Innovation Nation
Innovation Nation

Episode · 4 months ago

Choosing Growth: Innovation in Leadership w/ Tammy Bohen

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What can leaders do today to keep the innovative juices flowing and support their teams during a state of flux?

Take a strong listening strategy to understand what challenges and struggles your team, staff, and organization are facing. Leverage the soft skills of empathy, kindness, and caring to speak to the basic need for health and wellness that is the foundation for innovation.

In this episode, I speak with Tammy Bohen, CHRO at SVP Worldwide, about how leaders can both stay innovative and foster innovation in their teams with continual growth, networking, and soft skills like empathy.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Learning from positive and negative experiences
  • Championing for your teams with listening and empathy
  • Keeping up a high energy with international travel
  • Advocating for parity and equity for women in business 

Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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One of the biggest things I have done in my career, in my life, is focused on my health and wellbeing. To have good innovative ideas you need to have energy, and human energy starts with human health and wellbeing. Innovation is all around us. In fact, everyone innovates, often unbeknowns to themselves. Many mistakenly assume the innovation is either a big capital project, a figurative bolt of lightning that brings inspiration, or the province of some exceptionally gifted person. This is the myth of innovation. But you can innovate as well. You are listening to innovation nation, the podcast where top executives and industry experts are sharing their insights on harnessing the power of innovation. We're here to help you stay ahead of the curve by driving your own innovation. Here's your host, Jasmine Martyr Rosen Hi. Welcome to innovation nation. This is your host, Jazzine Marcherassia. Our guests today is Tammy Bone, who is the vice president of human resources and svp world one. Welcome to Amma. Thank you for having me. It's so great to have you stpu worldwide. Do Mind telling us what it stands for I know every person on this planet is related to svp directly or indirectly, but they may not name are absolutely so. Asvp world wide, it stands for singer, Viking and Faff, so we are the world leader and sewing machines, so we sell in, you know, all around in the world. Globally. We have employees in twenty five countries around the world. Very globally cultural, diverse company and as a fun fact, we're seventy percent female, which is very different than than many companies, and that in the you know, the makeup of many companies today. But it's been a really fun journey to be part of this team over the past two years. Excellent and at Tammy, I've been given the gift of knowing you over a number of years and I consider you a friend. Thanks for joining the PODCAST. You also were worked with some of the world's major points and I think of you as like an ultimately innovative person. So...

...can you tell us a little bit more about your previous experiences and then you know how you approach innovation? Yeah, absolutely so. Really, prior to joining SVP, I had I worked for work in a three major corporations. Prior to that. So originally from a very small town, you know, kind of worked my way through graduate school and ultimately joined Lear Corporation, which is a large automotive manufacturing company, and then from there I worked my way through graduate school and join Johnson and Johnson and their HR leadership development program, which was phenomenal and I had the opportunity to move around the country with them and my career and I learned incredible amount of working with that organization and the values and ethics are truly inspiring. From there I was recruited to join Worldpool Corporation, so, you know, world leader in consumer goods and home appliances, and I progressed through a series of roles there in talent management in a region globally and then became the global head of HR for kitchen aid small appliances, which is a you know, again a beautiful, beautiful brand and beautiful products. And then there I had the opportunity in the pleasure to work with the CEO that I'm currently we're working with the SVP. So I was as head of HR, he was running the kitchen aid business and when he made the shift about three and a half years ago, he really led a turnaround of the business and then invested in a few different areas of the business that really needed needed support for the future, which was human resources, Rd and it. So there's a lot of reinvesting back in the business to help grow for the long term excellence. So all the unit it's like the WHO's full of business that you worked with over the years, right, they're all kind of deeply invented names and consumer and be to big consciousness. How have you brought learnings from each organization to the next one and adapted according to the local culture? Yeah, it's a great question. I always take. Try to take the best of any leader I've worked with, the team I worked with...

...and the organization I work with. Where are the best parts of that and how do I carry that forward and share it and grow it into my next role, my next team, my next organization, and and even you know the hard lesson sometimes you you know, and there's been a couple times in my career where I've had a really a poor leader, and so I learned incredibly from that. So, okay, here's what I'm not going to do when I'm leading a team and and this is not how I'm not going to treat people. So you learn from both the good and the bad and you have to take the best of both of those and continue to grow. In my career and I I've always tried to do that. I've also sought up mentors, so I've had several incredible mentors of my career. I highly value developmental feedback, right, so I don't want just the good feedback. Tell me what how I can improve, how I can get better, and come into that with an open heart and an open mind. And you know, when people know you're approaching it that way, they're so honest with you and it really enriches your life and your career in a meaningful way. Excellent. No, that's a really good point. We've very often talked about learning from positives, but negative experiences are just, if not more, educational, right, yeah, and that those experiences stay with you. You have to choose. Am I going to grow from this or am I going to play the victim and feel wounded? Right, so, am I going to grow or am I going to feel wounded? And I have always chosen to rise above and grow from that and learn from that and get stronger because of it as a leader of people and we can all agree that there is no greater component for any organization than it's people. What should leaders look for today, especially in the state of flux, covid it and everything that's happening? What can leaders do to keep the innovative juice flowing and making sure that people adapt and progress? Yeah, I think really what's very important right now, especially post pandemic, is being really empathetic effective listeners. So really take it strong listening strategy with your team, with your organization, with with your staff, to...

...understand what are they struggling with, what are they challenge with, and how do you be empathetic as a leader but to but still help push them to move past the right be their coach, champion them, help them remove those obstacles. But I empathy and the soft skills are more critical than ever post pandemic. And you know, I think about what's happening right now with a great resignation. So many employees are leaving. In Two thousand and twenty two. That's actually going to continue and were forecasting it's going to continue actually get worse. So that trend that happened in two thousand and twenty one we're going to continue to see it. I've been in very incredibly product our company. Right our turn for our workforce has been below ten percent in a time when markets are twenty to thirty percent a lot of companies for turnover. And really we've done a lot to try to listen throughout the pandemic to see what people are concerned about. We try to minimize impact. We've done everything we can to keep our employee safe and show that we care for them, and we do. And so I think that's really a critical Gil. It's just being a really effective listener, showing empathy. But that doesn't mean you stop pushing forward and that you have to be more innovative, more creative, right, to overcome those channel just because it's new and different channel. Just so how do you do things virtually? How do you do things from behind a computer versus sitting in a room together? And and we're all missing that magic of being together in person, right. So throughout, you know, the latter part of two thousand and twenty and in two thousand and twenty one it was it was hard, right, we missed being together in person and that's starting to return now, but forever we're going to be more virtual. Than we have in the past. That's not going away. Okay. So what should you know? You mentioned soft skills. Can you elaborate which saw skills you emphasize more? Yeah, so I would say effective listening, empathy, kindness, right, just really care at caring for it, caring for each other on a very human level. So how do you really take care of that person, is human being and understand what their needs are today? Right, they're you know, we're facing this health pandemic. Their mother has covid their...

...their their siblings, right, their kids, they have covid right. So how do you show care and support for them dealing with these, you know, these health situations and and still give them the space that they need and then help them move forward past that as they recover? Excellent, and I know you've made some changes in your life to right now. You're being a US exist, I coultive. You're joining me from winter, from Antigua, Guatemala today. See what brings you to go out on all the right now, and you're working. Yeah, so I'm here working. What brought me here is, I would say, good food, good culture of seventy five degree weather and just the opportunity to see something new to do and see something new. So I'm working on my Spanish. You know, I've studied it for the past thirty years, but I haven't been a very good student. So I'm trying to get some immersion and with some local friends and and continue to practice and enjoy the area. And Right now our office is still closed, so I can. I've worked from several different countries this year and for me it's improved my innovation, my energy. After two thousand and twenty was so hard that I really need to personally make dange. I had to build my own engagement action plan for two thousand and twenty one to have a better year. So I'm a big believer in praying with my legs, so to speak. And so if I recognize, when I reckonnize something isn't working right for me personally professionally, okay, what's my plan of action? What can I do to make it changed? So you're doing this to stay at the cutting edge of, you know, your own development, and you foresee that certain trends will continue happening post pandemic as well. Right. Can you see that a little bit more about those? Yeah, I mean we've done survey. So we surveyed our internal employees multiple times just to understand what do they want right so do they fill see of coming back to the office? When will they feel safe in the future? What what mix of remote versus on site work did they want? And it came back overwhelmingly that they had a...

...desire to have ongoing flexibility anywhere from working, you know, one day at home to to five days at home right just to continue. They felt like in some cases their work was so much more productive because we have employees in locations with heavy traffic where they're commuting two plus hours every day on the road, and so they don't have to fight that traffic and they can just work work from their Home Office. It's been very effective for them and our business results would say that that's true, because we had the best year and company's history in two thousand and twenty one. We had a you know, two thousand and twenty was we had the best year in the company's history in two thousand and twenty and we're going to have it again in two thousand and twenty one. Doesn't mean it's been easy. It's been incredibly challenging, but we were able to shift to go virtual fairly quickly. Our it teamed an amazing job getting everyone set up with their home equipment for the roles. Not all the roles could be done virtually right. So we have retail stores in the US. You know, those folks had to come in and continue to do their jobs and we're incredibly grateful for them. WE WE'RE HOUSE INN manufacturing operations continue to come on site. So we had to get very smart about how we set up, you know, safety protocol for them and then everywhere we could have our white collar office staff go virtual. Right. We supported that and enable the technology to do that and go work from home and it's been incredibly effective for a business. Wow, you've been very active in forms and conscresss whom as leadership and driving change. Again, that's also about innovation. That's also baking through barriers and class things. Can you speak a little bit more about your work there? Sure so. I mean, I would say I had something I've always been very passionate about. You know, I've always big been you know, I think because I was the youngest in my family, had older brother, I was always chasing and trying to play catch up right with him. It made me much tougher to to try to keep up with with my older brother and cousins, and so I always had this belief that I can do whatever they can do. And then when I got into the world of business and saw some of the challenges that women were facing in...

...trying to grow their careers and to be taken seriously and to be given credibility, even though they're incredibly right, right and talented and capable. And so I've really spent my career trying to help support women and underrepresented minorities in general, to advance and champion them and coach them and support them, because in diverse teams I've worked on, we've had the best business performance, we've had the best results, we've had the best ideas, we've had the best innovation, and diversity truly matters right and I care about a world. I want to help create a world that we have gender parody right. I only have you know, I have a son. He's my faceavorite human being in the world and I want a world that's fair for him. But I want to I also want him to be challenged and and by smart, talented, capable women and I want to make sure all humans have an equal seat at the table and are respected and valued for what they bring, not for their gender. With that such a beautiful phrase coming from a mother my the favorite, my favorite human being in the world. He definitely is my absolute favorite. who very well put any observations and I know you recently completed course at Harvard Business School. Can you see what are the biggest insides for innovation that you got out of that? Yeah, I mean I would say, first of all, it was incredible. So I attended Harvard Women and Corporate Boards Program preparing to become a corporate director. I was there with a hundred and thirty of the most talented, intelligent, driven women in business. It was so inspiring and you know, we had large forms and we had small rootworking forums and we just really bonded and supported each other and and just to kind of talk through we talked through different business cases, but also too, kind of talk through the experiences were having at our own companies and it was just very inspiring. There are so many smart, talented women in the world and it gave me even more hope and inspiration for the future that we really are going...

...to get to a place of parity and equity sooner versus later, with with so many talented women. What are there any a how moments or insects from faculty that you heard in the program that stayed with you? Oh, good question. I think it really comes down to network. That was the key theme that ran throughout the entire program is that support network is incredibly important, and so if you're looking at if you look at you know, they kind of shared hey, people that are on boards today, it's really through their network. It's the number one it is who you know in business, who knows you, who values you and and trust you, and so that's the best way to get invited on is through your own professional network and building credibility and demonstrating your capability and your strengths and what you have to offer. So bringing good innovative ideas, being a creative thinker, being solution oriented and really having strong credibility and and the thinking and the results that you bring was it was a huge theme. So for me it was networking and creative, innovative thinking and problem solving and I think asking provocketive questions right. So it's not always having all the answers. How do you help ask the provocative questions to change the thinking and improve the thinking. Absolutely. Asking the one questions, clee, was a long way and you're bringing a very important issue, which is networking. And my sense is that a lot of people and they network, they're really not innovative above that. Specifically, you know, sometimes I get contacted with somebody out of the Blue Sing well, I'm now trying to network to do x, Y Z. that's kind of very transactional. In my world view, and please disagree with this, is you build a network proactively, you help people, you are present for them and then when the need comes, that network steps in very naturally. That's kind of sustained networking. To me, networking is an ongoing thing and it has to come from the right place in your heart. Yeah, it's not this transactional and now...

I'm networking. I fully agree. And it shouldn't be networking for the sense of I'm going to get something from this person. Know your networking, you're supporting each other. It's what, what value can add to this other human being? What can I do for them? How can I support them, expecting nothing back? Right? So, when I need people, I love to help other people. I love to see them thrive. I'm happy for them right. I'm never jealous of anyone else's success. I don't. You know, it makes me happy when I see talented people achieving their dreams and going after their dreams and failing and getting back up and fighting the next day right and moving forward. So, yeah, I think networking, it should be proactive and it is a continuous you know, it's not like you're just doing it at work. It's your whole network, right, your social network through friends you know inside and outside of work, and sometimes those strongest connections you make happen outside of work. I met, I've met, some incredibly talented, capable, intelligent, interesting human beings traveling when I'm when I'm out traveling, just on vacations or in holidays, and I've stayed in touch with those people and we've helped each other in different ways. And so it absolutely should be ongoing, continuous and given with an open heart, with no intention of I'm trying to get something back from this. Individuals know, what can I add to this other human being to make their life better and how can I help them? Now? I could not agree more. I think travel drives innovation and makes actually for better executives, because then you out of your shell, you challenge to deal with discomfort, find out new approaches and then, if you could, can bring those same skills back to the office. Yeah, that makes a world of difference. Absolutely when you get in someone else's environment to really see what's happening, it may it opened your eyes and it makes you much more empathetic and much more understanding of their point of view in their thinking. And I'll give you a specific example. So I was traveling in Europe. Part of why I really liked Europe is because I my natural energy is best in the day and in the afternoons, even in the...

...evenings. I'm not naturally a very early morning person. So I went to Europe to work remotely for a few months because I could sleep in, get up, do some activities during the daylight and sunshine and then work in the afternoon into the evenings, and I had my best end energy. I felt great. It was much better for my health and well being because I got more quality sleep, more exercise, but through my travels at the end I did we did have an on site at our Sweden office. We Are we have our R and d center and Sweden and so going there and seeing how open the country is with the you know, they don't have the covid restrictions that you have in most of the other countries. It's much, much more open and it made me have a new appreciation and empathy and understanding for some of the global policies we had in place that very much were intended to protect people, but I could understand how it felt very restrictive to our employees in Sweden because they've been living for three to four months in a very open environment, right without mask without the restrictions that that are in place in many parts of the world still today. Great Answer. It's very, very, very interesting and I do find that travel gives you that perspective that sometimes we can all miss. Yeah, so any other thoughts as we conclude this episode of Our podcast on how you know things you do to drive innovation? You know, I think for innovation one of the biggest things I have done in my career, in my life is focus on my health and wellbeing. To have good innovative ideas you need to have energy, and human energy starts with human health and wellbeing, and so taking care to get the right amount of sleep, to get outside to move, move, whatever that is for you for me, for me it's nutrition, sleep, exercise and sunshine. So I do much better in the sunlight. I'm like a sunflower. So you know I need to I need to get access to sunlight and you know, when it gets gray and dark for too long, I just start to wilt. So for me, I think every person is different, every person is unique,...

...and so I do think innovation can really be amplified with good human energy, which is created through good health and wellbeing. And so if you're going to start anywhere, take care of your health, because that's going to help fuel your entire life and give you so much better quality of life. That's so important and thank you for that very, very important reminder. In in North America we're not too good about that and really appreciate that very salient point Tammy made this sunflowering, you always thrive. Thanks, thanks for joining us today. This our guests was Tammy Boone, vice president of human resources and a SV pure worldwide, and this is your host, Jasmine. Much to ask you. Thank you. Thank you. You've been listening to innovation nation. For more, subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcast player or connect with us on Linkedin. Thanks for listening.

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