Join host Marcel Schwantes and the world's top business thought-leaders, authors, executives, and leadership experts as they reimagine the conditions necessary for creating caring, humane, and human-centered workplaces that result in high-performing cultures and bottom-line impact. The future of leadership is "love in action." Join the movement!
Marcel Schwantes: We’re Taking a Break
“There’s a growing body of research that finds organizational kindness, in how people treat each other, how leaders manage the workforce, how customer-facing employees interact with their clients....has enormous benefits. It’s just great for business.” [0:35] As Marcel opens the episode, he begins with an excerpt from his forthcoming book, expected Fall 2024. He discusses kindness and the difference it holds from just “being nice." It’s about intention, and it goes beyond surface level politeness. When you’re truly kind, it impacts everything. “I'm going to take a break from the podcast to get this book project done and off my plate. We will be back at full strength with weekly episodes featuring world-renowned guests in April 2024.” [2:55] Marcel announces that the Love in Action Podcast will be taking a break while he puts in the work to finish the manuscript for his aforementioned book. The book is important for businesses and leaders around the world. Listeners can look forward to the podcast returning in April ‘24, until then, Marcel would love to hear from you about topics and guest suggestions for the future.
Mentioned in this episode:
Marcel Schwantes - Ooltewah, Tennessee, United States | LinkedIn
Erica Keswin: How to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company
Erica Keswin is a globally renowned workplace strategist, consultant, speaker, best-selling author, and professional dot-connector. Her latest book is The Retention Revolution. Erica first joined Marcel in the very first episode of Love in Action. Now in a post pandemic world, she returns to share the “7 Surprising (and Very Human!) Ways to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company” as written in her latest book.
“The world of work has changed, there is no going back.” [10:00] As Erica Keswin dives into the why now of her latest book, The Retention Revolution, she explains how these pretty standard ideas and predictions on how work would progress were accelerated due to the pandemic. One point being that the young members of the workforce are no longer staying at companies for their lives; they look at work differently than previous generations, and they expect their treatment to reflect that.
“[The book] is not necessarily tying them to the chair…it’s keeping them connected”. [14:50] In a 30,000 ft. view of her book, Erica gives a synopsis of the 7 Surprising (and Very Human!) Ways to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company. She compares the new ways of thinking to the old mindset when it comes to onboarding, autonomy, flexibility, professionalism, offboarding, and more.
“If you have intentional onboarding, it’s drastically related to your ability to retain your employees.” [15:45] Erica’s book explains 7 old ways of thinking and the new ideas that should replace them. She starts with something important but is often thought of as a thing before the work starts. Instead, intentional onboarding looks like strategic relationship building from recruitment and beyond. Erica shares really impactful ideas on the new way to onboard from major companies like Hulu and Gusto.
“There’s a need, AKA demand for leaders to be more human.” [25:18] During the pandemic, Erica says, leaders were defaulting to a more loving and caring management style. But now, a year later, we're all but forgetting that piece, no longer checking in or asking how the staff is truly doing. The problem is that employees still need this human professionalism from their leaders.
“The people are your work now, as it should be because expectations change when you’re elevated into a leader role.” [37:00] Marcel quotes Erica’s book with a story from OC Tanner, which explains the way culture must elevate and celebrate middle managers. Often, middle managers are on the front lines, in the mess of it all, but they have the power to influence the rest of the culture in an organization, and they need the support to do so.
“Left to our own devices we are not connecting, take some time and make sure that you’re connecting, especially as we celebrate Thanksgiving…that you’re connecting with others in your personal life, your work life, and also taking time to connect with yourself.” [44:40] Erica closes out this Thanksgiving (if you’re listening from America) holiday with a special and important sentiment about connection. Mentioned in this episode:
Get your electronic copy of Erica’s first book, “Bring your Human to Work.” Email Erica for your free copy: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Retention Revolution: 7 Surprising (and Very Human!) Ways to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company
Erica Keswin on LinkedIn
Erica Keswin (@ericakeswin) on Instagram
Marcel Schwantes on LinkedIn
Dr. Michelle K. Johnston: Thriving In a New Era of Connection
Dr. Michelle K. Johnston is a renowned executive coach and business professor. She is the author of The Seismic Shift in Leadership. Dr. Johnston is a champion of connection in the workplace. She talks with Marcel in this episode on how leaders can serve their team and ultimately how connection drives results.
“You have to figure out right now how you can communicate and lead in a way that makes your people feel seen, heard, valued, respected, and appreciated.” [11:51] Dr. Michelle K. Johnston dives right into the long list of expectations for our leaders in today’s world. The center of all of these important qualities: connection. “If you really want to build trust and safety and team cohesion, then embed time to do an offsite with your team, bring in a facilitator and start with the question: what’s your story?” [18:11] Creating an environment of psychological safety is more than just blurting out your origin story. Dr. Johnston peels back the layers of what it really means to get to know your coworkers and how that builds true trust and community.“Connecting with your team…the foundation of that is truly turning the speaking/listening equation on its head.” [29:13] Are you giving your team the space and the environment to be heard? She explains how leaders can do their job better by listening before speaking. As a servant leader, your job is to serve your team, helping them to do their job and hearing them out. “He [Todd Graves] adds laughter and levity, he makes it fun.” [38:20] Speaking about fast food chains, Raising Cane's CEO, Todd Graves, and his success across the world, Dr. Johnston talks about his championing of what he wants to see in his organization. The future of work and leadership is encompassed by this idea of fun and enjoyment, making it more than ‘just work’.“Connection drives results.” [42:20] This is the basis for Dr. Johnston and Marcel’s entire conversation today. She explains that result oriented leaders will only accomplish goals by going back and embedding time to connect.Mentioned in this episode:
Dr. Michelle K. Johnston
The Seismic Shift In Leadership: How To Thrive In A New Era Of Connection
Michelle Johnston on LinkedIn
Communication Preference Profile Assessment | Dr. Michelle K. Johnston
Marcel Schwantes on LinkedIn
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani: Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani is the co-founder of Mindvalley, the world’s most powerful life transformation platform. She’s the author of Becoming Flawsome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life. Kristina speaks about personal transformation, authenticity, understanding and accepting oneself and a path to happiness.
“Authenticity is the force without direction, because it’s your relationship with yourself. The moment you use authenticity in your relationship with the outside world, you give this force a direction.” [10:04] Authenticity is being true to yourself. Does this mean speaking the truth? Being blunt? Being rude? No. Kristina explains the difference between behaviors and authenticity, there is no particular behavior that is authentic because it will depend on the true value and self of an individual.“There are so many facets and layers to living with perfectionism; it’s not just recognizing that you have it but actually being functional with it.” [21:09] As Kristina explains the barriers of perfectionism, she shares how to move past them. If you have lived all of your life as a perfectionist, this will not simply change overnight. She challenges you to consider your idea of failure. What is failure to you? Try to reconceptualize it. “Honesty starts with the very simple realization... I may be wrong.” [26:32] Imposter syndrome is easily combated with the idea that you don’t know everything. Kristina says, when you realize that at any point in the day, about anything you can be wrong, a strong weight is lifted. “For our society, vulnerability is the dose of medicine that we have to take because we have forgotten the true face behind our polished facade.” [39:15] Kristina speaks on the buzzword and quality everyone talks about, vulnerability. What is vulnerability, and why is it important? She explains the place and purpose of vulnerability. It’s more than sharing an inspiring story. It is being brave without certainty of the outcome. “We don’t know how self love looks; we’re afraid of it; we don’t understand it. We confuse self love with self care, with selfishness, and with being self obsessed. We confuse self love with indulgence with complacency. We’re afraid of it; we don’t know how it looks. That’s why we do the rituals; it makes us feel a bit better." [55:25] What is the difference between self love? Kristina explains it as the complex relationship in which we care for ourselves. And in one of Marcel’s final questions about leading with practical love, she says that in order to bring more love and kindness into your organization or any other facet of your life, you must bring more love and kindness into your relationship with yourself.
Mentioned in this episode:
flawesomeb – Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, Author & Mindvalley Co-Founder
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani (@kristinamand) on Instagram
Kristina Mand-Lakhiani on LinkedIn
Marcel Schwantes onLinkedIn
Dr. Amy Edmondson: The Science of Failing Well
Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, and is renowned for her research on psychological safety. She is the author of Right Kind of Wrong. In this interview, Amy sets the stage for how leaders can learn and thrive through intelligent failure.
“That is love in action, when you find work that you feel is almost meant for you and you can do it in a way that people seem to appreciate.” [13:04] Amy Edmondson shares her journey from engineer to her unlikely position at Harvard Business School where her work is world renowned. “Mistakes are deviations from best practice in known territory whereas intelligent failures are an experiment that didn’t work out the way we’d hoped.” [17:41] Why are leaders afraid to fail? Amy explains the difference between mistakes and failures. To operate a failure free organization means there are no risks being taken. Leaders must embrace intelligent failure or fail to innovate and ultimately fail altogether. “It’s good to have high standards, it’s good to pursue excellence but perfectionism is this crippling belief that ‘I cannot make mistakes, I cannot come up short or I'll die.’” [25:56] Explaining perfectionism, Amy draws this mode of thinking as a mindset at odds with healthy failure. Marcel and Amy discuss the small failures and how you react and respond can help perfectionist attitudes by relieving the pressure. “If you’re a leader in an organization, get out ahead of these predictable failures in mindset and behavior that your employees and managers will fall prey to.” [37:27] Amy sets leaders up with the steps for setting up a culture that allows for healthy failure, by breaking the path to perfectionism. Leaders must start emphasizing purpose and encouraging curiosity. “As soon as you remind yourself to be humble, you are almost naturally curious.” [42:47] How does humility connect to failure? Amy describes that humility allows the questions to arise that you don’t have all the answers. Providing opportunity for risks and chances to learn from these intelligent failures.“We are all fallible human beings, that’s just a given. Now, how do we thrive?”[55:14] As Marcel and Amy close out the episode, she answers her own question connecting it all to love in action. We thrive through intelligent failure, with love, interconnectedness, facing an unknown future together. Mentioned in this episode:
Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well by Amy Edmondson
Amy Edmondson on LinkedIn
Amy Edmondson (@AmyCEdmondson) on X
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Amy Edmondson (Episode #87)
Marcel Schwantes on LinkedIn
Marcel Schwantes: The Best Leadership Practice to Learn and Teach Others
“Leadership and life is about human relationships.” [1:04] Servant leadership has emerged over the last 40-50 years as a solution for leaders in the business world changing their attitude when it comes to leading their organizations
“Listening lands first on my list because it’s a crucial yet frequently absent trait in leaders.” [3:08] Marcel credits Robert Greenleaf as responsible for the modern Servant Leadership movement as he dives into the characteristics of a servant leader.
“Empathy has been proven to drive performance.” [3:32] Listing empathy as the second characteristic of servant leaders, Marcel explains that it is an extension of listening. Where leaders are able to be understanding and listen to others without judgment.
“How have you been a servant leader?” [6:23] Marcel poses this question after he shares the other 3 characteristics of a servant leader: Self-Awareness, Foresight, and Commitment to the Development of people. Consider how you have modeled the traits of servant leadership. What would it do for your team if you were to think and act this way?
Mentioned in this episode:
Marcel Schwantes - Ooltewah, Tennessee, United States | Professional Profile | LinkedIn
This is easily one of the better leadership podcasts out there. I’ve learned a lot from every episode! Definitely recommend it.
Marcel’s Love in Action podcasts
Love in Action podcasts are exceptional. Marcel really studies and digs deep into his guests ideas. The result is a terrific expose’ on how leaders put humanity back into their leadership approach. Love in Action features great advice for leaders at all levels. Bob DeKoch co-author: Leading with Care in a Tough World.
Amy Gallo: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone
Marcel’s interview with Amy Gallo was absolutely fantastic. She has a great understanding of why we work in particular ways with certain people, and I appreciated all the tools she shared on working with different employees very helpful. Marcel’s questions mirrored my own. I recommend this episode for anyone dealing with either a passive aggressive peer, pessimist or a know-it-all in the work environment.