Episode 13: Employee Engagement and the Game of Work
What you’ll learn about in this episode
Why can ten people with a basketball and a hoop achieve teamwork, goal directed activity, and become a well managed work team in a matter of minutes during a lunch break, but those same ten people can totally fail to achieve that kind of harmony on the job. My guest today Chuck Coonradt is the founder of The Game of Work, a company that teaches executives how to turn business into a game by keeping score. Chuck is one of the world’s leading measurement experts. In this episode we’re going to dive into this question and many others surrounding engagement and performance and the game of work.
How to measure what you want more of
How to create clearly defined goals
How to provide better feedback and more consistent coaching using a higher degree of personal choice
Guest: Chuck Coonradt
Author, Speaker and Consultant
Charles “Chuck” Coonradt is Founder and CEO of The Game of Work, which was founded in 1973, and dedicated to the success of its corporate clients. Graduate of Michigan State University and internationally recognized in the fields of goal setting and profit improvement, as an author, consultant, and speaker. His five best-selling books The Game of Work, The Better People Leader, Scorekeeping For Success, Managing The Obvious, and The Four Laws of Financial Prosperity have been labeled management “must reads”, and most recently Forbes Magazine called Chuck “The Grandfather of Gamification”. He is a contributing author to multiple editions of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and is quoted in dozens of other books. Chuck is very involved in educating the next generation of business leaders and is a founding member of the School of Entrepreneurship, Brigham Young University. His community involvement includes being a Board Member for Habitat for Humanity, as well as a former Board Member for the Utah Winter Sports Alliance, and a volunteer at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Game of Work’s client list includes many Fortune 500 companies, as well as other nationally and internationally recognized firms. Companies that have successfully utilized and implemented Chuck’s unique concepts include Pepsi, US Postal Service, General Foods, Leslie’s Poolmart, Nordstrom, The US Air Force, Boeing, American Express, Marker Bindings, Molina Healthcare, Coca-Cola Consolidated, The Chicago Tribune, Coors Brewing and International Paper. Chuck has also spoken for organizations worldwide, including Petco, Microsoft, SkyWest Airlines, Time Warner Cable and YPO (Young Presidents Organization). Over one million executives, managers, and supervisors on five continents have been exposed to Chuck’s ideas on feedback, scorekeeping, goal setting, coaching, personal choice and accountability.
Chuck wrote the book in 1984. He founded The Game of Work in 1973 to answer the charge that U.S. productivity was not world class.
He noticed that the same people who considered work drudgery were often the first ones to leave right at 5pm. They were the very same people who spent incredible amounts of money on hobbies or sports like skiing and golf.
This caused him to ask the question:
“Why would people pay for the privilege of working harder at their chosen sport or recreational pursuit than they would work at a job where they were being paid?”
Chuck answered his own question by developing five key principles:
- Clearly defined goals
- Better scorekeeping and scorecards
- More frequent feedback
- A higher degree of personal choice of methods
- Consistent coaching
Little did he know that World of Warcraft, Mario Brothers, Halo, and the Wii would raise a whole generation of Millennials on games merely for games’ sake. And that in the process create a statistical and analytical science that today reinforces gaming behavior and drives incredible levels of product adoption… and has other applications.
Do you think that he even realized it when he filled out his LinkedIn profile that the mighty B2B social network had ‘gamified’ the process to get him and all of us to fully complete our profiles? Thus adding dramatically to their own valuation as they enhance the depth and breadth of data about each of us on their network?
And how could he have guessed that the principles that make these increasingly realistic games so addictive would be used to try and get people to work harder; or at least use software more so companies could measure if they are working or not.
He is known for saying:
“You have to measure what you want more of.”
He says in his book that he has built two feedback corollaries upon a statement first made by Thomas S. Monson that may well be one of the most well-known goal setting and feedback principles ever written:
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
His feedback corollaries are:
- Increasing the frequency of feedback improves the quality and quantity of performance.
- When feedback is illustrated on charts and graphs, the impact is even greater.
He called it The Game of Work, now we wrap it in some software and call it gamification.
I think we would profit greatly from the path he already gamed.
He taught companies like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, AT&T, Time Warner, Qwest, Abbott Labs, Ralston Purina, Boeing, Wendy’s, and Sherwin Williams to game before gaming was cool.
LinkedIn: Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chuckcoonradt/
Lex Patterson 0:15
kindred force media
why contend people with a basketball and a hoop, achieve teamwork, goal directed activity and become a well managed team in a matter of minutes during a lunch break. But those same 10 People can totally fail to achieve that kind of harmony on the job.
My guest today, Chuck Kuhn rat is the founder of the game of work, a company that teaches executives how to turn business into a game by keeping score. Chuck is one of the world’s leading measurement experts. Hello, listeners. I’m Lex Patterson, and you’re listening to Season Two of fair debt. My podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked in the debt collection space. In this episode, we’re going to dive into this question, and many others surrounding employee engagement, performance, and the game of work. Here we go.
Welcome, Chuck, it’s great to speak with you again, was mine. I’m just so excited that you accepted my invitation to talk with me about the topic of employee engagement, and winning at work. And, and I think to start us off on the right foot, Chuck, just tell us tell that tell the audience a little bit about yourself and your journey with the game of work?
Chuck Coonradt 1:55
Well, well, that’s been kind of a long journey.
But it we probably started in the 1973 when I was a franchisee for a company called Success motivation Institute, out of Waco, Texas and their founder Paul J. Meyer, one of my great mentors in life, but Paul was a goal setter, and and I bought a program from them to help me with my personal goals. And the more I got involved with them, the more it became apparent to me that that was what I wanted to do for a life choice. So in 1973, we started selling their product, which was a little box about nine by 12 by four inches. And for seven or $800. You got eight cassette tapes and two sides. So 16 sides and the tax than a goals manual. And that was our magic box. And so we we embarked on that.
the late 70s, we did a project for the Oldham family in Provo, Utah, who owned the sort of a nickel throw away ads that you pick up at the front of the supermarket, and they also had a publishing company.
And with that,
so we have a successful process. And their president came to me and said you need to write a book. I said, Well, I don’t write for a well, and they said, they said three magic words. They said we will publish and distributed check. We will give you a co author Lee Nelson, who’s a genius check. And will pay royalties. Double check.
Yeah, so. So the game of work book. First edition was published in September of 1984. So except like, I don’t know, 37 years ago or something. Wow. Yeah.
And as you said, it’s it continues to sell today. And people continue to I got a note just yesterday
about a young entrepreneur whose
father had made him read the book 10 years ago, and he like you just got it back out. And was like, Oh, wow, I forgot what I didn’t remember in those times. Yeah. So it was kind of fun. So we
book was published in 1984. And, and we then built a concept we built a company around being able to teach managers and leaders, how do they impact and implement those those principles that were called the game of work?
Lex Patterson 4:54
Okay, yeah. And so today, you and I are going to talk about employee
engagement, and how a clearer vision, a little different perspective. And measuring the right things can have a dramatic impact on your results. And so what I’d like to do is take a page from the late great Stephen Covey’s book, and begin with the end in mind. And let’s begin, let’s begin with talking about goals. And so in your book, you know, you the game of work, he mentioned,
that all organizations rise or fall on the personal goals of the individuals in that organization. Tell us a little bit more about what you mean there. Well, that
Chuck Coonradt 5:40
that concept really comes from Mr. Meyer. And the idea is that you can have group success, unless you have everybody in the group being successful. So you can’t create I mean, when when we started our company, there was a guy by the name of George ODR, who was teaching at the University of Utah. And he had a concept called management by objectives. And you would come and you would sign up for his program. And when you got in there, you’d walk out with a three inch thick ring binder of all your objectives. So if you signed up for the for the deluxe course, got a four inch ring binder. But
it had that it had that same kind of annual goal setting the companies have been doing for ages, you know, we, we think about it in January, we put it in a binder, we put the binder in a drawer, we go back to work, and we bring it out in December and we go Oh, yeah, I remember we said, Yeah, but no, we didn’t get anything. So what you really want to do is to have the people in your organization, meeting their goals outside, maybe it’s education, maybe somebody wants to go get an MBA? Or maybe they just want to read a book. But you know, are are your people? I mean, it’s pretty easy. What are your people financially savvy,
great leader by the name of Alvin Tanner said that financial independence has been able to live on what you make. And all of the great money managers will tell you that unless you can learn to live on less than you can make. You’ll never accumulate wealth. That’s the number one rule of finances. Well, if you have financial savvy in your organization, then you’ve got people who are comfortable with what they’re earning, how they’re spending, how that family is working. So when you bring them on budget, they go, Oh, I get it, you know, debits on the left credits on the right, or whatever that is. And, and I get it, I understand that if you have, there’s another one, if you have people in your organization that are accomplishing their weight goals, or their fiscal, their physical activity goals, and they’re approaching or at an ideal weight, if they’re eating well, if they’re sleeping, right, if they’ve given up the cigarettes and they end on the excessive booze. Now you got people who start to understand they’re, they’re winning in their life, they’re not dragging a lot of baggage. It’s going to come to the organization to go Yeah, I can, I can do that. I just had a call this morning with a client. And he’s got a really valuable guy, or conform, and they’ve had a deal for six years. It’s a terrific deal. I mean, this employee makes over half a million dollars a year. And he’s coming in saying I need more. Time out. Okay. Let’s let’s go back to whether or not you can live on half a million dollars a year right now. There are a lot of folks that think that’s real possible because they’re living on 10%. You’re right. That’s not a prop. Right. But clearly, we’ve got a little issue here because that individual doesn’t have its personal financial goals aligned. And so he’s looking to the employer to just take care of me. Yeah, yeah. Sure. We won’t get into the socialism part of that. But, but
Lex Patterson 9:37
yeah, so So yeah, if I’m hearing if I’m hearing you right then so the personal goals, the rise and fall, then of the organization on the personal bills is trying to align those goals towards the underlying I guess it’s it’s the mission of the organization, but it’s also the underlying culture of the organization to happen. Right.
Chuck Coonradt 10:01
Yeah, well see the other part is that everybody wants to understand goals and at least two levels. Number one, what is the goal of the organization. And you need to make sure everybody’s on board with that, if you’re in a public company, then the goal of the organization is number in on. Peter Drucker said, years ago, in the 60s, that the three most important goals for nathi are number one to survive. Number two to be profitable. And then number three to grow. Now, you can go look at the, at the graveyard of businesses that used to be in the Fortune 500, that are no longer around. And it’s usually because they screwed up sequence, or the priority on those three goals. So if I’m on a public company, and I’ve said that the street, Wall Street, this is what I expect in terms of earnings, and profit, and earnings per share, and Dada, dada, those are the goals that are in many instances dictated to us by our ownership, public or private, or our financing arm. You know, banks won’t lend you money if you can’t pay it back. Right. So, so if you get if those goals are learn, the second level that everybody wants to identify is, what’s my role in that? Yeah. Right. So no, I’m an expense comm. I’m an a, in an expense department. So what is my goal in terms of driving those EPS, those earnings? Well, in clients that have embraced the game of work, you have internal customer. So the marketing department, for example, is a customer, I’m sorry, is a vendor, to the sales department, because the marketing department, he’s put together the stuff that gets our sales to improve. If the marketing departments over here without having that connectivity, then we’re just wasting money in many instances. So you’ve got to connect, and then you’ve got to come down, I guess it’s really a third level down, got to come down and let everybody in that department know how they connect up for the greater vision. Yeah,
Lex Patterson 12:31
yeah. And it’s interesting, as I’m listening to your talk, I read once that one of the main interview questions that Google when they asked management candidates, what’s the most effective way to determine if a project will be successful? The answer to that is buy in. So buy in is really the number one you know, so you’ve got to have that buy in at those multiple levels in order to be successful.
Chuck Coonradt 12:56
Well, and one of the things that we discovered in the, in the thinking about the game of work, is that we have those five elements of what we call the motivation of recreation. And one of those elements is individual choice. Though, one of the things that we found in the tongue twister that describes a game of work as to why do people pay for the privilege recreationally of working harder than their work when they’re paid?
Lex Patterson 13:27
Chuck Coonradt 13:28
Yeah, one of the reasons for that is choice. Now I’m a downhill skier. I don’t think there’s any, I don’t think it makes any sense to walk up with a perfectly good lift on it. I mean, that’s as smart as getting out of an airplane while the engine still works. But, but if you looked at a cross country skier, or a mountaineer, they’ll tell you, there’s no reason to pay somebody to take you where you can work where you can go on your own. It’s all a matter of choice. And, you know, deer hunters look at duck hunters and think they’re dumber than rocks because you’re sitting up there in a wet blind, you got to haul all those damn beat. Go. Excuse me those decoys out there. Yeah, I’m all out. And then they get a couple of shots, you know? You know, and the duck hunter looks at the deer hunter and goes well, you got to wander over half in northern Utah. And then when you shoot it, you got to carry it. I mean, what What sense does that mean duck weighs eight ounces? Yeah. Okay. So so it all becomes choice my my daughter’s a skydive. I again do not believe getting out of an airplane with a good engine is a smart idea. But you know, for her, it’s all a matter of choice. So the key and the reason I brought that in to the discussion mux is that you can’t get buy in unless you give people choice. Wow. On methods there to use. So you can tell Donovan Mitchell, how many points in his score, but you want to be real careful screwing around with with his jump shot.
Lex Patterson 15:09
Yeah. Yeah. Right. For sure. Yeah.
Chuck Coonradt 15:13
Yeah. Or say no too many layups, too many layups? No, no, no. Yeah, we’re not. So. Right. Yeah. But they’re but they’re absolutely Google Play. Absolutely. Right. And they’re great interviews. They’re absolutely right. When it comes to that concept of, of buy into the project in, it’s not my quote, and I can’t tell you where it came from. But somebody said, I would rather have excellent execution of a bad plan than waiting for perfect execution over perfect plan. Yeah.
Lex Patterson 15:48
Yeah. Interesting. Well, you know, another quote, that jumped out at me when I was reading your, your book was this in the absence of clearly defined goals, were forced to concentrate on activity and ultimately become enslaved by it. And I thought that’s so interesting. I’m, I can see how that happens. You know, when you take for granted that everybody knows what we do, and why we do it. And you can slip into basically just activities, people going through the motions over time he’s, and then companies can start to lose their edge with that.
Chuck Coonradt 16:24
Oh, absolutely. So So if, you know, you can be a top performer in a sales organization and get in more trouble for showing up late to a sales meeting than a mediocre guy that’s in a seat on time. Yeah. No, because we’re talking about attendance. If you don’t know what somebody was supposed to do during the day, don’t let them leave early. Yeah. So so that the clear, the clear definition to i This is maybe one of my learnings is that we started out if you read again, more goals are first. Then we talked about scorekeeping when we talk about feedback, or what I’ve learned in four decades, is that the feedbacks really the most important part, and that the goal I’m sorry, the scorekeeping is just a vehicle to make sure the feedbacks right. And the scorekeeping is really tracking the steps to the goal. And if you can wrap all of that together, then you get that motivation of recreation. Yeah, which
Lex Patterson 17:30
is what we’re really after and where we’re going. But before we jump, and that’s an excellent segue, by the way, Chuck. But before we go there, what are some what are some of the best ways to create goals that become personal? And maybe let’s talk about, like the companies you’ve consulted with? Are there any goal health check lists that a leader can do to make sure they’re headed in the right direction? To be transformative in in the, in the company? You know, are there some do’s and don’ts or general guidelines? Well, I
Chuck Coonradt 18:05
think I think goals need to be well, I mean, the easiest thing is the old SMA RT SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and time bound. So that’s, that’s not a bad thumbnail sketch of how to how to get there. In my, in my experience, I think the most most important part is achieve ability. Now, we all know about dreaming big, and you know, aim for the stars aim for the moon, if you hit the star, you’re in fine shape. And that may be fine. But by and large, the people that I’ve seen that are really good at building their goals in an organization. We’ll look at the core KPIs, the core scorecards, and then set goals against that performance. goals that are too far away, or don’t have a path to achievement. Big problem, because we talked a lot about scorecards and the number one thing about a scorecard is asked to be credible to the person whose behavior it measures. Well, goals have some of that same some of that same situation. So if if I’m looking at a production facility, for example, and they have a goal to minimize their changeover time between flavors or products or whatever. We always like to say that Got the scorekeeping needs to precede goal setting, if you want to get that by them, so let’s go to the process. Let’s find out how long it takes. Now, let’s run that for 15 days or months or weeks. But let’s get 15 data points on the scorecard. And then let’s use one word that is just super. And that is better. Yeah. No, I’ve got a history. I know what it’s taken in the past. And what I really want you to do is be better. And so one of our kind of mantras in the game work is that we always celebrate better right now. Yeah, you know, golf. par on most golf courses is 72. Even bogeys means you took an extra stroke on every hole is 90? Well, only about 3% of the 16 million, almost 20 million active golfers in the United States can break 90. So my point, if I go out and say to everybody that walks off the 18th, green, it didn’t shoot 70 to go back home until you’re better. Don’t mean, super dumb guy? Well, it would it would get much fewer golfers for sure. But the idea is that somebody can be an 18 handicap. And instead of shooting their normal mind be they shoot an 88. Celebrate double that, because nobody goes from 90 to 72 in an afternoon. Yeah. And so you know, when you start to talk about handicaps and how you do different flights, and in a fundraising tournament, or charity, for example. Now, all of that stuff makes golf work. Contrast that to tenants if you do a tennis tournament with 144 people, first off, it’s going to take two weeks. And secondly, you’re going to wind up with one winner and 143 people who didn’t, who didn’t win at some point. So the idea that you want to maximize the number of winners, by getting everybody to be better than they used to be and celebrate that is how you move organizations. Wow.
Lex Patterson 22:38
Yeah, that that’s that’s huge. Right there. Wow. Okay, so let’s let’s segue then into the scorekeeping part of this that you talked about here. So we’ve all heard the saying what what gets measured gets done? Yeah. And you mentioned in in your work that you’ve observed three kinds of workers, those who know they are winning, those who know they are losing, and those who don’t even know the score. It seems so simple. Yet I’ve been involved in all three of these segments as an employee in my life. And so you know, you’ve got the KPIs, the okay the OKRs, the B hags. The big, hairy, audacious goals that we kind of talked about goals are on everybody’s mind. But it seems to me that this is an area that falls into a category that a good friend of mine Don Worthington likes to say, says easy does hard. Oh, yeah. So what’s the best way that we can set ourselves up for success with gold medal?
Chuck Coonradt 23:44
Look, there’s sort of two answers to that. One is figure out what has to be measured for the CEO. And then figure out how to delegate it or waterfall it or cascade it down to the people. So that’s, that’s one but we did we developed a little thought technology called results to resources ratios. Now that’s a really highfalutin sounding name. To find out what is your PR people go? Are you mean per shot? Well, if you look at a batting average, it’s the number of hits per plate appearance guy yards per carry and football yards per passing attack. So there’s if you start to look at the at the recreational thing, your furs are all over the place in order to in a PGA. Yeah, statistically nuts because they got greens and regulation how many times you get up and down into from sand trap? D you know, yeah, they’re all over the place. But all All of those statistics, help a golfer identify what it is that he or she needs to fix inside their game. So that the two that matter which are wins and money, get better. And so again, let’s take, let’s take what the street says we have to do, let’s take what the bank says we have to do in our loan covenants. And let’s see how many people we can get connected to that scorecard? Well, the results to resources ratio says What? What are your resources? You have people that report to you? Great, then that’s 2000 hours per person per year? That’s a resource. Do you have computer time talent capability? As a resource? Do you have an inventory, that’s a resource, sometimes resources or opportunities? So you look at a customer appearing at the front door of a supermarket? Well, that customer is a resource or an opportunity. So we get that list? Then we get the other list? Is that for your department? For the thing that you’re trying to do? What are your results? That don’t tell me what to do? Because when you ask people, tell me about your job 95% of those people will start out telling you about their activity that come in, I move this piece of paper this comes over time, what do you get done? If you’ve looked at your your business, as a factory, what do you produce? In your hospital? Do you produce? Well, patients? Cool, that’s what you want? How many patients can you discharge without having to readmit one for a hospital acquired infection? Big scorecard for hospitals. So I’ve got my resources, got my output? So what I’m looking for, if I’m a supermarket manager, is how much net profit can I produce from that customer visit? So 20,000 People come up through my front door on a weekly basis? What are my net operating income, which in the supermarket business is about 1.6%? What are my resources that I get out, and that supermarket customer is worth about 40 cents a visit? By if I can get another nickel and each one of those visits, I produce another $50,000 of net income a year? Wow. Okay. Okay. So, so it comes from driven by ownership, desire, or public or private? And it’s also then driven by what’s my job? So inside that supermarket, for example, the produce manager needs to attract some percentage of those front door customers to come to his or her department.
Okay, yeah. In a normal market, that’s about 25% of the people that come to the front door will go to produce. Now, if that market, man, if that produce market manager gets real good with his creative marketing, and attraction and display and everything else, his percentage of those customers will improve. And as long as he’s doing that, or celebrate, right, yeah, yeah. Wow. That’s what it does. It does take a little bit does take a little thought process to get through it. But the one thing you want to get more than anything else in the goals, and the scorecards, is that individual believes that they have, if not control, most of us don’t have control, but they have influence on the results.
Lex Patterson 29:02
Yeah. Yeah. Which is where the creativity comes in, and the ownership of the job and the buy in, you know, and I can really see how that starts to feed that machine. So, so let me ask you another question that I think I read that you had said, feedback is the breakfast of champions. So so let’s talk about feedback as part of this, this whole process too, because I, I think, you know, that’s a key and and especially, you know, we’re in this remote world right now. And you know, people are at home, they’re, they’re not in groups. It’s it’s maybe not as easy. I mean, yeah, you can have scorecards and stuff still. But that feedback, I think, is just a really important piece.
Chuck Coonradt 29:47
Yeah, well, it’s, oh, yeah, it’s huge. It’s, it’s in here’s, here’s a couple of things about feedback that we found out because that’s really critical. In this whole process, in fact, you can do the goals, you’re going to the scorecards. But if you don’t have feedback, and coaching, and you’ve got somebody just putting a.on The wall, you know, putting a.on a graph, drawing it up. It dies. So I don’t believe I think I stole feedback as the breakfast champions, but I can’t remember, I can’t remember who I stole it. Well, we’re gonna
Lex Patterson 30:27
give you credit for it.
Chuck Coonradt 30:32
But it you know, it’s interesting. We’re doing this on a podcast, and we get to see each other. Yeah, right, right. So we’re getting a visual level of feedback that we wouldn’t get if we were just doing audio, right? Good. Many times, as I’ve done some broadcasts in the past, I actually put together a sample audience that sits in the studio, so that I interact with them and can and can hear so So feedback. And one of the things that we found about it is that the denial, or the withholding of feedback is really a severe form of psychological punishment. So if you look at the prison system, the worst form of imprisonment, most people would tell you is solitary confinement. And the reason for that is that there’s no feedbacks. There’s no, there’s no interaction. Vietnam was was the war of my generation. And if you talk to people like Senator McCain, and those people that were captured, they will tell you that part of the torture process was denial with feedback lights on in the middle of the night, take desensitizing everything you had. And, and the story of those us prisoners in the handle what was called the Hanoi Hilton in the prison camp, their ability to develop this tap code that they use through the walls, right to share feedback with the other, or the other prisoners and how they welcomed the new prisoners into the camaraderie. Huge example of that. military academies have had cut outs quit a couple of suicides attributed to the silent treatment, which they use for discipline. They don’t you come home at night and say, Hi, how are you? Hours today? Fine. What’s wrong? Nothing. Are you sure? Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s as close as it gets. On board. The other one is, you know, your spouse picks out a special dress or a suit for a job interview or to go out to dinner and they say, what do you what do you think about this? Well, let’s good. Let’s, let’s get the car. Well, let’s go. needed. Apparently you didn’t hear the question. I mean, what do you think about this? Yeah. If you don’t respond to problems, I’ll go change. I’ll try again. We’re good. You know, but that’s, those are silly things we talk about. But, but feedback is so foundational to all of the things that we do, because, because when you think about feedback is how I know how you feel about me. So if I’m not getting now you’re my boss, you control my paycheck, you may control my employability. You’re kind of like number two or three on my list of highly important people. And if I’m not feeling inherent, knowing what it is, the absence of feedback creates this uncertainty. So, so we came up with, I think it’s six, we’ll see if I can remember all of them, okay. Principles of becoming a better feedback giver. And the first one is, it’s really attributable to BF Skinner who’s called the father of behavioral ism. And he said this, he said the opposite. If you have to give behavior change, you have to reinforce the behavior you want repeated. Okay, Cornerstone stuff. Everybody knows that. But then you get into organizations, what do we track mistakes, errors, missing back and just got? Well, because it’s easier. Yeah, to make a big deal. Out of the bad stuff we don’t want more of which is total contradictory to skin. So you need to celebrate The stuff you want more of, we had a client, Mobile, Alabama, bottling Coca Cola. Good guys loved him to death. But they could do, they could bottle a lot of coke, but they could also have an accident about every 30 days.
So we and that’s another one. What do you want? I want Safe Dates, or do we track accidents. And then we have OSHA that has this complicated formula called an accident frequency, right, or an AFR which is the number of accidents per 200,000 worker hours. Now, most of the people on a flat three, four, just have that right as a front of mind awareness. Right. So in the plant, they decided that we want to save days. Now that’s not too unusual, because most minds have a working day since the last accident thing, but but it’s on a whiteboard, and we wash it, and we might put off after the next exit. So we have no chronology to it, to put it on the scorecard. And now the idea is, what we want to do is stretch the interval or stretched the episode between bad stuff. So it’s mean days between accidents. So we did that with the plan in mobiele. And then they said, how do we get the message out to our people? Now, most safety people are into jackets, and slogans and signs and our dog chews and all that stuff. But we decided that when somebody punched out at the end of every shift, their leader said to that employee, thanks for having a safe day at work. Well, drive carefully. CMR. Okay, so more, I have the email where that plant went 370 working days, which is a year and a half, without a lost time accident by reinforcing to be everyone, Peter. Okay. So another one of those points is that the ability to deliver appropriate feedback is the most significant human realization skill you can develop.
And there are no courses on it. Now you think about the best boss you ever had.
He or she delivered appropriate feedback. They knew when you deserved a pat on the back, they know when you deserved the kick a little bit lower. And they never screwed it up. So that ability to deliver proper feedback now in the game of work that gets driven by the scorecard. Okay, so even if I’m working for a jerk, I got the deal here. And I can go in and hold up the scorecard and say, Listen, so but yeah, okay. Don’t Don’t talk to me about the one thing we screwed out. Talk to me about the 223 days, we had a great experience. The third point is kind of a counter to that. And that is that inappropriate feedback is the world’s biggest morale killer. And so you’ve done a great project. You got a super order. You’ve come in and you’ve really knocked the ball out of the park. And somebody picks the flyspeck out of the pepper and takes a shot at Oh, but you didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly. You know, well, if I can bring you $2 million in revenue, can’t you hire somebody to do the damn paperwork? Yes. Yeah. No, I mean, well, it’s like, I was just, I was watching sports talk while I was having lunch today. And they were talking about Lamar Jackson, or quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. So last night, he had over 200 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. And that performance puts him in a category with the six of the greatest quarterbacks of all time who got that done. Okay. He wins at 1% of his gains. But because he’s not a standard drop back passer that we want to look at, they go, nope, he runs around instead of that up. So the sports announcer was saying, you know, if we just change the name of the position to play maker, instead of quarterback. He’s one of the greatest that we have. Uh huh. Yeah. So, so you say well, you know He’s not much of a pocket passer. Oh, okay. Well, you know, he beat last year’s American Football Championship. title holders, the Kansas City Chiefs. So like I went the scoreboard doesn’t think he’s about quarterback, but delivering inappropriate feedback. World’s Greatest morale killer. And I’ve had experiences as I teach that principle, where people in their 40s and 50s can take you back to high school where they had somebody deliver inappropriate feedback, and they’ve never forgotten it. I mean, it’s a scarring kind of situation. Yeah, another one of the principles as a person giving feedback is always under control. And you need if you’re a leader, you need to make sure that you, so you can’t be some hard charging, yelling and screaming, type a sales manager and have an assistant who knows everybody’s names have their kids, their cat, their dogs, you know, it’s got the whole thing. And they go to him or her, really to feel good about being in that company. So the person giving feedback, it’s always in control. I think that was that was it? Yeah, that’s how that’s how it really is the feed. It’s not just the breakfast of champions. But every one of us has a minimum daily requirement, just like a vitamin for an appropriate amount of feedback. And unfortunately, in too many organizations, will ask people to work 2000 hours a year, and think that we can give them feedback for 40 minutes and an annual performance appraisal. Yeah. Yeah. So that makes about as much sense as if the cook in your family rolls out a marvelous dinner and says, how wasn’t? Is there? Well, to save some time. Let’s just handle that in our written review on our anniversary. Yeah, yeah, not so much. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. See, so you get back, you get back the idea that, that in recreation, that feedback is pretty instantaneous. It’s pretty quality stuff.
You know, even even in the last Olympics, I mean, they get those scores for the gymnasts out in like 17 seconds. And that’s really complex. But the idea is every time you hit a golf ball, or a tennis ball, or squeeze a trigger on a shot can on on sporting clays range. Right there.
Lex Patterson 42:56
Chuck Coonradt 42:58
We think that everybody needs to know whether they won or lost every day.
Lex Patterson 43:04
Yeah. Which is a it’s really segwaying us into something else I wanted to talk to you about which was, you know, leading and coaching our teams to greatness. And you know, you mentioned in your book, the better people leader, you tell a story about Don Prichard and how he invested time with his team individually to understand their strengths and their weaknesses and ended up learning about the business. Can you share that story with the listeners?
Chuck Coonradt 43:34
Well, the, the parallel course is, in my mind, as to the NFL is, I was on a plane one time, I sat down the guy next to me, he’s got this huge print. And I mean, this was all 11 by 14, main dot matrix printed, you know, green on white bar paper. And he’s got this fat nerd. We’re talking idle. What do you do? He goes, Well, I Scout wide receivers. For an I forget to team but was one of the NFL teams. I mean, this is a half inch thick binder. I said, really? He goes out we I start looking at them when they’re in eighth grade. Really goes out. Here’s a kidney, eighth grade. Here’s a kid in the 10th grade. Here’s, here’s this kid’s difference between this eighth grade Performance Center grip performance. Now, why are they doing all that? Well, they’re doing all that to lead up to the draft make the best selection of a person, right. So we said you can’t motivate strangers. Again. That’s not my stuff. That’s just something that everybody agrees to. So we developed a discussion here about you know how much you know about your people. You know, their spouses name, children name activities, what do they do off the job? How are you know, just getting to know each other? Well as Pritchard did that. He also been asked the magic question, and this is this will be worked the whole podcasts, when you’re trying to set up the scorecard is ask your people, what is something that you get done regularly, that’s very valuable to the organization that we are not recognizing and rewarding. And so he started methodically asking that question, well, the first time you asked, you asked that question, that would be like, talking to a deer in the headlights. Because, because nobody really thinks about their job and output, they think about an activity, but you keep asking. And so as that happens, Don starts to build this huge wealth of information about what’s happening inside his group. And what they think is, is desirable, to produce. So that’s what they create the scorecards around, that’s what he gets highly engaged in, and then is reinforcing the behavior, once repeated, is really clear about developing appropriate feedback. So when somebody screws up, we don’t just put on our her rose colored glasses and look past it, we go address it, but we address it as a helpful, kind, coaching, teaching, mentoring individual, and the results were spectacular.
Lex Patterson 46:49
Wow. Yeah. And I can see how you know, learning more, more and more about your employees and the people you work with, and that, you know, keys you into so many things that you may be missing, too, you know, just their strengths, listening to what their fears and hopes and dreams and all those kinds of things are, you know, yeah, can be such key ingredients. And then the other thing, too, Chuck, that you mentioned, is, you know, the feedback part of it is, is just knowing that someone cares enough to ask and to give feedback and to be present, you know, in the thing, which I think, you know, in this remote world, I mean, we really got to do a better job, I think of making sure we’re still connecting, even though it isn’t, you know, it used to be a lot easier when we’re in an office because you would walk by the team, or you would see each other when you were going to the bathroom or in the lunch room or something else, you know, but now, it’s it’s, there’s effort that comes into that, you know?
Chuck Coonradt 47:48
Well, there is. And the a lot of the counsel that’s coming out of the psychologists about working remotely, is that you actually have to double the amount of contact you have with that individual over being in the office in person. And so I don’t know if you’re seeing this, but But there seems to be this sort of Great Divide occurring between leaders who want their people where they can see him, and where they can where they can be collaborative. And the fact that this working from home has been delightful. Oh, you know, first off, you got Yeah, literally saving, yeah, an hour, two hours a day commuting for a car. So who wouldn’t want that. And if you can get it all done, and take Friday afternoon off, I mean, all of that. All of that’s really palatable. So if you have to pull into the other thing that we’re not doing enough of, in the remote working is one on one, which you and I are doing. So how many times do you see a Zoom meeting? I mean, I got a committee that I sit on for one of my clients, and we must have 35 people on that call. Yeah, well, yeah. You know, only one person speaks at a time. You know, you get all of that.
Lex Patterson 49:11
Chuck Coonradt 49:12
So I don’t know what the what the ratio is, but you get this fairly huge disconnect in terms of just what, what the human need is for that feedback?
Lex Patterson 49:25
Mm hmm. Yeah. Well, and I saw, I recently ran across to Microsoft did a study actually on remote work and they end employee engagement and in terms of, you know, that engagement and innovation of teams and productivity, all those things, according to this study, were suffering in the sense of pandemic, right. And so their, their solution or I think what they were kind of campaigning for is that maybe we need to go into a hybrid mode, you know, where we find a way where, like you’re saying, you know, and then in those cases where you need collaboration, or you need bigger teams, or you need things, you know, to bring that into where we can still get together, but yeah, it’s definitely a struggle there.
Chuck Coonradt 50:13
Well, the other the other part of it, I mean, we’ve had to reschedule this for a couple of different reasons. Yeah. But the point is, it’s a scheduled meeting. Yeah. You know, and if I, if in an organization if I reach out and I said, Lex, two o’clock on Monday, no agenda. We’ll go. How the hell can I, you know, how can I accept that? I mean, just doesn’t feel like I’m productive, you know. So, ya know, what I really want to do is I really want to wrap I got, right, right, I got two questions to thoughts. And I just really want to have an hour where nobody else is yelling and screaming at either one of us. Because I want to get your best thoughts. Yeah. You’re sure that you’re we don’t have an agenda. I mean, it sounds to me like you need an agenda before we can do that. But that’s what you know, that’s the kind of stuff you need, because, because in that meeting, I can more closely replicate what I might be doing, sitting in a small conference room, in the building. Even you know, even if we’re in a in the room that doesn’t have tables and chairs, and all we did sitting on the sofa, which we used to, you know, pre pandemic, you do that all the time. If you didn’t have those a week, you’d go I’m not getting. I’m not getting done with my people. Yeah, yeah. Oh,
Lex Patterson 51:57
yeah. Interesting. Okay. Well, you had mentioned to me that you had an epiphany, which led to the beginning of the game of work. And I’d like I’d like you
Chuck Coonradt 52:07
to tell us about that. Oh, my heavens. Yeah, that’s, and this is it sort of was a single event epiphany, but it draws, but we’ve retold it many times, it sort of draws from a lot of different fields. But let me take you take you through an ad just ask you to imagine as this happened to me, but I’m, I’m so on my little box from SMI. And I’m calling on this guy. And we’re gonna call him Joe. Right now. Then he’s making houses in a factory. So the factory built homes and it’s a big industry. And we’re up in his second storey office. And he of course, like any good production manager as a Windows so we can watch the people working. Okay. So, Joe has given me and Joe’s kind of mid 40s mid life mid career not real happy that Joe’s given me kids today. Kids today can’t work kids. They don’t have the same value as you and I had as a kid and we’re doing this. And that subsequently asked a lot of a lot of audiences. Do you remember getting that lecture when you were a kid? You know, every and and the room goes up? And the next question is, is do you remember giving it as an adult? Because then you just became your old man. And in the end, the baton has been passed down. So we laugh about that. But Joe’s given me kids today and he points down on the factory floor. And there’s eight young men down there on their site in a house. And to describe their workspace. You would need worlds like arthritic snails and wet cement. I mean, it was like finding a nail find a hammer. It wasn’t like a bunch of mines on a pair of street. He looks at me and he goes What’s your magic box can do that. And man, I tell you I hadn’t been in business for a long I hadn’t been selling I didn’t really have and if you’ve been in a sales environment, somebody throws an objective you don’t have an answer for that dang clot just stands still. Lucky for me. I got rescued by the lunch bell. Because the lunch bell ran off. Those eight guys dropped those hammers like they were electrified. Took off on a dead run down the factory floor. 50 yards, four of them peeling off their shirts to where they found a basketball hoop and I watched the same eight guys energized from 42 minutes well, because I’m just mesmerized, I’m going, what happened? And they get under the basketball hoop, there are no goals or no strategic plan. There’s not a manager, there’s not a performance appraisal process at all. Everybody knows the score. Everybody sort of knows what their job is. And his whole thing works, and it’s magic. And they’re all sweating, zero compensation 1242 they pick up their Cokes, and our sack lunches and start walking back. A reason to hurry. Walking backs, were at one o’clock. They’re back on the block arthritic snails and what’s not. I looked at Joe. And I said, it’s not a raw material problem. There’s nothing wrong with those kids. It’s situational. So then we started asking ourselves, and I shared it with my team. I said, What did I see? You know what was? Well, and then we started to say, Well, what did they know? Under the hoop? That they didn’t know what the hammer in the nail feedback was instant. scorekeeping was dynamic. During the process. goals were clearly defined. There were actually coaching each other. And everybody chose their shot. Yeah, yeah. Now I gotta explain. It didn’t come to us that quick. I mean, we spend a lot of time thinking about what else happens. You know what, what happens on a golf course. I remember being in a tennis clinic in Phoenix in the summertime, we played it one in the morning, for there’s only 95 degrees. I mean, I’ve been on a duck blind where my buck was
waiting to shoot something, right. What we used to do, but I know are timeless or the images we used to use to have a program we called Skin scheme, which we did at the deer valley ski resort. And the schedule was we started seven o’clock in the morning, meet for two hours. At nine o’clock, the lifts would open the instructors would come we pair people up by their ability. We’d scan till noon, we’d had lunch together, we’d go back with free scan the afternoon, four o’clock, we’re back in a conference room to get our four hours in for tax deduction. Well, at seven o’clock in the morning, the heat hasn’t come on yet a conference, you know, so starts out it’s like maybe 65 degrees in there. People are going how can we even do this session? It’s so cold here. You know, that nine o’clock, it’s like 12 degrees on the mountain. Everybody goes can’t wait to get there. Right. Yo likes that’s the end game was where we came to is that people will pay for the privilege of working harder than work when they’re paid. Because those five principles of a motivational recreation work. And if you can migrate that into the workforce, hot diggity spit we can all have.
Lex Patterson 58:20
That’s the exclamation point for sure. Well, I gotta ask you one more question. Just just because I think it’s been great talking with you. And we’ll wrap up on this. But check, has there been a silver lining to this pandemic for you?
Chuck Coonradt 58:36
Well, yeah, actually there has i, okay, this is really trite. But I have a client in Akron, Ohio. And we, I think we’re on our 10th or 11th year in this contract. And typically, I would go back there for two and a half to three days a quarter meeting one on one with the key people I counsel with. Well, this was pre pandemic, but it played right under the pandemic. So a very, very dear friend of mine, pass away. On a Friday, Wednesday, I get this matter. And I was scheduled to be in Ohio, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. His funeral was during the trip that I had planned. So I called the client, we have a great relationship. And I said, I’m terribly sorry, I’ll do whatever to make this up. But I cannot miss the stream. Well, they said, Oh, why don’t we just meet on teens? In 2018? I said, What are teams? Well, it’s the Microsoft. Yeah. Video meeting platform. Really? How does that work? So instead of my going there for two and a half days and on I mean, the only thing I missed was dinner with a group. But so we set up a 90 minute coaching session with each of the people that I was there. It took me I did it in a day on teams sitting pretty much where I’m right now. Yeah. Huh. Well, they actually liked that configuration. Because it took less time out of their schedule in London. So when the pandemic, yes, yeah, you know, I’m zooming. Yeah. Meeting. Yeah, whatever. Yeah. So for me. What I’m doing now is just literally executive coaching with about four companies, but I don’t know, 20 people a month. And it’s lovely. Because it’s all done. Zoom team means
Lex Patterson 1:00:57
you cut all that travel out of the mix face higher.
Chuck Coonradt 1:01:01
And I’m not a young man. And in my seven decades, plus, they’ve contracted a few of what they call comorbidity in the insurance business. So, yeah, I’m, I’m kind of a front of the line guy when the vaccines roll out. Yeah. And I’ve gotten my booster shot and everything else. But for me, the silver lining has been what we’re doing right here. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s not true that, gosh, I shouldn’t say that. For me. The silver lining has been all of the time that my wife and I have spent together. Yeah. You know, I, I’ve got a card from Delta Airlines, awarding me or recognizing my contribution of 4 million Delta miles. Wow. Which I say to people is proof positive about misspent life?
Lex Patterson 1:02:06
Well, I gotta say, when when we were scheduling, and you said to me now listen, Fridays are dedicated to my wife. I thought to myself, well, good job, Chuck. I mean, here’s, here’s a guy who gets it, you know. So I commend you for that. Let’s celebrate that, for sure. That’s cool. Yeah, it’s been
Chuck Coonradt 1:02:24
it’s, it’s, it’s been, it’s been delightful. And, and the other thing from our standpoint, I mean, compared to the people that are working in our restaurants, and all the service industries we have in Park City and Summit County, in the whole ski industry. You know, I’ve never missed a paycheck throughout the entire pandemic. And the thing that I’ve done and and if I have any cause celeb, is that I’ve been tipping 30% as a minimum, for the people that I’ve had a chance to be in a restaurant or anyplace else that people are earning service. And it’s not three and a half billion dollars that I’m funding. But I’m trying to do my part. And I know that the people that listen to your podcasts are people that have resources and capability. Yeah. And I think it’s just a way for us to take a look out and do a little help our neighbor. help these people get back on their feet.
Lex Patterson 1:03:33
Yeah. Yeah. Well, tell you chuck, one of the Silver Linings for me is being able to connect with people like you. And you know, the, the, the dream, my dream 50. So thank you so much for being a part of this and sharing so much of your experience and knowledge and just been great talking with you.
Chuck Coonradt 1:03:55
Thanks a bunch. We’ll do it. We’ll do it again. When you when, when you need to fill in. All right. All right.
Lex Patterson 1:04:01
All right. That’s I’ll hold you to that one, because there’s a couple of questions we didn’t get to, but we’ll wrap around on that. So thank you, Chuck.
Chuck Coonradt 1:04:09
We got time. Thanks, Lex. Have a great day. I’ll do it. Same deal with my brother.
Lex Patterson 1:04:22
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