Embracing a strong work ethic




Strategy Talks is a NEW social media strategy TALK SHOW, hosted by Dorien Morin-van Dam. Dorien was joined by her second guest, Hank for an honest conversation about EMBRACING A STRONG WORK ETHIC.


Below, please find the 20 minute video + full transcript.





TRANSCRIPT


Dorien:

Hello everybody. It's episode two of Strategy Talks. I am live on LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook groups, YouTube, no matter where you are watching, Twitter. I welcome you. If you are listening to this as a podcast, I want to make sure that you are welcomed as well. I'm joining you today from my home office in Pittsfield, Vermont where I work and live and have for the last two and a half years, and I have a fantastic guest today. Before I moved to Vermont, I used to live in South Carolina, and I had several clients in that area as well as North Carolina, and I was doing some speaking in North Carolina as well South Carolina, and at one of the times, I was speaking at ConvergeSouth, I met Hank Hoffmeier. He is my guest today. I'm going to bring him in, and then I'm going to introduce you to him. So, welcome, Hank. How are you?


Hank Hoffmeier:

I am awesome. I appreciate being here, and it's been a while since we've collaborated on something.


Dorien:

I know. It's super exciting. So, I'm just going to go ahead and read you Hank's bio. Hank is an author, speaker, podcast host, and a senior manager of client solution at iContact. With a passion for all things digital and social, combined with more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, he has been duped the digital marketing infotainer because he makes marketing fun and successful. He's also the president-elect for the Triangle AMA. So, welcome, Hank. So great to have you here today.


Hank Hoffmeier:

Thank you. It's great to be here. I know you're up in the north there where it's a little bit cold so hopefully you're staying warm.


Dorien:

Yes, we have the fire going. We had a big snowstorm. I don't know how many inches we ended up getting, at least 12, maybe more in the last 24 hours or so. It's gorgeous out. It's beautiful. So, I just want to address everybody that's here live. If you're here, we'd love to know where you're joining us from. Hank and I will be talking about embracing a strong work ethic. If you have questions, please put them in the comments. I'll be watching and monitoring so I'd love to ask them live. So, Hank, when you gave me the title, embracing a strong work ethic, I wasn't really sure where to put the emphasis, on work ethic, on strong, or embracing. So, let's just start with work ethic. What does work ethic mean to you and what should it mean to people as they either start in their career or in the middle of their career, whether they have their own business, or whether they're working for somebody else? Let's talk about some work ethic first.


Hank Hoffmeier:

Right, and I don't think I've ever been directly asked that question, defining work ethic from my point of view. To me, having a good work ethic means that you're going to go into the world as an entrepreneur, business owner, or you work for a company, corporation that you provide value to that organization, and to provide value, you have to have a good work ethic. In other words, get to work on time, finish your projects on time, be respectful of anybody you're working with, leading up, down, and across. In other words, just making sure that you're having a passion for what you're doing, whether it's for yourself in your own business or it's for a corporation.


Now, I know on a corporation side, there's just a lot going on right now with the great resignation, and people not feeling that they are being paid they're worth, or they feel that they're very stressed out and a whole bunch of other symptoms. People are leaving corporations in droves and either starting their own business, which I pat people on the back for doing so, or maybe just taking some time off or doing something else. But for me growing up, having a strong work ethic opened so many doors for me, where if you have a weak work ethic, I think that leads to mistakes, frustration, and most importantly, a lack of success.


Dorien:

All right. So, I heard you say something that I want to address right here and right now. Work ethic, you said growing up, and I come from a country where work ethic is highly valued and from a generation where that's highly valued, right? So, you, in the Netherlands, growing up in the '70s, '80s, it was really hard to be an entrepreneur. I don't know if you know anything about the Netherlands, but they regulate everything. And so, starting a business, you need a diploma for this and a diploma for that. Of course, it was the time before the website. You couldn't just start a business. So, everybody was working for somebody else. The work ethic was super important because that's how you climbed the ladder. There was no working for yourself. So, it was always working for somebody else, but in a team.


So, growing up, that was something that was just driven home everywhere, and I heard you say the same thing. If somebody's watching this as a parent or somebody's watching this and they might feel there's something they can work on, what are some of the values that you learned as a child or a teenager that gave you that work ethic?


Hank Hoffmeier:

I'm working on a second book that's not really related to marketing, and it's related to me growing up and a work ethic in a way. A phrase that I come to learn was work like you're going to lose it. Love like you're going to lose it. In other words, blank like you're going to lose it. In other words, if you work like you're going to lose your job, in other words, you put in extra effort, you put in 110% towards whatever project you're working on or whatever customer you're serving, that's going to help you develop that work ethic because it becomes habit over time. Same thing with friends, family, and loved ones. If you love someone or care about a relationship like you're going to lose it, in other words, if I feel like I'm going to lose my wife because I don't pay attention to her or bring her roses every now and then, maybe I need to do that more, I'm just reminding myself, you tend to put more effort into it.


There's nothing worse than going into something feeling like you're not going to be successful, you're not going to meet the goal, whatever that is. But if you put more effort, more passion, and more interest around what you're doing, you'll be more successful. When I grew up, I did not have a good self-esteem. I felt like people didn't like me. I felt like people didn't want to hang out with me, et cetera, a whole bunch of different reasons, and I felt like I had to overcompensate for that. And in some ways I'm still like that. When I go to go on stage, I feel like nobody's going to want to hear my message. Nobody's going to get value from what I'm talking about. Same thing when I do webinars or when I talk to clients, but I quickly overcome that, and I've done that my whole life, but I feel like that that is a mechanism in me that drives me to have that good work ethic.


I'm from New Jersey in the New York area, and I moved down to North Carolina, and one thing I learned is years ago, 20 years ago, I don't know if it's the work ethic in North Carolina in general or whatever, I felt like people that came down from the north found jobs pretty easy because they were willing to work extra hours, et cetera, and I know right now that's not what people want to do. They don't want to be overworked. They don't want to work 70, 80 hours and get paid for 40, and I agree. And what you need to do to really just justify that is make sure that you're getting paid for the value you put into an organization. If you're working for a company or even working for yourself, and you're giving so much value and you're getting underpaid, put that into check. Talk to your manager, talk to your boss, whoever, talk to yourself because maybe you need to do something different with your business, but if the value aligns with your compensation, your work ethic needs to match that, your efforts need to show that.


I try to put everything I can into what I do with iContact which is an email marketing platform. My job to me, not what was been told to me is to make customers happy, help small businesses use email marketing to grow their business. Oh, as I byproduct, I sell or I help service an email marketing platform. That's how I think of my job is I'm helping other marketers and business owners succeed. I'm not running marketing campaigns. I'm not doing webinars. I'm not doing public speaking. I'm not giving support. I'm helping businesses grow. Think about things from a different mindset and find out where you want to be. I hate to see people in dead-end jobs. If you have a talent, go for it. Nurture that talent, grow that talent because what happens, you end up developing more value, and you should be compensated for that.


Dorien:

All right. So, I have a follow-up question to that. Do you think you can have a strong work ethic in a job that you don't like?


Hank Hoffmeier:

Yes.


Dorien:

You can?


Hank Hoffmeier:

Yes. I think you could buy time and put in some, whether it's six months, a year, three years, put in time into that job. Just give it your all. Maybe you're not wholeheartedly into it, but if you overperform, you do well, and you learn skills, and maybe soft skills along the way, that's going to help you in the future. I've done that in the past. I've done jobs that I didn't like.


I used to work for my friend's rigging company in New York City. Basically, a rigging company lifts big objects and puts them in big buildings in the city. I would get done doing that, a strenuous job. Then I went to Pathmark, which was a food store, and I was in the deli department slicing meat for people. I didn't want to do that, but I did that because I needed the money, and that right there showed me hey, I don't want to be doing either one of these jobs, but for now, I have to do what I need to do. And I learned some skills, and I learned customer service skills from Pathmark, and just all along the way. I'm the first person in my family to graduate college. I want my kids to have more than me. I want them to have a better work ethic than me. Work ethic doesn't mean you're just do everything you're told. A work ethic is all-encompassing. It's your passion. It's your attitude. It's your communication. It's your customer service skills. I can go on and on and probably fill up 10 hands.


Dorien:

So, I'm going to actually write that down. That's the quote that I want to use. That was perfect. That was awesome. So, I hear you say you want your children to have even a stronger work ethic than you. So, work ethic, it's learned behavior. It's mindset. I heard you say that too. And as an agile marketer, I think we look at an agile mindset of being able to understand how together as a team, you work together, and I haven't heard you really talk about that yet as teamwork, but a strong work ethic at work when you're in a job, I'm sure means that you have to be willing and able to work with others, right?


Hank Hoffmeier:

Definitely.


Dorien:

Because you have to not just put what you want, but what the company and the project it needs to get done, done. How does a strong work ethic play out in a team? And I'm going to play devil's advocate. When you're in a team, when somebody else in the team doesn't have that strong work ethic. I know you have teenagers. I have three adult children, one almost adult child, and I think their biggest frustration in school, in college and high school, was being on a team, a group where one or more people were not pulling their weight. They didn't have that strong work ethic. They ended up doing all the work themselves. How do you deal with that when you're in a team? How do you overcome it or how do you get them to now let's work on the word embrace? How do you get others to embrace that strong work ethic with you when you're working as a team?


Hank Hoffmeier:

Well, thank you for putting me on the hot seat because there could be right and wrong answers to that, right? It depends on how you are as a leader. Before I talk about that, my daughter, she has been in ballet for a long time. She comes home, and at night, she practices her ballet steps, her moves or the songs. Nobody told her to do that. Her teachers don't tell her to do that. Sometimes we have to yell at her late at night because she's making noise on the wood floors and we're trying to sleep. But I really her work ethic in doing that. And my son tries to figure everything out. If you give him a problem, he'll have to try to figure it out, and he's such a really good helper when there's projects around a house. For me, I'm teaching them work ethic, and I think they're teaching themselves and learning that, and they see it from me and my wife.


And I was trying to delay, maybe for thought. No, just kidding. It all starts with leadership. If leadership does not convey the goals of the organization, the mission, the values of the organization, it's set up for failure because every step you go down from say a CEO down to VPs, down to managers, directors, and then frontline workers, if that is diluted in any way, no one has buy-in into what the organization wants to do. If you're in a meeting, everyone should be focused on what the leader has defined as the goals and how to get there, and if there are stragglers, I think that one-on-one conversations with the direct reports could help there. Courage more. Talk to people about big picture and why we're doing things, and ask that employee how they can help the organization get there rather than it being a performance type of discussion.


I think that there's a lot of opportunity, and obviously we spoke earlier, if you're in a job you don't like, there might be some people that are in entry-level job, they're not really in it, and maybe they're not doing everything they need to do, but is the leader's job to convince someone that they're doing something either for a customer or it's a great product or a service that is in offering, and get the buy-in for that, and have that honest conversation. Hey, Joe, I know you don't want to be here for five years, 10 years, and stay with us long-term. You're going back to school, whatever the situation is, but have that heart-to-heart conversation, say, "While you're here, I want to help you grow as a person. I want to be able to give you a great reference when you leave. How can we build your skills and help you maintain the goals of the organization at the same time?" is probably a conversation I would have.


Now, it sounds like it's a fairytale land, but really it's not. I just shared an article this morning on LinkedIn around asking clients hard questions. You and I are in marketing. Somebody says, "Hey, my open rates are really low. What are you going to do about that?" You don't say, "Well, here are three items we can do." You say, "Well, what's the most important thing to you when you send an email?" "Well, I need to make a sale," and you work backwards from there. Open rates don't matter. Click rates matter actually. Click to open rates and conversions matter more. You can say, "Well, okay, opens are important, but what we need to do is get more people to convert from email," Then the client will say, "Ah."


Same thing with employees. Ask them the hard questions. What do you want from this job? How can we help you grow? What do we need to do to make sure that you're interested in whatever projects you're working on? My boss always said put the right people on the right seat on the right bus.


Dorien:

Right. Okay, that makes sense. So, company culture, I heard you kind of talk about that a little bit, touch on that. Company culture I think is really important to get people to embrace their strong work ethic, right? As a leader, which you mentioned, you can show that work ethic because people follow the leader more than what they tell them to do, but as they do. Do as I do, not as I say sometimes happens. So, if a leader has a strong work ethic and works hard and is there. So, that makes a lot of sense.


It didn't answer the question of how do you deal with somebody on your team when you're a team, whether you're a leader or not, that doesn't have that strong work ethic, which I think we've all encountered. So, there's really two ways, right? Bring it to leadership, which is what basically you said we could do and then addressing that in peer to peer, and I think that's a little bit of a harder thing to do when you are working in a group. And I guess as young adults, as teenagers in college, that's a really tough thing to do to tell your peers, "Hey, your work ethic stinks. Why aren't you getting this stuff done?" That makes it a little bit harder. But then of course they can go to say a professor or the leader of the group and talk to them about that.


Hank Hoffmeier:

There's so many variables, right? But really to me, it comes down to either a failure in the hiring process possibly, but things can go sour later or it's a failure of leadership. I'm talking about CEO. I'm not talking about VP. It's a manager and employee or a manager and a director having those conversations and making sure the person's in the right job. There's nothing worse than having somebody be stagnant in a job, in a role they don't want to be in. It's not healthy for the employee, and it's best to manage that, whether it's for something in the organization that works for that employee or manage them out. In other words, help them find the role they want outside the organization, embrace that, and give them the glowing reference so that they can go on and do something.


Dorien:

That's awesome. So, Lisa and Bob are here. Lisa says, "Bigger and better questions will give us better answers and insight." Lisa is my friend and business coach, and she is just wonderful. So, she totally agrees with you. And then Bob is sharing that he thinks this is some great information, which I agree. You and I met at ConvergeSouth, and we were both staying in that same hotel, and I think before we even got on stage, either of us, we just had this conversation about social media and all kinds of things. I think that as a leader within your company, you have so much to bring, and I followed your email campaigns, and you have a podcast, and there's so much stuff to learn from you.


I do want to wrap it up. So, talk about somebody that says, "I have a strong work ethic, but I'm not sure I want to embrace it," or maybe the people around me wants me to take some time off. What are one or two things that you can tell somebody, "Just go for it." Is it time? Is it a time block that you say, "Well, just try it for a little bit of time," or is it something else that you can... Somebody who's maybe struggling with this?


Hank Hoffmeier:

Well, I'm glad you asked that because I didn't think we were going to get to the portion where I can share my hat, and I guess I'll have to say it for the audio listeners too. Work ethic is something you either have or you don't have, and it's not something you're born with or not born with. I think it can be cultivated. For me, I started to love what I do. Now, everybody says, "Do something you love and it's not a job." It's always going to be a job. It's always going to be a challenge. Love, a relationship is a job, right?


Dorien:

Right.


Hank Hoffmeier:

If you love someone, we all know how much work that is.


Dorien:

Yeah.


Hank Hoffmeier:

I have a hat, and I'm going to hold it up to the camera, and it says workafrolic. It's something I thought of. Somebody else may have thought of that. I don't know if I can coin that phrase, but I do what I like, therefore I'm up at night creating content. I'm doing stuff on weekends, podcasts. I'm not doing it to provide more value to myself or to an employer. I want to help others grow, whether it's employees, marketers, business owners, whoever it is. And another thing I always say is I work when I need to and I play when I want to. I kind of am client-facing in a way. In other words, somebody might need something, whether it's a coworker, my boss, or a client might need something at night or on a weekend, I'll handle that, but then life happens during the week. Maybe I have to go to an appointment at nine o'clock, maybe a dentist appointment or something, I'm not going to feel guilty about doing that.


For me, yes, I can shift my schedule and do things. Some people might be stuck in a set schedule, but make the most of that or speak to your boss, whoever has your schedule and say, "I need to do this. I want to do that." Take the time that you need to, to recuperate, to regenerate, and always be learning, courses, books, read, get that knowledge so that you're always increasing your value because we spoke about that. Your value and your compensation should always be moving up. You give more values to your organization, your pay should be moving up, and that's really what it comes down to is find something you like to do a lot, maybe not love, and cultivate those skills, that knowledge, and show your organization value, and always have that conversation around compensation. This way you feel like the work ethic you're developing is a strong one and it was worth it.


At the end of the day, everything needs to be worth it in your life because you get one trip around this world and you need to have fun and travel more. That's something I definitely want to encourage people to do. See the world. See this great country of ours. There's so many great things to say. Before I met my wife, I think I've only been to a total of three states, never the less countries. Now I've been to I think 23 states in 21 countries, and we do on a very, very small budget. It can be done. Find a way to travel, and if you can work virtually because a lot of us are, doesn't matter where you are, work when you need to, play when you want to. When I was in Europe, when I was in France for six weeks, I had to work three of those weeks that I was there. But you know what happened when I wasn't working? I was in France.


Dorien:

Right. I love that. For those of you watching, you know that I go to Europe often because my family's there and I do the same thing. I might go for a week, take a week off, but then other times, I have to work. But yeah, then when you're off, you're in that country. For me, that means that I can have dinner with my mother or my sister or one of my brother. So, that's amazing.


So, if you want to connect with Hank, he's got his own website, hankhoffmeier.com. For those who are listening, Hank Hoffmeier, it's H-O-F-F-M-E-I-E-R.com. You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn. He did tell me to remind you when you sent him a LinkedIn request to always let him know how and why you're connecting with him. I do the same thing. I would love to get a message from you if you connecting with me on LinkedIn and let me know why you want to connect, where you heard me talk, or what our mutual connections are.


I'll be back next week with another guest. Every Tuesday at 10:00, I am here for Strategy Talks. Let me just pull up Hank's LinkedIn. If you want to find him, linkedin.com/in/hankhoffmeier, very simple. I also want to invite all of you to come to our brand new Strategy Talks Facebook group. It's very empty in there right now, but I'd love for you guys to come. We're going to invite all of the guests from the whole year in there and all of our listeners, podcast listeners, as well as the people that are signed up and registered for our newsletter. So, hopefully, this group will go, and that's where we'll have continuing conversations about a topic like work ethic.


Hank, I want to know more about the term workafrolic. I can't wait for your second book to come out. You better send me a copy. Thank you so much everybody for being here live. If you're watching this on the replay, don't forget to hit replay, hashtag replay in the comments, and I just want to thank you, Hank, for your willingness, immediately sign up. I send you that email and it was instant. I love that. I have great connections that are like, "Yes, I'll come and talk to you," and this was a fantastic conversation about work ethic.


If you are watching this and you have children, rewatch this again. Work ethic starts young, but it can be learned. It's not something that's in you, and the one word that we didn't touch on that I sort of heard you say is curiosity. That's what you said your son had in order to have that strong work ethic and to keep working and to keep learning is you have to have a curiosity and a love for learning. So, work on those skills. Thank you so much everybody for watching. I will see you next week, and Hank, once again, thank you so much for being here with me today.


Hank Hoffmeier:

Thank you.



My guest, Hank Hoffmeier, is an author, speaker, podcast host and Sr. Manager of Client Solutions at iContact. With a passion for all things digital and social, combined with more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, he has been dubbed the Digital Marketing Infotainer because he makes marketing fun and successful.


You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn or visit his website .


Would you like to continue the conversation? Join the Strategy Talks Facebook Group HERE

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