Speaker 0 00:00:00 People will be flexible and they will go out of their way to be part of a team. If there's a reason to be part of a team, which just goes back to basic management. Are they recognized? Are they challenged? Do they feel productive?
Speaker 2 00:00:14 Welcome to the agency, our podcast where we help web design and digital agency owners create abundance for themselves, their teams, and their communities. This week, we are joined by Ira Wolf. Ira has an overwhelmingly long list of super impressive credentials, including dentist turned futurist, TEDx speaker, six times author, and now top five global thought leader on the future of work, HR and adaptability. IRA has also recently completed a neuroscience training program and has brought some really fresh and unique perspectives to this conversation. In this episode, we completely shoot down job titles. We discuss the future of work, the most valuable thing humans can do, that AI can't, as well as employee wellbeing, the new success model for self-development and making people productive to be happy versus making them happy in order to be productive. I'm Troy Dean, stay with us. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the agency our podcast, IRA Wolfe. Good afternoon or good evening, IRA. How are you?
Speaker 0 00:01:17 Hey, Troy. I'm doing very well. It's evening where I am. Cool. But it's, uh, it's great to see you.
Speaker 2 00:01:22 Which time zone are you in
Speaker 0 00:01:24 Eastern Time, so New York time zone.
Speaker 2 00:01:27 Ah, perfect. Well, thank you for staying up and joining us here on the agency hour for those. I love the internet. You just like, you've gotta love the internet, don't you? I mean, the ability for us to connect in real time here and high definition video and audio, and get to know each other and record a conversation and share it with our people. What a time to be alive. Hey.
Speaker 0 00:01:44 Oh, absolutely. And I'm sure we'll get into this when we talk about the future of work, but I know a lot of people, you know, complained about Zoom, you know, zoom fatigue and zoom calls. But can you imagine going back even five years or 10 years and we had the pandemic? Mm. What that would've look like? That's, well, how would, I mean, there was a, there was a hundred million people just in the US who still had jobs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they did 'em differently. Yeah. But I don't know what they would've done.
Speaker 2 00:02:14 Yeah. Well, I mean, we would've been trapped in email and phone calls, right? I mean, how inefficient would that have been? And
Speaker 0 00:02:20 Or they would've been forced to, or they been, would've been forced to go to work. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:02:25 Yeah. It's an amazing time to be alive. And I know we're gonna talk about AI and all the technological revolutions that are happening, and we're gonna talk about the future of work. We're gonna talk about remote workforces and all of that. But before we get there, just give our audience a little bit of context. Who are you, where have you come from, and how did you get to be here today?
Speaker 0 00:02:43 Oh, we could, this, this'll gonna be a really, really long show. If I do all that <laugh>, I'm, I'm an older baby boomer, so I've, I've, I've got a lot of years. So I've been called the Renaissance man. One of my taglines is currently the millennial trapped in the baby boomer body. The, the mind is still growing and still active. Just last week I completed a six week neuroscience course at Wharton talking about how you apply neuroscience in business. So still learning into, you know, in my seventies, and yet the baby boomer bodies, a baby boomer body <laugh>. So I do my, I do my best to keep moving and, and keep it going. But that's, you know, who I am. I, I think the short answer to that question too is I, my why anybody's familiar with Simon Sinek mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, golden circle. The why, how, and the what my statement is to help other people find a better way to be extraordinary and challenge in status quo. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 0 00:03:41 I love it. So that's who I am. And when I look back at multiple different, not careers, but paths that I took to get to this point, every step of the way, followed that why, although I wasn't able to articulate that why until the last two years. Yeah. As much as I tried, people say, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who are you? What do you really want outta life? What do you want on your tombstone? You know, all those different ways that, that people say that. And, you know, I had to pat answers, um, you know, wanna, wanna be a good person, wanna be a good parent, wanna be a good son, wanna be a good, whatever I did, you know, wanna be able to retire. I mean, there were all these good things. Why do you work? What do you do? And that, those all were intellectually and logically, rationally the right thing to say. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it never really gave meaning until in the last two years through a process. And we can talk about that if you'd like mm-hmm. <affirmative> through a process. I was able to articulate that. I just wanna help others find the better way to be extraordinary. And so that's like, yeah, that's what I did.
Speaker 2 00:04:46 I've already clocked that this could be a series of podcast episodes. 'cause there's lots of wisdom here I wanna unpack. And we haven't even begun talking about the future of work or living in a remote, a remote world, um, or the, the age of globalization, which I wanna unpack. But this, this, it's interesting because I'll be 50 this year, and I have been on this journey of trying to figure out, you know, who am I? And been reading a bit of stoicism and kind of embracing the fact that, you know, I'm an insignificant piece of bacteria on this planet. And, and that's, I actually find that quite liberating. And, but I think the, you know, <laugh>, the, the question which is very meta is, why is it important that we find our why? And, and for me, I think it's because, and this, I don't mean to be too bleak about it, but if you look at life in the grand scheme of things, and we are here for a very short time on the planet, and there are lots of us, so how significant are we really as individuals? And I think that to find our why and attach some meaning to that is what helps us make sense of the world and where we fit in and how we belong, and the contribution that, that we make. And here you are in your seventies saying that it's only really been the last couple of years that you've been able to, to articulate why you do what you do. Why was it important for you to be able to articulate why you do what you do?
Speaker 0 00:06:05 Well, I don't know if it is important for me to articulate it, because I always knew my path. So, rolling the clock back a little bit from the, from the fifth grade, and I talked about this in my ted talk in my fifth grade. I remember standing up, you know, uh, my, I, my last name's Wolf, so it begins with a w So when they did it alphabetically, obviously I was at the end of the alphabet mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, you know, we had maybe 30 kids in my class. And they went around and, and the teacher had said, what do you wanna be when you grow up? And it went around and for some reason, no connection, no family. I said, I was gonna be a dentist. And that sort of stuck. And then, you know, anytime anybody asks, is they, are you still gonna be a dentist?
Speaker 0 00:06:47 Yeah. So I went through that path because we aligned job titles mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because that's what we do to kids, by the way. And we still do it. What do you wanna be when you grow up at, you know, when you're 10 years old? What, what are you gonna do with the rest of your life? So I I, when I came to that, I stood up. And then every year after that, people would say, what do you wanna do when you grow? And what's your path? And no, you'd be a good dentist and you're smart. And so I did, that was my first career. I became a dentist and I left. And I sold that 30 years, almost 30 years ago. Uh, I was in my forties. And when I sold people said, well, what are you gonna do? You're a dentist. I mean, what?
Speaker 0 00:07:27 So I said, I'm going to start a consulting company. Oh, you so you're gonna consult with dentists? No, <laugh>, I don't wanna consult with dentists. Well, what do you know about business? What do you know about leadership? Well, along the way, I wasn't successful because I had great ha, I, hopefully I had good hands and, and I was skilled with that. But I wasn't good. I didn't have a successful practice because I had only a license in good hands. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I had a successful, a really, really successful practice because I was good at leadership. I, I tried to understand how to build teams, how to deliver customer service, how to market, how to be a good member of the community, all those things. That's what business is, that's what leadership is. That's what management is. To this day, 30 years later, actually, 35 and 40 years later, I still have staff members that are in touch with me on Facebook at holidays.
Speaker 0 00:08:25 I have patience that I haven't seen in 30 years that still contact me. Um, so, you know, part of that is, going back to your question is I always knew what my purpose was. It was just when someone asked me what it was, I couldn't articulate that. And why that's important, it wasn't important for me, is I knew who I was. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But when other people said it, they couldn't share it. But think about the reverse. Think about employees coming to work or think about somebody that you don't know well mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you, you need to, you need to understand what's in it for them. How do you have a connection? And, and again, I work primarily in business, but when, so when you hire a new employee, it often takes years. If, if, and maybe never, but it takes a long time for an employer, a manager, an employee, to figure out who they are.
Speaker 0 00:09:23 Are we in sync? Do I like you? What's your style? What do you want? At the end of the day, what do I want at the end of the day? And, and so what I found was after all those years, finally a process that allowed that to happen in 10 minutes, that somebody could articulate within 10 minutes what their why was. So you can start a conversation. So if my why, as I said was contribute, which is to help others, and yours might be, yours might be the same thing. And so we have something in common, but yours might be trust, it might be making sense, it might be finding a better way. It might be challenging status quo. It, maybe to simplify it, maybe to clarify. So there's nine why's that Simon Sinek developed. And then through that process, there's a tool that we use that can help people quickly identify which of those they are. Hmm. But, so instead of taking six months or a year, or never for two people to understand what their meaning is, what they want at the end of the day, uh, you can do it quickly. So
Speaker 2 00:10:27 Can we find that tool? Can you link to that tool somewhere so I can put it in the show notes so that people can go and
Speaker 0 00:10:32 Yeah, absolutely. It's actually on my website, which is adaptability toolkit.com/y.
Speaker 2 00:10:39 Got it. There we go. Max, make some notes on that, because I am, I, this is something I still am, I'm still curious about. I mean, I, my, the way I articulate it is that I like to empower the underdog. Right? I like to help the little guy. 'cause that's where I come from. That's my background. And my grandfather, uh, did that a lot. My, you know, my grandfather helped a lot of the, the new migrant families coming into the northern suburbs of South Australia. He helped them get connected with government services and employment services. And he was like the, he was just known in the community for that. And, and, but I still, sometimes I look at myself and go, really? Is that really, is that really, why? Is that really your purpose, dude? Like, is that really, or are you just, are you just kind of kidding yourself? Are you trying to, are you trying to fly that flag? Like, what, you know, some days it resonates, some days it doesn't. So I'm definitely gonna go check out that tool and put a link,
Speaker 0 00:11:28 The show. So I, so I rattled off a bunch of them. And my guess is just from you sharing it, and sometimes just listening to people and having a framework in which you listen to people though mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if you're, is that all, I'll almost bet that your number one why is contribute mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:11:44 <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 0 00:11:46 <affirmative>, that's the same probably. But then, but then how do you do that? And then what outcome do you want? So everybody could say, oh, we wanna help others, but maybe somebody wants to help others by making sense of the world. Other people want to help them challenge other peoples who want to, to build trust. So we all have different pathways to get there, but there's some, there's a commonality that we have and, but just by listening to people, sometimes they can share that. But other times that's a difficult conversation. And Nino are a little bit more versed. But, you know, imagine hiring a 22 year old.
Speaker 2 00:12:22 I have, and I've had conversations where I talk about, you know, you, I, I have, I actually had a, one of our employees who was in his early thirties, and I would say to him, you know, where do you wanna be in three years time? And he said to me, dude, when you were 32, did you know where you wanna be in three years time? I'm like, absolutely not. I have no idea. And he's like, right, well, I don't really know yet. I'm still figuring it out. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:12:42 But, but that's a little different. I just wanna clarify, that's a little different. When you ask, where do you want to be when you grew up? So, so I've had, yeah. Is that, but how you get there and what you really want out of it, whether you're a dentist, a podcaster, a blogger, a mechanic, a an engineer, you can still have those values. So it doesn't mean what your job title is, which is what we associate our being. It's, it's what, at the end of the day, no matter what you did, what do you wanna get out of it?
Speaker 2 00:13:12 Yeah. And it's interesting that we ask, what what do you wanna do when you grow up? We don't ask, who do you wanna be when you grow up? Oh, we ask, what do you wanna do when you grow up? Exactly. And I think, I think it's because the person asking the question, if I asked you, who do you wanna be when you grow up? I might not be, I might not be able to, I might not know what to do with the answer. Whereas if I ask you, what do you wanna do when you grow up and you say a fireman or a dentist or an astronaut, I know what to do with the answer. And so I think it's a, uh, it's a great observation. I'm gonna stop asking that question. I'm gonna start asking, who do you wanna be when you grow up?
Speaker 2 00:13:43 I read in a book a long time ago, and I can't remember the book. I once thought it was Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But I don't think it is the, the, the author said that employees what motivates employees are in order a cause they believe in, which is why people volunteer for a charity without pay, because they believe in the cause a leader, they respect and money in that order. Now, I dunno who the author is, I dunno who who said that, but I think the cause they believe in, if it's not, if you're working in a business and we're not working in a nonprofit or a charity, the meaning that we allow our employees and our team to find in their work, right. Whether you know their why, their own personal, why, I think that is what gives them, uh, an internal cause, right?
Speaker 2 00:14:28 So, so we're in the business of helping agencies grow and operate from a state of abundance. And everyone on our team is very passionate about helping web and digital marketing agency owners grow and, and support them on that journey. And if they're not passionate, then they don't stay on our team very long. They kind of self-select and they, they move on. So I just wonder if, if you have any observations around that kind of prioritization of people working for a cause they believe in a leader they respect and money in that order. What, what have you sort of seen in your time?
Speaker 0 00:14:57 No, absolutely. And, and I think you're dead on. I think the number one thing is a cause. And we're hearing that more and more, you know, especially with younger generations, especially after the pandemic, people sort of took a, you know, if you were older than 25, you started to reflect on your life. Am I doing the right thing? I'm just, I'm, I'm just running in circles. I'm going on that career path. People started to, for, for the last 20 years, have started to reflect on that. And then, and then the younger generations are saying, no, we're, we're, we're not gonna do, we're not gonna follow the traditional pathways. So having a cause sounds noble, but I think everybody had that. And for some people it may be just having a family, taking care of their kids and giving back to the community, going to church.
Speaker 0 00:15:42 Mm-hmm. Other people wanna cure cancer, have clean water, c mitigate climate control, you know, or mm-hmm. <affirmative>, climate change, solve the energy, make sure everybody, you know, is, has abundance. So, so it could be small or it could be large, but everybody always had a cause to be able to do it. I think where it's, and then, and then it's, you know, where does that come from and what are your values? And the internal motivation, I, I was a third priority. I would switch up the money a little bit because there are some people that are motivated by money that's, that's a third. But other people, it's just reward it. It's what reward, what, what, what's their return on investment? And it doesn't have to be money. And oftentimes it's just recognition. And I don't mean ego recognition mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's just being recognized for your part. So I, I think the third is just reward and recognition that people want. But then within that, there are people that want money. That's how they measure their success. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's other people that just want security. There's other people that just want to pat in the back to know they did a good job.
Speaker 2 00:16:56 We've spent a lot of time here at Agency Mavericks trying to define our why. Try to articulate it in many different ways. We've landed on for the last few years that the reason that we exist and our purpose is to enable agencies to operate from a state of abundance. The full tagline really is we enable agencies to operate from a state of abundance so they can make their highest contribution to themselves, their teams, and their communities. It's pretty long, but it feels good for me. I can get behind that. The team can get behind that. And it has really helped us align the team and it helps us make decisions. It's a good governance, if you like, and a good lens through which we make decisions as we have a quick shout out to our podcast sponsor, E two M. Because the reason that we've partnered with them is the moment that I got on a call with Manishh when he reached out to introduce himself.
Speaker 2 00:17:41 And I had heard about them because we had clients who were using their white label services. And the first moment we got on a call with Manishh, I just knew straight away that we were in alignment in terms of what we were trying to do and why their mission is to enable digital agency owners to experience business growth with peace of mind and attain freedom in both their professional and personal lives. And there is such a great alignment between why we do what we do and why E two M do what they do. And that's what we've partnered with them. And I'm very proud that they are the exclusive sponsor of the agency, our podcast. And it's a, I just wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about remote work. And I think this is a nice segue because, um, we, we, we've kind of always been a remote company.
Speaker 2 00:18:19 At that one point prior to the pandemic, we did have six people working in our office in Melbourne, and we had people scattered around different parts of the globe. But now I, we've got two here in Melbourne. I think that's the most we have in any one space. We have two in New Zealand, we have a bunch in the us we have some of the Philippines, uh, we have some more here in Melbourne and Australia that work remotely. How it's, we've been quite intentional about dialing up how we reward and recognize our team members remotely. What have you seen change since the pandemic people going and working from home? How have the, how have the best workplaces that you've seen really nurtured and fostered that culture and not just let people slip out to sea without a life jacket, which happened a lot during the pandemic.
Speaker 0 00:19:05 Yeah. We're still learning, we're still on the journey, but it really goes back to how we started this conversation. And it's not just knowing somebody's why, but what, because if we talk about even the movement to allowing people to flexibility to go hybrid, you know, to be hybrid or go remote mm-hmm. Is there are people that aren't comfortable with that for lots of reasons. If you live, you know, I'm, I'm somewhat familiar with Melbourne. I mean, I've been there, but if you live in New York City or Los Angeles and you're, you literally live in the city, your apartment, you know, if you're young, you may be sharing a 700 square foot flat with four roommates mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you want to go to the office mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you need to go to the office mm-hmm. <affirmative> because you have one, maybe you have one kitchen table shared by everybody and, and somebody may be working evenings, so they're sleeping.
Speaker 0 00:20:02 So you, so there's mm-hmm. There's reasons that people want to go. Or it could be a family of four and they have a two or three bedroom apartment and they need to go out. Mm-hmm. But there are other people who want to work high, want that flexibility to work remote. So part of it is, is it's just talking to the people and finding out what they need and how you might be able to accommodate them. So this whole argument of working remote, working hybrid work, going back to the office is, is really, it's a dumb argument. It <laugh>, it's just plain dumb when there's mandates to do it both ways. Because there are people that are really uncomfortable only going to the office, and there's people that are uncomfortable only having the option to work remote. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and even the hybrid is tough because there's a million variations when you're talking about, you know, if you say, look, you four day workweeks are now the big thing.
Speaker 0 00:21:00 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I've been around long enough to know that four day workweek have been around for 50 years mm-hmm. <affirmative> that usually get up, you know, it's, first of all, you can get every once a month, you can take off Friday afternoon, and then it became, you can take off a full day Friday, and then it was casual Fridays. There's always been this thing about a four day work week. But here's the problem. Not everybody has childcare or elder care mm-hmm. Or can get doctor's appointments. Um, that, that Monday to Thursday works. Sometimes it's, it, maybe it's Tuesday through Saturday or Tuesday through Friday, or, or Thursday through Sunday. I mean, what's a four day work week? So the whole thing in a, in a big picture is not only it's where people work, but how work gets done. And then the biggest problem that we've had is how do you, how do, how do companies measure outcomes? Mm-hmm. It's shifting from outcomes rather than focusing on hours worked mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we're still stuck with that. And people say, well, we have to have 40 hours, because that's how the, and again, I can speak mostly about the us but, but that, you know, if you work 30 hours, you're considered part-time mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:22:11 <affirmative>, it's the same here in Australia. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:22:13 Yeah. But we all know people that work 30 hours and do the work of somebody who works 60 hours. Well
Speaker 2 00:22:20 Also know people who work 60 hours and get nothing done because they're just faffing about trying to be busy and trying to convincing themselves they're productive. Right. But they're not actually doing,
Speaker 0 00:22:28 So, yeah. So we already shut down job titles, you know, stop focusing on job titles, find out who people are. And the second is, we need, you know, companies, the biggest shake up in the last couple years has been, companies really realized how horrible, some companies have realized how horrible they are on measuring productivity. Productivity isn't just hours, people work and you know, it, it's, it's revenues divided by hours, <laugh>. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:22:54 Yeah. That's
Speaker 0 00:22:55 Really a horrible formula.
Speaker 2 00:22:56 It is. We, we switched to Job scorecards, Jeff Smart and Brad Smart over at Top Grading, did some great work on, on Job scorecards. And we've adopted that, which has been, uh, a game changer for us because we now measure outcomes. I, I have a theory that particularly entrepreneurs and business owners, that if you told them they weren't allowed to work Friday, I have a theory that most of them wouldn't know what to do with themselves on that Friday and that they'd probably sneak back into work. <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:23:22 It happens. Yeah. It, yeah. It, it really is a matter of flexibility. And, and, and again, some people do better, you know, after midnight. Mm-hmm. That's when they get their, their, their ideas and, and other people are early risers and other people are late risers. You know, I, when when I wake up early, I, I'll have some ideas and I can get to work, but I'm also a really late night person and, you know, so the idea, my, my lull is like in the, in the afternoon.
Speaker 2 00:23:55 Yeah, that's right. I have,
Speaker 0 00:23:57 That's right. And, and, but that's me. But other people, other people are exhausted. You know, the afternoon, they're winding down, their energy's out. Other people can get up at four 30 in the morning and they have the routine and they start early. I could do that a couple days, but I've never been, I mean, I, I got up early, but I, but it was never to like, focus and, and that was my flow zone. If I got up early, it was because I had a meeting and I got a lot of stuff done. But I, I go to the gym at the end of the day. Mm-hmm. I mean, I go to the gym when most people are going to bed. Mm-hmm. And because I found that was my separation, that was end of my day. And if I don't, if I don't schedule that workout, I don't turn off, I don't stop. There's like no cutoff where other people say, well, I can never do that. I, I, they go, they get up in the morning and they hop on a treadmill, they go to the gym, they run a couple miles. I couldn't do that when I was 15, and I can't do it at 70 <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:25:01 So if we've not my thing, if we've got all these people that are, and, and we, we, we have, we had an all hands meeting the other day. Everyone in the company was on the call. We had Ghana in the Philippines was up at 5:00 AM and we had Thomas in the UK who was up at 10:00 PM to make that work. If you've got people who are working now, if Ghana was like, well, you know, I'm a night owl. I'm gonna start work at two o'clock in the afternoon and finish at midnight, then there's no way we could get him on a call with the guys in the uk. So how do you, how do you keep people aligned and how do you breed that high performance culture if people are working? And I'm asking purely selfishly here, if people are working flexibly and working the hours that they wanna work, where they're most productive, what can you do to keep, how do we communicate and how do we get, keep getting the message through to keep people aligned, moving in the same direction, and encourage them into, into that high performance culture? Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:25:51 It's a, it's a great question. And if, had you asked me that a year or two ago, I probably would've given you an answer, but it would've been just off the cuff. I think that there's two really powerful things that I've learned over the last two years trying to figure this out. And one is you, and it goes back to purpose, but a different way. You need to give people a purpose for getting up at five. If, if they, if if they basically go to bed at midnight like me, but you have a meeting that they have to attend at five, there's gotta be a reason for them to be there, other than they have to be in attendance. The, the meetings have to be meaningful. They have to be productive. They have to be, they have to be engaging. And it doesn't mean entertaining, but there's gotta be a reason that someone has to show up.
Speaker 0 00:26:43 And where I learned that was not necessarily from, from what your question was, but when companies are arguing that employees say, well, I don't wanna go back to the office. Well, that's not what they're saying is when they say, I don't wanna return to the office if there's no reason that I have to be there. If I can get the same work done, not commuting and sitting at home, then why do I have to be in the office? And when they went to the office, half the people weren't there for different reasons, and they were still having a Zoom meeting. But meanwhile, they commuted an hour to get to work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they hired, uh, they, they had to hire a babysitter or drop the kids somewhere mm-hmm. <affirmative> to find coverage. And they got there to sit on a zoom call that they could have done on their laptop in a coffee shop.
Speaker 0 00:27:32 Mm-hmm. Or at home on the kitchen table. So, uh, the first thing, the first part of that is people will be flexible and they will go out of their way to be part of a team if there's a reason to be part of a team, which just goes back to basic management. Are they recognized? Are they challenged? Do they, do they feel productive? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the other part, and I, I'm gonna come back to something I just learned about two weeks ago through the neuroscience program, and it was a quote that somebody gave. But the other part of that is it's not just being productive and, and having a purpose. It's also feeling trusted. It, it's also a matter of trust. It's a matter of having a high trust organization that, that people feel part of it. They feel that if, if I'm not there, I will, I will be missed and I will miss being there.
Speaker 0 00:28:30 It's reciprocal. Hmm. It's that we're doing a roll call and Troy's not there, which is one part of the equation. But Troy feels that I need to be part of that. I need to be there not to be counted and not to have perfect attendance, but because I have a, there's a reason that I need to be there. Mm. And it won't be whole. So I think it's a matter of, of, of, there's, there's gotta be a reason that people want to, there's a reason that they need to show up for work or be part of that. And then there also has to be trust in that. But, and, and maybe this sums the whole thing up. We've grown up and, and Gallup and everybody for the last 40 years of my life has been measuring engagement. And, you know, first it was job satisfaction and then engagement. Now it's about experience now and connection. Everybody's always been measuring it because we, because the assumption was the equation was happy employees engaged, employees are productive. And what, what science has now showed us that that's backwards. Hmm. That productive employees are happy. Happy. Wow. Productive employees are engaged.
Speaker 2 00:29:49 Hmm. Of
Speaker 0 00:29:50 Course. And think about it, everything's done. Perks, you know, whether it's, you know, four day, four day work weeks, whether it's ping pong tables, whether it's free lunch, they're all perks. Because if we make people happy, then they'll be productive. And it still didn't work. 'cause there's still only 30% engagement worldwide. <laugh>, 70% of of people are disengaged at work. But if you make people product, if you do what it takes to make people productive, which means, and in order to be productive, it means they feel a part of the organization, there's meaning and purpose to what they do, then they're happy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's not the other way around, of course. And all these models have completely screwed it up. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:30:35 Of course. There's just great, I can't remember where it was. I wanna say it was, I can't remember. I'll have to look it up. I read this in a book. It's a fantastic book. Good Authority is the name of the book, Maxwell, I'll have to find out who wrote that. Jonathan, someone. Anyway, he said, I think it was him that said, if you, if you take someone who's only ever earned $50,000 a year, and you pay them a salary of $80,000 a year, and their job is to move a pile of bricks from one side of the carpark to the other. And then once they've done that, move the pile of bricks back to the other side of the carpark. And then once they've done that, move the pile of bricks back to the other side of the carpark in a week and a half, they'll quit.
Speaker 2 00:31:06 Because it's meaningless. Mind-numbing work. There is no point to, it doesn't matter how much you pay them. And so one of the things that we've really worked on here is trying to dial in the how to win. Right. And I learned this when we came back from an event in the States, and we'd had a great event. We'd onboarded a bunch of new clients. It was really successful. But the quarter had been horrible. And I was a bit grumpy in the office. And a couple of my team were like, what's going on, man? We feel like we've been shooting three pointers all game, and we've been winning. And five seconds before the bell goes, you reveal the curtain and show us the scoreboard. And there's no way we can win the game. Even though we've been playing our best. They said, it's not fair. You need to show us the scoreboard and you need to show us how to win.
Speaker 2 00:31:48 And I've had jobs in the past before where I, it was complete. I had, it was no, I, I had no interest in it. It was, it was meaningless. And I was miserable and I was disengaged. Jobs where I've known that I've known how to win, and I've known that I can win. I'm super engaged and I'm super happy because I feel important. I feel like I'm matter. Right. I feel like I'm making a meaningful contribution to the team. So I think it, I mean, is it just as simple as saying, as kind of sharing the vision with the team? I guess what I'm looking for is like, from a tactical point of view where we're all communicating in Slack and on Zoom these days, how do you dial up that productivity so that people are happier?
Speaker 0 00:32:29 Well, again, sharing the vision, sharing the mission, sharing the values, everybody nods their head and said, yeah, I'm in agreement is, but what does it mean to them? Mm. What, what's their role in, in creating that vision or, or, you know, helping you, not the vision, but of, of, of, of participating in that mission, which would be number one. But part of that is also how they get there. You know, again, some people want that structure. They want to get up in the morning and go to work. And other people want the flexibility, you know, treating people as individuals, you know, putting, you know, it sounds pretty rote, but, you know, putting the HVAC and HR <laugh>, you know? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:33:13 Yeah. And removing the r actually removing the R from HR
Speaker 0 00:33:16 <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we just, we just had a, a super interesting conversation today. We, we, we, I have a podcast, gee, geezers and Google mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we just had a fascinating conversation because we talked about bus love, the four letter word, love as a business strategy. And this wasn't about, you know, prostitution or anything else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. This was, this was about connection. It's about caring and it's about compassion, and it's about empathy. And if I would've thought that I would be talking about love in the workplace is you would hear all the managers and executives and employment law attorneys, you know, talking about creating a hostile environment and sexual harassment. And the reality is, it, it doesn't have to be about touching. And it doesn't have to be have a sexual connotation. It's just about compassion and empathy and treating people as human beings. And I know whether we have time or not to venture into this, you know, and we're talking about the fu and this is all, by the way, about the future of work. If anybody thought we were just talking technology and robots and automation, this is the future of work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is the only thing that is going to differentiate us from a machine, differentiate a company in an organization are the human beings in there. Correct. And it's not to have human beings to do the jobs that machines can't.
Speaker 2 00:34:43 Correct. I hope my entire team is listening to this. I'm gonna replay this section of the podcast a hundred thousand fricking times because I, I keep, and I team members get freaked out and they get scared when I talk about AI making their job easy. Because like, well, what am I gonna do? I'm like, your job is to sit and connect with each other and think and talk. That's the most valuable thing we can do as human beings. 'cause robots can't do that.
Speaker 0 00:35:04 And, and it's yet, and it, and it, they can mimic it. If, if you And I just rewatched the movie her, if for anybody who had, oh yes. Oh, it's good. You know, I mean, 10, it's 10 years old. It's hard to believe. Yeah. And at the time, that was really weird and that was sick. Yeah. I mean, how can somebody fall in love with their phone? Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:35:24 And yet, and I don't want to go too far off on this and I don't wanna offend anybody, but people have fallen in love with a non-physical being for millennium since mm-hmm. It's called, whether it's a God with a capital G or a small G or whether it's non, it's just the spirit we is, it doesn't have to be physical. Hmm. And so there is some relationship that man can, humans, not just man, but humans can have a relationship with something non-physical. What can happen cannot happen yet and may never happen is the reverse. Mm-hmm. They can, AI can mimic the behavior, but they can't feel it. Mm-hmm. So the uniqueness is still gonna be humans feeling that connection mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:36:18 <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:36:18 Okay. And, and having another human being feel it back. But there were some people that will choose to have it with a non-physical being. But the reality is, it's, it's gonna get complicated, you know, where we are with the eye. But for now, at least for the near future, for now, is AI is a great tool. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> on any given moment, I probably have one. One is, I always have way too many tabs open my, on my browser. Half of them are AI related, some of them chat, G p T, some of 'em are other programs I have. It has made me a much better writer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it has much, it has helped me. I've learned a lot from it because not only have I learned to ask the right questions and ask those questions better, but it is taking me where I have an idea and it's like, well, Troy's sleeping.
Speaker 0 00:37:10 I can't call Troy or Troy's busy. And then you get distracted and then that idea goes away and go, and then all of a sudden it, it just gets lost in the day. I have a question, I throw it into chat G p T, and then whatever its answer is, it's like, Hmm, that's interesting. Let, let me ask it a different way and a different way and a different way. So I get smarter, I get faster, I'm more efficient. Mm-hmm. I can help more people. It's a great tool. Is it replacing me? Not yet. And that's for most jobs there are, if the, if your job could be replaced by ai, you were just, you were just picking up a paycheck. That's
Speaker 2 00:37:51 Right. Exactly. A hundred percent. I mean, I'm, I'm looking at we're, we are deep in AI rabbit hole now in terms of editing video and editing, audio editing things like the podcast and our YouTube videos. And it's only a matter of time. We are very close. I mean, I was looking at an app yesterday that edited a 45 minute podcast in 47 seconds. And it was a multi-camera setup. It was two camera setup. It was a video podcast. I saw a demonstration of this. It was, it blew my mind. Yeah, that's correct. Our, by the way, we have five values here in the company. And number one is share the love. We believe it is an abundant world, and we make decisions based on a loving, fearless mindset. So I'm right on the same page here with you, and I think people do, I had a previous business partner that was not comfortable with that value at all.
Speaker 2 00:38:35 Share the love. He just didn't like the word love in in a business context. He, no, he no longer works here. So the, because for, because my approach to this is that the only thing that we have is that's truly unique is that we are human beings and we need to bring that full human being to work, because that's what work is. Work is collaboration between human beings working to solve problems and AI's here to augment it and make us faster and let us do our job quicker and sometimes better and, and free up that time that we were spending editing audio for a podcast, we've now freed up an hour a day where we can do more valuable, meaningful work, like think and talk to our colleagues and solve bigger problems and talk to our customers and come up with ideas because we're not tapping away on the keyboard anymore.
Speaker 2 00:39:25 So I'm a hundred percent in alignment with what you're saying there. Um, I wanna just talk quickly before we wrap up. And I do want to get you back on the podcast for another episode if you're up for it, because I think there's so much to unpack here in your wealth of experience. Uh, by the way, the book I was mentioning is Good Authority by Jonathan Raymond. I'll put a link to that. You are also a six times author and a TEDx speaker. How have you, at what point did you, and I, I'm asking this on behalf of a lot of the people listening to this who have ideas and have experience, but for some reason don't put themselves out there to go on a podcast or apply for TEDx or write a book or go and talk on stage. At what point in your career did you say, I'm gonna be that person that goes and talks publicly and writes books and shares my thoughts on the internet and makes videos and goes on and, and starts a podcast because, you know, because for a lot of people that there, there, there's so many mental blocks with that kind of stuff.
Speaker 2 00:40:17 Right. And at some point you've decided to get out of your own way long enough to do it. Can you just talk a little bit about that journey and also the benefits of doing that?
Speaker 0 00:40:25 Yeah. Can I blame it on genetics? <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:40:28 <laugh>, of course.
Speaker 0 00:40:29 Uh, there, it, it prob I, I often said, even my dental practice, I happened to be a marketing pr content creation company that just happened to be in dentistry. And that's why I was able to make the decision. It wasn't that I was a dentist, what are you gonna do? It's like, I'm just switching job titles. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm gonna, and my business model for the last 40 some years has been the same whether I was filling teeth or whether I was selling services mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Uh, so part of it was natural. I grew up in a, a family small community, coal cracking a coal town in, in, um, Pennsylvania. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, but most of my family in neighboring towns were all in retail. And, and so part of it was how do you market in retail? And they were active parts of the community.
Speaker 0 00:41:18 And so everybody was, was a good marketer. But, you know, as, as things changed, I started to write only because I flushed out the ideas in my head. And, and part it started as promotion, but then there was always part of, well, I can write about this new technique, or I can write about somebody in the office. When I had, and I, and I had a newsletter two months after I opened my dental practice in 1980. Wow. And it was pretty early on, but I wanted to write more personal. And so I'd, I'd have an idea and to flesh it out, I used to write about it. And then, you know, you get halfway through and it's like, I can't finish it. Like I, there's no conclusion. It's a great story to start, but there's no ending. Mm-hmm. And, and so you get better at that.
Speaker 0 00:42:05 Over time. Chet Bute's been incredible. Mm-hmm. It's actually improved my style, not my content, but my style. It, it's made it more readable, but I've been doing it for a while. So, but to go it back, why should anybody do it? You're gonna do it for different reasons. I mean, you know, some people are are gonna do it because, hey, I would like to speak, but what do I talk about? Or I'd like to write a book. My books, uh, my, my last two books I wrote from, well, I wrote 'em all from scratch, but my last two books were, were a little bit different. But the first four books I wrote were really a compilation of everything I wrote. And I'd realized I have a lot of articles. I mean, I got probably 5,000 blog articles out there. Wow. And I would, so my first one I was writing about workforce trends.
Speaker 0 00:42:54 So 25 years ago, I was talking about the future of work. We called it Perfect Labor Storm. That we were gonna have a shortage of skilled workers. And every newsletter I wrote a weekly newsletter. Every newsletter I wrote, I collected facts, you know, trends, you know what, it could have been about education. It could about women in the workplace. It could have about aging in the workplace. It could have been about, at that time, gen X or, or millennials. So I col I'd read articles and I'd collect all these facts and then I'd just report 'em back. So I literally pulled them all together for over about a two year period and categorized them and published them. That was my book. It wasn't, you know, it wasn't a fiction, it wasn't a nonfiction, it was just a fact book. And then what fascinated me about that, everybody used to ask about generations and they go, so what, you know, what do you think about all these darn millennials?
Speaker 0 00:43:46 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I decided, I'll put that into a book. So I started, I wrote a book called Geek Skis and Ization, which is now my podcast. And it was about the four generations of workplace. And the globalization part, which I know we didn't get to, was about the technology. It was about the convergence of people, business and technology. And how that was more important than the four generations is the, each of the four generations were gonna react differently to the technology, but the technology was gonna keep changing. And you know, we, we certainly wi witnessed that. Now as that we, when you think about Gen Z who was coming into the workplace, so they're the, they're the 22, 23, 24 year olds. They're coming into workplace, understand that they've never known a world that, that there was only a desktop or a BC mm-hmm. It used to be, can you imagine a world without the internet?
Speaker 0 00:44:33 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're the first generation that's only ever known. Handheld devices. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Gotcha. That's wrong. But they're also for, for two or three years, they're generation that not only may have gone to college remotely, not been on campus, but they may have never, ever worked in an office. Mm. They never may have not never gone to work. Not because they weren't working, 'cause they didn't have to go to the office. They can work, do it virtually. So you think, you know, that's their perspective and we think it's normal to go to the office. Yeah. That's completely abnormal for them. They've never, ever had to do it. So I write about that stuff, it was just what's on my mind. They started to write you practice. It's like anything else. It doesn't mean you have to win the Nobel Prize. That's not my aspiration. I wrote to get ideas outta my head.
Speaker 0 00:45:34 Now, other people may be able to talk about it more than writing and they can do a podcast. Fortunately, we have all these tools available. Find a tool. If you don't like to write long paragraphs, you like to do a hundred. Well, I'm, I'm not sure about the 140 character thing on Twitter anymore, or X Uh, we can forget, but there's so many different venues. If you're, if you're good with visuals, if you know Instagram, you can make a career out of Instagram. You know, again, people are doing it. There are multiple ways to express yourself.
Speaker 2 00:46:09 Find the modality and the medium that fits, fits your sweet spot. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:46:13 And, and do it. And you'll either get good at it and expand and then that may grow into speaking. It may grow into writing, it may grow into something. But yeah, I've, I've naturally, I've always just written and, and done things and I love the marketing, but there's, there's so many opportunities that just weren't available to people before. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:46:33 A hundred percent. The Internet's allowed us to self-publish whatever we want. We have our own TV channels on YouTube. We have our own radio station on podcasts. We publish our own books on Amazon. It's a great time to be alive. And I, for one, I'm glad that you have been publishing your thoughts and your information and your opinions and your experience because we've connected and, and this is how these kind of conversations happen. And I'm really grateful that you've spent some time with us on the agency. And I, at some point, I do wanna get you back for part two of this. I'd love to do it if that would be okay with you. We'll definitely keep in touch Ira Wolf. How do people get in touch with you and say, thanks for this and learn more about what you're doing. What's the best way to reach out?
Speaker 0 00:47:05 Well, not surprisingly, you can go to my website, which is very easy to find ira wolf.com or we mentioned before, adaptability toolkit.com. There's, there's a lot of the tools that we use. And just a week, um, LinkedIn connect with me, say you heard me on the agency hour, happy, happy to connect. And just last week or just three weeks ago, I started a new newsletter and simply, it's just called the Extraordinary Newsletter. And I'm writing a 12 part series on manager myths that are debunked by neuroscience. So we started with the left brain, right brain, no such thing. This week we tackled, I tackled multitasking. I know. And you in the agency, I'm sure you've got clients and hey, we need somebody who can multitask. Guess what, <laugh> Yep. No such thing. Humans can't multitask.
Speaker 2 00:47:58 A hundred percent.
Speaker 0 00:47:59 Yeah. So I, and I think next week, at the following week, I'm writing about you can't teach old dog new tricks. And you absolutely can love it.
Speaker 2 00:48:08 I'm proof. Love it. Adaptability toolkit.com/why is the, uh, the tool that we mentioned at the start of the podcast as well. Ira wolf.com is also where you reach out and connect with Ira and also LinkedIn and check out the podcast and the books. Thank you so much for joining us on the agency, our ira, appreciate your time and look forward to continuing this conversation in the future.
Speaker 0 00:48:26 Absolutely. My pleasure.
Speaker 2 00:48:27 Thanks for listening to the agency, our podcast, and a massive thanks to Ira. I'm so glad we got to catch up today. I feel like we could create an entire subseries of this podcast together and I'd pick your brain for hours if I could. I'm already looking forward to having you back on the podcast in the future. And a special thanks to E two M solutions for becoming the exclusive sponsor of the agency, our podcast. If you need to boost your bandwidth and capacity so you can serve more clients and increase your recurring revenue, be sure to visit E two M at e two M solutions.com/agency Mavericks and we'll drop a link under this podcast episode for you. So if you'd like to work with us to grow your agency so you can free up your time, increase your profit margins, and spend more time with the people you care about, click the link beneath this podcast. Have a quick chat with our team and we'll get you moving in the right direction. I guarantee you are sitting on your agency's most valuable asset and you're just not getting paid for it. Okay folks, don't forget to subscribe. Please share this with anyone you think may need to hear it. I'm Troy Dean. Let's boogie baby.