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Awesome Office: Lead. Create. Inspire.

The Awesome Office Show is all about helping you lead people, create culture, and inspire Awesome at your company. Each week we talk to a business leader, entrepreneur, HR pro, or engagement specialist at the most successful and buzzed about companies in the country, and learn their most actionable tips, tactics, and best practices - and share them with you. This is a behind the curtain look that you’re not going to find anywhere else. If you care about developing stellar cultures that provide lasting value for employees, customers, and shareholders, then this is the podcast for you. The Awesome Office Show is hosted by SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly. Similar to Entreleadership and HBR Ideacast.
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May 11, 2018

Reminder - we’re combining the Awesome Office and Brand Builder podcasts into one show. (Think of it as Awesome Office 2.0.)

What’s different? In a way, not a lot. We’ll still do culture-focused features and interviews every other Thursday, led by host Sean Kelly. But now they’ll be available in a different feed, so make sure to subscribe to Brand Builder in Apple Podcasts. 

In addition, every Monday we’ll have new content focused on building your brand and scaling your business. 

We just launched our first culture-focused Brand Builder, and here it is - a conversation with Traci Fenton, the CEO and founder of WorldBlu.

--

Have you ever worked in a fear-based environment? One where you spend every waking minute walking on eggshells? Where the wrath of a demanding boss is always top of mind, stifling creativity and innovation?

If you have, you know it's not fun.

In fact, it can be downright miserable for employees. And, ironically, it doesn't produce great results either. Instead of precise, high quality output, you're much more likely to see uninspired, unimaginative work - and an anemic bottom line to match.

So what’s the antidote to a fear-based workplace?

Today’s guest has something to say about that.

In our inaugural Culture Builder edition of Brand Builder, we speak to Traci Fenton, a globally recognized researcher, speaker, author, and the founder and CEO of WorldBlu.

Traci founded WorldBlu in 1997 and has helped spark and lead the global conversation around reinventing workplaces using freedom and organizational democracy rather than fear and control. She and the team envision one billion people living, leading, and working in freedom worldwide.

SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly spoke with Traci about what it takes to create a Freedom Centered Workplace, and the astounding results you can achieve within the WorldBlu framework.

Links

Have an idea for the show? Drop us a line! Brandbuilder@snacknation.com.

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

Apr 26, 2018

Exciting news - we’re combining the Awesome Office and Brand Builder podcasts. Think of it as Awesome Office 2.0.

What’s different? In a way, not a lot. We’ll still do culture-focused features and interviews every other Thursday, led by host Sean Kelly. But now they’ll be available in a different feed, so make sure to subscribe to Brand Builder in Apple Podcasts (or however you listen).

In addition to that, every Monday we’ll have new content focused on building your brand and scaling your business. Over time, we realized how interconnected these topics are, and consolidating these shows in one place just made sense.

To give you a feel for what you can expect, we’re bridging the gap between Awesome Office and Brand Builder with an episode with Tyler Merrick, the CEO and founder of Project 7.

Project 7 is a gourmet specialty candy brand dedicated to creating one of a kind customer experiences while giving back to 7 areas of need. Basically, Project 7 comes up with totally out there flavors – like birthday cake flavored gum or moscow mule flavored organic gummies – and then partner with non profits who are making an impact both in America and abroad.

We chose this episode because it gives you a good sense of the Brand Builder content that we think you’ll enjoy. It covers some familiar ground in terms of topics - and it’s just a great story.

We’ve combined a two part episode into one episode.

Takeaways

  • In social entrepreneurship, is your cause a lead actor or part of the supporting cast? Project 7 was founded on Tyler’s desire to bring more purpose to his life’s work. Finding the right way to position the causes he cared about involved a giant learning curve. Tyler shares how he found the balance that would allow the causes to shine and the business to flourish.
  • Stay lean. Think your business can’t reach the next level without hiring a bunch of CPG heavy hitters? Well, Tyler and Project 7 expanded to 12,000 stores with fewer than 10 full time employees. He shares a very specific tactic for figuring out whether or not you really need to make that next hire.
  • How to bounce back. One of the most interesting parts of Project 7’s success story… is that it could have easily ended. Tyler answers the question - how do you recover from the brink of failure?
  • If you really want to make a difference, lead with product and brand. It doesn’t matter how great your cause marketing is or how charitable your customer. At the end of the day, features and benefits drive consumer behavior. You need a thriving business before you can give back.
  • Hire smart. Not sure whether or not make that next hire? Only pull the trigger if you’re confident the revenue they bring in will be 2.5x their salary.
  • Let your sales numbers tell a story. Start with the buyers who are on board with your concept in order to provide proof of concept - show some momentum and you'll have a nice little velocity story to bring to the more skeptical buyers.
  • Practice Radical Responsibility. Tyler had to make some hard choices, and he maintained his credibility as a leader by shouldering some of the blame.
  • Innovate inside the box. You can diversify your product line without adding too much risk by innovating within limitations.

Links

Subscribe to Brand Builder in Apple Podcasts.

Apr 17, 2018

We’re currently experiencing a golden age for startup brands. It’s easier today to launch, build, and scale a consumer brand than perhaps any other time in history.

But that’s not to say it’s easy.

Startup brands still face obstacles, old and new, including how to stand out from the glut of new brands, how to adapt to the constantly shifting landscape of retail, and how to best leverage the wide array of data and tools now available at their fingertips.

Luckily for us, Courtney Reum is here to answer those questions.

Courtney and his brother Carter are the authors of the best selling new book Shortcut Your Startup, and he shares some of the top insights with us in this updated episode.

Courtney gives a glimpse into the book with a few of his shortcuts -

  1. Role of brand in frictionless scaling.
  2. How to make sure you don't miss out on a key insight.
  3. Why it's important to know whether your brand is a “speedboat” or a “sailboat.”
  4. The power of “heart-based” momentum.
  5. Why success doesn’t necessarily equate to an exit.

Links

 Like this episode? Then let us know! Subscribe, rate, and review the show in Apple Podcasts. This show grows by word of mouth, and the more we grow, the more Awesome we can all create together.
Mar 17, 2018

This week’s Awesome Office guest is a builder of disruptive brands.

We’re talking about Scott Painter, probably best known as the founder and CEO of both True Car and Cars Direct. He’s made a name for himself by launching and leading companies that anticipate consumer behavior and then capture huge markets.

This time out, Scott has his eyes on something no one has really done before - building a global brand around the concept of fairness.

Mar 2, 2018

Today is Employee Appreciation Day, but this week’s Awesome Office episode is not about that. (Well, not really....)

Our focus this week isn’t how to appreciate your employees once a year - or even once in a while. It’s about creating a year-round culture of appreciation that permeates your organization - one that not only drives results, but that improves everyone’s quality of life in the office.  

You see, while we think Employee Appreciation Day is a great thing, it’s also sort of like Valentine’s Day. If you only show your significant other that you care that one day of the year, you probably don’t have the strongest relationship.

And while Employee Appreciation is simple, it’s not easy. There are definitely some best practices and a few pitfalls to avoid. AO host (and SnackNation CEO) Sean Kelly has made appreciation a priority for a while, and shares his top dos and don’ts.

Here’s a recap of Sean’s tips:

Do

  • Understand how those you lead want to be recognized - not everyone is the same.
  • Force moments of recognition (both personally and as an organization)
  • Always specifically call out why you’re recognizing someone AND be very careful about what you’re recognizing people for (I think you should always recognize people around company core values)
  • Write thank you cards - perhaps more powerful than any other form of recognition
  • Ensure you're recognizing people at all levels of the organization (especially if you’re a leader)
  • And of course show people you care by giving them the most phenomenal snacks that’ll actually improve their lives and make them happier and healthier

Don’t

  • Equate recognition to coddling
  • Only recognize people for results
  • Don’t recognize people inauthentically because you think you should - it’ll always backfire whether it’s your boss or anyone else
  • Push away recognition when it comes your way - accept it gracefully (at the same time understand you may not receive it when you deserve it)
  • Don’t recognize people only when they agree with you (in fact you should recognize people for dissension and going against you if you truly want to build a strong culture of innovation)
  • Don’t forget to recognize that you are good enough - without self love you simply won’t be a good appreciator or other people

Links

Feb 23, 2018

This week we dig into the Awesome Office archives to bring you one of our absolute favorite conversations.

From kid programmer in 1971 to Forbes cover story in 2003, Joy, Inc. author and Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan has never shied from challenges, opportunities, nor the limelight. His focus has always been around technology, but his passion is actually process, teamwork and organizational design, with one overarching goal: unlock the business value of Joy.

Strangely enough, it all began in 1967, when a ten year old Richard decided to surprise his parents by building a piece of furniture while they were away for the evening.

Hear his incredible journey to Menlo, and how culture became such a focus for Richard in this uncut interview.

Key Takeaways

  • Richard takes us back to one of the most formative experiences of his life, and explains why he credits this lesson as the inspiration behind Joy Inc.
  • Richard explains that, while he’s a technologist, his greatest innovation came in the way he thinks about people, organization design, and process.
  • Richard describes why we typically lose our sense of joy as we transition from childhood to adulthood, and why that’s detrimental to our businesses and our lives.
  • Richard opines why most managers fall into the trap of mimicking their predecessors, and how that has perpetuated harmful organizational cultures and management practices.
  • Richard explains how playfulness and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive, and how the TV show M.A.S.H. actually demonstrated that levity can exist in the midst of stressful or important work.
  • Richard tells us the utterly unique way that Menlonians schedule all-staff meetings, and how the company is able to conduct these meetings in under 13 minutes.
  • Richard explains why ear buds are forbidden at Menlo, and why he believes chatter helps fuel creativity.
  • Richard describes the Menlo hiring process, which actually involves no resumes and no interview questions whatsoever.
  • Richard tells us why he had to first rethink his own role in the organization before he could start to think about organizational change.
  • Richard shares the insight that his eight year old daughter gave him regarding his own leadership style.
  • Richard explains why low attrition isn’t necessarily the sign of a good company culture, and how some of the worst cultures he’s seen are ones in which no one ever leaves.
  • Richard explains how boomerang employees can be a source of fresh ideas and innovation, and why so many companies miss out on them.
  • Richard describes the tours he gives at Menlo, and how this daily story telling benefits himself and his team.
  • Richard tells us why he believes the most important breakthroughs won’t be technological, but will be based on the expanding concept of what it means to be human.
  • Richard shares why the biggest people-oriented crisis facing businesses today is a crisis of human energy - and why this represents a huge opportunity for organizations.
  • Finally, Richard enters the ring and takes on…the Minute of Magic.

Links

Recommended Reading

Like this episode? Then let us know! Subscribe, rate, and review the show in iTunes. This show grows by word of mouth, and the more we grow, the more Awesome we can all create together.

Feb 14, 2018

Building an authentic, employee-led company culture is what most of aspire to. It can be the key to making your org a magnet for talent. Retention and engagement suddenly become a breeze.

The problem - it’s a lot easier said than done.

As always, we’re here to help. This week we’ve got Joey Joyce on the podcast to share the secret to creating a culture inspired by your values, but built by your employees.

Joey is a senior team member at SnackNation, and the president of SnackNation’s Culture Committee. His insights provide a framework for launching a Culture Committee at your organization.

That’s what we dig into in this interview - tactics for launching, scaling, and maintaining an employee-led culture committee at your company.

Here are Joey’s tips for launching a successful culture committee at your organization:

  1. Select a Representative from each department. Every department has its own needs, challenges, and subculture. Your committee should give everyone a seat at the table, and work towards a culture that works for all.
  2. Write a Mission Statement. Your committee should have a specific, culture-related purpose in sight. It might be to improve communication, make the office healthier, or to just make the day more enjoyable. Our Mission Statement was to live the company’s values, spread joy and optimism with events that the team would enjoy, and break down departmental silos and increase collaboration.
  3. Chart a Roadmap. Once you nail your mission, work backwards to create measurable goals and a path to achieve them.
  4. Capture and Incorporate Feedback. Some initiatives you’ll knock out of the park, others will require some adjustment before you get them right. You won’t know what works unless you ask your team. Field surveys… or better yet, just talk to people!
  5. When times are tough, AMF (Always Move Forward). One of the biggest challenges with a Culture Committee is that it’s basically extra work for everyone involved. Each member has her primary job responsibilities, which always come first. In any given week you might have an engineer struggling to ship a product on time or a salesperson feeling the pressure to hit her goal. The key, according to Joey, is to find the right balance and always move cultural initiatives forward. If only two people can meet for ten minutes, meet for ten minutes. Just AMF.
  6. Break out into subcommittees. Scale your committee as your company grows by creating specialized subcommittees.
  7. Practice Radical Responsibility. Ultimately, your Culture Committee will only work if members hold themselves accountable.
Feb 6, 2018

Is your company locked in departmental silos? Has communication stalled out? Is energy down, or morale dipped a little low?

A Company Summit might just be what the doctor ordered. Company Summits are a great way to unleash your creativity and tap into your team's collective brain power.

But let’s not beat around the bush - company summits can be expensive. On top of out-of-pocket cost for things like venue, catering, coffee, and snacks, there’s the opportunity cost of having your entire company away from the office for half a day or more. You have to be strategic in order to make your summit worth the investment. 

So how do you make sure that your Summit is a hit and not a flop? AO host Sean Kelly has thrown a ton of these over his 12+ year entrepreneurial career. He's here to tell you how to design your next summit for maximum ROI.

Sean's Top Tips for Throwing an ROI-Positive Company Summit

  1. Prepare. The old adage that failing to prepare is prepare to fail definitely holds true here. You need clear cut goals, a dialed itinerary, and quality presenters.
  2. Determine the top problems you want your team to tackle. Figure out the biggest challenges your company faces, and unleash your team on them.
  3. Choose a moderator or facilitator. You'll need someone MCing to keep the group focused and schedule on track.  If you don’t have someone on your team who fits the bill, consider hiring someone.
  4.  Maximize cross department collaboration. Break up those cliques! Don't allow people to pick where they sit or who they team-up with. Instead, purposefully seat people from opposite sides of the house together for lunch and for break out sessions.
  5. Solicit high quality, vetted presentations by your best speakers. Keep these in the morning, have lots of back and forth and audience participation, ad reserve afternoons for breakout sessions.
  6. Put your teams of employees to work. Allow for teams to present their findings and compete with other teams to keep them accountable for putting in real work and presenting in a fun way
  7. Slot in lots of breaks and movement. Jumping jacks and hi-fives help keep the mood and energy up.
  8. Do NOT allow for a heavy lunch or energy-zapping snacks/food/drinks. (SnackNation can help you with all your snacking needs.)
  9. Book an inspiring space that allows for breakouts. A good rule of thumb - the venue should be cooler than your office space! No hotel ballrooms or lame event spaces.
  10. Provide alcohol at the end of the day. (But not too much.)
  11. Don't make your summit too long! This should feel like intense work, but should not be massively draining
  12. Take notes. Designate someone to capture the best ideas. Remember, you want to walk away with more than just good vibes!
  13. Follow up. Make sure you connected with your leadership team afterwards and are aligned around expectations.
Jan 24, 2018

By now you’re probably familiar with the concept of "work-life integration," which is rapidly replacing the outdated notion of "work-life balance."

Work-life integration simply acknowledges the reality that work is a major part of our lives. Most of us spend 8, 9, 10 or more hours at the office every day, so to pretend that there’s a distinction between “work” and “life” just isn’t on the level.

But acknowledging this reality is just the first step. For people-focused leaders, the next question becomes, how does this change the way we manage people? How do we manage in a way that acknowledges that work and life are one? In other words, how do we manage the whole person?

That’s one of several topics we explore in this week’s episode, featuring SnackNation President and COO Ryan Schneider.

As the President and COO of SnackNation, Ryan's job requires him to know how every single team member impacts the business. This not only requires a holistic understanding of the state of the business at any given moment, but a deep understanding of  the complex factors that motivate employees both inside and outside the office. That's exactly what we mean by "managing the whole person," and Ryan's experience leading teams both in the startup world and at Fortune 500 companies has given him a unique perspective on this practice.

 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Ryan personally interviews 98% of the people who interview at the company - no matter what the position.
  • The planning process Ryan uses to maintain a holistic understanding of the business at all times.
  • The risks involved with not managing the “whole person.”
  • How to transition from a “top-down” culture to one that’s led from the bottom up, and why that’s so important.

Links

Jan 19, 2018

In our last episode we focused on 2018 goal setting. Considering that health- and fitness-related goals account for nearly half of all New Year's resolutions, there's a good chance that a many of you are currently engaged in the noble struggle of eating healthier, getting active, or just dropping a few lbs.

Of course,  New Year's resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. In fact, 92% of New Year's resolutions end in failure.

What differentiates the successful 8% from the rest? Knowledge and a game plan, for starters.

In that spirit, this week we have a presentation from Mark Sisson that’s all about helping you achieve your health, fitness, and nutrition goals. 

Mark is basically THE guy when it comes to understanding Ketogenic diets. He’s a former endurance athlete turned health and fitness expert and a New York Times bestselling author of the books The Keto Reset Diet and Primal Blueprint.

Mark has a unique ability to make Keto accessible, and in this talk provides ideas and strategies to up your health and wellness game in 2018.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The concept of metabolic flexibility, and why it's the lynchpin of health, performance and longevity.
  • The definition of ketonic, and the benefits of training your body to metabolize ketones.
  • The evolutionary science that explains our metabolic processes - and why they're not as useful for us as they were for our ancestors.
  • Some specific tips for living a more Keto-friendly lifestyle (without going full Keto).

Links

Jan 8, 2018

The New Year has a way of sneaking up on us. 

During the hectic months of November and December, we sprint like crazy to hit our Q4 goals. The next thing you know, it’s the holidays, and family obligations kick in. Blink, and it's January 1st... and we haven’t thought about our New Year goals once. 

Better luck next year? Not so fast! It's not too late to get your 2018 goals back on track. 

In our first Awesome Office episode of 2018, we present the procrastinator's guide to winning 2018.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • How to rapidly develop goals and begin integrating them into our routines
  • The ideal number (and best type) of goals to develop. 
  • How to hold yourself accountable as you pursue those goals. 
  • The cost of NOT setting goals.
  • Sean's top goal recommendation for 2018 for everyone, no matter who you are. 
Dec 13, 2017

According to a 2014 survey of 20,000 U.S. employees, only 36% of workers find meaning in their work.

In other words, nearly two thirds of employees don’t find their jobs meaningful at all.

If that statistic alarms you (it should), or if you find yourself amongst the 64%, there’s hope on the horizon. Because there’s a solution, and it’s called job hacking.

This episode is all about job hacking - the art of redesigning your role to provide greater meaning and fulfillment.

While the benefits of job hacking are clear - a more fulfilling life, progress towards your goals, and the energy boost that comes with a sense of purpose - pulling it off is a lot trickier. Luckily, Awesome Office host Sean Kelly is here to guide you.

Despite being a CEO and an entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience leading teams and building brands, Sean is still hacking his job to this day.

Because job hacking isn’t just for front line employees who hate their jobs. Anyone can benefit from job hacking - including managers, leaders, and even C-level execs.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What we mean by job hacking, and who can benefit.
  • How to discover the activities that give you work meaning and fulfillment.
  • How to minimize the time spent on the things you don’t enjoy so you can focus on the ones you do.
  • How to communicate to your manager that you want to redesign your job.
  • How to add to your workload without overburdening yourself - and burning out.
  • How leaders can take advantage of job hacking principles.
  • Why job hacking ultimately makes your more valuable to the organization.
  • Plus specific job hacks that you can deploy in your role today.

Recommended Reading

Dec 6, 2017

Josh Wand believes that entrepreneurs need to "find their magic."

What does that mean? Simply that entrepreneurs need to discover the things they do that nobody else can duplicate.

By all accounts Josh has found his. He's a master connector, providing massive value by connecting brands with the talent they need to really break through.

Josh is the founder and Motivator in Chief at ForceBrands, the consumer product industry's leading recruiting and staffing firm.

ForceBrands builds the teams that build incredible CPG brands. They're “people for a 'hire' purpose,” offering executive search services, board of director assembly, and industry-specific job boards ―BevForce, FoodForce, and BeautyForce.

As such, the ForceBrands story is often told through those of the brands they serve. But in this in-depth interview, Josh gives us a rare glimpse into his upbringing, business philosophy, and the journey he took to become CPG's most connected figure.

In this in-depth interview, you will learn:

  • Why story telling is at the heart of good recruiting.
  • A simple mindset shift that will help your team feel valued.
  • How to make your organization a magnet for talent.
  • How to find a good business partner.
  • Tips for CEOs to become more connected to their teams.

Links

Nov 27, 2017

“Employer Brand” is a pretty buzzy word these days. It seems like it's on the lips of every recruiter, HR pro, and CEO as they try and figure out how to differentiate their workplace from the rest. 

But is it just a buzzword, or something more meaningful? Better yet, should you even care about employer brand?

Well if hiring, culture, retention, or company performance are important to you, then the answer is a resounding yes.

In this episode, we break down the concept of the employer brand, and discuss how it can supercharge your culture and retention while providing some old fashioned brand marketing too. You will learn:

  • What “employer brand” really means and why it's important for CEOs and HR pros.
  • Who in the org is most responsible for employer brand - HR, CEO, or Marketing department.
  • How your employer brand can be your best form of brand marketing.
  • Whether employer brands are created or discovered.
  • How to ensure your employer brand stays consistent over time, even as your company changes.
  • The roles that hiring and onboarding play in employer brand.
  • The things that can threaten an employer brand, and how to safeguard against them.

Recommended Reading

Nov 20, 2017

Think about the one thing you love to do.

It could be a task you perform in your job, in school, or in your everyday life. This is the thing that energizes you when you think about it, and motivates you to get up every day. When you're doing it, time seems to fly by, and you walk away with more energy than when you started.

Now imagine doing that thing every day. 

This is your unique ability, and designing your life (and work) to spend more time doing it is the secret to greater happiness and productivity.

In this episode, we break down the concept of unique ability in the context of our working lives. You will learn:

  • What we mean by unique ability.
  • How to discover your own unique ability.
  • How to align our work with our unique ability.
  • How to bring out unique ability in the people you work with.

BONUS EXERCISE: Love It / Loathe It

Here's Marcus Buckingham's quick and easy strategy for discovering your unique ability:

  • Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write “Loved It,” and the other write “Loathed It.”
  • As you go through your week, reflect daily on the things that you looked forward to, that made time speed up, that energize, or that may have made you a little tired, but that you want to do again. Those all go in the “Loved It” category.
  • Now think about everything you do that you put off, that makes time drag on, or that leave you completely drained and exhausted. Those go in the “Loathed It” category.
  • Before long, you’ll have a clear picture of your strengths. The beauty of this method is that it’s not abstract – these are actual tasks, functions, or activities that you actually perform during your week.
  • Now summarize your findings using specific action verbs (again, nothing abstract).
  • For Marcus, these words were “interview” and “mingle” – he found that he loved interviewing people, but absolutely loathed mingling.

 

Links

Nov 13, 2017

You could say that FabFitFun is one of the more successful subscription box companies out there - and you wouldn’t be wrong - but I’m guessing that co-founder and co-CEO Daniel Broukhim might not totally agree.

That’s because he and his team see FabFitFun as less of a “box company” and more of an “un-boxing” company.

What’s the difference? Well not only is FabFitFun all about the joy of discovery that comes with unboxing their monthly (or quarterly) boxes filled with full size lifestyle products, but the FFF experience goes well beyond the box. The company provides exclusive content and products, community features, and even a proprietary augmented reality app.

And they’ve clearly struck a nerve with this “unbox” experience. Last year the company grew by 300%, while their headcount grew to 168.

Daniel sat with Awesome Office host Sean Kelly to discuss everything from the company’s origins as a content side project, to how Daniel’s leadership style has changed as he’s seen the company balloon from just a few employees to more than 160, and how his father’s entrepreneurial example (and tough love) have impacted the company that he co-founded with his brother.

Links

If you like this episode, subscribe to Brand Builder in the Apple podcast app, or where ever you get your podcasts.

Nov 9, 2017

This week we’ve got an in-depth look at one of the most inspiring and authentic company cultures that we've ever come across - Deep River Snacks.

If you want to understand Deep River Snacks, look no further than their infamous tagline -

“Because we give a chip.”

The company makes small-batch, non GMO kettle chips, popcorn, and tortilla chips, but their mission is so much bigger than that. It's about using their amazingly successful, irresistible product as a platform for good.

It’s why they feature a different charity on every single variety of Deep River snacks. And not just any cause will do. They feature causes that they have a personal connection to. Whether it's breast cancer, Crohn's disease, or liver disease, these are issues that the people behind Deep River and those closest to them face every single day.

It's also why they've turned down some major distribution opportunities. If it doesn't feel right and isn't consistent with their mission and values, Jim and the Deep River crew just can't put their name on it (and vice versa).

That being said, the brand is about to embark on something entirely new (and a little scary for Jim) - opening up the conversation to their consumers by letting them decide which charity will appear on Deep River's new Black Truffle flavored kettle chips.

We got the scoop on what “Giving a Chip” is all about from founder and CEO Jim Goldberg. In its essence, it means caring about the people in your life, and doing something to make an impact. 

Jim says it best:

“That’s what give a chip means - we do what we do because it’s the right thing to do. Period.”

This episode is a co-production of the Brand Builder podcast, our sister show that focuses on the people and stories behind some of the most successful brands out there.

In this conversation, you'll learn the following takeaways:

  • Be a fierce brand protector. Jim explains why authenticity is everything in CPG, and how to keep your brand identity true to you.
  • Never Lose the Bootstrap. Highly leveraged brands that shouldn’t fail often do - and it’s because they forget what it feels like to be bootstrapped. Jim tells us how he’s kept the bootstrap mindset at Deep River, even as they’ve taken on investors.  
  • Culture = Brand. Culture is never really internal. Who you hire and how treat your employees has a direct effect on the brand you put out in the world.

Links

If you like this epsiode, subscribe to Brand Builder in the Apple podcast app, or where ever you get your podcasts.

Oct 30, 2017

For most people, it's scarier than dying.

Of course, we're talking about public speaking, the most dreaded of all workplace activities.

Despite the fear, public speaking is an incredibly useful skill for employees - and not just executives. It's an efficient way to communicate essential information, and it helps bring a company together. Most of us want to get better, but few know where to start.

That's what this episode of Awesome Office is all about - how to become a better public speaker at work.

In it, you will learn:

  • Why public speaking is important, even if you aren’t your company’s CEO.
  • The elements that make an effective speech or presentation.
  • Why the words you say are only the third most important part of a good presentation - and what the one and two most important factors are.
  • The importance of storytelling, and how to tell a compelling one.
  • Why vulnerability and confidence are equally important, plus specific tactics for projecting a sense of vulnerability to your audience.
  • The most common mistakes people make while speaking at work, and how to fix them.
  • Ways to get more employees to practice public speaking at work.

Quick Reference - Sean's Tips for Crafting a Masterful Presentation

  • Passion - you have to believe that what you are saying is important to your audience.
  • Stories - we connect and learn about the world through stories, so integrating storytelling is essential.
  • Teach - people want to be taught, so focus on one or two takeaways.
  • Conversation - don't talk at people, talk to them. 
  • Surprise - the element of surprise makes for a more memorable and more effective speech.
  • Humor - there's no better way to endear yourself to your audience. 

Links

Oct 23, 2017

Radical Candor is de rigeur in business these days.

It's a concept that pops up again and again - in business books, conference keynotes, and even, dare I say, podcasts.

But what is Radical Candor? And how do you pull it off with alienating people? (I.e. making people think you are a giant, insensitive weirdo.)

In this episode, SnackNation CEO Sean kelly breaks down the theory behind the practice, describes how it will benefit your business, and tells you exactly how to implement it at your organization at every level.

You will learn:

  • What Radical Candor is and how it will make your company better.
  • How to integrate Radical Candor in company-wide communications - risks and benefits.
  • How Candor and Culture intersect.
  • How Radical Candor extends to your brand.

Radical Candor Quick Reference Guide:

  1. Radical Candor is all about respect.
  2. It requires that you connect with people personally.
  3. Make sure you get permission to use Radical Candor - especially with your boss.
  4. If you're a leader, set the example - show your team you can handle the ugly truth.
  5. Express feelings and fears - people want connection, growth, and authenticity.

Links

Oct 16, 2017

Have you ever wondered where the word 'company' comes from?

Most of us use it interchangeably with 'business,' but it's not quite the same thing. It's actually a lot simpler than that. The etymology tells us that company is a military term that simply means a body of people.

Company = people. Literally.

It's not a coincidence. Your product, brand, customer care, all that valuable IP - that's all created and managed by people. That makes people your most valuable asset.

So if people are everything in business, then it's absolutely critical that you hire well. In this episode, Sean gives you the hiring secrets that have served him over the last ten years-plus. You will learn:

  • The importance of hiring, and how it impacts culture.
  • How to break down the formality of interviews and get authentic answers instead of canned ones.
  • The single best question to ask in an interview.
  • One question you should get rid of.
  • The most important traits to look for when making a new hire.
  • How to recognize a hiring mistake, and how to quickly correct it.
Oct 10, 2017

This week we’ve got something a little different. We’re debuting a brand new podcast called Brand Builder, and we’re giving Awesome Office listeners an exclusive first listen.

Brand Builder is a new podcast from the folks behind Awesome Office that brings you the people, stories, and lessons learned from the most innovative brands in the world.

What can you expect on Brand Builder? Fascinating entrepreneur stories, tactics you can use to grow your business and solve your biggest problems… and a few bad puns thrown in for good measure.

To kick things off, we’re sharing this episode with Caue Suplicy, the CEO and co-founder of Barnana.

Barnana is a Santa Monica-based company that has taken the snack world by storm with their bite-sized bags of banana deliciousness. Caue and Barnana proved that you can improve on perfection, all while promoting values like sustainability and healthier living. But it wasn’t always an easy road - far from it. Caue tells the story of Barnana’s beginnings, and how he kept things together when things got tough.

If you like this, subscribe to Brand Builder in the Apple podcast app, or where ever you get your podcasts.

Links

Oct 2, 2017

These days, CEOs are kind of the new rockstars.

Our collective obsession with entrepreneurship and innovation has transformed the Zuckerbergs, Musks, and Bezos’ of the world into pop culture icons.

It can be easy to forget that Chief Executive Officer is a job - and a hard job at that. The role requires supreme efficiency, intense focus, and resolve. Every decision can have big consequences, and you need to be decisive in the face of uncertainty, criticism, and even self doubt.

So no matter where you are in your career, you can learn a lot by the way CEOs approach their work. But what does a typical day look like for a CEO?

Luckily, we happen to know one. In this episode producer Jeff Murphy talks with Awesome Office host and SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly to learn how he approaches his typical work day.

As you’ll hear, Sean breaks down how he approaches a typical day, shares the framework he uses to break up his week, and provides strategies for maximizing your effectiveness from when you wake up until your head hits the pillow. He also tells us his most important activities and responsibilities, and how those have altered as the business has scaled from less than 30 people to 150.

Sep 25, 2017

At Awesome Office, we often say that your company is like a sports team, and I think after hearing this interview you’ll definitely agree.

This week we’re bring you a conversation with Reggie Bush

Yes, that Reggie Bush: Super Bowl Champion, two-time NCAA National Champion, and Heisman Trophy Winner Reggie Bush.  

Not only is Reggie a great storyteller, but he’s a thoughtful guy with a pretty unique life experience and point of view. As you’ll hear in this episode, Reggie shares some of the lessons he’s learned in his decade-plus NFL career that we can all apply as we seek to achieve excellence at our own organizations.

Recorded live at SnackNation headquarters in Culver City, CA. 

Sep 18, 2017

This week on the podcast we’re featuring a recent presentation that I gave at the Human Capital Institute conference in San Francisco.

It’s all about transforming your company - not with things like new technology or processes or management techniques - but something a lot more fundamental to who we are. Human Connection.

As you’ll hear in a minute, I dig into the how and why of creating a NEW type of company - one where the goal is to help people become the best versions of themselves. That means your customers and your employees. (Especially the latter.)

I really wanted to share this presentation with you because it contains strategies, tactics, and stories that I haven’t told on this podcast before, but I know you’ll be able to apply at your company.

In this presentation I’ll tell you

  • The number one trait to hire for, and how to do it;
  • How to create forced recognition in the workplace, and why it’s so important;
  • And a super simple tactic for spreading recognition amongst your team.

Links

Recommended Reading

Sep 11, 2017

When we think about training for high performance, we usually think about training our bodies. We might even think about working our craft. But how often do we consider training our emotions?

Not very often, right? Well, if we care about performance, that’s actually a huge mistake.

That’s a big part of we explore in this episode with Dr. Glenn Fox.

Dr. Fox leads program design at USC’s Performance Science Institute, where he works with top athletes to devise strategies that optimize their abilities. He’s an expert on the ways that emotions - particularly gratitude and optimism - drive performance. According to his research, the ability to regulate emotions is the number one predictor of success in life.

This is just as true in the workplace as anywhere else. Since gratitude and optimism affect performance, companies who proactively foster these positive emotions via a culture of recognition have an automatic leg-up on those who don’t.

In this presentation, Dr. Glenn

  • gives us a functional definition of optimism and gratitude that you can use at your workplace (it’s not just rosy thinking and pretending everything is great)
  • provides the 3 core components of a Competitor’s Mindset
  • and walks us through a visualization strategy that top athletes often use, and that we can use in our own lives too.

Links

Recommended Reading

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