Podcast 880: Work Made Fun Gets Done!: Easy Ways to Boost Energy, Morale, and Results with Dr. Bob Nelson and Mario Tamayo

My guests in this podcast are Dr. Bob Nelson and Mario Tamayo, authors of a new book entitled “Work Made Fun Gets Done!: Easy Ways to Boost Energy, Morale, and Results.” Dr. Bob Nelson is the president of Nelson Motivation Inc., the world’s leading authority on employee recognition and engagement and Mario is a principal with Tamayo Group Inc., a no-nonsense consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational performance.

In this interview, we talk about having fun at work while engaging and motivating employees. I encourage everyone to listen to the insights and techniques they shared on morale boosters, recognition and communication at the workplace.   Find out more about ways to bring fun into work in four different levels: individual, leader, team and organization.

If you want to learn more about Dr. Bob Nelson and Mario Tamayo and their new book , please click here to be directed to their website.

Enjoy this podcast interview that will certainly have a positive impact on your work life.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Thu, 9/9 12:20AM • 53:11

SPEAKERS
Dr. Bob Nelson, Mario Tamayo, Greg Voisen

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen, host of Inside Personal Growth. And joining me from Rancho Bernardo, California is Dr. Bob Nelson. And Bob and Mario and Mario, make sure I pronounce your last name right. It's Tamayo. Right, you got it. My Oh, absolutely. Wow, it's pretty good. We're going to be talking about work made fun gets done easy ways to boost energy, morale and results. And no, I'm not going to use the pandemic as an excuse. But I will tell you that, you know, this pandemic has created more havoc in the workplace, as you guys know, than anybody. And you're well aware of it, because you're out consulting all the time talking to companies about the issues associated with that. And you have some great stories in the book as well, which I love. But I'm going to tell my lizard listeners just a tad bit about you about Bob, Bob's PhD president of Nelson motivation, Inc, is considered to be the leading authority on employee recognition and engagement worldwide and has worked with 80% of the Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Bob is still practicing. And you guys can reach him at his website at Dr. Bob Nelson calm or is it just Bob Nelson calm? Dr. Dr. VOB ne LS on calm? Here you go. And we also have Mario Maya. He's a principal with Maya Group, Inc. and has more than 30 years of experience and maximizing human performance working with companies such as Genentech, General Dynamics, Jay Connect pet Co. So, he also is an expert in this field. And they wrote this book together. And it just came out about how long ago you guys, I'm trying to remember what Amazon said. Yeah, middle of summer. So, it's a new book for everybody. So, you know, let's just kind of start this off with really a question for both of you, I kind of wanted to get both of you involved in this first one out. Everybody loved to have more fun at work. I do consulting as you guys do. So, I realized the stresses and the anxiety in the workplace today. Why did you guys write this book? And why is it more important now, given them pandemic, given the times that we're in, given all the adjustments that workers are making working from home, working from various remote locations? And that what they're dealing with to be able to have higher morale and higher ability to perform in the workplace? either one of you?

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yes, well, this is my 31st book. And some say that every author is writing the same book over and over. And in many ways, this is another cut of the same cloth. I've all my books have been wrapped around principles, proven principles, research based, that actually work to get a better result from employees to better attract them to better hold on to them, but are not widely applied in business. And so, I, the research base in this book is research based. And then within that context of what we know to be true, what does it look like, has 100% real life examples from actual companies that are doing the things that we that we're talking about right now and getting results. So, it makes it easier for the reader to don't have to reinvent the wheel, just open the book anywhere, and you can find a usable example.

Greg Voisen
I want to say for my listeners, I've never seen a book with so many examples and tools and techniques. You guys really did an awesome job of that. So congratulations. I mean, you cite the company, you cite what the people actually are doing. And I think that makes it a very practical book. You know, this is something that anyone can pick up almost anywhere and open the page and get an idea from, you know, one,

Mario Tamayo
Greg, one of the reasons we probably the major reason we wrote this book is back in the 70s. As you might have heard your father tell you that the promise was, we were probably with technology and all the advances that were probably going to go to a three-to-four-day workweek by the year 2000. And that we were going to be all spending 20 to 30 hours, you know at work, and we're going to be this leisure society Well, the opposite It's happened. And we're spending a lot more of our time at work. And a lot of us have not been enjoying it so much. And one of the reasons another reason we wrote the book is that people are, are absolutely craving to enjoy their work since they have to spend so much time at it. And it has become the competitive edge out there in business today. And so, we recognize that we've got some data that's, that's in the book that that says that. But the companies that are providing healthy cultures of fun and enjoyment, are also the high performing companies. And the flip side of that is that employees who are having, who are high performers are having the most fun. And fortune came out with a study just recently about that. And it shows that 82% of the companies, the great companies that they identified, have great fun working environments, while only 62% of what they categorized as the good companies, only 62% were having fun. And so, it just solidified and really just hammered home the point that we have got to do something where our employees today can enjoy themselves and have a lot more fun.

And that and that variable Mario just mentioned was the biggest differential on those that make the 100 Best Places to Work for in America fortunate list, and those that don't. So, if you if you want to be an employer of choice that better attracts and retains talent, this is key to make it happen. And he magazine, I think put it well. They said, fun is frivolous, we know unless you want to attract and keep the best employees.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, fun is a word that isn't frequently used in the workplace. So, let's first state that. And so, you bring something I'm not going to say new, but you bring something that kind of gets glossed over, I think by a lot of people. And you mentioned in the book that each year, the great places to work Institute, ask 1000s of employees to rate their experience in the workplace. What are the factors that are rated that make a workplace fun to work in, because look, it's one thing to talk about fun, it's another thing to look at the factors that actually or the culture, I should say that even creates fun in the workplace?

Dr. Bob Nelson
And that's some of the research we were just citing from the best place to work Institute and in their creation of the Fortune 500 Best Places to Work each year. So, it's, it's really just that that one variable there. Now, there's a lot of things and in the book, we have about 15 categories of different ways to have fun. And we have it in four different chunks, what you can do individually in your own job, what you can do as a leader of a group, what the group can do, and then what the organization can do. So that's what were the buckets that we filled in the real examples that we identified. You're absolutely right, though fund is not commonly used at work, there are more and more companies that have fun is one of their core values that we were delighted to find. But there's an old-line belief that, you know, we're paying you to work, have fun on your own time do that in the weekend. And the thing about it is that personal lives and work lives have merged. And so, I don't know anyone that doesn't do some work emails at night, or on the weekend, or even on vacation, you know. And likewise, if we're if we're giving our personal time to work, work has got to be it's a little bit more doable, if we can make that that journey, that time working with others and serving the customer. More fun as well. It's only fair,

Mario Tamayo
I used to be that, you know, we used to say work hard, play hard. And that was the mantra of a lot of companies. And then when people got to work, they realized that the company was serious about the work hard part, with the play our part was the one that fell by the wayside. And you know, it's interesting today that the way that people are having fun is they're bringing in new people, new employees who already have that as a as a core value. And I'm talking about the millennial generation, but 50 to 60% of them are saying, when I go to work, I expect I demand to have fun at work. And if I don't get it, I'm going to move on to some other place. Right? It's very well,

Greg Voisen
Work when work is fun and pleasurable, productivity goes up. So, let's just talk about that. We know that all the studies will indicate, you know, greater levels of productivity when people are having fun. They also get into flow more frequently. So, they're literally when you're having fun, you have an opportunity to actually kind of do Get the Whirlwind mind gone and really be more creative and more innovative. And you know, you speak about the philosophies of about the fund workplace. And you talked about the do's and don'ts about great places to work. What are those do's and don'ts that some of our managers that are listening today online, could actually implement? I mean, I'm going to encourage everybody, you know, just go buy the book, we'll have a link to Amazon, you can go to both of their websites. There you go. We've got it up. But, you know, let's face it, whether they buy the book or not, we want to give them some value. And there are some do's and don'ts that I thought were quite valuable. Mario?

Mario Tamayo
Yeah, well, number one is, you don't make people have fun. So, I want to start with that. That was one of the things that will really kill it. If you if you try to make somebody have fun at something they don't consider fun, then you can just forget about it. So, one of our principles is that to remember is that what's fun for some may not be fun for others. And we always say, keep that in mind, no matter what you do. And as long as you're asking, and you're respecting, and you're providing people what they truly feel is fine, then then you're two steps ahead, right there.

Dr. Bob Nelson
So, for example, for example, yeah, we you can't have fun at someone else's expense. That's definitely it's not, you know, so we don't believe in pranks. pranks are funny for like two seconds. And then the person you're pranking is now upset. And, you know, I know companies have had like the bonehead award, and Haha, Jerry gets it this week, because he made this client mistake. And all of a sudden, Jerry says, hey, yeah, I had the support to do the job, I wouldn't have had that, you know, and he's defensive, he's upset, I think about quitting because you guys are jerks. And so, it's not worth to go there, there's enough, there's enough things to do. Where you don't have to do it at someone else's expense, they could do it at your own expense. And that's, that's very powerful for a leader. If they make fun of themselves, it makes them more human. And it makes it but there's so many so many ideas. And one of my biggest aha is doing this whole project. And the research that we did for years on collecting examples is that everyone's view of fun is different. You know, and so that's why it's good to pull people in and include their ideas. And it may be different than you were thinking but enjoy what they want to do. And we can all benefit from that and along the way by involving everyone, then then it makes them more receptive as well. So..

Greg Voisen
Inclusion..and that leads me to this next question, which, you know, Charlie Chase, the President of Genetic Synergy created this color code, it's colorcode.com. I never heard of it before that's why I'm asking this question. Because I think that it's really quite interesting. I didn't go to the website and take the quiz. But there is a quiz. And then you fall into a color code system, if you would talk about the color code system, to our listeners, and how the system can help them create more fun in the workplace.

Mario Tamayo
Yeah, let me let me address that. For those of you out there who are familiar with Myers Briggs, and insights, and disc. And these are all personality preference, models and profiles. And the color code is very similar in that regard. They have colors blue, green, yellow, and red. And what that what that's all about is personal preferences. And it helps people to identify what they prefer, what drives them. And it also helps them have a conversation with other people, where we can find out the colors of our coworkers of our managers of our direct reports. And what's most important is, number one, not to diagnose them, and get try and guess what they are, what they would like, but to use that as a start for a conversation, to confirm what it is that they value and what they like. And I you know, some of your folks probably have heard of the Platinum rule. And Bob and I go by that, and it's doing unto others the way they need to be done unto. And we feel it's even stronger than the golden rule of Do you want to others the way I want to be done unto because the focus there for the golden rule is on myself. But what this is all about and having fun at work is how do I set something up so other people value it as fun for themselves? So, it's doing unto them the way they want to be done unto.

Greg Voisen
Boy did you take me back Mario? That was a Dr. Alessandra, Yeah, here in La Jolla. I haven't seen him in a long time but that whole Platinum rule thing he will go over that that was it. Yeah. Wow. Tony Allesandra, we're dating ourselves. Now we are. We are. I'm sure he's still out there. Right, Bob, you must be

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yes, he was. And he was in Vegas. I'm not sure if he's moved back or somewhere else. But yes, he had some great, great content. And I remember using some of his training movies. The Pygmalion effect, I think was one that he worked on. It was very good.

Greg Voisen
He also had a bunch of assessments as well that he created. Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. But the bottom line is it puts them in kind of a category so that all the coworkers can determine really what, how everybody works, how they like to have fun.

Mario Tamayo
Exactly. Yeah. In fact,one of our one of our dues is, is that you want to when you're when you're deciding what to do is ask people form a committee, a cross section of your organization, get management involved, get an executive sponsor, get the people on the front line, and find out what the different parts of your organization really like, not just for individuals, but also for the different, you know, teams and departments and all that volunteers.

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yeah, you can have a, it's not very hard to have a fun committee and have volunteers and see what they come up with and to brainstorm to prioritize and support them to try a few things. And maybe if they need some budget, maybe you can, you can give them some of that a lot. A lot of things you could do don't cost any money. They're just, they're just fun. I was going to say that Mara and I both worked with Dr. Ken Blanchard for quite a while. And one of the one of the things he used to say was that management is what you do with people, not to them. So, this is a perfect example that you want to involve people, you might use their ideas, maybe rotate the responsibility. When Mario and I worked together there, in fact, and we had staff meetings, one of the things we would do, and we tried different things to keep it fun. Yeah, if you do the same thing over and over, it's, it's going to be boring, you know. So, we would have, remember, we tried, we started the meeting with a joke that we'd rotate who would tell the joke. Now, some people were good at that some people were not, but they had a whole week to practice. And when they're done, there could be a little better doing the joke. So, it was fun no matter what,

Greg Voisen
What would you guys say about the culture having a permission to have fun. You know, it's interesting, you can go into various cultures. And you can see the ones just by the demeanor, how they're a little more lively than others. And you'll get this heavy air when you walk in, I call it heavy air. It's, yeah, it pulls you down. It's almost like you don't have permission. What would the two of you say, would help management decide that permission is good to allow people to do this? Because I think a lot of places not even allowed.

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yeah, I agree. And, and I think, go ahead, Mario,

Mario Tamayo
I was going to say, you know, I, I remember what you just said about having permission to do it. I remember when I was doing wellness in the workplace in the 80s, right, where we were trying to get organizations to have a healthier workforce, and a lot of the same benefits for wellness. You get and you and you enjoy from having a fun work environment, right. And what we'd like to say is we got to take it up a notch, even above permission, we want the organization not to give permission, but to encourage and to nurture, and choice of words, but no, no, no, no, it's where a business is. It's like, well, we allow that to happen here. And what we're trying to do is we're trying to transform it to say, No, no, no, we've really got to embody the spirit of this. And we have got to encourage it. We've got to ask people how they're doing with it. And this and that. And, you know, one of the things in our book is we talked about, how do you get top management? Who poopoo the idea? How do you get them and convince them that fun? Is great. And Bob's got some great ideas about this.

Dr. Bob Nelson
And just to build on the idea you gave me I remember in talking with you about the wellness programs, like you did it for john dynamics that that part of the success was getting the executives involved. So, you'd set up a yoga class and there'd be some executives that would come to it. So that's they're walking the talk, and that encourages other people. And so that's a great a great strategy. I remember working with the California CalPERS, California Retirement System, imagine $7 billion in assets for California employee retirements. And they were very, very stiff, very stodgy, you know, money you know, we're managing finances, we can't be, you know, having fun here. And men, we, we, we worked it. And I showed them the data how their people were very stressed and burnt out. And, and we convinced them a couple of things. One of the challenges they had is they said, We can't we're using taxpayer money, we cannot spend money on stuff that's frivolous, right. And I and I put together a list is about a 12-page list of government agencies, federal, state, and local, what they were doing their legislative authority, and the results they got. And that went into a board meeting. And they came out and they said, we're going to do it. So, I loosened up the purse strings, and then we appealed to top management. And I didn't, you know, you think well, didn't ever get go for that. We got them to create a music video. And they were all on camera. And, and I tell you what, once we broke the ice, they loved it. And they were all in the music video, and the employees loved it. And all of a sudden, by action, not by decree, the tone is set. We're loosened it up here.

Greg Voisen
That's an important point of your book, you know, you guys have included tools, techniques, examples, lots of examples, that so many consultants that you guys talked to had developed. And companies that you would you spoken to, to create fun in the workplace? Can you speak about a few of these tools, techniques that would stand out and are available to the listeners to consider implementing, into their workplace because you like I said, when we started this, you open this book up. And I mean, literally from almost page two or three, other than the introduction, you guys are already citing examples and things and tools and things that people have used that have had success. And I think that community of fun that you guys have created, is really something that these people that are listening could get involved in. It's almost like hey, did Dr. Bob and Mario create this, you know, community of fun speak about that, if you would, though?

Dr. Bob Nelson
Well, it's sort of I've and I spent a lot of time studying organizations, I got my master's in organizational design, and my, my PhD with Peter Drucker and in in organizational behavior and human behavior, and, and so I've kind of come to the conclusion that the way you get things going in organizations is not by policy, not by a program, if you have a program is have a start a middle and an end, and it goes still, but you do it by behavior, you get down to the individual focus of control. So, we're all about getting into the individual worker and the individual manager and showing them how they can make things happen. So let me give you an example. I know my Scala as well, but one of my favorites, because you can do this in person, or you could do it virtually as well on zoom, is when you get your next time you get your group together, say hey, this, do this do something different here. Start as I go around the group, as I call someone's name, I like everyone to say what they most value about working with that person. Let's start with Jerry. Okay, now Mary 100% positive comments from your peers, that's called a praise barrage, you can do it in five or 10 minutes, and I tell you what, it will lift everyone up, they will feel better about themselves. And whatever was called out that they were good at. Tom always jumps in to help out I value that so much he takes initiative, I thank you time, I get I guarantee you that Tom will do more of that going forward, because what gets recognized gets repeated. And so, it's a great simple team building. And, and next time you together in person, you can do the same thing with index cards, right down to thank you for someone else in our group that you Oh, you get four or five thank you cards of things that people value that you've done in your job, you're going to feel better about yourself. And on a practical level, you're going to see what your most valued for and do more of those things.

Mario Tamayo
I got to tell you that that's a great activity, Bob, and I must say, and I have to give props to my sister, Elsie, to Maya, because she started that at the county of San Diego in the 1980s. And people, the way it worked was people would, would take strips of paper and they would write something nice, fold it up, and they'd put it in the middle of the table. And then it was up to each person to read out loud. What other people said to them? And I got to tell you, this is when the tears started to flow for some people, because they were saying, this is the greatest thing I've never been recognized. Nobody's ever said this stuff about me and my 20-year career. And right away we knew we had something because it just connected with people. That's really what it’s about we're working so hard working so long, that we have a tendency to forget about the human spirit at work. And what fun at work, what wellness at work, what they do is they honor the human spirit at work, and they allow the shared experiences and the connections, what's called ubuntu Bob, you want to mention anything about that?

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yes, Marcin, because he has done a book on that the South African principle of unity and connectedness and we, you know, I am what we are as a basic concept, that's a different podcast. Yeah.

Greg Voisen
You know, I go back to the days, Bob, when I would go to San Francisco and go to spirit in the workplace conference, right, here you go. And, and then as a result of that, I went, I went back to school and got a master's degree in spiritual psychology. I love it. So, the reality is, is that what you're speaking about what we're all talking about here, really, when people are allowed to express themselves freely, you know, and have fun. And when they're doing it, creativity goes up, productivity goes up, morale goes up, everybody has a lot more fun. And they want to be around those people, too. They'd like to get a dose of it, you know, it's kind of like, they're eager to get into work. Yeah, the job you know, you know, here comes Mario and Bob the twins with all this inspiration and fun they're going to bring in, you know, so only when it comes to hair. Yeah, exactly. But I love that. Now you guys, look you Gallup is big, decided to study 7200 plus US adults revealed that one in two had left their jobs to get away from their managers. They hate their managers to improve your life. At some point in your career, when

Dr. Bob Nelson
we go to work for a great company, we leave because of a bad manager. That's kind of the rule.

Greg Voisen
And we've got some managers that are listening. Okay, guarantee you there's going to be managers listening, and we're not pointing a finger at you. What I'm trying to get at is what advice do you have for managers to help inspire their them to inspire their employees to become more engaged at work? Look, we know the engagement levels at work are extremely low levels. They have been for quite some time, decades. So, if that's the case, that means everybody hates work, but not everybody does hate work. There's a percentage of people that love to work. How do you love the balance? And how do you inspire these people.

Dr. Bob Nelson
The other thing we're in the middle of is called the great resignation, that we have people leaving quitting their jobs in droves. And there's a lot of debate about why that's happening. But in a nutshell, it's like they've had they've had the whole pandemic to think about is this really what I want to do with my life, and I hate my commute, I hate my boss, I hate what I'm doing and, and time to make a change. And they are, they're doing that and so far, just the last three months, it's been 11 million people in America have quit their jobs. Because they want to do something new, something different than whatever, they're very clear. They don't want to do what they have been doing.

Greg Voisen
Much to the chagrin of the managers, because now you've got to go replace these people. And no, yeah, but I need to add this that are making the decision to do that are really your higher-level employees who have an extremely high level of consciousness. And these are the people that that the organization is relied upon. to actually help, strategize, get things done, move the workforce. And that's, that's a 11 million people, Bob, that's a lot of displacement of high-level management, people leaving to go out and seek something out,

Dr. Bob Nelson
It's going to continue as well. The whole the whole ball of wax, the community, not enjoying their work that wanting a greater purpose in their life. So, if we can't get that at work, where are we going to get it? You know, it's the

Greg Voisen
So, Mario for the people that are staying not Yes, yes. What advice do you have for them, to inspire this workforce to have more fun so that when the all the morale does increase? I mean, look, the reason I'm kind of sitting in this little office up here upstairs, because I just came from a consulting gig and I was running like crazy to get here to make this. But the reality is, is that, you know, I see it, I was just there. I see an owner of a company with 120 employees in the boardroom. And his voice and octave of his voice went up 15 20% because of lack of communication. Yeah, right. Yeah. And yeah, look, we're falling apart because you guys are talking to one another.

Mario Tamayo
You hit it on the head and in good communication always starts with having an authentic respect for other people, and really the one of the best things a manager can do is they've got to realize before they go to work, before they get on the zoom call, that they have to ask themselves, what are we doing here? What is this company all about? Oh, this company provides us product or service. And who does that? Oh, we have people that do that. And every individual we're only as good as, as our individuals put together working as a team. And if, if we can start off by asking questions, and by finding good things that people are doing, and noting and catching people doing things, right, that is the first start. So, the first thing that we do is we got to recognize the good work that our people are doing now under these conditions that they're under. Absolutely, number one, number two is a career development is we got to talk to them and find out what is it they really want to do next. And help them get there. Bobby, we're going to add to my things

Dr. Bob Nelson
I was going to say. So, in a nutshell, stop telling and start listening, start asking the questions, and don't assume you have all the answers. And here's what the problem is. Tony, you didn't do that you didn't do that. And instead, you have, I mean, I did my doctoral work on the power of recognition of catching people doing things right and, and why managers do it or don't do it. And it's been called the greatest management principle on Earth, that you get what you reward what you what you inspect what you reinforce what you catch people doing something, right, you will get more of that, you lead the charge. By doing that you don't there's so many managers that the way they're trying to lead their people is they're chasing them about performance, you did that wrong, you did that wrong. We have a policy about that the customer complained about this. And the whole thing is 100%, negative, that doesn't that doesn't drive behavior, it drives people away from you. They void you, they didn't want to work for you. And then they're miserable. And then they come home and they make their family miserable 15% of workers, workers, the average worker spends 15% of their time at home, complaining about their boss. Oh, my God.

Greg Voisen
Well, you both remember this, and especially Drucker School of Management, and when he did, you know, command and control, we know doesn't work anymore. But we do realize it's still happening. But to make the person aware that that technique is inappropriate, I'm going to actually say inappropriate mode, a lot of people would say, No, it's not, I'm still going to do command and control. Because the buck stops with me, I write the checks, it's my money, it's my business, it's, you know, I'm going to run it the way I want. It also is very controlling it also, you know, those kinds of companies where you could cut through the air, or the kind of companies that are run like that, now you, Bob, this is a really important one, you say that over 25 million meetings per day in the us today. And it makes up 15% of an organization's collective time. And that most of these meetings are on productive. And I paraphrase, because he even talks about financially, how unproductive they are, what are some of the things organizations can do to make meetings more fun, more productive, and raise the morale? This is a big one. Because if we're going to have these meetings, why not have good meetings, you know, we've got to have them. And then who plans these meetings so that they are spontaneous, fun, good, and people are walking away going, yay.

Dr. Bob Nelson
First, I would, I would highly recommend doing away with standing meetings, which is, you know, every Monday or every Friday, we're going to meet for an hour and a half, we're going to talk about how it's going. Don't meet just to just to do that, and waste time and people don't want to go and it's boring. You know, if you have a, you have a party, and no one comes, it's really not much of a party. So you guys start thinking of meeting like that, how can this be? How can this be fun for people? So they want to be here? How can we? How can we vary it so it's interesting, maybe to help them learn new skills? And so that might be having a rotating who leads meeting so it's not just the manager every time that would be interesting. Or I remember when Mark and I worked together, we were working in developing training materials. And to my chagrin, I felt that the group was kind of a CT low in basic grammar and grammar skills and so I don't know if you remember this Mario, but I remember I did grammar quizzes and they were they're quick and we'd score them together and you can't do that not learning something. It's so I kind of as a fun activity I rose the competence level of everyone that's working on writing and editing and, and as a group, we got better at it. I know I've taught Writing business writing skills for six colleges. So, I know I could do it, but I don't want to do everyone's job. I want them to be better at doing their job.

Greg Voisen
I have to say that our meetings of the meetings don't have them be regular. I'm trying to paraphrase here. They don't need to be every Tuesday or every Thursday or whatever they need to be based on the need. That's maybe what's happening, right. In other words, we have a desire to meet, something's going on, we need to talk about it, we need to have a discussion, then very up the person that mean is responsible for the meeting, yes.

Dr. Bob Nelson
Oh, invite those people that need to be there. Don't everyone come? If it doesn't involve them, just the core people. And that could vary from meeting to meeting. And then and then then vary what you do. Martin, I used to have standing meetings, you want to have a short meeting, do a standing meeting,

Mario Tamayo
Physically standing me

Dr. Bob Nelson
Somewhere done at 20 minutes. Or we had a fun thing. I know, you remember, the smarter that we you know, because we got pretty excitable people are very engaged and stuff. And we're talking on top of each other. So I brought in a coconut. I said, Okay, here's the new rule. You can only speak if you're holding the coconut fasten on the coconut and let me have the coconut it was fun. It was silly, but it served a function as well. So fun is practical as well.

Greg Voisen
It's like, you could also do you know, I go back to the days when we did visit Levi Strauss, we'd a hand a talking stick, there you go. And we would move the talking stick around in the basement there, because that's a Native American kind of mission. But it worked really well. Because you could only speak if you had that talking stick. Yeah. And it really allowed people to express themselves. I love some of the ideas that are that you're giving.

Mario Tamayo
Now also, there's, there's a lot of companies that will not meet on Wednesdays, as Bob mentioned, standing meetings, they will meet as quickly as they can, if you're late to a meeting, people sing, put in a little cup, all kinds of little things here,

Dr. Bob Neson
My son went to a boot camp for programming. And I loved the fact that and you know that 40 people in the class and you know, they're all trying to move into a new career, whoever was late, they started at 830. Every morning, whoever was late, they would stop what they're doing. Everyone that turns the person they had to explain why they're disrupting everyone's education. No one was ever late. You can't I mean, in some, some corporations I meet and people are drifting in and out. And I go, how do you guys get any work done here? It's like, it's like a Moveable Feast. It's like, you know.

Greg Voisen
Well. I like some of the ideas both of you gave. And I think, again, for my listeners that will put the link to the book, just go get the book. There's hundreds of them in the book. And you know, we did touch on this a little bit. And I love Mario, your story about your sister in this county of San Diego in recognition. But what I did

Dr. Bob Nelson
I cite her in the book, I read 1000 ways to reward employees, and Elsie Tamayo, she had a she had a lot of good suggestions for me.

Mario Tamayo
It's a whole case study.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, recognition is good thing for productivity in the workplace. But it appears that this happens far less than we might think. And again, you cited that in the book. He said, I look recognition is great, but it's just not happening enough. This lack of recognition has massively negative impact on how employees feel about the workplace. And I concur. Recognition comes in a lot of ways time off free dinner, salary, increase of bonus, whatever mean, those are the standard ones. Thank you in the hallway. Yeah, call out began the meeting. What advice would you provide to the managers listening about moving, improving the recognition program so their employees can get a job? Well done? What would you say because this is a big one?

Dr. Bob Nelson
I'd say start with the behavior in your own sphere of influence. Think of what you can do as a leader. And so, some managers will know I worked with ESPN, a manager said whenever we start a meeting, we start the same way we named five things are going well. And usually it's pretty easy, but sometimes it's not. Sometimes things aren't going well. We never skip that step. Because that's our homeroom. That's our touchstone to allow us to take on the next obstacle or problem. So again, something positive, calling out when I worked with Bank of America, 210,000 employees, I convinced them that directness was so important. It couldn't be arbitrary. It couldn't be if you feel like if you happen to get to it because it would never happen. So, they started a policy that you meet at the bank, whether it's three people 300 all meetings will start with some type of recognition. It could be calling out the achievement of department it could be someone finish to degree or had a birth in their family, it could be any number of things, but something for the or the success of the bank how things are going. And so, you make it part of it or, or when I worked with NASA last fall, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, which is ranked by the way, this is no coincidence, number one best place to work in, in federal government. Number one, that doesn't happen by accident. And you could you walk in the building, and you feel the energy, you see it on the walls, you hear it in the conversations. And, and I, when I attended meetings from managers, I remember what they said, as per our custom, they say the last 10 minutes of this management meeting, to go around the group and ask everyone to share one thing they've done to recognize someone on their staff, since we last had been together. And I tell you what, you could just feel the energy, the pride rises, and I know something else that people would say, going to try it. They learned from each other, they got it, they got became a self-learning organization. He's trying things and then sharing with others what's working and learning from each other. That's how you make it to the top and be a culture that everyone wants to be at. And on and on. I've got I wouldn't have done 1001 rewards, which is 47th printing is now 15 101 ways to reward employees. So, it's all the time if you open your eyes to it. You know, one of the things

Greg Voisen
Sincerity, I just want to add is, you know, you don't want to just do recognition, you do recognition needs to come in a sincerity and it needs to be from the heart. Absolutely. And I'm not talking about a bonus or a paycheck, but also Mario. You know, in these times of the pandemic, we saw many companies small, big, you know, let's cite it. AMC virtually went out of business, zoom went through the ceiling, Moderna went through the ceiling, but many companies very large, were struggling financially and under tremendous pressures. Yet we saw some many rises to the top as well. The question I might be is under financial constraints like this, and pressure, it seems to be that the culture changes drastically and to have all of these things happen. And you say, have fun in a workplace. When there is so much financial stress becomes a challenge. What would you say to a founder out there of a company who maybe is experiencing something like that right now, as a result of just the economics, the kind of business they're in? God, you certainly wouldn't want to be in the theater business right now, you might not even want to own shopping centers right now. Right? Considering, you know, just what's been going on with the pandemic, not as bad, but the reality is they're still fall out. Any thoughts about that?

Dr. Bob Nelson
Yes, I've got a lot of thoughts about that. Because you know, what you just described as someone that they're, they're starting to panic, because they're not getting results. So, they push harder, and they make more commands. And they, you must do this, you must do this. And people say, guess what I'm not doing anymore, I quit. And so, you can't force you can't force performance from anyone know, if someone if someone puts a gun to your head, you could do whatever they say. But that's not the situation people have in America today. They've got more freedom than ever before to leave and go find another job. We're in. We're in an employee's market right now.

Greg Voisen
It's very hot, and it will continue 75,000 last month, jobs created so our jobs are way up each month,

Dr. Bob Neson
Created not filled, not because and it's not just because of the pay, it's because of the environment and whatnot. So guess just to give you an example, example from the Great Recession 2009 other two companies competing head to head, Best Buy in Circuit City, you remember Circuit City, they're not around anymore, because when they when they both were hit with the recession, they had, they had two different approach at Circuit City said, Well, people are as our people are our biggest expense, as is the case in most companies. 90% of the pay and benefits goes to employees. People are our biggest expense. We got to cut people and cut they did they laid off 9000 people whole strata across the country. And wow. That month their financials look good. By next month, they started to tank because they threw out all their experience and I actually remember being in a circuit city, and somebody was they I don't know. Maybe it's how I looked. But someone said, Hey, can you help me? I'm looking for a car stereo. Look at the car stereo. Someone else did it. Well, I can help you. The store manager comes over and offers me a job. I got a job, but you got to think about training the people you got here. If you're not serving customers, too late, they're out of business, they had to close down that you take best Buy, same company, same products the same time, they were hammered by the recession. But instead of saying, keep our biggest expense, they said, they said people our biggest investment, we need to get more out of it, we need to get it now. So, they started for the first time, maybe they could have done earlier. But they the recession prompted them to set up an online suggestion program to ask people, how can we save money? How can we better serve customers, and within three weeks, they got 900 suggestions? And even if they didn't implement all of them, they implemented enough of them. And just by doing that, it showed people that wow, they like my idea, I got another one for you. And it turned the whole thing and they got a better of people rose to the occasion to help the company through a tougher time. They blew it out of the water, they're still doing well. They took over the market that the Circuit City had, and they're still I think a very exceptional company. So that's, that's what I see in companies. Where you can, you can see it's it’s an opportunity.

Mario Tamayo
So, the bottom line here is, is that when we're faced with the challenge, is when you mentioned it before, Greg is we've got to communicate with each other immediately, early and often. And we've got to take the philosophy of we're all in this together. So let us solve this together. And that's really what Bob's getting at here, you are our most valuable asset here, we're going to give you something, you know, we're going to provide you with something that's low-cut low or no cost right now, to just catch your breath. Let's have a little fun here. Let's remember why we're all here. And let's talk about what we all need to do together as a team to get out of this

Dr. Bob Nelson
And even say that, verbatim, this is why we're doing it because we do value you. And then and then that will give you the financial stability to be able to do things for employees, you take Southwest Airlines, you know, the culture of having fun and whatnot. People don't realize they're also highly, they've been profitable, 30 years in a row. And as a result, they're able to pay their people better and have better benefits and other airlines because there's financially successful.

Greg Voisen
Did you know during the pandemic, they were the only one that didn't take government money?

Dr. Bob Nelson
There you go, God bless them.

Mario Tamayo
Well, I didn't I didn't know that.

Greg Voisen
They didn't take any government money, Delta, United. All the others took government money, they did not take any government money. Yeah, they were proud to say that. Now look in wrapping the interview up because like you guys gave a lot of ideas, tools. And it's one thing to listen to a podcast. And it's another thing to actually implement what's been talked about. And as people listen to these podcasts, they look for the takeaways. And I always ask the authors toward the end, you know, what are the takeaways? If there were three things that each of you would recommend to help improve morale, bring more fun, and improve productivity, because every employer listening, if they're an upper management is saying, hey, I need to take up my numbers with improved productivity at the same time, while creating this culture, where people can express themselves have fun and whatever. What are the three things? Let's start with you, Mario? Cuz you've been sitting there patiently?

Mario Tamayo
Oh, I know that.. patience. You know, again, communications huge. So, the first thing I would do is I would have a one on one with all my people. And I would ask them, I would actually ask them, you, you bring the agenda here. My purpose for doing this is, I just want to find out how things are going for you.

Greg Voisen
Good idea. Great idea.

Mario Tamayo
So that's one Bob, what do you what do you have?

Dr. Bob Nelson
Well, I just build on that. Because in many ways, all any of us have to work with our conversation. So, a one on one, but you can have that as a group as well. And I would say whatever goal is, instead of feeling like you've got all the answers as a manager, and you've got to make the right decision for us to be successful, I'd lay that out and say, Hey, here's, here's the objective we have, who What do you think we can do to reach there, because they know their jobs better than you do? They're doing them even if you used to do their job is changed since you did it. So, get closer to the action of the interaction with the customers or, or what they're seeing, you know, when they when they tried to sell the customer or, or the problems that are coming in on a customer service line and, and maybe you should be listening on those as well but, but get to their strengths. And I had worked with the company and in North Northfolk, Connecticut, boardroom Inc. They did a thing called ipower where they asked every employee to turn in two ideas for how we can improve things around Here, save money better serve the customer, every week, each week to ideas from every employee each week. And, and, you know, they got that going. And suddenly they were getting 1000s of ideas. And they couldn't implement all of them, but they implement a lot of them. And as a result, they increase their revenues fivefold in a three-year period, just by asking people for their own suggestions for how we can...

Greg Voisen
A good old suggestion box works again

Dr. Bob Nelson
But it's not just, it's not just a suggestion box, because that's in the in the lunchroom with a lock on it, no one ever opens. This is actually asking people, and then they had other employees, volunteers review the ideas. And they said, we want to encourage these ideas. So, most of them, they said, that's a great idea, you should really do it. And they gave it back to the person, this knows how we can support you with your idea. So, they it wasn't just a rubber stamp. Yeah, we're not doing that we're not doing that we're not doing that. It's get to them.

Greg Voisen
Mario's got something he wants to say.

Mario Tamayo
I want to say the third thing here is there we go. What Richard Branson does. And then a lot of other execs do this as well, with large organizations, they will actually sit down on a Sunday, and they will ride out on a hat by hand, a card, they'll still write out a card about what they're thankful for, for each of their people that they work with directly, Branson will even go visit different sites. And if he can't meet everybody there, when he goes to visit, he will write them a card that I'm sorry, I missed you. But let me tell you, what I what I love about what you're doing. And again, I think that is just so motivating. As long as it's genuine, it's authentic. It and it's doesn't cost anything other than somebody's time.

Greg Voisen
What I love about Bob and Mario is you're creating awareness. You know, this is, yep, I'm going to tell all my listeners, you know, go to the link that we're going to have a website, buy the book, and it's not because it's lining their pockets with gold because it's really not what you will want to do those check out their websites, because if you're in need of finding a consultant to help you bridge this, these two gentlemen would be at and they both have the expertise but certainly get the book there's plenty of ideas in this book that you could implement yourself. I want to say paperback it's very inexpensive. It's a great company. We will have links to both of your websites will have links to this. Thank you both for being on insight, personal growth and spending nama safe to you, Mario, appreciate it. You guys spending some time with my dedicated listeners. We'll make sure that everybody gets this and gets it out. And I hope that if you're still listening right now, after 15 minutes of this call, that you will take time to go check out the book, their websites. Thank you so much, guys.

Mario Tamayo
Thanks for having us.

Dr. Bob Nelson
Thank you love to come back anytime.

Greg Voisen
We'll have you back for certain

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