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Episode 77

“Leadership By Choice: 7 Keys for Maximizing Your Impact and Influence in the Workplace… Right Where You Are”

with Author Sue Salvemini

Sue Salvemini is an executive coach, business consultant, and the author of “Leadership By Choice: 7 Keys for Maximizing Your Impact and Influence in the Workplace… Right Where You Are”. Mike Petrusky asks Sue about her corporate and military experience developing leaders, building teams, launching medical device products and businesses. She has done this by repeatedly creating a clear vision, establishing an achievable plan and executing.  As a leader, Sue understands the value of developing people for growth and productivity. Mike and Sue share a philosophy around the opportunities that workplace leaders have to impact their organizations in a powerful way and they find inspiration through music and motivational quotes that will help you be a workplace innovator!

space-management-software-trial

Download the FREE “Workplace & Space Management Software” report from Verdantix: https://www.iofficecorp.com/verdantix-report-mp

Connect with Sue on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suesalvemini/

Learn more about Sue & her book: https://focalpointeinc.com/publications/

Watch Mike’s Ted-style talk from Dublin: https://youtu.be/DudLzQoU1X0

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com

Learn more about iOFFICE’s workplace experience solutions: https://www.iOFFICECORP.com/

Read full transcript:

Mike Petrusky:

Hey, I wanted to take just a minute to tell you about a new report that was released recently. It was published by Verdantix, an independent research and consulting firm. And in it, they conducted a review of the 23 most prominent space and workplace management software companies. And guess what? iOFFICE was named the leader in two categories. iOFFICE scored highest overall and highest in workplace services. Awesome, right? So if you've been thinking about workplace and space management software, and you're just not sure which option out there is right for you, I'd like to send you a free copy of the report so you can check it out for yourself. All you need to do is go to iofficecorp.com/verdantix-report-mp. That's right. MP as in DJ Mike P. And I'll also leave this link in the show notes for you to make it easy. I hope it helps with your decision-making process, as you explore the available software tools that will help you elevate the employee experience in your organization.

Sue Salvemini:

Don't be afraid to recognize each other, regardless of whether you are the "boss" or not, but people crave being valued. And as I said, the number one challenge that most people feel in their job is that they don't feel valued.

Mike Petrusky:

This is the Workplace Innovator Podcast, where we talk with corporate real estate and facility management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by iOFFICE, the leading employee experience-focused IWMS software that delivers real time data and mobile tools to help you intelligently manage your digital workplace.

            Hi everyone. And welcome to the show. My name is Mike Petrusky, and this is episode 77 of the Workplace Innovator Podcast. I love '77, the year of Star Wars. That's right. The original movie released in 1977, and we're just a few months away from the last of the Skywalker saga. Can't wait for episode nine to hit screens. I'm sure we'll be talking about that in the weeks to come, but today I am, again, excited to be able to share with you some really practical content around leadership. In fact, my guest today is executive coach and author Sue Salvemini. And we had a great conversation about her new book, Leadership by Choice: 7 Keys for Maximizing Your Impact and Influence in the Workplace... Right Where You Are. And this really hit home for me, because it doesn't matter what your title is. It doesn't matter your current position of influence in your organization. Each and every one of us has the chance to ask a lot of questions, listen, and hear what's important to those around us, and then have an impact on the workplace through a lot of the strategies that Sue talks about.

            So I want to get right to the conversation. Sue and I have a lot in common philosophically, and musical, choices and all kinds of fun stuff. We talk about our common passion for helping people be the best they can be in their workplaces and in their lives. So check this out.

            Joining us today from Boston. I am pleased to welcome Sue Salvemini to the show. Hi Sue.

Sue Salvemini:

Hi Mike, it's great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Mike Petrusky:

Sue is founder and president of Focal Pointe Incorporated, and the author of a great book called Leadership by Choice: 7 Keys for Maximizing Your Impact and Influence in the Workplace... Right Where You Are. And that's what I love to do, Sue, is inspire people, and as I read through your book, I just picked up so many great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration, and we're going to get to that. So thanks for writing the book.

Sue Salvemini:

It was a great journey to write the book after years of having these thoughts come to mind. It was a real honor and privilege to sit down and try to put pen to paper and see what happened. So thanks. I'm happy you got to read it, Mike.

Mike Petrusky:

Well, we're going to talk all about it here in a few minutes. But first, Sue, I want to get a little bit about your background, how you got where you are today. Can you share a little bit about your story with us?

Sue Salvemini:

Sure. I'd love to. So I was a math major in college, so I had this technical background and, simultaneously in college, I was in ROTC. So I was fortunate enough to go to school on a scholarship with the military. And the biggest blessing of that was I got to serve in the Army as an officer, post-college, on active duty for a few years.

Mike Petrusky:

Thank you for your service. Awesome.

Sue Salvemini:

You're welcome. It was an honor. It still is humbling to think about it, but I think the greatest part of that was at the young age of 22, you're put into this formal leadership position, where you've got soldiers and enlisted non-commissioned officers, in diverse age range, that you are now their formal officer in charge of them. So you just get put right into the fire to learn some of this stuff immediately on how to lead and motivate a group. So from the military, after active duty for a few years, I was also fortunate and blessed to get a great job with Johnson & Johnson in sales and marketing. But I was in the sales side of it with medical devices. So I get to work in operating rooms, training surgeons, and nurses on the use of new technologies and equipment.

            I was in medical device sales and marketing for the better part of my career. And then when that time was coming to an end, and I had to make a decision about, do I want to continue on this course, I sat back and I really spent some time digging into what my passions were, what my priorities were, what I valued most in my full life, not just my professional life, my personal life.

            And after lots of deep reflection and prayer, I decided to bite the bullet and found my company following my passion, which is working with leaders and developing leaders so that, one, people could be exceptional in their roles, both formally and informally, and, two, equally important, was I was starting to sense that everybody didn't love their work. So I felt it was really important that people love what they do and the way people love what they do is when they have careers they're passionate about, and when they work with people that they feel really value them and that they equally value. And that was the source of founding the company, was to create a platform in which I would be able to do that.

Mike Petrusky:

Really great stuff. And I couldn't agree with you more as there's statistics out there, research shows that engagement is really pitiful, as far as the numbers go. 70 to 80% of employees are disengaged at their work, and if we can find a way through some of your strategies, as well as workplace design and embracing technology and making people more comfortable and healthy and productive, I think everybody's going to be happier in the end.

Sue Salvemini:

Absolutely. It's so interesting because my lens now is, versus being in one organization myself, in the role that I am as an executive coach and business consultant, I'm going into different organizations of all different make-up and size, and I see different facilities and different work situations. And it's really been awesome to get a perspective on what makes a team or a group really thrive in the workplace. And there's so many factors that go into it, but their physical space is so critically important as a foundation to the rest of what they do.

Mike Petrusky:

I'm glad to hear you say that because I agree, it is this incredible opportunity. And my audience is made up of facility and workplace leaders who have this opportunity to impact the physical space as well as other elements of the workplace, so I can't wait to hear more about your thoughts on this. But before we go too far, my audience loves it when we get to know the personal side of our guests just a little bit. Do you have a favorite type of music you can share with us, Sue?

Sue Salvemini:

Okay. So I have to admit, because I listen to your podcast, I'm like, "Oh boy, music." So first of all, I love music and I have two takes and I would be remiss if I didn't admit that most of the music I listen to is Christian worship music, and I blast it when I run or work out. And I love MercyMe, I Can Only Imagine. And Chris Tomlin, Whom Shall I Fear. So I have a huge modern day Christian music rep that I just love. And I think since Bohemian Rhapsody came out, I've just reacquainted my heart and spirit with Queen. I love them. And when I have the visual, even though it's fictitious history, I love that.

Mike Petrusky:

I'm just a poor boy from a poor family. He's just a poor boy.

Sue Salvemini:

If I sing, you will lose all listeners forever.

Mike Petrusky:

Oh, I don't know. I don't know, Sue, the audience keeps growing somehow with my horrible [crosstalk] off-key singing.

Sue Salvemini:

If you want me to sing, we'll do a podcast because I do sing in the shower at times when no one's in the house, but we'll keep that between us and the listeners at this point.

Mike Petrusky:

There you go. Good advice. Good advice. Well, the next question is an easy one because I've read your book and it's chock-full of awesome inspirational quotes, but can you narrow it down and give us one that really sets the tone for today?

Sue Salvemini:

Yeah, I think the biggest one is, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Mike Petrusky:

Is that Zig Ziglar?

Sue Salvemini:

There's a real question about who said that, but I believe it was Zig. But it's so funny when you cite quotes, you try to get very accurate in who cited it. And I came up with three or four, but we'll go with Zig because he's also one of my favorites.

Mike Petrusky:

I'm going to stick with Zig, because you mentioned one of his other quotes. My favorite is, "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."

Sue Salvemini:

Yeah. There's so many good ones. And t's crazy when you get in the quote war and you try to figure out which one is the most pivotal. And it depends on the moment. [crosstalk] How's that for the evasive answer?

Mike Petrusky:

I love it, I love it.

Sue Salvemini:

So the answer is, have a bunch of them that really inspire you and keep them posted in different places so that you can pull them out as you need them. That's what I do, I really do. I've got them everywhere. It's a little bit weird. It's a little nerdy, but it works for me.

Mike Petrusky:

That's cool. Just whip them out whenever you're ready.

Sue Salvemini:

That's right. Find a quote.

Mike Petrusky:

So you get this opportunity now as a consultant and an executive coach. You're meeting with teams and people. What do you most enjoy about that?

Sue Salvemini:

I like facilitating someone their ability to arrive at sorting out their answers, and doing their best work, and feeling passionate about the work they do. So I think the greatest joy in what I do is helping people find their value, where they are. Regardless of where they're trying to go, I have the opportunity to help them stop, not necessarily stop from a striving perspective of looking forward, but get present and be present, and see how much is right in front of them. And with that comes great presence and passion around their work.

Mike Petrusky:

And it's driven, according to your book, and I agree with you, by your values and living out those values, right?

Sue Salvemini:

Yes, absolutely. It's funny. You know, we hear the word values all the time, as did I, and we just brush over them, I think. But what I found is, through my coaching and my own work, I really took a deeper dive into core values and what that really meant on a visceral basis with individuals and organizations. And what I found, when I get to a common denominator with my clients, both teams and individuals, when people are feeling conflict, which is often things that come in a coaching session, they're feeling conflicted about something, I can always help them dial it down to values that are competing or in conflict with one another. And when I can help the individual really see deeply what those values are that are fighting with each other, they're able to make choices and liberate where they stand and feel good about, directionally, where they're going and remove the conflict, ultimately.

Mike Petrusky:

That's interesting. And that leads me to think about what we talk about in this show a lot, is the need for collaboration, whether it's between individuals in a team or across departmental lines. There's this evolution of the workplace and with the infusion of technology and the need to elevate employee experience, we've got the need to collaborate. And if your values are not in alignment or you don't have that vision, another thing you talk about in the book, if your vision isn't clear and you're not able to understand the overall organizational goal or the value of the organization and the mission, that's so important today, then we're going to really have trouble collaborating, aren't we?

Sue Salvemini:

Absolutely. And it's interesting, no matter how more educated we become, with emotional intelligence and collaboration and working well as a team, organizations naturally have silos and some competitiveness. Teams compete with others. And it's interesting because there's healthy competition, in the sense that a team wants to feel connected to their group. But what happens is, is it's not always productive. And what I find is that when leaders, and I say leaders in a... As you know, from my book, I feel that everyone is a leader. I feel that every single person has an opportunity to communicate this message. So when an individual can help a group stay aligned with the greater focus, and it might be... And I like to go to the largest focus of the team, that we are here to meet our customer's needs, and fill in the blank on who the customer is.

            Then when you look at the groups, whether it's sales, marketing, FM. It doesn't matter what the group is. Everyone is there collectively to help address the vision, let's say the customer need. So if addressing the customer need is having a productive work environment, then everyone has equal ownership in that. Because the work environment requires everyone to be able to work well to maximize their productivity. And when I think of the audience, it's so funny. Facilities comes up with all of my executive teams. It's part of the discussion all the time is, what's the work environment? And it's critical, because employees can't work well together when they're being disrupted by either they're located in a different location in the building, or a team is split up, or the key people they need to speak with. So it's really interesting that how important the physical space... It's not surprising to me. It's very real. But how much the physical space is the foundation of the employee experience.

Mike Petrusky:

So, Sue, we've touched on a couple of the seven keys in the book: the need to understand your values and your vision. But you also get into some real inspirational stuff about our personal challenges. And some of the things I could really relate to about breaking down barriers of fear and things I like to inspire my audience to do. Give us a quick overview of some of the other keys that are important when it comes to being a leader by choice.

Sue Salvemini:

Absolutely. Thanks. So the first and critical element is that before you can really lead others, it's critical that you understand how you lead yourself. So through the book, the book is broken down and it has a lot of reflection exercises. And the real opportunity in the book is in the reflection exercises, because the book is not rocket science. Your reflections are rocket science, because they're specific to you. So the book is designed to provide you space to come up with your authentic leadership style, what's important to you and how you lead yourself. And then it translates how you take that knowledge and that new reflection and provide it and influence and impact others.

            But yes, you said the values and vision. So one area I talk a lot about is mastering your energy. And when I talk about energy, it's not just your physical energy, it's your emotional and attitudinal energy. And really looking at how you tend to view situations, and wrapping your brain around the opportunity to be more specific and be more intentional about that. So mastering your energy is critical. Overcoming your barriers, as you mentioned. Really being honest with yourself about what is getting in your way, and then coming up with strategies to overcome that or address it. Sometimes we can't overcome all of the barriers, but if we have a strategy to start to really address those that are most present, then we slowly can develop and move forward and propel ourselves forward.

            And then the next area I love to talk about, that I am so passionate about, is continuous improvement. Sounds like a manufacturing, to coin, but I talk about investing in development. And as I said earlier, it's about first really looking at yourself and constantly be in an environment of learning and development and make that part of your MO, your mantra, your lifelong commitment that you're always developing and growing.

            I find that when we're doing that, we're so much more powerful and it keeps us motivated. And with that, that also translates to own helping others invest in their own development.

Mike Petrusky:

Excellent.

Sue Salvemini:

And then the last two I talk about are praise and recognition. Don't be afraid to recognize each other, regardless of whether you're the "boss" or not, but people crave being valued. And as I said, the number one challenge that most people feel in their job is that they don't feel valued. So it's not that everybody needs a medal or a certificate, but a kind word of recognition, recognizing someone's hard work, is critical. And I say that, but let's put the mirror on yourself. Take time to recognize the great things that you've done. Don't be so quick to cross off the to-do list and look forward that you forget to turn around and see everything you just did. Recognize your accomplishments for what they're worth and be proud.

Mike Petrusky:

Really good.

Sue Salvemini:

The last one we started with, so we start with dessert at the beginning, but listen. Listening to here. And I have that last in the book, because of all of the elements of being impactful and being a strong leader, I truly believe that your ability to listen, starting with listening to yourself and taking time to listen to yourself, and then the translation is listening to others, really, really provides an incredible space for knowledge, hugely inspirational leadership and direction, and just a place for people to feel heard and valued. So listening to hear.

Mike Petrusky:

Wonderful. So much good stuff. So many of those things we try to do here on this show, and we are in alignment, Sue, in so many ways. I thank you for sharing the book with me and I have really enjoyed our time together today. Thank you for being on the Workplace Innovator Podcast.

Sue Salvemini:

Thank you, Mike. It's been awesome

Mike Petrusky:

There you have it, everyone. Sue Salvemini, giving us an overview of her new book Leadership by Choice: 7 Keys for Maximizing Your Impact and Influence in the Workplace... Right Where You Are. If you'd like to learn more about Sue and her company Focal Pointe, as well as pick up your copy of the book, I will leave some links in the show notes to make it easy for you to do that. And I hope that you enjoyed this episode. Please share it with your colleagues and friends and anyone you think that may benefit from this podcast.

            As always, it is an honor for me to be able to deliver, each and every week, some information and a little bit of inspiration to help you navigate the future of work. And I hope you'll join me again next week for another conversation, where we will encourage you to be a workplace innovator. Peace out.

            You've been listening to the Workplace Innovator Podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to build partnerships that lead to innovative workplace solutions. For more information about how iOFFICE can help you create an employee-centric workspace by delivering digital technology that enhances the employee experience, visit iofficecorp.com.