Cassandra Worthy, a noted expert in transformational change within companies, gave a dynamic and highly charged keynote presentation at the 9th annual eXp Shareholder Summit.
The crowd displayed its energy and enthusiasm for Cassandra when everyone shouted, “YEAYEAHHHH!!!” in unison as she stepped on stage.
Worthy smiled and said she was honored to be on the stage after a tough few years. “Whenever my feet can touch a stage, I don’t know what to do,” she joked. “I missed this authentic energy!”
Who Is Cassandra Worthy?
Worthy is one of a few Black women in the STEM field and she worked as a chemical engineer for notable brands such as Pantene, Gillette and Duracell. She went on to become the founder of the Change Enthusiasm® Strategy, which has helped companies pivot, navigate, adopt and accelerate during times of change, and is the author of Change Enthusiasm: How to Harness the Power of Emotion for Leadership and Success. Worthy is a two-time TEDx speaker and a noted disruptive thought leader on the change companies need to implement in order to build organizational resilience and adaptability.
After engaging the audience in what she called, “a two-part hype session,” Worthy joked that 80% of the audience probably didn’t know who she was and that that was okay. She understood that most people wouldn’t know who she was so she proceeded to tell the audience her impressive, rewarding background working in leadership for brands like Proctor & Gamble.
Worthy then took the audience on a fun time warp. She began in 1981 when she was born. She told the audience that her siblings said she was the grandmother of the millennial generation while she prefers to be called the “frontrunner” of the generation.
Worthy walked us through how communication helped her to learn how to interact with the world and how the world would interact with her. She playfully depicted a pager, AOL email and a current cracked iPhone to show how she learned adaptability, resilience and perseverance throughout her life noting that if it can be taught, it can be learned.
Growth Mindset – You Have Three Choices to Make
After the 2008 housing crisis, many agents experienced a crescendo of growth and are now seeing that dry up in the current market. “What do we do? Continue to build a business and have enough for your own livelihood? How do you harness and encourage your growth?” asked Worthy. As individuals, leaders and owners, strategize what you can practice on a daily basis and it will give you enthusiasm. This will become your point of perseverance.
After a playful exercise asking the audience to tell us what they’d do when faced with a yellow light, Worthy related this to the three choices in the growth mindset model for change enthusiasm.
- The signal (green light)
- The opportunity (yellow light)
- The choice (red light)
Worthy shared a personal story about a colleague taking credit for her work and how her manager neglected to care about the oversight. She was met with great adversity and her typical tools/processes were not working as they would in the past.
“That’s the signal. Every passing day I became disengaged at work. Difficult emotions that you want to escape are the signal. The signal means something big is coming for you. I spoke with my mentor and they told me: “Get bitter or get better,” said Worthy.
“I realized I had power. This is the opportunity. The yellow sign. I recognized these feelings and weighed the options at this step. Intrigue felt better than resentment. Accept the options to inspire better feelings and better results,” proclaimed Worthy.
She decided to have hard conversations with her colleagues and realized that they did not have malintent. These conversations were like healing and she began to understand that they were fundamentally different in how they behaved in the workplace.
“It wasn’t all great. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies… Embrace your signals and step into your moments of opportunity. Choose how you show up and you’ll find out the challenges happen for you. To serve you and to release your inner rock star,” said Worthy.
Understanding that people learn differently, Worthy displayed the growth cycle on stage for better viewing.
- Change event: Economic downturn. Signal emotions (fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, grief) and allow them to exist. Bring awareness to those thoughts. Create space between emotions and conscious thinking. Accept that invitation.
- Opportunity: How can I use this moment to work for me? Learn new platforms? Use it to learn about yourself.
- Choice: Growth sustains emotions. Change them into hope, anticipation, excitement, joy, and gratitude. Dealing with the difficult part and allowing it to serve us. Blind or toxic positivity – no, recognizing and choosing how you show up. Lead through change.
- Infinite change events: You will start again and practice these steps over and over. The more time you practice you will rewrite the chemistry of your brain. Resilience is built up over time and is part of change.
“Growth is at the intersection of change and potential. Lead others in their growth,” Worthy said as she put another diagram on the screen with tips for how to lead:
Empathy – 78% of working Americans will adapt to change and growth when they feel safe sharing their true emotions. Leaders should hold that space.
Curiosity – What’s driving the resistance and how to embrace it? Get curious to learn what the resistance is rooted in. It’s in the anxiety of not wanting to be comfortable. Redirect that energy.
Two-way communication – Regular and clear communication from leadership. Revenues for employees to be challenged by.
“Hold ourselves accountable for building each other up. That’s the challenge,” said Worthy before beginning an energetic Q&A!
Missed the eXp Shareholder Summit this year? Be sure to register for EXPCON, being held Oct. 2-5 in Las Vegas, where you can attend valuable panel discussions like this one.