This was an unexpected request, out of the blue, from Rachel Stewart, a wonderful lady, podcaster and blogger from San Diego, CA, to guest on her Pieces of Grit Podcast.
So I want to say a massive thanks to you, Rachel.
Rachel says that ‘GRIT’ is made of Passion & Perseverance!
Here’s the transcript…
Rachel Stewart This is a show designed to share stories of women exhibiting passion and perseverance along their chosen path, as well as challenging and equipping you to dig deeper into your own identity, then set and achieve big goals. Today I have the honour of speaking with Henry Rose Lee. This energetic brit is an award winning global speaker, author, founder and CEO, she’s an entrepreneur or creative, a script writer and a voiceover artist. Oh my gosh, I’m so tired just saying all that out loud. She’s also an expert on millennials, helping companies and individuals embrace the positives of an intergenerational work environment. We’re going to get into what it looks like to reverse coach in the workplace. Yeah, I know that’s a new term so you’ll want to check this one out. Henry is going to give you permission to think out loud. You know, every time those words come out of your mouth and you’re like, oh shoot did that thought just come out again? Henry is going to give you permission to actually do that in a guided way. And if you’ve never thought about yourself as having your own brand, today is going to be super fun and it’s going to change your life. You have just enough time right now to take a screenshot of the show, share it on Instagram and let people know what you’re doing and listening to right now. Feel free to tag me either at Rachel dot Stewart, or at pieces of grit. The best way to keep this show going and get the word out is for you to tell all of your friends, thank you so much for stopping by today, and let’s just get right to it.
Well hello Henry, I’m talking to you from across the pond, as they say, I don’t know if that’s as much of a British term as it is an American term, but I am so excited to have you here you’re in London I’m in San Diego, and we finally were able to connect so welcome.
Henry Rose Lee Thank you very much and I’m delighted that we are able to connect and yes we do say welcome from across the pond. The only difference is that I know in San Diego you have quite nice weather. This time of year and ours is very foggy and a bit cold Apart from that, we’re speaking the same language that’s for sure.
Rachel Stewart Yeah I’m, I’m so happy to live where I live, and even all of my family they live on the east coast in the United States and I love them I miss them I go out and visit as much as I can but I have no desire to live over there I like my sunshine, probably 360 days a year. It’s great.
Henry Rose Lee I would agree with that.
Rachel Stewart Well, okay, so I have a really random question that I didn’t even tell you about Are you familiar with the Netflix show the crown. I know of it but I’ve never seen it, but I do know of it certainly well that so if you haven’t seen it, it may not apply but I was wondering what, what’s the Brits, think of that show if it feels accurate as far as a portrayal of the royal family, or if it’s like oh my gosh, I can’t believe they made that show.
Henry Rose Lee I think actually that there is quite a lot of acceptance that it reflects some of the story behind our queen. And I think that people recognise that television and films tend to glamorise, a little bit so it’s probably a little bit glamorous but a lot of the issues around the politics and the jockeying for position and the trying to be a leading lady. When you have come to the throne at the age of 25 is is pretty, pretty accurate, I would say,
Rachel Stewart I got pretty obsessed with the show when it came out last year and then honestly, here’s something that I don’t tell a lot of people but I just think it’s hysterical my thoughts when I’m talking to myself. They have a British accent and I’ll never say that out loud because it’s not a good accent, but in my head. A lot of times, I sound like you do right now.
Henry Rose Lee I’m sure you do and actually, there’s plenty of us across the pond to try and do American accents and we’re just rubbish but we think in our heads were amazing.
Rachel Stewart That’s so funny. Can you give us a sample of your American accent.
Henry Rose Lee Sure thing, which one do you want. Do you want me to just do what I’m doing now, would you like it to be a different accent, say,
Rachel Stewart I think that’s great yeah I’m way too embarrassed I’m not even gonna try a British accent but thank you for putting yourself out there that’s really cool.
I found you on LinkedIn, and I was obsessed with you immediately, you are an expert in kind of intergenerational cultures in the workplace and just your understanding of millennials and Gen Z was so fascinating to me I’m always reading the articles that you post on LinkedIn. What drew you into this arena of educating people on cross generational dynamics?
Henry Rose Lee I think what drew me into it was that I’ve been in the workplace for about 25 years and I started to notice a difference. For a start, I felt that the workplace was becoming slightly flatter and less hierarchical. And I also noticed that large numbers of young people were coming into the workplace and didn’t feel the same way about the hierarchy, as the past. So when I started work, you basically did what your boss told you to do your loan manager said jump and you said how high? And your line manager was usually a man. So you did what you were told to do by a man. And now I’m noticing over the past five years just how much things have changed and I’m delighted in the change and delighted that there are more women coming into the workplace and getting more leadership roles and having proper careers, and not just working for a few years. And so I think that’s what got me into it just noticing that difference and wanting to embrace it.
Rachel Stewart What’s your experience been like in the workplace?
Henry Rose Lee I’m really lucky I’ve never had a glass ceiling. But I know that when I first started work I was in export and import and I was the only woman in my company that did that, and I would go on these conferences and junkets and there’d be 49 men and me. And instead of them hitting on me or being difficult with me they just ignored me as if I didn’t exist. And so it was quite difficult to be a woman in a very male oriented business and export an import in those days just had no women and women didn’t travel. So that was really my trial by fire when I started work. And the only reason why I went into export and import was because my father was in the oil business and my brother was in the export and import business and I looked at them and thought well I guess I’m going to go and do that.
Rachel Stewart What would you say import and export business. What were you doing what was your family doing?
Henry Rose Lee My father was in oil. My brother was in cars so he was excellent manager for Volvo, which is a very well known Swedish brand very safe secure type of vehicle, not one of the most exciting but probably one of the safest in the world, and he was exporting those worldwide on behalf of the Swedish company. My father was just working for oil companies, and particularly deep sea harbours where they pump oil in from these big tankers in land through these harbours. And so I think I was just interested in import and export and what I did was import products from Europe, which were broken down into pieces, put them together to make finished product and then re export them either to Europe, or to the Middle East or Africa or Far East, and so on.
Rachel Stewart Did you just do this on your own, or were you under the umbrella of any other company?
Henry Rose Lee Oh no. I worked for other companies to do this I was employed for about eight or nine years before I own consultancy. And so I was regularly working for other people and being told what to do and doing it.
Rachel Stewart What motivated you to get out of that and open your own consultant company?
Henry Rose Lee You know some of the best things happen by mistake, don’t you, Rachel? And that’s what happened. I was working for an organisation as export manager for seven countries in Europe, and my organisation got bought out, and my CEO called me in and said, the company’s been sold, and all of the leadership team are going to go. You’re in the management team so you’re going to go as well. And I said, Excuse me hang on a minute I earn a lot of money for this organisation I’m really successful, and they said oh they’re going to pay you off you go. So, that happened, I got paid off and I went and I thought to myself, I don’t want to travel anymore I don’t want to export and import anymore I don’t want to sell anymore, going to try and do something different so I lied on my CV and on my resume and I took all of my qualifications and experience off. And I went temping as a personal assistant, and I did that for six months. And that way, I found new things to do, and that’s when I discovered a little business, which was originally a music studio, then became a voice studio, and then became a learning and development studio for multimedia and E learning and online learning, and they taught me how to be a voiceover artist, and they helped me to get into learning and development so I had to go back to school at the age of, 37, and it was just really cool and it was a complete mistake, and the best mistake of my life.
Rachel Stewart That’s great. And I agree sometimes mistakes are just a quick way to put us on a different path probably the path that we maybe should have been on, so that’s really neat. What kind of voiceover did you do?
Henry Rose Lee The voiceovers that I do, usually called chocolate box, and that is a jargon term to mean that I have a light gentle voice that’s very clear, but it doesn’t have a huge amount of dominating authority. So for example if you see a war movie you have a heavy male authoritarian voice. So I’m really famous for nice little adverts on the radio or online, and particularly if you want to hear my voice on security announcements in English and French. That’s me. So, there are certain organisations where if you come to the UK, you can hear me, very gently saying that there’s a fire in the building and you need to leave.
Rachel Stewart That’s so cool. Well, if I am ever over there vacationing, I will listen for your voice.
Henry Rose Lee Thank you.
Rachel Stewart So, when we talk about having multi generations in the workplace. I kind of think it’s hard enough for me to understand myself in the workplace and what I’m bringing and the paradigms that are in my head, and my peers. So then adding all these other layers of the incoming generations seems a little bit overwhelming for me at times. What are some of the some of the most important things that I should know or that we should know about the next generations the millennials and Gen Z coming in, what do they bring?
Henry Rose Lee What younger generations bring is innovation novelty variety and change. And that’s because all young generations bring those sorts of things if you think about it when we’re very young, we haven’t had experiences of everything. So lots of things are new. If you imagine a little two year old child who’s never seen candy before, or a little two year old child who’s never been to Disneyland before the first time they go, they’re so excited in its innovation novelty variety change. That’s what young people are like that’s what all of us are like when we’re young so that’s what every young generation brings to the workplace. And what’s wonderful about that is the energy and enthusiasm, and the ideas that come. However, on the downside, what you’ll often get is somebody very young with a great idea but they have no business case, because what they may lack is the emotional intelligence and the experience, which allows them to be strategic to problem solve, to think if there’s a commercially viable case for this brilliant idea. And so that’s where older generations come in because they lean towards structure, stability, and strategy because they’ve actually had more experiences they’ve fallen in lots of black holes, they’ve made mistakes. And so I like to think that young people bring that energy, enthusiasm creativity, innovation, and I like to think that older people, and frankly I’m now an older person, bring strategic thinking, problem solving business cases, and the sort of things that can make those ideas commercially viable and perhaps help to bring them to market.
Rachel Stewart Yeah, as you’re saying that I’m like oh, I’m an older person now too so it’s a little sad. What are some of the ways that you coach or encourage people to do the practical application of that. It’s good to think about it in theory someone young brings energy, and maybe I’m going to bring the experience and the emotional intelligence, but what kind of a structure in a workplace works for that is it. Coaching is it just kind of on the job training that happens organically. What, what do you tell people?
Henry Rose Lee That’s a brilliant question and it kind of for me has a number of answers. I like that word structure because my first response to that question would be to say that an organisation can maximise all its generations if it puts in some structures and frameworks to support it so I’ll give you some examples. One of the first things that an organisation needs to do is to actually recognise the differences that may exist in the workforce across all of the generations, and often that’s education that’s inside actually talking about the differences in generations. I think one of the other things that they can do is to put in an innovation hub so that there is a place for all of these ideas to go play to be discussed, to have a voice. I think one of the other frameworks that can be put in place is an operational business case now every organisation has a particular operating model, how they make money how they do business. And that should be explained to everyone in the organisation, not just the youngest but everyone, so that if somebody comes up with an idea, they know that they need to place this idea over the template of a business case, to see whether it’s commercially viable, we can actually afford to do it, it’s going to bring benefits to the organisation or to the people in it – or not. And so I think that word structure is very powerful. My second answer is really around the people aspect and you mentioned coaching, and I think that my response would be buddying coaching and mentoring. Now with buddying. I think that anybody who joins the organisation and they’re a newbie should be given a buddy, and that buddy is either going to be somebody who is a little bit more experienced than they are or a little bit older than they are. And the idea of a buddy is it’s just a friend.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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[pullquote align=”normal”]Every bit of podcast content is designed to share pieces of grit displayed by women from an array of backgrounds, professions, and with varying goals. [/pullquote]
When she first approached me, I wasn’t sure if I was a fit for her show. Here’s the result – a 40 minute conversation that ebbs and flows like good conversation does – where I’d suggest you grab a coffee and a comfy chair, sit back and relax and enjoy.
And if you listen and like any of it, do let me and Rachel know. Thanks.
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