Culture Factor 2.0

Bryan Smith: What if Employees Were Treated Like Olympic Athletes?

Episode Summary

Bryan Smith is an ex-pro sports performance coach. In fact, he led the Olympic Sports development in Track & Field representing over 7 countries in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He turned start-up founder at LEON Health Science, an employee performance platform, where he leaned in on his expertise in all things stress, burnout management and high performance. LEON went viral recently with their provocative take on how employees feel and are treated. Honestly, their website alone is jaw-dropping. Today on Culture Factor 2.0 we will dive into his area of expertise in sports science, this AI powered platform and how it affects company culture in a manner we have yet to see from the c-suite or human resources.

Episode Notes

linkedin.com/in/bryan-smith-leon

http://linkedin.in/hollyshannon1

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/descendants-of-holocaust-survivors-have-altered-stress-hormones/

https://www.amazon.com/Why-Zebras-Dont-Ulcers-Third/dp/0805073698

 

 

 

 

Episode Transcription

Holly Shannon  0:00  

The framework of business is completely different in the new normal. To explore culture as the strategy, we have to look in places we haven't before. Looking into company culture, from the C suite to employees and from fortune 500 to startups, it's time to understand the human side of company culture and the new shape it is taking. This is the conversation on culture factor 2.0. And I'm your host, Holly Shannon. Brian Smith is an ex pro sports performance coach. In fact, he led the Olympic sports development in track and field representing over seven countries in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He turned startup founder at Leon an employee performance platform, where he leaned in on his expertise and all things stress, burnout, management and high performance. Leon went viral recently with a provocative take on how employees feel and are treated. Today on culture factor 2.0, we will dive into his area of expertise in sports science, this AI powered platform, and how it affects company culture in a manner we have yet to see from the C suite or human resources. Hi, I'm your host, Holly Shannon. And I'd like to introduce Brian Smith. Welcome to culture factor 2.0.

 

Bryan Smith  1:12  

Wow, you killed that.

 

It was so elegant, the pauses were perfect. It was a it was amazing.

 

Holly Shannon  1:22  

Thank you. Thank you. So welcome aboard. Really excited. And I really want to dive into your background working with Olympic athletes, because it has given you a viewpoint that employees are analogous to athletes. So I'd like to talk about how employers have the same responsibility for their employees as a coach would do for their athletes. Do you think I could ask you to dive into that?

 

Bryan Smith  1:51  

Yeah, sure. Not a problem. So I think it probably makes sense to sort of understand my role a little bit and what I did with professional athletes, right, because it's a little ambiguous, I think some people would be like, you know, I'm doing muscle biopsies on a daily basis to see what's going on with an athlete. You know, other people might be like, I'm just yelling in a corner telling him to lift more weights, right. But quite honestly, it's sort of a combination of the two. You know, when we look at athletes, and we look at training athletes, regardless if it's a track and field, or football or baseball, ultimately what it comes down to is you're managing resources, right? And you're managing fatigue, you're managing stress, you're managing strength, you're managing power, you're managing Dorrance, all these other things, all on the idea that you're managing these resources to make sure that they can present themselves on the field of play. So think about that, and open that up a little bit, right. So when I'm working with an athlete, I need to be able to make sure that the recovery modalities that I'm giving them if it's massage, or ice, you know, cold tubs or cryotherapy, nutrition, exercise programs, all these other things are not stealing away from their ability to present their skills on the phone, within the game, or within the track. So ultimately, that's what I did, right? Like, I made sure to monitor recovery. And we would use that use things like HRV, which is cardiac monitoring, Eg which is looking at a slow brainwave activity, actually looking at the potential ation of the central nervous system and how it represents itself in the field. We would do blood testing, we would do supplementation testing, we would do muscle biopsies, all of these type of things to make sure that our athletes are prepared to perform on the field of play. Now, how that relates itself back to business, is we do the same thing, right? every interaction that you have, as a leader, every interaction that you have, as a manager, is making sure that you are managing the resources of your sales pros or product teams or whatever they are. All right, and that you're mentally preparing them to perform eight hours a day, five days a week, you know, 300 some days a year.

 

Holly Shannon  4:28  

Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense if everybody worked nine to five, five days a week. Exactly. I think people now work crazy hours. And obviously with the new normal, there's such a blurring of the lines between what the work day looks like when it starts when it ends where your breaks are. So it's harder for employers to maybe see the full Picture. Maybe you can share with us sort of that picture what that looks like. So, so say a company, which brings a server to our next question, say a company is going through fundraising, or they have a big initiative in front of them. How does that affect employees?

 

Bryan Smith  5:28  

Okay, so again, I'll bring it back to the, the sports performance aspect of this, right? So when we're designing plans, and we design plans and four year increments, right, so every recovery day, every massage session, every training program is designed within four years. All right, and then what we do is we use data to make sort of daily changes and weekly changes and monthly changes based off of feedback, right. So if we see that an athlete is trending down, meaning like their recovery, or their sleep, or their burnout or their fatigue, we then make adjustments to make sure that that athlete is able to recover, sort of super compensate or bounce back. And I'll get into that super compensation theory in a second, bounce back. All right, so they can train and perform again, right? Because what we want to do is we want to make sure that there's always a linear curve, to training preparation, right, you're either constantly getting stronger, faster, more resilient, fitter, what more conditioned, so that linear curve presents itself, at the Olympic level. So that's like, peaking, right, like you're sort of peaking at the right time. And all the resources are available, so you can present itself, you know, on an Olympic level. Now, when we look at product teams, or we look at companies in general, you know that the difference is, in pro sports, we understand the cost of everything, we understand the cost of running a mile, and how our athlete or individual athlete how that's going to affect that athlete and their recovery and their ability to train the next day or perform the next week. But with profit with our employees, we don't understand the cost of raising a series A, or pushing out a new product in 60 days, or having a big ass quarter, right? Where you just like, you know, you just kill that those are the goals. So what ends up happening, because we don't understand those costs, we end up compiling stress on top of each other. Right, where because we're not allowing recovery time, we're not allowing this sort of super compensation and not let me explain that. Essentially, super compensation is a disruption of homeostasis. Do you know what I mean by homeostasis,

 

Holly Shannon  7:57  

I'm gonna let you explain to the listeners.

 

Bryan Smith  7:59  

So homeostasis is the concept that your body is always trying to maintain a sort of middle ground ray of like stress and recovery, it's always trying to maintain that middle ground. And that's where like our status quo is at. Anytime there's a disruption or a new stress in anything in life is added, you didn't sleep, you had a fight with your spouse, whatever. There's a disruption of homeostasis. And in that disruption of homeostasis, there is a chemical response within the body, which causes a stress response, which lowers your homeostatic, homeostatic state, meaning your body that disrupts your your median, and you drop down, right. And then what happens is, once you drop down, we normally what happens is you allow your body to recover from that stress, right? That that's the release of hormones and all these other things that happened. That's the release of stress. And what happens is your body starts coming back up, it starts making a linear progression I up. And then what happens is it you achieve a higher level of homeostasis, right? Because your body is improved. It's figured out how to adapt to that stress and start coming back up. So now it has a higher level of homeostasis. But what happens in the workplace is we do that product sprint, it's stressful as all hell, right? All right. And but the manager or the team, or whoever's in charge doesn't give the team enough time to recover. So there is no super compensation curve, right? You just show up for it the next day, and you do it again. And then again, and again. And again. And this is why burnout happens is because the stress gets too much there's not enough recovery, there is no super compensation curve. So what ends up happening is over time, we now increase our decrease our employees homeo level of homeostasis, right. So you started at one. All right, and then You know, you're now you're coming down to negative five, and that's your new level of homeostasis. And over time that builds and builds or decreases, decreases, decreases, where now our employees get burned out, and they have all these other things associated with it. Does that make sense?

 

Holly Shannon  10:14  

It makes perfect sense. And in light of the fact that we have a huge mental health crisis, you've hit the nail on the head that I believe are, we're in that path, a lot of people are in that path.

 

Bryan Smith  10:28  

Totally. I mean, I and, and, and all of this is part of life, right? And, and really, this, this is no different than the current state that we're in like the obviously there's more stress involved in that. But fuck all our employees, we're always stressed, we're always causing these issues. It's just now managers don't have what's the word I'm looking for? They can justify it by saying, Oh, I had a conversation with my employee, or Oh, my employee doesn't look stressed, or Oh, my employee showed up for work today, therefore, they must be fine.

 

Holly Shannon  11:01  

Hmm. I don't think that employers have the tools to work in this new normal, a lot of them been thrust into the work from home life. They're not used to being in each other's living rooms, which is a real, you know, that's your personal space, right. Some people have a have a desk setup in their bedroom, a spare bedroom, the kitchen. So you know, there's a privacy piece, that piece where you're able to go home and recover, like you said, you know, you have certain things that help you recover. And part of that is family time or quiet time, and it's been infiltrated. So you can't really it's sort of just this whole new world is making it difficult for for everybody in a lot of ways. And I'm not really sure how we work on company culture, in this new normal, and that's why I'm talking to people like yourself on to achieve homeostasis. And maybe I'm going to jump into a question I had further down the line about Leon, and sort of looking at the individual. So I'm sorry, is turning out to be a long question. But we're, we're all individuals. So what works for Brian and what works for Holly and what works for Jane and jack are completely different. And our homeostasis cannot be measured exactly the same. So asking an employer to treat us all the same, or HR to treat us all the same doesn't work, right. Like I mean, we see it doesn't work. There's some people who are plummeting into mental health issues, and some that are thriving. So what can we do? Are there tools out there to to help us?

 

Bryan Smith  12:46  

Well, I don't, it's it's a tool issue. But it's also like an education sort of knowledge issue, right? Because it's important for individuals, especially leaders to understand the science of stress. All right, and how, what goes into that and how people adapt to it, and how people recover from it and how it affects certain people. Right? There's a there's a great book, and how you might read this, by Robert sapolsky, called why zebras don't get ulcers. I familiar with this.

 

Holly Shannon  13:20  

I am familiar with the name, but I haven't read it. But we will also put it in a link in the show notes for guests to

 

Bryan Smith  13:26  

Yeah, so it's a brilliant book. All about it's a I think he's a neuroscientist from university Stanford. And what he did is he studied baboons. Right, and how baboons recover with or how they recover from stress and sort of like the, the entire sort of infrastructure of living in a bad human community, right. And what happens to baboons, when they're, you know, pushed away from their tribe, or the pack, whatever they call it, and they just salted with their responses. And then it goes into this big sort of, you know, a conversation about what goes into stress and how people adapt to stress. And it's important to understand that stress is 100% in individual characteristic, all right, that we all that affects us all in different ways. And what I mean by that is, on a biological level, there's always the same response. But that response is governed by past history. I or even epi genetics, like have you ever saw that study with Holocaust victims? And they're, like two generations later, and how their, how their families adapted to stress. Are you familiar with this at all?

 

Holly Shannon  14:47  

I am not, but I would like to be. Okay.

 

Bryan Smith  14:50  

So, there was a study done on I think it was the great, great grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and I might butcher this but I'll send you a link. So you You can post it in show notes. And essentially, the idea was that the great great grandchildren lacked a certain chemical to adapt to stress properly. And the idea was, is because of epigenetic factors, those Holocaust survivors are the people that were in the Holocaust, depleted on like a genetic level, their ability for their great grandchildren or great great grandchildren to adapt to stress properly, meaning their stress was so heightened that it blunted the stress response. I for generations of people.

 

Holly Shannon  15:40  

That's why it's my mind pretty Yes.

 

Bryan Smith  15:43  

So that's unbelievable. But that's how individual stresses, right is that, you know, I could have had childhood trauma, I could have epigenetic factors, which have never like I never knew about, that all affect my ability to adapt to stress. So when I, when we talk about knowledge of like managing people and managing teams, understanding the costs of doing business, from a people perspective is so important. Because these people, our employees, our charges, you know, they're like our students to a certain extent, right, where we can't let bad things sort of happen to them. But the first part is understanding exactly what stress is, how it affects people, how it affects people individually, all right, and then deciding to make sort of changes and adjustments from there.

 

Holly Shannon  16:36  

This is fascinating, I hadn't looked at it through this lens, your background in in, in health really bring something else to the table, you know, very often. And this is just as an aside, and we can certainly have this conversation, but most people and you, actually you and I have had this conversation before. Look at company culture, as you know, the kombucha on tap or, you know, an HR directive that everybody's going to do, you know, 10 minute meditation followed by yoga, and it just is not a one size fits all. And those things are not culture. Those are maybe nice to haves, but they don't resolve the problem that there's a cost of doing business, like you said, and I would like to maybe understand how employers can rethink company culture, to preserve the mental health of their charges. You know, the, as you said, there's fallout from all of these ambitious goals and from, you know, doing that a series a round or scaling. What can we do? How can we rethink company culture? What is your take on that?

 

Bryan Smith  17:53  

So I think it's important to understand that we probably need to remove the concept, not the concept of the word mental health, all right, because it's just about health. Right? how I handle stress might not present itself with me crying at my desk, right? Or it might not present myself present itself, with me being suicidal, or, you know, feeling inadequate, and whatever. But it could be doing other things, right. It could be just, you know, increasing my increasing my,

 

Holly Shannon  18:26  

like your testosterone and making you angry or something.

 

Bryan Smith  18:28  

Yeah. Or it could be increasing my risk of, you know, type two diabetes, it could be changing the way my body manages sort of sugar and insulin responses, which causes me to gain weight, or gain belly fat, like, these are all really effects of stress. Right? So let's let's talk about managing health in general. So when we talk about what companies can do, you know, data is obviously key, right? So we need to understand the cost of doing business. And we need to sort of live this mantra of do no harm, right? Just like doctors, right? When they talk about doing no harm to their patients, we should do that same thing for our employees, because they're people and they're human beings. And that's the right thing to do. But that being said, it doesn't mean you remove stress. All right, stress is fine, right? At certain levels of burnout are fine. And it's part of being an athlete or being an employer right by but what we need to understand is that stress level we're trying to achieve, I and that recovery level we're trying to achieve and how to get that person to Super competency and get back to that have a positive momentum homeostasis, or aloe stasis, rather than a decreased sort of curve on homeostasis.

 

Holly Shannon  19:49  

Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense. How, how do you suggest we do that? And maybe that means we lean in a little bit to understand the data and And maybe even how Leon works, to, to learn how its AI power to it learns and relearned about the individuals if I understand it correctly,

 

Bryan Smith  20:09  

yeah, so um, you know what, what Leon does is we use a series of surveys and integrations and a bunch of different data points to ultimately early detect things like burnout, mental health issues, performance issues and culture issues before they happen. But where the the secret sauce lies is, instead of giving that data to a manager or CEO to make decisions on a company level, we make the employee the object of control. And then we build services and content and education around the individual rather than the company. So what that looks like is if we detect that an employee's burning out our machine learning algorithm, then points services through our integrations, if that's headspace, or talkspace, or equinox, or soulcycle, or blood testing companies or whatever, directly to that employee to give them exactly what they need, and then the company can subsidize spend for those services. And then we point content for the individual to help them exactly understand what burnout is, how to prevent it, how to mitigate it, all those other things. And then we create a series of events and learning modules and whatnot that that employee can sort of engage into, to sort of improve that concept. So that's sort of our base product model. But one of the things that we're building right now, which, you know, I think, is groundbreaking, but I'm founder, so, you know, this is this concept of taking that wellness data, or that performance data that we're collecting, and overlaying that with growth goals within a company. Alright, so you know, so for real time example, say, somebody an employer puts in our platform that they want to raise a series A within six months, all right, what we do is we have benchmark data against other companies that have done that in real time. And we can tell a company, the best way to manage your team, provide recovery resources, provide mental health resources, and whatnot, during that time, to make sure that your team comes out of that six month series A, I'm ready to do it again, right, because much like the New England Patriots, or whatever have you with the team that can repeat performance over and over and over again, that becomes the dynasty. All right. And that's what we want out of the companies we work with, we want you to be able to raise a series A, alright, but we want you to raise a series A without an increase in people cost, right, we want to make sure that, you know, your team is recovered, that they have, you know, high level of morale, that they're not burnt out, and that they're able to perform again, because during this time, what we've shown is that companies raise a series A, within 90 days of re raising that series A they see a 42% increase in burnout, and a 35% decrease in employee morale, which is like the worst time in the world to have any of that happen. because quite honestly, it's one of the biggest growth goals you can go through in a company. And at that point, now you're answering to VCs and all these other people, and you have to make sure that you can perform at a top level.

 

Holly Shannon  23:37  

Well, you've you've put yourself on that next level, like you said, so to have 42% burnout. So you know, almost half of your workforce is completely burnt out and doesn't have anything left in the tank to go. And more than a third of them are, their morale is, you know, headed down. And you need them to head back. They need to be excited, actually, right. We we got this series, we got the round, next step type of thing, but they don't have anything in them. You know, it's so fascinating to me, because, you know, company culture has always been, at least classically, it's always been talked about from the C suite. You know, the the famous saying culture eats strategy for breakfast, right? So it's always been thought of that, whatever the C suite is doing, it trickles down, and it's and that is company culture. COVID has really changed the way companies operate. And I actually think that it's such a great opportunity, because it's exploded the system, right? You don't even have that physical building anymore, where you have the people who are highest in the city Sweet sitting on the highest floor, you've diminished even the physical look of it. So we're, we're in a new era and and with that I feel comes opportunity. And I feel as though what you're talking about is an opportunity for the employee to feel empowered, and to take the necessary steps to reach homeostasis, to find the tools that they need to refill their tank, to know what their boundaries really are. I think some of us don't even know what our boundaries are, you know, we just dive into projects and things and you know, we come out at the end of it, hopefully still standing. Right? Yeah.

 

Bryan Smith  25:39  

Well, you know, it's, it's, it's funny, because I had a conversation, you might have saw this on LinkedIn today, with an individual who said that, you know, from that they use this like, good degrade analogy, where like, the best companies push their employees to a level to achieve greatness, and they use, you know, the apples of the world and Tesla's of the world and whatnot. And that pretty much he said that if you're the type of employee that can't handle that, it's not the employers responsibility. Maybe you just don't fit that company. Right? Um, which I think is really weird, to a certain extent, right? Because this isn't pro sports, right? We're pro sports, there's you exactly what the model of a Olympic level 400 meter athlete looks like, the height, the weight, the muscle, fiber, distribution, genetics, all these other things. But in business world, there is no model, right? You can be the most badass programmer in the whole entire world, you know, and be completely unhealthy. And, you know, like, there's, there's, there's not a model for these type of things. So we can I at least I don't think we can put, especially in tech, the slide we can, we can't model a high performer and what they look like, it just doesn't make sense to me. Because if anything, if we're talking about inclusiveness, and sort of, you know, all these other things about building well, rounded teams, and not hiring based off culture fit a culture Ed, you know, we have to create systems where, you know, individuals are able to sort of understand what their bandwidth is work within that bandwidth. Be healthy, why they're doing it and still excel at their, at their career.

 

Holly Shannon  27:31  

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think, what I want to ask you, this might seem like an odd question, what am I not asking you? What What am I not diving into that? I think employers and employees would really benefit from knowing.

 

Bryan Smith  27:50  

Yeah, I mean, let's talk about something that you can do right away, to help your employees and understand better how to manage your team. So what I want the listeners to do is develop a little survey, and we call this our performance questionnaire, right? So that performance questionnaire, it's going to consist of five questions on a one to five scale. All right, now within that, within those questions, we're going to ask, how's your mood, how's your stress, how's your sleep? How's your soreness, and there's one other one, I forget it, but we can share it in the show notes. All right. And then what I want you to do is I want you to take that questionnaire, I want you to give that to your to your team, before and after a specific sprint, right. So if that is like a new product, or you know, a sales, Sprint, or whatever, have you. Alright, and then once we have that data, all right, what we're going to do is we're going to benchmark that on a trend timeline, on a trend line on an Excel document. Alright, and then we're going to make sure we notate the type of sprint, it was in the type of beer. Alright, so what ends up happening, and this is so so powerful, is that what we can do is we can quantify that people costs, I have a sprint or quantify the people cost a series raise, right? What ends up happening is that we can take that number, and we can compare it against previous benchmarks. So we know that in October, we proved, you know, put out this product in 30 days, and the people call us was x. I, we're gonna do that again in January. And we know that people call us was why. All right. But if, if the one in October was much more elevated than one and not in January, whatever I said, Where was the difference there, right. And then over time, what we can do is we can sort of benchmark things over longer periods of time. And then we can say, all right, in October, we did this, this was the cost in January to this, this was the cost in February, we did this, this was the cost. All right. And then what you can do is you can do you can use strategies leading up to that to make sure that the cost isn't as great or you can use stripe Afterwards, I help you work your team recover faster. All right, and it's so powerful, right, because we can help our teams recover faster, and then keep on driving performance and keep on moving in that linear scale. So think about that, when we're managing, you know, sprints or managing our teams or whatnot, think about what the cost of, of, you know, your specific application or your specific sprint, or whatever it is, alright, and then make changes during that time to make sure that your team can come out of it better.

 

Holly Shannon  30:31  

So there's mitigation tools during that can be used, um, you know, based on October versus January, and there's strategies that can be deployed post, January, now that we've learned, what are some of these tools?

 

Bryan Smith  30:52  

Okay. So let's think about it like this, right? Um, when we look at stress, all right, there's two different areas, two different responses from a physiological standpoint and stress there is, and they're both managed and governed by the autonomic nervous system. So there is a fight or flight response, which is sympathetic. And there is a sort of rest and digest response, which is parasympathetic, essentially, one is stress, and the other one is recovery. All right, and going back to that level of homeostasis, your body is always trying to maintain that middle ground, right between. So what we need to understand is where your team is at during that time. All right, so we see that using that performance questionnaire that we talked about, that there was a high state of stress after that product sprint, right. So we know that sleep was disrupted, stress was high mood is low. Okay, so now we understand that those people are probably in a sympathetic or fight or flight response. And then what we need to do is we need to shift them in a parasympathetic state to help them recover and recover. Remember that that super compensation curve mentioned earlier? That's that process, right? There was homeostasis, disruption, sympathetic response, start to recovery, parasympathetic response back to a medium. So once we see that the team is in a parasympathetic response, now we need to implement some sort of recovery strategies to get them back, right and cause a recovery response. So what could that be? Most of the time, it's going to be removing intensity, alright, because intensity, we don't want to add intensity to an already over intensified individual, right. So that could be reducing hours, because the hours can be intense, that could be reducing the amount of sales calls, meetings, anything like that, that's going to, it's going to be perceived by the individual as an intense stimulus. But that also like, you know, it could be you know, it could be talk therapy, right, it could be implementing some sort of talkspace, or whatever, it could be hosting a online yoga, that sort of thing for your team, much all that is driving that recovered response, right. So there's multiple different things you can do there. So once we give that that modality, then we'll see that person start to hopefully come back up. All right, and then once they're sort of given a week, or whatever it is, now we know that they're back in that sort of homeostatic or parasympathetic state. So then we can introduce stress again. And the powerful part about this is now that we know what the response was, the next time we do it, we can push them a little bit farther, right? Because they've already adapted, they've already perceived the stress adapted to the stress. All right, and now we can we and now they know how to adapt to it. So the next time, you know, if we have a certain goal, whatever that is, we can go from 80 to 100, or 100 to 100 120, or 120 to 200, right? Because we know that they can adapt to it, we know that they can positively adapt to it. And we know how they're the type of strategies we can use to make sure that they can come out of this, okay, and then be better the next time.

 

Holly Shannon  34:28  

Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense. So this is a great strategy for employers. And I have to believe that coming off of a big project or the big sprint, basically allowing everybody to take their foot a little bit off the gas pedal is hard, you know, because you see the success they see the success their bosses, bosses, bosses are happy and they want to keep pushing forward. So if you need to have leaders that are going to say, Nope, this is the point in time where we take our foot off the gas pedal a little bit, we give people what they need to recuperate, to regain homeostasis. And then when we put the gas pedal down again, we might even be able to push it down a little harder, because they've adapted. So we have to stay the course of this. And you'll see productivity will go up, the ability to stay in the sprint longer will go up, if I understand that correctly,

 

Bryan Smith  35:28  

totally 100%. And then understanding that everybody recovers a little differently, right? All right. So we don't we don't want to, we don't want to rush out of it. All right, because what ends up happening most of the time is a company does like a happy hour, right? And that's the recovery, like, Great job, did anybody lunch, and we'll get back to it the next day. So just be a little bit more patient, maybe use these those like surveys or whatever that I talked about before, to understand where your team's app, right, because even if you give it a week of just backing off a little bit, doing less intensive activities, less meetings, you know, you run that same survey at the end of the week. All right, you might see that trend change, right, so you'll be able to see our 65% of our employees or 85% of our employees are trending up, scores are getting better. Now we can start introducing more stress again.

 

Holly Shannon  36:16  

Yes, I want to go back to something you said there about the happy hour. Okay, so I'm just going to put this out there. I hate to tell this to all these corporations that maybe enjoy having this happy hour, your employees don't like them. It is it's becomes a mandatory thing. It's usually like on a Friday night after they've been pushing all week long and just want quiet time time with their family. They don't want to sit down with a beer in front of the zoom again, for another hour. And and laugh at everybody's jokes. They they want time off. Would you agree with that?

 

Bryan Smith  36:55  

Yeah, I mean, you think about it, like, everybody's different, right? Everybody has different sort of personality types. And then we're talking with this in the world today about hiring for culture, and sort of not culture fits, right? Listen, if I started a company, and I hired a bunch of bros like myself, who just want to go to a happy hour and or Friday night, like everybody might love it, right? But you can't do that. Alright, where other people are introverted, right, other people have different needs and wants from a company. You know, I was never the type of individual that felt like I needed to have a tribe of people that I worked with, to make me feel fulfilled in my job, that's just not what I wanted. You know, if anything, I wanted less interaction, you know, with the people that work with my managers and whatnot, because that's, that's how I saw things, right. So sometimes that happy hour, can add stress, rather than remove stress. So we need to understand that is that every type of stimulus that we give to our employees, either has a positive or negative effect, and everybody adapts to it differently. And you need to remove your subjective opinion out of it. And truly understand the makeup of your team and what is going to have a positive or negative effect.

 

Holly Shannon  38:15  

Well, I, you know, I personally think it should be driven by the employees and at the employers. So if your company mandates happy hours, that's difficult if your company says, We are open to employee driven happy hours, and we have, you know, some funds in HR for anybody who wants to create something fun, whatever that may be. And a group of employees decide they want to do a little happy hour on Thursday night, and they invite anybody who wants to come, then it's not mandatory that it allows those extroverted people to maybe create it, because they want to have it, and whoever comes comes, but there aren't there, their leaders, their managers are not necessarily coming to that and making it feel as though it's mandatory. I feel like there's a lot of things that are going to be driven now by employees. And I love what you're doing, because you're putting the onus on the employer to to keep the homeostasis in check. But by the same token, you're providing tools, an understanding for the employee, to take a look at how they conduct business, right, how they can learn what their body needs. So they perform better, and I think that'll have a trickle effect into their personal life, not just business.

 

Bryan Smith  39:50  

Yeah, it's all about high performance, right. And I don't mean high performance, as you know, higher revenue, you know, I mean, we all Strive for high performance, right? Every time you wake up, you know, you either feel like you can perform or you feel like you can't perform, or maybe you feel like you could perform at like 50% of your level. Right? But how great is that when you wake up, knowing that you can sort of conquer today, right, everybody has a certain that that sort of sets, everybody's sort of mind, right. And ultimately, what we want from everybody, and this is why there's such a big push on mental health and wellness and all these other things is because we all want to try to be put into that sort of flow state, we're all trying to achieve that. So the best way to help employers to help their employees do that is by understanding stress, other spotting, just ending the response to stress, and then giving your employees the tools and the education as well as the giving them the sort of the stimulus to be able to recover and be better. It's a, you know, it's a tricky thing, right? Because, you know, we're all, we're all sort of stuck in this sort of legacy, sort of Ford moaners mindset of, you know, this is the job, this is the end result or the goal, do whatever you can to sort of get there. And what we're realizing now is, although that's still the goal, there's probably better ways to be able to do that.

 

Holly Shannon  41:22  

I agree, I think we all would like to have more of those days where I call them power days, you know, where you wake up, and you just feel like, wow, I could take on the world. But I don't always feel that every day I wake up.

 

Bryan Smith  41:36  

Oh, and it's frustrating, right?

 

Holly Shannon  41:37  

Like, I get so frustrated, I

 

Bryan Smith  41:39  

woke up today was like, I like I slept like shit. It was like, it was not a great overall night. And it was like one of these days where, you know, you just have to sort of grind through it, you know, but those grind through a days, although they do help build resiliency, and they do sort of move you along a little bit. They're not inherently healthy, you know, you got to remember is that like, you know, I slept maybe four hours last night, so I'm stealing resources for somewhere else, which is disrupting sort of my biological sort of makeup right now, which is going to affect me tomorrow, the next day and the next day. And this is why burnout is so prevalent right now, because people go years of doing that. You know, they have dinners four nights a week where they drink a little bit too much they come home, they argue with their wife, or husband or whatever, or just partner in general, because maybe they've had dinners for nights this week. Yeah, those they're not getting paid. And like all these things sort of compile. And then we go in the work and we're expected to be at 100%. It's a it's a really, really tough thing. And I said this on LinkedIn today is that your employees don't need more mental health apps. They don't need to read a book, you know, by Angela Duckworth on grit, they don't need to be trained on on how to be more resilient. Alright. The problem is us as companies, we need to be more educated on how exactly to manage our employees better. So they don't have to become more resilient. So they don't have to be fucking Superman's of mental health. Right? Like, that's unfair to ask of our employees, like, why don't why they Why do they need to manage their depression better, so they can be better employees? Like, that's, that's a little wrong. Right? Like, we should create an environment where our dirt jobs don't add to their depression. And that's on us, you know, we have to, we have to do something about them,

 

Holly Shannon  43:37  

especially if their jobs brought them to the depression to

 

Bryan Smith  43:40  

exactly, and why is one being held accountable for that, like if I, if I owned a company, or if I was just one individual walking around the street, and I made 20,000 people depressed over a period of five years, I'm probably be put in jail, right? Or I made some, like, if you cause alcoholism, or you cause a drug habit, or you cause a divorce, and like, these are all real effects of companies and what they do to people. It's true. Like, that's a real thing. And it's something that we have to address, like, it's not fair to ask our employees to sacrifice all that. And a lot of like, part of it is the cost of doing business. I get that. But we have to work towards decreasing that cost a little bit, not just telling our employees, here's an app go get better, because we're not going to change.

 

Holly Shannon  44:29  

Mm hmm. Exactly. Or, like you said, previously, you know, the mandated yoga class that doesn't work for everybody, right? We have so much more that we could impact here. Um, you know, I just want to there was one other thing that I just want to touch on before we close this interview because you I had heard it actually in a different interview that you had had and I think people would take value from this. When you're talking about homeostasis. And when you go into recovery, and how recovery looks different from every for everybody, there are people out there who think that recovery is going to the gym and bench pressing their PR. And doing that every day, for the next four days, or doing that really hard workout, like going on a run and going for, you know, five miles 10 miles, which I could never do, by the way. But you had said that learning about yourself is also learning. I'm paraphrasing here, that some days that push is exactly what your body needs. But because you instinctively go to benchpress, as much as you can, or run as fast or as long as you can, you might actually be doing more harm that actually, part of that recovery is understanding as an individual that some days, it's just a long block. Some days, it's simply stressing, I'm sorry, stretching, or doing yoga, or some days it's bench pressing a Chevy. Do I understand that? Right? I know, I think I'm paraphrasing this from something else you've said. But just from the employee standpoint, I just wanted to touch on that before we close on this.

 

Bryan Smith  46:18  

So and I'll give you sort of real, real, real life examples. So one of the things we did in sport is much like everything else, everything is sort of like thrown into a bucket as like this is recovery. Right? So just do one of these activities, and you'll be fine. So what we did is we wanted to understand how certain recovery modalities affect certain athletes, right? So what I mean by that is, how does a sauna affect an athlete in recovery? And what how does that change the parasympathetic or sympathetic response? How does a cold tub or an ice bath affect recovery? How does light massage or having massage? How does melatonin How does Provigil? Like there's all these sort of different things that we looked at? Because we wanted to understand what causes a positive adaptation? And what causes a negative adaptation? individual athletes, right? Because again, we all adapt differently. So employees are the same exact way, or humans are all sort of one biological thing, right? And that's governed by previous responses or genetics or epi genetics that determine how your body is going to adapt to something. So in real, it like for me to answer your question, you know, think about work, right? If you're sort of, you know, you wake up like I woke up today, right? Like, this is probably not the day for me to do something really intensive, right? I feel a little overwhelmed. I didn't sleep well. I'm a slightly agitated, right. So probably not the best day for me to be able to do an intense activity. Like, you know, sending 150 emails or comment. You know, also, it might not be the best day for me to go do a CrossFit class, right? Because it's going to add more intensity and more stress to my system. So what am I going to do today instead, right, I'm going to do a podcast, I am going to write a couple blog articles, I am going to jump on a few webinars, things that are non intensive, but allows me to sort of work and move the needle forward. Also my workout, my workout, my today might just be a longer run right at lower intensity. It might be a light massage, it might be my diet might change, I might not drink alcohol today, if that's going to add stress, I might decrease my my caffeine intake because that might increase stress, or increase intensity to my system. Alright, so understanding source where where your body's at within that timeframe, and then adjusting activities, or recovery or exercises or conversations, whatever you do that day to make sure that you wake up

 

in a better place and you woke up today.

 

Holly Shannon  49:09  

That's fantastic. I love that we're leaving on that note because I think a lot of people need to think about how they recover and i think i think a lot of people just go to their tried and true method if they always jog three miles and that's what they're going to do the next day but understanding that maybe they're their tanks not full when they woke up because they only slept four hours is on it's it's really important for them to stop and and, you know, look at that. Do I really need to run three miles today or maybe I just need to walk three miles today. So I love that Brian Smith, you are amazing. I love everything that you shared with us and I really love loved exploring company culture with you have a feeling we're gonna have to have you back because there are so many great things we don't really dive into and So I'd like to do that more in the future with you. So thank you for coming on the show.

 

Bryan Smith  50:06  

Thank you Have a great day.

 

Holly Shannon  50:07  

Thanks, you too. I can get some sleep tomorrow. Bye