Ep#60 I’m a People Person with Frank Wander (Office Space Spoof)

April 22, 2022
EP60 Frank Wander 1280

About the Guest

DO YOU WANT LEADERS AND TEAMS THAT CAN EXCEED THEIR SALES NUMBERS, DRIVE INNOVATION, AND BUILD A CULTURE WHERE PEOPLE PUT DOWN ROOTS AND STAY?

Episode Summary

We’ve had a number of guests on the show talk about the great resignation. They aren’t interested in being another number, those who were once afraid of making a move or changing their jobs are taking a leap and starting something new. Joining us today is Frank Wander, CEO of People Productive to talk about how we got here, to the great resignation.

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Host: Jon

What's happening. Uh, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around nine, that would be great. Okay. Oh, oh. Oh, I almost forgot. I'm gonna need you to come in on Sunday. Okay. We, uh, lost some people and we're gonna need to play catch up. Thanks.

Guest: Frank

We've had a number of guests on the show. Talk about the great resignation or reimagining employees. Aren't interested in being another number. Those who are once afraid to take the move are making a leap into another role or career. Joining us today is Frank wanderer, CEO of people productive to talk about how we got here in the great resignation. Before we bring Frank onto the show. Don't forget to hit that, like subscribe and notification. Please join me in welcoming Frank to the show. Frank, thanks for joining us.

Host: Jon

Hey John, I'm thrilled to be on the Jon Myer podcast. Thanks for having me on

Guest: Frank

Frank. I'm super excited to have you on because when we talked offline, I mean the passion behind it and how much stuff you had to share. I was like, you gotta join me for the show folks today. We're talking with Frank about the great resignation. What has happened or changed in the last two years and why now all of a sudden are people leaving and changing jobs. Frank, let's talk about it. The great resignation.

Host: Jon

Well, you know, the great resignation was predicted, but you could see it coming. Literally, if you watched, you could have predicted this decades ago that eventually the way corporations have treated their people the way they used them as parts dating back to the industrial era, that eventually people were going to say, look, we don't have any kind of social contract here. I'm gonna maximize and optimize, you know, my life. And it took really this millennial generation to bring that to the forefront. I believe they saw that their parents weren't treated fairly, cuz they listened at home. Parents would come home, oh shit, you know, fired after 30 years, whatever. And uh, they decided, look, I'm going to try to find something more fulfilling. I'm gonna find a personal mission. And we see that in the great resignation today. People are not happy with the way, you know, work is structured and work is structured really in a very industrial fashion because that's the ethos that we've inherited from a hundred years of the industrial era. And it really is ultimately the root cause of toxicity. And it is what's going to be replaced

Guest: Frank

The industrial error. I have to ask you about the bell ringing from school to the industry belt because I founded a, I wanna say an interesting fact that you shared with me and I think we need to share with the audience about when you went to school and you heard the start of the bell, the lunch bell and the ending bell and how that really translates to the industry. Do you wanna share?

Host: Jon

Yeah. Um, you know, school was originally set up to create workers who are going to be very good workers for a factory that bell and getting people trained that you're gonna report to the line at a certain time. The Bell's gonna go off. Hey, the shift is on, you know, all of that happened to come in and be in the classroom was like being in one of these factories where maybe they were at desks, not necessarily on an assembly line, but it was all about that. Regimentation getting people set for that and training 'em to have the skills they needed to go to work in a factory. And therefore nobody ever was taught to seek their passion or interest, cuz that wasn't going to be part of the equation. They were gonna just be a good worker. They were gonna go to the factory. They were gonna do what they were told and you know, follow that regimentation and that work. And that's what it was set up to be. And much of that structure exists today

Guest: Frank

Are a lot of people still leaving or changing their jobs. And I don't wanna say they're actually like leaving their company. Now. Some are actually changing jobs, something they would've never thought of doing more now than ever. Because I remember watching in the last probably six months to, to a year of all the people posting on social media, I gave my last day after 25 years or 1530 years, people really leaving that behind to pursue other opportunities because they are now gaining more value out there.

Host: Jon

Well there's certainly the world has changed immensely. This hybrid world of work where you can work from anywhere, lead from anywhere higher from anywhere that has opened up an enormous number of opportunities for people in places where they had a limited array of opportunities. So if you were a great worker in the Midwest, you had really high it skills. You could suddenly go to work for a Silicon valley company and it's happening and the pay scales that they can get going to work for that company being remote, being part of a remote team, remote working tools, very good. You could create good teamwork. You still need some in person. I firmly believe it because hybrid does make a difference. But you know, the world has changed in just so many ways. And you have companies who say, Hey, we're all gonna report to the factory. We're going back to work. And people are like, no, no I've been working from home for a year and a half. I, I don't get this and I've been more productive than ever. What, why do I have to suddenly commute back into, you know, that city or that town, wherever it was that they were working, you know, don't you trust me? And uh, they're not handling that. Well, many companies they're forced to do hybrid the ones that don't, they don't have a choice. They're going to be

Guest: Frank

<laugh> what do you mean? They don't have a choice they're going to be, I, I think this is kind of gonna lead into now. The employees have more say into their work flexibility.

Host: Jon

Well, you know, it's interesting. Uh, this is Irish philosopher talks about a lot about work. Name is Charles handy as a famous quote, you know, marks longed for the day when the workers would own the means of production. Now they finally do in the industrial era, it was capitalism. Large amounts of capital were required to set up factories, plants, and equipment to set up those huge assembly lines, whatever you were doing, a steel plant car plant that capital went into the plant and that capital had to get a return that was literally the equipment and the industrial era. The humans were incidental. They were interchangeable parts. I'm gonna move you from this part of the line. I'm gonna move you over there. I'm gonna replace you with a cheaper part. And I do believe that's where this whole notion of a human resource came because resources came into the factory and finished products came out and in the industrial era, you know, humans were a human resource. So personnel became human resources. At one time, it was called personnel back in the twenties, thirties, forties, they change it to human resources, how fitting cause that is the interchangeable part. And um, you know, the world has changed. That world just doesn't exist anymore.

Guest: Frank

I firmly believe I, I like remote, but I am a person of hybrid type. Now I don't have an office to go into, but I do frequently travel. That is my hybrid where I will meet and greet a lot of the people that I work. But there are occasional on-prem stuff that you might have to do and go in and interact. I actually missed those. I missed that interaction. I like the hybrid type model. Why my next question is, why does talent matter more now than ever?

Host: Jon

Because the workers own the means of production. You know, when you wanna go out and you wanna innovate and create something, it's a group of talent of people coming together. It's a digital era and there are a lot of physical things. But when you get to 3d manufacturing and somebody's gonna come up with a 3d CAD design, they're gonna put it into the machine. They're gonna print it. That value is getting created in that design, that creator it's the mind of the maker. And you know, in the pre-industrial era, when we had craft shops, you go back to colonial America. Um, you know, people got trained, uh, they became apprentices. Uh, then they became journeyman eventually, maybe a craftsman. And, uh, the people on the craft shops and trained the people, valued them highly. It was the industrial era that really destroyed that. They also had much more flexible work arrangements, the formal structure of accompanied income along to industrial era.

Host: Jon

When we came up with these management models. Now it really is the workers who understand exactly all the tools and things. They have the creativity, they come together, they create something. They are the equipment that is the factory. It's a factory of people and they own, they own the, uh, the means of production the end of the day. That's why the contract has changed. And I agree with you. The hybrid world of work is ideal because people need some social interaction. They need to meet people. You know, if you're a millennial sharing, an appoint with three people, getting stuck in that every day, all day, without really good work conditions, you know, good office and stuff. It's much harder on them. I mean, uh, work from home. Wasn't great for everybody. Believe me, but hybrid will be.

Guest: Frank

I agree with you now. What are some of the consequences for these companies who fail to get that human element, right?

Host: Jon

They're not going to be around. They're going to get outcompeted because if you don't have the expertise to really build an environment where people are both motivated and able to give their best, you could build this incredibly high performing culture. And unlike the industrial area where you can run the equipment and the plant at any speed you wanted, you've gotta motivate people, right? This is a factory of people you've gotta motivate and inspire them to give their best. And the companies that have expertise at doing that. And they have leaders who care about their people. Sincerely, they coach 'em. They grow 'em. Those are the great leaders of the future. The servant leaders. They're going to build environments where people wanna come, stay, put down roots. They're gonna be motivated. They're gonna collaborate well with people because the toxicity isn't there. And, uh, those are the companies that are gonna win.

Host: Jon

And if you are suboptimized and your people aren't giving their best, and you're not a real attractive employer because everybody's social brand is online. You're not gonna attract the best and you're not gonna keep who you get. And therefore all those relationships, they call it social capital. They're the means of production are gonna keep evaporating. The institutional knowledge that people acquire about what the company does and how, what it feels like to work there. What the products kind of feel like, how to create 'em they're gonna turn over. You gotta have that relearning all the time. And those companies will be stuck using people as parts. And they're gonna go outta business, cuz they're gonna get a quarter of the speed that the other companies are, where they actually understand how to create an environment where people are both ed and able to give their best. That's what it's all about. If you can't do that, you lose. It's just a matter of time.

Guest: Frank

What if I'm an employee O of a current company or I'm looking for another job? What are some of those key things that are, and you mentioned highly motivated that are motivating me for another role or another company. I could say probably a couple years ago. It might have been okay. Dollars were a big factor. Now there's a lot more the Intuit working remote hybrid, the work life harmony that's out there. I mean, are those key motivating factors before the actual salaries and now salaries have skyrocketed and almost it doubled and tripled in some instances for that top talent because they're offering other benefits.

Host: Jon

Yeah. The fact of the matter is people aren't leaving for money. Some people will, but for the most part, you find people leaving because they don't like the company's mission. They don't like the culture. Uh, they don't feel anybody listens to them. You know, I work with a company that trains a lot of sales people. Uh, somebody they had trained a company was the number one salesperson left. I know why they left. No one listens to me. I come up with ideas all the time. Nobody listens to me. That's that lack of influence meant that that person's achievement needs weren't be fully being met there. They wanted to contribute more. They don't wanna be just a salesperson. They wanna have an impact or an influence. They weren't allowed to have an influence. They left, you know, nine months after, uh, leaving, going to this other place.

Host: Jon

They're again, the number one salesperson with 16 million in production versus the number two person with 5 million in production. So here's a company. This is why they're gonna lose. They had an incredible guy. They couldn't hang out to their top talent, why they had no clue how to lead people, how to get environment where people gave their best, whoever the leaders were should have been listening is the number one guy influence, obviously smart guy, girl. I don't even know it was a man or a woman, but you know, whoever, it was really smart player and uh, very simple to keep them actually, it doesn't cost anything to keep that person. It takes your attention. That's all

Guest: Frank

Attention. But are there other key factors that go into keeping and retaining that talent? And when I say talent, it's not just like an it talent, it's an employee talent, the knowledge that's internal, the talent, not the human talent aspect of it. What are some of those key things that are need to be in that company in order to retain that talent?

Host: Jon

Well, you know, it really goes up Maslow's hierarchy. First of all, the environment has to be safe, psychological safety, some jobs there's physical safety, right? So that means you're gonna want openness and transparency. Uh, you're going to eliminate toxic behaviors, you know, bullying, putting people down, talking behind other people's back. You wanna get out of that Meer up into this third level, which is really kind of Maslow called it love and belonging, but it's powerful relationships in a workplace and people need to belong. They wanna be part of something that's bigger than them. You want those relationships there because that's how work gets done. Those friendships at format O's relationships are part of the glue that holds that person. So when leaders care about people and bring 'em together to create relationships and they model the behaviors that really powerfully get people to collaborate and work together, those, those behaviors they model get embraced work is much more fulfilling, much more gets done. People feel accepted. They're included, you know, then their achievement needs start getting met because they start accomplishing a lot more. Now there's celebration. There's achievement. Now they're part of something big. They contributed to it. All of those human elements go into this. They all Frank,

Guest: Frank

Frank, you were definitely mentioning echoing some of the things I did with Lindsay Dow. In fact, folks take a look up here for a recording. I did with Lindsay Dow, chief heartbeat officer on heartbeats instead of headcount. And that's really one of the reasons you and I were talking today is because it echoed the same thing. And I felt the same passion from you. Let's talk about your company, Frank people productive. What is it? What does it do? And how can you help?

Host: Jon

Well, we'll help. Uh, companies create cultures where people put down roots and stay. We'll help them create an environment where people give their best. We'll make sure the leaders understand all the human factors that go into creating a great environment and then help them practice them. Like they're on a golf course. You know, you've gotta swing the club. People can tell you anything you want. You don't get on the course. You don't swing the club. You don't improve your score. So they've gotta employ this. We give 'em the tools, the technology, the methodology. We have a complete methodology for building a high performance culture. We have the tools, you know, in the cloud mobile apps, um, we're able to tell them where they are so we can assess and we can help them continuously manage and monitor their performance as they improve. And most importantly, we help them link what they're doing to results, cuz it's about business results. And if there aren't any business results, you know, a bunch of happy campers, but you're not getting anywhere. That's not a great company to work for. It's not about just having happy campers. It's about having a filling job, great relationships and being part of something successful. And ultimately our vision is that we're gonna help create a world where companies and the people thrive together. Cause if the people in the company aren't thriving together, everybody doesn't win. And that's certainly the problem we've had in the world.

Guest: Frank

Frank, how do I know I need you or I need your company? Is it too late?

Host: Jon

Well, it's never too late. You know, the funny thing is companies have used engagement solutions probably for the last 20 something years and they never did a thing. They provided some insights. They're not a methodology for building a high performance culture organization. They don't like the returns they've run it for years. They never did anything with the data. And here we go, the great resignation, what a waste of money in time, they gotta do something that works. They gotta take it seriously. It's not an annual survey where you look at the numbers and go, oh, we didn't move that much. No, it's an entire, you know, they've gotta run it like a big project or program and doesn't have to be big in terms of, you know, size, but it's gotta be important in terms of people's time, you gotta make it an important thing. And that's, that's what it takes. So they would bring us in companies who, you know, feel they're not moving as fast as they'd like, they can't innovate. You know, they're losing people. Those are the companies that hire us.

Guest: Frank

Frank, is there a certain type of company that pulls you in because you said, you know, leaders will F kind of figure out that they're not moving as fast, but what about startups? Enterprises company has been around forever. I mean, I don't really know if startups fit that, but I imagine that it's a leader that identifies certain needs or aspects that they'll kind of give you a call and say, you know what, Frank, we need your help.

Host: Jon

Yeah. I mean, you know, we've, we've worked with startups with, you know, 50 people and they've grown much, much bigger, you know, hiring, um, really small startups. I think it's too soon to bring us in. Quite honestly, you know, hopefully as a leader, you are starting the company and you care about people and you can do it once you get to the point where you have 50 or 60 people, we can give you a pulse of what's happening in your organization. We show you where you are. We can help you continue from that point on to improve your culture. So as you grow, it gets better and better, but it has to be a priority cuz startups are running around, they go through that storming, forming norming, performing phase, right. And they're in the storming phase for quite a while. And it's hard for them to pay attention to their culture. Cause I've done it with small companies and they get, uh, very distracted very quickly, right? They're all focused on the things that have been committed to the VCs or the board and culture. Culture is a priority, but they really, they just tend to focus on these few things. They gotta get done till they start losing people. And now they're really concerned, right? That's what happens,

Guest: Frank

Frank, can you walk me through what the program looks like? Is it, you know, a time based program? Is it however you'd really like, how do we measure some of this? I wanna kind of know how I implement this into my company.

Host: Jon

Sure. Um, essentially is a three step process. The first one is to go in and do diagnostic benchmark where you are, then our solution puts out roadmaps and we work with you to do basically a plan, join action planning, to identify exactly what has to happen, how, and when what's the best order to do it in cuz what is gonna give you the highest returns on talent as you start improving and moving up Maslow's hierarchy, cuz you really wanna get into that fourth level of Maslow Maslow, which is a steam people. Having a lot of fun, they're innovating, they're creating. Um, and if you can get to the top, you know, you're truly a peak performing company. So we have roadmaps and then we work with you month by month or maybe every other week. It depends on the cadence of your firm. Where does this fit in best?

Host: Jon

We like to fit into the rhythm of that company. Let's say they have a manager meeting every two weeks and they wanna work on it. Then Hey, we'll fit into that rhythm, whatever it is, we don't recommend starting a whole bunch of new meetings. People are far too busy. So we wanna work with you in a way that suits who you are and how you're operating. And so we fit into the rhythm and that company, we create, our system creates a roadmap. We do the joint action planning. We agree on what really makes sense, given all the things going on in the company. And then we work with them to implement new norms and ways of working better together. We also look deeply at enablement, which is what's in the way of people performing could be broken. Processes might be they're interrupted all day might be that meetings are really ineffective and are sucking people's time in a very inefficient way. All those enabling factors, you know, like my individual accountability, the people know the strategy, you know, whatever it is, that's its own set of activities that has to be, you know, improved. And then there's the human experience, which is how we work together basically. And we work with 'em on both pieces and ultimately as we get further along, we'll link it to actual business results and show them how culture is helping improve the way the company's operated.

Guest: Frank

Frank, is this a continuous thing? I, I go through this and I see my improvement, right? And my numbers have definitely improved. Thanks to you. And your company's help. Is this something that I, uh, six months a year I've improved really good. Do I do like a, you know, a quarterly checkup with you as a continuous engagement if I want, I mean really I'd like to kind of plan this out that I am at a certain place where my employees are happy and they have that nice harmony happening and I have a great culture within the environment.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Uh, very good question. The, the answer is we want you to be in the driver's seat and give you the keys. We want you to use the solution to continuously assess where you are and always be improving your culture. Cause you can always improve. You know, you can get up to be a company in the middle of that fourth level. Maybe you wanna move up a little bit further. Things happen. They cause steps back there's problems in companies. They hire people. Maybe they're not a good fit. So you wanna have a finger on the pulse of the company, the bigger you get, you could still have pockets that are underperforming of toxicity and things. So you wanna run it. It's a human infrastructure. You wanna know how the human infrastructure's working all the time, no differently there for your network, your technology infrastructure that it's up and it's performing in a peak way and you should always be performance tuning, how effectively and efficiently people are working together. It's a key piece of the business. And if you don't do that, you're going to eventually turn around one day and you made 10 steps forward. You took three back and you, oh, what happened?

Guest: Frank

Franker. There any companies that you can share that have used your product in how they're doing or how well they're doing

Host: Jon

Well, we have case studies up on the site. You know, anybody can go there and look at it. We have testimonials. Yes, we've done really good work with a bunch of different companies. And those testimonials are there, go to people, productive.com. You can see 'em, you know, one, uh, one manufacturer we doubled through, put for them in certain areas, you know, actual measurable number of things getting done before and after. And that's what happens cuz you know, I did turn around transformations for a living and I knew that in those turnarounds I was always fixing the talent side. And as I fixed it, the amount of work we got done kept doubling or tripling along the way. And that's what happens in companies that work with us.

Guest: Frank

Frank, my last question for you and something I didn't ask in the beginning because I wanted people to understand your passion and the company that you created. Why did you create it? What inspired you to create it?

Host: Jon

Well, you know, I, uh, I stumbled into it outta college as a bio major. And I got to, um, I was working at Merrill Lynch, eventually left, went to Prudential and at Merrill I had been doing a number of turnarounds, fixing things, going into areas, making improvements. And when I got to pro I noticed some patterns, I was brought to do a turnaround in one area and fixed some stuff that was really broken. And I said, wow, the human side's broken here too. In these areas, you know, a lot of companies have great areas. Some of them have areas that don't work. And that was the pattern. I realized that the root cause of failure of these big projects and programs was human. It had nothing to do with technology and having been a bio major, I dug into it and after you know, many, many years went by, I had figured enough of it out. Cause I wanted to really master this to do my job. I figured it out to the degree. I said, wow, anybody could do this. If all they do is care about people and learn and understand what it takes to do this. There's no magic. You know, it's just caring about people, understanding what needs they have, helping, you know, helping them get their needs met emotionally, you know, in terms of their own achievement and growth and things in the office

Guest: Frank

Care about care about people. I think that is key to any leader or anyone that wa like to be a leader. You don't have to have the meetings and discuss every single item, but to understand the person you're talking to in front of you, the things you're going through, everyone is unique. Everyone has that unique story. Lindsay talked about one and I actually was really inspired by how a, a manager that she worked with. One meeting would be talking about work and all the actions, the other one would be talking about her what's going on in life. How are things are going in just a casual conversation. And I think that made them a better team, a leader, and her feeling the culture,

Host: Jon

Get to know your people. You know, you could start with that famous three questions. Tell me three things that happened in your life that made you who you are today. And you'd be amazed. What people tell you, you know, cuz they all have a story and there's these major things that happen. Most people can identify 'em and it starts unlock who they are. And then, you know, always talking about what's going on in their life. You know, I would do it every meeting, how are things going? What's happening? Any, any trouble things you need help with, you gotta know. And that's what makes them comfortable coming to you when something is going on that they're willing to share it with you cuz they know you care and you're gonna be there for 'em. You have their back

Guest: Frank

And it must be a meaningful question. Not the, you started being, Hey, how's it going? How was your weekend? You know the usual like that's right. I, I won't even remember this ever. No, you actually have to be engaged and dig into it. Not the usual.

Host: Jon

You gotta listen. Yep. You empathy is listening, really listening and understanding and you gotta be in the moment. You know, people are so busy, they have these packed questions they throw, Hey, how things going? And they're ready thinking about the next thing they're gonna talk about. They're not even listening.

Guest: Frank

Yep, exactly. Uh, I get the, I get the listen every day and it's definitely something that you have to keep working at. It doesn't always come to you. I know you get really excited. Oh my next question.

Host: Jon

Yeah.

Guest: Frank

So what do I do is

Host: Jon

Listener? I was not a good listener for, for years. It took me a while to really grow into being a good listener. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and actually getting feedback about interrupting people cuz I was always, you know, a lot of energy and blah, blah, blah. So that really is something you learn and grow into over time and anybody can be a better listener. They just gotta be in the moment they gotta focus and say, Hey, gonna listen, catch themselves, drifting away, come back and grow that skill cuz it really matters.

Guest: Frank

Yep. I, I tend to write things down. I have a notepad right next to me and I just write some quick notes so I can pay attention. I'll write with my hand. And then as we're talking, I'll come back to something that kind of triggered one of my questions, but those key things you talk about, cuz I wanna stay in the moment. Frank, anything you wanna leave with the crowd really to talk about people productive or what's next or how you can help or even just something inspiring.

Host: Jon

You know, I think that we're in this age of disruption, honestly, everything is changing. You know, the world is changing in just so many different ways. It's not just the world of work. I think, you know, I'm incredibly optimistic that whenever this age of disruption ends in a new way of working and living together settles in, I think we're gonna have a much better world. I do. All the changes you see happening are great. Humans were never meant to be treated as parts in factories ever. And you know, humans actually becoming, you know, the means of production is who they are. You know, they're creative, they're inventive, you know, companies talk about agility and all this it's human agility, right? Innovation is human. We're in an era where it's the age of the creator and things are gonna get created. You know, new things are gonna happen. Uh, there'll be a lot of breakthroughs in different areas. So I see a golden age coming down the road, but we'll have to get through this transition zone that we're in and that's the way it works through history. You know, these changes from one thing to another don't come without disruption.

Guest: Frank

Nice. I agree with you. All right. Everybody. Frank wander CEO of people productive. Frank, thank you so much for joining me.

Host: Jon

Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure.

Guest: Frank

Yes, everybody. My name's John Meer. I've been your host. Don't forget to hit that. Like subscribe and notify because guess what? We're outta here.

 

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