EP 69: The Power of Systems and Understanding Your Team with Damon Clark

The Power of Systems and Understanding Your Team

The systems that we have in place within our organizations can lead to either the success of our team—or failure. Without having the right systems in place or following them correctly, we could end up hiring the wrong people for certain roles, creating an unhappy work environment or leading to staff feeling undervalued. Here to help us discuss this topic more in-depth and share more about how to inspire your team to perform is Damon Clark, Founder and Leader at Talent Optimizers.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • How the systems we have in place shape our entire organization. (4:25)
  • Why it is okay to make mistakes as long as you can reflect and learn from them later. (6:00)
  • The importance of finding your strengths and playing to them. (9:30)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Make sure you’re not putting labels on people and be a part of positive movement. (16:40)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Ensure you have good systems in place. (15:30)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“Your differences {within the team} are actually your biggest strengths.” - Damon Clark Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to the talent optimization podcast we are back from an amazing conference.

Traci Scherck: Last week, through predictive index called optimize and if you’ve been following along on our podcast this month you’ve heard some amazing stories from Amwood homes.

Traci Scherck: And how they have inspire their people to really perform at a high level by focusing on culture inside the organization.

Traci Scherck: We also chatted this month, a little bit about mental health and how important it is that we pay attention to those warning signs from our employees.

Traci Scherck: And as we look at this inspiring individuals, and what that looks like you know it’s not the same for every person and so.

Traci Scherck: Our guest with me on our podcast today is not a newbie to the show but somebody that’s actually been with us before and it’s Damon Clark and damon is another PR consultant with talent optimizer.

Traci Scherck: And one of the things that we have learned over time, is that we have to try and fail and try and fail and so much of that in that culture that we create creates inspiration for ourselves and for others, so damon welcome to the show.

Damon Clark: Thank you very much for having me.

Traci Scherck: So, how was optimal last week.

Damon Clark: Well, after how many years, two years of being in my house not having much interaction with anybody, it was absolutely unbelievable so it was so nice to see all those familiar faces.

Damon Clark: You were one of them we’ve worked together for over two to two years and pretty much on a weekly basis and we’ve never met in person, so I got to as an England say cut some shapes on the dance floor review and go to the.

Damon Clark: main thing.

Damon Clark: A breakout sessions so yeah it was absolutely unbelievable.

Traci Scherck: You know my favorite was I can be very, very task focused and I like had a task that I was be lining towards and I don’t know what I was doing, but I was going into the main session and all of a sudden, you stand you step in front of me you’re like it’s me i’m like.


Damon Clark: I know.

Damon Clark: I was so excited to see you, and it was just like we on a zoom call like oh hi.

Traci Scherck: that’s amazing isn’t it amazing how, when we walk into something the mindset that we have and the thoughts that we have about it will completely shape the experiences that we have.

Damon Clark: yeah I took it seriously absolutely I kind of really took it seriously as an investment in myself, I mean it was such a amazing agenda of speakers, I could soak up all that knowledge and you know that’s going to help me with my clients so.

Damon Clark: yeah I I approached that conference different from any other conference and i’m glad I did.

Traci Scherck: And I think that that goes back to kind of this theme that we have for the month, which is how do we inspire others to perform and so much of it has to do with knowing who they are right, like so we just talked about you and I are very extroverted.

Traci Scherck: So we love this in person thing, but yet we have individuals that are you know very analytical and much more reserved right they are probably going to love the virtual conferences, is actually April 26 which is two days.

Traci Scherck: Before this podcast actually airs so but I think that you can still go get the tickets in the rerecording of that if that’s something that you’re looking for.

Traci Scherck: But you know, knowing who a person is will have a significant impact on how to inspire them and you’ve talked a lot about the speakers.

Traci Scherck: And I don’t know about you, but my favorite speaker over the conference was James clear talking about atomic habits and one of the quotes was you don’t rise to the goals you fall to the level of your systems.

Damon Clark: yeah that that was that was a highlight I mean, I have a lot of highlights.

Damon Clark: But that resonates particularly with me.

Traci Scherck: Right, because these systems that we use every day right like predictive index is a system that we use every day, and if we don’t use that system correctly we’re going to hire the wrong people, and you know fail and what we’re doing.

Damon Clark: it’s like it’s like having a gym membership not turning out.

Traci Scherck: Right right or turning up and doing the exercises and correctly.

Damon Clark: or not, or not utilizing and personal trainer to help you.

Traci Scherck: Right right absolutely So what are your what were your key takeaways.

Damon Clark: For me, it was Carmin Medina talking about your team secret weapon for rebels and eccentrics being.

Damon Clark: My we both work in behavioral science, we particularly on predictive index so within that terminology i’m i’m called a maverick which is someone very comfortable with risk speaking out fast paced.

Damon Clark: And that really resonated with me because, particularly in my early career very many jobs, I definitely wasn’t a fit for and and being stubborn and so competitive.

Damon Clark: This you know, instead of kind of reevaluating I haven’t have a tool set to understand that I wasn’t hardwired to actually do that position, I kind of stuck at it push through.

Damon Clark: And kind of sort of run through some struggles, you know basically working in areas that I just shouldn’t have been in.

Damon Clark: So I really enjoyed that because she spoke about how you know to turn those rebels eccentrics into an advantage, and it kind of resonated with me a lot.

Traci Scherck: In some of the you know some of the time you have to look at an individual and say you are in the wrong role can we take and move you into a different role so that you have the ability to be fulfilled in your work, or what does that path look like.

Damon Clark: yeah and and having that label for me is being a positive thing, because I can look back and some of those roles, where I knew I wasn’t a fit and they do go so well, I can now say, oh no wonder.

Damon Clark: It wasn’t like putting the left hand person in the right hand versus job.

Damon Clark: And that’s silly.

Damon Clark: So it’s given me this this like sense of relief to say to myself, you know I made mistakes, you know wasn’t it was just I wasn’t hardwired to do that job and that’s okay so.

Damon Clark: yeah it’s been it’s funny how you get you know you educate yourself, and you know you learn and develop, and you can reflect back and it gives you a lot of peace of mind.

Traci Scherck: Right absolutely you know, and one of the speakers, that I loved was JEREMY Martinez and.

Traci Scherck: One of the things that he talked about and, by the way, we will put links in the show notes to these so if you’re like Who are these people will put these links in the show notes, so that you can kind of follow, along with them.

Traci Scherck: But jr Martinez, you know really talked about how he had a label as a disabled veteran but yet he didn’t see himself as a disabled veteran.

Traci Scherck: And I think one of the things that’s really important is what are those labels that we put on ourselves, and what are those labels others put on us and are those the labels that we want right.

Traci Scherck: And so, both you and I look at you know the the maverick label.

Traci Scherck: You know, based on a behavioral profile and both say yeah we both agree that that’s who we are and actually helps us to stand into and step into who we are.

Traci Scherck: In a much higher level and that’s inspiring right, but one of those key things that i’ve learned over the last I don’t know, two and a half years.

Traci Scherck: With playing with pi and in my business specifically ensuring the individuals once they take the predictive index assessment or really with anything is saying does this fit.

Traci Scherck: In do you believe that this is an accurate reflection of who you are, and if not, what would that look like, for you, because that way you’re connecting with an individual, on a personal level.

Damon Clark: yeah and and you’re not doing any favors to anybody by putting someone in the wrong seat.

Damon Clark: And now we can have those conversations we can behave the assessor role needs to be successful and.

Damon Clark: map that candidate to our role and and maybe those can be a stretch behaviorally and at least, we know that going into relationship, so we can put some tools and processes in place to support that that person.

Traci Scherck: mm hmm yeah for sure for sure, and you know when I asked you the question damon like what inspires you to perform at your best, what do you come up with.

Damon Clark: that’s a really good question what inspires me.

Damon Clark: So i’m very stubborn and competitive and so i’m even at Christmas i’m not allowed to play hungry hippos with children.

Damon Clark: Because I take it.

Damon Clark: too seriously.

Damon Clark: So yeah i’m hardwired to go above and beyond, because I just like being successful and it’s a real motivator for me investment lesson blind spots to that I can be very kind of laser focused and not accommodating to other people sometimes in my quest for you know success.

Damon Clark: But going back to the question what inspires what’s your question again, let me just make sure i’m not going too far off track and maverick.

Traci Scherck: yeah so what inspires you to perform at your highest level.

Damon Clark: yeah yeah competitiveness and how I love helping people I love, making the difference right.

Damon Clark: And also going back on to some of the themes we’ve been discussing is.

Damon Clark: I never realized that my creativity and imagination was was my strength, I never associated bouts of strength, I was in corporate and.

Damon Clark: I wanted to be like everyone else, because I thought that that’s what made me successful, so I wanted to be more analytical I wanted to be more.

Damon Clark: You know, patience and I kind of repressed my natural power of that creativity and imagination, but now no longer so and that’s what I enjoy doing and that’s what i’m doing now, so I it’s taken me.

Damon Clark: 45 odd years to figure this out and the help of you know behavioral assessments, but i’m getting there.

Traci Scherck: that’s amazing, and I think that that also goes to when we create our teams and what our teams look like.

Traci Scherck: We need individuals that are very analytical on our teams, but we don’t need the whole entire team to be analytical.

Traci Scherck: We need kind of you know, the the renegades and you know the very, very creative folks on our team, but we also need the folks that are detail oriented and are actually going to get the thing 100% of the way done.

Traci Scherck: So you know when we create our teams, we need to make sure we don’t hire individuals all like us, because we’re going to be frustrated that we don’t get to those business outcomes.

Traci Scherck: So that inspiration is also man when i’m a part of this team where everything is clicking we can move forward so much faster.

Damon Clark: And that’s and that’s why friction comes from typically because.

Damon Clark: You know when you’ve got those opposite behaviors wherever it’s how we deal with risk, you know how we make decisions.

Damon Clark: You know when you’ve got those polar opposite that normally manifest itself into friction and actually it should be should be a complimentary stretch your superpower.

Damon Clark: And the example I often use areas is a star trek example i’m so sorry for the non trekkies but.

Damon Clark: The story Arc between Captain Kirk and spock in the beginning, they start off not liking each other and then in time they realize had differences our greatest strength.

Damon Clark: And it is so true, and now we have the ability to really understand back and kind of help help individuals and teams become stronger, through their differences, which I absolutely love.

Traci Scherck: yeah I do too I love that and so much that goes into our strengths for differences and that allows us to actually be happy at work, you know, one of the questions Mike Sani pose during the conference was you know what.

Traci Scherck: What would have you, you know what would increase your happiness at work and and that links directly into you know what that inspiration is.

Traci Scherck: And so I think that that’s, a challenge that I have it’s definitely something that we’re going to do with our team as a whole is what does increase.

Traci Scherck: That happiness at work and I threw it in our teams chat and one of our TEAM members came back and she just said, you know I want to know that i’m doing good job I want that positive reinforcement.

Traci Scherck: You know another said hey I want to have meaningful work and i’m like okay So what does meaningful work look like to you because of what it means to you, maybe something completely different than it means to me.

Damon Clark: So yeah i’m a big i’m very passionate about particularly this area because we used to say, and I think I stole this off you actually so i’m stealing your quotes now so.

Damon Clark: The golden rule is treat others how you’d like to be treated and and that that was, but the default for many years, but now we got the ability to for platinum rule did I still miss of you.

Traci Scherck: I think so it’s something I say all the time right rules treat others the way they want to be treated the platinum rule is.

Traci Scherck: To i’m sorry the golden rule treat others the way you want to be treated the platinum rule is treat others the way they want to be treated.

Damon Clark: And so, now we can do that because we can we’ve got the tool sets to behaviourally assess and have these conversations to to understand how we can do that and it’s a game changer it really is.

Traci Scherck: Yes, yes it is it’s.

Damon Clark: If we relate that back.

Damon Clark: To to the first part of our conversations around doing jobs where it was useless at.

Damon Clark: I was actually this will make you laugh, so I was a product manager of a mere for ACER laptops, and so I had to work with for factories in China and a’s to spend a whole day in spreadsheets and you imagined.

Damon Clark: How comfortable I was we’re looking at detailed checking numbers doing forecasts I couldn’t have been doing and more.

Damon Clark: job, which was just more opposite from my natural behavioral ability.

Traci Scherck: Right.

Damon Clark: So yeah now we’ve got the ability to understand that and then avoid that from happening.

Traci Scherck: So the takeaway that i’m hearing is make sure that you don’t turn yourself or others into a pretzel because you’re going to hate life.

Damon Clark: yeah and there’s no need to do anymore.

Damon Clark: We know now, we were in a position where that’s no excuse for that to happen and that’s.

Damon Clark: Going back to predictive index.

Damon Clark: main kind of value is better better work better world and that’s why I believe both me and you are in these seats now working with organizations optimize talents.

Traci Scherck: Right invoices it fun right when you can see some of those key results and, by the way, if you want to hear two stories, both from a manager perspective and an employee perspective just go back a couple episodes on the podcast and you’ll hear two of those.

Traci Scherck: And so damon what is a key takeaway that you have, for you know our managers or executives listening in today.

Damon Clark: I think the advantage, we can bring to the table is fats often consultants have that border experience, so we get the amazing ability to.

Damon Clark: dip dip dip into organizations and work organizations and not only educate them, but also to learn.

Damon Clark: And so, our times really invested in in gaining experience working with organizations like predictive index to to learn about behavioral science and also develop kind of our own methodologies to help organizations thrive.

Traci Scherck: mm hmm yeah absolutely and you know so that kind of goes to the the takeaway that I had for our executives listening and is that you fall to the level of the systems that you have.

Traci Scherck: And you know it’s not just the level of systems, but it’s also how you utilize those systems, and so you know, do you have the right systems in place to make life easy, so the individuals truly can be inspired and the work that they’re doing.

Traci Scherck: In the system is not inspiring it’s the output in the outcome of how that system helps you to be successful.

Damon Clark: And then also that system, I mean nowadays particular field we work in your resume back to four years ago, five years ago, it was a totally different industry so we’ve got the ability to use systems and data to manage people more effective.

Damon Clark: Right and it’s not just the systems it’s also for facilitation it’s a consulting experience, but also for technology out there were moments fantastic so yeah it’s great to be part of his industry and be able to kind of make those changes.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely any key takeaway for our HR folks listening in today.

Damon Clark: Oh yeah so so he has a wonderful place to be at the moment because.

Damon Clark: You know there’s a growth in terms of what HR can encompass you know if you think back to the old days HR was to mitigate risk now you know wears many hats HR has to has to wear and and it’s more strategic you know it’s more.

Damon Clark: is more culture, and they are just wonderful things will be a part of, so I think HR was seeing a resurgence now and and other stuff involved with just just wonderfully amazing areas to be in right now.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, you know and something you said, is what we talked about diversity and equity and those things.

Traci Scherck: it’s also looking at that and ensuring we’re not putting labels on on folks and that was one of those key lessons again from jr Martinez, is when you put labels on people you stop them.

Traci Scherck: From you know moving forward right like.

Traci Scherck: And, and so, ensuring that we’re that we’re moving individuals for the way that they want to be move forward, but that we’re embracing where we’re at and how we’re moving forward, you know, and that that connection with people is going to get you so much further.

Traci Scherck: than anything else, and what do they need, and how do we do that and coupling that with those systems that you have I love it.

Traci Scherck: So thank you so much for joining us and doing a quick recap, of the optima conference that was in Boston last week, and if you didn’t catch it and you want to catch the virtual Conference, I know that that’s available on the optimal website as well.

Damon Clark: yeah go check it out, I mean if your intelligence if you’re an HR if you in coaching and leadership, I think it’s probably the number one conference to go to and the return on investment.

Damon Clark: is beyond imaginable, for me, so I took some of my team because it’s worthwhile so yeah check check out your optimal thing is up to a conference.com.

Traci Scherck: awesome thanks so much David have a great rest of your day.

Damon Clark: No problem, thank you.