Episode 155.5 – Green Apple Slice


Pathways to becoming the CEO: Chief Engagement Officer



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Forbes article, “Pathways to becoming the CEO: Chief Engagement Officer” by Kevin Cashman.


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    Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices, where every Monday, Rachel Fisch and I talk through an article that we find online about employee engagement or culture and things like that. It’s always fun, and we never know what’s going to happen especially because Rachel is involved. There she is, the Accountants Group Leader for Sage in Canada, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hey, John. How are you doing?

    John: Great. Really good.

    Rachel: I just came back from New Orleans. I’m on my way to Halifax and then Moncton, Ottawa and Mississauga. So I’m just tired.

    John: Oh, is it that crazy time again? I remember last year when we were doing this and I learned —

    Rachel: It’s the beginning of the crazy. Yeah, you learned all about Canadian geography around this time of year last year.

    John: Totally. I thought you were making words up.

    Rachel: I wasn’t.

    John: But they’re real towns or cities, my apologies. Well, that’ll be fun to follow your travels all around everywhere.

    Rachel: And see just how tired I get week after week. For the next four weeks, this should be fun.

    John: We just hear you snoring on that. Like oh, I guess this episode is over. That’s how that goes. But yeah, before you do fall asleep, we have this article found on Forbes, an article by Kevin Cashman and it’s Pathways to Becoming the CEO: Chief Engagement Officer.

    Rachel: Interesting.

    John: Okay, that part wasn’t part of the title, but I added it because I really, really hate creative titles where you take another title acronym CEO and then it’s — now, I’m the chief engagement officer. I was like, oh, man. Come on.

    Rachel: Well, yes. I usually think of that as well. However, in this case, I kind of think it’s a little fitting because of some of the changes that we’ve recently seen in the accounting software industry. Like Brad Smith of course retiring as Intuit CEO and being replaced by Sasan Goodarzi and then of course, the Sage CEO is now no longer with us. He’s still alive and well. He’s a great guy. He’s just —

    John: It’s kind of weird.

    Rachel: I’m sorry. I don’t know how to say that. This is actually something that has come up when it talks about what does this mean for these companies and of course other companies who are facing changes in their CEO, and that business acumen especially at that level, it just feels like you have to have somebody in that role that can really encourage engagement from top to bottom throughout the entire organization and really be a leader that people want to follow which can be so powerful within an organization. I get what you’re saying. Nobody wants to be the head number cruncher. But in this case, there might be something to it.

    John: No. Okay, all right, fine. Fine, you win.

    Rachel: I didn’t realize it was that easy.

    John: Well, you know, we don’t have time.

    Rachel: It’s not that kind of podcast.

    John: The one thing that I think is really interesting though and it’s something that you’ve touched on was the difference between a manager and a leader. I think a lot of accounting firms especially law firms, consulting firms don’t necessarily groom leaders. They groom managers. Even then, it’s a stretch.

    Rachel: Even then, the manager is typically just the best doer.

    John: Yeah, or the one who’s left. So you have the most experience, so you get promoted and you’re now in charge. A leader is someone at any level within the organization that people want to follow. Just because you’re a manager doesn’t make you a leader. Just because you’re a leader, it doesn’t mean you have the title of manager, but that’s much better to have people want to follow you and just being empathetic, being a little bit vulnerable. The whole Green Apple message, take some genuine interest in the people around you. People want to follow that person.

    Rachel: Oh, for sure.

    John: The person that dictates from above and just tells them what to do and how to do it exactly and treats them like children, yeah, that’s going to go nowhere and engagement is going to be at an all-time low.

    Rachel: Yeah, and I really like the different — so there’s six engagement pathways that Kevin kind of outlines. Kevin Cashman is the writer, but all of this, like this entire article is really based on a book by John Smythe called the CEO, Chief Engagement Officer. That’s kind of where the content is coming from. I just want to make sure we recognize the right people here. But I really do like the way that he’s kind of outlined the different engagement pathways. So be the change you want to see or inspire, elevate engagement with purpose that talks about kind of making engagement personal and really making sure that you’re not really leaving anybody behind, having the courage to go long term, systems and reward support the strategy, identify development and engage top talent.

    I know this is something that we actively do within Sage is when you see a potential leader, make sure that you’re giving them opportunities to shine. If you just kind of continue with them as a cog in the system, then sometimes they really aren’t able to shine in a way that really demonstrates how much of a leader they can be and then balance results drive and people connection as well. These are all things that we’ve talked about before, but by really highlighting these as ways that you can engage I thought was really effective.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. I thought it was most effective that he put it all in bold at the headers for each of those pathways. So then it was really easy to pick them out and read them in the article. But no, most definitely. You have to — I can’t even think straight right now. You absolutely have to be intentional with it and you have to make it personal. We’re all working, so we can live. The sooner that we could all embrace that and admit that, then the better it is for everybody involved. You find out what someone’s situation is. Maybe they’re a single parent or maybe they have a child that’s sick or they have a situation that is impacting their work. If you’re able to better understand that, then your expectations are different, then you’re better able to help them to contribute in a bigger and better way and finding out what their passions and interests are.

    Some people that I’ve had on the Green Apple Podcast, for instance, really love brewing a micro beer at home type of thing. And then they go out and find clients to do the accounting work for breweries. It’s like that’s their passion, but they’re able to do accounting and marry it together. Every day, they go to work. They’re excited to go to work. If you’re able to find that out for people, then you’re taking a moment to get to know them and be interested in them. But then you’re also saying, hey, let’s make work fun to come to most of the time.

    Rachel: Because we still do have a job to do, but yeah, absolutely.

    John: Yeah, but I mean you’re going to enjoy doing it and it’s not going to feel like work. It is that busy season and it is those long days and bigger projects, then it’s not going to feel like that because your brain science is going to kick in with oxytocin and trust and bonding and things like that. It’s pretty fantastic. If you want to check out the article that references Johns Smythe’s book, the CEO, Chief Engagement Officer, you can go to greenapplepocast.com, and don’t forget to hit subscribe, so you get all the episodes every Monday with Rachel. Every Wednesday, I interview a different person who has a passion or an interest outside of work and maybe that’s you. So reach out and let me know because I’d love to have you on the show. That being said, have a good week, Rachel. Safe travels and I hope your suitcase shows up.

    Rachel: You too, yeah.

    John: Now, that I jinxed you.

    Rachel: Yeah, thanks for that.

    John: Right. Well, cool. Have a good one.

    Rachel: You too. Talk to you later.

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