072: Susan Fowler: This is a chance for me to live my values

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072: Susan Fowler: This is a chance for me to live my values

Susan Fowler Show Notes

Susan Fowler has a career that requires a lot of travel. But travel had become a pain in the neck and getting through security raised Susan’s tension and stress. Then Susan realized she had an opportunity to live her values. Listen to her story of how she aligned with her values so it can help you to move onward and upward faster.

Susan was born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma and Raised in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of four children.

Susan discovered the power of teaching at an early age when her sister, Terri, was born with spina bifida, paralyzed from the waist down and retarded from water on the brain. Doctors explained that if Terri lived, she would never have the mentality beyond that of a 3 year old.

Terri did live and Susan couldn’t help but notice a spark in her sister’s bright blue eyes. Defying the doctors’ diagnoses, Susan used rather innovative techniques, to teach her sister to read and write. Terri became the first handicapped child integrated into the Colorado school system. Doctors asked her parents: How did Terri learn to read and write? Their answer: Our 12-year-old daughter, Susan.

Susan has never stopped teaching—or leaning. Her motto is “I teach what I most need to learn.” She is the lead developer of product lines taught globally to tens of thousands of people through the Ken Blanchard Companies, including Situational Self Leadership and Optimal Motivation.

Susan is the author of six books, including the bestselling Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager with Ken Blanchard and her newest bestseller Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… And What Does.

Susan lives and works with her husband, Drea Zigarmi, in sunny San Diego where she is also an adjunct professor in the University of San Diego’s Masters of Science in Executive Leadership program and a rotating board member of Angel Faces, a nonprofit group dedicated to teaching adolescent girls how to cope with transfiguring burns and trauma.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

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

“What’s the penny you want to leave the world?” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet

“If people understood the nature of their own motivation, it would transform their lives.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“It is our basic human nature to thrive.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Nobody wants to be bored and disengaged.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“People want to make a meaningful contribution.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“We all want to grow and learn every day.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“We assume without incentives or rewards that people won’t do what there’re asked to do.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“What is it that promotes thriving and what is it that erodes thriving?” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Suboptimal motivation is what erodes people’s natural ability to thrive.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“We know how to promote thriving through our psychological needs.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Things that people think they have been motivated by are eroding the things they need to thrive.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“There’s an entire industry devoted to providing junk food motivation to workers.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“It’s important to do the right things for the right reasons.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“If you ask, is a person motivated? It’s the wrong question.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“People are always motivated. The questions is, why are they?” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Not all motivation is created equal.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“When it comes to motivation, the reason is what matters most.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Whenever you feel tension you are in a suboptimal motivational outlook.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet

“We are never going to love everything we do.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“We’re never going to have passion for everything we do.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Try to make a difference in someone’s life every day.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“I got a wonderful opportunity to live my purpose every single day.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Leadership is from the inside out; it’s got to be about the people you lead.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

“Care more about how people are feeling as a result of your presence.” -Susan Fowler Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Susan Fowler has a career that requires a lot of travel. But travel had become a pain in the neck and getting through security raised Susan’s tension and stress. Then Susan realized she had an opportunity to live her values. Listen to her story of how she aligned with her values so it can help you to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

When it comes to motivation, the reason is what matters most.”

Holding her back from being an even better leader

I judge too much. Myself and others.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Make sure you are prepared for leadership. Leadership is from the inside out. It can’t be about your needs, it’s got to be about the needs of the people you lead.

Secret to Success

Have a deeply felt sense of purpose.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

I can talk really fast.

Recommended Reading

Man’s Search for Meaning

Contacting Susan

Website: http://susanfowler.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-fowler-955a174

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fowlersusann

Resources

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work . . . and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging

Creating an even better place to work

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.


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Show Transcript: 

072: Susan Fowler: This is a chance for me to live my values

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

 

An even better place to work is an easiest solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement unleash of skills in everyone. Using this this award winning solution’s guarantee to create motivated, productive and loyal employees who have great work relationships with their colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work, visit beyongmorale.com/better.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay Fast leader Legion today I am just so thrilled because I have the opportunity to share with you somebody who has written one of really my top 10 reads of all time. Susan Fowler was born in Enid, Oklahoma and raised in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of four children. Susan discover the power of teaching at an early age when her sister Terry was born with spina bifida, paralyzed from the waist down and retarded from water on the brain. Doctors explained if Terry live she would never have the mentality beyond the age of a three-year-old. Terry lived and Susan couldn’t help but notice a spark in her sister’s bright blue eyes. Defying the doctor’s diagnosis Susan used rather innovative techniques to teach her sister how to read and write. When Terry became the first handicapped child integrated into the Colorado school system doctors asked her parents how did Terry learn to read and write? Their answer, our 12-year-old daughter Susan.

 

Susan has never stopped teaching or learning. Her motto is: I teach what I most need to learn. She is the lead developer of product lines taught globally tens of thousands of people through the Ken Blanchard companies including Situational Self Leadership and Optimal Motivation. Susan is the author of six books including the best-selling self-leadership and the One Minute Manager with Ken Blanchard and her newest bestseller Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work and What Does? And I’m telling you this has to be your Amazon five-star review. Susan lives and works with her husband Drea Zigarmi in sunny San Diego where she is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego’s Masters of Science and Executive Leadership Program and a rotating board member of Angel Faces a nonprofit group dedicated to teaching adolescent girls how to cope with transfiguring burns and trauma. Susan Fowler, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Susan Fowler:     I am. I think I never felt better about myself in listening to you read that bio. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Oh, you’re too much. 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.

Susan Fowler:    You know Jim a number of years ago my husband asked me, Susan what’s the penny you want to leave the world? And I was really deep in a research around motivation and I have been, as you said the lead developer of a self-leadership for the Ken Blanchard companies, and I realized that the research on motivation was so compelling and really makes a difference in people’s lives and I said, You know, I want to be the person that takes the research around motivation and makes it accessible for the greatest number of people because I honestly believe that if people understood that nature of their own motivation I will transform their lives. So in that moment he helped me catalyzed my life purpose which is to be a catalyst for good but through the science of motivation. And so he says now too—once I got my hammer everything’s a nail, I look at everything through that prism of motivation. What’s compelling people? What are their values and how was what they’re doing related to what I’ve learned through the science of motivation? And it’s so exciting, it’s really fun. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay Susan, thanks for sharing that. You talk about passion and connection and all of those things and I think that’s kind of one that had done it for me. I actually purchase your book on Kindle and I had to get the hardcopy too because for me I’m like, I want to annotate on lower place and I’m not an expert annotator on my kindle yet—I don’t know if I ever will. But I was just like—this had so much impact and meaning to me and so different in so many different ways. One of the things I found really compelling is when you start looking at optimal motivation and how as you continue past it there’s kind of a point where it doesn’t become as optimal. Help me understand that a little bit better? 

 

Susan Fowler:     Well, if I could start with the basic premise—the basic premise that I think is one of the great discoveries in motivation science is that it is our basic human nature to thrive. In other words nobody want to be bored and disengaged. People want to make a meaningful contribution they even appreciate a challenge and we all want to grow and learn every day. All of that is actually the antithesis of the way we treat people in the workplace especially. We kind of assume that without incentives or rewards or bride people won’t do what they’re asked to do, that they’re basically are lazy until you give them something to motivate them. So if we start with a different premise and the premise is that people by nature want to thrive. Then we ask what is that promote thriving and what is it that erodes thriving? And what we call suboptimum motivation is what we have discovered erodes people’s natural ability to thrive. And so we are motivated by rewards, incentives, bribes, power, status, image, peer pressure, tension, guilt, shame, disinterest, overwhelmed, when were motivated in those ways, those are considered suboptimal because they actually erode what I think is the most extraordinary finding in motivation science and that is we know how to promote thriving through our psychological needs. So all of those things that people think had been motivated by are actually eroding the very things they need in order to thrive. 

 

It does and for those that who haven’t had the opportunity to read the book that are listening, I said you’ve got to have this book, for me it’s going to be a desk reference for many years. You talked about junk food, and many of the things that I see organizations doing in regards employee engagement as well as customer engagement for that matter, are really those junk food items that quite frankly, they spend millions if not billions on, and there’s some pretty large companies who are providing products and services to fit that need, so it’s kind of like without getting into the brand names of fast food, it’s kind of like they’re just feeding the junk food problem and everybody’s getting obese to so speak and not being able to engage their employees. What does the company do? There’s a whole, as you said, an entire industry devoted to providing junk food motivation to workers and that’s a tough thing. So that is why I think it’s up to every leader who I helped or has read the book to say—what do I do with the people I lead to help them maneuver in a workplace, in an environment that is pretty much dedicated to unhealthy ways of motivating people. And the smarter organizations get, and I have to tell you, I am starting to work with some really smart organizations and at the very top levels are changing the culture. 

 

I was just in Miami last week, I won’t name names because I’ve signed a nondisclosure agreement, but it’s a major financial institution that I wasn’t sure I wanted to work with because of a reputation was built during the horrible economic crisis and is actually named in that movie, The Big Short in Michael Lewis’s book. So I went to New York City and I met with the CEO and he read my book three times and he was dedicated to changing the culture of this organization and I asked him why. And he said because it’s important for us to do the right thing for the right reasons. Not because the government is coming down on us, not because we have to do it by law in the near future but because it’s the right thing to do. And for that reason I signed on to work with them and I just met with 200 of their top level executives and we talked about changing the culture so that people are not in the financial industry just for financial gain and to make a buck and just charge a higher fees as they possibly can but to focus on what gives them their joy which is helping people become self-sufficient, help them have retirements and they are able to put their kids to college, it was so refreshing Jim. So I do feel like there’s companies that are willing to take a stand, leaders who are willing to start to back the system. But I think where were really going to make headway is with individual leaders who are willing to have conversations with their people and talk to them about their motivation and why they’re motivated.

 

Jim Rembach:    And that is very inspirational to me and if I can help with that in any way and hopefully this show will help do just that and created that awareness I am excited to be able to do that because I’m right there with you, I’m part of your legion. 

 

Susan Fowler:    Thank you Jim.

 

Jim Rembach:    You’re welcome. Okay so, gosh, this journey that you’ve been through and what has come to be able to produce this book, now the work you even adeep part of that, I mean there’s just so many inspirational stories that we can use in order to grow that bigger platform and awareness and we use quotes on the show to kind of help us from an inspirational perspective, is there a quote or two that stands out for you that you can share with us?

 

Susan Fowler:     I think, and I’m not even sure and this may have come after I wrote the book, one of the beautiful things about writing a book and then speaking and training and doing all this is that you start to really get to the other side of complexity in a different way. In the book what we say is that if a person is motivated it’s the wrong question, the question is why. People are always motivated, the question is why they’re motivated because not all motivation is created equal. So I think that my quote today is, if I can remember, when it comes to motivation the reason for your motivation is what matters most. So everybody is motivated the question is why, what is the reason and some reasons are higher quality than other reasons. And when I say high quality what I mean by that is that you’ll have later sustained energy, you will produce higher quality, you will have a greater sense of physical and mental well-being, that you will be able to sustain that positive energy overtime and be a greater role model for other people. So the reason for your motivation is what matters most. 

 

Jim Rembach:     And talking about that, in order for us to be able to find what our motivation is isn’t always an easy task and so many times we have to get over a hump or two in order to be able to really  hone in or identify what our true real motivations are. Is there a time where you can think about where you’ve had to get over the hump and it helped redefine your motivations?

 

Susan Fowler:     Every single day. I have one of those hump experiences a while back. Jim I think that I’m really lucky, I don’t know if you can call it luck but I’ve really designed my career around what I love to do. So I love to talk to people, I love to learn, I love to teach and along with that goes a lot of travel. And anyone who travels knows that today it’s not like it used to be and it’s a pain in the neck. I don’t know if you know the singer songwriter Dan Fogelberg, he was somebody I met when I was at the University of Colorado many, many years ago, and in one of his songs, Same Old Lang Syne, he has this line, the audiences are heavenly but the travel is hell. And I could really, really relate to that, I was standing in line—I don’t stand in line I’m not kind of person my personality is I will look to see which line is shortest and I’m going to get in that shortest line and I’m going to get through the fastest and everything I do is I make sure that I’m not getting in a line that has families, and forgive me for this, but men because men don’t carry purses and so they’re taking everything out their pockets and will take their belts off it takes them forever to get through security. So, I’m like in the shortest line and getting really uptight and really frustrated and then I thought, “Gosh, Susan, this is exactly what you have written about what you talked about all the time, whenever you’re feeling this tension and this pressure you’re in suboptimal motivation outlook so you should do something different.” And I said, “Okay, this is a chance for me to live my values.” What are my values? And I thought, “Okay, I have a value around learning and being patient, so okay, patience is a good thing. What can I learn about myself? 

 

So, anyway, I went to this whole inner talk thing and I said, “Okay, Susan, get in the longest line. So I found the line that had a family in it and I get in line, they have a toddler, a new born, and all the paraphernalia that you can possibly imagine and there’s struggling and they look at me they go, “Do you want to go ahead of us?” Because I’m pretty organized you know, and I go, “No, No, No, it’s fine.” And so they’re trying to get all their stuff up and finally I go, “Excuse me, you seem to be really struggling here, would it be helpful if I held your baby? And they look at me and “Yeah.” And I’m thinking, oh, this is awesome because I love babies, I love holding babies. And so they get to the line, and actually I just start to go through security and I said, “Excuse me you do want your baby?” they were so plastered like, “Oh, yeah, give us our baby.” On the other side I took the baby again helped them get all their stuff together and then we all went on out merry way. At the gate I see the man coming towards me and he says, “Excuse me, this is the first time we’ve ever travelled with this two kids and we didn’t even stop to thank you. We just want you to know how much we appreciate your kindness. I don’t know that we could have gotten through this without you.” And all this, I have to tall you Jim, I literally had goosebumps and I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I love holding that baby it was so much fun and I did some good for people, wow, this is really cool.” And so now I actually enjoy going through security and finding ways that I can be helpful to people it’s totally change my energy going through security at the airport. We are never going to love everything we do. We’re never going to have passion for everything we do but if we really understand what are values are and can find a way to live those values or sense of purpose to whatever we’re doing, it really changes the quality of your life. And so how that was it too long or too silly but I think that all the time because I travel a lot, so I think about it every day.

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that. That was a real world hump that probably so many people can resonate with and because I know even myself, I’m like, okay I need to get all my stuff, and I need to get— instead of thinking about others that I can potentially help. So now I have a very different perspective when I have to go through security line. 

 

Susan Fowler:     I share this with a friend and now he’s in his (16:35 inaudible) and he says that when he goes through security he’s like, how can I help people laugh? And he’s a real jokester and he’s really funny, so now he’s like helping people laugh within the guidelines of the TSA. 

 

Jim Rembach:     An important note. We had talked earlier about some of the work that you’re doing at many different levels and also about this particular book and of course a lot of research behind it and you have so many things going on, all the traveled course and I know the relationship with your husband and all of those things there’s just so many things on the plate. But if you’re to say that you had one goal, what would it be?

 

Susan Fowler:    I don’t know if it’s a goal because I don’t have one goal Jim but I definitely have a very important purpose. I stated it earlier but let me just clarify it. My purpose is to be a catalyst for good and to use the science of motivation as the impetus for that. So, I have a goal when I speak that if I can make a difference in one person’s life that I’ve made a difference and that’s good enough. And so at the end of the presentations or a training session if just one person comes up and says thank you for being here today, I think that was a good reason to be there that day. And it’s interesting if you change one person or you help one person you usually end up doing it to a lot more people because at least speaking to individuals and not just kind of feeding your own ego or your own needs. So, I guess if I had a specific goal, my smart goal, would be to try to make a difference in someone’s life every day through a conversation, thorough an interaction, through my formal training or speaking or writing. And I’m writing every day, I’m writing a blog, or I’m writing a tweet or at LinkedIn message. You know, I’m having multiple conversations with clients and sales people every day so I’ve got wonderful opportunity to live my purpose and achieve that goal every single day. 

 

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 sponsors. 

 

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Now here we go Fast Leader listeners, it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Susan, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, 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. Susan Fowler, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Susan Fowler:    If I can ** fast. 

 

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

 

Susan Fowler:    My judgement. I judge too much, myself and others.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Susan Fowler:    To make sure that you are prepared for leadership, that leadership is from the inside out. It can’t be about your needs, this can be about the needs of the people you lead. 

 

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

 

Susan Fowler:    I’m having a deeply felt sense of purpose that I’m hope is a noble purpose. 

 

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

 

Susan Fowler:    I think it’s overly fast. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, they could be from any genre? 

 

Susan Fowler:    Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. 

 

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

 

Susan Fowler:    You know, I read this so many times from people who say that when they get to be my age is that you wish that you hadn’t care so much what other people are thinking about you I think to care more about how people are feeling as a result of your presence. To be less self-centered, to be less worried about my own image and more concerned about how I’m affecting the energy and quality of life of the people around. 

 

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

 

Susan Fowler:    Oh, thank you. Yeah, I’ve got a website, www.susanfowler.com and you can also go on Amazon to see the “Why motivating people does not work” book page and there’s all kind of information on there as well. 

 

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

 

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 

 

2019-11-12T23:50:28-05:00June 8th, 2016|Podcasts|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. […] People Doesn’t Work and What Does author and long-time consultant with the Ken Blanchard Company, Susan Fowler introduces the concept of motivational junk […]

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