This interview with Pegine Echevarria, Author, Motivational Speaker, Consultant, Team-Builder, and Founder of Team Pegine, Inc., was conducted, condensed, and in some cases paraphrased by Charlie Judy. Pegine will be speaking at the upcoming SHRM 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego. Her Mega Session, Lighten Up and Lead, is scheduled for 2:00 pm on 6/28.
Looks like (on paper) SHRM10 has some good content in store for us. While content is important, I think the person presenting it is more important. That’s why I’m placing my bets with speakers who have a great story to tell. Pegine spent some of her teenage years in a gang with serious street cred. Back then she was known as “La Loca” and “The Escorter.” That’s enough for me…she has a story to tell. And she wants HR to have fun while being more feisty, fearless, and focused! Seriously, what more can you ask for?
Q A number of sessions at the conference are focused on “fun in the workplace.” What’s up with that? Why is it so hard to have fun at work?
A The companies that are best at creating fun environments for their people are those that have found a way to effuse their brand throughout their business and to closely connect with what moves and motivates their customers. Companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, and Harley Davidson have done a really good job of figuring out what it is their stakeholders affiliate with. Harley Davidson understands, for instance, their customer base is attracted to motorcycles. But more importantly, they understand that base is attracted to a lifestyle. Harley Davidson embodies that lifestyle; it’s in their product, their service, and their employment experience. Employees live it and breath it just as their customers do. And they have a lot of fun in the process. Unfortunately, a lot of companies have trouble making those connections for the customers and their employees.
Q Are most companies really ready for HR to be more feisty?
A Here’s the trick with being feisty: you have to do it while speaking a language the other business leaders are used to. Water is water; it will always be water. But it can take on so many forms and can meld very quickly with its vessel….a glass, a swimming pool, an ocean. HR leaders can be more effective in choosing the right language to convey their feistiness. For example, maybe its less about suggesting why something “can’t be done” and more about offering a vision and a value proposition for what should be done.
Q This session is billed as one for “female leaders.” Is it harder for females to have fun at work?
A Not harder, just different. I find that women leaders are generally more conscious of how they are perceived by others in the workplace. For some, this can create a barrier to letting down their guards, to being more transparent with their true emotions…even their opinions. I hope those who attend my session – women or men – will leave with a new energy for overcoming those barriers.