ET-072: A conversation with Ms. Michelle Hoffmann
ET-072: A conversation with Ms. Michelle Hoffmann
and your host Wayne Brown on November 07, 2023
and your host Wayne Brown on November 07, 2023
Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.
Today, we’re heading to Fort Mill in South Carolina to meet up with the Queen of Relationshipping, Ms. Michelle Hoffmann. And yes, you heard me correctly, Michelle, as you will hear in our conversation, is gifted with the Art of Relationshipping. So, allow me to introduce some more to help with your understanding on this concept. Because life is better with good love in it, Michelle guides you to attract high quality, relationship-ready people, as well as navigate and enjoy all the right relationships in your life without fear of repeating previous relationship mistakes or not being enough.
She’s a keynote speaker, life and relationship coach, program producer of The Art of Relationshipping, and international best-selling author of five books, including “Life Worth Living” and “New Management Blueprint,” the latter, which we’ll dive deeper into during our conversation.
Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…
You know, this is… It’s going back to relationshipping, and showing the intention that you bring into each partnership makes all the difference, as you were saying, in each of those connections. One of the things that I always dreamed of is to be in a healthy partnership, to do the traditional marriage, kids. I didn’t really need a white picket fence, which is evidently a popular Americana dream, but I really was seeking that bond that I saw… My parents and grandparents, when they looked at each other, it was like this zinger that happened.It wasn’t just an every day routine. Even though mundane activities were happening, when those people looked at one another, it was a connection, it was a breathtaking…
Today’s Guest: MS. MICHELLE HOFFMANN
As Michelle says, you can go from worried you’re not enough to confident you’re attracting everything you desire in life, personally and professionally.
With Michelle’s coaching, you’re ready to step into the person you envisage becoming so you attract the right attention, you become a self-advocate, become visible, valued and valuable, competent and successful.
How do you go from lonely to love? It’s all about relationshipping. Wherever you are in your life journey, single, partnered, married, divorced, or widowed, Michelle helps you find the confidence to live and enjoy life as you dream it can be. Interestingly, our focus today is on how Michelle has successfully worked with her teams and her colleagues to bring out their best and become their advocate as they develop their careers.
That practice, as we might well imagine based on the law of reciprocity, is returned in abundance through the team’s performance and loyalty. Team ET, buckle up as we bounce around and cover plenty of topics and are gifted with an abundance of insights along the way.
Final words from Michelle:
Living your life in alignment with who you would like to be makes for a different life experience. Inviting the people in who you feel safe with, who you get a sense of calm with, who you can just throw your head back and laugh unabashedly, those are the types of people you want to invite closer into your life. And it is okay to recalibrate relationships and not seek approval from people outside your core value system. And it’s really, really hard sometimes to see that and to know how to do that gracefully.
So if you’re feeling out of alignment in any relationship in your life, let that be a clear signal that it’s time to reach out to somebody like me at The Art of Relationshipping. It’s T-H-E-A-R-T-O-F-R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P-P-I-N-G. So it’s Relationshipping, The Art of Relationshipping. And you’re welcome, your listeners are welcome to put some time on my calendar. And I’d be happy to listen, guide, or help to help you realign the relationships in your life, both personally and professionally….
0:00:04.0 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. Today, we’re heading to Fort Mill in South Carolina to meet up with the Queen of Relationshipping, Ms. Michelle Hoffmann. And yes, you heard me correctly, Michelle, as you will hear in our conversation, is gifted with the Art of Relationshipping. So allow me to introduce some more to help with your understanding on this concept. Because life is better with good love in it, Michelle guides you to attract high quality, relationship-ready people, as well as navigate and enjoy all the right relationships in your life without fear of repeating previous relationship mistakes or not being enough. She’s a keynote speaker, life and relationship coach, program producer of The Art of Relationshipping, and international best-selling author of five books, including “Life Worth Living” and “New Management Blueprint,” the latter, which we’ll dive deeper into during our conversation. As Michelle says, you can go from worried you’re not enough to confident you’re attracting everything you desire in life, personally and professionally. With Michelle’s coaching, you’re ready to step into the person you envisage becoming so you attract the right attention, you become a self-advocate, become visible, valued and valuable, competent and successful.
0:01:37.3 WB: How do you go from lonely to love? It’s all about relationshipping. Wherever you are in your life journey, single, partnered, married, divorced, or widowed, Michelle helps you find the confidence to live and enjoy life as you dream it can be. Interestingly, our focus today is on how Michelle has successfully worked with her teams and her colleagues to bring out their best and become their advocate as they develop their careers. That practice, as we might well imagine based on the law of reciprocity, is returned in abundance through the team’s performance and loyalty. Team ET, buckle up as we bounce around and cover plenty of topics and are gifted with an abundance of insights along the way. So please join me for this great leadership conversation as we discuss with our guest, Ms. Michelle Hoffmann, her thoughts and theories around the book titled New Management Blueprint.
0:02:37.3 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.
0:02:53.6 WB: Alright, well, hello, Team ET. Welcome to this very special episode. Why special? Well, during the week, I’ve discovered a little gem. It’s a management encyclopedia disguised as a leadership book. And today, we’re going to be speaking with the author. We’re gonna be unpacking some of the wisdom that sits between those two covers. I guess we should introduce our guest before we jump into that. [chuckle] So I got to welcome her onto the show. You would have heard it in the intro anyway, but it’s none other than the Engagement Whisperer and Creator of The Art of Relationshipping, two time international best-selling author, CEO of Light The Spark Consulting, relationshipping coach and just an all-round great person, Ms. Michelle Hoffmann. Michelle, a pleasure to welcome you to the ET Project.
0:03:48.0 Michelle Hoffmann: Thank you so much for having me, Wayne. I’m delighted to be here and to share all of the secrets that are inside those two covers [laughter] that I have shared for decades with people in the workplace and people who have reported to me. And I love that you’re calling it the management encyclopedia, because this book was written as a love letter to all the people who reported to me when I recruited, hired and trained them at the interview. Once I was sure they were the right person for the role that I had in mind and they would line up with the team that I’ve developed to achieve the results that I had been challenged to achieve for the organization, I would say to them, “I am going to share my body of knowledge with you. And with your body of knowledge and mine that I’m gifting to you, my intention is for you to be better, stronger, faster, smarter than I am so that at some point, you will grow, not only to back-fill my position, but to fulfill your professional goals in life.”
0:05:00.2 MH: And very few of them believed me at the interview, [laughter] but they’re still reaching back to me and saying, “Hey, that was amazing. I didn’t believe it when you said it, but I’m now the founder and CEO of my own successful organization, I’m in the C-suite, and I started out as an entry level job with you. You gave me the skills that I was hoping to get, or I didn’t know I needed, to follow the career path that I wished and dreamed for.” So they thank me still to this day. [laughter]
0:05:36.0 WB: Very nice. We’re going to unpack the book in great detail, so [laughter] hold on to that knowledge for the moment. What’s got you excited in the world today?
0:05:48.3 MH: Oh my gosh. You know, even on Monday morning this week, I was talking with someone, and she was like, “How are you so excited on a Monday morning?” I’m like, “I love every one of the days. They bring so much wonder.” And before… I have a thing, a tradition, a routine that I do before I wake up. Once I know I’m awake, but before I open my eyes, I take three deep breaths and I calm and I pause and I think about what the day will hold for me that I get to look forward to, who in the world may I positively impact in some way, what sensation will I be able to enjoy because I get to wake up and enjoy this day. And that has been a ritual that has really served me, because it reminds me, one, that I get to enjoy the day, and it gives me a little bit of a preview in my mind’s eye of what I get to look forward to, what challenge I’m taking on, how I’m going to approach it, who do I get to interact with.
0:07:07.4 MH: So what’s really inspiring me today, actually happened last night in my VIP group, and I have a client who came to me, and she was professionally… Like most all of my clients, professionally very, very successful. She has it going on. She knows how to get the job done, how to exceed expectations on a consistent basis. She knows that she is one of the most vital team members in her organization. There’s nothing they can hand her that she can’t tackle and tie up with a bow successfully. With that, her personal life has really struggled and floundered. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong. What was she missing? If she’s so smart, how is it that she can’t enjoy this healthy partnership that she’s been dreaming of having her whole life?
0:08:11.5 MH: So when we started working together, she’s like, “Wow, I was interviewing people like I would interview a person for a job in my company rather than sharing experiences with them to bond in a partnership.” So that’s a nice distinction between professional and personal relationships. She said, “I had been taught by my culture, by my family, to dumb it down and don’t show anyone how brilliant and intelligent I am. But I can’t sustain that for any length of time, and over time, I get bored with the people I’m seeing because I enjoy the intellectual stimulation that goes along with a philosophical conversation.” And she was told that those aren’t the right people for her. Nobody would like you, unless you become something that you’re not.
0:09:09.7 MH: So she was feeling like she was not young enough, not pretty enough, not too smart, in this case, too successful, too this, too that, and she was missing an opportunity in her life to be in this healthy intimate partnership, although she’d been very successful in her professional relationships. So last night, she was sharing that she and her boyfriend, who adores her like a goddess for exactly who she is, they are up-leveling their relationship, and he’s everything she couldn’t even imagine she could seek in a partnership, and he feels like he’s won the jackpot. I mean, wow. So I get to wake up with stories like that every single day. I feel like this is the greatest job ever.
0:10:09.4 WB: Not long ago, I finished a leadership program, and the first module was about attitude. And one of the suggestions we made was, when you wake up in the morning, that’s the time to frame your attitude for the rest of the day. And your methodology I think are three great things that are going to happen, or it is a perfect example. So I’m hoping there’s some listeners out there that have been in that program with me, you’ve just heard it first hand, so thank you for sharing with us. Fantastic.
0:10:40.6 MH: Thanks. I didn’t know you would say I spiked.
0:10:47.2 WB: Very good. I mentioned the word relationshipping in the introduction before. What does that word mean? Come on. Is there such a word?
0:10:56.7 MH: I don’t know if there was, but there is now, because I see relationships as a verb. So I gave it the extra P-I-N-G, because you’re actually actively engaging in the relationship. Of course, there are many different types of relationshipping, even if you’re being passive and it’s happening. [chuckle] You’re still… Either whether you’re acting or you’re… If you’re doing or not doing something, you’re still engaged in that partnership and that one-to-one relationship, and therefore, it’s an action. So you’re relationshipping. That’s how I came up with it.
0:11:41.3 WB: Very nice. Very nice. You also have quite an interesting back story, so I wonder if you mind just sharing briefly some of the, I don’t know, career highlights, or some of the journey you’ve been on.
0:11:53.9 MH: Sure. I’m happy to. You know, this is… It’s going back to relationshipping, and showing the intention that you bring into each partnership makes all the difference, as you were saying, in each of those connections. One of the things that I always dreamed of is to be in a healthy partnership, to do the traditional marriage, kids. I didn’t really need a white picket fence, which is evidently a popular Americana dream, but I really was seeking that bond that I saw… My parents and grandparents, when they looked at each other, it was like this zinger that happened.
0:12:32.6 WB: Wow.
0:12:32.9 MH: It wasn’t just an every day routine. Even though mundane activities were happening, when those people looked at one another, it was a connection, it was a breathtaking. Sunday morning, just out of bed, sniffling and whatever, and still, you’re the most gorgeous person I’ve ever imagined I could ever share my life experience with. That’s what I help people get to, and that’s what I was hoping for. And when I found it, I was surprised. Because it wasn’t really in the person that I thought I would be with. Professionally… We’ll do a little side step here. Professionally, I studied business and international economics in two different countries. And when I started my career, I was like, “I’m just not gonna stop my education. And what I’d like to learn about is finance.” So I went to work in the stock market. And I soon went with a money management company and raised the rank. So you were talking about professional successes, I was in the marketing department. And the partners, they were like, “We’re the big game hunters.” And they would go out and they’d make these huge sales with these… I mean, tremendous, like, “Oh my God.” These guys were… They were the big guns.
0:14:08.9 MH: And I’m like, “Right, but I made your presentation. I wrote the script. I talk to the little brokers all day long. Can I be a small game hunter?” And they’re like, “No, you can’t do that.” And I’m like, “Sure, I can. Can I just… Would you be willing to invest 40 minutes in the conference room and allow me to show you what I can do?” So I did, and their jaws dropped, and they were like, “Yeah, go ahead, be a small game hunter.” So all the little brokers that I would talk to from the marketing perspective who wanted to participate in this portfolio were thrilled that they could then participate, even though they weren’t the big game. And I brought in, I think over a billion dollars in assets under management. So naturally, I was promoted to portfolio manager amongst my peers, who then were like, “Wait, how come you now have a corner office and one of us is your assistant?” So certainly, that concept is touched upon in this book. [chuckle] I did live it.
0:15:22.4 WB: Yeah.
0:15:23.5 MH: So from that, I realized that I wanted to continue my education. I was working with all the old money, and I’m like, “Ooh, I can never stop. I can’t sleep. I can’t this.” And it became a little much for me, because it was such a big responsibility and my integrity is so high that I could not sleep until everything was done, which as you can imagine, I got no sleep. So I realized I needed to shift my life somewhat. So I went into… Medical publishing is actually what caught my attention, and I stayed with that company for a dozen years.
0:16:06.6 MH: I was offered this… The management of a customer service department. And these people were really smart, and nobody in the organization realized how brilliant they were. And I’m like, “Do you realize the treasure you have here?” And I could bring anyone who could type and talk and was willing to, I could teach them how to do this job, ’cause it was an entry level position. And as I made friends throughout the organization, I was like, “You all in the different departments don’t know how this business is interconnected.” And I would talk to Product Development team, and they’d be like, “Oh, it’s really hard to get new ideas for the next product that’s coming out,” and I’m like… Because the market research was hard to access. And I’m like, “What do you wanna know? Give me three questions and 45 minutes.” And they’re like, “What?” I said, “I’m talking to the client all day long in my department. And so Shazam, suddenly, the product development department realized the gold mine that I had. And that… Sales, the same thing. So it became an inter-connected organization, and the entire company became more successful, because I started to tie the departments together with this new respect.
0:17:34.4 MH: In addition, my team was so excited that suddenly, they were being appreciated in a whole new way that they wanted to take on more and do more. And so from that moment on, I would say to my senior management team, “What goals would you like to set for me?” And then I’d say, “Okay, I can do that,” and they’re looking at each other, “She can.” And I’d come to my team and I’d say, “We’re gonna exceed this by a million dollars,” and I did that year over year, every single year I worked there. And they kept trying to up the game and I’m like, “I’m gonna be creative and find another way.”
0:18:12.6 MH: So the hardest thing… To answer one of your questions, I consider the hardest thing, probably in my opinion, the biggest professional success I’ve ever accomplished was when they transitioned that entire business from one coast to another, so from California to Pennsylvania. I had to let go of all of my amazing employees and keep them on long enough to train the new people I was hiring across the country. They did not believe me. So this is change management extraordinaire. And I had experience with change management. This was a biggie. So I did keep them on. They were thrilled to stay, because I offered to help career-track them into their next role, so I helped them grow while I recruited, hired and trained my East Coast team and said things like, “With my body of knowledge and yours, you’re gonna be better, stronger and smarter than me.” And so that is how it worked, because my West Coast team trained the East Coast team with me, and the success, as I know it, is the senior manager, or I’m sorry, the CEO of the organization, behind closed doors, I did not hear this from his mouth directly, initially, he said…
0:19:51.0 MH: Michelle transitioned this entire business with zero disruption in service to customers. Just because she made it look easy doesn’t mean it was. That’s one of my biggest accolades. So with that, I stayed with that organization. I met my husband who was everything I needed, even though originally it wasn’t who I thought, you know, in my mind, what he would look like or da, da, da, you know, his job, that sort of thing. But we do. And people ask me, do you believe in love at first sight? And my answer to that is yes, yes I do. It’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you have an idea of what you’re looking for. So if you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, it’s easier to know what a needle looks like if you’re looking for it and clear away the hay. Together we built a home, we built a family, we built a life together, and it was perfect until he died.
0:20:51.9 MH: And that left me head of household, sole parent, and you guessed it, single. So I had to go back to, in my opinion, you know, negative on the number line, though not just to the drawing board, but I had to rebuild my life and figure out what my future was going to look like and how I wanted to live the rest of my precious life. I did the same thing for my kids, and then a friend of mine went out for a run who I used to go running with, and he had a heart attack and died. And I thought, oh my God, I don’t know what to do. And of course, based on the story I just shared with you, I do know what to do. So I went to his widow and I said, this is never gonna be okay. I’m gonna hold your hand and walk this journey with you. Let’s project manage this thing. And so I have become an expert at helping people rebuild life after loss, to rebuild life after divorce, to rebuild life and love after heartbreak.
0:21:58.4 MH: And that’s, so in between that time, I missed one, I was a social scientist at Stanford University in the Department of Medicine, but fast forward, that’s how I became an author because I needed to write the guide I did not have. So that’s the Life Worth Living book that I wrote of how do you rebuild life and become relationship ready, knowing that you are worthy and ready to be in a relationship, and you can identify other people who are relationship ready to invite into your life. So that’s how I became an author. That book became an international bestseller. People were reaching out to me from all over the world to help them through it. And I was accustomed to doing business consulting. This wasn’t, I was like, this is easy. What, what? So sure, I’ll help you. And that’s how that first book got started. And then New Management Blueprint really was a love letter to all of the people who had come back to me and said, congratulations on the success of that book. When are you gonna write the book we’ve been begging you to write? So New Management Blueprint is a love letter to them.
0:23:17.2 WB: First of all, condolences. Sorry about your husband and your loss. And I can imagine, never easy. And as you said, you never get fully over that, that type of thing.
0:23:31.0 MH: I do help people through grief in that way, yes.
0:23:36.0 WB: One question that just sort of bounced off the page to me was where did your knowledge come from? How do you know what you know?
0:23:45.2 MH: That’s a great question. I think it’s nature and nurture. It’s gotta be to some degree, if this is where I spent my time, actually, I have an interesting example to give you. [laughter] My boyfriend and I took the kids to the zoo. And it’s I would assume that everyone looks at things the way that I do, but they don’t. So that’s why I was saying, oh, this is easy for me, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. When we go to the zoo, the children and I look at the animals in the zoo. I know, outlandish, right? And we’re looking at the interactions that they have with each other or with us, or we’re making observations. And that’s my, I don’t know that that’s innate, but that’s how I perceive the world. I see relationships between things, people…
0:24:43.8 WB: Okay.
0:24:44.9 MH: The relationship with your inner thoughts, the relationship with your body, the relationship with food, your relationship with where you live, your relationship with your family, your children, parent-child relationship where you’re the child, parent-child relationship where you’re the parent, your relationship with your academics, your career path, the organization and the role you’re in, your clients, your customers, your colleagues, all of it. So I see the world through relationships. Now, here we are at the zoo and my brilliant boyfriend, he sees the animals, but he’s looking at the enclosures and he’s looking at the generators that support the environment for the animals. And he’s looking at the structures that are put in place for them. And I’m like, wow, that’s a really different way to see the world. [laughter] So…
0:25:42.2 WB: You just described me, by the way. That’s exactly what I do. [laughter] So thank you, yeah, very good.
0:25:51.6 MH: So I think that’s probably the most concise answer because when someone presents a relationship challenge to me, and then we talk about, well, what is the relationship dream come true? My brain is like, all right, how do we bridge that gap? And I will literally take that information in my head and go, here’s all the different outcomes and the consequences to those outcomes. So anything that comes my way, that’s how I approach any challenge or any relationship interaction so that I can help people transform from relationship challenge to relationship dream come true.
0:26:33.9 WB: Let’s jump into the New Management Blueprint. I had the pleasure to read it. So I have a million and one questions. Just before we hit record, I asked if you would mind reading the last paragraph on the last page of your book, which happens to be a quote from none other than Emerson, but I think it sets up the book so beautifully and it sets up a lot of the way that you write and you talk. So I wonder if you would do the honors and mind reading that last paragraph for our listeners.
0:27:08.5 MH: I would be delighted to read it, particularly because this is a reminder, Emerson reminds us to live life fully. This is your one precious life and it is limited. I have not yet met anyone who admitted to not being mortal. So really cherish every experience that you can in life, even the challenges and obstacles, as well as the celebrations and the mundane that is the chain that connects all of it between. So I’d be delighted to read it for you. I start by asking and inviting, Dare I play with Ralph Waldo Emerson. To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the loyalty and respect of your employees, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and customers and to endure the obstacles and pitfalls of challenges in changing environments. To appreciate beauty, to find the spark in others, to leave the world just a bit better, whether by a winning team, an accomplished project well-completed, an acknowledgement for a job well done, to know even one life has breathed a little easier and been promoted to create their dreams and meet their goals. This is to have succeeded in managing well. And then I ask my reader, how may I help you succeed? As an invitation to connect with me.
0:28:53.2 WB: Beautifully read and I’m so pleased that I didn’t try and do it. [chuckle] So thank you for that.
0:28:57.1 MH: [laughter] My pleasure.
0:29:01.2 WB: There’s so much in this book and we’re just going to scrape the surface. So please, if anyone is interested, we’re gonna put the link in the show notes. In the book, you list your top five or your five core values. At that time of writing, it was communication, integrity, responsibility/accountability, teamwork and leadership. You mentioned that they shift with time and circumstance. And I also believe that. I’m wondering, Are they still your top five?
0:29:34.9 MH: You know, your core values can adjust based on where you’re at in the developmental stages of your life. I call it the lifeline of your relationship arc. Mine have remained the same. And in, as you mentioned, communication, integrity, accountability, responsibility, teamwork. I’ve included inspiration and love because primarily the people who are coming to me now are people who need some sort of support. They’ve got blind spots. They’re really smart of what is missing in their life. What is it that they didn’t figure out? And to have someone support them in that way to actually help them figure out what are the blind spots so that you can stretch your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses for proper balance in your life and achieve your professional and personal goals.
0:30:36.2 MH: So I invite those other additional core values in for myself because I’m now not always in a professional setting. We’ll be dealing with personal things as well.
0:30:51.6 WB: Alright.
0:30:51.7 MH: So that we can invite new love in or invite the right relationship in on a personal level as well as a professional level. You bring them up. I’ll tell you, there has not been one business consulting experience or professional experience where I was team building. And actually one of my clients has me coming in soon to her organization. I mean, I have worked with the largest organizations in the world doing this because they can’t figure out what’s wrong with their training and culture that people aren’t achieving the goals or they’re out of professional alignment in some way. So I’ve come in. And one of the things that I really love to do is to remind people that they bring their value system into work with them. You can’t just leave it at the door because then you’re gonna be out of alignment as you make decisions and live in your life.
0:31:56.0 WB: Yeah.
0:31:56.5 MH: I mean, how could you work for an organization that’s outside of your value system? You’re not being true to who you are and therefore you won’t represent them well anyway. So walking into any scenario and each day that you walk into your professional and personal life, but we’re talking about professional at the moment, you bring your value system in with you. And all of the decisions that you make that are in line with your value system and your top values will actually line up and help you achieve your goals. It’s totally fine to go outside your value system occasionally and follow some sparkly object, but realize that’s what you’re doing and go have fun with that. And then come back and go ahead and pursue the goals that you really want for yourself in your life.
0:32:51.3 MH: So what I would do when I had a new team in particular is I would invite them to figure out their top five core values and then put them all on a board. And very quickly what would rise up in a healthcare organization, for example, there are a lot of values that emulate care, love, health, those kinds of servant leadership, those kinds of value systems will show up in an organization like that because people are naturally attracted to the industry that aligns with them. Then we line those up with the goals that we have been set for as a team. And that way, everything you do is going to help your personal success and the team’s success, which of course, ha ha ha, what a wonderful management technique are lined up with the success of the organization. So when you do what’s right for you, it’s also gonna roll up and be right for those who are supporting you and you are supporting on your team and with the organization that you’re working with and for.
0:34:04.0 MH: So that’s why the subtitle of New Management Blueprint is literally spark talent to ignite winning teams, creating valuable results. Because when you’re in alignment, everything else is easy and fun.
0:34:21.8 WB: I want to jump now across to the employee and thinking of the employee as a customer. You mentioned in the book.
0:34:31.7 MH: Yes.
0:34:32.6 WB: And it’s kind of tied to the customer journey maps and identifying touch points and finding gaps, if you like, but applying that same logic to your employees and looking at them as customers and thinking about the interactions for your employees. I love that. I think that’s a brilliant idea and a brilliant approach to look at things from a different perspective through a different lens. Where did that come from? And like, did it…
0:35:03.6 MH: [laughter] Well, as a, you know, I had what I call a eucalyptus manager once. A eucalyptus tree, as you may know, drops an oil beneath it, so nothing grows underneath it. And so that’s, I had a eucalyptus manager is what I call this.
0:35:24.0 WB: Got it.
0:35:24.8 MH: And I’m like, never again. And I didn’t want to be a eucalyptus manager either. So as a manager, as a director, as a, you know, a senior level person in an organization, I wanted to recruit, hire, and train employees that were going to be promoted within the organization or to whatever their dream was going to be. That was a personal choice. And as a result of that choice, my turnover, except to, I’m not counting promotions within the organization, but the turnover in any department that I led was less than 1% because my employees were so happy and they were so busy and so successful, not too long ago, someone was telling me, oh yeah, we used to come in early and then go out after work on Fridays so that we could talk about our successes, what we did well, what could we do better. I’m like, you guys never stopped. [laughter] Because they were so excited about the success that they had individually and as a team.
0:36:38.4 MH: So when I was looking at, you know customer mapping and the customer journey and the moments of truth, the impact where we can make a positive experience so that loyalty was built or just lose the customer entirely and our brand and reputation, ugh. I was walking through that, teaching that to my team. And I’m like, actually, I feel this way about each and every one of you because I want you to be, to come to this organization and be proud of the work that you’re doing and be proud of the organization that you represent and that you make a difference here. And when you’re not here, we miss you. [laughter] We do. So show up was my number one rule.
0:37:28.3 WB: Alright.
0:37:29.0 MH: Show up emotionally, physically, you know, intellectually, give us your best game when you can. And so the customer, I created a customer-centric department, basically, in every and in our customer-centric organization because, I want the experience interdepartmentally and for the career experience to be a good one for the people who come and work in my purview. That way, they’ll feel good about it. People, what do they say? People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. And that wasn’t gonna be the reason for leaving in my case. Absolutely not. So I built a professional relationship with each and every person. I brought intention to the relationship, to, you know, employee, to employer or direct report or whatever it was, so that their journey had impact as well.
0:38:36.6 MH: There was a time early on in one of the departments where an employee said, you know, I went to the elementary school and every year I progressed. And then I went to junior high and high school. And I even went to college. And every year I got promoted, but now I’ve got this job and I’m no longer getting promoted every year. I’m just gonna come in and do the same thing every year, every day for the rest of my life. I’m like, oh, there’s no sense of progress. And that is there. [laughter] She was like, please help me. I’m like, absolutely, yes. So we put in benchmarks and goals and achievements, these moments of truth where you could get a sense of acknowledgement and recognition that we were trained to achieve throughout our young life, our academic life. So here’s a way that, you know, you could come in even as an entry level role and go from, you know, junior to senior to next level up, depending on what their skillset was. And that’s very customized.
0:39:51.1 MH: Some people would come to me and say, what I really want is to work in accounting, but I have no accounting background. Well, I can help you with that because every time there’s an accounting opportunity, I’m going to make that connection with you. If someone said, I wanna be a leader, I’d say, but they’re in an entry level role. So I’m going for the extremes just so you have an example. All right, and then whenever there was an opportunity for them to be a team lead, a project lead, anything, they were an obvious choice for that because that’s something, that’s their prize. So we would give them that. And then with that, that would help them get a sense of accomplishment. I tell you, I gave more positive feedback on my employee reviews. People would look forward to the employee review all year long. I’m like, really? Yeah. [laughter] And they would say, you were really paying attention.
0:40:52.7 MH: Yes, yes I am. This is my responsibility. This is my success. Your success is mine. How can I help you succeed? So they were like, you pay more attention than my mom ever paid to me. I’m like, oh my God. [laughter] Well, let me work with your mom. Just kidding. And there’s always going to be room for improvement. And typically your brain, your amygdala is designed to look for danger. And so your amygdala is gonna be all lit up when there’s areas for improvement. And then you’re gonna forget all the other wonderful things that I shared with you. But I’m going to write them in a way to say, this is the opportunity for growth, not that it’s a problem.
0:41:42.3 WB: Yeah.
0:41:44.6 MH: And so those moments of truth, knowing that I had their back, knowing that if they ran into an obstacle, they would never hide it from me and go, “Oh, we just need to figure this out. She’s going to, we’re going to get in trouble.” I had just the opposite.
0:41:58.8 MH: I would have an employee, you know, who’s fine with me. If they were dealing with a very difficult topic and a difficult client for whatever reason, and they’d say, you know what? This sounds really like serious. This is really important. Would you like me to skip my team lead? Would you like me to skip my manager? Do you want me to go up to the director or senior level on this? Well, the client of course is going to be like, well, yeah. And they, you know, they’d come in to me and be like, “Ha, ha, ha. I got a tough one for you.” And they’d be like, “Can I sit in the office with you while you figure this out?” “Yeah, sure. Come on in.” And just as you had asked me before, I’m figuring out how do I meet with equal force to whatever is happening here, not over or under, you know, I’m not gonna let someone take advantage of us in any way, especially not my employees. I’m gonna protect them. And I don’t need to overwhelm somebody, but to meet with an equal purview, to say what’s really going on here and what’s the best outcome we can achieve.
0:43:06.4 MH: And I call this the three easy steps, basically. High level, what are the three easy steps you’re asking? What’s the ultimate goal you’d like to achieve to set up the environment that’s a safe environment to make, allow that to happen, and then have the engagement knowing that step three is going to be achieving the outcome that you would like in step one. So I would work with clients or whatever the challenge was, and I would invite my team to watch how I did it so they could learn how to do it. And fewer, you know, as people trust me, they would bring that up to me, but they’d also learn how to navigate that so it didn’t escalate as often. We really, it was great. It was great because I empowered my team.
0:44:00.4 WB: Fantastic. I’m sure there’s a thousand things we haven’t touched on. Is there any one thing that you’d like to share before we wrap up?
0:44:09.2 MH: Living your life in alignment with who you would like to be makes for a different life experience. Inviting the people in who you feel safe with, who you get a sense of calm with, who you can just throw your head back and laugh unabashedly, those are the types of people you want to invite closer into your life. And it is okay to recalibrate relationships and not seek approval from people outside your core value system. And it’s really, really hard sometimes to see that and to know how to do that gracefully. So if you’re feeling out of alignment in any relationship in your life, let that be a clear signal that it’s time to reach out to somebody like me at The Art of Relationshipping. It’s T-H-E-A-R-T-O-F-R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P-P-I-N-G. So it’s Relationshipping, The Art of Relationshipping. And you’re welcome, your listeners are welcome to put some time on my calendar. And I’d be happy to listen, guide, or help to help you realign the relationships in your life, both personally and professionally.
0:45:39.6 WB: Michelle Hoffmann, thank you for being on the ET Project. Great conversation, great listening to the insights, the wisdom that you have around not only being a fantastic leader, but also how to do that within a relationship. Thanks for being on the show, it’s been fantastic.
0:45:57.1 MH: I’m delighted, thank you so much for the opportunity.
0:46:00.4 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars, and blogs at coaching4companies.com.