Ian is joined by Terry McDougall Terry is the author of “Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms” As well as being a successful author, Terry is also an Executive and Career Coach. She works with high-achieving business owners and companies to help them increase the overlap between their professional success and personal happiness.
In this episode, as well as discussing Terry’s book Ian and terry also discusses her work with companies to help them improve their team performance and the impact this has on wellbeing
Terry and Ian discuss:
- Terry’s book
- The 5 voices assessment
- Tips for reducing conflict in teams
- The make up of great teams
What’s inspiring Terry:
How to get in touch with Terry:
Welcome to the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast, the podcast for wellbeing professionals that looks at best practices in organisations that care about their people, and which keeps an eye on the growing number of suppliers in the wellbeing space.
The Workplace Wellbeing Podcast is sponsored by fastPAYE a financial wellbeing solution that facilitates flexible salary advances. It also provides access to financial education, a benefits assessment calculator, and a host of other financial wellbeing tools. fastP.A.Y.E is part of the WorkTech Group that includes ShopWorks Workforce Solutions, and SolvedBy.Ai.
ShopWorks offers Scheduling and Time and Attendance tools that improve your workforce management processes. Whilst SolvedBy.Ai provides unique artificial intelligence products that deliver optimum staffing levels and improve employee retention.
Ian Hogg 0:58
Hi, welcome to the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast. I’m Ian Hogg, Chairman of fastPAYE. Today I’m very pleased to be joined by Terry McDougall. Terry is the author of ‘Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms’ as well as being a successful author. Terry is also an executive and career coach. She works with high achieving business owners and companies to help them increase the overlap between their professional success and personal happiness. So today’s episode of the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast as well as discussing Terry’s book I also want to discuss her work with companies to help them improve their team performance and the impact this has on well being. Hi, Terry, thanks for joining us.
Terry McDougall 1:34
I am great to be here.
Ian Hogg 1:35
Yeah, great, to have you, where about are you speaking to you from in the world.
Terry McDougall 1:39
I am right outside of Chicago, Illinois in the US.
Ian Hogg 1:43
Oh, very nice. Very nice. Well, listen, you know, why don’t we start where we always do. And you know, I think it’d be great if you could just give the listeners a bit about your background, and how you ended up being as an author and career coach.
Terry McDougall 1:55
Sure. Well, I got my start in marketing. And I worked really as a marketer for 30 years with the bulk of my experience being in financial services. The last corporate role I had was at a national bank, I was there for 12 years had several roles where I was leading marketing for various businesses within the organisation. But I guess it was probably around 2016, I started thinking about what I wanted to do next, I felt like I’d kind of exhausted the opportunities that I had at that organisation after being there for 12 years. And when I looked around, I didn’t really see any opportunities there. That seemed exciting. So I went back to and use some advice I got early in my career, which was I looked at myself, and I said, What do I like to do and what am I good at, that’s where you’re going to find your happiness if you can use those two things. And what I realised was that what I really enjoyed about what I did was the interaction that I had with people, whether it was dealing with senior leaders, and really sitting down and understanding their problems, consulting with them, working with them to come up with solutions from a marketing standpoint, or in the coaching and mentoring that I was doing with people on my team. And that just led me to this revelation that I wanted to make a pivot and become an executive coach. So I ended up leaving my corporate job, and I got a certification and coaching. Initially, I thought maybe it would be, you know, a bit of a sabbatical, and then I’d get another job. But I actually decided to start my own business during that, that time off. And so that was in 2017. And so I’ve been, you know, doing the coaching and, and now consulting with organisations as well, since that time, and when I first was leaving my job, I think it was before I actually left I was you know, I guess all this contemplation was bringing up a lot of thoughts. And I was really looking back over my career and thinking about a lot of different things, a lot of lessons that I had learned. And so I started a blog, which I did for about two years on how to be more successful at work. And you know, just some of the lessons I learned. And I blogged pretty regularly for two years. And someone along the line pointed out to me that I probably had enough content for a book. And, you know, when I downloaded everything, I did have about 25,000 words. And so I decided to use that as sort of like the seeds of the book that became winning the game of work. I wrote I think I have about 75,000 words in the book, but it was a good head start with the content from the blogs. And you know, my purpose really is just to share the lessons that I learned because I really struggled a lot especially early in my career with learning how to be impactful and successful and happy at work. So I want to save other people may be as much struggle as I had to go through.
Ian Hogg 4:57
Good to hear one of the things you know When you were writing the book, I wonder if you could just give us a short overview of what it contains? What could a listener expect to learn from reading the book?
Terry McDougall 5:09
Sure. Well, it’s really about getting in touch with what you want out of your life and career. So it really starts with getting clear on your goals. You know, a lot of times, we can be very much in touch with what we don’t like, you know, like, I mean, it’s a national pastime here in the United States, and probably in the UK to work. But, you know, at some point, we got to stop complaining and flip it and say, Okay, if, if this is what I don’t want, what is it that I do want because once we get clear on what we do want, we can start building the roadmap to get there. So the beginning part of the book is about the mindset and starting to think about what are the steps that you need to take to, to get to what you would like to do. And then there’s, there’s a couple of chapters on skills, you know, a lot of things that I, or concepts that I actually teach to my clients so that they can be more impactful and effective at work. And, you know, unfortunately, in many organisations, people get promoted into management without ever being trained on how to manage. And that’s, you know, building the structure or building the processes so that you’re not grinding it out every day is a really important, important thing to do. And whether it’s you own your own business, or you’re working in the corporate world, as you grow, you need to build the structure to support your success. So that’s, that’s sort of like, what a lot of the book is about. But I also included 11 interviews with people about their careers, both people that are successful in the corporate world, and people who are entrepreneurs, or business owners, I am just really interested in people’s stories, and I find a lot of inspiration and then myself, and so I wanted to include some really interesting career stories, because I think that can help other people to realise that, you know, if they’re running into hardships, or whatever, just to keep going and find a way to get through it. Because, you know, certainly in the people that I interviewed, it’s everything from people getting fired multiple times, to, you know, one guy didn’t have a lot of success with his business. And then all of a sudden, he ended up on the front page of The New York Times business section, and all of a sudden, he had more business, and they knew what to do with it. And unfortunately, because he wasn’t, he wasn’t used to that level of success, he didn’t plan properly for his taxes. And he ended up owing a tonne of money to the IRS here in the US. And, you know, so he, you know, you have your ups and downs, right, but he’s running a successful business now. But, you know, his, uh, I loved his story, because it’s sort of like feast or famine, and then, you know, in trouble with the tax authority, that’s not good. But he’s gotten it back on track. Now, thankfully,
Ian Hogg 7:57
this sounds like a good book for someone, you know, trying to make sense of their career and what they’re trying to achieve and how to achieve it. I think that you know, the point you made earlier, bringing you back to the point about promotion, and, you know, people not really been trying to lead that, that has come up so often on this podcast, it’s almost, it’s, you know, it could almost be the title of the podcast, the number of times that we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about discussions, you know, where managers aren’t trying to have difficult conversations about promoting people, when they just because, you know, they felt the need to advance them, when they’re given more responsibility and didn’t train them and they lost good staff. And, of course, all the implications that have for well being where you have untrained people responsible for managing, you know, doing it badly or worse, to the less than the perfection and, and, of course, it upsets staff and people lose. So it comes up time again, it is amazing how often, I’m sure we all fall foul of it as managers. And you know, we still promoted still don’t put the training in good point, listen, thank thank you for the overview of the book, I’d be keen to just move on maybe to, to actually the work you do with companies because a lot of people listening to this will be probably got some responsibility for well being in a company. And yeah, I’d like to just hear a bit more about the work you do with companies, particularly around sort of, you know, helping teams reduce conflict. I’m sure everybody will agree that that’s a good way to improve wellbeing and reduce stress.
Terry McDougall 9:29
Yeah, you know, I think one of the blind spots that I think pretty much all of us have is that we think that everybody else experiences and processes the world the same way that we do. And when we run into conflict, a lot of times we feel like, you know, why is that person being so obstinate? Why are they making it so difficult for me? And the reality is that they are viewing the world in a different way than we are based on you know, genetics, personality, upbringing, prior experience. You know, whatever, everybody is different for many different reasons. But the thing to know is that to them, the things that they’re doing makes sense. And there is no, you know, objective right way or wrong way. And what happens is a lot of energy is wasted. I mean, in our personal lives, but also in the business world, when there’s conflict, and there’s unnecessary conflict. So I’ve got a, I have an assessment that I use, which is called the five voices. And the idea behind this is that we all have all of these aspects of our personality. And I’m just going to quickly go through them. There’s the Pioneer, the Pioneer is the part of ourselves that is goal-oriented, that where we get really focused on something and we’re going to make it happen. Now, obviously, if you think about people that we might know, there are some people that are super goal-oriented, and it’s probably that that Pioneer is their first voice, it’s the way that they most often interact in the world. And then we’ve got the nurturer voice. The nurturer voice is somebody who is very concerned with other people, they’re empathetic, sometimes maybe overly empathetic to the point that they don’t speak up and share their own needs. But these people are important. And particularly in organisations, these might be people in HR, or they might be a manager that’s very concerned with helping people on their team, we need these kinds of folks. But you know, sometimes, as I said, they might not speak up for themselves. And that can cause problems. Sometimes, we’ve got the creatives, the creatives are the people that can look into the future, and see things that nobody else can see. And they can really quite literally quick create the future. These are innovators. Sometimes the issue with the creatives, though, is that they can see so far into the future that others might have a hard time understanding them like they just can’t even envision, they might even think they’re a little bit crazy.
Terry McDougall 11:59
Because others can’t see their vision for the future. You’ve got the connectors, the connectors are usually people that are, you know, they’re excited by new ideas, they like to meet lots of people, they like to look out in their environment and, and combine people and ideas and create new things. A lot of times these might be people in sales or in marketing, that they’re seeing connections, and they’re, they’re seeing the opportunities there. Sometimes their energy or enthusiasm can be a little too much for other people. And then finally, you have the guardians and the guardians are people that really want to honour tradition, they want to make sure that the rules are being followed, they want to make sure that people you know, the organisation themselves, people around them are being kept safe from risk. But you can just imagine that say if you’ve got, you know, an enthusiastic connector coming up with ideas or, you know, future-oriented, creative, coming up with some crazy idea, and they’re presenting it to a guardian, that there’s going to be some conflict there. Because the Guardian is going to be saying, well, it’s not broken, why are you trying to fix it. But you know, the reality in business is that we do need to keep moving forward and innovating we need to go out and sell. And, you know, what can happen is that when people have their blinders on, and they just look at it and say, Well, this is the way I process the world. And I’m expecting everybody else to process it the same way, that naturally there’s going to be conflict. But when we can peel back the blinders understand our own strengths, but also maybe some of our own blind spots, we can make space for a more inclusive conversation, more collaboration, and that enables teams to operate at a higher level of productivity. So there’s gonna be less, you know, friction, less conflict, there’s going to be hopefully more respect among team members to say, you know, what, you’re really good at making sure we’ve, you know, dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s and taking care of all the details, Mr Guardian, you know, so make sure that we’re not running afoul of any, you know, regulations or laws. And, you know, at the same time, they can say, okay, you know, Miss creative, I don’t fully understand what you’re saying, but I’ve seen that you’ve been successful in the past with coming up with great new ideas that move the business forward. So, you know, I’m going to ask enough questions until I feel comfortable with the direction that you’re going in, rather than just out and out rejecting, you know, people’s ideas or putting up walls. You know, it just makes it safer to engage. You know, we start I’ve talked a lot about this, but like we start with the assessment, and then once people understand themselves, and then I can come in and do you know, workshops and training and consulting engagements to help people figure out how to they start operating at a higher level of productivity and more, more collaboration.
Ian Hogg 15:00
Is there any data that that, you know, that supports this approach and the companies you need?
Terry McDougall 15:04
Yeah, the organisation that developed this is called giant worldwide. And I am one of their licence consultants that I can deliver this information. And they’ve done a lot of research. And one of the bits of information I found really interesting is that they found that the average team is only operating at about 58% of its capacity. And, you know, gosh, that’s, you know, barely above half of the capacity. Right? And so if you just think about what a difference that would make for an organisation, if they could just increase their productivity, you know, by 10%, you know, in many teams, that would be like adding multiple headcounts. Yeah. And not only that, when people are not, when they’re not, you know, their energy is not being drained by conflict, there’s more energy to go into more productive activity. So that I mean, that’s basically why you will see the productivity increase when some of these stumbling blocks are removed. Okay. And
Ian Hogg 16:09
yeah, and if we, if we suppose we profile to team, you know, I get, are we looking to have a nice balance of the team so that we have, you know, an even spread of the different character types and different profiles? Or are we looking to profile the team we’ve got, and then make sure that the communication is good between the different profile types?
Terry McDougall 16:31
Well, it really depends. I mean, it’s, it’s interesting, because, for example, if you were to go into an advertising agency and do the five voices assessment, you’d probably end up finding more creatives than you would in, you know, maybe an accounting department or something like that, or a CPA firm, you probably find more guardians in, in that kind of organisation. So I think that in some ways, certain types of personalities are attracted to certain types of professions. But we don’t know what attracts people, right? So you could have somebody who’s a guardian that does work at an ad agency, right. But what you want to do is make sure that everybody is heard, right? Because sometimes what happens is, for example, maybe you’ve got a pioneer pioneers usually are the leaders, they because they’re forceful, people that want to make things happen. And they tend to rise into leadership positions. But a lot of times what can happen is, you know, they’re impatient, they’re competitive, and they want to make things happen. And so sometimes they’ll just, you know, grab the steering wheel and just steer it in a certain direction when maybe they needed to stop and say, Where are we going? You know, or does it? Can somebody provide input that’s going to help us get there faster? So it’s, it’s really about making sure that you’re tapping into all of the wisdom within the organisation? Not necessarily that you have to have a perfect balance? Because it’s probably going to depend on what, you know, your deliverable is no, no.
Ian Hogg 18:05
Good advice? Yeah. I think, like, we’ve got a sales team with ours. And I suppose that they’re probably more in the connectors, with a bit of creativity. And with the development team that I have, you know, I think they’re probably, there’s quite a bit of guardian in them. Because, you know, I think they like to look after their code and make sure that yes, to a high standard and things that yeah, I can see that. So what other tips do you have you got, you know, so once we’ve profiled people, you know, how can we get them to improve their approach to work and work? If I was a manager? Where would I start? You know, yeah, to the team?
Terry McDougall 18:42
Well, one of the things that I have seen is that with organisations, and this totally makes sense, if you’re running a business, or if you’re involved in a business, you’re going to be focused on execution, right. But there’s, there’s a huge blind spot when organisations focus on execution first because there’s really a foundation that needs to be built in order for sort of the talents of the people to be tapped in fully. And it really starts with communicating, you know, first of all, like communicating like, what are our objectives? Do we have an open line of communication, so if you don’t understand something that you can come to me and get clarity, right, that’s critical. And then the next thing is building strong, trusting relationships. Because we need to rely on each other, we need to work together. And if we don’t trust you know, if we have to hand off to the next department, and we’re not trusting that they’re going to do what we expect them to do, there’s going to be some dysfunction there. So it’s important to make sure that relationships are strong, and that they’re, that trust can be built there. And then the third thing that really needs to happen is there needs to be alignment. Because I mean, I think Seen it plenty of times where, you know, there’s no communication, there’s not trusting relationships. And you know, maybe there’s a little bit of interaction between departments or between individuals. And they’re both like, I got it, I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m doing too, and they’ll run off and do things, but they’re going in completely different directions. So, you know, stuff’s being done, but it’s not productive. Because it’s not aligned, they’re not using the resources efficiently. And so it’s those three things that really need to be in place. And if that happens, and then you can focus on execution and execution is going to be done, productively and efficiently, which is what we want, right, you can actually increase the capacity of what a team can create, once you’ve done all those things.
Ian Hogg 20:48
I think, again, one of the themes, you know, we’re coming up to 50 episodes now, is, it’s amazing how much of like keeping people happy and satisfied, and therefore improving well being comes down to just running a proper organisation. Well, you’re doing, would you agree with that?
Terry McDougall 21:05
Yeah, I mean, organisations are made of people, and sometimes we, you know, focus so much on the execution that we forget that the people are the ones that are going to make this stuff happen. And, you know, we’ve probably all seen it, you know, where people will come in, and they’ll do just enough to pick up their paycheck, they do just enough not to get fired. And usually, the reason why people do that is that they don’t feel like they’re being recognised or appreciated. And you can’t really force people to produce more or to be more efficient or effective, but you can create an environment where they want to do that. And, you know, when people sort of, are self leaders, that’s the ideal. And this is what this is all about is, is people feeling good about themselves, feeling safe to show up and, and achieve everything that they’re capable of doing and do it in concert with others. So there’s like some really beautiful synergies? Yeah, no,
Ian Hogg 22:06
I definitely would agree with that. And I think a lot of the contributors to this podcast would definitely agree with that. Listen, as we come towards the end of it, Terry, it’s been a great conversation. And we’ll put the link to your book in the podcast notes. And hopefully, people can read it. And, you know, winning the game of work and using it for career advice. But I wonder if you could give us another book as something that’s giving you an inspiration at the moment and tell us why.
Terry McDougall 22:31
Oh, my gosh, well, you know, there’s a book called 100 times later, I think that’s nice. Got it right here. Oh, yeah, the 100 times leader, 100x. Leader. And it’s, it’s actually by the founders of giant worldwide, the organisation that I was talking about, that has the five voices. And it really is about learning to lead yourself once we can lead ourselves, and then we can lead others. And so it’s about, you know, multiplying, the impact that we can have by empowering others to step up and do the best that they can do. And that gets super exciting, you know when we can become better leaders ourselves, and then empower others to lead themselves. So that’s a great book,
Ian Hogg 23:20
and does it link back to in your book where you’re talking about understanding your own, but your own objectives and what you want? And then getting your own career development out? Is that similar to teaching yourself to lead yourself?
Terry McDougall 23:33
Yeah, yeah, it really is, it’s about getting the obstacles out of your way. I mean, I think that we all can kind of get in the flow more in the flow, we can create things without a lot of tension or without a lot of friction, right? And, and more and more of our energy goes to productive outcomes. And I think that that’s what both of these things are about, you know, if we examine ourselves and say, Where am I not being the best leader that I can be if we can remove those obstacles, and then we can show up fully, and we can, you know, the model that behaviour or empowers others to do the same thing for themselves?
Ian Hogg 24:10
Yeah. Good. Good answer. Thank you. Listen, Terry. Like I said, Great conversation, we will put a link to your book and if it’s okay, can we put a link to your website and to your LinkedIn connections?
Terry McDougall 24:23
Yeah. And I’ll also give you a link for the assessment, the five voices assessment which any of your listeners can take for free and then you know, if they want to know more, they can certainly reach out to me.
Ian Hogg 24:36
Excellent. Yeah, we’ll make sure that’s in the podcast. Thank you very much. Sorry. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. Thanks a lot.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai