Dec. 9, 2021

114 Own It. Love It. Make It Work. How to make any job your dream job with Carson Tate| Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

114 Own It. Love It. Make It Work. How to make any job your dream job with Carson Tate| Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

In this episode of Partnering Leadership, Mahan Tavakoli speaks with Carson Tate. Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders, and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies. Carson Tate shares lessons from her most recent book: Own It. Love It. Make It Work: How to Make Any Job Your Dream Job. 

Some Highlights:

- How understanding your strengths can turn your current job into your dream job

- Carson Tate shares tips and examples on how to seek feedback. 

- How to find more meaning in your job

- Carson talks about how naming and claiming your fears can work to your advantage.

- How to get the right kind of recognition.

- Carson Tate on passion and joy in the workplace.

- The platinum rule, as Carson Tate talks about it.

- Carson Tate on how asking the right questions can help you design your work, so it meets personal and professional goals.

Also mentioned:

Carson Tate’s book “Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How to Make Any Job Your Dream Job

Connect with Carson Tate:

Carson Tate at LinkedIn

Carson Tate at 

Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:

More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website:


Mahan Tavakoli:
Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm really excited this week to be welcoming Carson Tate. Carson is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply Inc, which is a productivity consulting and training firm. And they have served fast growing clients, including Delta Airlines, Deloitte, fedEx, Wells Fargo, Chick-fil-A and Lowe's.

She's also creator of the productivity style assessment. And that's a professional tool, which was also featured in the Harvard business review. Now we spend most of our time in this episode talking about Carson's latest book Own it, Love it, Make it Work, how to make any job, your dream job. And I really enjoyed this conversation because there is this certain level of ownership we all need to take on our careers and our own future and Carson shares, great perspectives and frameworks on how we can do that. Most effectively. 

I also love hearing from you. Keep your comments There's a microphone icon on Partnering Really enjoy getting those voice messages. Don't forget to follow the podcast on your favorite platform. And finally, those of you that hear these on apple, leave a rating and review when you get a chance that will help more people find and benefit from the conversations. Now, here is my conversation with Carson Tate.

[00:00:00] Mahan Tavakoli: Carson, Tate, welcome to partnering leadership. I'm thrilled to have you in this conversation with me.

[00:00:05] Carson Tate: I am so glad to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:08] Mahan Tavakoli: Carson. I really enjoyed reading "Own it. Love it, Make it Work, How to Make Any Job, Your Dream Job." But before we get to some of the insights you share in that book, we'd love to know whereabouts you grew up and how your upbringing impacted the kind of person and leader you've become.

[00:00:26] Carson Tate: So I grew up in South Carolina and my upbringing. I was really fortunate. I was raised by some strong Southern women. So my grandmother was a very active participant in my life, really strong mom and these two strong female women that have grown up in very different times in the south and in our country.

And the common theme between both of them was that, kindness does not mean weakness. It can be kind and gracious and thoughtful, but it doesn't mean that there aren't boundaries and that no is not a no.

[00:01:05] Mahan Tavakoli: And growing up, it sounds like you were also pretty active in a lot of different things, including you are a big runner Carson.

[00:01:15] Carson Tate: Yes. So I had the opportunity to go to school. I went to school in Virginia and I ran cross country and track and coach Feimster was one of the most important people in my early childhood, I would say not really childhood young adulthood. And he was a litigator. So he taught litigation at the law school and every run with him and he would run with us.

It was always woven into the rhyme some like life lesson you're going up the hill and you want to wine and he's focus just in front of you stay in the moment. Yeah. We're going to finish strong. And one of the traditions that we had on my team, so each time one of us got married, we were great friends. Each time one of us got married, everybody would come to the wedding and the day of the wedding, we'd go for a run.

So everybody from the team who was there with coach Feimster out running and his advice that has stuck with me, we were on a longer run. He's like Carson marriage is like a marathon. Don't go out too hard, too fast.

Don't quit in the middle one mile at a time. Yes, sir. Coach Feimster it's. We're running along on some, on a hot fall day.

[00:02:31] Mahan Tavakoli: Yeah, it's really interesting how some of those running experiences transferred through the work experience. Also now in writing this book, Carson, one of the things I enjoyed is that you take a slightly different take then a lot of authors and a lot of the conversations I have is about what leaders need to do to change the systems and structures within organizations.

In this book. You also take the perspective that we control our own fulfillment in our jobs. So what brought you to writing that other flip side, the control that each one of us have on our own fulfillment and our jobs

[00:03:16] Carson Tate: So there were two primary reasons. One, if you look historically at the engagement data, so employee engagement data from Gallup. The number, the percentage of engaged workers in the US has risen like less than 1%, maybe one, 1.2 at one point. And so there's been so much as you talk about on your podcast, other books that are leaders on focusing on leaders and systems, and I think that's important, but if that were a hundred percent of the solution with the focus and the energy and the money that's been spent, we should see a rapid rise and engagement, which we're not seeing.

The other piece of it was just the really clear "aha" that I had is how can I expect if you're my leader for you to know what my engagement needs are? Let's think about some traditional pre pandemic engagement. So we have a great break room and we might have chocolate, but you don't love chocolate, or there's a ping pong table, obviously financial compensation. But what if that doesn't really motivate me or engage me.

And so the aha was that it's a social contract, right? Based on social exchange to the rate, give and take. So I entered the organization. I'm bringing with my skills and capabilities in exchange for compensation, but in order to create a mutually beneficial win-win I need to know what I need to do my best work.

And my leaders need to know what that is in service of a mutually beneficial goal.

[00:04:50] Mahan Tavakoli: And I wonder if that is a skill that we need to develop more of, because to a certain extent we've lost it, I have two girls, Carlson. And one of the things I see in their lives is, they have been used to and kids their age have been used to others advocating on their behalf. And some of the employers that I coach and work with, they have a frustration that some of their employees and team members are waiting for systems and structures to be changed. So not to minimize the responsibility for those systems and structures, but we do need to take charge of our own careers. And I think that's a clear message that comes across in your writing, in your book.

[00:05:39] Carson Tate: Clear, absolutely and that also, it's a clear ownership, accountability, and a choice not to outsource your professional development, your career advancement and your fulfillment at work to your leader or to your company.

[00:05:55] Mahan Tavakoli: I love the quote you have at the very beginning Ellen Nathen co-founder of orange theory said “don't just wish for it, work for it”. So if engagement is low you, have a responsibility for that.

And you do provide a framework. The first step to it is own it, acknowledge who you are and what you need.

How do you go about as a, either an individual, a producer, an organization or leaders I find is very difficult to go on a journey of self-discovery. How can you acknowledge who you are and go deeper into self discovery.

[00:06:35] Carson Tate: So the first step around this acknowledgement piece that often has to be overcome as the roadblock around that we do need recognition. We do need validation, we do need appreciation. So the first step is actually to say that. I do need to be appreciated. And then the second step on the reflection piece, how do you identify what your recognition, your reward and your appreciation needs are?

I typically tell team members, so if I'm coaching employee, think about what you have done in the past and the type of feedback that you've gotten, that felt very meaningful. So think about a project you were on, where you felt validated and seen and affirmed for your contributions. Oh my peers worked alongside me or, oh, my manager said, thank you to me multiple times.

Or I got an email from the customer. Those are clues around what might be, how you want to be affirmed. And if I'm a leader and want to know, I typically ask, tell me about your best day at work. What happened? Tell me about when you've received praise. What did it feel like? What did it look like?

Very direct questions from the leader to the employee to understand. And the leader would do the same reflection, exercise, cause they've been in situations and work and maybe outside of work where they've received feedback. That's been very affirming. Yeah.

[00:07:58] Mahan Tavakoli: And, and I find you use the analogy that really resonated with me with respect to almost even relationships. We are not good mind readers. We can't expect other people to read our minds and know exactly how we want that recognition.

[00:08:15] Carson Tate: No, we can't we try to do it in so many areas of our life. We do it at work. We do it in our personal relationships we do with our kids. Why can't you just know? But it doesn't work. And it also puts you in a place where you're going to continuously be disappointed.

[00:08:30] Mahan Tavakoli: So with respect to this, it is difficult for many of us to have those conversations. Even with people we are close to let alone our managers and supervisors. So how would you recommend people go about having the conversation around this is how I want to be recognized and appreciated at work.

[00:08:53] Carson Tate: So the easiest place to do it is when you link it to performance to improving your performance. So let's say for example, you're my leader and we're in a meeting together. And after the meeting, you just spontaneously say, Carson, your introduction was very crisp. I knew exactly what the three key points we're going to be talking about were..

In that moment. Thank you. I'm really trying to be at work on being more succinct and direct. That was very helpful for me. And if you could do that the next time we're together, that will help me to continue to elevate my performance. But you know the other piece and I'm sure some of your listeners are like, yes, but my manager never spontaneously gives me feedback or says, good job. I hear you.

And so if they don't and we're still gonna use the same strategy, we're going to connect it to performance and we're going to proactively ask. So we just walked out of the meeting. And I would say I'm really focused on developing my ability to be more succinct and direct at the beginning of presentation.

So people know my three main points. If you could, please let me know when you hear that or when you don't hear that, be very helpful for my performance. And as soon as you hear that, if you could give me a thumbs up really helpful, I've started the conversation is linked to performance, very low risk for either of us.

[00:10:18] Mahan Tavakoli: Now I wonder with the transition to what has been virtual work for many and will continue to be hybrid work, Carson, how has this need changed? And what do we need to do again to make sure we get the kind of feedback that we need.

[00:10:37] Carson Tate: So you have to ask for it. So in a hybrid environment, it means you're going to have to ask for it more. So whatever you've been coaching our clients to do is in your one-on-one with your manager, have a specific ask around feedback, something you're working on developing, something you submitted to them and writing.

But its very specific, and you're very clear on the type of feedback that you want. By asking for it, we minimize that threat response. If I'm unsure what's going to happen, are they going to fire me? Just what I always thought when I worked in corporate. Oh no. Can I give you some feedback? I'm like sweating, like I'm going to get fired.

I was terrible. And the other thing in our hybrid invironment is that we need to make sure you were very clear on the work that you're doing. So we've been talking about being your own internal PR agent summarize a few key accomplishments that you're proud of in an email or a quick recap to your manager and make sure that they know so they can say great job.

It's very difficult to affirm performance if you don't know what's happening.

[00:11:45] Mahan Tavakoli: It's interesting Carson because the number one thing I hear from the team members of the organizations I coach is that they want more feedback and part of what you're emphasizing, and I want to underline is that, it's our responsibility to also solicit that feedback. It's not just my manager doesn't give me feedback.

It's on your shoulders. Own it.

[00:12:14] Carson Tate: Own it, ask for it. And if you link it to performance, it is a very low risk, mutually beneficial conversation. It's yours. And the other thing is if you want feedback from your manager, what specific feedback do you really want and how are they going to know if you don't ask for it, they can't read your mind. You have to ask.

[00:12:37] Mahan Tavakoli: And we all have blind spots. I talk about leaders have blind spots at all levels of the organization. And everyone in the organization is a leader of one form or another. We all have blind spots and by soliciting feedback, we can reduce our blind spots and continually develop ourselves too.

[00:12:59] Carson Tate: We'll continue to develop ourselves in terms of our performance. I also think asking for feedback helps interrupt some of the stories we might be telling ourselves about people and events, because when feedback is delivered for me, it means it's quantifiable, observable and repeatable. Good job is not feedback.

I don't know what good is. I can't replicate it. And there's no way for me to quantify on a scale of one to five. What good is. So when a star to ask for specific feedback, I have fact based data points to evaluate myself on versus thinking my manager just doesn't like me because she never gives me feedback.

We had that story come from.

[00:13:42] Mahan Tavakoli: And I know you touch on this later on in the book also you love as I do Carol Dweck and growth mindset, there is a necessity for us to have a growth mindset, to be able to use feedback well. So what is growth mindset and how can having a growth mindset help us grow and own it as a result of the feedback?

[00:14:08] Carson Tate: So growth mindset, the way I describe it, it means your brain is open for new information. You're open that you don't have all the information that you need and that you're learning stopped in school, or maybe after your first leadership development program, that growth and learning and development is ongoing and is in service of you and your growth, but also the organization's growth. It's a, non-stop always learning, always trying to develop.

[00:14:39] Mahan Tavakoli: And we've never attained that perfection, which is why that feedback is always necessary. You also talk about aligning your strengths with the organization's priorities. How can you do that? Carson.

[00:14:54] Carson Tate: So first you need to identify what your strengths are. And so for many of your listeners, I know that they're probably strengths-based organization. So this isn't new information. But one thing that we coach our team members on is to get really clear what those are. And so we have them do a calendar and task analysis, which is a very easy way.

And it's a plus or minus. This is something that I've got skill in. I want to do more of, I can't stop and I want to continue to grow in it, have a need to do it. And you identify those. And once you know your strengths, then you look at how, if I've leveraged these more.

So how, if I spend more time working in refining my presentation skills, does it help my team and my manager achieve his goals.

So I'm looking very intentionally. Strength is an enabler of achieving this goal faster, better, we can hit our targets and then having a conversation with my manager. So I know one of our objectives is to we're brand new team is to build the brand and the organization and make sure people really know our capabilities and competencies.

I really would like to be able to do a few more presentations to the organization on our competencies. This is alignment with a goal. What's the downside to them saying, no, you can't. And this is a strength and that when you work from your strengths, you're more in flow. You're more engaged, you're happier.

And it creates that mutually beneficial win

[00:16:25] Mahan Tavakoli: And as you're seeking that mutually beneficial win Carson that will be the case as you advocate for yourself in most instances. But at what point would you tell people that maybe it is not the right priorities of the organization, that their skills don't align. So part of the own, it should be looking for new roles, maybe within the organization or new opportunities elsewhere.

[00:16:52] Carson Tate: Both. I would say first let's stay within your organization. So are you ready for a new role? So this might be a place where you will be able to use more of your strengths more consistently, and it's in your ready in your career. The other place to look is there a committee or is your a community service project?

Is there a place where you want, need to stay in your current role, or maybe you're not quite ready for that next level, but we still want to use the strengths and we still want to create that fulfillment at work. How do we get creative on other ways to do it? That not only allows us to develop that strength even further, but it builds our brand.

It shows folks other things that we are capable of doing.

[00:17:33] Mahan Tavakoli: And I think it's really important as you own it. There are a couple of pieces you mentioned. One is the self-awareness, which is critical in that process. The other part of it is you need to constantly communicate. What has been your experience as you see, and as you guide people to own it and advocate on their behalf in their organizations,

[00:17:54] Carson Tate: I like to build in processes or ways that we can create this as a habit. So a weekly being your own internal PR advocate, that weekly recap to your manager on your agenda for your one-on-one two or three things you're really excited about that you did or something you're developing. If we can start to build it into a process that helps us move through the discomfort, we're going to get more comfortable, the more we share.

And then we're also enabling our manager to help us grow and advance in our careers.

[00:18:28] Mahan Tavakoli: Yeah. So, for all the people that send emails in Carson saying that they haven't had feedback from their manager for six months or a year, part of what you're saying is it's our responsibility to initiate it and have those weekly conversations rather than wait for it to happen.

[00:18:49] Carson Tate: Absolutely. So your next action step, if you're listening and you haven't gotten feedback in six months, please place time on your calendar and your manager's calendar for this to happen.

[00:19:01] Mahan Tavakoli: So owning it is a big part of it. And you also mentioned naming and claiming your fears, your gremlins. What is that all about?

[00:19:12] Carson Tate: Yeah, I'm dating myself here, but in the eighties

[00:19:16] Mahan Tavakoli: I knew what you were talking about, but Carson as I was reading the book, the fact that you had to explain what the gremlins were, I was like, oh boy

[00:19:25] Carson Tate: I know because the gremlins, it was a movie. I'll explain it. Cause I bet you have a few listeners. You might in your demographic, you do have some listeners who might not know, but it was a movie early eighties and the movie was based on these eras, small and they looked like cute little fuzzy creatures with little ears.

They were precious. However, if you got them wet, they turned into gremlins and they ate people and it was very scary. I saw it when I should probably not have I was too young and I was convinced that there were now gremlins, not the cute, fuzzy little gremlins, the mean gremlins living under my bed. And so for a week, at least my poor dad every night comes in, cause I'm screaming. Dad, dad turns on the lights, it looks under the bed. Carson, there are no gremlins under your bed.

And it's the same thing with our fears. I think about the fears in my head are like the gremlins, but the power of turning on the lights which is naming and claiming your fears means that we can look at them, see them for what they are, and really then start to bring our logic to it. Is this true? Is this real? What's the worst case that can happen? And start to take that ownership for them.

And, if you feel like it's really hard for you to turn on the lights by yourself, I needed my dad. Then find a trusted friend or a colleague where if you have a great relationship with a mentor, this is a great exercise for them to help you get really clear. Yes. This actually is a blind spot for you or an opportunity or no, this isn't true in our organization or true in my experience of you or how you show up.

[00:21:07] Mahan Tavakoli: And a lot of times, those gremlins dictate what we end up doing and limit our thinking and our lives by naming them and claiming them we can take control over our own career paths.

[00:21:20] Carson Tate: Absolutely. And when you choose not to, then you're stuck. And that's when I'm hoping that you've got a great mentor or colleagues saying is it worth it? Are you willing to stay stuck here and not own what's possible for you? And what's possible for your career?

[00:21:38] Mahan Tavakoli: And You refer to it at the very beginning Carson that Gallup has been serving employee engagement, which went up slightly at the beginning of the pandemic and crisis because people felt the organization cared about them and the managers cared about them. Historically, it's been somewhere around 30% of people feeling that they're fully engaged at the workplace.

It is an absolute shame if we are not getting that fulfillment, owning it is a critical part of getting the fulfillment. Now, in addition to owning it, you talk about love it, rekindled, passion and joy in your work. can there be passion and joy at work Carson?

[00:22:20] Carson Tate: You can imagine how many times I've been asked that question and the answer is the same. Yes, it is absolutely possible. And here's the secret sauce about this? Is that meaning, purpose and joy, it's not a one size fits all. It's yours. So it's uniquely defined by you. No one can define it for you. It's up to you, which means you have unbelievable opportunities in front of you to own and take control of what you want in terms of your career.

[00:22:56] Mahan Tavakoli: And I love the way you put it, Carson, meaning, purpose and joy is not a one size fits all. It is up to the individual. So how can individuals go about finding there meaning, purpose, and joy in their work environment.

[00:23:18] Carson Tate: So the first part that I take people through is to look at your work. So is it a paycheck? Is it a career? Or is it a calling? Now, this reflection is not about judgment. There's not a right or wrong. There's not a good or bad, and this isn't a shame game and we're not going to should all over ourselves. We're just looking.

So if your work is a paycheck to support your family, and that is the meaning behind it. That is good enough. If your work is about career and advancing to the next rung on the ladder, and that is what really lights you up. Excellent. Great. If it's a calling, then that means there's this a little bit deeper intrinsic.

And then we typically think about physicians or teachers or clergy members, but it doesn't have to be where there's a connection to the work itself, but the work can have meaning and joy through relationships through what you're able to do or accomplish or learn or grow, which is why it's not a one size fits all.

[00:24:27] Mahan Tavakoli: Carson, can it be all, can it be something that again, is both a calling that has a paycheck and provide some of the benefits that you're looking for in a career.

[00:24:44] Carson Tate: Yes. If you do the work to identify what you need to be fulfilled and have meaningful, purposeful, joyful work, how do you need to be recognized? What are your strengths? How can you leverage them? What are your needs around autonomy in the way you work and with whom you work? Do you have a friend at work?

Do you have a mentor? What are the relations? Do you have a career path and know what skills you want to develop? And have you done some thinking around this purpose and meaning and looking at your values and what is meaningful for you and that alignment with your organization and the type of work that you do.

It's not possible. If you don't do the work to get clear.

[00:25:24] Mahan Tavakoli: And that's why, in addition to your book, you have some assessments and tools on your site also Carson, which I think are helpful because a key part of whether it's owning it or loving it is that deep reflection of who we are and what we want. If we don't know that we're not going to be able to get it regardless of what the organization does.

[00:25:47] Carson Tate: Exactly. And I'm going to pull on that for just a minute, because there were so many people that I coached while I was writing this book before the book. And even after, that wanted to leave their job and they are leaving their job. And the story was the same. My boss doesn't give me feedback. I don't feel appreciated. I don't have a development plan. No ones cares about my career. I have to do work. This is not great.

All of those conditions are going to probably be the same in your new job. If you haven't done the work on you and haven't been a better communicator, clearer boundaries, identifying how to cultivate great relationships, the self-awareness and insight, and what the value that you bring, because at the end of the day, wherever you go, there you are.

So after the honeymoon phases and the new job, a lot of the challenges are probably going to resurface.

[00:26:39] Mahan Tavakoli: I don't want to take the relationship analogy too far, but there is an element of it, which is similar to relationships in that it takes effort, whatever relationship you're in. And in this instance in the organization also doesn't necessarily always mean it's a right fit. However, without our self-understanding and without some self-direction, it is going to be an issue wherever we go.

[00:27:06] Carson Tate: Wherever we go. There's a  story in the book about one of my coaching clients, really dynamic woman who was brought into part of a division to turn it around and she just threw her entire self into it. She was nights and weekends giving up personal events, taking on more and more work.

And she was an exceptional team member and would consistently outperform everyone else, but it came into cost. So she became resentful. She wasn't doing some personal things. Her health started to suffer. She had created conditions where every time someone asked her for something, she said, yes.

And so she was part of the problem. And in our coaching, it's very direct. It's if you don't choose to have some boundaries and communicate what your boundaries are or not, and better negotiate deadlines and deliverables. This will be your professional experience here. And she was one of the ones that wanted to quit and shoved her resume across the table in a coaching session was so mad.

I was like, I'm leaving today. No. While I'm here, I can't do this. Why the executives coaches here. So we're going to have to calm down a little bit and walk it off and look at your piece of the action.

[00:28:26] Mahan Tavakoli: A big part of the lesson that we all need to keep in mind. It does take quite a bit of effort. In addition, in the love it, you talk about cultivating authentic relationships, which are really important. And again, I find harder in the virtual slash hybrid environment. How can we go about cultivating authentic relationships that are appropriate in the work environment?

[00:28:54] Carson Tate: So I'm sure you're familiar with the golden rule. So the golden rule, I distinctly remember in my little kindergarten class Sydney, Ms. Floyd was my five-year-old kindergarten teacher and she treat others kindly Carson, share your toy because you want her to share the toy in the kitchen. I loved playing in the kitchen.

It was my favorite spot and great. It worked really well in terms of community and empathy, but there's another rule that I learned when I was a little bit older, the platinum rule. And in our hybrid workplace, I've seen this become even more important. So for example, How many zoom calls have you gotten on earlier in the pandemic that started with, what are you watching on Netflix?

How many different takeout places that'd be eaten from? It's just some chit-chat now for some of us, this is connection, right? We're connecting and oh, I love that show too. And pizza is definitely my favorite, but only thin crust. And then for other team members, there a story there Tony experiencing is there wasting my time, I'm already feeling overtaxed. I had to negotiate with my partner to take care of our child so I could be present. They're not respecting me. These are dramatically different experiences. And so the platinum rule helps us think about how does that person want to be treated.

And so we use one of the frameworks that I developed in grad school, and as in my first book, we call it the productivity style assessment or work style, and work style is how you think and process information. It's how you communicate. It's think about that person. That's really analytical and data oriented or your colleague who's really big picture and ideator. And so once you understand how they work, which is where the friction happens, of course, it's chatting me up for 20 minutes.

I just want to get this done. I have things to do once you understand that friction and how your colleague wants to be treated, how they want you to communicate with them, it's much easier. To relate and get the work done and also make sure there are these unintended consequences and stories told about reasons why people are doing the things that they choose to do.

[00:31:11] Mahan Tavakoli: And it brings a lot more joy to your work experience also. Again, there's been a lot of studies around those deeper relationships, having an impact on whether it's employee engagement. Or satisfaction in the work environment. It does take more effort though, in a virtual and or hybrid environment.

It's a little bit easier when we are bumping into people that have more of an opportunity to engage in some more of those chitchat conversations for those that it works

and hopefully authentic conversations for those that seek it.

[00:31:51] Carson Tate: Yes, absolutely. And I think there's a really interesting opportunity right now, though. So anytime we're in the midst of massive change, it's an opportunity to get to know each other again. So we can have a conversation. We're both working two days in the office, other days at home, let's talk about the best ways for us to work together now. 

And then you've opened up the conversation and you can really be candid and direct about what's going to work and what's not going to work. And I would invite leaders to do the same things with their teams.

[00:32:25] Mahan Tavakoli: It's those conversations that are going to be important. And as you said, it's a fresh start and an opportunity for a fresh start for a lot of reasons, including the fact that even for people that have been working with each other over the past few years, we have changed as individuals through this entire experience. So it's good for us to get to know each other again, too.

[00:32:49] Carson Tate: And I have two questions that I would suggest anchor this conversation that you have with your colleague or your leaders, because most of your folks are leaders. What did you gain during the pandemic that you want to bring with you into our new workplace? And then what did you lose during the pandemic that we need to know about, and we might need to look at how can we recreate opportunities to massage that loss, know about it, or look for new ways to get that need met.

[00:33:28] Mahan Tavakoli: What powerful questions Carson I saw a post the earlier this week on LinkedIn. Someone that was was talking about how water cooler conversations were useless. Let's not try to recreate water cooler conversations virtually. And part of his point was exactly to what you're saying in that he was saying we can have deeper conversations that can help for the connection and relationship building.

And those two questions require some thought requires some vulnerability and authenticity. But give us that opportunity to create a new relationship and new work environment.

[00:34:10] Carson Tate: Which is so important. We're not going back. And I think the other opportunity is we haven't really excellent opportunity to not just slide back into old cultural norms, old communication patterns that might not have really been serving us. It's just really a great time to look at all your systems, communication, collaboration, how you're developing and growing your people, how you're getting the work, done, those productivity processes, those pieces and parts all need to be examined.

[00:34:44] Mahan Tavakoli: And Carson, you also then say, make your job work for you, design your job to find your meaning in there's a lot of conversation about organizations and teams needing to give meaning to their employees. You're saying you are responsible to find your own meaning. How can we find our meaning in our jobs?

[00:35:08] Carson Tate: There. So I'm going to answer with a story. So I hated my job. I was selling booth space 10 by 10 booth space at an expo. My boss made Steve Carell look like. A poster child for exemplary leadership. I was in a dusty moldy, old office, building gray cubicles, my manager, come and hover over me while I was on the phone.

I learned a whole new vocabulary that I'd never learned before. It was terrible. And I hated everything about my job. And I knew that this wasn't sustainable. And so I called coach Finisterre one late afternoon. I was like, oh my God, coach. I hate my life. I hate my job. My boss sucks. Everything about this is terrible.

And he asked me a really interesting question. He goes, so Carson, remember some of those races that we would run and the courses it's yeah, Could you change the course? He's could you pull out the hill that you never liked to mal to? Cause you always whined about that. It's no, he's but what could you change in a race?

It's thanks, coach me, my effort, my breathing. He's like great. So you can't change the course, but you can change you. What are you going to do about it? So I went back in the next day, coach, Feimster and me are like, all right, the course is the course you've got the boss, you've got the moldy building.

And so when I decided to do is how can I get better. So first and foremost, how do I get better? So there was a colleague down the hall who was great. He was the number one sales guy. He wasn't getting cussed out on the phone and he was exceeding his number. So I asked if I could shadow him. Would he give me some coaching?

He did went to my manager. It's here's what I'm working on. He stopped hovering in the cube as much. So that helped, but then I still had. What's the purpose of this work? I just sell space. So I looked at my sales report and I realized that most of my folks that actually vault space were females and most of these folks were new entrepreneurs.

And what our. XPO provided for them was an opportunity at a very reasonable cost to launch their business, test a new product, really low risk. It's okay, that's meaningful. So if I didn't do my job, if I didn't exist, the company didn't exist. Then we would not enable these women to start their own companies and help their families and build their business.

I can get behind that. So I didn't just make sales calls. No, I was an enabler of female entrepreneurship. That was the reframing that enabled me to Excel ultimately, and really find great deep joy in my work. And then when I met these women in person, which I got to do, it was extraordinary.

[00:38:15] Mahan Tavakoli: Because you had an impact on them. What a beautiful story Carson, because it shows that a lot of times when we talk about meaning it's not something that the organization. Gives to the individuals, not everyone works at a hospital saving lives, and sometimes even people working in a hospital don't derive meaning from what they're doing, it's up to the individual to figure that out, as you were able to do here.

[00:38:44] Carson Tate: And this is a cognitive reframe and now of course, like every person, there were still days that were hard and days where I'd felt disconnected from the meaning and purpose, but I was very clear on the value and what that brought to the people that I was serving.

[00:39:00] Mahan Tavakoli: And I think that gives us more satisfaction and more fulfillment, which is a big part of what you talk about in owning it, loving it, making it work for ourselves, we control that outcome. And you provide a lot of great frameworks in the book and a lot of great tools on the website. Deacceleration guide the ability opportunities map that you have.

So a lot of tools that people can use in their self-reflection. On how they can love it and make it work for themselves. So Carson, in addition to your book, I wonder if there are any leadership practices or resources you typically find yourself recommending to others as they aspire to become more effective and impactful in their own leadership journeys.

[00:39:48] Carson Tate: You're not going to be surprised about one of them feedback. I am clearly very strong advocate for feedback. The more, the better, very specific and actionable the other leadership practice that I advocate for all leaders and I find for myself is having space. Brief pauses throughout the Workday. So the stacked back-to-back meeting doubled triple booked.

I don't find that actually is an enabler of performance. One it's very difficult to stay present and to where is that space and time for connection and reflection and creating linkages between what you're hearing. So I like for people to take breaks, I take breaks throughout my day, walking, breathing, meditating, just to make sure that I'm not working on autopilot. And the third leadership practice, I believe in continuous and lifelong learning. That's the growth mindset. And so having my own personal leadership development plan and courses and goals and objectives. Something that I do, my team is held accountable for doing, developing their own personal development plan. And we expect all of our clients to be thinking about it as well.

[00:41:05] Mahan Tavakoli: Those are three grade recommendations, Carson, and they require a lot of disciplines. So whether it's with respect to feedback, it requires the discipline to solicit it. It is hard for us to find a time to give feedback. It is. Hard to solicit and make sure that others take the time and can give us a feedback.

Reflection is one of those things that, again, a virtual environment has reduced the time. A lot of people, the commute time, as much as we would complain about it for many was a time for a certain level of reflection. That's really important. And you also talk about that lifelong learning. It is with the accelerated pace of change. We all at all levels of the organization need to be obsessive lifelong learners.

[00:41:55] Carson Tate: Absolutely. At times I think that's where you can find a new spark, a new idea. Ah, there's another way I can be looking at this problem or another insight or new relationship that I've developing, all of which will contribute to your engagement and fulfilling.

[00:42:10] Mahan Tavakoli: So Carson, in addition to your book, which is available on Amazon and I'm sure all other retailers, how else can people find out more about you and also take advantage of the resources that you have on your site too.

[00:42:29] Carson Tate: So the assessments that you mentioned, so we have a productivity style assessment and a dream job assessment, which is a great tool to identify where to focus your efforts on trying to find more fulfillment engagement at work are available on. Our company's website I'm on LinkedIn, the Carson Tate.

There are also lots of articles and postings and videos there as well. And then also an Instagram, if you like pictures and that modality to learn what we're from there as well.

[00:43:02] Mahan Tavakoli: I really appreciate the conversation Carson, most, especially because there is a tendency for us to wait for systems, structures, and others. There is some importance for those systems and structures. However, there is a significant amount of control we can have. And you both talk about that control.

And provide frameworks that people can use to get to know themselves better. What suits them in order for them to be able to guide their careers so they can own it. Love it, make it work and make any job, their dream job. Thank you so much for joining this conversation. Carson Tate.

[00:43:44] Carson Tate: Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity.