Episode 20 : I Hate my Job

Posted by John Williams on Jan 8, 2021 8:01:48 AM

John Williams Founder/President of Elucidate Resources and a Great Game of Business Certified Coach, dives into why people hate their job. Is it the company, their assignments, their co-workers, or their boss that make or break a job.

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Episode with guest: John Williams

Founder/President of Elucidate Resources

(This episode was recorded in December of 2020.)


Key Episode Take-Aways:

1. The number one reason why people are not engaged is because they don't like or respect their immediate supervisor. (click to jump to this topic below)  -The number one reason why people are not engaged, or they hate their job is they don't like or respect their immediate supervisor. And it really has very little to do with the organization itself .

2. Most people have heard of servant leadership but sometimes use it incorrectly. (click to jump to this topic below)  Many books have been written about it. But here's where I think people get servant leadership wrong. Being a servant does not mean your employees get to do whatever they want. It does not mean that leadership should stop holding employees accountable.

3. People don't know how they make an impact. (click to jump to this topic below)  This whole concept of money doesn't fix the fact that people don't know how they fit in. Four questions you want your employees to understand:

1. How does my job affect the organization?

2. What number on the financials do I influence?

3. How does my job affect the customer?

4. How does my job affect the community I live in and society as a whole?  


Continue scrolling to read the full episode transcription.

Announcer  0:00  

Welcome to the "Change the Game" podcast, where we share stories of open-book management and highlight capitalism at its best. Thank you for tuning in to the 16th episode of the "Change the Game" podcast with special guest Robert Isherwood. This episode was recorded during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Here's your hosts, Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker.

Steve Baker 0:25

Welcome to the Change the Game podcast, where we're changing the game by doing business differently and highlighting the stories showing capitalism at its best. I'm Steve Baker. And with me, as always, is our co-host is Rick Armstrong, president of the Great Game of Business and co-author of our new book, "Get in the Game: How to Create Rapid Financial Results and Lasting Cultural Change". Hey, Rich, how are you?

Rich Armstrong 0:48

Very good. How are you, Steve?

Steve Baker 0:50


Rich Armstrong 0:51

Great. Great. Hey, I am really excited about today's special guest, John Williams with Elucidate Resources. Many of you know him as the face of the Central States Manufacturing organization, one of the early pioneers of open book management and employee ownership. John is a huge advocate of employee ownership, as well as a Great Game of Business certified coach. And John has also just published his new book, "Building a Resilient ESOP Company". And so, John, how are you? Welcome.

John Williams 1:22

Thanks, Rich. Thanks. Thanks for having me. I'm doing great. Doing great.

Steve Baker 1:27

That's awesome. I'm excited about your new book, but I got to tell you, your recent blog entitled "I Hate My Job: Two Reasons Why Employees Hate Their Jobs and What to do About It". I'm really excited about that because it's something everyone can use right now. John, my favorite part of it is that somehow, I don't know, you worked at John Williams magic and you crammed Johnny Paycheck and linear regression models into the same article. I don't know how you did it, but wow, well done. Before you get into the two reasons why people hate their jobs and what we can do about it. Why did you write this piece?

John Williams 2:01

Well, it's something that I have been thinking about, I would say probably for the last 10 or 15 years, and I always struggled with it. I mean, even growing up, I remember my dad coming home and he hated the job. He hated the office. He wanted to quit. He couldn't wait for a vacation. And it was just everywhere. And the majority of the people, you know, just, are just not happy with their jobs and I wondered why, and then as I got older and I started to work, there were periods in my life and there were some actual places I worked that I hated my job. And I'm like, oh, no, I know what my dad is going through, I get it. I can't wait for vacation. I can't wait for Friday. I mean the whole thank God its Friday slogan came from somebody that hated their job. That whole restaurant chain was based on somebody hating their job.

Steve Baker 3:11

And a surplus of potato skins. [laughter]

Rich Armstrong 3:15

John, I'm pretty impressed that you narrowed it all down to just one or just two reasons. So, I'm very impressed.

John Williams 3:20

Well, it didn't start that way. And I could probably go ahead and write a book just on this topic, because I started with five reasons. I actually and I'm like, well, this is probably going to be too long for a blog. So, I did cut it down to two. The fact of the matter is there's a lot of reasons why people hate their jobs. And I know everybody hears it. I hear from neighbors. I hear from family members. And I'm not talking about a bad day because they're going to be periods no matter where you work, that you're going to have a day that you just don't want to go to work. You're just not happy about it. And I always told myself that if I get up in the morning and I don't want to go to work for five days in a row. I need to really start thinking about, like, what's going on, what's happening. So, I was just very intrigued, like, how can we have how can we be the most productive country in the world and at the same time hate what we're doing? It just it just I couldn't wrap my head around it. How can that be? I mean, how could that how could that be? So, I got to looking at it, and then a few years ago I needed some validation. And also, I heard people talk about I heard people complain. I've had employees complained to me that they hate their job, or this is happening or that's happening. So probably one of the better polls out there that measures employee engagement is the Gallup poll. And they've been measuring it for years and years. And what's interesting, it kind of validates what you're hearing from your parents, from your neighbors, from your kids, from the employees that report to you, from even there, your managers and the people that lead you. It validates it. And their latest poll on employee engagement, it was done in 2019, it states that 13 percent of employees are actively disengaged. So, you think, well, that's not that much. And that's got a little bit better. It's dropped a little. And thirty five percent of the employees are engaged. That means they come to work, they want to do a good job, they're happy to be there. I'm not saying every day. So, don't pick one moment in time to say that person hates their job. I'm talking about in general, they want to do a good job. They're trying to improve. They enjoy where they're working. So, where's that other 52%? The 52%, Gallup classifies them as not engaged. So that 52% kind of floats a little bit out there in the middle, you know, but they really classify them as they show up for work and do the minimum. They do what they need to do to keep a job. So, think about this over the years, the 35% that's went up a little bit, the 13%, it's went down a little bit. But what has stayed the same is when you take the 13% of actively disengaged and the 52% are not engaged. That's 65% of your workforce is not engaged or just doing the bare minimum. Just showing up for work.

Rich Armstrong 7:20

Right. Steve, call it Steve used to call it presenteeism right? You're there, but not really there.

Steve Baker 7:30

I think I actually was that at one point in my career, you know. [Laughter]

John Williams 7:36

It's just validated that, you know, people do really hate their jobs. Or they're not engaged, you know. And hate comes in a variety of feelings or a variety of measurement. It can be intense hate, or it can be just like I'm just going to do what I have to do. I'll be a good employee. I won't miss work. I'll show up. I'll do what they tell me to do. I'll go home collect my paycheck. Nothing more. Nothing less. Yeah, so I kind of validated what I thought was happening.

Rich Armstrong 8:19

Well, let's jump right into the reasons. What what's the number one reason? How would you prioritize this?

John Williams 8:24

Well, I picked two, I think, when I first started jotting down all the reasons, I come up with about 20 or 25. And then I went back and I started prioritizing and I'm thinking, well, this one reason right here would probably solve these other ten that I wrote down. So, it would fix that one. So, I prioritized it to really two that I think that if somehow the organizations and not just the United States, but the organizations in the world and I say organizations, because I'm talking about not just manufacturers, not just businesses. I'm talking about government. I'm talking about nonprofits. I'm talking about schools. I'm talking about churches. I'm talking about manufacturers, retail, construction, whatever that is. If everyone could just do these two things, I think you could double that engagement.

Steve Baker 9:36


John Williams 9:39

So, the first one is, and this may seem obvious to some, but some people here's the funny thing about this. It seems obvious, but organizations don't do anything about it. They don't do anything about it.

1. The number one reason why people are not engaged is because they don't like or respect their immediate supervisor. 

And that is the number one reason why people are not engaged, or they hate their job is they don't like or respect their immediate supervisor. And it really has very little to do with the organization itself, because I've experienced this firsthand, you know, I worked for a company that was great. I love the company. I love what they did. It was interesting work. I loved the people that reported to me. They were hard workers. They wanted to do better. They wanted to continuously improved. I had a boss that was the worst command and control jerk boss that you would ever, ever work for. Great company, great employees. What I do, I left. I left. Now, on the other hand, I've worked for a terrible company, you know, no values, but they had values. They didn't live by them. I didn't like some of the things they did. Loved my supervisor. I stayed longer than I should have, but I eventually quit. But I did stay longer. So, this whole thing, because here it is, the face of that leader, what that leader does, how that leader asks that employee that reports to that type of leader is going to automatically perceive the company to be that way to. And they're going to be miserable.

Rich Armstrong 11:32

John, I mean, it's interesting when you're saying that about using that one is the number one reason, you know, SRC has been using the Gallup 12 questions, for I think it's going on 20 years now, Steve, I think So, we had those twice a year and what we've noticed in those trends is that there's one question in those Gallup 12 questions that my supervisor or somebody at work cares about me as a person. Whatever the answer is to that question, the other questions follow. And so, it centers exactly on what you've identified here. It's that, that comes first. Everything else follows.

John Williams 12:12

It does. And it's no different than the ten steps that you guys wrote about in "Get in the Game". You know, you have to have the right leadership in place. Don't and I would even go as far to say do not fire one single employee unless you've got the right leadership. Here's what most organizations do. They talk about their employees, how lazy they are. They don't care. They show up late, they're tardy. They take lunches early, they take long breaks. They don't care. All they care about is getting out of here and getting a paycheck. All they want is raises. They want more money. They want all of this. And what do they do? They fire those employees. They recirculate them. Their turnovers high, customer service suffers, their business suffers. And what does they do? They blame the employee. Oh, my favorite excuse is they blame it on the millennials. Listen, it's got nothing to do with the millennials. The millennials were no different than the kids were in the '80s or the '50s or the '40s or the '30s. There's no different. But organizations continue to run that cycle and they do not look at the supervisor. That front line supervisor is that piece. Oh, I've got a good executive team, they're great. They believe in it. They believe in servant leadership. They believe in all this stuff. I've got a great middle management team, good people, good leaders. They know how to do it. And your front-line supervisor is wrecking your company. That's the people that do all the work are reporting to that front line supervisor. They're not reporting to middle management. They're not reporting to the executive management team. That's the problem and it's a vicious cycle. And that's why I think it's the number one reason why people are disengaged, and they hate their job. Because I know, I worked for a crappy company a long time because I had a good boss.

Rich Armstrong 14:12

Can all that be fixed, John? I mean, how do you fix it?

John Williams 14:16

It can be fixed. And I hate to throw buzz words out there. You know, you hear them all the time and they catch hold in the business world all the way back when TQM started and value stream and this type of leadership and all of this stuff. But this word, servant leadership, it's used a lot.

2. Most people have heard of servant leadership but sometimes use it incorrectly.

Most people have heard it. Many books have been written about it. But here's where I think people get servant leadership wrong. Being a servant leader does not mean that your employees get to do whatever they want. They can do whatever they want. They don't have to do anything. And the supervisor just has to support them and do whatever. It does not mean that. It does not mean that leadership should stop holding those employees accountable. People want to be held accountable. People need direction. They need leadership, but they also need support. Servant leadership is not that. And I feel like a lot of companies go too far the other way. So, they've had this command and control. So there way over to the right. Command and control as like I hate that is terrible. It's a bad environment. People don't like working. So, we're going to servant leadership. So, what do they do? They don't stop in the middle. They go all the way to the left. And there's no leadership. There's no direction. Everybody gets to do what they want to do. There's no accountability. Oh, everybody gets exceeds expectations on their performance evaluations. Everybody gets raises. Everybody's happy. It's all great. No, that's not good either. That's not good either. Servant leadership is all of that. Yes, it does have certain traits and characteristics. You know, humility and being transparent, serving your employees, making sure that they've got every tool and every resource they need to do their job, so they don't get frustrated. It's easy as that. But more than anything, you need to be honest with them, honest with them about what's going on in the business and honest with them about their performance. And how they're doing and what their strengths and weaknesses are and hold them accountable. To me, that's what servant leadership is. So, you can fix it with the right leadership. But here's the steps. Okay, so I'm going to take you through four steps as an organization if you want to start changing your leadership. This is what you can do. You will have to be intentional about it. And I will say this. Do not just do it with the executive team, or middle management. If everybody that has somebody that reports to them, they should be going through this. They are a leader. If they just have one direct report, they are leading somebody. They should be part of this process. So, step number one, you really need to define what are the servant leadership traits and characteristics that you want in a leader and your organization. And there doesn't need to be 20 of them. If you got 20 of them, none of them is important. Just three to four, three to four will cover it. You know, you need to define those. And when I say define them, don't just talk about them. When I say define them, I mean talk to them, agree to them. Everybody supports them. And you write them down. It's like this is what this is going to be, Okay.

Steve Baker 17:50

So, you're defining you're saying this is how we lead here?

John Williams 17:53

Yes, yes.

Steve Baker 17:54

It's not the end all of leadership. It's how we do it here.

John Williams 17:58

Yeah. These are the four traits or four behaviors. Or you could do four traits and four behaviors that we want and all of our leadership. And they have to have this, or they don't work here or they're not a leader here. Maybe they work here, they're just not a leader. But every leader must exhibit these four behaviors and have these four traits. So, what do you do, you go out and fire all your leaders? No, you don't do that. So, the next thing, once you define those characteristics and behaviors, you need to assess the leaders that you have currently and how they fit into those behaviors and characteristic. And grade them on some type of scale on how they're doing in each one of those. So, assess your current employees. The next thing to do is train and coach the ones that have the weaknesses. Give everybody a chance to change. I don't know, boss dummy said the old broom still sweeps. It does. It doesn't mean just throw them out the door. It means, hey, this is what we're doing. This was what we would like to see. And here's what we're going to do to help you get there. Okay.

Steve Baker 19:10

So, John, could I butt in for a second because I have a question about that. So, I've been reading a lot lately and there seems to be a little bit of a theme popping up over and over that, oh, you shouldn't pay attention to the weaknesses. You should do. You hear about strength finders and things like that. And I'm not, that's also Gallup, so I'm not criticizing it. What I'm saying is I still believe Jack has always pointed to the critical number as being a weakness in the organization. We need to basically train out of our business. So, you're saying attack the weaknesses, I tend to agree with that. But what would you say to someone who says, I think you should really pay attention to the strengths, the weaknesses will take care of themselves?

John Williams 19:50

Well, I'm not saying not totally pay attention to the strengths, but if you're going through and assessing your current leadership and you're making a change in how you what type of leadership that you want in that organization, I think you're going to have to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are. And then you're going to have to develop a plan of coaching, training, and there needs to be a time period on it. Like, hey, over the next 12 months, this is what we see. We see you're weak here, weak here and you give examples. You don't just tell them you're weak there. You said you're weak here for example, last week when you were talking to your team, I noticed you did this. That needs to look like this. It's that type of coaching. It's not like you got to do all this stuff. Talk to you next year. Hope you get it. It's not that. Your goal is to not have to let anybody go and turn all of those leaders into the leaders that you want and the organization. That's the goal.

Steve Baker 20:53

Yeah, makes sense.

John Williams 20:55

But the last step in that and here's the most important and sustaining it. You've got to incorporate those four traits and three or four behaviors into your hiring process and into your performance management process. Because if you don't do it when you're hiring, you're going to be hiring more bad leaders or more leaders that you got to train and coach. So, if you want to do it the easy way, hire the people that already have all that stuff, teach them the technical part. That's easy stuff. Those four characteristics and four behaviors. If they've got those, I would hire them quickly. Hire them quickly. And performance management, you've got to continuously measure it. So, if it was me on your performance review, you would have, I would be rating you on those four characteristics and those four behaviors. That's what I'd be rating you, on for the most part.

Steve Baker 21:50

Makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.

John Williams 21:53

So that's the part of, I think, servant leadership in the form that I just talked about will fix a lot of these issues with people not enjoying where they work or hating their job or continuing to leave because of their direct report. Sounds easy, but I would say only 35% of the organizations out there are doing it. So.

Steve Baker 22:28

I think you're right about that. So, throughout the article, you talk about the two big reasons. So, one is I hate my supervisor. What's reason number two?

John Williams 22:36

Reason number two is people, they don't know how they fit in. Or they don't know how they make an impact. So, imagine this Rich, you're big Kansas City Chiefs fan, right?

Rich Armstrong 22:50

You bet.

John Williams 22:51

I think I've heard this. Imagine if you were to tell Patrick Mahomes to go out and win the Super Bowl. And he had never seen or touched a football ever. Never touched it, never seen it.

Rich Armstrong 23:08

I'd still take him as my quarterback.

John Williams 23:10

You probably would. Still, I mean, that's what I can't. But we do that to employees all the time. Organizations do that to employees. They say, go do this, go do that and have no idea what they're doing or why they're doing it. And it goes back to the hierarchy of needs. People, after all the food, shelter, all these needs are met. You've got to have purpose. You've got to have a reason for doing what you do, okay. So, let's talk about money for a little bit. So, money, and I mention it in the blog that it's like sugar to me. Sugar is a rush. Sugar is good. You see it. You get excited about it. If you see money, you see chocolate and you see all these things, you get excited. It's something that's telling you. But both of those are a short-term fix. And you're never completely satisfied by either one of those. Yet, you've got to have more. You want more sugar, you want more money, but you're still never satisfied. You're still never satisfied. So, this whole concept of money doesn't fix the fact that people don't know how they fit in. And here's what I mean by fitting in.

3. Things go in the direction they're pointed - keep people's eyes up to move forward.

Okay, and I mentioned in the blog that there's really four questions if your employees could understand these four questions. And the first one is, how does my job affect the organization? Okay, the second one is, what number on the financials do I influence? The other one is how does my job affect the customer? And the fourth one is how does my job affect the community I live in and society as a whole? And after every single one of those questions, you should also be able to answer for that employee, how does that in turn affect me? How come is it that we think employees are so selfish when they ask what's in it for me? I never did. There's nothing wrong with that. Everybody wants to know what's in it for me. What they're really telling you is what am I doing? What purpose do I serve? How do I affect the organization in a positive way? And how that in turn affects me. If somebody knew where they were going and knew all the things they need to do to get there. I mean, that would be fantastic.

Steve Baker 25:51

Yeah, that'd be nice.

John Williams 25:53

I mean, we do it with maps. Google Maps has figured it out. Everybody has to have a map and they know that, oh, I've got to put gas in my car. Oh, the tires can't be flat. They know all of these things. They know how I'm going to get there. They know why they're going there. They know why they want to get there. But we can't give that to people in an organization. I just don't get it. I know Jack Stack says that many times. He said this stuff is not that hard. Why isn't everybody doing this?

Steve Baker 26:22

Yeah, that's the ultimate question, isn't it? I like how you keep bringing it back to the numbers and the people. Because what comes to mind for me is that Jack has always said that numbers are just stories about people. So where do I fit in? Well, there's a number that represents that.

John Williams 26:38

They are. And here's the other thing. And I've heard somebody say I can't remember who it was, but I repeat it several times in talking to people. When you look at the financials, whether that be the income statement, the balance sheet, the cash flow statement behind every single one of those numbers is a face. Is a face, if you go and I would challenge everybody that's listen to this go find 10 people that you're working with, go find 10 people and ask them where the numbers come from on the income statement. Just ask, you won't be shocked. I've done it. Some of them say from all the bean counter or the ivory tower or corporate or Google or Warren Buffet or, I don't know, out of the computer. No. They come from you, they don't just magically appear up there. But for people to have purpose and for people to be happy, they need to have purpose.

Steve Baker 27:47 


John Williams 27:48

And the way that they can have purpose is to teach them how they tie into the business and what they do matters. And how it affects the business and how that in turn affects them. Because it can't just be what your employees are doing to help the business. That's not going to work. It's both ways. It's both ways. So, when your employees say what's in it for me, don't get mad. I've never got mad at that. They're not being selfish. They're being human. But like, why am I doing all this? Every employee asked themself, why am I, my dad said when he hated his job, why am I working at this job? Why am I doing this? I don't even know where I'm going. My boss doesn't talk to me. I don't even know what I'm making. I don't know what it goes on. I don't know what the finished product looks like. So, I think to really tie that happiness thing in where people don't hate their jobs is, they really have to know what they do matters. How it affects the organization and how that in turn affects them.

Rich Armstrong 28:56

Yep, agreed. agreed. What about empowerment? You know, I see a lot of times with companies that spend a lot of time trying to connect the dots for their employees, right. And understand and maybe how they can impact in their line of sight to what the goals of the organization are. But then they have systems inside their business that don't allow them to give them the freedom and the expectation to go out and actually do something with that knowledge, right. They put barriers up. Any thoughts on that John?

John Williams 29:29

Well, it is a process. It's just not a one thing fixes all. For example, if the people that are listening now, like, okay, so you give us a reason to fix the first one. Give us a way to fix the second one. The second one, you can start off with three steps back and let's talk about the financials for a little bit. So, the first thing that you need to do, and you've got to do all three steps. Doing just one, it doesn't work. The whole thing falls apart. You might as well not do anything, do three things. First, you need to be transparent, share the financials with them, share the numbers, share the financials. But you can't stop there. That's not doing anything. So, you might as well give them The New York Times and it be in German. Because okay, well you're giving it, but I don't know what this means. I'm reading, I mean okay, it's a bunch of numbers. I don't know what it means. But you've got to start there. The second thing is you've got to teach them the financials. Okay, what is gross margin? How do I get a profit before tax? What is this direct cost? What is absorption? What is revenue? What is overhead? What is liabilities? What are assets? What are all these things? You have to teach them the terms. Okay, and here’s the third part. You have to teach employee how they affect them. How do they affect them? That’s tying everything together. And you can’t just do one or its ineffective. I think if you start with those three, they can start to peel back that number on the financials and see their face behind that number. But you’ve got to do that stuff. Now there’s a fourth step in there, I didn’t put it in the blog but there is a fourth step. But I already mentioned it, but that fourth step is, allowing them to make decisions and other things. How do the things that I do affect that? So, if I’m going to make a decision, if I make a good decision, then it’s going to affect the company in a positive way. I can see that, I understand what it does. If I make a bad decision, it has a negative effect on the company, and I can see that. I can trace that to where it went. And I can see that number move up, down, sideways, whichever way. That the goal

Steve Baker 32:01

And people that understand how they fit in, how they make, where they make an impact are much happier. You pointed that before. So, you’re talking about not just a big difference in culture at work and performance but also their lives. They go home with this stuff, right? They feel differently about work. Your dad, if he was happy, would’ve come home, that would have been a different household to live in, right?

John Williams 32:24

It is. And that’s the thing if you stop for a second talking about employees or leaders or organizations. And you look behind that, you know, in your family, in your community and society in general. Fixing these two things, imagine what that does to people’s lives. Think of this, and I thought about this earlier this morning when I thinking about doing this podcast, when you look at the 65% according to Gallup that are not engaged, how many relationships do you think were ruined because of that?

Steve Baker 33:03


John Williams 33:04

Over the period, personal relationships, relationships with their families, relationships with their friends. Because they’re unhappy or whatever that is. Think how many things were wasted because of this. And I’m a firm believer it’s not the employee’s fault. Just from what I’ve seen in my 35-year career, I think 90% of this is the leader’s fault. And only about 10% is the employees. It can be fixed; it can be fixed. And I’m not talking about Nirvana here, if you do this every little problem will be fixed. There will be no issues, nobody will ever be unhappy or disgruntled. I’m not talking about that. That’s not reality. But I am talking about is people that are truly disengaged at work. Imagine this, could you do what you do and get accomplished the things you need to do at your organization if the bottom 20% of your employees left.

Steve Baker 34:08


John Williams 34:09

Most managers and owners say they could.

Steve Baker 34:12


John Williams 34:13

I don’t know. According to Gallup, you could definitely get rid of 13% and not notice a difference.

Steve Baker 34:20

Right. Right. That’s how Jack Welsh ran GE. It was every year, get rid of the lowest 10%.

John Williams 34:27

And I’m not saying get rid of them or fire them. I’m saying, find a way to engage them. Give them a good leader that could work with them and then explain to them how to run the business, how it affects them, and how they can affect the business. That’s what you have to do. So, I think those two things, there are definitely other reason. There are personal issues, personal problems that come in. I get all that, we’re all human, those things. But these two right here, I believe would fix a lot of the reasons why people hate their jobs. Because in the end, like I said earlier, and I’ll say it again. People do not get out of bed and say I’m really going to suck at work today. Nobody says that. [Laughter] Nobody does.

Rich Armstrong 35:17

So, John, we always like to ask this question, what is one question we should be asking you right now?

John Williams 35:26

I guess since it sounds so easy, you know, why don’t more people do it? You know, why don’t more organizations do some of this stuff? Yea, and I think there are, you know, a couple of reason are it does take time. You’ve got to be intentional about it. It does take time and the more messed up your leadership is, the more time it’s going to take. But to me, and I was an executive for Central State for around 10 years. And 70% of my time, I always thought should be on improving your employees 70%. as an executive. You should be working with your leaders, making them good leaders, working on employees. Because if you got that, what else does that take care of? A lot of things. You don’t have customer service issues. A lot of those things go away if you’ll spend time doing that. So, it does take time. And I think the second thing is courage. Leaders have got to have the courage to confront leadership and hold them accountable to what you’re trying to do. And they can’t get blinded by the performance and not do anything about it. Because a lot of people will look at leaders and say, they’re performing well, their departments doing well, they’re making money. They’re hitting all their productivity numbers. You know, so their turnover was 35-40%, its production, its manufacturing, it’s the millennials! Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have these millennials, we didn’t have 40% turnover. [Laughter]. So, nobody does anything and just it rocks along, and they accept 40% turnover.

Steve Baker 37:15

Yeah, incredible, great to have a scapegoat. Well John, this has been a lot of fun and a very, very thought provoking. I want to make sure we promote your new book,
“Building a resilient ESOP company”. Will you tell us what’s the best way to find that book for our listeners?

John Williams 37:30

Well, the best way, it was published by NCEO, which is the National Center for Employee Ownership. So, go to their website and it’s available in a PDF format and I think there’s two separate prices, one if you’re a member of the NCEO I think it’s a little cheaper. But you could get it there, it’s an easy read. It was written by myself and Paul Horne, whose also been very involved with the NCEO and the ESOP over the years. And it’s just like 66-67 pages. It is really just some simple ideas, simple things from how to hold meetings, to contingency plans, to being transparent, to leadership. Just some simple no nonsense rules that when you read it, you’re going to like, I knew that, why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t I do that? It’s just a very practical book, easy to read.

Steve Baker 38:28

Easy to read is really important for me. Just so you know. [Laughter]

John Williams 38:33

Big font, lots of pictures.

Steve Baker 38:35

Big font, little words. Well, that’s awesome. So, guys to our listeners, John has, go check out his book, “Building a Resilient ESOP Company” at NCEO.org. And also greatgame.com, he’s written a number of blogs for us and he’s done a couple of podcasts for us. And I know we’ll have you on again John. It’s always a pleasure to have you on man. Thanks so much.

Rich Armstrong 38:59

Thank you, John.

John Williams 39:00

Well thank you guys, I could tell you this as a coach doing what I’m doing now. I definitely do not hate my job. I love my job. [Laughter]

Steve Baker 39:09

I think that’s obvious. I love it. I love it. Well, it is a great place to be. We can see the impact that we’re making and we really, you know, we get the why, why we’re doing it every day. Great to see you again John. Well let’s keep the conversation going guys. Send us your stories, your best practices, your ideas, your challenges, and your victories. And remember you’re not alone. We are going to get through all of this together. That, is indeed, capitalism at its best. So, thanks for joining us and we’ll see you next time.

Topics: All-Star Awards, Employee Ownership, Great Game Coaching, engagement, Community

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Hosted by Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker the Change the Game podcast highlights true life stories of organizations influencing positive change by doing business differently. They’re teaching people how business works and closing the gap between the haves and have-nots. It’s capitalism at its best. Inside each episode, you’ll discover stories of entrepreneurs who are Changing the Game.

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