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This week’s episode features Jeanette Bronée, performance strategist, culture coach, wellness advocate, and founder of Path For Life, Inc.  Jeanette helps leaders and companies rethink performance by asking “The Right Why®” so they can lead themselves and their people better and achieve sustainable success. She is passionate about how we can create a culture of care by unlocking what truly drives performance, engagement, and motivation from the inside out.

In this episode, we talk about the intersection of wellness, well-being, culture, leadership, and performance. In addition, Jeanette shares a poignant story about her mother. She also sweetly talks about her father who was also an executive headhunter.

If mental illness has touched your life, or you simply want to know how to take better care of yourself, and also want to know what well-being has to do with leadership and performance, I promise you don’t want to miss this episode. Sit back and listen to a special and very human episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. Jeannette’s idea of changing the nature of work and the importance of self-care
  2. Her unique approach to fixing work
  3. Applying the methodology of thinking as your employee’s clients when a conflict arises, how it can help clear the fog and makes relationships a little bit different
  4. What is making us sick at work and how we can overcome it
  5. The connection between nutrition and work and what Jeannette is doing to advocate for better nutrition
  6. Advocacy of mindfulness, what it is, and the applicability for the workforce
  7. Jeannette’s thoughts on creating a company culture of pausing, and what could change
  8. The role of leadership in fixing work, creating a less toxic and more engaging culture, climate, and work environment

Resources from this episode:

Thank you to our sponsor: Ultimatesoftware.com/LFW

Website: www.jeanettebronee.com

For videos:www.jeanettebronee.com/keynote-speaker/

Blog: pathforlife.com

Twitter: twitter.com/jeanettebronee

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jeanettebronee

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We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out ultimatesoftware.com/LFW for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.

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I spoke at my first American human resources conference in 2008.

George W. Bush was still president. Foreclosures were in the news and layoffs were rampant. We didn’t have universal access to healthcare and people were going bankrupt due to medical bills and prescription drug prices. The mortgage crisis was imminent, and the economic growth in our country had stalled. Just as things couldn’t get much worse, elder Millennials entered the workforce.

The world looked bleak, and HR leaders and leadership experts would come together at these stale events and say things like, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

An event planner asked me to come to her conference and be on a panel to discuss multiple generations in the workforce. How do we deal with different attitudes and expectations? How do we talk to the youth of today? What policies will stay the same, and what policies will change? With emerging technology and a push towards greater productivity, will there be enough jobs to go around?

When you have a blog called Punk Rock HR, everybody in your industry reads it, but nobody takes you seriously. It was important for me to get on stages and talk about my ideas in the public arena. So, I donned a black sweater dress and tall boots and told the audience three things:

1. Be political. HR sits at the intersection of work, power, politics, and money. Everything you do — from headcount to policy — is connected to budget, and budget is power. Think bigger than “being cultural stewards” and mitigating risk. Learn the political game your CEO is playing, and gain his favor. Then, exercise your power of influence and be the change you wish to see in the world for the greater good of humanity.

2. Pay attention to the headlines. The news is a lagging indicator of the hot-button issues in our society. If foreclosures or unemployment or student debt or childhood obesity are a part of every headline, it means you don’t have to do an employee survey and ask your workforce about their lives. You already know that financial problems and wellbeing issues are plaguing your workforce. Stop wasting time. Fix that.

3. Nobody likes to be stereotyped. Long before we knew the word “personalization,” I told HR professionals that employees are consumers of work and expect programs and policies to be tailored to their experiences. Instead of talking about generations, let’s discuss life stages and try to dig deeper at the individual level.

Finally, I wrapped up my time on stage by encouraging HR leaders to use emerging social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to recruit and hire talented workers. If they’re on those platforms in 2008, they are relatively early adopters and primed to say yes when someone of substance reaches out to connect. Be that person who can change lives and help someone find a dream job on Twitter.

I was nearly laughed off stage.

I received very hostile audience questions about the risks of being political in a primary season in 2008. Also, people told me the news was biased. Why, with their limited schedules, would they prioritize reading the national or local news when they wanted to spend time learning more about HR.

And people in the audience wanted to talk about Millennials and dress codes and work output. No joke, would the quality of work suffer if we went to a more casual policy and they could wear hoodies and jeans?

The whole first experience did not go well, and I remember thinking, “Am I the asshole? Is it possible that I’m wrong? Are my speaking skills that bad?”

I got off stage and went to the bathroom where I proceeded to hear a group of women make fun of me and my ideas while I was peeing. They even laughed at my outfit on stage. The audacity of a woman to wear tall boots with heels was too much!

It was so fucking mean.

Other than Kris Dunn and a few other people in the industry, I didn’t have a peer group who had my back. I wanted to die.

But, eventually, the world turned and HR professionals like me decided to start speaking. Now, Trump is president, our healthcare system is still a mess, foreclosures are up, labor force participation is down, no net-new FTE jobs have been created since the Great Recession, LinkedIn has its colossal conference, Twitter’s HR team speaks at HR conferences, and we’re starting to talk about the challenges of Gen Z workers.

Everything old is new again.

It was lonely being early to these events, but it was worth it. While you still get those hesitant HR audiences and bullshit leadership speakers who have a ten-stage plan to empowering and engaging the workforce — and who tell you to use data to be more strategic — you also have thoughtful and dedicated speakers and thinkers who understand the intersection of social justice and workplace challenges and have good ideas on how to fix this mess.

And for those speakers and bloggers out there who wonder if what they’re doing has an impact beyond that immediate audience, it does. To this day, I’m approached by young men and women who read my Punk Rock HR blog back in college — or saw me when they were just entering the workforce, and I was working for free at smaller events — and challenged themselves to ask good questions, be a little braver, and learn the political game at work.

So, when I see smart people with provocative ideas step on stage to an audience that may or may not be on board, it warms my heart. Please have faith and courage in your message. Don’t worry about getting booed off the stage. It’s HR, and even the boldest and most courageous ideas about work are already mainstream. If anything, take heart. History has your back. I know this because it had mine.

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It’s important to celebrate milestones. I recently aired my 50th episode of Let’s Fix Work.

It’s hard to believe almost a year has passed since I launched this little podcast. Over the past eleven months, I’ve met some inspiring thinkers and tackled topics from asshole bosses to sexual harassment to universal basic income.⠀

One thing I know more than ever: We fix work by deprioritizing corporate interests and focusing on our whole lives. If we do the inner work needed to be healthy adults with good relationships, our efforts carry over to our jobs.⠀

Let’s face it, even when we love our jobs and we feel secure, we are still a little worried about our future. That’s being human.

But what is the difference between being a successful human versus being a complacent human? Well, I’ll tell ya.

Successful humans don’t just sit back and complain about work. Even when life is tough and challenging, they dream, they think, they do, and they kick butt too. Of course, even successful people are prone to failure. But when they do fail, it’s not that big of a deal because they are resilient. They are successful at work and life.

What’s their secret? It’s neither dumb luck nor is it their connections. Those that find success do so because of their healthy mindsets and winning rituals.

A mindset is an attitude and a belief.

Rituals are what you do to set yourself up for success when nobody’s looking.

The good news is that even in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, you can always improve your outcome and move towards success  by adopting a healthy mindset and winning rituals. Doing so will carry over to your personal and professional lives. I promise.

In the milestone episode of Let’s Fix Work, I shared three mindset tips I’ve learned from friends, colleagues, and guests. My tips will help you reflect where you spend your time, rethink who gets your attention, and encourage you to be of service to those around you. Click here to give it a listen.

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This week on Let’s Fix Work, I am joined by Dr. Daniel Crosby. Dan is an author, psychologist, and Chief Behavioral Officer at Brinker Capital. His primary focus is in behavioral economics and understanding how we make decisions around money. Dan and I met almost a decade ago, at a time when the economy wasn’t doing very well. Since then he has published two books on the topic of wealth, money, and psychology. In this episode, we talk about behavioral economics in the workplace and why it all matters.

If you are interested in the role behavioral economics plays in the market, the workplace, and how it affects our decisions, tune into this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. Can we be doing better with our money?
  2. Willpower and why relationships and context matters
  3. Freewill, do we still have it?
  4. We answer the question, is the market consistently eroding what’s in our best interests?
  5. Designing better employment experiences
  6. The role and responsibility of people in power

On decision making: “Putting yourself in the right situations is a very big deal because we have limited willpower.  Surrounding yourself with good people and being in good places is more than half the battle.” Dr. Daniel Crosby

Resources from this episode:

Thank you to our sponsor: Ultimatesoftware.com/LFW

Dan Crosby TW twitter.com/danielcrosby

Dan Crosby LI www.linkedin.com/in/danielcrosby

Dan Crosby Books:

The Behavioral Investor amzn.to/2STAo7q

The Laws of Wealth: Psychology and the secret to investing success  amzn.to/2VPVK7C

Everyone You Love Will Die www.kickstarter.com/projects/458001451/everyone-you-love-will-die

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We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out ultimatesoftware.com/LFW for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.

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“When somebody thinks enough of you to ask, say yes.”

An event planner offered this advice in 2009. I was encouraged to attend more industry events even if I wasn’t on the speaker roster.

“If you’re building a business and asked to take part in a conference — and they’re offering to pay your expenses — you accept the offer and build a relationship. Give them a fabulous experience. Make yourself so indispensable and provide excellent social media coverage so they invite you back, next time, as a paid speaker.”

Ten years later, some of this advice is okay and some of it is dumb.

Relationships are the currency of business. If you want to build a business or expand your brand, you’ve got to be the Chief Relationship Officer of your life. This applies to entrepreneurs, students, and even HR ladies.

Saying Yes

So, that’s part of the reason I attend the Qualtrics X4 Experience Management Summit in Salt Lake City, last week. I have a long-standing relationship with people at SAP, but I don’t know the leadership team at Qualtrics. It was time to learn more about their approach to fixing work.

Beyond the exceptional speakers — Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Silver, and many more — there were excellent breakout sessions with HR leaders from big brands like Quicken Loans, Ford Motor Company, Sephora and Buzzfeed. These are HR leaders who are collecting and analyzing experience data and operational data to have a more informed understanding of onboarding, engagement, performance, diversity, training, development, inclusion, retention, and wellbeing.

The sessions were outstanding because the conference took a story-first approach, which meant nobody was selling a widget or a subscription. Speakers were selling big ideas and experiences about fixing HR and work, and nearly everybody offered real-world examples of how both small and massive HR departments can use technology and pivot from ‘listening to employee complaints’ to creating moments that matter.

So, the event was great. No regrets saying yes and accepting the invite.

Does It Pay Off?

Will I ever be invited to speak at one of these Qualtrics events? I’m not sure that’s the point.

Superficial relationships never move the needle for my business. I’ve learned it’s best to approach every opportunity as a unique experience to deliver excellence at the moment with no expectation for additional opportunities.

If you’re an aspiring keynote speaker and think you will get on a stage at a conference because you’re blogging or tweeting, you’ve got the speaking model all wrong. You get on stage because you have big ideas and a business built around those ideas.

However, being in the audience is never a bad idea because you can learn more about your industry and see how other people express their expertise. And you can develop relationships because you’re a decent human being who knows that connections are the undercurrent of life. If you take a service-oriented approach to your attendance at these events, you can’t go wrong.

So, I’m excited to continue this newfound relationship with Qualtrics. We’ll see what happens. If anything, I’m happy to bring you future podcast stories of how smart people like Ryan and Jared Smith are fixing work. That’s worth the trip to Utah alone.

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Next week is the 5th annual WorkHuman conference, and, as I pack my bags, I’ve been thinking a lot about expertise.

There are three types of speakers at this event.

1. Researchers with a thesis and ideas, and academics who have studied a topic like leadership or gratitude for ages.

2. Practitioners and leaders who work in HR or management and have advice and guidance based on their many years of experience.

3. Thought leaders, key opinion leaders, and pundits who personify aspects of part one and two.

No speaker persona is better than the other, and I enjoy learning from academics as much as HR business partners. Brené Brown is a researcher, Kat Cole is a practitioner, and I’m on stage interviewing smart people like Maya Raghu, Cy Wakeman and Patti Fletcher who aren’t necessarily professors or CHROs but have informed beliefs about the world of work.

WorkHuman attracts some of the best speakers on the market. What makes them great? Successful speakers are confident and have a timely and passionate message for the audience. The worst speakers are mimics who parrot management tropes and business clichés back to the audience like they’re Jack Welch at a GE Conference circa 1995. Thankfully, you don’t see many speakers like that at WorkHuman. Almost everybody has a defined body of expertise. They screen out the scrubs.

It’s probably too late in the game for you to attend WorkHuman, but, if you can find your way to Nashville, I’ve got a discount code for you. It’s WH19INFLRU. You can also follow my tweets at #WorkHuman and ping me with questions.

I’m excited to share expert ideas from the 5th annual WorkHuman conference, and I hope you find it helpful. Good ideas come from many sources, and I look forward to learning from professors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders alike!

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Most companies want to create positive work environments for their employees, right? After all, they want workers to be happy, but are they creating “fearless” environments? Recently on an episode of Let’s Fix Work, I welcomed Professor Amy Edmondson from Harvard Business School. She is the author of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. Her book discusses creating a psychologically safe workplace that invites employee participation and innovation. We took a look at the state of work environments today and the need for change.

During the conversation, we discussed many topics regarding psychological safety, which, according to Amy, is a climate where people feel that their voice is welcome and they know, “They not only can, but they are expected to bring their ideas, their questions, their concerns,

and even their failures to the table.” This embodies the idea that everyone has thoughts about their workplace, from ways to improve morale to ideas on how to make the business better. But, sometimes workers may feel afraid to speak up. Why is that? Fear of failure or bad consequences at work can keep workers silent. The company could be missing out on good ideas. After all, as Amy pointed out, if someone is in a state of fear, their brain doesn’t work well and they may be holding back…not expressing the ideas that could be so beneficial for the boss to hear.

So, what do we do about this, and how can we create a fearless environment at work? Amy says there are three things that a boss can do right now to work towards this: set the stage, invite participation, and respond productively.

First, let’s explore setting the stage: This involves opening up to employees and telling them that you, as the boss, don’t have all the answers. That you don’t have any magical way of seeing into the future to know what the solution to an issue may be and that others are welcome to bring forward their ideas. That’s setting the stage – letting others know that you are open to hearing what they say.

Next up, inviting participation: Which means asking employees for specifics of what they are seeing in their jobs or for their input on the topics being considered. Actively asking questions and listening to the answers.

And finally the last item Amy discussed, responding productively: If people present you with some bad news, don’t overreact or lash out. Instead, as Amy says, “Take a deep breath,” and listen to the whole situation. It could be an opportunity to work together to find a resolution to whatever the problem is.

Good leaders use self-control and self-awareness. Only then can they be truly aware of others and appreciate their efforts, as the leader can’t do all the work alone. Amy says, “Understanding that fundamentally as a leader, your job is to harness the efforts of others.” That’s the bottom line. It’s important to work towards a positive work environment that not only welcomes but encourages input from employees…fearlessly.

If you’d like to hear more details about creating a fearless organization, check out the podcast episode with Amy Edmondson, here.

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The last time something surprised me was back in 1992.

In olden times, there were three ways to learn about new movies: you could read the newspaper, watch Siskel & Ebert on local TV, or ask your friends for recommendations.

My entire social circle was gaga over a movie called The Crying Game, and my high school boyfriend and I made plans to see it. But, before I could make it to the local cineplex, someone blew the plotline for me and told me the main character’s girlfriend was really a man.

The twist didn’t surprise me as much as the person who would wantonly tell me plot secrets as if it were no big deal. It would be like a member of the production crew of Game of Thrones telling you how the show ends just to be a dick.

I saw the final script. Jon Snow kills Cersei Lannister. He and Daenerys relinquish their claim to the Iron Throne and Samwell Tarly ascends to power.

(Thanks, jerk!)

With my faith in humanity ruined back in 1992, I’ve almost never been surprised again. People have egos and blind spots, and it’s safe to assume the worst about humankind because we deliver.

This attitude served me well in conversations about movies and dysfunctional corporate environments. For many years, I wore my cynical brand on my sleeve. And, as I’ve written in the past, it’s difficult being pessimistic. Sometimes you want to believe people are good and that corporations are values-driven. Then, you work in HR, and you see the underbelly of an organization where leaders are lauded for diversity and inclusion but do not give a rip about employee experiences behind the scenes.

So, I’m not surprised when people behave in distasteful and deplorable ways; however, this philosophy is not a healthy way to live. And, I’m here to warn you, it’s not a beneficial way to navigate your job in human resources.

We all have different coping mechanisms, but it’s common for HR professionals and leaders to adopt sarcastic and rigid cognitive frameworks. Gallows humor is dark because you’re at the bottom, baby, and all you can do is laugh. But if you don’t believe in the inherent goodness of humankind or the unlimited potential of the human spirit, you probably shouldn’t be in HR or recruiting.

You should work in procurement or another more inflexible department.

While the modern HR department is built on data and analytics, the very human element of human resources means you must keep your capacity and willingness to be surprised. Yes, it makes sense to plan and analyze people-related behaviors and trends; however, you must guard against the tendency to make assumptions about people and build policies, processes, and programs centered on the lowest common denominator.

I’m not saying your business should put itself in the position of being confused, overwhelmed or startled by the competition. But if you’re not willing to open your mind and dream for your workforce, how can you expect your employees to feel safe taking risks and dreaming big dreams.

There was a time in my life where I didn’t hate people and look upon people suspiciously. That was 1992 before I learned all there is to know about The Crying Game.

Be better than me and allow mankind to surprise you from time-to-time. Bring that sense of wonder and curiosity into your job in HR!

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This week’s episode is special because we have hit our 50th episode milestone!  I am thrilled that our Let’s Fix Work community is thriving. Today, I want to focus on doing the inner work so that you can have the best year yet. As I always say, we fix work by fixing ourselves.

In this episode, I share my top three mindset tips I’ve learned from friends, colleagues, and guests on this podcast. My tips will help you reflect where you spend your time, rethink who gets your attention, and encourage you to be of service to those around you. So if you are ready to make a lot of money, kick butt, and take names, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. What having a healthy mindset has to do with success
  2. Rethinking the way you manage your time and expectations
  3. Setting clear expectations on performance and stop wasting emotional and physical energy on poor performers
  4. The importance of reimagining your brand and being of service

Resources from this episode:

Thank our sponsor: Ultimatesoftware.com/LFW

Jesse Itzler jesseitzler.com/

Kevin Kruse www.kevinkruse.com/

Laurie Ruettimann laurieruettimann.com 

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We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out ultimatesoftware.com/LFW for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.

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Hi, everybody. If you’re new around here, I’m fixin’ to write a best-selling book on fixing work. There’s an agent involved, and I wrote a 74-page proposal based around my core philosophy that you fix work by fixing yourself.

Yes, companies and HR departments should deliver an incredible experience. But if you run your life like a business and take responsibility for your relationships, including your relationship with yourself, you can survive and thrive in just about any employment environment.

The book has stories from my experiences in HR, but it’s not a book about me or HR. The book is about how to fix work in ten steps. It’s written for executives and HR leaders who want to invest in processes, programs, and policies that people employees and customers in the heart of all experiences. But it’s also for employees who are stuck in mediocre corporate jobs and want to challenge themselves and their leaders to think and do better.

I’ve written an intro, market research, an enhanced biography to highlight my accomplishments, a marketing plan, a list of speaking engagements, a chapter outline, and two sample chapters. It’s been a fascinating ordeal — and I’ve learned a lot — but I’m only 22% of the way there.

My goal is to create a modern-day handbook to fix work, but, to sell a half-million books, it helps to be famous. I’m not famous enough for publishers to go, “Yeah, okay, let’s give this kid a shot.”

Also, while I have an excellent voice and strong writing skills, I’m not an experienced storyteller. I’m more of an enthusiastic yeller, and my energy disguises the cracks in communication skills. The proposal is almost there, but it has to be strong to be published by one of the “Big 5” companies and placed in a Target near you.

So, my agent told me I still have a little work to do. How much work? We’re close. Soon the manuscript will go in front of editors who give it a thumbs up or down, but, even if someone buys the script, much of what I’ve already written may not end up in the final book. A book proposal is just an audition. The real work happens once the deal is done and I sign the paperwork.

Even if a brand-name publishing firm publishes this book, there’s no guarantee it will sell. That’s why so many authors you know and see at conferences have purchased their way onto The New York Times Best Sellers list.

(Don’t get me started.)

If none of this pans out, which is a real possibility, I can always go back into HR or publish my book through an academic publishing house or association and still get on the speaking circuit to talk about work. I’m trying to keep a healthy perspective about all this.

When I explain my situation to friends, they always offer book recommendations to soothe my anxious soul. My friend Ryan Arnold encouraged me to read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.

The book tells you to:

1. Be impeccable with your word

2. Don’t take things personally

3. Don’t make assumptions

4. Always do your best

I read this book while traveling and thought, wow, maybe one day someone will recommend Let’s Fix Work to someone who has reached an inflection point in her life! What a dream!

I’m no Don Miguel Ruiz — or Oprah, Tony Robbins, Rachel Hollis, Mark Manson, Dan Pink, or Jen Sincero — but none of them are me. And no one is out there talking about fixing work and addressing a broken employee experience by asking workers to fix themselves.

I’m still optimistic this book can be a big hit. Hope you’re hopeful for me, too!

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