Episode 44 – Transformational Leadership with Cara Cameron

Episode 44 – Transformational Leadership with Cara Cameron

Happy first podcast of 2024! We’re starting out this new year with a treat for you- Jen and Sandi are joined by Sandi’s colleague Cara Cameron, who holds the position of Chief Future of Work for Mutual Insurance. She has worked in Human Resources for over 15 years and is passionate about developing leaders. With her Chief Future of Work position, she is able to better analyze how the changing workforce impacts the organization, teams, and how those parties respond to the change. Listen along as Jen, Sandi, and Cara talk about:

  • -How do employees want to work/what they are looking for from a Chief Future of Work
  • -how the position develops and implements plans around intention and how HR supports those intentions
  • -how they meet skepticism and the “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude
  • -how supportive CEOs/Presidents/Leadership are the keys to enacting positive change
  • -what it means when you understand where your team is through touch points and intentional support
  • -that Performance Management is an ongoing process

Thank you so much for listening! Make sure to check out the video cast under the “Videos” tab!
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Episode 43 – Change Starts with You

Episode 43 – Change Starts with You

Surprise! One additional episode before the New Year! This week, Jen and Sandi discuss changes in the workplace and how those changes come about. It all starts from the same place: you! Join them as they cover:

  • -how change is not linear, but dynamic
  • -how to go about thinking about change and understanding the “why” of change
  • -how changing requires vulnerability
  • -the Pyramid of Readiness model by Cy Wakeman
  • -the level of awareness in change
  • -self-reflection when it comes to change

and more!

Enjoy this last episode of 2023, and Jen and Sandi will see you in 2024!

Check out the Video cast under the “Video” tab!
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Have a comment, question, or topic for Sandi and Jen? Leave us a comment on LinkedIn!

Episode 42 – Leveraging Mastermind Groups to Grow Yourself and Your Business with Julie Ellis

Episode 42 – Leveraging Mastermind Groups to Grow Yourself and Your Business with Julie Ellis

Happy December! This week, Jen and Sandi are joined by fellow entrepreneur and author Julie Ellis! Join the trio as they discuss:

  • -Julie’s start with Mabel’s Labels and how she scales her leadership systems for different sized teams at different revenue numbers
  • – Julie’s new Mastermind project: a peer-reviewed mentorship for women in business and how to scale your successes
  • -What evolutions take place as your business grows in sales and in people and the leadership needs that come from that
  • – Julie’s Book Big Gorgeous Goals:How Bold Women Achieve Great Things

Thank you so much for joining us, Julie! If you have a question for Jen, Sandi, or Julie, leave a comment below or connect with them on LinkedIn!

You can find Julie by clicking the following:

Julie’s Linktree
Julie’s Website
Julie’s LinkedIn
Buy Julie’s Book

Check out the Video cast under the “Video” tab!
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Have a comment, question, or topic for Sandi and Jen? Leave us a comment!

Episode 41 – Strong Leaders Know They Are Imperfect

Episode 41 – Strong Leaders Know They Are Imperfect

In this episode of OT Kung Fu, join Jen and Sandi as they dive into how strong leaders are able to recognize their own shortcomings to encourage their own growth and stability as leaders. Topics in this episode include:

– self reflection and the act of identifying your own insecurities and how that is a helpful skill

-Imposter syndrome

-The Johari Window

-Humility and learning from mistakes

-How being vulnerable is vital to learning

-Adaptability and Inclusivity within that self-reflection

Check out the Video cast under the “Video” tab!

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Have a comment, question, or topic for Sandi and Jen? Leave us a comment!

Episode 40 – Leadership Training at the Top

Episode 40 – Leadership Training at the Top

Join Jen and Sandi LIVE from New York (not on Saturday Night, unfortunately) as they discuss how often the teams at the top and how the top team can be skipped when they start investing in team learning and workplace learning. They touch on the importance of top teams always checking in with their own learning as organizational health can shift and grow.

Editor’s note: due the location and way of recording, there is a door noise at the 11:10 mark. Removing this would also remove the voice audio, so we were only able to dampen it. Jen is also wearing jewelry that clicks when moved, and we could not could not separate out without deleting voice lines as well. We apologize if these are distracting.

Have a comment, question, or topic for Sandi and Jen? Leave us a comment in the box below!

Episode 39 – Psychological Safety and Accountability

Episode 39 – Psychological Safety and Accountability

Sandi and Jen explore the topic of what it means when someone feels psychologically safe in a workplace and where that starts for us, and what affect that can have on workplace accountability.

Have a comment, question, or topic for Sandi and Jen? Leave us a comment in the box below!

Episode 38 – Getting Results from DEI Efforts

Episode 38 – Getting Results from DEI Efforts

Jen and Sandi take on a relevant topic of DEI- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the workplace to ensure it’s not just a token requirement that is met simply to tick a box. They round out Pride Month by placing the workplace and ourselves under the microscope with how to we recognize and shift into DEI mindsets.

Episode 33 – Leading in Stressful Times

Episode 33 – Leading in Stressful Times

This week, Jen and Sandi discuss the workplace post-pandemic, and the humanness of the stresses that are sourced from the adaptations we’ve had to make. They offer some solutions to keeping yourself and your team stress-free while navigating hybrid work environments.

The Hybrid Workplace Challenge

Strategy and Decision-Making

What does going back to work look like? What is a hybrid workplace, at its core? What does all of this mean for leaders? What do we have to do differently? 

These are the top questions we address in today’s episode of The OT Kung Fu Podcast.

This is the time to get rid of the policies that don’t work and the systems that are no longer serving the team. Question everything before reopening, or introducing big changes like a hybrid workplace.

There’s no going back to normal. You’re never going back to the same thing. It’s not going to be the same because no one is the same. We are all thinking differently about work. We are all feeling differently about what’s important. Just by virtue of changing as people, how we think about work, what work needs to be for us, and what’s going to create meaning for you, has shifted. Just because you’re returning to a building, doesn’t mean the job, or the environment, will be the same.

There’s a big balancing act between the short-term and the long-term when it comes to leading and decision making. What are the short-term decisions that have to be made? What are the long-term decisions that have to be made? Do they conflict? Will they be too much to handle at once? How do they relate to one another?

Reshaping Your Organization

The changes that have occured in the last few years have been a challenge, but they have also created  an opportunity for companies to rethink how they want to structure their culture. It’s an opportunity that most leaders never get: the chance to restart, a totally clean slate. The things that we previously held as gospel truth have now been proven incomplete, and companies must respond in a fearless, open-minded way.

Communication and Leadership

These two come hand-in-hand when it comes to successful restructuring. Making changes, while necessary, can be incredibly difficult without support and unity, both within leadership and the team as a whole.

What is most important to your employees? What has their experience as a team member in the last couple years taught them? 

How are you starting the dialogue and conducting the conversation? Are you just sitting in a room of leaders making decisions on your own? This might have been necessary as teams and companies had to simplify to survive, but for growth, you need as much information as possible.

Moving out of Crisis Management

Next, it’s time to move on from the strategies that worked when you were in crisis-mode. 

For a while now, the norm has been a group of four or five people making the decision for the whole organization, without engaging with the rest of the team. While this is helpful to keep things moving in complicated times, this tendency isn’t good for the long-run. 

Many leaders were so focused on pushing through, and were often so desperate to keep their organization alive, they’ve now continued to use the same strategies. 

As companies are focusing on transitioning out of this phase, they are tapping into their workers, doing a lot of tiny pulsing and surveying, and are investing in their employees as people.

Before, leaders simply told them what to do, but now the principle of leading with empathy is considered a necessary and important piece of success.

Essential Skills

Empathy is a great example of the shifting values and essential skills in the workplace. 

Across the board, flexibility has been identified as the number one skill for effective leading.

Especially in the United States, there’s this idea that, when it comes to empathy, wellbeing, health, and problems in general, “there’s a department for that”. It’s not necessary to make it a priority, and the leaders certainly don’t want to “waste their time” talking about things that aren’t directly business-related. 

The conversation really starts there: how do you really allow people to be forthcoming?

Things that would have been the typical water cooler talk back in the office are even more underground because it’s an online chat now, or a text between coworkers, sharing their discomfort with returning to the office.

From a manager’s perspective, the training that is needed is on flexibility and empathy.

Addressing Burnout

In Jen and Sandi’s experience, 100% of people they’ve talked to have experienced burnout.

People feel exhausted, overworked, overwhelmed, even to the point of hopelessness. Burnout, naturally, leads to a series of questions:

Can I keep going like this?

Do I want to?

Burnout is a huge thing, and utilizing a hybrid workspace hasn’t been the solution to that problem.

In fact, all of the over-communicating, the distractions, all of the ways life begins to blur into your workspace, the disconnectedness, the isolation, and even the apathy that can grow over months all adds fuel to the fire, leading you closer to complete burnout.

You’re pushing outside your own comfort zone. You don’t feel like you’ve mastered anything, and you’re not sure what’s permanent and what’s temporary.

While there’s only so much that can be done to help, there are practical ways for leadership to invest in their team members to lend support and prevent burnout. 

When it comes to maintaining those work/life boundaries, having a designated home office space is incredibly important. Unfortunately many people are still working from the kitchen table, in crappy chairs. 

The goal is to avoid death by a thousand paper cuts. 

It’s all the little small things that pile on top of each other that leads to burnout, when a small gesture of empathy can relieve the burden.

Going Forward with a Hybrid Workplace

Even in the hybrid workplace, new cultural norms are being built up. Right now, individuals, teams, and leaders are both actively and passively deciding what is now acceptable and what’s not. 

Is helping your kids in the middle of the day an acceptable thing in your work environment? Maybe, maybe not. They probably won’t be using online school anymore, but they may still have toddlers at home because daycare isn’t an option anymore. 

All of these pieces need to be considered when deciding what works for your organization. You can put together what you think is a good, meaningful, purposeful strategy for their organization and yet still lose some critical talent because they want to work on-site 100% of the time, or because they feel too insecure with the technology when it comes to working remotely.

Sandi and Jen believe there’s going to be a huge shift or upheaval of key talent, unless you can master your strategy. As a whole, this process is a test of test of your values.

You have to ask yourself, your leaders, and your employees what is really important. There’s been a change in what we see as doable, which impacts what is actually doable. People have taken stock of what is truly important to them, organized their priorities, and values, and they’re able to stand in them a little bit more than before. 

The question is, will workplaces respect their newfound priorities, and empower them?

Short-Term vs. Long-Term

In general, the best thing you can do is encourage the heart. The whole practice of supporting people, developing their skills, and creating meaning with them in the organization requires critical conversations. 

You need to balance the ability to make the best short-term decisions while maintaining the best long-term vision you can.

There are very few people, very few leaders, who are actually skilled in this way innately. Training these principles should be commonplace, rather than a last resort. 

When shit hits the fan two years from now, or whenever the inevitable issue arises, will your leaders and employees have the skills and tools they need? Will they be able to hit the ground running?

Regardless of what stage your business is at, building and maintaining your team is the key to short-term and long-term success. There needs to be a creative, open, flexible environment where no one is getting judged for their differences in perspective, opinions, needs, or skills. 

You have to create an environment that will utilize opportunities to reshape the hybrid workplace culture into something empowering, something your team can believe in and dedicate themselves to.

For more resources like this, head over to OT KungFu’s website for podcasts, blogs, and more. To find more about Sandi and Jen, you can find them on their respective sites: Satori Consulting, and Management Possible.

Jen is the owner of Management Possible® focused on training and coaching multi-level management and leadership individuals and teams nationally and globally. Sandi is the owner of Satori®  Consulting inc. a global consulting firm focused on helping organizations solve complex problems in strategy, leadership and governance.