Post-Meeting Spotlight: Dr. Stacy Feiner
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Post-Meeting Spotlight: Dr. Stacy Feiner
By Amber F. Mirza, MSHRD, PHR
Dr. Stacy Feiner was a panelist for Cleveland SHRM’s September meeting: “Identifying the Need for Psychology in Business.” Following the event, Amber Mirza, Communications Committee Member and Newsletter Content Contributor, sat down to chat with Dr. Feiner about her work, her fresh insights and her thought-provoking recommendations. Read on to learn more!
Dr. Stacy Feiner is a business psychologist with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School for Professional Psychology. Her firm, Feiner Enterprises, LLC, developed a method using the science of psychology to help leaders advance their goals, overcome challenges, improve company culture and more.
Dr. Feiner has worked with clients from a range of industries, from Fortune 500 companies to academic institutions. “By blending psychology, business and leadership, my method accelerates a business owner’s ability to achieve goals,” Dr. Feiner states on her firm’s website.
When asked for a deeper explanation, she replied, “By culminating the multitude of business dynamics owners face into one strategy, we achieve business goals faster and better.” Decision-makers—whether owners, partners or board members—learn how to use their own psychology to impact the overall health of their organizations.
Dr. Feiner started her firm with a mission “improve the health of our nation.” When asked how her mission influenced her career, Dr. Feiner explained, “Growing up, dinner time was a time for serious discussion. We talked about the news, what was going on in the world, and how we would make a difference. Making a difference became the theme for my ambitions.”
Indeed, Dr. Feiner’s focus on making a difference led her to achieve a great deal, including living and working in Asia, serving as a psychotherapist for families, registering with the SEC as a financial advisor, performing in leadership positions in corporate HR, and investing in two start-ups – all before she started Feiner Enterprises, LLC. in 2005.
Dr. Feiner emphasizes the role of psychology in business and psychological awareness can improve business systems. She references various data points and highlights these findings for a Gallup Report: “The importance of psychology to business is evidenced in how engaged employees personally ‘own’ the results of their work and look out for the needs of the enterprise overall.”
Despite the research, Dr. Feiner finds that business leaders do not always incorporate this idea of “owning it” into their strategies. “Too often, I notice business leaders asking the wrong questions to the wrong professionals when they are seeking to be more effective at growing their companies,” she remarked. “Often, their accountant, attorney or even banker operates with a blind spot to solutions that are outside of their training. They hold on tightly to the idea that proﬁtability is just a numbers game. Psychologists, on the other hand, understand that it’s a complex system, not a competition.” Dr. Feiner continued to explain, “Psychology is the most sophisticated science available for channeling human drive, purpose and talent.”
Shifting to an actual challenge of leaders, Dr. Feiner shared that a prevalent obstacle her clients experience is not being able to get their workforce to buy in to their vision. “This recurring issue is the result of an old mindset that limits their ability to be effective,” she says. “It starts with the opinion that talent management is an expense and a cost, a necessary evil. Such an opinion sets in motion a series of decisions that contribute to a broken system and lead to perpetual disappointment.”
To prevent this and better build an engaged workforce, Dr. Feiner points to psychological factors that influence a company’s ability to retain more employees. She explained, “Having purpose is ranked more important than having the highest compensation. Having a reasonable and conscientious boss is ranked more important than the highest compensation. Being able to communicate freely without the constraints of ‘the chain of command.’”
By fusing these elements into the foundation of a company’s culture, leaders can build a more engaged and productive workforce. Facilitating positive change effectively is what Dr. Feiner focuses on. She believes it’s important for leaders to be aware that employees adapt to change at different paces: “The more self-aware the leader is about their own expectations and how that translates to their workforce often makes all the difference in the world. The primary reason change initiatives fail is so often due to leaders mislabeling slow adopters as resistant. Mislabeling instantly turns off a slow, willing adopter.”
On the flipside, some companies do realize that engaged employees drive their organization’s productivity and overall success. Consequently, companies utilize strategies linked to employee benefits and wellness initiatives as vehicles for fostering employee engagement. Many of these are labeled as supporting more flexibility for employees to manage all aspects of their lives better.
Throughout the conversation, Dr. Feiner is careful not to reference the concept of work-life balance. She weighs in that: “Work-life balance is a trendy campaign to counter the campaign from a decade earlier that women can have it all. It’s lip service from a corporate system that ignores the gender pay gap and the lack of affordable and quality childcare.” Dr. Feiner asserted that closing the various pay gaps can be accomplished within 18 months to three years when boards focus on it seriously.
Although Dr. Feiner typically works with clients who are the heads of their organizations, she also offers advice for individuals who want to bring change to their organization, but do not have an official leadership title. She suggested, “There are voids in leadership wherever you look. Lead by example. Don’t confuse authority with leadership. Think about leadership as helping people grow.”
Dr. Feiner also offers advice for Human Resources professionals and leaders as to how they can make psychology a part of their strategies when trying to establish themselves as business partners across their companies. She explained, “Finance departments seek outside counsel from their accounting firm, bankers and board members. Legal decisions are made with outside legal counsel and board members. But who does Human Resources have? Human Resources departments have not been afforded the same outside resources that these other departments do.”
She confidently offers that, “Human Resources can have the same ready counsel from business psychologists. Business Psychologist offer strategic insights and when issues extend beyond the expertise of the HR professionals on staff.” By seeking outside counsel and implementing psychological principles within their work, Human Resources leaders and professionals can better engage their workforce, leading to success for their organizations and their communities.
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Stacy Feiner and her work, please visit www.stacyfeiner.com.