Create a Safe Place for Your People – Ira S Wolfe

“When you help people take that first step, they become more confident. When they are more confident, then all of a sudden the world seems a little brighter and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. ” Ira Wolfe

The past year turned out to be very unconventional for majority of people with the work place being most affected. The outcomes of various events most especially the Covid-19 pandemic, altered the normal work routines of many if not all companies which led a large number of people moving to work remotely. The dilemma facing many leaders now is how they will move forward considering their new operating realities with regards to work locations. According to Ira Wolfe, the answer is very simple and involves managers building safe spaces for their people to work and thrive.

Ira S Wolfe describes himself as a “Millennial trapped in a Baby Boomer body”. He is the president of Poised for the Future Company, founder of Success Performance Solutions, a TEDx Speaker, Top five Global Thought Leader on Future of Work and HR (Thinkers360), author of Recruiting in the Age of Googlization-, and host of Geeks Geezers Googlization podcast (selected as one of the top 50 podcasts to listen to in 2021). Ira is also a frequent presenter at SHRM and business conferences and a guest on over 50 podcasts each year. His most recent book is Recruiting in the Age of Googlization-, now in its 2nd edition. The book was selected as one of the top 50 books to read in 2021 by Thinkers360 and recognized as one of the best Recruiting books of all time by Book Authority. Ira is the founder of the Googlization Nation community and a frequent contributor to HR and business blogs including Cornerstone on Demand’s Rework, Medium and Huff Post. He’s been featured in INC Magazine, Fast Company, Business Week, American Express OPEN, NFIB, Inc., Intuit Small Business, and Fox Business. He is also the author of five other books including Perfect Labor Storm, Understanding Business Values and Motivators.

In today’s Episode, Ira Wolfe will discuss more about how the work environment has evolved and how managers can take advantage of the opportunities available to grow people as well as their companies. We will also discuss how to navigate through the uncertainty that characterizes the current work environment.

Listen in!

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  • I grew up in a time where people still got gold watches and people worked for a company up to 50 years in one career and sometimes in one Job. [2:37]
  • With time it has gotten more complex. [3:00]
  • From a company owner’s perspective, it is terrifying that someone would last only three to five years, [3:19]
  • If they can bring value to your organization and leave your organization in a better place according to the metrics, then that is okay. [3:37]
  • In as much as companies complain that employees have no loyalty, it is them who train them to be that way. [6:22]
  • I had a very successful practice in dentistry and when I left people wondered what I was going to do. [7:00]
  • I developed transferable skills such as communicating with people, building teams, and critical thinking. [7:39]
  • The thing that people overlook is about having transferable skills which are learnt through life experience. [9:22]
  • There are no life career jobs and we can’t treat people that way. [9:36]
  • If you hire people and they contribute to what you have done and they leave your company in a better place, then that is the best you can ask for. [9:43]
  • Very reliable research indicates that on average, two-thirds of all jobs maybe one-third automated. [11:52]
  • The reality is one-third jobs that won’t change are those that will be eliminated. [12:24]
  • Every single person on the planet whether retail or frontline has to learn how to work with technology, because of the likelihood that most jobs are going to have a higher degree of automation. [12:48]
  • Sixty five percent of remote workers want to stay remote, thirty three percent want to remain hybrid, and the remaining want to go back to the way things were. [15:33]
  • Talking about managers and leaders, they were not very good before at ensuring employee engagement. [16: 20]
  • According to Gallop, thirty percent or less of people were fully engaged at work while seventy percent were partially or fully disengaged. [16:32]
  • If it wasn’t good when they were under your nose where you could micro manage them, what is going to happen now that they are remote. [17:04]
  • When you are at work you have to manage people, who are on site and those who are remote and it is always fluid. [18:06]
  • It creates a huge opportunity where you can hire anyone around the world to fill those hard to fill jobs. [18:58]
  • The down side is how you fill that safe place that they feel part of culture when they may never physically be in the same room to know their people. [19:06]
  • Commercial Break [19:20]
  • Everybody needs to become more adaptable where we are literally writing the rules as we go on. [21:07]
  • We do know that there will be some form of hybrid workplace. [21:25]
  • I spent my passion project last year and a half and it is on adaptability [22:10]
  • I don’t have a better Acronym to describe what 2020 was, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, and is the world we are going to live in going forward. So how do we manage that? [22:50]
  • We work with something called the adaptability quotient [ 23:25]
  • It identifies fifteen dimensions that impact someone’s ability to change. Some are internal which refers to skills we need to have. [23:31]
  • As leaders you have to create a company culture that makes people feel supported. [24:26]
  • The most important that we can change include grit, resilience, mental flexibility, growth mindset and unlearning. [25:34]
  • In order to have empathy, you need to step into other people’s shoes and that calls on seeing the world from somebody else’s point of view. [29:50]
  • The five abilities are things that individuals are going to have to learn. [30:40]
  • For leaders, the biggest challenge ahead is how do you help create a safe space? [30:58]
  • Leaders have to help people build their confidence and gain the courage and by doing so, they will become more optimistic and hopeful about the future. [31:17]
  • Don’t let the shift hit your plans [34:15]


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