As a member of the Twitterverse for 13 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." I recently connected with Kelly Byrnes from Missouri, and invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A discussion about leadership, corporate culture, and the employee experience. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.
Kelly Byrnes leads Voyage Consulting Group, which helps business leaders navigate their leadership journey for a prosperous voyage. (Don't you love that mental picture?) Leaders and founders who want to grow purpose-driven, performance-focused, principles-led, people-centered companies rely on Kelly and the VCG crew. A sought-after leadership and culture expert, Kelly is also an adjunct MBA professor for Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri; four-time Amazon bestselling author; writer on Forbes.com; and award-winning national speaker. She holds an MBA, BA, Harvard Business School’s Certification for Strategic Disruption, HR-related SHRM-SCP and SPHR designations, and executive coach certifications.
QUESTION: Based on your experiences, how has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the employee experience?
KELLY BYRNES: The most impactful change related to the employee experience may have been bringing work home. Turning kitchen counters, dining rooms, and play rooms into make-shift offices disrupted personal lives as work invaded our private lives at home. Many employees became teachers and caregivers without the training while trying to maintain high standards for their work. The pressure on employees was unfathomable.
The impact has been interesting. People accepted the intrusion at first because it felt temporary. Once settled into the new roles, people began to see the benefit of working from home. Now, many prefer it. While the impact was disruptive on many levels, in the end, it may have led people to find more purpose in their personal lives. Some are relying less on their employers for personal fulfillment. Others, however, are turning to their companies even more for emotional support after the pandemic.
The bottom-line impact for all (employees and employers) seems to be heightened awareness and acceptance of employees as humans.
QUESTION: How can a President/CEO create a culture that inspires employees?
KELLY BYRNES: Interesting that the question is about how to inspire, versus how to improve productivity. People do want to be inspired. CEOs can encourage people to have a vision for their lives and rely on their company to help them achieve their vision.
Stephen M. R. Covey’s new book Trust & Inspire talks about the same strategy. It was the subject of my July "Leadership Book of the Month" podcast. If you want to watch, here's a link to the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZc0r_Gxd8k.
Covey talks about how CEOs who ask, “What can I do for you?” have come a long way. But, an even better question is, “What can I do with you?” The ultimate purpose is to help people thrive in their lives, not just work them to death. CEOs who change their perspective to be about the people, the vision for their own lives, and how the company can contribute to the vision will reap rewards of loyalty and performance.
QUESTION: One of my favorite quotes about leadership is from Arnold Glasow, an American businessman often cited in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and other publications, “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” What does this quote mean to you?
KELLY BYRNES: It means responsibility. A good leader takes the blame because she knows she is responsible for the situation. Whether it was caused by insufficient training, poor communication, or lack of accountability, a good leader recognizes she could have done something better to set the team up for success. Regarding the credit, a good leader gets joy out of giving the credit to those who deliver. Her ego is boosted by giving credit, not by receiving it.
TWEET THIS: A good leader gets joy out of giving the credit to those who deliver. Her ego is boosted by giving credit. ~@kellytyler #DebbieLaskeysBlog
QUESTION: In an article you wrote in Forbes, you wrote about a five-step process that founders can use to develop the culture promise for their companies. Can you briefly share an overview?
(Read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/02/18/five-steps-to-help-you-make-and-keep-your-culture-promise-while-scaling-up/?sh=2a20950b3f6d)
KELLY BYRNES: Your company culture promise is revealed in what you talk about, reward and share. Some founders overlook culture because they think it’s great since everyone gets along.
They take it for granted, which leads to their missing the opportunity to treat it like the strategic asset it is. Basically, the five steps are:
(1) Share your vision for your company and include your people in it.
(2) Choose three key values your company will live by at all times. These are ride-or-die values.
(3) Define how those three values live, especially when there are obstacles to them.
(4) Identify what accountability looks like there.
(5) Design your culture training so new people can live the values too.
It is crucial that founders align their own behavior to the key core values. It’s all for nothing to the employees and customers if the founders fail at living the culture.
QUESTION: Lastly, what do you recommend an employee should do if he/she/they works for a toxic boss?
KELLY BYRNES: Working for a toxic boss can drain the life out of someone. I encourage people to gauge what they get out of the situation. For example, if you can work there for a year to gain experience in a desirable vertical, get your MBA tuition reimbursed, or network internally for a new role, it may be worth putting up with the boss. If there’s nothing to gain, increase the external networking. Get out before they beat the life out of you. Get out before they convince you that you’re not worthy of something better. You are worthy.
My thanks to Kelly for sharing her leadership and culture insights and for appearing here on my Blog.
Image Credit: Pixabay via Wordswag.
Connect with Kelly at these links:
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