On this episode of Marketing for Good, Erica shares her thoughts on the cultural shifts happening in workplaces in the context of personal purpose. She talks about the difficulties of leadership and communication inputs and outputs. Erica talks about the shifts needed to create greater clarity in workplace communication. Stick around to the end of the episode to hear a BIG announcement!
This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!
podcast, marketing, words, alignment, communicate, work, communication, talk, listen, impact, internal, craving, fun, included, purpose, shift, lives, external
Erica Mills Barnhart
At the end of this episode, I have an announcement to make. So I’m excited about sharing that. But let’s go back in the time machine together, it’s May 5th 2020 and I launched the Marketing for Good podcast. Suffice it to say I was all aflutter. I mean, it was the early days of COVID. So I like many was like, this won’t last it’s a blip, and here I am with not much to do. So I might as well make the most of it. And I wanted to a podcast, I was like let’s do that. And I look back on all my kind of shinyness and enthusiasm and it’s kind of like I look at Golden Retrievers, right. They’re so cute. They’re so energetic, so just imbued with optimism, nothing wrong with that. Then the last two years happened. And they have been a roller coaster, with some very high highs and some very low lows. I mean, these have been rough times and rough years for many. And my work with clients, it’s been really interesting, it’s become less and less about using words for external marketing purposes, and more about finding organizational and personal purpose. And this wasn’t intentional, I didn’t like set out for this transition to happen. I want to give my colleague and dear friend Akhtar Badshah, who was one of my first guests, maybe the first guest on the Marketing for Good podcast, I just want to give him a huge shout out and a bunch of gratitude for being a purpose minded Trailblazer. I mean, he is really with his book, The Purpose Mindset put this on, you know, our cultural radar in a lot of ways. And he and I have had the opportunity to collaborate in between that work and other things, I really started noticing the impact of internal communication, like between employees and teams and bosses and their direct reports. And, you know, the impact of that on external communication, you know, including marketing. We’ve talked about this all along on this podcast, right? Like, how many times have you heard me say, effective external marketing is predicated on internal alignment. So it wasn’t like this was new, it was already on my radar, but it just kept coming up and it kept coming up. It got like, bigger and brighter and sort of like pay attention, this is important. It’s that internal alignment, it was like it just started calling to me to pay attention, you know, internal within organizations and internal within ourselves, internal within ourselves. You know, the great resignation has seen people leave in droves, many to pursue self employment, which is interesting. And others still want to work for an employer, but they want more alignment between their individual values and purpose and that of their employer like 80%, this is based on a McKinsey study, it is a bit more than that, 82% of employees, they want those two things to be in alignment. But many aren’t experiencing that. So there’s lots of reasons for the great resignation. But that factored in, right, so we have a profound culture shift happening within workplaces and in the world around the world. People are craving to work places where they feel included and inspired. This isn’t new. I mean, it’s kind of basic Adlerian psychology, we want to feel we belong we want to be seen and we want to be heard. And when that’s in place, we can feel inspired. Right? So we want this in our lives, in our lives. And we want it in our work life. Now you can go back and listen to the past few episodes where I pontificate, get on my soapbox about it’s kind of an arbitrary and maybe non existent distinction between our personal and professional lives. But I think it’s worth noting that like we want this in our lives, including the time that we spend on work. This create this craving for that seems deeper, seems more profound, more ubiquitous and pervasive, right? So that’s a culture shift that is happening. And the other thing that kept popping on my radar, I just kept seeing looking around, you know, both you know, my clients, but just, you know, my my friends and everybody just how hard it is to lead. I don’t just mean big L leader, right? Which it is it is lonely at the top. I’m not taking anything away from people who hold those titles and that positional authority, but also just to lead at any context, lead as a verb. I mean, it really just slapped me in the face. Over the past few years, like leadership leading is hard, least it can be. I mean, it really can be. Communication doesn’t need to be. Communication, in fact, is quite simple. Like, really when you boil it down, it comes down to I’s and O’s inputs and outcomes, and in between their outputs, but its inputs to the words, the language, the para language, all of that. And then that goes into outputs, right emails and Slack channel messages, and oh, gosh, in a given day, what else, Teams, you know, anyway, meetings, whether on Zoom or Teams or otherwise, right, like, those are the outputs, but they need to add up to something and that’s the outcomes. Right? And so the question is, like, how intentional are we being about that? I just got curious. I got so curious, I started looking at my, in my own work and my life, I suddenly realized, oh, my gosh, Erica, you started thinking more about words than you already do. I did, actually, just when you thought it wasn’t possible, there’s more. Right? So the more I thought about it, okay, and meditated and journaled, because I am, it turns out after all, a cliche of a privileged white woman who lives in the northwest of the United States. But the more I mean, seriously, the more I connected with this, the more I felt called to shift my focus away from using words and external marketing, toward using words to create greater internal alignment, greater clarity about who organizations are, right, and I talked about this with identity statements, why they exist, and then to make that connection, how to communicate that and then one layer down. And this is not new territory, but I don’t have any way to say it, other than I felt called to really start seeing if there was a way to shift to shift those internal those day to day the quotidian of communication, right? How are people using the 15,000 words a day that they go through? Because that’s the average. How are they using those in the workplace? How intentional again, intentional are we being about those words? And given that people are overwhelmed and tired and burned out, and all of that, and again, listen to the past three episodes, they’re essentially an audio book about the free ebook, the book, the free ebook that I’ve heard out called Recharge, which is about kind of using words to overcome the sense of malaise to get a jumpstart on overcoming burnout, right? So you can go listen to those, so overwhelmed burnout, how might we be able to repurpose some of those words so that people felt included, and inspired and motivated, and awesome. And all these other things, right? I know this is possible. I know it’s possible. Because of the work I’ve been blessed to be able to do over the years, I’ve seen this. I’ve seen it so many times. Actually, like if you can hear me get emotional. I’ve seen how like, the braveness to switch words, because it still change, I mean, it may just be words, but humans we crave progress, and we resist change, even just some word shifts, right seems small, but it can feel big. The upside is it can also have a big impact. Right? I’ve seen these shifts in workplaces and the culture of those workplaces. So one word shifts and swap outs right they can be just dazzling. And also humbling, right, humbling. So okay, all of that is preamble to my announcement. This will be the final episode of the Marketing for Podcast. Am I a bit sad? Yeah, I’m a little sad. Like I’ve loved this podcast, all the incredible guests I’ve had and had the great good fortune to talk to, totally amazing. So there’s a little bit sadness. There’s a little bit of grieving as there is with anything that we are, you know, saying goodbye to. But you know, what makes me happy, knowing that one, you have got to hear from all those amazing guests how incredible were there for the past two years, and all of those are still going to be available. So if you haven’t listened fret not they’re not going to go away. And the other thing, number two is that next time you tune in, you’ll be tuning in to the Communicate I/O podcast, and I am genuinely truly very pumped about that. I want everyone and I honestly really do mean everyone when I say this, to know how to communicate with clarity and confidence. Communication is not rocket science. Anyone can learn how to be an effective communicator, anyone. And that feels amazing. It feels amazing, right? It takes a little effort. Yes, because we all, myself included, my hand was raised, literally I have my hand up in the air. We all have communication glitches and bad habits and just all that stuff, right? And all of those, if you’re willing, all of them are surmountable. Right. I’m gonna have so much more to say about all of this in the first episode of the Communicate I/O podcast. But for now I just want you to sit, sit with this right between now and then just sit with this communication is simple. It’s like anything I/O, there are inputs and their outcomes. And in between, again, there are outputs. But the I and the O, right, we really want to focus on what’s the outcome, what’s the result? What’s the impact? and reverse engineer into the I’s into the words into the language into the, you know, like, the the stances and the para language, you can tell I’m like all sorts of excited about this, right? There’s just so much more to say about this. And I will say more in the first episode of the new podcast and evermore on the podcast. So here’s my question to you: How intentional are you being with your 15,000 words each day? How intentional are you being? You can’t pay attention to everyone, your brain would melt. Right? It would just be like nevermind. Just start noticing. Notice how much you notice your words, which ones you’re using. How do you use them differently depending on who you’re talking to. Just get curious. All right, we’ll come back to this, we’re gonna come back to the first episode. Here’s an invitation. That was the announcement, here’s an invitation. I hope you’ll join me in wishing a very fun farewell to the Marketing for Good podcast, and that you will join me in opening your arms in an enthusiastic welcome to the Communicate I/O podcast. On the first episode, we’re going to talk about a superpower that you may not even know you have, but you have it. So that’s going to be fun to reveal. I want to say thank you so much. Thank you for supporting this podcast. Thank you for supporting me in doing this. If you’re excited or intrigued even, you know, it could be a lower bar doesn’t need to be like woohoo like I am, just intrigued and curious about what’s to come with communicate I/O, will you do me a favor, please rate and review this episode? If you’ve been listening, and you’ve never done that it takes two beats to get it done. And that you’re probably like, why would I do that for this episode, because it will help, there will be continuity, and that will get your efforts, your input will create an outcome. The outcome will be that so many leaders who care about their workplaces and the world, leaders who may be interested in how they can create cultures where people feel included and inspired one word at a time. It’ll pop onto more of their radars. So if you would do that, I would be so appreciative. Let’s get everyone in on the fun. I promise it will continue to be fun. We learn better when we’re smiling. So it’ll be all of that. So I hope it’s gonna be expansive, always inspiring and also as always practical. So all that’s to come. And again, just thank you so much, for a final time I will say: Do good, be well and I’ll see you next time on the Communicate I/O podcast.