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S2 E3 What a leader's job is? How to be effective in the current economy

Welcome to our podcast, where we explore the complexities of leadership in today's economy. In this episode, we have Rebecca Fleetwood Hession from and Melissa from discuss the importance of self-awareness and meeting the needs of our teams and companies.

As Rebecca points out, the Industrial Age model of work is no longer effective in today's world. We need leaders who understand psychology and human needs to create and grow a successful business. In today's constantly changing market, businesses must adapt to the evolving needs of their customers.

However, it's not just about adapting to change. We also need to be aware of the signs of burnout, such as quiet quitting, overworking, and a lack of thriving. It's crucial for leaders to take a step back and zoom out to find solutions to the challenges facing their businesses and relationships.

Rebecca also talks about the importance of listening to our intuition and not letting negative thoughts, or "dream killers," hold us back from achieving our goals. As women in leadership positions, it's essential that we listen to ourselves daily and let our intuition guide us.

We hope you enjoy this episode and come away with a better understanding of the complexities of leadership in today's economy.


00:08 Melissa Today's podcast is brought to you by Concierge. Melissa B. Conciergeelite provides dedicated remote, front desk staff and virtual assistants to your office. We specialize in finding your office the perfect and right fit for your office and your office only full or part time. Your remote team member is just that yours. We do all the hiring, the recruiting and training. Yes, the training. It's one of the things that makes us unique as we train your dedicated remote team member in your systems and software. Welcome to understaffed. I'm Melissa Brown, and today I have the absolute pleasure of welcoming Rebecca. Now, Rebecca is an esteemed author. She's written the book. Write your own success story. Three keys to rise and thrive as a badass career woman. Absolutely. She has nearly three decades of experience, $35 million sales track record, a popular TEDx Talk, inclusion in the bestselling book, 15 years in the esteemed Presidents Club at Franklin Covey.

01:08 Melissa You can say that she says that she has lived . She has navigated divorce, co parenting, raising a couple of amazing humans, including one with ADHD and launching a business. She knows that all of everything that's going on there is so much head trash and our uniqueness matters. Most business is human and striving in comparison. They're dream killers. She knows that she's most alive when she watches her clients come to their fullest fruition when they're living their best life. Today, we're going to speak with Rebecca.

01:47 Melissa Thank you so much, Rebecca, for being here on Understaffed. I am very excited to have you and speak to our listeners today.

01:54 Rebecca Thanks for having me. I'm excited. I love being a guest. Well, thank you. Thank you.

01:58 Melissa I know that you have got a lot going on. You've been in a lot of things. You do Ted Talks, you have your own book, you've got your podcast, lots and lots of stuff. Just tell us about yourself.

02:10 Rebecca Yeah, I it's that's such an interesting question, isn't it? Because at 56 years old, I'm like, which chapter of my story would you like to know about from just describing me? I'm this person that grew up on a small farm in southeast Indiana that accidentally fell into this world of development. I worked for 20 years with the Franklin Covey organization and really caught fire and passion for why people do the things they do and why they don't always do the things that they should do or want to do. I'm just so curious about humanity and who we are and what we desire for our lives and how we get it or don't get it. I started my own business about seven years ago to be more creative with that curiosity, and that has led to writing the book, the podcast. I'm an executive coach and a keynote speaker and do a lot of coaching and consulting work for small and mid sized organizations and just kind of let the curiosity take me to whatever the next thing is for my career, which is a great place to be at my age.

03:22 Rebecca You get that opportunity after you've raised the kids and they're off doing their own thing, and now I'm just exploring what's interesting to me.

03:31 Melissa Yeah. Tell me about what you're passionate about. I mean, you wrote the book. Write your own story. Three keys to rise and thrive as a bad a** career woman. Some of us could use a little of that bad a** in our life, but other than that, is that really where your passion lies right now?

03:48 Rebecca I asked myself that question periodically because I don't think we've given ourselves the permission to do that. Historically, we've been told that success is about choosing something and then just going after it like it's this straight line, and that's not true. Every so often, I'll sit down with my journal and say, what do I love about my life right now? What do I wish I was doing more of? In this moment, I am loving looking at what is leadership going to need in the next 1020 years coming out of where we've all been. I'm really fascinated with what I'm seeing, leaders response to where we've been and what's going to work and what's not going to work. Right. Let me tie that into the whole badass thing because that usually gets people's attention. The term badass could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

04:47 Rebecca I came up with this definition that matters to me when I'm working with my clients. To be a badass in my world of the Badass Women's Council is to be intensely self aware, to know who you are, what you want, studying yourself like it's your job, because it is, which keeps us from that external validation being what we're chasing all the time. It's that from our soul out kind of awareness, and not in a way that says I'm going to be a b**** or a bully about it, like it's my way or no way. Being intensely self aware means that I'm so confident in myself, what I call standing tall in my story, that I can be vulnerable and empathic with you because I've already dealt with my stuff, I know my stuff, and now I can be free to serve you and connect with you.

05:37 Rebecca That to me, is a great stance of a leader to say, I know who I am, I'm intensely self aware. Now I can reach out and look at what are the needs that my team or my company has. Quite frankly, not enough leaders have done that work. They've been so entrenched in the external validation of getting the title or whatever accomplishment that it is, that there's not been enough reflection. We're going to need leaders that are intensely self aware from now into the future. What I call we're in the age of humanity now, and if we don't have that, we're going to struggle.

06:20 Melissa Yeah, that's incredible that you said that. We really haven't even talked about what the last leaders have been saying on here and what they're encouraging people to do. That very thing that you just said is looking within, building yourself up so much so that you can pour out into others is exactly what everybody is saying. I love this because it's so timely as right now is that we talk about in the business world if we're empty, we talk about in our personal lives if we're empty any situation you're talking about, if we're empty, we cannot fill anybody else's cup. As leaders, we tend to do that, right? We tend to give till we have no more.

07:05 Rebecca Rest. And refilling is the work. It's not what you do when you're caught up. It's integrated into the work. I think that's a mindset that people are struggling with, how to flip that script, but it's an integral part of it. I find that when I'm working with clients and just watching what people are saying and doing on social media about leadership and quite frankly, some of the stories I hear from my clients about what's happening in their organizations, it's frightening, but it all comes down to psychology. There's three responses I feel that leaders have right now, and it's based on fight, flight or freeze or fawn. The fight response is, I'm going to control everything. Get your butts back to work. We're going to put trackers on your email. We can't trust you if we can't see you. It's control, control. That's the fight response.

08:03 Rebecca The flight response is some people just said, f this, I'm out. I'm going to go be a coach or a consultant or I'm going to teach at the local university. Like, he's out. I'm not doing this anymore. The others are, I think, just watching to see what works and just kind of just going through the motions but not really making any bold moves because the economy is kind of wacky right now. We've been through this era of went burnout diagnosis to quarantine where everybody just went into survival mode, which then led to the great resignation, which then led to quiet quitting. All of those things are not separate things. That's a continuum that us not meeting our human needs in business started a long time ago. We're just now fully in the awareness of it can't continue. The industrial age model of work and education and life has to be done.

09:05 Rebecca We've got to move forward so those leaders that are willing to look at it differently and say, I could no longer as a leader, go back and review what's been done as my roadmap moving forward, like we would study the biographies and we would study the great leaders of our time. Y'all, we never been here before. That s*** ain't going to work. There are no rules about now. There are rules. There are no standards and expectations of what's happened and how to handle what's happening now. I believe that getting your cues in leadership from psychology and humanity and human needs and then matching them with good business needs is where you're going to find the leaders that are willing to do things very differently to meet both the business needs and the human needs.

09:56 Melissa Yeah, you talked about and you brought it up there with the Quiet quitting. Tell us more on your take on that.

10:03 Rebecca I have strong opinions on a lot of things. If you look at the definition of the way Quiet Quitting was meant to be introduced, it was that were going to start taking care of ourselves and putting up boundaries. Well, I'm a huge fan of that. That doesn't mean quitting to me. It means that you over likely overextended yourself to prove yourself in your career. Now you're trying to reel those things back in. Some people are finding that they've set such strong expectations for themselves in their organization that they can't reel it in because people expect things from them that they're now no longer willing to give. Either they need to quit that job and start over. Even if that happens, you have to take your mindset into consideration. If you bring that same mindset into the new job, you're going to do the same thing.

10:55 Rebecca You're going to overextend yourself to prove yourself. Quiet Quitting then started to be this thing where I'm only going to do the bare minimum of what's expected of me and not do anything more. The way our brains are wired to thrive, what Thriving means is I know how I'm valuable, relevant, and can make an impact. Quitting and just checking out might give you of rest, but it's not going to give you a sense of well being and thriving because we're wired to contribute. We're wired to make a difference. It might give us a break, but it's not going to give us the thrill of living that we really desperately want for ourselves.

11:42 Melissa Yeah, talked about that thrive. I know you're the founder of we thrive. Live. Is that right? We thrive.

11:49 Rebecca Live. I named my company was not available. And I was like, well, let live. That makes sense. So I just call it that. Full name so people know how to find me.

11:58 Melissa Yes. That's dedicated to banning burnout, building community and boosting business burnout is just.

12:07 Rebecca A response to we are not machines here to produce, but were told that we are humans that need to be valuable, relevant, and make an impact. That's what thriving means. If you think about the industrial age model of work, when went from the farm to the factory economic model, went from on the farm. Everybody knew how their piece of the work mattered. You had to work together. In fact, farms were created to share a food source so we could all work together and make sure we could survive. The human to human impact was built into the process. Everybody had to bring their unique talents to the community. I'm going to grow food, I'm going to take care of medicine, I'm going to make clothes. Everybody worked together. Well, then the industrial age model said that we're going to come into work and control, measure and optimize.

12:58 Rebecca We have to pull all the different pieces of the work apart, optimize it and control it. We put back together, it would optimize it. And that works. What happened was we lost the human connection. You could go to work in the factory and if you didn't show up for work one day, you didn't get paid. People didn't really know the impact that you weren't having on other humans. It was just you came in and did a job. We started operating more as machines, as humans. It's just a cog in the system. Well, we had a big economic uptick that was great. What we thought was, if we make more money, we'll have more happiness, we'll have more free time. Well, we see how that worked out. Not nearly like we thought it would. We took the industrial age model of work into our education. In our most formative years, it would sit still, be quiet, and your uniqueness is actually a disruption.

13:51 Rebecca I need you to do what everybody else is doing and it's an individual game based on your grades, helping us cheating all of the human connection. Parts of what we need to feel were stripped out so that we can get people through the education system faster and get to work. Now here we are, decades later, finally experiencing the repercussions of that over and over again. Now, especially after Quarantine, we're like, no, we're not willing to do that anymore. This is like the biggest disruption in commerce that we've seen since the shift to the industrial age. It's going to be very different for leaders.

14:31 Melissa It is going to be very different. I mean, businesses we talk about all the time, how businesses have to change the way that they look for a workforce. They have to change who they're looking for, what they're offering, and what the packages that you used to offer in the factories. I was talking to somebody who works in a factory, they're like, we can't get workers. I said, well, are you offering the same packages you did ten years ago? Are you offering the same benefits? Well, we're offering all this money. And I said, people don't want money. They want flexibility. They want the balance in their life. They want different things now because of that human connection you're talking about. That is so important to people. You could pay them less, but you give them some balance in their life, and now all of a sudden they take it.

15:10 Melissa This idea of working remote has changed the world. King Commerce says, we know it because we said it couldn't happen, and then here it is happening. Now people are like, I want that. I saw recent study that said something like 87, that may even be more to 89% of people who don't have that option won't take that job 100%.

15:33 Rebecca I got people that are leaving highly paid executive roles who were promised the flexibility of working remote, coming in for events and things. All of a sudden, a new leader comes in, and this promise that was made is no longer valid because a new leader comes in and is trying to control everything. They're like, okay, I'm out of here.

15:56 Melissa Do you think they're going to catch on? That's my question. That's what is meant to crack, right, is when will people understand? This is the new you can't go backwards. You can't go backwards in business. You can't say, hey, yeah, this works for a time being, but we're going to go back to the old way. When will they learn? What do you think it's going to take?

16:16 Rebecca We're going to study this 40 years in the future and look back on this and it'll look like chaos, just like it is chaos. I don't know how long it's going to take, but I know we're not going back. Those that are trying to get back to where were, let's get back to those things. They're already at a loss. They're on the losing team for sure.

16:40 Melissa Rebecca that's the same thing that I've been teaching. On my side, too, is that I work in a remote setting. My business is providing remote employees. The hardest thing to get people to grasp is you can't go back. You can't you're going to have to move forward. And this is the forward. This is the way that you're going to get what you need to build your business.

17:05 Rebecca I always go to neuroscience or psychology or those things, even Bible for human needs. And our brain thinks same equals safe. This goes back to, if you left the cave, a tiger is going to eat you. We've evolved past that in many ways, but our brain is still like, I don't know, it's out there. It looks a little scary. People that are trying to go back, it's because that's what feels safe, the way we used to do it felt safe, but that's not really the truth. If that were true, then people that are in abusive relationships stay in abusive relationships because the change of leaving is scarier than staying in something that's painful. If you're in that, let's go back to the way it was. It's just because you're so dang uncomfortable that we're going to have to change. When we say we're going to have to change, nobody's written the blueprint for it.

17:58 Rebecca It's going to take a leader that's willing to architect, not just frame the walls and put up the drywall. Somebody's going to actually have to build the plan. I've been playing with some design ideas for that with my clients about if we're going to build it to meet today's needs, how would we build it differently. I would immediately put a chief clinical psychologist on the executive team that has the same authority as the CEO. Every bit of communication, every bit of strategy, you put through the lens of human behavior and you ask yourself, how do we do this in a way that allows people to feel safe, to step into this new thing that we're doing? I would honor the human needs in a really intentional way. In the past, what we've done is we bolted on human needs with HR, with culture, and some different things, but it's not been integrated into the core of things.

18:53 Rebecca I use a really simple model of business as human, which the business needs to control, measure and optimize. Goals, metrics, systems, processes, important. You need those. You need those for people to feel safe. Like, how does this place work? What are the rules? What is expected of me? Those are good. Humans are personal, emotional and social. When we build companies that honor both of these needs and then fuse them together, that's when you're going to have an organization for the future. But both of those needs are critical. You can't bias to one or the other.

19:28 Melissa Yeah, that's awesome. I know. Even before COVID like, you were talking about the diversity and the inclusion and all of that, and people were definitely trying to bridge that gap. I'm not sure how successful that was in most companies.

19:45 Rebecca Again, it was a bolt on solution. Let's put a group together and bolt that onto the side of the organization.

19:51 Melissa But it's to say we're doing it.

19:54 Rebecca To say not necessarily been integrated as the center of what matters.

20:00 Melissa Yeah, people have to think differently. And maybe this is changing the subject.

20:04 Rebecca Just a little bit.

20:04 Melissa I know that you called something and it stuck out to me in your bio and I wanted to bring it up because you said that we have head trash. Head trash. It's our uniqueness that matters most in business. It's the human and the striving and all of that. And you talk about dream killer. Bring us through that in just a moment.

20:29 Rebecca So head trash. It's one of my favorite topics. Anytime we're getting ready to embark on something, we're making a move, a strategy, a change. We're going to go do something with our career or our life. Based on what I said earlier, our brain is same equals safe. Anytime we're going to do something, the red alert goes off. It says, Are we sure this is okay? The first conversation we have in that moment is with ourselves. We speak to ourselves before we talk to anybody else about anything. It's the conversations we have in our head. The first relationship that shows up is our inner critic, what I call the little b**** in our head. She shows up first and she says, oh, you're not going to try that, are you? Remember when we tried this thing? Remember when this happened? She knows every dumb thing you've said or done all the way back to 7th grade, right?

21:30 Rebecca Or maybe earlier. That conversation we have with ourselves first, that's the head trash. That's all of the uncertainty that spins around in our head that we've got to deal with before we can even step forward. My recommendation is that we put her in the passenger seat with a seatbelt and a snack. We got to build a relationship with her because she's there for life. If we just try to ignore or pretend that she's not there, that's not going to work. We just say, thank you for contributing, but no, I'm going to move forward and instead treat ourselves more like a first responder would like EMT firefighter. They show up on the scene and they say, are you okay? How can I help you? Clearing out the head trash is getting that clear path that says, I don't know if this is going to work out and I'm still okay with that.

22:25 Rebecca I'm still okay with taking that next step forward because I believe with my gut and my instinct that this is the best thing for me right now.

22:37 Melissa Yeah.

22:37 Rebecca It's all the stuff that you play around in your head before you even say anything out loud about what you want to do or accomplish.

22:45 Melissa Yeah, man, that's good. I know that's been articulated in so many different ways. I've read some books myself about that kind of head trash. They're called something different. I love the way that you put that and I love the way that you can encourage people to say, yeah, she's going to be there. It's going to be there. Put her in the passenger seat.

23:08 Rebecca She's meant to keep us safe, but she keeps us too safe to evolve to the place we really want to go.

23:13 Melissa Yeah. What's your encouragement to especially I think you speak to a lot of women out there. What's your encouragement to women right now who are in business? It's the end of the year. We've got a lot of things going on. Maybe the business isn't going away. We should we've got all these changes in the environment as we've talked about in our staffing, in everything we've got going on. It can be an incredibly challenging time. Are we worth it? Can we do it? All of that head trash you just talked about. What are some words that you have for women out there who are just trying to be a badass?

23:51 Rebecca That makes me emotional, even you saying that because I get those feelings and we care so deeply. The first thing that I would say, especially in this holiday season, might be counterintuitive. But zoom out. Instead of maniacally focusing on some detail or some business plan or something, zoom out and let's look at the bigger picture of things, of our lives, of our work, and give ourselves the space and the grace to really navigate this holiday time with humanity top of mind, we have the answers. We don't have to go find them. They're already within us. In order to let that inner thrive, guide voice be the one that helps us navigate instead of that little b**** in our head, we need stillness. We need the space to just be and let her voice speak to us. The answers for our business, the answers for our relationships are in here.

25:03 Rebecca We need the space to listen to ourselves in a really meaningful way. Instead of hunker down, strive, grind it out for the rest of the year, how about just zoom out and take a beat and just ask ourselves, am I okay? What do I need? What am I feeling? What do I love? What do I care about? Spend time at least ten minutes a day if you can get to 30. Amen I'm over an hour now? Of daily stillness where you listen to you and you let yourself and your intuition and your instincts be your guide. There's a lot of ways that people are doing things similar to what you're doing, but how you do it is going to be what makes your business great. If we spend too much time looking out there at what everybody else is doing, we just get in that head trash comparison thing and we're all different down to our fingerprints.

26:05 Rebecca Let your uniqueness and your instinct guide you instead of always searching for the answers.

26:12 Melissa Thank you so much, Rebecca. I appreciate that. I know that spoke to myself, but I know that the other business leaders and women out there, it speaks to as well. Thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate you.

26:24 Rebecca You bet. Thanks for having me. It's fun.

26:27 Melissa Make sure to subscribe and like our podcast. If you'd like more information on today's topic or any other product or service featured on this, make sure to drop us a line and say hi or visit