In this “freedom at work” episode, Steven Turner, President of Flow Business Solution, shares how he provided compelling leadership tactics in the diverse environments of Operations, Finance & Accounting, and Technology at different Corporate levels.
You will discover:
– Why leading by numbers will kill your business
– The value of leaving your employees alone
– Why employees are really leaving your organization
Hello, hello and welcome. Welcome once again to the secrets of the high demand coach podcast and I’m here with yet another high demand coach. And that is Steven Turner. Steven is the president of flow business solutions. He’s a business coach and employee leadership expert and a product broker specialist. He what he does, he leverages the experience, wisdom and tools that he gained during his 35 year career with UPS where he provided leadership in the diverse environments of operations, finance, and accounting, and technology at district regional and corporate levels, including five years overseas in Europe. And now what he does, he helps others lead their employees as opposed to managing them. Well, Steven, I’ve seen this on the calendar for a while now. And I’m so excited that our day has finally come. You’re here. Thanks for being on the show. I was wondering if you could for our audience, just start with a little bit about what you were doing before you got into coaching and consulting. And and why you ultimately decided to make the leap.
Steven W. Turner
All right, great. Well, first of all, I’m glad to be here. So thanks for inviting me. As you mentioned, I started my business career at UPS. And I’ve got an interesting start, because I was only 20 years old when I started in the management team at UPS. And I can talk more deeply into that. But from there 35 years, covering the areas that you mentioned, I learned some very valuable things when I spent five years in Europe during a UPS as international initial international expansion. That then went into a round of coaching, then I was working with a startup for a while. And that did not get off the ground timely enough for me though it is off the ground by now. We have an entrepreneurial world going here, my wife has an online legging store, we then connected our coaching business to that to help support the people to get involved in it. And I branched out into full blown coaching in 2019 to really leverage the information that I was given by the Lord to be honest with you, throughout throughout my career at UPS. And that in and of itself is an interesting story. So right now we help small business leaders solve issues, and prepare to scale their business. And that can look lots of different ways. But usually it comes down to the people, and how leaders prepare themselves for that next phase of life, which can be lost in the shuffle, because you know, they’re in it on a day to day basis. So that’s what we do. And I love working with clients. Because I usually get, I usually get a chance to dig deeper than what I was originally hired for, which I liked, which I enjoyed doing.
That’s awesome. So I’d actually like to dig into that a little bit. Because again, in our work, I found that that’s true. What do you folks tend to come to you for versus what you would say some of the most important results that they receive?
Steven W. Turner
While some come to me because they, they they struggle moving from being an entrepreneur, a solopreneur into an entrepreneur, and they have a problem with delegation. Or they have a problem with how to lead employees, or they start to lead employees, they stumble get discouraged, all of a sudden, they, you know, relieve themselves of all their employees. And now they are a solopreneur again, without a way to get into the next season of life when they would like to be able to sit on the beach and get paid for being there. So those are the years now. I’ve got one today that that has a really personal desire to grow his business for the purpose of generating funds to support church. So we’re having a great time moving that forward as well. So there’s lots of different reasons most of them come back to people ultimately, because it is people that produce results.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Now. You before the call. You mentioned you’re working in a number of different spaces and environments. What would you say is some of either the most exciting the most important work that you’re doing right now with clients?
Steven W. Turner
Well, I love seeing new faces and smiles on people’s faces, when new things happen and they get a new accomplishment comes along. When I get involved in the corporate side of life, which we are moving into that area from the corporate side, from the small, medium sized business back into corporate life, I just love it there. I was so blessed to work at UPS and UPS had I don’t know if The I don’t know if it’s a policy by design, but it certainly appeared by default. And that is, if you did well, you were left alone. And I was left alone for 34 years, for the most part. And doesn’t mean it didn’t report to somebody, but as far as developing my leadership style, and I had the freedom to be able to develop it. And I’m very grateful that I got to grow up in the business world, at UPS, great solid organization, but I was able to do things that I thought were the right things to do. And they all turned out pretty well. So I’m looking forward to getting back into that environment, because I feel very comfortable there.
Yeah. And how would you? How would you kind of differentiate those two worlds? There’s obvious things like size and revenue and things like that. But what’s different about the challenges that are being faced in the corporate world right now versus those in small and medium enterprises?
Steven W. Turner
Let me answer that question this way. And this is a topic or a thought that not that many people think of. But when you take every large business, including ups, who now has probably about 500,000 employees globally, they started as a small business, the corner of second main street in Seattle, Washington, with four people. So when a business gets started, and you’ve got solopreneur, or partnership, or whatever, and you get started, everybody works closely together. And as they grow the business need to hire employees, they’re the ones doing the hiring, and they’re still working with them like this, right? Well, as the business starts to grow, and you get to the point where the the entrepreneur, the business leader needs to back out and do the work they really should be doing, and turn over the day to day work to other people. They hire people who do that, that’s all good. Well, when you get to the point, you’ve got like six or seven of those new employees, sooner or later, one of those people is going to be identified as the manager of the group. So they oversee the day to day operation. So the entrepreneur can step back and do the stuff that he or she needs to do. Well, if you take that situation, and you continue to grow a business, and you add another layer of management, one of the things that happens is the business owner, business leader is no longer doing the hiring. Now we all know, I know personally, and I’m sure you know, that when you hire somebody, you nurture them, you feel like they’re yours. Right? And if this is leaders do it, right, they train them very well take care of the things is that employees like to be taken care of, like well trained, appreciated, and those good things, there’s five things actually in that bucket of appreciation. But anyway, as the business grows, and the in somebody else’s doing the hiring, the same bond that exists between an owner and an employee is not the same as a manager, an employee just isn’t. Right. So the business owner, and this is where it falls down. The business owner doesn’t think about the fact that that situation exists. And they don’t train the manager to really hire and then nurture the employees. Yes, they’re trained to, you know, train them. But as far as nurturing, to help employees develop as individuals and accomplish their goals, that gets dropped along the way. Now, let’s take this into as, as an organization continues to scale, another layer of management is added. Pretty soon you get into the corporation scenario, this same issue has existed for this entire time this organization is growing. Now, we know that business leaders need to keep track of numbers, right, they need to attain results, because that’s why they’re in business in the first place. But one of the places that breaks down is the fact that we have a tendency to forget is people that actually generate the results. So to take this to the nth degree, when you’ve got an organization that’s sizable, let’s say 1000 employees or better, you’ve got a number of layers of management here. person on the top, the CEO is still looking at numbers, and they’re still making their statements and they’re still doing their business planning and whatever, which of course they’re going to do. But the message that comes down from the top and flows through the ranks is a number message. And that number message falls on the shoulders of the frontline supervisor who has one of the hardest jobs in an organization because they have to take that message converted to a message that the employees understand they get inspired. So they do the work that needs to be done. That piece is missing. Because that frontline supervisor is also relaying numbers. So this to me is one of the biggest issues we have in organizations. Now. That is is a situation that has existed for a long time. 120 years, believe it or not. Because in 1895, there was a gentleman, Frederick Winslow Winslow Taylor, who at that time was identified as the business’s first industrial engineer. And he was really good at what he did. And he transformed the process of running a business into being a number exercise. Hmm. Okay to watch the numbers, UPS is tremendously successful, because of the industrial engineering department that it has. However, we must always remember, it’s still people that do the work. The process of focusing on numbers, paused Not intentionally, but it did happen. Where attention to the employee as an individual was waning. To handle it had actually been waiting for the last probably 50 years. Because that’s what created the labor unions in 1860s. Because people want to have an impact on their life, they want to have something that says, I want to do this, and I’m in such control of it. So labor unions cropped up to try to fill that gap. Well, to continue quickly, the the leadership mentality that has existed from 1895, straight through to right now has been pretty much the same. And each generation replicates itself. So it’s not like the business leaders and Corporation, management, people CEOs are doing something intentionally wrong. It’s just that we’ve dropped the ball on this point. And I, again, going back to UPS, and my 34 years in the management team, because I had the chance to do my own thing. And I had an interesting thing happened because I was only 20 years old. When I started. That means the people that report that reported to me, which are mainly college students at that time, because we were doing the internal packet handling in the in ups. Were almost all older than I was, when you’re in your 30s 40s 50s. Nobody cares, who’s whatever, ah, well, when you’re 22 years old, nobody wants a 20 year old telling him what to do. I had to get, I had to deal with that. Nobody brought it to my attention by imagined that it was going to be there. So what I did was, I thought to myself, how would I How am I going to do this, so that I avoid that stigma. And I decided that I would simply do this. And I would treat people the way I’d like to be treated. And it worked on day one. And it worked for 34 years thereafter. And it still works. So I got my start. And the leadership style that I developed would come largely from the fact that that’s where I started. And I had to lead people the way they wanted to be treated. And it just I’ve just kept going. It’s it’s a powerful approach because it empowers people buzzword from the early 80s. And work as a team, you just get I could talk about this for a long time. But it’s still, you know, leading people so that they develop as individuals as well as successful employees for the organization.
Yeah. So, at this point, kind of the conversation we’re really dialed in on these are our relatively large organizations, right, that well, the relatively successful probably been tremendously accessible. If you look at it, statistically speaking, they’re doing a lot of things, right. So absolutely. How do you how do you help them see? You know, how do you help them accept that they could be doing something wrong when so many things are going right?
Steven W. Turner
Yeah, we’ve had, we’ve just came through the pandemic season. And coming out of it, we had the great resignation. And it’s probably tapered off a little bit by right now. But over 45 million people left corporate jobs, when people were called to come back to work. Now, as much as the the issue has existed for a long time that I’m going to talk about now, let me give you the picture of it. In 1990, Gallup started to produce a number, and the number was that 85% of employees are not fully engaged in their work. And that number hasn’t changed in 32 years. So there’s an issue there. And unfortunately, when employees are not fully engaged They tend to, they tend to back off, they start falling into the I’m here for a paycheck that approach, and you just don’t get that fired up people that can do so much better for you. So, the pandemic brought this to the surface, because these people didn’t want to come back to what they didn’t like. Okay, now what? Now we’ve got a couple of situations going here. We are at 3.4% unemployment right now. 4% is considered full employment, that basically says, businesses are running out of people. So if you want to a number of corporations, and this is, you know, in print, so I’m not making this up, are having a hard time getting enough people in so they can continue their business model and continue their current success? What happens when it comes time to needing more employees to grow further? Right? Now we can come back? There’s an answer for this. The answer is employee turnover. And there’s two pieces of that puzzle. One I just talked about is the fact that if you’re running out of employees, it would be good that you don’t turn them over as often. Right. But there’s also the cost factor, when you consider that, and this is an average for the US and any CEO can take the information and tweak it for their scenario. But the average salary in United States has about $54,000, the average turnover rate is 9.7%. The average amount of time it takes of additional spending to replace an employee is equal to about seven and a half months of salary. So you take those numbers, and if you look at an organization of 1000 people who need to replace 97 people every year, the cost of that based on the average is only it’s $3.2 million. It’s amazing. It’s an amazing number, and it’s every year. So given the fact that we’re going to be where there just aren’t enough employees out there right now at 3.4%. Unemployment. Where are they, you know, they’re some people have chosen to work from home. So that’s one of the reasons they’re not there. But anyway. So if organization, one of the reasons that people leave organizations is they leave the manager. So getting back to one of the topics, they meant things you mentioned at the very beginning, where it’s just much more successful, to lead employees, rather than managing them. If you manage them, they resist. But if you need them, or they want to follow you, they will follow. And now you’ve got the development of a team. And the the challenging point of discussing this topic is, it’s easy to blame people for the situation that we’re at. And it’s really not a blame situation. Because generation after generation after generation of leadership team has just kept rolling. CEOs are smart people. And they know if there’s an issue in your organization, they know what it is. And most of them want to solve the problem. So if the CEO has an issue with not having enough people, it can be fixed by changing the leadership style, where people do not want to leave the manager that they’re leaving today. Yeah. And, you know, there’s a, a proven process to do it. It is based on my experience, as well as the CEO of the corporate group that we’ve just started. So we work very close together. And we’re we have put together a solution to this that I know works, because I I lived it for over 45 years now that I’ve been doing this. So that’s a long answer to your question. But there, it’s it’s recognizing an issue which, you know, CEOs have their job because they have the ability to recognize issues, and then knowing that this solution is available, and it works. And it’s successful.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, I mean, there’s just so many remarkable things in there. And I think you really brought it all home with that statement. If you if you manage people that resist if you lead them they’ll follow there’s it’s just, there’s there’s so much that can be resolved that the simplicity of that phrase, almost, almost, you know, seems like it diminishes its strength, but it’s the exact opposite. So I’ve got this question. I’d like to ask it of all my guests, and that is, what’s the biggest secret that you wish wasn’t a secret at all? What’s that one thing that you wish everybody listening today knew?
Steven W. Turner
Although the biggest secret I think I’ve kind of been alluding to here, alluding to, and that’s, and it may explain it from my history, my experience. When I went to Europe for five years, I had the pleasure of working in 10 Different countries while I was over there, I had responsibilities in 10 countries. And I had the Nordic countries, Spain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, down through Austria, Belgium and Netherlands, Greece and Turkey, and Ireland over there. I discovered something. And that is that cultures vary, but hearts do not. Wow. People still they have in their heart, they want to do good work. They want to be compensated correctly. They want to be well trained, so that they’re capable, and so trained, that they know, they feel that they can do more in the future, because that’s comforting to them. Plus appreciating for who they are. This is global. And I think that’s that’s a secret. Yeah. Because it’s not it’s, I can just say that based on my coming up through UPS, which is a great organization never discussed. That’s the secret. People want to do good work. And do the same all over from the in that perspective.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s so refreshing to hear because a lot of what comes especially from you, both the entrepreneurial world and from leadership and management is the frustrations of dealing with people, right? It’s that, and oftentimes the word employee almost carries it carries a negative connotation. Now, you know, people have abandoned it for team members. And we try and do all these things to work around it. But the reality of it is, I think, as managers we need to take a look inside versus a how do we see these people? Right? How do we, what what expectations are we putting on them before they’ve even said a word. And, again, it’s just so refreshing to hear that vantage point, and it coming from a real experience, right? It’s not something you read in a book, this is Oh, I didn’t lift out for years and years. So I love that. I appreciate it. It’s such an important point. Another question for you, though, is I’m actually going to have you take off your coach hat for a second consultant hat, and I’m going to have you put on your, your CEO hat, you’re starting off on this new venture and tell us a little bit about if he would get in the ring with us. That’s what I’m going for. So you jumped down at ground level and talk to us a little bit about what the next phase of growth looks like for you in your organization, and what challenges you’ll have to overcome to get there?
Steven W. Turner
Okay, our right now, the focus, and this is 100%, as far as I’m concerned, getting into corporate America, and helping to solve this issue, because when it is resolved, it benefits 1000s and 1000s. And literally millions of people because of the reach that corporations have. I mean, can you just imagine if I went back to UPS, or any organization to be anybody, where you have a conversation with the folks at the top, because this is a top down issue. Right? You can’t come in at the side and expect the whole organization to change. It’s a top level leadership issue, to sit down and just talk about what the challenges are to a given CEO and the very light, we’re not running in there and saying, Hi, you have this issue. We’d like to go in and just we talk about what we do. And hopefully it falls on the ears of people that maybe I should talk about this. But really going in to find out, you know, what is on the hearts and the minds of CEOs. And we’re in that mix. Can we help? And so I it’s hard to get in the front door of a CEOs organization. I know that. So the biggest challenge I have, and that we have in our group is to be able to get the message out and have it fall on the ears of those people that need to hear the message. Because not everybody needs it. But there are many that need it. Yeah. So that’s the I think that’s the biggest challenge once we’re in the door. And once we’re we have the team going and the organization wants to move in this direction. The rest is not a problem for me.
That’s awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing. Now, before I let you go I know there’s just folks from from the small and medium enterprise like yes, like we’re, we have that hiring thing. It’s happening right now. Like what do we do about it and and then you’ve got some folks listening from the corporate world saying like he’s this guy gets it. So for someone who wants to learn more about what it is that you do, how can they reach out to you how can they find out more?
Steven W. Turner
They can call me. My phone number is is 267-753-5568 that will bring us into our organization. If you go to our website, which is www.Flow-Business-Solution.com. There’s a contact form in there if somebody would like to get together and have a chat more than happy to do that. We also have a free video that’s available. It’s the top link of the website, that if somebody wanted to get a picture and an idea of what we do, the video will do that. And they want to reach out after that. That’s, that’d be great. But we’re here to help people. And there’s there are millions to help. Tremendous.
Well, Steven, thank you so much. Again, for those listening www.Flow-Business-Solution.com. Head on over there. I had a chance to browse around it today. There’s just a wealth of resource available I would strongly recommend it and Steven, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s just an absolute pleasure having you here. And thank you. And for those listening, your time and attention mean the world to us. It was an honor to be able to get to share this with you. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as I did, and I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Steven W. Turner
Steven W. Turner is the President of Flow Business Solution. He is a Business Coach, Employee Leadership Expert and Product Broker Specialist. Steve has a proven 35-year career with UPS. He provided leadership in the diverse environments of Operations, Finance & Accounting, and Technology at District, Region, and Corporate levels. This included five years in Europe at the beginning of UPS’ global expansion, where he was a Finance Director with responsibilities in 10 countries. Upon his return to the USA, he moved into UPS Information Services leading groups that designed, built, and deployed UPS financial systems for worldwide use.
Want to learn more about Steve’s work at Flow Business Solution? Check out his website at www.Flow-Business-Solution.com
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