In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The importance of addressing the emotional impacts of change
- How to increase your adaptability and resiliency
- The importance of shifting your beliefs about change
- The required traits to lead through change
Brad Wolff: 00:00
Welcome to the, “It IS About You podcast”! Today I’m honored to have as my guest Cassandra Worthy and she’s with “We Are Change Enthusiasts LLC”. Cassandra, welcome to the show!
Cassandra Worthy: 00:20
Thank you so much Brad, I appreciate it!
Brad Wolff: 00:22
Absolutely! So if you would, would you share a little bit about yourself and your organization? “We Are Change Enthusiasts LLC”.
Cassandra Worthy: 00:31
Of course! Yes, So again, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be here on the, on the platform with “The Big Brad Wolff”
Cassandra Worthy: 00:37
This is cool.
Cassandra Worthy: 00:39
So yes, I am the Founder and CEO of the firm. “We Are Change Enthusiasts LLC” and we’re a Corporate Speaking and Consulting Firm working with our client base to face what I call “The Emotional Landscape Of Change” head on. For me, I’m a Chemical Engineer by trade. I spent 15 years working in Corporate Predominantly in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry and at Procter and Gamble. But within that space I spent a lot of time in M and A. And I dealt with the stress and the frustration and the anger and the fear and anxiety that comes with really acute changes. And so I’ve cultivated something that I’ve Trademark as “Changed Enthusiasm”, which is recognizing when you get those fields. They’re are signals, and signals to a moment of an opportunity to really choose a better feeling and a better result. And so now we fear that strategy and its Associated Tools, the latest and greatest in Emotional Intelligence Tools as well to bring a nurture resiliency and adaptability and our clients organizations.
Brad Wolff: 01:37
Awesome! So it sounds to me like you’re helping companies address that elephant in the room that’s there, that typically they want to avoid
Cassandra Worthy: 01:47
Exactly! Yes, And I found in my own personal experience because you know, I’ve been that employee going through an acquisition, so fed up, so aggravated in that downward spiral, you know, that of the field. I’m venting, I’m commiserating with colleagues and basically ready to walk out of the door. And by not facing the emotions head on, that’s when attrition rates go sky high. Because as humans, naturally we want to emote. It’s important that we emote, but you know, they’re not usually given the opportunity to do that in a productive way. And so it leads to the downward spiral and the commiseration, which then says, you know what, the grass is greener somewhere else, I’m out of here. And so we present, you know, these tools and these platforms to help deal with those emotions and really harness them to accelerate change and transformation journeys.
Brad Wolff: 02:38
Awesome! So you’re addressing something really important that is there. And if you don’t address it and ignore it, it’s going to cause your major problems. So, Tell me a little bit about your journey that brought you to where you are today in this field.
Cassandra Worthy: 02:59
Sure! Well it’s meandering
Brad Wolff: 02:59
Aren’t all journeys in reality when you ran them seeing like you’re meandering
Cassandra Worthy: 03:09
That’s True! At least they’re really good ones
Brad Wolff: 03:11
It wouldn’t be a worthy story if it didn’t involve lost in the wilderness into some extent
Cassandra Worthy: 03:17
That is correct! And it wouldn’t be a real story. Cassandra Worthy, wasn’t talking about it.
Brad Wolff: 03:22
Cassandra Worthy: 03:25
Oh no! If somebody had sat me down and told me 10 years ago that I would be CEO of a consulting firm, traveling the world, given keynote, leading workshops and working with corporations in this capacity, I would have, my job would have dropped and I probably would have laughed at that you’re lying. So like I said, I’m a Chemical Engineer. I’m from the Atlanta Area, originally I went to Georgia Tech and I started my career at Procter and Gamble in Consumer Packaged Goods. I have always been, you know, a fan of Science and Math. I tell people that Science and Math chose me because I am just have a really high natural curiosity. I like to explore what I call the mysteries of the universe. And I have found that Science and Math give me tools to do that. And so working as a Chemical Engineer in Consumer Packaged Goods was a dream.
Cassandra Worthy: 04:14
You know, I’ve, I worked in the hair care industry, I’ve worked in the grooming business, doing some really cool stuff with plastics, injection molding, extrusion, you know, The Venus Blade – Gillette, Lube Rings, Luber Strips, really cool stuff. I’ve also worked in the Alkaline Battery Chemistry Field with Duracell, and it was just it was an incredible career. But I always kind of had this whisper, this intuition within that told me that my gifts and talents were not going to be best served to the world by leading organizations doing innovation within a traditional kind of corporate role. And so slowly but surely, I started to listen to that whisper because it just kind of grew louder and louder over the years. And I decided one day to write down all of the things that folks around me had said about me as far as the unique value that I offer.
Cassandra Worthy: 05:10
And although I love doing Shampoo Formula Design, I love scaling up Shampoo Designs. The unique value wasn’t like “Cassandra you know, you created a banging ass Shampoo”. It wasn’t that, it was usually about my joy, my enthusiasm, my energy, the positivity that I bring to my teams and inject into my teams. And so when I wrote all those compliments down as well as listening to my own intuition, it started to paint a very different picture than working in a traditional corporate role. And so I just followed those curiosities and it led me to, to this, it led me to a keynote speaking a lot of facilitating workshops and then really leveraging my corporate and all those fields that I had in the corporate experience with acquisition to really, you know bring this mindset, this perspective to people all over the world, struggling in the face of change.
Brad Wolff: 06:10
Awesome! So tell me what are the key things you do to help organizations better deal with this thing called change and the emotional turmoil that it brings about?
Cassandra Worthy: 06:23
Of course! So my firm has what I call “A Three Tier Offering”. The First Tier is just the keynote. So I go to a lot of Corporate Conferences, a lot of Association Conferences, doing Keynote Engagements. Basically sharing this mindset, this strategy of Change Enthusiasm, my own personal experience and how I came to cultivate it. And then pointers and tips to help individuals harness their emotional energy when going through change. So I do that all over the country for various clients, all state Procter and Gamble, Jones Lang LaSalle, Institute of Process Excellence. So a lot of different, you know, large and small corporations and associates into all over the country. And then the second tier is where I coupled that with a workshop. You know, I love being on stage, I love doing keynotes, but in some respects that’s kind of like a flash in the pan, you know what I mean?
Cassandra Worthy: 07:11
Like, you know, I share that strategy and then four or five weeks later, it’s not necessarily really taking hold. You know what I mean? Because people get back into their, you know, their regular drumbeat of work. And so in the next more Premium Tier, I coupled that with a workshop with, and I like to keep a workshop small, anywhere from 25 to maybe 50 folks. And I’m sharing practical tools to leverage the strategy and really bring it to life in your own work. And we use specific examples that hit the individuals, you know, at whole plate, right? Real true examples, real life examples of what they’re going through and how to leverage those tools. And then the third tier is a really more in depth engagement with my clients. And typically it’s when they’re going through acute change. So an acquisition or a merger was just announced and the integration is about to take place.
Cassandra Worthy: 08:02
This is where I come in and I train what I call “Resident Change Enthusiasts” or RCEs. There’s an application process for individuals to become RCE and I work with the client to identify those individuals that have already shown a certain level of adaptability and resilience and have them apply to become this RCE. And essentially their role is to become champions, they become the Mavericks, and really teach and lead this whole strategy and role model. The strategy of changed enthusiasm. I also train them in the latest emotional intelligence tools as well as how to perform and lead what we call “Signal Sessions”, which is providing a productive platform for individuals in the organizations to emote. And in doing so, recognizing that they’re sitting squarely in a moment of opportunity. So it’s almost like we’re transforming those lunch or breakfast table venting conversations that employees are going to do anyway when they’re stressed out. And we’re giving them a more productive platform to do it under the leadership of these internal RCE. And so that’s truly a way to sustainably really nurture this whole mindset and get into the fabric of an organization.
Brad Wolff: 09:10
I want to highlight what you just said there Cassandra, because being inspired with a keynote does not change habits. What we do are habitual patterns and the real habit work is a persistent patient, day by day effort that gets built into the culture. And that’s what you’re talking about with your more in depth work where people commit to making this a sustainable part of their culture. So I want to highlight that
Cassandra Worthy: 09:43
And thank you for saying it because that’s the key. And I tell people over and over a published many articles about it. In order to transform culture, it starts, the core is transforming belief. And the reason that culture change is slow. And that it doesn’t happen overnight is because belief doesn’t change overnight. And so you have to be very intentional with how you role model behaviors and what kind of communications you’re putting out there in order to transform belief. And this whole strategy of obtains enthusiasm in itself is a belief structure. It’s a mindset. And so when you get those RCE and planted throughout the organization, they’re role modeling. They are, you know, really channeling this behavior. They can then build momentum and shifting the core belief, commonly held beliefs throughout your organization.
Brad Wolff: 10:35
Awesome! And that’s really the nuts and bolts of what really brings about the change rather than someone getting excited and talking about it.
Cassandra Worthy: 10:44
That’s correct! Don’t get me wrong, I love doing keynotes
Brad Wolff: 10:47
Right! Well that’s an instigator of certain people that say, you know what, there’s something here. We need to go further. But people don’t change because of some inspiration. At the end of the day, that daily habit of how we think and do things. So, Cassandra given that you’re a Change Enthusiasts Expert, what do you believe are the keys for people in organizations to increase their adaptability and resiliency?
Cassandra Worthy: 11:20
What do I believe are the keys? Honestly, it’s rooted in this mindset of Change Enthusiasm. The key is to recognize when you get those feelings of frustration, when you feel anxious about a change that’s coming, when you’re stressed out about having to lead an organization through change, it’s recognizing those feelings as a signal and a signal to an opportunity. It’s a massive opportunity not to catapult your career as well as help nurture the development of the employees, your organization, and so they’re resiliency. I always say resiliency is a muscle. It’s a muscle that has to be worked out in order to grow stronger because we’re not born with it, right? You have to. Children have to build their resistance, their resiliency to disease, just as we have to build our resiliency to change and disruption, and you do that to the practice of experiencing change and when you can practice it, recognizing when the fields happen and they will. I too get frustrated, I get angry, I get stressed out, but I recognize them as a signal to my opportunity. And that how you can quickly bounce back. And that’s how you can really start to strengthen that resiliency muscle.
Brad Wolff: 12:32
I really appreciate what you just said, which is I think a key thing that sometimes people don’t realize, we’re not just born resilient. Well, I’m just not that way. That’s just not who I am. That’s not true. It’s developed.
Cassandra Worthy: 12:48
Brad Wolff: 12:50
And if we believe and convince ourselves that it’s something that you have or don’t have, then we won’t develop it because we’ll just hide it behind. Well, I’m just not resilient.
Cassandra Worthy: 13:02
Yeah! Anyone, anyone and everyone can become resilient. You’ve got to be open. And I say be friend failure and recognize that this whole attribute of resiliency is a muscle and it can get built stronger and stronger. The more that you open yourself to the opportunity that change, transformation and disruption present to you.
Brad Wolff: 13:26
Absolutely! So Cassandra, tell me what excites you most about what you do, because you’re obviously very excited about it.
Cassandra Worthy: 13:36
Really! Yeah, what excites me most is the potential to transform somebody’s mindset as it relates to change. And to see in someone the light that goes on, the brightness that happens when they adopt to that mindset. And you know, oftentimes when we go through really tough struggles, really tough changes when we’re in it, it’s miserable, but it’s maybe five, six, seven weeks out we come to find that it was the best thing that ever happened to us. And so my work and what gets me so excited is to shorten that time, that five, six, seven, how many ever weeks. You know, it takes a certain individual to get to that, to that hindsight vision to accelerate how quickly they get there so that they can recognize it’s almost as soon as the change happens. This is about to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know how yet, but I’m about to engage in it and figure out how, so to bring that light into somebody’s lives is just, it’s incredible.
Brad Wolff: 14:53
I want to call attention to what you just said, because I think it’s key is to be open and actually looking for it. Because we will final, we’re looking for whether it’s something we consider positive or negative and it’s choosing to who engage and in the opportunity that exists rather than engaging in the habitual, Oh man! This is horrible, etc.
Cassandra Worthy: 15:16
Yes! Absolutely. So yeah, it’s all about, you know, nurturing that transformation, seeing that light come on. And then just to be blunt, you know, you ask about what excites me most. I love engaging with new people, engaging with individuals who might be struggling in the face of change or transformation or someone who’s really excited about the change journey that they’re about to take on. And so to feel that level of excitement and enthusiasm or to help nurture that, seeing the light come on is, I mean that’s that, that’s my purpose. That’s why I do the work that I do. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me, gosh! Cassandra, I wish we could bottle up some of your energy and take it home with us and drink it. And this, I know that the work that I’m doing now, teaching “Change Enthusiasm”, teaching this mindset, having people take that mindset whole is some way of me bottling up this energy and having them take it home. And it’s incredible and I know that it’s my purpose here on earth.
Brad Wolff: 16:19
So how important is it for the leaders to embrace this philosophy?
Cassandra Worthy: 16:28
Hugely important! Because leaders, I say anyone, no matter where you’re at, can lead. But the leaders who are established within the hierarchy as a leader are truly role models in the organization. And it’s their behaviors that are ultimately going to drive those beliefs. You know what I said how, you know, transformation and culture change is all about belief. Well, your leaders have to embrace that mindset so that their behaviors are congruent with a mindset because whatever they believe and however they’re behaving, that’s truly going to chart the path of the commonly held beliefs in the organization. So if they’re not taking hold of it, if they’re not acting accordingly, then you’re not going to have sustainable change.
Brad Wolff: 17:10
So clearly the leaders actually practicing what they preach rather than focusing on what they preach is all the study. I mean there’s really zero conflict and that reality that what you do is going to carry much more weight. So what are the ways Cassandra, that you help leaders develop in these areas so that they become change and opportunity practitioners rather than preachers?
Cassandra Worthy: 17:43
Yes! So one of the workshops that I lead is called “Change Traits”. And it’s focused on leaders. I’m actually going to be exceeding one of these in a couple of weeks with the Centene Corporation, their Executive Leadership Team, but it’s about understanding the importance of the softer side of leadership that’s required when organizations are going through and enduring a lot of change in transformation. So it’s not only embracing this mindset of Change Enthusiasm, but thinking about the importance of authenticity, bringing their full, authentic self to work as well as enabling those within the organization to do the same empathy, creating space and time for employees, people in their organizations to emote, to share how they’re feeling about the changes that are, that are transpiring about being grateful, showing appreciation for the organization they need individuals in it and being open to the transformation and the change and their communication, you know, making sure there’s very clear the sync communication as well. So it’s all about learning and embracing the importance of the softer sides of leadership and in bringing all that to light. And of course I share my own examples from my own experiences I have, you know, folks in the, in the workshops share theirs as well, but it helps them really understand the importance and the sense of urgency of embracing the mindset and coupling that with the softer skills of, of leadership as well.
Brad Wolff: 19:09
Wow! This sounds very much like people focusing on doing their own personal development to me.
Cassandra Worthy: 19:15
Brad Wolff: 19:19
So what do you see as a relationship between Leadership Development and Personal Development?
Cassandra Worthy: 19:25
Leadership Development and Personal Development? They’re one in the same, aren’t they?
Brad Wolff: 19:32
That’s my question. By the way, I don’t have a true, false, right, wrong answer. I’m just asking Cassandra, who am I to say what it is? I’m just asking your opinion as a Change Enthusiasts Leadership Development Expert.
Cassandra Worthy: 19:51
Sure! So I would see Personal Development as the overarching umbrella, right? I want to develop myself from a Personal Standpoint and Professional Standpoint. I want to grow and I want to learn. And so depending on my target, my aim, what buckets, what areas I want to grow and learn in. That’s when you talk about, all right, I want to develop as a leader maybe I want to develop as a technical expert. So I want to, you know, maybe go back to school, I want to take some technical knowhow, you know, get some certifications. So it all depends on how that individual wants to learn and grow. And obviously in the corporate landscape and the business landscape, leadership development is, is one of the, one of the bigger ones.
Cassandra Worthy: 20:36
But I think it’s all under the umbrella of Personal Development.
Brad Wolff: 20:38
Absolutely! So let’s just if it’s okay, I’m thinking of an example. You know, we’re talking about emotions and quite frankly, the leader’s emotions. Leaders are just as emotional as anyone else, although often they want to pretend they’re not. They are still the same human being. There isn’t like a different category of human called homo sapiens leader, leader offices or some Latin term for leader. You know, I mean
Cassandra Worthy: 21:06
This is true!
Brad Wolff: 21:08
All the DNA studies indicate they’re exactly the same Psychologically and Physically. So what are the regular practices that you help these people do so that they can handle this stress and emotion? Because ultimately it’s our own emotions that make us not want to deal with other people’s emotions.
Cassandra Worthy: 21:24
That is correct! So I put Leaders C Suite Executives to the same type of training that I would do with employees out on the manufacturing floor. Right? Because it’s like you said homo-sapiens, we are all human. We all have the same emotional kind of gamut. I would say the differences are what events, what words really trigger emotions, Right? And it’s different regard, you know, regarding the leadership level or where you stand in an organization, but you know, the tools to deal with it. And when anger strikes, anger strikes and it’s a matter of what do you do with that anger moving forward regardless of what provoked it. Right? So it’s the same mindset. It’s the same workshop, same tools that I use across all levels in the organization. And one of the things that you meet, but I think it’s still very important, you know, executing these, these single sessions that I mentioned before and the Tier Three is that we invite leadership, you know, select them out into the single sessions.
Cassandra Worthy: 22:27
And what it creates is a level of vulnerability as well as kind of removing the curtain between the Workforce and Senior Leadership because the Workforce can get under the impression Senior Leadership is doing this to us. They have an out for us. They don’t really care how we’re feeling, yada! We’re all along. Senior Leadership’s gone through their own emotional turmoil, right? So in order to get them all at the same level and be able to talk in the language of emotion, there’s a certain unity, there’s a harmony that’s afforded and you can all kind of move and grow on the same page and it’s just recognized and we are all emotional entities and really busting those barriers and removing that curtain to say that, well there’s those Senior Leadership, there’s just these stoic walls and they have it out for us. That is not the case.
Brad Wolff: 23:20
And I love the metaphor you used of a curtain because I thought of the wizard of Oz. You know, there’s this big ominous scary character and it’s just this little ball dude behind the curtain and manipulating some machinery or whatever.
Cassandra Worthy: 23:34
Not the case. These are humans,
Brad Wolff: 23:37
They have the same problems. The same fears. Yeah! And that’s, I think that’s one of the huge keys to what, what you’re doing that one of many that makes so much sense based on all the research and all the facts around how you create an outstanding, resilient organization.
Cassandra Worthy: 23:55
Brad Wolff: 23:56
So as we’re winding this down, I wonder and you probably have a lot of them, but what’s a really key or interesting success story that you are part of that you can tell a little bit about, to highlight the benefit of what you do?
Cassandra Worthy: 24:14
So I think one that that’s in the works, we’ve already had a really successful keynote. I’m partnering with the Centene Corporation. Centene’s just announced the acquisition of WellCare back in February and they’re looking to close this and began the integration throughout 2020. We had an amazing Keynote Engagement with them a few weeks ago for their annual town hall for their plan that’s located in, in Georgia. And then just in a few weeks, like I mentioned, we’ll be doing a workshop for their Executive Leadership taking them through again, the softer side of leadership, and then go into additional workshops and keynotes through 2020. So I am so excited to team with them because they are an organization, a company that is filled within passion leaders at all levels of the organization and there’s deep care for the members that they serve. And so to enable them to successfully get through this integration and get through it, you know, with heads high and a lot of exuberance, I’m just so, so very excited about. So I’m really excited to partner with them.
Brad Wolff: 25:28
So, curious with, because we’re talking about resilience, which has to do with adversity. So do you have a particular failure or adversity that you have overcame, that’s really been key to your development of resilience?
Cassandra Worthy: 25:45
Probably the biggest one and I talk about this and in my keynotes, I was a part of the Duracell a company when we were acquired by Berkshire Hathaway. And shortly after that acquisition I was told by a manager that was given to me newly after the acquisition that he would see no value in having me in a couple of years in his organization. So essentially told me that, you know, I like you, but in a couple years I don’t really have any use for you. It was the most upsetting. It was the most frustrating. It was the most disheartening conversation that I ever had to up to that point in my career and it made me feel like everything I had done was not great and that I ultimately was at this failure that would just kind of be held around for a couple of years and then let go.
Cassandra Worthy: 26:41
Well, I recognize all those fields and they were very strong. I mean, and there were some physicality with those. Feels like my mouth went dry, my hair stood up on the back of my neck. What I ended up using and leveraging that as a massive moment of opportunity because I knew that the fields were so strong. So it was a very strong signal. So what I ended up doing is working with leadership in a different organization outside of the organization that I had been working in to create a role for myself. And it ended up being enrolled that better leveraged, you know, my passions and my skillset and it’s one that I transitioned into about four months after that individual told me that they wouldn’t see any value in having me around in two years. So, and having those fields and feeling those signals, I created this role that I just loved and then I was really able to thrive in. So I’m so grateful for the individual who shared that with me because it enabled me to create this, you know, and leverage it as a massive opportunity to get into a role that I ended up being better suited for and serve me even better in my career progression. So that was probably the one of the toughest kind of times as far as getting the acute field, the acute signal. But it turned out to be an exceptional growth in my career.
Brad Wolff: 27:59
Wow! So, yeah! So this is basically you experienced in make choices that are very much in line with what you’re helping other people do, because it’s that emotion, which is energy in motion that provided the fuel for you to take action that you wouldn’t have if you were comfortable.
Cassandra Worthy: 28:18
That is correct! And that word “Choice”, it’s bottling. That is the third step of Change Enthusiasm. It’s about making conscious choice and choice towards a better feeling and actively engaging and enrolling and your evolution to best.
Brad Wolff: 28:32
Absolutely! The choice until you realize that you have a choice. You don’t, you think it’s just automatic. So, and the reality is we always have choices though. There it may seem that that’s not the case. So Cassandra what is your website? Because I want listeners to be able to check you out and contact you at any time.
Cassandra Worthy: 28:58
Sure! Thank you so much. It’s Cassandra Worthy dot com. I’m also very active in Social Media. My lead platform is LinkedIn, so find me Cassandra Worthy “World Leading Change Enthusiasts”. And I’m also on Facebook. “We Are Changed Enthusiasts LLC” as well as Instagram. Cassandra Worthy Speaker.
Brad Wolff: 29:18
Got it! So I definitely encourage anyone listening to check out Cassandra’s information, contact her, and take advantage of the benefits that she offers. Cassandra, as we wrap up, is there anything else that you want to add to complete this session?
Cassandra Worthy: 29:40
Brad Wolff: 29:42
Cassandra Worthy: 29:43
I appreciate and I applaud everything that you’re doing. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I just think this is incredible and thank you so much for the opportunity.
Brad Wolff: 29:52
Absolutely! It is a real honor to have you on the show.
Cassandra Worthy: 29:57
Yes, my pleasure!