061: 4 personalities in the Workplace

061: 4 personalities in the Workplace

This week we’ve been looking at the four personality types as first presented by Gary Smalley.

They are Lion, Otter, Beaver and Retriever. If you missed any of the week’s episodes, head back and check them out.

Today, we’re going to talk about how all of these can work together to leverage their strengths.

The more you start to dig into these personality types, the more you’ll see them start to show up in the people in your organization.

And while some types tend to fit really well with certain roles, it’s also often happens that each person just brings that personality to their role that might not be what you would have assumed.

For example, because beavers are great with details, they make great accounts and financial specialists. Or even legal or otherwise.

But I’ve also known beavers in all kinds of other roles and I’ll see how both their strengths and weaknesses come out in those.

Lions are natural managers and leaders, but I know several lions who are in non management roles and they do a great job of speaking up, bringing to light important information and paving the way for others.

As for Otters, because of their love for being around people, they might thrive in an HR setting, but their weakness in the details could prove to be a struggle there. I love seeing otters littered throughout various groups where I’ve worked because they bring a new life to the group and a levity to what can be tough work.

And Retrievers can show up just about anywhere. I’ve often seem them sort of take on a caretaker role, looking out for coworkers, speaking up for others and doing their best to share their pulse of the organization.

Bottom line is that we each have a mix of these and we work best when all are present in a group. As well, it also helps to identify which type we are and be willing to examine those natural weaknesses that come along with that personality.

I think you’ll find the same in your business. And if you want your team to operate at its best, create a culture where strengths of one personality type feel comfortable helping to fill in for weaknesses of others.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the four personality types. I love examining how we are each designed, what makes us special and unique and how we can grow and become our best selves in the process.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. I’d love hear from you about today’s topic or just in general. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com or head to shawnwashburn.com/contact and you’ll find links to connect with me on social media as well.

042: Don and Bill Tomoff – How to Show Your People You Care

042: Don and Bill Tomoff – How to Show Your People You Care

I recently got to know two great guys by connecting on LinkedIn. They have roots from Cleveland and we met up via zoom and instantly hit it off.

They are twins Don and Bill Tomoff and they are finance executives who have a broad background in the business world as well as bringing a ton of value everyday through their twinztalk posts on LinkedIn. If you search the hashtag #twinztalk (with a z) you can learn a little bit every day about everything from productivity, tech, working with people, making a difference and more.

And, honestly, they’re just real down-to-earth guys as well who like to have fun too.

I reached out to them to get their thoughts on how to really show your people that you care for them. I loved their responses. And here they are (just a side note, they are twins and so you may not be able to tell who’s talking… you know since this is just audio, but you can be sure it is either Bill or Don ;):

[Bill and Don’s answer here]

I really appreciated Bill and Don’s insights here about caring for your people. I think each of those is solid and I especially resonate with #3 about being human and being willing to admit mistakes. It’s a little ironic because it seems like you’re not actively doing anything to care for them, but in reality you are doing a ton to connect, be relatable and let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes.

If you’re on LinkedIn, you owe it to yourself to check out their #twinztalk posts. They have been at this for quite a while and there is a whole breadth of insight and knowledge there to learn from.

Thanks Don and Bill!

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

041: Ode to White Out

041: Ode to White Out

On today’s Fun Friday episode, we continue our Ode to the Office series with an old school shout-out… Ode to White Out.

White out was friend for many years, helping me overcome misspellings and other mistakes to produce intelligible works.

I still see White Out every now and then, like that kid from high school that you lost track of but see on Facebook a few times a year. I hope you’re doing well White Out. We had a lot of good memories together.

And now, Ode to White Out

Ode to White Out

Mistakes will be made and you’re there at the ready
To blot out the words that are wrong
With a dab of your brush from a hand that is steady
You give us the chance to move on.

Like sins on our page in grammatical form
Our errors seemed destined to doom us
But then you came along and began to transform
The page and breathed new life into us

A letter magician, so skilled at your craft
We can’t believe what we are seeing
As you carefully use your white bristles and staff
To disappear what’s disagreeing

So thank you my friend, you’ve been so good to me
And our secrets are just ours to share
Especially each time that I failed to see
The difference between they’re and there

Check out previous Odes:

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. If you’ve got an idea for a future Ode to the Office episode, shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.   I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

040: Is This Still Good? Best By Dates For Processes

040: Is This Still Good? Best By Dates For Processes

I hesitate to take myself back to this memory because I’m afraid I’ll start to smell the smell all over again.

Several months ago, I came downstairs to one of the most horrific odors I’d ever smelled in our house. I honestly thought something had died somewhere. I began searching in our basement and then inside cupboards and all over.

I didn’t find anything so I started to try to see where the smell was strongest. Amazingly, it wasn’t in the basement. It filled most of our main floor, but seemed to be concentrated in the kitchen.

Now, we’ve had four kids who have all gone through nasty poop diaper stages. And I’ve personally had my daughter throw up on me when she was sick one time. Both just disgusting smells.

But this one. This one was at least on par with those.

And I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t able to find the source.

So I kept searching.

Eventually, I decided to… unfortunately… look in the dishwasher.


Just opening the dishwasher door unleashed a deadly waft of unholy air into my nostrils.

“What in the world could possibly be doing this?” I wondered.

I scanned the few items inside and finally found the culprit.

It was a visually innocent looking lid to a tupperware container. No visible residue but a smell that could drive back a small army.

But why in the world did it reek so badly?

Well, eventually the story came out. One of our sons had found it under his bed. Who knows what had been in there but it had been there… for months. Amazing chemistry experiment to be sure.

And we tried and tried to wash that thing in any way imaginable and just couldn’t get  rid of the smell. So, it had to go bye bye.

In short, it failed the smell test.

You know the smell test. We use it for milk to make sure it’s not going to kill us even though it’s passed it’s best by date.

Best by dates are good. They give us a ballpark of how long we should expect that certain food product to be good for.

That said, they are also merely a guard rail for us.

It’s still up to us to employ the smell test to see if they are still usable or not.

And today, I want to propose that your processes in your organization are the same way.

Our processes should all have best by dates of some sort. Something put in place that tells us, “hey, when this date comes up, do a smell check on this process to see if it’s still good.”

Unfortunately, most processes I’ve seen (and many that I’ve personally put in place) are put out into our organizations as a permanent instruction or guide, never to be challenged or reviewed again. Destined to live happily ever after in the land of business make believe.

But that won’t happen without a best by date. Things change. Technology advances. People come and go. New ideas and philosophies come along. And if we’re not willing to do a smell test now and then, our processes will grow stale and stanky, like that tupperware lid.

And then one day, you’ll open up that proverbial dishwasher door and realize that your processes are outdated, inefficient, and need to be either tossed or refreshed.

But just like in my situation, you’ll need to be brave to do your process smell check. Especially if you are the one that created the process in the first place.

In the long run, though, it will be worth it and keep your organization fresh and productive.

So take some time this week to review some of your processes and do your own smell check. It can’t be worse than what I found on that fateful day… dang, I can still smell it!

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

031: Ode to the Zoom Meeting

031: Ode to the Zoom Meeting

On today’s Fun Friday, we continue on in our Ode to the Office series with something everyone can relate to.

Today I bring you Ode To The Zoom Meeting.

Ode To The Zoom Meeting

I glance at my watch and my heart starts to race
Just minutes until I will show them my face
Unless it’s just voice and then I’ll be OK
Another Zoom meeting almost underway

I click on the link and head into the matrix
Relieved to discover all squares there are faceless
But then one by one they begin to reveal
Their faces and backgrounds, both virtual and real

We spend a few minutes on small talk and chatter
Then Joe tries to talk but something’s the matter
His mouth is just moving but no sound is coming
“You’re on mute!” we all shout… so loud that it’s numbing

The rest of the meeting goes by in a blur
Some screen shots are shared and I am pretty sure
That though it was nice to be all there together
A simple group text might just have been better

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. If you’ve got an idea for a future Ode to the Office episode, shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.   I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter