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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and with me is my co-host and friend Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting.
Jeanne Meister wrote an article for Forbes magazine entitled “The Top 10 HR Trends that Matter Most in the 2020 Workplace.” Well, ironically, this article was published in January, before the pandemic, and trend number one was to focus on employee well-being. Boy, little did she know how much we would need to focus on that.
It’s timeless. This is very important, especially now.
That’s right. So she interviewed Michael Fenlon, the Chief People Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who conducted a comprehensive study among their global workforce with the University of Southern California. They defined worker well-being in a holistic way, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lenses. The PwC team set out to identify specific practices that can improve well-being, and this makes well-being tangible rather than an abstract concept. The habits they defined are identified in the PricewaterhouseCoopers habit bank, and they range from simple things like reminding employees to stand up for short meetings, to wind down prior to sleep, to make time to be outside with nature, to turn off their smartphone notifications, and decide what not to do as well as what to focus on. Now, our organizations might not have the technology that PricewaterhouseCoopers has, but they do suggest providing the information on well-being isn’t enough. According to Fenlon, the real power lies in creating a well-being culture, making a commitment to well-being at the individual team and organizational levels, and promoting well-being behaviors.
I think that’s wonderful. I’ve been hearing from clients that, HR people at various companies, saying, I’m trying to figure out how do I help people with their well-being when I don’t see them in the hallway, when I can’t, I can’t give suggestions to our leaders about what to do at the next in-person meeting. So I think this is just a great topic for today, especially with COVID-19 raging.
Right. Right. So as we explore this topic further, we have invited two guests: Denny Faurote and Sarah Turner from The Faurote Group. Denny and Sarah provide training and keynote speeches on the topic of “Powered for Life – Leveraging Energy Management.” Denny Faurote is the founder of The Faurote Group and Sarah is a principal. They’re both professional trainers, consultants, executive coaches, and keynote speakers. And they both have a similar background to me, ironically. We all grew up as accountants in the world of public accounting and later moved into HR or trainer roles. Denny’s creed is to help others succeed in the challenges of life, and Sarah’s passion is capitalizing an organization’s most precious resource, its people.
I think the three of you have redefined what a CPA is, right? You’re people people! Maybe it’s instead of Certified Professional Accounting. It’s Certified People…
Energizers. CPE. I’ll take it. I’ll take it.
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So Denny, what do you mean by this term, “powered for life?”
You know, JoDee, when, when we talk about powered for life, one of the things that we look at, it, it’s really all about the energy to be fully engaged and present moment to moment. And when we look at it, it’s really about how do we bring the best version of ourselves from moment to moment, really in every aspect of our lives. So the powered for life concept is, is really about creating and managing energy.
Tell us more about that. What do you mean by energy? What does it look like, feel like, taste like?
Well, you know, what – one of the things I, you know, as I look at this, and when we put this together, it’s so often we look at our days, our weeks and months, and we tend to ask the question is how, how we’re gonna get everything done. And most often, there’s so much frustration and people saying there’s not enough time in the day to get things done, and they focus on the time management piece. And that’s extremely important. But for us, it’s all about energy. And we looked at it, and Sarah and I’ve come up with what we talk about our “bounce back factors,” and there are really five elements that make up our bounce back factor, and have to do with the energy that we bring to every situation every day. And so, when we talk about the bounce back factor, it’s really about how effectively we get up after we’ve been knocked down. And so those five areas that deal with our energy and our our flow of energy, are physical, the mental, the emotional, the spiritual, and social. And so often I think most people don’t think in terms of energy, those energy sources for us. So we look at those and say, how are we doing? Are they balanced? And do we really understand what we need to do to both not only create, but to maintain energy in those areas?
I like it. So Sarah, what is the most important element of energy management, or is there a most important one?
Yeah. So this is a really great question, because Denny and I recently had a chance to ask a large number of people, out of these five bounce back elements, which one can you ignore? And I don’t think either of you are going to be surprised to know that pretty much everybody said none of them. However, I’m going to say however, because if you, if you really look at kind of a standout of these bounce back factors, research has shown that we grow from the time we entered this world from a point of physicality, right? We grow physically first. Eventually, we grow the ability to be emotionally resilient. We eventually grow to have focus in our mental dimension. We eventually learn what it means to have a social connection. And then finally we understand what we like, which is our spiritual element. However, if you really want to create what we call extraordinary results, research will tell you, you go the reverse order. You start with what drives you first. And if you start with what drives you, it’s so much easier to get mentally focused, it’s so much easier to say I’m going to prioritize my physical well-being and become a little bit more resilient to the things going on around me. So when we talk, we typically tell people if you’re going to think about the most important, we will always kind of key up that idea of finding what drives you, that spiritual element, first.
Nice. I like that.
Me too. So if we want more extraordinary results, is there a model for getting powered for life?
Another great question, because when you think about it, we do have to have a path if we want to grow. And there’s actually three things that Denny and I typically focus on when we’re giving people a concept of really getting powered for life. The first one was probably the most shocking for me to learn, because I didn’t know there was actually a formula for energy, that you could actually tell someone, hey, follow this process from a perspective of physical energy, which is where you, you kind of have to gain that momentum. You have to have three elements. You have to eat. Everybody loves that. That’s a nice thing. You have to breathe.
You had me at eat.
Right? You know, high five. Love it.
Right? So if you tack on, in addition to eating, you have to breathe, which I know seems crazy to be logically strategic about, but you do, you have to be very intentional about breathing. When you put glucose and oxygen into your bloodstream, the third part of the formula is you have to move, you have to actually pump that through your circulation. And when you have those three things, you create energy. So in the model, the first thing is creating it. So using glucose, oxygen, and movement. Once you have it, you go back to what Denny said, and you strategically pick where you’re going to use it in those five bounce back areas. How am I going to use that energy emotionally or mentally or spiritually? And then the last part of it is actually really clever. It’s so valuable. If you really want to get this model right, you have to not only use your energy, but you have to also renew. And there’s a really important element of that. You can’t just say I’m going to go focus on stuff, I’m going to go plan, I’m going to go do, without pausing long enough to say, let me get some of it back. So that’s a really key element that we hit upon often when we’re talking to people about energy management.
Yeah, that’s good stuff. And Denny, how does this lead to your best self?
You know, if I take a look at this, and Sarah hit on it, and a lot of people don’t think of this. But when we talk about energy management, what we need to do is, is you got to start with your purpose in life. And one of the things that we’ve found over the years as we do this, most people, no matter what their levels are, they don’t stop and say, what’s my purpose and my mission. And so it’s really looking at what do I want out of life, both personally and professionally, to allow us to make better decisions. So for me, it really is the focus on those pieces, and then it drives my behavior every day and choices that I’ll make and, you know, as I thought about this, and the more we’ve talked about it over the years and the renewal piece is, I started to purposely focus on the emotional side on the best self, and I figured out the purpose and the mission. But what I found was, how it’s helped me be my best self is when emotions hit. And if you think about where we are in today’s world, and I know things have changed, and there’s going to be a new norm for all of us. But we continue to hear in the, in the papers and on the news about emotional fatigue, and how that’s draining us, and it’s really hard to get back to life, if you will. And so I continue to lean into the emotional side of things, and we use the emotional intelligence, or EQi 2.0, to really help us understand the emotions that we’re experiencing and what that does to our energy level. And for me, I’ve been able to pause long enough in the midst of some of these emotions, whether it’s fear and anxiety that we’re experiencing, pause and really ask the question, what’s going on? And what are the better choices I need to make to be more resilient, to be the best version of me as I come forward. So it’s helped me in many different ways. But it’s that intentionality in all the aspects, it really, really drives the best for me. Now my wife may say I’m still not at my best, but I’m certainly working on it.
That’s wonderful. So Sarah, Denny talked about the best place to start for him really was figuring out your purpose. Can you talk a little bit about where you start? Is that the same place? Or tell us about your journey to managing energy.
Well, Susan, you’re right. Everybody wants the golden ticket, right? Which is, hey, how do I get an entry point into this process? There are plenty of places you can start as an example, you can start with a concept of how do I eat differently or how do I move differently, but one of the things that is probably a great cue up to that is this idea of defining what it looks like to be your best self. We typically challenge people to take anywhere from five to 25 minutes just looking at a piece of paper and putting into this idea of defining what you look like when you’re at your very best. So when your most proudest moment occurs, we call it your best selfie, right? Take a selfie, but when you get it right, what do you, what do you look like? And so the, the words that you describe, like, as an example, for me, mine includes things like when I’m really, really listening to my kids. That’s when I’m at my best. When I’m being patient, when – and so I have this long list. Well, one of the things that probably was an eye opener for me is not just writing down the words that define you at your best, but then take stock in what percentage of those words are you today, in all the roles that you have? And so, embarrassingly, I have to admit the first time I did this, the home line, oh my gosh, I had my pencil hovering over it for so many minutes because I didn’t want to admit the number. But I eventually put down 45%, because I’m traditionally a multitasker and when it comes to being at home, I diluted myself so greatly that the words that I wanted to claim weren’t very often defining me. It was a huge moment. And so that as a starting point has a huge catalyst effect to drive. And so both Denny and I would tell you, why not, right? Define what you look like at your best first. It’s a great place to start.
I love that. It sounds like it’s a very vulnerable moment, right? When you like have to admit that, oh, I’m not my best all the time, or I’m not my best at home or at work or whatever that might be.
I used to pride myself on being a being a multitasker. And as a mother, gosh, now I look back on it and I wish I had been there in the present, in the moment, every moment. And I think that – I love that you’ve had that epiphany already.
One of the really interesting things about that is most people think they’re very good at multitasking, that they can do all of these things at once. And it just doesn’t happen. And it’s not effective. And most of us do it with relationships with the people that are most important to us. And I remember not long ago, Sarah and I were doing a program and a lady was sharing with us that she was being torn in so many directions. And she gave the story of she had just gotten home, picked her kids up from school, and she had young daughters, they’d been to the store, and she’s putting groceries away, and her 12 year old daughter’s talking with her. And she told her mom, said, “Mom, I want you to listen to me.” And the mom says, “I am listening to you.” And a couple minutes later the little girl says, “Mom, I want you to listen to me.” Still, the mom says, “I’m listening,” to her. She’s got her back to her. And then her daughter says, “Mom, I want you to listen with your eyes.” And really just to be there in the moment. And that has stayed with me, because how often, you know, to Sarah’s point, this multitasking, we’re trying to do all these things. And when that happens, that really prevents us from being our best self, because think of those moments where you want to have that “best selfie” moment. And it’s usually our “worst selfie” moments to the people that we love the most. So it’s a very interesting concept to really focus on.
You’re so right.
I love that, listen with your eyes and our best selfie moment. Those are great concepts today.
So to both of you, what have you each gained personally or professionally from this concept?
You know, for me, there’s so many things that I could choose from to talk about. But in addition to what we’ve said, I realized that everything is about a choice. It’s a choice that we make, because I find myself blaming everybody else for not having time, not having energy. And what I would say to myself is, well, I’ll do this after that happens, or once this happens, or that, and in essence, what I was doing was saying, I’m not responsible here, and I’m just pointing the finger at everybody else. And it wasn’t until I sat down, and Sarah and I did this about four years ago, both of us had purpose and mission statements that we’d already had, but we started looking at things differently and asking ourselves, why don’t we have the energy? Why don’t we do what we really want to do, and I’ll speak for myself, as I found myself blaming everybody else but me. So that was one of the huge things that I found. It’s my choice. I don’t blame other people. And it also has helped me set better boundaries in my life if I truly want to achieve the most important things. Still working on it. But those are two main pieces, and of course, my energy level when I practice what we preach. It’s amazing the difference that we experience every day.
Nice. What about you, Sarah?
Oh, my gosh, you’re gonna force me to choose! There have been so many amazing things. Denny’s story about the person that we met who gave us this vulnerable disclosure, what her daughter said about listening with your eyes, that has also been comparative in my life in the mental dimension, because I classically would pick up my boys, tell them to go do something while I’m stirring a pot of food. I’m checking the last email, thinking about how I need to call my mom, and my son would come up and grab my pant leg and say “Hey, Mom,” and I’d say “In a minute,” and I’d keep going, and then they say, “Hey, Mom,” and I’d say, “In a minute,” and then I always tell people around the sixth or seventh “Hey, Mom,” I didn’t sound like my best self. I’d say, “I said in a minute!” And I realized that again, I was so heavily focused on multitasking, and I made up a story that I had to, that I had no choices, until I learned this concept. In pushing out a point of message, I would tell people, I learned probably that it’s not about time, it’s about the quality of the energy you give someone that makes a difference. That was a game changer for me. So I realized I could dump everything at the door, spend 20 minutes with my boys, completely, fully focus, and then move on to fixing dinner and calling my mom. And it didn’t make me less of a person. If anything, I think it made me more of that best self. So yeah, lots of great moments for me, but those are some of the ones that I’ve taken away to heart for sure.
Yeah, I love it. Sarah, how can our listeners get in touch with you if they want to find out more about managing their energy?
Well, the quickest way I would always tell people is probably just to visit our website, which is faurotegroup.com. They can reach out and connect to us that way. But we also are both really easily found on LinkedIn, and we would love to connect with people who might be interested in finding out more about how they can get on this ride of path to creation of energy, but also how to management in all these five elements that creates bounce back factor. Yeah, but we’d love to, so we invite anyone who’s interested to learn more.
I have to tell you, my energy’s higher just talking to both of you this morning!
Yay! I love it. That’s awesome.
Well, thanks for sharing your best selfies with us.
Thanks so much.
Absolutely. Thank you for letting us be part of this.
JoDee, today’s listener question is following our podcast on HR Business Partners, episode number 46. One of our listeners asked us to better define what is an HR Business Partner and what are they not?
That’s a great question. And you know, as we get caught up sometimes in the lingo of our own organizations or industries, it’s a good reminder for us to be careful with that. So technically, the definition of an HR Business Partner is that they are HR professionals who work closely with an organization, department, or business unit’s leaders in order to develop an HR strategy that closely supports their overall goals. I think that’s – so that’s the official, technical answer. The first time I heard that term, HR Business Partner, I remember thinking back, like, gosh, I wish I had called myself an HR Business Partner many moons ago. Like, I think it’s such a powerful, a much more powerful term than an HR Director or an HR Manager and some, some of whom in some large organizations, there are directors, there are managers or specialty HR people like benefits people and talent or trainers. But in general, I would hope that we all view ourselves as HR Business Partners. So regardless of what your title is, don’t we want to be connected with the business of the organization in order to develop a strategy that closely supports their overall goals? So.
I know, I think you’re absolutely right. I do believe in some organizations where they’re actually using the term HR Business Partner, they are often kind of the face to the client. So the internal client.
So if a particular division is assigned an HR Business Partner, that HR Business Partner, depending on the size of the organization, they could be responsible for the recruiting, the employee relations, advising them on compensation, performance management, and all that. Or they might be, if it’s a huge organization, be the person on point to give in the moment consulting, but they’ll pull in the experts, the subject matter expert from compensation or from benefits or from retirement, whatever. So I – it’s really so dependent on the organization, the size of it, but I would say that your point about every one of us, if we’re in HR, doesn’t matter what role you’re in, if you act like a partner, you’re going to be invaluable to the business. And so it’s a term that I like and if it’s companies out there, many of them have been using it for decades, others are contemplating moving to it. I just think it holds a lot of power, because I think it says a lot about how you want to be a partner to help the business achieve the goals that they want to achieve.
Yeah, totally agree.
In our in the news section today, in the same article I mentioned at the top of the show, another trend that Jeanne Meister suggested was to audit your workplace environment for physical, emotional, and environmental attributes. She suggests that when we think about a healthy workplace environment, we might think of fitness centers, standing desks, or even meditation rooms, but her research actually found employees want the basics first. They want better air quality, access to natural light, and the ability to personalize their workspace. Half of the employees she surveyed said poor air quality makes them sleepier during the day, and more than a third reported up to an hour in lost productivity as a result. So a good reminder to consider how your own environment might be impacting your employees.
Okay, I gotta tell you the story of there was a time that I was working in corporate America and our HR team happened to be on this particular floor. We thought that the view was fabulous. We loved the view. We all had offices with windows, thought it was very cool. But what we didn’t have was any heat. Honest to goodness, we were in this high, high rise and we were freezing. So one of my very good friends to this day, Dave, you know who you are, he’d wear a hat all day long, every day at work, because he needed to! Sometimes we put our jackets on, I mean, it was just crazy. And we had the rule we could not bring in space heaters because for safety, you know, obviously. All I know is it was, it was on our minds, and I have to believe that had to affect productivity, when your teeth are chattering, right?
Right, right. Yeah. So just having that awareness and rethinking what’s important for your own organization.
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