Humanity First, with Carol Schultz

There’s been something of a seismic shift with respect to how corporate hierarchies, and otherwise generally professional echelons and contextual milieus look at the employee as an individual. These days, thanks to movements like equal pay, #MeToo, the #InclusionRider, and other equity initiatives, the cold and unfeeling nature affiliated with ‘business’ is considered, at best, déclassé. With books like Carol Schultz’s Powered by People: How Talent-Centric Organizations Master Recruitment, Retention, and Revenue (and How to Build One), the solidification of this cultural shift is more than confirmed.


While many leadership and business advice books have significantly altered their tonality and presentational values in the wake of the postmodernist rise, few do it with the kind of class and genuine sense of objectivity Schultz masters. With Powered by People, she keeps things concise and on-point. There’s never a feeling of preachiness or filler lining what otherwise proves to be gaps in ideological continuity. Everything is laid out fully and unconditionally, the book packed to the brim with information, but never with excess.

As far as Schultz is concerned, the process of realizing your business enterprise rests with being a people person, summing things up simply. It’s not just about what the job entails. It’s all about the communication that concerns what the job may entail. “We use body language during communication to enhance our delivery and understanding of the message. What happens when the conversation is audio only and you can’t see the other person? Or maybe you’re an intelligent person with important things to communicate and the ability to verbalize them, but you appear bored, defeated, or indifferent and don’t make eye contact. You could be delivering the Gettysburg Address but your body language negates the whole thing,” Schultz writes in this vein.

She continues, “The person receiving the communication also has some accountability. Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is passive, while listening is active and intentional. Listening requires people to overcome whatever other elements are vying for their attention, be it a beautiful view or a monotone speaker putting them to sleep. A roomful of bobbleheads can nod along to your presentation just as well as a room filled with people merely hearing you make noise while their minds wander elsewhere.


The return is the same for both…Most people do not understand the critical nature of effective communication. Communication is a complicated circuit to close, involving every participant. That’s why a true culture of feedback isn’t easy to create. The culture of genuine feedback must start in the CEO’s office, because if just one person resists, it’s dead on arrival. One gap in the feedback loop breaks the whole process. The CEO must be very clear that the organization will build that culture of feedback and then provide the details on what it means, why they’re doing it, and what to expect. The entire organization must make an intentional effort, especially if feedback and communication have been poor in the past.

New habits must be made, and that takes work. Without that collective effort to create a culture of feedback, there is zero chance that the team will be on the same page when it comes to the company’s vision.”

Clay Burton