Something’s not working at work. Record-high stress and rock-bottom engagement show that pretty clearly. Across the board, workers are burnt out, disconnected and struggling to maintain work-life balance.
Fortunately for employees, organizations and chief learning officers alike, there’s something that can be done.
A culture of resilience is “a form of psychological immunity” and key to bouncing back from the inevitable effects of adversity, says Tim Mulligan, chief human resources officer at Seattle-based Vulcan, the umbrella company for a number of investments and projects created by late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.
“It’s our role as leaders in the business world to create an environment that is realigning conditions in a way that people are able to balance the stress level, be productive, to leave work every day knowing you got a lot of stuff done and to look forward to coming back to work the next day,” Mulligan said.
In this episode of the Chief Learning Officer Podcast, we talk to Tim about Vulcan, the lessons learned from his twelve years at the San Diego Zoo as documented in his book “Roar: How to Build a Resilient Organization the World Famous San Diego Zoo Way” and how other companies can build a toolkit for resiliency.
Plus, co-hosts Mike Prokopeak and Ashley St. John talk with Tim about what a resilient leader looks like, why branding is so important in learning and development work and how simple, catchy phrases can be the difference between a good program and a great one.
Podcast Producer: Jesse McQuarters
Book: Roar: How to Build a Resilient Organization the World Famous San Diego Zoo Way
Note: This transcript has been edited for space and clarity.
Mike Prokopeak: Hello and welcome everybody to the Chief Learning Officer Podcast. My name is Mike Prokopeak. I am the editor in chief at Chief Learning Officer magazine.
Thank you for joining us as always for this podcast. I’m joined today by my cohost, our managing editor Ashley St. John. Hello Ashley.
Ashley St. John: Hi Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike: Absolutely. Great to have you on board filling in once again for our vacationing cohost, Justin Lombardo. Thank you for doing that. I’m really excited about our guest for today’s podcast. Tim Mulligan. He is the chief human resources officer at Vulcan, so welcome Tim.
Tim Mulligan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Excited to be here.
Mike: I want to dive in here in a minute to a topic of our conversation but maybe you could tell us first off about Vulcan. Can you tell us a little bit about what does Vulcan do, because it kind of seems like a little bit of a venture capital but also philanthropic. So how do you describe what it is?
Tim: Vulcan was founded by the late Paul Allen. He passed away in October of last year. Paul was a cofounder of Microsoft, well known for being owner of some pro sports teams like the Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers.
We look at Vulcan as kind of an incubator in that it’s an incubator of great ideas. Usually in the past those ideas came from Mr. Allen and we developed them to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems or create inspirational experiences.
The mission of our company is to make and leave the world a better place and we do that by applying best practices in business, specifically technology, to the different domains that we work in. And it’s a wide swath of domains but I can tell you a few of them. We’re focused on some big issues in the world to help solve like restoring the ocean’s health, preserving wildlife, small topics like combating climate change, taking on pandemics, a lot of social issues like homelessness and the opioids crisis.
Kind of our way in to solve some of those problems or to help solve some of those problems is typically through technology and what can we create that doesn’t exist right now to help with those issues. On the flip side, Paul was also a big lover of pop culture and so art, music, films. So we have Vulcan Productions. We tell our stories through documentary and film work and virtual reality work. We have several museums, most notably in Seattle the Museum of Pop Culture, more commonly known as MoPOP. We put on the Seattle Art Festival. We have a couple of other museums as well.
And I think what we’re really known for in Seattle is real estate development. Through Mr. Allen, we’ve been responsible for redeveloping some communities all throughout Seattle and I think was really instrumental in turning Seattle into the tech mecca that it is today through a lot of our redevelopment, especially in the South Lake Union area.
As you hear, we have a lot of different swim lanes that we work in. Most of them were generated by interests that our founder Paul Allen had and created a company all around it.
Mike: I think that this is a pretty unique CHRO job. I can’t really think of anything like it. I mean, what do you do on a daily basis?
Tim: I oversee every aspect of human resources for all of Vulcan. I report right into our CEO, Bill Hilf, and I formerly worked very closely with Mr. Allen. Now I work more with his sister who is overseeing the whole estate. My job is to hire the people, keep them engaged and put together really great programs.
There’s a tagline that Vulcan had before I got here which was #OnlyatVulcan. Because like I explained to you we are involved with so many different unique aspects that our people think that’s really exciting as well. And so whatever we put out from an HR standpoint has to also have that #OnlyatVulcan descriptor. Which means, you know, it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. I can’t just roll out a benefit program or a training program or a benefit. I need to make sure that it’s something very unique, it’s forward thinking, it’s cool, it’s different, it’s going to fit with our culture. It can’t be off the shelf.
So I’m always challenging my team to say, “What are we not doing in HR that we should be doing? What’s not being done in the HR world that Vulcan can be the first to do? And how can we continue to improve ourselves to bring exciting new programs to the Vulcan employee population here?”
Mike: Yeah, that’s an exciting gig. It’s certainly not an easy one. But that’s not a bad thing for HR to actually be challenged to do better work, you know? That’s certainly not a bad thing.
Tim: Yeah, it’s very fun.
Mike: We’re also talking today because you are the coauthor of the book “Roar: How to Build a Resilient Organization the World-Famous San Diego Zoo Way.” And before joining Vulcan, you were actually the chief human resources officer at San Diego Zoo Global Enterprise. So I want to talk to you a little bit about that but I want to start with the question of resilience.
We hear a lot about grit, resilience and adaptability in business today. My question for you to kick this off is: Is resilience a personality trait that some people just have?
Tim: That’s a good question. I don’t have all the answers to that but I would submit that I’m sure some people are more hardwired with strong resiliency traits than others. But in terms of the business world, there really must be an intentional strategy of resiliency and it has to be a real strategic move by an organization. Especially to do well — to thrive in today’s economy — organizational resilience needs to be built and that’s what the book “Roar” is really about. It’s presenting an innovative — we call it the resilience at work model — and that’s what’s laid out in the book. We offer inspiration and actionable guidance for how to activate a roar of purpose and passion.
The roar of course comes back to my zoo days. That’ll drive engagement and inspire extraordinary effort in any organization. So I think to answer your question we would submit that it’s something you really need to work out.
Mike: So if you have somebody who is high on resiliency, maybe they need to work a little bit less. Maybe another person might be a little lower on the resilience skills. Somebody who doesn’t bounce back as quickly from setbacks. That’s somebody that can also be developed in a way [or] put into a team or organization that can support them in a better way.
Tim: In the book we introduce this resilience at work model and it can be used for individuals, and I’ve kind of put some of these concepts to play with my family, but it’s also for organizations to thrive in disruptive times. We lay out … the five Cs.
It’s five core competencies that through our research and writing emerged as a roadmap to building resiliency. I could talk about all five of them but I think to answer your question, I’m sure many organizations are without even knowing it really thriving and excelling at these resiliency models. Some might be doing well at a few and not others but I think in any event the book lays out a bunch of great ideas that any company or group could use to build that resiliency muscle in their organization.
Mike: Let’s step back one more second before we dive into this. What are the characteristics of resilience from your point of view? When you look at it from an individual level — you talked about even doing this with your family — what are characteristics of a resilience?
Tim: Well I think that these four key characteristics that we lay out can be looked at as an individual, a team, a group, a family, or an organization or a department. And those are the five I’m talking about.
There’s reclaiming of self-control. How able are you or is your group or your organization to self regulate, self-manage, control emotions, maintain focus, clarity, stay calm and also be positive, optimistic and happy? I mean, that’s one that I think we could all do better at, and it’s going to go a long way.
Another one would be realigning our conditions and that’s how are we able to effectively integrate work and life and manage overall wellbeing. Call it work-life balance if you want, but how are we able to juggle the two, and not let one take over the other.
The third characteristic we would submit would be communications, and do you need to reimagine how you communicate in your organization or your group? Those are kind of agreements you have in the workplace regarding such things as transparency, truth telling, positivity, vulnerability.
And there’s two more: renewed connections — that’s a sense of purpose — and coherence with personal values, organizational values. It’s that feeling of belonging, support in the community. For us also in Vulcan, a big part of that is it’s that bond that attracts talent and unites existing talent and keeps your people here.
The fifth one would be — we call it a rebalance of commitments — and that’s the willingness to embrace change, take a risk, do things different, adopt new habits, implement new practices, kind of reinvent yourself when necessary or periodically. And also what are those processes and rituals you have in place that support and build that resiliency muscle I was talking about.
Mike: So I guess one last question before we turn to the organizational level: the role of stress. In reading a little bit about your book, you talk about stress is really kind of how you react and you don’t actually grow without a little bit of stress. But unfortunately what happens to many people is they have too much stress and that can be overwhelming. Can you explain how you see stress, or I guess some people might sugarcoat it and call it challenges. How do you see the role of stress in building resilience and how do you use it more productively versus allowing it to be destructive?
Tim: Like you said, there might be some good things out of that, which is keeping you alert and forward thinking. But on the flip side, I look at what’s the impact or cost to yourself or to your organization if you or your employees are constantly challenged by interruptions, distractions, shifting priorities, endless meetings, long hours, incessant sitting around, and what is the cost or impact of that?
I would say that it’s several things. Frustration can happen by inability to get stuff done. You’re forced to work these long hours, nights, weekends. That’s going to have an impact on productivity, on your family life, your health, your personal self fulfillment. To wrap your arms around that, resiliency is going to require effective management of the conditions to not have an environment that has a bunch of stressed-out employees throughout the halls.
Mike: So there’s something that can be done about it?
Tim: Yeah, I think most definitely. Yeah.
Mike: For some people, stress is like air. It’s around them. It’s what they breathe because of the conditions of their life, whether that’s at home or whether that’s at work. But what you’re saying is, in an organization, the place that you work can actually be an active part of channeling that — or at least in that part of their life — channeling it in a productive way.
Tim: Yeah, I think most definitely. I think that what happens to you in the workplace is going to spill over into what happens in your home life and family life and personal life and success. It’s our role in HR, and as leaders in the business world, to create an environment that is realigning conditions in a way that people are able to balance the stress level, be productive, to leave work every day knowing you got a lot of stuff done and to look forward to coming back to work the next day.
Ashley: I was kind of shocked when I read in your book that you mentioned 75 to 90% of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related ailments.
Tim: It’s really common and you know those were stats we did when we wrote the book in ’16. I’m sure there’s still — I couldn’t quote the number now — but I’m sure that’s still a high amount. I know that the last few companies I worked at, I was told in advance that they have a reputation for high stress and not a great work-life balance. I look at that as a challenge and say, “What can I do as a leader to come in and show a different way and to help rethink how this can be done, and to realign the conditions?”
I made it kind of a crusade to change that and I think that both organizations that I worked at in the past 15 years we’re able to turn things around and create a different type of environment with much less stress for their employees.
Ashley: If I can jump in and pivot us to the organizational level, why do you think it’s important to build a culture of resilience which I believe you said manifests itself as a form of psychological immunity. Why is it important to build that culture and how is that distinct from on the individual level?
Tim: Well, I’d say the resilience overall is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to be able to recover and leap forward. I would suggest that the level of resiliency that one has or an organization has will determine who succeeds [and] who fails at work and life. And this can be true for individuals as well as organizations. For organizations, it’s vital that you build a culture of resilience. And not so just you can bounce back from adversity or from setbacks or problems and recover. That’s important but also how to stay ahead of it, and the capability to leap forward and be agile and adaptive and be ready for when those disruptions are going to come and how do you come out to that ahead at the end of the day.
Ashley: Where does that organizational resilience begin? What’s the source? I guess, how do you get started?
Tim: That’s a great question. What we talk about in the book is the fact that resilience is more than evaluating, looking back and how did you react after this thing happened, and how did you bounce back after this crisis or this bad thing happened.
Instead focus on making this be a mindset and creating for your organization a skill set – a toolkit if you will – that’s cultivated proactively. So you’re not just always putting out fires and looking back and saying, “How’d we do? How’d we do? How’d we do?” But instead getting ahead of it and having this toolkit of resiliency there.
If done right, you can be ready for it and it can become a backbone of your organization. It shows [that] a strong culture of resilience becomes a form of psychological immunity or the ability to rebound from the effects of adversity.
Mike: Tim, as I’m thinking about this I want to dive in to talk about what this means for our audience, for chief learning officers, from an employee development perspective. You argue that you really have to do this in a very strategic, organizational way, in a very comprehensive way, that you can’t do this piecemeal. I think in the HR world it’s really easy to have these conversations and maybe they go down to the health level, like the stat that Ashley just mentioned a few moments ago that is really stark. And then it’s really easy to think about it as a health conversation or as a wellness program. What spurred you to think about this in a way that is much more organizationally approached versus done as a one-off program?
Tim: That gets back to how did we start this journey with this book and the resiliency model. You know, I was at the San Diego Zoo, I was the chief HR officer there for 12 years. I was brought in in 2004. I come from the corporate hospitality world but I was brought in very specifically to take an organization that had weathered the storms and had been around for a long time and been pretty successful financially and reputationally, but was not known as an employer of choice for its employees.
And so, to come in and put a great team together and to help change the culture, transform the culture into a place that employees really loved coming to and you could really call an employer of choice. I would say that was our goal for several years.
After about nine years or so of being there and really helping to transform the culture, I was working closely with a local consultant who’s the coauthor of the book, Sandy Asch. Her and I were creating various leadership and organizational development programs for the organization, each really specific to the culture of the zoo. And we started looking at what other companies had been doing and failing at or not doing well, as opposed to the fact that San Diego Zoo Global was looking ahead to its centennial 100 year anniversary and thriving. It kind of caused us to look at what has this organization done right over the years? What have we done right and in the past 10 years from an HR standpoint that’s got us to the accolades we had of “Best Place to Work” in San Diego, healthiest employer in San Diego, highest employee satisfaction scores, customer satisfaction scores, high revenues, all these things. All of our metrics were hitting it really high levels.
And so we thought about why is that happening … getting ready to be a hundred years old, what are we doing right and what should we shore up to do even better? So we took a look at what stresses people out. You’ve heard the term, this VUCA time that we’re in with times that are volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, those times that were all in and the business changing at a speed that was frankly mind boggling.
Then in the workplace, if you see the stats throughout the country of stressed out employees and low engagement levels it seemed like something wasn’t working. And so employees in the country seemed to be stressed, burned out, disconnected, struggling to maintain work-life and bombarded with new technologies 24/7. And so the idea was – in this extreme world where work and life has blurred and become boundary-less – organizations need to develop some sort of a toolkit for resilience. And that’s how the resiliency at work model began for us.
Mike: Was it a moment for you when you realized that or was it a collection of time, you know, over time? I mean was there ever a moment, when you said like, “Oh, I get it, finally. This really needs to be something we build out.”
Tim: We had several years of very in depth, strategic planning about culture and what it would take to transform the culture to really be an amazing, awesome place to work. I think after 9 to 10 years of finally being where we wanted to be and achieving the engagement scores you’re wanting and also the organization doing so well financially and reputationally, that it was a good opportunity for us to look back as we approached the centennial and say, “What have we done right here that other companies can model?”
I think we kind of hit where we wanted to be in terms of an employer of choice, and it’s time for us to share those stories with the world.
Mike: Yeah, I think about your career path. You’re now at Vulcan which sounds like a pretty cool organization. San Diego Zoo where yes, it’s a challenging job, but it’s also a really empowering mission, you know, when you’re talking about wildlife preservation and education. How do you find your HR jobs? Because you’ve got a really unique one right now and one that I think would be pretty in demand working for one of the world’s most prominent zoos.
Tim: That’s a good question. I mean I have an interesting background. I come from the hospitality world. I did that for a while and did pretty well. I actually got my law degree and practice law for a little bit. But I went to law school knowing that I wanted to use it not really for the courtroom but to come back to the corporate world. I mean, I went to law school to become an HR person which not many people say.
Mike: Yeah. I’ve never heard that actually.
Tim: I got a couple of years of legal work in but then I went back to work with Starwood Hotels in HR. Then they sent me to San Diego and I was there for several years and did well. Then one day [I] just got a call about the San Diego Zoo. I lived a block away. I was in the process of adopting a few kids and I thought, “This would be a great time to raise my family here.”
And also the challenge that the board had presented to me of we want you to come in and kind of scrap what had been done HR-wise and kind of go crazy in creating a great culture. That’s what I did for 12 years. I never wanted to leave there. The book came out in 2016 and I got a random call about this job up in Seattle working for Paul Allen and that really perked my ears up. I’m from the Northwest, you hear Paul Allen’s name and your ears perk up in a good way. And so I went with it. I think I’ve been really lucky in the past. I’ve worked for three amazing companies in 20 years and whether that’s luck or something about me, I’m not sure. But I really had a great HR career with some really unique companies thus far.
Mike: I like how you’re using your powers as a lawyer for good and not for evil.
Tim: Well, that was the goal.
Mike: I want to spend the last part of our conversation really drilling down for our audience of chief learning officers so people who are in charge of developing people whether it’s through traditional training programs or through more of the environment of learning and development that they need to create in order for employees to thrive. So if you can talk in those terms.
Let’s assume that their organization kind of gets it. OK, you’ve made a case, we need to focus on resilience if we’re going to have all of these good benefits of it from an organization but also from an individual standpoint. But we don’t know how to do that. So where do you start? Where would you suggest that folks start to become a more resilient organization?
Tim: Thank you for asking that question because that’s really what the book was supposed to be all about. We wanted to create a book that was kind of fun to read, easy to read, told a lot of great stories about the world-famous San Diego Zoo but also had some great takeaways for managers, for leaders, for HR, for OD folks, whatever it might be, learning officers.
I had described earlier in this show the five Cs of resiliency and I think with each one of them there are certain things that I would suggest you want to be doing to put that toolkit of resiliency in place. For example, the first one: reclaiming self control. This is where there’s some kind of low hanging fruit you can do here which is cultivate emotional intelligence, bring mindfulness to the workplace, encourage quiet and reflective time and areas for employees to go to to get that quiet, reflective time [and] have a lightened up mindset.
One story I like to tell is back in the economic downturn in 2007/08, we put out this code of conduct to help employees get through some hard times and how we’re going to treat each other. We called it the rules of engagement. Number seven on that list, seven out of seven, came from my CEO and it was lighten up, which is we’re going to get through this. Let’s try to put a positive spin where we can and let’s also try to bring joy and fun to the workplace every day. So I would say that’s all about the first one is what ways can you bring to your organization more self control, give people time to think about their actions whether it be in how much time you give people off and require them to take it. Don’t bug them when they are taking time off. Anything you can do to help people slow down and cultivate that emotional intelligence that I think is necessary in the workplace.
There’s some obvious things. Realigning conditions. This is where you really want to ramp up what you can for having healthy and motivated employees. Ramp up your health and vitality, have a robust wellness program. We had no wellness program at the zoo. HR took that on and a few years later, several years later, I’d say about three or four, we were winning healthiest employer in San Diego, an accolade we’d never thought we would have. Now we’re trying to go for the same type of awards here at Vulcan to really tie wellness to productivity in the workplace.
Your communications – it’s a big one for us right now at Vulcan and I should mention at Vulcan, talking about resiliency we have tried to reset the whole model now that our founder’s passed away. And so we’re really having to put all of these resiliency tools in place to make our employees see the future, and be excited to come to work every day and what’s the path for Vulcan.
One way is obviously you’re reimagining the communications and that’s rewarding of truth telling and embracing authenticity. As a practice we talk about in the book, which is called banish the downward spiral which is really what can we do to curve those negative conversations that go nowhere and to try to inspire more positivity around.
The last two – there’s a lot of examples in the book – but I think that renewing connections, this is one we’re really working at Vulcan right now. What gets your employees out of bed with a spring in their step every day to come to work, and how do you what we call in the book “Velcro people to your why?” Which is what are you all about, how do we get your people bought into that purpose? They know their role in it. They come to work for you because of it. It’s really how do you connect people to your mission, your vision, your strategic plan and let them also take ownership in it and understand their role in it. There’s a lot you can do around that.
Under the fifth one – rebalanced commitments – this is where I think chief learning officers could have a field day in cultivating unstoppable leaders, effective change management practices. It’s a big thing we’re doing right now at Vulcan. Internal development training programs. Again, not off the shelf but really what tools do your employees need, your managers need, or your leaders need to develop this mindset of resiliency and to rebalance the commitments that you have and to get people to skills that they need now to be successful in the future.
Ashley: Tim, you make the case for leadership as a pivot point for these building resilience efforts. I would imagine people are looking to leaders to sort of model this resilience. What does a leader who is resilient look like?
Tim: That’s a good question. So how do you distill all of this resiliency model into the basic traits of a strong leader? I would say self-controlled, balanced, trustworthy, vulnerable, inspiring. We’re using right now the phrase of Vulcan, “you’re a beacon.” You’re the kind of person that talent just automatically wants to come to you because you’re a beacon of leadership. I think some of those are the main skills that I would say are traits you see in a strong, resilient leader.
Ashley: How do you think that a leader might then translate that resilience to their teams and sort of give them the support that they need to establish that resiliency within themselves?
Tim: You could go back to those five Cs and the strategies that are listed in the book. You could also say, “How could I have the most impact in bringing resiliency as a mindset?” And you could customize development programs. Transparency 360s, constant feedback, all the things you hear about actually in the HR world and the learning world but really make it happen. For us at Vulcan, I mentioned change management. We’re going through a lot of change right now and for our employees to have trust in us and be excited to be Velcroed to our why, we need to make sure that we have good change management practices in place. We’ve been trained in change management, we’re rolling out change effectively because this is a pivotal time of change for my company now.
Mindfulness and wellness, are we really making sure that our employees are taking that to heart? They understand the balance of it. They’re living and breathing that. We’re about to roll out a Franklin Covey program which I’m a big fan of which is “The Five Choices of Productivity.” Really finding a way to rule technology not let technology rule you. We’re using this opportunity as a time to really be there for our employees and managers, be strong leaders, but also providing them with whatever tools and training they need to move forward in their own resiliency path.
Mike: Something you said a few moments ago sort of struck me. You talked about not necessarily being off-the-shelf with this but then you also mentioned the Covey program which you could think of as an off-the-shelf program. Where do you want to have the thing that you do for resilience that is organic to you as an organization – that you build yourself – or that your DNA is woven in throughout it? And where can you look and say, “OK, maybe I’ll bring others in here.” Do you have any advice there?
Tim: Every company is different. Every job that I’ve had I’ve also been in charge of the training and the learning and the development programs. I mention off the shelf like for us for example, we’re taking something like Franklin Covey and we’re turning it on its head in our own way. Say, “How is this going to work for Vulcan? How does this work for our own strategic plan, our own technology?”
But I’d say that, for example, when I was at the zoo I was brought on to transform the culture and provide this environment where employees could thrive and be their best every day. In doing so I kind of thought, “Well, how am I going to do this?” I hearken back to the original tagline of the zoo which is the World-Famous San Diego Zoo, and that moniker hadn’t been used in many, many years: “ITWF” which is “is this world famous?” Every program we rolled out, we want to make sure is this world famous? Is it something that’s branded? It fits our culture. It’s unique to our culture and everything from growth and development to total rewards to wellness and safety to whatever it might be. It was something unique to the culture and would help move the organization forward.
I think there’s a lot you can do there. The book talks about a lot of the great programs we’ve put in place having fun with the word “roar” and the world famous history of the zoo through our training programs that “Roar Louder” for employees and “Roar Stronger” and Total Rewards was our “Roar and Rewards” program in the “Zoopermarket” and the listening to our employees was through our “Roar Back” survey.
We had a lot of fun with it but we also created programs that stuck and are still in place now, and they became world-famous programs that the rest of the HR community was looking at and trying to emulate which is pretty special coming from a nonprofit organization who did this all with our own sweat and grit and wherewithal.
Mike: And not nearly enough budget to make it happen.
Tim: Little to no, I’d say, yeah.
Mike: One thing that strikes me as I’m listening to you talk is that you’re definitely big on catch phrases —those things that kind of personalize, like ITWF is one and you talked about the Velcro to Why. I think that was another one and there was another one that you mentioned there. Why are those little things so important? It seems like they’re important when you’re approaching this and why do you think they’re so important for others to consider?
Tim: Maybe it’s just me but I feel very strongly about branding in the HR world. I call them the branding of our own premium products which is what are we offering to our employees. I think as an HR leader or a chief learning officer, whatever your role is, anything you can do to brand to the culture and to create not just a logo but a theme, a name, a strategy — and also one that’s going to stick and is going to be around for a long, long time.
Whether it be a software program, like your performance management program, it needs to be branded. It needs to have a catchy name, fit with the organization [and] fit into your bigger suite of brands within HR. It’s something that I’m really passionate about and anywhere I’ve worked it’s created a real success for our team.
It raises the respect level for your HR team and if you do it right it looks like you brought in some team of consultants to work on these premium HR products when really it was just your HR team really sticking to their guns and being resilient and creating these really great employee programs.
Ashley: Yeah, I love the Velcro to the Why one.
Tim: Yeah, it’s one of my favorite parts of the book actually and it’s something that I’m really working on now at Vulcan. Mr. Allen passed away in October. Talk about a time for resiliency being necessary. For us here it’s we’re reinventing ourselves and reinventing the new Vulcan moving forward and how are we bringing the people along and letting them know what the future is going to be? That Velcro to the Why is very important right now in my day-to-day work.
Mike: We actually did a podcast not too long ago talking about that in learning and development and how it really needs to be thought of because what happens is the things that you are trying to accomplish become part of the vocabulary. You hear people using it in their day-to-day operations and management. It’s no longer an HR thing or a learning and development thing. It’s not just a cheesy level of branding. It actually is part of an operational philosophy which I think is important to get people to because then you know you’re doing the right thing when that happens.
Tim: Yeah, I agree.
Mike: Where would you recommend our listeners go to learn more about resilience? Obviously your book but are there other resources that you would point us to that would be helpful for learning more about how you can build resilience into your employee development programs?
Tim: I’ll just mention the book. I don’t want to be a commercial but all those proceeds from the book goes to conservation in the world-famous San Diego Zoo. So I would say that’s a good way to start. It just came out in paperback last month, or in June I should say. There’s also a website that Sandy Asch keeps up. It’s called theroarbook.com and it’s full of all sorts of tools and tricks and resiliency models that you can look at as well.
Mike: Great. Well thank you, Tim. I appreciate you taking time to share a little bit about your work and talk to us about resilience today. Thank you.
Tim: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.
Mike: Thank you again for joining us for the Chief Learning Officer Podcast. If you like what you heard, please consider giving us a rating on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you have a comment, a topic or something you’d like to see us tackle in an upcoming episode, be sure to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to having you back again soon and keep on learning.