Tracy: My guest today is Lisa Ryan. Corporate Event Speaker of the Year for 2015. Lisa is here today to discuss how business owners can keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s.
To start with, Lisa, could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to create your business?
Lisa: “Become a professional motivational speaker” was on my goal list since 1989. I discovered speaking by taking a Dale Carnegie class and then being invited to come back as a graduate assistant. From there I joined Toastmasters and as I got better, started to do more speaking as part of what I did for a living in my sales career. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Also, every time I’d go to a “Get Motivated” seminar, Tony Robbins seminar or something similar, I wanted to be the person up on the stage. That feeling has never left me.
Early on, I dipped my foot in the water with network marketing and fell in love with freedom. I also spent a lot of my career in sales and worked out of my home, so I got used to having the freedom that you cannot get in a cubicle.
When my medical sales position was eliminated in 2010, I decided to dive in and do what I’ve always wanted to do – become a professional speaker and author.
Tracy: What was the learning curve like for you?
Lisa: Making LOTS of mistakes. Getting into credit card debt up to my eyeballs from “buying hope.” I’ve learned a lot of valuable and expensive lessons along the way. I am very grateful for my sales and marketing background because I use it every day to come up with new ideas and ways to get the word out about my business. There are no shortcuts, and thankfully, I’m willing to do the work it takes.
Tracy: Was failure ever an option for you?
Lisa: When my medical sales position was eliminated on October 12, 2010. That’s when the safety net disappeared, and I had no choice but to make this work.
Tracy: Tell us about your company and what problems you solve.
Lisa: Organizations hire me to keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. I have programs that range from 30 minutes to full day, and these sessions focus on employee engagement, retention, and recognition by creating a culture of appreciation in the workplace.
Tracy: How common is that problem?
Lisa: Nineteen percent of employees are actively disengaged at work, and they bring down the rest of the workplace. On the other hand, 30% of employees are actively engaged, so they are the people who are a pleasure to work with. The rest of employees are moderately engaged – doing enough work, so they don’t get fired, and the company is paying them just enough so they don’t quit.
Tracy: That sounds like it could really bring a business down quickly. What can be done about it?
Lisa: If we can get just a small percentage of the actively disengaged group to at least get to neutral, and a small percentage of the neutral group and get them to actively engage, we’ll see an increasingly positive workplace culture.
Tracy: What are some of the things that you recommend?
Lisa: I suggest the 5 thank you’s a day challenge. Choose whatever ways you want to get to five gratitudes a day. Do this for at least 30 days:
1. Write a thank you note
2. Write a letter of appreciation
3. Verbally express gratitude
4. Write down what you’re grateful for in a journal
5. Meditate on gratitude for 5 minutes
I have seen the results of these practices, and I know to the core of my being that I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to do in changing the world, one ‘thank you’ at a time.
Tracy: If you were talking to a business owner who asked you what you could do for his company what would you say?
Lisa: I can help you engage your employees with a program that will not only affect your bottom line by making your employees more productive and profitable, they will also connect with your organization on an emotional level. Also, your employees will learn strategies that will help them in their personal lives. If you help them reduce their stress, they will get along with others in the workplace, and you can achieve a more cohesive, cooperative workplace – and keep your best employees from taking their skills elsewhere.
Tracy: You clearly put a lot of yourself into your work. What keeps you going?
Lisa: I have been blissfully married to my husband, Scott, since 1996, and we are the proud parents of three very spoiled cats. We are taking a cruise for our anniversary in April – this will be our 8th cruise because it’s our favorite way to vacation. An entrepreneur needs strong support on the home front. Not only is it a lonely business, but it’s also nice to have someone there to support you financially when you go through tough times. I’m glad that Scott is my biggest cheerleader. When I won Corporate Event Speaker of the Year, Scott cried. I am blessed.
Tracy: Thank you for being here with us today. Do you have any parting advice for business owners who want to start building this into their business culture?
Lisa: Engage employees… Be sincere. Your employees can tell the difference between you’re checking something off a list and actually believing in what you’re doing.