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Cleveland, Ohio

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Echo System Partners works with organizations to co-create workplaces that inspire high levels of employee engagement tapping into individual greatness for organizational good.

Organizations that work with Echo discover exactly how their people are the secret to their success and they build action plans to secure this competitive advantage.

Echo’s approach is collaborative. With thorough understanding of an organization's goals and success drivers, we tailor customized engagements that will yield measurable results.  We blend a wealth of experiences, research, and knowledge to create actions that will bring your strategic vision to life.

Echo's Blog

A blog that provides snapshots of key ideas that inspire organization growth. 

One idea: Focus on a basic concept. (Explore complex concepts in white papers.)

Short but Useful: Practical insights and ideas that can be quickly implemented.

Engaging: Quick and entertaining.

Thought Provoking: Generate resourceful thought.

Inspire: What works in organizations. 

Filtering by Category: Employee Engagement

Soaring Organization Spotlight: Inner Bliss Yoga Studio

Regina Loiko

A soaring organization is any workplace where employees are energized to contribute their very best (people soar) and in turn the organization is rewarded with financial growth and stability (profits soar). Research by Edward Deci and written about by Daniel Pink in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,demonstrates how autonomy, mastery, and purpose underpins soaring organizations.

Inner Bliss was selected for the first spotlight soaring organization because this yoga studio always delivers on their promise. The Promise: Inner Bliss Yoga Studio is more of a space than a place where warmth envelops you, laughter is contagious and ease prevails. 

Inner Bliss consistently presents a graceful offering and honors those who accept the offering.  This exchange is about community more than commerce.  This yoga studio’s impact can be felt within and well beyond its studio walls.  From within, bliss is found in breath fueled movement and stillness. Students experience life on the mat and carry their experiences into life off the mat. Beyond the studio the teachers and staff of Inner Bliss share their gifts in schools, at parks, at wellness centers, in bike shops, around local landmarks, and in arenas.

Inner Bliss is where I go to stay physically, spiritually, and mentally fit. I have been a grateful student and part of the of Inner Bliss community for more than a decade.

In addition to my personal experience I use Inner Bliss to bring yoga experiences to others. I recently developed a girls’ leadership program that is designed on a play-learn-play model. In this model, the girls gain experiences that help them learn how to be leaders. One way we do this is with yoga. When yoga became part of the program I knew instantly where to go to get the girls the best experience--Tammy Lyons owner of Inner Bliss Yoga Studio. When I reached out to Tammy she asked a few thoughtful questions and then shared that Sally Brooks would be perfect for this program. She was right, Sally is a perfect fit. When she arrives, the girls visibly transition into the ease that yoga brings them. She expertly guides the girls in yoga as she helps them find their voice and gain confidence.

The Inner Bliss team impresses with their excellence and engagement. Because of this I took a look at how Inner Bliss meets the elements of a soaring organization.

Inner Bliss Basics

Purpose: Create space and experiences for people to heal and grow with breath and movement

Products/Services: Yoga classes, workshop, apparel, and lifestyle items

Years in Business: 13.5

# of Employees 28

Locations: Rocky River & Westlake, Ohio

Leader Interview

In April of 2015 I talked with Tammy Lyons, owner of Inner Bliss Yoga Studio about what makes Inner Bliss soar.The Leader Interview

Q: What motivates you to make Inner Bliss soar?

A: After studying yoga and seeing the dramatic impact it had on my life I made the decision to leave my corporate job and start Inner Bliss to help others experience the benefits of yoga. At that time yoga was very new to Northeast Ohio. I was driven to offer others the opportunity to heal and grow through breath and movement. 

Q: Why do you think your organization soars, what is the secret to your success?

AThere is no secret. We live out our passion for yoga and put in lots of hard work.

Q: How does Inner Bliss overcome challenges?

A: Today yoga is a rapidly growing industry. This brings the challenge of competition but our focus is on the growing pains related to managing logistics that impact the student experience. For example space: from the parking lot, to class check-in, to a space to lay your yoga mat we were running out rapidly, this led to opening our second location in Westlake. 

Q: How do you attract and retain employees?

A: It is important to me that employees’ earnings reflect their value so compensation is above average and allows for a good quality of life. But it is the work environment that our employees appreciate most. Our employees get to work with happy people. Our students invest time and money and come to Inner Bliss joyfully. Plus the perk of free unlimited yoga classes is attractive to our employees.

Q: How do you approach leadership?

A: From the heart. I make leadership decisions based on respect--treating others as I want to be treated.

Q: What about Inner Bliss makes you most proud?

A: We feel blessed that people reach out and share with us the positive life changes they experience due to yoga at Inner Bliss. People share that they are learning and growing; that yoga is improving their lives, their health, and their relationships.

People Soar at Inner Bliss

People who soar are motivated to contribute to their employer’s success. Every day they do their best work and seek out ways to add value. This level of motivation results when employees have autonomy, mastery and purpose.  

In the spring of 2015 to explore if Inner Bliss employees do indeed have the autonomy, mastery, and purpose that allow people to soar at work they took the Echo System Partners soaring employees survey. The survey asks participants to anonymously rate their agreement with 22 statements such as:

  • I feel comfortable trying out new ideas at work.
  • If I make a mistake at work I am not afraid to own it.
  • I know what needs to happen for my organization to be successful.

The survey results illustrated in the chart below emphasize that Inner Bliss employees do soar in ways that positively contribute to the success of their organization.


5 Employee Engagement Tips from Netflix

Regina Loiko

The January-February 2014 Harvard Business Review Article titled How Netflix Reinvented HR, highlights some thought provoking organization development ideas. Here is summary of the article’s high points and a few of our own ideas to add to your organization development knowledge bank.

Netflix talent philosophy is based on two principles.

1.    “The best thing you can do for employees: a perk better than foosball or free sushi—is hire only ‘A’ players to work alongside them.

2.    “If we wanted only ‘A’ players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been. Out of fairness to such people—and, frankly, to help us overcome our discomfort with discharging them—we learned to offer rich severance packages.”

 Two critical points to consider related to these principles. One, what is the definition of an ‘A’ player in your organization? Two, how do you cultivate ‘A’ players? Clarity on these items will help you identify who may not be a good fit rather than who has different ideas about how to get things done.

From Netflix’s two philosophies they developed five talent tenants to inform how they live these principles.  

Five Talent Tenants 

1.    Only Hire Adults

In the article:

  • “If we asked people to rely on logic and common sense instead of a formal policies, most of the time we would get better results, and at a lower cost.”
  • “If you hire fully formed adults who put the company first an annual bonus won’t make them work harder or smarter. Rather consistently pay at the top end of market value...”

Echo input:

  • Treat all employees like adults and they will behave like adults. Restrictive policies, procedures, and bureaucracy send the message that people are not to be trusted or that they do not have sense enough to do the right thing. Be conscientious of the cycles you create. I once heard a leader say the only way we get results is if we treat people like 10 year olds. I asked--is that because they have always been treated like 10 year olds? Side note: treating 10 year olds with respect and trust also yields desired results.

2.    Tell the Truth about Performance

In the article:

  • “Eliminate formal reviews and asked managers and employees to have conversations about performance as an organic part of their work. Building a bureaucracy and elaborate rituals around measuring performance usually doesn't improve it.

Echo input:

  • Don’t try to control people or make them fit where they don’t. Rather let go respectfully, allow individuals to move on and feel good about their contributions.
  • Performance management is a shared responsibility. Cultivate an environment where employees are as likely to begin a performance related conversation as their manager. 

3.    Managers Own the Job of Creating Great Teams

In the article:

  • Envision your ideal team and build it.”
  • We continually told managers that building a great team was their most important task. We didn’t measure them on whether they were excellent coaches or mentors or got their paperwork done on time. Great teams accomplish great work, and recruiting the right team was the top priority.”

4.    Leaders Own the Job of Creating the Company Culture

In the article:

  • "It’s a waste of time to articulate ideas about values and culture if you don’t model and reward behavior that aligns with those goals.”
  • "Even if you have hired people who want to perform well, you need to clearly communicate how the company makes money and what behaviors will drive its success.

Echo input (#3&4):

  • Clear communication on what is expected of great teams and great leaders in SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time Bound) is key to building great teams.

5.    Good Talent Managers Think Like Business People and Innovators First, and Like HR People Last

In the article:

  • “Instead of cheerleading, people in HR professions should think of themselves as business people. What’s good for the company?  How do we communicate that to employees? How can we help every worker understand what we mean by high performance?”

Echo Input

  • Help people understand how what is good for the company is good for them.
  • See that every team member knows how they create value for the organization.