Unlock Two Secret Hiring Strategies That Will Generate Growth

Secret Hiring Strategies

For more than a century, the business world’s definition of the ‘right’ employee was the one who had the skills to successfully perform the duties listed in the job description. The impact of selecting people using this traditional hiring approach has led to massive employee disengagement, sub-optimal organizational productivity, increased operating costs, and decreases in employee well-being and customer satisfaction. The time has come for hiring leaders to re-examine their definition of what the ‘right’ employee actually looks like in today’s business world.

This session is for entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders from startup and emerging growth ventures to established businesses who struggle with getting hiring right. You know that recruiting top talent is your number one job, but it’s hard to get it right every time. Creating a culture for big impact and growth that achieves your mission is the single greatest ingredient to success in today’s fast-moving and competitive environment. Successfully navigating the hiring process means getting the right people on the bus.

Snell & Wilmer invites you to the next program in the Emerging Business Seminar Series, where partner Brian J. Burt, and his guest, Brian Mohr of Y Scouts, will discuss how to unlock two secret hiring strategies that will lead to lasting growth and impact.

Topics for this complimentary seminar will include:

  • Why the traditional way of hiring is costing you more than you realize, and two steps to change it
  • Actionable strategies to prepare you for your next hiring experience
  • How to eliminate the costs of a wrong hire
  • How to guarantee it’s the right hire before you make an offer
  • Creating confidence that your hiring process and decision-making will lead to bigger impact in your business
  • Why scaling with people and purpose is your secret weapon to 10x growth

December 2, 2015

8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 
7:30 a.m.

Synergy I [map]
1365 North Scottsdale Road 
Suite 135
Scottsdale, Arizona 85257

Free parking is available in the north parking lot in anyuncovered space.

RSVP by Friday, November 27to rsvp@swlaw.com or by calling 1.855.SWEvent (1.855.793.8368).

The Emerging Business seminars are held the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Brian J. Burt

Brian Mohr
& Managing Partner
Y Scouts

How To Build Culture In A Temporary Workspace

R&R Partners Ping Pong Table

Building company culture isn’t about brand colors, company logos, plush couches or a gimmicky punching bag.

But for companies in a temporary workspace within another company’s headquarters, it can hard to build a unique culture without such cultural symbols.

How can a company within a temporary workspace build culture without the tangible, traditional culture symbols? By focusing on the intangibles of culture: values and people.

Here are a few ways to build culture in a temporary workspace:

Define and visually reinforce the organization’s values.
Has your organization defined core values? If so, reminding your team of these core values is a great way to reinforce the cultural qualities that you want to see at your organization.

There are several ways the remind your team of these core values. You can print out your values and pin up a copy in each team member’s workspace. Or, if a core value is more tangible, you can provide each member of your team with something tangible that represents that core value.

By making your core values visible, it’s easier for you to lose sight of your temporary surroundings with a reminder of who you really are.

Integrate Core Values into your meetings
Closed door meetings can serve as a temporary refuge for you and your team. Instead of having a conversation in a workplace with lots of open space – where as a byproduct, people who aren’t on your team can overhear your conversations – being in a meeting room behind a closed door with your team gives you a chance to speak freely. Use this time to integrate your core values into your meetings.

If a core value in your company is “Play Poker Like Kenny” (ie – know when to hold ’em, know when to fold them), make sure each employee receives feedback on how they are doing in regards to that value, with specific examples of their work to support the feedback.

What gets measured gets done. If you’re measuring the impact of your core values in meetings, your employees will be more likely to practice those core values.

Bring the team together with Slack
Space is important, but it may not be in the top 10 things that are required for building a great company culture. The type of people you’re working with can help push the space needs down the priority list or it could potentially pull the need for space upwards.

When a company shares space with another company, conversations can be overheard. Using an internal communication app like Slack allows the whole team to have inside conversations they would normally have within their own workspace – especially if space constraints have separated the team into separate workstations.

Appoint a Community Manager (or make friends with the internal community manager)

Every office has someone who is in charge of making announcements that impact the whole office (ie – a food truck will be here on Thursday!). If the company you’re sharing space with has one of these community managers, make sure that your team is copied on email communication impacting the office. Not only will this help your team feel more involved in the office (and not like strangers), but these announcements can also alert your team to some of the fun things happening around the office.

If a community manager doesn’t exist at your office, speak with the founders of the companies and see if you can appoint one.

Be Transparent and Honest
Be transparent about your office situation with your team, and at the same time, have a plan for what you’ll be doing next. Communicate a timeline and what needs to happen as a company for your office situation to change. Honesty can be a big motivator, and having a candid conversation with your team can help motivate and answer questions your team members may have.

While a temporary office situation is sometimes not as ideal as having your own space, there’s still ways to make the most of it. Start with the definition and integration of your core values and bring the team together with open and honest communication. If you do those two things right, then you should be able to maintain and build upon your organizational culture.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Conscious Capitalism in Arizona

You may be familiar with our passion and involvement in the Conscious Capitalism movement. The Arizona Chapter of Conscious Capitalism is pioneering an initiative to introduce the principles of Conscious Capitalism into Arizona’s educational system. The “Education Initiative’ has been in the works for many months, and we’re excited to invite you to attend a series of events taking place on November 17th.

Raj Sisodia, the Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and the co-author of 3 books supporting the movement, “Conscious Capitalism”, “Firms of Endearment”, and “Everybody Matters”, will be leading a series of discussions/roundtables on November 17th in the Phoenix area. Our goal is to bring together leaders of our business community, educators, and students to discuss the future of capitalism. We hope you will decide to attend at least one of the events.

Event #1 – Re-imagining Capitalism at Arizona State University

When: November 17th from 9:00 to 10:00 AM

Where: W.P. Carey School of Business, Oasis Room, 4th Floor McCord Hall, ASU Tempe Campus (near Apache Garage for parking)

Registration: Please click this link to learn more and register for the event

Event #2 – Conscious Capitalism in Business

When: November 17th from 1:45pm to 3:15pm

Where: DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center located at 2100 South Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282

Registration: Please click this link to learn more and register for the event

Event #3 – Invest Southwest – Improving Investment Workshop

When: November 17th from 3:30pm to 7:00pm

Where: DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center located at 2100 South Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282

Registration: Please click this link to learn more and register for the event (there is a $50 fee for this event)

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Interview With Seth Goldman, Tea­EO Emeritus of Honest Tea

Seth Goldman Honest Tea

Seth Goldman is co-founder and Tea­EO Emeritus of Honest Tea, the company he launched out of his home in 1998. Today, Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling organic bottled tea, specializing in beverages that are organic, fair trade and Just A Tad Sweet®. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company and is now carried in over 100,000 outlets.

Goldman is a leading voice among mission-driven entrepreneurs.  He is the recipient of the REAL Food Innovator Award by the U.S. Healthful Food Council and sits on the boards of: Bethesda Green, Beyond Meat, and the American Beverage Association. 

Goldman is the co-author of the business book in comic book form, Mission in a Bottle – The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently – and Succeeding, a New York Times Bestseller published by the Crown Business division of Random House.

Goldman is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Management.

Editors note: This is interview was conducted a day before Seth announced that he intends to reduce his role at Honest Tea, leaving the role of TeaEO and shifting to a more stewardship-oriented role as TeaEO Emeritus while he takes on added responsibilities as Executive Chairman at Beyond Meat, a plant-based protein startup.

Why do you believe that having a higher purpose actually matters in business today?

When I was in college I majored in Government. I had thought the political route was the way to make change happen and address issues I care about. I can say now having been in the work world for 25 years, and running a company near Washington D.C., I appreciate even more how impactful business is in making change in contrast to the political arena. Obviously some change does happen, but a lot of people spend a lot of time running around in circles yelling at each other.

I guess I answered the question differently than by saying why businesses should care. It’s almost as if you care, then how do you address issues through business?

I’m curious how you and your team have been able to find the right talent that align with what you care about in a world where recruiting is largely transactional. How has Honest Tea been able to maneuver that?

I would say we wear our mission on our sleeve pretty brazenly. I don’t think anyone comes into our company mistakenly thinking this is a place that they’re going to be able to just chase money and not think about the impact of what they’re doing. We’re already screening out a lot of people just by the products we sell and the way we market them and the way we behave. And at the same time, I’d like to think that we screen in a lot of people.

I think our mission and the way we behave helps attract and puts off some folks who we wouldn’t necessarily be attracted to.

What’s interesting is that when we look at some of the beverage expertise, how do we attract people? What we see is that there are people who could be working in what I’ll call ‘values neutral work.’ They’ve worked in food science and production operations before and are good at what they do but they haven’t had the chance to work with a company or brand where they feel that the impact is deeper or something they care about.

One of the experiences that has repeated itself over and over in the CEO’s that we’ve worked with is that those who proudly wear the impact often wear it so proudly that candidates can then use that to their advantage during interviews. A candidate may pair it back to a CEO or members of the hiring team to what they think they want to hear because you are so proud in telling the world. The authenticity meter can be a bit hard to fair it out. I’m curious to hear about if you’ve had any bad hiring experiences where they said they truly cared about the impact Honest Tea wants to make, but at the end of the day, that really wasn’t the case?

Like any honest company, we’ve made bad hires. I wouldn’t say that we’ve hired people who claimed to be one thing around mission, and then aren’t. That’s usually not where the error is.

I will say that resumes are pretty clear. I can usually see when someone is genuinely interested in our mission by looking at the work they’ve done. Is this something they been living based on the choices they’ve made over their careers? What’s their nonprofit volunteer work activity look like?

What’s funny is that I’ve had interviews with people who seem like they get the mission, but there’s nothing in their resume that suggests they’ve had that. One of the first MBA summer hires that we made was this woman who was so passionate about the mission. But, she worked for a merchant bank before going to school.

I told her, ‘I can tell you care about what we’re doing. I haven’t seen anything in your work experience that speaks to it. Tell me why you care.’

Then she started talking about how her mother had died of cancer and how she had worked over the years to change her mother’s diet and how organics was such a key pillar in the change in diet.

So then, I told her that I hadn’t seen anything that would suggest that she understands this industry. And she talked about how she paid her way through college by working in food service. We’re always trying to get people who have worked in restaurants! I asked her why she didn’t put that in her resume.

She said it would have seemed not professional. But we’re a beverage company! It’s just interesting to see what people choose to highlight and not all of it will come out on a resume.

Honest Tea Mission

One of the areas in business that has seemed to come under tremendous fire is the traditional HR function. I’m curious to know if it’s something you think about a lot. What do you think is really right about what HR is doing and what do you think is broken?

I can tell you that I feel really good about our HR team. They’re very focused on culture. Part of it is personnel selection, but even more is how do we give our people the tools to live the best life they can for themselves?

A positive supporting work environment is a key element of it. But it’s not always the core of what someone is thinking about. Are they able to be present for family members who are going through challenges? Are they able to continue to develop their own skills? Even if the skills that they’re developing aren’t used at Honest Tea. Maybe they develop their skills here and use them elsewhere. Obviously we try not to make that happen all the time. But if we do it the right way, it’s a great way to retain people because they know we’re trying to continue to develop them.

So a focus of really developing people and intentionally strengthening the culture is what your HR team is really focused on.

Yeah it’s funny. We just finished with Halloween last week and I was out of the office a lot of the day. But it’s just so fun seeing some of the Halloween pictures and seeing people having fun with it. It’s nice people are in an environment where they feel comfortable being a little goofy and have fun doing that.

Honest Tea Office

If I switch the course of this interview a little bit, as you’ve grown the organization you received a big investment from Coca Cola. Could you share about any contemplation on your part about taking a sizable investment from the Coca Cola Company. What were you most afraid of, and what were you most excited about?

The excitement part was easy. It was the distribution aspect. We were seeing all this growth and interest from large retailers who wanted the brand and we didn’t have the distribution to get it there. There’s nothing more frustrating to an entrepreneur than to see growth and not being able to connect the dots and make it happen. No matter how high potential your product is, if you can’t get it to people, you really don’t have a business.

We were growing quickly but we also saw on the horizon that we were going to limited in terms of what the brand could do. So distribution was easily the most exciting aspect of the deal. Nationally was the first point, but looking at internationally at some point as well.

The fear, the downside that so many mission driven businesses face is do you lose what’s special? Is there a risk of having your mission diluted? We’ve worked so hard for ten years to create this intentional brand with a specific mission and have worked to incorporate and brew the mission into the product.

What is often said is that a brand’s best days, from it’s marketing to it’s mission impact, are the days before it sells. And then after that it’s a slow decline where the product’s ingredients are cheapened. The compromises are made around sourcing. And then there’s some personnel cuts. All of a sudden, it’s not necessarily death, but it’s certainly a dilution through dozens and dozens of little steps.

So that was the fear. What has been so gratifying and exciting for us is that’s it’s been the opposite for us. It’s been a strengthening through dozens and dozens of little tweaks. Every tweak we’ve made over the years. SKU by SKU. Converting another bottle over to fair trade tea. That was a process that started in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2011 after Coke’s buyout of the brand that we completed our conversion to fair trade tea.

Then you can look at our kids line, where we started Honest Kids with organic sugar and some fruit juice. Then we found enough organic fruit juice concentrate available to take all of the sugar out of the product and only sweetened it with fruit juice.

This is a result of scale and also a result of the buying power we get by being a part of Coca Cola. That means we are able to buy a bottle at a lower price and use some of the savings to pay for more expensive sugar.

Those types of steps are rare. We can think of some companies that have done a good job at protecting their mission as they grow. I don’t know of many who have deepened their impact.

Note: You can view Honest Tea’s 2015 Mission Report here.

Honest Tea Mission Report

Do you feel that the impact Honest Tea has been making in the world had some influence on the Coca Cola Company in a small or large way?

I think it’s a large way. Number one, we are part of the Coca Cola Company and can look at their portfolio. We can look at what’s on the trucks and in the warehouses. Years ago that weren’t any organic brands or fair trade brands. There certainly weren’t as many low to zero calorie drinks that are present now. Going beyond that we can look at how some of their other products have evolved and some of their innovations. I’m absolutely confident that our presence has helped heightened their awareness of the marketplace appeal for different formulations.

Beyond that there’s this broader piece of transparency as a brand. And authenticity as a brand. I think our presence has been meaningful. And then of course the conversations that we have as part of the Coca Cola Company that weren’t being had. The questions we’re asking. Even though I ask questions that are uncomfortable. It’s helpful to have someone inside the company who is willing to ask tough questions.

Final questions of the interview. From a personal standpoint, what’s your morning ritual look like? is there something you do every day to make sure you’re operating at your apex?

There’s a few things. Number one, my wife and I make the bed every morning. That means we come home at night to a place that feels calm and relaxed. Number two, I always get up and exercise. It is the best way to clear my head, get the blood flowing and process whatever has happened the day before. By the time I get to the office I’m in a good place.

My house is about a mile from the office. The other thing that I do is that about 85% of the time I’m riding a bike to work.

When I’m biking I get to be out in nature and get climatized to the day. Versus if I’m driving I’m stuck in traffic and worried about parking. If I bike, I park at the bike rack right in front of the office. It is something I’m always appreciative of doing.

Sometimes if I have a meeting out of the office where I’ll need a car, I’ll still bike to the office and then bike home and then get in the car just so I have that chance be outside.

Looking back, if you could have a conversation with your 20 year old self, what would you share with 20-year old self knowing what you know today?

I never imagined business as a path to impact. I totally discounted it. I would have said that if you want to make an impact, that’s not the way you go. Obviously I ended up being open to it, but I would have counseled myself on being more open to that as a path to impact.

I do say that to people now because there are so many people who are about to enter the workforce and they just don’t think about business as a way to make a difference in the world.

Honest Tea Bottles

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. This interview is part of our Conscious Leadership Interview Series, where we ask CEO’s a series of questions about their leadership philosophies and practices. Contact us if you’d like to recommend a CEO to interview.

Nonprofit Succession Planning: Developing Leaders

nonprofit succession planning

Recently the Stanford Social Innovation Review produced an article about the Nonprofit Leadership Development Deficit, and how succession planning is the No. 1 organizational concern of US nonprofits, but they are failing to develop their most promising pool of talent: homegrown leaders.

We wanted to find the antithesis of this SSIR article and hear from nonprofits who were succeeding in developing homegrown leaders at their organization. How are they addressing succession planning, and how are they measuring the results?

Perhaps one of the more interesting takes on succession planning that we received came from Mike Williams, who runs one of the longest running Boy Scout Troops (approaching 70 years):

Each annual task of the organization is defined and split off to the responsibility of a different leader, often a pair of leaders. For example, we do an annual fundraiser (Christmas Wreath Sales) Sales/distribution of the wreaths is done by one pair of leaders. The awards for sellers are handled by a different pair. The high adventure trip that the fundraiser pays for is yet another pair. Pairs are used for continuity – succession of the pair usually happens in stagger; the more experienced one leaves and a new member takes his spot, leaving one experienced leader in the same role for the next year. Of course this isn’t always possible but works well as a guideline.

No one gets burnt out; no one has an insurmountable task, and in most cases a new volunteer works with another experienced one who shares the task’s load.

And it makes recruiting someone to take the big jobs – Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chairman, much easier. They don’t have to shoulder the entire load.

The other informal rule is: You have to find your own replacement. If you want to stay in a role of course that’s welcome, but if you want to move on, find your replacement and convince him to take your spot. Again this would be very challenging if these weren’t such bite-sized tasks, or if the new recruit felt he had to go-it-alone.

There’s some good stuff there about succession planning.

  • Use pairs for continuity and to stagger succession
  • Share the burden of the task to avoid burnout
  • Find your own replacement

But how do you measure the effectiveness of succession planning? For the answer to this question we turned to Ben Williams, who advises nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, and multi-sector collaboratives on strategy development and governance.

Ben says that succession planning has been a high priority in almost all the organizations he advises. As you can see in the article by SSIR, the demographics of leaders in the social sector are top heavy, and the implications are now starting to be seen.

Here’s what Ben had to add about nonprofit succession planning:

High performing organizations develop succession plans as part of a larger leader development strategy. It begins by setting standards for job responsibilities and development plans for all positions to grow into greater responsibility. With a pathway for advancement in place, the organization can assess and prioritize its pipeline based on current staff for future roles. A succession plan without a larger leadership development effort will find that it has many gaps (if not at the highest executive level, at the middle manager level).

Results can be measured through evaluation of staff capacity: engagement (greater engagement = likelihood to advance), goal achievement (# or % of goal achievement), and hiring ratios (% internal vs. external = higher % internal hires indicates stronger pipeline).

Bottom line is that nonprofit succession planning is difficult, but not impossible. Looking to get started? We’d highly recommend that you read the piece by SSIR.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Quotes About Abraham Lincoln: A Lesson In Leadership

Quotes about Abraham Lincoln

Blogs, tweets, vines, snaps, texts – the noise for a leader is amplified these days. One wrong move can set off a string of critical remarks.

It’s easy for a leader to be considered “weak” or “ineffective” with all the quick to judge media content being shared today. That’s why the string of quotes about Abraham Lincoln are so powerful. All the quotes were made before or during the first year of Abraham Lincoln taking office – and all of the quotes are from the North:

Quotes about Abraham Lincoln:

“he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion” — The Springfield (Mass.) Republican

quotes about abraham lincoln

“His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world” – The Salem (Illinois) Advocate.

He “indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.” — Vanity Fair Magazine (New York)

a ‘simple Susan.’ — The Springfield (Mass.) Republican

“He is evidently a person of very inferior cast of character” — Senator Edward Everett (Mass.)

His speeches have fallen like a wet blanket here. They put to flight all notions of greatness” — Rep. Charles Francis Adams (Mass.)

“a weak and imbecile man; the weakest man that I ever knew in a high place; for I have seen him and conversed with him, and I say here, in my place in the Senate of the United States, that I never did see or converse with so weak and imbecile a man ” – Senator Saulsbury (Delaware)

“an idiot” – Gen George McLellan (New Jersey)

“timid, vacillating, and inefficient” – Senator Chandler (Michigan)

“weak as water” – Rep Fessenden (Maine)

It goes to show that a leader may be considered weak, but in the end they’ve actually achieved so much that they are now considered great and powerful leaders in the history. I guess history has shown that the ones who made these comments were describing themselves far more than Abe.

What does that say about today’s commentary about leaders?

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Why the “Y”

Why The Y

One of the most common questions we hear at Y Scouts is, “What does the “Y” in Y Scouts mean?”

Back in 2012 when we were thinking up names for our company, the letter “Y” symbolized everything we wanted to represent.

In it’s most simple form, the letter “Y” is the place where all roads come together.

One interpretation of the “Y” is that it’s the intersection between the road of a candidate, the road of an employer, and our road as a leadership search firm – the connector of these two roads.

The “Y” perfectly symbolizes the fork in the road we face in career decisions. Most of us cruise along until we reach a point in our careers where we must make a major career decision. Do we continue to climb the corporate ladder / stay in the same industry / do the same thing and take the path of received wisdom, or do we take the road less-traveled and decide to do something different / something that matters with our lives and careers?

“Y” is perfectly symmetrical, showing our belief of placing an equal importance on clients and candidates (an extension of one of our core beliefs, Platinum is Better Than Gold).

As a whole, finding your “Y” is important on a personal and professional level. It’s about finding what motivates each of us to be better. For some, your why might be working hard to make a meaningful difference in the lives of family / friends / customers. Great businesses also have a “Y”. It’s what drives their teams and inspires their clients to do business with them. Great companies aren’t looking for somebody to fill a seat on the bus. They look for driven people that are dedicated to a personal and professional vision.

So, there were a lot of strong reasons we aligned our beliefs with the letter “Y”.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

5 Reasons Why Platinum Is Better Than Gold

Platinum is better than gold

One of our core values is, “Platinum Is Better Than Gold.”

Now, we’re a leadership search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. We’re not a numismatic investment company with a financial incentive to sell more platinum (or gold).

The meaning behind our core value is we believe you should treat other people as they want to be treated (aka, the Platinum Rule). We believe this is a better way to treat people than the golden rule, which is to treat people how you want to be treated.

Besides our Platinum Rule, why is platinum better than gold? Here are 5 reasons:

Reason #1: Platinum is worth more than gold
In equal weights, platinum is worth more than gold and gold is worth more than silver.

Reason #2: Platinum has industrial usage
Gold is primarily used for jewelry.

Reason #3: Platinum is even harder to find than gold
Just like it’s rare to find people who treat people as they want to be treated, it’s even more rare to find platinum than it is to find gold.

Reason #4: Platinum is stronger and more durable
Though both gold and platinum are strong and durable precious metals, platinum is the stronger and more durable of the two. For example, the prongs holding the center stone of a platinum engagement ring are less likely to break then those of a gold engagement ring.

Reason #5: Platinum is Truly White
Platinum will always stay white because it’s naturally white, but white gold needs to be re-polished and re-plated occasionally to avoid a yellow hue.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

8 Exceptional Desk Stretches To Do While Sitting At A Desk

We’ve always believed that mental and physical health is crucial – take care of yourself, find your balance, and stay sharp.

This is especially true at work, where the average American spends 8.6 hours a day. Experts recommend that you should stretch at least once per hour, so that’s why we’ve done a little research and have put together a list of 8 desk stretches – one for every hour of your day – that you can do while sitting at your desk.

Since the majority of our time is spent sitting at a desk, it’s important to prioritize your physical health while you sit. A few stretches each day (ideally, all of the stretches below during the course of one work day) can make a difference for your health in the long run.

Here are 8 desk stretches to do while sitting at your desk:

desk stretches elbow pumpDesk Stretch #1: The Elbow Pump

The Elbow Pump is a desk stretch that you can do while sitting down.

If you played Little League baseball, you know this stretch.

Touch your opposite shoulder blade, and then gently grab your elbow and pull it towards the opposite side. This stretch feels good and doesn’t draw attention while you do it.


desk stretches knee jerkDesk Stretch #2: The Knee Jerk

Another stretch for you that takes 10 seconds and doesn’t require you to get up out of your seat.

The knee jerk stretch requires you to lift your leg up and grab onto your knee. Try and pull your leg towards your chest, and see how close you can get it.

Hold for 10 seconds, and then do the other knee. This one feels great.


desk stretch toe touchDesk Stretch #3: The Toe Toucher

We’ve all been doing toe touch stretches since middle school P.E. classes. (Back then, we could actually touch our toes)

To do the toe toucher desk stretch, move to the edge of your seat and remain sitting. Straighten out those legs and reach out to try and touch your toes (remember, keep those legs straight).

Hold it for 10 seconds and feel that burn in the back of your legs and in your back.


desk stretches touch the skyDesk Stretch #4: Touch The Sky

Remove your hands from your computer keyboard and interlock both hands together.

Take a deep breath.

With your palms facing the ceiling, raise your interlocked hands to the sky. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds. If you have sweat stains under your shirt, you may want to consider scheduling this stretch as the first one you do in the morning.


desk stretches knee pumpDesk Stretch #5: The Knee-Pump

This one is a douse.

Cross your leg and rest it on your knee. Sit up straight. Take a deep breath and push down gently on your knee to stretch those long neglected glutes. As you’re pushing down on your knee, remember to exhale slowly.

Rinse and repeat for the other leg, taking about 5-10 seconds to hold the stretch.


desk stretch hand holderDesk Stretch #6: The Hand Holder

By hour 6 in your work day, you’ve probably typed about 1,000 words and dialed about 40 phone numbers. It’s time to give those hands, fingers and arms a niiiiice stretch.

The Hand Holder desk stretch will do the trick. While sitting down, grab your hand and bend it slowly towards you until you feel a slight burn in your wrist. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds. Then, grab your other hand and do the same thing. Repeat this stretch 3 times.

Then, grab your original hand with your palms facing out and pull back until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Do this stretch 3 times on both hands and you’ll feel rejuvenated to go back and type up more words and make more phone calls.

desk stretch neckDesk Stretch #7: The Neck Breaker

You’ve had a long day at this point of the work day, and it’s time to stretch that neck! The neck breaker is a stretch that you should do gently. To perform the stretch, take your hand and grab the opposite side of your head – gently.

Gently pull your head towards your shoulder. Close those eyes. Move your head a few inches towards your shoulder and repeat for the other side.

Your work day is almost done.


desk stretch one arm hugDesk Stretch #8: One Arm Hug

You’ve made it through the work day, and it’s time to give yourself a nice pat on the back and a hug.

Take your left arm and grab the back of your right shoulder. With your right hand, grab your left elbow and and gently push it towards your right shoulder.

This will stretch your left shoulder out nicely. Rinse and repeat with your other arm to stretch out your right shoulder.

That’s it! You’ve successfully stretched each hour of your day and improved your health as a result with only a minute or two of actual stretch time. For 9 more desk stretching exercises, please visit this Office Vibe post.

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Corey Michael Blake, President of RTC

Corey Michael Black Round Table Company RTC

When Corey Michael Blake felt he wasn’t living in alignment with his own purpose, he left a successful career in acting and directing to found Round Table Companies (RTC) in 2005. RTC, a storytelling company, supports clients as they articulate and amplify their purpose and values, share their story, build a community, and impact lives.

RTC has published nearly 100 books and has a growing community of more than 12,000 subscribers. Over his decade of leading RTC, Corey has grown the company to more than $5M in revenue and built a staff of nearly 40 writers, editors, designers, illustrators, and operations personnel.

Now that RTC is self-sustaining, Corey is delving deeper into his work helping a wide range of audiences find and follow their purpose, change their mindset and culture, align their brands, and leave a legacy.

What’s most exciting to you at this point in your career?

Now that RTC is running well with far less needed from me, I feel a strong responsibility to share what we’ve learned over the last 10 years with the world. That means I’m getting out into the world to speak and create safe spaces for people where profound connection to self and others is possible.

Most purpose-driven organizations follow one of two paths; 1.) they either desire to make a meaningful difference through their products/services in the lives of their clients/customers, or 2.) they desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their employees. Of those 2 paths, which do you feel is most relevant to your organization?

Both are imperative to our mission. We are dedicated to creating transformation in the lives of all our stakeholders. That requires a lot of time, intention, and investment, but it is imperative to the long term sustainability of our organization.

Give me an example of when you inspired people with a vision.

One of my clients runs a residential services company for people with disabilities. They wanted to reach more families at their time of greatest need. Instead of working with a traditional marketing company to meet their clients, we introduced the vision of a library of books celebrating the hero’s journey these families are on. To date we have written and published 18 books and comic books for these families and last December we launched an online community that has already signed up nearly 8,000 parents, educators, and healthcare professionals. I am incredibly proud to have helped build this vision with their CEO and to be putting so much worthy content into the world that these families are desperate for.

RTC Corey Michael Blake

Do you feel it’s your sole responsibility as the CEO to drive towards the vision, or do you allow others in your organization to take the lead?

I definitely see it with more clarity than others in the organization so they do still rely on me for the vision work, as do some of our larger clients.

How would you describe your leadership philosophy?

Leading with Love is our guiding principle as an organization. We work hard to lead with love in all interactions by asking the question, “what would this look like if we came from love?”

What’s the greatest compliment you’ve ever been given in your time as a leader?

Anytime someone says our work has changed their life. Recently our Director of Ops shared how our work together has empowered her towards a profound shift with her husband. I think seeing people be changed at work and then see that carry over into their home life is such a blessing. I also hear it from clients or people who hear me speak and it is a wonderful gift every time. This is one I received last week from the founder of a magazine who attended a workshop I led:

“You are profound. You are immense. You are loved, admired, and appreciated by those that you touch. You changed my life today and I hope you know how important the work that you’re doing is and how much you inspire those around you.”

I am reminded that I’m living my purpose when I receive such beautiful words.

Tell me about how you’ve scaled your organization. What was a defining moment or decision you made that put you on that path?

For some time, I have felt the responsibility to protect more people’s hearts. Our hearts are so delicate. Most people want to make a difference in the world, but they need loving support to live into a greater version of themselves. For the first 7 years of our organization we focused on being a boutique agency that served a small number of clients, but then that sense of responsibility grew and we began the process of scaling to serve and protect more people who want to step out front and stand for something bold and beautiful in the world.

Share with me one of your greatest accomplishments while being incredibly resource disadvantaged.

I started this company on $150. Not $150k, but one hundred and fifty dollars. I operated and grew on profit alone for 7 years before I went to a bank for support on a major initiative that I wanted to promote (which doubled the size of our business between 2012 and 2013). I have always felt that my greatest accomplishment has been the investment I’ve made in our company culture and the personal development of our staff. We’ve never had so much cash flow that this was ever easy; it was always a sacrifice to short term profit, but one that continues to make me proud.

RTC Conscious Capitalism

How do you invest in yourself to increase your impact?

This year, I’m a member of the Stagen Leadership Academy (a full year program), while simultaneously studying at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland (an 18 month program). I also work with two executive coaches who support my work in the world. I’m highly dedicated to personal development. It is imperative to showing up with love and leaning into grace, which our work requires.

How does consistent learning and curiosity show up in your organization?

Through my personal development I’m trying to lead by example as best I can and that paves the way by giving people permission and encouragement to grow with me. We also have an executive coach on retainer for our staff to utilize and they take great advantage of that opportunity. As I have continued to leave the organization to speak, or to attend programs and conferences, my staff continues to be pushed to solve issues on their own. I can lovingly say they are doing a masterful job. That’s not to say that we are always perfect, because we are far from it, but I admire how they are learning and challenging themselves and one another at breakneck speeds.

What’s one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting to hire C-Level talent?

Hire for values alignment above all else.

How do you attract the best and brightest?

Because we have such a vibrant and loving culture we don’t typically have challenges attracting talent. Our staff talks frequently about how they love their work and as a result, their talented friends (who they often went to school with) are frequently waiting in line to get on board with us. My next goal is to create more diversity amongst our staff so we add value to our process through more perspectives.

If you could go back to when you were just starting out at your organization and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?

Your company will be a direct reflection of all your strengths and weaknesses; invest in yourself and your personal growth every single day.

Round Table Companies

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that unites exceptional organizations with exceptional leaders. This interview is part of our executive interview series, where we ask CEO’s a series of questions about their leadership philosophies and practices. Contact us if you’d like to recommend a CEO to interview, or if you’re looking for a leader to join your team.

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