Reflecting on Hobbies for Team Leadership

Reflecting on Hobbies for Team Leadership

The PeopleStar Podcast — Season 1: Episode 14 — Posted February 23, 2022

Reflecting on Hobbies for Team Leadership

Reflecting on Hobbies for Team Leadership

The PeopleStar Podcast — Season 1: Episode 14 — Posted February 23, 2022

About the Episode

We’ve seen how conventional hobbies can teach you things like leadership and teamwork.

Today’s guest’s hobby is riding motorcycles! Steven Foster reflects on how his hobby taught him how a company should work, just like a motorcycle club: all in sync. He also touches base on sustainability in the workplace, a company’s greatest asset, and the meaning of passion, purpose, and power inside an organization.

Do not think twice and listen to this Steven’s advice on HR’s challenges!

Key Takeaways

1

You’ll be surprised how conversational people can get when you ask them about their journey through life.

2

Companies that act towards their teams and know who they want, where they’re going, and why they do what they do usually will end up on the Fortune 100 list.

3

A company’s greatest asset is its people.

4

There are three super important things in organizations: passion, power, and purpose.

Additional Resources

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Episode Transcript

PeopleStar Podcast_Steven Foster: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

PeopleStar Podcast_Steven Foster: 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:
Good morning, it's Julie Rieken, host of PeopleStart Podcast, and today I'm super excited to have Steven Foster with me. He is the managing partner of Foster+Fathom, which is a leadership and goodness development group out of Grapevine, Texas, which is just right outside of Dallas, he spends a lot of his time speaking to groups, facilitating and consulting with teams, and he has a super interesting hobby that is going to lead us into a conversation about HR, which I'm excited to get to. So, Steven, welcome to the podcast!

Steven Foster:
Thank you, Julie. Thanks for inviting me along on your ride this morning. Excited to see where we end up!

Julie Rieken:
All right, yes. So one of the things that Steven does as a hobby is ride motorcycles, and that's a part of the genesis of his full-throttle leadership strategy that he shares with organizations. And so, Steven, can you just talk to us a little bit about motorcycles and leadership and how you found this space?

Steven Foster:
Sure, absolutely. Well, motorcycles are what I do as a hobby. I'm a Harley-Davidson Life member, plug for them, and I've been riding motorcycles for almost 50 years, so I don't play golf, I don't collect stamps, I ride motorcycles. And I've learned a lot as I've ridden around the country through the years with different organizations about how a team moves together, how they create momentum, why they do what they do, how they communicate internally on a ride, and so all of that crystallized for me in 2013, when I had the opportunity to check a big item off my biker bucket list, which was a perimeter ride of the United States. So that's literally a ride around the entire perimeter of the United States. It was planned as a biker bucket list, it morphed into a cause I was able to partner with an organization called The Boot Campaign, which is a veterans service organization in Texas. So I spent 34 days, 34 states, 13,000 miles out seeing America talking to people, but what was interesting about it is it started as a group ride with some buddies of mine, and as we got closer and closer and closer, I bet you know where the story's going, they all fell off the ride. So literally at zero hour I had aligned with a cause, I had a reason to be out there beyond just Steven Foster. And so I took off and I've done a lot of rides, I got to tell you, Julie, over the years, but I've never attempted a 13,000-mile solo ride in the heat of the summer along the perimeter of the United States. So that's where the lessons that eventually became full-throttle leadership and full-throttle goodness came from. It was being out on the road talking to amazing military families, veterans, small business owners, you'd be surprised how conversational people get when they see you on a motorcycle, they'll come right up to you and say where you going? Where you've been? And who are you? And I have to tell you, I think for the HR piece, simple, what you do so well in your own company, the HR departments in companies today really have to act, and they have to make sure their organizations run like a motorcycle club. You got to have know where you're going, know who's coming along with you, know how you plan to get there, and most importantly, know why all of it matters. And the organizations that do that really well, you see them every year on the Fortune 100 best places to work for, its culture, it's habit, it's how they ride.

Julie Rieken:
This is so interesting. So, OK, two things, 13,000 miles, I think it's a little bit more than halfway around the world if you took the circumference of the Earth, is that about right?

Steven Foster:
It's a big ride, for sure. It's a big ride. It's a big ride. And again, it was, what was interesting about it for me, and I think it dovetails really nice into what we're talking about is in an organization, if it's just about the bottom line, and listen, I own a business, I want to make money and my people want to make money, but if you're just doing it for that, then when the storms come, when the road conditions change, as we've all experienced over the last 18 months, that's not sustainable, that's not a ride that you can keep moving. So it's important that whatever you're doing has purpose beyond the bottom line. And that's, I think, something that you see changing and I'm sure you see this with your customers, it's not so linear-focused, it's not so hierarchied. Companies now know that their greatest asset, and we've said it for years, but it's so true now. Your greatest asset are the people on the ride with you. And if they're not engaged in the planning, in the skill building part of it, in the purposeful, meaningful, sustainable, significant reason that we're doing all of this, then you're not going anywhere and nobody wants to end up in that destination.

Julie Rieken:
This is so relevant right now, and that, Steven, organizations are totally in this storm right now, and they are thinking about their people more than they ever have. And you and I talked a little bit about three things: passion, power and purpose. And I wanted to just connect that thread with HR leaders today who have been put into a space that's significantly different than they've ever been in before. They've always been critical to organizations, but you just mentioned it, who's along on your ride? And it's harder than ever to ensure that people are engaged and that they're with you, what would you think or how would you ask HR leaders to think about these three things that you found are critical for organizations passion, power and purpose. What advice would you give?

Steven Foster:
Well, the first thing that I would say to anyone who has HR in their title, whether you ride motorcycles or not, in my world, you're what's called a road captain. You are the person that we're going to follow. You're going to point the direction in the GPS and say, this is where we're headed. You're the person who is responsible to make sure that this, this pod, this organization keeps moving and you've got to know a couple of things. You've got to have done your homework. You have to know the skill level of everybody on the ride with you because you can only ride to the weakest member and things are going to happen, I guess that's the most important thing, as an HR manager, as a road captain, you can plan all you want to, but I promise you, sometime this year, the tank is going to get low, the wheels are going to come off, someone's going to need to get off the bike and take a breather, recharge, re skill up. And so you've got to be completely prepared to wear a lot of hats and to keep what I say is check your mirrors, know, keep looking in your mirrors and see kind of how everyone's doing, specifically as you talk about passion, power and purpose, I think every great organization defines that, but don't get hung up on those words. On passion, if I say that word, most people go, well, yeah, that's that's something I'm excited about, or that's, that's my hobby or my skill, and I would define passion as endurance. Passion is, is actually pretty common. We're passionate about this today, and then it wears off. I'm talking about a passion to endure that you know that you've committed, you've saddled up, and no matter what comes at you, you know, when the storms come, you don't wait for them to pass, you've got to learn to ride in the rain. So passion, first of all, for me, is an endurance to the goal. Power is what fuels the ride, what skill development do you have in your organization? How are people able to advance and set their goals with their own organization to get where they want to be? How often are you getting the group together and evaluating the strength of the team as a whole as a unit that moves? And then the last thing, the purpose is, purpose has to be something above and beyond the organization, the CEO and even the individual members. Why are we doing what we're doing and why does that matter to each other? We started off the conversation by me saying I had a biker bucket list, to ride the perimeter of the United States, if I would have done that by myself, A it would have been as just as fun, probably, but you and I wouldn't be talking about it because it wouldn't mean anything. The fact that I was aligned with the cause, it kept me on the bike when the storms came, it kept me focused when I was on the road and hadn't seen my family for 30 days because I knew what I was out there to do, and it wasn't about Steven Foster, I was using my passion for motorcycles, fueled with my skill built over 50 years of riding motorcycles. But ultimately I was on the road for veterans and military families, and I got to tell you, Julie, it made the ride so much more meaningful because at any time I could go off course, I could say I'd planned to go here, but as I got a request for an interview or a military family wanted to meet or a veteran wanted to talk, I could completely go off course and have that experience and learn from that and bring that back and tell that story. So passion, power, and purpose, where do you want to go? How do you plan to get there? Why does it matter?

Julie Rieken:
I love that. I want to dig into the third one just one little bit more, one layer deeper. Let's talk about purpose. I'm an HR leader and I need to ensure that everyone's aligned with that purpose, and I love that your purpose was military families because you knew if that was my purpose, you knew you could veer off course because that was still aligned with your mission. If you are an HR person thinking about aligning people around purpose, how do you do it? What does what does that look like?

Steven Foster:
Well, I get asked that question actually quite a bit from the organizations that I work with. So it doesn't matter what they do, what widgets they build or what things they market, no matter what they do, and that's important. But you have to ask yourself, what is it that we do and why does it matter to others? That is the soul and the spirit of purpose is, what is what I do as a speaker and a trainer, a consultant really matter to anyone other than Steven Foster? And the answer is it doesn't if I can't make it worth their time, their effort, and bring them into what I call a purposeful, meaningful environment. The best companies in the world are all aligned with, aligned with causes. Four times a year, five times a year, they engage their people externally in doing good. I would say for an HR manager, one of the first questions I ask is what causes are you aligned with? How do you get your employees to step away from what they do every day and help others who are much less fortunate than we are and improve the lives of others and watch what that means internally? Fortune magazine last year came out with a great study that said organizations that are aligned with the cause have more community engagement, more employee retention, higher employee satisfaction, and here's a good one, for companies who are interested in the bottom line, those same companies customers were willing to leave an old established brand and buy from them because they were viewed as doing good in the communities where they live, where they work and where they meet. So purposeful, meaningful engagement externally drives internal, purposeful engagement. Everybody wins.

Julie Rieken:
This has been amazing, Steven. As you've been talking, I'm thinking to myself, Julie, time to connect again your strategic playbook with people and bring that forward. You've just sparked challenging ideas and I think a couple of projects for me this week to bring to my own organization. This has been awesome. I really appreciate our conversation today. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Steven Foster:
No, so, thank you. Any time I get a chance to talk about passion and power and purposes to organizations, that's my sweet spot. For me, that's again, to use the motorcycle analogy over and over again, that's when I get to roll on the throttle. You and I, when we first connected, I said, sort of my mantra is you didn't wake up today to be mediocre. And the way to not be mediocre, the way to be amazing, outstanding, impactful, influential is to know that what you do matters to other people and that you can bring them along on your ride and that we can build community and tribe and trust. And who doesn't want to work for an organization like that? Sign me up.

Julie Rieken:
It's amazing, y'all, it's Foster+Fathom, Steven Foster. Thank you for being our guest. This has been really awesome.

Steven Foster:
I appreciate it, Julie. Have a full-throttle day!

People Star 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.

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