Joy in the Random Acts
September 5, 2019
Show Notes: Episode 63 – Building High Performance Teams
September 9, 2019

Click here for this episode’s show notes.

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Susan 0:11
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workplace. I’m Susan White, a national HR consultant. With me is my co-host JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and author of “JoyPowered®,” co-author of “The JoyPowered® Family,” and along with me, co-author of “The JoyPowered® Team.” In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about building high performance teams. JoDee, when I started doing a little research and preparation for today’s episode, I was overwhelmed with the amount of material written on what leaders can do to build high performance teams and workplaces. Wikipedia’s description of a high performance team is “a high performance team can be defined as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills aligned with and committed to a common purpose who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation, produce superior results, and extinguish radical or extreme opinions that could be damaging. The high performance team is regarded as a tight-knit focused group who focus on their goals and have supportive processes that will enable any team member to surmount any barrier, barriers in achieving the team’s goals.” Sounds like a team we want to be on, right?

JoDee 1:21
It sure does.

Susan 1:26
Thanks to those of you who have been rating and reviewing our podcast on Apple podcasts. Even though our contest is over, we hope you’ll continue to rate and review us. It really does help other people find our show. We promised to give a free copy of “The JoyPowered® Team” to one of our reviewers in August, and our winner is Magda Moncrief. We appreciate the review, Magda. Please reach out to us at so we can work out the details on getting your book to you. Thank you.

We’ve been excited to see our listenership going up a lot this last year, and now we want to learn more about you and what you think about our podcast. We’ve created a listener survey that will be open for the next few months. If you want to help us out by telling us a little bit about yourself, you can access the survey at We’ll also have a link to the survey on our website. If you take the survey, you’ll have the option to enter to win a set of our three JoyPowered® books, “JoyPowered®,” “The JoyPowered® Family,” and “The JoyPowered® Team.” We hope you’ll take a little time to help us make the podcast the best it can be, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts. Again, you can take the survey at Thank you so much for listening to our show.

So we’re going to talk to two people who have spent a lot of time thinking about how to create an environment where high performance happens. Joining us today are Sue Bingham and Bob Dusin, authors of “Creating the High Performance Workplace: It’s Not Complicated to Develop a Culture of Commitment.” We’re so happy to have you both here.

JoDee 3:09
Yes. Thanks for joining us.

Bob 3:11
Thank you for having us.

Susan 3:13
So we’d love for you to tell our listeners a little bit more about your individual backgrounds, if you don’t mind.

Bob 3:18
My background started in in a little bit of an unconventional way, looking, considering where I’m at and what I’m doing now. My degree originally was in civil engineering, and I spent several years as a project engineer and project manager in the construction industry, working with constructing high-rise buildings. And I did that for about 15 years and through work, going to work for another company and getting some different experience, I, I found myself as a Corporate Training Director for a national construction company. Then a few years after that, they asked me if I wanted to take over the HR department also. So since about the mid 90s, I’ve been doing human resources and training. 15 years before that, I was doing project management and project engineering. So I left the corporate world after about nine years of being a human resources and training director and started my own consulting business, and just within a few months after I left to start my own business, I got introduced to Sue and her husband, who had, who had just started the company, who had just created the company HPWP, and I joined up and have been working with Sue and her husband and other colleagues for the past almost 13 years now.

Susan 4:37
And where are you based?

Bob 4:39
I live in Kansas City. Yeah, I live in Kansas City, we have, our group, HPWP Group consists of about 10 or 11 people, we’re kind of scattered around the country. We have three people in California, one in Denver, one in Kansas City. Sue is in Rome, Georgia. We have another colleague in Cartersville, Georgia. Yeah. So we’re, we’re kind of spread. And then now Sue’s daughter is also part of the company. She lives in Dallas. So we kind of have the country covered.

JoDee 5:10
Yeah. Well, Bob, I always love hearing people’s stories of how they got where they are. I was a practicing CPA that moved into HR, and so I think a structural engineer, that one beats me in terms of career changes.

Bob 5:27
It was kind of a 180, you know, looking at what I do now and the companies we work with, I’m really happy to have had that experience. It gives me a good perspective of what I kind of look at as both sides of the business and doing it from, I worked in the field, I was, is part of my training and development. I was a superintendent and a foreman for a while. And so that gave me kind of the, the field operations side of things and then moved into training and human resources. Which, which I really like, too, I, I think I was really probably more miscast as an engineer. I was an engineer who turned into something different.

JoDee 6:12
I have exactly the same thoughts about myself, and I always say exactly what you said, too, that I wouldn’t trade my nine years as an auditor, practicing CPA for anything, because I learned so much about business during that time, but awful happy to be in HR now. So.

Susan 6:30
You’ve all found yourself. So Sue, why don’t you give us a little bit about your background?

Sue 6:35
Okay, well I’m, I’m, I’ve always been HR. I guess I did systems for a little while, I helped to write requirements for Ohio State University’s first online mission system. So that shows my age. So I did systems and, and worked there, but, but really, the bulk of my time has been spent in organizational development and human resources and training and, and worked for some very large companies like Abbott Laboratories and big aerospace company and some smaller ones, and loved that experience, and had the opportunity to go on my own and took that opportunity. I had a daughter, very young daughter, and I had been working, you know, the kind of hours we all work 60, 70 hours, and wanted to spend more time with her. So that’s, that’s what I did. I had a lot of friends that gave referrals and that’s, that’s how that got started. And then I started acquiring folks like Bob, and we, it’s really our, our mission, our passion to make the workplace one where people feel fulfilled and are, and enjoy it. And obviously with that comes profitability and performance and success.

JoDee 7:51
Right, right. Very good. So how did the two of you connect and what compelled you to write “Creating the High Performance Workplace” together?

Sue 8:03
We knew the same guy, actually, we knew a guy who knew a guy. I was just starting the business and looking for people who would be facilitators of this high performance philosophy and approach, and I had been referred to Bob and heard he was terrific, and we got in touch, and we’ve been together eight years now, or 10 years or something like that. Very long time. Right Bob?

Bob 8:32
It’s been, uh, 12. It’s been 12.

Sue 8:33
Well, okay, 12. Not that you’re counting.

Susan 8:37
It only feels like nine to Sue. So I think that’s a compliment, Bob.

Bob 8:40
Yeah, sure it does.

Susan 8:42
Yeah, that’s great. So tell us a little bit more about this high performance workplace philosophy, you know, what should business leaders and HR leaders do to create a high performance workplace?

Bob 8:55
Boy, there are a lot of things, and enough that we could write a book about it and probably…

Susan 9:00
And you did!

Bob 9:01
Yeah. One of, you know, I think it boils down to a lot of things, a couple of things it really comes down to is, to me, you can’t have high performance if you don’t have great relationships among the people at work, among everybody. And people have to know that they’re valued by the company that they work for. So it’s, it’s finding ways to have people know that they’re valued and, and, and be able to use that value. And then it’s just building great relationships. You can’t, you can’t have high performance without great relationships.

JoDee 9:38
And you talk about getting rid of policy manuals and instead advocate getting really good at performance coaching. Tell us more about that.

Sue 9:48
That’s, that’s fun. I mean, that’s one of the best parts of it. You know, any of us that have been in human resources just really dislike the progressive discipline policy that exists in so many manuals and all those work rules and, you know, the kind of stuff that you’d see on a pool for kids, pool rules, you know, don’t, don’t horseplay, don’t run, and, and so, we, quite a while ago, my mentor introduced me to using just a one standard of conduct, which is we expected everyone to act in the best interest of the company and their fellow team members. And we’ve had a lot of companies adopt that, they got rid of their all their, you know, long policies and their three page dress codes and their, you know, attendance policy with points and just got rid of all that bureaucracy and red tape that was written for that small percentage of people that you’re trying to get rid of. And meanwhile, you’re, you’re punishing, at times, inadvertently, your good people who, you know, just, I mean, they had an off day or something happens. So we believe that everybody’s adults, and should be treated like adults, and that we don’t need to have things explained to us and in, you know, strong legalese or terms. I mean, I’ve seen HR manuals, you probably have too, where they give, they give definitions for “left early,” like “‘left early’ is if you leave work before you’re required to…” I mean, as adults, we just don’t need that. So we start with that as the basis. And then instead of a progressive discipline policy, we use a coaching approach that’s really geared for the employee to do the vast majority of the talking, the vast majority of the problem solving. And really the, the manager or employer is, is really in the role of a facilitator and a coach and so on. So it’s a, it’s more humane, it’s more respectful. In the end, the person who makes the decision about whether they want to change or not, and it is a decision, is the employee, and we’ve used this, I don’t know why more companies don’t use it. I think they just don’t know about it. But we use we use this very effectively in California as practicing HR people. We won unemployment claims in California. So anybody in HR knows if you can, if you can win unemployment claims in HR, and you know what, what happened is that because what we did was so focused on what’s best in having an adult conversation with the, with the employee, who’s also an adult, we found that, you know, the response was great, the problems got solved. We had virtually, you know, no claims and charges and, and we just didn’t get mired in that muck that a lot of times traditional HR gets mired in. So that’s, that’s one of the things, I think, that’s the, that’s sort of a distinguishing factor in that, as HR people, we’re really, I hope we’re not non-traditional now. I mean, I hope people are coming around more. But at the time when we started practicing a number of these approaches, we were very non-traditional.

JoDee 13:13
So I love your, the concepts and the ideas you’re talking about, but are, and it sounds like you have a lot of clients that are getting on board. It seems like a pretty big step in some industries or for some clients to make, to not have a rules-based environment. Are you finding that as well? Or are most people on board with this?

Bob 13:38
People get on board, but yeah, absolutely. People, you know, and Sue said, to use the term non-traditional, we, we use the term traditional and non-traditional work environments and the traditional being the more autocratic rules, policies and all of that, and yeah, it’s, it’s a tough change for a lot of leaders because they’re so used to, they’ve been doing it that way their whole life. And, and when we, when we go through our week-long workshop we see a lot of transformation going on from Monday to Friday. And they, they understand, because we do so much in the workshop that’s experiential, they, they see that there is a better and a different way and a way that makes more sense, a way that’s logical. But because we’re so, we get so caught up, it’s so easy for managers and leaders to go to a policy manual. And if somebody, if somebody is late regularly, it’s so easy to say, “When you’ve been late this many times I’ve got to give you a written warning. Well, now you’ve been late again this many times, I’ve got to suspend you for two days.” And then they get back to work instead of just setting them down and saying, “What’s happening here? Why, why is this happening? And what are you going to do? What can you do? What will you do to make sure you can be to work on time? I’m not going to punish you, but if this is a place that you want to work, our expectation is that you’re here. And so if this isn’t a place that you can be at on time, what you’re telling me is, it’s not a place you want to work.” But I don’t need a rule and, because people just, people, leaders start to understand people don’t get better by being treated worse, the more you punish them doesn’t make them better at what they do.

Susan 15:22
I think that makes great sense. And I had a chunk of my career I spent in a very large global organization, hundreds of thousands of people. And I think about the call centers we had and the customer service contact centers and so on, that there really was very, very similar to what you had mentioned, about traditional, you know, so many times late, you know, equated to coaching and then the next time it was, you know, written warning, and then final written warning, then termination. So, I love the concept. Tell me, do you document those discussions, then, like, if you end up, the person doesn’t decide, that the person says, “I can still stay here. I want to stay here,” and they’ve had repeated chances. Do you, do you ever make the decision that we have to part ways? Or is it always on the, your recommendation is always on the shoulders of the employee? But you, do you document all the little conversations you had?

Sue 16:10
We do. It’s, it’s a, it’s a lot less documentation than you typically find with the step process. The original meeting is, is an agenda where you’re, you’re simply being clear about what the issue is. And then before you’ve gone any further, you say “What’s going on?” You really listen to what the person says, you know, you might make some notes about it. It’s, it’s, it’s really up to the, to the manager. And then once once you think you’ve gotten to the cause of it, you say, “Well, what, how can you prevent that? Or what would you do? What are you going to do about their future?” That’s, that’s if somebody is being very cooperative. So we have three ways in which an employee can respond. An employee can be cooperative, which is what most people are. “Shoot, I did that, I, you know, I wasn’t thinking, I, you know, I, I overlooked that, that was negligent on my part,” whatever it is they do, they’ll, they’ll own up to it, and they’ll say, and they’ll say, you know, “This won’t happen again.” And so on. So, you know –

Susan 17:09
I love that employee, Sue. That’s my favorite kind.

Sue 17:11
I love that employee, too. And fortunately, that’s the majority of them. And, and what I’m, what you’ll do is you’ll just, you’ll make a note about what it is they said they’re going to do, you’ll express your, your confidence that that’s probably the end of the problem, and you slide that just in a desk drawer. And you, you assume there’s probably a follow up of, you know, just positive reinforce that the change was made or if the action was taken. On some occasions, people are uncooperative.

JoDee 17:39

Sue 17:40
I know, I know! In that meeting, they can be uncooperative, in which case we help managers define that as not accepting any personal responsibility, not willing to talk about the issue, blaming others, trying to misdirect the conversation, and, and when, we train the manager, so when they see that happening, what they need to do is reflect that that’s what they’re seeing. You know, “I don’t hear you really engaged in this. That doesn’t sound like you feel like you have a part in it,” you just, you check that with them. Now, this is all training for managers, because they typically have that. And then if the person continues to be not… uncooperative, then what we suggest to the managers they do is say, “Look, we’re really not getting aware here. We, we can’t solve it. If we can’t get to what’s causing it, I don’t hear you being involved in that. What I’d like you to do is take the rest of the day off and we’ll pay you. This isn’t about money or punishment or anything like that, we’ll pay you, because what we want you to do is make a decision about whether you want to work here and this is a job you want,” along the lines of what Bob said. And we call that a decision-making leave. It’s, it’s paid. You only go to it if the person’s consistently uncooperative during the meeting, but if they are, the only way to move it forward is to have them make a decision about whether they want to cooperate or not. And if they, if they say this is a job they want, then we ask them to come back with a written commitment or a written plan of action or something. And we also make it okay to say, if you don’t think this is the right fit for you, this isn’t something you, you can agree to live by and you want to, you, you want to meet, an expectation you want to meet, then that’s okay, too. I mean, we’ll hate to lose you, if you can say that sincerely. You always want to be authentic and genuine.

Susan 19:33
And then would you code that as a voluntary termination? If the person says…

Sue 19:36

Susan 19:37
And if they say, “Nothing, I’m not quitting. You’re gonna have to fire me.”? I can, I’ve had people say that to me before.

Sue 19:42
Yeah, me too. And when that happens, typically if they’re dishonest, or if we get sort of a real lame excuse, I once got an employee that said, his commitment was, “I’ll try to, I’ll try to get along with my manager.” He was, he had been abusing, verbally abusing people that reported to him, and he reported to me, and when I found it out, and he’d hidden it all, and he just said, you know, that’s what he’d do. And I said, you know, “This isn’t acceptable.”

JoDee 20:16

Sue 20:17
“So I need you to go home now, and I will call you tomorrow and let you know if you have a job.” Usually, that’s just to buy time and make sure all the ducks are in order and everything’s there. But yeah, we’ll terminate. If someone’s disrespectful, we try never to terminate on the spot, but if someone’s disrespectful, we move them out. Or if they come back and they’re not interested, we, we, we will affect the termination. But usually, if it’s a decision-making leave, we will tag it as a resignation, because they’ve said they don’t want to work there.

Susan 20:50
So there’s three types of employees in those situations. One’s cooperative, one’s uncooperative, and what was the third one?

Sue 20:56
It was-

Bob 20:56

Susan 20:57
Oh, disrespectful. Thank you. Okay, that’s a category.

Bob 21:00
Yeah, and, and on the documentation on all those, there is some documentation, we approach it with more of the mindset of, we just want to have a record so everybody knows what was talked about. It’s, it, it’s not from the mindset of, of covering ourselves legally. It’s simply to… I want, if I go back six months from now, I want to remember what we talked about in, in a conversation. And so it’s not from, the documentation here is not really from the mindset of covering ourselves. It’s, it’s really just to record what happened.

Sue 21:00
And how the documentation differs is that this isn’t a first warning or a written warning or a verbal warning or any of those things, that if we have low confidence, and only the manager can make that decision, but if we have low confidence that the person’s really committed or really understands what’s going on, really wants to do what’s necessary, then we summarize in a letter, what our meeting, what’s taken place. But the difference in that documentation is that we write the letter to the employer. We record what it is they said, what it is we said, what it is they agreed to do, and so that we’re all clear. And it’s, it’s a summary, and we, you know, we don’t have, like, numbers of times. But often, if, if we’re coming back to the same situation, and they haven’t taken the action they said they were going to take, we’ve got less confidence. So we’re probably going to put that in a, in a summary letter to the employer. We copy and that we give to everyone and, and then of course, if it ends in termination, it’s a termination report.

Susan 22:45
So when you work with clients, what are some of the mistakes that you’ve seen, that you see that are being made, and what are some things that our listeners really should avoid if they’re trying to have a high performance workplace?

Bob 22:58
Oh, gosh, where do you begin? You know, if we’re looking at it from, what are the mistakes they make when, when implementing, when implementing the things we advocate and we talked about. There are some things there that we, we want. One of the things I always think of is after a workshop, for instance, when they go back and they want to change the world, not to try to do everything at once. A lot of the changes, if you’re, if you’re really a traditional leader, really what we want you to do is go back to work and just show up differently. Don’t tell people, “We’re going to start doing things differently now.” This isn’t a program that you implement. This is simply a different way of approaching people and approaching the workplace. So go back and just start treating people differently. Start having different kinds of conversations, adult conversations, start, you know, don’t just throw out three volumes of policy manuals right away, but start looking for ways, start looking for ways to to engage people, to value people, to have conversations with people, and not just manage by policies and, you know, autocracy.

Sue 24:18
We try to say to all of them, “Just do more and say less.” I’d say the foundation of the philosophy, and Bob talked about value, but the foundation of the philosophy is that you need to operate as a leader with positive assumptions about people. And that’s, that’s hard if in your background, you’ve, you’ve dealt with a large number of people who lied to you or, you know, I think this would be such a difficult thing for a police force to implement, because the majority of their time, often they’re spent talking to people who aren’t telling them the truth. But, but we talked about the fact that you should have positive assumptions about people, because if you have positive assumptions about people, it drives you in a different way in terms of your behavior, you trust, you empower more, you are a lot more open, you share more information, your conversations are adult to adult. All those things about, if you have positive assumptions about people, come naturally. If you don’t have positive assumptions about people in generality, you’re going to have to work a lot harder at being a leader in a workplace where trust is, is, it’s paramount, and where respect is, is paramount.

JoDee 25:34
I love that. Although I have to admit, I, sometimes I lead with so much positivity, that I over-trust, I think everyone will do exactly what they’re supposed to do and even more, and so I can get burnt sometimes the other way on leading with too many positive assumptions.

Sue 25:57
We, I’m certainly one of those people and, and have been accused as, as not positive assumptions but gullible.

JoDee 26:04
Yeah. Or naive, I think I’m naive. Right?

Sue 26:08
Yeah. And, and certainly there have been times where there’s, you know, I’ve been taken advantage of, somebody’s not told me the truth and I’ve trusted them. I mean, that’s happened. The, the alternative though, in that, is that I guess I’m willing to take a couple of those.

JoDee 26:27

Sue 26:28
In return for not trusting anybody.

JoDee 26:31

Sue 26:31

JoDee 26:32
I agree.

Sue 26:33
The… so that’s, it’s sort of a choice, and hopefully you’re, you’re a little more sensitive to the people you can trust and the people you can’t. But that’s, I think, that’s what promotes the kind of workplace where you can leave things unlocked. Where, in fact, one of the things, one of the things with a high performance workplace is that if you lie, you’re gone. There is zero tolerance for lying, because trust is such a foundation for the way we work. I’ve seen, I’ve seen a leader be, be fired for $17 worth of gas, where he used company gas but lied about it. I’ve seen an, an employee in another high performance company that was taking out a five gallon water bottle and told one of his teammates that he, you know, not to remark on it, and that is, that’s the kind of company that would have given him –

JoDee 27:33

Sue 27:33
– the water bottle if he, if he needed it.

JoDee 27:35

Sue 27:36
But, you know, and he wrote a long letter after he was terminated telling everyone not to do anything as stupid as that and that it cost him the best job he ever had.

JoDee 27:45

Susan 27:46
Boy, that’s a moment of redemption, I hope, for him. You know, I, this reminds me, that whole idea of, you know, coming at things with, assuming innocence, Senn Delaney, you may be familiar with, they do a lot of training and coaching, and I was a certified trainer with them. And one of the things we talked about is how, as a leader, you want to assume innocence. Because it just, for you, you start at a place of so much more healthy, it doesn’t really matter what else you’re going to find, you start at a healthy place, you’re not wasting your time trying to figure out why people are doing things and all the energy you waste when you don’t assume innocence. So I love that support of your particular philosophy as well.

JoDee 28:19
I do too.

Bob 28:21
One of the things on that, too, and I was just going to add on to that, even, even in addition to just assuming innocence or that they haven’t done something wrong, I think positive assumptions also take it a step further than that, and that it’s assuming that they want to do, they want to be challenged, they want to do things, they want to see the company succeed, they want to, they want to make decisions and solve problems. So it’s, it’s not just that they’re not going to do something wrong. It’s that they want to do things that are really good and positive.

Susan 28:56
I like that.

JoDee 28:56
Love that. So your company, HPWP, does a four and a half day workshop to help organizations build high performance workplaces. What types of exercises and experiences do you put people through?

Sue 29:12
Some of them we keep a secret.

Susan 29:15
Fair enough.

Sue 29:16
We really, some of them are a secret, and people who’ve gone through the workshop don’t share it with people that they go back to work with, knowing that they’re going to come and they’re going to have their own experience. But, but typically, the exercises are around challenging thinking. I can, I can tell you one, because it’s, it’s, is, is that we’ll have a debate, will have people do the pros and cons for engaging employees and making determinations on, on hiring their boss. And should they have the final decision, and just getting them to debate it. It’s, you know, it’s usually a combination of everybody, but we’ll, we’ll challenge that thinkingm they’ll debate back and forth, and we give them conflict situations and steps to win-win. And they ask them to really work at, at reaching that win-win, but we keep them true to the steps of win-win. So there’s things like that, and things that sort of show how trusting or untrusting they are. And you know, things like that. It’s, it’s, it’s usually fun. It’s, it’s very fun, and there’s a, I think the success of the workshop is because of so many personal ahas.

JoDee 30:29

Sue 30:30
That come from it.

Bob 30:31
Yeah, we set it up so that the the exercises a lot of them, there’s some individual things, but a lot of them are group and team oriented. And it’s, it is the aha thing. It’s, it’s not us lecturing, it’s, it, there’s very little of that. We we want to set it up so that they discover it on their own. And it doesn’t take long before they start, the light bulbs start going on and, and just through the experiential activities they see what, how simple and, and logical and how much it all makes sense.

JoDee 31:07

Susan 31:08
Sounds fun. So, JoDee and I understand you’re working on your next book. What will it be about, and how will it benefit business and HR leaders, and when will it be available?

Sue 31:18
Hey, Bob, you take that one! I’m trying to pass it off.

Bob 31:22
Yeah, we, we are, we’ve been wrapped up with a lot of other things and are a little bit behind schedule, but we are starting to work on our second one. We, we don’t have, I guess, the working title. It’s, we don’t have a title yet. But it’s, it’s going to be about creating, and not, not creating a high performance workplace, but creating the high performance life. So many people that go through our workshops and, and report back to us weeks and months and even years later, tell us that what they experienced and what they took out of that has more impact on their, their personal life, as much or more impact as it does on their work life. They approach their friends differently, their family differently, and they talk about the impact it’s made. So, so we wanted to, to talk about that in our, in our new book, and so it’s essentially creating a high performance life.

JoDee 32:18
I love it. I think it’s so powerful when we can think about some of these tools and how they impact our whole life, not just our time at work, because most of these are, they are life skills, not just things we need to do at work.

Bob 32:34
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I’ve read some articles recently about the idea of work life balance being a myth, that it’s really all just life and that work is part of it. And, and when you when you look at the high, the high performance elements and applying that in your personal life, people find that, that they can be the same person at work as they are away from work, right? They don’t, they don’t have to change or try to be somebody else.

Susan 33:06
I’ve heard people call it now work life integration, because I agree with you. There’s no balance to it.

JoDee 33:11
Yeah. So what else do we need to know about this topic, or what else do our listeners need to hear?

Bob 33:19

Sue 33:20
Well, we love being able to do podcasts like this. We, it’s wonderful to interact with people who really understand and, and, and get it, and it’s such a simple, common sense approach. That is, it’s hard to sell. Let me say that it’s hard to sell. It’s hard to, it’s hard to describe it. That’s why we wrote the book. You know, when people ask us about the workshop, we say, “Well, you know, it’s, it’s experiential. And you know, you’re going to cover these eight elements, and we’re going to talk about how they become real versus words.” And it’s just is still hard to explain. So one of the things that we do talk about and, and listeners should know, is that it’s very results oriented. If, as you can imagine, and you know, in the books you read about high trust environment, the speed of trust, and so on, when you’ve got a high trust environment, you can implement change with, without any resistance. And the speed of change is faster and faster and faster. So the more nimble the organization is, the better. And there, the turnover rate in high performance workplaces is usually somewhere less than 4%. The, one of the things we do is we don’t have a number of sick pay or PTO days or anything, everybody’s all salaried, even if you’re non-exempt, you’re still salaried. And then, of course, you get paid for overtime. And the, we don’t, if, if you’re sick or you have something you have to take care of, well, we understand that you would. Just like, you know, sort of, why would we treat an adult person who works on a manufacturing line or customer service call in any different way than we would treat our executive or manager? There’s still people, they’ll still have, they still have meetings with the school, they still have things they want to do, so, so we, what we find is that our attendance rate is 98 to 99%. And we pay in these companies and their plans, we pay all reasonable and necessary absences, of which almost all of them are reasonable and necessary. And if there’s a problem, you go through the coaching process, and go, “What’s going on and what are you going to do about it?” So, I’m sorry, so it’s very, like, I guess my answer is it’s very results-driven, you, because there’s high levels of engagement, high levels of ownership, of accountability, you can affect change much faster. You, you have people taking out costs, we had one company where they engaged every employee in different groups to look at how are they going to take out the 1.3 million they lost when a big client left. And, and as the owner of the company said, he had good news and bad news. The good news is that the group found in two months, they, they found 1.3 million to take out. The bad news is it was there all along.

JoDee 36:18

Sue 36:19
So, you know, they, that was a, that was an aha for them. “Oh, we think we’re high performance, but we’re clearly not engaging people enough in, in some of this,” and so it’s, there’s just so much opportunity. I mean, we have so many stories of engagement, if it’s where, where the, getting the employees involved and problem solving and giving them the opportunity to own issues has resulted in major, major cost savings.

Bob 36:51
A couple of, a couple of questions that we ask, a series of questions in one exercise and a couple of questions leaders will tell us that generally the numbers are 40 to 50% of their people’s brain power and potential is not being used. So essentially, half of a person’s brain power and potential is not being used in the job. And yet, in that same series of questions, they’ll tell us that 90, they believe that 90 to 95% of the people that work for them are great, capable people.

JoDee 37:26

Bob 37:26
And so, so we know that we’re not using that potential, but yet we’re not, we’re not driving that to, down to those people who could do something with that potential and brain power. Leaders, leaders work one or two levels below where they should be working.

Susan 37:45
So please tell our listeners, how can they contact you if they’d like to explore working with you or learning more about this topic?

Bob 37:53
Yeah, you can find us at online at It’s, all of our contact information, our, all of our information is there, how to get the book and all of that stuff. And yeah, our book’s available on Amazon, “Creating the High Performance Workplace,” and we would love to hear from people.

Susan 38:14
That’s great. Well, it’s been delightful having you both. Thank you so much for joining us. We wish you well, not only on this first book, but also on the one that’s under creation.

JoDee 38:22

Bob 38:23
Thank you.

Susan 38:24
Thank you.

Bob 38:24
Thanks for having us.

Sue 38:26
Thank you.

Susan 38:26
Thank you both. I really love the concepts.

The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast is sponsored by our new book, “The JoyPowered® Team.” JoDee and I wrote this book with five of our colleagues, and we can’t wait for you to read it. “The JoyPowered® Team” challenges you to choose joy for yourself and your teammates. Learn how to build inclusive teams, navigate workplace challenges, revitalize teams who falter, and thrive as teams evolve. Joy starts with you, whatever your role, industry or area of expertise. Learn more about our new book and how to buy it at That’s W-W-W dot G-E-T J-O-Y-P-O-W-E-R-E-D dot com slash B-O-O-K-S.

JoDee, what I really liked about the high performance workplace is that a number of the things that they really value, really so consistent with what we talked about in “The JoyPowered® Team.” It’s about having a team where people trust the leaders.

JoDee 39:36

Susan 39:36
They trust each other, not getting so rule-oriented that you lose sight of creating a place where people want to be, a JoyPowered® workplace.

JoDee 39:43
Right. Right. I love, they talked a lot, which we talk a lot about too, accountability, right? That we can create a culture where where people hold themselves and others accountable for, for getting work done, for trusting in each other, and serving their clients or customers at the same time.

Susan 40:03
Yeah, love it.

JoDee 40:06
Susan, we have a listener question this week. Today’s question is from one of our listeners in the compensation arena. She says “We have multiple sites that we operate in different states, we pay individuals who perform similar jobs with similar pay, except we look at the local cost of living of each location and give a premium if the job is done a place with a higher cost of living. I am thinking this is okay. Let me know if not and how should I document it in case I ever get challenged. I’m also thinking about introducing another premium pay for one particular location that we are having a real problem getting people hired and then getting them to stay. It is a relatively low cost of living, is a remote place in Oklahoma that is hard to get to and has few other employers where spouses and partners can work. Can I have an ‘unattractive location to work premium’?”

Susan 41:05
Okay, well, first of all, I’m going to say it’s absolutely fine to the first part of your question, if you want to have geographic differentials where you pay people different amounts based on the local cost of living. And what I would do from a documentation standpoint, is just make sure I made note every year as I did my salary planning and budgeting, and then as I went through my review cycle, you know, what salary grid am I using based on the location, absolutely acceptable, very common practice. Now, let’s get to your “unattractive location to work premium,” I would not call it that. Please don’t call it that. But you absolutely can make a decision that based on a particular place that you’re having a very difficult time recruiting to, and it sounds like for you, it’s a place in Oklahoma, which you’re really having a hard time driving people there. If you want to differentiate the attractiveness by increasing pay, that’s certainly within your purview. But you might also think about, are there other things that we can do rather than paying beyond the market rate? I would like for you to look at it more holistically. But I would say that I have had experience doing something fairly similar. It was actually in Detroit. So if any of our listeners in Detroit, you may recall a number of years ago when it was very difficult to find people to work in the real, true city of Detroit before they’d done a lot of the renaissance work that they’ve done. And I worked for a large organization that we had no trouble at all staffing our retail locations that were outside of Detroit in some of those beautiful communities like Ann Arbor and Novi and other places, but we could not get anyone to post internally for our jobs in the city. Nor could we, we were very successful in getting external candidates to go there. So we ended up putting in a 10% differential for the city of Detroit. So even exempt, non-exempt, it didn’t matter what level you were. Every hour you worked there you received a 10% premium against the other Southeast Michigan salaries we were paying. I will tell you it worked brilliantly, we kept it into effect for about 10 years, when we found we no longer needed to do it, but it helped us get internal people to post for the job and external people there. Now, we didn’t call it “unattractive location to work premium.” I think we called it “the Detroit differential.”

JoDee 43:15
Yeah. Yeah. I love it. I love it. And maybe it’s, as you said, about holistically, maybe it’s thinking about, could that particular location have more flexibility or, you know, other other options that might make sense for that area? And now that, you know, that creates issues as well sometimes, but, but just thinking about other opportunities or making a relocation bonus very attractive to get people to move there as well.

Susan 43:45
Right. I love that.

Well, good. So it’s time for best practice sharing. We asked our listeners through the JoyPowered® newsletter and via social media, “How do you build your relationships with internal clients?” Here are some of the things that we heard.

JoDee 43:58
One of our listeners says “I make a point to swing by my key clients’ offices every other week or so, just to pop in and say hello.”

Susan 44:06
And another said, “I put on my calendar reminders to invite my customers to have coffee with me at least once a month. It gives us a chance to talk about what’s worrying them.”

JoDee 44:16
Another said “I make sure I attend all after hour optional team dinners and events so people get to know me personally, and I get to know them as well.”

Susan 44:27
We would love to hear any other ideas any of our listeners have on how you build relationships, we recognize to be JoyPowered® business leaders and HR professionals, we need to be always focused on how do we deepen our relationships with others, right?

Alright, so in the news, JoDee, the Supreme Court announced on Monday, April 22, 2019, that is going to decide whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against gays and transgender workers, because the law forbids employment discrimination based on sex. Lower courts have ruled differently on this issue up until now, with so many companies and some localities providing this protection, it will be interesting to watch the federal outcome. The EEOC has taken the position that gay and transgender workers are protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under sex, but the Department of Justice has not. So this should finally and hopefully settle it. We anticipate the arguments are going to be heard in the fall of 2019, and a decision well after that, so listeners, stay tuned.

JoDee 45:35
Thank you for listening today. Please tune in next time. If you have missed any of our podcasts, you can catch all episodes for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching on the word “JoyPowered.” If you like our podcast, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. And we’d love for you to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find our show. If you have questions on any HR topic, you can leave us a voicemail at 317-688-1613 or email us at We are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter @joypowered. We welcome listener questions and comments.

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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