Episode 13: How to define success on your own terms and make meaning in a challenging world (with Kevyn Rustici)


Kevyn Rustici works as a Strategic Human Capital and Business Consultant, where he helps organizations align their “people strategy” with their business strategy to achieve the business’s desired outcomes. He loves helping organizations to better understand how their people directly impact the bottom line to help increase their return on people investment. By leveraging data, science, and communication, Kevyn helps to arm leadership teams and HR with the insights they need to make more informed decisions to improve performance and profits within their unique culture.


Strategic Human Capital and Business Consultant, Kevyn Rustici shares what it looks like to define success on your own terms and make meaning in a world where finding it is increasingly hard. He shares how to build connections with your teams and how to change the narrative of your culture to one of shared vision and purpose. 


  • How Kevyn led himself through his own pivot towards more meaningful work 
  • Why using a personal and professional scorecard helps us self-evaluate and hold ourselves accountable for course correction and self-improvement 
  • How to define success for yourself (even when that definition takes you outside of societal norms)
  • What you need to do first before pursuing work-life balance 
  • How to be vulnerable, and why accountability matters for activating growth 
  • The importance of living for oneself, rather than the opinions or validations of others
  • Recruitment challenges post-pandemic, and why starting with a clear intention is a game changer 
  • Why leaders need to prioritize internal communication as much as they do customer feedback, and how to build trust with your workforce 
  • Moving away from traditional hierarchical structures and job titles towards skills-based roles
  • The three pieces of feedback your employees need to hear from you as a leader 
  • How to balance the burden of expectation with your roles and responsibility as a leader 
  • The move towards positive storytelling 




[00:00:00] Lindsay: I’m Lindsay Hotmire and welcome to Storyhouse. This is a podcast about growing your business, but it’s also about slowing down the noise so you can give the world the best parts of who you are. So if you’ve struggled with all the buzz around storytelling only to feel like you don’t have a story worth sharing, or if you’re tired of being forced on the wheel of marketing, it doesn’t feel right.

But also feels impossible to ignore. Then be sure to meet me here every week to hear from real business owners. As we dismantle all the should do’s and must do’s of business here, how they’ve wrestled through their own struggles and walk away with strategies that help you authentically and sustainably grow, scale, or pivot.

The business you’ve built. I’ve been seeing a lot of wrestling lately. Not the kind that happens inside the arena, but the kind that happens inside [00:01:00] the soul. People are wondering if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re asking tough questions about things like success and purpose. It seems we have a lot of questions these days.

And in a world where answers are at our fingertips, we also seem to be learning something collectively. Answers don’t equate to knowledge. And I know there are different types of knowledge we can talk about. I think Aristotle gives us four. But I’m talking about the type of knowledge that changes you.

The type that draws a line in your soul, and that you can point to it and say, that’s the moment I shifted from there to here. We’re suffocating for that type of knowledge. We long for a wisdom that speaks to us. Not out of its own selfish ambition. But out of experience and humility, and if you’re shaking your head in agreement with me right now, then I want to introduce you to Kevyn Rustici.

Kevin works as a strategic human capital and [00:02:00] business consultant, where he helps organizations align their people strategy with their business strategy to achieve the businesses desired outcomes. He loves helping organizations to better understand how their people directly impact the bottom line to increase their return on people investment.

By leveraging data, science, and communication, Kevin helps to arm leadership teams in HR with the insights they need to make more informed decisions to improve performance and profits within their unique culture. Kevin is full of humility. He’s filled with the wisdom beyond his years and I’m so thrilled that he’s here today to share some of his insights about his own journey to defining what success means and to making meaning in his own life and different ways that we can bring those ideas of success and meaning and purpose to the teams that we’re leading and that we’re building.

Kevyn, thanks so much for, for coming. And joining me today just [00:03:00] to talk, I am really excited to dig in. I think you’re going to have some really great things to share with the audience. So thanks so much for 

[00:03:07] Kevyn: being here. Yeah. Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you on this new show of yours.


[00:03:13] Lindsay: Tell us a little bit just about you and what you do, because I think that it’s, it’s fascinating and super, super important. So I don’t always ask that question, but I, I, I kind of want to start there and then move, move on. 

[00:03:28] Kevyn: Wow. All right. So it’s a loaded question, right? I, I would say that I had no idea on what I actually wanted to do when I first left college.

I thought I had an idea, but, uh, we’ll fast forward. God, this shit even kills me to say, I think 11, almost 12 years now since I’ve graduated, which is that’s painful. You’re still young. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, maybe, maybe right. Still hard to believe. But it’s, uh, today I, I help organizations and businesses really align their business strategy to their people’s strategy.

Right. I think the more that I’ve [00:04:00] learned just organically through my experiences has really helped me to see it through a different lens or take on a different perspective and the ability to really listen. I think at the end of the day is how seemingly two different parties that want two different things.

Can actually be brought together and find those win, win, win scenarios for everybody. So I work as a strategic human capital consultant, and that really allows organizations to kind of let their mind wander, right? But at the end of the day, I focus on people, process, technology, and partnerships within organizations, especially their HR departments to really enhance the employee experience to help them attract, retain, develop, and engage the top talent.

So that’s really what I get to do. I love to play with data. My, I don’t just use my opinions, right. And my thoughts and my prior experiences to derive business decisions. It’s really arming leaders with all the insights that they need to make these strategic decisions. And it’s not a consulting practice where I’m telling them what they need to do.

It’s almost coaching them along the way. [00:05:00] To build that accountability and shared accountability across all segments within their workforce. So it’s fun. No two days are the same. And obviously it’s an ever changing landscape as we continue to evolve as humans and our expectations continue to evolve in the world of work.

So it’s a great time to be in this space. And I have a lot of fun every single day, just trying to empower, encourage, and enable the success of others. So whatever, whatever way that happens in the day, that’s, that’s my daily intention to myself. That’s great. 

[00:05:30] Lindsay: There’s so much there that I want to unpack, but I want to start first with you describe kind of your journey to this point to me earlier as a crooked mile journey.

And I think you said you started as a bio major. Yeah. Now, you know, now this is what you’re doing. And so can you talk a little bit about that journey? Because I think probably really speaks loudly into how you step into organizations that you help. 

[00:05:56] Kevyn: Yeah, great question. So, and, and the more I reflect, [00:06:00] and maybe this is my timeout opportunity for on the podcast with you is, is reflection is king, right?

I had not reflected like this pre pandemic. So my opportunity to now look at my crooked miles story, some people would call it a failure, right? If I went in with the same expectations that I had of myself in high school, or even college, Junior year of college. I thought, right, you and I would never be having this conversation because I would be too busy doing physical therapy or being a physician’s assistant, but the real world happens, right?

And my grades were good, but not good enough to get into graduate school. So you kind of get this. Onion effect, right? You get a scar and then you kind of fill in that scar and you become more resilient over time. And then I realized, right, why did I want to get into health care? So there was another reflection opportunity.

So I was told I wasn’t good enough by the schools and it wasn’t something that I could do. Why did I enjoy health care to begin with? And at the end of the day, Lindsay, the more I reflected was the human connection [00:07:00] aspect, right? The ability to develop and establish a relationship with someone that was.

Seemingly broken, whether it was visually or not visually, and the ability to develop and establish a relationship, get them on the path of mend, right? And watch them walk out of the building physically healthy at that point, or the healthiest that they could be. That was rewarding to me, right? That’s where I felt recognition that I was doing something and making a difference.

So the more I said, okay, that’s what I really enjoy to do. That’s that’s when I reflect back on my first jobs of copier salesmen, it’s a commodity, it’s something that’s in everybody’s office, right? Everybody only complains or talks about the copier, right? When it’s broken. Um, it’s not something that draws people into an organization, but it’s a critical function within a business because if it wasn’t functioning properly.

It caused efficiency issues. So then I started to really see and being that systems, biological, analytical thinker, how biz, how much business was more [00:08:00] gut instinct and intuition. At the end of the day, it wasn’t really scientific. It could be more scientific if they were willing to take these data points, both qualitative and quantitatively to.

Inform right decision making process, future strategy, but really it came back to prior experiences, my gut, my ego, and my instinct as to what direction we were going to go as an organization. So then I went into HR and that was at ADP and started to learn digitization of process and the importance of technology into the overall employee experience.

But to automate the tactical administrative work of HR, that is. Not adding value to the employee’s experience and it’s limited value to the business. And then I just got so obsessed with that and said, this is finally it, right? This feels good. This feels like my purpose. This was what I feel like I’m, I’m meant to do.

And then I evolved into the consulting role [00:09:00] today here at Gallagher, which I work as a VP as area vice president of strategic human capital. And really all that means is how do you tie the business goals and needs to what the people want and need to deliver an outcome or an output that is desired by both parties.

And it’s a lot easier than a lot of people think. I think we tend to overcomplicate some of these things. But a lot of it has drawn me to what I do every day and that is now coaching and mentoring, right, and helping people find the right opportunities for themselves. I just had this passion and desire to always help and this has been the career and that crooked mile journey as I That helped me get to where I never envisioned for myself to begin with, Lindsay.


[00:09:41] Lindsay: so let’s go back to that moment of reflection that you talk about during the pandemic. What kind of sparked that and how did you? What were some of the processes that you worked through to, to be able to come out on the other 

[00:09:54] Kevyn: side? Yeah, and, and a lot of my, my work for myself [00:10:00] is now how I help others, individuals, kind of in similar turbulent times or that transitionary period, right?

But I’ll be honest, I had to get off the hamster wheel, right? So we had no distractions at that point, right? Sales, I was working at EP or expected to sell and it was during a global pandemic. Now, me being an emotional, intelligent being that seemed pretty self centered right to go to an industry and ask them to make a payroll change or an H.

I. S. change during a global pandemic that nobody understood what was going to happen tomorrow, right? So I took it upon myself to say, Hey, instead of doing that, maybe I can be there more of a supportive function. Maybe I make 0, right? And it felt good. You, I had the opportunity to place people in positions that were unfortunately like let go.

I was just simply connecting two dots is how I really looked at it. And that brought me into networking and in networking, when you’re genuinely curious and asking a lot of questions, you’re kind of. Forced to self reflect as you ask others questions because you’re genuinely curious [00:11:00] about their experiences and their lessons And I think that’s kind of one of the things that I learned very early on I asked my grandfather a lot of questions about the world of work, right and he had his Generational perspective on what was most valuable to an organization, and I’ll be it.

That has changed quite significantly, but at its roots, it still is just human connection at the end of the day, and there’s different variables between the supply and demand. However, so I, I look back and I said, okay, well, how can I learn from others experiences? And then I started to actually create that final destination for myself.

I had not done that until that point. So I commonly say this, that I was directionless and would take directions from anybody at that point in time, because I had not defined my final destination, theoretically, any direction would get me there. It wasn’t until I identified what I needed, what I valued and what wasn’t important to me that I started to almost craft that visionary board of that [00:12:00] position or that role or what I dreamed of doing.

It was really that looking backwards. So the reflection, if you really think about it, Lindsay, your body is kind of timestamping your emotional highs and your emotional lows. If you take the time without distraction, right? We didn’t have sporting events. I had no fantasy. I had no social media, right? I’m not on any social media outside of LinkedIn.

So I really had limited things to distract me. From investing in myself and stepping outside my comfort zone. And there’s a quote that I found right during the pandemic. And it kind of one of those divine intervention moments, right? And the quote says life begins and ends at the, at your comfort zone.

And I got very comfortable in my roles and it’s very easy to get comfortable in your roles, right? But it wasn’t exciting. It wasn’t rewarding for me because it was somebody else’s dream that I was living. So until I defined my own dream and looked backwards as to when was I doing my best work, when was I doing [00:13:00] my worst work, what felt like work and what didn’t, and really started to find that and put that on paper for myself as well as a professional and personal scorecard, that enabled me the ability to then align and prioritize and then find kind of that next opportunity and what made the most sense in my development to that final destination that I finally defined for myself.

[00:13:22] Lindsay: Yeah, you talk about a professional and personal scorecard. Talk to me about that. What is that? What’s it look like? 

[00:13:28] Kevyn: Yeah, so that is really professionally, right? When I was directionless, taking directions from anybody, I lived through other people’s success, right? So what made them successful and what they defined as success is what I took on as my definition of personal success and professional success.

I’ll be it. I didn’t even understand why that was a priority to them. And therefore I had no understanding as to why it was supposedly a priority for me until I put down spending time with my wife, quality time, right. And then designing an intention of why that was [00:14:00] important to myself. And then reflecting back on the week, month, quarter, year as to how I would grade myself.

on that. And it’s really important to self grade because it allows us to then course correct earlier on before I had a divorce, right? Or before I had that high issue that, you know, is an outcome of not doing these various inputs on the front end. Spending time, quality time with my son, right? My dad took off two days when I was born.

I took off four months and I would never give that time back. But I, I would have gone and fallen victim to the traditional approaches. If I didn’t define what was important to me, once I defined what was important to me, both personally and professionally, I then was able to assign a value to myself. A value that nobody else determined but myself.

So now I wasn’t going to the market with a value they were telling me I was worth. I was going to the market and demanding the value that I thought I brought. Or knew that I brought. 

[00:14:59] Lindsay: How much of [00:15:00] the environment that you’re in plays a role in that? So let’s go back to you, you took off four months, your dad took off two days.

Yeah. My oldest daughter, my oldest child is… 22, almost 23. So 23 years ago, we were in that same position. And I can remember my husband, same thing. It was a few days that he took off before he was back in school and same with all of our other children. And we reflect back on that, you know, 20 plus years later.

And we’re like, man, why didn’t it, why didn’t you take more time? Like just for me as the new mother, that that would have been golden just to have had somebody there. And. It wasn’t, like, he’s a very involved father, very loving husband, you know, not a selfish bone in this man’s body. So it wasn’t that he didn’t want to, it was that the, the societal framework for that to even be acceptable wasn’t there.

Like, he couldn’t have even dreamt that up because it, [00:16:00] it wasn’t even there. If he had gone to his, his boss and said, you know, I want to take some, some paternity leave. He would have been 

[00:16:09] Kevyn: fired on the spot out of the room. Yeah. And 

[00:16:12] Lindsay: so, so how much of that kind of that framework has to exist to empower you to even step into some of those.

[00:16:22] Kevyn: Yeah, I think that’s, it’s a great, it’s a great question because how do you, how do you dream of something right when your perception is your reality? And the perception was that it wasn’t important for the male to be home. It wasn’t an important component of the livelihood of that child. But now more than scientific research comes out, we start to understand that it was a value.

And it is valued and it makes a difference. However, it wasn’t the societal norm. I feel for my mom and I feel for people like you. I look at my wife and I don’t even know how you guys did it. To be honest, it’s, it’s, it’s nothing shy of a miracle. And that’s why it’s like, can females be executives? I find is a [00:17:00] laughable topic, right?

Is the fact that you guys are naturally maternalistic by nature. We’re trying to teach men to be emotionally intelligent when they don’t even aren’t even in control of their own emotions. They don’t even understand them. So, I would tell you that me, myself, I had to make kind of my own code of ethics, right?

Because there’s certain times where the values would be pushed back, right? I was Preventing myself from falling back to my natural instincts, and my natural instincts, Lindsay, is a workaholic. I want to perform. When I perform, I know I get recognized, and I know I get rewarded. That feels good. It’s hard to have those same rewards and recognition when you flip it over on its head, and now I’m supposed to be at home, right?

Now I’m not getting rewarded and recognized in the same way. It’s different. Understanding that both are important and you need to find that balance or that blend. I, I thought the balance conversation was hilarious. Everybody’s looking for work-life balance, but they still haven’t defined what they want outta their life.

How do you do that? Mm-hmm. How, how, how do [00:18:00] you make a balance out or prioritize when you haven’t even crafted the own definition? So then we find ourselves kind of in these same environments because we believe, whether the recruiter said it or somebody that we said it during the interview process, that this is gonna be the environment that I always wanted.

It may be a surprise, but we’re in a sales environment. So we might be overselling these positions, or if you haven’t defined it for yourself and started to write it down and make it something that you refuse to step away from. Once you’ve defined that for yourself and put it on paper, you then know what questions to ask of these employers to ensure it’s that environment that is going to allow you to thrive.

And that’s what I needed to do. There was ADP was a great, they gave us four weeks fully paid, but then I took the state option, right? Because I said, let’s set aside money. Money is important, but why do I always feel like I need money? It’s my personal definition of safety. If I change or actually define what my [00:19:00] personal definition of safety is, maybe that’s not as scary as of a leap or a change.

So those are some of the things that I realized that I needed to do in order to come to this point where I feel free, almost, in essence. You’re not a sheep kind of in everybody else’s game. You can start to say, okay, I could see where I was sheepied before, right, and I would go with the flow and just willing to set aside my values to get what they told me was so important.

But you can get lost, and that’s where I felt like I was burnt out. When you’re acting instead of doing, it can become confusing. And I was a chameleon before I even knew who I was, Lindsay. I would change based off the conversation of who I was having a conversation with. Coming directly into sales out of college, you realize that people buy you and you better look and act and feel and be seen as one of them.

It’s confusing when you haven’t done the self work necessary to actually figure out who you are, um, because that’s just as important [00:20:00] within that process because it builds confidence, it builds the ability to share direction with people and they can have a critical conversation without getting emotional.

[00:20:10] Lindsay: Is that some of the work that you do with your clients as you’re helping them build teams and cultures? 

[00:20:16] Kevyn: Very much so. I say hurt people hurt people, right? And this is what I say, we’re preaching emotional intelligence, but we’re, we’re failing to help that person through that self discovery journey necessary to get them back in tune with their own emotions so they can listen and hear others.

If they don’t know their emotions themselves, how do, how do we get better? So I found transparency to be a game changer, right? Being vulnerable with people to be a game changer. We’re all broken. We’re just… All trying to pretend that we’re not sometimes. And it’s, it’s hard because then it’s like, Oh, Lindsay’s perfect.

I can’t have a conversation. I can’t relate with Lindsay. She doesn’t have the same problems as me. She’ll never get it. Even though you’re going through a similar challenge, just it [00:21:00] looks and feels totally different. 

[00:21:01] Lindsay: Right, right. Yeah. You know, like quarter three has been for me. Disappointing quarter, you know things it’s just been weird things have been slow and as I started to share that with people More and more people were like it’s been that way for me too, and it’s not been like on the open And the open sphere of us all saying that it’s been in these pockets of safe spaces, but it’s people that outwardly you think they’re doing fine.

Therefore, the problem’s me. I’m the problem. I’m doing something wrong when it’s really something else is happening. There’s a shakedown. There’s something going on. And when, when you do open up and you understand that to your point about vulnerability, it makes, it allows you to be more creative because it takes away those.

Oppressive, ultimates of shame and guilt and fear. It’s like, okay, it’s something else. It’s not me. So I can, I can [00:22:00] bracket that and put that, um, I can put anything that might be me over here because it’s something else. Now let me think around that and work my way out of it. So that’s, that’s really important to me speaks to the power of having somebody come alongside you to do that type of deep work.

I personally don’t think. that we can often do on our own. It requires outward conversations with somebody else so that they can see the patterns and the perspectives. And so what are some of the ways that if somebody is like, yeah, Kevin, I hear you. Like I’m feeling that sense of unease. I’m feeling that confusion over what success really is and looks like.

What are maybe one or two things that they can Start to go through or think through in order to start fleshing that out 

[00:22:53] Kevyn: for themselves. I love this question. And I think you kind of touched on one. I always say accountability partners. [00:23:00] So to tell you that I did this alone, I’d be lying to your face.

Accountability partners and Denzel and several other people have made similar quotes, but if you’re hanging out with six idiots, you’re going to make the seventh idiot, right? So be careful of who you surround yourself with. And that goes to accountability partners. So if it’s something, whether you’re saying, I want to work out or I’m going to read a book a month, whatever it is, having somebody to help hold you accountable is not a weakness.

It actually is just human nature, right? We’re solo animals when we want to be, but we’re more collaborative and work well as a team because we identify our weaknesses better than we identify our strengths. And at least my generation, right, the trophy generation, I’ll talk about millennials, everybody got a trophy.

And what that meant was that you had to see the strengths in others and reduce your strengths to not fear of standing out. Right. Now that’s something I had to reflect on myself as to [00:24:00] why that was my habit. Why did I have imposter syndrome? But I would talk to people with imposter syndrome, coach them out of it, see what was valuable and then watch them go head on.

And like, you just gave them a GPS and now they actually finally know where they’re going. It was fascinating to me. But then I realized it was my, my On inability to identify my own strengths on my own was standing in my way of what I actually wanted to achieve. So finding good people like Tyler White, who I do timeout with leaders, a podcast with finding other people like Dan Martin in my life and things like that to help me identify what was I good at.

What was it like to be on the other side of me and really asking others, peers, tell me my strengths, tell me my weaknesses, tell, and, and in an unconditional loving way, right? I never said, I never pushed back and said, I disagree with you. No, their perspective was, was, was what was valuable because I thought I was doing something and maybe I [00:25:00] was close and maybe I wasn’t close at all.

So it took me to work with others to help me identify my strengths, to build accountability partners, to build those cheerleaders, that team that you can surround yourself because It can get lonely, right? You can get in your own head. And I would say, Lindsay, that’s the most dangerous place to be, right?

Is when you think that you’re alone. And that’s why I’ve been passionate about connecting with the HR community and why I do different things. It, they can feel like they’re on an Island. And when you feel like you’re on an Island, you feel like you’re alone and you’re the only one going through that.

Just like you said, I’m grateful to hear that. Even you, right, at your age, you’re looking at social media, you can see all these other coaches and do things similar to what you’re doing on LinkedIn and have the perception that they’re successful, right? Who posts bad things on social media? Nobody. So I can only feel her for the children that think…

I think that, oh, I don’t have a tablet, so therefore I must not be a good child, right? I fear for those people that see that as that’s the [00:26:00] standard. I said, screw that. Not everybody’s having a good day, right? I can have a positive, upbeat tone in a time when positivity seems to be lacking from as a societal norm.

It’s easier to be negative, frankly, right? That’s that fixed mindset. So my whole mission was how can I lift somebody else’s spirits, whether I know them or I don’t know them from halfway across the world. Somebody else needed to hear that message today. Have no idea why, right? But that’s why I, it’s easy to be a negative.

It’s negative. Nancy people, misery loves company as they say. So you’ll see. 

[00:26:35] Lindsay: It’s more attractive, right? It’s easier to create a viral post if you’re going after something. 

[00:26:42] Kevyn: What was it? Impact or influence? What are you actually after? And I was after, I was after impact. Forget influence. Influence is cool, but not really, right?

We have celebrities that we worship that you wouldn’t get around at a bar with, and probably they would drive you insane if you actually hung out with them. But you’ve idolized these people. [00:27:00] That’s influence. I wanted real impact and when you look at real impact, sometimes you make zero dollars off of making it a life changing event in somebody’s life, but it’s that ability to remove self from that equation and say, how can I help this individual and then turn to your peers for the same help and be willing to ask for help and listen.


[00:27:21] Lindsay: so you mentioned that the only social media you’re on is LinkedIn. You’re not on any of the other channels that are out there. So, obviously, that’s a deliberate, that’s a deliberate choice. And I guess How has that been for you to like deliberately step out of the, out of the noise and to feel like you’re still where you need to be?

You’re still, you know, speaking in with relevance. You’re still showing up how you need to show up. Like, how has that been for you to take that 

[00:27:55] Kevyn: stand? So I got off after college, so it’s been 12 to 11 years since I’ve [00:28:00] been on that. I had to step back and actually say, right, they’re really good at what they do, right?

Facebook’s awesome. Twitter’s awesome. They’re made to be highly addictive. So my shortcomings of being addicted to something like that is no different than me being on heroin or anything else, right? You’re getting the same… Chemical release or within your body. And, and the second that I realized that, right.

And the whole business is to keep you on that platform as long as they can have you. It just seemed very self centered, right? It seemed that. How was I to go and preach about how great my life is when we still know that we have a large homeless population here in Rochester, New York? It just seemed small, right?

And, and almost selling the dream that everything is perfect and hunky dory and Again, it’s just not something that I really believed in. Frankly, people were sharing their opinions that I didn’t care to hear anymore. So I, I said I think I live less for others and more for [00:29:00] myself through that. I, I also have another tenant, uh, that I’ll share.

I don’t have work email on my cell phone that came after the pandemic. That allowed me that clear break that was severely lacking for my, my prior years of experience. I was always on the phone, whether I was on vacation, holiday, whatever it was, I was still always working. And that constant stress begins to kind of.

Where are you down over time and you’re not getting that clean break and you’re not letting your body recharge. You think you’re efficient, but just like we think we’re efficient at multitasking, you’re not, it’s a belief at that point. So, yeah, I, I I’ve loved it. I know their point, right. And I think a lot of good has come from it, but I also don’t want this falsified reality of what others again are defining as their success, a new.

Are a new home, a beach house, a lake house, and then apply that same pressure that that is something that I want and need until I defined it for myself. So I let others to stop taking control over my life and what I thought [00:30:00] was valuable and really just focused on what I thought was valuable and sharing that.

So far, it’s, it’s worked, right? And nothing I share is other people’s thoughts or opinions. It’s my own, but I try to do so in a positive way to try to build others up, to maybe see it a little bit different or willingness to change their perspective. 

[00:30:20] Lindsay: One of the things that you do is you help people recruit and, you know, find and recruit and retain talent, and that I think since the pandemic.

It’s just an even more difficult job. I mean, I talked to business owners across industries where finding people is just. Agonizingly difficult. So what do business owners need to know when it comes to finding and making the right hire? What are some things like when you’re talking about building a team and doing it well, what are some things that people need to keep in mind?

[00:30:57] Kevyn: I would say first start with intention. [00:31:00] What is our intention? Because that allows us to change where we focus our attention. So intention drives attention, right? So I always say, start there, define that and craft that for yourself. Because it’s really breaking away from tradition, and are you comfortable stepping outside the box?

Figuratively today, there is no box. You have a blank sheet of paper in front of you, and you are the creator of your own success. If you have the ability to remove yourself from the equation, remove your egos, and admit that you don’t know everything, It allows you, I always say delegation is empowerment, right?

It allows you to delegate and really theoretically empower, enable and encourage the success of your team because now you’re trusting them to arm you with the information that you need to make, help make decisions together. And it’s trusting those closest to the problem. So I think the traditional approaches of really looking for titles and years of experience, we’re starting to see that foundational [00:32:00] pillars of business through our lifetime change.

You’re seeing nonprofits that used to require master’s experience no longer require master’s experience, right? What Barriers have we intentionally or unintentionally put in front of ourselves that are limiting our ability to attract, retain, develop, and engage talent. And it’s kind of taking, and this is what I always say, Lindsay is taking that customer view.

We’re trained to focus on our customer, right? As long as our customers are satisfied, as long as they’re buying, as long as the quality’s up, the time of effectiveness, the service resolution time, all of that stuff. As long as that’s in line, the business is always going to succeed, right? That was the, that was the way of thinking.

But that really limits that individual that is so critical to that relationship, which is usually that frontline employee. So that employee experience equals customer experience, especially as we move from less widgets to more service related and our GDP being healthcare is the number [00:33:00] one GDP it’s service related.

So we can’t expect sick. Nurses and doctors to take care of sick patients and expect somebody to come out. Okay, so it’s kind of taking that same way of thinking that traditional approach to our emphasis in our prioritization of customers and reapplying that same science internally, which would require us to talk to our frontline employees and asking them what they want and need and value.

Right? And then. Disseminating or translating that information to the executive team so they understand what is needed, valued, and what they could do in order to stand out in a competitive market. So it’s really a lot more listening, a lot more conversations, I would say, to start, to really get together an employee value proposition that lands with your current employee base and your future employee base.

And then employee value proposition gets into culture. It gets into values, mission, vision. It gets into rewards and recognition programs. It gets into your ESG [00:34:00] movement, environmental and social and governance. Employees now, I think because of the pandemic, Lindsay, I was not the only one that went through this evolution, right?

I think a majority of society during highly stressful times is forced into evolutionary measures. And that’s what I think we saw. Right. We saw some frontline employees get disposed of like they were the weekly trash. Surprise or let go. We don’t need you anymore. Tough times. You get it. See you later.

Right. What if those companies took the same emphasis and the same focus to explain the why of why they needed to get rid of the few to save the many? How many more people would have been more responsive to that message than just getting rid of me? Right? Now, those same companies, I can tell you, are kicking themselves because now they’re the ones struggling the most to attract and retain talent because they’ve basically severed all trust with that workforce.

And if we follow the rules of 10, I know 10 people, you know, 10 people. If I told all 10 people, [00:35:00] my experience figuratively, those two, those people know 10 people. And very quickly we get to hundreds and thousands of people that now we’re looking to, to come on to our team. So I would say taking less of a nearsighted approach and more of a futuristic approach and seeing how you can leverage all types of workforces today, both you’re either renting, buying, growing, or bonding talent, right?

Those are your four options to design a workforce today. And it better be in balance because if it’s in balance, you’re, you’re, you’re going to spend more for human capital and see a lack of return. So organizations that are moving less from titles and more to skills based environments, really lowering the hierarchical structure with an organization and creating networks within the business to really connect marketing and sales and sales to operations and sales to manufacturing and production.

Those are the organizations that are intuitively creating the culture that everybody’s expecting after this post evolutionary state. They were told that they would never [00:36:00] be able to work from home. All right. Then we let them work from home. We rushed to allow them to work from home. So just like the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve, if we believe something to be impossible, then becomes possible.

It becomes a miracle. And now people are armed or feeling more valued because they see themselves in the driver’s seat where they used to be signing passenger all the way in the back under different supply and demand parameters. And now they’re asking more of their employers and all they’re really asking for, Lindsey, and it’s, it’s very basic.

And I keep it to three things, listen to valued and heard, and the most empowering sentiment from a manager or a leader. I encourage you. I believe in you and I have your back. Those are fundamentally the six things that we can, three things in leadership and management. And the three things that we can do from a business in order organically or innately start to learn.

From our number one asset, which is our [00:37:00] people and trusting those closest to the problems to find the solutions with us and together We will solve those challenges good stuff 

[00:37:08] Lindsay: the listen value and heard, you know I see you and listen to you. I’ve got your back or you know, I agree wholeheartedly with all of that stuff But I also know that There’s this extra expectation and burden of expectation on, you know, these leaders that are being asked and expected to care for the emotional needs of their employees in ways that I’m not sure is always healthy, right?

Like, it’s not my boss’s job to Make me certain that I have, uh, that I understand my purpose in the world. Or like there has to be some inner work on my part as an employee. That that I kind of define my own worth and my own value and if I’m always laying that at the feet of my [00:38:00] boss He or she is never gonna win.

It’s always and I’ve seen this like I’m speaking out of experience. Oh, yeah happen How do upper level leaders do this? Which I would say many of them desperately want to do they want to you know reinforce that they care for their their team, but as the demands for For this type of attention increase, like where’s, where’s the balance.

It feels like there is this tug and pull and some people are very happy to lay it all at the feet of the boss, but there has to be some onus on the employee too. So maybe for our last question, talk about tug and pull a 

[00:38:39] Kevin: little bit. Man, I can’t believe how fast the time is passing. So yeah. So the burden of expectations, I think that’s great.

I think if we traditionally look how businesses are compensating those types of managers and those leaders, you can see what the priority of the business is on that position, right? So I would say one, making the time, another fascinating conversation that I’ll [00:39:00] bring up with a client of mine, the production, right?

Production, they want to research and develop. They want to constantly create the newest market or newest product for the market, right? The only challenge with that is that if you’re disconnected from production, how do you produce that product that is so evolutionary? You always need people at the end of the day, and I think that it’s not their responsibility to help them identify their passion and their purpose, but it’s their duty as a leader to extrinsically, but more importantly, intrinsically motivate that individual to want to find that.

I don’t think it should be the employee’s expectation that I’m going to my boss and telling you, Hey, your job is to find me what I’m passionate and purpose. I think it’s the ability to take the time and listen, right? Most performance management is an afterthought within a lot of organizations. So you have those annual performance reviews.

Now, I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but [00:40:00] now you’re going to grade me on an entire year of performance. Frankly, I just don’t believe that you are valuing everything that I did within that calendar year. And then the other thing that you miss out on is maybe they had a death in the family.

Maybe their poor performance is because of something else. But if you don’t take the time to figure that out, You’re going to fire that person, put them on a pip, and then you’re going to go back with the same questions that you had to hire that person to go try to identify the next person that fits in that role, even though you haven’t spent the time as to what soft skills are actually required and what are the requirements for the position in order to achieve that outcome that the business is putting on that leader or that manager.

So it’s kind of looking at our roles a little bit differently. We have to manage the work, but you have to lead the people to execute and become accountable to the outcomes of that work. Right? So it’s, it’s helping people identify what small role do I play in that big number. And how can I [00:41:00] disseminate and distill that down to the individual so now I understand what are, what am I responsible for and what do I have an impact on?

I think when we’re only extrinsically motivating an individual and kind of tell them what they need to be doing instead of showing. It creates this rift automatically within the relationship. Some are able to overcome it, right? I think some personality types are able to overcome that. I think you’ve got the growth mindset, right?

But there’s a lot of fixed mindset. The sky is always falling, it’s always raining, and it’s always gray. But there’s a reason why that’s their perspective on the world. And I think your goal as a leader is to, how can I shake them of that? How can I inspire them to make a difference or to make a change or to be different?

And a lot of it starts with accountability starts with clarity. So really being clear about the expectations and when those expectations aren’t met, you’re not waiting 12 months to tell them that they weren’t being met. You’re having those conversations. It’s not a stay interview. It’s not anything formal.

It’s just [00:42:00] conversations and connection. And a lot of it starts with empathy. Storytelling is an effective approach. But being emotional is a great way to connect and bond, even though we force ourselves away from that in the business community, to your point, I don’t, I shouldn’t expect we’re emotion. We spend more time with our coworkers than we do our wives or spouses in most cases.

Just like family. I didn’t get to pick my family. I get to pick my friends. Just like work. Don’t get to pick my co workers, but I get to pick my peers or mentors within the business, right? So I, I don’t see it differently. I, I, I find, I feel for these managers and these leaders that their job isn’t as easy as it once was.

But they have to want to step outside their comfort zone and the traditional norms to maybe view their role a little bit different. Yeah. And trust that the outcomes will happen as long as I prioritize these inputs. Yeah, and to your 

[00:42:51] Lindsay: point about the clarity and storytelling, obviously, that’s right up my lane, and Yes.

I’m definitely late to the party in reading about appreciative inquiry, but I’ve been [00:43:00] Digging into that, which you being in organizations are probably very familiar with it, just a form of, I don’t know if you want to call it organizational change or, you know, it’s a, it’s a positive psychology approach for those of you who are listening and are not aware of it, developed in the mid to late 80s.

I’m fascinated by it because, because it is positive psychology. From a story perspective, especially in marketing, we have been so entrenched. In the problem solution, what is the problem? What is the pain point? What’s not working? And that’s how we shape our stories. What’s wrong? Let me peer into this and talk about what’s wrong.

And appreciative inquiry says, no, no, no, we know things aren’t working, but let’s talk about what is working. Let’s talk about what’s right and figure out a plan to create more of what is right. And. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like there’s a shift coming in, [00:44:00] in organizations and marketing and branding and leadership where there’s some fatigue with the problem solution, with the pain point.

We are fatigued. We’re tired. We’re tired of that critical approach to stepping into the world. There’s a shift. And I think there’s a massive shift. I, I personally am wondering if we are stepping into a new era. You know, we had enlightenment, modern post modernism. I we’re stepping into something else and that’s what we’re all feeling like our world collectively is shifting and so for those leaders who are trying to meet those emotional emotional needs, it can.

But part of that piece can just be about what are the stories that you’re telling? How are you creating that clarity? How are you inviting others into that story? You know, you talked about their small role that they’re playing in the bigger picture. And if you’re telling stories that reinforce that, and that reinforce the goodness of your organization, that starts to shift the [00:45:00] culture in some profound ways.

Thanks. Thank you. 

[00:45:03] Kevyn: So, yeah, big time, but I think too is living it out right at the same time and not just having values on your board. It’s funny. Like, um, I was, I was reading about Netflix is on board and they kind of poke fun at, uh, my God, the name’s going to escape me. Oh, my gosh. Anyways, long story short, they had values and it was like trustworthiness and all these other things.

Enron, that’s what it was. And Enron, right? It’s least trustworthy, the least. Right. It’s like, do we believe these and how do we, how do we show that? And without proper rewards and recognition, you’re, the modeling of behaviors is based off of that. Right. And then you see who is getting special privileges, right?

And a lot of times their performance wouldn’t speak to get those special privileges. And theoretically, they’re just reducing the bar of expectations for everybody else. They don’t know that at the time that they do it, but it creates kind of the, the [00:46:00] job runs the individual at a certain point. And that’s kind of where we’re at in this very reactionary stage of business.

But I would wholeheartedly agree with you, Lindsey, that we’re in this new phase, right? We’re in this entirely new phase and the more that people are defining their value and putting a value on time, that’s something that was not put on previous from previous generations. Right. They did not put a value on their time.

The second you define that value on your time allows you to then say, what am I willing to give for exchange, in exchange for what, right? At the end of the day. Yep. And that’s kind of the second tertiary question that a lot of employers and applicants are asking themselves. What am I willing to give? And reward for what?

And I think we’re going to kind of continue to see a change in the workforce. You’ll see more people interested in the gig work, right? I don’t want to work for one company. I want to work for four companies and I have 40 hours in the week. So each company gets 10 hours. We’re going [00:47:00] to see that transition.

And I think it speaks to a lot of what you’re seeing in Q3 that you talked about. Q3 is down because what, what is in our face, the threat of going into what a recession. Right. So that belief, even though that business might have no fear, if we actually looked at it, of being impacted by the recession, it’s the belief of social media, it’s the belief of journalism, that this is imminent doom, right?

And you’re having people shelter in place. And some businesses are seeing as, great, our retention’s up, comparatively. It’s a sheltering in place, just like we saw during the pandemic, and then we saw the great resignation that we dubbed it. People will shelter in place for safety first, as they collect their thoughts, and then get their game plan together.

And once they realize it’s not as cloudy as it really is, or appears to be, that’s when you see these evolutionary moments of them demanding more from their employers. I mean, employers are guessing right now, a lot of them. And you can see their guesses are really not [00:48:00] hitting with what the expectations are.

It’s just because they’re out of touch. Undercover boss has a lot of lessons, but the only lesson is CEOs get out of your perch and go down to the floor and see how much of a world of difference that it is. And it’s just that change in perspective or perception. 

[00:48:18] Lindsay: Great stuff. Oh, my goodness, Kevyn. This has been fabulous.

I should talk 

[00:48:22] Kevyn: every week because I know literally I would love this. I think we could talk every single week, but back to those accountability partners. It’s finding people like you. It’s knowing that you’re not crazy. Right? And being able to share and be comfortable with hearing feedback and listening to others.

I think a lot of people have. Failures or mistakes that you can learn from if you’re willing to listen. Yep, 

[00:48:43] Lindsay: absolutely. Well, you’re very active on LinkedIn. So we will put your URL there in the show notes that people can find you there. Any place else that people can find you or ways 

[00:48:52] Kevyn: to connect. Yeah, that’s probably the easiest and best way to get a hold of me, but any way I can help the audience and any [00:49:00] questions or if you, if you want to say, okay, I’m ready to take that first step.

What should I do first? I definitely got a project for you. So I’m all about that journey. So I appreciate Lindsay, the opportunity to just come on and talk and share. And I wish you the most success with this podcast because I think you’re going to. Change a few people’s lives. Thanks, Kevyn. 

[00:49:21] Lindsay: As founder and CEO at Storyhouse Fifteen, my vision is to build a world of people who have answered the call that’s been uniquely placed upon their lives.

So if you’ve enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe and leave a review. And if you’re ready to grow and pivot with clarity and confidence, be sure to stop by and say hello at storyhousefifteen.com.