Iris Grimm - A Fresh Perspective on Leadership - Bringing Canine Wisdom Into The Workplace

Welcome to the Soul Touched by Dogs
Podcast, the show for dog lovers who

see dogs not as toys or tools, but
wise souls worth our respect and care.

I'm an Herrmann, and I'm your host.

I talk to poor some humans, people who
do great work for dogs and their people.

So come and join us for
today's conversation.

Anke: Hello, and welcome.

Uh, now that's a good 1.

Should I say iris like good
Germans, or should I say Iris

so that English speakers get it?

I I respond to both.


I think so.

Uh, let's just start out where,
you know, where you're from.

I've already given a
little bit of that away.

And, um, where you're based
and brought to your business?

Iris: Yeah.

So, um, thank you, Anke.

So I am from, uh, Germany just
like you, and I'm also just

like you from East Germany.

However, I grew up in a little village in
the mountains, in the Thuringian woods for

the first 19, almost 20 years of my life.

However, for the last 28
years, I have been living here

in the metro Atlanta area.

So right now I'm outside of, Um,
Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.

And again, I've been
here now for 28 years.

Um, I've had my own business for the
last 23 years and my main business

is really leadership development.

That includes, Uh, 1 on 1 leadership
coaching for entrepreneurs,

executives, uh, uh, business owners.

But I also have a program called Doggone
Leadership, Which is really a a training

program, a facilitation program, um,
for leadership development, Where I

invite, um, the participants to create
a fresh perspective around leadership

by having conversations about dogs,
About their own dogs, maybe dogs, um,

or family members or dogs or friends.

It's really about looking at leadership
In the workplace from a new perspective,

looking at the relationship with dogs
and see what else they can create

for themselves and the leadership.

Anke: I love that so much.

I mean, I mean, uh, I mean,
I'm obviously curious.

Like, when how did you
discover your love for dogs?

And how or what point was there a
specific insight where you go, oh,

I could take this in into the work?

Like, dogs I mean, I always say
my dogs are my wisest teachers.


And you can really if you look at them
As, you know, wise beings who are kind

of way ahead of us in a lot of things.


So if you look at it like that, you
can see lessons It's everywhere.

So I would love to hear a little bit about
what was that moment for you where you go,

oh, there's really I can really showcase
or, like, show leadership specifically

through the eyes of or through the lens of


Iris: dogs?


So that was really something
that grew for me over the years.

It started out for me Where I had
my first dog, Sito, um, in 2001.

Uh, and we did short term training with
him, um, or Personal protection training.

Now the name has changed to IPO, but I,
um, I have done this competitively with

him because he loved the work so much.

And you know, at the same time
when he then retired and got older,

I, I said to myself, wow, I have
now so much knowledge about dogs.

I don't want this to fall asleep.

And I also don't want to have a younger
dog just so that I can keep on competing.

Now What can I do with this knowledge?

And so at that time, the idea came
up for me to do workshops for rescue

groups, to raise money for rescue groups.

And so when people came to these workshops
and the dogs stayed at home, I just asked

them, you know, what are your questions?

What are some of the issues that
you are dealing with with your dogs?

I explained it with my own dogs or I
explained it to them how I would handle

the situation and how I would Could
help them improve this by sharing ideas.

And so out of that, then people came
to me and said, would you come to

me to my home and help me with that?

And so really it was over the
years that I, um, developed this,

this, These workshops for dog
owners to learn more about dogs.

And since I had been leadership
coaching already at that Time.

Oftentimes, I brought in examples
from the leadership coaching to

explain A scenario around the dogs.

And then when I had these,
these conversations with dog

owners, but then I was coaching
people in the leadership Space.

I brought examples from me training
dogs to share with them something that

they experienced in the workplace.

And so really for me, having These 2
businesses with the running side by side,

eventually, I was able to merge them into
1, which is now the Doggone Leadership.

I love it.


Anke: love it.

I mean, I must say, I actually
use a lot of doggy stories.

You know, when when I kind of the stuff
I write on LinkedIn or whatever, It's

it's quite often an observation or
something that happened with the dogs.

And I'm like, yeah.

Isn't that interesting how it's exactly
the same way you're building a business?


So there's really no difference.


Iris: And there are many
parallels with the dogs, right?

And then there are many things that
are the opposite, But even when you

have an opposite, you still can turn
it around and then say, all right,

but this is now how it works with
the, With the humans here, this is how

you can apply this in the workplace.

And not only that, it's like, you
know, with with dogs, Because of their

cuteness, because of the place that
they have in our lives, they also

have a special place in our hearts.

And I always say, you know, when
it comes to humans and their dogs,

oftentimes, you know, you, they,
they turn off their, their brains and

they are leading with their heart.

And then when people go to work,
what they often do is they,

they function from the neck up.

They leave their heart at home.

They are Putting their guards on
their shields on and, and they

walk into the workplace thinking
they have to protect themselves and

function from, From the, the neck up.

The dog on leadership is really about
merging the 2 with the dogs where

we really also use more of Our head,
because there are a lot of mistakes

that dog owners make where dogs are also
silently suffering because humans are

Functioning too much from their heart.

And then at the same time, again,
bringing more heart into the workplace.


Anke: now let's unpack that a little
bit, you know, because the bring

your heart into the workplace, Yeah.

That's kind of like but so in
what what have you seen where dog

owners lead, like, kinda too much
with the heart, like, Bringing a

little bit more head in that space.

Like, what are some examples
that would illustrate

Iris: that?

Oh, there are plenty of examples, But
you know, the best example is when

people, um, adopt a dog And let's
say they know the story of the dog.

Maybe the story was chained up in
the backyard somewhere or the dog was

found on the And so oftentimes when
people get the story of the dog and

the dog's story, the past has not
been as As positive, there are a lot

of people who feel sorry for the dog.

And then what happens is with that Sorry
energy with that weak energy, they want

to to bring comfort to the dog, But
they don't necessarily lead the dog.

When you have a dog like that, especially
that has been abused or maybe is fearful

or shy, The last thing that this dog needs
is is comforting calm or comforting and

sorry feeling energy, But it's really
more what they need is confident, calm

leadership energy that pulls them out of
that fear and shyness And really helps

them to, um, um, let go of some of the
things that they experienced in the past.

Anke: That's that's fascinating.

I was just thinking, oh, that's
a topic that's a topic for,

you know, panic panic to peace.

That's a whole different Different
different conversation, but

it does make a lot of sense.


And and, I mean, especially when you
look at dogs, like, You know, when you

see them running around in the little
wheelchairs, you know, they don't

seem to feel sorry for themselves.


They're, like I think They're such masters
of you know, of of just, like, getting

on with things or accepting what is.

And then, You know?

And they'll run around happily in
with however many legs they have or

whatever, you know, the equipment is.


Iris: Yeah.

I had an interesting interesting
you mentioned wheelchair dogs.

Because I had a foster dog a couple
of years ago who had, um, He probably

had already back leg issues from
while he when he was born, or maybe

his mother stepped on his legs.

And And so he had really
bad, um, hind legs.

And but, you know, I always said
everything From the waist up

was functioning well and what
he did not have in his hind

legs he had in his personality.

He just was 1 of these kind of dogs.

He you know, looking back at him
now, I mean, we just have to smile

about all of the things Auggie
had when it came to Personality.

And nothing stopped this little guy.


Anke: Yeah.


I mean and I think that is
that is something that that

I'm Quite passionate about it.

Because so often people are like,
oh, you know, the rescue dogs and

all the trauma they've been through.

And, You know?

And I think the last thing we
want is make it worse, you know?

Iris: Right.


And not only that, you know, oftentimes
I say, Um, especially for people who say,

well, you know, I want to go to a breeder,
um, because I don't want to have a rescue

dog that was thrown away by somebody else.

I don't wanna adopt
somebody else's issues.


And From the 1 on on 1
hand, I can get that.


But when I look at it from the dog on
leadership perspective, Um, you know,

you don't find many people who come
to the workplace without any issues.


It just doesn't it just
does not work like that.

And so as a leader in the
workplace, you gotta be flexible.

You you gotta be able to pull the
people forward that you may have had

maybe have been traumatized by another
manager or leader in the past Where

they had a bad experience as well as
the young, um, students that come out of

college, maybe don't have any experience.

So as a leader, as an effective
leader, 1 has to be flexible to

meet the people where they are and
then take them to the next level.

Same as with the dog.

You are taking in a rescue dog, whether
he was traumatized or not, whether

he has been with somebody else for a
long time or not, It does not matter.

You take you you take the dog
where the dog is, and then you

take the dog to the next level.


Anke: this just reminds me there's
a there's a dog trainer who who has

actually written a book about, You
know, what having dogs or training

dogs taught him about parenting?

Same thing.

It's not hard to see, right, how that
would how that would be, you know, very

much the same where it's either the
similarity or the contrast That really

helps that really helps us, um, you know,
see see things in a in a different way.

Is there something that, Well,
if there's something is is there

something where you think, oh, boy.

I wish people just knew This thing, is
there something you wish that people

Iris: knew?

I wished people knew that When they are
fully committed and consistent in their

relationship with their dog, It will
not only strengthen the relationship

with their dog, but it really will
strengthen Their outlook on life and

what they can accomplish in life.


Anke: I love that.

I love that.

I mean, it's I mean, if I'm looking
like, yeah, these 4 legged souls have

definitely made me better person.

That's for sure.

You know, I'm definitely not
the person that I was when, you

know, when Leo first found me.

That's that's for sure.


So where can so is I mean, well,
actually, I was just gonna round it

up, but then there's, like, oh, no.

That's 1 more thing.


I'm gonna ask.

So your clients don't have to have a dog.


Iris: No.

Anke: Yeah.

They don't.

The the the the examples or, like,
you look at things to the lens?

So if you have somebody who goes, I think
dogs are waste of space, you probably

that's probably not a good client for you.

Iris: Well, and, you know, again, if if
somebody says I don't have that passion

for dogs, um, that's completely fine.

That doesn't mean that they can't
See anything for themselves or that I

can't work with with people like that.

Um, again, there are many
stories that I use from dogs.

And again, the more people in, for
example, in a group have dogs, then

the more we can also use exercises that
they They can do with the dogs at home.

And again, and here's the
interesting piece about it.

When, when I do my, my training,
that does not mean that people bring

their dogs Because we don't wanna
have that kind of, um, turmoil.


In the boardroom, but we
are using the stories.

We are using examples from the dogs and
not only that, oftentimes I then share

with them exercises that they can do
At home with their dog so that they can

practice whatever they learned during the
training and the workshops So that they

can apply it at home with their dogs.

But then once they see how it has an
impact on the relationship there, Then

it's much easier to translate it into
the workplace and say, oh, you know what?

It really makes a difference.

So I feel now more comfortable
to apply it in the workplace.

And you

Anke: can't trick a dog.


I mean, I think a dog is a
great training place as well.


Because you you might be able to
Pull wool over the eyes of your

colleagues, but you're not gonna drink

Iris: it all.




Not at all.

Because they sense your energy.

They they are not looking at titles or how
much money you make or what role you have.


They just look at you for who you are
And the energy that you are exuding.

And, you know, and based on that,
you can read from their behavior.

You can have really Deep, um, and
impactful conversations about leadership.

Love that.

Anke: So beautiful.

So where can people go find out
more about you, about your work?

Where's the best place to connect?

Iris: I mean, the best place to
connect is through my website iris

grim dot com, or I'm also on LinkedIn.

Again, my name is Iris Grimm with double
M, just like the fairy tale brothers.

And when they go on my website, there
are also a couple of, Um, giveaways and,

and, um, that they can, uh, subscribe to.

So, um, yeah.

And of course Then I have also, um,
monthly programs, um, that are free

where people can sign up from Something
called, uh, forever your dog, which is,

uh, what I call a dog owner support group.

That is more for the dog owners
who really want to take, um, Who

have some questions about their
dog behavior or health or training.

And then I also have a canine leadership
circle, which is really about Taking

that conversation into the workplace
and having deep and rich conversations

about, uh, leadership, Uh, improvement.


Anke: Well, thank you so much for coming.

I think I think you're gonna have
to be back at some point because

I this sort of somehow feels
that we're not I can't get here.

So okay.

So Anytime, Anke.

Thank you.

Thank you, and bye for now.

Iris: Okay.

Thank you, Anke.

Thanks so much for listening.

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That's A N k E at Soul
touched by

Iris Grimm - A Fresh Perspective on Leadership - Bringing Canine Wisdom Into The Workplace
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