Flip the Switch

134: Measuring Burnout and Workaholism in College Athletics w/ Matt Huml

It used to be fun to work in sports. But like so many other industries, responsibilities have increased, often demanding employees to achieve more with less. The result, according to Matt Huml, can be burnout, workaholism, disengagement, and resentment. In this episode, we dive deep into Matt’s two most recent research projects: “The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics Within the Sport Industry;” and “From engaged worker to workaholic: a mediated model of athletic department employees”. 


2:43    Behind the Research

5:45    The Razor’s Edge Between Engaged Worker vs. Workaholic

9:02    What’s Wrong with a Team of Workaholics?

13:01  The Full Financial Impact of Turnover

20:03  Improving the Recruiting Pitch for Staff 

27:45  The Extreme Sacrifices

32:05  Evaluating Extreme Sacrifices on Your Team

41:09  The Radioactive Ring Around Coaches 


For more info on topics referenced in this episode:

Read the Full Versions of Matt’s research – 

The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics in the Sports Industry

From engaged worker to workaholic: a mediated model of athletic department employees

Books highlighted – 

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Hear more about the outcomes from our workshop with Penn State 

Episode 96: How to Curb the Great Resignation in Your Organization

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133: How Mentor Managers Inspire Employees to “Love it Here” w/ Clint Pulver

After more than 220 undercover interviews with 12,000 employees, Clint Pulver is known as the leading authority on employee retention.  In this episode, David and Clint discuss the key attributes of mentor managing and the 5 Cs of leadership that result in employees saying, “I Love it Here.”


2:24     The Undercover Millennial Program

5:49     Behind the Book “I Love It Here”

9:24     The 4 Types of Managers

17:36   Assessing Your Leadership – The 5 Cs

21:43   Leading Through Transitions – Status Interviews

25:43   Finding Purpose

27:56   Advocating vs. Developing

32:06   The Power of Purpose

34:46   Individual Needs vs. Organizational Needs

42:28   To Don’t Lists

44:23   Be A Mr. Jensen


To connect with Clint Pulver, check out his website or follow him on social: 

ClintPulver.com | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

Read Clint’s book I Love It Here 

For more leadership resources, check out Clint’s masterclass

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127: Finding Purpose and Building a Community w/ Gina Bianchini

When it comes to identifying your purpose or purposes, it’s all about having a clear intention for your time, your talents, your energy and your focus. What makes you happy.  But more importantly, it’s about turning your purpose or purposes into something actionable and making them matter.  After helping thousands find their purpose through her companies Ning and Mighty and her Community Design course, CEO and Founder of Mighty Networks Gina Bianchini joins the show to discuss the frameworks to finding purpose and manifesting it as a future story from her new book, Purpose: Design A Community & Change Your Life.

4:04    What is Purpose?

10:01    Key Insights Around Purpose

14:53  The Purpose 30 Challenge

21:58  The Intersection of Purpose and Community

27:00  How to Host a Community

33:46  Design and Scale Culture, Not Just Community or Content

37:15  Manifesting Your Future Story

43:31  Identifying Ideal Community Members

49:37  5 Elements of Community Design

56:59  Building Community within an Existing Audience


For more on topics covered in this episode:

To purchase Purpose: Design a Community & Change Your Life, check out Purpose.co 

Connect with Gina via email | Twitter | LinkedIn

Other books referenced

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Join the Sports Learning Online community

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126: Secrets to Success in Customer Service and Company Culture w/ Dennis Snow

Following a 20-year career at Disney, Dennis Snow identified 10 key lessons that all organizations could follow to achieve the same success in customer service and company culture.  Since leaving the magic, Dennis has spent the last 23 years inspiring organizations on how to adapt those 10 lessons and apply the core service principles to their operation.  

In this episode, we unpack the lessons from his two books, “Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life” and “Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service”.

Show Notes

3:40     More Than a Summer Job

6:56     Empowering the Magic

10:33   Lessons from the Mouse

12:40   Everyone Has a Customer

13:35   Don’t Be a Customer Service Robot

19:14   Figure Out What Ticks Off Your Customers

28:01   Language Matters

35:04   Hiring vs. Coaching Empathy

37:41   Unleashing Excellence and the Service Improvement Team

41:29   Internal Improvements vs. External Training

44:38   Accountability

48:03   Drafting Job Descriptions

50:58   Onboarding and “Brag worthy” First Days

59:11   Define What the Experience Should Be


For more information on topics covered in this episode:

Connect with Dennis

Snow Associates | Email 

Dennis’ books

Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life

Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service

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119: Reframing Retreats & Resetting Your Operation w/ David Millay and Katie Rudy

In the daily grind, it’s hard to find time to work on the business when you are working in the business.   

Staff retreats offer teams the opportunity to reset, reframe the operation and define goals for a new chapter.  

In this episode, David Millay and Katie Rudy break down approaches to team retreats and key activities to include to break the cycle and improve your operation.

We cover:

  • Defining goals of the retreats
  • Establishing success metrics
  • Evaluating realities of your industry
  • The role of a facilitator


To find out how we can help you reframe your staff retreat and set a new path for the year, email David or Katie for a free strategy call.

Other topics referenced in this episode:
Greg McKeown: Where You Learned to Handle Conflict

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112: How to Become Customer-Centric vs. Customer-Focused w/ Annette Franz

The terms “customer-focused” and “customer-centric” are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences from how an organization is culturally structured to how they serve their customers.

In this week’s episode, Annette Franz joins David Millay to discuss her latest book, “Built to Win: Designing a Customer-Centric Culture that Drives Value for Your Business” and the 10 principles to become a more customer-centric organization.


Show Notes

2:20     Customer-Focused vs. Customer-Centric Organizations

4:37 Where Customer-Focused Organizations Fall Short

8:05     Making the Flip to Being Customer-Centric

13:35   The 10 Principles of Customer-Centric Organizations

22:12   Emphasizing Principle 1: Culture is the foundation (core values + behaviors)

27:06 Emphasizing Principle 2: Leadership commitment and alignment are critical to success

31:46   Emphasizing Principle 3: Employee experience – employees must be put more first

35:15 The Importance of Servant Leadership

40:57   Aligning Product Offerings with Customer Wants – What Problem Are You Solving?

45:33   Customer Acquisition vs. Customer Retention and NPS


For more on the topics we covered in today’s episode:

Check out Annette’s books – 

Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business)

Built to Win: Designing a Customer-Centric Culture that Drives Value for Your Business

From Built to Win – 10 Principles That Ensure Customer-Centricity

  1. Culture is the foundation (core values + behaviors)
  2. Leadership commitment and alignment are critical to success.
  3. Employee experience: employees must be put more first
  4. People come before products. 
  5. People come before profits.
  6. People come before metrics. 
  7. Customer understanding is the cornerstone.  
  8. Governance bridges organizational gaps. 
  9. Outside-in thinking and doing vs. inside-out thinking and doing are core.
  10. The Platinum Rule over the Golden Rule.  Dr. Tony Alessandra’s Platinum Rule Concept – Treat others the way they want to be treated.

Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 


Connect with Annette on Twitter or LinkedIn

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109: Aligning Strategy, Culture and Leadership w/ Len Perna

In today’s episode, David is joined by Len Perna, Chairman and CEO of TurnkeyZRG.  Having managed more than 1,400 executive searches, from coaches to middle management to executive leaders, Len shares how his talent advisory firm aligns clients on strategy and cultural fit with the current marketplace, the key attributes they look for in leaders and the “Moneyball” methodology they use to evaluate candidates.


Show Notes

2:54   Evolution of TurnkeyZRG

5:02   Solving People Problems

6:55   Integrating a New Leader in the Culture 

9:14   Identifying Candidates to Fit Future Cultures

10:36  The Key Leadership Attribute: Self-Awareness

16:23  Importance of Role Clarity

20:42  Hiring Internal vs. External Candidates

23:31  Evolving Leadership Skill Sets

27:09  Executive Search Interview Structure

32:40  A Placement That Didn’t Work

36:23  Making Calculated Out-of-the-Box Hires

40:48  Building the Future Front Office / Athletic Department

44:39  Capturing TurnkeyZRG’s Attention During Searches

48:00  Len’s Parting Advice


For more on topics covered during this episode:



Brimstone Consulting 

Walking the Talk 6 Archetypes of Culture

Connect with Len via email 

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Lessons from Leaders – Bryan Blair

This College Leaders segment features Bryan Blair, Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer at Washington State University.  In the four years that Bryan and his team have been in Pullman, they’ve worked to build a culture that highlights and celebrates what is unique about Wazzou.  Bryan and David hit on hiring coaches and staff that are cultural fits, embracing your identity and taking risks to move college athletics forward.

Here are three major themes from this episode:

Communicate your vision as passionately and vividly as possible (15:25)

Strategic plans are often created, shared to the team via email, then wind up on a shelf somewhere. But when Bryan and the team at Washington State unveiled their strategic plan to the department, they treated it like a new coach announcement. There were cheerleaders throwing t-shirts into the crowd and the band playing the fight song. To galvanize your team and unite everyone around one vision, be bold. Go over the top. The more effort you put into communicating your vision, the more people will pay attention and buy-in.  

Lean into what makes you unique (18:35)

Mike Leach, Washington State’s football coach from 2012-19, is one of the quirkiest characters in college sports. Rather than hiding those quirks behind-the-scenes, Bryan and team highlighted Leach’s antics and personality in every way they could, through bobblehead nights to sell more tickets, filming him answering fan questions for more content, even having him teach a college course and flying media in to sit in on the class. As Bryan told us, “If you’ve got something unique, don’t shy away from it.  Amplify it, tell that story, and then you’ll attract the right people that are interested in your uniqueness.” With so many entertainment options today, it’s more impactful to connect deeply with a smaller group of fans than connect at the surface with the masses.  

Innovate or Die (29:23)

Bryan and his team have designed a culture where innovation is a high priority, partially out of necessity to compete with traditional industry leaders. Bryan’s belief is “If you just say ‘we’re going to do what we’ve always done,’ you’re not going to get what you’ve always got. You’re going to get less of it gradually.” Your fans’ expectations of you are only partially shaped by what you’ve offered in the past. Their expectations are mostly shaped by companies they engage with every day. Amazon has changed expectations for how fast merchandise should ship. Spotify and Netflix have changed expectations for personalized recommendations.  Disney has changed expectations for customer service. If you’re not getting better at exceeding customer needs every day, your customers will eventually leave. 

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Flip the Switch

College Leaders | Celebrating and Amplifying Your Unique Culture w/ Bryan Blair

This College Leaders segment features Bryan Blair, Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer at Washington State University.  In the four years that Bryan and his team have been in Pullman, they’ve worked to build a culture that highlights and celebrates what is unique about Wazzou.  Bryan and David hit on hiring coaches and staff that are cultural fits, embracing your identity and taking risks to move college athletics forward.


2:31 Balancing Performance and Culture in Coaching Hires

6:21 Marrying a Coach’s Culture with the Department Culture

8:17 Defining Cultural “Fit”

11:25 Weaving Your Core Values Into Your Operation

13:56 Capturing What Works and Infusing a New Culture

15:25 Ingraining Your Purpose Statement in the Organization

16:28 Rallying Your Team Behind Your Mission

18:35 Embracing What Makes You Unique

25:41 Leaning Into NIL  

29:23 Equipping Your Team for Success

38:30 Bryan’s Billboard

For more on topics mentioned in this episode:

Washington State’s Strategic Plan

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger

How is the Culture in Your Kingdom? – Listen to this Flip the Switch episode for more from Dan Cockerell

Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email!

Want more from EngageMint? Subscribe to our newsletter

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Lessons from Leaders – Scott O’Neil

Industry legend Scott O’Neil joined the latest episode. From former CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, overseeing the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers, to Senior Vice President of the NBA’s Team Marketing and Business Operations division, Scott led teams at several of the most prominent sports and entertainment organizations, gaining valuable insights into leadership and employee development. The insights he shares prove that while winning is important, it isn’t the only driver of success. Here were three of our favorite insights from the show:

Create a Culture of Celebration – (44:12)

To attract and retain top talent, create a culture of celebration. Make people fall in love with the journey, not the destination. Focus on celebrating the small wins in your team’s weekly activities. First win, 5th win, 10th win milestones were all big deals for Scott’s team; it wasn’t just about million dollar sales goals. The culture of celebration was so strong, it had to be toned down after the Office DJ on Fridays led to an eviction notice. When you are going from one event to the next, what small wins are you celebrating? Not just in ticket sales, but in all your other teams?

Encourage constructive conflict – (15:30)

As smart and successful as Scott has been, there have been many times where his strong opinions were wrong. If he were surrounded with “yes men,” those strong opinions could have taken his organization down a wrong path. Instead, Scott encourages leaders to hire talented people, then create an environment that gives them license to disagree and empower them to make decisions they have conviction around. Think of your last management team or leadership team meeting… How much constructive conflict was there? How much flexibility have you given your team to make decisions? 

Data driven decisions > Industry common practices – (43:42)

Before you say you can’t afford a new staff member, have you calculated the ROI? At one point during Scott’s tenure leading the Philadelphia 76ers, they had the largest sales staff in the world for a sports team. He calculated that one sales rep paid for himself/herself in 9.5 weeks, so HBSE just kept hiring until the curve changed. He got pushback from friends who protested because that wasn’t how it was traditionally done. But to Scott, he didn’t care what the industry common practice was, he cared what the math said. How many of your organizational practices are based on “that’s just how we do it” vs. what the data says?  

If you enjoy the podcast episode and want to dive deeper into Scott’s leadership philosophy & stories from illustrious career, check out his new book, “Be Where Your Feet Are: Seven Principles to Keep You Present, Grounded, and Thriving”.

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