MGW #21 - “Anxiety Free Workplace” with Bud Torcom



GUEST: Bud Torcom

https://mazamamedia.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/budtorcom/

Twitter: @BudTorcom

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:

 

Bud Torcom’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal is an anxiety free workplace.

 

I’ve wanted to treat people the way I want to be treated and work in the kind of workplace I’d want to be working in.

 

As a digital marketing company, being in the office for normal business hours isn’t necessary.

 

We’re on a constant, steady drip of the stress hormone, cortisol. OUr bodies did not evolve for a constant cortisol drip. Anxiety is making us sick.

 

Bud’s not sure an anxiety free workplace is possible. Even so, he’s on a mission to try? to see if it’s possible.

 

The people of Mazama Media are the face of the company — and the interface of the customers. Happy team members create happy clients.

 

Human Prairie dog — When each member of the team looks out for the interests of the others, then all individuals feel they can afford to look out for collective interests.

 

“It’s my responsibility [to take on the stress].”

 

The message to the team? “The thing that just happened is not going to mean you don’t eat tonight.” You’re not going to lose your job. We’re going to learn from the way things went down.

 

We’re anticipating dips on the path of growth. Setting expectations of inevitable setbacks helps to smooth out the experience people have of the ups and downs of any business.

 

“Blame the process, not the person.”

Where did the problem hit? What can we learn about our processes and procedures from each setback, failure, or bump in the road.

People want to have purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.

 

Checklists help insure success. Set people up for success.

 

When you work together as a team, and with the support of technology, much fewer errors are missed and less slips through the cracks. Both team redundancy and technology backup makes for effective performance.


Processes and systems get refined over time. Learn from the data and refine as you go.

 

The message to the team, “These processes and checklists are here to support you.”

 

Limit the number of things on your list of to dos. A huge list is a stresser. Focus on the few that will have the greatest impact.

 

Your team is going to be right about their priorities 90% of the time. Go with their gut.

 

The presence of ping-pong and other games in the modern workplace does have a work relevant role to play — to give the mind a break during which breakthrough can happen.

 

Bud fires paying clients when they treat his team in ways that he doesn’t want people to be treated.

 

Prospects who will create anxiety in the organization are disqualified as clients.

 

Where are the places to relieve stress and anxiety from the whole system — the team, leadership, and clients. Stress is cumulative and contagious.

 

Prevent burnout by defining limits. Setting limits can enhance performance because results will have to come from effective behaviors over hustle.

 

Delegation is a leader’s force magnifier.

 

Richard Branson says that your team comes first, not clients. This is because people who know that someone’s got their back are freed up to care for the clients.

 

Enough high-level thinking. Here are seven specific actions you can take to reduce anxiety in your organization.

 

  1. Blame the process, not the person.
  2. Build a got your back culture.
  3. You can get people to do more through praise than through condemning. So praise people.
  4. Thank people frequently.
  5. Give people the ability to create. Give them agency to affect the work they do and the way they do it.
  6. Put relationships first. “It’s never about the thing. It’s always about the relationship.” Build relationships that will deliver results.
  7. Let the people go surfing.

 

________________

 

Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/schmookler/

 

And, we’re The Yes Works — Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.

 

www.TheYesWorks.com

 

Resources mentioned in today’s show:

 

Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last

And his website: https://startwithwhy.com/

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia

Mazama Media’s youtube channel

Five Cent Thank Yous

Check out this episode!


The Audacity to Thrive.

Problem is, most business training is ineffective, boring, powerpoint lecturing yak-yak that accomplishes nothing.  It espouses systems or techniques designed to help ensure success.  And the systems work.  There’s nothing wrong with the systems they teach.  But there’s nothing wrong with the systems that are already in place either.  Informational training about systems and best practices is painting a house on fire if the mindset and habits aren’t addressed.  It does nothing to close the gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do, because the knowing-doing gap isn’t an information problem.  It’s a person problem.  

There are serious problems that many people in business simply ignore.  It’s not that they don’t notice or don’t care about the problems.  Rather, they think these problems can’t be solved.

  • Teams that add up to less than the sum of their parts
  • Poor communication
  • Tactlessness
  • Conflict
  • Resistance to change
  • Incremental and slow growth
  • Inattention
  • Sloppiness
  • Good enough to get by
  • Lack of accountability
  • Disengagement
  • Sales people who don’t perform

These problems stifle profits and are rooted in fear:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of ridicule
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of embarrassment

And there’s nothing we can do about that, right? You’ve either got audacity or you don’t.  You’ve either got leadership or you don’t.  You’ve either got creativity or you don’t.  You’ve either got self-awareness, accountability, and responsibility, or you don’t. Conventional thinking is, these problems cannot be solved. That’s just the way it is with people. Soft skills can’t be trained.

Well, what if I told you that these skills are trainable.  What If I told you that you can change the dynamics on your team?  What if I told you that you can elevate the plane on which your people work together? What if I told you that your team has genius in it just waiting for permission to act?  Imagine the transformations in performance, innovation, and productivity with fear out of the way.  The results would astound you.

Improv can change your mind.  Without losing your team’s identity, without asking your people to lose theirs, you can create habits of audacity.

The Yes Works helps businesses solve problems they think are unsolvable.  We bring the tools and techniques of Adeptability to bear on overlooked business problems, getting business results you can take to the bank. Using tools and techniques drawn from improvisation, modern neuroscience and learning theory, and current leadership data, we train people to recognize fear and set it aside. We’re boosting people power in organizations large and small.

Improv fosters habits that bring forward the best of each of us in every situation.  How? Neuroscience says practice makes permanent because it builds lasting structures in the brain.  Improv is practice.

Practice constructive, innovative association.  Practice confidence and collaboration.  Practice trust.

Improv is the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.  It’s a person solution.  Improv skills, imparted through skillful facilitation, installs in companies the audacity to thrive.