93: The Best Place to Work – the Art and Science of Human Motivation with Ron Friedman

ep093 Best Place to Work with Ron Friedman on TalentGrow Show with Halelly Azulay

What are the factors that lead to extraordinary workplace? Award-winning social psychologist and author Dr. Ron Friedman draws on cutting-edge research on human motivation to identify the systems and processes that leaders can use to optimize their workplace and bring out the best in their team. In this exciting episode of The TalentGrow Show, Ron shares how leaders can enable and inspire their team to flourish by fulfilling three basic psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. You’ll discover how to let people keep learning and growing on the cheap, why letting them customize their work environment makes a huge difference in their motivation, and even get a glimpse of what’s to come in the workplace of the future. Also, did you know you’ve probably been drinking coffee the wrong way your entire life? (This freaked me out a little bit...) Listen to find out why! And don’t forget to share this episode with others.

ABOUT RON FRIEDMAN:

Ron Friedman is an award-winning psychologist and behavior change expert who specializes in human motivation. He is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, CNN, Fast Company, and Psychology Today, as well as the author of the best-selling book The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • Using learning as a metric for evaluating your career trajectory (5:28)
  • The value of creating systems that enable and empower your team to be competent and creative without relying on you (6:21)
  • Ron gives an example of one way to give your team opportunities to grow their competence without using up a lot of your own time and resources (7:50)
  • One company’s cool method for kindling creativity and competence (8:54)
  • The importance of self-directed learning (9:29)
  • Ron talks about two basic psychological needs that leaders should pay attention to: autonomy and relatedness (10:07)
  • Ron explains why leaders should invest in employee satisfaction (11:27)
  • Fine-tuning your hiring process vs. trying to change your employees
  • How evolutionary bias plays into the hiring process (13:07)
  • Why hiring managers should ask for work-samples before bringing someone in for an interview (14:23)
  • The more comfortable people are in their workspace, the more confident and optimistic they feel doing their jobs (15:26)
  • Why people who customize their workspace tend to like their job more (16:16)
  • Ron explains why he thinks the way that we typically have workplaces structured is deeply flawed, and offers his solution (17:34)
  • How workplaces can learn from the organizational structure of colleges and universities (18:11)
  • Autonomy is not about physical control, but rather a psychological sense of choice (19:21)
  • What will the workplace of the future look like? (20:29)
  • An example of how analytics can inform decisions to improve performance (20:52)
  • Why organizations are increasingly encouraging employees to disconnect from work (21:33)
  • “Most of us are drinking coffee the wrong way.” Ron warns against drinking coffee first thing in the morning! (Which freaks Halelly out a little bit) (23:24)
  • What’s new and exciting on Ron’s horizon? (25:37)
  • One action leaders can take to upgrade their team’s competence and creativity (26:42)

RESOURCES:

Transcript:

Episode 93 Ron Friedman

TEASER CLIP:

Ron: Recognize that happiness isn’t a luxury. It actually elevates the performance of the organization. When people are happy, they tend to be more productive, they tend to be more creative, you tend to have greater customer satisfaction, and you tend to have better returns on your business. So when we think about this as being secondary, we’re kind of missing the point. If we’re trying to lead a successful business, it pays to invest in employee satisfaction. The second point is, if that is the response you’re getting, then there’s a good possibility that the people that this company has hired are not a good fit. I am not a big believer in the idea that you can transform people, once you’ve hired them. It’s kind of like the idea of marrying someone and then hoping they’ll change. Not typically successful. A far better approach is to fine-tune the way you’re hiring, to account for attitude and goals and ideals and values. If you can get that right, it is amazing how much easier management gets.

[MUSIC] Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.

Halelly: Welcome back TalentGrowers. This is Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at the TalentGrow Show, and I am looking forward to introducing my guest, Ron Friedman, to you all. I’ll give you more of his background as we get into the conversation, but let’s just say he brings so much scientific research to make work better. And you’re going to get super actionable, very practical advice about how you can motivate employees, how you can develop employees, even how you can hire employees better, even how to drink your coffee in the morning better. How specific can you possibly get more than that, right? I can’t wait for you to listen to this episode.

I just want to make a little note that we did have some buffering on our recording, on our connection, for whatever reason, and if you’re a regular listener to this show you know that most of the time our sound quality is great, but for some reason there was some buffering going on and my editor, who is truly a magician – Tom, thank you, you do a great job – and he is going to work his hardest to get this buffering out of there. The little bit of remnants that remain, I hope that you will forgive us for that. Because this episode, this conversation, was way too good for me to scrap. Without further ado, here we go, Ron Friedman on the TalentGrow Show.

Welcome back TalentGrowers. This week I have Ron Friedman on. He is an award-winning social psychologist who specializes in human motivation. He is the author of a highly acclaimed book called The Best Place to Work: the art and science of creating an extraordinary workplace. He’s a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Fast Company, Forbes and CNN and he has served on the faculty of the University of Rochester, Nazareth College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges and has consulted for some of the world’s most successful organizations. I’m really happy that he has made time to speak with us today. People have heard him on NPR, in major newspapers like the New York Times, Financial Times, Globe and Mail, Washington Post, Guardian and magazines like Men’s Health, Entrepreneur and Success. Welcome to the TalentGrow Show Ron.

Ron: Thanks for having me.

Halelly: It’s such a pleasure, and I’m excited to speak with you today. My guests always share a brief story of their professional journey. Where did you start and how did you end up where you are today?

Ron: It’s kind of a funny story. I started off in politics and then I decided I wanted to learn how people make decisions. I went to University of Rochester where I studied human motivation, and so my focus was on how is it that people get motivated and get more creative and more productive. Then I became a full-time professor, and one of the things you discover when you become a full-time professor is that if you like learning new things – which is what led me to education – then being a full-time professor isn’t always the best profession. Because what you end up doing as a full-time professor is teaching people the same thing over and over again. I decided to leave academics and I went into the corporate world where I became a pollster. My job was to measure public opinion, figure out what is it that people think, and then advise organizations using psychological principles on how to shift those opinions. What I discovered in the process of being in the corporate world is that there is a massive gap between what we know the factors are that lead to top performance and how most organizations operate.

I took a risk and I got a book deal and then I quit my job to write a book and that book became The Best Place to Work, and in it I take over 1,000 academic studies and translate them into plain English so that anyone, regardless of whether they’re a CEO or executive or just someone starting out, has access to the research on how they can improve their performance and create an extraordinary workplace.

Halelly: Very interesting. I enjoy hearing about people’s meandering paths. They are rarely a straight line anyway.

Ron: It’s true. I tell people I’m kind of like slum dog millionaire. I think we’re all slum dog millionaires, right? You remember that movie where at the end … it just happened to be a unique set of experiences that led him to where he was, and politics taught me how to talk to the press. I worked in marketing when I was a pollster, so that helped me write the book, and then obviously to understand research in the consulting world led me to translate research into actionable findings. It just all came together. It’s really interesting how that happens.

Halelly: I love how you are able to trace the skills you’ve built in every step along the journey, because that’s one of the things I try to impress on people. There’s always a way in which you can reframe what you’re doing as something that’s adding to your skillset, even if it isn’t a perfect fit for you.

Ron: I think the real metric that people have to be focused on is, am I learning new things? It’s not so much is this exactly where I hoped I would be at the end of the movie? That’s not what your focus should be. Even if you’re not really enjoying yourself on a day-to-day level, if you’re learning new things, chances are your experience is going to be valuable.

Halelly: True. Gallup polls show that the main reason people leave jobs and look for new jobs, especially people in the Millennial generation, is that they feel like they’re no longer learning.

Ron: It’s actually one of the key factors that makes for a great workplace, and that is making sure that you’re building processes in place that actually allow people to learn new things without – and this is critical – without it being a time sync for you as a leader. This is where I think there is a lot of opportunity for improving people’s chances of learning new things is creating systems that enable people to learn new things without having to rely on a boss, because the reality is, if you’re a leader, you’re busy. You’re winning new clients, you’re delivering presentations, you’re leading conference calls, you don’t have time to worry about whether every single person on your team is feeling sufficiently challenged. That’s where the opportunity lies. How do you create a system that allows for that confidence building to happen without it being a time sync for you?

Halelly: There are so many things I want to ask and follow up with that. One thing you may not know, Ron, about me is that I wrote a book called Employee Development on a Shoestring, which helps leaders figure out ways to develop people that don’t cost a lot of money, and also don’t take a lot of time. This is so aligned with my interests.

Ron: Wow, I need to read that!

Halelly: I hope you will. I’ll send you a copy. Let’s talk more about your research and what you’ve written. You mentioned this and I know your whole isn’t book is based just on this topic. You have many other suggestions, but let’s dig in on this one. You said that a system is important? Tell us more.

Ron: Here’s an example, and there are many examples in the book about how do you allow people opportunities to grow their confidence without it taking a large amount of time or money? A perfect example for me is empowering people to go once a month or once a quarter to pick a book that they want to buy that is in some way relevant to their job. I talk about it as providing a reading budget. The idea is that when we’re exposed to new ideas and fresh perspectives, and have the opportunity to apply them to our job, that’s when we feel like our confidence is growing, and if this program costs you let’s say $100 a year per employee because they’re buying, let’s say, four books a quarter, and every employee gives you just one good idea per year, this program pays for itself. So it’s just a different way of thinking about it where we have employees and we spend so much money on finding the right person and giving them the right equipment, but yet we almost spend no money on helping them figure out how to grow their skillset, and this is just one opportunity for doing it where it doesn’t have to cost you very much and you don’t have to think about it. One company, Twilio in San Francisco, what they’ve done is every time an employee comes on board, they get a Kindle Fire. They can just purchase a book per month on that Kindle Fire, and they don’t have to submit reimbursement receipts, it’s just an automated process. Everyone gets their fire and you can share books as part of a workplace library, and now people are constantly being exposed to new ideas and bringing them to the table at the new idea, thereby improving not just their own sense of confidence but actually actively building the system that the business needs in order to grow.

Halelly: I love that. And each employee can choose whatever book that he or she wants to read, and feels is relevant, and you can always add onto this another element of creating a book club. Just an idea that you can get people reading the same book and then create opportunities for them to discuss the book, which enriches their learning even more.

Ron: For sure. The idea that they are picking their own book is critical, because you remember at school when you got assigned a book? How excited were you about reading it? Not very, probably. That plays into people’s sense of autonomy, which is their sense of choice. If you’re allowing for the learning to be self-directed, it’s going to be all the more impactful.

Halelly: Cool. What else does the science say is really important for building an extraordinary workplace?

Ron: We talked about confidence, and that’s key. Confidence means doing your job well, but it’s not enough to just feel like you’re doing your job well. You also need to feel like you’re growing your confidence on a regular basis. Having a reading budget is just one idea for growing confidence. A second basic human psychological need that we have a decade of research on – and I should point out that this research is not something that's unique to a particular culture or a particular generation. This is something that is cross-cultural, cross-generational, cross-gender, it doesn’t matter how old you are. We all have these three basic psychological needs. We talked about confidence. The second is the need for autonomy. So having some say and some sense of choice about how you go about doing your job. The third is the need for relatedness. Feeling like you’re connecting with others in a meaningful way, feeling like you’re valued, appreciated, respected, all the good things that come from human connections. That also is a basic human psychological need. And when we have those three basic psychological needs fulfilled, at work or at home or even in a teacher/student relationship, what the research points out is that that’s when we become happier, healthier and more productive. And unfortunately, most organizations do a pretty dreadful job of creating psychologically-fulfilling experiences. The best place to work is about creating opportunities for all of these psychological needs to be fulfilled on a regular basis.

Halelly: I talk to a lot of people that feel worried about that. They think, “I’m not there to be their camp counselor, and I’m not there to be their social worker and I’m not responsible for their happiness. Let them find that in their hobbies or elsewhere. Why can’t they just come to work and just do their job and stop worrying about this feeling good?”

Ron: To that I would say two things. One is that recognize that happiness isn’t a luxury. It actually elevates the performance of the organization. When people are happy, they tend to be more productive, they tend to be more creative, you tend to have greater customer satisfaction, and you tend to have better returns on your business. So when we think about this as being secondary, we’re kind of missing the point. If we’re trying to lead a successful business, it pays to invest in employee satisfaction. The second point is, if that is the response you’re getting, then there’s a good possibility that the people that this company has hired are not a good fit. I am not a big believer in the idea that you can transform people, once you’ve hired them. It’s kind of like the idea of marrying someone and then hoping they’ll change. Not typically successful. A far better approach is to fine-tune the way you’re hiring, to account for attitude and goals and ideals and values. If you can get that right, it is amazing how much easier management gets. Typically, it’s the people that hate management who haven’t had good success hiring correctly.

Halelly: Very interesting. We had actually an interesting episode, 51, with the former CEO of BB&T bank, one of the top CEOs in the world, and he was talking about how they hire for values, for a match for values, and they start there.

Ron: Also beyond values, I think it’s also important to recognize that often times, the way we hire is heavily biased by the way in which we’ve been evolutionarily programmed. We typically find people who are attractive to be more confident than they are. We consider people who are taller to have more leadership skills, and we even evaluate by the sound of people’s voice how trustworthy they are. People with deeper voices, like you think of, what’s the name of the guy that does Darth Vader, James Earl Jones, right? He’s got the deepest voice, or Morgan Freeman is another great example. We tend to find those deeper voices to be more trustworthy. None of those factors turn out to be true in terms of, do people with deeper voices, are they more trustworthy? Absolutely not. Are people who are better looking more confident? No. But it affects the questions we ask over the course of our interview, which leads us to get confirming information.

I’ll give you an example of this – for example, if I assume that you are an extravert, I might say, “Tell me about your experience in speaking in front of large groups.” But if I assume that you’re introverted, I might tweak the question just slightly and say, “Are you comfortable in front of a large group?” Both of those get at the same piece of information, but they’re going to draw out a different response, which confirms my initial impression. By having these false indicators of what a person is actually like, that leads us to ask questions that confirm the information and give us the response we’re looking for. The very process of bringing someone in for an interview is deeply, deeply flawed. Far better to think about whether or not someone is qualified by looking at their work sample first before getting to the interview phase.

Halelly: Okay, I was going to ask you – how do we overcome this? Look at their work sample, maybe ask for more information up front before the interview?

Ron: You know, I am a big fan of paying people for samples. For example, if you are thinking of hiring a web designer, rather than bringing them in for an interview, create a sample task and hire five people to do it. Evaluate them by whoever has the best sample, and then bring that person in for an interview. Once you’ve identified someone who can actually do the work, then it’s on to, “Do I get along with the person?” We should not be starting with, “Do I get along with the person.”

Halelly: Okay, great. This is such good advice, thank you. One of the other things you talk about or write about is how the work environment plays an important role in creating engagement and happiness at work. You even suggest giving people a budget for customizing their workspace. I’d love to hear more about this idea.

Ron: You know, it’s actually an activity that’s being doing in a number of workplaces like Etsy and Sony. What they do is, they provide people with I think its $100 or something nominal, but it leads people to customize their workspace. You want to do this for a couple of reasons. One is, the more comfortable people are in their workspace, the more confident they feel in doing their job and the more optimistic they are. It gives them a sense of control, like I am managing my area and that spills over to the feeling of confidence they have over actually doing their job well. It’s a physiological principle at the core. But beyond that, people who customize their workspace tend to like their job more, and the reverse is also true. If you walk around your office and you find people whose desks looks like they haven’t been touched, and they’ve been there for six or 12 months, those are typically the people who are not very committed to their jobs. But if the people who come in and have pictures of their kids everywhere and they’ve got artwork from their kids or maybe their favorite baseball team on their desk, those are the people who have committed a portion of their identity to their job. They identify with it. If you can get people to do this, then they tend to like their job more. It’s kind of a nudge that gets people to identify with their job.

Halelly: One of the trends that’s happening – I’m seeing it with some of my clients – is moving toward hoteling and having smaller physical spaces, more people work remotely or they kind of come in on an as-needed basis or staggering schedules and sharing workspaces. That definitely, obviously, gets in the way of personalization of the workplace, because you don’t actually have a place to call your own. What are ways to overcome that?

Ron: Not only does it not feel like it’s my space, but every time I come in I need to take 10 minutes to get comfortable, and then I need to wrap up and collect everything when I’m done. The argument that I present in the book is that the way that we have workplaces structured is in some ways deeply flawed any way you go. If you give people offices and they’re cordoned off from their colleagues and they don’t have the opportunities for collaboration, unless they reserve a conference room which is something that’s burdensome for people and not always available. On the other side, if we use open space offices where nobody has any privacy, then people are constantly feeling bombarded with distraction. What’s the solution? The solution I present in the book is thinking about the workplace like we think about college campuses. If you think about the way that college campuses are set up, people have a space that they can personalize – that’s their dorm room – and they have opportunities for studying in collaborative settings if they want to go to the campus lawn, for example, or go to the cafeteria. Or if they need a quiet space to focus, they can go to the library. What that enables people to do is it allows them to choose an environment that best suits the work they’re trying to achieve. If they don’t do well, they get kicked out of college. We need the same sort of opportunity in our workplaces, where we have a place that we can customize, but we also need locations that allow us to focus and locations that allow us to collaborate. To the extent that you’re allowing people a choice of where to work, not only are you feeding their sense of confidence because they’re going to be more effective at doing their job, but it also feeds their sense of autonomy, because now they’re in control of how they’re about to do their work.

Halelly: This is one of the keys about autonomy – sometimes you can’t give, by definition, if you’re working for someone else, you are giving up on 100 percent autonomy. You can still give a sense of author by presenting a couple of choices rather than just putting people into, “This is the only option you have, period.”

Ron: Just to clarify, from an academic perspective, I studied with Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. These are the guys that came up with self determination theory which became the basis for Daniel Pink’s book Drive, so what they would say to that is autonomy is actually not about physical control. It’s not necessarily being able to decide exactly how you’re going to do it, but rather it’s a psychological sense of choice. It may be the fact that you’re telling me to make 10 calls a month, but if I feel like I’m driving that train, and I have some choice in when I make those calls, where I make those calls from, my sense of autonomy could be at 100 percent even though it was your idea. It’s all about creating opportunities for people to feel like the work they’re doing is their choice. It doesn’t have to be every decision needs to be theirs. It could be the manager making the decision, but that doesn’t preclude the employee from feeling like they have a sense of choice. That’s really the million-dollar question – how do we create opportunities for people to feel like the work the manager wants them to do is their choice? The organizations that do that best are the ones that are more successful.

Halelly: Great. The workplace is changing rapidly, and a lot of the research you have is based on what has been in the past. Do you have any ideas or thoughts about what do we have coming down the pipe? What will the workplace of the future look like?

Ron: One of the trends we see from other industries, particularly in sports for example, is the use of analytics to make better decisions. If you think about how baseball teams operate, everyone has some type of analytics person who is looking at when players are at their best and how to optimize performance using actual behavior in the past. I think we’re going to get a lot better at determining when we’re at our best. One example of the way in which research is now being used in this way is when people are looking at how their energy levels fluctuate over the course of the day. Some of us are early birds, others are night owls. If you can find the time when you’re at your best and match the activity to your energy level, you tend to be a lot more productive. That’s an example of how analytics can inform the decisions you make to improve your performance.

Another thing I think is going to help is we’re going to see a lot more organizations encouraging people to disconnect from work. Our performance at work is just no longer about what we do between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00. We are all chained to a smartphone, to a certain extent, where we carry around an office with us in our pocket, and if we’re on all the time, that doesn’t improve our performance. In fact, it hurts it. You see a number of organizations that are actively encouraging people to disconnect, encouraging people to exercise and encouraging people to take time off to be present with their families. To the extent that you’re thriving at home, that’s going to improve your performance at work as well. I think that’s another example of how more analytics or more of an understanding of when people thrive and how do we create those conditions, those conditions need to extend beyond the workplace and into the home. If the company has this implicit expectation that you’re going to be on email all the time, that’s going to lead to burnout and weaker performance, not better performance.

Halelly: I know that productivity is a big focus area for you now. By the way, I subscribe to your newsletter. It’s one of the only newsletters that I actually regularly read. I really appreciate it. I will be linking to a way for people to sign up for that, because I definitely recommend it. I can tell from your newsletter that you really focus on productivity. You’ve been writing about it, you’re offering online courses about it. There’s so much in that, that we won’t be able to get into today, but I’d love for you to include maybe one or two of your favorite tips or hacks or tweaks that you think are maybe more on the counterintuitive or uncommonly known side that listeners can use in upgrading their own productivity as busy professionals.

Ron: First of all, thank you very much for saying that. I really appreciate it. One example of a finding that I find really interesting, and it’s not something that a lot of people know, is that most of us are drinking coffee the wrong way. If you think about the word productivity, you know a lot of people associate that with drinking a lot of caffeine and just really being focused and sharp and being as alert as possible. What do we do when we first get up in the morning is we drink a cup of coffee. It turns out that drinking coffee first thing in the morning is not ideal. It’s because your body is naturally producing a hormone called cortisol, first thing in the morning, and that gets you alert. When you drink coffee first thing in the morning, that actually leads to weaker production of cortisol. It senses that you’re alert enough, and it no longer produces as much as it otherwise would. A lot of us, first thing, we can’t even imagine not drinking coffee first thing in the morning because we’re so used to it. We get that natural bump. How do you explain that? Well, it’s because you haven’t had anything to drink for eight hours. It’s the longest period of the day where you haven’t had anything to drink. The recommendation is you’re going to get a bigger bump from the coffee if you drink it a few hours into your day, not first thing. First thing you want to do is drink some water. Not a ton, just a little bit. Especially if you’re not used to it, it can feel a little weird, but you’ll notice yourself getting a little more alert just drinking some water, and then make that cup of coffee a cup of decaf. Make the first cup of caffeine, if you’re getting up at 7:00, aim for 9:00. What you’ll find is you’re a lot more energized with less coffee than you’re probably drinking right now.

Halelly: Cool. All right. That’s a unique tip and I definitely love my coffee. One thing I’ve recently done is I have to have a glass of water before I’m allowed to have coffee. That was a little rule I made for myself, so now I have to introduce a break.

Ron: You don’t have to have a break. You can go right to he decaf. The idea is if you’re thinking it’s the caffeine that’s waking you up, do that little test. What you’ll find is, wow, I guess much of that alertness comes from just being hydrated again.

Halelly: Interesting. Great. Well, Ron thank you. Before we share one specific action that you recommend listeners take, what’s new and exciting on your horizon? What project or discovery has your attention these days?

Ron: I am working on another book, and so that involves a book proposal, and I have created quite an amount of work for myself. I don’t know if this is the right way to go, but I’m kind of discovering along the way. What I did the first book is I wrote a proposal that was not very deep and detailed, and I sold it. Then when I got into writing it, I did a ton of research before writing anything. This time I’m doing the research before I even write the proposal. I’m in my second month of just doing research, in order to write a proposal on. It’s been all consuming, but it’s a lot of fun.

Halelly: Oh, can we hear an insider clue about what the book is about?

Ron: The book is going to be science-based, I can tell you that. The first one, The Best Place to Work, was about how do you take all of the science to create the best possible workplace. This book is going to be similar in that it’s going to take all the science and apply it to the individual, and how do you become the best possible you?

Halelly: Fabulous. Thank you, I’m really looking forward to reading that book when it comes out. What do you think is something that listeners can do today, tomorrow, this week, to upgrade their own effectiveness as leaders and/or as individuals? Whatever lens you would like to take today.

Ron: I’m going to share one of the examples that is actually used in the book. I think it’s BMW that does this. It’s the “You don’t have to read the book” book club. What makes this such a great idea is that it allows you to create a book club at your company that doesn’t involve everyone having to read a book. It involves rotating from person to person, where one person per year reads one book and shares some of the best insights over lunch with the group. Why I love this idea so much is because it allows employees to bring suggestions up without having the ideas be connected to them as people. One of the things that people often say to me, after they read my book, is, “How do I get my boss to do this?” And s what I tell them is, what you shouldn’t do is get them a copy of my book and say, “Boss, you should read this,” because that’s the equivalent of giving your spouse a book on how to lose weight. You don’t want to do that. It sends the wrong message. Instead, create a book club where people don’t have to read the book and use a book that you want people in your organization to know about or ideas and suggestions. So now it’s the author suggesting these things, not you, and it brings up a discussion that allows the organization to really change without anyone feeling like they’re being accused of anything.

Halelly: Great idea. Any anyone can implement this. You can’t make people do it, of course, and if you’re not the one who calls the shots you may not be able to force this to happen, but it is a suggestion you can make. This is sort of the criticize by creating idea, where you take initiative, which gives you lots and lots of brownie points I think in any organization. It shows you as a natural leader, but also gives lots of value. If people actually try it, of course they’re going to gain value from it in a million different ways. But there is a win-win. You get something out of it and they get something out of it, and everyone wins.

Ron: I think that’s a great point. I think that regardless of whether or not you get 100 percent of the people in the organization to show up, or maybe even one percent, the idea that you’re taking the initiative and trying to improve the organization by starting this, you don’t have to read a book aloud, but what it does is positions you as a leader. So it’s a way of introducing change while also improving the way that you’re viewed within the company.

Halelly: Perfect. I know people are going to want to learn more from you and about you. What’s the best way to do that?

Ron: The best way to get connected with me is to go onto Ignite80.com. The reason my company is called Ignite 80 is because over 80 percent of employees are not fully engaged at work. The mission of Ignite 80 is to reverse that trend by teaching leaders science-based, action-based techniques that they can implement within their organization to create great workplaces.

Halelly: That is so needed. Are you on social media? Do you use social media? Where should they follow you?

Ron: I’m on Twitter, @RonFriedman. And I believe I’m on Facebook as well. Really any one of those is a great way to get connected. You will get the newsletter, the best ideas of the month, that you were so kind to mention.

Halelly: I highly recommend it. They can sign up for that right from your website?

Ron: Yes.

Halelly: Awesome. Okay, it’s been a pleasure talking with you, and I love all of the ideas you’ve shared. I think it’s going to add tons of value to the TalentGrowers community, so thank you for your time and wisdom Ron.

Ron: Truly my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Halelly: You’re welcome. Super actionable advice. That’s what we love here at the TalentGrow Show, right? I hope that you’ll take Ron’s advice and apply it and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear that. You can always put a comment in the show notes page, that’s always on my website, TalentGrow.com/podcast, or actually you can actually go to TalentGrowShow.com and it’ll go to the same place. Put a comment in the comment section or you can tweet or leave a voice mail message. You know how to reach me and you know that I want to hear from you.

I heard from a listener on iTunes recently, or Apple Podcasts as it’s now called, with a great new review, so I wanted to share that with you. Thank you Brooke Craven, for leaving this amazing review. It says, “Halelly Azulay, host of the TalentGrow Show, highlights all aspects of leadership, communication and more in this can’t miss podcast. The host and expert guests offer insightful information and advice that is helpful to anyone that listens.” That’s great, I love it. Please leave me a review also on Apple Podcasts and I will happily read it on the air from you.

This is it for another episode of the TalentGrow Show. I am Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow, where we develop leaders that people actually want to follow, and we do that by consulting to organizations to help them build up a leadership development program, by speaking at conferences and meetings about topics related to leadership and communication skills and by leading workshops and retreats and team development activities that help people become better employees, better at communicating at work, and of course better leaders. I hope to hear from you, whenever it is that I can help you. That would be my pleasure. Until the next time, make today great.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the TalentGrow Show, where we help you develop your talent to become the kind of leader that people want to follow. For more information, visit TalentGrow.com.


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Intro/outro music: "Why-Y" by Esta