Ruth Schwartz

Ruth spent 25 years in the music industry. She started Mordam Records in 1983 and built it to a $10 Mil distribution company. Today, Schwartz is an internationally certified, business leadership coach, motivational speaker, author and the facilitator of Business Mastermind Groups. She owns High Performance Advocates, a leadership coaching company and Fail Proof Hiring an automated Hiring Program. Ruth is trained with Academy of Coaching and NLP and Culturesync’s Tribal Leadership Intensive and High Performance Organizational designs. She is trained in the use of DISC and other assessments tools and trained by state of the art online marketing gurus. Ruth understands the fortitude it takes to be in business. That, along with innovative thinking, years in sales, marketing and distribution and a desire to change the very nature of work, give her a unique toolbox.

Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
Ever been at a party and someone starts complaining about their job? What do they complain about? Chances are they complain about their jerky boss. Or how they aren’t respected. They are overworked. No one listens to them. They are taken advantage of. They don’t get feedback. They watch the clock. Their co-workers are idiots. Their work is redone. They are often criticized. And in the end, paid too little. I could keep this list going but this story is told by most working people. Their jobs are sucking their life and their souls away.

In our first world reality, we no longer need to fight for working conditions, overtime and weekends. We have a cornucopia of laws created a hundred years ago to protect employees from employers. Now there is a higher level of pain that must be addressed and it can’t be done as adversaries or by labor unions.

This revolution is the revolution of the soul – We must stop soul sucking work and create soulful work before everyone goes completely mad. And that is true for all sides of the aisle. Whether you are an executive, C-suite, entrepreneur, employee, contractor, freelancer it does not matter. Most people feel the drain on their psyche.

Ask a pharmacist how many anti anxiety, anti depression and anti-psychotics are being prescribed. Then think about why. There may be a myriad of reasons but you have to give work a big chunk of the credit. Why a work revolution? Because our lives and well-being demand it.

How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
I work with business owners to help them stop the madness of task management and people management by creating high performing, transparent, open book companies of their own collective design. Rather than feeling burnt out or that they are somehow missing a key business secret my hope is that each business owner understands that creativity and the wisdom of the tribe is more valuable than management training and skills.

I like to dig deep into their values, vision and dreams, find their genius and work in collaboration with others to make their business work for them. I believe the most valuable asset that needs to be developed is the ability to communicate well. I believe that leadership is the ability to communicate a compelling vision within compelling core values, ask great questions and hold the bar high so that people will get excited and begin to talk and work together to create and solve, well, just about anything they decide is important. There are no sacred cows in this model. People talk about … anything. Imagine that!

Additionally, because I practiced open book management for over 20 years, I help people to tie compensation to the profitability of their business. That one action ignites people and breaks down some of the barriers between management and labor. This alone can bring people to the same side of the table. And it makes everyone more prosperous.

As a trained coach I understand and can help diminish the limiting beliefs around money and ownership that are holding us hostage. Business owners are good people who become slaves to their business and their beliefs. Break that cycle and you can break the soul suck of employment in those companies. Small business is poised – as has been proven in many companies in a variety of industries – to be creative with their business models. In those businesses, people love their jobs. Bravo.

Why do you do what you do?
One day I woke up sick and tired of hearing people kvetch about their jobs. I realized that the problem was coming from the top. It is a leadership issue. That said, I also got tired of hearing business owners kvetch about what idiots their employees are. They complain about how everything would be great if only they could find a rock star or an A list to take care of their business. But that didn’t add up. They have great people. Those same people who complain about their jobs.

Remember the Emyth? Gerber taught us that systems run the business and people run the systems. That was a great start. How about we add, people create the systems. Now we’re talking. That doesn’t take rock stars if you have good communication. It just takes work and the openness to listen and be heard. I’ve experienced it first hand. And when you are in it, it is the best feeling in the world. No one complains about being a part of a great team. It actually makes us feel really great about ourselves.

My genius is collecting, sorting and simplifying. I collect people, ideas, tools, filter, spit out and deliver the best of the best.

I used to do that in the music industry as a DJ, distributor and writer. Now I do that in the leadership industry as a reader, writer, speaker, trainer and coach. What the heck? It is what interests me.

What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I’m a punk rocker. I like music. Loud, discordant rock n roll music. I like pop music. I like jazz, reggae, salsa, rap, classical and dance music.

I am a consumer of culture. I like TV, books, movies, websites. I can’t stop myself.

What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
I am currently a solopreneur. That means classically overworked and overwhelmed. That must change soon. The dream is to return to a transparent organization that keeps each person in their unique ability with shared results and rewards. I would really like to develop a unique type of collaborative, partnership model to take these ideas to another level.

What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
The advertising world has learned to brainstorm and scrum in an interesting way. This has carried over into the product design and invention world. Additionally, what those industries are aware of is that creativity and riffing ideas takes refresh, renewal and focus time. It also takes collaboration and connection time. Just think how it will look when professionals, experts, manufacturers, and sales industries learn the importance of this kind of nourishment. Busyness and overwhelm are not a virtue.

What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Create a set of shared core values by which to operate. It isn’t easy to create but once the heavy lifting is done, it will serve forever. How do you do that? Start having meetings where people feel safe enough to express their opinion, are heard and collectively create a process for decision making that fits your culture. Then you can articulate shared core values.

What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
Someday I want to go on a walkabout. I recently read the AP article on long distance walkers. Coast to coast. That kind of thing. I really don’t like hiking that much. But the idea of walking with a destination in mind, meeting people, eating and sleeping civily (not camping out necessarily) and slowing down in that way, fascinates me.

What do you do for fun?
I love to drink wine, eatch TV dramas and play scrabble. Pretty sedate, eh? I’m also a 25 year yogi and a Distinguished Toastmaster.

What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?

Where in the world are you?
Nevada City, CA

How can people connect with you?

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