page title icon 151: Shawn Vij: I began to distance myself from my core values

Shawn Vij Show Notes Page

Shawn Vij was just out of business school and he was given the responsibility of the accounting for a project. He spotted something shady in the books and began to ask questions. He must have asked too many questions because his boss terminated him. That’s when Shawn’s outlook took a turn for the worst.

Shawn was born and raised in the metro Detroit area. He is the oldest of three with a younger sister and brother.

His father worked as engineer for Ford, for many years and is now enjoying his pension. His father was a part-time professor as well and his mother raised three children.

His parents moved to the United States from India in 1968, looking for a better life for themselves as well as family. Shawn grew up in a very segregated area, and we faced lots of racism in the Detroit area.

He found myself in lots of fights growing up. Despite this, his family was influential in focusing on an education as the key to getting out of living in these areas. His Indian culture was influential as well, but it also became overbearing at times. Such as the idea that you must be a doctor, marry an Indian princess and make lots of money. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way that happiness does not equate to the CULTURAL HINGES.

At the age of 29, Shawn left the mid-west and moved to San Francisco during the dotcom boom, and then to Seattle where he’s lived since 2005.

Shawn is an accomplished business leader who has over 25 years of Industry and Consulting experience. He has worked in various leadership positions for Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, VISA, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft, and Intel Corporation. He holds an MBA from Purdue University, an MS in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and is the author of Moral Fiber: Awakening Corporate Consciousness.

He currently lives just East of Seattle with his daughter and reddish Labrador where he enjoys writing, wine, coffee and cooking.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @shawnvij to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“If you’re unethical in the practice and play, what good does it do for anybody?” Click to Tweet 

“I believe in the bottom line, but how we do it is so critical.” Click to Tweet 

“The world is becoming smaller, and you’re seeing the diversity skillset within companies.” Click to Tweet  

“The four diseases of corporate suffering are deception, detraction, doubt, and discrimination.” Click to Tweet 

“Every day you’re not going to be happy at work.” Click to Tweet 

“We’re dealing with human beings and how you navigate through that.” Click to Tweet 

“We’ve all had that terrible boss.” Click to Tweet 

“With fear and the unknown, it’s very hard to make a stand at times.” Click to Tweet 

“We cage ourselves to things that we think are going to make us happy.” Click to Tweet 

“We need to trust ourselves more.” Click to Tweet 

“Walk into the unknown, don’t be fearful, it will be okay.” Click to Tweet  

“In the suffering, you will find the inner strength.” Click to Tweet  

“When you see something that’s wrong, either say something or just leave.” Click to Tweet  

“If you see something that’s going wrong – be direct, be transparent, be timely, and be calm.” Click to Tweet  

“Humanity plays a big role and business is always is always personal.” Click to Tweet 

“I believe in making money, but you shouldn’t have to suffer for it.” Click to Tweet  

“Everybody should have the same equal right to work, make money, and do well.” Click to Tweet 

“Raise the human condition through conscious capitalism.” Click to Tweet 

“Take the best quality from everyone you meet.” Click to Tweet  

“Take the time to know yourself and love yourself.” Click to Tweet  

“Take accountability for your own action.” Click to Tweet  

“When you’re true to yourself doors just seem to open.” Click to Tweet  

Hump to Get Over

Shawn Vij was just out of business school and he was given the responsibility of the accounting for a project. He spotted something shady in the books and began to ask questions. He must have asked too many questions because his boss terminated him. That’s when Shawn’s outlook took a turn for the worst.

Advice for others

Be true to yourself. We lie to ourselves every day. Take the time to know yourself and love yourself.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Take more risk. When we get comfortable we get complacent.

Best Leadership Advice

Take the best quality from everyone you meet.

Secret to Success

Hussle. When you fall down you need to get up.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Wisdom, awareness, taking all of the vantage points.

Recommended Reading

Moral Fiber: Awakening Corporate Consciousness

The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

The Art of Happiness at Work

Contacting Shawn Vij

Email: shawnvij [at] moralfiber.world

website: http://www.moralfiber.world

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnvij/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shawnvij

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shawnvij.moralfiber

Resources and Show Mentions

Developing a Better Place to Work

Increase Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture

Empathy Mapping

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

151: Shawn Vij: I began to distance myself from my core values

Intro:    Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more. 

 Jim Rembach:     Okay Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I get the opportunity to talk about something that’s been nagging me for quite a while with somebody who can give me the answer. Shawn Vij, was born and raised in the metro Detroit area. He is the oldest of three with a younger sister and brother, Sue and Dave. His father worked as an engineer for Ford for many years and is now enjoying his pension. His father was a part-time professor as well as his mother raised three children. His parents moved to the United States from India in 1968 looking for a better life for themselves as well as fily. Shawn grew up in a very segregated area and was faced with a lot of racism in the Detroit area. He found himself in lots of fights growing up but despite this his fily was influential and focusing on in education as the key to getting out of living in these areas. His Indian culture was influential as well but it also it also bece overbearing at times, such as the idea that you must be a doctor and marry an Indian princess and make lots of money. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way that happiness does not equate to the cultural hinges. 

 

At the age of 29, Shawn left the Midwest and moved to San Francisco during the dot.com boom and then to Seattle where he’s lived since 2005. Shawn is an accomplished business leader who has over 25 years of industry and consulting experience. He’s worked in various leadership positions for Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, Visa, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft and Intel Corporation. He holds an MBA from Purdue University. A master’s in engineering from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and is the author of Moral Fiber–Awakening Corporate Consciousness. He currently lives just east of Seattle with his daughter and a reddish Labrador where he enjoys writing, wine, coffee and cooking. Shawn Vij, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Shawn Vij: I think so. I hope so.

 

 Jim Rembach:   I’m sure you are. But, I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better.

 

Shawn Vij: Sure, Jim and personal thanks for having me on I really appreciate it. My current passion I would say has to be being a father. I do have a 14 year-old daughter, and most fathers they love their children and I think the passion there is I don’t teach her what to think but I’m learning on teaching her how to think on her own, if you will, really kind of have her learn from my everyday actions if you will. Be compassionate, be caring, help others, and most of all stand up for what you believe and what is right. It just takes me back when I see the stuff that she’s going through in high school and seeing all the—it’s different, it’s just but it’s different. Se nuances the se bullying all of that stuff it’s that in different approach. But what I believe in is living your values and having the courage to never back down. And that’s what I try to instill in her and everybody around her and her friends. And so that’s my current passion, that’s my current passion.

 

 Jim Rembach:   That resonate so much with me because I have 14-year old daughter. I grew up in the Chicago area an area where even though I’m white I was a minority so a lot of the fights and a lot of the standing up for your morals despite what was going on around you was an important thing and oftentimes I didn’t do that I succumbed to the peer pressure’s and the social influences like so many kids do today. Like you said some of these things are just so much the se yet somewhat different. I don’t know about you but with my daughter when I try to share with her the things that I’ve experienced and some of those se core fundamental things I’m still just—“dad” 

 

Shawn Vij: Yeah, yeah, totally. And that’s a great feeling and so I just love that. I don’t know how you feel about your daughter but like now it’s like—I guess she’s at the teenage—I feel like an Uber driver sometimes. It’s one of those—drop me off at the mall dad, pick me up but don’t come in here, but they still love you, it’s a great feeling. You adapt to it and you give them the room to grow and that’s what I’m learning too. At the early age they’re more dependent and so now it’s about how do we start gaining that independence in a very confident way and so that’s something I try to instill. It’s actually learning for me, this passion is a learning for me. I love being a student of life and a student of all these things that happen and so I think raising children is just amazing it’s a great, great learning experience for myself.

 

 Jim Rembach:    What we’re really talking about here may not seem like it’s important to the workplace or to organizations and corporations and governments for that matter but it is. We often find that a lot of kids aren’t getting some of these things that we’re giving ours and then they’re making it as the workplace. Many of them have actually come many generations before and created a lot of the problems that we currently have in existence. And so the thing that’s been nagging me so long that I think your book and looking through it and the things that you’re addressing maybe you have some insight that you can share but a neighbor of mine was a long time Dean of a Business School and I was talking to him about ethics and morality and he stops me and he says, you know what? Corporations don’t care about ethics, he goes, they don’t feel that it actually makes them any money.

 

Shawn Vij: It depends on the corporation. I don’t want to make a blanket statement or an ignorant statement but it just depends. It depends on certain companies that I’m gravitating now having written this book and changing myself and the way I think, I’m starting to gravitate to companies that do. Now granted companies are there for the bottom line, right? So the companies are like—look, I’m a capitalist, I’m a pure capitalist but I’m a conscious capitalist and if you go back and you look at Adam Smith and you see how capitalism is defined they do talk about boundaries and so that’s what I mean by conscious capitalism. I believe in free trade. I believe in these things but doing it the right way. It’s like a match, a football game, if we’re unethical in the practice in the play, what good does that do for anybody? My point is this—I believe in the competition I believe in the bottom line but how we do it is so critical in what we do. You’re starting to see companies understand that more especially the world is becoming smaller. The world is becoming smaller and you’re seeing a diversity skill set within the companies and within their customer base and therefore that community drives the culture and the behavior of the company. As millennial come in and they stand for these things outside of just profits but people that becomes a shared value. You’re starting to see companies gravitate to that because I would say inherently they are interested in the bottom line but they’re saying, “Well, okay let’s see these customers our employees care about this we can still get the bottom line.” I agree with the professor but I think how they’re going about it is in a more tactful human way now. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I think that’s a really interesting point. In your book you talk about corporate suffering and you talk about these four diseases associated with corporate suffering, share those with us. 

 

Shawn Vij: You have what I call deception, detraction, doubt, discrimination—I’m not going to define them all I think they’re pretty self-explanatory—but I categorize these in a way to share the outcomes of what I call the four D’s in a company but where they come from is where we need to get to. What I mean is that—having studied a lot about Buddhism and after meeting the Dalai La I started doing that, I just started exploring that. I started seeing that in Buddhism they talk about the three poisons, and they talk about it a lot in their literature, anger, greed and ignorance and they talk about it at the individual level. I believe just trying to connect the dots, I started seeing that—gosh, these three things they’re derivatives, they’re mixed cocktail poisonous cocktail. And as we build on that they drive those four behaviors, those four D’s if you will. And I talked about that in the book and I go into it a little bit more and I get surgical on how do we—and then I talk about how do we manage those emotions, how do we manage those behaviors.

 

Jim Rembach:     One of the things when you start talking about those four diseases you start getting into how individuals also start having issues with these if it does not align with them internally. And in the book at the very beginning you talk about that this book is actually made for the following people—those who feel trapped in their job, those that are focused to compromise their values at the office, those who agonize over becoming someone they are not, those who are bushed in corporate politics cast aside, those who seek to be conscious change agents at the office and those who seek a greater purpose in their professional lives. So, I have to ask, if you’re not one of those what are you?

 

Shawn Vij: If you’re not one of those you’re extremely happy. You’re right everybody has some of that and so I would say this book is for a lot of people and it’s the degree of it. Look, every day you’re not going to be happy at work, every day we’re dealing with human beings and how you navigate through that and some environments are more toxic than others we’ve all been there and we’ve all had that terrible boss, there’s movies made about a terrible boss–we’ve all been through that but how you deal with it how you manage that is what I talk about. How do you go about that? How do you handle a very toxic environment? You’re right, I think it applies to a lot of people. Not just at work also at home as well and in personal lives.

 

Jim Rembach:     As you were talking I also started thinking about being leader of other people that I happen to identify with the people who this book is for yet I’m feeling that pressure and I have to buffer, I have to that deflector. How does someone actually—when they’re kind of feeling stuck in that situation and knowing that they don’t want to disseminate or affect or impact all of their reports how can they not do that?

 

Shawn Vij: I talked about it—the most important thing—there’s a lot of organizations and I’ve been in a lot of them and I’ve consulted with a lot of them where they’re driven by fear and that’s not a healthy way. Yeah, it gets to the bottom line and so with that fear, that anxiety, the unknown. It’s very hard to make a stand at times because we also have a tendency—we cage ourselves to things that we think that are going to make us happy like buying that car buying that house and we become dependent on the job and so we start to lose sight of what’s important and so the job we the job shackles us. We are so dependent on that now and we’re so fearful, if you’re in a fearful environment, and the last thing you want to do is make a stand on what you think is right or listening to your inner voice because you’re fearful of losing everything that you’ve caged yourself with and so that takes courage. So, I truly believe that the toughest thing about human beings—children, we just talk about children—we need to trust ourselves more human beings are very resilient., it’s amazing. If you look at all the success stories a lot of people they’ve lost their jobs and they’ve started huge companies. I guess what I’m saying is walk into the unknown, don’t be fearful it’ll be okay in fact you will be stronger. What I talked about is in the suffering you will find that inner strength that is the key and that allows you to build courage and strength to make the decisions, If you see something that’s wrong you can either—I guess I’m getting pretty deep and in your question, but when you see something that’s wrong either say something make a choice or just leave you’ll find something else. Companies don’t own you it’s at will employment and you can play that on them as well it goes both ways. I’m not saying you wanted you to do that, you want to be tactful you could do it either really good. In my book I interviewed the head HR for Starbucks and she had told me some really good advice and I’ve seen her in action actually. I’ve seen her talk to executives she’s say’s, as long as we’re so fearful of we see something that’s going wrong be direct be transparent be timely and be calm, it was very thought-provoking because I started acting on that. It’s so funny we actually put our own curtains up. You’ll be amazed the recipient tends to be more open about it and they respect you more for that, they appreciate you more–a good leader not looking for the yes woman or yes man, if you will. And you know what? If they respect you for it then you’re in a good environment. And if they don’t then you need to leave. If you’re yelling and screaming you shouldn’t do that that’s not the right way to do it or either right. Like she said, be respectful, be timely, be transparent, be honest and that usually works.

 

Jim Rembach:    I think that’s a very good point. In this book and even the way you started the book—talking about meeting the Dalai La and the impact that that had on you, gosh! I can imagine that there’s a lot of quotes that you have that can all learn from and gain some insight from and have some energy from. Is there one or two that you can share with us?

 

Shawn Vij: I haven’t an epigraph that I’ll lead that one alone, that’s a powerful quote, but the quote that hits me the most and kind of inspired me to write this is from the Dalai La. He says, “In my own experience the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period of one’s life. Through a difficult period, he says, you can learn, you can develop inner strength, determination and courage to face the problem. And he says, “Who gives you this chance? Your enemy.” And what’s powerful is he told me this, our greatest enemy is ourselves. Obviously you can learn from your enemy, he’s talking about the Chinese, but he’s also talking about ourselves, our inner selves. When I talked about the anger, the greed, ignorance in finding that balance that to me was a powerful quote. 

 

Jim Rembach:     You even end your book as far as that is concerned and you come back full circle and being true to yourself and that’s how you ended it. I know even when you were starting to talk about the opening of the book and your own trials and tribulations and meeting him, there’s humps that we have to get over. And you talk about one big one and at the beginning of the book, but is there one that you can share that we can learn from?

 

Shawn Vij: I think the biggest one, like you mention—I appreciate the introduction—I’ve worked 25 years in industry in various capacities in consulting and all the way from working at the Rouge at Henry Ford’s—I work on the line. I started working on line and then I ran multi-billion dollar relationships for Microsoft. I’ve had the opportunity to work across various capacities but I think the biggest hump or the biggest learning I learned was—I started to lose myself, I would say early on. Early on in my career I started to—what some people call ethical fading or psychic numbing where I began to distance myself from my core values and I let the successive greed take over and these toxic environments take over. What happened was I had an old boss and this old boss, I found something that was shady in the books. I was new and I was just out of business school and I was like, hey, I don’t know this doesn’t seem right and it just didn’t feel and it just doesn’t sit well. I won’t get into the details but the accounting practice there was something going on and I was hired to do something else but yet she was making me the accountant for this project. I was wondering why and I was kind of like, wow this is what you call the guinea pig or the scapegoat. And so you realize later on—so to make the long story short, I started asking. I started asking a lot of people in the different hallways and they didn’t like that so she let me go and took me into an office and I walked through the experience in the book. The thing that got to me, the biggest hump—the thing that hit me was that—she says to me as she was tearing she says to me, this is business it’s not personal. I truly believed at that point business was just business and so I started to take that on. I guess what I’m trying to say is I learned really the hard way. We make compromises every day at every level of the company. I truly believe—we’re human beings and companies are made up of humans. I believe people are company’s greatest asset so I truly believe that humanity plays a big role and it’s always personal and that’s the difference. If you take that approach then I think you can approach business in a different way—in a human way.

 

Jim Rembach:     When you start talking about the experiences that you’ve had, the work that you’ve been doing, the companies that you’re working with writing of this book, your daughter—you have a lot of things going on but if you were to say you had one goal, what would it be?

 

Shawn Vij: I’m tired of watching countless people suffering and compromising the values for the sake of a dollar. I believe in making money but you shouldn’t have to suffer for it. I wanted to help people be more successful without feeling trapped in toxic environments. I truly believe we can raise a consciousness at work which leads to greater productivity by raising what I would say the human condition to conscious capitalism. So that to me is a big goal—how do we raise the human condition. Everybody has the right. I believe in capitalism but I believe it needs to be fair in the sense that if you work at it everybody should have the same equal right to work and make money and do well. But if you don’t, that’s on you but you should at least have the right to do that, that’s why I believe in this. When companies are excessively greedy and they shut that out and only them benefiting from it. I guess what I’m saying is that—for example, micro-financing, providing people in third world countries the opportunity to make money and do good with it. And so, that to me is one of the biggest goals—is to raise the human condition through conscious capitalism. I’ve been working with folks—look at companies like John Mackey and Whole Foods, you see this conscious capitalism movement it’s a good thing.

 

Jim Rembach:     And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

 

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Jim Rembach:     Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Shawn, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Shawn Vij, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Shawn Vij: I’m ready to hoedown. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Shawn Vij: Taking more risks. We need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and when we get comfortable we get complacent. So jump in the pool make sure there’s water there be calculated and learn how to swim. 

 

Shawn Vij: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Shawn Vij: Take the best from everyone. What I by that is take the best quality from everyone you meet. There’s no rocket science not all people are perfect but we know what’s good and bad, so take the best.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Shawn Vij: Hustle. I’m from Detroit, true Detroit grit. I don’t quit ever. When you fall down you need to get back up. I like being that underdog with a purpose not just to complain but to truly have an impact. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Shawn Vij: Wisdom, awareness, taking all the vantage points. I never used to do that so now I do. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book that you’d recommend for our listeners and it could be from any genre? Of course we’re going to put a link to Moral Fiber-Awakening Corporate Consciousness on your show notes page as well.

 

Shawn Vij: Alright, I guess the book that I really truly enjoy and I’ve worked with him a lot, the book is called The Art of Happiness by Howard Cutler and he’s also done one—The Art of Happiness at Work. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay Fast Leader legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Shawn Vij. Okay, Shawn this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you. But you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or a piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Shawn Vij: That’s a good question. The one skill I would take back is to be true to yourself. Never lie to yourself. Never lie to ourselves every day, we lie to ourselves every day and it’s just the degree of it. Take the time to know yourself and love yourself but also at the same time take accountability for your own action. Listen to that inner voice. Do what’s right. I truly believe life is a full-circle and Karma does exist. When you’re true to yourself it amazing doors just seem to open.

 

Jim Rembach:     Shawn, it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?

 

Shawn Vij: They can reach me out at www.moralfiber.world, I’m also on Facebook 

 

Jim Rembach:     Shawn Vij, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO