How to Keep Employees Engaged

Episode 981: How to Keep Employees Engaged, with Chad Carden

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How to keep employees engaged—Discover effective techniques to maintain high employee engagement levels using our guide on how to keep employees engaged.

How to keep employees engaged? Listen to how Chad Carden approaches this and you can use it for your agency as well!

Getting your employees truly engaged in your work and all moving in the same direction can be a challenging task in the best of times, but during crisis periods like the global pandemic, engagement is both more important and more complicated than ever. Chad Carden is the co-founder of Renzo Consulting, and Chad “is on a life mission to improve the way employers and employees interact to create greater engagement and better results.” During Chad’s visit to Onward Nation, he discussed the crucial role engagement plays in keeping everyone aligned to the company’s values and mission, and he shares tips and strategies for how to engage employees, motivate your team, and provide clarity on your expectations so that everyone is moving in the same direction with a shared purpose.


What you’ll learn in this episode is about how to keep employees engaged

  • How Chad realized the importance of a strong company culture, and how that realization became the backbone of his blueprint for how to keep employees engaged more effectively
  • Why a company’s culture is the key to creating an environment that sets employees up for success and helps companies produce the results they want
  • Why it is vital to double down on your culture and on your team, especially during the challenges of the global pandemic
  • Why the key to employee engagement is committing to your culture and then creating a shared experience that allows team members to buy in
  • Why culture starts with the business owner setting the direction for the company and ensuring that everyone on the team understands the destination
  • How to create clarity and unity of purpose within your team, even though everyone sees things from their own perspective
  • Why Chad believes the challenge for leaders is that they often spend so much time looking forward that they forget to look back
  • Why it is critically important for business owners to communicate their expectations clearly and unambiguously to their teams
  • How business owners and leaders often overestimate what they can accomplish in 12 months but underestimate what they can achieve in three years
  • Why it is important for leaders to call regular time-outs to question the team’s clarity, alignment and purpose


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How to Keep Employees Engaged: Full Episode Transcript


Get ready to find your recipe for success from America’s top business owners here at Onward Nation with your host, Stephen Woessner. 


Good morning. I am Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation. The famed consultant, Peter Drucker once was quoted saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. And we often hear that as business owners, our employees are our greatest asset. And I firmly believe in that statement and that philosophy in that mindset. And yet I often hear owners tell me that they agree with the statement, but when you look behind the curtain, it’s clear that they’re not walking at the same time. The investment they’re making in their team does not match with the words, but some might argue. “But, Stephen, times are different now, right?” 


I mean, we’ve got this global pandemic going on. So perhaps we ought to tap the brakes on culture. As we double down to ensure we come out the other side of this recession intact. Well, let me share some data points with you to illustrate the difference between prevention-minded business owners and progressive-minded business owners. During the last six recessions, the business owners who are prevention-focused, meaning they cut teams, cut payroll, cut benefits all the incidentals, and there’s a list. They did that as their first step to write the ship whether they needed to or not. 


That’s what they did first. Well, here’s the data. Here’s the impact. 85% of the growth leaders. They had a prevention mindset, 85% of them. Onward Nation toppled. 80% of them never regained their pre-recession growth rate. 40% of them never 


Regained their pre-recession sales levels many prevention-focused companies just outright failed and closed. So what’s the flip side of that? Well, that’s the progressive-minded businesses. They cut operational costs to increase operational efficiency. So only a small number of the progressive have ever changed head count because they recognized it by changing headcount, they may be cutting into their muscle and they needed as much muscle as possible to come roaring out the other side. So instead what they did was double down on the team and then the Progressive’s made significant investments in R and D in marketing and new assets. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Chad Carden’s Introduction


And then the progressive-minded companies. We’re the ones who came roaring out the other side of the recession. Even 37% of them not only survived past their competitors, but 37% of there of the progressives outpaced their competitors. And not just initially for three years past the recession while that’s my hope for you too, which is why I invited Chad Carden co-founder of Renzo Consulting to be my guest today after 20 plus years of what I’ll call practical and tactical research, working in the trenches with business owners, just like you and me Onward Nation, Chad landed on what he calls the ultimate blueprint for employee engagement, that harnesses the untapped potential of human capital or human capital. 


When this happens, clients, and business owners, like you and me, see tremendous success in the outcomes that we’re striving to produce. It’s hard out there. Onward Nation I get that, which is why I am super excited for this conversation with Chad. So the data is clear. It is on your side, make progressive decisions, and you will put yourself in the best possible position to come roaring out the other side of this recession. So, without further ado, welcome to Onward Nation, Chad.


Hey Stephen Onward Nation. I am excited to be here. I appreciate the opportunity. I am excited to have you here too because I think we are going to have a really, really wonderful conversation in one of those conversations with tons of golden nugget takeaways that Onward Nation of business owners can take and apply right away, which is exciting. 


So, but before we do that, take us behind the curtain and give us more context about your path, and your journey, and then we’ll dive in. Yeah, so I have it. And then in what I call a people business, my entire life, when I was 14 years old, I had a chance to meet a guy by the name of Zig Ziglar. And my dad was sharing the stage with him at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, and I’ll call it the Donnelley Stevenson Center. And I went backstage and I met Zig. I just said that this is what I want to do with my life. I am eventually, or I am in this. They just want it to be a motivational speaker or a white Zig come in and I want you to speak and watch him come back in the green room and leave. And I said this is what I want to do. I just want to impact people. 


And I just had a rush of passion to do that. So my dad, I thought I was a little young at that time, but I had a chance to be a and I look back at this and what an amazing opportunity. But from 14 to 20 years old, I had a chance to be mentored by Zig. And my dad was on the speaking circuit and he did a lot of what I did early on. And then at 20 years old, my dad actually sold his business, and Zig, and my dad both coached me to go to work for Dale Carnegie training and the guy who wrote the book, how to win friends and influence people. And I did that until I was 25 and I wanted to be a franchise owner because of Carnegie’s franchise, I wanted to own a sponsorship as they call it. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Aligning Culture and Change


That was just getting ready to go, to get into my franchise and my sponsorship half and about 12 sponsors at that time, nothing wrong with Carnegie having a great platform, but the margins were shrinking and it was more of a public setting. They would bring in eight to 15 companies and give them a great foundation. But one of the things we found was a gap was if I became really excited about it and I go through a Dale Carnegie course, and I go back to it in an environment that doesn’t support it, that motivation where’s. And typically I fall right back into the environment that I’m in. And so I had the opportunity 25 to break away with about 12 sponsors and go into really customizing the experience for each individual organization, whether we’re in the same vertical or not, every organization has its own DNA. 


How to keep employees engaged? And so, how do you find out what the DNA is, what the need is, and then truly help them connect the dots to create a culture that thrives and continues to thrive on an ongoing basis? So, for the past 20 years, I’ve been doing that all over the globe. I can’t believe I got paid to do it. I wake up every single day and pitch myself. It’s exciting because we get a chance not only to impact organizations that impact leaders, impact people and impact lives, which is ultimately what my purpose is. 


How to keep employees engaged? Okay. So, let’s go. I think you actually just touched on what is probably going to be a golden nugget. And what I mean by that is, let me tease this out a little bit more to make sure that I’m fully understanding. And I think you’re kind of mentioning in the, or suggesting, and I don’t know if this dichotomy has the right word, but essentially if me as a business owner, or maybe I’m a supervisor or whatever, and I go to a thing, I go to a seminar or a workshop or whatever, or take an online course, or it was maybe it’s a virtual event. I go to that thing and I get all these best practices and action steps. 


And I’m super excited about how we are going to implement this. And then I come back to my team and I would say, how exciting I’ve just spent the last week with chat are the last three days would Chad in this intensive, and we are going to do all these great things. Then it starts to fall flat. The eyes start to roll there’s Oh, for Pete’s sake, Stephen went to another Fein program and how are we gonna do this thing? And the next quarter is going to be something else. And then there’s never any traction. Am I tracking with you on what you are talking about? There are absolutely, absolutely. So, ultimately, it has to be a commitment to really change an environment and change the culture. 


And it has to be a commitment to that. It has to be top-down, Stephen, but it has to be bottom-up executed, right? Like, because of it, because if it doesn’t matter to my boss, then it doesn’t matter. And like you said, I could go back in and I might be able to do it in my, with my team, or with my department in a vacuum or my piece of the puzzle. But ultimately if it’s not supported and the overall picture of what we call where the bus is going, it’s, we’re just gonna go to fall right back into it. I always talk about forgive me for this analogy, but if I wanted to quit drinking and I’d go to and I do all these types of that, but I go right back into a bar, he’s got to be tough. Right? And so the environment has to support what it is you’re trying to work on and how you’re trying to develop and improve the performance of people. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Building a People-First Culture


And so it really takes that holistic approach. If organizations and companies are, what, what, what do you have? You know, two people in the organization or, or 2000 people, it takes that commitment that we are going to shift and change the DNA that sets people up for success. Adam. And I always say my other co-founder, Renzo. We always say that organizations must create environments that people love coming to because if they love coming to it, efficiency goes up, effectiveness goes up, engagement goes up and you just produce better results. And so we were big on you mentioning that there were big on how do we hone in and tap into our people that will ultimately allow the results to produce themselves that help us move the organization in the right direction. 


I love that there was going to be some, let’s come back to that in, in a few minutes, because when, when you mentioned the environment needed to support it, so then it’s like, well, how do we do that? How do we get that rolled out, and what needs to be learned at the top? And then what needs to be learned at the bottom to support a bottom-up. So I think there were going to be some really cool takeaways there, but let’s come back to it. So when I was introduced to you, I started off with the culture eats strategy for breakfast, right? So a high level agrees to disagree, and completely agrees. I think that the culture will ultimately drive the end game. Now you can have it, and we’ve seen it. You can have a dysfunctional culture and still be successful. 


It’s almost like every day. If you look at it every single day, a business has two real responsibilities. The first thing is their results, right? Whether it’s the team, department or organization, they are responsible for some sort of results to move the organization in the right direction. The second piece of that is you have to work with people to get those results. Right now we’ve been an organization that I’m sure you’ve seen. You’ve seen organizations where the results are there, but people aren’t happy. Right? And so it’s a revolving door. And so on the outside, it looks like it’s a very successful organization because it is, and maybe the street says it is, and maybe you know, everything that’s happening, they are getting those results, but the culture isn’t there, ultimately there has to be, there has to be a place where you create some balanced. 


How to keep employees engaged? Then we would probably go to the other side. We are seeing these organizations, too, where the people are happy and are satisfied and it’s an awesome place to work, but they’re not driving results. Right? So then, that’s a short-lived formula as well. And so what we, what we want to work with organizations, going back to that, that quote of culture eats strategy for breakfast every day is how do you continuously create an environment or a culture that allows you to continuously get the results? And it’s a never-ending journey. It’s not an event. It’s a process that you have to be committed to on an ongoing basis because people are always the X factor, right? You mentioned we’re in a pandemic right now, and yes, there are external factors in play. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Navigating Progressive Strategies in Challenging Times


However, as you mentioned, how are we staying progressive and how are we staying committed to what we’re trying to do? And always looking for new avenues, and new opportunities that help move us in that direction and allow us to come out on the other side, even stronger. 


Totally agree. Okay. And so when, when I think of the pandemic you just mentioned, we are obviously all in and I look at the data as I shared in the introduction, I think my gosh, why would we not double down on it and have that progressive mindset? ’cause we’re in the midst of not just a recession, but a pandemic like, like I am hard pressed to think of is they’re like there could be no better time, but, but it is because it’s important to me. So, maybe the youth can agree to disagree. Maybe argue both sides of that. But it seems like now is the time that this is really important. 


How to keep employees engaged? I think, and I agree. I think the battle that people are facing is, is that we all sometimes know what we should do, but sometimes it’s hard to do it because you get into that protection mindset and you get into that prevention mindset, as you mentioned, and all of a sudden you can justify why you’re doing certain things at the moment, which shortsighted make sense. Right? I mean, I can make sense of it. Again, we always say the difference between human beings and animals as humans can justify anything and I have to convince myself right here. So I can justify on the short side, why I need to start laying people off or start furloughing people. But again, I’m looking at a very short window and not continuously looking at the long term. 


How to keep employees engaged? You have to certainly make smart decisions in the short term. Right? I think we all agree with that. You have to look at the operation as a whole, but never forget to keep your lens on the long term and what you are trying to accomplish with this. We know that things will come and go, things will pass, and eventually, we’ll do whatever happens in this next normal or whatever the heck it is. Suppose you want to be as strong. As you know, you mentioned in the bag there are those progressive mindset organizations that have proven it. This is not me. And you are thinking, and this is a theory. It’s been proven. And so if we want to be there, we have to keep that long-term vision and play and make sure we are doing the things today that allow us to be successful later. 


And it was because there was a company in that study that had, let’s say, X number of our studies. I should say they had X number of headcount or whatever the head count was. And what they chose to do was okay. Instead of cutting 25%, the 30% or 40% of our workforce in order to save initial costs, how could we, as a part, double down on R and D? How can we keep that team intact and improve skills, maybe advance new skills or add additional skills. How can we retrain our team there? They’re already a part of our culture. How can we open up new markets and have this team that used to do this market now apply to that market? So they left headcount in tech, but they invested in the new areas and kept the culture intact as they pivoted, which seems like a pretty smart strategy, looking at that data set now. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Navigating Short-Term Pressures for Long-Term Success


Yeah. And then that’s the whole point after the fact that it makes complete sense, but sometimes in the short term, what makes sense is to go into hiding. And again, we, you can probably justify me, but to get people in the room that can, that can again, to make sense of it that make those decisions most of the time it was decisions for the data to come back and bite you. Yeah. Hey, Onward Nation. I wanted to take a quick break from the episode to share a practical and tactical resource with you. When we first released our book profitable podcasting, it became the number one new release on Amazon in less than 18 hours, nearly three years ago. 


How to keep employees engaged? And we’re still getting great feedback on how helpful the book has been to business owners, just like you, as they launched a podcast to build their business. When I think a strategy is that you could be applying right now during these challenging times having your own show, which will be a conduit that you could use to teach and share your insights with your community, launch a podcast or grow your existing show really should be at the top of your list. I want to help you get started by giving you access to a free chapter of my book. Just go to in you’ll get the chapter where I show you how to confront and overcome your three biggest obstacles to success. 


Then we will send it right to your inbox. Okay. So now, let’s go back to the environment. The environment needs to support it. And then the showpiece. So let’s say this is one of our Onward Nation business owners is listening to you right now. And it says, you know what? I conceptually agree with what Chad was saying, that this is making sense. I want to be a progressive-minded business owner. I wanted to make smart decisions, love my team, and have invested in them for a while. And we’ve got a good culture and tact. And, now I’m hearing this, but there are also going to be some naysayers in my company that are encouraging me to be prevention minded. 


So give that person some advice. How do they take this body of knowledge that they are getting from you right now? How do they take it home, essentially? And then a top-down, bottom-up. Yeah. Yeah. So number one is, as you mentioned, I think, first of all, you have to make a decision as a leader, have to make a decision. If there is a commitment, ’cause again, this is a journey, right? And this is never-ending. And so that’s the first step. The second step I think is you have to begin to assess how we can create what we call a shared experience that allows people to buy in. Because it’s not about me convincing my people, it’s about me helping my people convince themselves that this type of development is right and this is going to help them. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Creating Win-Win Relationships


How to keep employees engaged? And what’s the benefit of working with a guy in Tennessee? His name is Dr. Randy Bradley, an awesome guy who said something to me one time that always stuck. He said a lot of times, leaders, self as leaders, will look in the mirror and say, what’s in it for me? Right? Some good leaders will look in the mirror and say, or look in the window and say, what’s in it for them. How can I position what’s in it for them? He said that the lens, we have to look at it as what’s in it for a week. So how do we create those win-win scenarios where our team and our people win, and the organization goes at the same time? And so that’s that shared experience to really understand how can we involve our people and to do that, we have to have strong working relationships, right? 


How to keep employees engaged? Not friendships, not personal things, but strong working relationships that oil down to trust or respect and rapport where we are when we’re working together, we’re aligned or clear, and we’re all pushing the blessing in the same direction. Yeah. And I think that’s key to doing that. It is just about you never want to take your working relationships for granted. You know, you mentioned we were talking about one of your best friends before we came here, right? You never, but you never want to take that for granted. I’ve been married and my wife for 20 years, and I remember my dad, the day I got married, I said, how often do they tell Sarah? I love her. And he said, probably before somebody else does, right? 


Like never take it for granted. It’s the same thing with working. People say, well, I’ve been working with Stephen for 15 years. I’ve been working. We, we know each other if he would do, but how do we make sure that we’re, we’re always looking at and growing that relationship and putting deposits in that relationship, then allow us to continue to get the results needed to drive the business in the right direction. So, number one is commitment. Number two is how are we creating a shared experience and looking at it from what’s in it for a week? And number three, how am I continuously, on a conscious level, understanding my people? What makes them tick, how they want to grow, how they want to experience it, and tying that into the overall mission in the direction of the organization. 


This is awesome. This is a great roadmap blueprint here. Can we go even deeper into all three of us or each of the three? So when you say it’s a commitment, it’s a journey. So, is it as simple as a business owner saying, he or she’s saying pounded a stick in the dirt, and we are committed to this, or is there a process, is there a way to communicate that commitment in such a way that it doesn’t fall on deaf ears and actually starts to set up a shared experience? So can you give us some advice? 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Finding Purpose and Clarity in Organizational Direction


Yeah. And so I think that it’s also very important that business owners in this process at the beginning get really selfish. Hmm. And what I mean, I don’t mean selfishly in a negative way. I mean, selfish in a positive way. And what I mean by that is whatever commitment they will make, they have to be excited about it. It’s not just, well, I listen to his podcast, and they said they should be committed. So I am going to commit to doing this. If there’s not an excitement or a purpose to it, that eventually is just going to fall off. And So, and I always say two, if a business owner isn’t centered, if they’re not at their best, it’s hard to be at their best. Right. So if I’m stressed, overworked, or tired if I feel like the world is crashing on me, I can put on a good face, but ultimately it’s going to shine through. 


How to keep employees engaged? And so you have to get a commitment around what excites you about the direction and the vision of where the organization is going and or your team or department. So, that commitment has to be first internal. And that ties in with the results that you want to get. Right. And there are two things we gotta get clarity around. Okay. Directions again: You heard me say this, but we always ask where the bus is going. Does everybody know if the bus is going to San Diego? Right. 


Okay. All joking aside, because he asked that because oftentimes that’s the case, right? It’s like an owner thinks this team thinks that 


A hundred percent. And so when we’re on, when we always say, how do we get our TVs on the same channel, right? I’m writing my third book right now, Half the World’s on an Asset. That’s the title of the book.


No, it was half the world is on assets. Here’s how I got it. I was alone in a post office one day. And I’m a student of, people not for judgment or criticism, just for observation in the world is like in a lab. To me, I’m always studying. People are just for our understanding. And I’m watching an interaction take place in the window where this lady arguing over this, the price of the staff or whatever she had to pay to mail this particular item and never forget it in my mind’s eye. As I see the clock 13 minutes, he argues, well, I’m in line, and I’m waiting in line, and I’m watching this thing, and I’m the next person in line as she storms out the door. And so I go to that gentleman’s window, and I’m sure the post office does a good training on how to greet people when they come through your window or whatever it is they want to say, but he looks down for about 10 seconds. 


How to keep employees engaged? He looks up at me, dead in the eyes. He says, I swear, half the world is on acid. And I said, that’s a book title. I said that is a book right there. So the first half of the book, back to my point here, the first half the book says, I can put a movie, or I can put an entire organization into an auditorium and put a movie on the screen and make an argument. Not one person is watching the same movie because we are all watching it through our experiences, our expectations, our history, and our perceptions. And so if the owner thinks the bus is going to San Diego and the team thinks the bus is going to Minneapolis, there’s a gap. And sometimes we have to just make sure that there’s clarity and that really people need to understand that. So commitment really comes down to what’s the destination. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Creating Clarity and Unity in Organizational Direction


What excites me? And what do I believe is possible to drive this organization in the right way? And I have to get clear about that as an elder. So that, that that’s really where the commitment comes up. If that makes sense. 


It does make sense. And the way you illustrated that is beautiful from the standpoint that, okay, going back to your, I’m a metaphor, San Diego, Minneapolis, how in the world can we possibly then maybe the steps for us into how in the world can we possibly create a shared experience too, to onboard? Whatever that knew is if I’m thinking of San Diego and the rest of the team is thinking, right? 


Right, right, right. Yeah. So I think that when you are, so the second piece, we call it a cab, right? Clarity. It’s the first piece, that we were talking about, the ‘A’ stands for alignment. How are we getting alignment? And there might be some discussion with the team about it. The shared experience really comes down to involving them in the process and feeling as if they have a say now they might not have the end say, and they might not be able to make the ultimate decisions, but say they, they, they have a say in the process. Then we all have to live with the consequences of all the shared experiences. Consequences Good are consequences back. Right? And so the alignment piece comes to do we have the right people on the bus. 


How to keep employees engaged? That’s the next question. Because if your bus is going to San Diego, I don’t want to go to Minneapolis. It might not mean that I’m a bad person. I just might be on the wrong bus, right? There might be another bus for these people. And if you never had a chance to create that clarity and alignment, what you do is begin to confusion and confusion creates frustration. And if I wanted to go to Minneapolis, I might manufacture frustration and confusion, right? You might go to people on the bus and say you really don’t want to go to San Diego. Do you go to Minneapolis? And I might be creating my own PR, the chaos on a bus and you’re driving. If you’re looking forward to your way to San Diego, that shared experience comes to do we have the right people on the bus and if not, how do we help them out or help them out? 


How to keep employees engaged? And that’s not about this one I’m telling you this because I think most people, and I say this, I really believe it. The majority of people come to work, and they want to do the right thing. They want to do what’s right. I believe that the TVs are on different channels or we are watching different movies. And so I think I’m doing the right thing. I’m just on the other side of the bus pushing really hard work because no one’s taking the time to create that clarity and alignment of where the bus has gone. 


Is that it may be wrongly So, but that feels like a leadership issue, right? With that. Okay. So like, ’cause it’s the leader’s job. In my opinion, to make it clear. 


Right. It is. But most leaders will remember their perception of their history, their expectations, and their internal dialog, most, most leaders. They said, well, we had we had a kickoff meeting in January. Everybody, everybody knows it. It was July. Yeah. It just doesn’t work that way. One of our clients is API and they have a marketing goal of every seven seconds. Somebody on the goal, somebody in the world sees their brand. Now you can make an argument that everybody knows who Anheuser-Busch is, but they understand the human dynamic of marketing. Right? If you don’t say in front of your audience, somebody else is going to take that mental space. And so it’s the same thing with leadership around direction and alignment with where the bus is going. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Navigating Continuous Alignment in Leadership


It’s a continuous conversation where you never get bored or tired or cynical of having it because you want to make sure we call it centering the needle. Right? You want to make sure that the needle continues to be centered because if you get off center, think about whether or not if we put a plan on autopilot that’s gone from New York to LA and it’s one degree off, it’s going to end up in Seattle. And so, how do you always make sure? Are those checkpoints for searing the needle? So you’re right. It is a leadership challenge. The challenge with leaders is if you’re really good at what you do, most times leaders, and I fell victim to this. I’m not immune to any of this, but most of them I’m looking so far forward. Sometimes I forget to look back, right? 


How to keep employees engaged? I just think everybody’s with me. And then I looked back since I would say where it is, everybody. And that sometimes leaders who are really efficient and effective in doers, that they fall into that the other one is as they fall into the uhm, into the fallacy that they are communicating. Right. And we talked about that. We had a quarterly meeting and they thought if they just did it every once in a while people would get it. The human is the X factor. You know, that the thoughts come in, everything comes in and out. Again, if I understand this, the only thing about leaders is that they don’t understand. If there are people who don’t understand where the bus is going, they will make up their own destination and their own expectations. But it’s interesting that you just said you actually unintentionally created a little bit of pain for me there where you said we talked about that. 


I have, like, you politely called me on the carpet there. I didn’t even realize you were doing it. But she did because I have literally said that to my leadership team. We’ve talked about that. And then rightly so, my fellow leaders to Catherine Besler and Erik Jensen it, push back to me and said, you said it; we didn’t actually talk about it. Right? Right. You walked into an L 10 meeting leadership team meeting and said, blah, blah, blah. But you know, there is no shared experience of using your words. There is no shared experience, so how do we understand your commitment? Whereas the clarity around that, you said it. Right? Right. So, no, actually, we didn’t talk about it at Stephen and that’s the thing. 


In your mind, made perfect sense. And leaders might, if it does make perfect sense, but how do we make sure that it makes perfect sense with our team and that we have that clarity and alignment as we go forward? The other one is, and you just mentioned it around a line of clarity and alignment. Number one is the direction where the bus is going on. We always ask that you know that that is an anchor point for creating the right environment and culture. Right. And having the right people on the bus who are really in tune. So you have everybody on one side of the bus pushing. The second one is clarity and alignment around expectations and purpose, right? How does everybody understand what they do matters to the end destination and helps the bus move in the right direction? 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Bridging the Gap Between Leadership and Team Understanding


And what’s expected up and down because if we always ask liters, what are the top of your expectations of your team? And they’ll tell us and then will say, okay, let’s go ask your team. And it’s a PR, and it literally is. We talk about a pain point. It literally is that realization that leaders think we’re all aligned and world. And literally, I’ve probably done 500, two, and a thousand times over in my career. I’ve never once have we matched X, but you know, we’ve been close. And some, in fact, sometimes I’ll put a hundred-dollar bid on it. They don’t have to put anything out of their pocket. I’ll go, I’ll pay you a hundred dollars in your team, pick anyone from your team randomly, and let’s go out and ask them, or let’s pick up the phone and ask them. Never once has somebody matched expectations for an hour, the top three expectations of a thousand tests, or a thousand times. 


So that is the crazy part. Again, that is about understanding what you expect if your team every single day and how you never get bored or tired of being cynical about sending that message. Right. And on the flip side of that is, do you know what they expect of you? Because uncommunicated expectations just create preplanned, resentment, right? Like if you have a certain expectation of me and you haven’t to me, I’ll probably disappoint you every time, right. Or if I have my expectations of you all probably disappoint you. And so, do we really understand it? So it’s a great exercise and it’s not a catch a moment. It’s just a realization moment. So, I might be frustrated and I might be my own worst enemy because I haven’t created clear expectations. 


And I don’t understand what they expect. You know, I, early on in our business, Darren Hardy, when he was a publisher of Success magazine, was on our board of advisers. And I asked him, this was probably eight years ago, maybe 10 years ago. And I asked him, I said, Darren I, we were talking about culture and that kind of stuff. And I said like the message how, how often do I need to be saying that talking about the vision and all of that? And he says, you need to talk about it so much that you feel like if you say it just one more time, you’re going to like to throw up in a trash can, and then you say it again, do it again. And again, it never gets old. 


Stephen, 50 more times after you have to have to get that way to, say 50 more times. Right. I mean, and so, so here, now, with your expertise, like when you talk about the thousand tests, there’s obviously an example of a person who hasn’t been seen in it enough, but jeez, you think at least in one, in a thousand or 10 in a thousand would have got, all right. So this is really proof that we can never say it enough, right? Yeah. As a matter of fact, I had a consultant come to work for us. That was another profession and a highly, highly successful. He just loved what we did. He wanted to get in and impact more people and have an opportunity to expand his audience. And so he was in the back, and this was pre-pandemic. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Embedding Clarity and Purpose into Everyday Leadership


He was in the back, and I was doing this exercise, so I put the hundred dollars out there. And he, that he was brand new at that time. And he literally raised his hand. And he said, I bet if we call one of my teammates, the business that he got out of, he said, I’d guarantee you. And I said, pick one. So he picked one, and the audience would have a little bit of fun with us because we are actually colleagues at this point. We picked one, we called it, and he put him on speakerphone. The first thing I said — by the way, you are in front of 250 people watching your language. Cause you’re on, you’re on on a hot Mick here. And I said, there’s Josh in front of me. You’ve worked on his team for over seven years. What, Josh is, top-three expectations of the team on a consistent basis. And Johnny, we bought a dumb, right? 


We put ’em up on the board, FirstLine, and he got raw. Wow. And Joshua was like mortified. And then we call Doris after the seminar. He’s like, you got to be kidding me with your seven years, but it’s just a realization. It’s not a gotcha. It’s not just a realization that we don’t continuously. We put that into somebody’s mind, the mind we think between 12 and 60,000 thoughts a day. So, a lot of things come in and out on a daily basis. And how are we creating consistency and clarity at alignment? Where do you want to take them out and make sure we have the right people on the bus? Okay. So, great job and establishing the need to do it. Why are we not doing this? Because the path of least resistance says I have to spend a lot of plates every single day, right? 


The path of least resistance says I have to get results. And again, I can justify to myself that, okay, every once in a while, we’ll call it a time out and make sure the team is with us. And to make sure you know, everybody’s still on the bus, but it’s something that is, again, going back to that commitment. Stephen, it’s something that has to be part of the owner’s or the leader’s DNA. And it’s not about formally sitting down with your team every single day until it does talk about the mission and where the bus has gone. That’s not about it is about how am I intentionally layering it into everything that I do, passing in the hall, email, quick phone call, right? How am I tying everything that we do? And that goes back to purpose, everything that we do. How am I tying the daily work into how it’s making us move in the right direction? 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: From Obligation to Opportunity


That’s where the commitment is. Now you ask the team. I mean, it’s it. We all know why we are all healthy. Why aren’t we all eating, right? Why aren’t we all exercising? I mean, there’s all of those things. We all know what we need to do. I’m going back to my statement prior, but what’s the doing? It’s hard. It’s not easy, but once it becomes part of your DNA and you really begin to see the value, you create environments that people love coming to. When you do that, you create what we call an opportunity mindset and not an obligation mindset opportunity. He says I get to obligation, I have two. And when you have an obligation, more than an opportunity, you are setting yourself up for people to be disengaged for people to be actively disengaged. 


And then they go, they go looking, so that’s why people aren’t doing it. It’s not easy. I love that. I didn’t, I lived the opportunity to mindset. And you said I get to versus I have to that. That’s really powerful. I wonder if this scenario plays out when your Renzo team either goes on-site or goes virtually. However, that is being done today. I wonder, in the conversations with leaders, if they struggle or articulate in it, because, like, they kind of know, but they need help in teasing it out in articulating in truly gaining clarity around it so they can actually communicate it. It’s not that they may have beautiful thoughts going on in their heads, but they’re struggling to articulate them. 


And something that the team could understand, does that happen? A hundred percent, a lot of things we were talking about right now, People people will get this. And they’ll say, I agree with you. I’m just not sure how to do it. Or it seems daunting. It seems like it’s overwhelming to do that. And really, it’s a simplistic formula. It’s not simple, but it’s a simplistic formula that if you can really just be able to craft something that is, and I love your words because we use it all the time, and in the intro, it’s practical and tactical, right? How are we keeping this practical for leaders and tactical leaders? That literally is something that they can see and say, I can do that. 


Right? And it all starts with creating clarity around that. We call it a w we call it a three-year. When we look at things, research shows that typically, owners and leaders in businesses will overestimate what they can accomplish in 12 months. So, yeah, but truly underestimate what they can accomplish in three years. And so that’s the camera lens that we look at it. So we help them get really clear on certain areas. And again, we have the blueprint where what’s happening with the results, what’s happening with the team, and what’s happening in your marketplace. Have you opened up new doors, and that’s something that might change, obviously, it’s the pandemic and things like this. However, if those progressive organizations that you talked about don’t let these short-term setbacks alleviate the long-term vision, right? 


So, we help them craft that. And then what we do is we create what we call sprints. So we create 30, 60, 90-day sprints that those sprints have are really intentional. ’cause everything that you are doing is moving you toward that vision, right? For example, if we’re up in New York and you want to get to San Diego, and if we go East, we are going the wrong way. What’s the first step, right? If we get the Philly, we may be making the right that now where we’re making steps. And so that is really what it’s all about. So it’s helping leaders and owners break it down into absorbable pieces and allow them to continuously say the dominoes fall, which will help a little success build a bigger success. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group


How to Keep Employees Engaged: Last Bit of Advice and Connect with Chad


This has been so awesome. Chad, thanks for being so generous and sharing your smarts with us. It’s really, really great. I know our time is running short, but I am so grateful for the big golden nugget takeaways that you’ve shared with us today. Before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, or any final advice, or anything that you think we might have missed, please do tell Onward Nation business owners the best way to connect with you. 


Yeah. I would say if you take all of this and try to wrap it up. I would just say I’m as a leader, you need to call continuous time-outs we call it just it’s like a coach, right? If the team’s not doing well, he or she will just call a timeout quickly. They’ll reach a huddle and then they’ll go back-to-back out and play the game. I think continuous time-outs to question, are we clear? Are we Aligned to help people understand the purpose? If you just focus on those three things, build those relationships involving your team, and consistently ask those questions, it will bring you back to the center. So, I mean, there is a lot. I mean, I could boil you to death for 5.5 hours on this, but ultimately, those things have to call time out. Looking in the mirror and asking those questions will allow you to make sure that you’re working with your team to drive results in a movie in the right direction. 


I’m Renzo is excited. We are growing. We can test me to expand or pivot like everybody else. And this whole virtual world and organizations and our clients actually need more help on how do I now manage teams and virtually how do I keep people in the game? How do I keep people engaged? And so we’re just excited to continuously offer that impact for people in our organizations. So is the best place to start. From there, it branches out. Let’s talk about if your organization is looking for some of the stuff we’re always looking to explore, and if it’s right, we’ll talk about the next steps. And if not, we have a chance to beat somebody because we know that there are leaders out there who sometimes feel like there is a loan or our owners feel like they are alone out there, and they are not alone. 


There are a lot of resources out there that can help them get centered and make sure that they are one of those progressive organizations that come out of this thing stronger than before. All right. And I think that there’s another piece to this pandemic, and that is yes. It always feels lonely being a business owner. And now our listeners who are listening to your wise words all feel like they have the weight of the world on them, and they are carrying so many more boulders than they were on March 15th than they are today. Right now, the weight is heavy. And just dealing with a lot of pressure. So, Onward, Nation, I would encourage you to talk to Chad and his team, right? 


Sometimes, being able to sit across from the Zoom call or in a meeting or whatever can alleviate some of that burden and, in lettuce remind us that we don’t have to do this all on our own. Adam always says it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle, and what we do is we really help people change the way they look at it. So we really get them outside of their environment and take it to take a viewpoint from a different lens. And it just becomes a completely different perspective. So, it’s totally stealing. Yeah. So I’ll give you, I can give them credit. Sometimes, I can steal it from myself, but I’ve had to give him the credit when I know this is going to be published. 


Okay. Onward Nation, no matter how many notes you took and I took a bunch or how often you go back and re-listen to Chad’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do, the key is you have to take these, this blueprint that he just so generously gave you, take it and apply it into your business and accelerate your results in Chad. We all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I am grateful, my friend, you said, yes, I am so grateful that Adam introduced us and that you were able to come to the show to be our mentor and guide, helping us move our businesses. Onward to that next level. Thank you so much, Chad.


Thanks, Stephen. I appreciate the opportunity. This episode is complete. So head over to for show notes and more foods to fuel your ambition. Continue to find your recipe for success here at Onward Nation. 


Elevate your strategies on how to keep employees engaged by reading this blog from The Carden Group

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