Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.

How To Connect Value to Employee Experience

June 04, 2024 Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate Episode 164
How To Connect Value to Employee Experience
Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
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Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
How To Connect Value to Employee Experience
Jun 04, 2024 Episode 164
Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author, speaker and Chief Enthusiasm Officer Dr. Randy Ross on the importance of connecting values to employee retention.

Randy  shares his insights and experience in:

  • Holistic employee experience
  • Values and behaviour alignment.
  • Ethical and aesthetic components of values.
  • Alignment and authenticity of values.
  • Continuous feedback and self-reflection to operationalize values.
  • Culture by design vs default.
  • Value creation vs extraction.

And connect with me for more great content!

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author, speaker and Chief Enthusiasm Officer Dr. Randy Ross on the importance of connecting values to employee retention.

Randy  shares his insights and experience in:

  • Holistic employee experience
  • Values and behaviour alignment.
  • Ethical and aesthetic components of values.
  • Alignment and authenticity of values.
  • Continuous feedback and self-reflection to operationalize values.
  • Culture by design vs default.
  • Value creation vs extraction.

And connect with me for more great content!

Russel Lolacher: And on the show today we have Dr. Randy Ross and here's why he is awesome. He's a speaker, coach and founder CEO.... now I should clarify that's Chief Enthusiasm Officer for Remarkable Leadership Development Advisory Group, specializing in team development and organizational health. He's a best selling author of multiple books, including Relationship... relationomics. Got to get that right. It's a nice little collection of, of both really important words, Fireproof Happiness and Remarkable Maximizing Results Through Value Creation.

And a little hint. He's got another book coming out in August of this year in 2024. Make Life Good. He's the Former Chief People officer of North American Automotive Group. And he is here today. Hello, Randy. How are you today, sir?

Dr. Randy Ross: Man, that is a mouthful. That was a quite an introduction, Russel. I appreciate that, but it is great to be with you and looking forward to our conversation today.

Russel Lolacher: You know, I, I wish the commercials for micromachines used to be around. I think I would make a big dig for that gig, but I appreciate it. And I love getting into that and understanding a bit of your background, but I want to personalize this a bit, Randy. I want to ask you the question I get to ask all of my guests, which is what is your best or worst employee experience, sir?

Dr. Randy Ross: Okay. Great question. And for me personally, I had the opportunity to work with a large regional lending institution. It's specifically in the mortgage space here in the Southeastern part of the United States. And we were consistently ranked on Fortune's top list of 100 places to work in the country.

And so it was arguably a stellar culture. We had a great time. In terms of team connectivity and commitment and all of us really feeling like we were on a mission. That we had a significant purpose just beyond making money, made that experience stellar and actually was very instrumental in launching me into what I do today, which is to travel the world and talk to organizations about how do you craft a compelling culture that inspires people to bring their best to work every day.

Russel Lolacher: So I want to dig into that just for a moment too, because I'm always curious about those best place to work, adulations and so forth. So what do you feel in your experience was maybe one or two things that set you apart from other organizations that would get you in a word like that?

Dr. Randy Ross: A couple of things. We believed in what we were doing. And we were, we were championing a cause that was greater than just making money. That's number one. And I think that's interesting and important because people like to do good business with businesses that do good. And we felt like we were doing good.

We felt like we were on a mission, even though we were in the mortgage space, we believed we were helping people fulfill the dream of home ownership. And, and that, that, you know, may sound like semantics. It may sound like smoke and mirrors, but the reality was, we all believe that we had the capacity to make someone's life a little bit better.

That we could do something, even in just a small way, to improve their story. To help them achieve a dream. And that was, that was fun. That was, that was probably the first part of it. But the, the second part of it is rather common sense, but not necessarily common practice. And that's that people, do better work when they're happy, and they're happy when they like doing the work that they do with people that they like.

And so we just liked each other. We had a great time together. We we were diverse, but we were like minded. We all had this passion to pursue what we were doing with, discretionary effort. And because of that, we all encouraged each other to sort of bring our a game to the table every single day.

We sharpened each other. We were growing we just loved hanging out together and that's what, that's what made the difference.

Russel Lolacher: We're going to get into a lot of this because we're dealing with a lot of value based culture conversations. We're about to dig into. But before we do, I want to just dig a little bit deeper into what your experience was. I just came from a couple of days, a workshop where it was team building and getting to know each other and some of the biggest, most valuable moments were those that were pulled away from the work where we actually were just having side conversations about, Oh, how this and this, have you thought about this? And it had nothing to do with the work at hand, but it humanized us as people in that room that invigorated us to feel comfortable enough to then be innovative and then provide ideas. Cause we felt like it was a safe, psychological, safe space. Do you remember in your years in that organization where there was any moments or, or initiatives that you were behind that were that personal to you that really stood out?

Dr. Randy Ross: Oh, absolutely. And, and what you're talking about, or let me back up for a second. We are holistic creatures, right? And so you can't really separate your work life from your home life. I mean, if you have a bad day at work, you're going to take it home, right? If you have a good day at home, it's probably going to impact your work world.

So, we're, we're delicately interconnected in that sort of a way. And so when it comes to the work environment, the more humanized you can make that environment, the more impactful it is to the business, to your point. A safe environment where people can open up and share and talk, being able to have growth and learning experience in a cohort based type of an environment where people are deeply relationally connected.

Those are the things that create, a stellar employee experience and that employee experience is always passed on to the customer experience And so the more, the more rich and full and fulfilling that employee experience is, the better customer service you're going to be able to deliver as an organization.

Russel Lolacher: So let's dig into it a bit here, Randy. I'm, I'm a big fan of definitions. I'm not a fan of organizations using words because they use them like leadership and engagement and diversity without actually defining... culture! And thank you cause, what a lovely segue for me right now, sir, because we mention them and then never define them.

So then we never wonder why they're not successful. So starting every conversation on the show, I like to really, let's start defining what we're about to talk about. So I want to hear what what your thoughts are on how we define or how do you define from the remarkable lens, workplace culture.

Thank you. That's foundational, I think, to the conversation because there are a thousand different definitions of culture, depending upon who you ask. For us, we say culture is simply the collective expression of the values, the beliefs, and the behaviors that individuals bring to any endeavor. So a lot of times we talk about, you know, it's how we play in the sandbox together, or we try to describe it in terms of behaviors.

Dr. Randy Ross: And we always want to move people to have more positive behaviors, but behind the behavior is a belief system. And if we don't effectively address the belief system, we're never going to be able to have a long lasting impact upon the behavior. Because the belief has to reinforce the behavior. And behind the beliefs are value constructs.

You know, values that drive us. It's human motivational theory. And that's why I think axiology, we'll probably talk a little bit about that field of study here in a little while, but axiology is the study of values, the study of value constructs and the study of value creation. And so I think you've got to take it back to values.

Do the values of the organization resonate with the individuals? Do the values of the individuals enhance the corporate values? Is there synergy there? Do they complement each other? Because if it's just verbiage, if it's just rhetoric, it's not going to have a long lasting impact. So that's the definition of culture.

Now a remarkable culture, as we define it in the book Remarkable, is a culture that has a trilogy of three characteristics and here they are. It's a place where people believe the best in each other, they want the best for each other, and so therefore they expect the best from each other. Believe the best in, want the best for, expect the best from. That's a remarkable culture.

Russel Lolacher: So that leads me to a next question of definition is values then, because value can mean to some people is the worth of something, others where it seems like we talk in the corporate workplace culture is it's behaviors. So what does it mean to you to have a value based culture?

Dr. Randy Ross: So, let's go back to axiology because this kind of helps serve the foundation and this'll be great to frame our conversation. Axiology may be a field of study many people are not familiar with. It's a strain of philosophy, Russel. And it talks about, like I said, values, value constructs, and value creation.

For me, it's the most, specific and energizing definition of human motivational behavior. And it postulates that we all will do what we deem will bring the most value in life, both for ourselves and for those around us. Whatever you value the most will drive your behavior. It's just common sense. But here's the thing. Axiology is the study of good. I find that fascinating. It's a study of good. Meaning, how do you define good? To your point, you have to be able to define it. Then you have to be able to measure it and move it. And it's all about creating movements of good within organizational life. So, what is good? Axiology would say, created for a purpose, you fulfill the purpose for which you're created.

In other words, are you doing the job, are you doing the work that was the original intent of the formation of the organization? As an individual, are you pursuing, are you fulfilling your potential the way you were designed and created to do that? Do you maximize the impact that you're having in the world?

Are you, are you giving back? Cause it's not just a matter of fulfilling your own personal potential. It's are you bringing good into the world? I mean, it's not enough just to breathe the air and consume the Earth's resources and then not have it contributing anything to society when you die. I mean, what kind of a life is that?

Doesn't, doesn't leave a legacy, doesn't leave a dent in the universe. And I think that's what's compelling to me is, if you want to take it back to the very essence of the, the, the nature of the structure of business, if I were to ask, you know, what's the purpose of business, many people and many academic institutions would say the purpose of business is to make money.

Now they would give a long flowery definition about supply in the market that meets a demand and fiduciary responsibility and all this, but the bottom line is to make money. And I disagree. That may sound strange, but I don't think the purpose of business is to make money. I think the purpose of business is to improve the human condition.

The purpose of business is to do good, to create good, because I know that people like to do business with companies that do good. They like to do business with businesses that do good. And the more good you do as a business, I can just tell you that people will gladly pay full price for those things that they deem bring true value or bring goodness to life.

And so it's just a different way of defining and looking at the world, but it makes all the difference in the world.

Russel Lolacher: Absolutely. And I don't, I know a few people that when they're like, so what is success to you? It's delivering a thing. It's making the money. It is... which... but you both and I agree that that is a result of the work, not the purpose of the work. But by saying language like that, what we're actually saying is the ends justify the means.

Because however we get there, burnout, turnover, doesn't matter because that's not how we're measuring success. At the end, we're measuring success not about the health of the organization, but that we did a thing, we made a dollar. And I don't think enough organizations understand that, that to talk in that language devalues, to use the language you're talking about, the organization that they're trying to build. The health of the organization they're trying to build.

So that leads me into axiology, which breaks into two areas, which is ethics, which I feel like we're really talking about and aesthetics, which I'm super curious about because, so can you tie that in to the employee retention that we're talking about?

Dr. Randy Ross: When you're talking about axiology, you're, you're spot on. You are talking about ethics, which is the value of the moral foundation, but you're also talking about the aesthetics. So when you're talking about the ethics of it, are we, are, is our basic constitution as an organization taking care of our people who then take care of our customers?

Are we treating them right? Are we treating them fairly? Are we concerned about their growth and development? What's the ethos of the organization? What's the ethic behind it? But then you tell me if the aesthetics and that's it, Hey, while we're doing what we're doing, are we leaving a positive wake in the world? Are we making the world a more beautiful place? Is the world better because we're here? That's all encompassed within good. So there is an ethical component. Are we doing what we're doing the right way? But then there's also a beauty component. Are we constructing and creating something of value in the world?

And I think both of those components are very much baked in to the philosophy and the principles of axiology.

Russel Lolacher: So with values, we talk about them obviously all the time. Organizations have them. They're really good about making posters and putting it on websites. Individuals, individuals do exercises. I think I've done about 10 separate exercises in my career already too on what are your values? How do you align if you're working for an organization, a value centric organization, and your values might be different than what's on your personal poster than what's on the poster of the organization?

Dr. Randy Ross: First you're right. A lot of times when we talk about values and we go through value exercises, it's, it's unfortunately, oftentimes a lot of rhetoric. Now, now to be fair, it's okay to have aspirational values. In other words, things that you hold dear, that you're trying to attain, that you're striving to achieve, but we also have to have realistic values.

Who are we currently? What, what, what really defines our behavior? And I think that's where we have to be very candid. We have to be honest and truthful with ourselves. I've seen a lot of organizations that you can walk into the lobby and you see the plaque of their values, but then you walk in the halls and they're not embodied at all.

You know, they may be out on the board, but they're not necessarily embraced and they're not embodied on a daily basis. It's kind of fun. You know, I go into organizations all the time to consult and they go, let us tell you about our values. Let us tell you about our culture and I call a timeout. And I go, wait a minute, wait a minute. I got a better idea. Let me walk your halls and talk to people for an hour and I'll come back and tell you what your values are and what your culture is, because it's palpable in the life of the organization. If you ask the right questions and if you listen intently, you can discern pretty quickly what the value construct is.

What's most important to them. And so I think that what's critical is that those values truly are defining the character and the behavior of the organization. Because if they don't, then people are going to begin to see, okay, this organization is disingenuous. It's not at high trust environment because we're putting up a veneer, but it's not what we're really doing. We're not really living those values out. And so therefore it's, it's not impactful. So again, back to the importance of defining words,. Not only that, but defining values. What, what, what does this look like when we live it out on a daily basis? And if your value construct is not consistent personally with the organization, that's highly problematic because somewhere along the line, you'll come and find yourself at cross purposes because what you deem to be essential won't line up and that's when we talk about the importance of aligning values and creating what we call value-centricity. Value-centricity, we unpack this in the book Remarkable, is when my values align with your values and the values of other team members and the values of the organization. We can literally create a circuit through which energy can flow to do good and light up the world. But if our values are not aligned, if we don't have value-centricity, which is a word we made up. So don't go try to look it up. But if we don't have value-centricity, if there's not an alignment of our values, we will always be short circuited.

Russel Lolacher: What do you recommend to a leader that wants to close the gap between words said, values on a poster on a website, versus actions taken? How do you operationalize to become a value-centric, to use your great word, organization?

Dr. Randy Ross: There are a couple of things. First, I think there has to be healthy self reflection and self assessment. You have to be able to look deeply in the mirror and be honest with yourself. And I think that starts with healthy dialogue. Organizations have to learn how to create open loops of continuous feedback.

And by that, what I mean is that if you can create the kind of culture and atmosphere where anybody in the life of the organization has not only the right, but the responsibility to address anybody else in the life of the organization at any time about any issue and you're getting constant feedback so that people at all levels of the organization feel free, their safety to bring their ideas, their thoughts, their responses to the table without judgment in a safe environment where it can be evaluated, talked about, and then owned.

Then you're well on your way to creating an environment of open feedback and groups that are able to do that in my opinion, become self policing, because they become self coaching and self correcting. And that in itself is powerful when you can create that level of trust and that level of transparency and that that level of relational connectivity.

The organization that I was a part of that I mentioned when we first started, one of the things that I look back on with fond memories is the fact that anybody could go to anybody else and have a conversation about anything to affirm them, to coach them up, to correct them. There was this open attitude of, hey, I'm here to learn and grow.

And if you can help me in the process, I'm all ears. And so we had each other's backs. But at the same time, we also did not allow anybody to bring anything less than their A game. So in this instance, if I saw you, you were having a bad week. I came up and go, Hey, Russel, man, I've been watching the last couple of days. You okay? Cause Hey, you relate to this meeting. You missed this deadline. I'm worried about you. Are you, are you good? How can I help? And it wasn't critical, but it was providing the resources necessary for everyone to excel because we wanted to see everyone succeed because we, we knew that basic principle that the fastest way to succeed yourself is to ensure that everyone around you succeeds.

It gets back to the old Zig Ziglar saying, or if Zig, I don't even know he was actually the first one to bring that up, but it's so true, you know, because all the good things we want in life are the byproduct of helping other people. I mean, if you think about it, I wrote a book during COVID called Fireproof Happiness.

Everybody wants to be happy, but very few people are ever able to achieve it because they think happiness is a goal that they can set and achieve. And you can't. A wise man by the name of John Templeton, he once said this, he said, happiness pursued eludes, but happiness given returns. And it's so true because I know for me personally, I'm the happiest as a husband when my wife is happy.

I'm the happiest as a parent when my kids are happy, and I'm the happiest, happiest as a team leader when my teams are happy. And so, therefore, it's not about me pursuing happiness, but me pursuing creating an environment in which everyone else can flourish. And when that happens, happiness ensues, it doesn't pursue.

Russel Lolacher: Love that.

Dr. Randy Ross: And I think that's a big part of that cultural mindset that we have to adopt.

Russel Lolacher: I'm going to put on my detail focused leader and ask the question of, is there a best practices when it comes to understanding values of our organization? I say this with questions like, can I have too many values? Cause I mean, you get these lists of like 100 Brene Brown values and they're like, pick 10 now, now pick five is, are these arbitrary numbers?

Can you have 50 and operate as an organization? Are there wrong values? Are there better values to have in this? So from your experience, am I just being too detail oriented? Should I be more organic? What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Randy Ross: I don't, I don't think it should be artificial. You know, I see some organizations work effectively with 10 values.

There are a lot of organizations that I think 10 or 12 is basically too many, but Zappos did that for years, right? They had 12 core values and they lived it out and they did incredibly well under Tony Hsieh's leadership. But there are other organizations. I think three. Is perfectly fine. I've seen some organization that it's one, but the number doesn't matter. The issue is, do you embody them? Do you live them out? And when it comes to values, I think that there are practices that come out of our values but it's more important the principles that underlie those values. And so there are certain principles of axiology that I think are absolutely essential to have in place.

And then your practices grow out of your being. I always like to say that you're, you're doing flows from your being because it's who you are. You can do a lot of things. but not be the person that you represent. And it's more important to focus on the character. And if you just want to make it simple, culture is the character of the organization.

And so it's more important to focus on who you're becoming, who you're being rather than what you're doing because that adds the substance and the impact to what you do.

Russel Lolacher: So whose job is this Randy? Cause I mean, there'll be workshops where executive will go, ah, HR, can you go to a workshop and figure out what our values are and then yeah, we'll, we'll, we'll work from there. Or, or is it executives or is it the leader in every part of the organization? Is it from the ground up?

Where is this value-centricity resonating from?

Dr. Randy Ross: Again, all these questions, Russel, are right on point and it's, the answer is, it's everyone's responsibility. Everyone needs to understand the importance of culture and to be not only a champion of culture, but a keeper of that culture. We all have to have our hand on the helm of culture because, you know, how many people does it take to bring a team down?

To spread dissension, to be disillusioned, to be disenchanted, to speak ill to gossip at the water. It only takes one person to bring down the morale of any team dynamic. Organizations where the top tier embraces and embodies those values that can cascade down much quickly throughout the life of the organization.

And so many of the best organizations were founded by a stellar leader who grasped this principle. But the answer is everybody has to carry it and everybody has to cultivate that culture. But it, it, it, can it be organic? Of course it can, you know, it can start from the bottom up and begin to impact an organization.

But the reality is it has to permeate. If it doesn't permeate the organization, if everybody's not on the same page, then it becomes problematic.

Russel Lolacher: Consistency is always a big problem when it comes to these things, because when organizations first start, values are lived, breathed, because the founders sitting right over there and you're a team of five, but then you get bigger and that executive gets further and further from the front line. How does that value-centricity, how is it consistent?

How can you, what are, what are something we can do to keep consistent in making sure we are walking down the path and continuing to walk down that path?

Dr. Randy Ross: When an organization is young, it is easier. It's easier to define. It's easier to live out those values. As an organization grows, it becomes more challenging, but nonetheless, even that much more essential to keep everybody on the same page. Because here's, here's what happens oftentimes is, you don't realize, but every single hire, every single new person you add to the team will either add to and improve the culture or detract from and diminish that culture that you're trying to create. In one way Russel, I like to say it is that you're going to have a culture. Wherever people get together, you're going to have a culture. The question is, will that culture be by design or will it be by default? Will it be by design meaning that you're giving it intentionality, thoughtful reflection, you're constantly trying to make it better, or do you not pay attention to it?

Do you get busy in the weeds of business? It's not a high priority. And then all of a sudden, one day you wake up and you've got a culture that you don't necessarily like. So is it by design or is it by default? Because culture is going to take place. You know, it's, it's how, it's how people relate to one another.

And so I think that making culture the priority of the leadership conversation, I mean, culture is not a plaque in the lobby. It's not an event. It's not a keynote. It's the daily conversation. Here's a great way to think about it, that people. will grow into the conversations that we create around them.

Think about it. So people grow into the conversations that we create. So we talk about practically speaking, culture is an ongoing conversation. It's what are you talking about? What's on the front burner? What are you giving focus to? What are you giving your time to? And then from that, I think your practices begin to take shape.

So are you, do you have real time feedback through effective coaching conversations? Do you have cohort based learning experiences where people can get together and regularly talk about the, the principles and the products and the processes and all of the, and the important people related issues? Do, do our people believe that we're on mission, that we have a purpose that's bigger than self and that we're having a positive impact in the world?

Those are all practices that flow out of the commitment of being intentional about building the culture and keeping that conversation alive. That's how culture grows. You keep it alive through conversations.

Russel Lolacher: So let's go to hiring because perpetuating it through the organization's great, but we have to start with culture fit. We have to be hiring correctly. How does axio... the the study of values axiology, how does those aspects, how can they be best implemented in, in, you know, hiring practices?

Dr. Randy Ross: Oh I'm gonna throw you, curveball here, okay?

Russel Lolacher: Oh, goodie.

Dr. Randy Ross: The best organizations who understand culture, they don't, they don't recruit, they select. Because culture is one of the most attractive, powerful forces that you can establish as an organization. When you get, when you get the culture piece right, people will beat your doors down trying to get into your organization.

Because there's so much toxic behavior, Russel, in so many corporate situations, and that's why there's no sense of loyalty anymore. That's why people are transitioning so frequently. That's why you have a revolving door in so many organizations, because people haven't landed in a place where they enjoy.

But when you create an atmosphere, when you create a compelling culture, that's attractive to people, then you don't have to recruit. You just simply select. You select the best of the people who come to you and the best organizations that's experienced. But when people bemoan all the time, we can't get good help. We can't get a good talent. While you're looking for good help and good talent, you really need to be focusing on developing the talent you have. and crafting your culture in a different way by applying some of these principles so that you're attracting and retaining the right type talent. Does that make sense?

Russel Lolacher: Absolutely does. I've always believed that the best promotion for your organization are your employees, because if they love where they work, they're not going to stop talking about it.

Dr. Randy Ross: Right.

Russel Lolacher: Look at your Glassdoors. Look at your Indeeds. That is a beautiful place for people to complain, but guess what it's also great for? For them to praise and sell and tell and, and recommend to their friends. It's that whole eNPS score they have for Employee Net Promoter Score. Would you recommend this place to your employees or your family?

Dr. Randy Ross: Exactly. Exactly. And so when your people are raving about the experience that they're having other people that catches their attention in the marketplace. That's how you create loyalty. That's how you create raving fans when people, we say that remarkable, which thank you for mentioning that the third edition of the book is coming out, but remarkable is a powerful word because it means that you, you deliver a service or a product or you live life in such a way that you exceed all expectations.

You blow people away. You, you provide world class service. You, you mark someone's life for good to such a degree that when they leave your presence, they have this irrepressible desire to talk about you and the positive difference that you made in their lives while they were in your presence. Think about it this way.

Robert Stevens, the founder of Geek Squad, he was quoted in an Inc. Magazine article back in, I think, 2008. He said this, advertising is a tax you pay for being unremarkable. Now take that. Recruiting is a tax you pay for being unremarkable. Here's what drives me crazy. More organizations right now are spending more on recruiting than they are on training and development within their organizations. Because the door is spinning so quickly, they've got to have so many people hiring because they're losing so many people. If they just take that money and invest in developing their people and helping them grow to fulfill their potential, put money where it should be, which is investing in the people that you have to create the kind of culture that you want, then like you said, those people will then go out and tell everybody. Holy mackerel. My company believes so much in me. They're setting me up for success.

Russel Lolacher: They'll be bragging about it. Bragging about it. Yeah. Yeah,

Dr. Randy Ross: Absolutely.

Russel Lolacher: That, it always reminds me of, we're old enough to remember magazines, Randy, it always reminds me of those magazine subscriptions.

Dr. Randy Ross: You're putting me in my camp already.

Russel Lolacher: You're younger than me. You're younger than me. So

Dr. Randy Ross: I don't think so. you have much more hair than I have. So that's a telltale factor.

Russel Lolacher: Of those magazine subscriptions back in the 80s and 90s where they're like for 60 percent less, you can subscribe today, but nothing for the people that already were subscribers. It was always about the recruitment. It was always about getting new people in, but adding no value to the people that were already been loyal to them.

And that is such an easy metaphor for the workplace. What are you doing for the people that already you should be caring about? Not the people you don't even know and don't even have relationships with yet. Speaking of relationships we talk about values. We talk about personal values, how the organization's values and the, and the individual's values should align.

But there are people within the organization that have a little bit more or a lot more influence. And that is the leadership within an organization. Their leadership values, it might be different. They have more impact. What their values are has more of an impact on the organization than say some of the frontline workers might.

So what would you say to those leaders that don't have the values that aren't being, you know, fired or dealt with? Because they're leadership and they may be actually poisoning the organization a lot, a little, but they have a lot more influence with their values and how they show up in the organization.

How do you address that?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well let's back up for just a second because we'll talk about leadership. Leadership is influence, pure and simple. It's influence. That's all leadership is, is do you have the capacity to influence other people? And there are two types of influence. One is one that comes by title and chain of command because you're in charge and you can tell people what to do.

But the challenge with that kind of influence is that command and control, which breeds fear within the life of the workforce and usually is about you do what I say, don't do what I do, it's always short lived. It doesn't last long because how long will people do what they're forced to do? Here's a great axiom of life.

And if you grasp this, it can profoundly change the way you do life and business. Here it is. You ready? People will do what they want to do.

And when you understand that you can quit trying to control people. So many organizations try to control people by command and control, chain and command, dictates... The best workforces are not the ones that you have to light a fire underneath them, but you fan the flame within them. So the purpose of leadership is to attach personal passion and personal values to corporate objectives.

Because when somebody's passionate about what they do, when it aligns with their values, you don't even have to tell them to do it. That's what they're wired to do. And so influence in its most impactful form is not motivating people to do what they don't want to do, but inspiring them to do what they're already wired to do.

And so leadership that is impactful because you're enhancing, you're inspiring, you're feeding, you're fueling the passion and the values that the right people have. That's, that's the win. If you're controlling by fear and domination and dictates, no one's going to be passionate about what you're doing and they're not going to do it for very long.

And you're going to have a high churn environment. So I think the key is a healthy environment is one where you bring more to the table than you take away. It's where you leave a positive wake. It's where you get buy in to solve problems. It's where you get people to take ownership and responsibility for the results.

And that's a powerful leader. So if an organization has a leader that is toxic, that demonstrates behavior that incites fear rather than inspires, organization needs to deal with that. Yes, they may get numbers for a short period of time, but they won't be able to perform on a sustainable way in fashion.

Russel Lolacher: Working with your clients, working with those leaders, have you seen any tangible aha moments where they were going from, oh, yeah, values actually matter. Oh, right. Oh, yeah. I should read this book. Like, is there, has there been a 180 moment where you can see it on their face? And I just, I asked this because I'm wondering what it takes for some leaders to really get this in your experience.

Dr. Randy Ross: One simple practice that I think can revolutionize the life of any organization, but it's not always easy to implement, and that's asking for feedback. Now, that sounds rather simple, but let me unpack that for just a second. Leaders have the role and the responsibility of giving feedback. We have performance reviews, we've got metrics, we've got objectives, we've got measuring tools, you know, is the work getting done appropriately?

So as leaders, we're very attuned to giving feedback. But when I ask leaders, when's the last time you asked for feedback from your direct reports? I get a lot of blank stares. Because the higher you rise in the life of the organization, the less honest feedback you get from people because people out of fear factor, out of respect, out of whatever it may happen to be, are less prone to offer their feedback in those areas where they see that you may have gaps.

So here's... Everybody who's at upper levels of leadership understands what a 360 degree evaluation is. We've all been through those and we know what it is, but it's a very time consuming, very costly process. And I laugh at it because that's what we have done to institutionalize what should come relationally, naturally, but we don't do it.

And that's asking for feedback. So here's a great question. This is what I call the poor man's 360. Every single leader should ask everybody on their team this simple question. Hey, Russel, what is it like for you to be on the other side of me? How do you perceive me? How am I doing? You know, am I providing everything you need to be successful?

Where can I grow? What do I need to do better? Help me out. Since we believe the best in each other, we want the best for each other. I'm asking you, draw the best out of me. Where can I improve? I know very few leaders that do that. Now, here's the funny thing. If you're not accustomed to asking that question and you ask your direct reports, the first time they're going to go,

I don't, I don't know, I don't know how honest I can be because will there be any punitive measures if I really tell you what I'm thinking? And so, you can't ask it once you've got to ask it five, 10, 15, 20 times until your workforce begins to understand he's serious. He wants to know, he's going to listen and he may not, he may not take everything that we offer. But he's going to take some of the things we offer and he's going to apply it.

And he's, he's growing. He's honestly serious about wanting to be better, but it takes a long time. That comes back to the open loops of continuous feedback within the life of the organization. When you get to that point as a leader, if you can just get that one practice instilled and you're open to receive and you're responsive to the feedback that others offer you, they're much more likely to be open to your feedback when you offer it. But I don't see that very often in a lot of corporate circles because getting to the top is all about self promotion and self protection. I can't let anybody see my weaknesses, you know, if I do, they'll think less of me. I can't ask for help.

You know, back to Brene Brown, I can't be vulnerable, you know because that shows weakness and none of that's true. Because the more authentic and the more transparent we are, the more trusted and trustworthy we become. And I'm not talking about airing your dirty laundry, but I, but I do think it's a, it's a great practice, even in, in your marriage, in your, in your parenting. I asked my wife regularly, Hey, hey baby, how are we doing? What's it like to be married to me? Am I providing you everything you need? And Russel, I'll tell you, I'll be honest with you, that one question, what's it like to be on the other side of me has saved my marriage. That one question has allowed me to be a better parent. That one question makes me a better leader because I'm open to hearing what others see that I don't see to blind spots. We all have blind spots. And if we don't ask for the feedback to get insight into those areas, because let's be honest, sometimes leaders move so fast, they don't slow down long enough to smell their own exhaust.

And they don't, they don't realize the negative wake that they're leaving in the world. The best leaders are constantly trying to leave a positive wake in the world.

Russel Lolacher: And that really goes back to defining leadership because if you're moving yourself up in the organization and it's all about getting a thing done and fixing somebody's problem, you're technically actually not a leader. However, you might be being rewarded for that behavior. So why should you change? So yeah, no, it's an absolutely important.

I love that question to ask considering the nature of my show is all about relationships. That is an amazing question to ask, to gauge the level and safety of the particular relationship we're talking about, even though romantic, I totally get it, but corporate absolutely as well.

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, it's...

Russel Lolacher: Go ahead, Randy.

Dr. Randy Ross: I was going to say, it's all about creating that movement of good, right?

Russel Lolacher: Yeah.

Dr. Randy Ross: Are we leaving a positive wake in the world? Are we doing good? Not just for our client, but for our workforce as well.

Russel Lolacher: We wrap it up with the same question every episode, Randy, which is, what's one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Dr. Randy Ross: First question of axiology. Do you bring more to the table than you take away? In every relationship, in every experience, in every customer interaction, do you bring more to the table than you take away? I think each and every day, I want to be more of a value creator. For me and my teams and my customers and less of a value extractor.

Oftentimes we go into endeavors, you know, thinking about what's in this for me, what can I get out of this? How can I negotiate to be in a better position? I think what we need to be thinking about is how can we create more value for those around us? Going back to this whole idea of positivity, the best things we want in life are the results of creating value for other people. we really understand that and begin to apply that, it makes a huge difference.

Russel Lolacher: That is Dr. Randy Ross. He is a speaker, coach, and founder, CEO of Remarkable, as well as he has the third edition of his book, Remarkable, maximizing results through value creation coming out this year. Thank you very much, Randy.

Dr. Randy Ross: Absolutely. Hey, and if I don't, if you don't mind me throwing this in, we are the third edition of Remarkable is coming out. We're excited about that. And I would encourage people to pre order the book comes out in April. And I would encourage you to go to Barnes and Noble. There's a reason for that.

It would help us out tremendously because we're, we have a little deal going on with Barnes Noble, but I'd encourage you to go to their website and look up Remarkable. I think Russ is going to put a QR code in the show notes, or if you just want to go to our website to drrandyross. com. There's a book page there and you can, you can be directed directly to Barnes Noble to order your book there.

And that would be great. I think you'll enjoy it. It's a fun narrative. And it unpacks the principles of axiology that we've talked about today.

Russel Lolacher: I'll have all the links in the show notes for those listening. over there. All the links, all the links to all the things you need from Randy. Thank you so much, sir.

Dr. Randy Ross: Absolutely. Great to be with you, Russel.