005 – Cultivating a Culture of Trust Through Failure | Mary Beth Oakes

Mary Beth Oakes serves as CEO of two companies, Business Furniture and Choreo. One of the biggest engagement drivers in any organization is trust. Mary has more than twenty years of experience building and growing her team to leverage workplace as a strategic tool.

One of her biggest motivators is her desire to help people love their work. Mary strives to create a community feel for her organization through the use of space. She shares her tips on how to organize your office to foster interpersonal relationships. However, for Mary, it’s not just about renovating or creating an open space. It’s about understanding why you’re building the space and understanding how your employees do their best work through consistent feedback and reviewing the data.

In this episode, Nikki and Mary talk about creating ‘Saturday morning’ work environments going beyond the physical space. In her words, a good employee experience creates a good customer experience.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Dedicated open space: Your office space and make an impact on your employee’s engagement. Find and dedicate a space in your organization that can foster and allow for your employees to naturally build relationships. This space can be a place for community and enabling access to one another.
  2. Challenge your people: One of the most rewarding things a leader can do is see their employees grow. Carve out time for one-on-one coaching and working with your people to develop them personally and professionally.
  3. Get real feedback, regularly: Find the best tools for your organization to allow you to gain the truth. Then leverage that feedback to make organizational changes. Feedback is important as you continue to grow as a leader, but also for your team to know you’re listening, you care, and you are constantly improving. The feedback net can go beyond your employees rather cast a wider net to gain a broader perspective.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:


  • PurpleInk – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.  And look for The JoyPowered Workspace Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts!
  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones.

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