The Workplace: Why Having Fun Isn’t A Luxury, with Winn Claybaugh

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

There’s a stigma attached to word “quitter,” but when someone quits a job, it’s often just to get out of a bad work environment and move on to something better. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen, Tana and author Winn Claybaugh describe just how important a healthy culture is to a business, and how meetings (or lack of) and language can completely transform an office’s productivity.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In Our podcast we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The brain warrior's way podcast is brought to you by Amen clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years. Using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: welcome back. We are here with our friend, the dean of the Paul Mitchell schools, Winn Claybaugh.
Winn Claybaugh: Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Who has 16,000 students and lots of businesses, and you're really teaching young therapists how to make people look beautiful.
Winn Claybaugh: Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:01:08]. Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you know people who go into the beauty industry, sometimes they're struggling.
Winn Claybaugh: It's the same as most arts. You know, people who were attracted to the arts, drama or whatever, oftentimes they didn't fit into regular traditional educational environments, high school or College. And so sometimes because of that they can be outcasts and when they come to us you better believe they're a bit broken. I'm always amazed at by the age of 20 years old, they've dealt with homelessness, addictions, suicide attempts, rape, self harm, all kinds of things. And so, and I take that very, very seriously. I remember the first time that that came up, "Hey Winn, come to the office, this student is cutting themselves."
I'm like, what are you talking about? Cutting hair? They cut their finger by accident? What are you talking about? I had no idea.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: I did not know that that existed and how can I take their tuition dollars but not have education and awareness on what their life struggles are. And so you better believe we have to address that. That has to be part of the component-
Tana Amen: That's amazing.
Winn Claybaugh: ... Which is why I'm a fan of you. Because how can I take a paycheck and yet not take full responsibility of the culture that I have set up? Because, like you said in an earlier podcast, they spend more time with me. They're spending more time in the work environment than sometimes they're spending with their own family, their own loved ones. And so that better be a healthy work environment. And we provide for them resources that are going to help them have a better brain, help them overcome addictions and fix their relationship with mom and dad, et cetera.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So we actually donated our quarter spring thrive by 25 tall of your students just for that reason.
Winn Claybaugh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: When people think and care about their brains, they act better. They're better students. I have a new book coming out in September called Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades. And-
Winn Claybaugh: Love it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... It's about what is the most important organ of learning. It's your brain. And if it's not right or the teacher's brain isn't right, there is going to be trouble. So that's why the teachers at the Paul Mitchell school have to be right 'cause it will translate to the students. So let's talk about how to use your brain to build a better business and a better life. When you hear that, what are some of the things you think about?
Winn Claybaugh: First of all, they statistically they say that 50% of people who quit their jobs did so to get away from their boss. To get away from a toxic culture, work culture. And by the way, those who quit are not the worst employees. They are the best employees. They quit because they know they deserve better. And so people are or are looking for a healthy culture. It's not just about the title or the paycheck. In fact, when they interview or when they survey people, the amount of income is about number seven on the list.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Winn Claybaugh: How much money you pay me in order of importance of why I'm going to stay loyal and work here really is not the number one thing. And what are more more important than the paycheck, not that the paycheck isn't important because it is important. What is more important is that healthy culture. And so businesses have systems for payroll, they have systems for how they handle the complaining customer. They have a system for how they do all kinds of things. But when it comes to something like, well how do you have fun around here? And they look at me like I have three heads. Why do we have to do that? Why is that my job to make sure that my people, the people that I work with everyday are having fun. And so we have systems for those things. We have systems-
Tana Amen: I love that.
Winn Claybaugh: ... For being in a good mood. We have systems for how we start the day to create the energy. Every Friday we have what we call dance club Fridays. And so-
Tana Amen: How fun.
Winn Claybaugh: Yeah, everybody from customers to students, they stop what they're doing, they hit the floor-
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh, how fun.
Winn Claybaugh: ... And they crank the music just all of a sudden. In that three minutes, what I can create a three minutes can undo some of the back gossip that's been going on for eight hours in the back room. So there's just all kinds of things systems that companies and organizations can do to make sure that this stuff is thriving.
Tana Amen: Do you have someone assigned to actually implement this stuff?
Winn Claybaugh: Oh, absolutely.
Tana Amen: Oh, that's fantastic.
Winn Claybaugh: And in every single one of my schools we have what we call our be nice or else teams.
Tana Amen: Awesome.
Winn Claybaugh: Culture ... You ask anybody who works with my organization, what are you most proud of? Is it your cutting system? No. Are we proud of it? Absolutely. Is it your product line? Is it your beautiful facility? Is it your marble floors? No. What are they going to tell you? What makes us number one? Our culture. And every person will tell you that.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So what are some tips that you can give our listeners who either work in a business or own a business, on how to their cultures?
Winn Claybaugh: Okay. First of all, I said earlier that make it real simple. Three basic human needs. People need to feel safe. People need to feel that they belong. Did you know that 60% of people say no one has my back. And by the way, half of them are married. So what a great opportunity we have.
Tana Amen: I'm so glad I don't feel that way.
Winn Claybaugh: Can you imagine?
Tana Amen: No.
Winn Claybaugh: But have you ever felt that way though?
Tana Amen: Yes.
Winn Claybaugh: Yeah.
Tana Amen: Many times.
Winn Claybaugh: And how many people feel that way at work? Nobody here has my back. If people live in fear every single day at work, they could be the most talented person in the organization, but every single day they live in fear. Why? 'Cause their boss makes them feel that way. They're doing their job, they're on time to work. But the boss lives by this old school culture of leadership, which is about fear. It's about intimidation. It's about policing people. And a lot of leaders think that their job is to police their people.
I'm just waiting for you to screw up-
Tana Amen: Rather than inspire.
Winn Claybaugh: ... And then, and then I know your name. You're late today. You've been on time every day for the last three years, but today you're late and now I'm going to focus on you.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: So people live in fear, [crosstalk 00:06:59] when I live in fear. We don't perform at our best when we're coming from those places. And so just realize that it's our job to bring out the best in people. And then the third basic human need is that, as we've talked about, is that people need to have a purpose. They need to have that why. So that's the philanthropy side.
Tana Amen: I love that. Thank you for having my back.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Always . My life is better because of you.
Winn Claybaugh: Of course it is.
Tana Amen: Bit's a really good point.
Winn Claybaugh: Yeah. Well that, you asked for a tip. Communication. If you're going to error in your company, in your organization, I would rather that you error on the side of having too much communication than not enough. 'Cause how successful would your marriage be if the two of you got together just once a month to talk.
Tana Amen: Right.
Winn Claybaugh: Some people say, "Ooh, that sounds good." But some marriages [crosstalk 00:07:50] yours.
Tana Amen: We built a ritual.
Winn Claybaugh: Of course you did, and there's a ritual. [crosstalk 00:07:53]. But why shouldn't that be just as important in the work environment?
Tana Amen: Sure.
Winn Claybaugh: Just a successful marriage requires communication. Well guess what? A successful marriage, so to speak, in the work environment requires communication. Because when there's too little communication, people will make stuff up. Know what I mean?
Tana Amen: Yep.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's what the brain does.
Winn Claybaugh: Exactly. [crosstalk 00:08:14]. Yeah, my paychecks late today, that must mean that the company's in trouble. I better go look for another job.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: When really it was just the accountant was out sick.
Tana Amen: There's an accident on the freeway.
Winn Claybaugh: Exactly. Exactly. So people will make stuff up and so we're a, we like to say that we're a house of communication. Which does not mean that we're just having random meetings because, 'cause that can be a waste of time too. You have an hour long meeting and there's ten people there that's not one hour of wasted time. That's ten hours of wasted time cause he had ten people there. So if we're going to bring people together, let's be very, very clear on why we're bringing people together. Yeah. So we have our morning ritual of a meeting. It lasts for 20 minutes. I can tell you exactly who's there, who's not there. I can tell you what they discussed, what they're not supposed to discuss there. We actually script the words that they can use. The words that they cannot use.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Give us an example.
Winn Claybaugh: If in a staff meeting we say, okay, who here has a problem? Anybody have any problems here? I have a problem. Now all of a sudden you gave power probably to the wrong person and now, the problem is the bathroom is always dirty, and you're thinking, you know what, that bugs me as well. Now I'm pissed off too. You're pissed off, we're all pissed off and it's his fault, right? All of a sudden you let the energy go in the wrong direction.
Tana Amen: So that's not something you would let happen?
Winn Claybaugh: You can't say you can't use the word problem. You can, you can say, I have a, a a, what's the word we use? I should probably know this. Right.
Tana Amen: A concern or a?
Winn Claybaugh: I have a suggestion, but every suggestion has ... no, I'm sorry. I have two solutions. Every suggestion has to have two solutions.
Tana Amen: I Like it
Winn Claybaugh: Because my mom said if it's to be, it's up to me. A little kids, we were running around. If this to be, it's up to me.
Tana Amen: Oh I love that.
Winn Claybaugh: My mom would say I'm not the complaint department around here child.
Tana Amen: I love that.
Winn Claybaugh: Come back with two solutions and then we can talk. But there are grown adults that still think it's their job to just dump on somebody else. I have a problem. I'm going to dump it on you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, no good manager [crosstalk 00:10:10].
Winn Claybaugh: What's your suggestion to solutions?
Dr. Daniel Amen: There you go. I love that and I love to solutions.
Tana Amen: I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 'Cause then they don't get wed to just their one solution on how to do this. So we have a morning huddle [crosstalk 00:10:24] every day. And it's been transformative 'cause it increases the communication among the teams just to know what's going on. And you can't go on and on. They last 15 minutes the huddles.
Winn Claybaugh: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But it's communication.
Winn Claybaugh: I got to share with you our gathering guidelines. There's ten of them and we're very specific. So we're all gathering together whether it's an hour long meeting or is that 15 minute huddle, ten guidelines on how to have a successful huddle of what that looks like.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Great. So in the next podcast we will do that.
Winn Claybaugh: Got It.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Gathering solutions-
Tana Amen: I like it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... For your brain. Stay with us.
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