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You can never replace human interaction

Jordan Stallings, Managing Partner at Pear NYC, sat down for a People Developing People interview.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

Jordan Stallings talks about the importance of listening

Jordan, Managing Partner at Pear NYC (and until recently the Chief People Officer of Brooklyn Group), sat down with Jason Lavender, Co-Founder and CEO of Electives for a People Developing People interview.

During their conversation, they discussed:

  • Employee desires (they just want to be heard!)
  • The importance of walking the walk
  • How human interaction is an evergreen need

Jason Lavender, Electives Co-Founder & CEO: Jordan, can you share your background and how you became Chief People Officer?

Jordan Stallings, Managing Partner at Pear NYC: It was definitely a unique journey. I grew up in North Carolina, and I was on the classic political science path to a law career when I got to the crossroads of choosing between law school and getting a job, I moved up to New York for an entry-level job. But I felt like I wanted more. So I decided to try real estate. I interviewed with a bunch of the bigger real estate firms and landed at Brooklyn Group, a one-owner company that grew one owner at a time, one building at a time. Now, they have about 70 agents.

As I've gotten older, I've learned that my greatest asset is empathy. And so, as Brooklyn Group grew, I naturally took on the People role.

Shortly after this interview, Jordan transitioned from Brooklyn Group to Pear NYC.

Jason: That's awesome. I've probably done 20 of these People Developing People interviews over the last few months, and the path to People leadership is usually some windy path with all kinds of different detours.

What parts of People leadership do you believe have changed the most throughout the years, and what feels best about that change?

People want to be heard.

Jordan: As restauranteur Danny Meyer says, “People don't want to be right. They just want to feel heard.” I think that's always the basis of where I start things, and that really hasn't changed.

It's hard to make people feel heard, because there's so much noise and emotion. And I don't think the pandemic really helped people's conflict-resolution skills.

People think they have connections through social media. But, people feel disconnected. So getting people to buy into your culture and the company's direction and values has never been more important. 

Jason: I didn't know who Danny Meyer was until I read his book Setting the Table. It’s full of amazing lessons. “Writing the last chapter” always stuck with me. There will always be things that go wrong, so how do you turn it into something that people remember positively? 

You mentioned the importance of creating connections within the workforce. What have you done recently that has helped you create connections?

Jordan: Brooklyn Group has a relatively small employee base and a large agent base, and there's always a challenge of making sure everyone is aligned and feels heard. One of the biggest initiatives I did was set up a meeting on Tuesdays where everyone can air their grievances. There's no agenda. And to avoid influencing the conversation, the higher-ups don’t speak first.

It’s helpful in large part because everyone knows they have this space on Tuesday afternoons to be heard. It sounds so simple, but it works.

Jason: Transitioning into people development, some companies are really good at developing their people and other companies really struggle. What do you think accounts for the difference?

You are what you do.

Jordan: I just watched this interview with Teddy Atlas, and the key message was “You are what you do.” 

You can have the greatest materials in the world. You can have the most beautiful presentations. But when push comes to shove are you really putting your employees, (or, in our case, independent contractors) in a position to be successful?

Back in the day, ping pong tables and pool tables were the image of a hot company culture. And that's so outdated now. You need so much more.

But really, what it comes down to, you can have all the bells and whistles. But it's what you actually do that makes things happen. 

You can never replace human interaction.

Jason: What skill sets do you believe will be important in the future?

Jordan: We're swinging back to the importance of people skills and the ability to have a conversation. So, even as we adopt tech-based solutions more and more, I believe strong conversation skills will be important. You can never replace human interaction.

About Jordan Stallings

Currently serving as Managing Partner at Pear NYC, Jordan Stallings is a dynamic professional with a rich background spanning various leadership roles in human resources, talent management and education. With a career rooted in the Greater New York City Area, Jordan has demonstrated a consistent ability to foster growth and drive strategic initiatives across multiple industries.

Before joining Pear NYC, Jordan made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Group, where he held the positions of Chief People Officer and Head of Talent, showcasing his expertise in building and nurturing talent within organizations. His tenure at the Brooklyn Group was marked by strategic leadership and innovative talent management practices.

Jordan's journey also includes a notable stint as a Sports Director at the School of The Future High School, where he was recognized for his exceptional coaching abilities and his dedication to the personal and athletic development of his students. His commitment to education and youth development is further evidenced by his achievements and certifications, including being the first recipient of the MSAL All-Star Coach Award, a testament to his positive impact on students and the sporting community.

Certified as a Gold Licensed Coach by USA Basketball and holding a New York State Coaching License and a Real Estate Broker License, Jordan's credentials speak to his commitment to continuous learning and professional development.

About People Developing People

Sponsored by Electives, People Developing People is an engaging interview series that dives deep into the minds of people leaders, exploring cutting-edge strategies to foster employee growth and connection in a remote/hybrid work environment, while addressing the evolving needs of younger generations seeking fulfillment beyond monetary rewards in their professional lives. Discover more interviews at www.electives.io/people-developing-people.

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