Talent strategy, employee retention, talent acquisition requires organizational leadership to use new ways of a workplace for people to succeed, says TEP.Global

Talent Strategy is all about creating a workplace for people to succeed

Talent Strategy is all about creating a workplace for people to succeed

By Dr. Vic | Feb 11th, 2023 | Employee engagement, Executive recruiting, HR consulting, Management consulting, People management, | 0 Comments

In a podcast interview of senior HR consultant Mark Carr, by leadership coach, executive recruiter Dr. Vic, who is also the founder and CEO of  TEP.Global, they both emphasized that talent strategy requires leadership to create a workplace for people to succeed.

To listen as a podcast

The following is a slightly edited transcription of a podcast interview with Mark Carr, by Dr. Vic on talent strategy, organizational leadership, talent acquisition, workplace motivation, employee engagement, HR consulting, people centered human resource management.

Dr. Vic

Our world is changing fast and we need to adapt. 

If we want to survive, we need a new paradigm of how we work and live our lives.

If business organizations want to survive, they need to shift their approach to human resources,

employment and leadership altogether. 

The old paradigm is not working anymore. Let’s talk about it.

Welcome to the energy paradigm show.

Too many people are suffering, too many people medicate to get through a normal day. Too many people live a life of quiet desperation instead of shining their light.

That’s where the energy paradigm comes in – a radical shift in mindset that takes us from the impersonal to the personal, from treating us like machines to treating us like human beings,

We need a new form of human sustainability, where organizations actually take care of their most important asset: You! And where you truly lead your life.

Each episode, we have a fascinating discussion with an outstanding person – a game changer – about what we can do to change the paradigm of how we work, do business and lead our lives.

We talk about their struggles, what made them become a game changer and how they carry their message into the world. And we learn what ultimately drives those outstanding individuals to take a stand to inspire, to build a legacy and leave their mark for humanity.

So who are we and why are we doing this? We are ordinary people who one day woke up and discovered that this is not the life we’ve envisioned for ourselves, our energy was gone, we were disengaged, we felt empty, tired and depleted and we were desperate for change. We knew that we needed to find a new way to make it all work: A new paradigm that would give our lives direction and purpose.

This show has been created because we believe the world will be a better place when we start treating people like human beings. We believe that everyone has talent and purpose and deserves a chance to shine, to matter, to make a difference. That’s The Energy Paradigm.

Can you envision a life you want to subscribe to? Enough dreaming! Deep down inside there is a game changer in you. It’s time to wake up and take action.

Mark Carr, senior HR leader

In this first episode, I chat with Mark Carr, a senior HR leader with international exposure who joins us from his office in Tucson Arizona. Not only is Mark a model leader and human resources professional, he’s also an avid mountaineer who has climbed all of the seven summits. Mark is the only person I know to have a rolodex full of former employees who want to work for him again, no matter where. 

We’ll discuss with Mark, how he got into human resources, how he became a game changer in his field, how we can tackle the current engagement epidemic, his legacy and the future of human resources.

This is our first podcast, please excuse the technical difficulties we experienced during recording, but we feel the content is too important not to post. We hope you enjoy the podcast and here’s Mark. Welcome to the show, Mark!

How is climbing the 7 summits related to managing human resources?


Thank you Victor, I appreciate it.

Dr. Vic

It’s absolutely fantastic to have you on the show. Let’s start right away with our first question Mark, how did you get into human resources?


Well, that’s an interesting question. I did not set out to be an HR at all. I when I first started, HR,

I didn’t even know what it was. I had uh my career goal was to become a Navy fighter pilot and I had finally gotten a pilot slot and had gone to Pensacola Florida to Navy Air Officer candidate school and was four weeks from graduating with my commission and then going to flight school when um I had a serious injury and ended up essentially physically washing out of the program.

And so I did not anticipate that of course and didn’t know what I was going to do. And then I had a background in psychology and applied for a job with a company called Ocean Pacific Sports, where in personnel at the time – and that’s what they were calling human resources back then – and started out as an entry level personnel manager and then have been in human resources ever since.

Dr. Vic

I know from previous conversations that you have a background actually in forensic psychology. Why not work as a crime profiler?


I had finished my master’s in forensic psychology and then got the pilot slot. I was in a PhD program and really I needed to have a PhD in it to truly pursue that as a career.

So when the navy thing did not work out, I didn’t know what to do.

And so I just really didn’t ever pursue their forensic part of it.

Dr. Vic

Mark, what makes you a force to be reckoned with in your field? What’s the secret sauce?


I’d say the secret sauce is understanding the business. Uh a lot of HR people want to be quote unquote strategic business partners and they want a seat at the table.

And if you look back to all the HR literature, especially in the nineties when this movement sort of came about in HR to for HR people to become strategic business partners maybe or mainly led by a guy at the University of Michigan professor named Dave Ulrich and his writing. The key to that though is that HR has to have that business acumen behind them and be able to understand why the decisions that they make in terms of employee relations in terms of benefits, in terms of recruiting, how those impact the business and why business leaders want HR to make the decisions that they do and support them in the way they do.

So I think over the course of the last 20 years that’s where HR has really evolved is that nowadays most HR people truly do understand their business and are fairly savvy business leaders themselves. And so that’s been, as you coined the term secret sauce, I think that’s been the secret sauce to my career.

Dr. Vic

I definitely agree. I mean, the business side is definitely most important, but ultimately the business is driven by people and we are The Energy Paradigm and we believe that people need to be set up for success, so the business is set up for success. What are your thoughts?


Absolutely. You know that I definitely believe in the mission of what you’re trying to do.

And I think sometimes though, that’s in terms of business leaders driving for revenue and quarterly profits and answering to Wall Street and doing their earnings calls. Sometimes they forget that the key is people. And so, that’s where HR needs to be able to bridge that. But going back to what I just said, if HR doesn’t understand the business, they’re not going to have credibility in terms of lobbying, lobbying, and leveraging for people type activities and for leaders to really be energized with their people. And so it’s all got to be tied together,

but your point is extremely valid.

Dr. Vic

So what can companies do to get this energy going to set their people up for success to make them excited? So they actually want to come to work and they want to contribute and bring themselves in fully?


One thing is they need to truly care about the people. People will see through hypocrisy immediately in terms of if they feel that their leaders are just using them to achieve results.

So the companies that really are at the forefront of this and I’m thinking of like,

Zappos is a great company that truly puts employees and training and the welfare of the employees first. And when employees see a company doing that, they’re willing to just sell out for that company to make sure that that company succeeds. And it seems so intuitive that,

you know, if you empower people, if you truly value people at their very core, they’re gonna want to perform for you and they’re gonna want that company to succeed. But so many times it seems like companies are blind to that. So I think that’s where HR has value and that’s where HR has to be assertive in terms of driving that. 

Dr. Vic

That’s where the energy paradigm comes in, right, to change the game!


Exactly. I think you can be, you know, at the forefront of doing this, but it’s going to take some, you know, enlightenment of the leaders, but they will see the results with this. So I totally agree

Dr. Vic

In order to become a game changer, I think it is often adverse conditions that you have to face first. I had certainly many of those throughout my career until I had my big aha moment and it was this one morning and I just couldn’t get out of bed, I was literally frozen in bed and that was for me the moment where I said to myself, you know, this cannot be, we need to change this somehow. Tell us about the biggest aha moment that you had in your career. The spark that changed you profoundly.


I don’t think I had a true aha moment, but mine was just a gradual realization of watching the companies that I worked with navigate their way through quarterly earnings and especially in the semiconductor industry, navigate their way through the cyclical two year ups and downs in terms of that industry that it really came to me over time in terms of valuing employees and looking beyond even employee engagement, but really looking at what is the overall energy of the organization. Does this organization have a corrosive energy? Does it have a positive energy that facilitates uh creativity and facilitates empowerment? It’s been an evolution for me in terms of looking at what truly impacts companies.

Dr. Vic

You’re known to be a HR leader who seeks innovation in HR who tries to change the game. And I know it’s not always easy. When people hear your name, what do you want to be known for?


You’re right, it isn’t always easy and it continues to not always be easy. There are so many paradigms that are just steeped into the workplace and I’ll give you an example of that is just the performance review process and so many organizations are still steeped into spending so much time doing mid year reviews and end of year reviews and managers don’t like it and employees don’t like it and the conversations are uncomfortable but yet organizations continue to do this. So I guess to answer your question if there was something that I would like to be known by it would be just pushing the envelope in terms of maybe breaking down some of these institutionalized processes and corporations and moving towards much more employee empowering processes going forward.

About performance reviews

Dr. Vic

I think you really speak for millions of people who just downright hate performance reviews.


I would agree. I mean I don’t like it. Writing, I don’t like writing them, you know, it’s one of those things that a lot of people wait until they’re due on Friday. I’ll wait till Thursday night to write them. Um And it just plus just the amount of time on systems that is spent on IT

processes and then the amount of time that’s spent on tracking performance, appraisal, completion rate and employee development plan completion rate and etcetera etcetera.

It just it’s if you wanted to dollarize the cost uh of that in terms of managers time and employees times doing this I couldn’t even imagine what that would be. Um It would be staggering and yet the question is: Does it really ever move the needle in terms of performance in the company and I honestly don’t know. I truly don’t think it does.

Dr. Vic

I think it just stirs fear and anxiety and judgment and feeling judged and putting people down more than uplifting them and energizing them.


The other thing I think it does is it’s always a backward looking process and so I’m rating you on what you did last year and also a lot of times the goals that are set at the beginning of one year that you’re being tracked on throughout that year because the business world is so fluid.

Those goals may totally change halfway through the year, but yet you may still be measured on those old goals at the end of the year. And so I think there’s better ways to do it.

Dr. Vic

I totally agree. Now if you were given a hall pass and unlimited resources and no obstacles at all, what would organizations and human resources and even what would the world look like if?


I had my say, let’s say I took over the company as a CEO one of things I would do away with right away is the performance review process. And I instead look at forward looking processes and frequent conversations between employees and leaders where goals are constantly evolving and changing and being updated and those conversations are empowering to the employee and are focused on how do you develop that employee and where does the employee truly want to go in the next two years. So instead of backward looking, it’s totally forward looking, that’s, what I would do.

Dr. Vic

You told me previously that you have a very powerful model for your life,

Would you like to share that with us?


The model for my life has basically been, I’ve always strived to live an extraordinary life and I’ve basically done that through travel through experiences through physical challenges. Um I’ve done a lot of climbing around the world, but also in my career seeking out challenges that are international, in scope challenges with maybe difficult types of environments, but mainly just that’s been the philosophy that I’ve used to guide my life.

Dr. Vic

You are an avid mountaineer. What have you learned on your expeditions?

Good leaders put their teams first


The amazing thing about expeditions is, and I’ll use climbing Everest as an example is you watch you sign up to, to go on one of these expeditions with, there’s various companies out there,

mountain madness, um there’s others, but you sign up and then usually you fly into a place called like Kathmandu Nepal and you may never have even met the climbers that are gonna be part of your team for the next 6 to 8 weeks and watching how these guides, full teams of climbers together from all over the world that don’t know each other usually that have fairly large egos that are very goal oriented and have paid thousands of dollars to attempt to reach the summit and because of that may be somewhat self focused and over the course of a week or two mold a cohesive team together and they have to do this because if the team is not cohesive, it’s not going to succeed and you are then you’re relying on your teammates who you have just met in terms of life and death situations over the next few weeks.

And so I’ve watched that and I’ve seen how the leaders, these guides always put the team first. They never take care of themselves before their teammates or before. The people on their team are taken care of. They never asked the team to do something that they aren’t willing to do themselves. They have very effective meetings. You wouldn’t think that meetings would be a part of climbing, but it truly is every day you have a meeting and usually it’s in the breakfast tent and it’s only about 10 minutes long, but it’s clear on what are the objectives for the day, who’s going to be doing, what, what is the weather, what are some of the risks and what are the goals that want to be accomplished?

And so they have much more effective meetings than usually you see in the corporate world and you can apply that to the corporate world. So just there’s all kinds of leadership lessons uh that can be learned from climbing and applied to the business world and I’ve tried to do that in some form or another.

Dr Vic

Just out of, out of the top of your head, what would be some of the valuable lessons that you can incorporate into your work as human resources leader?

Is it hard or is it impossible?


One of the things is it hard or is it impossible? And, an example of that is, I was climbing a mountain called Amadablan in Nepal, which is about 10 miles from Marist and is a beautiful mountain. I think it’s actually used as the corporate symbol for Invesco but there’s a point above camp three on that mountain that you have to traverse sideways across the rock wall and the rock wall is mixed rock and ice, meaning that you’re gonna be wearing crampons to go across it. But your crampons aren’t gonna bite into the rock, they’re just gonna kind of slide off.

So it’s very tricky. So you roped as you go across and the hardest thing to do in climbing isn’t going up or going down it’s going sideways. And I was very very trepidatious the night before we had to do this. Um I was thinking about cashing it in and going home. That rock wall was just very very intimidating to me and one of the guides came into my tent and I’ll never forget. That’s what he said. He said: Well you know is this hard, yeah it’s very hard to do. But is it impossible? Well no because many, many climbers with no better skill level than you have have made it across that traverse. So it’s not impossible. It’s just hard so you’ve got to decide yourself how you’re going to think about it and whether you’re gonna do it or not. 

And so that’s a lesson that you know when teams in the corporate world maybe there’s a challenge whether they’ve got to do uh incredibly complex acquisition or difficult acquisition or they’ve got to do uh IT conversion or something like this and they look at this task and it just seems unbelievably daunting to them. But you ask them, is it hard or is it impossible? Well yeah it’s probably gonna be very very hard and very very difficult, extremely challenging. But it’s not impossible because I bet you other companies have gone through this same conversion, similar type acquisitions and so that’s just one example where you might take a climbing lesson and apply it to the corporate world.

Put employees’ interests first, look out for them, have their back and give them a lot of freedom to do their jobs.

Dr. Vic

Mindset definitely plays a big role in not only business but also in our lives altogether. Personally, I don’t want to work for any of my former bosses again but you have a rolodex full of former employees who want to work for you no matter where you go. Why is that?


My guess is that the employees that have worked for me, they know that I will put their interests first, that I will look out for them, that I will have their back and then I will give them a lot of freedom to do their job. I’ll give them the tools they need the information they need,

the coaching that they might need, the guidance that they might need, but then I’ll get the heck out of the way and let them do their job. And that’s another thing that I’ve learned from climbing. But then I’m gonna have to hold them accountable to the standards that I’ve set and so I don’t manage by the number of hours they work. I could care less as long as they get the job done. And so the demanding nature I hold of them is just that they perform and that they hit the goals and that they succeed. I think that just resonates with people. People want to know that you have confidence in them. People want to know that you truly do care about them and that it’s not just a hypocritical type of caring where you only care about them because uh they work for you and you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder and succeed,

um it’s gotta come from the heart. It’s got to be genuine and if you do do that with your employees, like I said at the beginning of this podcast, you know, they’re gonna sell out for you and they’re gonna, they’re gonna go to a war with you or whatever it is and you’re gonna be the type of leader that they want to work for?

Hire honest, curious, growth minded people

Dr. Vic

Do you need to hire certain people or certain profiles or types in order to accomplish that or doesn’t it matter?


That’s a great question. Um And I truly don’t know the answer to that. I when I set out to hire people, I don’t have a certain type that I set out to hire I’ve had in the course of my career,

people from all different kinds of backgrounds and all different nationalities. I’ve managed,

I’ve been fortunate enough to manage people in I think 14 or 15 different countries, so you know different cultures. Um all I’m looking for is people that are honest, people that want to grow and people that have a sense of curiosity. I think those are the only common threads that would go through the type of people that I try to hire.

Dr. Vic

How do you figure out if somebody is honest?


Mhm. I guess there’s no magic formula to that. It’s it’s asking intuitive questions in an interview situation and and honestly I think interviewing is I don’t have a better solution, but it’s not,

it’s not the greatest way to select people, but when I do one of the things that I do in my interviews is I never ask canned questions and I know a lot of people do like to write out the questions they’re gonna ask people, but I try to just truly have a conversation sort of what we’re doing here and let the let the questions flow off of the way the conversation is going and then it’s a matter of just I guess using the psychology background I have in terms of trying to profile that person and and truly get a gauge of whether they’re honest or not.

Find good people with good leadership is the most important part of talent strategy

Dr. Vic

Lately.We have heard from many companies and owners also that they cannot find good people anymore. Can you speak to that?


I think that goes back to their own leadership.That maybe if they took a hard look at how they lead, how they manage, how they train, how they onboard, that people are people and you either give them the tools and put them in an environment where they can succeed and if they’re not succeeding, maybe look at the tools and the environment that they’re in.

And maybe that’s the problem.

Dr. Vic

You have mentioned in our conversations before that you like to hire people who are better than yourself. As a senior HR leader, how do you convince senior management or the C-Level to hire people better than themselves?


That’s a good question. 

And that’s not always possible to do. Even at the C level, you would not believe the level of insecurity that some people have. But hopefully if they’ve had what it takes to rise up to that level, you know, they know that hiring strong people underneath them is only going to help them achieve their goals and so much of what HR strategic HR today is around succession planning and having those processes in place to develop the future leaders. And so you have to couch it around, you know, this person is a high potential. This person is going to potentially be on your succession planning chart, that’s what you need. And that it’s only going to help you succeed. It’s gonna only going to help the company succeed with a lot of leaders that’s gonna resonate with others. It just isn’t. And if it doesn’t resonate you move on.

Talent strategy includes offering an employee what it takes to be a good employee

Dr. Vic

Speaking of high potentials, this is so much aligned with what we believe in The Energy Paradigm, We believe that everyone has talent, we believe that everyone has a purpose. Everyone should be allowed to shine. There’s potential in everybody, it’s just a question of how to activate it, how to bring it out and we believe that nobody should be left behind.

What are your thoughts on that?


I would say, I definitely agree with that. Um There are always though – and this is the HR person talking in me that has to do the employee relations stuff – there’s always gonna be some people that no matter what and no matter how you try to tap in and activate that, it may just not work.

And so that environment may not be the right environment for them and they may need to move on. But I’d say for the vast, vast majority of people, that is absolutely accurate and that’s something where I think we’re falling down a little bit in the corporate world, is not recognizing that and not taking the time to activate that potential within the employees.

And it goes back to the previous question you asked me uh in terms of why can’t companies find good people? They’re out there, you just have to take the time to make sure you’re giving them what it takes to be a good employee.

Dr. Vic

Fantastic. I absolutely agree with that. It’s, the environment and it’s the opportunity and it’s also seeing the person and making sure that you understand them well. So it’s a question of the right selection.



Dr. Vic

Now Mark, we all have an extensive work life, but hopefully we also have a private life where we have some time to recharge. How do you recharge?


I’m always seemingly training for some kind of climbing trip coming up. So my next climbing trip is in October which is going to be in Nepal. And so the way I recharge is to get out with my dogs and the best way to train for climbing or hiking trip is to hike. And so I am always up in the mountains, spending time in nature, hiking with my dogs and just enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, whether it’s at sunrise or sunset or just trying to be outdoors.

Dr. Vic

Many people go into gyms. What is so special about the outdoors for you?


I do a lot of gym work too, but it’s not near as monotonous as gym work and I think being outdoors, it just allows you to, to think to, to just soak in, you know. I think for one thing just being out in the sunshine is very healthy for us. Psychologically being outdoors I think is just so good for your mental health because it gives you time to clear your mind and it gives me time to do a lot of thinking when I’m out hiking about issues or problems or ways I can fix things. And so I do some of my best thinking while I’m out on the trail,

Dr. Vic

How often do you go hiking – every day?


What gets me motivated to do that is I always have some kind of trip in the future that I’m training for. So there are definitely days where I do not feel like getting up, especially in the summertime, I usually go out at 5 a.m. And there are days where I’d rather just stay in bed and sleep. But it’s knowing that I have that I’m training and I need to get out and I need to get up.

That’s what gets my feet moving.

Follow your own passion, go travel!

Dr. Vic

Let’s get a little bit more philosophical. What is the one piece of advice that would have changed your life early on?


I think the one piece of advice would have been to not listen to the voices around you or what everybody else is telling you and do with your life, what you truly want to do and don’t let your parents expectations or societal expectations go for your dreams. And that would have been the piece of advice that I would have valued. There’s a, the coach of the Seattle Seahawks,

he’s a Super Bowl winning coach. His name is Pete Carroll and I was reading one of his books one time and he said that you truly, for a lot of people, you cannot truly live your life until unfortunately your parents have passed away because it’s, it’s only at that point where you can go for your own expectations and you don’t have all these ingrained parental expectations,

just guiding you, even when you’re an adult, even when you’re 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old. It’s just amazing at how those parent’s voices still tend to sway your decisions or what you’re doing or how you’re feeling about yourself internally. So I always thought that was a fascinating quote from an extremely successful person, but that’s how he felt to,

to any young person. I would say go for your own dreams and live your own life and do truly what you want to do.

Dr. Vic


And that leads me into the last question for today: What is the single most important advice that you have for the next generation? People who are just starting out?


Travel are the best dollars you can spend in terms of education are travel dollars get outside the country, get outside your, your own little world, get out of your comfort zone, you know,

go and experience this world, experience different cultures, get lost in a city and then find your way, find your way back. But I, I just, I think in my own life going abroad and just experiencing as much of this earth as I can, that’s that has helped me more than anything and that has formed the kind of person I am more more than anything, more than any of the,

the book knowledge or the degrees that I have, it’s been experiencing the world!

Dr. Vic

Wonderful Mark! Let this be the concluding words for this podcast.

It was such a great honor to have you on our show.

Thank you very very much.


Thank you.

Dr. Vic

Thank you for listening. If you’re interested in learning more about the energy paradigm,

Please visit our website, the energy paradigm dot com like us on facebook, connect with us on linkedin, watch us on youtube. It’s time to change the paradigm.

You can do your share by spreading the word and by shining your light.

Have an energized day.

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It’s time to change the paradigm.

You can do your share by spreading the word and by shining your light.

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