Five Things Business Leaders Can Do To Create A Fantastic Work Culture

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No job, no work, no boss, no amount of money, and no ego is more important than your happiness.

As a part of Authority Magazine’s HR Strategy Series, they had the pleasure of talking with John Skrodenis. This Interview originally appeared in Authority Magazine on Dec 27, 2020.

John is a managing partner at Rainfactory. He has raised enough money to tape out a 28nm ASIC microchip (3.2M) and has also developed and executed comprehensive marketing plans for clients. John holds more than 18 years of experience in building high-performance sales and marketing organizations.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In my college years, I worked as an activist. I was teaching college students to canvas communities to raise awareness and funding for political campaigns. I found myself falling in love with the creative process of generating funding as this gave me a thrill and provided me with the motivation I needed in my early career. This was something I was passionate about, so I decided to specialize in this, and currently, I am blessed to pursue this as my profession wherever there is Wi-Fi.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In the early days of Rainfactory, I selected a project for a gadget that rolled out a fresh dog pad and then rolled it up after each use. I learned a lot about consumer behavior on this project. A ton of people liked the idea of not having to come home to let fido out, but in the end, the idea of having a shit burrito in their kitchen was simply not ok.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Rainfactory is currently working with a good amount of home fitness and personal electronic vehicle innovations: namely CLMBR, Breakaway, and Onewheel. Consumers are finding these innovations extremely useful during this pandemic and we are happy to partner with companies that are passionate about creating a positive impact in the world especially during these trying times.

How would you describe your leadership or management style?
I am the antithesis of a micromanager. I see my role as helping my employees remove blocks that may be preventing them from moving forward, and putting out fires in their wake.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
In the beginning of the pandemic, we had excess team capacity, and so we provided our services pro bono to Save The Children, one of the largest and most respected charities on earth. I believe this provided a boost to morale within the team, at a time that it was badly needed.

Wonderful. Let’s jump over to the main theme of this article. According to a study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?
Every individual has a need to truly enjoy what they do, and believe that their product or service serves their community. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. At Rainfactory, we are fortunate to be able to be selective and only work on products that we truly believe in.

Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact company productivity, company profitability, and employee health and wellbeing?
It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where an unhappy or negative person can truly tap into their creativity and think beyond a list of tasks. Happy employees make magic and invent ways to slaughter goals rather than cross off tasks.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?

  1. Managers need to realize the difference between errors of omission and errors of commission. If an employee truly attempts to accomplish a goal, but fails in the end (error of commission), a good manager should praise their effort.
  2. Teams have to have fun. If you are not having fun, then you are either working on the wrong product or doing something wrong.
  3. Encourage healthy time off. It’s really easy to fall into a constant work grind today. Sometimes, managers may need to actively mandate vacation time upon their employees.
  4. Lead employees out of their comfort zone, and encourage them to reach.
  5. Always be available. Communication is key to a fruitful relationship and success.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?
Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. No job, no work, no boss, no amount of money, and no ego is more important than your happiness. I also think at the end of the day that money can’t really buy anything close to emotional fulfillment.

Great advice! One more before we go: What would you say is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how has it been relevant to you in your life?
Work smarter, not harder. There is a fine line between being busy and being productive. Understanding your unique hierarchy of priorities will help you clear out the unnecessary stuff and this will provide you with the sanity needed for longevity.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today!

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