In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan Hackel and Chuck Cooper on the Transformative Power of Culture.

What steps should you take to lead your enterprise during the post-Covid-19 return to business? Every business leader is trying to answer that question today. So it was timely that Evan Hackel interviewed Chuck Cooper on this issue in a recent Training Unleashed Podcast. Chuck is a consultant and author who is a deep thinker about leadership, motivation, company culture, and more.

We know you will want to take the time listen to the powerful ideas that Chuck explored in his talk with Evan. Here are some highlights from the Podcast.

Leaders Need to Focus on the Nuts and Bolts . . . Get Things Done!

Chuck told Evan, “I think when you’re looking at where we are as a country right now as we’re making that transition into what we would consider our norm, there’s just a lot of uncertainty at this point.

“Yet I think leadership has a good handle right now and has clarity on how they want to move forward. They’re just not sure about the nuts and bolts of how they’re going to go about it. Are they bringing all the people back into the office, or are they going to continue to let part of their organization work from home? And how do you handle that hybrid?

“So there are some unknowns at this point, but I think that overall people are feeling much more optimistic and they’re more sure about where we’re going as it relates to businesses today.”

There Are Many Reasons to Be Optimistic

In speaking of his own company, Chuck said, “So overall, the last year has been really amazing . . . it really opened up a lot more opportunities for us to work with our clients from coast to coast. And so there have been great opportunities because of the number of people who have been vaccinated and the fact that we are moving very quickly. I’m feeling much more optimistic right now where we’re going for the next six to nine months. And I think 2021 is set up to be a really good year for a lot of companies.”

How the Focus on Virtual Work Has Expanded Our Horizons

“Virtual has changed everything,” Chuck told Evan. “You know, where you were in a region before, now you can be anywhere in the country or for that matter, you could be anywhere in the world. You could be in California and be working on jobs in North Carolina. I was just on a call this morning, and we had somebody from South Africa that was that was a part of our conversation.

“So virtual has opened up from a global perspective. We’ve got opportunities now to work anywhere in the world. And it’s going to create some interesting issues for people in the U.S. when we start having people from Japan or from China or other countries taking positions or, you know, accepting opportunities here in Charlotte.”

The Rubber Band Analogy

Evan and Chuck compared what we have been over the last year to stretching a rubber band.

“Over the last year we have done things so differently, we have stretched the rubber band,” Chuck said to Evan. “And if we just release that rubber band, it’s simply not going to go right back to the shape it had before the pandemic. And even if it did go right back to the way it was before, that’s not the right place to be.”

One Key Role Training Can Play

Chuck believes that training can plan an important role. As one example, he mentioned the period when employees are reviewing and renewing their participation in benefit plans.

“I think there has to be an education strategy that has to be implemented from a training perspective,” Chuck observed. “And so what we do with a lot of our clients is we actually have created annual programs for them where we will do things like `lunch and learns’ where we provide PDFs or with handouts and provide them with other tools that can help educate them just on the terminology of the benefit plans and also help them understand how to most effectively use the benefits that they have.”

An Opportunity to Create and Grow to Become Whatever We Want To . . . to Make Things Much Better

Evan and Chuck got excited when they began to discuss how exciting it will be to realize that rubber band is never going back to what it used to be. 

Chuck explained, “The reality is, we’re not going back. It’s never going to be the same. The great thing is we’ve got an opportunity right now to be able to create what we want things to be going forward . . . Let’s make something better, because when you think back the way things used to be, I can remember everybody talking about how the work/life balance was so bad . . .Well, we’ve got an opportunity to make things better. So let’s focus on that. Mental health is going to improve.”

Focus on Company Culture: A Deep Insight from Chuck

“Let’s get back, though, to culture,” Evan said to Chuck. “Because culture is king. Someone once said that every company has culture. The question is, are you the one creating it or is it being created by itself?”

Chuck was quick to take up that line of thinking and added, “Yes, most companies that I’ve spoken with over the last year have had to pivot and make a change in direction about how they are going to be able to move forward. . .  we’re trying to understand at this point exactly what we want our culture to be.

“So when I talk with leaders today, they are working very closely with their leadership teams to identify what their mission, vision, and values are, and what’s really important to them from a from their people perspective.”

“And I think that employees, when it comes to culture, are looking for leadership to be much more empathetic, to be much more transparent, to provide more granular communication so that employees can have confidence and have trust in their leadership. So they as an organization can move forward together more as a community rather than the hierarchy that we’ve seen in the past.”

A Special Offer for Training Unleashed Podcast Listeners from Chuck Cooper

If you visit whitewaterconsulting/trainingunleashed, you will find a selection of special resources that Chuck and his team have made available to the Training Unleashed Podcast community.

One of those one of the gifts is a copy of the recent Business Saver case study from WhiteWater. In addition, Chuck and his team are offering a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to viewers of this Training Unleashed Podcast.

Chuck summarizes, “We’d love to be able to be a resource for you.”

About Our Guest 

Chuck Cooper is Founder and Managing Member at WhiteWater Consulting, a Charlotte, NC-based consulting firm with the simple yet powerful mission to “help small to mid-size companies become better . . . Our team is committed to helping companies strengthen and automate their processes so that they can focus on growing revenues, managing expenses, maximizing profits, and taking care of their greatest asset, their people.”

At WhiteWater, Chuck sets the Mission, Vision and Values for the company. Over the past 25 years, Chuck has had the experience of starting, acquiring, building, and selling businesses in multiple industries. During this time, he experienced the thrill of victories and the agony of defeat. His passion for founding WhiteWater Consulting is to help enable employers and HR practitioners to drive their organizations to realize an improved company culture while simultaneously attaining enhanced financial results.