10:09 Danae Villarreal: And he kinda just like he didn't give me the answers like I kinda wanted him to, but he was like... He just did that thing where he's asking good questions, and like, "What are your priorities right now? Remember who you are!" And just gave me that thing where I could be like, "Okay, reset, breathe, start over again." So that's been just... I don't know, I love having mentorship in my life, so...

10:42 Amanda Hammett: Awesome. That's really a... Yeah, a fantastic mentor is always a game changer and a life changer really. So...

10:50 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, seriously.

10:50 Amanda Hammett: Yeah, good for you. Okay, so... You mentioned a little reality check early on in the interview, but you also mentioned a couple of other things. I'd like to circle back to them if you don't mind.

11:08 Danae Villarreal: Mm-hmm.

11:10 Amanda Hammett: And you didn't specifically lay this out, but you... I do know this about you, is that you left college. Tell us a little bit about that.

11:20 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, totally. [chuckle] So I went to college and studied music when I was... I feel like I was young. It's been five years since I left. And when I started, I had all of these ideas about how I was gonna maybe pursue a career in music. And my thought process was, "I'm gonna go learn all of the basics, and then I'm gonna be a rockstar somewhere." Which is hilarious that I'm now in this podcast, but I was thinking a musical rockstar.


11:58 Amanda Hammett: But you are a rockstar!


12:01 Danae Villarreal: Different kind, different kind. [chuckle] And so, I just realized, one, it was naive for me to pursue that particular educational path because it wasn't gonna really get me to where I wanted to be, and then, two, was even if I finish this thing, I don't wanna be a music teacher, I don't wanna be an opera singer, and so I moved on from there and I moved to Northern California where I really did a lot of soul-searching, and I went to a theology school to really explore my spirituality and what I believed about life, and I learned so much about myself. And, yeah, all along that was where I'm working in restaurants, and I'm delivering pizzas and stuff. And so ultimately I'm grateful for everything that I've done because it's gotten me to where I am today. But had I had the choice, maybe I wouldn't have taken out those student loans.

13:14 Amanda Hammett: Oh, those student loans. Yes, yes, yes. Alright, so we've talked a little bit about Joe, just a little bit. [laughter] But I know that there are some other bosses or coworkers that you work with on a very regular day-to-day basis over at 511. Is there anything that they do, besides Joe, to keep you engaged and motivated and ready to take on that next no that you're gonna inevitably hear?

13:48 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, definitely, so I honestly just... I am so honored to work for 511 because I didn't know the level of... Just like champion thing that I could feel from an employer until I started working for them. So the higher up C-level guys are so encouraging, definitely make a point to meet with us on a regular basis.

14:20 Amanda Hammett: So this is like Chad?

14:23 Danae Villarreal: Like Chad, Nicole, and Rick Sbrocca, they have met with me on multiple occasions, helping me figure out what's the next move. What are my goals for the next year? Where do I wanna be in five years? Where do I wanna end up?

14:37 Amanda Hammett: Awesome!

14:38 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, it's fantastic because even if they know that I'm not gonna end up with 511, they're still investing in me, which I'm like, that's crazy but amazing at the same time.

14:51 Amanda Hammett: It is.


14:55 Danae Villarreal: Gotta love those guys. So for instance, I had been with 511 for a year and I heard about this school in San Francisco called MissionU, around, I don't know, it would've been like 10 months ago, 11 months ago now. And it was a data analytics and business intelligence program. It was gonna pull me away from Redding where the offices and stuff, and I was like, "This seems kinda interesting, it seems like a path I could go down at some point. If anything, it'll enrich my career." And I just applied on a whim, and I got accepted and I found out that they only accept like, they accepted 20 of us and there was 5000 applicants or something...

15:47 Amanda Hammett: Wow!

15:48 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, so I find out, and I'm like, "Hey, Chad, I've got some news... " [laughter] And from the get-go, they were so supportive, they were like, "Yeah, we will do whatever it takes to help you make this happen. If this is the path that you wanna go down, we're gonna help you get there." So I tried to search for jobs, couldn't find anything part-time. People don't hire STRs part-time. I'm not surprised by that. But 511 was like, "Hey, you know what, we don't have remote employees, but we'll keep you on. We'll keep you covered until you get through your program." And it's just been... The level of generosity has just been out of this world. So, yeah, I'm so grateful to everyone, all of them.

16:54 Amanda Hammett: That's amazing.

16:54 Danae Villarreal: And even the other management there have been super great about connecting with me, whether it's through Slack or on phone calls and just staying in touch and keeping me, leaving me feeling like I'm still part of the team, even though I'm not in the office all the time, which is, it's just really valuable.

17:14 Amanda Hammett: That's really, really amazing. I didn't know that about you starting that program and kinda how that all went down. That's really... That's really cool, that they're supporting you in that way. I mean... That's amazing. I just don't have words for that, that's amazing.

17:34 Danae Villarreal:Yeah, yeah, it's, [laughter] it's really hard to find, you know? So it's been good.

17:43 Amanda Hammett: Yeah. I mean, when I met Joe originally, I could tell like the culture there was something that was really interesting to me, doing what I do. That's a lot of what I talk about is building that kind of culture and to see it and to see it the way it's grown organically there, has been really interesting to see from my perspective. But Joe is really nice enough to introduce me to Chad and to Rick, and just to hear them talk about it from their perspective, it's, yeah...

18:19 Danae Villarreal: Yeah...

18:20 Amanda Hammett: You're in a good, good place, [laughter] you know... In a very good place.

18:25 Danae Villarreal: I really am. [chuckle] I like, and it's like not even just the... The management is awesome and everything too. But like... When I started in the 511 like I really found... They're just good at hiring good people, you know, like...

18:44 Amanda Hammett: They are.

18:45 Danae Villarreal: We have such great culture across the board on all of the individual projects and teams. It's just like the best, the cream of the crop. [chuckle] So, anyway...

19:00 Amanda Hammett: Well, I mean and I think that their philosophy is, it's culture over skill. And I think that a lot of other companies should adopt a similar attitude, and that's what it is. Joe told me that first night that I met him, he was just like, "Absolutely, I look at culture. Are you gonna fit within our culture? Are you like, that kind of personality that we're looking for that will do well and succeed?" And he said, you had it. And that's why...


19:27 Amanda Hammett: You were like, "I don't know how I feel about this sales thing and everything," 'cause he knew he could teach you and he, I would imagine, is a wonderful teacher.

19:37 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, definitely.

19:38 Amanda Hammett: Awesome, that's really cool, good for you. Okay, so I'm very curious how you went from, you found this semi-interesting job posting from 511, for a sales role, which you'd never really done before. What is it that made you stand out to Joe? Like how did they pick you for this job shadowing day, how did that happen?

20:05 Danae Villarreal: I think it was the roller derby. [chuckle] To be honest, it was actually a combination of things. So it actually wasn't a job posting. It was a Facebook post that someone, like a friend of a friend had posted that like I know, and I was like... They have said that they were looking for sales people, and I was like, "Does selling pizzas count?" [chuckle] So I was at that point in my job search. And then, yeah, Joe had just said, like... He was just super impressed that I was actively involved in the roller derby league and he thought it showed a lot of grit, and I was like, "Oh, I've never thought of it like that before, that's cool." I'm so sorry...

20:52 Amanda Hammett: That's okay.

20:54 Danae Villarreal: Anyway. And then also, so when I initially had kinda shown a little bit of a hesitation like, "Hey, I need to think about this a little bit." He was like, "Okay." And so I ended up doing a mock call anyway and it was terrible, just like awful. I was so nervous and it was not good and he didn't tell me that that it was bad. And I actually like I just thought about it for a couple of days, and finally I was like, I'm just gonna call him and tell him like, I want this job because I... Like I just felt like, I just felt it. I was like, there is something about this, there is something about this that I need, like just for my life, I guess. And...

21:38 Amanda Hammett: Really?

21:39 Danae Villarreal: And so I, yeah, like I just... Just like, I could tell like you could like Joe is good people, and I was like, "I think I need that." Like I need that more but not right now. And, yeah, so I like called him, left him a voice mail. He gave me a call back, he's like, "Yeah, that voice mail was better than your mock call." So we're gonna give you a job. I was like, "perfect." [chuckle] So I think it was like the grit and like the persistence and the pursuit of it, and like actually getting vulnerable and like... I could've backed down to the fear of rejection and been like, "They'll call me," you know, but I, like very specifically was like, "No, I'm gonna... I have this dude's phone number, I'm gonna call him and I'm gonna let him know that, I think that this is a good fit," and so...

22:31 Amanda Hammett: That's really cool. That's awesome. [laughter] That he said that to you. That's terrible.


22:39 Amanda Hammett: So, speaking to our other companies that watch this and listen. What is it that you wish other companies knew about hiring younger employees? Because I would imagine, you said you spent three months on the couch, you said you put in countless applications, like... What do you wish that they knew? If you could speak directly to all HR people.


23:00 Danae Villarreal: All the HRs... Yeah, I think... Oh, that's a great question. I probably should have thought about this a little bit more, I'm sorry. I think that like, one of the biggest things is... For me, when I'm looking for a position or when I was looking for a position, the human factor was super important to me. Like, I... I get that the applicant tracking systems are a thing, and they're super efficient and stuff, but it's like, put a recruiter name on there or give me a way to pursue the lead, like give me, like throw me a bone kind of thing, you know. But also, just like, I think that it's really important, if you are trying to attract young talent, I think these days, we all want the same thing, like we wanna be known and we want the people around us to invest in us, but we also wanna invest in the people around us.

24:17 Danae Villarreal: And so, creating that culture and making sure that that's a new place and just making people know that it's available, and it's not just like... I don't think I could ever go to a job and just like clock in and clock out and that would be it.

24:37 Amanda Hammett: Right.

24:37 Danae Villarreal: I do not go for, you know. Life is too short to not connect with people. And so I think that all of those things combined. Like human connection is like where it's at.

24:52 Amanda Hammett: It is. You're absolutely correct.

24:54 Danae Villarreal: And it covers a multiple of sin, like multiple sins, you know, whatever. [laughter] So, yeah.

25:00 Amanda Hammett: Very cool, very cool. I love that. Yeah, no, I could not, could not agree with you more on that one in particular. Okay, fantastic. So I'm gonna put, if you don't mind, I'm gonna put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes, if anybody wants to connect with you. I will have that in there for them to do so. I hope that's okay.

25:21 Danae Villarreal: Yeah, that's great. I love connections.

25:25 Amanda Hammett: But, do what?

25:27 Danae Villarreal: I love connections though...

25:29 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic!

25:29 Danae Villarreal: Even if it's LinkedIn. [laughter]

25:32 Amanda Hammett: There you go, there you go. Well, thank you so much, Danae, for being on the show and thank you, you guys, for watching and we will see you in the next episode.

25:41 Danae Villarreal: Thank you.

25:42 Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at The link is below, it's There you can download a free Millennial Employee Engagement Guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.