258: I Love It Here, With Clint Pulver

April 10, 2023

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Dr. Pelè (00:00):

Hello, happy people. Welcome to the Profitable Happiness Podcast.

Dr. Pelè (00:07):

Hello everyone. This is Dr. Pelè with the Profitable Happiness Podcast, and today I have with me an Emmy Award-winning top employee retention expert, a keynote speaker, a number one bestselling author of, get This one of my favorite titles. I love it here. And he's also a professional drummer, just like I'm a musician. Yeah. Like this guy has covered all the bases. I am so happy to meet you and to speak with you. Clint, how are you doing today?

Clint Pulver (00:38):

I am doing awesome. Happy to be here. Thanks for the chance to, to be on the show means a lot.

Dr. Pelè (00:43):

Oh, absolutely. Clint. You know, I was watching one of your videos, um, one of your speaking, uh, videos and I have to say the energy, the power, and then you get on those drums and you just rock it. And I'm like, this dude, whatever he is got going, I want some of that <laugh>, if you've got a little secret somewhere, share that because my friend, you are so powerful. And, you know, in order to really get this conversation started, maybe you can tell us what problems and challenges in organizations, all of this firepower that you bring to the table is addressing. Give us a sense of the challenges that leaders and employees are feeling that you uniquely address.

Clint Pulver (01:24):

I think one of the biggest things is that the perspective of leadership versus the reality of the employee experience is usually night and day different because there's, there's no incentive for an employee to tell the leader, especially when things are going poorly, how they really feel. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, imagine an employee walks up to the boss and says, Hey, listen, Doug, I think this could help you. Uh, every time we win as a team, you take all the credit. And then every time we, we lose as a team, Doug, you blame everybody else. <laugh>, happy Tuesday, Doug, like, <laugh>. They don't tell you that. They don't tell you that. Instead, what do the employees do? They just leave. They leave, or, or, or worse, they mentally check out and then stay. And so the problem is, is helping a leader to understand the reality and the perception that an employee has of them and the workplace. And then how a leader can align themselves in creating a win-win situation where those employees feel like they're heard, they're seen, they're understood, and vice versa for the leader as well.

Dr. Pelè (02:29):

You know, what an interesting, really powerful yet simple concept there, you know, that you've shared, which is really the idea that, you know, we are not speaking the same language. And, and, and you have actually got some really unique, powerful ways that you've gone in almost in stealth mode, <laugh>, and you've been able to figure out for sure, you've done some serious detective research and you've come up with the things that leaders really need to know, um, on this topic. I'm, I'm just excited and we're gonna talk about that today, but I wanna take you way back, Clint, if we could to your childhood. No, I'm just kidding. <laugh>, to wherever you believe this journey started for you. How did you go from music to speaking to being this great thought leader? How did you become Clint Pover?

Clint Pulver (03:19):

Yeah. Well, my, my mom and my dad fell in love and <laugh>. Uh, no, I was, I was the kid, uh, in school that always had a hard time sitting still. Uh, I just, I struggled, uh, to just focus. I would tap a lot. I would constantly play on my desk. I would just be moving. My feet would move. And obviously if you're sitting in a meeting and someone's clicking their pen or they're tapping their foot, it's like, oh my gosh, for all that is sacred and holy, stop tapping, stop moving. And that happened a lot to me. I was nicknamed the Twitcher. I was called the Tapper all throughout school. And it wasn't even just the kids, even the teachers, they would look at me and they'd say, Hey, young man, I need you to hold still, Flint, stop tapping, stop, sit on your hands.

And it happened again and again until one day there was a teacher, and his name was Mr. Jensen. Uh, he'd been my teacher throughout the whole fifth grade. And he looked at me as I was tapping in class and he said, young man, I need you to hold still, and I also need to see you after class. You and I are gonna have a conversation. And I remember, you know, looking around and all the other kids are like, Ooh, you are gonna die. You do not wanna stay after class. Yeah. With Mr. Jensen. Yeah. The bell rings class dismissed, everybody leaves. It's a completely empty classroom minus me and the teacher. And he goes to the back of the room, motions for me to come back. He sits me down and he said, listen, do you know why we're talking right now? And I said, yeah. I said, it's cuz I'm, it's cuz I can't sit still. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I have a hard time focusing. And I said, Mr. Jensen, I'm sorry. And I, I really am trying to be good. Half the time I don't even know that I'm tapping. I I just, it helps me focus

Dr. Pelè (05:02):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Clint Pulver (05:03):

And he grabbed my hands and he goes, listen, he said, you tap, you tap a lot, you do it in my class, and you do it in everybody else's. He said, but I've sat back and I I've watched you. And he said, it's crazy. He said, you'll take a pen and you'll start writing with your right hand, and then you'll tap with your left hand mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then in the middle of the assignment, you'll switch the pen and you start writing with your left hand, and then you tap with your right hand. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he looked at me and he, he said, he said, Clint, I I think you're ambidextrous. And I was like, no, I, I'm Presbyterian. He said,

Dr. Pelè (05:36):

<laugh>, no,

Clint Pulver (05:37):

That's not what it means. Just kidding. I said, joke, uh, but I, I didn't know what it meant. And he said, try this. He said, can you tap your head and rub your belly at the same time? And I gave it a shot and I could do it. And he said, now can you switch it? Can you rub your head and then tap your belly and back and forth without thinking about it. I could do it. I just had independence over my arms and my legs in a way that was just unique. And he sat back in his chair, he looked at me and he goes, yeah, yeah. It all makes sense, <laugh>. And he leaned forward and he looked me right in the eyes and he said, Clint, I don't think you're a problem. I just think you're a drummer.

Dr. Pelè (06:14):


Clint Pulver (06:16):

Yes. Some people listening to that, you know, this, they, they're like, what's the difference between those two things? The problem and a drummer sounds like the same thing.

Dr. Pelè (06:24):


Clint Pulver (06:25):

And I, I, I'm, I'm someone in my life and always throughout my life have believed that a single moment in time can change a person. Yeah. I believe in moments. I think if, and you, when you look at your life, that's what you remember. You don't remember days. You remember moments. And in that moment, Mr. Jensen, the old teacher, he leaned back in his desk and he opened up his top drawer and he reached inside and he took out my very first pair of drumsticks.

Dr. Pelè (06:54):


Clint Pulver (06:55):

And he put 'em in my hands and he said, listen, I got these for you, and I don't know what's gonna happen, but just keep 'em in your hands. And let's see. And that was 24 years ago. And my life literally from that moment changed. And for 24 years, I've had the opportunity to tour and record all over the world as a professional drummer. Wow. I've been on America's, got talent, played drums with some incredible acts, amazing musicians. My whole college education was paid for with music scholarships. Wow. Um, and I don't say all of that to go, wow, good for you, Clint. Or what a list of accolades. Like, I I'm saying that because of one person who decided to see what was right in an individual instead of seeing what was wrong. And I think so changed my story forever.

Dr. Pelè (07:43):

Wow. And and what a, what a great lesson to learn from that. That uh, we can look at the same thing and we can either decide something is wrong or we can decide something is right. And and he clearly spoke that into you. And, and look at what it's, it's done in your life. And now look at what you're doing for others. Um, let's talk about how you do what you do for others. Right. Uh, give us a sense of what you talk about when you speak to organizations. Yeah. What is the focus of your book, which I love the title for, which goes, I love it here. What a great thing to say. Right. That's looking for what's good in people and in things, isn't it? Tell us about some of the ways in which you helped to solve these challenges in organizations.

Clint Pulver (08:24):

Yeah. So six and a half years ago, I started the undercover millennial program. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, I'm a millennial, so that's the generation I was born in, where I was young enough where I could go into a convenience store, uh, a retail outlet, a food and beverage chain, a hospitality resort as someone who was looking for a job. And I would walk in and I would just say, Hey, I'm just, I'm just looking for work. Uh, I quit my other job. I'm just, you know, looking for some opportunities. What's it like to work here? Yeah. And the employees, they'd always get quiet. They kind of start to look around, feel like a illegal drug exchange.

Dr. Pelè (08:57):

Yeah. <laugh>. And

Clint Pulver (08:58):

Then they would tell me everything. They'd tell me everything because I wasn't an employee survey, I wasn't a one-on-one manager meeting. Mm-hmm. I was just a potential hire. And we've done that now for six and a half years, and I've interviewed over 10,000 employees. Wow. Undercover, making it one of the largest, uh, research studies on retention. But the only research study done in, its in its essence in, in the way that it was conducted. Yeah. And I think that we captured the truth. We, we decreased the gap. Like I talked about on the beginning of the show, the perception of leadership versus the reality of the employee experience. There's a gap. And me going in as the undercover millennial, I was able to decrease that gap and, and fill and see and understand the uniqueness of what great leaders were doing to create organizations that people never wanted to leave.

And that was the magic of all of the research. The magic was not found when I would go into a place and people were dissatisfied with their job. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the magic was when I would go into a workplace and people would say, I love it here. I love my job. I love what we're doing. Oh my gosh, my manager's, Susie, you gotta meet Susie. And I go to the next person and the next, and they would say the same things. Why, what were those leaders doing to create a workplace where people didn't just survive at work, but they actually thrived. Mm-hmm. And that's why I decided to write, uh, a book about it. And I titled it, I love it here. Mm-hmm. And it's a unique book because it's not another book written by a leadership guru. This is a book written by 10,000 employees. Wow. Who knew what good leadership looked like to them.

Dr. Pelè (10:40):


Clint Pulver (10:41):

And we captured the trends and, and, and we did it in a way that makes it repeatable, that makes it something that any leader can look at and read and go, okay, I can do more of this. Mm-hmm. And it's working, it's working through the lens of the employee and it's decreasing the gap. And it's been a, an amazing and beautiful thing to be a part of.

Dr. Pelè (11:02):

Wow. You know, I can already see the thread from, you know, that, that that teacher who told you, Hey, here's what's right about you to, to you using that attitude and that approach in your research to find out what's working and what is right in, in organizations to come up with your book. I love it here. That's just powerful. Um, you know, I, I would love to know if you have some, some specific details or nuggets that you can share. Everybody should go by the book. Okay. <laugh>. But, but do you have like a, a two-step plan, a three-step process, a 12 step process that you could share about exactly how a an employee or a, a leadership team could implement some strategies to make it more like a place people don't want to ever leave. You want to create places where people want to stay in those organizations. How do you

Clint Pulver (11:52):

Do that? I think the biggest winning key to all of this being successful or not, is if you as the manager, the HR director, the boss, the c e o, the executive, whoever it is with a title, if you are a people leader, the goal is to become the mentor. Hmm. When I would go in undercover and employees talked about how they hated their jobs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they always described a manager, they would describe leaders. But when an employee loved their job, they described a mentor. Mentorship is really unique because mentorship we learned is not leadership. Leadership is not mentorship. And management is not mentorship. Mentorship is unique because mentorship has to be earned. Those of you that are listening to this show, most of you have titles. We all have titles. We give out titles in leadership all the time. You're the c e o, you're the manager, you're the regional director, blah, blah, blah, goes on and on.

But your people are the ones that decide if you are the mentor. You could not become the mentor in somebody's life until the mentee invited you into their heart. That's right. And that was key. And when we found these individuals that possessed the keys of mentorship, where people, when they were with them, they said, I like myself best cuz I'm with you. Yeah. You are some, when I look at you manager, Doug, manager Susie, manager Jose, I, I, I, I, I can write a better story because of you. You connect me to my dreams, so therefore I choose you. I'll stay longer for you. I'll be more loyal to you. I'll have more respect for you. And, and when we found, when people gained those attributes, those mentors had five Cs, five C characteristics that we could contribute to their success in becoming someone that people chose.

And those five Cs are number one's confidence. Number two is credibility. Number three is competence. Number four was candor. And number five was the ability to care. Mm. Confidence, credibility, competence, candor, and the ability to care. Mm. If you look at your own life and, and the mentors that you've had in your life, you chose them. Yeah. You chose that person and you chose them because when you looked at them, you saw confidence. They were confident in themselves, they were confident in the pro process. Confidence exudes trust, credibility. You looked at their background, their history, their resume, what allowed them to be a credible source to allow you to also become a source of credibility in your own life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> potent was key. Uh, great mentorship is found in being a practitioner, not just a theorist. Mm. You and I, we can talk heart to heart about this because as musicians, you know, I, I, if I come to you as a drummer and I wanna learn how to play, I kind of want to know too, are you gigging on the weekends?

Yeah. Yeah. Are you, so are you just somebody that knows everything about percussion theory? Right. There, there there's a difference. There is, it's being able to understand the language of music, but then being able to work the language of music and to play and to groove. There's a difference. And the same thing in leadership and in culture. Can you jump in and do the things that you're teaching other people to do? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how competent are you? Canor was the four C. Great mentors had the ability to create relationships so strong that honesty could exist. Mm. The two successes of what make a manager significant and not just successful were their standards and their ability to connect mm-hmm. <affirmative> standards and connection. The standards piece is all about the rules. The I need you to show up on time, safety protocols, profitability. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the connection piece is the intangible side of a business.

That those are the things we can't trace. Like making sure people are seen, heard and understood. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is why candor is so important, is great mentors are high on both, they're high on standards and they're high on connection, but they understand that every day with their employees. It's a bank account principle where every day they're making deposits of trust. Mm. And that allows them at times to make withdrawals, to have hard conversations, to uphold standards. But the problem occurs is when people try to make withdrawals with people, and they've made no deposits of trust. Hmm. So the bank account's empty. Yeah. And that's why the fifth C is so important. The ability to just care. Yeah. To get the darn Do you advocate for your people as much as you develop them? The foundational key to all of this being successful was mentorship. Yeah. Not management.

Dr. Pelè (16:39):

Wow. What a masterclass right there. Uh, just right there, folks, if you're listening, you know, there are some times you hear that million dollar teaching and you don't realize it's a million dollar teaching. I think, I think that's what that was. And I I have to ask you, um, did you earn your Emmy from the work that you've been describing? Because I see this as a great TV show, <laugh>, you know. Yeah. You earned your Emmy from this, didn't you?

Clint Pulver (17:04):

I, I actually earned my Emmy from the recreation of the Mr. Jensen story.

Dr. Pelè (17:09):

Oh, wow.

Clint Pulver (17:10):

So if you go onto YouTube and you, you type in be a Mr. Jensen Uhhuh <affirmative>, I recreated that story from my childhood and it took off and was viral and has been on TV networks. And so I actually won an Emmy for the story of Mr. Jensen.

Dr. Pelè (17:27):

I am going to share that at the bottom of this, uh, podcast, because that is just so exciting. You know, when you were talking about your five Cs and some of the very specific things that people can do, um, I, I was really interested because there is this thing in leadership, you know, the, I think there's a saying, if you, if you call yourself a leader, you got a title of a leader and you're walking down the street and nobody's following, then you're just taking a walk. You're not a leader. <laugh>, there's a big difference. Like, people have to be following you. And I think that a lot of your strategies sound to me like, you know, strategies and approaches that people can learn that other people that will attract people to you in, in that influential style. But I have a question. In practice, have you seen some difficulties, maybe on the employee side for getting this done? You know, technically there are some mindset shifts that have to occur culturally. I mean, what have you seen that hasn't worked out? Because, you know, people talk about soft skills, but they're really hard to implement sometimes. Yeah. So what are some of the difficulties that you've seen in getting this actually implemented, and what can we do to overcome them?

Clint Pulver (18:36):

Yeah. The hardest thing is consistency. I've always said this, the coolest part about your job in leadership is that it matters. The hardest part about your job in leadership is that it matters every day.

Dr. Pelè (18:46):


Clint Pulver (18:48):

Consistency in leadership is key. How do you keep the main thing the main thing? It's one thing to say that our people are everything. It's another thing to implement that every single day in the lives of your people in a way that they know that what matters to them matters to, to you as the leader. I, I think every employee is asking this question of their leader every single day. Let me know, let me know when what you do as my leader. Let me know when it gets to the part about me.

Dr. Pelè (19:16):


Clint Pulver (19:18):

And sometimes we hear that and we think, well, those entitled little shining stars in my

Dr. Pelè (19:22):


Clint Pulver (19:24):

Let me know when it gets to the part about me. <laugh>. And I, I would say it's not so much about entitlement as it is about just good leadership, bringing humanity back into the workplace. Yeah. What are you doing daily to remind your people that what matters to them matters to you? Mm. And you are, you're doing that and showing that and implementing that. You are a practitioner of that every day. And I believe that is the hardest part of leadership.

Dr. Pelè (19:52):

Wow. Those are some deep thoughts there, my brother. I love that. That's just powerful stuff, you know? And as I just listen to you and, and you've got this, you know, sort of almost a hypnotic, uh, style of just sort of speaking into people. As I listen to you, I go to my myself, I say to myself, you look very calm and collected and just happy. And I'm wondering, are you happy because you're profitable doing what makes you happy? The drums, the speaking, the teaching. You know, you are the personification of what I call profitable happiness. Truly bringing the two worlds together. Tell us about that and tell us what your perspective is on, on profitable happiness.

Clint Pulver (20:30):

Yeah. I think you're spot on. I, I believe in my life that every day we have the opportunity to live or just exist. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, most people just exist. And the ones that are living, I found they're, they're doing that. They're accomplishing that in, in three ways when it comes to their, and I call 'em the three Ps, passion, purpose, and the ability to provide

Dr. Pelè (20:55):


Clint Pulver (20:56):

Uh, passion in, in your work. Meaning it fills you up. It's something that is very centric around you. At the end of the day of doing this, you're not so much tired as you are fulfilled. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it lights your heart on fire. The purpose factor is the ability to be significant in your work, not just successful, meaning you feel like you're doing something bigger than yourself. It has a higher sense of purpose. Yep. And then the third component, which you hit on beautifully is profitability. Right. The ability to provide in a way that's sufficient for you. Yeah. So passion and purpose, I believe are the keys to, to true happiness. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when we're filled with that, we have a sense of that. We get to experience that most of the time in our lives. And then you combine that with the ability to provide Yeah. In a way that works for you, then game over. I mean, that, that, that's where you get to live, not just exist. Yeah.

Dr. Pelè (21:52):

Thank, thank you for that endorsement of the profitable happiness. Brian. I will take that sir. And use,

Clint Pulver (21:56):

Yeah, there you go. There you go.

Dr. Pelè (22:00):

Let me, lemme ask you about the application of that concept to organizations. You know, a lot of companies, um, understand people understand intuitively that happy employees will produce, you know, happy customers, happy businesses, cur you know, successful businesses. But I think there's some reluctance around the word happiness. Oh, let's go for fun. Let's have a ping pong table in the foyer. You know, those kinds of things. How do you convince leaders that a culture of employee happiness is actually important for their profitability?

Clint Pulver (22:32):

I think it's, it's, it's a sense of fulfillment. I think happiness leads to significance. I think ultimately the goal is to write a great story. And when you as a leader understand that you're doing that for your people and that they get to be a part of that, they're, they're a part of building something bigger than themselves. They're, they're doing something that fulfills them. It's full of passion, purpose, uh, that ultimately creates the ingredients to a happy life. Uh, whether it's, you look at, you look at the things that make people happy, you know, uh, family, even a, a, a vacation experiences, uh, the, the ability to create moments, recognition that the possibilities to grow mm-hmm. <affirmative> not just work mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. How, how are you as a leader? How are you growing people, not just employees mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when we combine these el these elements, what you really do is you're creating two things.

You're creating worth mm-hmm. <affirmative> and you're creating potential. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think, man, when we look at happiness, it's, it's usually considered and revolved around those things. Yeah. Nor I feel good about myself. I like myself best cuz I'm doing this, I feel worth it. I feel seen, I feel heard, I feel understood. And then potential. I'm able to grow. I'm able to become something. I have something every day to hope for. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> to dream for. And man, when you realize that as a leader, and, and that's your job, is to be the mentor in the story of those people's lives and fulfill that and create that every day, man management becomes the ultimate mission. It becomes the ultimate joy. Uh, because every, every great story has a mentor. Yeah. Every great story. And the beautiful managers in this world are not, they're not, they're not just storytellers. They're beautiful storytellers in the stories that they help others write.

Dr. Pelè (24:25):

Wow. Wow. You know, I, I have to say, I'd like to go back to, uh, your teacher from way back when and add something to what he said. He said, my friend, you are a drummer. Um, he said, you're not a problem. You are a drummer. Uh, sir, I want to tell you, you are a drummer and you are a great teacher because I'm sitting here, you know, with everything that I do and know in your field. I'm like, come on, teach me. Amen. Amen. I'm like, oh yes, I wanna learn more. Wow. Thank you for that. Um, I wanna ask you if there's anything that you have coming up soon that you're excited about and that you'd like to share And we wanna know, how can people get ahold of you the best way on, on social media? Online?

Clint Pulver (25:09):

Yeah. Thank you for asking. We, for the last two years, me and my team, we have created, uh, a masterclass series that breaks down my research as the undercover millennial. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and we've done that. We just released it two months ago. And it is leadership curriculum for an organization as a professional speaker. I travel all over the world sharing my research. We have the drums that are involved in this. We talk about mentorship and, and creating a culture that people never want to leave. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But after I, I speak then, you know, two weeks goes by, uh, a month goes by and people kind of get back into the routine Yep. Or the stresses of life and the, and the, the, the mundane of work at times. And we forget those moments. We forget the happiness, we forget the excitement. And the goal is to keep that going.

And so we created this 52 video masterclass series where every week for a year. Cause there's 52 weeks in a year. Yep. These organizations get a video from me. It's small, but it's highly produced. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> very similar to the Mr. Jensen video format that we talked about earlier mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And the goal is to create, here's one big idea. Here's here's one opportunity, here's one moment to master. That's done in an inspiring way. Yeah. And then we created, uh, we created a workbook. We called it the I Love it Here workbook. And it's literally the curriculum that coincides with the video series and it gets organizations together to talk about this, to implement this, to follow up on this, to consistently keep it the main thing. Yes. And it has been such a joy to offer this to organizations and to see them not just talk about, I love it here, but to implement it every single day.

And that's what's creating lasting change. Hmm. And, and that's one of the biggest fulfilling things that I can do, is to create that for other people where they see the, the needle moving forward or the culture is changing and people go home better, better, better employees, but then they go home better moms, they go home better dads, and we raise better children. And I don't know that that I, I believe and always have that. It, it's not about being the best in the world, it's about being the best for the world. Mm-hmm. And so this masterclass has really helped us to continue that progression forward. And so that's what I'm excited about. And then anybody can contact me through my website, clint pulver.com, and then all the social media handles I'm on there as well.

Dr. Pelè (27:40):

Wow. You know, I have to ask you a, a, a question from musician to music musician. How do you get your drums from location to location all over the world? Do you,

Clint Pulver (27:49):


Dr. Pelè (27:49):

Someone has the drums there. Yeah.

Clint Pulver (27:51):

Yeah. <laugh>. So I have some amazing endorsers, uh, that, that, that help me, uh, with, with gear and supplies and symbols and sticks and all of that. Yep. And we have four different drum sets that live all over the, the country. And then we use backline companies as well that bring my drums into the different locations. Yeah. Uh, throughout the country. So that's how we do it.

Dr. Pelè (28:16):

Yeah. That's, that's, that's awesome. Clint Pulver, my friend, I want to thank you so much for just bringing your wisdom, your personality and, and your power, uh, uh, to, to share information here on the Profitable Happiness Podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Clint Pulver (28:31):

You're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Dr. Pelè (28:34):

Thanks for tuning in to the Profitable Happiness Podcast. For more episodes, visit dr p.com. And remember, get happy first and success will follow.