Jennifer Eggers is the President of LeaderShift Insights® Inc. She works with leaders and organizations dealing with disruptive change who want to increase their capacity to adapt so they can emerge stronger and more effective faster. An international consultant, coach, best-selling author, and speaker, Jennifer has a passion for creating alignment and organizational resilience. She is a masterful facilitator known for creating shared agendas and unraveling tough issues that hinder results.
With a unique ability to align diverse stakeholders and global experience in consulting and corporate roles, Jennifer’s integrated approach to creating alignment, develops leaders at all levels while enabling learning and productive dialog. She is the creator of RapidOD, a collaborative fast approach to organization restructuring, highly charged workshops on Influence, Resilience and Driving Sustainable Change.
With nearly 30 years of executive coaching experience, Jennifer has coached entire leadership teams as well as officers and directors of many Fortune 500 companies. She is known for repositioning personal brands, driving behavior change and increasing senior leader’s ability to drive performance through others. Her book, Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back is an international best seller.
Listen to this informative Publish. Promote. Profit. episode with Jennifer Eggers about helping leaders and organizations stay resilient.
Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:
– Why leaders and teams need the capacity to adapt in times of disruption.
– How resilience can be built internally through restructuring the business.
– Why it’s important for companies to build individual resilience.
– How you must learn your unconscious biases so that you can work on breaking them.
– Why you company needs to build discretionary energy.
Connect with Jennifer:
Guest Contact Info:
Hey, welcome everybody. It’s Rob here with the Publish. Promote. Profit podcast. Excited to be with you today. I got a great guest who was great to reconnect with a former client of ours. Jennifer Eggers is the president of lead shift insights. She works with leaders and organizations facing disruptive change. And there certainly is plenty of that these days in the market, especially those who want to increase their capacity to adapt. Jennifer’s been a coach at the sea level for nearly 30 years. She’s coached entire leadership teams as well as officers and directors of many fortune 500 companies.
Her bestselling book is the resilience. It’s not about bouncing back, how leaders and organizations can build resilience before disruption hits. That book became an international bestseller and has done some really great things for Jennifer’s business. And of course, as a great purchase for people that are in that marketplace. She’s a strategic partner with the university of Georgia at an advanced practitioner in adaptive leadership, a member of the adaptive leadership network at Harvard’s Kennedy school of government. But she’s not a lover of those universities because she is a Penn State Nittany Lion, but of course she’ll work and help those folks out as needed. So Jennifer, great to reconnect with you.
What a way to start.
Yeah. What the heck? I looked at all your bio, I saw your scuba diving stuff. I saw all your cool stuff and I’m like, I got to say something about Jennifer working with Georgia and Harvard, but she’s really a lover of Penn State.
Absolutely, those roots run deep Rob Kosberg.
Run deep, that’s right. It’s great to have you on, we were obviously talking a few minutes ago before we dive into the book and the marketplace and whatnot. Why don’t you tell me, tell our audience who it is you serve, what it is you do, kind of your magic in the marketplace.
Yeah. Thank you. So I would say primarily we work with leaders and teams who are going through disruption and our goal is really to help improve their capacity to adapt. And we do that so they can emerge from the disruption stronger and faster and more effective than they were when the disruption hit. And so I would say the majority of our clients from a coaching standpoint are a C-suite maybe one level down. When we think about some of our workshops, so we do coaching workshops and a lot of facilitation and consult. I would say our coaching is mostly SVP and above our workshops go, we can do frontline all the way to the C-suite. I would say right now, most of them are leadership teams.
We’ve been focused on helping leadership teams really demonstrate a collective visible leadership as a team this year. It seems to be where the need has been. So that’s kind of where we’ve met the market this year. And then from a facilitation standpoint, we facilitate what I call high stakes meetings, usually for leadership teams and often at the board level, as well as boards and management teams kind of come together to really figure out how to reinvent and reinvigorate after the pandemic and moving forward now.
I would say as far as what you do disruptive change it’s almost like that’s all that’s going on right in the marketplace from big companies like Boeing or the airlines when the pandemic hit or the issues with the travel industry and the hospitality industry, et cetera. So besides all of those obvious things, give me some specifics about what disruptive change looks like for these businesses, these companies?
Gosh, I mean, it could be anything. A lot of times it’s restructuring. So we started working with them and actually the book was largely responsible for this client, but we started, as they were mandated from, it was a business unit. It was part of a larger organization was, mandated to really restructure and rethink, move some things over to corporate. And they were really struggling with how to do that. So the business started in the restructuring space. It’s not exactly the majority of what we do anymore, but we certainly helped them kind of get through that restructuring. But then once you get through it, then it’s like then what? Then we have to deal with what we’ve got. And so right around that time COVID hit.
And so now we’ve got to deal with half the company’s working from home and that became half the company’s coming back. And so how do we deal with that? For some companies, one client was… Many, well, several actually setting up new centers of excellence. So one manufacturing consumer products company that we work with started a revenue growth management center of excellence. And so that concept was very new to the company, the executive that brought it in. Some welcomed her some really didn’t think they needed it.
How do we set her up for success and really get the value out of that function? And so we’ve done a lot of that. I have one coaching client that is incubating a new product. She started an incubator in an organization that’s pretty stodgy, pretty, tough to get things done in this place. And so they wanted to isolate this incubator where they could really be a little more entrepreneurial. And so that’s kind of been a fun one to help her sort of figure out how to navigate that. So, it could be anything. The book came out six months before the pandemic hit.
And it was odd. Because I think my co-author and I strongly felt like there was some massive sense of urgency that we needed to finish it. Neither of us could have anticipated it. And of course the subtitles build resilience before disruption hits, I may change that on a second edition because what we’ve done since is how do we build resilience in the midst of all of this disruption, but-
Well, keep going along that line of thinking. So from what I’ve just learned building resilience and dealing with disruption could be something internal, like restructuring because there’s growth in an organization. Or maybe we want growth to be in a certain direction. Obviously it can be all of these things that are on the outside that are forces that are acting on the business itself. So of those things, what tends to be the more difficult to deal with. And can you give me like, is there like a… Of course there are many steps and there are many things to do, but is there like a Jennifer plan of here’s the things that we do. Walk me through what that looks like.
Oh yeah. Absolutely. So I’ll tell you how the book is divided up and this is really the Jennifer plan. So here’s the interesting thing, and this is what I had to learn when I started researching resilience and really understanding this notion of resilience. So first of all, can it be built? The answer is, yes. The problem is many people think the only way we build resilience is by going through a bunch of tough stuff and then we sort of get beat up and we figure it out. That applies to individuals and organizations. But the challenge with that is that some people get beat up and they get tougher.
Some people get beat up and they just kind of fall out and they don’t make it. So the answer to me, well, maybe not the answer, but the next question was what separates those who get energized and elevated and get better at this thing called going through disruption from those who just kind of fall out and they go through a bunch of tough stuff and five years later, they’re on public assistance and collecting disability.
And that’s no joke. I have friends in that situation that went through very similar things that I went through. And that was really my first big aha in this space. And so the way the book is divided up is the first half is all about building individual resilience. Now, what we know is that the characteristics of resilient people and organizations are the same. And so what that means is that we can teach it the exact same way. Now we might use different words. For example, if you talk about your core beliefs as an individual that may come down to your faith, that may come down to your religion or whatever you stand for from that standpoint in an organization that might be your mission or your vision or your values, or the principles that your organization stands for.
But the reality is it’s the same thing and it has the exact same impact. So we do a half the book on individual. So we can really teach people how to really understand the depth of this work, because it is deep. It is edgy. It is not easy. But once you understand how to do it, you can take those same exact framework and apply it to the organization and the team. And so in the book, there is a framework. And so this is the plan. So the framework is really, first we walk you through a section to think about your filters. So these are the things that, filters are the ways you view the world that were shaped by your attitudes, your experiences, your beliefs, your background, all of that.
It can be unconscious biases, but we ask you to kind of let’s think about those so that we become more conscious of them. Because many of them are unconscious. And then we look at resilience and we say, it really is a result of your mindset and the choices that you make. And underlying those two things is a set of core beliefs. Now mindset is a function of how authentic are you able to be in the environment you’re in and your attitude. So choosing your attitude as you go into different situations. And then your choices are a function of your purpose. And that I don’t necessarily mean your purpose in life, but like your purpose in a situation. And then how you define success.
And of course, underlying that is this notion of core beliefs and those are things that when it is time to stand up, when things get tough, you’ve got to have a foundation to be able to stand on. If you don’t have that foundation, it’s very difficult to stand up. We don’t espouse any particular belief system. It doesn’t matter to me whether you know that your rabbit’s foot is guiding you or it’s God or whatever. I know exactly what’s true for me. And what’s important is that you know what’s true for you. And so I certainly share probably more about that in a corporate workshop than any other leaders that I know, but it’s more of a, let me show you how this works when you get it right.
Can we talk about that for one second? Because that’s exactly what I was thinking as you were saying it. Like what percentage and I’m not looking for a number, but like how many of these leadership type C-suite that you’re working with don’t maybe have the core beliefs and values and that’s a little startling, maybe even to them. Talk about that for just a minute, because I love what you said. I never thought about your mission statement with your business, kind of equating to your personal values and mission statement in your life. So talk about that for just a minute. What do you see when you go in there and you start dealing with these folks?
Well, this is always an area where we must tread a bit lightly. And I’m not a very light treader. So we have a reputation for kind of going right to the edge and then hopefully we don’t go over the edge but I really push people. So one of the things that’s, it’s in the book and we use it in our workshops. We have a checklist of, here are some things that you need to know and you need to circle the ones where you’re unclear. And there are things like, where do you go when you die? How do the flowers grow? Is there a higher power?
They must be thinking like, why does this matter? What does this matter at all to whether or not our company is going to survive this disruption. Do you ever get pushback like that?
Well, usually by the time I get there, they know exactly why it matters. Because what happens is when things get tough and you need to stand up, if you don’t have something to stand on, it is incredibly difficult to be resilient. And here’s the thing. If what you stand on is vastly different from what the organization is going to stand on, then here’s the thing about resilience, resilience is a lot about, it’s very similar to like a gas tank. You have gas in the tank and you use the gas every day doing what you’re doing. You know how much gas you use. But in the event of disruption, you’re going to be asked to use extra gas. Extra discretionary energy if you will. If someone doesn’t have any extra discretionary energy in the tank, they’re never going to be able to be resilient.
And the way you build discretionary energy is not wasting the gas on things that don’t matter. So if you are sitting in an organization that has vastly different values than you do or worse, you’re in an organization that says they have a certain set of values, but when it comes time to making business decisions, they don’t use those values. There’s this dissonance, this discomfort, this disorienting dilemma that sucks the energy out of your tank. So when you need discretionary energy, it’s not there.
So, if we’re asking people to be resilient, not as organization, which is what we’ve been doing, it’s not enough to just say, oh, go pull out this discretionary energy. You’ve got to make sure that they have the mechanism where that energy is being sucked out of the tank while they’re say hiding an image.
Or somebody comes to work. The book also presents this notion of derailers, of resilience. Things like power struggles, things like I don’t feel like I can really be myself at work. If I’m a minority that’s persecuted at work, or I don’t get the credit I deserve or I’m in some kind of a power struggle because of something I can’t control, I’m going to spend more of that discretionary energy dealing with that rather than dealing with the real issue that the company needs me to deal with.
So, we must make sure that people can put that energy back in the tank. And so if you don’t know what your core beliefs are and all of a sudden we’re asking you to really step up and be resilient, it’s tough. I mean, it’s really, really difficult. So when we talk about that and I don’t hit it lightly in a corporate workshop. We may not ask people to necessarily share all of those if they’re not comfortable, but we certainly give them the exercise and we make sure that they understand they need to do the work. We usually do that in smaller groups. They get time to work on it, we tread carefully, but we don’t shy away from it. This work is deep. But in the end I can take a company in a 16 hour workshop and literally make progress on making that leadership team and that company more resilient. And we’ve done it time and time again. 16 hour hours is nothing if you think about the cost of some of this.
Yeah. No doubt. Well, congratulations. I love it. As I’m listening to this, I’m flying out this week to California. I’m in Florida now since the pandemic, we shut our California offices down because they closed us up. And so now we’re a virtual come company, which is cool because what a blessing for me. So we do team meetings a couple of times a year where we bring the whole kind of core team together. And I’m like, I am totally going to be talking about this stuff. I love it. I love the whole idea. I mean, I obviously I need to dive back into your book, but I love the whole idea of, first of all, we didn’t even talk about this, but if people are going through personal difficulties, then their resilience test is going to be low.
And so that is another issue that if people don’t have their personal values and a good strong foundation personally, then of course, they’re not going to have anything left in the tank to give to the company either. So you’re helping the individual to have a better life not only did the company have a better life, which is awesome.
I must tell you the most shocking. So when we wrote the book, we were incredibly clear on who is our target audience. It was corporate leaders, director and above. And I was shocked. So some of the first people to read the book, one was an academic institution. One was a housewife. One was a hair stylist. And these people wrote, one sent me pictures of the book with posted notes on every page, highlighted, notes in the margins, the whole thing. And I was flabbergasted. Another one wrote me review and said, “I thought I was picking up a book, but this book changed my whole life.” We have had-
It has been, and I never anticipated that. And the first time we did the two day workshop, I had people in tears, these massive breakthroughs were happening. And as a program leader, I really was ill equipped to deal with it at the beginning. And now I’m like, oh, okay, that’s coming.
Yeah. This is not supposed to happen.
Now I know, but I remember at the beginning I was like, oh, is this good? Or is this bad? Like, I don’t know. They’re breaking. But then what happened was really strange. So in that particular first group, which I think the first one’s always the one that’s like near and dear your heart. I had their CIO called me. One of his people was in the room and he called me a couple days later. And he said, “What did you do to one of my employees? I’ve been trying to get through to him for five years and he’s finally come around.” it’s funny, I talked to one of the people in that room a couple days ago and I hadn’t talked to her this was like three years ago. I hadn’t talked to her in three years and we get on the phone and I said, “Oh, how you doing?” And I will say she was in the front of the room when we did the program And she had this grumble scowl on her face, like obviously very skeptical.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever win her over. And she said to me a couple days ago, she said, “Oh my God, I’m so glad to see you.’ She said, “Not a day has gone by in three years when I haven’t used your content.” Wow. And I was like, my jaw was on the floor. I was like, “Really?” And so of course I asked her, what did she use and all of this. But doing work like that, I think it’s made me really, laser-like focus on what is really, really important especially during the pandemic. And we even built and we haven’t had that many people download it, but we have a five step, I shouldn’t admit that, but it is true. We have sort of a five step like after COVID re engagement program, but it’s all about what you just said. It’s all about how do I know where my people’s heads are. And how do I make sure that they’re actually okay. And they’re able to be resilient. So that I think is really critical.
Yeah. I took a flight out in November to a mastermind conference and I always, I’m a little old school. I grab a book that I haven’t read in a while or a book that I’ve never read, and I just read the book and I just think, and it was a little-known book on Napoleon Hill and his various principles. And the first principle he talked about was definitiveness of purpose, which definitiveness is not even a word that we seem to use currently anymore.
It’s a good one though.
Yeah, it is. Your definite purpose and I spent five hours thinking about that. And one of the things that I came up with, because it starts broad and then it narrows. The idea starts broad about your purpose, but then narrows into the way to think about it and even creates like this internal faith, if you will. And one of the things that I thought about and decided was I have employees that have been with me for 10 years. We’re a small, very small business, but that even to me seems kind of extraordinary to have a small business with a couple dozen employees and have employees that are six years, seven years, 10 years that have been with us. And I thought, I believe they’re happy with us and we talk about that.
And I think that’s why they’ve stayed, but I want them to do well in their life. I want to help them reach their goals, whatever that looks like. That was one of the things that I kind of personally came up with because it’s certainly more. We’re more a team than a family. Family, you can’t get rid of team members that you can, but I don’t want to get rid of any them. I want to see them flourish and succeed. And this is kind of the same idea, but it even takes it to another level of depth, which I really like, I can’t wait to dive back into your book after a couple of years. And I’ll be reading it on my flight out to California before my meetings. So thank you. Thank you for that. \.
You’re very welcome. Yeah. And if there’s anything I can do you, I mean, by all means like, if we need to get them for your team or whatever, I’m happy to happy to help. Because it really is… You know, like any book, I guess, right. You can just read the book and okay, I’ve read a book. But if you do the exercises and you really internalize it and you really think about it, I think that’s when really, you start to see the power of it. And when we started this, like first it was a keynote and then the keynote became a workshop and the workshop became the book. And I remember back to that first group that went through the workshop, I called their CEO several months after the program. And I said okay, so you your top 15 people through this what’s changed?
And of course, the minute you ask that question, it’s like, oh, what if he says nothing, what am I going to do? And his answer to me was something I’ll never forget. He said, “Jennifer because 15 people went through that program, our entire company has more courage.”
And I thought, this was when I met them, they were a conglomeration. They had acquired seven companies. The seven companies didn’t really know each other. They were all over the world from Minneapolis, to Australia, to Singapore. They were everywhere. But at different time zones, they didn’t talk, they didn’t really know each other. They hadn’t really integrated. But because of that program, they really came together, and we created this fantastic thing. Of course it was in person. So, we created this, although I will say, even not in person, we’ve converted the workshop to virtual.
You can do it on zoom, right?
I can’t believe the feedback we’re getting; you must do it differently. But it has the same feedback. And the feedback I get is it’s the relationships that people build, while they’re going through this work, because it is so personal, but then we’re able to take it and focus it on the organization. And in that particular case, they got this group of people that really didn’t know each other together. And when we started talking about the organization, they decided that the way the CEO was talking about the new company really was not in alignment with their values.
And so, they had a very altruistic, all of them were very mission driven and he was talking about how they were going to increase profitability by bringing all these pieces together. And we actually staged a conversation at the end where we brought the CEO in. And these 15 people said, this is not okay. And they changed the way they market. And I will tell you that is a company that was highly impacted, they’re in the education and church community center kind of space, very social mission majorly affected by COVID. They didn’t miss a beat. They’re doing better today than they were two years ago.
Well, everyone is hearing all the reasons to get the book. Let’s shift gears for just a second and let’s talk a little bit about what the book has done for you and what the book has done for your business. I think what the book has done to help other people clear, amazing. How are you using your book and what are the results that you’ve seen as far as opportunities, new clients, that kind of thing from the use of your book?
That’s an interesting question because I’ve always felt like we were a little lazy on marketing. We didn’t really have the best plan when we started. And so, you know I very much felt like we never did the right thing. But what I did do was we sent the book to everyone we could think of that might have an appetite for this work or worked in a senior level in a company that might be interested. And strangely, I mean the book, it did a number of things. First, it connected me back with people that I hadn’t talked to him years. So former clients, people we used to work with got the book and I got many, many calls just from, you know “Oh, Hey, wow. You wrote a book. This is great.”
I don’t think they had even read it at that point, but it was like, “Oh wow, let’s get back in touch.” That generated, believe it or not a ton of really significant engagement. So whether it was workshop or coaching engagement or just, “Hey, we want to get back in touch when we start the conversation.” But I would call that a win from the standpoint of did we sell enough books to pay for the book? Probably not. But one workshop paid for the book.
So, it’s like from that standpoint, if you look at it that way, it really increased our exposure. I subcontract coaching to a premium firm and they give the book to their clients. I give the book to my clients. It cemented us as credible in a topic that’s incredibly relevant. Now the irony of that was I just got with another company to see if we could get it put in like airport bookstores. And they said, “Oh no, no, we can’t do that. It’s two years old.” And I went, “But who’s not talking about resilience right now.” So it was kind of funny, but okay, that’s right. But I think if more than anything, I felt like resilience is the number one skill of leaders today.
And for years I said, no one’s talking about it. Well now they’re talking about it, but they don’t know what to do about it. Because there is absolutely nothing out there that tells you how to build a more resilient organization. I mean, there’s a hundred books on resilience written by people that survived cancer, were hit by a bus, hit by a truck, climb Mount Everest whatever it is. But there’s nothing to say, how do I make my corporate team more resilient and this book does that. And so that has given us, it’s generated revenue from a coaching standpoint, a workshop standpoint and we use it mostly. I hate to say this, but we use it mostly as a we’ve got a new client worth talking to, “Hey, you want me to send you a book while I’m at it?” That kind of helps us.
Of course. Well, I love, look what you said is simple, but even most people don’t do it. The first thing you did with your book was you sent it to all past clients, current clients, potential clients, that kind of thing. And that generated, it sounds like many coaching engagements workshops and things where people were writing you large checks. In one sense, who cares if a hundred thousand people buy it and don’t act on it. But if 10,000 people get it in their hands, through any source through you. And then actually act on it and write you big checks, have you out to speak and make significant changes in their organizations because of your work. That’s the real impact. That’s the income and the impact of a best-selling book. So yeah, I mean,
I had a woman that she interviewed me as a coach kind of right after the book came out, she chose another coach. She chose one of my colleagues. He’s fantastic. I don’t begrudge a thing. But I sent her the book in the process and we are now about to do a major speaking engagement and the workshop and a bunch of coaching for her leadership team above her. This is a fortune 112-ish company, that will probably lead to more workshops where we’re going to try to help them quantify. What is the cost of not being resilient in your organization? There will be 35 leaders of that company in the room. I have no doubt we’ll sell a handful of workshops from that. I think the book’s been invaluable not to mention the message in the book is sort of, it is the message that I personally said, I can’t die until this book is written.
Because that is the message that only I can deliver. Now, my co-author had a big part in it. I don’t want to take away credit from her, but this message was the one I wanted to leave the world with. And so, hopefully there’ll be other messages one day, but this one is the one that really, really mattered to me. So the more people that read it, that see it, when I see a client or a friend with all of the pages folded down and the posted notes and everything it gives me all the warm and fuzzies inside.
I love it. Well, look, congratulations. Congratulations on writing a really impactful book. Congratulations on the rewards that have come from it as well for you and your company. So where can people learn more about you? Let’s give them some links and let them know where they can, obviously then get the book on Amazon, but let’s send them directly to your website, et cetera.
Our website is www.leadershiftinsights.com. So that’s not leadership. It’s leader shift. Leadershiftinsights.com. There’s all the information you’d ever need on me, the book, the consulting we do and all of that. The book is in a section under, I think it’s called knowledge base. And it says resilience book, so it’s pretty obvious that it’s there and certainly it’s available on Amazon as well, but that’s probably the best way to learn more about us. And we certainly would welcome any inquiries we’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, all those things. But I think LinkedIn is LinkedIn/Eggers. And then Facebook there’s Jennifer Eggers or Jennifer Eggers speaker. And we certainly would love the interaction, would love to hear what you’re struggling with and happy to strategize with any of your listeners.
Jennifer, thanks for being on today and congrats again on all the success.