Learn the Importance of Play in Enhancing the Customer Experience
Playing at work have been traditionally unacceptable in the workplace. As adults, we think playing is childish and working meant being serious all the time. However, based on what we see from top performing companies in the world today, play has been an important aspect in their success. Play has led to innovation of products like Gmail, Google Meet, and many others. So, if you are a call center executive or have a call center business, should you allow or encourage playing at work? Does play make a positive impact in your customer experience strategy?
Listen as Jeff Harry helps you rediscover your play. Playing is not merely having fun at work and wasting time and reducing productivity. Playing encourages your employees to feel positive, thereby leading to enhanced creativity and a more positive customer experience.
Jeff Harry was born in Chicago’s suburbs by his Vincentian Dad, A Doctor, and Filipino Mom, A Nurse who met in an operating room. Jeff has two older sisters, and his parents were married for 43 years before his dad passed away in 2015.
When Jeff saw the movie Big with Tom Hanks, where Tom got to play with toys for a living, he was inspired. Jeff started writing toy companies in 5th grade. He did not stop until he eventually got into the toy industry 12 years later.
But he was disappointed in his dream industry as there was no play, no fun, no high fives, no time to play with toys, and no kids – he became disillusioned. Jeff left his dream industry, feeling lost, and moved from NY to Oakland.
There he found a LEGO-Inspired STEM Education job on Craiglist with seven employees paying $150.00/week. He helped grow the business through a play-oriented perspective where we just experimented, made it up as we went along, embraced failure, and followed curiosity.
Through that method, Jeff grew the organization to a staff of more than 400 people in 16 years, introducing engineering to over 1 Million kids. It became the largest LEGO-inspired STEM Organization in the U.S. and even helped tech companies to play more with team building events.
Jeff realized not enough adults are playing, especially at work. In 2019, Jeff created Rediscover Your Play to help organizations address significant issues and have hard conversations using positive psychology and play. Now, Jeff has the real dream gig: Being paid to be himself.
Jeff is an international speaker presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.
Jeff shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing. Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.
Jeff was selected by BambooHR & Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020 for his organizational development to deal with toxic people in the workplace.
Jeff desires his legacy to be showing how to live a life through a play lens and help millions of people to address their most significant issues in life and the world through play.
Jeff lived in Oakland for 18 years and moved back to Chicago’s suburbs in 2019 to help his nephew get into college.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“Play is any joyful act where you forget about time.” – Click to Tweet
“Personal transformation doesn’t happen until you get tired of your own BS.” – Elizabeth Gilbert – Click to Tweet
“When you go into any conversation, you either are going in to be right or to understand. But you can’t do both.” – Eric Bailey – Click to Tweet
“Stacking positive priming moments can change your day, change your productivity, and change your life.” – Click to Tweet
“The quicker you are able to claim who you are the quicker you will be to achieve your goals.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Jeff Harry invested in a café and lost a lot of money. In the process of recovering from that failure, Jeff learned that he is still alive, and that he can still continue and do more. It made him bolder and led to his successes today.
Advice for others
Don’t care about what other people think.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Recognizing my next BS thing.
Best Leadership Advice
Organize yourself out of a job.
Best tools in business or life
Positively priming my day.
Links and Resources
Jeff’s website: https://www.rediscoveryourplay.com/
Jeff’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffharryplays/
Fast Leader Show on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FastleaderNet
Fast Leader Show on Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/364qAA2
Fast Leader Show on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FastLeaderShow
Fast Leader Show on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fastleadershow
Fast Leader Show on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fastleader.net
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Show TranscriptClick to access unedited transcript
Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today. Who’s gonna really enable us to tap into something down deep. And from a long ago,
Jim Rembach (00:10):
I need to pull out and grow. Jeff Harry was born in Chicago suburbs by his VIN sension dad, which is he’s from St. Vincent in the West Indies. He was a doctor and affiliate has a Filipino mom, and she was a nurse and they both met in an operating room. Jeff has two older sisters and his parents were married for 43 years before his father passed away in 2015. When Jeff saw the movie big with Tom Hanks, where Tom got to play with toys for a living, he was inspired. Jeff started riding toy companies in fifth grade. He didn’t stop until he eventually got into the toy industry 12 years later, but he was disappointed by his dream industry as there was no play, no fun, no, high-fives no time to play with toys and no kids. He became disillusioned. Jeff left his dream industry, feeling lost and moved from New York to Oakland there he founded, or he found a Lego inspired STEM education job on Craigslist.
Jim Rembach (01:12):
With seven employees paying $150 a week. He helped them grow the business through a play oriented perspective where we just experimented and he made all this up as they went along, embracing failure and fall curiosity through that method. Jeff grew the organization to a staff of more than 400 people in 16 years, introducing engineering to over 1 million kids. It became the largest Lego inspired STEM organization in the U S and even helped tech companies to play more with team building events. Jeff realized not enough adults are playing, especially at work. And in 2019, Jeff created rediscover your play to help organizations address significant issues and have hard conversations using positive psychology in play. Now, Jeff has a real dream gig being paid to be himself. Jeff is an international speaker presented at presenting at conferences, such as inbound South by Southwest. And Australia’s pause Fest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved.
Jim Rembach (02:16):
Using play. Jeff shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves to feel their happiest and most fulfilled all by playing. Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook helping their staffs to infuse more play into the day today. Jeff was selected by bamboo HR and engagingly as one of the top 100 HR influencers of 2024, his organizational development to deal with toxic people in the workplace. Jeff desires his legacy to be showing how to live a life through a play lens and help millions of people to address their most significant issues in life and the world through play. Jeff lived in for 18 years and moved back to Chicago suburbs in 2019 to help his nephew get into college. Jeff, Harry, are you ready to help us get over that?
Jeff Harry (03:07):
I’m so excited. Let’s go.
Jim Rembach (03:09):
No, I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you just share with us how, what you’re going to talk about today is going to impact the customer experience?
Jeff Harry (03:18):
Yes. So I always think of Stephen Johnson’s quote. Uh, the future is where people are having the most fun. And as you think of the companies right now that are thriving in 2020 and, and creating the best customer experience for them, you know, the tic talks that Netflix, the Hulu’s, the Disney pluses it’s because they’re willing to be innovative and actually take risks and have fun. You know, I, I said this at the beginning of 2020, whoever’s willing to fail the most. It’s going to be the most successful in 2020. So even thinking of something as tangible for the customer experience for your, for your listeners is I would ask them, what was the last time you went out of your way to do something really nice for your customers, right? Like we’re coming at the downs of the end of 20, 20, many of your customers, regardless of what company you have, have kept you afloat, right? Whether you’re a restaurant or whether you’re a small business or whether you’re like a corporation. So is there anything besides just an email thanking them, can you pick specific customers than just send them something, some gift out of nowhere, you know, that that just shows your level of appreciation. Like we have to rethink how we’re not only building our customer base, but how are we keeping our customer base?
Jim Rembach (04:42):
Well, you’re saying that I’m like, okay, well, what do you mean by where’s the play thing? So is the, is the play thing? What we’re talking about is, is, is that appreciation? Um, what, I mean, what, what are we,
Jeff Harry (04:52):
Well here, this is an example. I mean, Gary vantage had gave this a gamble. I thought it was a really cool idea where he challenged a bunch of people. Oh, he did this with his wine library. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t always love this guy. This guy’s all over the place. So sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t. But one thing that I said, he thought he did, that was really cool. And this is again, just being creative, right. Is, you know, he picked out a customer that maybe had spent like $150 on wine, not a lot of money, but then he asked, he told his staff, his customer service staff to look this person up on Twitter. And they found out this person was a huge Jay Cutler fan, you know, for the Chicago bears. So they bought this guy, signed Jay Cutler Jersey and mailed it to this guy.
Jeff Harry (05:40):
Right. And then wanted to see if anything came back, nothing came back. It was like, you know, a few months went by there’s was just like, this is ridiculous. I guess nothing happened with that. And then all of a sudden he gets this $6,000 order of wine by this other person. And in Annette, they said, Hey, gave my friend a Jay Cutler Jersey signed, get your color Jersey. You know, I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Right. So he was just like, Oh, sweet. So, so by simply doing this really interesting way of thanking their customers, he was engaging and causing other people to be like, yo, look at what this organization is doing. They went out of their way. We did the same thing at my former organization where we would just send random Lego sets to certain customers just to say, thank you, you know?
Jeff Harry (06:27):
And not because they did anything, but just because we were like, we really appreciate you. You’ve been, you’ve been loyal to us for over a decade, you know? And we just wanted to recognize that. And when you’re, when you’re able to think about ways in which you are consistently communicating to your customers, that you’re not taking them for granted, but if you really appreciate what they’re doing for you, it has leaps and bounds. Even if you’re only doing it a little bit, because it causes a ripple effect because everyone else is like, can you believe they’re doing this
Jim Rembach (06:59):
Now? I see what you’re talking about is that the creative, the play and the creative thinking time allows people to now, you know, think about things that they otherwise would not have.
Jeff Harry (07:13):
Right. Right. I think of this one store that now is really, uh, you know, it’s now it’s considered one of the best, uh, bakeries in the country. But when they first started out in Oakland bake sale, Betty’s they would put an extra cookie in each, every time, someone to order a cookie, just one extra cookie, no big deal. And they would never say it, right. They would never be like, here’s an extra cookie. You should give me credit. They would just put it in there. And then everyone thought that it was only for them that they got that extra piece. But then everyone was just like, you got to go to bake, sell Betty’s because, you know, she’s, she’s so generous. She just gives out free desserts from time to time. Sometimes she would just be like, Hey, you should try this out. We’re experimenting with this. Right. And, and, and that caused lines to be out the door within three months because of what she was doing, because she was being generous in that way. So we have to really rethink how we’re actually connecting with our customers and not doing it the standard way, because frankly, we’re not going to be able to go back to normal. It’s going to be a brand new, normal, a new normal. And in that new normal, a lot of the things that used to work may not work anymore.
Jim Rembach (08:22):
Well, then you start leading into, um, you know, it being a new reality and many of us are dispersed and we’re no longer able to get together in groups to do some of the, the game play. And w and we needed to find that a little bit because people are gamification. What do you, you know, I think we need to elaborate and get them. Yeah.
Jeff Harry (08:42):
Yeah. So let me define play. I define play as any joyful act where you forget about time, it has no purpose and has no result. You don’t have anxiety about the future. You don’t have regrets about the past. You fully present you’re in the zone, as they say, you are fully in flow. So when your staff is fully in flow, or you are bullying flow, you are doing work that you don’t even recognize time has passed. And frankly, you would do that work. Even if, if no one paid you, because it’s just who you are. Right? So it’s a broad definition of place, but it, but it also, and this is what I say to a lot of team leaders. Here’s an easy way in which you could engage your staff to, to have them be more playful, especially right now, as you go up to them and you go, what is the work that you love doing the most?
Jeff Harry (09:31):
You know, Marcus Buckingham refers to it as your red thread work or, or gay Hendricks refers to it as your zone of genius, right? You have zone of incompetence things. You’re not good at zone of competence. Things are like average at zone of excellence, where, where we do a lot of this, where we get a lot of praise to do something, but we don’t really care to do it either way. We just know we’re good at it. But your zone of genius is when you’re like doing the work that makes you come most alive. So you ask yourself what, what, what work that you do does that? Ooh, is that you connecting with customers? Oh, awesome. How, what percentage of time do you spend on that? Oh, you only spend 10% of your time right now doing that, even though that’s where you get so much of your joy, how can we turn that from 10% to 15%?
Jeff Harry (10:18):
Right. You know, how can, how can we figure it out a way in which you can do it for an extra one to two hours? Because if it’s your best work, we need that type of work. And then what happens is it has this ripple effect on all of the other work that you do, your productivity levels go skyrocket because you’re doing your flow work to start. And then if people are like, well, I don’t know, how is this going to help my organization? Let’s look at Google. Google does a 20% program where they give their staff a fifth of their time to pursue things that are curious to them, as long as it helps the business. And with the Google 20% program, that’s where g-mail came from. That’s where Google meet came from like billion dollar ventures that help their customers came from allowing their staff to pursue their curiosity. You can’t do this for a fifth of the time with your staff, but you can give them one to two extra hours and see where that takes you.
Jim Rembach (11:15):
Well, that definitely opens up a whole lot of, um, thinking in regards to, you know, w what, what we’re talking about here. So, I mean, it’s, it’s more than just play, you know, it’s really finding that psychological and mental state that is going to enable you, you know, to, you know, like you say, find flow, think about things your other wouldn’t otherwise wouldn’t have, and then hopefully come up with, you know, something that would be more impactful because you’re not task driven all day long.
Jeff Harry (11:43):
Exactly. Because, because adults are very results driven, right. And that is why 2020 has been so hard for so many people is because get so fixated on results and expectations of the thief of joy, right? And when you get so fixated or results, you’re acting from a very fixed mindset where you only are like, if we don’t achieve this certain quarterly result, it’s a failure. And you miss out on all of the other opportunities. There are so many opportunities, especially in failure, right? Where, when you’re in a, in a curious growth oriented mindset, you see so many other options out on the, on the table. We’re so worried, especially as companies to fail, but failure is where all of the growth happens, right? The risk taking is what, and frankly, we really need to be doing risk taking right now, because if your company is not, you are then risking becoming the next blockbuster.
Jim Rembach (12:40):
Well, okay. So, and I, and I’ve heard a whole lot of mixed messages about the whole, you know, fail thing. It’s, Oh, it’s fail fast. It’s failed this and that. I mean, I, I also think talking about contextually in regards to the whole play thing and really what we’re talking about here. I think also the whole fail thing is important because we don’t want everybody to go out and be making all of these mistakes. Right. Especially interacting with the customer, because we’re going to drive our customer base away, which we don’t want to.
Jeff Harry (13:06):
Right. I think it’s the, I think it’s the difference of like, there’s failure failing at something because you keep doing the same thing over and over again. What I talk about is like, it’s experimenting, it’s trying something out because you’re, you’re failing on almost on purpose so that you can see whether it works, how it works better. Like, I think of a former colleague of mine who has used to be a NASA engineer, and she would be like, before we send that Rover to Mars, we fail constantly. We want to fail. We actually are driven to find out all of the ways in which this Rover can fail on the ground here, because we can control it once we put it out there. So it’s the ability of you or your company to experiment, to be willing, to try small experiments, see how those workout and, and others, instead of doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a new result.
Jim Rembach (14:03):
Okay. So for me, when I hear what you’re saying, um, play out from a reality perspective. A lot of times that’s when we start running into things that people are very familiar with hearing is, is, Hey, can we try this? Well, people will say internally, well, you know, if I was our customer, I wouldn’t like that. Right. They’ll say, well, we tried something like that. And it didn’t work before. And they,
Jeff Harry (14:26):
We tried it five years ago. Right, right. So we’re not going to do it again.
Jim Rembach (14:30):
So how do we prevent that? Because you and I had this discussion off Mike, we’re bringing it on. We talked about this study that I was introduced to a long time ago by Dr. George LAN at NASA, which was about trying to find engineers. And if NASA you’ve talked about NASA as well, that we’re creative thinkers, right. We have to do what you’re, what you were saying that she, uh, explained is that, you know, we have to fail, we have to be creative. We have to, you know, minimize, you know, our ultimate, you know, failure, risks. That means we send this multimillion Murph now, billion dollar Rover up to a place, and then it doesn’t work. Right. Um, so they, they created this study to try to find those types of people. And then they started using that study on kids and they started doing a longitudinal study.
Jim Rembach (15:20):
So, okay. Um, what is their creative thinking? Ability and power. And, and basically what, uh, long story short is over the course of time, going through our, our Prussian type and style of school system, we essentially zap and suck out people’s creative thinking ability and skills brain at the muscle. Right? And so what it’s about is divergent and convergent thinking and divergent thinking is, oftentimes we say, well, that’s thinking pie in the sky. That’s thinking a little bit more than that. Um, but the Virgin thinking is open. It’s free form. It needs to be collaborative because of the different perspectives. It requires time and effort. And even I would dare to say, you know, proctoring and facilitating and nurturing. Uh, and then we take some of those best ideas that we created without any judgment. And then we start seeing from a convergent perspective, if they can fit in our system, we can actually execute. Right. So right there and narrowed, as far as the work that you’re doing, how you’re essentially streamlining and enabling an organization to now have more divergent thinking, and then therefore have greater and more beneficial and higher value outputs, uh, in their, in our organization.
Jeff Harry (16:35):
Right. I mean, let’s, let’s take a tangible, tangible thing you can do at your next meeting. Right? Because usually we have these brainstorming meetings, which is ironic people before COVID, we would, we would be like, all right, we want to be as creative as possible. Let’s get an, a box room around a box table, and we’re going to give an hour and then we’re going to be creative. And then we’re going to have all these ideas afterwards. Like that is the worst place. Right. It’s for just, just a think about that. Right. So, you know, uh, imagine, and I’ll give two suggestions, one meeting, you have it where you were going to take on the improv yes. And approach. And what we mean by that is we want as many ideas as possible. We’re simply yes. And-ing each other because in improv, the scene dies when someone negates.
Jeff Harry (17:23):
Right. So there’s no negating allowed. There’s no criticism allowed right now. We are just trying to get as many ideas on the board. So you, yes. I end the entire meeting, you know, which is really hard for a lot of people because people might be like, Oh, that was a really bad idea. I need to say something. No, for once don’t say anything, just let it go on the board. Even if you think it’s a bad idea, because there’s so many, so you, yes. And for the entire meeting and throw it all on the whiteboard and maybe near the end of that meeting, or if not the next one, you go back to that list and you simply circle the ones that you most resonate with. This is just simply what they do in design thinking all the time. Right. It’s very simple because our, our problem now is we do a lot of, you know, at meetings nos or yes.
Jeff Harry (18:12):
Buts, we do a lot of yes. Buts, like, yeah, that’s a good idea, bud. We tried that five years ago. Yeah. That’s a good idea, but that’s going to cost us too much money. It’s just like, we’re not even allowing ourselves to explore and, and, and talk about from a creativity standpoint, you need to get to the craziest ideas in order to get to the actual magical idea, to get to the, to the medium-sized idea that might work. You know, you have to allow for yourself to go all over the place in that way. And another way is, would be also interesting of imaginative. A team leader was like, okay, listen, I want us all to come up with the craziest creative ideas ever to address this customer experience solution. How can we improve the customer experience? I don’t want you in this meeting right now.
Jeff Harry (19:01):
What I want you to do is I want you to do whatever you need to do to where do you, what do you do to get the biggest flood of ideas? Is that you going and, you know, going for a walk is that you taking a shower is that you go and play some basketball, is that you you’re doing morning pages. I don’t care what you do, but I want you to go do that for an hour or so. And then come back to me, you know, later today with a bunch of crazy ideas. And, um, and then we’re going to start looking at them, like, imagine if we’re supporting staff in allowing them to do their work in their way, empowering them to do it in their way in order to come up with new solutions. Because right now, getting on, getting in a meeting and being like we have an hour and we have to figure it out, it’s just setting yourself up for failure.
Jim Rembach (19:48):
Well, I, you know, and I would even, yes, and I would add,
Jeff Harry (19:52):
Right. Let’s yes, end. And I love it.
Jim Rembach (19:54):
When you start talking about the power of our minds, the subconscious mind is significantly more powerful than our cognitive mind. So if people, the opportunity to sleep on it overnight,
Jeff Harry (20:05):
Jim Rembach (20:07):
Some of the subconscious, you know, active cause your brain that will solve pro tries to solve problems when you sleep. Now, the importance of also sleep comes into play. So if you’re getting four hours of sleep at night, guess what? It ain’t solving a whole lot. Right. Right. You have to get a full rim, deep REM sleep in order for your subconscious mind to solve the problems that you’re dealing with every single day. That’s one reason why sleep is so important. And so allowing them to sleep overnight, and then now come to the table. I mean, talking about the rich ideas that will come out. Um, definitely a great idea. Okay. So if I start thinking about, um, let’s say perspectives and the importance of diversity and who is part of all of this, you know, thinking, uh, types of activity and play activity, um, give us some insights into how we should do that because there is something in positive psychology called unlikely pairs. Yeah. So if you can talk a little bit about that.
Jeff Harry (21:14):
Yeah. So, um, I think of, I think of the story of, of one of my former colleagues who was an engineer at one point, and she was one of the only female engineers, that’s a part of like this company. And they were trying to figure out, um, a new way of creating a stent, you know, for the heart. And she was in a meeting and she goes, you know, they’re trying to brainstorm this. And she goes, Oh, well, why don’t we just use the same, like design done on a scrunchie. And all the guys like turned her and they’re like, what’s a scrunchie. And she’s like, she pulls it out. She puts it in her hair and she passes it around. They’re like, what is that? And they’re like, yeah, this is how we put up our hair all the time. And it was just a perfect example.
Jeff Harry (21:55):
And that became a patent out of that. And that brought that company millions of dollars. And if she’s not in the room that doesn’t happen and we have to figure out, like, I think it’s as interesting. I recently saw something about like, wow, we have so many diversity hires. Why do we have so many diversity hires? And then someone brought up the point of like, well, don’t, we also have so many homeowner homogenity hires or homogenous hires where we hire people that looked like us that talk like us, that that think just like us, like, we really have to be looking in the room and being like, are we getting a diverse amount of opinions? Does the room look the same? Right. You know? Oh. And, uh, I’ve worked with some airline industries and sometimes it’s just all these guys it’s like, wait, there’s gotta be more, you know, this there’s gotta be more here.
Jeff Harry (22:45):
So I, and, and that’s not just simply from like a, like a diversity, like, Oh, we have to check it off box of like, you know, do we have this race? Do we have this gender? But also, do we have like drastically different perspectives? Right. You know, some of your customers might, you know, be disabled, is someone bringing in, you know, talk about that. Like, especially if you’re running like a restaurant or a small business, what is the customer experience like for someone that’s disabled, what’s the customer experience, right. For someone that’s disabled right now during COVID like, we have to be thinking about like all the different types of what would he say, divergent ideas and really, really challenging ourselves to see, like, are we really coming up with new ideas or are we simply doing the same thing over, but pretending that it’s new?
Jim Rembach (23:36):
Well, yes. And I would add, I did it again. One of the things that I’ve also come to learn is the way that they think about it from a computer perspective, you know, in our brains are always going through, you know, computational equations and the way, and not everybody’s brain computes information the same way. So my 15 year old son, a lot of times, you know, w we’ll we’ll we’ll hear, we have conflict. And I’m like, look, I think like this. So I pulled information from here, from here, from here, from here, from here, from here. And then therefore I start formulating this plan and it starts having probabilities in it. So I start thinking of, is that the right action? Should I not do that? And I said, and so sometimes one of my inputs may change and may change my direction. You are more of a linear thinker.
Jim Rembach (24:29):
You’re sequentially. It’s like, well, this has to happen. Then this has to happen. Then this has to happen in this has to happen because if one of those things get out of core order, you get frazzled. Right. So it’s like, you know, Hey, we haven’t done this before. I can’t think, you know, for me, I started computing right. For you, wait a minute, my steps are messed up. Right. And so even when you start thinking about the whole, you know, divergent thinking activity and diversity, it goes beyond color. It goes beyond gender getting into how does that person’s brain actually compute, um, because there’s also other things that go into it. What are my life experiences? What did I go through? How many different I’ve been exposed to? There’s all these different factors that go into how somebody thinks to me. I think that’s what makes it so beautiful, but yet mentally complex.
Jeff Harry (25:18):
It is. And you, and for you to take the time to figure out how your staff does think is really important. But also, and I say this a lot, whenever I’m writing articles for Sherm, or, you know, I, I asked the question of like, what is your staff’s appreciation language? Like, how does your staff receive appreciation? Because, um, I think HubSpot recently did an article about, you know, 64% of staff feel like they don’t get appreciated enough. Probably it’s more than that, but at least, you know, where they’re not getting recognized, but all of them get recognized in different ways. Some of them like love getting recognized with bonuses. And if you and studies have shown, if you give out one bonus at the end of the year, not as effective as you spread it out throughout the year, some people just love the appreciation of being recognized in front of others.
Jeff Harry (26:10):
Right. You know, recognized by their peers. Others are like, Hey, you know, take, take the afternoon off acts of service. And I’ll, I’ll cover you for this shift, right? Like, so you have to be thinking about how are you motivating your staff? Because again, and I go back to, um, uh, what Tony Shay was all about with Zappos is he cared more about his employees, then his customers, which you’re like, wait, well, that’s counterintuitive. That doesn’t really make sense. It’s just like when he knew he put invested more time, effort and energy, his employees, he knew the customer experience was going to be better. And he was willing to put money on the line for it. Where he, after a month at working at Zappos, he would offer you three grand for you to leave and be like, Hey, you know, I kinda like it here, but you, you’re not that happy about it. I’ll give you three grand and you can leave. So the people that actually stayed were the people that believed in that culture. And just knowing that they were surrounded by other people that also believe in that culture, they put more in, they would go above and beyond for their customers and Zappos. So many times have been considered one of the best, um, uh, shoe companies when it comes to customer experience.
Jim Rembach (27:25):
Yes. And I did it again. I’m trying to change them, change my behavior. Right. Um, is, you know, there’s a whole science out there in regards to motivation. And I was just on a webinar yesterday. I was presenting. And one of the things that I presented, which people were like, what, what do you mean is that as leaders, we don’t motivate other people. That’s not the way it works. I mean, I can’t go and say, guess what, I’m going to motivate. All of, you know, what we can do as a leader is in create the environment by which people motivate themselves. Motivate is a self issue. Exactly. And episode two 59 by Susan Fowler, she talks about a lot of the science of motivation. Uh, and it’s really important for us as leaders. And here’s the thing also, the thing is we’re all leaders, because guess what, at least we are trying to motivate ourselves.
Jim Rembach (28:11):
Right, right. And we all have all this inner talk and inner play that’s happening. Right. But there’s really three things that are critically important for us to be able to create environment for people to get motivated. And I would definitely listen to that episode so you can get those out because Susan talks about them in depth, because there’s a core group of people who are really studying the science of human motivation. Um, and she’s tapping into their wealth of knowledge in order to be able to share it with the world, motivation, you know, motivation, creative thinking, innovation, customer experience, employee experience, they’re all interrelated, aren’t they?
Jeff Harry (28:50):
Yes. And if you actually, if you think about it, like innovation, disruption, agility, all of that’s play. Okay. Like we, we don’t talk about this, but hello. Every startup, the Facebooks, the Googles, when they were in their garage, they were simply playing. They were simply messing around to figure out, can I figure this out? Can I solve this? I give this example. I think it’s from, um, I believe it’s from Simon Sinek’s book. This start with why book, where he talks about the Wright brothers and how, when the Wright brothers were working on the airplane, mind you, these are two brothers that are bike mechanics. So they have no clue what they’re doing. They’re just mess. They’re just messing around because it’s super interesting for them. And at first they were being mocked by their, by their town. But after a while, they kept them make more and more iterations and constantly failing.
Jeff Harry (29:44):
And they, you know, towns started gaining respect for them and started helping them out, giving them food, giving them materials, giving us supplies. Right. But again, they’re just messing around, just having fun playing at the same time, this was happening Chrysler and Ford invested in all of these PhD, all these scientists, all this money, you know, millions of dollars. It could have been tens of millions, you know, based on that time period. And we’re like, we’re going to figure out how to make the first flying machine. She stressed out environment, very toxic situation. People competing against one another versus the Wright brothers in their bike shop. Why, why did the Wright brothers get there first? Because they were enjoying, they were in flow. They were just simply being themselves. So we can’t, a lot of times we just throw more money at the problem, more, you know, science that, the problem, like just more stuff at the problem.
Jeff Harry (30:40):
When you see a lot of times, it’s about letting go. It’s about like, Hey, you know, let’s, if you think about your company, your company, if you all this stuff that you’ve linear in a linear way planned out, probably hasn’t worked out for you. But as you look back, it’s this crazy way. So we have to just be open to like providing the playground for our staff to be divergent in their thinking, to take risks, to feel like they can be creative. Because right now, from a lot of the companies that I work with, people say it, they say, you can be creative. They say, you can take risks. Heck they have posters on the wall that say all this stuff, but none of them are following their mission and values. And we have to ask ourselves as leaders, what have I done to create a creative, psychologically safe environment for my staff to play in order to solve some of our biggest issues?
Jim Rembach (31:35):
I think that’s beautiful. And you know, I can tell you, when you start talking about the purpose and being able to deliver upon on this, we have to be, you know, inspired and focused on one of the things that we use on the show in order to be able to do that, are quotes. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?
Jeff Harry (31:50):
Oh yeah. There’s a, there’s two that I think are, uh, I think are pretty fun. One of them is, uh, from Elizabeth Gilbert, uh, where personal transformation doesn’t happen until you get tired of your own BS. So from a company perspective, what is the BS you’ve been telling yourself? Right. You know, I, I remember at one point I wasn’t making videos. Like I was like, I don’t have time. It doesn’t really make sense. It’s not going to bring me any money, you know? And, and then all of a sudden quarantine hit and it was like, guess what? You have all the time in the world. Now I’m making a video a day, maybe multiple videos a day. And it’s brought me business, which I never planned on. Right. Like it just was something that I just was open to. Um, another quote that I really resonate with is from a friend of mine, from his book cure for stupidity, um, Eric Bailey.
Jeff Harry (32:39):
It’s like, when you go into any conversation, you either are going in to be right or to understand, but you can’t do both. And I think that’s the other part that we have to think about as leaders, right? Of like, how am I going into this conversation? What is the goal of this conversation? Because if I’m simply here to be right and they’re simply here to be right, why are we even having this meeting? This is a really waste of time. This is a huge waste of time. You know, I’ve been saying this for a while. Now, like the eight hour Workday was invented back in 1817, it was implemented in 1926 by Henry Ford. No one has questioned the eight hour Workday since then. Right. But studies have shown your staff can only focus and do really good work for two hours and 53 minutes of the day. So knowing that your staff can only do good work, right. Not mediocre, but good work for three to four hours, even though they’re at work for 8.8 hours, what work do you want your staff to do that they can focus on the most to do. And, and if we’re doing, if we’re wasting our time at meetings where we’re all just trying to be, right, we really shouldn’t even be, wait, be doing those meetings.
Jim Rembach (33:51):
For sure. Now I would dare to say, when you started looking at, you know, the course that you’ve taken, even when you mentioned something about getting into the toy industry and you’re like, wow, where’s all the fun, you know, we’ve gotten over the hump, uh, you know, and, and it caused us to go hopefully in a better direction. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?
Jeff Harry (34:10):
Yeah. I invested in a cafe, which as soon as I say that most listeners are like, Ooh, that was a bad idea. Yeah. Where were, you should have told me that you should have told me at the time, right? No. A lot of people were telling me, but I was just like, nah, this, I could do it. Trust me, this is going to be great. It wasn’t great. Right. And I lost a ton of money, like a ridiculous amount of money on it. Um, but what was so interesting about that failure was as soon as that ended and I paid off the debts, I was like, Oh wow, I’m still like alive. Like I’m still around. Like I can still do this. And it just made me so much more bold that, you know, my former organization, I built a whole wing. That was just special events and team building, where we worked with like the top fortune 500 companies.
Jeff Harry (34:55):
And it was just because I just didn’t care anymore. I was just like, I failed miserably that I can just reach out to anybody. I remember watching a Marvel movie and seeing the VP of creative services on the scroll. And I reached out to them that day and they got back to me and I was like, this is, this is easy. I didn’t realize how easy this is. So I think a lot of times we limit ourselves. We’re like, well, I can never do that. Right. But I challenged people like one of the best ways in which to play is for you to first calm yourself down, figure out like, is that taking a shower? Whatever it is, calm yourself down, get bored. Right. Where you, what I mean by that is block out social media and, um, Netflix just for like a hours so that you’re not being inundated by all this information, because that information prevents you from creating.
Jeff Harry (35:43):
Right. And then finally, when you get to a board place, because think about it when you were a kid, that’s when you had your best ideas, when you were bored, right. You start to strengthen that intuition muscle because you start to listen to that inner curiosity, that inner child, and it’s going to start to whisper crazy ideas to you. And you know, they’re going to be good because they’re both exciting. Right. They’re both exciting. And they’re also a little scary. Right. And when those come up for you, then you’re like, Ooh, let me see if I can try this at work. And then you follow that curiosity and it’s going to take you to someplace you didn’t, you had never planned.
Jim Rembach (36:20):
So when I start thinking about the work that you’ve been doing and the work that you’re doing now, us being in remote and having whatever this new reality is going to be, as we start getting, um, you know, hopefully all, you know, uh, vaccinated, um, to me, I call it the COVID era or I call it the, um, the pandemic era. It’s going to be okay. We got past this one. What’s the next one. So anyway, because of that, I think we’re going to have, you know, a whole lot of hybrid work, but look, give us, give us some insight into what one of your goals is.
Jeff Harry (36:50):
One of my goals for coming out in 20, 21
Jim Rembach (36:54):
Or your organization, where do you want to go with it? Yeah.
Jeff Harry (36:56):
So I mean, what I do, a lot of my stuff is about, you know, helping teams have hard conversations, right? Because I feel like we, if, if you can’t have a hard conversation, the company can’t grow and, and you talk, they talk a lot about this, you know, and they’ve done a lot of studies with Google because it’s such a large organization. And they find that the teams that are, have the most psychologically safe work environments, where people are sharing, where, where either you can talk to the boss, even if you’re not on the same level, right. Those are the teams that thrive. Right. So I help a lot of companies navigate, you know, dealing with toxicity at work. How do you, how do you talk about racism? How do you talk about office politics? How do you deal with your inner critic, how to get your staff and flow those things.
Jeff Harry (37:45):
So for 2021, I want to be facilitating more of those hard conversations, especially post pandemic, because I think there’s a lot, also a lot of tension because of like politics and things like that. But even in that, in that state, we should be able to still have a civilized conversation with people, even if we don’t agree. And, and we don’t have any examples of that. Like you watch any news and it’s just, it’s just arguing the whole time. And then we model that at our meetings, right. Where we’re just like, well, I want to win. It’s all about winning. You know, you know, America, it’s all winning all the time, but you can’t win together if you’re competing against each other. So, so there’s so many companies that are going to be struggling with this idea of how do I provide more compassion to my staff, which, which then will in turn be like, how do I provide that same level of compassion towards my customers? Right. You know, we have to think about what we’re doing to create these psychologically safe spaces for staff to feel like they can actually take risks so they can figure out new ways to connect with their customers.
Speaker 4 (38:55):
And the fast leader, Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly to Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh, now, okay. Jeff, the hump they hold on is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions. Your job is to give us robust it rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jeff, Harry, are you ready to down? I’m ready for the hoedown holding you back from being an even better leader today,
Jeff Harry (39:51):
Recognizing my next BS thing that I’m telling myself, right? So the next BS thing is, is, you know, I I’ve, I’ve probably been on maybe 90 podcasts in the last seven, eight months. Um, so I’ve done a lot, but there are certain podcasts that I’m kind of intimidated to apply to. So I’m like, Oh, should I be able to do those? So I’m trying to get over that hump of my own imposter syndrome to be like, all right, I can do this. It’s the same, it’s the same technique I’ve been doing. It’s just with new people. So that’s one of the things I’m trying to get over.
Speaker 4 (40:25):
And what is the best leadership advice you have ever received,
Jeff Harry (40:28):
Or, um, organize yourself out of a job. You should be. You should be constantly trying to empower your staff to become better leaders than you were. And if you’re concerned that like, what if I do that, then I’ll lose my job. No, you won’t. Because by empowering all of these new leaders in the organization, not only are you building a farm system of people that are going to help grow this organization, but you’re going to get rewarded for doing this the opposite. What a lot of leaders do now is they’re so worried about losing their job, that they’re tamping down all the creativity and all the leadership potential of their staff, and then those staff leave. And really have to think that we have to organize yourself out of a job because then you’ll get the next best job.
Speaker 4 (41:17):
And what is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Jeff Harry (41:21):
One of my best tools, um, is pro positively priming my day. So I start my day by creating a Tik TOK video, which again has no ROI value or productivity, but it actually positively primes my day to see the rest of the day as play. And we have to really think about what are we doing in our given day? When, when someone tells me they have a bad day, I challenged them that what they had based off positive psychology is you had a bad moment. And then you ruminated about that bad moment, a thousand times over because thoughts only lasts between nine seconds and 90 seconds. And then we prime ourselves look for the next bad moment. But by simply asking yourself the question that my friend Deseret taught me, how can it get any better than this? So I start my day with a tick tock. Ooh, how can it get any better than this? Oh no, I’m on this fast leader podcast. How can it get any better than this? Or I get to brainstorm with a friend of mine in a moment, how can I get any better than this? You know, and we start stacking positive priming moments. You can totally change your day as well as change your productivity and eventually change your life.
Jim Rembach (42:27):
And what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion? And it could be from any genre.
Jeff Harry (42:32):
Um, I would recommend the big leap from gay Hendricks, where he talks about self-sabotage, which we do a lot. And we do that a lot of companies and also talks about your zone of genius. And how do you tap into the thing that makes you come alive? Because as Howard Thurman says, don’t ask what the world needs ask what makes you come alive because what the world needs is for more people to come alive.
Jim Rembach (42:55):
Okay. Fast, literally. And you can find links to that. And another bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net and searching for Jeff Harry. Okay. Jeff, this is my last Humpday. Hold on question. Imagine you have been given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take the bills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why
Jeff Harry (43:17):
I would take back the skill of not caring? What other people think that probably is the biggest one, because we spend so much of our time trying to impress others, almost like we’re back in high school. And a Viola Davis says, you know, you either with every decision you make, you either claim who you are or you end up chasing your worth for the rest of your life. And then when I was 25 years old, I was probably chasing my worth. But the quicker I was able to claim who I am, the quicker, I was able to find the best job for me to do the best work and eventually to build this organization.
Jim Rembach (43:56):
Yeah. If I had fun with you today, can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you?
Jeff Harry (44:01):
Absolutely. Just simply go to rediscover your play.com. Click on the let’s play button. I have a bunch of play experiments you can do at your organization, but you can hop on a call with me and we can figure out how to help you kick in this world. So you could connect more with your customers,
Jim Rembach (44:16):
Jeff Herring, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and helping the fast leader, Legion, move onward and upward faster, and getting over the hump.