secrets to scale

Secrets To Scale Podcast
026 - How To Implement An Amazing Workplace Culture With Logan Mallory-

026 – How To Implement An Amazing Workplace Culture With Logan Mallory

Secrets To Scale is a marketing and entrepreneurship podcast that revolves around hearing the stories of successful entrepreneurs and uncovering their secrets to scaling their businesses. Music for every episode of this podcast was written and produced by Treycen Clausse.

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Tanner:

This week on the show, I have Logan Mallory, VP of Marketing at Motivosity. Logan joins me to talk about arguably the most important thing when it comes to scaling a business and establishing an amazing workplace culture. Logan and I talked about precisely what you need to do to build a culture that allows your business to scale. I absolutely loved this interview. So stick around.

Welcome to the show, Logan. I’m really excited to have you on the show. Go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

Logan:

Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be with you. I’m Logan Mallory. I’m currently working as the vice president of marketing at Motivosity. I’ve spent time previously in digital roles for Log Me In, out of Boston, Jive Communications out of Utah and also Workfront. So I’ve spent some time with some really, really wonderful companies. Motivosity was a great spot for me. It was the perfect intersection of my personal brand and the company and the product that I was representing. And so I feel unleashed in my career, a couple of other things that might make me worth being a podcast guest, I suppose. I’m an adjunct professor at BYU. I teach at the Marriott Cchool of Business there have a wonderful family and so far Utah’s where we call home. So glad, to be here.

Tanner:

Awesome, man. So how did your career get started? Can you tell us your story?

Logan:

Yeah, absolutely. So growing up my whole life, people always said something like, Hey Logan, you’d be awesome at sales. And what they really meant was Logan, you’re kind of a nice guy and you can talk to people. And I listened to people’s advice. And so I just thought I was going to finish college and get out of school and get into a sales career. So I did that and ended up that I wasn’t thrilled with that decision. I learned a lot in sales. I grew, I got a lot of positive experience and I wasn’t even necessarily bad at it, but I didn’t love the stress of it. I was sitting in a, in an office in Seattle working an insurance company and kind of a sales slash marketing role. And then the owner of the company said, Logan, I need you to go explore this project and I don’t have anybody else to do it. Just go work on it for me. And what he asked me to do was to look at email service providers to basically go find a diff different companies that we could send emails through. And that was my very first experience with digital marketing. And I realized almost immediately it was exactly what I was supposed to do. And the reason that it was so compelling to me was because it still allowed me to contribute to the business and take an analytical perspective and be responsible for revenue, but it didn’t necessarily have that month to month stress that I wasn’t built to cope with that sales has. I look back and I think that one little project that somebody randomly asked me to take on changed my career that led me to work at a retail you know, B to C organization. And I was, I was responsible for managing their multi-million dollar website. And I didn’t deserve that job. I said the right things. I knew a couple people. I tried really hard and I, and I got lucky and, you know, the, the hiring manager saw something in me that he thought would be worth giving a shot. And, again, I can point to that kind of six-month period as I don’t know, call it luck, call it blessings, call it like, whatever you want to call it. It changed my career.

Tanner:

Wow. That’s an amazing story. And I think that happens to a lot of marketers, right? Because, you know, from the outside, looking in marketing is truly a lot different than most people realize. And what I like about marketing is that, you know, there’s an artistic side to it. With graphic design and website design, but also really analytical. And you asked you have to make data-driven decisions. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds, right?

Logan:

Yeah. I think I default to the data side, right? I’m creative, but I’m not a creative. And so that’s been one thing that I’ve been trying to balance out recently in my career is how do I add I’m really good at the data and analytics and the demand gen and justifying spend, but how do I change an ad in the brand portion? And so that’s been something I’m actively thinking about. You know, one of the things that I  think has been helpful to me since I made that pivot to digital marketing is since then I’ve been extremely intentional. I don’t take the job just for money. I don’t take the job that I’m already doing. I’m looking for the role that kind of rounds out my resume. So I didn’t go from a B to B to C organization, to another B to C organization. I made a jump into technology. And instead of focusing on e-com and, you know, shopping carts, I started thinking about a site performance and search engine optimization. And so it added a new puzzle piece to my career, which was cool.

Tanner:

Yeah. I think that’s really cool. So, Logan, what would you attribute your success to over the years?

When I am blunt, I’m also kind. And I think that that’s like been a secret weapon of mine.

Logan:

I’d say two things. One, it’s a quote, unquote hard skill, and one it’s quote unquote soft skill, right? And the hard skill is I believe marketing should drive revenue. I think if we’re just, if we’re putting up billboards and we’re you know, sending out nice messages, that’s not going to last long and executive suite isn’t going to love that. And so I’m a firm believer that I can prove what I generated for the company. And that very hard skill has been beneficial for me. I honestly think it’s helped me if I stand out from other marketers. It is because of that. On the soft skill side, I can’t remember. I think it was like my seventh-grade science teacher or something. He said to me, you can say anything you want to people as long as you’re smiling when you do it.

And I think one thing that has been helpful for me in my career is I’m often very bold. And maybe even borderline, no, I wouldn’t say abrasive. I’m very bold. I’m not afraid to say something is not a good idea. I’m not afraid to say we shouldn’t do this because, but I’m also not a jerk when I do that. Right. I’m not vindictive. I’m not trying to make somebody look dumb. I’m just trying to help the business learn or remember what they already knew. And so when I am blunt, I’m also kind. And I think that that’s like been a secret weapon of mine. I think being able to like stand up in the room and say, this is the wrong move, but still not be a jerk about it has really been a soft skill. I’m glad my seventh grade science teacher helped me figure out.

Tanner:

Yeah. You know, that’s really important when it comes to, you know, establishing a really positive work place culture. It depends, you know, anyone beneath you and if you’re a jerk to them, anytime we come to us with an idea, then you know, they’re not going to continue to do that.

Logan:

Yeah. Well, you don’t get too many ideas after you or after you’re a jerk once or twice.

Tanner:

Right. So let’s talk about Motivosity. So most of our city is all about keeping employees happy. Right. but internally, how does Motivosity retain employees by making them happy?

Our core values are stay young, serve always, and love what you do.

Logan:

This place is the best. It’s been about four or five months that I’ve been here and it is everything I hoped for. I got really good at a couple of bad jobs early in my career, and managers or bosses that, you know, caused some trouble. And so I got really good at finding red flags and there were no red flags at Motivosity for me. And so far I was right. Motivosity does a lot of things. We’ve got three core values that we live by. And we really do focus, they’re on our walls, of course, like every trendy company should have, but they’re also in our Motivosity platform and we’re thanking each other for living the values that we live every day. So our core values are stay young, serve always, and love what you do.

And Scott Johnson, the CEO of Motivosity, lives those, right? Scott takes Friday mornings off and goes skiing. A couple of weeks ago, or a couple months ago, he said, I’m going to go boating in Lake Powell. And he took a bunch of people to Lake Powell on a day trip, right. They woke up at four. And so Scott stays young and really sets that example for us. And I think that keeps people happy and retained. You know, the second value is serve always. And we really serve each other. There is no one in this company that doesn’t help with other projects that isn’t willing to be involved. You know, I was sick a couple of weeks ago and my counterpart in sales called me up and he said, I miss seeing you at the office. Can I bring you dinner?

That’s a serve, always mentality. Right? So that retains people. And then last but not least love what you do. We don’t hire people that are like lukewarm about Motivosity or lukewarm about their job. We hire people that love their work and love things outside of work. And so they’re energetic people. And I think those three values there finite enough that you can consume them. And yet they’re meaningful enough that they have a real impact. So those are some of the values, ways that we keep people around. It seems to be working.

Tanner:

Yeah, that’s incredible. I mean, really easy to remember, but what’s really important when it comes to a culture is that people actually live by them and they’re not just breaking the law. Right?

Logan:

We’ve got this thing that we do, it’s called an essential day. And once a quarter where you could use the word encouraged or required or asked, or I don’t know what word you’d use, but once a quarter, we’re asked to leave the office and go basically be alone, right? Find some solitude, turn technology off, find some quiet, and then think about our spiritual and professional and relational wellbeing. And to basically use that as a day to like, reset and think about what we want to accomplish. And you don’t see that in a lot of companies, right? Like a company telling you to turn your phone off for a day. But, but that’s another way that we live those values and it’s impactful.

Tanner:

Yeah. And you know, it truly shows that most of our city cares about their employees. Right? They want their health places succeed. They care about their wellbeing. And, you know, if the employee truly believes that, you know, their employer believes in them and cares about them that much, then I’m sure they’re about 10 times as productive, right?

70% of your employee engagement is based off of the manager.

Logan:

Yeah. Yeah. There’s this stat there’s the staff from Gallup actually. And it says that 70% of your employee engagement is based off of the manager, right? So like that means you can buy ping pong tables, you can bring in lunch, you can do unlimited PTO. And you’re still only addressing 30% of the employee engagement equation. And so when you have manager relationships that are positive, that’s how you really move that needle. And Motivosity knows that, it’s a part of our platform and our software and what we focus on in providing for our customers, but we are definitely our own customers.

Tanner:

Yeah. And I love that you guys practice what you preach, right. When you’re selling software that’s supposed to help other businesses doing the same thing that you’re doing, you’re basically just licensing your own business model, right?

Logan:

Yeah. Yeah. It would be pretty hypocritical if we were a miserable place to work.

Tanner:

Yeah, no question. So you know, every business claims they have an amazing culture. They probably just have ping pong tables. Like you said, you know, just perks like that. What do you think makes a company’s culture actually great. I know you mentioned the manager the dynamic relationship with the manager. What else is there?

Logan:

Again, I think remembering that 30% statistic is really important, right? anything you do that’s not based on your manager’s relationship with people is only impacting 30%, but you can go and do positive psychology research. You can study Gallup, you can study Boston Consulting Group, or the Harvard Business Review. And you’re going to find the same things, great cultures. Sure. There is a certain amount of where pay impacts things, right? You’ve got to make a certain amount of money to feel comfortable and safe in your life and secure. When you start to get out of pay, then what really makes a great culture is helping people feel like they’re a part of the community, helping people feel like they’re appreciated and recognized for their work. And then again, having a meaningful relationship with their manager.

And so those are three core elements that, that we just have to think about more. The problem is that when you are in COVID quarantine and you are locked away, you are distanced from the culture, right? And you’re not passing people in the hallway. So they’re not being recognized and thanked, and you’re probably not talking or seeing your manager as often. So we have this new set of problems that, yeah, there’s like an, and I don’t want to a little bit, but it’s a separate podcast, right? Like there is the health part of this. And then there is the emotional impact of this pandemic. And so again, I don’t want to be flippant at all about the health part, but the emotional part where we’re going to be like psychology studies in the future in 25 years, there’s going to be textbooks with chapters about what this time period did to people mentally and emotionally.

And so we have to find ways to replace that. And I’m not a drinker, but virtual happy hours don’t cut it, right? Like a virtual happy hour once a month, doesn’t make you feel like a part of the community make you feel recognized and help your relationship with your boss. So companies need to figure that out. One other thing, and then I’ll stop monologuing, Tanner. But top-down cultures are hard because every single person has different needs, different family circumstances, different desires or priorities. And so that’s a really hard thing for a CEO to get, right? Top-down incentives don’t work very often. When a CEO tries to take care of a hundred or 300 people or a thousand people, they can’t meet all those needs. And so great organizations with great cultures, including Motivosity, they empower the frontline manager to be responsible for that employee engagement and satisfaction, because that is a way where it’s consumable rather than trying to take care of everyone at once.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, I couldn’t agree with you more. So kind of along those lines, what do you think a lot of companies are doing wrong when it comes to culture and employee retention? Not limited to the type of business either, but might be good to just focus on tech companies.

30% of the U.S. workforce is quote, unquote engaged. And then the other 70% is either unengaged or disengaged.

Logan:

You know, here’s one thing. I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt. I think a lot of people are trying their best, right? Like, I don’t think there’s a lot of leaders out there that are like, I’m going to hose everybody in this place and make it miserable. And I’m going to grind everybody’s nose, like, I don’t think there’s, I think there’s some of that, but not a ton of that. I think one of the, one of the distractions is running the business, right? Like sometimes we look at, I’ve got to go run the business. And then in another silo, I’ve got to take care of people. And what of those are one silo, right? What if taking care of people makes the business run better? I think, again, it’s Gallup, they said engaged teams are 21% more productive than unengaged teams.

So the stats have been around forever, Tanner. 30% of the U.S. workforce is quote, unquote engaged. And then the other 70% is either unengaged or disengaged. And disengaged is like where you’re spreading rumors and like basically trying to sabotage stuff. That’s horrible. And so we’ve got to get better at that. And again, I think I don’t want to be redundant or repetitive, but you really have to think about how do you empower your managers to have better relationships with their team? Because that’s the person, the manager is who is where culture is built. You can have a ping pong table, but if you get up and your manager gives you a snarky comment or asks where you’re going, or does it passive aggressive, Oh, you’re playing ping pong again. Then that ping pong table is actually a liability rather than an asset.

So how do you empower your managers? How do you make your managers feel empowered and trained and capable and you know, not all of us are built with those skill sets. And so you’ve got to teach them, you’ve got to, you’ve got to train them and then you have to also coach to them. I did a webinar a couple of weeks ago, or I guess it was last week. The concept was leave managing in 2020 and be a coach in 2021. And we talked about the differences there, and sometimes you have to be a manager, right? Like when you have attendance problems or performance issues or sexual harassment, like you got to be a manager and you’ve got to solve it. The other 95% of the time is probably a coaching attitude that makes cultures better.

Tanner:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more on that. I mean, it’s just so important. And you know, the second employee feels like they’re just trading time for money and not really engaged, like you said, or feeling valued. I mean, wow. That’s a really staggering statistic that 70% of all workers are unengaged or disengaged.

Logan:

Yeah. The other crazy thing about that is that the research shows that statistic has been consistent for 12 years, meaning all the things we’ve done, think about the things we’ve done since the iPhone was created to make work better. Anything we’ve tried to do in the last 12 years, hasn’t really moved the needle. And so maybe we’re trying some of the wrong things.

Tanner:

Wow. That is just insane. So Logan, what’s one piece of advice you could give an entrepreneur, maybe they’re an early stage founder, or maybe they’re just barely hiring their first employees. What can they do to start building up that culture and keeping our employees around?

Logan:

Yeah. Maybe the answer is that your culture starts in the interview process. Right? What are you talking about in the interview? What are you looking for? Are you settling? We at Motivosity, we’ve got a really strong philosophy that we don’t say yes to a candidate unless they are a heck yes. And, so that means, we’ve said no to some people who are probably good talent, but maybe the time’s not right. Or their energy level wasn’t what we were looking for. Or they weren’t excited enough about the product. So we’re not snotty about it. We’re not elitist, but try to be judicious and finding people that will fit our culture. So I think taking time in the hiring process is really important.

You know, one of the things, I had this happen twice, one at a job interview that I ended up not taking the role and that Motivosity, in both of those situations, the CEO offered to meet with my wife. One offered to take us out to dinner. The other said, your wife is going to have questions. Let me answer them, let me help her or give her insights. And to me, that’s a cultural thing. Like immediately I knew that was a culture I can be confident in. And that I was like, if these guys are willing to talk to my wife or open up the books to my wife, then that says something about who they are as a leader. I’m not saying you should go to dinner with everyone, spouse or partner.

What I am saying is in the interview process, that set a cultural tone for me. And I think that kind of an attitude attracts the right people. So as an entrepreneur, you’re starting a new company, you probably don’t have a ton of budget for a stocked out cereal counter all week. And you probably can’t afford energy drinks every day. So find the things that matter. How do you here’s a cool idea. I heard the other day. What have you said, thank you to your employee’s spouse. What if you sent the thank you letter and said, thanks for letting you know, Isaac or Joe come on the team, or what if you sent a thank you letter or a letter home and said, I wanted you to know how valuable Isaac is to me. Isaac took on this project. He killed it.

I know I can trust him. Like, it’s one thing to say it to me, but if you can make my spouse realize that I’m good, like, and that I’m working hard, that’s meaningful. And so that doesn’t cost any money, takes 15 minutes and a stamp like that kind of stuff. We’ll build love and appreciation and devotion. And then here’s another thought I just had while I was talking when you’re in a startup mode or really in a lot of places, you can be so focused on moving fast and try new things and experimenting and pushing, pushing, pushing that maybe you screw up, right? Like maybe you make mistakes or somebody is trying to onboard and they, and they do something wrong. That is a time where you can build culture. You can make that person feel bad and embarrassed and shame them, or you can go coach them through that and help them see how to do it better and make them feel like it’s no big deal and we’ll get it right next time. And I’m here with you and you can take responsibility for that. Those are free cultural attitudes that make people feel good.

Tanner:

Yeah. I love that. In fact we, we always design in interview questions to directly coincide with our core values. And I completely agree with the whole failure thing. In fact, one of our values is we embrace failure. Someone makes someone makes a mistake. You know, it’s not a big deal. Because they should be learning from it. And if you don’t make mistakes and fail, then you aren’t learning. If the same mistake happens over and over again, and you probably have a problem and it’s not learning thing.

Logan:

Right. Yeah, absolutely.

Tanner:

So Logan, what would you say your secrets to scale are?

I always have an idea that I can replace a current effort with. And I think what that does is it does allow me to always be moving forward.

Logan:

Here’s one of mine. I always have an idea in my back pocket. If you were to go look in my in my email folder, you’d see like a management folder and you’d see an invoices folder, you’d see a leads folder. And then you’d see an ideas folder. And that ideas folder is filled with a million things. It’s filled with articles that I found compelling. It’s filled with emails from people who had a recommendation. It’s filled with emails from vendors that might offer something I haven’t tried. And so, you know how there are those meetings where you like, look around the room and you’re like, all right, we need to do something. Or this didn’t work. What should we do next? Or, you know, you’re trying to like plan out for the next year. That’s when I opened my ideas folder and start pulling things out to recommend and to test.

Or maybe I learned that something I’ve been doing isn’t working anymore. The market changed. People are no longer in the office. So I can’t send direct mail. I always have an idea that I can replace a current effort with. And I think what that does is it does allow me to always be moving forward. It means I don’t have a month or a quarter where I’m just kind of spinning my wheels and that’s important to scaling. Right? Like you can’t burn time like that. You’ve got to have ideas in your back pocket. You know, you’ve got somebody up, you got an I’m about to use a baseball analogy, which is dangerous for me, but you got somebody batting, you got somebody up to bat or in the box and you you’ve got things that are on deck. You’ve got ideas on deck so that you’re always moving forward, not spinning wheels.

Tanner:

Yeah. I really love that, it definitely prevents you from ever getting to a point where you just hit a brick wall and you don’t have any other options. Right? Nothing worse than putting all of your faith and do a single marketing campaign and it completely flops. And you’re like, Oh no, what now? But yeah, you’re always prepared. So I really liked that. And I think that’s definitely a huge piece of scale.

So Logan, I really appreciate you taking the time. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think might benefit the audience?

Logan:

I’ve just got two really quick thoughts. The first one is from Clayton Christiansen and I think he’s talking about networking. But he says something like if you are, basically, it says, if you start networking, when you need a job, it’s like planting a sapling when you need shade. And I think that concept applies really widely be thinking long-term, be thinking about five years. And what’s the experience you need on your resume to get a job in 2026, not in September. And, and if you spend a couple of minutes a month, considering that I think you’re ahead of about 90% of people in the world with a tree instead of sapling perspective.

The other thing that I would say, and this is maybe not even professional, man, we need people to be nice. Like, like kindness goes a really long way. I had I had a really interesting experience the other day. Somebody messaged me on LinkedIn and asked for help. And my initial response was you are a grown human being. I have kids to take care of like figure this out by yourself. And for just a couple seconds, I like shut down and anger and frustration that this person was asking for more of my time. And then I had this like really interesting, almost immediate perspective shift where I realized, I knew what that person was going through. Like I was suddenly empathetic with them and I changed my tone and I reached out and I said, let me, let me help you let’s get together. And that I’m not always like that. I’m not always nice. I’ve got an edge, but the world needs kindness. And in this environment, kindness goes a long way, kind of stands out kindness, attracts great people and great results. And so do everything you can to be kind. We need more of that.

Tanner:

Yeah. I really love that. I agree. Kindness goes a really long way and you know, even if, even if it’s a no, you know, if someone’s messaging you on LinkedIn and you can still be kind about it, right? You don’t have to be a jerk.

Logan:

Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Tanner:

So I’m really big on that. Anyways, thanks again, Logan. What’s a good way for everyone listening to get in contact with you?

Logan:

L am so easy to find on LinkedIn. I’m there almost every day and it’s kind of my playground. If you Google Logan Mallory, I think my LinkedIn will show up first. If you look for me on LinkedIn, I probably have on a jacket and a goofy smile. So if you, if you just look on LinkedIn for Logan Mallory, it won’t have too hard of a time finding me.

Logan:

All right. Thanks again, Logan.

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