Relationships at Work - Leadership Mindset Guide for Creating a Company Culture We Love

Why Leadership Should Invest In Work Ethic with Josh Davies

February 20, 2023 Russel Lolacher Episode 52
Why Leadership Should Invest In Work Ethic with Josh Davies
Relationships at Work - Leadership Mindset Guide for Creating a Company Culture We Love
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Relationships at Work - Leadership Mindset Guide for Creating a Company Culture We Love
Why Leadership Should Invest In Work Ethic with Josh Davies
Feb 20, 2023 Episode 52
Russel Lolacher

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with the CEO for Work Ethic Development Josh Davies on what goes into the an employee's work ethic and how to bring your "A" game.

Josh shares his thoughts, stories and experience with...

  • The seven work behaviours that define work ethic.
  •  Anyone can focus on skills to improve their work ethic.
  • How defining terms organizationally and culturally is important.
  • Work Ethic Gap and what changing factors may be influencing it.
  • How the pandemic has impacted the understanding of work ethic.

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.
For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with the CEO for Work Ethic Development Josh Davies on what goes into the an employee's work ethic and how to bring your "A" game.

Josh shares his thoughts, stories and experience with...

  • The seven work behaviours that define work ethic.
  •  Anyone can focus on skills to improve their work ethic.
  • How defining terms organizationally and culturally is important.
  • Work Ethic Gap and what changing factors may be influencing it.
  • How the pandemic has impacted the understanding of work ethic.

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.
For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Russel Lolacher 
And on the show today, we have Josh Davies. And here's why he is awesome. He's a speaker trainer and the CEO of the work ethic development, which helps equip and train organizations to the globe, across the globe, sorry to better prepare their workforce for employment and lifelong success. He's a board member for the National Association for workforce development professionals, was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Leadership Award by the education 2.0 conference for his contributions to education. Welcome to the show, Josh.

Josh Davies
Thank you very much. It's great to be here. You know, anytime I get to work with friends internationally, even if it's just across a small border, I'm always excited.

Russel Lolacher
Still International, even though the invisible borders, its international.

Josh Davies
Exactly. I mean, hey, look, you've got your money. I mean, look, it's obviously a completely different place.

Russel Lolacher
The minute I did a speaking gig in the States, I was an international speaker, like, as a Canadian... BOOM, done.

Josh Davies
That's all it takes. Just just head on down south to Seattle, and all of a sudden, you're an international superstar. It's amazing.

Russel Lolacher
Josh, I got to start off every show with the same question. This is no different. What's your best or worst employee experience?

Josh Davies
Um, you know, there, there are so many great ones. But I'll head to the opposite side. And, you know, I think one of the worst things that happens sometimes as you as as managers in life, you, we have this habit of sort of letting little things go. And right, the more you do that, the more you reinforce poor behavior, and just kind of continues and anyhow, I had, I had let an employee kind of get away with skirting some different things here and, and having some pushing back on some boundaries, and some places where he probably shouldn't have been anyhow. And turns out as sort of a pattern of that behavior, racked up over just a little over north of 3,000 US dollars, in expenses that he put on our corporate card that we paid for, that we're not legitimate. And then the best part is, you know, when you anytime you have to do you have let someone go like that. One of the best piece of advice I ever got in my life is at that stage, it is not a conversation. Right? It is, it's a statement you've done, we're not it's not a debate, there's nothing you can say there's nothing you can do, they'll get you back in here. But then, like the justifications that he made, trying to explain why it was okay to do what he did. And I was like, this the kind of stuff that I'm powered by, like kind of doing this back and forth earlier about little things. And those little things end up becoming big things.

Russel Lolacher
Fair, how was it for you as a leader in that situation? I mean, it's, we always hear it from the side of the employee. And they're, I mean, I've had other episodes where people got fired. And that was their worst experience, not because they got fired, but the how the organization handled the firing. So how do you prepare for a situation like that? And I mean, more, not professionally as which boxes you have to check. But I mean, from a mental standpoint, right? Yeah.

Josh Davies
Yeah. I mean, I tell people that I this is a conversation that I use in some of my presentations and training sessions that we do. And he talked about, you know, how difficult it is in different ways, right? I found out about it, like, I don't know, it's after work hours on Friday, I was going through some stuff. I was like, Oh, my God. So I had all weekend to have to kind of process and it was awful, right? Because you're just, you're trying to figure out kind of what are you going to do? What is our response going to be? You know, is this guy going to be reasonable? Are they going to be rational? Are they gonna go crazy, like you just don't know. And so you have to kind of prepare yourself emotionally, for any sort of anything that could be coming at you. And I think that's really again, the hardest part, like you said, it's not about checking boxes, right? That part's easy, right? Hey, I need you to do this, return this or do that get this back. It's the how do you prepare yourself for the human element of it. And I think that speaks to so much of what's challenging about life, as a manager as a leader, and will will continue to eat be even be more challenging as we move forward. You know, without going too in depth and too far down the rabbit hole, you know, one of the things we need to realize is that a lot of the repetitive, the boring, the routine, the mundane tasks that leaders and managers do, those are all going away. And so what's going to happen more and more is you're going to have to be using that EQ, you're going to have to be using that human side, almost consistently, because that's the only thing that we'll need managers and leaders to do. And so we have to be prepared yet to really strengthen those muscles. In the same way that we do kind of everything else that we deal with.

Russel Lolacher
One more question on that. I often talk about symptoms versus disease, which most organizations will treat symptoms and not the disease. So a symptom being there's an individual in my organization, unethical behavior, but that doesn't happen in a vacuum. There's, you know, I mean, there are things where Are people are condoning that maybe that employee was told the wrong thing and ran with it? How do you look at that from a more holistic environment standpoint, as opposed to, oh, I got rid of that one person, everything's great in the world now.

Josh Davies
Because it's never great when you just...right again. Again, if you if you, you know, I think the biggest challenge there is right is when you as a leader, or as a manager, condone small things. I really, truly believe it's the little things that you let happen, rather than necessarily than what you do. It's those things that you let happen that build up that start to build that culture in an organization. And yes, you can say it's that person's fault. And yes, it is entirely 1% their fault. But what have you done? And what can you do moving forward, to change that paradigm to change the nature of those kind of small, daily interactions, right, it's those little things every single day that add up. And that's what you have to be aware of as a leader. Because if anything happens to that point, it's because you slowly been condoning it along the way. And that's, that's a difficult thing to say to yourself in the mirror, right? That's a difficult thing for you to address, and just be like, I've let this get to this point. And again, it's not that you created this monster, but you've allowed an environment, then lets this thrive. And that's what you have to really then start to reassess. It's, it's not just letting a person go, it's how you reassess yourself, and then then start to rebuild that culture in the organization in the way you want it to.

Russel Lolacher
Agree, I think the worst thing you can do in that situation is firing the employee and thinking of that as a checkbox, as opposed to an ecosystem that you may have to reevaluate.

Josh Davies
I'm very, very open and transparent with my team. And I think that's a really key piece. And, and part of that, then is having the humility, to be able to say to the team, look at a person's dollar with us. And I'm sorry, of that situation. It's also I want to let you know, I feel like I've let things get to this point. And I want to do better, right, where you start to really have that ownership of it. And then that I think, allows people to then take their own ownership moving forward. If it was a leader, it's always someone else's fault. You know, we know where that vote goes, we know how quickly you get over the falls, when that happens. So use those moments for humility, use those moments for an opportunity for not necessarily self deprecation, but self analysis, and the ability then to communicate that through the other members of the team.

Russel Lolacher
You always have a role. And we got we got deep here in a hurry. All right. So let's get into our topic today, which is work ethics. It's right in the title of your organization. So what is off with your definition? Like I can go to dictionary.com. But I want to hear your definition of what work ethic is in today's workplace.

Russel Lolacher
Oh, absolutely. And I think that's an important piece. I mean, one of the very first things we address every time is kind of how do we define? And how do employers define what work ethic is because I think that's a it's not just what, you know, hey, this is what academics are, but What do employers say? Because if you just have people write down work ethic, I'm sure they'll come up with their own definition. One of the things I love to say, is it sort of like the the old Supreme Court definition of pornography, it's like, I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. Right? I don't I can't define work ethic, but I know when I don't see it, or I you know, those kinds of things. When the interesting things, if you look at articles that are written about work ethic, in today's media, um, they're almost all about athletes who are putting in extra time, right? This Oh, that so and so was amazing work ethic and right. And it's about people who come in early and work late and, you know, are doing all this, but the reality is this. And employers will say the same thing. It's great to have an employee who shows up early and stays late. But just because they're physically there doesn't make them effective, right? Because we've all worked with that person who's the first person the door last person to leave, and the least productive person during those hours, right? And typically, not only are they unproductive, but the drag down the productivity of others, right to come around. They're like, Oh, I'm so busy. I'm here all the time. I have to work every weekend. Maybe Josh, if you just actually worked instead of just complaining all the time. You wouldn't have to be here at the time. Right? So what we found from studies that were done with employer groups from around the country, more than 1500 hiring managers, as well as then some additional research that was done with the US Department of Labor, as they were creating career competency models, trying to figure out what skills were necessary for different occupations and jobs. That work ethic wasn't one thing. It was really a set of seven skills that were this foundational work behaviors that drove success. It was about having a positive attitude, making sure that you know when things come because bad things will happen. How do you deal with them right? How do you control Your emotions and that stay positive. It was about having good attendance, right? You can say what you want to, but you still have to be there on time, every time, you have to a good appearance, not just in what you wear, but in particular in today's environment, how you communicate electronically, right? What your social medias like all of those different aspects, play into work ethic, you have to have ambition, not necessarily ambition to like climb the corporate ladder and be the CEO, but ambition to do more than just the bare minimum, right? The ability to go a little bit above and beyond the app to have acceptance, you have to be accepting of other people, you have to be accepting of the rules that you agreed to your boss, even if you don't like all those people, you have to have appreciation, you have to have gratitude for the people you work with the people you work for, it's really important. And then the last one we found was about accountability, you have to do what you say you're going to do. It's simple as that, as you may have guessed, because they'll start with the letter A, we have kind of liberate them that way. We just help people remember work ethic because they remember they have to bring their A game

Russel Lolacher
I saw what you did there.

Josh Davies
I didn't I didn't come up with you talked about Eric Chester, before we've been on this program. Eric Chester is the one who wrote the book originally, around that we've helped take his concepts and his ideas and build on them to create what we're doing with the Center for Work Ethic Development today. But it's so seven things right attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, acceptance, appreciation and accountability.

Russel Lolacher
The name of your organization is Work Ethic Development. And what that tells me is that you're firmly in the nurture over nature camp, as in this is something that can be taught rather than is intrinsic, is that am I on the right path there?

Josh Davies
Absolutely. In particular, when you break it into a skills based environment, when you break things down into skills, versus just feelings, it becomes a completely different ballgame. And that's why I think we're really helping those seven skills come to light will help you in that area. Instead of just saying, hey, I need you to have a better attitude. If you break that down and say, Hey, attitude is about staying positive in every situation, take control of the way you react. Instead of just saying be more positive. It's like, hey, I need you to take more control over your emotions. You're letting something bad that happened to you yesterday, still piss you off today. That's letting it control you not you're not controlling it, let's work on that. Or at least leave it at home. So that while you're here, you control your emotions while you're here. And that becomes then not something that's intrinsic, not something that was born in you. Yes, some people may have a leg up. But it's a skill we can all develop. And that I think is a really key piece in this whole process. I mean, we work with folks of all ages, you know, our partners around the country and around the globe. Some of them are in middle schools, right, where you're dealing with kids, and that almost preteen era. Some of them are in high schools, right with those teens. But we also have folks who are working in community colleges, technical colleges, we have organizations that run senior citizen employment programs, where they're helping to rescale, 50 and 60 year olds, to get them back into the workforce. And they're focusing on these skills. It's not about how old you are. It's not about whether it's nature, it's things that can be developed. Truly, We believe that this is skill development that anyone could do.

Russel Lolacher
You mentioned the seven As. Great. Love it. The danger of words like that is that they end up being words that are like on a poster that says like Courage, which is great. But what is courage actually mean for that organization versus another organization? I often talk about defining leadership because we throw it leadership like it's candy.

Josh Davies
Everybody has that same definition.

Russel Lolacher
Oh, no, but they never actually define it. They just see it all the time. Ie if you define leadership, then your employees have a path to know what leadership looks like they're or you have employees going shit, I do not want that job. And they should quit because they don't fit. How does that work for your words? Because they're great, but they also do you give the definition? Or do you work with the organization to define it specifically for themselves?

Josh Davies
So we have set definitions already for each of the seven skills. And just to clarify, just so you know, almost all the work that we do is with pre employment, jobseekers. So we are, we're not working with folks within an organization, we can do that. And we do that sometimes. But more often than not, these are set come standards that are global, then we can help people define, then they can move those things forward. Because like you said, a perfect example of that is the word ambition. In a lot of cultures, just if you let people define the word ambition, it has very negative overtones, right? It's this idea that you're better than people or you want to you know, you want to hurt people to get as good as you can get it. And so we have to be very specific about what those definitions are. Because again, if they do end up just as words on a poster, there is meaningless has never been defined.

Russel Lolacher
So another term I actually do want to define is work ethic gap. So what what are we gapping between because gaps are a big problem in corporate cultures, especially around what executive think's going on, and what employees know what's going on. So where's the gap for work ethic.

Josh Davies
You know, the gap, really, more than anything else is about preparation, and where, where people's self assessment is, versus where organizational or employers assessments are, really, for the last 10 years, and we've been tracking this data, pretty much consistently, three quarters of employers said that the incoming workforce, no matter kind of what age no matter where they are, are unprepared for the realities of work. They may have a degree, they may have a certificate, they may have all the technical knowledge in the world, but they don't have the basics of how to work. And there's a variety of reasons for that, you know, we look at what's caused this overtime, you know, there's a variety of factors, kind of the pillars of work ethic, if you will, you know, one of the big ones is the family environment. And without getting too in depth, there's a lot of things that have been changing over time. The number one thing we found, that's the biggest factor, it's been very interesting. There was a 25 year research project done by the University of Minnesota, looking at what inputs early in a child's life had the greatest outputs later in life when it came to success at work and other things. And so they looked at things like parents income, nope. Zip code. We talked about that all the time. Nope. Education Level? Nope. Interestingly enough, it was did you do regular chores growing up? The most important factor. And so then, looking at some research around that Braun research did a study with 1000 parents asking two questions to parents number one question, did you have to do regular chores growing up? Did you have to do regular chores?

Russel Lolacher
Oh, me?

Josh Davies
Yeah.

Russel Lolacher
My mom's listening. Yes. All the time.

Josh Davies
I'm not saying you did them were responsible for doing them. I'm not saying Did you complain about doing them? Or trying to pawn them off on your little brother, that I'm not that those are not things I'm saying? I'm just asking you. Did you have them assigned to you?

Russel Lolacher
Yes. Let's go with that. Yes.

Josh Davies
Okay. I mean, we're for your mom. Definitely. I'm 82% of parents surveyed across North America said the same thing. Those same parents were then asked, Do you make your children, today, do regular chores? Only 28%.

Russel Lolacher
Wow. Okay.

Josh Davies
I mean, you're talking about a fundamental shift. And that's, that's one of the challenges. You know, one of the other things we look at is an education, the decline of career and technical education programs, regardless of whether or not those are students who are then going directly into the work world, or people who are just taking the courses. And then going on kind of the traditional college track, whatever that looks like, those courses have been cut, and you're seeing less and less, fewer and fewer students enrolling them. Work is another key piece. And this is one of the ones that I highlight, because it's really easy for people to get more than anything else, right? Yeah, hire someone who's just fresh out of college. And it used to be that they probably had a part time job in high school, they maybe had a work study or an internship while they were in college or something in that space, what we find in the United States, and I'll just use this data because I have it off the top of my head. But it used to be the Bureau of Labor Statistics track that data since 1948. It used to be at around 50 to 60% of teenagers 16 to 19 were engaged in labor market, that was true across the entire 20th century, from 2001. On it's been on a decline, sped up through the great recession was starting to come back. And of course, with a pandemic. It's now 20, I think 24% during the school year, and about 27 28% in the summer, right, we went from one half of kids that one and every four who are employed at any one time. And again that the delta between school year employment and summer, your employment has never been lower. It used to be around 10 to 15 points, where we'd see way more peep kids working in the summer. Now it's virtually the same. Alright, so as a result, they've never worked a day in their life, they have no idea what the realities of work are like. And so when we talk about what causes the work ethic gap, it's not like oh, this generation smartphones are a problem or this that or the other. Right, every single generation we look at, when they're young, we come up with a new excuse about why they're different and why they're lazy, and why they're different. Right? For Gen Xers I say we watch too much TV. There's always watching TV all the time. Great and then Millennials played too many video games and now my Gen Z are on their phones too much. You know what? We all end up alright. Just the latest excuse, I'm sure like the next generation whatever it's gonna be called was probably going to be on VR too much right? They're gonna be Oh, you spend all this time in the goggles. You never get to interact with people. But we'll come up with the next thing. The reality is that's not what drives it. It's all these other factors that are at play. And that's what we need to be aware of, because that's what's creating this gap between work readiness, and the realities of what employers are looking for

Russel Lolacher
As a global organization. And you've thrown out a lot of us stats, is there a big difference once we get outside the US?

Josh Davies
You know, I, when I first got into this, I thought there might be. And here's a great example of kind of what we did, we ended up getting an opportunity, an amazing partnership with a group out of the Kingdom of Bahrain. And we won a an RFP to create work ethic curriculum, for every fourth eighth and 12th grader, at every public school in the kingdom, we went out and we did two weeks of focus groups, we've worked with parents, teachers, employers, students, I mean, all sorts of folks all over the country. And what we found was very interesting is those seven A's that we talked about, were the same exact seven skills that employers were demanding. parents weren't eating, it didn't change. And what's even crazier is there, we were able to find Quranic references, help support each and every one of them as well. So it's not, it wasn't even just that it was an employer piece, there was a cultural element that we could drive into that as well. Now, that doesn't mean that those are norms everywhere, right? And when you look at, you know, the joke when you're in a multi, you know, and multi International, a lot of expats from different places, right? There's always the joke of like, Hey, you invite people to a party that starts at seven? When does everyone show up? Based on where they're from in the world? Right? And, you know, it's like, the Germans will be there at 630. Right? The, you know, the Brits will be there at seven, the Americans come at 730. Right? And then, you know, the ball radius come at nine, right, whatever it might be, you know, there's jokes that they have about that kind of stuff. Those may be cultural norms. But what employers are telling us is that really, they're the same kind of as we're wherever we go across, you know, the work that we do in Canada, same thing, right, we're seeing the same seven things. Now, of course, you could say, argue that we're cousins. And so it's not that different. In Southeast Asia, we do work there. Same skills, what we're finding is the workforce is becoming more global. The realization the skills are as global is there as well.

Russel Lolacher
Of the seven A's. Are there particular ones that are harder, or you feel that are more challenging to instill in people, whether globally or locally?

Josh Davies
I don't know about more challenging. I mean, one of the interesting study that studies one of the in the curriculum in the whole training that we develop, one of the great things we do early on is a self assessment, not where they measure kind of how they are overall, but how they rank which one of the seven A's they think they do best all the way the ones they had the biggest challenge with. And I will tell you, there is not a consistent 1-2-3-4-5-6 or seven, you see kind of different people all sorts of different ideas about what they're good at what they're not good at, I would say fundamentally the most important one, if are to pick to attitude, right, you need to have that positive attitude, to really take ownership to move the rest of the needle. Right? If you're not willing to kind of take that first piece, the rest of it really is going to be hard to get into play. And then the end accountability, if you talk a good game on everything else, and then you never follow through, you don't do what you say you're going to do, then the rest of it really doesn't become anything more than just empty jargon. So I wouldn't say that there are two that are harder than any other. But I would say there are two that are kind of the capstones at the two ends, if you will, of the behaviors, the skills that make them the most important.

Russel Lolacher
How do you graduate? Like so we're coming in...what's the definition of you have good work ethic? Like it's it's, as we've already mentioned, it's also very personalized for every organization. So organizations want to work their staff to the bone, and what they define his work ethic is unrealistic. Well, other organizations are a little better to work for. So as someone training staff to go into this market, how where's the bar of success?

Josh Davies
Yeah, one of the important things I think to look at is this definitely some of the organizational definitions of work ethic, because this idea of sort of working yourself to the bone. That's kind of what work ethic is in this world. I think one of the joys of the last 36 months, is I believe that's really starting to become an organizational casualty. And I think it's long overdue. The reality is that's not healthy for any organizations unhealthy for employees. And it doesn't produce long term results. It produces burnout. So you may get, you know, a great start, but it's not sustainable, long term. What we look at is can we begin setting this basic definition, the standard of what the behaviors look like what employer expectations are across the board so people can identify what those are. What we then do is sort of setup What's a baseline. And so we have an exam to help people earn their Certificate of Work ethic proficiency. It's not mastery, it's not the world, they're not the world's greatest person. But they understand they're proficient at the skills of work ethic. Now, it's not easy to do, you have to get a 90%. Because we do want to see that you have complete and total understanding. And I'm just kind of guessing around at some things, it's not easy to assess. But we worked on it. We also then help employers do a variety of different assessments within their organization, some rubric, sometimes there's some other ways that they can help measure and coach employees on this, we worked with a workforce board in the in the GTA, to help them create a tool for employers in their community around this so that they could then help them further develop their employees around the skills without having to add something extra or do you know, new, have a new position hired to do some additional training, it could just be coaching by managers and supervisors. And I think that's really kind of the key in this is using it as a framework for discussion. Not necessarily a stamp where you're like, you're a plus, and you're see, let's, here's what the minimum, here's the bar, you got that great, we'd like you to continue to prove, here's some things that you can do along the way, because that will have some organizational spin to it. But the minimum won't, right, showing up on time, every time is going to be the standard. Right? If I if you're scheduled at nine, I don't mean nine ish, I need you they're prepared and ready to go at night. That's that's just the way life works. And that's, you know, come this bar, regardless of what kind of organization you're in.

Russel Lolacher
You've already mentioned that there is such a misunderstanding of what work ethic because it immediately ties to productivity. But as you've mentioned, pandemic has really change the paradigm when it comes to how employees talk. Employees demand what organizations need to wake up to. So how has those human skills soft skills amplified for you in your training in your approach?

Josh Davies
Well, I think, as with many things, and I've said this about the pandemic, from the get go, you know, people talk about how it's been this unprecedented shift and it's done. Well, the reality is that it isn't, it is simply accelerated the trends in the workforce that were already happening, right, we already saw the shift in that space. In particular, this shifts towards human skills, to soft skills to real world skills to work ethic to whatever you whatever you want to call it. And without getting too much on my soapbox, I hate the term soft skills. Same everybody hates the term soft skills, right? And so it's compared to so here's the challenge, like every time, then you're in a conversation with another business leader, and you're like, Well, we were really helping to develop a central workplace soft skills, you know, work ethic, and they're like, so what does that explain? Oh, it's attitude to other Oh, you mean soft skills, is the term that everybody hates, but everyone gets, I can't wait for the day that we come up with a better term collectively. Until then we're stuck with a stupid term that everyone hates, but everyone understands. Okay, I'm off my soapbox, you can edit that part out. The reality is the shift towards those skills, and the need for those skills just got accelerated during the pandemic. And, you know, as we move to this weird hybrid work environment, where people aren't face to face all the time, and we're needing to build more environments, and communication and trust in different ways, right, those human skills are going to become even more important, right? This work ethic stuff, whether or not that's creative problem solving, whether or not that's, you know, communication, those are the skills that are going to be more and more in demand. And, you know, you look, you know, LinkedIn just came out with their top five skills for the future. You know, communication, time management, critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal skills, are those are the skills that people are right now, most in demand moving forward, or email those right, those aren't technical skills, right? Those are universal skills that apply to everything. And that's what we're going to be needing to move moving forward, the pandemic simply shifted, and had both employers and employees realizing or awakening to the value that those skills already always brought, and now have a continued emphasis on bringing.

Russel Lolacher
Before we got into this conversation, I went and looked up the definition of work ethic. And I just wanted to get your idea of that because I much as I love where you're going with your organization, there is this understanding of what work ethic is before they ever talk to people like you. This is straight up dictionary definition, the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous, or worthy of reward. I've never heard more bullshit in my life, but like really, it's basically believing that work for work sake should be enough for and this feels like it was written in 1932

Josh Davies
If then, yeah.

Russel Lolacher
So how do you combat against that?

Josh Davies
Well, I would say this, but you can say work for work sake. No, right? We live in a world with regardless, right? We're in a capitalist environment, where you are providing your labor for it for something in return, right? This is part of the work relationship. That's just how it goes. But I will say this, there is an emotional component to work that we can't overlook. And I'm not saying that that's a benefit that the employer provides. I'm not saying it's like, hey, you need to put this into the equation. And it helps a compensate for a lack of wages, because we're also getting this emotional benefit. Because that's not the way the world works. But the reality is this, when you work hard, when you accomplish something, there is truly something in you that's like, that feels good, right? When you work on a team with people, and you accomplish something, the bond that you get with those folks, regardless whether it's a work project, a class project, you're in some sort of theater production, right, the bond that you get, because you did something together. That's real, right. And that is true. I mean, that's a part of this whole process. But you don't get that unless you put in the seven things, right, if you don't put in the basics, you don't get out, because you've been part of that same class project where you got really busy and you know, maybe your part didn't get done by you. And at last minute, somebody else had to do it. And they're all excited, and you're at the end kind of going, hey, at least we got an A, but you're not really proud about it, you're not excited about it, you're just happy it's done. It when you don't put in the effort, when you don't put in these things, when you don't throw your skills into the mix, that reward doesn't come out to you. And I think that's an important piece of work ethic, we do need to make sure that we always talk about, but that can't be the reward in and of itself. That has to be the cherry on top. And I think that's what the definition is speaking to. But again, one of the things that you talked about, we can't let work ethic be used as a stick as a punishment, as a way to drive performance in organization. Right? It has to be what you choose to bring, that adds value. And that's where this dynamic is shifting. And we're really starting to see things in this new post COVID against work era. Somebody's going to come up with a better term, but we will come up with whatever it is. Do you have one?

Russel Lolacher
If I see one more article that talks about what leaders and executives need to know about the post pandemic world and you read it all and it's like, people have wanted this for 25 years! Why are you just waking up?

Josh Davies
What I love is if you look at what's happened now, and this is you knew this was bound to happen. All the articles that were written, and this is I'm gonna, I'm getting on my pet peeves here, right? All these articles that were written about how to manage millennials, here's what Millennials want in the workplace. Here's how to do this. And you're like, you know, that's what we all want. They're just talking about it. And now all of a sudden, you know, what's happened? All of those things they talked about, right? Work life balance, flexible work environment, work from home, oh, this unrealistic? Millennials. Now everyone's gotten in there. Like, I love this. This is awesome. Right? And it's going to be happening, right? The reality is, right, the things that you needed to do pre pandemic or post pandemic, and like you said, again, random piece here, there are certain things that I thought I knew pre pandemic, that post pandemic. Now I'm like, Oh, God, I know nothing. It's part of that is how quickly these changes had been accepted. I mean, the fact that moving to five days a week in the office, is now going to be seen, as an exception blows my mind the speed at which that happened. But the reality is this, before we know it, we are going to be in an official four day workweek. And I thought that would never happen. And quite frankly, if you look at a lot of organizations today, they won't tell you this. But they're already in a de facto four day workweek. I mean, I talk to people all the time, they're like, just don't schedule a meeting with me on Friday. I don't take any meetings on Friday. Interesting. And I think it will happen then. The great part about it is it won't be Monday. through Thursday, it will be what four days people choose, and what worked best for the organization and how to maximize time and it's the shift towards seat time is going to be going away. Now, here's the hard part. How do we get higher ed to do the same thing? Wow, I am going down so many rabbit holes with you here today. How do we get higher ed to move away from seat time is the way to determine whether or not you learn something,

Russel Lolacher
But it's not to answer that far out of the rabbit hole, because I mean, this is all about work ethic, and how you show up at work, how you produce how you engage all the seven A's as well, is tied to how you work where you work, where you physically are. It's all, they're all linked. It's just understanding that work ethic can still work in these other environments, it doesn't need to be a cookie cutter 1953 this is how my dad used to do it.

Josh Davies
And frankly, if people only work when you're directly supervising over their shoulder, you probably have a problem with your work culture.

Russel Lolacher
I often say that you either if you have a problem, like you need 17 approvals of a staff that's either a hiring problem or a leadership problem.

Josh Davies
Possibly, both.

Russel Lolacher
Yes, most likely both. So there is a dark side to work ethic, where it gets into this passion tax, where it gets into where they take, for people who don't know, paradox is, it's taking advantage of people that have strong work ethic that want to do great. So they get the reward of good work is more work. And so they lead down, right. You're getting taxed for being passionate about what you do. And organizations will take advantage of that. Or they're looking passion tax being one or ignoring boundaries, because they know you'll say yes to everything. Right? Do you tackle that idea of we'll help you with work ethic. But you understand that you have to treat your employees well, even if we give them these tools once they enter the workforce.

Josh Davies
So we work with that more from an individual basis than an organizational basis. Because again, we don't do much consulting, work, post employment. But part of that, again, is setting up boundaries, or at least understanding as you set your personal goals, how taking on some additional tasks can help you reach your goals. If there's a reason, if there's a way that this will help you long term, that's gonna be probably something that maybe that passion task tax is actually you know, a paid forward kind of thing, where you're now getting a chance to do some things differently, expand your skills, or do that, if they're just making you pick up the work of other people. That's not helping you necessarily reach your goals. That's not necessarily something that you should be just jumping into. And how do you stay positive that how do you also be accepting of the authority of your boss in that space, and that's kind of a difficult kind of back and forth. And that's why this is not these are not served just simple sandbox skills. These are real, challenging, difficult skills right? There. Again, they're not just soft and easy. These are real world challenging skills. Because the world is not simple. Human beings are not simple. We are the most complicated thing out there. And that's what these skills all have to deal with. It's not about ones and zeros, right? It's about... Dougs and Neros? I need to come up with a better you know, it's not X's and O's, it's Tommy's and Joe's or whatever, I need to come up with a better ones and zeros. Okay, I'm gonna work on that one.

Russel Lolacher
Bring your A game, bring your A game.

Josh Davies
I will, I will. As soon as we get done. I'm gonna get it. I just started doing some brainstorming here little whiteboarding.

Russel Lolacher
So I've got the final question for you today, Josh, which is what's one simple action people can do right now, to improve those relationships at work?

Josh Davies
I think the most important thing people can do right now is give grace to themselves and to their co workers. I think we're in a place where people, you know, the more you can recognize humanism in people, the more you can recognize the challenges that people are facing, you know, more often than not, when someone's either snaps at you or has a bad day, or it has nothing to do with you. When you aren't able to do what you need to do. There's usually it's not because you don't want to. There's a lot of these other factors. And I think it's important to understand that humanism of people and give people grace, and the more we do that, I think that can really help us grow, grow the relationship, heal relationships with ourselves and others. And I think it's a really it's a key first step, if I were just to pick one.

Russel Lolacher
And that's what I asked you to do. So thank you very much, guys. I appreciate that. That is Josh Davies. He's a speaker, trainer and the CEO for the Center for work ethic development. Thank you for joining us today, sir.

Josh Davies
Hey, absolutely. My pleasure. And again, you better bring your A game every day.

Russel Lolacher
Dammit! I'm working on it.

Josh Davies
It's constant battle, baby. Let's do it.