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HPR 61 | Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive

Heartrepreneur® Radio | Episode 61 | David Holzmer Interview

HPR 61 | Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive


Working for an organization or a company can sometimes give you a feeling of disconnection and difficulty to get things done. This is something that Dr. David Holzmer personally learned from an early age. Dr. Holzmer is a researcher, a consultant, and a leadership innovator. He was raised in a thriving family business and even though the business did well, he could tell that it was very stressful, and a lot of times the stress had to do with the employees and managing the employees. Learning from that, Dr. Holzmer has pioneered new effective strategies for helping businesses thrive. He now teaches companies how to break free of the outdated management practices that are stifling intelligence, creativity, and initiative. Instead, he shows leaders in management new ways of empowering the organizations by accessing the untapped power of human relating and connection.

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Effective Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive with Dr. David Holzmer

I’m very excited about this guest. His name is Dr. David Holzmer and he’s a researcher, he’s a consultant, and he’s the leadership innovator. What I’m so excited about is that he has pioneered new more effective strategies for helping businesses thrive and that’s what we’re here for. He has evidence-based approaches and he teaches companies how to break free of the outdated management practices that are stifling intelligence, creativity, and initiative. Instead, he shows leaders the management professional new ways of empowering the organizations by accessing the untapped power of human relating and connection. I call that a heartrepreneur. Welcome to the show, David. 

Thank you, Terri. I’m thrilled to be here.

I resonated with you, wanted to reach out and ask you to be on the show because I used to be president of a national healthcare company that was outdated in their management practices. Your words about stifling intelligence, creativity, and initiative resonated with me. How did you get into this field? What drew you here? 

I feel like the field drew me. I’ll tell you a little bit about my history because it lends credence to what you’ve said about the disconnection and the feeling of how difficult sometimes it can be to get things done within an organization. This is something that I personally learned from an early age. I grew up down in South Jersey at the Jersey Shore. That’s all the way down south near the beach. My parents owned a hardware store for a year, so I was raised in a thriving family business and even though the business did well, from a young age, I could tell that it was very stressful. A lot of times, the stress had to do with the employees and managing the employees. Even as a young kid, I was a sensitive kid. I was always able to tune into moods and emotions and attitudes and I can always tell when my parents were upset with an employee or even an employee was upset with my parents. It seemed like it happens all the time.

HPR 61 | Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive
Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive: Even though the business did well, I could tell that it was very stressful.

When I describe this to people, it doesn’t matter if you’re running a taco shop or a Fortune 500 company. People can relate to that. In a way, my parents were very successful, but it took a toll. They ran the business much like any other business would be ran at that point. My father and my mother, they ran it together. They were the boss and boss was in charge and you did what the boss was supposed to do. It would seem that should work, but it was often very difficult to get things done. The business struggled, and it eventually closed. When that happened, I had gone to college and I had come back and work for them for a while. This was around 2001. I didn’t know what to do. I was a sensitive people person type of individual.

I started working in social services. I’ve worked for this rather large social service provider in the area that ran group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Here’s the irony. You would think that in an environment like that, very people-centered, very heart-centered, you would think that the management process and how they ran the organization would be very nurturing and flowing. What I found there was it was very stressful to work there. People would ask me “How is your job?” I would say, “It’s so stressful,” and they would say, “The clients?” I would say, “No, are you kidding? The clients are the easy part. It’s working with the organization.” In healthcare hospitals, patients are often the easy part. It’s the bureaucracy and the leadership that is difficult.

I worked in that field for sixteen years and I moved up the ranks. I started out right on the front line, the ground level. That stress and I always felt that the way that managers, supervisors were telling us to do things, if they worked with us in a different way, they could get so much more out of us, but it never seemed to connect. As I moved up the ranks and I became a supervisor, I started running into some of the same difficulties, but almost from the other side. I’ve wanted to form a strong team, but it seemed like the people that I was supervising were becoming apathetic and disconnected. I thought, “Something’s wrong here.” I kept looking for that heart-centered connection. I eventually decided to go to graduate school. I wanted to get a master’s degree on the one-hand job security, but in the other. I was running into so many management and leadership problems. I said to myself, “I need better training. I need to understand what’s going on.”

This surprised me when I went to graduate school. I got a Master’s degree in nonprofit leadership. I expected to learn how to cultivate a team and work with people. What I found was in graduate school. They taught the same top down ideology that I found to be part of the problem. This frustrated me and as I dove into the management literature, at this point, I became a student of management. I looked at the textbooks. I looked at all the popular books on management and leadership and I saw that except in very rare cases, they were all teaching a way of working with people that in my gut and my intuition said, “If anybody treated me like this, I would be turned off.”

What I end up doing is I got a little impudent. I said to myself, “If no one else is going to figure this out, I will.” I went on and I ended up getting a PhD. In all fairness, I should disqualify my last statement because I found that I’m not the only one who’s tapped into this and figured it out, but for the most part, it’s the management models that organizations worked by today that are broken. We see that, we can feel it. You were in a position of leadership. Is my experience mirroring yours that things didn’t go the way you thought they should or would?

Your background is so fascinating to me of how you’ve gotten where you are. It’s exactly what happened for me. It’s why I walked out of corporate America 22 years ago and why I’ve created the whole Heartrepreneur cause or movement. I do believe in heart-centered leadership, in connecting not only with employees heart-to-heart, with vendors heart-to-heart, with our customers, with our prospects, and coming up with a way to relate and do things different and do things better. Give me maybe one of your best tips that will help a leader connect better.

In my PhD, I did some research and one of the things that I found was, and it was counter-intuitive, that I studied what made teams most effective under conditions of chaos. What I found was that the things that made the biggest difference wasn’t the training or the experience or expertise. It was something called psychological safety, which basically is a climate, a feeling that people have in the environment that is safe to make mistakes. It is safe to voice contradictory opinions without feeling like you’re going to be rejected or written up. If I had to give leaders one tip, it would be to find ways to make failure part of the process, to make mistakes acceptable, to make people’s needs and people’s deviations acceptable. Then what you will do is you will open up engagement. People will want to be there. They’ll want to work. They’ll want to collaborate with you to meet the organizational mission.

That’s a phenomenal tip. It resonates for a lot of reasons. I haven’t heard it called psychological safety and I totally dug that term. I do think that when people feel accepted, appreciated, honored, and valued, that is where engagement comes from. That’s where a heart-to-heart relationships grow from. What is the best way for people to connect with you and find out more? I’m feeling in my bones that people are going to relate to you and get that you are what I’m going to call the Heartrepreneur of leadership. How can people make an action with you, David?

Just go to my website. It’s very simple That talks all about me, my work, and my consulting practice.

HPR 61 | Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive
Strategies For Helping Businesses Thrive: Find ways to make failure part of the process, to make mistakes acceptable.

In the time that we’ve had, I get a sense that through your journey, which was fascinating, have been drawn to figure out how we can relate and how we can connect as leaders. I’m doing a lot to change that on a small business front and I do honor you because you’re doing that now in a corporate environment, which is so important. Many people, whether we’re working in corporate or we’re buying from a corporation, this is so important. It’s something very large that I feel that you’re doing in the world. It’s with deep appreciation. I know you’re busy. I want to thank you so much for being here in Heartrepreneur Radio.

This has been great and I’m so glad to have connected with you to have learned your experience as well, Terri, so thank you. If you go right to my website, you can learn about my practicing. There are a lot of free goodies there as well, so you can learn more about this work and about psychological safety there.

I know that I’m going to go there because I hadn’t heard the term psychological safety. I felt like I got that instantly. I’m going to recommend that all of our audience do the same thing, so that we can get more education. I knew you would have freebies because that’s who you are. Somebody who shares. Thank you for that. 

For the audience, you’ve got a couple of actions. First, if you haven’t subscribed to the show on iTunes, make sure that you do that so you won’t miss any of the cool guests that I have. I’m so excited for folks like Dr. David Holzmer that come and join me, that add value and help create more heart-based leadership and connection in the world.

The second thing that you can do is be a Heartrepreneur and pass the show to other people in social media and let other people know about the show. We love your five-star reviews. Thank you for that. Finally, I’ve given you a free gift. I spent a lot of time creating the course that will really help you in your business. You can grab it totally free. You don’t even have to opt in. You can get it on Messenger, you can get it by email at Thank you for tuning in here at Heartrepreneur Radio.


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About David Holzmer

HPR 61 | Strategies For Helping Businesses ThriveFrom an early age I often thought that the process of work was sooo much harder than it needed to be.

From growing up, working in my parents’ hardware store, to a career as a social services administrator many years later, most of the jobs I had felt incredibly stressful.

But more than the work, I found the workplace itself to be the most difficult.  Things like maneuvering through the various carrots-and-sticks, negotiating all the unspoken rules and taboos, and trying to get along with the ever-stressed supervisors–those were the tough parts.

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