Jason Barger checks-in with EY’s, Ken Bouyer, who is at his home in isolation in New Jersey. The two dive into topics of the power of mindset during quarantine, leading in times of crisis, emotional intelligence, and calibrating one’s thermostat as a leader.
1:00 – Podcast introduction where Jason talks about why he started these Quarantine Chats and their purpose, to spread positivity out there to all during these times. Jason shares some inspiring knowledge on the leaders and teams that will thrive during these times as well.
3:09 – Jason welcomes Ken Bouyer, Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting at EY. Ken is talking from New Jersey, the second hardest-hit state during COVID-19 pandemic. Ken reflects on the times and how social distancing affects a self-proclaimed “hugger”, or a person who loves to be close to people and to give hugs along with a welcome big smile when seeing someone familiar like Jason Barger (see image above).
5:39 – How do you pass the time? Ken says, To be honest, being busy every part of the day to having to slow down has been a big adjustment. What does this look like when we have to recalibrate? We still have a firm to run, how do we recalibrate? It is time for us to go back to our grounding.
8:20 – When crisis comes up, how do you think about your values and leadership in a time like this? Ken says people look to our leaders for signals to affirm who we really are. How are we going to act through this crisis and how are we going to come together? It is very important for our leaders to answer that. Ken goes through every day thinking what kind of signals am I sending, what kind of values and I bringing to the firm, and how am I acting?
9:04 – One thing that is so important is the ability and need to be transparent. By sharing our feelings we let people know that this is hard, this is different, this has not been easy to transition to. Tell your people that we are going to get through this and our thoughts during this time are okay.
10:15 – How do we set a temperature that isn’t just doom and gloom, how do you set that temperature each day for your people? Ken says that the CEO Kelly Grier really came out early with announcements and protections for employees about travel and how to work before many companies had said anything. She also said that they are not going to fire anyone and in order to do that they have to not give bonuses to their executives and directly answered the questions that people were thinking about.
13:05 – If one person is suffering we all suffer, that was a message that came from the top. The announcement from the EY CEO was a pinnacle moment for the company.
14:00 – Jason and Ken talk about some of the unintended consequences that will come out of this. Ken says there will be a new economy that comes out of this. There will be some sectors that will have a very difficult time coming through this and many mom and pop shops will not make it through says Ken. Another challenge is of service and delivery of education, some universities will not make it through this.
16:05 – The leaders that can shift their eyesight and begin to sit in this ambiguity and realize I don’t have to do it the same way I have always done it will see great opportunities. We are at a time of forced innovation, it’s challenging all of us to learn new ways to communicate and connect. There is power in congregation. There will be teams and organizations that are going to be thirsty to congregate, to align our minds and hearts, and to share visions together.
18:40 – Jason and Ken talk about healthy mental and physical habits during this time to keep yourself motivated, healthy, and activated now. No school in your pajamas, you go to school, you go to work, your dress is your mindset.
Questions from Live Chat viewers
21:20 – What would you tell anyone who is leading a team that is struggling to keep their people motivated through this time? Ken says, I am big on emotional intelligence, it is important to check in frequently and do one-on-one check-ins. Face the realities of what is happening and being honest about it.
25:50 – “Crisis often reveals leadership”, when things are going well it is easy to say or feel that but in times of crisis that is when leaders reveal what their values are. Through the lens of diversity and inclusion, to remember are supposed to be reaching out to one another and to help one another now. Ken says that empathy is really critical here, we all have a story, being empathetic of people and their journey. Appreciating and respecting difference, it is easy right now if you want to chat with one person to include them now in all your projects but it is important now to include all your people into those activities. Making sure that everyone belongs and is part of the team is essential now. Being an inclusive leader is a big part of diversity.
28:00 – Jason gives a warm thank you of appreciation to Ken Bouyer from EY. We encourage all of you to amplify this message if you enjoyed it, please leave a review for us on iTunes or Google podcasts. Thank you!
Don’t count the days, make the days count. – Mohammed Ali
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ABOUT THE THERMOSTAT
Conversations and micro-thoughts to engage your mind and heart.
A thermostat is proactive. It sets the temperature in a room. Controls the temperature. Regulates the temperature. But in today’s distracted, fast-paced and digital world, it’s easy for individuals and organizations to act more like thermometers, slipping into reactionary thinking, becoming scattered and inconsistent. The most compelling leaders, teams, organizations, families or collection of humans of any kind operate in thermostat mode. They calibrate their mind and heart to set the temperature for the vision and culture they want to create. Jason Barger, globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, is the host of The Thermostat, a podcast journey to discover authentic leadership, create compelling cultures and find clarity of mission, vision, and values.