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Overcoming the Real Shortage in the Employment Market

Overcoming the Real Shortage in the Employment Market

The shortage of employees in the current labor market has been much discussed recently. Several reasons are cited for this shortage, including a lack of employees who actually want to work, the government’s generosity with unemployment and other benefits and, more recently, the pandemic. However, I would suggest one additional cause: the employers. Today’s employees want more from their work. They want appreciation, recognition and fulfillment.

The following four steps provide a road map for employers to attract and retain great employees for their organization:

  1. Discover and utilize your core values to create an intentional culture
  2. Demonstrate care for your employees
  3. Make sure employees know their work is meaningful
  4. Enable employees to measure their performance for themselves

Create an Intentional Culture

If you want to attract and retain great employees, it’s important for your business to have an intentional culture. Culture can be summarized as the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that make up the atmosphere of the work environment.  I often refer to this as the “vibe” of the business.  Every business has a culture, whether it was created intentionally or not.  

Work culture is a byproduct of a business’s core values in action. Core values are a set of vital and timeless guiding principles, principles you want everyone in your organization to demonstrate on a daily basis.

One reason core values are so important is that they help define what makes someone a great fit for your unique organization. Imagine working with people who share the same core values as you.  How great would it be if everyone in your organization used the same filters to make decisions when resolving an issue?

In the age of “The Great Resignation” and the resulting competition for employees, being crystal clear about your core values is an important step in gaining traction over other companies when hiring.  But it isn’t enough just to have core values.  The impact comes from living and breathing your core values.  Make them more than something hanging on the wall or printed on your coffee mugs.  Define them, embrace them and live them.  Use them to review, recognize and reward your employees.  Incorporate your core values into your hiring process in order to ensure you are attracting the right people into your organization.  

If you aren’t sure you have discovered or clearly defined your core values, now is the time.  The effort you put into this will pay off in the future.  As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second-best time is today.

Core Value Discovery Process

When I’m implementing EOS, I lead my client’s leadership team through this process to discover and define their core values: 

  1. Identify top three employees.
  2. List their characteristics.
  3. arrow down list to 3 to 7 characteristics (too many and your employees may struggle to remember all of them).
  4. Walk away for 30 days to give leadership team a chance to ruminate over the list.
  5. Reconnect as a team and discuss until you all wholeheartedly agree on which characteristics are key.
  6. Clearly describe these traits and what they look like in action.
  7. Use this list to hire, fire, recognize, review and reward employees.

This process shouldn’t be rushed.  Take the time as a leadership team to make sure you have identified the right values.  And once you have, communicate them with your employees.  Communicate them frequently so your employees recognize the importance of living out these core values.  This will inspire the employees who are a great fit and put those that are not on notice that you are serious about the culture that you want to create.

Enhance Employee Engagement

Once you have clarity around which qualities make someone a great fit for your organization and you are using those to create a great culture, it’s time to shift the focus toward enhancing employee engagement.  In Patrick Lencioni’s book The Truth About Employee Engagement, originally titled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, he says the three factors that make a job miserable are anonymity, irrelevance and immeasurement. Better employee engagement starts by eliminating these three problems.


If you want your employees to be fulfilled in their work, they first need someone in authority to know, understand and appreciate what they bring to your organization. Regardless of title or pay, if this isn’t addressed, your employee will not thrive. 


Each employee also needs to know that their job matters, whether to the company, your customers or the industry. This seems so basic, but if it isn’t articulated to employees, they will not feel fulfilled. They need to see a connection between the work they are doing every day and something or someone outside of themselves. 


Employees need to be able to gauge their own performance and contribution to the work of the company, independent of the whims of a manager. This requires clearly defined standards by which to measure performance.  Imagine how an employee feels going home on a Friday knowing she had a great week. She hit her numbers and as a result is helping the company hit its numbers.

In the world of EOS, we teach our clients how to keep employees engaged by addressing each of these factors. The first step is to encourage quarterly conversations with each employee about what’s working, what’s not working, where they are excelling and where they could use some improvement.  These conversations should be relaxed, undocumented and two-way. This practice fosters a relationship with each employee so you can communicate that you value them, the impact they are having on the organization and any areas where they could improve.

Another way EOS companies keep their employees engaged is by ensuring that every employee has at least one quantifiable “measurable” to track every week.  This measurable is activity-based and should be meaningful to both the employee and the company.  For individuals in a sales position, finding something to measure is pretty easy.  How many sales calls did you make? Or how many demos did you complete?  
But as you dig further into the organization, finding appropriate measurables may require more thought.  I recommend starting with what someone in each role is accountable for, then identifying measurables that are linked to the outcomes for that role.  
Companies are successful when all the employees are rowing in the same direction, not just the owner(s) or leadership team. The result is a thriving work culture that not only draws great employees but also helps the business gain traction together toward a shared vision.

When your company intentionally addresses the three causes of a miserable job, it has an immediate and obvious impact on your workforce.  Your employees come to work knowing they are valued, that their work matters and that they are succeeding.  This easily translates to higher retention and a happier workforce, which in turn improves productivity.  And a company that has fulfilled, engaged employees will have an easier time attracting more of the right type of employee.  

It is that easy – but it requires a commitment.  

If you are committed to getting each member of your team engaged and working toward achieving your vision, but you need some help getting started, then let’s chat.

Regaining my Chicken Mojo

I write this with a heavy heart.  Late last week, we lost six of our eight chickens.   Things were going so well.  The chickens had picked up on the remodeling vibe and asked that we provide them with some additional outdoor living space.  So, we expanded beyond their...

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Right Seat, Wrong Chicken?

Right Seat, Wrong Chicken?

As my husband and I started talking about getting chickens, we created our vision: free range chickens that laid lots of eggs.   As you know, the first round of chickens were free range but they stopped laying eggs in our coop.  Our second round has...

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Chicken Pranks

Chicken Pranks

So, all is quiet in the chicken coop. Oden, the rooster, has assumed control of the chickens. The baby chicks are about 16 weeks old and gaining confidence (and hopefully will be laying eggs soon), and the other hens are laying eggs and running away from Oden. We seem...

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Survival Tips from the Pandemic

Survival Tips from the Pandemic

A Business Owner’s Perspective Running a business in 2020 presented challenges that many business owners and executives had never experienced. The pandemic impacted different industries differently. Some, like outdoor recreation, had record years that may never be...

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Be Your Best During Difficult Conversations

Be Your Best During Difficult Conversations

Over the past week, most of the country experienced cold, winter weather. In the Pacific Northwest, we had a storm that impacted the entire region. At our home, it snowed for nearly two days straight, with a snow total of more than 12 inches. The dogs really enjoyed...

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My First Encounter with a Rooster

My First Encounter with a Rooster

I’d like to preface this story with a reminder that I grew up in the city. I’ve never been around many farm animals, including chickens. So, with this in mind, I’ll tell you about my first encounter with a rooster. When I went over to my chicken coach’s home to get my...

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My Costly Mistake Of Not Keeping Score

My Costly Mistake Of Not Keeping Score

The week before Christmas I filled my chicken coop with hens and one rooster.  I felt pretty good about myself as I was finally on my way to achieving my goal of having free-range eggs on a daily basis.  The following afternoon, I went up to...

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And to All, A Good Night!

And to All, A Good Night!

Reflecting Back As I stood outside my chicken coop this morning, I reflected back on all that has happened in 2020.  When the pandemic hit, I had two goals in mind. First, to build a chicken coop and second, to give the gift of humanity to as many people as...

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Are you ready to accelerate into 2021?

This is the time of the year when people start thinking about next year.  And many of us are really looking forward to putting 2020 in the rearview mirror.  I’d venture to say that those of you who did set goals had to either really scramble to...

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Chicken Pranks

Another Attempt at Raising Chickens

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I received one hen and four 5-week-old chicks.  We put them in the run (which has been secured to keep the chickens from flying out), and the chicks immediately escaped the run through the chain link fence.  As we ran...

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Should my chickens be able to live the EOS Life?

Should my chickens be able to live the EOS Life?

We are approaching my favorite day of the year! A three day weekend after a day with my family. My favorite way to spend the day is outdoors! But one thing is for sure: I toast the start of the holiday season with an eggnog latte.

Every year, that latte reminds me that I want to make my own eggnog, but all my research shows that the longer it ages, the better it tastes (though my husband would argue it never tastes good). Well, this is the year for me to make eggnog!

In my search for the perfect recipe I learned that eggnog was invented as a way to use up an abundance of eggs from early fall, when hens are laying aplenty due to the abundance of sunlight.  With sufficient sunlight, hens will lay an egg approximately every 25 hours. Sufficient sunlight is about 15-16 hours/day. Without less light, egg production slows down significantly.

The egg production from my 10 hens is currently around 1 egg per day.  In fact, none of my new peeps have laid an egg (at least I don’t think they have), even though they are 21 weeks old.

So, understanding the importance of sunlight for egg production, I have two choices: accept my measly harvest of eggs or put a light in their coop to make up for the sunlight deficiency.

The logical choice is to light up the coop. But there are potential negative impacts to their health. As we know, winter is the season to rest and rejuvenate, and if I keep my chickens working through winter, it could reduce their life expectancy.

So what is more important? Eggs or hen longevity?

How many of us are faced with similar choices – rest or keep working?  Do we keep pushing through the exhaustion in order to produce more, or do we allow ourselves time to rest? 

What about your employees? Are you allowing them time to rest and rejuvenate?  Does your vacation policy support allowing employees to unplug from their work and really rest, or do you encourage them to check in during their time off?  

In some of the companies I work with, people carry like a badge of honor that they work seven days a week or they work until 11pm every night. I know plenty of people who love their jobs, but if it consumes your or your employees’ lives, is it possible that that love has morphed into something unhealthy? Some people use work as a filler because they have no idea what to do when they aren’t working.

What if your work, or your employees’ work, were more than a filler? What if it work could be something you loved but also allowed you to follow other passions?

In his book The EOS Life, Gino Wickman defines the EOS life to mean: 

  1. Doing work you love
  2. With people you love
  3. Making a huge difference
  4. Being compensated appropriately
  5. With time for other passions

My goal when working with my clients is to help them live their EOS life and to make that possible for everyone who is a part of their company.  

If you are ready to experience what that would mean to you, your employees and your business, email me and we can start your journey together!

For me, my EOS life will likely include some aged eggnog and hens who can relax over the winter, poised to hit record-setting egg production in 2022!

Happy Holidays!

Finding the Optimal Chicken Interaction

Finding the Optimal Chicken Interaction

I was talking with a business owner last week, and she mentioned she had an Instagram blog titled “My chickens are in love with my husband.” Then she told me how, that very morning, one of her hens had flown up on the windowsill and started pecking at the window. She told the hen her husband wasn’t home, so she flew down and laid an egg right next to one of his shoes.

I guess I’m not the only one who writes about chickens? 

But then I started to think about my chickens. They are definitely not looking for me. In fact, whenever they see me approach the coop, they scatter with haste.

Why the difference in how these two sets of chickens respond to human interaction? Well, I’m not an animal behavioral scientist, but I think it has to do with the type of interaction they received in their early peep-formative weeks.

This woman shared that she brought her peeps home when they were a few days old, and everyone was holding them, so they got used to human interaction and felt safe. 

My chickens were not held at a young age. They were raised by their momma hen, and that hen was very scared of me, my husband and especially my inquisitive hunting dogs.

I’d like to think there is some common ground between chickens who love their owners and those that are deathly scared of their owners. And this common ground is established according to the amount of interaction the chickens experience early on.

The same might be true when it comes to interacting with members of our own flocks. If we have too much interaction, we risk smothering each other, but if we don’t have enough, we lose connection.

Maintaining the appropriate level of interaction takes intentionality. When implementing EOS, we teach the importance of keeping the team connected by establishing a good meeting pulse. This meeting pulse instills accountability, enhances communication, improves team health, and accelerates results.

In the era of Covid, it has been challenging to find the right pulse to stay connected, which can have negative effects on key relationships. I also believe it gives us an excuse to neglect our more challenging relationships, both personally and professionally.

As you look at the relationships in your life, how do you see them functioning? Do you sense a lack of connection and alignment? If you want to gain traction toward your vision, you need everyone connected and moving in the same direction.  

If you want a proven process that can help accelerate your business in the right direction, I’d love to introduce you to EOS. Together, we can get the entire team aligned and working toward a healthy future. 

Exciting Announcement (and it isn’t about chickens)

Life is good out in the country.  Our little chicks are now 11 weeks old.  We have at least three young roosters (properly called cockerels).  It is so entertaining listening to them learn how to crow.  Quite honestly, I find it much more enjoyable than listening to Oden, our old rooster.  A couple of weeks ago, one of our young hens (properly called a pullet) laid an egg.  It was so small compared to our other eggs.
I believe this enjoyment came from addressing my issues with Oden.  Yes, he still needs to be reminded who is at the top of the pecking order.  Yes, he still makes me a bit nervous at times.  But, overall, everything changed for me once we came to a new understanding.  And now, I’m enjoying being a chicken mama.
I have heard similar expressions of enjoyment from my clients after implementing EOS.  Here are a few quotes from my clients:

  • We finally have the right people in the right seats so we can focus on the more pressing issues
  • I have more energy for my business than I have had in years
  • My board has fully bought into our vision and has committed extra resources to ensure we achieve it
  • My team is finally working together to solve problems, rather than pointing fingers
  • I am fired up about our 10-year target! And the team loves it, too!

This energy coming from my clients fueled my desire to take the next step in my EOS career. So, after attending the training, I am now a Professional EOS Implementer, one of only 375 worldwide. 

EOS (The Entrepreneurial Operating System) is a powerful system that takes a holistic, self-sustaining approach to building a great company.  It helps business owners get the most out of their businesses.  We have delivered over 91,000 full-day sessions for more than 11,900 companies. As a result, these companies:

  • Crystallize their vision, getting everyone on the same page and rowing in the same direction;
  • Gain tremendous traction by building discipline and accountability into the organization; and
  • Create a healthy, functional, and cohesive leadership team and company. 

For actual client testimonials, visit or to watch a short 4-minute video.
Want to see how your company is performing? Take an organizational check-up here.
This real-world, proven system is also captured in the award-winning book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.  You can get a copy here or send me an email and I’ll send you a free copy. 
If you know of a business owner/entrepreneur who is frustrated and/or looking to get more out of their business, I’d appreciate a referral.  You have my word: I’ll care for them like I care for my chickens, and they will thank you for it!
Cheers to enjoying a little EOS in our lives!