28 Sep September 28, 2019 – HR Is Broken Steve Lowisz and Elevate Robert Glazer
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Steve Lowisz – Global Keynote Speaker on Awakening the Power of Purpose to drive sustainable Performance through your talent and Author of Recruiting Sucks…But It Doesn’t Have To: Breaking Through the Myths That Got Us Here
If your purpose is profits, you got it wrong.
If you live your purpose, it drives profits.
Steve Lowisz is a recruiting industry veteran and talent optimization guru with more than two decades of experience helping companies find and unlock the performance of their teams. He is an expert on talent acquisition, talent assessment, talent engagement, diversity and inclusion, and business performance, which has allowed him to serve hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals across the globe. As the CEO and founder of the Qualigence Group of Companies, Steve regularly contributes to industry events and publications and has been featured in Fortune magazine, CNN Money, and the Detroit Free Press, as well as on Bloomberg Radio. As a Global Keynote Speaker, he helps organizations around the world awaken the power of purpose to drive sustainable individual and company performance. With experience consulting start-ups, equity-backed, and Fortune 500 companies around the world, he delivers key insights with practical advice. Steve also provides private coaching, workshops on leadership and individual performance, and leads multiple virtual and live mastermind groups as a Certified Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team. He has fulfilled speaking engagements with companies including Cisco Systems, Starbucks, Whirlpool, CocaCola, Miller, Walgreen’s and more.
Robert Glazer – Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder & CEO of Acceleration Partners and Bestselling Author of Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others (Ignite Reads) – Read interview highlights here
What really frustrates people is companies that claim
integrity but no one behaves that way.
Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of global performance marketing agency Acceleration Partners. Under his leadership, Acceleration Partners has received numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards (2 years in a row), Ad Age’s Best Place to Work, Entrepreneur’s Top Company Culture (2 years in a row), Great Place to Work & Fortune’s Best Small & Medium Workplaces (3 years in a row) and Boston Globe’s Top Workplaces (2 years in a row). Bob was also named to Glassdoor’s list of Top CEO of Small and Medium Companies in the US, ranking #2. As a regular columnist for Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur, Bob shares his expertise about performance marketing and entrepreneurship, company culture, capacity building, hiring and leadership. Worldwide, he is also a sought-after speaker by companies and organizations on subjects related to business growth, culture, building capacity and performance. Bob creates a weekly inspirational newsletter called Friday Forward (https://www.fridayfwd.com) to share his insights to a global audience. He is the host of the new podcast Elevate with Robert Glazer, where he sits down with leaders, thinkers and authors to discuss personal growth while helping others live their best lives. Bob is also the author of the international bestselling book, Performance Partnerships.
Highlights from Robert’s Interview
We don’t have ping pong tables. We don’t have baristas. We don’t have foosball. I laughed when you said you wanted to work for me, because I think that’s a little endemic of what San Francisco and Silicon Valley has gotten us thinking about culture. Those are benefits. Those aren’t necessarily fringe benefits, and are not necessarily indicative of a great culture. Sometimes they actually mask a poor culture.
I’m not sure it’s the best place to work for anyone. What makes a great culture is that they are consistent between what they think, what they say, and what they do. Here’s the vision, here’s our values, here’s how we act, here’s what we reward, so that the right people come and are really aligned to that. What we’ve done is we said, “Here’s who we are, here’s what we value, and this is how we will behave.” And then we try to find the right people. We take a lot of care to find the right people who really master that. So when people come and say, “This is what you see is what you get,” and to them, that’s a great culture. There are a lot of different types of great cultures. I’d argue that what’s good for one person might be the opposite for another. What really frustrates people is the companies that have things all over the walls about integrity and this and that, and then no one actually behaves that way or does any of those things.
We see values posted, listed, and discussed all the time. I think that’s fairly typical. It’s the behavior that we don’t see. There’s one little company out there, a small business, that says, “Do no evil,” or something. Every time I see them, all I can think of is James Bond. For me, real core values, not the Dilbert or Office Space ones, represent a differentiated point of view. They are actually things that your company does differently. They are how you expect people to behave. To me, something like integrity is just pay for play; there’s no company that would say they don’t value integrity. So to me, that’s not a real core value, that’s just throwing stuff on the wall. Like our core values are own it, embrace relationships, and excel and improve. There’s definitely people who resonate with that, and there’s people that don’t, but they’re very clear about the types of things that we reward, and the decisions that we expect in our company.
I can list our values without a cheat sheet, which is also important; own it, embrace relationships, and excel and improve. I’ll give you an example. A lot of people that we interviewed, they liked the concept of own it, but they didn’t really own it. Owning it is about being willing to make decisions, own them, and deal with ambiguity. There’s some people out there that really need consensus on everything, and want to defer to other people about decisions. And honestly, they don’t work well in our company. It’s because of how we’re designed and the pace and how we work. We’ve identified that as a key attribute of the people who are successful in our business.
How do you ask people if they own it? They’ll generally say they do, but we have a series of behavioral-based questions around our core values that we ask that are based on past behavior. As someone I interviewed said to me recently, “If you ask hypothetical questions, you will get hypothetical answers.” For something like our core value of excel and improve, we might say in the interview, “Tell me, what was the last class you took or book you read, something you did to improve yourself?” If you’re struggling to come up with something within the last few years, then you’re probably not someone who needs to excel to the standard that we live around excel and improve, which is people who are constantly trying to mess with things and get better. That’s not a lot of people. Some people want things steady and consistent, and that works for some environments. It just doesn’t work in our industry and in our business.
There’s no one disqualifying question, because I think companies and people get way too excited about single questions. It’s a process. But these questions would help us when looking at whether you were promoted, whether you implemented something new, and whether you’re someone who is really into learning and innovating, because our industry changes every day, and we need to reinvent everything every day. Those are the people that do really well in our environment.
I’ve created values that are important to me, and that are endemic in the business, and I try to live them, and we try to hold them as a standard in the business. Therefore, we end up attracting a tribe of people who share the same values. As I said, I try to be consistent about those things. They’re not for everyone. But if someone doesn’t like working for me or working for the company, it will probably be for the exact reasons that we told them, not a different set of reasons. I think the struggle for a lot of leaders is being authentic. One of the jokes I say is if you’re a hyper-competitive jerk, just tell people that. Don’t look for people who are not competitive. Say, “Hey! Look! I’m really competitive.” We’re gonna have a competitive environment here and we’re going to be straightforward and talk to each other with no BS and get people who like that. Don’t sell someone else a bag of goods about something that you’re not, if that’s not you.
JB: Okay, Bob, we’ve gotta move on. Quick answers here. Only give me a sentence. Open salaries, where all the company salaries are posted. What are your thoughts?
RG: We’re a pretty open book. I’m not fully sold on open salaries yet. I just think there’s a lot of drama that goes with that.
JB: Vacation time, unlimited. What about PTO? All that stuff?
JB: Open office doors? Do you have cubicles? What?
RG: Open offices are utterly distracting. Most of our people work from home and really value their quiet time not being distracted.
JB: Do you have an office where people were required to come?
RG: Never, no. We work from flex spaces, and we’re totally distributed around.
JB: Do you care about work life balance? Is it okay if I do my job at four in the morning?
RG: Absolutely. You get the job done. I don’t care when you do it.
JB: But do you even ask if I work a full 40 hours? Or is it if the job is done, I’m allowed to do whatever?
RG: We have very specific, measurable outcomes. If you’re crushing those and your clients are satisfied, we think that’s great. You’re living our values.
JB: Bob, what’s the name of your book? We’re going to talk about it after the break. Let’s plant that seed now.
RG: The name of the book is Elevate.
JB: All of it, give us the subtitle too.
RG: You want the subtitle? You should have told me that. The full title is Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others.
For me, capacity building is the process of how you get better. I think if it as a method by which individuals can seek, acquire and develop the skills and abilities to perform at a higher level, and pursue their innate potential. I think it’s more of a ball. There’s four quadrants to this ball, and the bigger the ball gets, the better you do. It’s a sort of achievement. The four quadrants are four elements. One is spiritual capacity, and this is about understanding who you are and what you want most and the standards you want to live by. Intellectual capacity is how you improve your ability to think, plan and execute with discipline. Physical capacity is your health, well-being and physical performance. And emotional capacity is how you react to challenging situations, your emotional mindset and the quality of your relationships. If you look anywhere at high performers or any aspects of self improvement, these are the areas where you can really see the difference from people who are struggling or achieving at a high level.
I’ll give you a quick tip, and obviously there are a lot more in the book. The book covers each of these in a chapter and then gives you things you can do tomorrow, and then things that you can work on over the next quarter to be very specific about that.
We’re talking about spiritual capacity and core values. If you don’t know what your core values are, take a few minutes tomorrow and start writing on a piece of paper. Think about when you’ve been happiest, when you’ve been unhappy at work, situations that have been good for you, work situations that have not been good, and start to look for similar themes. That’s a great first step towards getting a sense of what your core values might be. There’s a lot more examples in the book.
Your spiritual capacity is contained in your core values. You might find you keep writing these things down, and you say, “I did really well when I was able to do something and control it and I had autonomy. I really struggled in areas where people were micromanaging me; I didn’t have flexibility and otherwise.” You might have this one of mine, but you might have core values that are self-reliant, and you really want to be in situations where you’re set up to bet on yourself. You hate being dependent, you hate being on the dole for anything and entitlement. Those will be the clues towards one of the things that you hold as a value, but you may not be able to actually articulate what it is.
One of the best things for intellectual capacity—when you’re talking about disciplines that high performers do—is they control their mornings. I think for most people, the easy thing to do would be to get up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow morning, do not look at your phone, do not turn on the news, do not read outside stuff. Sit down for a few minutes and make your coffee and think. Maybe do some reading or do some writing, and think about what’s most important for you to get done that day. This really shifts your day to offense and not defense. Most of us wake up, roll over, turn on our phones, find out the 10 things that happened overnight, and we’re totally reactive and defensive for the day or will wake up to a kid coming into our room and screaming, and we don’t have the space to start the day on offense.
Physical capacity is about how you feel. This you can do in five minutes. I find an event is motivating in terms of having some skin in the game and making a deposit. What you do is if it’s a 5K, it’s a half marathon or a 10 K or it’s a Spartan Race, it’s something that’s a little out of your comfort zone, go pay the $50 and register. That will give you something in your life, a sort of commitment. I find that you’re much more likely to practice and train for that $50 investment and having that on the calendar, because that’s something that you need to work towards
Emotional capacity. The people around you really lift you up or drain you, and a lot of these in the second category may be friends or family. A really simple exercise you can do this week is make a list of the five relationships that are most uplifting to you on one side of a page. And over the next couple of weeks, make a date to do something with those people. Similarly, make a list of the five that are just exhausting with their life or negative energy, and see what you can do to push off a meeting or a call or the next catch up event. Just don’t say that, you don’t have to. There’s a common misperception for these relationships with people who sap our energy, people who are energy vampires, that you need to have this breakup, when what you need to do is just apply a little less attention to it, so that you’re spending more time with the folks who are helpful to you, and less time to things that feel like obligations and are really exhausting.
This framework is the framework that we use to help our team grow. We’ve been growing 30% for almost 10 years. And if we can’t help people increase their capacity, they have a really hard time keeping up with the nature of the business. If you read the book and you read some of the principles, these are things you can do with your team to help your people get better. You will get the work benefit of it, and they will get the benefit outside of work. A lot of the stuff that we’ve done over the years to help people to figure out their core values is working.
The website is RobertGlazer.com/elevate.