Episode 282: The Art of the Pivot with Jordan Babineaux

This has been an unusual year, and HR leaders have had to support teams in transition to remote work, keep essential workers protected, and work to keep our organizations on track with strategic goals. For many of us, 2020 meant that we had to evaluate, prioritize, change forecasts, and essentially perform a pivot that dance troupes would envy.

Episode 282: The Art of the Pivot with Jordan Babineaux (@JordanBabineaux)

I spoke to former NFL player Jordan Babineaux. Jordan recently transitioned from nearly a decade in the NFL to sports broadcasting, entrepreneur, author, and business executive. In his book, Pivot to Win, Jordan generously shares his successes and failures, his struggles and accomplishments, and his moments of pride and despair. Jordan helps teams and companies navigate their pivot through speaking and consulting.

After playing in the NFL, Jordan became a sports broadcaster (and the voice of the Seattle Seahawks), entrepreneur, and business executive. “When you have a sense of identity that’s tied to what you do for a living and you venture into something different, what you present to others changes. It’s about transition and growth, especially over the past year when the world is dealing with a global pandemic. So here I am establishing and creating my own pivots.”

“Pivoting away from the NFL was a tough pivot, but it has also been a catalyst for growth.” - @JordanBabineaux #PivotToWin #WorkologyPodcast Click To Tweet

“While the pandemic has taken away so much – people have lost jobs, homes, caregivers have had to stay home with children and we have so much social and political distress, but on the other hand we do have positives in life slowing down and preparing ourselves for change.”

In his book, Pivot to Win, Jordan talks about his own life experience, cultivating a winning mindset, dealing with racism and discrimination as a black man in America. “This is where I dove into a deeper conversation with teammates and sports executives around the mental health component in which people like me don’t ask for help. I feel like I have to do it all and have it under control, but people need to hear that it’s important to ask for help in order to get clarity and focus on their next move.”

What 2020 Taught Us About Resilience

Jordan said that “even in these times, being able to work through these changes with a routine – for ourselves and our families – is key to feeling like we’re in control of our lives.”

He talks about mindfulness in his book and Jordan said “what we do have control over our daily bookends – our morning routines and our nightime routines, and including some form of meditation that starts or ends our days, can get us ready for chaos and disruptions that will happen during the day.”

Jordan works individually with managers and employees on the bigger scope of personal development. “If I can help you perform better, you show up as a better parent, better employee, better entrepreneur – those areas of business, personal, financial, health and spirituality all integrate into creating our personal identity.”

One thing Jordan talks about in his book is the benefits of having an accountability group. “Knowing we can lean in with other people, an accountability group, partner, mentor, coach, someone you can express yourself with a sense of no judgment…it’s important that we have and can offer a safe place for people to share real vulnerability and emotion.” 

“Vulnerability doesn't have to be a negative. It’s what keeps us connected as human beings.” - @JordanBabineaux #PivotToWin #WorkologyPodcast Click To Tweet

Jordan added, “HR professionals are there to help people and create a culture within an organization. You can feel down on yourself and still be inspired to do better for someone else. We have to understand where our employees’ pain points are before we can help them. Working from home might be great for one person and not so great for another.”

With such a large share of the U.S. workforce impacted by COVID in the past year, HR and company leaders have to shore up their own reserves of stamina and resilience in order to support our employees on a broad scale. We have to be able to put our own mental health first in order to help those who depend on us, especially with what we’ve been through in the past year. It’s not always about performance and the bottom line; we need to take better care of our people so they can take care of our business. I really appreciate Jordan’s experience and advice!

Listen to the entire podcast to hear Jordan’s talk about how the pandemic became very personal for him last year, how social justice impacts the work he does, and how he works with organizations to create a bigger impact in their communities.

Connect with Jordan Babineaux.


– Jordan Babineaux on LinkedIn

– Jordan Babineaux on Twitter

– Pivot to Win

Resilience at Work: Turning Personal Challenges into Strengths

– 5 Reasons Why 2021 Is the Ideal Time for Professional Growth

Episode 281: Toxic Workplaces and Workplace Bullying

Episode Transcript

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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