Episode 53: Creating a Conscious Workplace

Join Emily as she talks about creating a conscious workplace and how it can bring the best out in your team. This episode will make you re-think how you conduct annual performance reviews and how you create feedback loops within your organization.

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Hello and welcome back to the show. I am so excited to record today's episode because I participated in something so incredibly powerful last week that I have just been waiting to have a few uninterrupted minutes of time to record this episode and share it.

Now, this thing was something that I actually had a lot of anxiety about, and I didn't really want to do it. Truth be told. So have you ever had those experiences that totally take you by surprise? Like, oh, I'm dreading this. I don't want to do it. If it was up to me, I wouldn't do it. And then on the other side, it's like, holy smokes.

That was a powerful experience. So that's what happened to me last week. So let me tell you the story buckle up because I'm going to give you all of the details. So as many of you know, we run an Amazon sales agency as one of my businesses, although my energy tends to be slightly more focused on coaching women entrepreneurs.

I do believe that my involvement in this other business is really helpful. And vice versa. My coaching is really helpful to the agency as well, but when it comes to like money mindset and entrepreneurial-ism and building big wealth and scaling businesses, the fact that I get to be behind the scenes under the hood on so many, $10 million, $50 million, a hundred million dollar business, right.

And meeting with those owners, those executives, getting into their heads, understanding what's working and not working for them. I find that that is such an important piece to my coaching and just to my money mindset, honestly, because the numbers are neutral, but once you get used to talking in big numbers, it's like, you're just used to it.

And it feels safe inside of your body, which you can translate to other business. Anyway, I digress. So last week we flew out three key members of our agency team. So we flew in Jennifer, from Washington, Nicole, from Michigan and Scott from Missouri. So together with Jeff and I, the five of us had three days of meetings.

So we were kind of doing some Q2 planning, kind of working on some operational processes and brainstorming, troubleshooting, like those. But also team building and building friendships and connections because we run this agency as a virtual organization. And so there are times when it's like, I feel like I know you, but also it's so amazing to be together in person and just like experience your energy.
So one of the things that was on our agenda to accomplish over these three days together was performance review. Now, if you have ever worked for a company before, you've probably been through some sort of performance review process. Now I was in corporate sales for a decade and as part of that, we had an annual review and then we would have like a mid-year review, but basically like there was a template and there was probably six boxes or something in this template. And so I would have to do a self-evaluation where I would rate myself, am I meeting exceeding expectations? Am I not meeting? I didn't have to write up a paragraph for myself. So maybe something about. My sales performance, there might be a category about like operating the business with integrity, things like that, kind of whatever the core value was for the business. And then my manager would write up a little paragraph and blurb about me in each of these categories. And then also give me a rating and then we would have an in-person meeting and he would read for me, word for word, every paragraph that he wrote and. Then I would know whether or not I was getting a raise.

I think I would find out like what the percentage was and then it would go into effect, you know, like a couple months later. And my experience in that process was that it always felt a little bit like pulling teeth. I never liked doing the self-evaluation process myself. I don't know. There's just something weird about it like I write in the third person, do I write in the first person? Am I. Appropriately capturing this stuff. Like, I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I also don't want to be so humbled that I'm not going to get a raise. It was just like one of those dreaded things that you were just kind of forced to do.

And you kind of had to go through the motions and you kind of had to pretend like you didn't hate the process. And that's just the way that it was in corporate America. And this wasn't just at one company, you know, I was at multiple companies and it was all like some flavor of this. So then when we started building out the elevate team and we started having people that were with us for a year and wanting raises and wanting professional feedback, we sort of implemented a similar process because that's what we knew. Jeff had worked at Belkin and Epson and these big companies. And so had I. And so we took some version of that. We're doing the same thing with our team and till this year, and to set the stage and set the context for why this year was different. One of the things that we've been really inspired by over, I'd say probably the last year, year and a half is the book called the Netflix no rules, rules.
The book is written by Reed Hastings, and I think there's a coauthor as well. Linda, somebody, you can buy the book on Amazon and. I really recommend it if you are running a business or an organization. So they really talk about the ways that they built culture at Netflix and some of the unique things that they did in order to build a very high performing team.

So in many, many ways, we felt really inspired by that book and we've implemented a lot of things into our business. So if you've read the book, we implement the keeper test. We really implement ways to just hire a players. We try to fire fast. If we can tell it it's not working and give a more generous severance.

So lots of those things, we also remove a lot of the bureaucratic red tape, like really make sure that people feel like they can make decisions and take ownership over them. So Netflix also talks about not having a huge expense approval policies and things like that. Those are things that we've also implemented at elevate.

We also have unlimited paid time off, which is something that Netflix does. So if we'd been really slowly taking a lot of the pieces that we liked and implementing them in our organization and our operations manager, Nicole finally was like, okay, this year we're going to do 360 reviews, which is something that Netflix does.

So we got rid of our performance templates and the self-evaluation forums and that kind of thing. And we decided to follow. What Netflix does, which is it's a little different at Netflix, just because they're huge. Right? So like they have, they used to do them in person, and now it's like, anybody can submit feedback on anybody via some sort of web form, but it's not anonymous.

So with us, we're small enough that we. Did a lot of these virtual, and then we were going to do some in-person with the five of us who were altogether in Los Angeles. So the way that it works is you rather than have this formalized review process and then your raise is tied to it. You remove the compensation piece.

So Netflix does their 360 reviews in March and April, and then they do their raises in like October. So that way people really feel more comfortable being vulnerable and. And using a lot of radical candor. Then what you do is when you're kind of in the hot seat, you're receiving feedback essentially from anyone, but definitely like the people that work with you directly.
And it should be that the feedback that people are giving you is 70% constructive, that it's not sandwiched, meaning you don't give the compliment than the piece of constructive feedback than another compliment, right? Like imagining a thing. What else you use the start stop and continue model. So I want you to start doing blah, blah, blah.

I want you to stop doing blah, blah, blah, and continue doing bubbles. And 70% constructive start, stop. Continue. You don't sandwich it. Oh. And giving lots of examples is really helpful as well. And. One of the things they talk about in the book, it's really important that leaders are the ones to be receiving a lot of radical candor all the time, not just during these 360 reviews and that the leaders show a lot of signals of belonging, because that's what helps create a culture where people feel that they can give really transparent feedback and that their job is not at risk.
Right. So it's like, if you in a meeting, tell your manager, like, Hey, I think you screwed up on. We really should have done this other thing. And it would've worked out better for everybody. And your manager is like, let's talk about this later or make some sort of snarky comeback. That's not a signal of belonging. Right. So if you're new and you're sitting in a meeting like that, you are going to immediately realize like, oh boy, that guy's in trouble. I would never say anything like that to my. But if somebody says that exact same thing, like, Hey, I think you screwed this up. We should have done this other thing. And it would've worked out better for everyone.
And the boss says, you know what? I really appreciate you saying that. Thank you so much for caring about me and caring about Netflix and caring about our customers. If you were sitting in on that meeting, you're like, holy shit, what's happening here? Like what an interesting workplace, where you can say really direct things to your boss publicly.

They really can receive it. So I was not looking forward to these 360 reviews because I was imagining it feeling awkward. One of the people on the team was my first time meeting him in person. Also, this would mean that I need to give this type of feedback to my spouse, which obviously Jeff and I like being in a marriage. Of course, we give each other a lot of radical feedback or radical candor, but like at the same time, Doing it about work in front of coworkers and that kind of thing. Like, it felt a little different and I was just kind of imagining like, okay, it might be hard to be the person that's receiving all of this.

And then also equally hard to be the one giving it. So I just naturally was like, kind of dreading it, not looking forward to this scenario happening. And I think the same thing was happening for the other people in the. Because it kept kind of getting pushed back on our agenda. Like it just wasn't happening.
So kindly Wednesday night, we all went out to a really nice restaurant for dinner and we're like, okay, we're going to do 360 reviews here. We can have a drink or having a nice meal. We're not so much in work mode. You know, it's not like we're sitting around a conference table with our laptop open. This is a perfect time to do it. So Jeff was like, you know what, I'll be the one to receive. First. So again, he's in a position of leadership, he's the CEO of the company. And so he was willing to go first in terms of receiving constructive feedback or just all the 360 reviews. Right. And so I said that I would be first. To give him feedback.

So again, I wanted both of us to be able to model what it looked like to not mince words, to speak with radical candor and for Jeff to be able to receive it and still show signals of belonging. So what did it look like? I gave him a stop first. I was like, I really would like you to stop sending me so many recordings of meetings that you want me to watch.
It feels disrespectful to my time. It feels really inefficient. I feel like if I'm going to have to spend an hour watching, for example, an interview that you just did for an hour. And I would have rather actually just been in the meeting in the interview because then I could have asked questions and then I wouldn't have to watch a whole interview that you did, and then still do my own interview with the candidates.
So I really either need you to stop sending the recordings and just give me the cliff notes version or pull me in on more. But what I would actually prefer is that you just give me the cliff notes or you tell me, I just need you to watch the five minutes from the 25-minute mark to the 30-minute mark.

And he was like, okay, I can do that. And so then I also gave him some starts and continues. He's a very passionate person, and he's really good at creating spaces where people feel safe. He's also a really good at like reading the energy of people. And just addressing it head on. And so he had done that like the day before, where somebody on the team was feeling really overwhelmed and like, that was kind of the elephant in the room and he just created a safe space right away with that was like, look, we need to address this.
Are you okay? Or are you not okay? Like what can we do to help? And so I wanted to just give him positive feedback on that, about how powerfully I think he was able to hold that space and how he does that for the organization. I also shared with him that think he's been getting a lot of feedback from the team on creating more like virtual team building opportunities.
Like maybe once a quarter, but he's not acting on it. And I really believe that he has room in his schedule to do that. So I was encouraging him to start doing. And on each of the things he was like, okay, that's fair. Like, thank you so much. And so then it went all the way around and he cried receiving some of the feedback from other people on our team.
And it was honestly, I think all of us were a little teary-eyed. There were people saying that, like, the reason that I'm here is because of you and like how much you care and how much you make me feel cared for. And so then of course, each of us went around. And we each had our turn to receiving and giving for each other and it probably took at least two hours all said, but it was so incredibly powerful, so incredibly powerful.

And I was so proud of all of us for not holding back. So like there was a scenario where someone was feeling overwhelmed and didn't get a piece of their job done. And so then it fell to another person. And she felt really resentful about that. And you could tell, you could like cut the tension with a knife on slack, which is our like communication platform as this was all going down. But then in the 360 review, they were able to give more context. So the person who is feeling resentful. I had to cancel an interview that I had scheduled. I was trying to find someone new for this role at elevate. I also had to drop everything else that I was doing. I had to work like into the evening and I was responsible for watching the kids at night.
So I had to put my kids on screens so that I could do all of this work because you drop the ball. And because you waited until the last minute and the other person was like, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. And they were able to work it out and talk through it, but also like give an ask. So like here's what I'm asking.

If you know that this is going to be a problem, I need you to anticipate it ahead of time. I need you to let me know and give me a heads up so that I can schedule it in or that I can get you more training or that we can get you more help in another area so that you have the bandwidth to do this task that was falling off of your list.
And so there was really a lot of specificity in the ass. And in the examples, and it was all done with such love and such desire for all of us as individuals and as a team and as an organization and on behalf of our clients to get better, I was stunned as I, we were all kind of reflecting on it afterwards.

One of the things I shared that to me was the most powerful part of this experience was that as we were receiving the constructive feedback, None of it actually felt like it was coming out of left field. Like it really took us by surprise. Like it was something that we thought we were nailing in someone else that we weren't, it was all something where it's like, yeah. Okay. Maybe in that scenario, I didn't know that I was coming up or like, I didn't care. However, if I'm being honest with myself, like, yes, I do know that I have a very direct communication style and I know that can come off. Abrasive at times. Right? So it was like, they were things about us that we already kind of knew.

And it was just seeing it through a different lens, through a different perspective, through a different context and people being able to share the impact of that thing. And also give us some suggestions on how to change it. Now, the thing about that ended up being so powerful is that the parts of ourselves that we wouldn't necessarily want people to see.
They were seeing the end result of that is that we felt so seen and not just for the pretty parts of ourselves or the parts of our personality that we like, or that we want people to recognize. We also felt seen in our weaknesses, in our areas where we need to improve, but because it was given with such love and care, it actually really enhanced our sense of belonging.
Our sense of feeling cared for feeling like we're a part of something bigger and like, wow, these people really get me. They really see me. They really know me. They don't just know the half of me that I was trying to show. They actually know all of the. Somebody said like, this is crazy. She's like, I've seen a therapist for years, and these are the things that we talk about.
And you guys saw all of this and you guys were able to give me really helpful feedback on these same things. That part just blew me away and honestly brought me to tears and it gave me so much hope for creating conscious workplaces. Now I spend a lot of time talking to women entrepreneurs and the types of workplaces that they're building, particularly in their coaching businesses are naturally a bit more conscious, right? Because of the nature of the business, the nature of the topics being discussed, you tend to find more conscious connections, more conscious workplaces being built that set. We don't run our agency like a coaching business. It's not all Lulu touchy, feely. Like we're running a business, we've got clients, the clients aren't always happy with us.

We're not always getting the results that we desire. We're not always all getting along. And so. To have this level of conscious communication in a more traditional workplace. I say that like with air quotes, because obviously we're running a virtual organization, it's like a digital business and that kind of thing.

But I do think this is like the new era of workplaces to bring this level of conscious communication into the workplace is something that I think most people won't ever experience in our lifetime, but I sincerely hope that changes. It's part of the reason that I'm recording this podcast is because I really, really want it to change.

I talked to my sister about it. I was like, I can't believe this experience. I just went through and she texted me a couple of days later. Tell me more about that. I want to make that suggestion for my company, for my organization. That sounds so much better than the review process that we do. We have an opportunity to really create cultural.

In any workplace and that's really how we make a better planet. It's not that all of us need to become entrepreneurs. It's like, can we bring the best of ourselves? Can we bring the inner work? Can we bring the personal development into the workplace? Of course. And why shouldn't we, when we spend so much time at the workplace when outside of our marriage, these are probably the relationships where there's the most.
Friction, but also like the most opportunity for growth, right? Because let's face it. Part of the reason that marriage make us better is because they're the people that really see us, all of us like warts and all, and they give us feedback and they create a safe space where we can talk about feelings and we get to process through things and grow together.

Why shouldn't that happen in the workplace? Why shouldn't we be able to speak with candor as long as there's positive intent. I'm not just going to tell you what I think to be. I'm going to tell you what I think, because I think it's going to make you better. And I think it's going to make our company better.

And I think it's gonna make our service that we give our clients better and we don't just have to do it once a year at the 360 reviews. That's the other thing like we get to. Regularly often it doesn't need to be a huge production. It can just be a couple minutes of direct feedback. Hey, I noticed that you did this in the meeting together.
Would you stop doing that? I think it makes the client feel XYZ. And I would suggest that you start doing this other thing as an alternative, right? Like in one minute we can give such powerful feedback and then things don't build. We don't start to feel resentment for each other. I honestly feel like I'm doing this a disservice because I don't know that I have the vocabulary to make you feel how I want you to feel about this process.
I just was so blown away. I have done so many vulnerable things. I have put myself in so many positions. To do the inner work and the self-help and the professional development. So Manny, and this was one of the most powerful I'm just so blown away. And honestly, it was easier in some respects than doing those freaking professional reviews.

The self-evaluation. Some of us had a few notes going into it so that we could make sure we hit on a few points, but a lot of it was just free-flowing. The harder part about it was just being courageous and just putting yourself in that situation to give and receive that type of feedback. But the actual doing of it was so much easier than like having to fill out a form where you're writing about yourself in the third person.

And you're trying to make sure that you're a little bit humble, but also. A little bit braggy and that you hit all the right notes to make sure you get the right review. And then your boss read you every word for word, piece of feedback that he gives you. And then you find out what your raise is. And everyone feels like they checked some boxes and they all pat each other on the back and go their separate ways.

This is something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. Whereas I can't say that about a single performance review that I've ever had. So my challenge for you is that if you are in any type of workplace where you have a boss or where you're the boss and you manage people, I really challenge you to take at least one piece of this and bring it into your workplace.
Can you create a more conscious workplace? Can you create a culture where radical candor can be given with positive intent and it can be given regularly and it can be given and there can still be so much belonging and everyone gets to become better. Everyone gets to feel more connected than ever when the team all flew home.

And we were just back to communicating on slack. I noticed a complete level in the communication that was happening in slack, the activity, the teamwork, the feedback back and forth, like it just elevated everything. So I highly encourage you to try this on for size. I hope you have enjoyed today's episode as you implement this in your workplace.
If any of this is inspired, you slide into my DMS and let me know. And makes money on Instagram or Emily June Wilcox on Facebook. You can also snap a screenshot of this episode and share it. You can tag me and let me know what your biggest realization is. I love when you do that, because it also inspires other people to listen to the episode. And so it really helps amplify and share this important work. Thank you so much for listening today. And I will talk to you. Bye. Thank you so much for tuning into today's show. Before you go. I have something fun to share. Now, when you leave a review of the podcast on Apple, Spotify, or YouTube, take a quick screenshot and send it to high@emilywilcox.com.

You'll be entered into a drawing to win a free one-on-one voxer coaching day with me and you help the show. Reach more new listeners, such a win-win. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at EM Makes Money. It's my free Facebook group, The Money Club.


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