Episode 1: The Importance of Safety at Work with Tony York

Episode 1: The Importance of Safety at Work with Tony York

The PeopleStar Podcast — Season 1: Episode 1 — Posted November 10, 2021

Episode 1: The Importance of Safety at Work with Tony York

Episode 1: The Importance of Safety at Work with Tony York

The PeopleStar Podcast — Season 1: Episode 1 — Posted November 10, 2021

About the Episode

Safety is this guest’s top priority!

Tony York trains his people to have empathy and always think about the safety of others in their environments. He knows how important it has been for him to always reflect on the decisions he has made. Another important thing Tony mentions is the power of collaboration. Don’t miss Tony’s advice on hiring!

He is passionate about his work, and he encourages others to find that passion at whatever stage of their journey they are at.

Key Takeaways


Tony likes a 2+2 type of approach to meetings where he asks what are two things that could be done differently and two things that he would repeat because they were successful.


Leaders need the power of reflection.


Collaboration is a wonderful tool for teams, it will bring challenges and many joys.


Before hiring, the manager has to clearly know the vision for the role.


Hiring managers must trust their intuition.


Having a care factor in life will be a game-changer.


CEO’s manage risk, strategy, and culture.

Episode 1: The Importance of Safety at Work with Tony York

About Tony York

Tony York is a security expert, business leader, and mentor.

He brings integrity and warmth to each role he has held to help make the world a safer place. A visionary and engaging business executive, with a proven track record of developing and building strong client relationships, HSS Inc. grew significantly under Tony’s leadership – in reputation and its ability to deliver safe patient care environments.

Today, he is Executive Vice President for the Paladin Security Group where he is responsible for growing and strengthening the healthcare-specific offering for its family of companies – Paladin Security, PalAmerican Security, Paladin Risk Solutions, and Paladin Technologies.

Tony lives in Evergreen, with his wife Cara and is well known for his love of fly-fishing.
Connect with Tony on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-york-cpp-chpa-83ab607/

Additional Resources

If you have any questions or challenges about Leadership and HR and want our opinion, please send it to support@trakstar.com with "Podcast Question" in the subject field.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for weekly episode updates.

Episode Transcript

PeopleStar Podcast_Tony York: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

PeopleStar Podcast_Tony York: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

PeopleStar Podcast Intro:
Welcome to the PeopleStar podcast. We deliver leadership perspectives from industry experts on their people, architecture, routines, and culture as they solve HR's newest challenges. And now your host, Julie Rieken.

Julie Rieken:
Hello, it's Julie Rieken, the host of PeopleStar podcast, super excited today to have with me, Tony York. Tony and I got to know each other through a CEO leadership group that we were both a part of, and Tony has phenomenal insights as a leader, and I'm excited to have him as a guest today. So, Tony, welcome to the podcast!

Tony York:
Thanks, Julie. It's a pleasure to be here with you.

Julie Rieken:
So Tony is now the executive vice president at the Paladin's Security Group and has just a phenomenal history in securing places that we often visit things like airports, hospitals, and Tony, what other kinds of things do you do to help with?

Tony York:
You know, all types of different kinds of health care facilities from those that go inside the home and trying to help them stay safe to learning, to help those that as they get a little bit older in life, the long term care facilities, but the areas that are really, a lot of public contact and take a lot of good customer service, but most importantly, requires a lot of training, Julie, people to understand how to have empathy with others and understand that there's a different circumstance that they're facing. It's been a fun ride, though, I've enjoyed helping organizations stay safe and creating environment so people can do whatever it is that they need to do, and do it safely.

Julie Rieken:
That's amazing, and I think a cool thread to pull on there is your superpower as a leader, when you talk about helping people find empathy and think about safety. These are really core strengths that you bring as a leader. Would you just talk to me about how do you perceive your superpower as a leader? What is it?

Tony York:
You know, if I told you what I wish my superpower was would be the lens of hindsight in my foresight, and so I'd make much better decisions. But if you really play that out a little bit and pull on that string, it's really the power of reflection. It's the ability to learn and be of exposure to so many different things that we see. I work with so many different health care organizations and have throughout most of my career and my career from being in front line operations all the way to being a CEO to being an executive in an organization now, what you learn is how things can be done. But you also realize that when you stop for a moment and reflect on the decisions that you make and look at it, I love this 2+2 type of approach after I have a meeting, after I have a conversation, hey, two things right now what would I want to do differently knowing what I know now, things I would learn from, things that I could build off of and realizing I can't change time, but I can't build this thing up so that my knowledge base is actually growing from that experience. But on the same vein, it's a 2+2. I'm also going to look at it and say, what were two things that I just experienced, things I want to make certain, and if I did this again, I would definitely repeat that again. So that reflection, in my opinion, Julie, is just absolutely been instrumental for me to learn, to also understand how do I continuously get better with, especially with the decisions I make.

Julie Rieken:
That is a really cool story. The 2+2, I love it. Do you have any recent stories where you've reflected on something and learned from something where you would either do something and double down on it or do it differently?

Tony York:
Yeah. You know, I would just share with you. I'll call it writing a book, I wrote and was involved with penning the industry textbook on hospital and health care security. And I've actually been involved with the last two editions of that, and I asked a colleague of mine to really join me on this last edition and we published it. It's not really recent, but it was 2015 when we released it, and what he was able to do was able to help me understand the Canadian marketplace. He was able to help me understand how health care was being delivered in different places. The one thing I would tell you, I would learn from it, because it was a lot of work, to do it in collaboration was something that I found that was a lot more effort, but it was actually such a wonderful thing to be able to have a partner and collaborate. So what I do that again, without hesitation, without question. Now, what would I do differently? Well, I'm definitely going to position it so that we understand, hey, how are we going to tackle this collaboration? How are we going to approach the issues that we fought and faced as we were combining against our own daily schedules, and how do we actually project manage the effort a little bit better? So it wasn't so much of a hardship as we went through the process of writing. Now that's an example of just how you actually give back. But I would also suggest to, there are some things that are a little more granular that I would just bring to the conversation that's a little closer, and it's how we actually do tabletop drills and exercises. You know, in this society right now, we're dealing with people that are concerning and they have, with guns that are prevalent in society, we see the active shooter, as we often call them an active assailant, is what we say in the industry. But as a matter of how do we actually prepare people for those things? So having some recent drills, you know, how do we continue to make it better not to get people scared, but get them to learn exactly what it is that they can do better to keep themselves safe? If they were ever to find themselves in that unthinkable, untenable situation.

Julie Rieken:
That's a really good point, Tony, and I'm glad you brought that up and just thinking about how you would reflect and how you would approach, you know, the writing of your book, which by the way, I've seen and it's massive for those of you that are interested in some reading on how to keep things safe, Tony definitely is the expert. But when you think about how you built this textbook, how you would go and think about how to prepare people for things like this, you're not just writing a textbook, Tony, but you're building an organization that shares these values so that you can take this great information on how to keep people safe. This empathy, this reflection, and then share it within your organization and build a bunch of people or a group of people that share that value that can help you carry out that mission. How do you choose the right people to work in your organization to carry that out? Do you? Do you have a hard time hiring? What does that look like for you?

Tony York:
Hard time, I don't think, is the characterization I would provide. But maintaining a high level of expectations, it's got to start with knowing what's your vision for the role? What do you want the individual to perform and how to, what do you want him to achieve and to do? But it's so funny, Julie, because you can have that and know it, but rarely does any one person meet every expectation you set out for yourself. But I always want to be a part of an interview process. If somebody's going to be a part of my team I want to have the early screening and making certain that the filtering in that process is working. There's so many ways it can be done, but I want to have a conversation with folks. I love scenario-based training, I love scenario-based interviewing, and sometimes we call that behavioral-based questioning. But what I really want to find out is I want to know if that superpower that I wished I did have, and I'll call that my third eye and say, you know, how do I see and visualize someone having success in the role? Because if I've got a vision for what I want the role to be and in the process of that interview and more importantly, the process of that conversation, does it allow me to see them having success in that role? And Julie, I'm batting a 100 when I have it. If I question that logic and I don't have the vision of success, my batting average has dropped extraordinarily low, and so I've come to realize I need to trust my instincts, trust that third eye to say, Do I see the individual once I know what I want, do I see that individual having a role of success while they're doing it in the way they describe themselves doing it and the questions that are being posed and asked? It's a, I know it sounds a little a little quirky, but that quirkiness is proven to me over time to be of great and extreme value.

Julie Rieken:
Yeah, I love that you trust your instincts there. It's, hiring people is complicated, and sometimes we want to make a match because we have a role to fill, and sometimes we need to take a little bit more time and trust the instincts. And you've built great organizations, so, that is some terrific advice that you've given us on how you find people to work in your org as a leader. And let's just close out with one quick question you've written a big book, you are keeping people safe, you have a lot of responsibilities. What gives you energy? What fuels you every day?

Tony York:
You know, I'm passionate about what I do. The advice I give anybody that is embarking on a new career or a new part of their journey is care about what it is that you do, care about the larger impact, you know, Simon Sinek had the Golden Triangle and at the heart of that triangle, maybe he called it the circle, I guess I should use, but it's why we do what we do, and I really believe I'm able to help people have better outcomes in the health care environment. I'm able to really create a safer environment, so people that are providing the care feel more comfortable to provide it at the best they possibly can. And I'm really internally motivated by that. And I want to suggest to anyone else that is embarking on anything that they would do, have a care factor for what it is that you do, have passion to understand what it is and along that line to maintain an intellectual curiosity about: How can it be done? Could it be done differently? Does it have to be done this traditional way, it's always been done? Because what we'll always find out is it doesn't. There's so many different ways we can actually approach, whether in risk mitigations from a security perspective or to realize that actually these things have strategic and cultural implications to their organization. And I'm living in an industry that is not very well understood. It's not something that a lot of the CEOs that are running hospitals or airports have a full appreciation of what layers of protection are, what security risk mitigation really means. But Julie, that's why 50 percent of my job is that of an educator, I've got to help others understand what it is that they may not have a clear line of sight to. And I get absolutely thrilled when I see their eyes open up and say, wow, I never thought about it that way, thank you for helping me open my eyes to that, because that's, as we both know in the CEO's world, the three things that they have to manage. They've got to manage risk, they've got to manage strategy, and they've got to manage culture, and what I've come to realize is that this industry that I'm in touches all three of them, and all I want to do is help those industry leaders be able to have a full appreciation for how that can be leveraged to a better outcome into a better success story for themselves. It's only one component, but it actually motivates the hell out of me.

Julie Rieken:
I love it. I love your energy. It's super cool to see you thriving in a space where you get to personally care about something and then help deliver that to the world. So this has been super fun. Tony, thank you for, thank you for joining me today!

Tony York:
It is my pleasure, Julie. Thanks for asking me. The best success with everything that you're doing!

PeopleStar Podcast Outro:
Thanks for listening to the PeopleStar podcast. For the show notes, transcript, resources, and more ways to get a seat at the table, visit us at TrakStar.com/Podcast.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you’d love including share transcripts, world-class support, advanced search, collaboration tools, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.