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Part 1: Please introduce yourself to your classmates and consider such items as name, location, current employment, future goals, family, and hobbies.
Part 2: Within the Unit I Podcast, Chantell, Dayna, and Dr. Rogers discuss how technological improvements have led to an increase in remote workers and ways to connect with remote team members. Do you believe leaders can (should) use the same strategies to connect with remote workers as they would with an onsite team? Why, or why not? Be sure to explain and justify your position(s).
Please be certain to address Parts 1 and 2 in your response.

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Unit I Podcast Transcript

(0:00-0:59)

CHANTELL COOLEY: Hello, I’m Chantell Cooley, owner and co-founder of Columbia Southern Education Group. Throughout this course, you will be hearing from myself and a few guests on different aspects of organizational behavior and leadership. I’m so excited for this time we have together, and we’ve got some great guests planned. With us today, I have Dr. Sonya Rogers, she’s an Academic Program Director in the field of business administration in organizational leadership. Dr. Sonya, we’re glad to have you. And, we also have Dayna Fuller. She is the director of Instructional Design and Technology, and Dayna will be moderating this session. Well, how are you, Dayna?

DAYNA FULLER: I’m doing great; thanks for having me, Chantell. I’m really excited about this opportunity to put a live recording in one of our courses. I think this will be really great for our students. So, I’m going to start off by asking Dr. Rogers to define organizational behavior for us.

DR. SONYA ROGERS: Okay, organizational behavior relates to the way a member or an individual within an organization may think, feel, or behave.

(1:00-2:04)

We’ve always been told how you think will affect the way you act. So, I think it’s very important that as we hire people to fit into the culture of our organization that we also connect with them regularly, and we make sure they are comfortable with their work expectations and that they feel they are true assets to that individual department that they work for and the company as a whole.

DAYNA FULLER: That makes complete sense. I know that’s something we talk about a lot when we’re hiring people, and fit, cultural fit, is huge. You want the people that you’re hiring to be happy about coming to work, and they need to know exactly what that culture is, and different cultures, you know, affect different people. It’s not always a good fit, but you figure that out. I think it’s also good to know what you yourself are looking for. So, students should be really thinking of that as they go through this course. What type of culture will they be looking for their careers?

So, actually, you know, there’s a lot in the textbook that can be really helpful, but there were four major challenges facing organizations that were mentioned.

(2:05-3:10)

DAYNA FULLER: One was technological change; one was globalization, and we also saw emerging employment relationships, and then finally, diversity. What are some best practices a company or CEO can implement to overcome these challenges for organizational that will face?

DR. SONYA ROGERS: I’ll start. For years, we’ve noticed that technology has changed tremendously. And, in many positive ways for any business, but as it continues to improve and change, we have to make sure it is not impeding or affecting the human relationships that can occur. Interactions within each member of an organization. So, we have to take every opportunity to communicate, whether it’s through Adobe Connect, through teleconferencing, or by phone call and not just use email as a means of communicating with stakeholders or members who work for an organization. And, then we have to make sure that if we have people who work for us at a distance, as companies are more prevalent to do today, that we know the culture and the background of that person’s place where they reside, and then we know that they understand, again, what is expected within that business.

(3:11-4:10)

So, we have to reach out regularly, and then we have to make sure that we continue to connect in different ways so that we feel united as a business and not just with people always at a distance, thinking and feeling in different ways about what they’re doing.

We know that people have different skillsets, different personalities, different ideologies, and even attitudes, so we have to make sure, as we see them being diverse, that we know how we can still pull them in and make them a true quality member of the business.

DAYNA FULLER: I think that’s so important, and very well-said, Dr. Rogers. Chantell, I know you’ve talked a lot diversity in the workplace, and you focus a lot on generational differences. Can you talk about how that’s been a challenge to the organization?

CHANTELL COOLEY: Well, of course, I like what you said, Dr. Rogers, you’ve got to really stay connected, and keeping your group, your employees, all together on the same vision, on the same page because if you don’t, everyone’s going to be doing their own thing.

(4:11-5:11)

And, one of things I’m really proud of is that our organization really stays in tune with that. We do the best we can; we’re not perfect, but we stay focused on the vision, and I think that’s very important. And, of course, we have all types, all generations working together. We do training on that because we all can give something, not matter what age we are. We can all help each other out. It makes a very function place to work. It’s becoming, that’s the wave of the future. If we don’t get connected with all generations, then it’s going to be a mess, you know. And, I think I totally enjoy working with the younger generation, and I hope they enjoy working with me, because I can give things I’ve been through and save years of heartache, and if we both work together, because the younger generation, they’re always giving great, new ideas, and I love it, and I think it’s just a part of it. So, as far as our organization, we really embrace it, and we train them on it. Being intentional.

DAYNA FULLER: That’s really good. Like you said, being intentional with diversity training. It’s so important for an organization, and with so many different generations in the workplace at one time, like you said, we have to find ways to bridge those gaps and come together.

(5:12-6:19)

I’d like to circle back to what you said, Dr. Rogers, about remote workers, I mean, that is something that is very much growing, and we have to find ways to keep engagement with workers and things like that. So, how is this field looking at that? Are they doing studies, things like that, on engagement with remote workers? Or, have you heard very much in the field about that?

DR. SONYA ROGERS: Well, it just seems that businesses are trying to make sure that they not only send that weekly or daily email to connect but they are engaging members in committees of some fashion, or they are asking them to attend meetings more than they were in the past. So, if they’re at a distance, it’s almost like taking an online class; they say you have to actually provide more intentional work than if they were live or face-to-face, so we have to do that with workers as well. We have to make sure that they don’t just have questions in their head, but if they have a question, they know they can respect leadership, they can trust leadership, and that support is there for them and that we have empowered them to use the tools and equipment we have given them, so that they can be successful, even though they are at a distance.

(6:20-7:19)

DAYNA FULLER: Very nice. Thank you so much. This unit also covers the importance of decision-making. The textbook even stated that decisionmaking is vital to an organization’s health, similar to how breathing is vital to a human being. Dr. Rogers, can you discuss the importance of decisionmaking at the executive level and your experience in this role?

DR. SONYA ROGERS: Yes, in my experience, I’ve noticed there are managers, and there are effective, wise, keen leaders. And, what I mean by that is managers often focus on tasks, where leaders often focus on individuals and human interactions and how the humans can make a difference within the business. So, I think what is important is that all leaders look at not only who they have as the core of whatever task they are trying to perform but that they know the needs of those people and reach out to them to connect with them and make sure that as they lead, they don’t just make decisions at the top by themselves. You know, a wise family, if we think the man as the head of the household, doesn’t just make all the decisions. He collaborated with his wife and even with the children.

(7:20-8:21)

I was often told while teaching middle school that you don’t just make decisions about tests. You ask the students, “What type of test would you like?” So, the more that they connect with everyone, they’ll get more support down the road and more buy-in. So, therefore, when they have a decision to make, it’s not one that a decision was just made from one’s perspective, but it looks at all the decisions that were made in the past, and if there is a problem, what did the problem stem from? If they can identify where the problem stemmed from, they can make better decisions moving forward. So, it’s not just a one-man show, it’s a group effort, I think.

DAYNA FULLER: I agree. I know that Chantell, you’re probably asked to make so many decisions every day. What’s your philosophy on decisionmaking? I mean, what’s your strategy to make sure decisions are sound and are serving your teams well?

CHANTELL COOLEY: I do love this because it’s very important that you connect all the way down, like you said, from the top to the bottom. An organization that doesn’t connect, you can see it because they don’t flow well, there’s disgruntled employees, and then it’s sad when, as owners, you don’t even know what they’re disgruntled about.

(8:22-9:19)

So, we do our best, and it’s not the easiest thing if you’re on the top level. You have to really make an effort. You have to very intentional about connecting. It takes time to connect. You’re connecting not with a task, but with a heart. That’s other people. And, when you make connections like that, it really changes lives. Also, it connect everybody together. And, one thing I like to do is I go and visit a department and talk to the leadership and find out some of the things that are going on, and I am surprised that I hadn’t heard this problem. So, then I know there is a problem and a gap in connecting because some personalities don’t connect as well as others, as I’ve learned. Do you all agree?

DAYNA FULLER: Oh, yeah.

CHANTELL COOLEY: And, so you have to be intentional whether you are an introvert or extravert. if you are in a leadership position. It is very vital to connect, and I think it makes you or breaks you, meaning that you’re either an average leader or above average leader. If you want to be an above average leader, you will connect all the way down. You will take time to walk around and connect.

(9:20-10:32)

I’ll never forget Walmart. What’s the guy’s name who owns and started Walmart?

DAYNA FULLER: Sam Walton

CHANTELL COOLEY: Same Walton, was it? You know what he really did, and it’s been so long ago so forgive me, but I think you’ll like the point, is that he would fly in during the different plants and walk around and say hi to the people that maybe just started working there.

DAYNA FULLER: And just hear what they had to say.

CHANTELL COOLEY: Yes.

DAYNA FULLER: And what their feedback was.

CHANTELL COOLEY: Yes. It created buy-in. People would be like, “Hey, I like working for someone body like this.” So, I think it’s extremely important, and we can forget it, get tired of it in all our work, be so busy, but we have got to realize if we want to get any projects done, it’s the people who get the project done. And, we can’t connect with the people, nothing’s going to get done.

DAYNA FULLER: There’s a reason why they say the people are our most valuable resources because, that is like you say, if you’re not connected with them, if you’re not talking with them, you may just be missing a big part of something that’s going on. I find, also in my leadership role, that observation is not enough. You cannot just observe and think you’re understanding what’s going on. You actually have to ask questions and get there out on the floor and talk to people because they might just be heads down that day. Why are the heads down?

(10:33-11:28)

Is the workload too heavy? Is there a personal thing going on? Is there a morale issue? When you start asking questions, things have a way of coming out, and now, you can have a real conversation to solve the issues together, and there’s that beneficial, that moment, where you benefited from that knowledge, and you move onto the next thing. It just makes the team more productive but it builds trust, and trust is important.

CHANTELL COOLEY: Of course, one thing I’ve noticed you do is that you, and of course, you as well, Dr. Rogers, you treat people how we want to be treated.

DAYNA FULLER: Yes.

CHANTELL COOLEY: And, we haven’t forgotten that. No matter how high we climb on the ladder of success, I still remember what it felt like to not be treated right. And, so I’m constantly keeping myself on target with that because we have to treat people how we would want to be treated.

DAYNA FULLER: That’s right.

CHANTELL COOLEY: And, if you’re over everybody, what you’ve got to do is that you have to push that down to all the leadership staff. Do you agree with all that?

(11:29-12:49)

DR. SONYA ROGERS: I just have this one story that always comes to my mind within my current position. A janitorial worker, I guess you would call, and said, “Every day, you smile at me, and you treat me like I’m the president.”

DAYNA FULLER: That’s very, very nice.

DR. SONYA ROGERS: To me, that’s how I see everybody. We’re all the same. Another point to being trustworthy is that being visible, and I think that as we mentioned earlier about being global, if you can’t be visibly faceto-face, there for that person every day where they can’t just walk into your office and speak to you, that’s why you have to take that time Chantell was mentioning, and make those phone calls. I’ve had people say, “I did my best not because I want to succeed, but because I want you to succeed.”

DAYNA FULLER: Because they see you. See, I feel the same way. I think that that does lead to success. You know, we’re talking about connecting, but maybe someone doesn’t understand what that means. As a leader, if you don’t feel just a little bit guilty every day because you didn’t talk to one person on your team, you didn’t get to that remote worker, you didn’t pick up that phone, you passed your team because you were going to three other meetings, and you just kind of waved, but you didn’t stop to talk to them. You know, if you don’t feel guilty about those things, you’re not really an assertive leader. But, I do. I can’t do it every day, and I know there are days when I go home and think I did not connect as much as I really hoped to, but I have that sense that I can do better the next day, and I should do better the next day.

(12:50-13:50)

And, if you’re not feeling that way, you’re just shutting the door to your office, and you’re thinking that everybody can just figure it out on their own, you’re probably in the wrong role because leadership is serving. It’s serving others, and I think people forget that sometimes.

CHANTELL COOLEY: You’re hitting on something very powerful that makes you go from an average to above average leader. I really want a leader who checks on me and just makes sure I have my questions answered and then lets me work and move forward. But I can always check in and feel like I bond with them.

DAYNA FULLER: The door is always open. Because, I mean, and it really should be. You’ve got to look up from that paperwork and come around from your desk. You’ve got to sit at the table with them. Those are really important things.

This has been a great conversation. Very real. Very authentic. We know this is just a way to, hopefully, connect with students about what they’re learning. And, in this case, I think this is probably our last question for this
podcast, but Dr. Rogers or Chantelll, do either of you have any closing comments on today’s discussion?

(13:51-15:25)

CHANTELL COOLEY: I really liked what we talked about today. I think it’s really powerful, and especially if you’re going to own your own company or if you’re climbing the ladder of success, just be real. You know, and I loved what we talked about with the remote workers. Check with them. Act as if they are right with you. And, I think you do a really good job with that. Is you, Dayna, you reach out, you connect, as if they were here because it just makes a difference.

DAYNA FULLER: It really does. The thing with the remote workers is that we have a great team, and they spend so much time on the phone. I mean, you can’t walk by offices here and not see headphones on everybody and conversations going on because, it’s almost like you said, they are right in the cube next to you. You want to make them feel that even though they are in their home office, you know in another state, that they know the culture if here, they can get an answer to any question, and they feel that they are part of this organization and part of this team. Because, going back to what Dr. Rogers says, you make people feel that way, then they in turn, are going to be better performers, and they’re going to serve you well. So, your team will be strong.

DR. SONYA ROGERS: I think this is a very interesting course, and students will be able to take the concepts and apply it to any work setting. So, it will be beneficial no matter what age, no matter where they live, and no matter where they work.

DAYNA FULLER: Well, thank you both so much for being part of this great discussion. I enjoyed moderating.

CHANTELL COOLEY: I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been exciting, and I think that you can take some of these key things—they’re so simple—and you apply them, you’re definitely going to be an above average leader.