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#008 – Leadership and Wellness for Optimal Business Performance (with Special Guest Christine Dagenais)


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Podcast Transcript


Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.


Christine Dagenais is a sought after leadership development expert author corporate speaker, and was recently recognized as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women.

She has coached hundreds of high profile and top performing leaders and has spoken at multiple leadership and executive development forums, delivering keynotes, including endurance leadership for the intervening phase of COVID-19.

Welcome to the Working Well Podcast, Christine. Great to have you on the show.

I’m excited. Yay. Thanks for having me here today. I’m excited to be here as well, Tim.

Yeah. So tell me a little bit about, like, this has been a crazy year, lots going on. I know some businesses I’ve talked to are thriving are the ones that have been hit really hard. What, what does the last year look like for you?

Well, Tim, what I want to start by saying is there’s nothing like a global pandemic. To shine, a light on the importance of leadership. And have we ever seen that in spades over the past, you know, year, year and a half, almost now in many positive ways and then ultimately ways to learn from. And so for us personally, with bright wire, we have had a tremendous year because we’ve done a lot of great work in helping individuals, teams, and organizations develop the leadership capability that they need for the future.

And when you don’t know what the future holds and there’s so much uncertainty, what you do know is that you need leaders to have the skills required to navigate that uncertainty. So it’s just been a tremendous year and look forward to sharing a lot about that with you today, relative to the topic at hand.

Absolutely. And you hit it on the head when you said there are lots of examples around us of great leadership and not so great leadership. And. Yeah, we, we see that in the news every day with national and global leaders, as well as just local leaders in businesses, things that people are saying, things that people are doing, how people are stepping up to the plate, it leadership.

A lot of times people think of is just something that, you know, people at the top of organizations or countries or provinces. Have to deal with, but tell me a bit more about your thoughts on leadership. What does it, what does leadership mean to you?

Oh, I just love that question. So leadership, for me, it means many things, but it mostly means being intentional with how you show up and realizing the possibility of the results of your actions.

And a true leader is able to navigate, you know, the distinction between reacting and responding. Between, you know, being transactional in how they engage with people to being transformative and none of those attributes of a leader go without intentionality. No leadership is the foundation for everything, for everything I believe, particularly in business, but everything in general, all organizations that have, you know, successful results and are able to talk about the productivity and the performance that they’ve had can absolutely reduce that to the impact of the performance of their leaders. Now we work with many organizations to build their leadership capability and are really proud when our CEO is stand in front of the market and say, we can attribute our record performance to the leadership that we have across the business.

And not only is it because of the leadership spraying now and today, but it’s about building that capability. So we have the right people to run the company for the future. So leadership is truly the foundation, particularly of businesses and businesses who are driving performance and achieving great things.

And leadership is also not separate from culture. It’s actually just a different word for culture. And a lot of you know, we have a lot of conversations about this with many senior leaders on a regular basis around, you know, do we evolve the culture or do we evolve the leadership behaviors? And from our experience and perspective, if you focus on equipping leaders with the leadership behaviors required to be successful for that company. You will inevitably evolve the culture in parallel. And so we, we actually view that leadership and culture are not two separate things and that you know, one is, you know, really steeped in the premise of the other. That’s kind of a great question. And Tim, I could talk about that one for a long time.

Well, you make a great point. Cause there we hear we’re trying to build a culture in our company right now. And a lot of people think it comes from various policies and procedures they put in place, or whether they have a foosball table or a you know chef cooking lunch or something like that. But yeah, I love the fact that you’re tying it directly to leadership because leadership does set the tone for the company and whatever culture leadership has trickles down. And that becomes pervasive throughout the organization. Yeah, absolutely.

And so go ahead. Yeah. And I was just going to say, you know, to your point leadership, you know, sets the tone. And as an organization, you can have things in play like foosball tables and a chef to make meals. But if the leader is not a leading by example or be more importantly creating space, For the employees to actually participate in the culture related activities, none of it works anyway. So people do look upwards as much as they look across. And you know, that’s where I think a lot of companies go wrong is they have these, you know, culture related, fun things, but the leaders aren’t actually enabling them or supporting them as part of the corporate culture. So therefore they’re not sticky and they don’t work.

That’s a fantastic segue to the next question, in terms of the correlation between wellness and leadership. Because we see so often in companies, at least I do in my business, the companies that have wellness resources available, but employees don’t feel they can use them because it’s not supported by their direct leader or leadership in general.

So how, how would you, what do you, what would you say is the correlation between wellness and leadership? Yeah. Thanks Tim. I’m, you know, I’m interested in, in defining a bit too first almost about what are we, what are we talking about when it comes to wellness and what are we not talking about? Because I think you, and I know that we’re not talking about, you know, the gym, the foosball tables are the donuts or pizza Fridays anymore.

So those seem to be like things of the past. Would you say. Absolutely. Yes. I’ve I’ve asked question to all guests. What does wellness mean to you? I love it. Yeah. So to me, so I’m gonna look through the lens of leadership and I’m absolutely happy to share personally what wellness means to me, as well as a business owner, as a founder and CEO, you know, as a mother of two young children, you know, I have a definitely a personal perspective and I see a lot of what wellness looks like in the corporate world with my team and the clients that we support every day to me, wellness is about having a sense of meaning mastery and mattering to others. To me, wellness is more than physical. It’s also emotional and it’s also mental. And the combination of those things when you have them, you’re able to get performance and results, be that for yourself financially, or with your family life or with how you educate yourself, be that for the businesses and the teams that you lead.

So I really view wellness as a holistic view of an individual and not one segmented piece and that a leader in order to be successful in taking care of others and leading strong needs to be focused on how they take care of themselves first.

So that’s one of the words that I would put to help frame wellness, at least from the professional perspective that we look at it at bright wire. I love it. And you had said, you know, as, as a CEO and founder of your company, but then also as a, as a mother of two young kids, that that is, are you able to separate that because, or even should not, not, are you, should it be separated?

Yeah, I mean, defined separation. And I think to each pretended it would be unique. I mean, for me, I definitely have to separate the moments I’m working out from when my children are around me or otherwise I won’t be working out, but as a, as a whole person and how I assess the quality of my life, I do not believe that there are two separate things.

It’s not, you know, we do a lot of work in the space of work-life integration. And recently I spoke to, you know, upwards of 50 pediatricians around Alberta, around how they’re supporting integration of wellness practices for themselves as they’re so busy taking care of others. And the concept that we’re really playing with Tim is moving away from perceiving value and quality or satisfaction based on balance.

And moving into a space of appreciating, how can I integrate all the things that are important for me to be my best self? So to kind of give a bit more specific on that, you know, historically we were always trained that, you know, if I spent eight hours of work, I should have eight hours with my family.

If I work out for two hours, I should be with my kids for two hours to make it equal. And what we’ve learned is that when we stop seeking balance, we find greater satisfaction. And that’s, what’s a fascinating concept. If you can really lock it in and start to practice it, because it allows you to reassess how you perceive satisfaction and make decisions again, back to that word intentionality around your time that have you be more satisfied with how you’re showing up in general.

So if I want to be working out and let’s say my objective is to workout an hour a day for the five businesses the week, but I know I’m going into really busy tax season. I’m a, I’m a major, I run an accounting firm. It’s going to be really busy. I’m going to make some decisions around saying instead of an hour, a day, I’m going to actually work out half an hour because I need to get a little bit of a workout in, but I know I don’t have a full hour because we’re in our busiest season.

And the decision to do that removes any, any negative sort of feeling around the fact that they didn’t work out for an hour because they actually are okay with that. So that’s stopping, seeking balance and equal time or equal commitments and just make integrates that you can find greater satisfaction.

So I would roll that into wellness. If you’re able to adopt a holistic view of your life as a leader in business today, you will more readily show up for the people that you’re responsible for developing and for the businesses that you’re responsible for leading. So it’s it’s a fascinating mindset shift that’s required and you know, it goes against what we’ve, might’ve been taught historically in many of our upbringings.

You know, you, you think about, you’ve heard a the, the concept of a scale and a balancing game, right by nature of this balancing beam. This is always in competition with this and how you have them equal. And we’re actually proposing that equality is not what is going to have greater wellbeing and wellness, but it’s actually being okay with how you integrate all of the things that are important to you.

Yeah, one of the things, this is a great point. That whole argument of balance after actually causes a lot more stress and imbalance than that, then it needs to, if people look at it from an, from a holistic standpoint and say, I always say balance is subjective and it also changes, ebbs and flows based on what you’re going on.

What’s going on. You use the tax season example, right? Totally valid. All kinds of things happen in life. And when we look at wellness, as more than working out. Wellness is a multifaceted approach to living our life in congruence with our values and long-term health. There are lots of ways to be well that don’t involve working out.

Cause I see a lot of people like, Oh, I can’t stand going to the gym. And I get that all the time. It’s like, well, Like I own several gyms and I’d rather not spend time in the gym. I’m like the gym is a tool to help you do certain things. But my, I use that tool to allow me to do things outside of the gym.

Right. Nice. For, for me. And that’s just one aspect of wellness. That’s the physical wellness. Nevermind. The, the mental, the social, the. All like the financial, all these different aspects that come into the wellness equation. People, most people aren’t looking at that they’re like, I didn’t get to the gym today, so I need to balance it out.

I’m stressed out from work cause it’s busy. So I can’t exercise and well, exercise is a big part that con I’ve liked the fact that you’re having that conversation because it is much more about the performance of people. Yes. Establishing what’s going on at that time. But even, and this is particularly true for leaders to be able to set that expectation and the permission.

That employees have to help their own wellness and for leaders to assist in that process. Yeah. I think that’s a brilliant point, Tim. And, you know, we’ve been really referring to that as creating space as a responsibility of leaders, you know, and again, back to our earlier point in the conversation around leaders, they need to role model this.

I mean, that, that sounds obvious, but boy, is that difficult to do? And when you, when you sh you know, add in the next economic recession, a global pandemic organizations already going through downturns, just as the way to streamline and find more efficiencies, what you end up having is all of these high-performing leaders.

And, and individuals and top talent that are still gainfully employed. Now they are so fortunate to have two or three jobs instead of one. And because they’re the top performers that are generally capable of that, but they are overworked and they’re burning out. And so what leaders need to be doing is realizing that and creating space for these individuals.

To have some capacity to take care of what they need to, to have a, a greater approach to their wellness and how they show up in the workplace. And that’s how you’re going to get discretionary effort from your people. You know, I’ll say this and it’ll sound really simple in order to give, to get discretionary effort from your people.

You need to give them space to use their discretion. And a lot of individuals get that wrong. You know, we talk a lot about delegation and leveraging others. And there’s a time and a place. And there’s also as a leader, having a radar and an ability to understand what is the workload like across your organization and where do you need to release the pressure valve a bit in order to help your people create space because without space and just constant pressure, that’s where we see wellness not being done well.

And a lot of people are failing significantly because of it. Absolutely. And would you say, especially at the executive and leadership level, a lot of the people that are there are high performers they’re driven. I do. Would you see there’s a mindset around, it’s just work hard, work hard and then I’ll be, well at some point in the future when once I accomplish this or once I accomplish that, Yeah.

I mean, there’s a, there’s definitely a certain driver of that. Many of our clients have in common and we can put a whole bunch of labels about what that sounds like, you know, is it type A’s? Is that the top performers top potential, you know, the, the premise of always yearning for more and having a high degree of resilience and grit.

And tenacity is absolutely there. And what we’re finding, particularly because leaders have had to show up in ways that they’ve never been required to do before, as a result of the pandemic specifically, that the resilience reserves that these individuals, these top performers might already have naturally as individuals they’re waning.

And so leaders are having to look at really creative ways on how to rebuild their resilience capacity so that they can continue to drive performance over the longer term. You know, we talked a lot about bright. Why are we talking a lot about endurance leadership? And at the beginning of this pandemic, Kim, I remember it was a, I’m going to get the date wrong, but we’ll say March 12th, March 13th.

And it was you know, the day that we in Alberta, where we all learned that our children would be, you know, going to school from home and that basically the world was closing down around it. Do you remember that day? I remember that day. Well, right. That moment, right? And so that night, our team got together on the phone and we said like, team, how are we going to help our leaders and our clients right now?

Because this is going to be a tumultuous time. It’s so uncertain. We don’t even know what we’re doing here. But what we know is we have the capabilities to rally around the leadership skills that are going to help our clients get through this. And so what we did was we started to talk about endurance leadership.

And the resilience that’s required to navigate a pandemic with no end insights. And what we did was we said there was a crisis moment. So we talked a lot about reacting versus responding and those initial phases and be really intentional and strategic. To the best that you can. And then we talked about this intervening period, and I would propose that we’re actually in the intervening period today and the intervening period.

If you look up the word intervening, it literally means a point in time between two other points in time. And it’s almost a period where there is no end. And so we’re getting closer to seeing an end now, but this has been a really long intervening period. And what’s happening is many of our leaders that we support, they have already been running.

You know, we’re always reminding them, you guys endurance leadership, slow it down. This is a marathon. This isn’t a sprint. But many of them have been running the marathon at the pace of a sprint. And that is the nature of leadership and particularly pendant, depending on the industry that you’re working in.

We work with a lot of essential services companies as well. So we’ve seen them out there grinding harder than ever before during this time. And so we’ve been working to say, okay, let’s talk about your wellness here. Because if you’re not taking care of yourself, who can you be taking care of and for how long are these beautiful results actually going to be sustained?

And so the challenge we’ve given to our leaders is to say, okay, I get it. You know what? You want to run your marathons at the pace of a sprint. We know that’s in you. We know that’s your drive. How do you ensure that there’s water stations along the way so that you can replenish. And that’s been just a fascinating conversation that has resulted in many liters, doing things with greater intention and, and quite differently and getting really exceptional results.

So yeah, I really liked that and running the marathon at the pace of a sprint. Okay. But what are you doing to ensure that there’s water stations along the way so that you can replenish. That’s excellent. I love it. And you talked about the healthcare side of it as well with the nurses and doctors. It’s, they’re burnt out.

Like we hear that burnout word all the time right now and yeah, if there’s no pressure release valve at various points along the way, it’s, it’s natural that people are going to burn out. Yeah. And as leaders, what, what do you see as some of the top things that leaders are doing to help their teams with that pressure release valve?

So there’s, there’s a lot of actually really great things going on out there. And one that I would be remiss not to talk about is building coaching capabilities. So, if you think about all of the leadership skills that are available, you know, and, and we could all just Google search competency framework so we could find all the names for things, but the number one skill that has been arguably forever, but more important than ever to today than ever before, is coaching capability.

So here’s how coaching skills can help if I’m a leader and I’m under pressure and stress. I have the tendency to hunger in, in the psychology world. We call it being in the grip. So I’m in the grip of my environment and it’s easier. It seems easier and simpler for me to just take on all the tasks, take on all the responsibilities and bear the heavy burden or the majority of the load and just do everything myself.

And if you could see the pattern almost occurring. Well, if I actually had to pick up the phone and have to help Sally figure out how to do it, then that’s going to take me 12 minutes, but I could actually do it myself in seven. But what happens is you’re doing it yourself every time, seven minutes, seven minutes going forward indefinitely.

So you actually have to just invest that 12 minutes upfront to develop your team so that they can own that task going forward. And so that essentially leaders and their teams can all be working at the level that they’re paid to deliver at. And so during pressure and stress, especially let alone regular good leadership behaviors, coaching skills are imperative.

So we see a lot of companies building coaching capability. Taking their, their leadership team and saying, okay, we realize that you can’t do this all on your own. We realized that you have great talented teams. And we also realize that often you’re really technically savvy, but you need to build leadership skills so that you can help others lead effectively in their roles as well.

So let’s equip you with some strong coaching capability skills, and it’s been remarkable. There was A classic HBR article that many years ago, perhaps you’ve heard of it. And it’s called, who has the monkey and the monkey is talked about in concept of the task or the responsibility, you know? So it’s really a famous leadership moment or a common one when you’re in a meeting with your team.

And then at the end, the leader goes, okay, so here’s all the takeaway items. And did anyone else have anything? And then they leave the meeting and all of a sudden the leader has all the tasks. And so when you’re coaching people effectively, you’re able to really ensure that the accountability lands, where it should and that your team members are empowered and excited about taking on the task and that they’re able to really shine in their jobs.

And so that’s one skill. It’s a really distinct skill that we can pinpoint. That’s helping leaders create more space. So that they can focus on developing themselves so they can better develop their people. And so that their people can often develop their teams and also just do their jobs better than ever before.

So coaching capability is one way. We see companies investing in their people to help them through these times and help them get results that are sustainable. Absolutely. Yeah. And I guess that goes back to the hallmark of an exceptional leader is that they build other leaders. Yes. Same, same concept.

Right. That’s great. Yeah. And leadership doesn’t mean, you know, you asked me earlier about what does leadership mean? And I kind of said, I could talk about that forever. You know, as much as. There are leaders who have responsibility for others in the form of direct reports by no means. Do you need to have people reporting to you to demonstrate shop’s strong leadership capabilities and leadership of self.

Is arguably the most important thing, because again, when we’re talking today about wellness and integration of wellness into leadership, if I’m not taking care of myself as a founder and a CEO as a mother, as a certified executive coach, as a speaker, as an author of all the things that I do, then I’m not able to show up and be my best for everybody else.

And so they, they are, you know, they’re not separate, it’s not church and state. That is a combined holistic view on general satisfaction in life. Yeah. That’s I agree with that wholeheartedly. And that’s the conversation we have a lot with our clients is we see high-performing leaders come in and they might run billion dollar organizations, multinational organizations have huge teams of people yet they’re failing personally to manage their own energy, their health, their, their stress levels. They’re, they’re getting it done professionally, but dropping the ball personally. And you just see this trend play out time and time again, and it’s not until they learn that personal leadership to call it balance too create a bit of a connection with their values and say, Hey, if I want to continue performing at this level over the long-term, what do I need to do personally? Yes, because I can have the most profitable company. And if I burn out and have a heart attack at 50 how’s that how’s that help. That’s right.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and as the mother of two kids, you can. I understand that as a CEO and business owner and trying to manage all those priorities, you have firsthand experience of it. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And it’s you know, as, as we would all say leadership, isn’t easy and making these decisions for ourselves are very hard and you know, many of us have been brought up in families and organizations where it truly is, you know, take care of everybody else first, not yourself. So this is a significant share. And, you know, has it been brought on more recently through the pandemic and through this sort of exacerbated amounts of stress and pressure? Sure. How’s it been growing prior to that?

Absolutely. Yes. And yeah, when it comes to myself, I mean, I do a lot to take care of myself in order to be the best for my family. And well, my team, and I’m very intentional about where I spend that time. One of the things that I’m super passionate about is doing more Thai boxing and working out. So I’m, I’m, you know, many people think like you’re the crazy one, Christine, you’re up three, four times a week at five 30 in the morning.

And I’ve been doing virtual training with my personal trainer through this whole pandemic. And many people say, well, you know what, that’s fitness. That’s not necessarily whole wellness, but for me, what that does. Is it’s, it’s just the effort of getting up to dedicate time to myself. I almost don’t even have to work out even that is an added advantage because it shows that I’m prioritizing me amongst everything else that I’m working on.

And then I actually get a workout in. So my heart rate is up. I’m sweaty, I’m feeling great for the day. And then I bring that energy in that game to every interaction that allows me to be focused, crystal clear, sharp, and able to engage. And then by the end of the day, I’m able to really get a good sleep because I’ve had such a full day and it’s been, you know, exhausting in all the right ways and therefore I’m sleeping well and I’m able to do it all over again.

And so there’s like that integrated approach that for me, does stem from one aspect of how I create wellness. And that is my fitness routine. But there are many other ways that we do that. And when I say we, we as a family, so it could be getting outdoors, it could be spending weekends in the mountains. It could be making sure that we have dinner together every night and in the circumstances where it’s not possible, I make decisions around that. So I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t feel guilty. And that when I do go back out to the family dinner, or, you know, whether it’s, you know, three nights a week, cause it’s a busy week versus hot am as present as I can be.

And I get to learn all about unicorn princesses. I’m like a unicorn princess expert because I’m not thinking about work because I made the choice to go and have dinner. So again, it is about choice and how you show up. And there’s many ways that I practice that in my day to day.

When and you bring up a great point the, and something that we’ve seen quite dramatically in, in the services that we provide to companies is the, a lot of people think there’s work and then there’s home life. And that this what you learn at work, whether it’s corporate learning programs, corporate development leadership development programs are all about the technical skills of work.

Right. And what we have been able to demonstrate is that, that personal the skills around the personal performance, scheduling PR setting priorities understanding your values, what your purpose is, how that plays out on a day-to-day basis. Having a morning routine, having an evening routine setting boundaries for your day.

These are. Well, some things at hyper, a lot of high performers take for granted, but they’re not taught as part of employee development programs. Yeah. And that also brings up the point of, you know, executives, should leaders be responsible for promoting, encouraging, supporting wellness in their teams? You know, where does, where’s the line between employer and employee and how does that play out in, in what you’ve seen on leadership teams?

Yeah, well, I mean, there’s always the, the typical HR function that has the responsibility for, you know, keeping an eye on the culture and the engagement of the organization. And, you know, is that a responsibility? I mean, I do believe you have to have somebody thinking about that strategically and leaders within their organizations have the responsibility to create space for people to develop for people to take care of themselves and for culture to ochre.

You know, again, if we go back to the concept that leadership is culture and culture is leadership. I mean, one really does fuel the other and you know, leaders who realize that run their teams differently. And it’s easy again, for me to say, we have all these great wellness things and roll them out on this fancy PowerPoint deck that says you’re going to get a pulse survey in two months to ask about your uptake and then you leave the meeting and everyone clicks off of zoom and calls each other, or, you know, back in the previous days walks out of the meeting room and then the real meeting happens in the hallway where people are like, yeah, that’s great. But yeah, no time for that. Definitely not gonna do that yoga class at lunch. So the concept is you can do all these fun, great things that build culture and the sense of pride and the sense of alignment and values. And if you’re not savvy enough as a leadership team to create space for your employees to enjoy those, the benefits are going to be minimal if any, at all.

And so I’m, I’m I see that made as a mistake. There’s a lot of good effort. There’s a lot of good intention. But there’s not a lot of space created. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that some of that goes back to the, again, the, the, the leadership and culture within the organization is like, it’s not, there’s the unwritten rules and the written rules, as you said.

Yeah. Like similar to the meeting after the meeting. But it’s like, yeah, this looks great on paper. Mm. Not going to happen. Unfortunately, millions of dollars go into those really nice PowerPoint deck, millions of dollars go into those wellness programs that, you know, where are your Fitbit? And let’s see how many steps you can get.

Well, guess what? I’m actually tied to my desk all day. So because I’m on back-to-back meetings. And the last time I walked around during a meeting, somebody told me it was distracting. So I’m not sure why I’m even in this corporate context. Right. So it’s like the reality of the clickability of the wellness strategy.

I don’t know how well thought out those always are. And I, you know, I know that there’s very smart teams of people behind these with great intentions, but from a behavior change perspective, how is consideration given to creating sort of the, the, in the behavior change world? We would say the antecedents that will foster the behavior and then the consequences that reinforce it.

So if you need to develop wellness practices, again, it comes down to leadership. How can you build the triggers or the systems and the infrastructure of the culture that promote employees to engage? How, when the employees engage, are they getting sort of a really nice remedial impact, a positive effect?

And then what’s the consequences. Are they being reinforced? Are they being celebrated as it being recognized and reported on and measured? And how has that being fed back into the system? So there’s a lot of great effort here. And I think that the world of wellness is also changing. Obviously the world of work and the future of work is changing significantly, not changing.

Right. So it’ll be interesting to see how these continued approaches to organizational wellness and culture evolve in parallel with everything that seems when, and you said it earlier to that. Certain leaders provide that space. And that’s why we see high-performing teams and departments within a company because that leader allows their team to create the space needed to be performing at their best, whether it’s the physical, mental, emotional, social they’re providing that.

And I think some of it is being able to. Have that filter throughout other parts of the organization. Yes. And yes, I find that it, at least from our perspective, there’s not a lot of communication around those types of best practices or even, even there’s recognition of teams performing well, but not necessarily from a, a wellness or culture standpoint as much.

Yeah, you might get the, what have they done well, but you’re not often learning about how did they do it. Well, what enabled their success? And that often you can attribute that to practices and, and intentionality around the whole person, the whole team or our wellness. You know, when we think about one-on-one executive coaching work, we have a a leadership daily log that we use with our clients.

And it has things like, have I delegated and leverage my team today? Did I influence and persuade? Did I actively build relationships? How was my communication capability today? Did I eat well today? Did I have family time today? Did I make movement and fitness a priority? And how was my sleep last night?

And so it was actually a, a indicator system that allows a leader to take a glance at their day and look at themselves from a whole person perspective to understand. No, they are equate building the success that they achieve. You know, we’re really good in business and just grinding for results, getting results, driving forward, especially the top performers and Tim, it’s fascinating in our line of work.

And we can say, okay, you know, Mr or Mrs. Client, can you help me understand what is attributed to your success that you’ve achieved to date? Many of them will say, well, you know what, I’m just really good at what I do, you know, or I just kind of landed here or, you know, I can roll with the punches is kind of a classic one and there’s nothing specific.

So when you’re able to work with a leader to say, well, what is enabled your success? And let’s drill down, let’s understand that that higher degree of self-awareness builds greater capability and more intentionality on maybe the things that might be missing or the things that they want to do more of.

So it is a, an extraction process. Often we take for granted that we’re just good at what we do, and therefore we’re just going to always be good at it. And that might be what we do well, but how we do it is where the learning really takes place and where we really help many people unpack when, and you used a great example of using that type of call it structure or framework to reassess.

What so you’ve worked with hundreds of executives. Over the years. And so how does what other best practices, I guess you would say, do you see out there, or what ones have you helped executives put in place? Yeah, so, so many. So that’s one leadership inventory, daily leadership inventory tool even something as simple.

I mean, the spectrum of strategies goes from simple to, you know, profound, right? And sometimes the most simple can be the most profound. It is not uncommon in our practice where we have very senior leaders looking at us almost upset after a coaching session going Christine. How is it possible that I am at this stage of my career.

And I have never learned this before, you know, to your point, Tim, like a lot of the stuff that enables effective leadership and wellness isn’t taught in school, you know, you have to kind of bump along these things or you need professionals like you and I to help you see them faster than you can see them for yourself.

So again, it might be something as simple as Sunday evening pulling up your calendar. Monday morning, Friday afternoon, whatever works best for you and looking across the horizontal, all your meetings in place and picking the ones that you don’t need to be at and declining them or delegating them. That is an intentional effort.

It is very simple. It has saved leaders that we’ve worked with eight to 10 plus hours per week, easily every time, because I guarantee you there’s meetings in your calendar that you don’t actually need to be at. And I guarantee you, if you stop to consider that you will be able to make better decisions with your time.

And I guarantee you, if you don’t stop to consider that you will just chug along your week, like usual and being a lot of meetings that aren’t very productive. So just simple strategies like that. And then, you know, all the way through to, you know, carving out different types of business units, functioned, organizational structures, enabling executive performance at the highest levels to cast, have that cascade effect through organizations.

Again, there’s things that are small and incremental to the individual and bigger and more strategic to perhaps an organization and a leadership team. Absolutely. I love that it’s people, a lot of corporations for tend to try and make things more complicated or think it doesn’t have value unless it’s got this multifaceted, like, you know, 10 slide pitch deck.

It has to be complicated. And it’s like the most simple things are often the most effective yet. They’re overlooked because they’re seen as too simple. Yeah, there’s a, I really liked your point there around just Simplicity and, and creating space and simplifying, creating space and simplifying those.

It’s probably been, you know, I could probably put like 10 words to our theme this year at bright wire, at least in the past year, two of those words are creating space and simplify don’t complicate leaders have enough organizations have enough right now there’s so much going on. Less is truly, truly more.

And, you know, we’ve reevaluated some of our programs and offerings and the way that we engage just to create simplification for more powerful results. And so that’s another great point, Tim and another great strategy, even as a leader to look across your portfolio and go, what’s more complex than it needs to be.

And just these beautiful, healthy question, Danny, from the outside at that macro level, looking in can create space organically just through the nature of curiosity. And so that would be like a strategy we would work with leaders on as well. Get curious about, are you being reactionary versus responsive?

Get curious about how can you move your conversations from transactional to transformative? You know, one of the tools we help leaders with specifically in our coaching capability program, but also in one-on-one coaching work is asking better questions. And it sounds so simple, but I can say to you, Tim, so did you get your goals done?

And you can be like, yeah, I did. I got my goals done. Well, the quality of the information I’ve got from that question is like a one out of 10. It was a closed question. And now I know you did your goals, but if I say to you, Kim, what specifically will you do to ensure that you accomplish your goals this year?

Totally different question. And now I’m getting more information. I’m able to demonstrate my listening capabilities to you as my team member, I can coach and develop you. I can clarify. You’re going to have a greater degree of accountability because you’re articulating to me what your commitments are.

And so it’s a really nice leadership strategy. And we actually use like a spectrum of questions from cold to really warm. And that would be a really warm high gain question because it allows you to get more information from the person that you’re dealing with, the person on your team. So like little tactics like that.

If I’m intentional about the five minutes I have with you, because we really believe that every minute matters and not just meeting minutes. Not just formal meetings, but every minute matters. So if I’m intentional about asking you higher gain questions, I’m going to get more out of our time together and you’re going to get more out of our time together as well.

So those micro strategies that give you really macro impacts is what’s super important in this business world and what we’ve really been focusing a lot on creating with leaders, micro strategy, the G’s for macro impacts. So that’s a few of them right there. I love that. And w particularly during this time of COVID things are, I don’t want to say mellowing out, but we’re, we’re in the intervening period, I guess you would say we’re, we’re past the, the S the major reactionary period, but do you get a lot of I guess pushback from executives saying, I just don’t have the time to do this.

Like, it’s just too much effort and work too. To really call it intentionally. Do you feel people are still reactionary? Yeah. So it’s changing a little bit. I mean, that’s a big question. It varies by industry, by individual, by team, by company, for sure. But there is some movement happening because what we’ve seen is that reacting doesn’t work well for the long-term.

And so what leaders and teams and companies have, or at least the successful ones are getting acquainted with is building strategy with uncertainty planning, with what they have available to them. And not spending too much time in ambiguity, planning, multiple scenarios of possible paths that don’t even happen, but really focusing on the one or two that they know are likely to be the most probable.

So there’s this little bit of a blend of, or sort of transition of comfort, I would say. And people are being a little bit more responsive versus reactionary in business today now, and that has taken some time. Absolutely. For sure. The other thing I want to say about that is how people, how, how organizations are developing their people.

So yes, Tim, for sure. The simplification comment comes from a lot of clients going like. We don’t have capacity like this is, this is I don’t, I can’t read any articles on LinkedIn. I can’t attend any more free webinars out there. Like we are inundated with information. And so how do you access these bright minds to help them in a way that allows for very high impact in a short period of time, low time requirement, high impact.

And so that’s where we really coined micro strategies for macro gains. It’s the two minutes to three minutes to five minutes that you have not the 45 minutes to not need me to sit. You don’t have. So we’ve been really focusing on those incremental moments to get macro long-term gains. And it’s really working for leaders now on the same token, a lot of companies are like, we don’t have space, but this is a critical priority.

And as I said, in my very opening comments, there’s nothing like a global pandemic to shine the light on what we’ve always known to be important, which is developing leadership capability because you know, many people are doing three or four jobs right now, as I’ve said before, and companies are like, Whoa, we need to keep our top talent because that’s all we have left.

We’ve already had to reduce our workforce. We’ve had to flatten layers here. We’ve had to streamline org structures, and now I have my top players. I need to keep them. So I need to equip them to be successful in their multiple roles. So we’re actually going to do what we can to create space, to invest in their development.

And that would be one thing I would say is absolutely top organizations are doing right now are investing in people’s development. There’s a, an inverse correlation in this industry. In the leadership development and executive coaching industry to compare to a global recession or an economic downturn.

And when things are not going well with the economy leaders and organizations, smart ones, again, ones that have a successful trajectory. How did them look at developing their people? Because that’s going to be what they need for the future. So, yeah, developing people is another one that you just can’t get by today without doing, and as you and I both know if you don’t have people, you don’t have a business.

Yeah. It’s that simple. Well, there’s a great you know, not, not really quote, but scenario of CEO talking to a CFO or it’s the CFO says, what if we invest in our people and they leave and the CEO says, well, what if we don’t and they stay that, I asked her love that that’s so true. And that’s kind of the case in point, I mean, especially the ones that stay are the ones that you have, and if you want to have them for the long run while you, you know, there’s absolutely. It is absolutely imperative to develop that capability internally so that you can have strength for the future. And you can have the right successors in place like that is the viability of an organization. Leadership is the foundation. And as I said previously, when we work with different organizations and our CEOs are speaking to the stock market about their performance, it is steeped in leadership.

And that’s because their legacy is building is leaving the companies that they leave. In a better place than they got it when they arrived. And that all comes down to the people. Yep. Oh, I love it. Now we could go on for hours and I could talk leadership and wellness and personal performance forever. You know, for the sake of our viewers, I know they’re engaged in loving this, but what to wrap up a bit here?

What final words, wisdom do you want to leave the listeners? Yeah, I appreciate the questions and the opportunity and just such a great conversation today. And I would just invite each of the listeners to get curious about what they’re doing for their self in order to show up best for those around them and invite them to just have a really healthy sense of curiosity, because if you can stand back and zoom out on your day-to-day and shift your perspective perhaps of what’s going on every moment for you every day and just kind of zoom out. You’re able to see possibilities that don’t previously exist. And by doing that new outcomes can happen. New things can take place. So I think it’s a really simple form of guidance. Use curiosity to check in with yourself in terms of how you’re doing for your wellness and your personal leadership.

And then just as, as leaders within teams and organizations. Keep focusing on your developing your people, create space and allow them that space that they need to develop and just reinforce the behaviors that you see that you know, that you need to see more of for the future, because that’s how companies and organizations build strong cultures of leadership.

And that gets great performance. That’s sustained over the long run. So, yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of great great things that we’ve talked about today. And meaningful approaches that individuals and teams can take. And if anyone wants to continue to the conversation, we have a wonderful team at bright wire leadership.

You can reach us on our website, which Tim, I believe you’ll post that information as well. We’re also on LinkedIn. We have a pretty active LinkedIn page where we share a lot of our leadership tips and strategies. So feel free to follow us there and it’s yeah. Thank you very much, Tim, for having me today.

It’s been awesome. I love it. And I’ll make sure I post a, your website and the contact info on the show notes. Now we didn’t talk about it today, but you have a book. But tell me, tell me a little bit more about your, thank you very much. Yeah. So I did an executive MBA many, many years ago, and I went into the experience wanting it to be as intentional as possible as you’ve picked up on by now, intentionality as a key word for me and a value.

And so after working with many executive MBAs for many years in the corporate world through different clients that we’ve served, what I realized was many people go and they invest in themselves in graduate level, education and MBA or not. And don’t want the tools and skills to remain committed to why they wanted to do that in the first place in semester one, it’s like inundating, it’s overwhelming.

You’re just trying to survive. By the second semester, you figured out really savvy ways just to do all the courses and take the lead on all the projects that you were already good at prior to taking the program and therefore you limit your learning experience. So what I thought was, if I could gather my tools of coaching executive and leaders, for 15 years and put them into a book to help people be intentional about their academic experience.

How great would that be? So I partnered with a client actually that we worked with for many years and she finished the coaching program with me and she said, you know what, Christine, this is too good to be true. We need to capture this in a book. We need to write a book together. And I said, okay, Renee, And she was a professional communicator.

I say, great Renee. Well, if you write all articulate and together, we’ll create a book. And so three years it took us to write the book. It was a passion project off the side of our desk. We’re really happy with it. It’s it’s getting placed in universities and bookstores almost as like a guide book to help students be intentional about their educational experience.

So, yeah. Thanks. Thanks for asking Tim. If you guys are interested, you can learn more about my book @ Right? I’ll put that in that link in the show notes as well, but thank you so much, Christine. This has been amazing and yeah, I’ll make sure that people have the opportunity to reach out to you.

If they’re interested in leadership development or executive coaching and thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been a pleasure. Yeah. Thanks very much for having me look great conversation and appreciate your passion to him and everything that you do as well in this space. Right on. Thank you.

Thank you. Looking forward to our next chat. Absolutely. Thanks again.


Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

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We’ll see you on the next episode.

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