Meeting the Demands of Modern Leadership with James Mylett, Part 1 | Future of Field Service
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Meeting the Demands of Modern Leadership with James Mylett, Part 1

In part one of this two-part deep dive on leadership with James Mylett, SVP, U.S. Digital Buildings at Schneider Electric, Sarah and James discuss his career trajectory and begin discussing some of the traits that modern leadership demands – and how some of these have required a willingness to expand and evolve both thinking and actions.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, we are going to be talking about meeting the demands of modern leadership. I think we can all agree that the way we work, the circumstances in which we’re working, all of the demands are far different on leaders today than they were five, 10 years ago. And there’s a lot of evolution that needs to take place to continue to be effective. Very excited to welcome to today’s podcast, James Mylett who is the Senior Vice President for U.S. Digital Buildings at Schneider Electric. James, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

James Mylett: Thanks. Appreciate the invite. It’s great to see you again.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. James and I first met when I interviewed him for a cover story when I was with Field Technologies. How many years ago do you think that was?

James Mylett: It was probably 2003. No, maybe it was 2010. It was a long time-

Sarah Nicastro: 2010. It’s a long time ago, a long time ago. And I have stayed in touch with James over the years and watched his evolution as a leader. And James, I don’t want to put you on the spot or make you uncomfortable, but you’re somebody that I have a lot of respect for. And when I have talked with people that with you and for you, they have resoundingly positive things to say. That tells me you’re doing something right. And so, I’m excited to talk with you today about your perspective on leadership and what it takes, and how it’s evolved, and how you as a leader keep pace with what your team needs. So before we dig into that, tell our listeners a bit more about yourself, your current role, anything you want to share about your leadership journey.

James Mylett: Sure. I think the path is a little bit untraditional, maybe the right way to set it up. But I went straight into the workforce out of high school. I grew up in New York. I was born in Brooklyn. I was surrounded by a family of police officers, growing up my dad was a cop. I’ve got six brothers, no sisters, five of the brothers went onto the job as it’s called. But I think that environment, if I listen to what my dad said that that profession was a service profession. And when he went through the academy, there was actually a sign in the academy that reminded the NYPD, that it at your service. And I think as I reflect back on his life, it was very much about service, and I think he instilled that in all of his sons. And so, it’s been an industry that I’ve gravitated towards, and I get a lot of joy from being a part of it.

James Mylett: As I mentioned, I went straight to work out of high school, moved to Texas when I was set 17, graduated early. And went to work for an organization called MD Anderson Cancer Center, it’s one of the premier cancer hospitals globally. And was fortunate to get hired by a guy named Andy, who was at the end of his career. But Andy made me promise to go and enroll in an associate’s degree program as a condition of employment. So he put me on this journey of continuous development, and I actually had a chance to track his son down about two years ago. Because Andy was one of these leaders who was very tough. And I had to imagine he was the same way at home, and I’m not sure his son ever saw that side of Andy and I was able to share that with him, so was a special conversation we had.

James Mylett: But fast forward, I was a chiller technician for a number of years. I got into sales from there, went into leadership and I was working for Carrier in Dallas. And similar interaction or inflection point for me there was guy named Pat Goodfellow that came down from corporate and he announced this new employee development program. And he said something to me I’ve never forgotten. He said that, and this is in the 90s. He said that “Your parents grew up in an era where if they showed up for work every day, worked really hard, were loyal to the company, they could count on lifelong employment.” And he said, “That deal doesn’t exist anymore. Nobody talks about it out loud, but if you are working for a great organization, you can count on lifelong employability if you take advantage of the learning opportunities that they put in front of you.” And he was putting a learning opportunity in front of us for tuition reimbursement and other benefits.

James Mylett: So literally, that night I went and I tracked down an online bachelor’s degree program, got signed up and went on a path. Years later, I finished my MBA and I woke up one day and I was leading a 1.5 billion organization with about 4,000 service technicians. So it’s funny, I talked to leaders today about this notion of imposter syndrome. And I’ve had a couple of those inflection points for myself over the years where you wake up say, how did this happen? But today I’m privileged to lead buildings business at Schneider Electric. It’s a very vibrant, energetic, purpose driven culture here. And it’s helping me continue to build out a better version of myself.

Sarah Nicastro: That’s awesome. I don’t think you just woke up one day and found yourself doing that, there’s a lot of steps to getting there. And I know this isn’t the topic of our discussion today, but one of the things that’s interesting about what you’re saying is the testament for the whole discussion that’s happening right now about the opportunity that exists in the trades. So you sort of started out right out of high school and you didn’t necessarily start with the degree, those came over time with some of the opportunities that were presented to you. But I think we’ve had a lot of discussion recently on this podcast about the talent gap, and the great resignation, and the need to evolve how we recruit and hire.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think for both individuals and companies thinking about what are those trajectories? What do they look like? When you take someone that has started as a technician and now is in the position you’re in and just consider how that relates to the type of career paths, and education opportunities and sources to look for talent. It’s really cool that you’ve had such a satisfying journey and it continues. And I think that’s why I’m excited to have you here today talking about leadership is in the time I’ve known you, you’ve never been someone to just achieve a certain level of success, kick your feet up and consider it done. You embrace the fact that situations change people, change needs, change and you as a leader have to continue to adapt.

Sarah Nicastro: Again, I’ve mentioned the fact that we had Karin Hamel on the podcast late last year, she’s on your team. We’ve had other folks that I’ve had conversations with and there’s a difference, there’s an authenticity in how they speak of you. It isn’t just a kind of passing. “Oh yeah, yeah. James is great.” It’s a very genuine, very genuine emotion. And so, you and I connected and I said, so listen, if people feel this way about you and you’re doing something right. What do you think it is that defines good leadership in today’s modern era?

Sarah Nicastro: And so, we talked about some of those things. And today we’re going to go through some of the traits that you identified that you think not only what makes you a good leader, but also what other leaders should be thinking of about. How are they honing these skills, how are they showing up for their teams in these ways? That sort of thing. The first is resilience. So let’s talk about resilience a bit.

James Mylett: Yeah. In today’s environment, it’s hard to survive if you don’t have that. And it’s not just us and we’ve been working from home for a long time, all of us. And one of the things one of my leaders reminded me as somebody’s kid came into the view or a dog jumps in its, we have to remember that we’ve invaded their space. They didn’t just invade ours. And so, there’s a resiliency at home that a lot of our families are dealing with as well as we adjust to this we’re in. But I think our organizations get their cue from the leadership.

James Mylett: I can remember, I was working for a CEO at one point and we were going through a major change and he pulled me into his office. It’s like going to the principal’s office, what did I do is what’s going through my head. And he made a comment to me. He said “We got 150,000 people in the organization and it’s probably five people that I can think of that the organization takes their cue from, you’re one of them. So where’s your head at?” And he was checking because he recognized that if I wasn’t on board, he would have a harder time getting the organization on board.

James Mylett: I had to remind one of our field technicians a few weeks back that, and this is somebody that’s further along in their career, that you’re now the person that you used to look up to. And so, think about that. You’re the person that you used to look up to. And what is it about that person when you looked up that drew you to them and if you had to inject some improvement in that, what would it have been? Because that’s your opportunity today.

James Mylett: So as we start thinking about the 2.0 or the 4.0 or the 8.0 version of ourselves, what’s that journey look like and how do we individually get continuously better? I think in this environment, if we show up tomorrow defeated because, and fill in the blank, on any of the challenges that pop up in this usual, unusual that we all deal with every day, whether it’s supply chain issues or people get… Our school district just closed down because they can’t get teachers and they can’t get substitutes.

James Mylett: And one of my leaders tell me that it feels like he’s living in a real-world version of Jumanji, where every time you get through the tunnel that light that you saw at the end wasn’t the end, it was the entrance to the next tunnel. So personally we have to check ourselves and make sure that we’re filling our own buckets up to where our resilience levels are high. Because our organization’s going to get our cue from us.

James Mylett: When I think about attributes, leadership attributes, mindset is one of the biggest things that’s going to make a difference on whether or not you win or lose. And if you enter the battle with mindset that you’re going to lose you’re right. And if you enter it with a mindset you’re going to win, you’re a lot more likely to accomplish that. And so, as we’ve navigated through the pandemic, this has been top of mind for all of us. So simple things.

James Mylett: We had a leader at the beginning of the pandemic that works directly for me that as we were trying to figure out what we’re going to do he said, “Hey, time out. Why don’t we just get everybody to take the next five days and every day call a customer. And don’t talk to them about business, just check in on them and see how they’re doing personally.” Okay. And so, it just helped us get focused on one, the right things, reaching out customers first, put the business stuff aside for a little bit, reinforced the human interaction that has just been isolated from all of us, and then give us a sense of purpose so that we could move forward as a team. So I think those little things make a difference. And Justin Lavoy was the leader and the organization took their cue from him that there’s the path forward, and that’s important. Make sense?

Sarah Nicastro: It does. And I think it’s a really good point to… I like the point you made about reminding that field technician that he is in a position that he used to look up to. So looking for the opportunity to show people the part they can play in that resilience. I did want to ask, obviously everyone has hard days. And so, when you are having a hard day, but you know that you need to come in with the mindset of bringing that resilience, personal resilience to be able to bring that to work. Is there anything you do or any tips or tricks you have for bringing yourself back into a positive space to be able to do what needs to get done?

James Mylett: Yeah. I’m better today at stepping away for a little, even if it’s for an hour, just to exhale from situations. And I’ve got an Apple watch and it could check your blood pressure and tell when you need to breathe. And I was actually on a conference call a couple of months back and I was getting agitated about a situation and my watch went off and said, you need to breathe, take a breath. But I think that’s important to decompress there. When I think about areas where I need to improve still the work life balance thing has always been a challenge for me, because I genuinely love what I do. And I love in the game and helping teams win and all that. So I stay on a lot more than I should.

James Mylett: But what I’ve learned to do is to not cascade that down to my team. For example, Saturday mornings, I get up early, watch some of the Premier League soccer games, Manchester United is my team. And I’ll catch up on email as I’m doing that. But what I realize is whether it’s because of my title or whatever else when I send an email out, everybody has to drop what they’re doing in response. I’ve gotten in a habit now of just going to offline and then early Monday morning I’ll turn it back on. I’m not perfect at it. I’ll still drop one out every Sunday, every once in a while but things like that help.

James Mylett: But no, I think just having the willingness to step away and take a moment makes difference. The other thing I always try to do is stay focused on the long game. So when trying to make big change in an organization, it never happens in a big step. Very, very rarely happens in a big step. It’s small incremental steps over a long period of time that make the biggest lasting sustainable change. So the five wax at the tree every day analogy, eventually it’s going to fall down over time. So I try to stay focused on that as well.

James Mylett: The piece that keeps me energized, it’s the little reflection points that happened three years after that… I was in a meeting with a lady that worked for me and we got through with, it was a big meeting, another organization. And we all split up and she came back into my office and she said, “I don’t know how you put up with this stuff.” It was one of those conversations because it was one of those meetings. And so, we had a brief conversation around it. Then the mail came and I got this letter from a technician that used to work for me that had gone back to school. And this is like five years later. Then it was an invitation to his graduation in El Paso. And I walked across the building to Kathleen and showed her this and said, “This is why.” It’s the little staff like this that keep your eye on the long game. And it gives you the resilience to step through those tough days so.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think there’s two things I just thought of when you shared that story. One is patience is a big part of resilience and then two is perspective. So if your view is too short term, it’s a lot easier to get frustrated than burnout. If you can look at the long game, it helps you understanding that you can’t win them all but you win enough that it adds up to a lot of progress so.

James Mylett: That’s something that I don’t think that individuals give themselves enough credit for. And I think as a coach it’s part of our role, it’s just to point out. Call time out, just help people understand how far we’ve come on a particular objective. So yeah, we didn’t get all the way to here but look at where we started. And my bend is towards aspirational targets. These folks that we were in this room, I’m in here the month after I started and the role that I’m in and we’re meeting with the team about our digitally enabled services and where we were at that point in time. And we got the data up on the screen and it was a shock for everybody how low it was at that point in time, it was low single digits.

James Mylett: And this was having service agreements that are truly digital first. That’s the interaction customer, all that so. We talked about where should we be? And the team said, “Well, two years from now, we should be twice where we are. That’s a big step from where we are.” And I said, “Yeah, I think we’ll hit that.” Me I’m not that smart, I’d probably set a crazy target like 50, and we all know we’ll never get to 50 we’ll probably only get the 40. And so, sure enough the team got there. And this last year we finished up right at 50, and it’s a good calibration point for the team as they step back and look at what they got accomplished compared to what they thought was possible.

James Mylett: When they accomplish something and have a plan and passion around it. There’s a movie called Facing the Giants that there’s a clip in it called, if you can go out to You Tube type of Facing the Giants and Death Crawl. And it’s this clip where this coach is trying to get this football player to this crab walk or whatever you call it, where you’re on your toes and your fingertips and you’re trying to go up the field. And he says, he wants to do it with one of the other players on his back. And he says, “Well, I can go to the 50 without him. I can probably go to the 30 with him.” And the coach says, “I don’t want you thinking about where you’re going.” And he put a blindfold on him. Said, “I don’t want you limiting yourself by what you see.”

James Mylett: And he’s given him the aggressive coaching all the way. And he winds up in the end zone because he didn’t have the limitations of what he thought he was capable of doing. The coach saw something in him that he didn’t recognize in himself. And it goes back to this notion about the influence that you have. And that was his comment to the player when he got to the end zone, is that you don’t realize the influence you have on all those other players. And if you don’t think we’re going to win, they won’t think we’re going to win. And so, what comes out of our mouth is so critical in terms of setting the tone for the organization.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. Okay. All right. The next trait is integrity. One of the things you said to me when we spoke about this is that, the video has to match the audio. So integrity is really how you build trust with your team. So talk to me a little bit about integrity. 

James Mylett: Yeah. As we talk with leaders about development, we tend to reflect back on our successes but you get growth out of failures as well. And failure, shouldn’t be fatal, the area where it has a potential to be fatal is an integrity. So it’s one of these third rails said, if you get it wrong, there’s no good news in that at all. And it comes in a lot of different flavors, but at the core of it, it’s how you carry yourself. Are you authentic? Are you trustworthy? Are you someone that people can count on? Are you transparent? Which that’s actually a word here at Schneider that’s at the forefront, we think about our core values it’s right up front.

James Mylett: I love the fact that we put up on the table, because it sets the tone, even in interactions that there’s a transparency to the conversations that have. But one of the leaders on my team, when I stepped into this role, we were talking about this topic and he made the comment that your intent comes into the room before you do. And it’s a good calibration point on that front. I’ve had to clean up some really out there situations where you just sit back and what were people thinking? You try to get inside the head of somebody that made that decision, that was just clearly off the rails.

James Mylett: I interviewed a guy for a job years ago that was with a big school district. He was wanting to come to work for the company with at the time, and his team that was underneath him at the school district. There was two characters on the team that did something that was blatantly illegal. It was no question about it, but it happened on his watch. And so, the question that one of the panel interviews asked is how you reconcile that because this guy had the TV crews following them around to interview him. 

James Mylett: And he talked about the relationship that he had with these two individuals and how, when one of them had gotten sick, he used to go to their house and drop off food to make sure they were okay. And which speaks to the quality of this person we were looking to hire. But he said, “The thing that’s been the toughest thing for me to choke down is that no matter how tall the firewalls are that you put up, it’s difficult to overcome the malice that might be in an individual’s heart.”

James Mylett: And so, I think when I think about integrity as an organization, the antibodies for that malice is the culture that you build. And the purposeful intent on culture. We have one of our pillars is embrace different in inside of that in the language. It has a comment in there that we call out bias where we see it. So you think about that, you’re on a job site and you see something, what do you do? Do you step up, do you speak up or do you just look the other way and keep going. Our core value says you’re calling it out. And so it’s that type of culture build that creates the antibodies against the wrong behavior on the integrity front.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. It can be so, so hard to call those things out too. If you always think about it as something, conceptually it all makes sense. Call it out when you see it. But I found myself in a position just a week or two ago, I was in a large meeting where someone said something that just didn’t sit right. And then it’s, I don’t know. It puts a lot of pressure sometimes on an individual to be the one to speak up if to your point, the culture doesn’t promote doing that. Because how will they respond or then, I don’t know. It’s, yeah. It’s-

James Mylett: Now back to the intent comment that I made. I think for me, there’s typically smaller things that lead up to the big thing happening. And it’s our inability to address the smaller things that creates an environment that allows the big things to happen, typically is the case. And if we’re willing to step in and address the small things then we can prevent some of that. And as a leader, the feedback I give my team is that when you’re in that situation, so let’s say I’m in the situation, I’m a leader and there’s somebody else. It’s a peer of mine that makes a comment. And I know that I should give them feedback, but I’m not going to give them feedback because it’s really uncomfortable for me to do that. So now it’s no longer about what’s best for that person, it’s about me and my feeling here and my level of uncomfortableness.

James Mylett: When you step into these leadership positions it’s no longer about you, it’s about everybody on the team. The comment I share with people is when you make that decision as a leader, it’s really one of the most selfish decisions you could make as a leader because you’re doing it for your own reasons, not for what’s best for the person or for the team, and it’s tough. I’ve had some really difficult conversations with that when I walk away from them, I just ex. It’s like this big exhale that I’m so glad I got through that. But typically not always, but typically when you deliver it the right way and your intent is genuine, the reception is pretty positive and appreciative.

Sarah Nicastro: I think it’s also when you talk about intent, if there’s a lot of these things that come up particularly when you talk about diversity, equity and inclusion. So there’s a lot of things that come up that they’re often referred to as microaggressions, where the person that may say or do something that you feel you need to point out doesn’t have malicious intent, but just is not aware of how that statement could be perceived or that sort of thing. And so, it’s one of those things where certainly someone who has ill intent, that’s easier to address in the sense of it’s more glaring, it’s… Some of those other things I think is where it gets tough, but you’re right. You have not think about it in terms of your own personal comfort zone, but think about it in terms of the intended outcome and the benefit of helping someone who isn’t intending that impact to see what they’re saying or doing.

James Mylett: There’s a skillset build there too though. So I think there’s a change management model I subscribe to that one of the pieces in it is skill sets, but there’s a failure point each one of the pillars. So if the skill sets aren’t there, the anxiety level goes up. What we’re talking about is a situation where I see it, my anxiety level goes through the roof. And typically it’s because I don’t have the skills to have that conversation effectively or I don’t have the confidence to do it. So we make a lot of investment in those specific skill sets to have those difficult conversations. So things like softening statements, “Hey Sarah, would you mind if I gave you some feedback.” Some skillsets on how to deliver feedback in a way that is more likely to be captured and acted on makes a big difference in terms of how you approach it, but yeah.

James Mylett: I was in a meeting probably six months ago and somebody had one of these YETI coolers and it had something on it that just was in the context of everything else that’s going on, it didn’t read right. Five years ago, it wouldn’t even have made a difference. But today it’s, people’s the visibility, the perspective is different. So there was another leader in the room that this individual worked for and I was waiting to see how it played out, and it didn’t.

James Mylett: And so, I had a conversation, coaching session with the leader afterwards about, I just replayed the game film. And it was a aha moment for the leader and to that person’s credit, they immediately went and had the conversation and it just wasn’t, there was a blind spot is probably the best way to put it. That blind spot was made visible. Everything took care of itself. And that’s the power of the feedback, but it’s the skill sets are important. And I think we underestimate that, especially at the frontline that our frontline leaders have been equipped to have those conversations and way. And if we can’t point to the investments we’ve made in their development, then we shouldn’t assume that the skillsets are there.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. That’s a really good point. Okay. The next trait is curiosity and open-mindedness.

James Mylett: So which one first? I think that the curious piece of it, I… There was an article that was written on my father that referred to him as a searcher. And I think that got some of that genealogy inside of me that I… If I have any career regrets at all, it’s just this family pull to be on the job, so it was something I didn’t pursue. But those genes around problem solving and detective work and all that, which is just part of who I am. So when I bump into situations, I have tendency to want to unpack them. I’m very data driven, so I get into analytics and root cause analysis and all that.

James Mylett: But today’s environment is probably the richest environment for somebody that’s wired like me, so it’s because it’s so rich with opportunities for transformation. And the speed of transformation is so different today than it’s ever been and stop. And so, what I try to do as a leader is immerse my myself in situations that allow that opportunity for me to get engaged. So right before we got on this call, I was on a call with a small team. We have an agile project that we’re working through to help our customers sort through how to gauge what the health is of their building. So are there’s simplistic things that we can do to help our customers address the whole healthy building situation.

James Mylett: I asked some questions in the last session that they followed up on, and I’m learning as I’m going through this of what can be done so that helps. I think the other thing for me is just surrounding myself with people who are going to be bent on going on those explorations. So I’ve got a young leader on my team that is leading our efforts into federal space and he’s opening up new doors for us to go explore into, but I think it’s important. I had a conversation with this person, I won’t name them. But it was one of the original people who wrote the checks to fund Google years ago. So I was consulting work for him.

James Mylett: And we were talking about change and one of the people in the room was talking about the buildings industry and he made the comment that, there’s a lot of gray hair in that industry, which meant it’s going to be the difficult to drive change. And this person’s reflex comment was “It’s not the gray hair that concerns me, it’s gray brains.” And I asked him, “What do you mean by that?” It’s old antiquated ways of thinking that aren’t relevant today. They were relevant 10 years ago, 15 years ago, but they’re not relevant today. And, and when I think about the pace of change here and how quickly things move, if you’re not willing to take the steps to stay relevant, you can quickly go past your expiration date, even with some of the things that…

James Mylett: I used to subscribe to leadership models that I wouldn’t dream of applying today, I just… And the people that I work around and colleagues in the industry that disagree with me on this topic. There’s things in the Jack Welch playbook that were just part of who I was as a leader that I don’t do those anymore. There’s pieces of it that I still subscribe to. But top grading is an example for me personally, that’s not what I’m about. I think there’s a seat at the table for everybody, if they have the right attributes and the right fit factors for the organization. You put a post up on LinkedIn yesterday with your t-shirt said “Doing my best.”

James Mylett: And I think there’s a quote. It says something to the effect of “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” And so, that’s new learning for me. I was going through a book called Chop Wood Carry Water. Somebody recommended to me. And I picked up on that in the book. And it just really resonated because so much of these old models were all about these comparisons, and it’s for me, when I think about continuous improvement it’s the 2.0, 3.0, 4. version of me, my team, my organization, compared to where we were. And when I think about comparisons, I think I’m better served to compare us to where we were and where we’re going, where we aspire to get to, and compare us to our ability to meet our customer’s expectations than I am against the market so.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I really like that James, because I think that your works that, the title of this podcast is about modern leadership. And so, I think that it’s just a really important point to know that you have to be open to recognizing that beliefs you held year ago or five years ago, or 10 years ago, you’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to consume new information and change your opinions, and adopt different models, and think differently. In fact, not only are you allowed to, but I think it makes you better.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that I interview a lot of people on this podcast and there’s the companies that are struggling it’s because the people at the top are very set in more of well, this is how we’ve always done it, this is worked for so long, this is what we know, this is who we are. Very rigid mentality. And it’s not really conducive to innovation, and innovation is key to success in the landscape that we’re in. So I think that that willingness to evolve, not just with your team or as a team, or to meet customer needs or as a business, but as an individual to reflect on and reconcile when your beliefs change or when your perspective on what works or what doesn’t changes. I think that makes you better. I think that’s a really good thing.

James Mylett: One of the models I subscribe to is from the partners and leadership is Oz Principle. And it basically says that your beliefs, like when we talk about beliefs. Your beliefs are really driven from the experiences that you have. So this curiosity mode gets me in a position where I’m getting different experiences today than, or before. Even on, so we’ll go back to the diversity front. When George Floyd was killed, there was this moment I think for our country where all of a sudden it was more painful for us to stay the same than it was for us to start changing. And that’s another belief I have is until the pain is staying the same gets greater than the pain of changing people have a tendency not to change. That moment in time created this pain point for us.

James Mylett: My reflex was to reach out to this resource group that we have here, that I was the executive sponsor of and check in and see how people were doing. And I learned so much in… I don’t get surprised that often. I got surprised at how little I knew in, especially in this area because it’s something I’ve been passionate about for a long time. And have prided myself in being engaged and active and all the rest of it. But what happened in the aftermath of his killing things came up on the table that weren’t on the table before. And so, when you get that direct experience of being on the camera with somebody and hearing the emotion in their voice as they talk about the experiences that they’re having, in a modern day suburb, affluent neighborhood that just floors you.

James Mylett: And so, my belief system evolved because of that. And you [inaudible 00:37:42] argue about whether or not it should have evolved earlier and all that, but it evolved at that point in time. I think had I not been willing to reflex into that conversation, I wouldn’t have gotten that in the moment experience and I wouldn’t have moved this fast as I did. So I think that’s… If I’ve got coaching for people, you have to continuously find a way to put yourself out there and get close… I mean there’s Six Sigma stuff that says, if you want to solve the problem you got get within 12 feet of where it’s happening, this gamble walk type stuff. But I think that applies to the leadership too. You got to be willing to put yourself out there where you can see at the front line, what’s really going on.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. That post you mentioned on LinkedIn with my t-shirt, “Doing my best.” I got that as a reminder to myself because there’s a lot of the things you said earlier on, resonate. I am super passionate about what I do, but that makes it really hard to have good balance. And I have young kids and there’s just… So sometimes I have to remind myself, like I’m doing my best and that’s going to look different every day, whatever. Someone commented and said, “Tell that to the KPIs.” And I laughed because it was funny, but at the same time there’s a balance there too. Like we were not machines, we’re human beings.

Sarah Nicastro: I think the more that as leaders and company culture wise, we can just understand that recognizing that our best looks different every day. And recognizing that we can’t compare our best to someone else’s best, we’re comparing our best to our best yesterday and our best of the day before that ultimately will improve the KPIs. I firmly believe that if we can just treat people as humans and I think that is really a root of those leadership philosophies.

Sarah Nicastro: Everything used to be very, very productivity driven, results at all costs, individualistic and that has evolved a lot and I think it’s for the best. It’s changing the thinking of people though that no one’s saying, I’m doing my best every day so today I don’t care about the KPIs. It’s you can do both. You can get results and do so. Not at the expense of people, but in giving them the freedom to bring their talent to the team and to work the way that they need to work so, yeah.

James Mylett: I think so I’ll make another comment that there will be a lot of people who disagree with this. But I think you can be unbelievably driven as an organization while also being kind. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I think there’s this approach that we take to where you’re hard on the role piece of it, but you’re soft on the individual piece of it. And the whole vaccine thing that’s going on and the mandates from the government, and how those things are shifted is as we’ve navigated through that.

James Mylett: The thing we were all clear about as a leadership team is that in our core values, it talks about embracing different viewpoints. And there’s a lot of different viewpoints on this topic, but it’s viewpoints from people who are all part of our family. We’re going to make business decisions that are the right thing to do to move the business forward. But as we do that, there’s no reason why we can’t be gracious and kind, and such and such as we navigate through that. And it’s a moving target and what the expectations are. So the flexibility has been key as well, but yeah. I think that’s changed.

James Mylett: And Sarah, I think part of what’s changing it is people buy in for their reasons, not ours. So as we think about attracting the workforce, who? When we say workforce, what part of the workforce we looking to attract? And what are their reasons for buying in and does the culture that you’re purposefully building match up to what they’re wanting to buy into? And so, we talk about having an organization that’s focused, that’s purposeful, that’s driven, that’s going to achieve great things while is also being benevolent and kind, and gracious. That’s a great combination to have, and it’s a value proposition that absolutely resonates with the emerging workforce.

James Mylett: And we talk about sense of purpose. I love the fact that we are as an organization are so focused on sustainability, and helping customers solve those problems. Because there’s a higher purpose to that in terms of the planet. We can do, make a dent in carbon emissions through the work that we do. So for our people, when they look to come to work here, they see a path of having meaningful purpose in the work that they do.

James Mylett: I think part of my job is to connect the dots and remind them how, what they just did had that impact. Your willingness to get out there and work in the hospitals and this kind of an environment. Think about the impact that that’s having in terms of helping the doctors to save lives, by making sure that the environment is clean, it’s safe, it’s filtrated, all those things. And when you’re in the middle of it, you lose sight of that.

Stay tuned for part two of this discussion!