Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Phoenix Cavalier, the Founder of Verus Learning. Phoenix is a leader in the field of learning and performance, with over 20 years of experience in the industry.
With a background in instructional design, program management, brand strategy, sales, and customer service, Phoenix has worked directly with CEOs and organizational leaders to develop and implement effective learning strategies that have been used globally.
At Verus Learning, they are driven by a simple maxim: “It’s about people.” By reducing friction and providing support where it is needed most, they aim to create a more positive work environment for employees and increase their satisfaction and performance.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Phoenix Cavalier: Verus Learning helps clients deploy powerful learning strategies at scale to meet a need where it matters most: on any device. Evidence of a well-designed technological landscape is a frictionless organic experience that becomes part of everyday interactions with real meaning and value.
Clients win with clear strategies that amplify the impacts of technology in ways that equip individuals with what they need to thrive in their role and succeed in their career.
Over more than twenty years in learning and performance, I’ve been able to explore, investigate, and challenge new platforms, tools, and software to go beyond the buzz and hype. Through smart learning technology strategy I help clients turn a moment of need, into a moment of value.
My background in leadership, program management, instructional design, corporate training, brand strategy, sales, and customer service has allowed me to work directly with CEOs, Founders, and organizational leaders.
I have trained over 3,000 people and developed learning and organizational strategies used around the world. With a MS in Instructional Design and Technology, and a BS in Digital Cinematography I show clients how to increase skills using the science of adult learning combined with effective storytelling.
What’s next for our learning and performance? Using Augmented Reality to bring learning into the flow of work.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, services, or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Phoenix Cavalier: While many leaders and organizations are drawn to trends, buzz, and hype, Verus Learning is driven by a simple maxim: It’s about people. Our ability to define meaningful learning and performance strategy with our clients is directly, and uniquely, tied to our focus on people.
We clarify trends, avoid hype, and deploy scalable operational models for learning that accelerate performance and increase employee satisfaction at work without excessive investments or exaggerated spend.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Phoenix Cavalier: Quiet Quitting isn’t new, even if the term is. What drives attrition in any organization will vary, however themes have emerged over time related to the quality of leadership, friendships – or lack thereof, at work, and of course whether a person feels – and has evidence – that they are supported in their role.
This shift also reflects a post-pandemic assessment of meaning at a core level across all levels of any organization. With a focus on people, Verus Learning seeks to reduce friction, especially for frontline employees, but using tools and technology to provide support when and where it is needed most.
This is about realizing the importance of feeling confident, and competent at work, whether you are new or tenured, by finding help and resources are readily available. Reducing friction can take many forms – replacing a broken copier, improving lighting in a parking structure, or moving learning and support content to mobile devices that can launch correct information in seconds.
This reduction in friction is how we change how it feels to be at work. It’s about removing pain-points for employees, along with strong leadership, balanced compensation, and a supportive community of coworkers. Quiet quitting isn’t happening because people don’t want to work, it’s because no one wants to feel undervalued.
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Phoenix Cavalier: A book that has influenced me the most is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by by Robert M. Pirsig. I was in my 20s when I read this book and I’ve read it four times. The reason for this books impact is the way it illustrates a view that we are connected to everything, at all times.
Contrasting this view is the idea that we as people are separate from or removed from our environment. In my view, the connection we have to one another and to our environment is both compelling, and helps to minimize ego as I have moved through personal and professional developments over the years.
As it turns out, this book is also one I’ve given to others over the years. I find its message resonates with men and women and can offer perspective on life and relationships.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Phoenix Cavalier: In my view, the most pressing obstacle for business is the creation and sustainment of a shared sense of meaning and value. I want to be clear – strong wages and reliable benefits are essential for any role to meet the needs of any employee.
Beyond these elements is where great leaders and smart organizations use their voice to champion a vision that is shared, and sincere. Any organization that is seeking to balance their budget without considering the emotional and intellectual needs of their people is forgetting something very important; without joy, purpose, and shared meaning, work loses its value, and soon after, the company loses its employees.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?.
Phoenix Cavalier: In my view, the most underestimated part of running a company – and most misunderstood – is what I like to call maintenance.
Picture a company as a car that is new and works well. Over time, most people would expect to perform some type of maintenance on the car, such oil changes, tire rotation, etc. Sadly, even basic maintenance is often overlooked by those running a company because it can seem like something to be done another day. For example, a broken microwave in a break room where I used to work was a daily pain-point from me and others.
Everyone complained about the microwave situation. In fact on other floors the microwaves worked well, but on our floor, two out of three were old and functioned poorly. Like the basic maintenance of a car, a remedy wouldn’t cost a lot, and would improve morale, and even improve the conversational tone in the break room.
Even as other things improved, this simple maintenance item lingered on un-improved for more than three years. Some people even joked that they should just buy a new microwave and ask to get reimbursed.
The reason maintenance is underestimated is often because bigger, more important things take time and attention, and make something like a weak microwave seem unimportant. Yet, if you listen to your people, and value how they feel about even minor maintenance items, running a company become much easier. Showing how important people are within the organization isn’t always in the form of an exciting off-site trip, it can show up as a $49 microwave.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Phoenix Cavalier: If I could have any business superpower it would have to be the ability to eliminate misunderstandings between coworkers and teams. I think of this because emails, texts, chats, and other tools are amazing, and yet they can often create confusion and extra work.
With my super power I think we have shorter meetings, faster production, longer lunches, and a ton of fun creating collaboratively.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Phoenix Cavalier for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Phoenix Cavalier or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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