Jackie: Thanks for listening today. My guest today is Pam Boney, the founder and CEO of Tilt 365 Incorporated, a tech startup that designs and builds personality and character strength assessments to help teams reduce divisiveness, office politics, and ego sensitivities so that they can perform better and faster. And something in the news recently Tilt 365 recently founded the Academy for Laser Coaching recently approved by the ICF, specifically designed to teach HR, DEI, and team leaders how to coach in a way that creates an agile and generative culture. Love that. Pam, thank you so much for being here today. I’m so excited to have you.
Pam: I'm happy to be here and thanks for bringing up the laser coaching academy. We're so proud of that. It was really a lot of hard work.
Jackie: Yeah. That is so exciting. Well, Pam, let's kind of start at the beginning if we can. Can you tell us just a little bit about you, your background, and what led you to where you are today?
Pam: Yes. like a lot of executive coaches, I've had two careers. So, the first, career in my twenties and thirties, which was so fun was in the hospitality business. I started out in sales and then eventually general manager then regional, and then eventually a senior vice president in the field running a large portfolio of hotels. So that's where I started. At age 40 and right after 9/11, I kind of had a moment where I said, I just want to do something really different and I kind of responded to a calling that, I wanted to be an executive coach and I had seen this new professional, the front cover of fortune magazine.
And this executive coach was a blonde headed female like me, and was standing on a sailboat, which I'm a sailor. I looked at the front cover of that magazine, I said, that's my next career.
So that was in my dream folder and I had, and I got certified to be a coach and left in my early forties to start a coaching business and go back and grad school.
Jackie: Wow, what a journey, and we'll get into that a little bit more specifically, but I want to touch Pam on your family. I know that your family influenced your interest in understanding and studying people which ties in to what you're doing now. Do you mind sharing a little bit about your family and why that's the case?
Pam: Sure, nobody ever asked me that question, that's good. I grew up in a family where we had, his kids, her kids, our kids, even adopted kids. So, we were a very mixed family, different cultural backgrounds, different genetic backgrounds, and, because of that, you know, like I, I started, very early trying to figure out, you know, human systems and dynamics.
Jackie: Yeah. I love that, you know, that's the same for me. I grew up in a multicultural, multi-regional, multi-generational house, and it's really interesting how your perspectives about things about people change depending on, right, who the conversation is with. Everybody sees through their own lens of experience.
And so, understanding how to navigate that, right, which is I think the same for both of us, was interesting and helps us in our respective careers. So, I love it.
Pam: Definitely. I think it definitely is, we're natural emotional intelligence comes from. Got to figure it out.
Jackie: Right, that's exactly right. So, Pam, tell us more about your time in hospitality and what you learned from that experience.
Pam: Well, you know, as I think about it, I was very excited to get into that career, in hospitality. but as I think about it, it makes sense because when you're running hotels, it's the same kind of thing as my family, you know, like you're entertaining people from all over the world and kind of feel at home and, you know, so my I'm sure my skills of being able to read people quickly, you know, bled right into my career in hospitality.
And I worked my way up from the bottom up, and so, you know, I used to, it's kind of a little joke. I had, boy, back in the day that when somebody walked in the front of the hotel, I could tell you how they were going to pay.
Was it going to be cash out of their pocket, or what kind of credit card? And yeah, so I can read people really well. I worked on the front desk for years all the way through college, and so I checked in, you know, literally thousands of people into hotels and welcomed them from wherever they came from.
Jackie: Right. Oh, that's awesome. And let's talk a little more about that. As a leader in hospitality, talk a little about, you know, what you learned and how you navigated leadership because not only were your guests, you know, coming from different cultures, but your employees also, right? So, can you tell us a little about how to, how to lead diverse teams from that perspective?
Pam: Yes. Oh, my goodness. The industry of hospitality is very diverse. I can, I can remember running, you know, employee luncheons, where we had different tables and every table had a translator. You know, like, the different kinds of, Hispanic, you know, Spanish has different dialects and Russian and, you know, all kinds of, different people. But I remember having to lead and, and think about, you know, here's what I want to say and I'll wait for all the translators. So it was, it was very much a diverse environment, both, you know, culturally and also socioeconomically.
And of course, I think any system, any living system requires diversity. It's kind of a science. We all know that, right, but human systems, the diversity is particularly important because of the different perspectives, right? You know how, if we're open, then we're always going to be learning from other people. But the minute that we shut down or have an unconscious bias that kind of puts us in a certain thinking mode, it shuts down our learning, you know, we can't learn from each other and I'm in the hotel industry, it was so important because we were all speaking different languages and didn't often speak each other's language.
So, the common language that I've found was that people just want to be treated with respect and dignity, and you can do that in any language. And it is really just about being a real person and treating people like they deserve.
Jackie: Pam, I love that because if you think about the so many identities, right, and you may have, you know, exposure to, comfortability with, and some you may not, but if you just break it down to treating people with respect and dignity, that gets you there. I love that.
Pam: I formed or, you know, such great friendships with, you know, people from very different backgrounds from me, and we all did. We all have the benefit of being able to do that. And it was pretty, pretty special.
Jackie: That's so great. Pam, let's talk about, you said you started, you know, in high school, right at 16 as a desk clerk, right.
And then you rose through the ranks, right, being VP. Let's talk a little bit, a bit about how you were able to, to make that climb.
Pam: Yeah. So, I think part of it was just really enjoying what I did. I remember kind of the experience of what we call flow today: being on a front desk and being really busy and flying around and checking people in and really getting good at it.
I think I just enjoyed the industry because I enjoyed people so much and it was, it was a fun, thing to do in college. I was studying accounting and finance in college, believe it or not, but by the time I finished studying that, I was like, no, I want to be in the people business. So, I didn't go into accounting, but I did use accounting.
And I think that is probably what helped me get promoted so many times so quickly is understanding the financial side of, of business. It turned out to be an important advantage.
Jackie: That's awesome. Pam, I know that there was a certain experience that you had early in your career around a personality assessment, and assumptions that were made about your career trajectory based on the results. Can you share that story with me?
Pam: Yes. A lot of people know this story, and it was, it was actually a leader who was using the Myers-Briggs personality assessment and kind of using it in a, you know, in a way that back then we didn't know, it wasn't right. So, I don't necessarily blame him for this, but I applied for a promotion.
I was in sales and I was, top rookie of the year, in the nation actually for sales that year, and I applied to get promoted and was turned down. So, and I thought it was a shoe in because I've performed so well. He said, no, you're just not a leader. You're never going to be a leader. And I said, well, why?
And he said, well, just look at your Myers, Briggs, you know, results here. Your standards are so high, like you're introverted. There's no way that you're going to actually ever be a leader. Leaders are much more kind of even keeled and not so perfectionistic and not so driven. And, you know, you, you need to satisfy yourself being in sales. You're great at that, you know, just stay in that forever.
And I was like, wait a minute you know, I didn't really appreciate that at all. And it happened twice. It happened that time, and I switched to another company, went through the same thing again, two years later. so, I thought, well maybe there is something to this. I better study up on it.
So, I bought a book, uh Keirsey's version of the Myers-Briggs a book called Please Understand Me. And I started studying all about the different personality types, so that sort of began my studies in the Jungian psychology of, you know, the topology. So, it got me interested in that and I started studying leadership because he said I couldn't be a leader. And I was like, I'll be darned. I'm going to be one just because you said that.
Jackie: Wow. You know, it's so interesting how we can encounter people that can get us off track or put us on the right track and knowing how to navigate that is so important. So, so glad you didn't listen.
Pam: That was the wrong track, actually, is the catalyst for the right track.
Jackie: Absolutely, absolutely, and we'll talk a little about that right now. What made you take that leap from VP to executive coaching?
Pam: I must've been crazy. Actually, sometimes I think back and I think what in the world was I thinking? I had a great salary. I had a great boss. I had; at the time I was reporting to probably one of the best leaders I'll ever know.
David and he was just phenomenal, so he was a great example. So, I don't know what in the world possessed me to do this, but I think it was that fortune magazine cover. And, I had recently gotten married and we wanted to go sailing and I thought, well, that's a career I could do while I'm on the sailboat.
And it just seemed like that I loved developing people. That was the thing I wanted to spend my time with, and I was, you know, I loved, doing all the financial stuff for 20 years, but I got tired of that., and I wanted to spend all of my waking hours or working hours focused on developing people.
So, I wanted to be an executive coach, and this was before anybody knew what it was. So, when I left Hilton, it was, everybody was like, what kind of sport are you going to be coaching? And I said, I'm not, I'm going to be coaching people in business. And so, nobody really knew what it was. It was a big leap of faith, actually.
Jackie: Wow that's so great. And Pam, you've done executive coaching for some amazing top companies. Can you tell us one or two pieces of advice that you give kind of across the board?
Pam: You know, like advice is a word that most people think that's what coaches do, and actually it's not. When you get trained as a coach, they kind of beat the advisor out of you at first.
Honestly, they do, and all the training programs, and it's for good reason is because if we give advice, you know, what might work for us might not work for the other person. We don't know where they're coming from. We don't know what their background is. We don't know what their experiences are. We don't know what scares them. And so great coaching is really about tuning into the person, putting yourself in that bell jar, that I'm not, you know, I don't know their context. So, it's really about being curious and listening and having hunches and intuitions, but asking the question so that they can ask themselves.
So, we don't advise as much as people think that we do. I'm sure sometimes we unknowingly leave them, you know, down a path that I think is probably best for them, but it's always important to check in when you're coaching. Like what, does that work for you? And it might not work for you, it might not. And it's okay. We're kind of equal thought partners in a way.
Jackie: That's awesome. Thanks for clarifying that, cause you know, you're right. People have different paths, they have different experiences and different desires, right? And so, helping people understand how to evaluate themselves and reach their potential through inquiring within themselves and determining, you know, what steps they can take, that's important. So, thank you for sharing that.
Pam, let's talk about tilt 365. What is it, and how does it differ from other personality assessments?
Pam: Yeah. So, the idea behind tilt 365 actually started in 1991, back when I was in the hotel industry. It was basically Aristotle's golden mean, I kind of ran across that in my studies and began to think about the fact that when we behave in a way that is respectful of other people, we're usually not going to extremes. And when we do go to an extreme it's because we're afraid of something. There's, really our egos is afraid.
So, I, I started, collecting, all of these, traits of leadership you're in, you know, why I was interested in leadership. I was observing what I didn't like that people did, writing it down, and then observing what I did like that people did, and writing it down. And then thinking about my own reaction to and recording those.
So, it was really about recording research for the first 17 or 18 years, and coming up with a long taxonomy of, these are the qualities that make a person a great leader. And when they overuse those things, you know, for example, being honest is a good thing, but if you overuse it, you're blind.
Compassion is a good thing, but if you overuse it, you're permissive. integrity is a good thing, but if you overuse it, you become judgmental. So, I organized all of these traits in a, in a certain way so that I could watch myself and others, and teach us how to not go to extremes, because that's usually an indicator that we're operating from fear instead of strength.
The personality assessment is really based on character science, not as much on typology. And so, it comes from the roots of character strength development, which is about self-regulation and teaching yourself and reorganizing your habits so that you're not operating from fear because that spreads in the culture.
Jackie: Absolutely. And Pam, I definitely took this tilt assessment and have my own tilt and I, I'm going to be honest, it had the audacity to tell me some things about myself that I knew, but didn't want to share.
Pam, and I was like, you know that, that when your eyebrows go up and your friend tells you something, that's just too honest, right? You just sit back in your chair a little bit. I was like, wow. So, let's talk about my tilt, right, and get into it a little bit.
Pam: Your reaction is not surprising. Sometimes, you know, it's pretty provocative. That is what makes, one of the things that makes it different from other personality assessments that just tell you how great you are. It also tells you this secret, you know, kind of the motivators of what your ego is up to when it's fearful and knowing it is really powerful.
Jackie: Absolutely, because you know, it's, you're right. There's so many assessments that say, oh, you know, you're introverted or extroverted and you respond like this, or you do this. This is your personality, right? But this gets so deep into, I mean, so many things around, you know, just like how you respond under stress, right. And I was like, this is exactly right.
So, my tilt says that I'm a mastermind and my sub personas are that I'm an architect and a champion. So, you know, one is reserved and one expressive, which is the expressive piece is actually new and a function of my job, you know, hosting a podcast for one, right, but it was so interesting how deep it went and how it just told me, too honestly, right, about how I respond? And I'm like, yeah, that's exactly right. And so, tell me, you know, what do we learn from, from doing the tilt? Right? What can you tell me specifically about my tilt?
Pam: Yeah. So, let's talk about yours first and then we'll go to generalities, but the structure tilt, mastermind, persona is very focused on efficiency and organization and structure.
You know, so they're, they're, you know, in the ego, you know, you have your child parts and your parent parts. The structure tilt has very strong super ego, or parent voices inside, you know, like, this is what you should do. This is how you do it. You do it right. You've got to be perfect.
And so, there's this kind of striving for perfection. You know, in a normal sense is really good, right? So, people have a structure Tilt are really good at organizing, really good at planning, really good at architecting, really good at, kind of problem solving very complex things. And they often are right by the way, but none of us want to hear about that.
So, they are often right, cause they there's various studios as well because they want to get it right. You know, they're definitely big achievers and they're also interested in autonomy, and having power over their destiny. So, a lot of times, the structure Tilt is also kind of heads down, you know, focused on tasks, a lot, very complex tasks mind you. So, what they'll miss and say, you know, you asked about, you know, what, what would help you, what they'll miss is that sometimes being so focused on all that causes you to miss relationships, and I applaud you for doing what you're doing right here, this expressive thing that you're doing, and learning to listen to all these different diverse perspectives.
Instead of focusing on being right, you know, or focusing on being efficient and getting it right. my daughter is, you know, it has a lot of this tendency in her. I love this pattern actually.
Jackie: I love it, Pam, it's so, it was so right, because one, you know, when you talk about just the structure, right. My family, I'm always, I can put something somewhere six months ago and I'll tell you exactly where it is because everything has a place. So, you put it in its place, right. That's definitely me. And then, you're right, like I like to, you know, have my workspace and do my work and, you know, I have the right answer, but in this work, right, having done this now for, for many years, what I've realized is that I don't always have the right answer or the only answer.
And so, learning to listen to other perspectives and, you know, see that there are a lot of ways to accomplish a goal and do things right is new for me.
Pam: So, the temptation, when your structure is to kind of focus on getting, you know, doing your work and not on interacting. So, you've been doing this podcast for years, so, I can imagine how much it's, you know, really benefited you and rounded you out, you know.
Jackie: Absolutely. Well, there, you know, we could spend hours and hours Pam going into my Tilt. I would love to do that, but you know, what I want to say is that it I've never seen anything this comprehensive.
The talks about conflict style and learning style and so many things, and what I really love more than just what it says is what to do next. And that's something that's different from anything that I've personally seen is okay, here are your strengths, here's how you work on some of the other things that you need to improve on and how to mitigate some of these things.
Like, for example, if I may jump into the mastermind under stress, the force stress emotions are driven by pride and anger. so, what do I do, right? And the great thing about tilt is it helps me. One realize and understand that, and then how do I manage that? And that's, that's what is so amazing.
It's like you have this information, which you may or may not know, may or may not want to admit, and then it helps you get better using this to improve yourself. And that's what I think is so amazing about it. But Pam, can you give us just a little more information generally about what people will learn by taking the tilt?
Pam: Yeah, so some of them you've mentioned, you know, we're, we're trying to put humanity into four boxes, right, so in the beginning, but we very, we don't believe in type. We saw, we start there, that this structure pattern is your preference and it's where you like to hang out.
But you can also go to two of the other patterns really easily, and we call that agility. So, and that happens very quickly, very naturally. And you know, you can move to impact. You can move to clarity. Those are your two allies, you know, so those, if you read those reports, they feel pretty familiar too, but the stretch edge is your opposite tilt and that is the person who's kind of decided everything the opposite of you.
What's beautiful about the, you know, the natural development process of our, human psyche is that we often are attracted to people that are really different from us. So, we marry them, we have partners, we have best friends, you know, they keep us straight.
Right, and so I'm sure you have friends that are connection tilt the cross pollinator, which, you know, your social networker, who knows everyone, and it's mostly persuading and kind of shape-shifting, you know, to the situation and, you know, that might to a structure person feel like that person doesn't have any integrity, I don't know who they are.
They change, but that person kind of defines work as relationship building, and they, and they like to avoid tasks and doing things efficiently. So, we're kind of the nemesis of the opposite, but because we're attracted to them, I think we naturally become more like them, if we have someone in our life that is that opposite pattern.
And we only need to be like 10% more like that in order for us to not over rely on our preferred pattern. So, it's basically a framework that's visual that helps people not only remember their time, like I've found that with Myers-Briggs and others that use, letters and so, and, you know, kind of obscure, labels.
It's hard to remember, so you don't apply it. So, I built this when I was in the hospitality business from in the beginning and I built it based on, you know, its ability to be applied and how can you action it? And actually, how can you grow more, understanding of the people that you're most naturally going to have conflict with.
Jackie: You know what I’m I'm, as I'm thinking about it, one of the things that I love is the intentionality around the name. You're not putting someone in a box, right? This is who you are, but you have a tilt, right. But you can also learn to tilt another way, and I think that is so fantastic, because you're not in that box and people aren't, you know, people can grow and stretch. Right and learn new things.
And certainly, you know, I spent the majority of my career being behind the scenes. And so over the past, I'd say two, two and a half years, stepping out in front, you know, being on podcasts, speaking engagements, right, those were difficult for me as I got started. And, you know, I was very nervous every time, but you know, over time, you know, especially with the podcast, I love doing it.
I enjoy it, but the first couple I was so nervous. And now I just, I just love it, but it's, you know, you're right. You can learn to tilt in another direction and this is a great place to start. See who you are a little more, you know, how you react to things, and then where do I want to grow? Where do I want to stretch?
Pam: Yeah, well, I love the phrase do it afraid, you know, like go in there and even if you're afraid, I used to be just like you, like I was, you know, definitely like afraid to do keynote speaking and training and, you know, being aligned like this and so forth. But once you do it for a while, your brain learns how to do it and will be more complex and able to shift to the situation. and now you're a natural, you know, so it's a, it's a great thing to kind of challenge yourself to become, more like someone that you admire, that stretches you like that.
There's also the unique amplifier, which you mentioned your two primary sub personalities. And this is what, this is also one of the things that makes tilt different. You know, we first, we put you in the four boxes and then we pull you right back out and say, now you can tilt intentionally and learn to tilt intentionally to the context, but then we also have, the second part, which is the unique amplifier. And then that's basically how you show up and in your social preferences, you mentioned, you know, you can be reserved, you can be expansive or you can be expressive, and each part of you is different and your social preference. So, you might be like really wide open about sharing your ideas, but kind of guarded about your heart and your feelings about people, you know, or guarded about challenging someone with courage.
The unique amplifier has 1,296 different variations. So, that is what makes you very unique from the other people in your corner, so it's kind of both and. You're like this group and you like hanging out with this in this group, but you also have this ability to be whole and develop your heart, your head, your gut, and your spirit. So, it's basically whole brain develop.
Jackie: That's amazing, Pam. How can people take Tilt 365?
Pam: The place to start as the true tilt personality profile, and you go to tilt365.com and it's $49 and you can take it and get your report immediately. It's really fast. I've spent years and years researching it so that it would be fast.
Read your report, then you can get a debrief by an expert coach. We have coaches all over the world and then, we can take you on a journey of learning over years where you can watch your tilt change, and I bet yours has changed over the years, you know? A year from now, you could be different.
So, we don't, we don't keep people in that box. We keep, we tell them, keep taking it over, anytime something big happens and change it. New boss, new situation, new endeavor, new skill. You're trying to develop. You're going to change.
Jackie: That's fantastic, Pam. Thanks for sharing that. Pam, tell us something about you that not a lot of people know.
Pam: I'm going to share that I'm, the family I grew up in, I didn't grow up with my biological father. And it turns out that he's the one that I favored and looked like and probably was the most like, and so as a, person studying psychology all these years, one of the things that I think that that created was that I didn't have the mirroring that's necessary for a stable identity to form in the formative years, we need that person that we look like, you know, kind of like you, like you're just like your aunt, like your dad, you know, that we need that. And I've kind of felt like the untethered person that wasn't like anybody in my family.
So, I always felt sort of, some self-esteem issues and you know, like, who am I and why am I different? And you know, I'm not quite accepted here and I don't know why. So, finding out that, you know, later when I grew up, you know, that that that was important and necessary to, to kind of settle your identity, you know, that became you know, something that I know a lot about, you know, what it's like for an adoptee, to search and need to know who that birth parent is.
And why that's important. Not to find love or to find, you know, your, your adopted parents or our love and family. but just to find the answer to where did I come from? What's my genetic background? What is my heritage? You know, why do I look the way I do? Why is my skin, the color it is, why are my eyes this color?
And why do I talk this way? You know? So, it's a, it's, it's fascinating. And I have people show up in my world all the time that, they've found a new, you know, that they're new relative or that they were, you know, The 23andme and ancestry or stuff out all over the internet.
so, I, I keep, I do support people when they're going through that, because identity is a big deal and that's really what Tilt's all about is, you know, forming whole person, settled identity that allows you to show up in the world more confident and knowing who you are. And it's a great investment, you know, to, to know who you are and then be comfortable being that.
Jackie: Absolutely, and I love that you said that last part, because it's one thing to know who you are. And another thing to be comfortable, right, being who you are. And that's so important in the conversations that I have with regard to DEI, as, you know, being comfortable with who you are once you know who that is, right.
And that's a lifetime of, of exploration and evolving, but you know, it's important that we feel comfortable with ourselves. And again, Pam, back to your earlier point about respect and dignity for others. If we can get those two things, right, we'll be in much better shape in the world.
Pam: Absolutely. We just have to stop attacking ourselves and stop attacking others. I always say that divisiveness occurs because we're, we've decided the others are wrong and that's where we, that's where we're wrong, you know, where we're all very similar and yes, we're different, but we're all human.
And the common language is that respect and dignity. And that means that we have to operate from character strengths.
Jackie: Absolutely. Yeah. Pam, what is the message that you want to leave our listeners with today?
Pam: I guess like, a discovery that I've made is that when we get stressed and of course this past year, we've all been pretty stressed, right?
when we get stressed, that's when our ego fears are going to rise up and cause us to operate from ego fear and ego sensitivities, and it's going to trigger negativity with others. We're going to start being divisive, and if we could stop that one thing from happening inside of ourselves, like catch it early.
And in in neuroscience, you know, we know that you can catch it. It isn't something that you don't control, you can catch it and you can retrain and, recreate habits that are different than what you grew up with. Your brain is organized to get you through your family of origin, but it isn't organized in a way that to take care of you in the world.
So, you have to take responsibility for that growth mindset that people are talking about is so popular, Carol Dweck's work. You can't just be rigid and say, sorry, that's the way I am. You know, you have to be taking responsibility for how you're showing up with other people. And I believe that we're facing a lot of complex problems in the world today that are only going to be solved if we can all begin to operate with greater character from the inside out and more respect and dignity for one another.
Jackie: Absolutely so well said, Pam, thank you so much. I have enjoyed every single moment of this conversation and thank you for giving me some insights on my tilt and I appreciate your spending some time with me. This has been a great time conversation. Thank you so much.
Pam: Thank you so much for doing this podcast. It's a wonderful thing that you're doing.
With different backgrounds, experiences, and personalities, how can we lead teams effectively?
In her first career, Pam Boney worked her way up in the hospitality industry and eventually became senior vice president of a large chain of hotels. Through observing the various personalities on her teams and in leadership positions, she noticed that many in leadership didn’t have the tools to utilize their strengths and weaknesses to maximize the growth of their teams. So, Pam developed Tilt 365, a “wicked fast self-assessment with modern, relevant language to discover your most natural character strengths and not only what you do but why you do it.” In this episode, we’re diving into how we can all become better leaders.