1 year ago

Staying motivated at work is tough. Alabama leadership expert, Cord Sachs is here to help

Cord Sachs is a Birmingham-based leadership expert and the CEO of FireSeeds, a company that helps companies find and grow great leaders and “the company behind many of Alabama’s fastest growing companies.”

The full conversation with Mr. Sachs can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above, and a lightly edited transcript of his interview with Yellowhammer’s Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers can be read below.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes. Learn more about Cord Sachs and Fireseeds at www.fireseeds.com

Andrea Tice:

Hey, welcome back. Welcome back to Yellowhammer Radio. You’re listening to us on Superstation 101.1 WYDE. Andrea Tice in here, Scott chambers is on his way back and right now i’m sitting at the table with one Mr. Cord Sachs. I just want to make sure I got that name right.

Cord Sachs:

It’s been pronounced many many ways.

Andrea Tice:

So Cord Sachs is here with us and he represents Fireseeds and we got to talking on a topic last week that we need to finish. I’m gonna let Scott jump in.

Scott Chambers:

Cord, I appreciate you being here with us. I apologize apparently the break was a little bit shorter than I was anticipating.

Cord Sachs:

Not a problem Scott.

Scott Chambers:

When you drink so much water when you’re on the air you know you have to take little breaks to the talk show host room occasionally and and that took about a minute longer than i expected. I do apologize sir. I’m not so thrilled that you are with us Cord Sachs of course with Fireseeds. You’re gonna be joining us each and every Wednesday and we’ve been talking about that we can help your life from the family room to the boardroom or the boardroom to the family room. And all of that is intermingled with each other. What happens at home can affect your work life and what happens at work can affect your home life as well. You guys at Fireseeds really help those two come together right?

Cord Sachs:

Yeah that’s right. We really focus on culture and culture is everywhere. Culture’s at work culture’s at home and the whole idea here is that you can leave a legacy at home while that also being your advantage at work. So boardroom to family room is the topic and the metaphor that were using to see how we appropriately combine the two to get our greatest motivation.

Scott Chambers:

Very nice.

Andrea Tice:

One of the things you said last week I remember, Cord, was that the normal conventional idea that certain external motivations work in the workplace. You’re saying toss that out.

Cord Sachs:

That’s right. Daniel Pink says that external motivators just don’t work. The carrots and the sticks at work, the opportunity for more pay, more promotion those can be goals but they can’t be your motivators. Goals are in results, motivation has to come from somewhere else and I’m making the argument here that it’s got to come from the family room outside of work.

Andrea Tice:

Ok, so that’s when this acronym comes up that we talked about right? AMP? There’s three aspects to it. We got started on one the “A” which is “autonomy” but there’s others. There’s two others “mastery” and “purpose”. So let’s just start from the “A” and take it through.

Cord Sachs:

Autonomy it is our freedom. Think about your freedom, your ability to control the aspects of your life that add meaning. So it’s your that’s your “autonomy”. You’ve got “mastery”, think about “mastery” as growth. Growth in the areas of life that make you a more meaningful version of yourself. So the times in your life, the people in your life, events in your life that have helped you grow are areas of mastery and they motivated you in a way that you can’t get otherwise. Then finally “purpose”. If “autonomy” is freedom and “mastery” is growth then “purpose” is impact. It’s the impact you have on meaningful things outside of yourself. So Daniel Pink says that these are the three core intrinsic motivators that actually drive our productivity at work at work.

Andrea Tice:

At work and at home.

Cord Sachs:


Scott Chambers:

Well you talk about autonomy, mastery and purpose. Can you unpack autonomy, mastery and purpose for us?

Cord Sachs:

Yes, so again think about autonomy, it’s where you have the freedom to control meaningful things of your life. That’s usually not at work it’s the more defined domain where you don’t have the opportunity to define your job description or your goal is usually set for you. And so it’s the same thing with with mastery. You you have the autonomy a lot of the time to grow in the areas that you want to grow in most at home not at work. And in the end the day purpose, there are more and more organizations I think that are cluing in that we really need to have a purpose driven culture but if they don’t we’re not going to get that at work primarily we have to look at home. We have to look at the family room if you will, things outside of work to drive us so that we ultimately get better results at work.

Scott Chambers:

Fascinating, our guest is Cord Sachs with Fireseeds and this is really fascinating.I want to know something Cord, how can we motivate ourselves at work because a lot of people struggle with this. I mean this is what a lot of people do struggle with, being motivated at work.

Cord Sachs:

Right, in fact I was just downtown meeting with a client, Iron Tribe Fitness, and we were talking about how redefining, re-profiling what is an ideal leader. An ideal manager, coach for Iron Tribe. And the number one thing they say is we’ve got to find drive. We want to find driven folks that we don’t have to hold their hands, their self motivated. There’s an intrinsic drive that we don’t have to provide in the workplace and those are the ones that work best for us.Hands down the number one trait that employers are looking to find is that this drive this the self-motivation, this initiative. Probably why most people get promoted as well because they’ve been known as the person that has this.

Andrea Tice:

Now, is it possible if someone’s not exhibiting drive that you can kind of cultivate that out of them? Is that something you can kind of weed through and and figure out and bring them to the forefront?

Cord Sachs:

That’s this mystical question that we’re trying to trying to solve. Where do we find that motivation and so that’s the whole idea here is you won’t find it at work you won’t find it by setting clear goals. Goals are end results but motivational driving factors have to come from the areas of your life that actually mean something intrinsically to you and guess what that’s typically found in the family room in the life outside of work. We want to try to build, we want to bring in some of that outside motivational drive into the workforce.

Scott Chambers:

What’s the best way to bring in some of that outside drive and motivation into the workforce. How can you put those two together? What is the best way to do that?

Cord Sachs:

Alright, very pragmatically we would say build a vision board.

Scott Chambers:

For those who that don’t know, what is a vision board?

Cord Sachs:

Very good. Think vision, think sight. It’s the ability to see images of the things that add meaning to our life on a regular basis put in front of us. Remind us of why we are there, who we are and and why we’re working so hard at work. So building a vision board it’s not just a warm fuzzy. There’s a the company called Southwestern Consulting and they consult with a sales executives all over the world. Since 1855 was when they were founded. So a lot of credibility here they’ve done it for a few minutes and the very first thing they do with high-power executive sales reps is they have them build a vision board. It’s crazy but they’re going to produce better sales results if they have a board in front of them at work that reminds them of all the things that have meaning in their lives and guess what is usually on this board? All of the things that are home. Your family, the things that matter to them, the people that have impacted them. So yeah, creating a vision board something very practical you can do to fuel this channel of intrinsic motivation.

Andrea Tice:

So it’s as simple as essentially a bulletin board that you have at school or at home where you stick up notes but this is different in that their purposeful things. Pictures, notes.

Cord Sachs:

Absolutely, it’s not rocket science. There’s no. Going back to AMP, what are the the areas of my life that I have freedom to do that I really enjoy that are meaningful to me outside of work and I’m going to put pictures of those on this board.

Andrea Tice:

Alright, so Cord I can only assume that you have a vision board yourself?

Cord Sachs:

I do.

Andrea Tice:

Can you share with us some of what’s on there because I just want to get an idea where this goes.

Cord Sachs:

Absolutely and so as I was building my vision board one of the first things we do with anybody that comes to work for Fireseeds is they are going to build a vision board. And what they’re gonna do is they’re going to think through first of all the people in their lives that have been impacted the most and think past present and future. So in the past you know one of the individuals that have greatly impacted my life is my dad. He died 10 years ago but my hero in life had a huge impact on me. Of course I’m going to have him on this board as a reminder of all the ways he’s impacted me he helped me in my own freedom as a leader in my own mastery of certain things. He really define the purpose for my life so a big motivational figure in my life is my dad so he obviously is on this on this vision board. Then I think of the past, my wife’s grandmother 97 years old she’s still alive but was a switchboard operator World War II. Just one of those ladies that was a pistol and has more excitement and enthusiasm in her. Every time we go see her we walk away encouraged. We walk away motivated and so she’s on my board. If you think through the past people in your life that have impacted you, the present people obviously most people would have their family I would hope on this board, and then the future version of the people that matter most. Think about those pictures and those images. I have a picture of a college right next to my kids because that’s a goal I have, a dream I have. I’ve got six of them and some of them may be a good fit to go to college. So that’s all my vision board.

Scott Chambers:

Those are perfect motivators that you mentioned there you know because that’s on your vision board. Your father, your grandmother those are things that motivate you and you know we say from the family room to the boardroom but this necessarily doesn’t have to be even in the boardroom. This could be in all aspects in every type of career path right?

Cord Sachs:

Absolutely, it could be in the locker room, write in the vision board why I’m working as hard as I am and we remind ourselves on a regular basis of the things that matter most and scientifically the social sciences say that’s where our drive comes from. Its when we’re disconnected from the things that mean the most to us when we begin to shut down and lose motivation and therefore lose our impact.

Scott Chambers:

Cord Sachs, that is amazing. That can definitely help anyone no matter if you’re in a boardroom or you are working in a recycling factory or maybe you’re delivering pizzas. You need that motivation, that’s your drive you need that motivation not only to prosper in your job and your family life as well. And that’s what you guys do with Fireseeds to help people out. If you don’t mind, tell people how they can get in touch with Fireseeds, learn more about what is the Cord Sachs and Fireseeds does.

Cord Sachs:

You can go to Fireseeds.com, you can learn about how we recruit multiplying leaders for purpose-driven companies and then we also have strategy around leader development to help them grow.

Scott Chambers:

Fantastic. Cord Sachs, thanks for being with us and we look forward to talking to you again next Wednesday.


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9 hours ago

Longtime journalist, Tuscaloosa native and Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne dies

Longtime New York journalist and Tuscaloosa native Les Payne has died at age 76.

Payne’s family confirmed his death to Newsday, where he worked for nearly four decades, rising through the ranks from reporter to associate managing editor. The newspaper reports Tuesday that Payne died unexpectedly Monday night at his home in Harlem.


Newsday Editor Deborah Henley says Payne established a standard of journalistic excellence that has been “a beacon for all who have come after him.”

Payne oversaw foreign and national coverage, was an editor of New York Newsday and wrote a column. He was part of a Newsday reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for a series titled “The Heroin Trail.”

He also was a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

(Image: Darlene Lewis/Vimeo)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

9 hours ago

Peggy Sutton is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

Peggy Sutton did not start out wanting to create a powerhouse food business. She just wanted to eat like her grandparents did.

Sutton, a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, planted grains at her home in Fitzpatrick about 15 years ago and waited for them to sprout. Before the Industrial Revolution, most people made flour from spouted grains, not from crops harvested with a combine.

Sutton soaked the grains in mason jars in 2005, dried them and then ground them into flour with a small mill in her home.

“I was blown away by the taste,” she told Kitchn.com in 2015. “It was so good, and I was hooked. And to me, that’s actually the most important thing.”


The real benefit, the secret to Sutton’s commercial success, were the health features. She told Kitchn.com that flour from sprouted grains preserves vitamins and minerals that are eliminated in modern farming. Those nutrients produce naturally fortified flour.

At first, Sutton tried to spread the gospel of sprouted grains, but friends and relatives asked Sutton if she could just make the grains for them. She did, and To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. was born, according to the company’s website. More than a decade later, Sutton’s idea has grown into a business that produces more than 3.6 million organic whole-grain sprouted flour a year and is the largest supplier of organic sprouted flours in the world.

The production moved from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen inside a barn in 2006 and four years later moved up to a 7,200-square-foot facility. The company added a second facility in 2013 and expanded again in 2015. To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. employs more than 30 people and ships grains, flours, legumes, seeds, nuts and other snacks to 14 different countries.

Sutton touts the not-too-subtle differences between her flour and the products on sale at the local supermarket.

“It’s the difference between eating a tomato and a potato,” she told Alabama Power’s Alabama NewsCenter last year. “Sprouted flour tastes better, is easier to digest, has more enzymes and is just more nutritious than regular flour.”

Sutton did not just luck into the business. She had spent three decades working in marketing and management positions in Montgomery, Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia. She returned home to Fitzpatrick, a rural community south of Montgomery, to take a job as director of the Alabama Hospice Organization.

Then, the flour business started to take off. Orders grew so fast that she decided to stop making baked goods and concentrate full time on producing flours. It was a call from Whole Foods that kicked the business to a different level. The chain grocery store wanted 10,000 pounds.

“At that time, we were only making about 1,000 pounds a week, but I knew we could do it,” she told Alabama NewsCenter. “Unfortunately, we live at the end of a dirt road, and the trucks couldn’t get in to pick up all that flour. So we had to expand.”

Sutton’s business even has landed her picture on the back of Kashi cereal boxes. She told This is Alabama last year that Kellogg’s, which makes the organic cereal, contacted her in 2014 and decided to use her image after hearing her company’s homegrown story and coming away impressed with the quality of the grain.

“I told my husband, it’s not the front of the Wheaties box, but I’m not complaining!” Sutton told the website.

Sutton will be honored with Gov. Kay Ivey in an awards event March 29 in Birmingham. The Yellowhammer Women of Impact event will honor 20 women making an impact in Alabama and will benefit Big Oak Ranch. Details and registration may be found here.

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at LifeZette.com and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.

BCA endorsement is a real head-scratcher

Campaign season is officially upon us.  Yard signs are popping up at every street corner and on trees along our roadways, the monthly FCPA reports showing candidate fundraising activity are on full display and endorsements are being rolled out by groups across the state.  While there has been an age old debate about the true value of endorsements, especially from elected officials, there is no question that an endorsement from the likes of ALFA, the Business Council of Alabama, the Realtors Association, just to name a few, can prove to be a major shot in the arm for a candidate seeking statewide office in Alabama.


Aside from the very large campaign checks they can dole out at a moment’s notice, these groups have a strong network of very politically active members across the state who ban together to turnout the vote for candidates who align with their interests.  The endorsements, on many levels, can provide a little-known candidate instant “street cred” and very quickly propel their candidacy to new heights.  So, it is no mystery as to why potential candidates can spend more than a year ahead of an election cycle traveling to local ALFA meetings and visiting with key business leaders to lay the groundwork for just the opportunity to win a coveted endorsement.  Quite simply, being shunned by one of these groups may not break one’s campaign but receiving their blessing can certainly make one’s campaign.

The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, or ACJRC to the Montgomery insiders, was established in the 1990s by a wide range of business associations banding together to recruit and finance conservative judicial candidates to put an end to the “tort hell” environment created over the years by the trial lawyers that had embedded itself inside of the Alabama Court System.  The effort, conducted by none other than famed political consultant Karl Rove, was wildly successful and, over time, turned the state’s court system from one of the least business-friendly in the country into one of the most.  This feat was not easy and the ACJRC continues to work to build a wall around the court system to protect it from anti-business forces.

So, when the Business Council of Alabama made the decision to endorse Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart in the race for Supreme Court, to say the other business associations in Montgomery were stunned would be an understatement.  It could be likened to Tua Tagovailoa shedding his Alabama jersey in the National Championship game, walking to the Georgia sideline and lining up at quarterback for them on the next series.  Those who had worked so hard to preserve the coalition were angered because they fully understand the aforementioned benefits that come with a major endorsement.

According to the ACJRC, one should look no further than a case involving South Alabama Brick to understand that Stewart’s judicial record is far from business-friendly.  Her ruling, eventually overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court, would have required business and property owners to warn independent contractors along with their employees of any potential hazards, no matter how large or small, they could encounter while on the job site even if the contractor had more expertise regarding the issue.  Furthermore, the burden of making sure the contractor’s employees were operating in a safe manner would have been unduly placed on the business owner regardless of whether or not the contractor had implemented his or her own operational safety standards.

However, the specifics of this particular endorsement aside, the more important issue may be the fracturing of the coalition on this race and the Business Council’s unwillingness to explain the endorsement to us and others. The civil justice arm of the business community is now pitted against what used to be its single strongest member. These groups have held the line and worked arm in arm for years. The fact that the Business Council would change jerseys on this one is truly a headscratcher.

The Yellowhammer Multimedia Executive Board is comprised of the owners of the company.

(Image — Yellowhammer News Graphic)

10 hours ago

Auburn takes part in urban tree canopy study

Auburn will take part in an urban tree canopy study.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports the city of Auburn and the Green Infrastructure Center entered an agreement to evaluate the canopy, which is layered with leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. The study looks to improve the planning of any future reforestation efforts.


Recommendations for tree removal will focus on elimination of exotic invasive trees to reduce over-competition, increase diversity and increase forest health.

The Green Infrastructure Center is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organization will use satellite imagery to map the land cover of Auburn.

“The study will also help create healthier communities by realizing the many benefits that trees provide other than just clean air and shade,” said Karen Firehock, executive director of Green Infrastructure Center.

Firehock said Auburn is one of 11 cities chosen for the study. Other cities include Charleston, South Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, Norcross, Georgia, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is administering a grant to fund the project.

“We’ve been trying to work with the Alabama Forestry Commission for the last couple of years on a variety of projects focusing on green infrastructure,” said Daniel Ballard, watershed division manager for the city of Auburn’s water resource management team. “Trees are the original green infrastructure. They have a few different programs that they manage and one of these being this federal grant that they administer that focuses on urban forests for the specific purpose of improving storm water management.”

Ballard said Auburn was a good fit, because of the city’s continuous growth. He said the city’s impaired watersheds, which are water quality areas of concern, will be part of the study and are always a priority for the city.

“There are areas within the Parkerson Mill Creek watershed, the Saugahatchee Creek watershed, or the Moores Mill Creek watershed that are all priorities for our department,” he said.

Ballard said Auburn was already pursuing a green infrastructure master plan, which will integrate parks and natural areas, greenways, bike paths, sidewalks and habitat corridors.

“This project filled in a gap in that master planning process,” Ballard said. “Although we’re not evaluating urban tree canopy in our green infrastructure master plan, we are in that process looking holistically at the way we manage storm water and not just trees.”

(Image: Auburn University)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

10 hours ago

Alabama Sheriff’s Association director: Jail food allowance reform ‘should have been done 50 years ago’

Reforming what county sheriffs do with unspent jail food allowances should have been accomplished a long time ago, Robert Timmons, Executive Director of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, told Yellowhammer News on Tuesday.

“It should have been done 50 years ago,” Timmons said. “It’s an antiquated law.”


Timmons pointed to a 2009 article in the Montgomery Advertiser, which reported on some of the controversy around the jail food allowance issue. He went back even further to demonstrate how long this conversation has been going on, pointing to a special report published in 1919 about how the Jefferson County Sheriff was managing such allowances.

Several counties have taken the initiative, not waiting for the legislature to make broad and binding reforms.

Randolph County requires the sheriff to deposit unspent fund into a surplus account. In Russell County, the sheriff is still responsible for feeding prisoners but the county buys the groceries and any excess money goes into the general surplus fund.

Until change comes to all counties, though, Timmons defends the sheriff’s prerogative to keep unspent allowances because it is allowed by law.

“Everything that the Alabama sheriff does has to be administered by an act of legislature. He cannot receive money, he cannot spend money, he cannot create policies outside of his procedure manual.”

As for the quality of inmate food, Timmons challenged the charge that inmates aren’t well-fed.

“Everybody uses day old bread,” he said. “You probably have day old bread at your house right now. They’re eating better than they do on the outside. Most of the inmates will tell you that.”

(Image: National Sheriff’s Association/Facebook)