Ep. 80: It’s OK to screw up.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Vulnerability, the acceptance of failure, is what makes leaders great. The common thinking of perfection leading to high-quality performance is a myth. Sure, it may work for a while, but it’s not sustainable in the long-term. Leaders who push for perfection burn out their people very quickly. Leaders who push for self-improvement, for taking risks and failing along the way – as long as you learn from these failures – eventually win.

Failure has no correlation with age or experience either. The most senior and experienced contributors or leaders should not be afraid of screwing up.

Kristen Hadeed unintentionally launched Student Maid while attending college ten years ago. Since then, Student Maid has employed hundreds of students and is widely recognized for its industry-leading retention rate and its culture of trust and accountability. But Kristen and her company were no overnight sensa­tion. In fact, they were almost nothing at all.

Along the way, Kristen got it wrong almost as often as she got it right. Giving out hugs instead of feed­back, fixing errors instead of enforcing accountability, and hosting parties instead of cultivating meaning­ful relationships were just a few of her many mistakes. But Kristen’s willingness to admit and learn from those mistakes helped her give her people the chance to learn from their own screwups too.

Today, Kristen helps organizations make a lasting, meaningful impact on people by creating environments in which they thrive. She has worked with organizations in a variety of industries including healthcare, education, retail, real estate, nonprofit, hospitality, aviation and consumer products. In October 2017, she published her first book, “Permission To Screw Up,” in which she tells the stories of her biggest mistakes in leadership. She hopes to inspire other leaders to share their “perfectly imperfect” stories of success to empower people with the knowledge that even if they screw up, they can still make it. Kristen and Student Maid have been featured in news outlets including PBS, FOX Inc., NBC, TIME and Forbes. Her first TED Talk has received nearly three million hits on YouTube.

Today with Kristen we talk about:
– How she’s built a people-centric culture around trust, accountability and empowerment.
– Some of her biggest screwups and what she learned from them.
– How she approaches coaching and mentoring with her employees.
– How she created a culture of belonging and camaraderie when her employees rarely spend time in the office.

Note: you can follow Kristen on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Student Maid on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Support for this podcast is brought to you by Culture Amp… Eliminate the guesswork of company culture with Culture Amp, the world’s largest independent employee feedback platform. Culture Amp goes beyond aggregating survey results to deliver rich insights and data-driven action plans on an easy-to-use interface. With a powerful platform, science-backed surveys, and a focus on our customer’s success, Culture Amp helps you increase employee engagement and build a positive company culture.Start developing a deep understanding of your employee’s experience today by visiting cultureamp.com/ex.

If you want to send me feedback, suggestions for future topics or guests, you can reach me at svincent@exsummit.com or on Twitter @eX_Summit.

Thanks for listening.

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