At the end of the day, business is all about the people. Its success hinges on the very individuals who give their best because they feel valued and empowered. This is what Shaw Industries, one of the largest flooring manufacturing companies in the world, believes. Mike Fromm, its Chief Human Resources Officer, sheds light on the company’s philosophy: “Our people and our business are not separate. They are one and the same. When our people thrive, our business thrives.” In this episode, Adam Markel interviews Mike to talk about the importance of creating an environment where people feel safe to challenge the status quo and develop. They discuss how leaders can work towards empowering their people, providing psychological safety for their voices to be heard. Mike also talks about humility in leadership, the current market cycle, developing a learning organization, and the difference between training and development. All of these topics show the vital role of leaders as they lead their people and business to overcome challenges and take hold of opportunities.
01:46 – Leaders Are Dealers In Hope
05:46 – Dealing With Change
12:23 – Creating A Healthy Environment To Challenge The Status Quo
18:41 – Humility, Learning Organization, And Future-Focus
22:21 – Training Versus Development
23:58 – Navigating The Current Market Conditions
33:45 – Coming Together As A Team
37:10 – People And Business Are One And The Same
40:10 – Creating A More Resilient Workforce
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
People And Business Are One And The Same With Mike Fromm
I have a great guest as always, but this gentleman, I vibed with, meeting him when I was doing a keynote for his organization Shaw Industries, one of the largest flooring manufacturing companies in the world. I love the way this guy leads and I invited him to be on the show. I’m going to read not so much his bio but how he sees himself. I’m going to read this word for word. It’s going to be an amazing conversation. I already can tell that. I know you folks are going to love it, so here we go.
This is Mike himself. I started my career at Shaw as a supervisor in manufacturing. That experience shaped my understanding of the business and was an important foundation for my career in HR. During my tenure with Shaw, I have been a strategic HR and partner at various levels of the organization for many different functions.
I’ve also LED talent acquisition and talent management. In my role, I am focused on enabling the success of our incredible HR team, creating a culture where associates can bring their whole selves to work, and leveraging the power of our people to live out the Shaw way. I believe that Shaw Associates are our value creators and a catalyst for our success as an organization.
That’s why it is so important to create an associate experience where every associate finds meaning in their work because they feel included, empowered, accountable, authentic, and supported. As an HR organization, it is our top priority to bring out the best in our people so they can drive the best results for our customers and the business. Our people and our business are not separate. They are one and the same. “When our people thrive, our business thrives.” I love this philosophy. That’s why I wanted this guy on the show. You’re going to so enjoy this conversation with Mike Fromm, the CHRO at Shaw Industries. Sit back and enjoy.
Mike, it’s a funny thing to hear somebody else read about you or read and say stuff about your work history and life history. Sometimes you’re called your resume or your CV. It’s a strange feeling. At least, I feel that way when I listen to that stuff because it’s such a small part of who we are. They’re important things, but what’s one thing that is not in your bio that you would love for our community or our readers to know about you at the outset? What is one thing that’s not in there?
In the bio, it talks about my heart for people and the importance of people to business and touches on those things. One key thing that I would add is it’s not just about people in the individual sense but how people come together as a team and a group of people and how they collaborate and work together to share their strengths and opportunities to help the community thrive. That would be something is the importance of teams and of working together with a common purpose so that you deliver a high value.
I’m struck by something. We began our conversation before we started the interview. It’s always fun when that goes on. I’m going, “No, we got to stop right there. We will get into the show and we’ll get back to that.” My first question for you is our leaders are dealers in hope. I’ve heard that leaders are dealers in hope. I thought this was a good opening question for you to know a little bit about how you lead. What do you think of that statement, Mike?
Leaders want to be dealers of hope. Too often, we focus on the task in front, the transactional things that we’re required to do when we lose sight of the person building that relationship. All leaders care deeply about people, in my opinion. There’s some percentage that doesn’t, but the majority of leaders truly do want to help others and want to give that sense of possibility and unleash that greatness. They get distracted by the task at hand or the transactions that must occur in order to do things, and they lose sight that the real true value comes from the people. How do they stay connected to them and understand what their ambition and aspirations are and how do they then unleash that so that they reach their full potential and we get the value creation that all people bring?
Leaders have to make decisions. They’re often making the most difficult decisions. We’re going to talk about some of that in a minute too. There’s an element of being a leader that’s around having a mindset that can see opportunity, can see a path forward, and can see the way forward when others are not junior in age necessarily but let’s say junior in perspective. Junior in maybe experience that leads to a perspective that allows for somebody to recognize that to dig in, to try to grit their way through something, or to resist even actively and be resistant to change because the changes are uncertain and scary. That greater wisdom that comes with leadership, hopefully, means that you can see that change is always net positive. You can call that hopeful, but it’s even more pragmatic than simply being hopeful. Would you agree with that?
I would agree. Again, leaders have to recognize that regardless of their efforts, change is going to happen. Things are going to move and shift and new things are going to be introduced that then you’ve got to figure out, “How do I respond and adapt in the appropriate way to achieve a different outcome?” If you want something different, you got to do something different. You can’t just hope and bury your head that things are going to stay the same.
Best leaders are constantly trying to anticipate what’s next. Even in the good times, they recognize that things will not stay the same. There will be a valley. They’ve got to then try to figure out, “What does that mean? How will I continue to move and progress in the right way so that we get to the right outcomes that we’re after?” It takes us being more open to those things, hearing a lot of different inputs, and being more empathetic to observe and collect insights from various sources and then decide, “What do we do from there?”
Relative to your own history, you’re near the top of the food chain. You’re in the C-Suite as a CHRO. That I’m sure didn’t happen overnight for you. I imagine there’s been a lot of backing and filling in your own career and things. Maybe it’s a good thing to level set with our folks to understand a little bit about how you’ve dealt with change. Maybe pick one time in your life, a story. It could be professional, career-related, or personal, where you had to manufacture your own net positive attitude about change or something along those lines.
I wrote a book some years ago called Pivot. That was about my inflection point in my career about realizing a pivot was required and that I could either wait for the pivot to come to me or I can take it to take a more proactive approach to it. As it turns out, it was both for me. I want to find out. What’s a moment in time in your life recent or deep in the past that you could share with our folks?
There are always moments where you have to pivot, reflect, and understand, “What does this mean? Where do I want to go? How do I adapt to get there?” One that stands out is from many years ago, I was leading our biggest division from an HR perspective and made a decision that most people in the organization didn’t see it as a positive move. I took more of a lateral move to go into our leadership development area and recognize.
The reason for that move was I believed that we had all this talent and that the world was changing so fast. We all hear the term VUCA and we all recognize that the world is volatile, uncertain, complex, and all those things. We needed to shift and we got all this power because of the people within the organization but where we are fully leveraging the net or understanding how that needed to be used in a more proactive, strategic, and objective way to produce a different outcome?
The decision to move there, I had most of my HR brethren that told me that was probably a bad move, telling me that was pulling myself out of the swim lane. I took a leap of faith. I recognized that this was going to grow me, stretch me, and something that was different. I’m not a person that believes in training per se. I believe in development and learning for sure but not training in the sense that most companies operate.
Going into that role and challenging our leadership to think differently that the business and the world were moving in a different way and direction, we had to address the opportunity that was in front of us to leverage our talent differently and recognize it. When you empower people, open the doors for your people to be their best, and bring their wholesale work, you realize that there are endless possibilities. That was a pivotal moment in my career because that opened me up to work directly with our C-Suite, challenge their paradigms, question some of the things that we did organizationally and where we were trying to go, and challenge them on starting with the end with mind.
Not everybody who’s reading this is also going to see it on YouTube. Some people watch on YouTube, but I can see there’s a little bit of a smile there.
You had the courage to challenge paradigms and try to get people to look at things differently than the way we had. It didn’t set the path forward for me to be awarded this position. I’m very blessed to be in the role that I’m in and grateful that I have the opportunity to work with so many great wonderful people at Shaw and couldn’t be more thankful.
At least what I’m reading between the lines and when I saw your grin there, I thought to myself, “There’s challenging the status quo or the way things are done around here.” There are a number of ways. You use the word paradigm to describe a similar thing, which has its risks. Let’s be sure and let’s be certain to say that. Not everybody, every leadership team, and in a senior role wants to be challenged. Isn’t that the truth too?
Absolutely. Especially we’re a company with great people who’ve worked together for a long time. We had a lot of ten-year and institutional habits and deep relationships. When you start trying to get people to consider things differently, going back to your earlier comment about the change, it causes people to get out of their comfort zone, and, automatically, resistance gets formed.
Not everyone is going to be excited about or understand why we need to move. That was the story now. Fortunately, we had our CEO and our leadership team. We’re very open to different things. We went through and defined the Shaw way, which is something that is our operating model to understand how we approach business and recognize that people are the value creators of what we get.
There are a number of ways to describe the sequence or the word to describe overall what permits you to do what you did. We could say you were courageous. That’s fine. That’s probably accurate on some level, too, but in terms of the environment, how do we describe an environment that invites that type of healthy conflict?
I would use the word psychological safety. That’s a word that is appropriate there in terms of what the sequence is. What’s the first domino that allows for that transformation to a curve? Would you agree with that where the order might be that there was a safe environment for you to feel not like you were alone on the hill when you challenged the status quo there? Is that accurate?
I’m not sure that everyone would feel that way. I always felt it was safe. I never considered that my point of view was not going to be wanted or accepted, but I do think a lot of people within many companies aren’t sure if their opinion is wanted and valued. The first thing you have to recognize is that if you care deeply about your organization being successful about the people around you because their livelihood and their future is dependent on the organization being healthy and successful, then you’re willing to talk about those things that you believe in.
Our CEO used to tell me that I would come into certain meetings and be the only person in the room who thought one way. That can be a scary place. I didn’t come in there with just my personal view. I came in with the organizations with you because I listened to our people and the market and I understood what some of the trends was and tried to shape things from that perspective.
For an organization that has operated a certain way for a long time, a lot of people would have said it wasn’t as safe. I never felt that. That’s what most of us as leaders have to recognize that if we care, we must do what we believe is right, regardless of what the outcome might be. That led me to feel more comfortable in those settings. Our CEO, at the time, was outstanding. He was so respectful every time we had a conversation, regardless of whether he agreed or disagreed. It was very comfortable, but I’m not sure that most people in the organization felt that it was that safe always. We do work on that tremendously now.
It’s not about being contrarian for the sake of being, and I feel like that’s an important point to bring up because to try to make a name for yourself doesn’t mean that you’re always swimming against the current. Sometimes, it’s a lot wiser decision from a lot of standpoints including energy, managing resources, and things like that to not try to swim against the current.
We make up stories. This is what we do as human beings. We make up our own narrative about things. We’re meaning-making machines on some level. Often, people assign a certain that they assume that it would be more dangerous than it is to simply put their hand up and say, “Respectfully speaking, I don’t agree with that. My own intuition feels that’s correct. There are other ways to do things.”
In feedback terms, often when we’re working with organizations, one of the things we find that underpins this idea of psychological safety has to do with whether people can give and receive feedback in a healthy way. We have a system for doing it. It’s a bit canned on some level, but after a while, it doesn’t feel that way. It is natural to say, “This is what works for me.” We always start with, “What works for me?”
It’s personal, so it’s not a judgment. It’s not what works because who knows? We don’t know what, but for me, from my perspective, this is what works for me, this is what doesn’t work for me, and this is what could be done differently. That’s the order of those statements. The last one being is not this is what could be done better. Again, I talked about that before we started the interview. Our judgments play into so many things. Who’s who has the audacity, the arrogance even, to say that they know for sure that something will work better? We don’t know if it had worked differently better even until we have the hindsight to be able to assess that. To propose to do something differently, that’s valuable in a learning organization. Anything strikes you there?
You said a couple of things that are key, the humility. People need to recognize they don’t have it all and don’t have all the answers. Going back to my earlier comment, business is a team sport, and it takes all of us working together to help support each other and drive to a common cause, shared purpose, and belief. A key element to this whole thing is, “How do we make sure that we humble ourselves and recognize that we don’t know?”
We make decisions and, hopefully, our decision is better than our expectation. Even in hindsight, we don’t know if it’s the best decision because we didn’t take another decision. We just know that it meets my expectations or falls short of my expectations. What you always want to do is reflect on those things and try to learn if you had more information or different information, what would you have done differently and how would you grow from those experiences? That would be one thing.
The second point that you made that is key for us is that we’re always learning. We’re a learning organization. We believe in being a learning organization. The way you learn is from listening and hearing each other’s perspectives because each of us comes from a unique place with unique skills, perspectives, and experiences. The more we can understand each other’s beliefs and from their vantage point what they think and can consider those things, the more we can grow and make decisions we have more confidence.
There is no solution. There’s just a bunch of trade-offs and being able to debate what is it that we believe so that then we can reflect on the trade-offs and decide, “Based on those things, here’s where we’re going to go. Here’s the decision.” That’s how organisms that are healthy outperformed those that are not. That’s the key.
One other point I would say is on the psychological safety and that feeling that you assumed that someone doesn’t want to hear your perspective. That does hold back many people, the stories that we tell ourselves, and the history. What I would encourage anyone to do is never look back. That’s why performance reviews and management sometimes get a bad name because it’s backward. It’s past focus versus future focus.
What I always try to say is to forget the past. Learn from it but recognize you’re trying to move forward. Everything is about how we get to a different place. Start with the end of mine, as Covey says, and figure out, “How do we then get to this new place that we’re all trying to get to because we believe it will be better?”
That new place, looking at how labor trends have been in over the last several years and now tight the labor market still is, people want to know that their opinion is valued. It’s important. It’s a very high up the list. Maybe even higher than compensation, frankly, that the place they find themselves in, so many hours of the day is a place that values their opinions and wants their opinions. When you said that, that dropped in for me. I want to come back to something you said earlier about training and development. Is there a distinction there that you make between those two concepts, training and development?
I appreciate you going back to it because I don’t want people to think I don’t value that process. When you train, you train to the norm, so you have a standard. That’s from an educational perspective. Teachers have to figure out where each student is. It is the same thing in the business world. Each of us comes at a different level of understanding. Trying to get people to recognize where they’re at and to grow from that point is what you miss when you train the class to the norm versus trying to get each person to understand where they’re at and how do they grow from the information that’s being shared so that they are more impactful. That’s the difference, I would say.
The other point I would make is the classroom is fine, but it’s always instruction versus making it immersive and interactive. Learning, in my opinion, is when people start to share their different perspectives around a topic versus being told about the topic or the content. Giving context and understanding why people did do the things they do, going back to your judgment, gives you a better understanding of why people chose the different things they chose. It gives you better judgment in the future.
Let’s talk about the market conditions that we are in. It would be very helpful for people who are reading. Many of the folks who are reading are either in senior-level areas themselves or leading others. Many operators and entrepreneurs also are reading too. We’re in a transition period in the marketplace. The pandemic was a massive disruption. The ripple effect of those lockdowns, we’re still feeling it. We are feeling it in education, the medical, and health space. We’re feeling it across the board and, certainly, in your area as well.
What is it about a time of transition that doesn’t change? Regardless of agnostics to the kinds of things that we’re going to see in front of us, there will be pivots and changes to the structures of organizations. We’re already seeing that. There’s a lot of organizational change happening like right sizing and whatnot. There will be more of those things, but what’s the common denominator you’ve lived through a number of cycles? I’m not dating you. I’m not going to date myself, but let’s say we’ve seen the roller coaster of these events before. Is there a common denominator in all of those pivot points that you’d want to speak to as part of the wisdom in guiding us, as you said, being future-focused now?
That’s a great point to reflect on. Change is going to happen, and you’re going to go through different business cycles and market cycles. What I would offer is don’t take it too seriously. It’s challenging and hard. There are always going to be moments of adversity, but take those moments as an opportunity to learn and grow. Life is going to is always going to be up and down. You never stay on the mountaintop and you don’t always stay in the valley. How do you manage those cycles in a way that keeps you grounded in reality but also optimistic about the possibilities of what the future holds?There are always going to be moments of adversity, but you take those moments as an opportunity to learn and grow. Click To Tweet
That’s a key element. Take every opportunity as a learning opportunity. There is never an opportunity that’s a failure. We all talk about failure as a learning opportunity in my book. When you go through cycles, it’s an opportunity to reflect, learn then connect with each other, and figure out how to move forward together because we believe in something bigger.
Those four things probably help you to navigate. I know you and I have talked in the past about the topic of resilience. To me, the thing about resilience is when you have a support group or people who care about you, love you, and have your back, you can get through anything. If you’re trying to navigate the hard times by yourself, it’s generally when you don’t see hope or you don’t have hope and you don’t see a future. Resilience comes from when people are there for you and with you because they believe in you, see a common cause, try to grow and learn through the process, and go from there.
We were sharing a little brain mail going on there. I was going to ask you how you support your folks in times like this. I’m wearing a shirt that says, “Got your back today.” You played into that. That was so beautiful, Mike. I’m going to ask the question anyway. How do you support your folks when it doesn’t necessarily at our back? This is a moment in time when we are facing headwinds in a variety of different places.
You got to find success stories and moments when you see the winds and you shape and share those stories in a way that inspires and encourages people. The biggest thing is being present with your people and making sure they feel that you’re there for them, hearing them, and understanding what they feel and believe. You’re being honest with them.
We believe in transparency. Transparency builds trust. That doesn’t mean you give content. It’s about giving context to what the situation is. Unfortunately, you don’t control what they take for some of those things. You try to give confidence to people that you’re there with them to help them navigate the tough times and like, “We’re going to offer support and we’re here as individuals and as teammates. We also have external resources that are here to offer additional support.” We talked about showing kindness in the heart with our people and then offering love and support whatever their story is that they might need because we care deeply about them.
I have found my first Domino. Here’s my sequence. You could pull it apart and change it any way you want. It feels like, to me, the first domino in that environment where someone could feel empowered to challenge the status quo and, ultimately, create an opportunity like you did. Again, we could say there’s courage there. For sure there is.
If the first domino is transparency that leads to trust and trust creates that psychological safety, in fact, those two things are fairly synonymous anyway. That creates this opportunity for an empowered workforce that can challenge the status quo. Transparency leads to trust and leading to psychological safety to have true empowerment to do all the things that are sometimes difficult to do. Be the lone person in the room to go, “Can we tap the brake for a second here? We put a pause on doing it the same way we’ve always done it, etc.” Does that make sense to you? Do you buy that?
The first thing is you got to connect. You got to be present. As I said earlier, connect. When you connect, relationships start to be formed and trust is built, and then you can be transparent about anything when you have those things. When you start to share openly, transparently, and frequently, you can co-design and get to whatever you believe is best as teammates and not as individuals because the power is in the co-design.
It is, isn’t it? That’s the power of the team. It’s not trying to be the smartest in the room all the time, not trying to have all the answers, and not having the pressure. I remember being at your event and telling that story about the lifeguard stand and being up there. When I was nineteen years old, we had an accident at the beach. We lost somebody and didn’t find them. It was brutal. It was one of those things where you can’t even imagine how a sunny day can get turned completely upside down.
We had to continue to move forward in the midst of that total chaos and that loss. We were required to get back up in a lifeguard stand as if nothing had happened and be future-focused. After that, in thinking about it, talking about it, and relieving ourselves emotionally of the weight of it, we made changes. We had to make changes.
Part of those changes involved how we supported one another so that we were not ever up there depleted and not able to do our best at the moment, but rather how we came together as a team to have each other’s backs. Ultimately, the good part of that story is that for seven additional summers that I was fortunate to be at that beach, we never lost anybody again. It was a rough environment. It was life and death a lot of the time. I so appreciate you bringing that full circle for me, Mike.
That’s good. I want to tell you one thing, the exhaustion. I don’t know if this is additive, and maybe it’s not accurate, but I reflect on this a lot. When we’re growing up, we’re trying to fit in a lot of times. We’re trying to figure out what’s our place, where we need to be, and those kinds of things. One of the things that happens when you get into the business world is you’re trying to stand out. Too often, when we’re trying to stand out, we’re putting others down in order to make sure that we’re seen.
The reality is, going back to that tragic situation, if you’re by yourself, you end up spinning, working so hard, and depleting yourself. You exhaust yourself. Mentally, it never stops, and if you can rely on others, you realize you will get your due when it’s due. You trust that the organization or the people around you are seeing your value and it’s not just the good old boy thing or whatever it might be.
It is us all coming together and helping each other because if you don’t, you’re always trying to be the one that gets the limelight. You’re going to be exhausted and damage a lot of relationships when, at the end of the day, it’s all about how we come together and work together as a team. The best teams are when they work together, not when they work as individuals.The best teams are when they work together, not when they work as individuals. Click To Tweet
The word you used earlier is humility, which comes up for me there, and patience. I believe that emotional intelligence and maturity are not necessarily an age thing. I know plenty of 50-year-olds who are complete idiots and are just still five-year-olds, honestly, mentality-wise. There are plenty of 25-year-olds who are incredibly mature well wise beyond their years.
I don’t want to turn it into a conversation about an age demographic or anything, but there’s something about patience that is important. For leaders now who are feeling perhaps that level of wanting to make something happen for themselves in their careers or speed up the process, it’s important to heed what you said. At the beach, for us, we learned pretty quickly that you can’t go it alone. If you’re going to play on a team, you got to recognize the power of the team. When you’re down, somebody picks you up. When somebody’s down, you pick them up.
We’re not all going to be at our gold medal best every single moment of every single day. You got to have some humility in yourself, allow that in others, make a safe place for that to exist, and have patience. If you can do that, as you said, people are going to recognize that you’ve got something that’s valuable and it will be rewarded. That’s my belief as well.
I agree 100%.
The last thing I want to get to here is I want to ask about people and business because, at a certain point, in a conversation that you and I had, you said to me and I wrote it down that people and business are one and the same. That’s a direct quote for me a couple of months ago. I want to understand that better. I have my own feelings about it because I know you a little bit now, but I want people to get what that is. How is that of different paradigms do you think than the one that is more prevalent?
Most people want to segment or compartmentalize their activities and the things that they have to do. As leaders, we want to think about business and what we have to get done, then we want to think about the people. What I try to get leaders to understand is that business only happens through people. You don’t have business without interactions with people. The value that comes for businesses is when people come together and produce outcomes that they believe are best for the organization when they deliver things.
How do they bring those skills, qualities, and experiences together and partner and collaborate so that they can be more innovative to produce business solutions that, individually, we might not think about? We bring that. How do we create that understanding that numbers don’t happen without someone doing something? If you start to realize that the people are the power, then you’re going to be a more effective leader.
I use an example from years ago. If you have a business challenge, you have a leadership opportunity. If you have a leadership challenge, you have a business opportunity. They’re hand in hand. They don’t go without the other. If you have a business challenge, I promise you that there is a leadership behavior challenge or opportunity within that situation and vice versa. If you have a leader that struggling and not demonstrating the right behaviors and the right skills and those kinds of things, there is going to be a business challenge.
That’s how I tie it together and try to get leaders not to compartmentalize, “I got to put my business hat or my people hat on. I got to put my strategy hat on.” Those things are all interrelated and fully interdependent on each other. The more we can understand that, the better we can work as a team.
As we wrap this up, I want to ask you. How do you take care of yourself? What’s the best method that you’ve got? You’ve brought it up a couple of times. I so appreciate you talking about resilience. That is the through line of the work that I do as a keynote speaker but also our company work. We’re constantly helping to create and craft work cultures of well-being. The essence of that is a more resilient workforce, people who mentally, emotionally, physically even spiritually are stronger and are better able to weather the waves of change that are the only constant that we can count on. You’ve been resilient. What does that look like for you on a daily basis?
Going back to me, I probably don’t have great balance always, but I’ve always thought I did. I probably reflect more on that now than ever before after hearing your message to us. I have a great support system. My family is something that I value and enjoy spending quality time with. We do a lot of things together. My faith is a big part of being able to spiritually and mentally recover because you recognize there’s a higher purpose and certain things.
The last thing physically and mentally is this recognizing, “I have to have my time.” I have realized that my personality is one that if there’s an opportunity, then I want to try to solve that or help them solve that and lean in. I have to have time to recharge and recover. Having downtime is key for me. I do that in a number of different ways, but at home, my family knows when I say I have to have my time, they know I need some quiet time and moments of reflection and go off. That’s the key thing for me.
The last thing I would say is don’t take yourself so seriously. We talked touched on this at the very beginning. Give each of us grace. We can beat ourselves up, but life is short. We take it too seriously sometimes, but we have to give ourselves some grace and recognize it will be better in the morning because we’ll have an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience and figure out what we’re going to do differently. Staying positive and recognizing that there will be something better at the end helps me.Life is short and we take it too seriously sometimes, but we just have to give ourselves some grace and recognize it'll be better in the morning. Click To Tweet
I so resonate with that. I do a lot of things to take care of myself and schedule those things and parts that we’ve talked about too. The quiet and having that time to be quiet and still, we have similar some similar practices. Prayer means a lot to me. Also, being in gratitude. I don’t think there’s a better prayer than gratitude and feeling, “What in this moment can I be in a state of appreciation for even when there’s imperfection?” Again, that would take us down a whole other path. My grandmother was a huge influence on my life. Both of them I was close to, but one in particular had all those things. She always said something I needed to hear at the moment. She would say, “Be easy on yourself,” because she knew I was driving myself hard. People drive themselves a lot harder than they may even be conscious of.
We drive other people hard, too, in some response to that as well. This is good because I intended that part of our conversation would meet people where they were. Again, knowing that we’re in a time where there are headwinds or crosswinds or whatever it is. It’s choppy. I’ll use that analogy. That’s the analogy in the book Change Proof as well. The water is choppy and it’s going to continue to be choppy. These things are important in learning and being able to navigate what is a choppy sea now and for the next little while here. Mike, thank you so much for your contribution. This was a blast. I so appreciate everything you shared here.
I appreciate you for welcoming me on the show. I appreciate the work that you do. I’m so grateful that you care deeply about others and that you’re trying to help us all get to a better place.
I love that conversation with Mike Fromm. I have so many notes from my side of things. I can’t even imagine what it was like for you all, but I’ll do a little recap here. We talked about how it is that we produce an environment where people feel safe to challenge the status quo and where people feel empowered. We were searching for that first domino and talking about how it is that those involvements happen and how they develop.
We finally came to the point where what we’re talking about is the capacity to truly be present and connect with people so that you’re able to, in fact, be transparent with them. In doing so, trust is established. When there’s that psychological safety that is present in that space of trust, people can then feel able and power it even to challenge the status quo and to speak up and have their opinions and their voices heard.
We talked about humility in leadership. We talked about the current market cycle that we’re all experiencing these choppy waters this time of change, even greater change, perhaps than even the changes that we initially thought might come after the lockdowns in the pandemic, etc. We talked about what a learning organization truly is and how it is that you develop one. We talked about the most important thing probably in the workforce now, which is an environment where people feel their opinions, are wanted, and valued.
We talked about the distinction between training and development. That was quite interesting. We talked about being future-focused, and the importance of humility and patience in leadership. We talked about how it is that business challenges create leadership opportunities and vice versa that leadership challenges create business opportunities. We covered a number of things at such a deep level as well as at a high level.
We talked about how it is that business and people are one and the same and I challenged or asked Mike to expand on that. What does that look like, the difference between having a transactional mindset versus having a transformational mindset, and what might get in the way of those things and what might in fact produce those things or lead to those outcomes? I love the conversation. What a good guy, sitting in a very important role at Shaw Industries and a role of great responsibility and great leadership.
In his voice, you can hear in the quality of his responses why he, in fact, sits in that seat. I feel good for the folks at Shaw that they’ve got somebody like that. That’s a real credit to them. I love the conversation. I hope you did too. If you know somebody who’s in a role, feeling challenged by that, may not even have a sense of what their future might be within the organization they’re at, the career path that they’re on, or any number of different things that might have resonated with you, including what great leadership even looks like in the world that we’re living in this book of time and this plastic environment of challenge, change, disruption, etc.
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We will see on the flip side, on the other side of things. Hopefully, in the next episode, we keep hearing from people in this community about how much they enjoy these conversations. We’d love to hear from you and we hope that you’re enjoying it. Most importantly, I want to say thank you for reading.
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About Mike Fromm
I believe that Shaw associates are our value creators and the catalyst of our success as an organization. That’s why it is so important to create an associate experience where every associate finds meaning in their work because they feel included, empowered, accountable, authentic and supported. As an HR organization, it is our top priority to bring out the best in our people so they can drive the best result for our customers and the business. Our people and our business are not separate – they are one and the same. When our people thrive, our business thrives.
I started my career at Shaw as a supervisor in manufacturing. My experience shaped my understanding of the business and was an important foundation for my career in HR. During my tenure with Shaw, I have been a strategic HR partner at various levels of the organization including talent acquisition and talent management. I am focused on enabling the success of our incredible HR team, creating a culture where associates can bring their whole selves to work and leveraging the power of our people to live out the Shaw Way.