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The Leadership Hacker Podcast

This is the leading Podcast for Leadership globally. You’ll listen to top authors, C-suite executives and leadership coaches and unlock tips, ideas, insights along with top leadership hacks. It’s your way to tap into some of the best and most experienced leaders and business coaches in the world.


Innovating Next Practice with Dr Ciela Hartanov
Dr Ciela Hartanov was part of the founding team of The Google School for Leaders and Head of Next Practice Innovation and Strategy at Google, She is a psychologist and human behavioural expert and is the founder and CEO of  Humcollective, in this episode, you can learn: Why some leaders run towards disruption with excitement yet others will be afraid? How we become our own psychological architects. What is "Innovating Next Practice?” The four perspectives of emergent mindset.   Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Ciela below: Ciela on LinkedIn: Ciela on Twitter: Humcollective Website:   Full Transcript Below. ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you.   Dr. Ciela Hartanov is a special guest on today's show. She's an ex-Google executive, psychologist and the founder and CEO of humcollective. But before we get a chance to speak with Ciela, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: It's been a while since we've dug into the history books to find those lessons of leadership that we can draw on. So, I thought we'd start with a couple today. In the early 1960s, a marine biologist and author, Rachel Carson was working to overcome some immense personal and professional challenges. On top of writing what would ultimately become Silent Spring. Her watershed book, exposing the dangers of synthetic pesticides and their impact on the environment. Carson was fighting a battle on a whole other front, cancer. Professor, Nancy Cohen, chronicled the stories of her and others for Harvard Business School and Cohen focused on attitudes and actions in the face of crisis that made a positive difference to the world. Carson's moment of forging her crucible, stretched out for more than two years, Cohen writes, this long slow burn demanded again and again, that she find her way back from the perceptive despair and then recommit to her mission. Her ability to stay the course, finish her book and exert enormous impact was fueled only by her unrelenting dedication to a mightier cause. Despite being played by a series of health complications that took great physical and emotional tolls. Carson remained staunchly committed to her mission. Cohen described it as to bring the wonders of the natural world to the public and to spotlight the responsibility we each have to protect the earth and to sustain all life and Cohen notes that unlike many other prominent leaders throughout history known for their charisma or aggressiveness and assertiveness. Carson was shy in retiring, almost quite introvert whose leadership approach was characterized by a quiet, determination, resilience, and stone wall commitment to doing purposeful and driven work. Frederick Douglas was an abolitionist like Carson. He was driven by deep sense of mission. After escaping from slavery in 1838, he used his experience in bondage to become a leader in the anti-slavery movement and a champion for black freedom. In her book Cohen notes. Douglas realized that in order to enact large scale change, he had to be self-committed and to create his own internal, moral, intellectual, and emotional infrastructure, a framework for both understanding the power of slavery and how to consistently and effectively combat it. Douglas devoted a great deal of effort to building his framework within himself. He then used us to develop an effective leadership style. This would've been thorny and complicated work. We can often imagine the series of conversations he'd ever had with himself as he started to work through his own architecture. Cohen had written that these internal discussions had formed a cornerstone of Douglas's leadership, helping him make day to day choices, communicate with the mission and navigate through the moments of doubt and despair. All individuals who aspire to lead effectively must build their own foundation. Throughout his life. Douglas used his perspective and personal experiences as tools to fight for social change. He also used his writing and public speaking to inspire others, to stand with him and Douglas recognized that making a significant impact required motivating and empowering his fellow citizens and used his communication progress to achieve that objective successfully. Cohen goes on to write. We long for a leader like Frederick Douglas, who understood that the country could only achieve its full potential when Americans faced and write the critical wrong that Douglas led from the lecture hall and from the newspaper stand, which was as much or more than he did through the offices of elite politicians. He believed that positive change began with ordinary citizens and his work, a leader to help them affect the individuals who governed them. So, their leadership hack here is, whether you are a mid-career professional or an emerging senior leader or brand new to leading others. The stories that these iconic individuals in part are important, real-life lessons that we can learn from. So, by fostering engagement and cohesion, amongst your team, finding a purpose that connects your passion and developing a leadership approach that informs how you inspire and mobilize others. You can become a more courageous leader and take your career to the next level. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Big shout out to Karen, one of our regular listeners. Who's introduced us to the work of Professor Nancy Cohen. If you've got any insights or stories that you want us to showcase, please get in touch. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Dr. Ciela Hartanov is our special guest on today's show. She was part of the founding team and the Google School of Leaders. She was Head of the next practice Innovation Strategy at Google. She's now a Psychologist and a Human Behavioral Expert and the founder and CEO of humcollective, and innovation strategy firm, preparing organizations for the future. Ciela, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So lovely to be here. Thank you for having me. Steve Rush: So, I'm really fascinated to learn about how you meandered through corporate life to end up leading humcollective. Tell us a little bit about the journey? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Well, meander would be a good description of how I think careers are built these days. When I started graduate school, I actually thought I was going to be an academic and that was my presumed path. And there was a sister school to my school that I was attending in cultural psychology in IO psych school. So, I started moonlighting and wondering, hmm, what are these other students doing? What are they learning? And I realized, you know, it was fascinating because I was learning a lot about culture, human behavior, and organizations from a very specific sort of academic lens. But on the IO psych side of the school, they were actually working with organizations, and they had projects where they were working with leaders who were struggling. And I just became really intrigued about how do you apply the theory in practice? Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, I started moonlighting even more and ended up doing sort of a dual degree in cultural psychology and human behavior with a sort of a subset in IO psych so that I could actually bring the theories and practices into organization. So, I abandoned the academic path and went into corporate. I started with a leadership consultancy called the Ken Blanchard Companies, which is a small family run company, which is very unique family run companies are, which we can talk about. If that's interesting to you? Steve Rush: Very well known nonetheless. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: [Laugh], yeah. And he wrote The One Minute Manager, which many people know is sort of a seminal leadership book. And I think that was an introduction to me around, gosh, how interesting? How leadership becomes this really critical and evergreen part of organizations. And so, I had firsthand ability to see that inside this consulting practice. And I had a wonderful mentor who threw me into a job that frankly I was not qualified for, but she saw something in me and said, hey, why don't you go and reorganize our international consulting practice. And I got to travel a lot, to England and Singapore and other places. Rethinking the structures and practices. So that was my first sort of foray into change management, and it really stuck. So, I have a real system thinking mind. So, I was like, okay, this seems like the right path for me. And at the same time, I was finishing my doctorate degree and this same mentor just pushed me out of the nest. And she said, I think you've done all you can do here, which was a really seminal moment for me and my career. And I ended up at that point moving into tech and I stayed in technology firms for the remainder of my career until now where I'm running my own consulting practice. So, it's like, I've come full circle. Steve Rush: Yeah, indeed. Of course, you were part of that massive growth in Google. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Yes. Steve Rush: That must have been a fascinating time in your career to see that evolve? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Absolutely fascinating. And speaking of leadership, I think you see this inflection point where leadership needs to look different and change. And I saw that firsthand not only for myself as a leader, but also for the leaders that I was leading. And that became a really important and critical pivot point for myself and my career and what I was doing at Google. When I started thinking about, you know, leadership needs to look different in the modern workplace, both for scale, but also because we're really moving out of the industrial era. So how do we do that effectively? And because of that, I pitched an idea to build an innovation practice inside the people function at Google, which I think is probably the first one that's ever been built. Hopefully now there's more. But what I came to realize is that we needed to have much more of an innovation lens on developing people on thinking about how the people practice needs to evolve and beyond the industrial area logic. And that puts a squarely of course, where most organizations are now grappling with the future of work. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And that's true in every single organization across the board at this point, which is part of the reason why I left to build my own consulting practice, because I think every organization needs to find their way forward in a contextual way. And that requires some support and some expertise. Steve Rush: And as part of your time at Google. You talk about the future of work. Now you're perhaps ahead of the game a little bit in visioning and strategizing what the future of work could be at Google. And it's now probably form almost part of most of our routine lives today, and you've created the next practice innovation strategy there. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Yes. Steve Rush: So, what is next practice innovation? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So next practice innovation is using foresight and anthropological methods to anticipate what likely is going to happen next, looking at scenarios, and then merging that into a strategy that works for the organization specifically. So, what I am a big fan of is, it's called next practice for a reason, because I think replication is a really, bad idea when we're trying to look at what's next for an organization and help an organization leapfrog. So, I understand the value of best practice and benchmarking as a way of understanding but replicating becomes a challenge because then we all become the same. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, the idea about inventing next practice is the call to action that every organization has the opportunity to think wider and think bigger and be at the forefront of their industry, their people practices. And now more than ever, I see that when it comes to the future of work, organizations can't replicate what other organizations are doing because it needs to work in context. So, I see that across the board, when we talk about things like hybrid work, this is a grand experiment and every organization's going to have to grapple and take some next practice bets for themselves to see what will work inside their own organization. Steve Rush: And there's no playbook here either is there? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: No. Steve Rush: Because all organizations are so diverse and so different to your point, it's around just figuring it out and finding out what does work and doesn't work. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, there's no playbook, but there is an innovation process and practice. And that's what I want leaders to know is that there is a process to hold onto. The process I run is a three-step process that gets you all the way from scanning and the big ideas to thinking about what do you need to employ in your strategy now to build the next practice for your organization? And how do you look at that over time and adjust as you go and be much more, you know, adaptive over time. That all is a process that is completely possible. I'm leveraging the work that I did at Google building the innovation next practice lab. So, this is all tried and true, the process itself. So, there is no playbook, but there is a way forward. Steve Rush: Right. I love the unconscious anchor in the language next practice as well because it's forward looking. It's allows the unconscious behavior to be a little bit more visionary, doesn't it? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Absolutely. And I think that's really exciting, you know, when we can unlock ourselves from the fear of uncertainty, which is a natural human reaction, when we don't feel stability, we feel scared, fight or flight, we know that. But what this gives us is an anchor and a hold to say, how do I, before were looking, and then how do I enter that place of awe and excitement about what's possible? And that's where human ingenuity comes from. It's within us. That's part of our human nature. Steve Rush: So, what's the core work you are undertaking there with humcollective? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, there's a few things that I'm really interested in right now. The one piece that I'm focusing a lot on is research that I think is going to become even more essential as we're looking at the new age of work. And that is how do we look and build the next practice of culture and connection inside organizations. So, we've spent a lot of time thinking about flexibility, personalization, and where we do the work. Now we need to turn our attention to how we do the work in this new context and how we build those essential connective tissues that make up an organization. So that's where I'm focusing most of my research and my conversations with organizations right now. I really believe that if we only focus on flexibility, we will lose the fabric of what makes an organization sing. Steve Rush: It's a really interesting cold concept, this hybrid world. I've noticed, you know, through the journals I've been reading, the blogs I have been reading over the last couple of weeks that people are getting a little bit uncomfortable with hybrid now, and we're starting to creep back to being more present in the office and less flexible. What's your take on that? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: I think that's because we haven't invented the next practice of how we build that connective tissue. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, my call to the organizations that don't want to backslide is, okay. Now's the time to think about what is the next practice in culture, connection, networking, and start building some of these next practices. So that there isn't a backslide because I understand why there's a backslide, because it's what we know about how we build bonds is by being in the office. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And even employees I talk to are saying, you know, I left this organization that I joined during the pandemic because I don't feel any resonance or connection to this organization. And so, there's a longing on the part of the employees to feel that connection as well. So, the organizations that do answer that call are going to be the employers that are able to draw the best employees. Steve Rush: It's almost an unconscious corporate muscle memory, isn't it? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: That's right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: I mean, it's like any habit change, you know? Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Like it's so easy to go back to what we've known and where we've been. There's no judgment in sort of the backsliding because it's natural that we would want to gravitate and grab onto what we know, but this time is a time like any other where we can truly invent the modern contemporary workplace. And I hope organizations and leaders will take that call. Steve Rush: I think, you know, if they don't, there's a real risk to their future attraction and retention strategy as well, by the way. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Yeah, and we're already seeing that of course. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Right. That even though you know, the economics are different now than they were when this whole great resignation conversation started. I think what we're going to continue to see is that one, because employees have started executing more choice. They're going to be reticent to let that go. And the employer employee contract will continue to adjust whether or not organizations go kicking and screaming or not. It will still continue to be present and in an important conversation that leaders are having around, gosh, how are we defining this new contract? And are we getting ahead of the game? Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. So, with so much uncertainty around the world, you can have a look at companies, locations, countries. There seems to be so much uncertainty and volatility around us at the moment. What is it that makes those leaders and those people in business run towards it and get, you know, excited about that disruption yet others might feel that this is something just want to avoid and hide away? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Yeah, that's a great question. I think it goes back to what I sort of described about the human condition. If there's too much uncertainty, our brains simply cannot handle it. So, we retreat. And because this is sort of a cognitive issue, my recommendation for leaders is always to find a place of stability inside that uncertainty and those leaders who do find a place of stability are able to go towards the uncertainty with openness excitement, because they have a stable ground to come back to. So, I did a big study while I was at Google about what are those most transformative, agile adaptable leaders doing? And it was exactly to answer your question, why do some run towards the uncertainty with excitement and why do some retreats? And what we found is that the core of it was that they had a set of stability practices that they never would let go of. And that could be anything from, you know, showing up to dinner at 6:00 PM every evening with your family to a meditation practice, to an exercise regime. So, it was nothing grand, but it was specific and consistent. And if you find that consistency where you find that stable ground for yourself, then your brain will feel safe enough that it will allow in that uncertainty in a way that it'll look at it as novel and exciting. Steve Rush: That's really fascinating. I think, you know, I've studied this genre of leadership and you find that most successful leaders have these rituals that they put aside in their practices and routines. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: That's right. Steve Rush: To create either conscious stability or indeed recovery time. But I've never really noticed it as a tactical, almost safe location to go where you have that anchored routine. I think it's quite fascinating. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And it was really actually surprising to me. I thought there would be something else that created that for these leaders. I thought, you know, maybe they had a background where, you know, they had grown up all over the world or traveled a lot or something had created inside of them, the ability to handle different conditions and no. Really it all came down to your point about having a ritualized practice around stability so that they were ready and able to take on the volatility. Steve Rush: Yeah, love it. So, if we think about the future of work that we're in at the moment, it's fair to say, it's going to continually be uncertain and there's going to be things that are going to be unknowns of the future. What kind of give maybe tools and ideas as to how we might best embrace that uncertainty? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, the first thing I think is important to realize is that the pace of change is not going to reduce. And so, the place that I always start when we are thinking about organizations and leaders, is building awareness about that truth, and helping educate around why that might be the case. So, I really do encourage leaders to get educated about driving the shifts in organizational life, but also just the colliding forces that we see. So, I do a lot of work with leaders, helping them see what are the shapes, the, you know, the future signals that are shaping, how organizations are going to change? Doing scenario planning. So doing all of this awareness building is another way for us to gain comfort around the uncertainty, because then you're starting to understand the shades of what might be possible. Of course, you're not predicting, but you're giving your mind and understanding around what might be possible. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So that requires all of us leaders. But I think also just all of us employees who are working in the world right now to become a bit of a futurist. So that's the first piece of the puzzle I think, is really important. Is this awareness building around, why is this happening? Steve Rush: There's also a bit there as well, isn't there? About just being uncomfortable, being uncomfortable. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Mm-Hmm, so that's the second piece I was going to say, which is going back to sort of yourself inside this uncertainty. I know that this idea of self-awareness gets overplayed a lot. I think it's because we misunderstand it, but one of the things that I'm writing, I'm writing a book right now. One of the chapters that I'm writing about is called the sensing self. And I think it's essential in this era of volatility, uncertainty. There's a lot of names for what we're experiencing right now, but we need to anchor and find ourselves and become what I call a sensing self, which is the ability to understand ourselves, but understand others and also understand the context that we're inside of. So, it's this elevated idea of self-awareness. So, I talked first about becoming a better futurist and understanding the context, but it's equally essential for you to understand yourself inside that context so that you know, how you can make moves to be effective inside that context. Steve Rush: Yeah, one of the things I love about your work, I read an article of yours in The New York Times. I think it was a few weeks back, was around this whole notion of psychological architects. And you have this real strong belief that we're in control of building that architecture for ourselves. I'd love to just understand a little bit more about that. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, for me, I think that, so I have a psychology background obviously, and one of the pieces of work that I spent a lot of time when I was at Google thinking about was mindset. Why and how do we build our world beliefs? And that these become sort of our operating system and they dictate our choices and our behaviors, and those mindsets don't have to be static. Those psychological ways of sort of viewing the world don't need to be static. We can work with them and change them. And what we've learned through neurosciences, that there is this cognitive flexibility that's possible. We see it all the time with children because children have a much more modular sort of minds. And then they start spaces in the mind, and then it starts to harden over time. But as an adult, we can still architect that for ourselves too, where we're examining our mindset and making it object to ourselves, and then we can work with it and change it. So, when I talk about self-awareness from a leadership standpoint, what I'm actually talking about is working with mindset at the deepest level around that sort of psychological architecture versus getting a 360 feedback, for example. Steve Rush: Yeah, so is it as simple as making a choice of which mindset you have, or is there some deeper activity that needs to take place for that to happen? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, there is deeper activity. The thing about mindset when we're really working with the deepest core of our mindset is that it's deeply attached to our identity. So, what starts to happen is if you believe something to be true about you, it's a bit hard to unravel that, right? So, where I see leaders getting most stuck about not being able to handle uncertainty or change is because them having to change, to grapple with whatever the situation that they're in hits that sort of a root issue around their identity. So, to have the biggest sort of impact around mindset, we're really talking about working with your identity. Now there's entry ways into that though, that don't feel so overwhelming. And the way into that then is to start working with what I call assumptions. So, looking at assumptions means that you start having other people or yourself name what you're assuming about a situation. So, an example of this might be, you know, I'm entering a situation with a colleague, and I always have an issue with this colleague, for example. We don't seem to see eye to eye. And so, what starts to happen over time, you might notice is that every time you enter that meeting with that other person is that you are coming with an assumption that that meeting is going to be dismal, for example. So, the work then is to start naming your assumptions about how you're entering into different environments. And then you start trying to shift that. So that would be as easy as when you're entering this meeting, you could say, okay, I know that I'm entering with an assumption that I think this meeting is going to be a disaster. How do I reframe that for myself? Let me just reframe that. And maybe you don't even believe it, but you're just repeating it to yourself a reframing, you know, this meeting is going to go well, this meeting is going to be unexpectedly excellent. You know, you just sort of start reframing in your own mind. And then what starts happening over time then is then your mindset actually starts to shift, and those assumptions start to shift. So that's the easiest place to start is just working at this sort of assumption level. Steve Rush: Yes, neat way of using assumptions because often folk use assumptions in a different way. And that creates other behaviors. So, paying attention to assumptions can often, without being really thoughtful about it, reinforce some negative behaviors, right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: That right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: That's right. Steve Rush: Awesome. Now you have this notion of emergent mindset. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Yeah. Steve Rush: Which comes with some principles and some perspectives I'd love to get into them. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, one of the things I'm thinking a lot about is okay, if we are the psychological architects and we need to work with our mindset, then what might be some of the mindsets that we would want to be holding to handle emergence or uncertainty. And I use the term emergence on purpose because I think that's a more accurate representation of what's happening right now. So, what's starting to happen is we're living more and more in this interconnected environment. And because we're in this really interconnected environment, there's these emergent outcomes that happen all around us all of the time. And so, it means we have less control over the outcomes. And a great example of this, just to give you a visual is, there is a park across the street from my house, and there's a lovely walkway that's been built and paved, et cetera. Except now there is this path through the dirt that has been created because people have started walking through this dirt, right. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And so, this happens all the time in parks. Like urban planners. This is their worst nightmare is, that they try to plan where people are going to walk and then people walk somewhere else. And then what happens is, then a brand-new path through the dirt gets built. That is an example of emergence because you and I didn't agree that, that we were going to do that. But what happened was each person sort of started doing that. And then it became a collective outcome that we couldn't have predicted beforehand. So, this is what I believe is happening inside organizations, inside societies is that we are all participating in this grand, you know, experiment of modern work. And it's really hard for us to predict where that walkway is going to be, for example, because we're all participants in it. So, in order to handle that kind of interconnected emergence, we need to hold a different set of mindsets. And this is true for leaders, but I believe this is true also for everyone who is working in the modern context. So let me share with you what I believe this emergent mindset is made of. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And there's four sort of shifts that I ask people to think about and take on. And I would invite your listeners because we talked about assumptions. When I share with you this shift, think about what assumptions are you making about that shift? What assumptions automatically come up for you, because then you know what your mindset is that you're already holding and where your resistance might be. So, the first one is moving from predicting to adjusting. This one is essential because really businesses need to respond to the changing needs of the environment. And what this gives us is the ability to access human ingenuity against the context of something that's not predetermined. So, one thing that we've spent a lot of time doing in organizations is trying to set up sort of predictive strategies around what is going to happen. My question then becomes instead, why don't we ask ourselves what might happen and how do we adjust to the future? How do we build systems that are more adaptable and that maybe it's not a repeatable practice, but it's still essential so that we can adjust over time? So that's the first one from prediction to adjusting. Steve Rush: Like it. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: The second one is from simplicity to nuance and anyone who has read my work or any of the podcasts I've been on, I am on a big diatribe I guess you could say about us moving to a more nuanced point of view again. We have oversimplified the understanding of how organizations worked. We've tried to build structures that predict, like I said, and that we are really obsessed with this idea that there's right and wrong, and that's not how the world works. In complexity and emergence, what we're dealing with is that there's all of these sort of irreducible parts and it's reduction is thinking is not going to help us. What will help us is understanding more nuance about a situation. And that requires taking multiple perspectives and understanding and seeing all of the shades of gray versus turning our eyes from it. So that's the second one from simplicity to nuance. The third one is moving from data to insight. So, I know we have a lot of data. We have a lot of big data that we've worked with and I'm a fan of data. It's absolutely essential to help us create more multiple perspectives and more nuance if we use it in the right way. So, I really believe that we need to take data and make it more nuanced and more interesting. And by that, I mean, it's not enough for us just to push out a data set that tells us an answer. Instead, we need to look to what I call thick data. And anthropologists are the ones who came up with this idea of thick data. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Which helps us delve deeper into sort of the meaning behind what the data's telling us and illuminate the human experience inside that data. And that's where true insight comes from. We need more insight these days. We don't need more data. We just need more understanding. And that comes from diving deeper into this idea of thick data. Steve Rush: Love it. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And then the final one is from moving from linear to indirect. And this one I find is the hardest one for people to grapple with, because I know we all love a step-by-step plan. And often on podcasts, I get asked, you know, what are the five things that a leader needs to do right now? And I never answer that question because that's linear [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: And that's not how we're going to make our way through. So, we need to get more comfortable with an indirect path these uncertain circumstances will lead us through sort of a murky winding road. And we have to account for that and how organizations are built and how outcomes are achieved. Steve Rush: And it's interesting because we are naturally drawn to linear step by step process, aren't we? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Well, we've been taught that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: But if you look at children when they play, that's not how they play. Steve Rush: No. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, I always look back to sort of the essence of the child brain, because we can pull that forward. And in brain science, they're learning more and more about the fact that the right hemisphere of our brain is not linear at all. And it's where the creativity lives, but it's all preverbal. So, once we start moving it into the language part of our brain and we try to articulate it, that's where we start getting the step by step, because we're trying to articulate something that's not articulate, can't be articulated, right. So, it's sort of the idea that how can we build back into our whole brain and allow that to thrive inside organizations because that right side of the brain has a lot of non-linear connections that are being made that can unlock a lot of potential. Steve Rush: Yeah, such great perspective. Thank you for sharing it. So, this is where we get to turn the tables a little bit, and I'm going to consciously not ask you for your top three. I'm going to ask you for your three most indirect nonlinear hacks. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: [Laugh] that's a great question. So, as you know, I'm not a big fan of hacks. And so the place that I will go is back to what we sort of talked about throughout this conversation, which is where and how can you get the space as a leader or otherwise to allow your brain to wander, to allow yourself that spaciousness where that right brain can start doing its thing, where you can start being more excited about the future, because what I'm starting to see more and more right now is that leaders feel so pressured and constrained and burnt out that the innovation part of their job has been completely crushed. And I think that is a real shame. So, if there was one called action, which is not necessarily a hack, but I think it's essential to deal with these modern times is get yourself some spaciousness, find your way out of the churn and the day to day so that you are investing in a long-term creative process that ultimately will create the next practice for your organization. But you can't do that if you don't get yourself off the hamster wheel. Steve Rush: Definitely so, and you know, I've said before, actually, you know, even though our show is called The Leadership Hacker, my job is to hack actually into your mind and into your experiences. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: Not to shortcut any solutions because we all know there aren't any right? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Right, there are any and yet I think what we've learned from sort of the research on habit formation is, and I'm a real big fan of James Clear who talks a lot about how habits are formed is that it's about the doing so when I say something that is like simple, like make sure that you have at least some spaciousness in your week, what matters there is that you do it regularly. And that is what is probably the biggest hack if you will, is using the habit formation research to be able to change your behavior over time. Steve Rush: Yeah, and the next part of this year, we call it Hack to Attack. Essentially is where something hasn't worked out as well. We may have learned from it. It may now be a force of good in our life or work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Mm-Hmm, so when working in innovation research, you have a variety of different people that you're working to influence. All those people from those who are, you know, the operators who are spending most of their time on the job, building out outcomes and OKRs all the way to people who are much more visionary. And I've learned, I have to say the hard way that in order for people to get excited about the future, you really have to meet them where they're at with a story about, you know, how this relates to them. And this seems obvious in retrospect, but because I am such a big thinker and I'm always looking around the corner, that's what gets me excited. But if I come forward with that, for someone who is not like me, or doesn't think like me, that can feel really intimidating or even nonsensical. So, I've learned over time that to become an effective visionary, you have to be able to tell the story in a way and multiple ways that people can understand. And I think every leader who's created a vision probably has learned this, but I think it's essential that how we talk, the narrative that we build is just as important as the vision that we've decided on. Steve Rush: Yeah, that's very true. Very true. So, the last part of the show, we give you a chance to do a bit of time travel now. You get to bump into Ciela at 21 and give her some words of wisdom. What was it going to be? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, the words of wisdom that I keep thinking about right now that I wish someone would've told me when I was 21, is that it is about the process, not the product. And this is a bit counterintuitive of course, to how businesses are run, which is often about output and what is the product you're producing. But in life, it's really about the process and having what I've been reading about lately, which is called active patience. So, setting into motion your plans, your hopes, your dreams, your desires, and then making steps towards that. But alongside that waiting and have patience around that and enjoying being inside the process versus just waiting for the outcome to be achieved. Steve Rush: I love that notion active patience. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Mm-Hmm, I'm loving it too. Steve Rush: Yeah, as you said it. I'm thinking I need some of this [laugh]. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Dr. Ciela Hartanov: We all need some of this, right? Steve Rush: Yeah, I often find myself being impatient in delivery and I'm missing the journey, right? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Absolutely, and you know, I think things are always unfolding in ways that we can't really always expect. And you could say this is serendipity or luck, but there is always an unfolding that's happening if you're doing enough work. I think one of the things that we've sold, that's a myth in the Western culture is that if you work harder, you try harder, you'll achieve more. That's not actually the sort of the physics behind outcome. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: You set something in motion, and it'll become like a flywheel. And that's why that active patience is essential because you don't know how that's going to evolve and change, but you can be part of it and do your one essential component. Steve Rush: I'm sold on the idea. I'm now going to be, as soon as we're done into some research to find more about active patients [laugh] and for our listeners, they're also, I'm sure going to want to learn to find out a little bit more about your work, when the book's coming out? all of that kind of stuff that you're doing now with humcollective, where's the best place for us to send them? Dr. Ciela Hartanov: So, if you could find me on LinkedIn at Ciela Hartanov, that's where I post most everything. And if you want to reach me, feel free to reach out via my Steve Rush: We'll make sure your links in our show notes as well. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Wonderful. Steve Rush: Ciela, thank you so much for taking time out your busy schedule. I know you are super, super busy at the moment, so it's been a great opportunity for us to have you on this show, dive into your mind and thank you for being part of our community. Dr. Ciela Hartanov: Real pleasure, Steve. Thank you so much. Take care. Steve Rush: Thank you. Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler their @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.
44:24 25/07/22
Leaders Learn from Leaders with Adrian Simpson
Adrian Simpson is a Co-founder of Wavelength leadership group; for over 20 years he's taken top leaders into the boardrooms and shop floors of the world's most successful, innovative and admired companies. Today you can learn about: What makes a great leader? Why leaders learn best from leaders? How great leaders talk candidly about failure. The secrets behind some global transformative cultures.   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   #some audio issues in this show – thanks for your patience.   Find out more about Adrian below: Adrian on LinkedIn: Adrian on Twitter: Wavelength on Instagram: Wavelength Website:   Full Transcript Below     Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Adrian Simpson is a special guest on today's show. For over 20 years he's really been immersing himself in amongst some of the top firms around the world, including the likes of Apple, Tesla, Netflix, and Google. And we're going to dive into some of those leadership secrets, but before we do, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: Purpose is a real key part of all leaders’ capabilities, but often leaders get it wrong. Commonly, we see leaders think that purpose should be the same as their company's vision, mission, or purpose, but it shouldn't. Believe writing a leadership purpose statement is not a onetime exercise at all. It's something that should evolve, and it should connect the individual to the purpose of the organization. It's incredibly important and it needs deep insight and deep thoughts. So, what is leadership purpose? Your leadership purpose is your statement about who you are as a person and how you bring those unique qualities into your world. First and foremost, leadership purpose is about your values and what's important to life for you. It's often also considered as your why statement or your reason, your beliefs. Think about your leadership purpose statement as being your beacon, enabling people to have a real clear understanding of what your direction in life and work is. In doing so, it'll help you drive the right behaviors on a daily basis and keep you engaged when circumstances around you can be challenging. It doesn't need to be overly complicated. Your leadership purpose statement must be a living and breathing document that you can share so, others understand it too. And it'll likely change as you change as a person, or your career grows or changes shape. So, you should always update it regularly. And remember your leadership purpose will not only help keep you grounded, and you stay on your path, will help you be a better leader and the leader you're meant to be. Most important, it sets a declaration of the kind of support you're prepared to give as a leader for the people around you. So, they can also buy into your journey. So simply put, think about the purpose, your why, and make sure it describes your values, your beliefs, and your vision, and how that aligns to the organization that you work and serve with. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Adrian Simpson is a Co-founder of Wavelength leadership group. For over 20 years he's taken top leaders into the boardrooms and shop floors. Some of the world's most successful, innovative and admired companies, including Alibaba, Netflix, Apple, Tesla, Lego, and Google but a few. Andrew, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Adrian Simpson: Thanks, Steve. It's great to join you this morning. Steve Rush: Really looking forward to diving into some of the lessons learned from some of these huge conglomerates, but tell us a little bit about you, your background and how you've arrived to do what you've done? Adrian Simpson: Gosh, so yeah, so a very, very brief resume. Started my career in retail with John Lewis Partnership then decided at sort of age 21 to go off to University in Manchester, did a degree in business and marketing. And just after University, I managed to stumble into a role with the incredible Tom Peters Group. And for those that aren't old enough, Tom Peters was certainly in the 1980s, nineties, the most successful management guru of his time, his Jim Collins of his day, who wrote an amazing book called In Search of Excellence and sold many millions of copies and to give us sort of sense. So, I was putting him on stage in the 1990s at about $120,000 U.S. dollars a day back in those days. So, and then one day, yeah, after being at the Tom Peters Group where I was helping put him on stage and find some, he really wrote about companies that had kind of amazing cultures that really just sort of got it. And indeed, I'm still visiting some of the companies he wrote about wrote about 30 years ago, like Southwest Airlines. The phone rang and a small innovation company called What If was on the phone. And one thing led to the other and a conversation snowballed into a coffee, a coffee into a lunch, a lunch into a come join us. And I moved into to join What If for 11 years. When I joined, we were 10 people when I left, there were 355 countries. And it was the ride of my life and had an incredible opportunity there to provide our clients with some inspirations, started running for the study tour events, and then 14 years ago made the jump to co-found Wavelength. Steve Rush: So, what is it specifically that Wavelength do? Adrian Simpson: Our specialism is bringing the outside world in. Basically, we scour the world looking for examples of practitioners. What are the leaders? The organizations that have compelling stories to share with our clients and really providing our clients with a combination of what I would call inspiration, education and provocation. And our hypothesis really is at the level at which we operate at, is the leaders learn best from leaders. So, as I mentioned, sort of, you know, scouring the world, looking for practitioners you know, got real experience on topics that our clients were interested in. Albeit, you know, I was literally in America 10 days ago with a group of 20 leaders from all around the world. We had clients from Australia, from India, from Japan, from the Middle East, six across North America, the rest from across Europe, from lots of different organizations. They flew into Dallas Texas on a Saturday. We began on a Sunday morning with a sort of half day workshop. And then for the first day and a half, we spent going inside the legendary Southwest Airlines and Ritz Carlton, really focusing on excellence in culture and leadership and service. So, they can value the three and a half days, looking at innovation, disruption, new business models, what's next? And what's next? Next. Doing some set piece visits but also doing some incredible things like going for drives in the world's first, fully autonomous robots, taxis operated by crews to have no drivers in them at all [laugh] or doing metaverse meetings in the metaverse, Oculus quest headsets. So, we do things like that to very, very intense one-week immersions for very senior business leaders. We have at the other end of the spectrum, we have a digital only program called inspire, which is every single month. Typically, on a third Thursday of the month, we take a cohort of leaders from lots of different client companies live inside a great business, somewhere around the world of an audience with a really accomplished leader. Last week we hosted a session with Alastair Campbell on mental health. Next week, we have the former Prime Minister of Denmark. Helle Thorning Schmidt on how to lead the country. We've got Jesper Boring coming up IKEA Chief Exec. We've hosted Alan Jope Unilever's Chief Exec. We are hosting Tim Steiner, Ocado Chief Exec in September, and they are just short, sharp, regular doses of live world class inspiration for our clients. And we've got amazingly 700 people signed up to that program from around the world. So, we do, you know, whether it's digital only, short, sharp, live inspiration, whether it's weeklong, or we have other programs, one called connect, which is sort of, has about 50 people on it and is UK based, it runs about nine months or whether it's just, you know, helping clients bring speakers in for a particular offsite or conference. But again, any speakers we will use, will be practitioners. Steve Rush: How awesome. So, you managed to really bump shoulders with, and as you said, immerse other leaders with these great leaders from around the world. What's the reason your focus is heavily aimed at making leaders learn from other leaders. Adrian Simpson: I just think there is a relevancy that you cannot get and that applicability that you cannot get from any other kind of learning when it comes to leadership is in my view. Now I'm not for a second saying there is not a role for, you know, academics and business schools and some kind of provocative, rigorous thinking. I think there is a role for that, but I suppose my best sort of summary when I had a chief exec who has been with me, a chap. He was chief exec of a fortune 500 company. He came with me to America for a week. He came with me to China for a week. And I said, you know, John, why are you doing these programs? And he said, it was very simple Adrian. He said, my previous HR leader, he said, kept on telling me to go to Harvard. And I kept on saying to her, tell me where I should go to business school to learn about business from someone who never run a business and I'll go. He said she didn't. So, I didn't [laugh]. And I thought, and he said, so when, you know, she put in front of me the chance to spend a week in the U.S. alongside peers from different industries, different sectors, learning from companies and leaders that were perhaps bit further ahead of us in terms of their narrative. He said it was a compelling proposition because they know what it's like to sit in my seat. They know what it's like to sit it as a board director with multiple stakeholders, internal and external, limited resources, having to make informed decisions. And he said with the greatest respect, no academic, no guru, no consultant knows that reality unless they have also at some point run a major business. So I think it's that sort of you know, real applicability I think and I think it's, you know, what, I've, I've learned as well is that, you know, when you give clients the opportunity to hear from other leaders and learn from other leaders, you know, it's easier almost to swipe with glee, if you like, what it is that they've done, you know. I mean, I'll just give you an example. There was a, you know, I actually did a podcast myself with a tremendous guy called Fred Reid couple of months back, and Fred was the founding chief executive Virgin in America. He was the president of Delta Airlines, the president of Lufthansa. He went on to work with five years of Brian Chesky Airbnb and he also did a stint with Larry Page at his private company Kitty Hawk. So, you know, he is worked with Richard Branson, Larry Page you know, Brian Chesky, and also been a twice president and onetime CEO. And I was talking to him about the challenge of, you know, communication and how do you, as a leader, you know, build an understanding in the business of what business you are in and operational realities. And he told this fantastic story about when he was both at Lufthansa and Delta faced with that challenge, he decided to create a board game. And basically, what he did was he would invite cross sectioned cohorts of leaders from across the business, whether it's air stewart’s, pilots, mechanics, ramp agents, didn't matter. And they would be invited to take a day out, fully paid to play this board game. But what the board game was full of was real operational data and decisions. And in sort of teams of eight, they have to like to make a decision. Are you going to give people a 3% pay rise? Are you going to buy new uniforms for the air stewardess? Are you going to pay the loan off on that plane? Are you going to buy the new plane? Are you going to make invest in the innovation fund? Because innovation director says we're not innovating fast enough. Are we going to, you know, are we going to hedge on oil right? And he said, throughout the day, they had to make real operational decisions based on real operational data that we'd given them from the airline. And he said, the only decision in the day they had to make was to appoint a president. And he said, it was hilarious. They all pointed each other and said, it's you, it's you.
46:17 18/07/22
The ABC’s of Diversity with Martine Kalaw
Martine Kalaw is the author of The ABC’s of Diversity, she’s a speaker and DEI consultant helping individuals and organizations overcome unconscious beliefs and implicit bias. In this insightful show you can learn about: Martine’s fascinating story from being a stateless, undocumented person to CEO What diversity really means, looks and feels like How has the hybrid world has impacted firms approach to DE&I? The ABC’s of Diversity   Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Martine below: Martine on LinkedIn: Martine on Twitter: Martine on Instagram: Martine’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Our special guest on today's show is Martine Kalaw. Martine is a DEI expert; she's worked with some of the world's top companies, helping them navigate through their organization's diversity, equity and inclusion, and created more diverse and inclusive workspace. She's also the author of The ABCs of Diversity. Before we get a chance to speak with MartinE, It's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: We all know that telling stories is a great leadership skill. So today I'm going to have a go. Once upon a time there was a beautiful kingdom ruled by a Prince. He took over the kingdom after the death of his father, the King, after a few months of ruling, the kingdom things started testing. There was no rain. Drought had brought losses to farmers and killed many animals, birds, and precious plants in the forest. It was followed by an unknown disease that caused loss of many lives. After a few months of pain, things started to improve gradually, but before they could recover completely, an enemy took over the kingdom, killing many people and imprisoning them. The young King managed to escape. He planned to meet his childhood friend, a King of a neighboring kingdom. On his way he was thinking about the past. He was born to be bred King of this powerful and wealthy nation. Now he's lost everything. He believed that he was cursed because nothing had happened to his father. It had only happened to him. When he reached the neighboring kingdom, and he met his friends. The guards did not allow him to pass because he looked dirty, and bedraggled. He tried many times to get access to the kingdom but failed miserably. Being cast outside the kingdom, he eventually took a job so he could buy food and clothes. Several weeks had passed and he'd now earned enough and ate enough. So, they allowed him to look presentable. So, he set off in a chance to get through the guards and to meet with his friend. After carefully navigating the guards and entering the kingdom. He was greeted warmly by his friend, the King of the neighboring kingdom, after explaining the sad story and things that had happened to him. The King took pity and ordered his people to give him a herd of a hundred sheep. While grateful, the King was a little surprised as it was expecting much more than just a hundred cheap. He was a King after all. He doesn't want to be a shepherd. Down on his luck. He realized there was no way out. After a few days of grazing his herd, group of wolves attacked his herd and killed all of them. And while the wolves were merely feasting on this new herd, the king ran away. He returned to his only allied at this time, his friend, the King from the neighboring kingdom. This time he gave 50 sheep in pity. But once again, he failed to protect the walls. He returned for a third time, and this time the King gave him 25 sheep with a clear message of, there are no more sheep. And this time the young King decided if he didn't protect his herd, he knew that he would be on his downers. So, this time he took a different approach. He examined the environment. He understood where the wolves were living, the areas where they would attack. He built additional fences and guards around the herd to protect them. He set up a schedule to monitor those key places and key times when he knew that the wolves would be most active, a few years had passed, and its herd had grown into a thousand sheep. His activities were monitored by his friend, the King and in recognition of his great feat in growing a herd, his friend had ordered his ministers to give him a whole state to rule. He asked his friend, why did you not give me the state to rule when I first come to help you? His friend, the King replied. The first time you came for me for help. Your mindset was like you were born and bred to be a leader. You were expectant. And the truth was far from it. The King went on to say, you may have been born with wealth, pride, and power, but you have never had proper education and training to lead your people. So, when I gave you the herd, I wanted you to learn how to manage and lead others. Dear friend, I have seen you suffer, return, be resilient, work out a plan. And now I believe you're ready to lead. The moral of the story and leadership hack if you like, is that, just being born into a powerful family or being born with privileges, doesn't mean you'll be successful. Being a manager or leading people in higher position does not make you a leader. Being in charge, such as a King or a Manager or a CEO does not make you a leader. Holding position is just a position. Leadership is a behavior and leadership is a service. The most important role of a leader is to build and develop other leaders. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Martine Kalaw is a special guest on today's show. She's an author, speaker and DEI consultant. She's the founder of Martine Kalaw Enterprises and her firm offers strategy development, implementation, and education, and helps organizations overcome unconscious beliefs and implicit biases. Martine also published her second book, The ABCs of Diversity. Martine, welcome to the show. Martine Kalaw: Thank you so much for having me, Steve. I'm excited to be here Steve Rush: Now, you have a most fascinating backstory. There are not many people that you can say. I understand how that is because there's not many people would understand your position. Just tell us a little bit about that backstory and how that's really given you the passion to do what you do? Martine Kalaw:  Yeah, certainly. Born in Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo. My mother and biological fathers were from there and having been raised in the U.S. but having spent seven years of my life as an undocumented immigrant and stateless individual in the United States in removal or deportation proceedings for seven years has really shaped the work that I do around DEI, in the years that I, you know, navigated through. One being orphaned, two, being undocumented, three, being stateless. I was exposed to various communities. I actually had to, you know, I had to learn how to pivot into different communities as I navigated the world on my own. And so, what this taught me was to, it gave me a different perspective on how people show up and view different circumstances. It also gave me a level of sensitivity in how to and putting myself in somebody else's shoes and trying to see things from their perspective. And so, for that reason, I feel like I can be a bridge builder in a lot of ways across different communities. I also knew from my experience of being undocumented and stateless, I also understand the importance of having individuals invest in you rather than help you when you're marginalized, right. When your part of an underrepresented community, that's how we actually strengthen our communities, how we strengthen our workforce, is when individuals who have access recognize the access that they have and, or privileged, and some people are not comfortable with that word and then extend that to others and bring them in and do it in a way that's not charity like, and they're not positioning themselves as saviors, but really they're investing in others because they know they're also gaining something back. And in that way, we strengthened our communities. And so that was the experience I had as an undocumented immigrant and stateless person was setting it up so others can invest in me. And then once I, you know, navigated through my journey. Sharing that and passing that forward to my mentees and other people within undocumented stateless community, but then tying it into the larger conversation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Steve Rush: Yeah, and I guess what you've really described is so extreme in its diverse experience, but to your point, gives you that sensitivity to be able to be really thoughtful in your approach, right? Martine Kalaw:  Right, absolutely. And just having seen, and just the intricacies of bias and discrimination in various facets. I mean, people don't necessarily think about immigration, and you know, statelessness and think of diversity, equity and inclusion, but it's a subset of it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Martine Kalaw:  And certainly, it's nuanced. I mean, we can see that with, you know, the war in Ukraine and we saw the response and how different communities of African immigrants, how they were treated, Moroccan immigrants. We saw that, right. We see that time and time, again in the policies that are enacted around immigration in the U.S. based on different subgroups within immigrants, you know construct. So, in that way DEI is a subset of immigration. Immigration is a subset of DEI, so, it can be a microcosm for the larger conversation around diversity equity and inclusion. Steve Rush: And diversity also transcends lots of different religions, colors, and creeds, doesn't it? It's not just about, you know, an atypical perspective somebody might have when they join a firm. What's your take on we pet peel, the layers back, diversity in its simplest terms? Martine Kalaw:  Diversity is about variety, right. And representation across variety of different groups, different backgrounds. So, in its simplest term, diversity is offering and embracing variety. Now variety, when we talk about diversity, I like to break it down into three different buckets, right. There's the physical biological bucket in terms of defining diversity. And that can be, you know, that's race, gender, race, it can be age, you know, all of the elements or subcategories of diversity that has to do with somebody's physical definers and their biological, right? Steve Rush: Right. Martine Kalaw:  Sexual orientation. And then the second bucket that I you know, I group diversity into is, cultural. So cultural can look like a number of things. It could be nationality. It can be your marital status. It can be your education background. It could be your socioeconomic status, right? So that's cultural. And then the third category especially within the work or business context is really around business. The culture or the persona you bring into the business. So, some people are introverts, some people are extroverts. You know, some people are more strategic in the way they show up to work. Some individuals are less strategic, you know, they're big picture thinkers or there, you know, detail oriented. So, these are the different categories, these three different buckets or categories, and they are interrelated. There are correlations between one bucket, right. The business persona that you bring into the workplace is influenced by your culture, the cultural, you know, associations you're a part of. And then that can be influenced by biological, you know, physical. And so, another way of saying it is, look, you know, as a black, you know, African woman in the United States right, these are some of the physical, you know, being black and African are some of the physical you know, associations that I'm a part of. So culturally, you know, perhaps if I grew up in a community where it was predominantly you know, black and predominantly African immigrants, right. That might influence how I show up in the workplace. If I go to work and everyone else doesn't look like me, everyone else ends up being white. And I'm the only African immigrant. It might actually influence my communication style. Because I'm responding right to the experiences I have and I'm responding to my outward environment. So that's how these three categories or buckets can be related or correlated. Steve Rush: The interesting thing that you just shared is a perfect example of how diversity can be seen different and that's where equity comes in, isn't it? Martine Kalaw:  Right. Steve Rush: Tell us a bit about that? Martine Kalaw:  Yeah, so, I'll say, you know, diversity, equity, and inclusion. I feel strongly that they are like a three-legged stool. You can't have one without the other. So certainly, you can have variety and representation, but that's not enough to keep people, right. You can have, you know, you have the representation, but if people aren't treated fairly, right. Equity is really about fairness. It's about distribution. If people aren't treated fairly and they're not given the same equitable opportunities, then why would they stay? What would be their incentive? I like to distinguish equity from equality, because people say, oh, well, you know, equity is about equality. It's actually not right. Steve Rush: No, it's not. And that's where people get confused, right? Martine Kalaw: Right, equality is what we're aiming for after we reach equity. But right now, across the globe, I mean, you know, this is not just specific to the U.S. or the UK or any one place, but across the globe, what we know is that there are different communities, they're different ethnic groups, they're different races and not everyone has had the same history in their country and have had the same access. In the U.S. we can see that because the history of slavery in the U.S. that was so prominent has made it, so, there have been systemic inequities in the workplace, in education, all of that has been the trickle effect from slavery, right. And as a result of that, it's still trickles. It's still there. It's still, you know, and so what happens is people show up in the workplace and they don't have the same experiences. They don't have the same access, right. someone who has grown up with certain privileges, access to certain academic institutions, access to certain you know, in a higher echelon of socioeconomic status, right. Might show up in the workplace with a different level of acumen, right. To the business and feel more comfortable navigating the workplace, feel more comfortable looking for a mentor, reaching out to the C-Suite Executives and asking for them to be a mentor and also feel more comfortable showing up in spaces. Like, you know, work off offsite events, right. Like lots of work offsite events, at least historically were like you know, usually they're sports events, they're, you know, happy hour, golf events, what have you. So, if you come from a space where you're familiar with that, it's easy for you to just an acclimate to that. If you come from a space where you didn't have access to that, it's a lot harder for you to navigate that space in the workplace and create more accessibility for yourself. And so that's where equity comes in. It's having the organization find ways to create that level of fairness. So, the best visual that actually someone shared with me, an anecdote is, you know, equality is giving everybody a pair of shoes, a pair of sneakers, let's say. Equity is giving everyone a pair of sneakers that fit their feet. Steve Rush: It's a great analogy. Love it. So, the workplace has changed over the last few years with the pandemic and our approaches and responses to that. How do you see that that's impacted on how firms are dealing with DEI now? Martine Kalaw:  Yes, that's a really great question. So, what I've seen is in the last two years, so prior to the murder of George Floyd, because I really think that's what sparked this new, you know, movement across organizations, quite frankly, globally, before that it's not that diversity, equity and inclusion didn't exist. It did. But at that, you know, before that it was really focused on diversity, right. Steve Rush: Right. Martine Kalaw:  It was focused on diversity and there was less of an emphasis on equity, less of an emphasis on inclusion. This is generally speaking. And you know, when you look at the numbers and the statistics in the workplace, white women were the prime beneficiaries of those diversity initiatives, right. And so then, two and a half years ago with, you know, the murder of George Floyd, things shifted, there was a greater awareness that whoa, you know, there's a lot of inequity, that's still trickling into the workplace, right. That's happening nationally, but it's trickling into the workplace because the same people that are in, you know, that are in society are also going into work, right. So, we can't distinguish these two, these two worlds collide and that's in the workplace. And so initially organizations, again, generally speaking, were responsive or reactive to what was happening, right. There was a level of reaction because employees or staff members were hypersensitive and hyper aware, right. And almost like daring the organization to do something, fix this. So, organizations generally speaking were reactive and trying to like quickly fix things and quell the concerns of their employees, right. The responses with that with, a lot of programs, let's come up with programs, let's give money to this organization. Let's have an internship program and bring, you know, look at interns from certain colleges and universities that we wouldn't have looked at before, at least in the U.S., historically black colleges and universities, HBCUs, right. Things like that, very reactive. So that's not a bad thing because I think the programming was important, but the thing is, there are two issues with that. When you have program without strategy, it's really hard to sustain the initiative. And when you don't have strategy, it's hard to position what you're doing as a real business imperative, right. It doesn't seem like a business structure. It seems more of like something you're just slapping on a band aid, and you know, wanting to move on. So that was the first challenge. The second was the fact that the same people were doing the work, we're being charged to do the work, mainly human resources professionals who don't always have the experience or the expertise. They are also oftentimes already overburdened by their workload. They were being charged with the responsibility of doing this work. As well as, you know, employee resource groups, basically employees who are part of underrepresented communities or are allies, right. So, the same individuals we're being charged with this responsibility, right. And that's exhausting. It also means that everyone else wasn't as involved. And what we know is that if not everyone is bought into an initiative, it's not going to work, right. You need leadership's involvement; you need manager's involvement. So that's really where we are at the moment. And the organizations that really want to do the real work are reaching out to consultants like myself, they're reaching out to others, right. They're bringing in chief diversity officers and saying, look, we want to go beyond just the performative and you know, with programs, we want to have strategy. We want to have our leadership involved in this. We want DEI to be positioned as part of the business strategy. We want to be able to tie metrics to things, right. We want to be able to connect our programs with a larger initiative so we can scale these programs. So that's where we are now, right. So not just about training and programs, training is great, but training has to be reinforced with strategy. So that's where we are now where organizations are at this, impasse where they can either keep doing what they're doing and being you know I guess their employees are feeling impatient and are putting the pressure on them or they can actually start to really build strategy and make DEI part of their business structure. Steve Rush: And let's be realistic here as well. Those businesses aren't, are also missing out, not on just massive opportunities to unlock human potential, but there's also a direct correlation to return on investment too, isn't there? Martine Kalaw: That's it. I always talk about the ROI of DEI. And so that is, one of the very first things that I do in working with organizations is, especially if I'm working with human resources, professionals, not directly with the like the, you know, CEO is getting that HR professional to identify what that return on investment is so that they can position it to the leadership, right. Discussing ROI is the common denominator. The challenge that we've had historically with DEI is, certainly there's an emotional quotient component to it. That's the most significant component. Stories, people's experiences, experiences of employees and how they felt marginalized. The biases they may have experienced, that is critical. But when we start with that approach, what we end up doing is, we exclude indirectly and unintentionally. Exclude anyone who doesn't understand that. Who cannot relate to this story, right. Steve Rush: Right. Martine Kalaw:  People feel either shamed or blamed or they just don't get it. So, they tune out, right. And then again, we're just reaching to the cryer, the same people who have the issue are the same people engaged in these conversations. So that's why I always recommend starting with return on investment, let's look at the value that DEI can bring to the organization. Let's look at the numbers. Like let's actually find what that metric is. If your business to business, business to consumer organization, there is a possibility, there's always a possibility of increasing market share. There are certain markets we have not considered if we're providing a service or a product, right. And so that is where DEI can actually help. If you educate your salespeople and they are much more savvy and they're representative of a larger group of individuals. There's more representation in your salespeople let's say, or if they have more sensitivity in navigating DEI, then they're more likely, they'll know how to reach and look for new markets, right. Explore markets they haven’t considered. And once we've attracted those markets, it's building those relationships, that rapport with those markets. So that's one way, for example, that a business to consumer organization can benefit. Revenue wise, ROI wise from DEI. When we talk about business to business, same idea in terms of retention, in terms of building those relationships and attracting new partners, right. I mean, if you're business to business, think about the clients that your partners or that business you're supporting, think about who their clients are, think about who their customers are. And if we're supporting them, we also need to understand their clientele. We also need to help them or support them in reaching a larger market share. We also need to make sure that we're able to create more diversity in our partners, right. So, these are ways in which we can actually measure ROI. We can look at the retention of our partners. We can look at recruiting and gaining more partners. And what does that mean in terms of our dollars? So, there are direct correlations between DEI and return on investment. And what I encourage is for organizations to start there, start with that number, start with what the cost, right. What we think the estimated cost of bringing in a chief diversity officer, bringing in a consultant, you know, doing this work might cost. And then let's talk about what the potential return could look like. Steve Rush: Yeah, love it. Now you wrote the book, The ABCs of Diversity. Martine Kalaw:  Yes. Steve Rush: Let's quickly just spin through the ABCs and dive into a couple of them. Martine Kalaw:  Yeah, I mean, the ABCs is kind of what I, I alluded to this a little bit earlier, which was, a lot of the work is dumped on human resources and I use the word dumped intentionally, because that's how it feels like, right. It feels like a burden to them, to them and sometimes employee resource groups or diversity, task forces, because these are individuals that don't always have the expertise. They can come to this from a very emotional standpoint. And so, it's really unfair to expect them to have all of the responsibility around DEI. So, the ABCs of diversity, by the way, the subtitle is a manager's guide to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the new workplace. So really what this book really encapsulates are two main things. One is that when we approach the conversation of DEI, we make it sometimes over complicated, right. It's very ethereal. There's a lot of jargon. A lot of you know politically correct terms and people are so afraid of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing, that they'd rather disengage and not involve themselves in DEI conversations. But what I want people to understand is that, okay, we don't have to focus so much on the jargon, the terminology, it's really the fundamental practices, the fundamental things that we do. And a lot of it can be driven by managers. So, when we think about who shapes and influences the makeup of an organization, there are two main groups, human resources, and managers, managers influence hiring decisions. They influence compensation decisions. They influence promotion decisions. They influence attrition when people decide to leave, right. All of that is influenced by managers and they're working in tandem with human resources. So, what we get to do is pivot our lens when we look at all those elements, those foundational elements of being a manager and consider how we can have more representation and less bias in these different areas, right. And so that doesn't require learning all this terminology and jargon. It just requires thinking a little bit more broadly. So, for example, as hiring managers, one of the things we can do differently, we're looking at resumes is, asking our talent acquisition or recruiting team. I'm seeing like a lot of similarities across these resumes. Like it seems like all of these individuals are from the same region. This is just me speaking, hypothetically. Is there a possibility that we can look at other resumes more broadly? Can we look at other resumes or can we look at candidates from other regions? right. This is just a small way as hiring managers, we're looking at, we're interviewing candidates and we immediately feel we have this affinity bias, right. Where we have a preference for someone because, oh, they went to this college and you've heard of this college, or you're familiar with this college. Well, what we can do is, manages go, oh, wait a minute. I'm picking up on the fact that, you know, I feel more, you know, I have this affinity, this person, just because of what I'm seeing on the resume, let me then assume, what if every other candidate went to the same college, right. Let's rule out. Let's take that one scenario or that one qualifier out. And let's focus on all the other, whether the candidates who actually can do the job, right. And when we're interviewing candidates, let's see how we can be consistent in the way, the order in which we ask questions. Let's also invite other people on our teams to interview these candidates, right. And when they are interviewing candidates to avoid influence, influencing our decision, let's have, you know, the other people are interviewing candidates, our candidates. Just share their feedback to the talent acquisition team rather than to us, right. And we don't actually hear, or, you know, know what they're thinking until the end, after we've made our decision on how we feel about the candidates. So, these are things that we can do as managers. Another example of creating, establishing inclusion as a manager or equity is mentorship, right. So, as you know, a lot of organizations, some organizations don't have formal mentorship programs. And as I mentioned, based on your background, some people might come into a company and feel really comfortable looking for a mentor. They might be invited to certain spaces like golf events, like a happy hour, where they will engage and build relationships and then ask someone to be their mentor. What I can say is not everyone has that familiarity or that confidence, not everyone is invited to the same events in the same spaces in the workplace. So as a manager, what we can do is, we can establish a way to make sure that everyone on our team has access to a mentor. We can invite mentors to come to our meetings, invite our senior leadership, to come to our weekly meetings or biweekly meetings with our teams and let people know that, you know, make sure everyone on the team understands that, you know, you can access and reach out to this person if you need a mentor, right. These are subtle things that we do to create equity, right. Create fairness, accessibility. So that's the ABCs of DEI, right. Its common knowledge. Things that we're already doing as managers, but we just don't realize that this is actually reinforcing DEI, right. And it's natural. It's much more organic than thinking, okay, I have to put on my DEI hat, and you know, I have to use this specific terminology. So that's really what the ABCs of DEI is. And it's really meant to be a workbook, you know? So, when you open it up, it really actually is a primer. It reads like a workshop, like you're in a workshop. And at the end of each chapter, it's 150 pages, not long. At the end of each chapter, there are two takeaway exercises. One is for self-reflection and the other is something you can take back to your team and implement as a manager. So, there's actual application. Steve Rush: Awesome. Now we're going to give folk a chance to get hold of a copy or find out how they can get hold of a copy in a moment. So, I'm going to flip the lens very quickly, do some quick, short fire, top leadership hacks. What be your top three leadership hacks? Martine Kalaw:  My top three leadership hacks would be you know, one is, to be transparent and vulnerable, right. I would just combine those two. Transparency. I mean, as leaders, we can't be completely transparent with everything, but at least walk people through why you're doing what you're doing. They'll appreciate it more. They feel like what they're doing, adds value to the end goal. So being able to be transparent in that way and being vulnerable. If you have challenges, if you have issues, things aren't going the way that you ideally wanted them to. It's okay to share that with your team as a leader because what they're observing is how you respond to it, the solutions, your problem-solving abilities, that becomes an example for them. So that's one leadership hack. Another leadership hack for me would be to find people who are smarter than you, to be, you know, part of your team. You know, I think as leaders, sometimes we're afraid that somebody's going to outshine us, but really what we want to do is bring people who have skills that we don't have, because what that ends up carrying us, if they grow, we grow, right. And so, I do believe that's a really important one that I've always you know, believed in and it's really been beneficial to me. And the third leadership hack would be, I have to think about this one. I would say, always be on quest to learn. So maybe that's more humility or just always learn. As leaders, we can never know enough. We're always learning, learn from our team members. The people who report into us. Learn across the board, pick up a book, read. There's always something we can learn as leaders, right. And so as long as we show up in our role as leaders in that way. We're always going to continue to grow and be better than who we were the day before. Steve Rush: Awesome advice. Now you shared the biggest Hack to Attack that we've ever heard, which is your story up front, but if you could give yourself some advice when you were 21, what would that be? Martine Kalaw:  Ah, that's a great one. If I could give myself advice when I was 21 was to, trust the process, right. Meaning like, I'm a little bit of a magical thinker in a sense that, you know, if you take action and you do everything that you need to do, sometimes things just need to kind of work themselves out, right. Kind of like everything has to sort of be synchronous, and it takes a little bit of time. And I think that's something that, you know, millennials, you know, Gen Z, like, you know, there's sometimes a level of impatience right, with things. And so sometimes, you know, put all the pieces together, do your part and then give it a little bit of time, right. For things to come together. So, trust the process a little bit. Steve Rush: That's great, and that's definitely been the case for you. You've a perfect walking example of that. So, thank you so much. So, Martine, conscious, we want to make sure we can get our guests to connect with you beyond today. Find out a little bit about the books that you've written and maybe buy a copy. Where's the best place to send them? Martine Kalaw:  Perfect. you can go directly to, And when you go there, you'll have access to the link from my book, which is on Amazon. So, you can purchase the hard copy and you can also purchase the audio book on audible. So, if you go to my website, it'll give you the link to both of those sites. And certainly, on my website, you also have access to sign up for my complimentary, otherwise known as free master class, which is coming up on July 21st. I usually have a monthly one-hour monthly masterclass where I really work with human resources professionals. And I offer them the five things that they can do within the next 90 days to really drive DEI in their organizations. Steve Rush: Awesome. Martine Kalaw:  And so that's something that you can sign up for if you go to my website. Steve Rush: We'll also put those links in our show notes as well. Martine, I wish you had more time to chat. I really love chatting to. You’re such a great advocate of doing exactly what's right for folk when it's right. So, thank you ever so much for taking time out of your super busy schedule, being with us on our Leadership Hacker Podcast. Martine Kalaw:  Thank you so much, Steve. I enjoyed it too. Steve Rush: Thank you, Martine.   Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler their @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.  
43:19 11/07/22
Because I Can with Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is former British Army Intelligence Officer and graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. His work as a Covert Human Intelligence Officer and Target Acquisition Patrol Soldier saw him recruit and run foreign agents worldwide and influence the outcome of extremely sensitive and dangerous situations. Recently, he’s been running aid missions to the Ukraine. He’s a keynote speaker and author of the book, “Because I Can”. This is packed full of leadership lessons including: Leaders need to make decisions under pressure, how different was that in the military and what can we learn from that. The secret sauce to resilience and overcoming challenges. Why wanting to quit is normal and how can we overcome that. Why is the military approach to leadership is a good blueprint for business.   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Tim below: Tim on LinkedIn: Tim’s Books: Because I Can Tim on Twitter: Tim on Instagram: Tim’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more----   Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Our special guest on today's show is Tim Bradshaw. He's a foreign British Army Intelligence Officer and recruited and run foreign agents worldwide as a Human Intelligent Officer. He's also the author of a great book, Because I can, but before we get a chance to speak with Tim, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: Leadership is about us everywhere. And I wanted to dive in to find some funny, and innovative ways of us, bringing some of those leadership lessons to life. So, if ever you've watched a movie Star Wars or any of the Star Wars Trilogy, you'll find loads of leadership lessons packed within there. Yoda is one of my favorites. He has this great saying that said. Do or not do, there is no try. And I'm often using that lighthearted analogy with any of my coaching conversations, but a long time ago in a galaxy far away, the leadership lessons were created amongst this epic series of films. So, here's a few, it's been proven that being born with talent is not enough. As we all know, Luke Skywalker is born with a natural talent to be a Jedi. Yet when, we watch the movies. We know that was not a given. He had to work hard at that. We watched Luke come to grips with putting himself in challenging situations and homing in on that force. And there are traits of good leadership, but true leadership takes place, self-reflection and mentoring, which we also saw through their relationship with Yoda. Adaptability is also a key leadership lesson throughout the Star Wars movies, all of those Star Wars movies demonstrate that life does not always go to plan. And if you are rigid in your plans are stuck in your ways, you're not going to win. From Han Solo, adapting, a broken hyper drive by hiding by the rubbish shoot instead of a surprise alliance along the way. If you're able to adapt and think quickly, you're able to lead a team through any surprises. We know it's okay to ask for help as leaders. Sometimes you can't get yourself out of a situation without calling on someone else. When Princess Leia was in a bind, she'd always know the right people to call and ask for help without hesitation. Some good leaders need other good leaders to advise them on their journey. And the one thing that is really true across all of the movies that chasing power is the path to the dark side. Leaders undeniably have power and authority, but leadership is much more than that. Once you begin to be at attracted to power and to chase power, you are heading to the dark side. Good leadership is all about sharing power and authority and creating more leaders. It's about people with good ideas and evolving those good ideas so that everyone becomes more powerful. So, the next time you hear yourself saying, I'll try, just think you've been Yoda. Do or don't do, there is no try. Let's get into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Timothy Bradshaw, is a special guest on today's show. He's a former British Army Intelligence Officer and graduate of the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst. His work as a Covert Human Intelligent Officer and Target Acquisition Patrol Soldier saw him recruit and run foreign agents worldwide and influence the outcome of extremely sensitive and dangerous situations. Recently Tim's been running missions to Ukraine, delivering really, really important aid. He's a keynote speaker and he's also the author of the book, Because I can. Tim, welcome to the show. Timothy Bradshaw: Thanks Steve. Thanks very much for having me on. Steve Rush: Really looking forward to getting into the diverse world of Timothy Bradshaw. And remember from the first time that you met and how you described what you did in the army and in your work as an Intelligence Officer, I think I might have called you the James Bond [laugh] at the time. Timothy Bradshaw: I mean, that's very flattering and unfortunately every time somebody says that I caught so much flack off all of my friends, but. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Timothy Bradshaw: I'll take it Steve. I've definitely been called worse things. Steve Rush: I think your response to me at the time, Tim, if I remember rightly was, and you might have had the work of James Bond, but you certainly didn't have the dinner suits and the expense account. Timothy Bradshaw: No, absolutely not. And I'm still waiting for the Aston Martin as well. Steve Rush: That's it, yeah. So, tell us a little bit about you Tim, your early backstory and give that listens a little bit of a spin through to how you've arrived to do what you do. Timothy Bradshaw: It's not that exciting, Steve really, which I think is almost kind of the point. You know, we talk about resilience and all this sort of stuff and actually I haven't done anything that essentially anybody else couldn't have done if they wanted to. I did my A-levels. I finished school. I kind of looked at university alongside everybody else and realized that I was doing that really, because that was kind of what everybody else did. Not really what my sort of passion was, and maybe there's a bit of a theme there that'll continue. So, I was offered a place to go to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. I literally just turned 18 in the October and went in the January. So was really very young. I quite often laugh when we talk about leadership. My first ever job out of school was sort of leading 37 soldiers aged 19, by the time I got to that point. And frankly probably wasn't very good at it. Who's very good at their first ever job out of school, but I had a lot of training, and a lot of backups. So, made the best I could really. I've kind of never really done anything else. So very much experienced based career, I guess. And I did that and that was the kind of the mid-nineties. And I went out to Germany. Ironically, it's really funny looking back now, I say funny, slightly tongue in cheek, but obviously we were very much kind of the end of the sort of cold war doctrine and everything we were looking at was very much basically about the Russian Army coming across the Eastern German planes which with what's going on now, obviously out in Ukraine, seems a little bit surreal, to be honest. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: But anyway, and I sort of did that for a bit and it was bit of a lull really, an activity, certainly for the sort of regular army at the time. And then I pursued a career in training after I served out my commission and subsequently once sort of Iraq and Afghanistan kicked off, I looked to go back to the military. I felt as though I had kind of unfinished business and hadn't finished serving yet. I've always had quite a strong desire to serve rightly or wrongly. So, I decided to go back and a friend of mine had said to me, oh, you should look at, you know, look at reserves and I said, crikey you’re joking. You know, to me, the TA sort of, as was, was dad's army. And, you know, that's absolutely not the case anymore. So, I went through a patrol selection course, which is a particularly arduous sort of running over the Hills, big ruck sacks, small teams, very much becoming self-reliant, self-sufficient, relying on your teammates in small groups as a buildup, really to go towards Afghanistan. And then I kind of thought to myself, well, if I'm going to do this, I want to do something that perhaps my interim years as a civilian brings something to the party rather than putting me behind the curve. So Human Intelligence is, is exactly that, it's about building relationships and influence. And actually, you know, we always sort of joke, but if you having to use the cars as the guns, you've kind of got it wrong, essentially. It's absolutely about building relationships and influencing people. So, bit of a sucker for punishment, really, I put myself through yet another grueling selection process. Steve Rush: [laugh]. Timothy Bradshaw: Its theme isn't it, really. And we did that. I passed a course and then what ensued was a fascinating few years working with some truly inspirational people on all sides of the divide, really. Some of those obviously worked for essentially terrorist organizations. Some of those were people that absolutely keen to help their communities. But the theme was always the same. It was always about relationships and influence. And I was doing some keynote speaking the other day and I sort of laughed and somebody ask, how could you sum it up? And I was trying to think of a sort of corporate analogy. And I said, well, imagine trying to lead or influence somebody that not only do they not work for you, but in fact they work for your biggest competitor. And that was about the best I could come up with really. Obviously trying to persuade somebody who has very strong views of their own that actually there might be a different way or a better path and to give you, essentially feed you in intelligence. So yeah, so that's what we did. Did that for a few years, which was truly fascinating. Couple of tour Afghanistan. I did point out to somebody recently whose head went down a little bit talking about lockdown. And I think I calculated that I have actually spent more time in Afghanistan than I have in lockdown. Steve Rush: Wow, yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: And I don't actually know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, to be honest with you, but it is a fact. And then I think having left the military. Again, I have a very low boredom threshold Steve, which I think is, probably the theme. But actually, for me, I've always been quite a big advocate of mental health. I've always struggled a little bit with sort of depression and anxiety. It's not a good thing or a bad thing. It's just the way my brain works really. And you know, it's a bit like a bank account in some of the respects. You take out, so therefore you have to pay back in. Anyway, we decided as a team must that we try and climb Mount Everest and shout from the highest point on earth that it was okay to ask for help. So, we did, we picked the wrong year. We did it in 2015, which those of you that into mountaineering or the region will know was when all the sort of major earthquakes hit. So, we found ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest natural disasters sorts of ever to happen, certainly in that region, really. So again, it kind of turned on its head our whole outlook on what was going on and certainly tested our resilience in a very different way to the one we perhaps spent two years planning and training to do. Which again, I think we talk about leadership aren’t we Steve really. For me, that's one of the themes is, it's that ability to flex, adapt and overcome actually, rather than when it's all going perfectly. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: And then, yeah, and then having done that, we've transitioned into doing this and we do all sorts of wacky stuff. And then we now run a company. And for me it's about, can I share my lessons as accurately as possible? We were joking, weren’t we Steve, just before we went live that there's a lot of self-help stuff around, you know, and it's like, yeah, get a growth mindset, do this and do that. And you kind of think, yeah, I'll do that, how? Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. Timothy Bradshaw: And that's really what the book was about. The book was a kind of user guide almost to dealing with some of these problems. So rather than a kind of conceptual you know, big yourself up and feel better, it was right, do this. When this happens, do this [laugh] and I guess that then led, I was sitting on the sofa, we were watching what's happening in Ukraine. And my now wife looked at me and said, you could probably do something to help that couldn't you. And I said, yes, I can. And she said, well, then you should. So, we put a team together and we've now delivered three quite successful aid missions. But I would think the point I'd like to make is, that we've built a network of people inside Ukraine. So, we've got live communications almost on a daily basis. So, we know exactly what people need and what challenges that they're facing. And we are taking that aid specifically and delivering it directly to the people that need it. So, we met, appreciate we're not going to share their names here, but we shared directly, we drove out to Kyiv, which is where we were last week. And we met with these groups, and we hand over exactly what they need. And fortunately, that's captured the imagination of a number of large corporate businesses that have really helped us out actually. Steve Rush: Right. Timothy Bradshaw: But I think that's because again, it's not faceless. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: Steve, I think that comes back to our theme of kind of leadership and relationships, right? Steve Rush: Does Tim, yeah. And homage to you genuinely. One of the things I know about you Tim, is that you see danger very differently to other people that I've, you know, come into contact with specifically in the business world. You almost see this as an opportunity, it's alluring for you. And I just wondered to, I wanted to unpack a little bit about that with you, because it seems to me that you are almost attracted to that danger and ambiguity that comes with things like running an aid mission to Kiev. Timothy Bradshaw: I think, I'm not I’m necessarily attractive to it, but I certainly see opportunity in it. So, we often at the moment sort of voker is quite a big thing, right? Vulnerable, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, and we can use all the analogies you want. But for me, there's always then opportunity because if everything is absolutely, you know, tickly, boom and perfect and jogging along then we often joke that's the point that you need effective management rather than necessarily an effective leadership. And I think if you look at sport as an example, you know, if you look at rugby in offense, you're trying to create a break in the back line, right. Or if you see a break in the back line, then there's the gap that you need to get through for your Canadian and American listeners, that's a real sport where you don't wear armor and helmet and stuff. Steve Rush: [Laugh], nothing like a little bit of counter finishing in the mix there. Timothy Bradshaw: [Laugh] But by understand that the theory is probably very much the same, you know, you are looking for that break in the back line, right, to go through the gap. And I think that the same is true. I'm sure it's true in ice hockey. But I think the same is true in business. If everything is the same, then you are unlikely to either improve or get a different result. And for me as an effective leader, really, you should be seeking out the change or the opportunity, but of course that's uncomfortable for people. So, if you can create a toolkit that enables you to initially deal, I guess, with like the biological reaction to change and stress and then see clearly and find the opportunity. So yes, I mean, Steve, I do see it as an opportunity, but that's because if something's changing, then maybe it's a chance to get in front, you know, if anyone watch the Formula 1 that was on at the weekend, the minute it rains, the teams down the back of the grid a little bit, see an opportunity, don't they? Steve Rush: Yeah Timothy Bradshaw: And it's the same theory. Steve Rush: Absolutely, yeah. So, in terms of your experience of diving into Ukraine recently, you talk about resilience in your work a lot. What have you noticed about the resilience of the people in some of those war tone areas you've met recently? Timothy Bradshaw: Oh, I mean, Steve. It's phenomenal. I was trying to describe this to somebody the other day. It’s both harrowing and inspirational in the same breath. You know, you're talking to people, some people have lost their whole homes, their families and everything else, but then those same people have a look in their eye, and they are not taking a step backwards. They are refusing to take a backwards step. And that would be enough for me to want to support them regardless of any benefit to the UK or anybody else anyway. Because I just always think that level of courage should be at least supported if not rewarded. But again, you know, when we go into businesses and we talk about clear communication and perhaps more importantly, a unifying purpose, you know, a focus and outcome that we're trying to achieve, then that's the ultimate outcome isn’t it, right? When somebody invade your country. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: That defense of your home or your family. I mean, that has to be the kind of ultimate unifying purpose I would think. Steve Rush: And I suspect, and you'll know this more than most. In war tone situations, period, you find a deeper, more meaningful resilience than you'd ever have anticipated in the world of business. I mean, the things that we get stuck up and worried about and stressed about in our world of business, pale insignificance in those situations, don't they? Timothy Bradshaw: Well, there's no way-out Steve, which is what I think's interesting, okay. Steve Rush: Right. Timothy Bradshaw: So, I remember talking to somebody about special operations, special duties, special forces, selection processes, and the theme all over the world different, you know, every country has its own variance, but the theme is always one the same, it's adapted and overcome and adapt and overcome. But actually, if you talk to the selection teams, a lot of them will tell you that the biggest dropout rate is in fact, not on the course, is the day before because people get the jitters the day before they go, because they are anticipating what's coming. And they have an option. So, they don't turn up, they talk themselves out of it or believe it or not, the vast majority of people that go through all these processes, they don't get failed. They what's called VW, they voluntarily withdraw. In other words, they quit because they have an option to quit. Steve Rush: Right. Timothy Bradshaw: And I think when we work with businesses, there is always an option to quit. And I think when we, you know, implement something new, push ahead with a new process or a system or a change, whatever that might be, there's always the option to go back to where we were before or to opt out. And I think when the pressure comes on and when you get nervous that kind of opt out to your comfort zone becomes more alluring, right? Steve Rush: Right, yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: When somebody has invaded your country [laugh] and it's your home, you just don't have that option. So, you have to keep marching forwards almost at all costs. And that's why I think in these situations you see such, all inspiring levels of sort of courage and resilience because the option to sort of take the easier routes gone, is it's been removed. So, people dig really deep and they find whatever it is that's, you know, inside themselves. Steve Rush: I love the whole notion of there is no get out. There's no plan B philosophy. And that forms mindset that we talked a little bit about earlier. So, there's an example where you can't teach that, you have to experience it in order to shift and create the right set of mindsets. But I do wonder if we apply that level thinking, can that impact on our mindset, do you think? Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, because I think once you've done it once or twice and you've proven to yourself, you can, which is for me where the sort of, title for the book came, Because I Can. Then what happens is, you kind of build confidence and it's almost like any new skill you pick up, you know, whether that's a sport or learning to drive or whatever. You go, oh, I can do that. And then you do it just once and you go, I can. And I always say to people, not enough people debrief the wins, you know, we're very quick to debrief the losses, but the problem is, we still don’t know what good looks like. Whereas actually I mean, you know, I've been a ski instructor and stuff like that in the past. It's a passion of mine. And if you're teaching something to ski and they get it right, and you go, wow, that was amazing. Do that again, that was excellent. They can repeat it. And they have the confidence and the courage almost to repeat it, if that makes sense. And I think that's super, super important. And then you can start to instill that mindset in somebody. So, we have this expression that if you can reward the behaviors that you want to see again, that is ultimately how you change a mindset. And I think certainly professional services businesses at the moment, we have this impression that performance is this kind of perfect thing all the time. And somebody does something 95% correct but we jump on the 5% that they got wrong, and you know, we call them out on it. And then we're surprised when that person doesn't come back to us for more feedback. Steve Rush: Yeah, so what was the inspiration for the book, Tim? Timothy Bradshaw: I think it was an idea I had in my head for ages. I'm certainly not academic in any way, shape, or form. For me, it was probably the furthest I've ever been outside of my comfort zone, to be honest. So, I kind of started it and therefore had to finish it. And I just wanted to have a little bit of a user guide for people. You know, you do seminars and you do keynote speaking and you kind of hand out notes and PDFs and it's all bit old hat, isn't it? So, I just sort of let's do something a bit different. So, a lot stuff I talk about is in the book, but in terms of, don't do that, do this type of a way. So, I guess a bit sort of, I don’t know, user guide, that was the idea Steve Rush: And the whole notion of because I can, is that self-talk almost to say that anything is possible, right? Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, absolutely. The whole thing, because I think sometimes you just have to remind myself, I can do this. I can do this. You know, I've been through various selection processes. We've talked about before, down various big mountains and on a number of occasions, I've found myself having to remind myself like, you've got this, you can do this. And I think it's also, it's about finding ways to do something, finding ways to make something happen. You know, we were talking in the past about leadership and taking decisions under pressure. And how does the military impact on that? And I don't think that the military necessarily guarantees somebody becomes a good leader. But it does guarantee that you become a kind of a good decision maker. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: But the one thing that is really interesting when you work with the military is there is never any question that we are going to do anything other than achieve the task, if that makes sense. Steve Rush: Yeah, it does. Timothy Bradshaw: So, the whole theme is focused on achieving the aim. And that's probably the biggest takeout and and that's a theme that runs through the book is, this is what we're going to do. So how do we make it happen? Accepting we're perhaps going to change course a couple of times and you know, it might evolve a little bit, that's okay. But fundamentally, how do we make it happen? Steve Rush: I'm pretty sure it was you in the past Tim, actually, that taught me that in the military, the first thing you get to learn as a leader is, you have to make a decision. Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, that’s right. Steve Rush: Tell me a little bit about that because I think that's a really interesting frame of mind that, you know, when you are still in a relatively young leadership position or indeed you're running a global organization, is that making the decision is key, right? Timothy Bradshaw: So, yeah, I think it wobbles. It's really funny. It's a great analogy, right. We've all done it. Imagine you are driving your car and you approach a big roundabout. And I live quite near the A9, the key roundabout, which is, anybody's ever been here near Scotland will know, because they'll have sat there for 40 minutes trying and get across it. And you approach a roundabout and the person in front of you kind of half goes then stops then goes to go, then stops. Steve Rush: [Laugh], yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: And chaos in ensues, right? Because you kind of go then stop. And then you hit the brakes, believe or not. It's the most common cause of accident, people hitting the back of each other and what's caused all that chaos is indecision. Now, if that person was either waiting for a huge gap, it's frustrating, but you can see what they're going to do, so you work with it. If that person, I swore then, says, I'm going for it anyway, drops a gear and goes for it. Scary as that might be, you can see what they're doing, and you can react to it. It's the indecision in the middle that causes the problem. And certainly, my experience at Sandhurst was, you don't fail Sandhurst to making a wrong decision. If you make a wrong decision, you learn from it, you evolve, but it's the indecision, it's making no decision that will make you fail. Because when you have sort of this sort of wobbly indecisive, that's when the wheels come off, that's when morale drops. That's when the good ideas club get together, that's when people start going off and doing their own thing in opposite directions. And me certainly, one of the biggest things I've learned across everything that I've done is, in high pressure situations, particularly when you're working with educated people is, you can need to provide reassurance and then direction. And that direction is where, you know, the decision-making is, part of giving that direction because you then get forward momentum. And to me, if you can gain forward momentum, then actually, everyone starts to move in that same direction together. And sometimes it'll be quicker than others, but essentially it does work. Steve Rush: Yeah, now you'd have been faced with a bunch of challenges throughout your careers. And I say careers because they've kind of, whilst it is still one career, there's been number of different facets to what you do. What's been your secret source to overcoming those challenges and turning it into a positive outcome? Timothy Bradshaw: I think sometimes firstly, understanding it kind of all things must pass, you know, at various situations throughout my life, I've, made mistakes, I've been impetuous, I've done stuff. And I think, oh, why did I do that? And you think the world's kind of ending around you, but as you get older, you kind of realize that actually, okay, it's mistake. It's going to be okay. And these things have a tendency to write themselves somehow and you come out the other side of it. So, I think, you know, accepting that you're going to make mistakes and get it wrong, take whatever lessons you can out of it. It is super important. I think at the moment, particularly we're quite vulnerable to people having huge opinions about things that they know very little about. And I think that's largely down to the ability for kind of social media, for people to kind of take a swing at you, if you like, actually without, you know, people you've never even met [laugh] essentially, and I think that can be quite damaging. So, I think accept the fact that you're going to make mistakes, focus on the bits you can control which is, which is your own performance and the way you react to staff and take feedback from the people you trust. But don't worry too much about the kind of naysayers or the people almost. I think we sometimes come across people, and I think it's a bit of a UK disease at the moment where we almost want people to fail and I think I find that a bit strange, but you see it quite a lot. Steve Rush: You do, yeah. Where do you think that comes from? Timothy Bradshaw: I don't know really. I honestly, for me, it's a bit of a complete anathema that is really, I don't really understand it, but whether that's a kind of jealousy thing or whether that's just, I think it's very easy. I can't recite the whole poem off the top of my head, but it's Roosevelt's poem, isn't it? Where he says, it's the man in the fight. You know, don't chastise those that try and fail. And I think sometimes people just, when we're outside of comfort zone or perhaps people are attempting something that somebody else hasn't wanted to try, they almost don't want them to succeed. I personally find that a bit strange, but yeah. Try to override it and get past it. Steve Rush: Yeah, I think business is becoming more receptive to failure in the old world of what failure might have been and most businesses that I certainly work with and know of, recognize that it's part of success, making those steps and pivoting to something else. Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, no, Steve, I actually agree with you and actually if you want to push the boundaries, if you want to learn a new trick, so to speak, you're going to get it wrong a couple of times first, right. But if you want to adapt to overcome, and if you want to grow process, then by definition, you've got to develop and change. And if you're going to develop and change, you're going to do stuff differently. And sometimes that's not going to go quite to plan, I think, sort of accepting that and then also creating a structure within a business so that when that happens, we are supportive of each other. Yeah, we have this expression, covering each other's blind spots. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: You know, so actually we are supporting each other rather than kind of going, oh my goodness me, look at that. Steve made a right mess of that. You know, we should be thinking to ourselves, actually it was brilliant that Steve had to go at that and actually that bit were quite successful. So, if we take those two bits out, support Steve, make sure he's okay. And then let's build on those two elements that work really well. To me, that's much healthier. Steve Rush: Super, now you mentioned a little earlier on you'd suffered with depression and anxiety in the past. Are you comfortable? Let's go there Tim. Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, I don't mind at all Steve. I think it's important that we do talk about it. Steve Rush: Thank you. So, I know that this is a driving force for you now and you use it as a force of good to push you into other activities. But I wondered if you might just share with our listers a little bit about the journey you've been on and what some of your coping strategies are? Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, I mean, for me, it's interesting, right. So, my brain works at speed, as you already know, rightly or wrongly, and I have an ability to latch onto something to focus on that, to not necessarily see some of the boundaries that perhaps other people see and to therefore drive towards achieving that. And that enables me to think very laterally, to get to a location that we need to get to. But that same way my head works if you like comes with a price and the price is that occasionally I then latch the things that I don't need to latch to, or I overthink people's reactions or I overthink the way people come back to me, which then causes me to go into a, we call it, like a negative spiral, sort of catastrophic thinking spiral which is not uncommon with other people. And I face people. I don't suffer from it. I live with it. I don't particularly want curing if that is a thing. Because I am me and the bits of that that make it very challenging. And my wife's amazing at helping me also made me really good at other stuff. So, to me, you kind of can't have one without the other. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: But what I've tried to do, in 2018, we did a year of challenges, which was another terrible idea. And we essentially did an endurance challenge a month, every month for a year. We did like a half iron man triathlon. We climbed the Matterhorn amongst other things. I cycled L'Étape du Tour, which is a terrible idea for any people, in your audience that are mammals, middle-aged men in Lyra and who have push bikes worth more than their cars that they perhaps haven't told their other halves about. You know, it's the ultimate challenge. You get to cycle the mountain stages like Tour de France. And I was definitely not ready for it and not prepared for it. And it put me to a really dark place. But one of the reasons that we did all these challenges was almost a bit of an experiment on me for me to try and work out, you know, how'd you get through these things and how'd, you cope with it and kind of consciously deal with it. And I think for me, it's about momentum. So, the first thing, we have this expression, it's in the book actually, called fear, false expectation appearing real, and any bits ever suffered with a bit pressure anxiety, one often leads to the other will find the clouds kind of roll in and you start to think, oh, this is going to happen and that's going to happen. And Steve's thinking this off me, and if Steve's thinking that of me, then this is going to happen and now that's going to happen. But the reality of that is, although that feels quite real to me at the time, the reality is actually not real. It's a perception of what's going on around you. So, what you have to do or what works for me, I've never tell any what they have to do. What's worked for me is, focus on what's real. So almost list the facts. And our company strap line is intelligence, not information. So, list out the facts. This is what's real. This is what I know. And what you'll find is, I find is, that starts to then sort of push the clouds back because now I'm dealing with the reality of a situation, not my perception of a situation. And once that started to happen, you start to gain a little bit of traction. And then I have this other expression, which is, remember for your big goal. You know, why did I get out of bed this morning, essentially. Ignore the dangerous middle ground and get there by taking small steps. So, in other words, using the tour as an example, two mountains in terms of two of the four we had to cycle up. I was, you know, flat out, done, finished, couldn't do it. But I reminded myself, I was doing it for mental health charities. So therefore, I wasn't going to let them down. That was my big picture. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: On mountain two, if I tried to think about mountain three or mountain four, I would've talked myself out of it, if that makes sense. So actually, what I did was then focus on the next aid station, the next peak, the immediate target in front of me, and we call it micro goal setting. And at one point I could have told you how many lampposts [laugh] were up the final street to the final climb because I was literally going one lamppost at a time. Steve Rush: Yeah. Timothy Bradshaw: But it's quite a good analogy. So, when that starts to happen, you set yourself a micro goal. So, it's like, okay, can I get this done? Yes, I can. Can I get to the next one of these? Yes, I can. And then gradually that builds momentum. And it sort of starts to take you forward. And I hope that, you know, I hope anybody listening, if that helps just one person, it's not easy. But for me, that's made quite a big difference. And the more times I do it, I now go into a little bit of a routine, and I can find myself start to deal with that Steve Rush: Amazing insights. Love it. Thank you for sharing that, Tim. I really appreciate it. So, this is where we get to turn the tables a little bit now. So, you've been a army officer, you've led businesses. You now run a really successful consultancy business. So, I want to tap into that leadership mind of yours. So, I'm going to first off, start by asking you to choose and pick amongst all of the lessons that you've collected on your journey and narrow those down to your top three. What would be your top three leadership hacks? Timothy Bradshaw: Have a toolkit, not a process. Everyone loves a process, right. Everyone, except me. Processes are designed to make sure you get the wing mirror on the car, in the right place at the right time on a production line. They don't work with people. And I'll argue that with everybody all day, so build a toolkit of skills and experiences and in the same way that if you had a problem at home, you'd go to the toolkit and go select the right tool for the right job, rather than blindly following a process, think to yourself, which tool is going to work, you know, for the job that I'm trying to. So, my first one would be, have a toolkit, not a process. Steve Rush: Nice. Timothy Bradshaw: The second one as a leader will be, pull not push. Somebody once said to me, always try and be a warrior, not a mercenary [laugh] so, and by that, what I mean is, empathy is an interesting concept, but try and put yourself in the shoes of the people that you are trying to lead and ask yourself, what is it they want out of life? What is it they want to achieve? And you know, the motto Sandhurst is, served to lead. So, in other words, the leader serves the team, not the other way around. And I think at the moment we have a tendency to go, well, I've made it, I'm the partner, I'm the CEO and whatever. The millions will now run around after me and doing my bidding. Whereas actually, if you can create a pool so that you have a company full of warriors, rather than mercenaries, that are working for a check, then to me, you will achieve far more. And certainly, when crazy stuff happens, like the pandemic or whatever else, that team of warriors are much more likely to rally round and find a way out, rather than sort of simply take the paycheck out, if that makes sense. Steve Rush: Love it. Timothy Bradshaw: And then I think my final one would be of the three would just be simply sort of, don't stop and keep reevaluating all of the time, keep reevaluating the situation. I'm a massive believer in John Boyd. The new Top Gun film is out, right. So, I'm about say it's brilliant. I was very skeptical, but no, it was brilliant. Steve Rush: Yeah, I'm with you. Timothy Bradshaw: But a lot of people don't realize is that the actual place, fightertown in Miramar came about because a guy called John Boyd who's a Colonel in the American Air Force came up with OODA loop thinking which is, observe, orientate, decide and act, and it goes round in a loop. So, in other words, what happens is, you gather intelligence, you interpret that intelligence, you take a decision, you carry out that action, like your life depends upon it. But then what you do is, you instantly start to observe the reaction if you like that you've carried out and is it working and adjust accordingly? And what that does is it means, rather than having this kind of linear decision-making process where the outcome is, be all an end all. In fact, any decision is simply part of this kind of ever rotating process, where you're constantly adjusting the course. And the best analogy I can think of is sailing. You know, you don't kind of set the course sail for 10 days and hope for the best, then check the compass again. You know, you're constantly checking the compass and constantly adjusting the course. And for me that would be it. Steve Rush: Great lesson. Timothy Bradshaw: So, that you're always adjusting. Steve Rush: Yeah, I love that. I love that last one as well, because the world isn't as linear as people think it is, people are not as linear. Processes and organizations are changing intraday. And having that ability to be fleet of foot is, is really powerful, isn't it? Timothy Bradshaw: Yeah, totally agree Steve, absolutely. And we're proving that more and more, you know, we kind think coronavirus, and thought, that's done. And then the Ukrainian thing happened and there will be another one, you know, when this is sorted, there will be another one. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. So next part of the show, Tim, we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something hasn't worked out as you'd intended, it might be something that's gone quite wrong, but you've actually taken that as an experience. And it's now positive in your life and work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Timothy Bradshaw: I think you've got to; you've got to seek out the positive outcomes from anything you can find to take the lessons out of it. And I think, you know, using an analogy and I guess this is not everybody can use it, but we can use the lessons that come out of. It was, we spent two years trying to pull off the Everest expedition and we got it all sorted. And we got to the mountain, and we thought, wow, this is it. We're going to do it. You know, we all joke sort, you know, book, deal and TV show. And then, when all the earthquakes happened and everything else happened around you, I think the first thing that happened is you kind of feel quite sorry for yourself. And you think that this is outrageous. I put all this time and money and effort, and now this has all gone wrong. And then you suddenly realize that the people around you have lost their homes and their families. So, whilst you can't help the way you feel, it puts it into context, and I think you have to accept that. And at the time, I kind of walked away feeling like a little bit like of a failure really. Even though they were situations so far out of my control, you know, it's not even fathomable to think you could have controlled that situation. But actually, now we use that experience to help school kids. So, we've spoken to over seven and a half thousand school kids about what it's like when it doesn't quite go to plan about how you adapt and overcome and about how you refocus and how you keep working the problem regardless of what's going on around you. So, in fact, that very negative situation, what was that 2015? So, the best part of 10 years later. Now is providing a very positive input and outcome to schools as to how to overcome the challenge that they faced over the last couple of years. So, I think, like I said, to take out the positive lessons, you know, wherever you can. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. And that was an extreme example of where learning happens, but sometimes the evaluation of the learning is sometimes afterwards, right? Timothy Bradshaw: Mm Steve Rush: Mm. Timothy Bradshaw: Absolutely, yeah. Steve Rush: So last part of the show, Tim, we get to do some time travel with you. You can bump into Tim at 21, probably just finishing or midway through Sandhurst. I suspect at the time, what would your advice to him be? Timothy Bradshaw: I think [laugh] when we take decision making or when I teach critical decision making now, which I do a lot of with big corporate. The first thing we tell people is take a tactical pause, which is just take a deep breath for a minute. You know, when you in an airplane, there's a reason why they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first. And I think it would be, take your time, you know, just pause for a minute and respect the experience of those people around you. And kind of let it happen a little bit, let it come to you rather than necessarily instantly try and force every situation. So just take a minute, take in what's happening to you and have faith that whatever is, you know, is going to come to you at some point, don't necessarily sort of instantly try and force it Steve Rush: Very wise words. Indeed. So, then Tim, what's next for you? Timothy Bradshaw: So, we are busy at the moment with keynote speaking and we are currently talking to companies about kind of mindset development programs. I think we are really passionate at the minute. I think there's a huge opportunity at the minute for businesses to really reevaluate how they lead, how they make decisions, how they motivate their workforces and make a change. And I think probably now more than ever, there's a window for people to seize that opportunity and go, we're going to take lessons out of this. The workforce is up for it, we're up for it. And let's see if we can make a difference. So, we're quite keen to kind of be a part of that wave. And then the next mission, we're planning our next trip to Ukraine. The boys and girls that we were talking to the other week have got a massive problem. They haven't got enough vehicles to bring casualties back from the front line to the hospitals. So, we are talking to a few people at the moment, we've set up a charity called the Sandstone Foundation, and we are working to try see if we can't get some four by old fours out to these guys to help them and bring back casualties. So that's the next project, I guess. Steve Rush: Awesome, brilliant news. And for those folks that listen to this, Tim, I'm pretty certain, they're going to want to know how they can get a copy of, Because I Can. Find out a little bit more about the work you do with Sandstone Communications. Where's the best place for us to send them? Timothy Bradshaw: Two things, really. The book is on Amazon. Just simply search either for me or for Because I Can or Waterstones, I think have it as well. And the best way to find out or get in touch is via LinkedIn. So, Timothy Bradshaw on LinkedIn and I would love to hear from anybody. I love learning. I love talking to people. And particularly as I said, if you've got a lot of listeners across, you know, further up field, America and Canada and all over. I'm always fascinated to hear how, what we think resonates elsewhere. So please, yeah. Drop me a line on LinkedIn and then I'll always do my best to respond. Steve Rush: We'll make sure those links are in our show notes as well, Tim, but I'm just delighted that we've managed to get you on our show. You're an incredibly inspirational guy. You've got such a lot of experience that we can learn from in lots of different parts of our lives and work. So, Tim, thanks for being part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Timothy Bradshaw: No, thank you very much, Steve. Really enjoyed it. Steve Rush: Yeah, thanks Tim.   Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler their @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the Leadership Hacker.      
43:59 04/07/22
Beware False Tigers with Frank Forencich
Frank Forencich is an internationally-recognized leader in health and performance education. A Stanford University graduate in human biology and neuroscience, he has over 30 years teaching martial arts and neuro health education. Frank holds black belt in both Karate and Aikido. He’s a multiple author, including the book, Beware False Tigers: Strategies and Antidotes for an Age of Stress. We can learn lot’s from Frank, including: What are “False Tigers” and how to recognize them. The "primate's predicament" and "the state of the human-animal." How to notice the big stressors of our time - The real tigers? The consequences of high stress on business leaders? Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Frank below: Frank on LinkedIn: Frank’s Books: Frank on Twitter: Frank on Instagram: Frank’s Website:     Full Transcript Below   Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   If ever you wonder what the relationship was with the animals in the Savannahs of Africa and our own emotional intelligence, you can find out today. Frank Forencich is an internationally recognized leader in health and performance education. Having studied human biology and neuroscience. He's dedicated his life to understanding the relationship we have with our brains. But before we had a chance speak with Frank, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: You'll know if you're a regular listener, there's always top tips and ideas to help you on your way. But we're going to flip that round today and look at things that we can avoid. So here are the five common mistakes that both young and experienced leaders make and how to avoid them. Number one, in properly delegating work, failing to properly delegate work is a number one, common leadership blunder, good leaders, hand out assignments, according to skills and interest. Don't assign a writing assignment to a developer and vice versa. You know, that just makes no sense, right? Another way to innovate and get results is to award certain work with those who volunteer for it. By taking a chance, you might discover unique skills from the person who least expect it. Number two, communicating poorly, feel like you're not providing enough feedback to your team. And it's time to revisit the lines of communication, make it a priority to have open communication, regardless of who it is. Reiterate this need to have weekly meetings, stress the importance of timely replies. Just as long as your team will answer, and you do the same. You can create a huge swell of energy that's positive. Overcommunication in a crisis is even more relevant, but the hack is to set out sometimes and set out some expectations of what it is you are intending to send and receive from your team. Number three, focusing too much on strategy and not enough on day-to-day tactics. Some leaders get blindsided by the alluring strategy rather than the day to day, but it’s these everyday tactics require strong focus in order to arrive at your final solution in the first place. I used to call these BBCs or basic, but critical behaviors, things that you expect to see happen that are task driven and focused on outcomes. They're all people centric, and you're able to connect the dots to your strategy, but those daily basic routines help you on your longer journey. Number four, failing to balance a hands-off approach with micromanaging. Many leaders are either two hands off or they over manage. The optimum solution is to find the balance between the two and to help you get there, accountability and empowerment are the two triggers. Get your accountability and empowerment imbalance you create more leaders and high performance. Number five. Forgetting to teach, train, motivate, and reward. Ongoing training and learning and development is not only vital for the individual, but for the entire company. There are thousands of online seminars for pretty much any discipline, especially in things like digital, many are free. And for those that aren't, you might be able to pay them through relationships. Doesn't have to be a direct cost. And of course, the biggest learning comes from doing. The experiences you have that naturally occur across your organization. Sometimes helping people recognize that actually that is exactly what's happening. They are learning is part of that process. Next is motivation. Now you've pretty much worked out I would imagine that you can't actually motivate anybody, but you can create the right environment for those to be motivated in whether it be a senior group of people or junior staff. It's more important that you find those good old-fashioned things that are really important to them. Understanding their internal and intrinsic motivations will really help you connect the dots and the purpose of the work that they do. The things that make them tick. And it's a mistake, but many leaders just don't even ask, what is it that motivates you? And lastly, reward, if an employee excels, provides more bonuses, small gestures of thanks, doesn't have to be huge amounts of bonuses, but again, linked to intrinsic motivation can make a world of difference. And of course, it'll be different for everyone, but find out, ask a question, how do you like to be rewarded? And you'll also get some great data that you can rely on as a leader. Leadership mishap and blunder are an inevitability. We're going to do it. The most important thing is to learn from those blunders along the way. So as leaders, we can truly be in the service of our teams. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. And thank you to Rebecca, one of our listeners who encourage us to look at this from a different lens to flip the context and to look at this as a lesson learned activity, let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Frank Forencich is a special guest on today's show. He's an internationally recognized leader in health and performance education. He's a Stanford University graduate in human biology and neuroscience. As over 30 years, teaching martial arts and experience around health and education. Frank holds black belt in both karate and aikido and his many research trips across the world, including Africa, has helped him really get into and study the human origins and ancestral environment. And that's where he got his inspiration from his new book, Beware False Tigers: Strategies and Anecdotes for an Age of Stress. Frank, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Frank Forencich: Delighted to be here. Steve Rush: So, I'm really intrigued at how you can get two black belts and two martial arts, as well as all of the experience you pull together. Frank Forencich: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: And written many books, Frank. So, I can't wait to get into the journey. Perhaps for our audience. You could just give us a little bit of the backstory as to how you've arrived to do what you do today? Frank Forencich: Right, well, I first became interested in the martial arts in my early twenties. And this was when I was an undergraduate at Stanford and I was studying human biology and I was fascinated with physicality and with movement. And I thought that there was something there that was very important. And as an educational experience, the martial art was just fantastic for me. It was a time to feel really focused. And I had a lot of really fantastic teachers. And at the same time, I had a professor in human biology who said, if you really want to understand the human animal, you have to go to Africa and study our history. And so, I took him up on that and little by little, all these various pieces started to come together. And later on, I studied athletic training and massage therapy and it's been a really exciting journey to look at the human body where it came from and how it functions. So, I've, been exceptionally lucky in this to have all these opportunities to do. Steve Rush: And many scholars that kind of walk in your path almost have gone to Africa into the Savannahs and have used that as a backdrop to really understand human behavior, as well as animal behavior, haven't they? Frank Forencich: Right, and I think it's so essential that we are involved in this because the modern world is kind of an illusion. We tend to believe that the world has always been the way it is now, and we've kind of parachuted into the modern world. But in fact, we have a history, and that history is deep and important. Steve Rush: And that history I suspect that you talk about is where we had no distractions. We were kind of in our original settings and that's how we were programmed physiologically to behave, right? Frank Forencich: Right, you can study the stuff directly. But I think for people who haven't studied it is to have a look at the movie. The Gods Must Be Crazy. And you might remember that one where, the first half of the movie, actually the first 20 minutes of the movie, they look at the lives of the Kalahari Bushman in South Africa. And they compare that to the modern, urban people living in Africa. And they really show the mismatch between our original experience and what we experience today. Steve Rush: So, some of our folk will be familiar with that fight or flight freeze and appease that comes with that physiological response to an environment. But the irony is, that what was created through our evolution to protect us and service in times of danger and need, actually, we now trigger for this, you know, being late for work or I'm behind on a Zoom meeting or something like that, right? Frank Forencich: Right, and that's sort of the irony. We've created a world, a modern world with a lot of comforts, but at the same time, we've created a lot of new and unique threats to our bodies and our lives and things like computer viruses and phishing attacks and all of these fine print sort of things didn't exist until recently. So now we have, you might say new tigers in camp. Steve Rush: Yeah, so hence the title of the book, right. Beware of False Tigers. Frank Forencich: Yes. Steve Rush: So, what was it that compelled you to write the book and tell us a little bit about it? Frank Forencich: Right, well, this goes back to my experience in massage school, because of course there was a lot of talk about stress and reducing stress. And the more I looked at that, the more I started to realize this is a major, major theme for the modern world. It's not just feeling a little bit anxious, or it's not just a threat to your own personal longevity or health. This is something that afflicts the entire human population now in a way that's historically unprecedented. Steve Rush: Right. Frank Forencich: So, this is a major theme for all of us. Steve Rush: Yeah, you call these tigers. How do you recognize tigers? Frank Forencich: [Laugh], well, we recognize them through the limbic system of our brain and our autonomic nervous system. And this is something that happens oftentimes below conscious radar. And we experience a feeling, a threat to our personal welfare. And then we get to try and interpret what that is. You know, the voice of stress is not always that articulate. And we may feel a threat to the organism, a threat to our welfare. And then we get to try and decode what that feeling is all about. So, it's an exercise in learning the world and an exercise in learning who we are. Steve Rush: And the whole notion of them being false tigers is, we're probably releasing the tigers unnecessarily? Frank Forencich: Right. Steve Rush: Would that be a kind of fair take on things? Frank Forencich: Right, it's always about perception. So, if you have an event in your life and you interpret it as a tiger, but maybe it's really not an actual threat to your life, then you're turning on your fight flight system. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: Unnecessarily, and if you only do that, occasionally, if you get it wrong, occasionally that's no big deal, but if you get it wrong consistently over the course of months and years, then that's going to degrade your health, but not just your health, but your cognition and your ability to function in the world. So, it has huge ripple effects across your entire life. Steve Rush: The one thing that struck me when I started reading your book, Frank is, why don't they teach us in high school? And why don't they teach us in, you know, kindergarten and junior and primary schools? Frank Forencich: Oh yeah. That's a big pet pave of mine because this is something that's so important to our ability to function. And yet we mostly ignore it. And the way I pitch this, I say, for the human animal, we have to have an understanding of what's dangerous in the world. And in the paleo, this was always obvious because everybody, even little children in your tribe, in your camp, would've known that carnivores and predators are dangerous and that wildfires are dangerous and fast flowing rivers are dangerous. That sort of thing, and danger, would've been palpable and easy to understand, but now we have all these new threats, and we don't educate for that. It's unlikely that any of your listeners have ever taken a course called what is dangerous. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah. Frank Forencich: But we should be doing that. And that would help us sort out genuine dangers from false dangers. And that would seem to be a fundamental part of human education now. Steve Rush: Yeah, I agree with you. So, within the book, you talk about a couple of things I'd love to unpick them with you. One of which is prime makes predicament. Frank Forencich: Yes. Steve Rush: Tell us about that? Steve Rush: Yes, what is the state of the human animal right now? And then there's of course controversy about all of this. But from my point of view, we are under such a high level of stress. A total stress burden that we're carrying around with us means that we have a population level predicament here. And some of the numbers are staggering. There's like 1 billion people in the world now who have in mental health problems.1 billion people in the world are living with chronic pain. That's like one out of eight. So those are huge red flags that the human animal is having trouble adapting to the modern world. And this gets back to mismatch this idea that we have. These ancient bodies trying to make a go of it in the modern world. Some people do pretty well with that mismatch. And some people adapt easily, but an enormous percentage of people are struggling with that challenge. And by and large, we aren't taking it seriously. Steve Rush: What's the root cause to that mismatch. Do you think? Frank Forencich: Well, it's kind of a byproduct of our intense creativity. We are really good at devising innovations and short-term solutions and the world becomes progressively more complicated ever since the industrial revolution. We've had this just escalating series of innovations that the human animal hasn't really had time to adapt to. All of this innovation has happened in the blink of an eye and boom. Now all of a sudden, we're in this new world. Steve Rush: Yeah, and if we kind of fast forward to, you know, the next 10 years. Thinking about the real stresses of our lives and our times and the real tigers, how do we kind of figure out what's real to us versus what we are fooling ourselves as false tigers? Frank Forencich: Right, well, I think the number one thing that we have to be doing right now is listening to the science and especially climate science that is without question, the alpha tiger on the planet right now, that is the biggest threat to human welfare, human civilization and our ability to have any kind of a future. So that is the tiger that we have to be working with right now. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. And it's, I guess you could call it a real tiger because we've got the evidence that comes with that. Frank Forencich: Yeah. Steve Rush: So much like in the paleo, we could see the, you know, the burning forest. We could see the rapids in the water. We can actually see that happening around us now. So, I guess it helps us make that awareness that it is a real tiger. How do you convince those who are maybe less aware that it is real? Frank Forencich: Oh, that's a great question. And what I'm seeing is a lot of frustration in the climate community among climate scientists who are saying, we need to convince people that this is real. There's a lot of frustration there. A breakaway group of climate scientists now have become activists. And they're saying the conventional channels really aren't working. So, I'm not sure what it is. I think it's going to take some shocks to the system that are going to make this obvious to more people. But right now, it's an uphill battle. Steve Rush: You used the word that I just want to explore, which is activist and activism. And I know that's something that you've been really passionate about, but people also get confused with the word, don't they? Because they see it as something that's aggressive and it's contrary. And actually, you have a very different spin on it. I wonder if you could just share that? Frank Forencich: [Laugh], right. Well, the book I'm currently writing is about activism from a martial arts perspective. Steve Rush: Okay. Frank Forencich: The idea here is that we are immersed in a world where their conflict is inevitable. And once again, we don't have much training for that at all. Our educational systems basically ignore that fact of conflict and we don't teach young people how to deal with that. So that's why there's so much angst, I think in people who are trying to make a difference, we basically don't know how. We don't know whether to be hard or soft in our various styles, whether to be linear or circular in the way we approach conflict. So, there's a lot of work to be done there, but I think activism is essential. There's plenty of research to show. It actually improves the quality of our health. When we act on things that we find meaningful, then the body tends to do better. Steve Rush: That's really interesting perspective too, isn't it? Frank Forencich: Mm-Hmm. Steve Rush: And it is that act on something that you're really passionate about, which kind of underpins that whole activism bit, I guess, that what you see in the press and on the TV of activists is usually the far end of, the extreme ends of where people have already been triggered and are probably overplaying that, right? Frank Forencich: Right, yes. And it's easy to focus on the spectacular acts of activism, but there's a lot of invisible activisms that's going on as well. And it may not be spectacular, but there's a lot of work that people are doing currently that is very important and may not be as dramatic. So, we need to keep that in mind as well. Steve Rush: Now, for many of the folk listening to this show, they'll be either leading teams or businesses or even leading themselves. And therefore, from their perspective, what do you see as the certain consequences of them not getting hold of this in terms of their managing their stress and their energy? Frank Forencich: Right, well, there's a whole list of consequences that come when people are under chronic stress. And one of the most interesting for me is called reversion to the familiar. And we all know this in our own personal lives, because if you're having a hard day, what do you want to do? You want to go home and sit in your living room, a place that's familiar to you and you want to read the same books you've always read. You want to watch the same movies that you've always seen. You want to eat the same foods. You want to go back to the familiar and for people who are leading teams, this is also important because maybe you need new ideas. Maybe you need creativity going forward to come up with solutions to the problems you're facing, but the stress, it inclines people to revert to what they already know. And that makes sense, and it's fine in moderation. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: The dose makes the poison here. So, if you go home at the end of a hard day and you revert to the familiar, that's good for you. But if you, do it all the time, you're never going to make any progress. Steve Rush: Ironically, it could even make the stress worse in the future because the gap between the intention and the act gets bigger, right? Frank Forencich: Right, exactly. And that's what we're seeing in the world of climate and ecosystem. Collapse is, that as the stress escalates, people are going to just double down on what they already know, and that's going to make solutions even more difficult to arrive at. Steve Rush: There is a notion too, isn't there. That stress is actually not a bad thing if you get the dose, right? Frank Forencich: Right, and the way I say it is that stress is a frenemy. Steve Rush: I like that. Frank Forencich: And it's a wonderful thing for the body and the mind, small doses of stress are good for us. And this is the job of the teacher, the coach, the therapist, and the leader in an organization is to be precise in how much stress we put people under. And we have yet to really do this in any kind of systematic way. But it's essential to remember that there's an inverse U-Shape curve to this. A little bit of stress is good. A little bit more stress is even better. And then of course there's a tipping point and a reversal where stress becomes bad. But this idea in the standard narrative, that all stress is bad, and that the ideal life is a stress-free life. That's not very helpful. Steve Rush: Is there another word we could switch out for stress? Because I think it actually has a word itself, it's probably unhelpful. Is there another word you might use that would kind of help us think about stress in a positive way? Frank Forencich: Right, and that's a good point because it's been worked so hard in the popular press. Everybody seems to think that they know what it is and it's kind of a pigeonhole problem, right. So, one workaround that I use there is, I talk about our encounter with novelty. So, a little bit of novelty is exciting and therapeutic, young children love novelty, right. And they seek it out. Young adults love novelty, more is better, up to a point. And so, you can think of stress of in the same terms. This is our encounter with novelty. A little bit is good. A little bit more is great. Too much novelty becomes toxic. Steve Rush: I love the reframe because as you've just alluded to, as soon as you mention the word, novelty, people are intrigued. They want to find out. They want to learn a bit more don't they? And that gives them that unconscious permission to dive in a bit deeper. Frank Forencich: Right, and it's an essential part of our creative process is to have that encounter with novelty. But there has to be limits. There has to be guidelines, and there has to be a recognition that you may be encountering too much novelty. And then you've got to take care of yourself. Steve Rush: Maybe you can just take us through some of your tried and tested methods for relieving, some of that stress or some coping mechanism solutions, call it what you will? Frank Forencich: Right, yeah. Well, I've got quite a list here, but the first one of course is to ask the question, is this a real tiger? Or is it not? And that, it seems such a simple approach, but it really works. And it's worked in my life where I'll be worrying about something, and something has dominated my consciousness. And then I take a step back and I say, okay, is this a real threat to my life? Is this a real threat to my future, my welfare? And if the answer is, yes, I have to take action. If the answer is no, I can safely let that thing go. So that's helpful. Steve Rush: That's really powerful, right. Because in that moment, you're able to pretty much evaluate that whole, is it a real threat or not? And therefore, unconsciously will trigger different chemical reactions in our mind, won't it? Frank Forencich: Right, right. And you can always revisit it. You can always reevaluate whether it's a genuine threat or not, but it is a powerful starting point. The other bit of advice that I give people is just to say, give yourself a break. I mean, this climate predicament that we're in, this level of mismatch that everyone is experiencing, this is universal across the planet. It's not just you, [laugh], that's experiencing this. And just knowing that in itself can be helpful. Steve Rush: And if I'm stressed out right now, I'm in the moment, I'm listening to you Frank. What would be the one thing that would enable me to kind of step out of that? Frank Forencich: The scanner prescriptions are quite good here. I mean, focusing on the breath is really good. And the other bit, I think that's really important is just slowing down. This is another part of a modern world. That's so difficult for us is, that a sense of urgency is very contagious among hyper social animals. So, if the people around you are in a big hurry, which is often the case, then that tends to rub off on us. And then we start speeding up as well. So, the reminder here is, whatever you're doing, slow down. Steve Rush: And in your experience, Frank, having traveled the world and worked in different locations, studying, not just humans, but also animals. Is there a blueprint we can look at in the animal kingdom that is replicated in how we behave as human sapien? Frank Forencich: Well, yes. And I had an insight into this when I visited a museum in the American Southwest, and it was a desert museum, and they had all the types of things that you would expect in a desert museum. But we walked around into a courtyard at the museum and there was a large cage there with a wild Jaguar, a wild Panther that had recently been captured. And this was an extraordinary thing to watch that this Panther was pacing back and forth in the cage and exhibiting what you might call hyperactivity or ADHD or whatever you want to call it. The animal was very anxious. And from a modern perspective, you might say, well, that animal was having some sort of a neurological problem or a lifestyle disease or some sort of anxiety disorder. But on the other hand, you look at that animal and say, no, that's an absolutely normal response to being incarcerated. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: And so, for me to look at animals in that kind of situation, and then to look at humans and this epidemic of depression and anxiety that people are experiencing now. I tell people, look, you are not diseased. If you are feeling this way, this is the normal response of a normal animal to these kinds of difficult surroundings. So that's a big stress reliever right there, because. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: Once you realize that your body is behaving the way a normal animal would behave, it's not you [laugh], it's your animal life. And so that I find very helpful. Steve Rush: You do a lot to help people get out of that environment, don't you? So, you use things like movement, your martial arts as an example of that. Just tell us a little bit about how some of those things can help. Frank Forencich: Right, well obviously getting outside is crucial and a lot more people are recommending this now, and it makes sense, but it's not just the experience of being outdoors. It's this psychological identification with nature that I think is what we really need to see as native people have done for a very long time now, this thing called nature is not other, it is actually itself. It is actually us. So, when you look at a forest or you look at the ocean, you look at some natural terrain, that is an extension of you. It's an extension of your body, the native people call this the long buy. So that is a very helpful way to look at this as well. The other part of your question there is, with the movement and the martial arts, this movement in a social setting and touching other human animals that has a very therapeutic effect as well, developing rapport with other people through the body that eases our sense of fear, and it makes us feel great. Steve Rush: Awesome. Really fascinating. I could spend all day picking your brains but. Frank Forencich: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: Unfortunately, we won't have the time. One of the things I would love to do now though, is just to turn the tables a little bit and dive into your brain, thinking about some of the things you've experienced from a leadership perspective over your 30 plus years in teaching leaders and others to get to grips with their human self, what would be your top three leadership hacks? Frank Forencich: Well, the first one, and I love this one because it's kind of counterintuitive, I say, treat people like animals. Steve Rush: [Laugh], right. Frank Forencich: And, for some people, this sounds so surprising. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: And so shocking because when we use that phrase, we were treated like animals. We tend to think that that was a bad thing. We were on the airplane, and they treated us like animals because that's, I guess, what we've done historically is, we've treated animals poorly, but I turn this thing upside down and I take a veterinary approach to leadership or teaching or coaching, any of these things, look at your people, your students, your clients, your patients as animals first and foremost. And if they're coming into your setting and they're already hyper stressed, now you've got to work with that. Maybe they need more stress. Maybe they need less, but you have to look at what their experience is right now. And that is a whole new domain I think of leadership because we have to look at the physical experience and the psychological experience that people are bringing to the setting. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: Now some people have suggested, well, we need to measure their cortisol levels and that would be a technical approach. But they, I think there's another approach there, it's just more humane and means listening better. Steve Rush: Yeah, love it. Frank Forencich: Other leadership hacks. The other one I like from the native and indigenous tradition is called contextual leadership. And this simply means that people are leaders, not across the board, in every situation, but in certain domains. So, you might be a really good leader on the hunt and people in your tribe would recognize that. But when you get back to camp, you might not be such a great leader at preparing food. You might not be such a great leader telling stories around the campfire. Other people are good at that. And this is part of the indigenous tradition that people say, well, you are a leader in this situation, but not in another one. And I think this is something that we can also take to heart and assign and invite people to become leaders in other roles. Steve Rush: Yeah, and if you think of yourself as an animal in a tribe or a pack, they all have their roles to play and that's good old fashioned, situational leadership, isn't it? Frank Forencich: Right, and I think in the modern world, we often get this wrong because we say, if a person is a good leader in one domain, then they must be a good leader in all things, but that's best crazy. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: And then the third leadership hack, I think is, just to recognize the power of story and this is so important because the stress response is driven by our perception and our interpretation of reality, which means there is a story body connection. There is a connection between story and the autonomic nervous system. And if we can change or reframe stories, then we can literally working with people's bodies and we need to be better storytellers. Steve Rush: Love those, their awesome. Thank you, Frank. So, the next part of the show we call Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something hasn't gone well and maybe been catastrophic, but we've taken the opportunity to learn from it. And now is a force of good in our life or work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Frank Forencich: Right, well, looking back at my life and some of the mistakes I've made, I can trace some of this back to having a poor understanding of what's called the drama triangle. And you may have heard of this, is a popular theme in the world of psychotherapy and counseling, where therapists have recognized a common pattern. And that's when things aren't going well. We tend to describe ourselves as victims. And when we do that, then we typically blame perpetrators for our situation. And then we go in search of rescue. So those are the three points of the drama triangle. And this is a very popular thing [laugh] that people do. And it sucks us in, because we say I'm a victim. There must be a perpetrator out there somewhere. And so, we blame these people or governments or institutions for our unhappiness. And then we'd go looking for rescue from ideas or ideologies or substances, whatever it is. And when we get immersed in this drama triangle, things tend to spiral out control. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: So, the way out of the drama triangle, as most coaches and therapists recommend, they say, look, you have to be creative, stop blaming perpetrators, stop looking for rescue and start focusing on the creation that you want to do in the world. Steve Rush: Nice. Frank Forencich: And that took me some years to realize Steve Rush: [Laugh], it's nice. I like it a lot, yeah. So that last part I show Frank, we get to do with you is taking you on some time travel. You get to bump into yourself with 21 and you get to give yourself some advice. What do you think it might be? Frank Forencich: Yes, well, I would say to my 21-year-old self, that taking responsibility, and this goes back to the drama triangle. Taking responsibility is powerful because the more you take on the more meaningful life becomes. Steve Rush: Mm. Frank Forencich: And you don't have to just take responsibility for your own personal life. No, you take responsibility for the entire world. And so, for example, I didn't cause climate change, I don't cause racism or sexism or xenophobia or anything, but I do want to take responsibility for those things in the world and doing what I can. So that is a path towards meaning and that is a path towards fulfillment. And my 21-year-old self really would've benefited from that. Steve Rush: Yeah, mine too. I think [laugh], wise words. So, what's next for you then Frank, on your journey? Frank Forencich: Well, I'm really excited about this book about martial artistry and activism. The title is The Enemy is Never Wrong and I'm excited about the title because this is a teaching that I had from a martial art teacher some years ago. And he advised us to stop getting emotionally involved in the rightness or wrongness of our opponents. He said, look, whatever the enemy does is just what you have to work with. Don't get attached to any particular strategy or outcome. You have to just take the enemy as is, that's a good teaching there. And that's something that we can do as activists. Steve Rush: Yeah. Frank Forencich: So, I'm really excited about that title and that concept and that's where I'll be going for the next year. Steve Rush: Excellent, and I love that notion as well, because more often not, you can get so easily involved in the problem or the solution rather than just seeing it as it is, which when we wind it back to 1.1, being present and in the moment stops those false tigers, doesn't it? Frank Forencich: Yeah. Yeah. It's a powerful teaching, so. Steve Rush: Awesome, so how can our listeners get copies of many of your books and indeed find out a little bit more about the work you do beyond our conversation? Frank Forencich: Right, well, it's easy to remember the website. It's all there, it's and if you type in exuberant animal, you'll get it. Steve Rush: Cool, and we'll put those any links you have to the various books and work you have in our show notes as well Frank. Frank Forencich: Nice, nice. Steve Rush: I've really enjoyed chatting. It's such a fantastic parallel to our world and your work has brought it into the world of business because it's a real thing. We all have tigers. Some of them and in fact more of them are probably more false than real. Frank Forencich: Right. Steve Rush: And just understanding them and being able to deal with those can help us become better leaders and better people to work with. So, thanks for sharing your information, Frank, and thanks for being on our community, on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Frank Forencich: Oh yeah. It's been great fun. I've enjoyed It. Steve Rush: Thank you, Frank.   Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler their @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.
40:23 27/06/22
Work Made Fun Gets Done with Dr Bob Nelson
Dr Bob Nelson is author of the multimillion-copy bestseller 1001 Ways to Engage Employees, he’s also is president of Nelson Motivation, Inc. and the world's leading authority on Employee Recognition and Engagement. He has published 31 books that have sold over 5 million copies that have been translated into over 30 languages. In the humorous and insightful show you can learn: How "Work" and "Fun" go together in the most successful workplaces to motivate employees Why do employees rank “Fun” at the top of the list at the Best Companies to Work for What the best companies do to find the latest value in employee reward programs beyond gift cards and handshakes Innovative and creative ways businesses can amplify their culture and increase productivity with “Fun" Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services Find out more about Dr Bob below: Dr Bob on LinkedIn: Dr Bob on Twitter: Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Today's special guest is Dr. Bob Nelson. He's a world's leading authority on employee recognition, motivation and engagement. Dr. Bob has authored over 30 books, which have collectively sold over five million copies. Before we get a chance to speak with Bob. It's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: In the news today. We're going to explore how social media can really make a difference to any business of any kind anywhere. So, we're going to look at a fast-food joint when from a local eatery to internet stardom, thanks to iconic memes and a catchy theme tune. And this is a story of Binley Mega Chippy. Now, for those that are in North America and around the world, a chip shop in England is a place where you go to buy French fries and fast food. It started out as unassuming, local, fast-food joint, and it's now arguably the most famous fast-food joint on the planet. For years, it was just like any other English eatery, serving French fries, chips, fish, and of course, other really unhealthy, deep-fried foods. It's not particularly attractive to look at. It's a vision of red and gold, but it's a reliable Oasis to many people in and around Coventry, but the Internet's taken Binley Mega Chippy and turned it into a TikTok fiesta for culinary destination for anybody visiting this part of England. Owner, Kamal Gandhi, 70-years-old. Now has a huge number of customers. Some of whom have apparently traveled from as far as France, America and even Australia. So how did this local chip shop go from a small fry to a huge gastronomic location of choice? Well, the first mention of Binley Mega Chippy hit the internet in just 2009, and it was a simple kind of nod to here's where we are and what we do. Fast forward to 2022, Binley Mega Chippy began to appear, but still continued on relative obscurity, not knowing what's to come. Viral hysteria hit the fast-food outlet. In 2022 when it featured in the slideshow of multiple UK, fast food joints and TikTok in April. It's first month, there were 82,000 views and 11,000 likes. Fast forward now, millions and millions of people are using this as a backdrop to other memes and are joining in with the chant of the song. Decades of research and millions of dollars and pounds of advertising who have shown that society loves a good jingle, and it helps sell a product. And the same appears to be true for fast food outlets. On the 25th of May, binleymegachippyfan53 posted just a ten second clip with a static picture with a Bingley Mega Chippy Jingle. Now for obvious marketing reasons, I’m not able to play that for you now. I'm sure you can find it if you choose to. That short clip now has just over 2 million views and has spawned various spinoffs and remixes. And now hashtag Bingley Mega Chippy has over 500 million views and naturally people have been visiting it from all over. So having fun, better jingle, the power of the internet can change the lives of anyone and good luck to Kamal Gandhi and his store, we wish him all the success. The leadership hack here is, marketing could be as simple as a ten second clip. It could be something that you say and do. What makes a difference is that emotional connection. So, the next time you're communicating a message or you're building a story or you're creating an internal marketing campaign or external, is it going to hit those real emotional keys to get people stirred into emotional action? That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Dr. Bob Nelson is a special guest on today's show. He's a multimillion best seller author of, 1001 Ways to Engage Employees. His latest book, Work Made Fun Gets Done. He's also the president of Nelson Motivation Inc. One of the world's leading authorities on employee recognition and engagement, and Bob's published over 31 books and sold over 5 million copies and been translated in over 30 languages. Dr. Bob, welcome to the show. Dr. Bob Nelson: Thank you for having me, Steve. Steve Rush: I'm really looking forward to getting into this because I remember the first time you and I met when you also then started to think about this. Over 15,000 ways to reward employees and over 1,001 ways to engage employees. It was a bit of a kind of a journey for me to get my head around those numbers. So, I'm delighted that we get a chance to dive into some of them, not all of them today. Dr. Bob Nelson: Excellent. Steve Rush: Before we do that, Bob, let's give our listeners a little bit of a backstory if you like on the journey that is taking you to where you are today. Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, well, well, I've always been a writer and going back to high school, I remember my English teacher passing out papers and she stopped at my desk and she over hitch, she weighed my paper and said, best paper in five classes. And I was kind of embarrassed and surprised and went back and reread it. And, you know, and I just got the message that I could write. And so that's always been a backdrop for me, and I published my first book when I was 21, a guide on job hunting and have just recently finished my 31st book. So, it's a hard activity, somehow, I keep coming back to it, I guess, like a moth to a flame [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah, and do you think that moment in that English class, when that teacher kind of gave you that feedback at that time, do you think that was a catalyst for you at that point? Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, it's certainly, anytime someone gives you feedback, I think, we all need to see how other people see us and if it's in a positive light then that's good news. You need to hold onto that one. And I think, you know, John Lynn’s said, life's what happens when you're making other plans. So, you got to work into the plans, what people tell you you're good at. And then of course, things that you enjoy doing is important as well. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Mark Twain said the two most important days in anyone's life is the day they're born and then secondly, the day they find out why, so [laugh]. Steve Rush: That's great, yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: It's ongoing journey for each of us to say, what was I meant to be here for? And if you get clues from those around you, who give you feedback, you need to hold onto those and listen to those. And so, I feel fortunate for the career I've had, I've been blessed with having worked with some true experts, each which I've learned from. Ken Blanchard, went to work for, he published the One Minute Manager, which has sold 14 million copies. And so, I learned a lot from him about selling books and I got my PhD from working with Peter Drucker, the father of modern management. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: And I'm currently a personal coach for Marshall Goldsmith. Who's the number one voted executive coach in the world. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah.  Dr. Bob Nelson: So, I've been very, very blessed to have some great people to learn from and lean on. And I like passing it on to others when I can. Steve Rush: Yeah, and we are going to pass that on for sure today. You know, I heard something that I probably read it. You'd coached or had worked with something like 80% of the fortune 500 companies, is that right? Dr. Bob Nelson: I have, yes. Steve Rush: Wow. Dr. Bob Nelson: Spanning 25 years, you get around. And that included, not that long ago, wrapped up a six-month project working for the United Nations. So that was a fun, fun activity. So, you know, life takes you a lot of interesting places and if you can go for the ride, it's usually pretty enticing. Steve Rush: Yeah, it is. Isn't it? Dr. Bob Nelson: I found anyway [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so. So, you've managed to find a real niche or a passion, if you like for employee recognition and engagement. What was that defining moment for you when you realized actually, this is the thing that really excites you and makes you tick, and others tick as well? Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, again to me, it's piecing together the pieces. I was taking a graduate school class and we were talking about; it was a control systems class and professor was talking about the informal control systems. And he made the offhand comment that has proven as the principle for informal reinforcement is, there hasn't been a lot of application in the business world. And I remember thinking I'm going to do something about that [laugh] and actually that evening after my hour and a half drive home from graduate school class in Los Angeles, I typed out a letter to president of publishing firm in New York City and sent it overnight and spent two weeks trying to get him on the phone. And finally, could heard his assistant say, this guy keeps calling, would you talk to him? [laugh] and literally the president of the company, he goes, what do you want? He answers the phone like that. And I said, well, my here's my name. And I sent you a letter about a book and he cut me off. And he said, you sent us a letter about a book. We'll, we'll never do a book based on a letter you sent us, you have to do a proposal, of the 70,000 books that are published this year, that year anyway. Why yours has to be one of them? And why we're the only publisher could possibly do it right. And literally as he's hanging up, he goes, and by the way, we get 10,000 proposals a year, we publish 24 books to click [laugh]. Steve Rush: Nice. Dr. Bob Nelson: I could have said, well, well, you know, gave it a try, but I said, hey, game on, time to do a proposal [laugh], so maybe there's a lesson there, you know, don't accept defeat. Steve Rush: Did you go back to this guy though? Dr. Bob Nelson: I did actually [laugh]. I did the proposal, I got an agent and then next time I met with him, I was sitting across from him though. I flew to New York at my own expense, and he had the proposal in front of him and he opened it up. And my agent had said, well, it'd be helpful if you could lay out a few pages, see what it was actually looks like. I explained it. That should be good enough. No, no, no. It would help people visualize it. So, I did that, and then she said, well, could you do a few more. I go, oh, come on. And I did a few more. And darn, when I'm sitting across him and he doesn't open the proposal to those pages and he goes, this could work. The guy was very visual. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Up here working, was his name. He was a creative genius. And, he only did books that where he personally saw that it could work. Does he see it? Does he see what you see? And so, now he's still on project. He still doesn't know about me. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: And so [laugh], he turns his attention to me and starts asking me questions. I go, well, I'm an administrator for this company in San Diego. And, but that's not what I really want to do. And he goes, what do you really want to do? And I said, be a bestselling author. And I could see a little twinkle in his eye and done deal. And that was [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, they sent me to 27 markets at a time when that wasn't really done anymore. And in the first, gosh, I think of, in the first two months, the book sold 40,000 copies. Steve Rush: Wow, yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, which is stunning. And as a business book and now it's in its 64th printing and sold over 2 million copies. Steve Rush: That's amazing. Dr. Bob Nelson: So yeah, a lot of people ask me about the book story, because there's a lot of books out there. Over a million books are published year now. When this book came out, seventy thousand. Now it's a million books a year. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Publish each year, and that's with self-publishing and Amazon and you name it. And there's not more readers, but there's a lot more books. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: So. Steve Rush: And there's still an opportunity for the same folk to, you know, face into the resilience you did, get in front of people and say, look, you know, if you've got a compelling story, just tell it because there will be people who want to read and listen. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, yes. It's, definitely more difficult because it's more constrained and for a typical publisher, the first thing they want to know is, what's your platform? What vehicle do you have to reach people, you know, in terms of number of followers? Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Or do you speak, do you do public speaking or are you in media, you know, are you on TV every night? You know, all that kind of goes in the mix. Steve Rush: Does. Dr. Bob Nelson: As a result, just a few books get published. Steve Rush: I remember when I published my book, which was probably about six years ago, having the same conversation with an agent. And at the time I was starting out on my entrepreneurial career, a few years into it and having this kind of light bulb moment that felt I'm not worthy because I haven't got a million followers on Instagram and I haven't got all of this, but you know, what I had was something that was interesting, yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Imposter syndrome. Steve Rush: Oh, totally. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, you got to trust your gut. I think, my moment of doubt was, I knew I could write, but then, trying to understand my motivations for writing. That cost me a couple years because I couldn't, hard time starting, why do you want to do this? Is it to make money? Is it for fame? Is it to help people? And that really had me in a bind trying to sort that [laugh], and finally I decided it's for all those reasons. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, I want to help people, but yes, if I make money from it, I could help more people because I could, you know, get the book a wider audience and so I've never quite looked back from that point. I've have done, like I said, I've done 31 books and each one is, writing is difficult. It's very hard. It's exposing your mental thoughts to the world. And man, you better be braced to [laugh] take the feedback and [laugh]. And so, but I've had good success and I love helping other people with the same journey, because there are a lot of good messages to go out there and lot of messages that could help others. And if you have one like that you deserve to be in print. Steve Rush: Very much so, yeah. And then your last book, Work Made Fun Gets Done. It's one of those titles that when you read it, you go, yeah, that's absolutely true, of course it is. Dr. Bob Nelson: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: And everybody buys into it. Yet, we also find that that doesn't happen everywhere [laugh] and that some people go to work and it's not fun. Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, some. Most people actually. Steve Rush: What did you find out in your research? Dr. Bob Nelson: So, my books, I tend to favor kind of proven truths or maybe obvious truths that are not obvious in practice. And so, the Work Made Fun Gets Done is one of those, it's part of the mix on having motivated employees and staying with the job over time. And the younger employees, 59% of millennials say they want to have fun at work. So as more and more workers are from that age group, almost 75% now, you know, it's a topic you've got to take seriously as a company. What are we doing to make sure that people are having fun while at work? Now, if you're a cynical or old-line manager, the answer is simple, hey, here's an idea. They can worry about that on the weekend. We're paying them to work, God damn it, you know, and so, Steve Rush: Yeah, there's still a lot of those around, unfortunately. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, there are. So, you got to say, well, I could see where you would think that, and that makes a lot of sense, but let me tell you, have you looked at your exit interviews? Why people are leaving? You know, on the positive side, for this book. We did research. We looked at the hundred best places to work in America. And we dug in their data. We found that that one of the variables they ask about is, this a fun place to work. And for those companies that work for one of the hundred best companies to work for in America, 82% of their employees, when surveys said, where they work is a fun work environment. And we contrast that to those companies that applied for that award but didn't receive it. Only 61% said it was a fun place to work. That that 20-point differential was actually one of the largest in their database [laugh] on sorting successful companies from also ran. So, if you want to look at the positive data that supports making fun, a serious part of your business, it's there. And that's why, you know a lot of companies have even made it a core value of their firm, like Best Buy, it's their number one core value is have fun while being the best or Jet Blue, number four, LinkedIn, number six, Mercedes-Benz number three. So, it's workday number five. So, not everybody, but a lot of companies are staking it out saying, yes, yes, we agree. This should be a core value for what we do every day. And if we do that, if we do that well, then guess what? People will pass it on to their customer and to the colleagues. And it'll be easier to come to work, because you're enjoying who you're working with and who you're serving and just everything will go more swimmingly, you know. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: So, it's a simple, it's a simple thing, but common sense, not common practice, an observation first made by Voltaire in 1640. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Dr. Bob Nelson: Those things that are common sense are not very common he said [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: And hey. Steve Rush: Wise words. Dr. Bob Nelson: Still true, still true today. Steve Rush: And there's also direct correlation to revenue here as well, isn't there. So, the companies you just mentioned are all profitable or high revenue generative businesses. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, yes, yes, they are. And so, it’s a flip side of you know, if work is fun, it's going to be more profitable. If it's more profitable, then of course it's more fun and we're able to pay people better and have better benefits. And so, it's kind of a chicken and egg type thing. I know what comes first. We think that, just make sure it's part of the mix. It doesn't have to start with that. And increasingly we share stories in the book about how people found their way to this. Like the President of Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, he did a year sabbatical where he examined high performing companies and he came back and he said number one thing he learned is that every place he examined, high performance companies, they were all fun places. And so, he said, we got to have more fun here. And he immediately created a fun committee and volunteers and charged them with, to do fun things, you know, find out what needs to be celebrated and work it into our culture. Had a group and focused on that. Maybe gave him some budget, and when there was a time, the morale is low, or we have good news to celebrate. Let's do that very well. Let's do it as a group. Let's do it as a team. Let's do it individually. And that's what they do, or I'll tell you another company. I was in Seattle years ago, I was presenting to 800 people and this person in the front row, go, you look really familiar. And she goes, yeah, yeah. I met you six weeks ago when you were speaking here before, back in Seattle again, after six weeks. And I had to come tell you what happened. I go, well, tell me what happened [laugh]. And she worked for a company. She said, I left your presentation with one thing in mind. I said, this is real. It's happening. I'm going to do it. I'm not asking permission. I'm doing it [laugh] because I believe in it. And that's what she did. I said, well, what'd you do? She goes, I did a bunch of stuff. Like I created a happiness committee in my department, and it had three members of it. No one knew who they were, but anyone could say, it's time to do something. I go, well, something like what? She goes, well, we held a picnic up on the roof in downtown Seattle to celebrate. We bartered meeting space with a company on the next block. That was a limo company, so now we have limo rides we can give people for letting them in our meeting space once a month and you know, on and on. They are just you know, didn't start with a big budget, started with some creativity and some fun. And what difference did make? And she goes, it had a stunning difference [laugh]. People could see it, it changed how they came to work. And she said, I had other managers saying, what are you doing in your department? Your people are so excited. You're on fire. You go, hey, come to the next meeting. We're don’t having any secrets here. And it just grew organically. And you know, and now she's giving me part of the story. So, I went back, and I wrote it up and I put it in the press and navigated external validation for what she's doing internally. Well, fast forward 18 months from that first day I met that woman, that company, Perkins Coie, a law firm of all things, entered the best places to work in America. Number 23 on the list. Steve Rush: Amazing. Dr. Bob Nelson: I would content from one person, one person standing up, not at the top. Sometimes we feel only the CEO can make a difference, you know, but in the middle, she was a finance manager in one department. And I would suggest that she personally converted that culture and made it more recognition savvy, where people felt more valued for the work, they were doing every day. Anyone listening can make that same thing happen, where you work. Steve Rush: Great story. Dr. Bob Nelson: You could light the fuse. It doesn't have to all be on you, but you can get it going, get going in your walk, in your realm of influence, whatever position you have and invite other people on board. And you can make something happen. Steve Rush: It's because fun is infectious. So too is misery by the way. Dr. Bob Nelson: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: And I suspect, you know, that's why, you know, you get that dichotomy between different firms, different teams and in different organizations. But if you were given some advice to our listeners today who may be thinking around, yeah, I want to take some of this fun and energy and ideas forward, but I know that I'm going to bump into maybe a stuffy boss or a stuffy culture. How would you think that would be the best way to maybe break into that? Dr. Bob Nelson: One of two approaches, either ignore that and make it happen anyway, for the people that are interested. So even if the boss isn't interested, get it going with others, or the second thing is make a personal appeal to your boss and say, this is why I like to do it, or why we should do it and try to sell them on being on board or let's try it. Let's try it for a month. Let's try it for three months. Let's do a pilot program, because I think, you know, I think for example, that if we did this, it would impact our turnover rate, which it will by the way [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: If you create a culture of recognition where people are valued for what they're doing. Research indicates you will be seven times more likely to hold onto your people if they feel they're in an environment where people are celebrated and thanked for doing a good job, as simple as that. Seven times, seven times for their career by the way, not just for another, for another six months or another year that they will once they feel that they will want to stay working for your company for their career. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: So that's the price of admission right there, right now. Steve Rush: Right, yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: In the midst of the great resignation, where at least in America, four and a half million people a month are leaving their positions. This has been for the last 18 months straight. Four and a half million a month are leaving their positions. And often they find another position and now they're leaving that one [laugh]. Steve Rush: I know. Dr. Bob Nelson: So, because they're in search of a place that you know, the pandemic taught us anything. It's like, you know, life is short and unpredictable. You better have a good job now, better enjoy what you're doing now. And so maybe what a lot them realize that what they're doing, it's not worth what they're being paid for, and they're not getting enjoy from it. And they, they hate their job. They hate their boss and time to [laugh] go, to seek out something that's more meaningful to them that gives them, makes them feel they're part of something larger themselves, where they can have pride in working there and enjoy the people they're working with and who they're serving. Those jobs are out there, and they are they're plentiful. And so, if you hold your sites to that type of standard, you will find it. Of course, you have to have the skillset. So, it's a mix, clarity of purpose and mission. But I know people, for example, I worked with Walt Disney World for 15 years, and I met people that moved to Orlando Florida, because they had to work with this company, had to work for this company and they got there, and they didn't care what the job was. They had to be a part of this organization. They'll pick up trash in the. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: In the park, you know? Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: And maybe they started there, but they quickly moved on up and man, oh man, because people are treated right. And then they blossom and then you get more of them and their best thinking. And then all of a sudden you got a career. So, it could be frustrating for people that feel that they're in a dead-end position or a position they don't enjoy. How do I get to a different area from where I'm at? But you know, maybe that starts in the current job you have. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: Maybe look at that differently. Because a lot of times you can get to the job you want, start with the one you have and start to ask for responsibilities or make it known what things you're interested in doing. And that might be a selection for responsibilities and assignments, especially for a small company. They need people to wear many hats, you know. And so, there's more of flexibility and variety that you can help morph your job towards what you want to be doing. Steve Rush: Yeah, you mentioned reward and recognition as being a key component of that fun and you cited that, that law firm's growth was one of the reasons that they focused on was kind of how they step into recognition. And when you think of the subject and the notion of recognition, most organizations typically have a recognition program, which could have, you know, e-cards and buttons and gifts and. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, years of service awards. Steve Rush: But it's way more than that, right? Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, but often, they're doing stuff, but it's not the stuff that matters to people. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: So, I've never met an employee that, you know, stayed another day at work to get their 10-year pin, you know, it's sort of like [laugh]. So, along the way, the topic was started in an incentive industry with people trying to move merchandise. And this is another way if we can get, you know, people to buy you know gifts for employees and we'll sell a lot more merchandise and that's kind of how the market started and for many companies, that's where it ended too. So, it never really got to the motivations. It got to, hey, you get stuff, you know, and it becomes really a money substitute to get points or gift cards to be thanked for a job well done. So that's fine, but that's a limited view on this topic because I tend to find that the most powerful motivators are things that don't cost money at all. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: So, a personal, thank you, or being part of a team or being asked your opinion, being allowed to pursue an idea you have, being thanked, certainly when you do, do a good job or for helping someone else. And if you make a mistake, you know, it's easy to criticize someone that makes a mistake. You know, they already usually know they did something wrong. Why don't you embrace it and say, hey, what'd you learn from that? That's the more important thing here [laugh]. And take the long-term view of the relationship instead of being critical in the short term, be supportive in the long term, you know, Bill Gates, former chairman of Microsoft, he once said, you could tell a lot about the long-term viability of any organization simply by looking at how they handle mistakes. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: Because if you embarrass people [laugh], and in front of their peers and make them want to quit, they probably will [laugh]. And, yet it's opportunity to take a long-term view into, and to say, we're bigger than that. And that's good news. You made that mistake because that's the best training you'll have all year. I'm glad you made it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: And see what else other people can learn from it. So fundamental difference in a simple choice that comes up daily, really. Steve Rush: Culture plays a massive part in this. And I think what I heard you talk about directly and indirectly was, those organizations who have fun embedded into their values, embedded into their culture, their employer brand have a better chance at not only acquisition, but also retention. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes, and they got to the, you know, they didn't start with that. Maybe they put it on the table. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: As the core value, but it's working the value to say, what does that look like in practice? And if we were having more fun, how would things be different? And maybe they'd say, well, maybe upper management would be more involved. I worked with in California, the pension fund. Teachers’ Pension Fund of California, which is a nine billion. Steve Rush: That’s huge. Dr. Bob Nelson: Billion-dollar fund. Yeah, and they brought me in, consultant and sure enough, they had very little recognition. And when I brought the topic up, they go, no, we can't do that stuff because, you know, we're a public entity. I go, really, that's what's holding you back from doing the right thing. Yes, yes, it is. We got to think about something we might do might end up in the headlines of the newspaper and that will not be appropriate, our fiduciary responsibilities. I go, well, I'll just hold on a minute [laugh]. What if I brought you a list of other federal state and local governments that are doing this type of stuff, what exactly they're doing? The legislative authority, they have to do it [laugh] and the contact information. And they go, that would be very interesting. And I [laugh] created that you know, it was like a 20-page list, and they took it into a board meeting. They came out and they said, we're doing it. Steve Rush: Good. Dr. Bob Nelson: And they started investing in low-cost ways to thank people. In fact, one of the first things they did out of the shoot. This is a state government, okay. They decided to make a music video that they had their senior managers all sign up to be in a music video to talk about the changes they're making in the direction of the firm. It was an enormous hit [laugh], you know, because people saw that their leadership was coming, you know, was now part of them and helping lead the charge. And it was very exciting, and it was very fun. Steve Rush: It is often a mindset shift for some of the senior executives in these firms and organizations, isn't it? Dr. Bob Nelson: It has to be, it has to be. Yeah, so it's okay if you're not comfortable with something, but, if you have the logic, if you have the data, especially if you have the data from your own employees where you know why they're leaving, or what would make them stay, you know, right now, one of the big things is on flexible working hours and ability to work from home. God, we've got enormous data on this, 36% of employees said they would skip a pay increase if they'd have the ongoing flexibility to work from home, 40% said, you can give them a pay cut if they. Steve Rush: Yeah Dr. Bob Nelson: [Laugh], you know, if you give them the flexibility and the time they work from home, because that's more enjoyable to them, it's more convenient for their life that not even counting the, you know, the commute time, you know, the hour or two hours or three hours that they have to waste a day to get to a central office and to get ready for that. And you know, besides saving that time, they've got more control over their life, and you know, and you want the data. It's like overwhelmingly people are allowed to work from home are more productive. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: And I've tracked this with my own employees. I had people log their time. It turned out to be twice as productive, you know, like I could see the work of the results they got, because they weren't interrupted. There wasn't as socializing. They were able to dig in further and get more done. And so, it all makes sense. What holds a lot of companies back is, senior manager saying, well, that's not what I'm used to, you know, or if I can't see them, I don't know they're working or the CEO of JP Morgan in New York City finance firm said, if you can go out to dinner in New York City, you can come to the office and work in New York city. So, okay. Well, that's a point. Narrow minded point, but you know, I guess if you pay people enough, you can force them to do anything. And so, but over four and a half million people moved out in New York City during the pandemic, because when we shifted to allowing people to work from home, if all of a sudden, they didn't have to be in New York City anymore. So they went to work in a smaller town or where their family's from. And a lot of Zoom towns popped up, you know, where people preferred to live. If they can live anywhere, they're going to go live in Bend Oregon. They're going to live in you know. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: In places that they can enjoy living more. They can work from anywhere. And, people are holding onto that, 65% of employees that had a chance to work from home during the pandemic said, they want to continue that flexibility. It worked better for them. It was more productive. And, if they're forced to come in, which is kind of the dance we're in right now, where companies are saying, no, you have to come back to the office. Fortunately, only 4% of companies have said everyone has to come back five days a week, but you know, half the people say you have to come back, you know, at least three days a week. And the other half have more flexibility. So, my wife's a virtual employee. She has to come in one day a week, you know, and that's that kind of borderline for her, you know, [laugh], she does it begrudgingly the whole time. She's kind of swearing on the commute, but yeah, one day a week is, you know, and that'll work. If they increase that, she will definitely quit. I was surprised that she stayed just for that because you could get another virtual job, you know, and we already proved it works. Steve Rush: Right, yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: [Laugh] so it's like, we don't need to keep proving it works. We know it works and well, we can make excuses while you can't be as collaborative. Well, maybe make some adjustments to be more collaborative, you know. So, Anyway, we're still on the journey on that one. And again, you know, fun would be part of that, recognition would be part of that. And, you know, or what I find is like, I say, well, we're on Zoom calls now, how can you, you know, we can't do recognition. Oh, yes, you can, you know, come on, you know, next Zoom call you have, before we get in our agenda, I like to just take a few minutes and go around the group. And as I call out someone's name, I like everyone else to say what they most value about working with that person. Let's start with John, okay. Now, Mary, now Sally, and 10 minutes later, where are you? Everyone's gotten personal feedback about what the people they work with most closely think most highly of what they do and their work, they contribute. Well, that's pretty powerful. Make people feel great about the job they're doing. I guarantee you that whatever they're called out for, they're going to do more of that same thing, because what gets recognized gets repeated. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: So, it's a universal rule. And then, you know, the groups could be tighter working unit because they now have insights into each other, and they know so it's going to be more of a team going forward. So, you could do that in, you know, 10 minutes in the Zoom call. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: You know, I call that a praise barrage. You just take time and we're just going to focus on praise. No negative feedback, just praise, just thanks and praise from open mic from employees to other boys. Steve Rush: Love it. Dr. Bob Nelson: Very powerful. Very simple. Steve Rush: Very much so. So, we're going to turn the tables a little bit now. We're going to start to hack into your mind. Now of the 31 books and the 1001 Ways to Engage Employees. We're going to try and dis distill all of that down now into the top three leadership hacks that you can share. What would they be Bob? Dr. Bob Nelson: There you go. Okay, well, here it goes. I'd say all motivation starts with the person. So, ask them what motivates them. Don't try to guess. Just ask them, ask them individually, or as a group, would be the first thing some, again, advice I'm going to give you is going to be very simple, because this is what I swim in. So, ask the questions, take the answers seriously, do the top one or two things that they mention. So today that might be you know, and managers often are scared to do this because they say, well, when people are going to say they want more money, well maybe they will. And you know, is that valid? Then maybe they should be paid more. I don't know. But more times than not, I find that the things that come up are, do not involve money, but being thanked by someone, they hold in high esteem by their manager or upper manager. As I indicated. Being involved in a decision, especially one that affects them, 89% of employees say, they'd like to have that. 92% say they'd like to be asked for their ideas and suggestions. And if they have a good idea, given autonomy and authority to pursue it. So again, from my research and application of these concepts, most of the things that come surprisingly amazingly delightfully don't cost money to implement, just a little bit, you know behavior. So, a little bit of insight, a little bit of thoughtfulness. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: And then actually doing it. So, it's not good enough to know you should do it. You got to actually do it in your practices, in your daily regimen as a leader. So, ask, prioritize and do. That'd be the three I would say. Steve Rush: And it sounds so simple that we get caught up in our busy worlds. And it's just one of those things that we don't pay attention enough to. So, I love that, great stuff. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yes. Dr. Bob Nelson: Next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your life or work has not worked out as you'd planned, might have been quite catastrophic at the time, but as a result you've learned from it and it now serves you well, what would be your Hack to Attack? Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, I'd say, not just me. For a lot of people doing a switching gears and tact, and what you're doing when somebody's not working. So, the pandemic change work for a lot of people. I was making my living probably 9% of my revenue was from physically speaking at conferences and traveling to work with companies and that kind of all stopped overnight actually [laugh] and so. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Bob Nelson: They go well, okay. So, I pivoted to do, you know, other things and to do things that were not in person. So, a lot of that's virtual. I've done a lot of webinars and I've been doing more consulting. So, you know, I think pivoting would be my recommendation when something's not working, try something else. And if that works a little better, then do more of that. And actually, my personal [laugh], strategy over the last 30 years has been, if I've got three or four or four or five strategies in play, then, you know, two or three are going to pay out and that has happened in my career. So that, I think [laugh], I think that canon could work for anyone. That whatever you're doing right now, isn't working for whatever reason, you could fight that and fight that, or you can change and modify and pivot and try something different, maybe build off of what you're doing, do something different. And, then you try different things. One probably going to work better than another. So, there you get your own feedback, right there will take out in that direction. Steve Rush: Yeah, paying attention to oneself is really important. That you're often the barometer of those decisions, but we. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah. Steve Rush: Sometimes get a bit stubborn when it comes to ourselves. Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, and it's easy to say, well, this should work. It worked before. Well, okay. Times changed somehow. And for whatever reason, it's not working now. So, you could sit in that in state for a long time and you can begrudge why the world has changed, or you can. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: You can change with it. I'm far more taking positive action to make your life better. Steve Rush: So, the last part of the show, Bob, we get to give you a chance now to do a bit of time travel. You get to bump into Bob who wasn't the doctor at the time at 21 and give him some advice, what would it be? Dr. Bob Nelson: I would say double down more on my instincts. So I, which I think is good advice all the time, to trust one's instincts, but you know, a lot of times we don't because we feel well, we don't know much about this topic, or, you know, and so we override our instincts, even though our gut tells you this doesn't seem like a good person to work with, or this doesn't seem like, you know, we stick with it. And I would trust my instincts more. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: You know, because when I've had those, they've been good and I would have gotten even better results had I'd done more of that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: There you go. Steve Rush: Awesome. Dr. Bob Nelson: Opened myself up to you there. Steve Rush: [Laugh], thank you for that, Bob. Appreciate it. So, we're coming to the kind of top of our show now, and I think it's really important that we allow all our listeners to tap into some of the fun and energy that you bring to your work and that your career has proven to be so successful around Bob. How can we best connect our audience to you? Dr. Bob Nelson: Well, I've got, wouln’t you know, an email and website, my email is That's so they can email me or even call me directly, 8582185049 in San Diego, California USA would be ways. I have a website. My website's had some glitches here lately, so it it's been on and off, but it's That's I've got an online store and a lot of my books are on that store at discounted prices, cheaper than Amazon or. Steve Rush: Cool. Dr. Bob Nelson: You know, and then of course the book is available wherever books are sold. My books, Work Made Fun Gets Done. Latest, the one before that is 1001 Ways to Engage Employees. And the one that most people know before is, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees Now in the new addition, 1501 Ways to Reward Employees. Steve Rush: [Laugh], and as you keep collecting them, the books are going to keep growing and evolving, I'm Sure. Dr. Bob Nelson: I guess, yeah, I guess. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Bob Nelson: It's an ongoing story [laugh]. Steve Rush: You're probably the only guest we've ever had on an international show, like ours to give away their phone number. So fantastic, and homage to you for that! Dr. Bob Nelson: Yeah, no, I love hearing from people. I love helping people. And of course, if you have an opportunity that you'd looking for a speaker for your organization or for an event or for your association, I still do a lot of that and would love to help you out. Steve Rush: Awesome, bob. We'll make sure those links and information’s all in our show notes as well. So, people can demonstrate over to your website and have a look at some more of the stuff that you do. From my perspective. I just want to say, thank you. It's been super fun. You've been really insightful, some great stories, and I'm just delighted that we are connected through this medium and welcome to our broader community, The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Dr. Bob Nelson: Thanks so much for having me. Steve, it's been a pleasure. Steve Rush: Thanks Bob. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
49:05 20/06/22
Get Energized with Simon Alexander Ong
Simon Alexander Ong is an award-winning life and executive coach, keynote speaker, an author of the book Energize. This show is packed full of leadership hacks, tools and ideas that will get you energized, including: How we can awaken our power. The benefits of rewiring our energetic state. Why we need to manage our energy and not our time. How to supercharge our impact. Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services Find out more about Simon below: Simon on LinkedIn: Simon’s Book: Simon on Twitter: Simon on Instagram: Simon’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   I'm delighted to welcome to our show today. Simon Alexander Ong. He's an award-winning life and executive coach, keynote speaker, an author of the book Energize. But before we get a chance to speak with Simon, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: What would you do with an extra two hours a week? Just two. Now, imagine if you could even create more free time, here's an equation I want you to think about. Structure plus discipline, equals freedom. Do you believe that to be true? The reality is, by giving us disciplines within a structure creates capacity for us to do other things. But if we get caught up in the moment, here's a few tech hacks will help us unlock capacity. Set up email filters. in a perfect world we'd only have emails hit our inbox for those that we really needed. The reality is, our inbox gets inundated with emails, not only internally, but from marketeers and those who choose to spam us. Given the fact we don't already have enough, right? You can set up rules that help you filter emails. There's software out there as well. But your firm will probably just let you use the one that you are used to use. But most email service providers let you automatically create labels, filters, and folders. And rule of mine, when I’m on vacation, CC into the delete box. And only if it's resent as a main message, I'd read it. Asynchronous and automatic meetings. Now asynchronous meetings means that you don't have meetings per se, but you use other mediums to communicate through Teams or Zoom or slack or whatever it is you use. Collectively the stuff still gets done, but in a more flexible way, other ways of course is using automation. And according to a recent survey by Dialpad, 83% of professionals spend between at least four to twelve hours in back-to-back meetings. And in my experience, I'd love it to be so few. To help you. You can use automated meeting calendars and you can ask your teams to work with that calendaring system. Also just create space and blocks so that others don't take advantage of your open calendar system. For those of you, a little late adopter to computers, talk to type functions, you might want to take a look. Speech recognition software can really speed up how you take notes, prepare meetings, and you can even use your computers, talk to type function, to dictate emails or other documents, or even play emails back to you invoice while you are walking the dog, or you are in between meetings. And while voice recognition software has come a long way. It's not perfect. So, you'll need to make sure that you use it in the right way and double check it, particularly if you're going to publish to anywhere. And in the hybrid world, we're in, this is not necessarily a tech hack, but a hack it is nonetheless. Let somebody else do the cooking. If you're working from home, weekday meals could take up a lot of time, including the planning, shopping, preparing, cooking. And if you find yourself running late or nipping to the store, by the time you've got your produce back and you cut your vegetables, you might already have wasted another hour. You can use lots of pre-cooked meals or boxed meals to help you become more efficient in the way that you work and the way that you prepare your dinners. Our greatest commodity is time. And once we spend our time, we can't get it back. As of today, 48% of people say that they don't have enough time to do what they want. So, take control of some of the technology and some of the innovation that is around us and give it a try. Remember, there's a bit of learning here, so you'll have to spend some time figuring out what works and what doesn't work for you. For that reason, look for apps and look for other technologies that support you in your approach to being awesome. So, get out there and have a go. That's been The Leadership Hacker in News. Don't forget you can always share your ideas and things that you want us to talk about in the show, by contacting us through our social media.   Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Simon Alexander Ong is our special guest on today's show. He's a personal growth entrepreneur, coach, and speaker. He's also the author of the book Energize. Simon, welcome to the show, my friend! Simon Alexander Ong: Steve, thank you so much for having me on. Steve Rush: I'm really looking forward to today. And the whole subject of energize is probably the most timely for everybody. All of that will become much more apparent as we dive into the themes. The tagline of the book though, Simon is, Make the most out of every moment. And that's exactly what I intend to do with you. So, let's jump straight in and learn a little bit about Simon and your backstory and how you arrived doing what you're doing? Simon Alexander Ong: Sure. So, I was born here in the United Kingdom, Steve to Malaysian parents. And I grew up with this mistaken and belief that success was determined by my job title, be a banker, be a doctor, be a lawyer, be an accountant. And so, my definition was limited to a few choices that I believe would make me successful. Steve Rush: And it's interesting, isn’t it? Those labels kind of set you off on a trajectory, didn't they? So, you ended up in a career in banking and then before you knew it, you were doing something else, right? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. I mean, I ended up going down the bank route at what was probably the worst possible time, Steve, because this was in the middle of 2007, I had just graduated, and this was also year before the financial crisis. And the first company I started was with Lehman Brothers. And so as, you know, that company collapsed into administration in September, 2008, and now while it was painful at the time, I mean, for anybody who's gone through a redundancy, it is never a nice experience, but at the same time, in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise because it kick started for me the journey to where I am today, because it got me to question those beliefs that I had held for so long about whether they were really true and whether that was serving me or actually hurting me. And so that was where my interest in the word of entrepreneurship started. And, then it wasn't until 2012 that I really started to focus my energy on what I now get to do today, which is to coach those in leadership positions to speak at conferences and companies. And more recently having finished writing my first book, Steve Rush: Those sliding door moments, isn't it? Where, you know, in the face of adversity, you leave a job that you'd been primed to do all of your life to then find actually it was the sliding door that opened another path. Simon Alexander Ong: Mm-Hmm, mm-hmm. And it's interesting because when I think about that sliding door and I guess many other sliding doors as well, it's that what I've come to understand is that those moments in which we feel at the time are setbacks or failures are actually the very moments that equip us with the wisdom to create the best moments of our life, to step into a path that were completely transform what had come before. Steve Rush: And how much of your growing up with that kind of real strong influence of your folks to say, right. You have to get yourself an academic career and get yourself into a role. How much of that you now still rely on, but in a different way? Simon Alexander Ong: I think I rely a lot less now, obviously because I am not following those definitions now, but I think taking the, I guess the human values from my parents, from my dad's side, I think it has definitely been the hard work element. My dad has always been very committed to what he does. And I think I've taken a lot of that on board. When I do something, I want to see it through to the end. I want to make sure I've given it my best shot. For my mom's side. It has been the empathy, my mom, when you know, before she gave birth to myself and my brother, she was a nurse, and she was very understanding about what other people were going through. And she was able to connect with others in a very powerful way. And so, I think I've taken some of that on board in the work that I do, because coaching, speaking, they are very much a people business. And so, when you engage with someone, it is very important to have that level of emotional intelligence to be able to relate to other people. So, I think those are the values and those are the characteristics that I feel I've taken from my family. Steve Rush: Yeah, awesome. So, then fast forward, you've now just published, Energized, and I have to say, it's a fantastic read. And most importantly, it's getting loads of coverage and you must be really pleased with it, how it's been launched. In fact, I go, as far as say, every time I turn on my social media, there's you and [laugh] and so, you and your marketing team are doing a fantastic job by the way, but I marched to you for that. So, tell us a little bit about that journey. Simon Alexander Ong: Thank you so much. So, I think whenever you start a business, there are lots of roles that you have to take on board because you become your own financial officer, you become your own marketer, your own publicist and so on. And I think when you run a business, you have a natural preference for certain activities, more than others. And for me, because I've always enjoyed speaking, I've grown up with social media, if you like when I was finishing university, I very much enjoyed the marketing side. So, for me, in getting the book out to the world, once the marketing campaign kicked in, I was very much in my element, Steve, because I was looking at ways that we can take videos of the journey. I was looking at partnerships that we could create. I mean, we partnered with The Connaught Hotel to create a signature cocktail inspired by the book. We put together a video trailer in the same way that movies do before the film is released in the cinema. And just last week we partnered with two companies to host one of the world's first book launches in the metaverse. And so, for me, that's what really gives me energy is, to explore this creative side of my brain especially when it's been around the book, which has also been a very important milestone for myself. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm indeed it has, yeah. So, what was that defining moment then Simon? When you thought I've got something here? I need to kind of put pen to paper. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh] well, what is interesting because if I look back at the book journey, Steve, I wasn't actually planning to write a book. I mean in the middle of 2019, where I sat down and reflected on the first half of the year and started to plan for the second. Writing a book was not on my top three or even top five priorities until towards the end of that year, I got approached by a boutique publisher. And they asked if I was interested in writing a book and I thought, well, it doesn't hurt to have a conversation. And so, I went along, I had a coffee to hear what they had in mind. And I came away from that conversation thinking, well, if I was to only write one book, would I be happy with what they were sharing and working with them? And the answer for me was, no. I mean, I had a feeling inside of me that would regret if I didn't think bigger than where I was at the moment. And so, I went away, Steve and I started to reach out to the Penguins, Simon Schuster, Harper Collins, Hay House, some of these big names in the publishing world. And out of the people I reached out to, Penguin was the only one that responded. And so, in January 2020, we met up in person. And still at that point, I didn't know what I was going to write about because I didn't even know if I was going to get a book deal and if this was going to progress. And so, after that conversation, they came back to me and said, Simon, we would like you to put a book proposal together. And I think that was the time that I started thinking about what this would be about Steve. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And the book is called Energized. But at the time submitting the proposal, the title I put as a working title was actually originally energy is everything. And the reason I put forward that title is because it spoke a lot to my own journey, but also to the fact that when I study some of the most successful leaders in any industry, what I've often found is that they're not necessarily the smartest, the fastest or the strongest, but they are the best when it comes to managing and sustaining their level of energy, because they know that you cannot show up as your best self, if you're always feeling exhausted and drained. Steve Rush: Yeah, and that's cuts across every genre, whether it be business, sport, you look at those that are in peak performance of anything is how they manage their energy to get that optimum performance, right? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely, definitely, because. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: You have to realize that unless you manage your energy in a sustainable way, you're going to very quickly burn out. And if you want to achieve anything of, you know, on a big scale, you are going to need a lot of energy. And so really understanding how to manage and optimize that will help you in the long term. Steve Rush: Yeah, and energy is everything. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: And there's no question, but let's dive into some of the themes within the books and our listeners will be dying to hear about them. Now you've developed four key components as I've called them. They're probably kind of big blocky chapters with lots of really great hacks and tools and tips within them. And I thought it would be really interesting to be able to spin through them and maybe dive into a couple of those themes. Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. So, I split the book into four parts, part one, awaken your power to rewire your energetic state, three, protect your personal energy and four, supercharge your impact. And the reason I did that is because that takes the reader very much through the journey that I have been on as well as touching on important areas that I've learned over time that can really help us show up as our best selves. So, in the first part, awaken your power. This speaks a lot to the beginnings of my journey. Transitioning from a corporate world to the path of an entrepreneur and how you've got to have some baseline of energy before you can apply some of the knowledge, the strategies, the tips, and hacks that you may hear about. And for me, that always starts with our health. I mean, if there's anything that we've learned over the last couple of years, Steve, is that health really is the first wealth. Steve Rush: Absolutely right, yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: You may have lots of dreams, hopes, and wishes, but unless you're healthy, unless you're able to put those things into action, they will just remain a distant dream. A good way to think about it is this. A healthy person will have lots of things they want to do. The sick will only have one, and that is to get healthy again. And so, once we've put in place some healthy habits, once we've prioritized our health, then we've put a powerful foundation and platform to really build upon. And so that leads into the second part, which is rewire your energetic state. Understanding that it is often the state that we're in that determines the actions, the choices, and the behaviors we take. And then the third part is protecting because once you've got to a point in which you have a lot of energy in your life, it's in a question of, well, how do I protect that? So, I don't leak it away doing things that actually drain me of energy. And I think that can be very challenging for a lot of us, especially when we are ambitious, or we have lots of things we want to do. We forget that creating boundaries to protect our time and breathe oxygen into the things that matter most, just fall by the wayside. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And so, we have to be aware and conscious of protecting our energy that is aligned to what we want to do in the long term. And the last part really speaks to legacy. You know, I think ultimately, we all want to leave a good legacy behind. And so, the final part, supercharge your impact inspires the readers on how they can go about doing so. Steve Rush: So, let's dive into a couple of things, because there was a few things as I read it that really pricked my conscious, the first one, ironically, was under your, awaken your power. You talk about how we can elevate our consciousness and be really in the presence and in the service of our thoughts. Tell us a little bit about what that really means and how as a leader, I might do that? Simon Alexander Ong: Sure. So, what that speaks to is the fact that you cannot have self-development without self-awareness because you simply can't change what you're not aware of. And so, by elevating our consciousness, it's understanding that beginning of true wisdom is knowing ourselves and that begins with our thoughts. So, when I encourage readers to take up the practice of writing or journaling, what I'm really doing is getting them to better understand themselves because the activity of writing is the cheapest form of therapy. As you get to know yourself, your thoughts, your desires, your challenges, you get greater clarity and understanding on what to do next. But most of us, we keep all of that in our mind and we don’t download it onto paper that it can feel overwhelming. Steve Rush: Yes, right. Simon Alexander Ong: But when we can transfer that clutter from our brain onto paper, what happens is that we're able to organize our thoughts in a way that opens up the path to knowing what the next step is. Steve Rush: And that's really quite a powerful thing to do, isn't it? And for those people who haven't yet experienced journaling, it does also take a bit of practice and a bit of discipline too. Doesn't it? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely, and I think the key with any new practice, Steve is not to pressure yourself on whether I'm doing it right or whether I'm doing it wrong because there's no right way to journal. For some of us, we may need prompts for others we may just want to write down whatever comes to our mind. I mean that's something that was encouraged by Julia Cameron as a concept of morning pages, how I just download whatever's on my mind and then I can filter food out after I put it onto paper. So, the key is, as long as you're journaling, however you're journaling. That is the most important part. Steve Rush: So, as we spin forward, I've kind of raised myself awareness. Now my power is definitely awake. We often find ourselves bumping into what you call energetic blocks. Simon Alexander Ong: Mm. Steve Rush: How would you describe that to our listeners? Simon Alexander Ong: So energetic blocks for me are things that stop you, making progress towards where you want to be and often those can be mental. To give you an example is that if you desire to achieve something, but your critic jumps in and says, you can't do that, it's too difficult. You're too old or you're too young. What's happening is that you have blocked your path of achieving what you want to do. You're setting up these obstacles, these blocks that are going to prevent you from making progress. So, once we understand the nature of how this works, of how energetic blocks will actually prevent us from making progress the way we want to be. We then have to understand how we can rewire the way our mind works. So that actually those blocks will melt away and allow us to make the steps forward to where we want to be. And very often it simply begins with speaking to ourselves in the same way we would to someone we care about. Because even when we achieve something, Steve, what happens is, the critic was still jumping. Steve Rush: Right. Simon Alexander Ong: You know, when you finish a marathon, despite finishing that challenge, your mind often doesn't focus on the fact you finish it. It says, well, I didn't get the time I wanted, I didn't do this. I didn't do that. And what happens is that we're always focus on what we didn't do rather than what we did. Steve Rush: Yeah. The voice in the head is so powerful. Isn't it Simon? You know, the one that we wake up with in the morning or the last voice we hear before we go to bed and I often have shared before, you know, it's also going to be the last voice that we hear before we die. So, this voice has got to help us out. It's got to be an empowered of us rather than the limit, right? Simon Alexander Ong: Totally. Because the person and you alluded to it just now, Steve, the person you are going to speak to the most in your lifetime is yourself. And so, words do have power. I mean, they have the ability to serve a prison sentence to your potential or free and awaken it to achieve and express its full creativity. Steve Rush: I love that. I'm going to write that down. Prison sentence to your potential. That’s a belter. I love that, Simon. So now we've managing to get round our blocks. What we often find is that we perhaps don't pay enough attention to our energy states and indeed where we get our energy from and how we manage that. And my favorite chapter in your book is managing your energy, not your time because you know, you can't manage time. Time's going to manage us, but we've got full control over our energy, right? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. I mean, when we think about productivity, a lot of us jump exclusively to managing our time better. But the issue with is that if we only focus on managing our time better, we forget that our energy is not constant. When we only focus on managing our time, we mistakenly assume that our energy's uniform for the whole day when in fact it isn't. And so, if I'm opening up my calendar and I look at the afternoon and I go, okay, I'm going to block out four o'clock to five o'clock to go and do a workout. I'm then going to tackle this big task at six o'clock. What actually happens in reality is you never get around to doing so because on average, our energy starts to decline as we move through the afternoon. And so, what you're doing here is you're working against your energy rather than with it. And so, once we start understanding our own energy rhythm, so for some of us, we may be early rises. Others might be night owls. Some of us might be energized in the afternoon. Some of us might get a slump in the afternoon. Once we understand those data points, what happens is that we can begin working with our energy and not against it. And so, if you are an early riser, then it makes sense to tackle your most important task first thing in the morning, if you are a night owl, then it makes sense to do some of that work at the end of the day. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: But you won't know that until you understand at a deeper level how your energy fluctuates throughout the day. And that's why a term that I used in the book; Steve is being a better CEO. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: Energy officer. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. And if you look back over the millennial, this has been written about by all sorts of different religions and gurus that energy as its key source is what's going to create your capability or your productivity. And I know you quote quite a lot of different themes of energy in the book in including, you know, the Chinese Chi and that's very much kind of central to making sure that you are productive. Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. And that's why when you see somebody, and we would've all come across people like this. You will notice that those who have high energy can get more done in days or weeks than many will get accomplished in months or even years. Steve Rush: Right. Simon Alexander Ong: And that is because how they show up in the same hour that others show up is infinitely different. Steve Rush: And also, I know that this isn't just about being on your game all of the time, a key part of managing your energy is recovery and managing that energy flow too. Isn't it? Simon Alexander Ong: Indeed. I think what we're missing here, Steve is the fact that we are very quick to schedule into our diary, work meetings, social events, and holiday plans, but not so quick in scheduling in me time. Steve Rush: That's right. Simon Alexander Ong: And so just imagine if we were to schedule into our calendar me time, as quickly as we do those other things, I think what then happens is that we start to prioritize those moments of intentional rest rather than just being on all the time, because we can't be on all the time. We're not built to be on all the time. And so, we do need those periods to reset, rejuvenate and recharge. Steve Rush: Yeah, and one of the things into this part of the book, I love as well is, you call it how you can go about electrifying your environment. Tell us about that? Simon Alexander Ong: I've gone through a number of experiences that really electrified my environment, Steve. So, one of the messages I often share with clients and audiences is that the fastest way to make progress is to design an environment that makes it impossible not to succeed. And a lot of that comes down to how you are electrifying your environment, because if you are in environments that simply electrify you, open your mind to new ideas, elevate your thinking from big to astronomical. Then what happens is that you have a constant supply of energy from that source. Now your environment, isn't just people you spend time with. It is also what you watch, what you listen to, who you follow on social media, your physical environment, your digital environment, all of these things act as a force and an influence are not only how you see yourself, but what you see as possible for your future. Steve Rush: And we often don't realize that our environment has changed so much over the last ten years. Some of the things like news, media, TV, and social media, that's so accessible to us now, if we're not really thoughtful about where we consume and indeed what we consume from those channels, it can have a massive impact on energy. Can't it? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. And that's why it goes back to the point of being aware. You know, if we're not a aware or consciously aware of how our environment is influencing our behavior and our energy, then what happens is that we simply become a victim to external events. But when we begin to take responsibility for where we are and where we want to be, that's when we actually deepen our awareness of, are we spending time focusing on things we can control or we're focusing on things we can't? And for many of us, it tends to be on the latter. Steve Rush: You also talk about the environment being broader than what we just talked about indeed people as well, that you actually can infect and be infected positively adversely by people's energy states too. Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. And this is why you know, being aware and curating your environment is so important because energy is neutral in the sense that it doesn't care if you're spending time around negative or positive sources, you simply become infected by whatever quality of energy you spend time with. So of course, the more time you spend around negative sources of energy in no time, you're going to feel very negative. And likewise, if you spend a lot of time around sources of energy that are positive, in no time, you're going to start feeling very positive. And this is why we have to be very careful about the energy that we expose ourselves to. Because very quickly we become like the energy that we are associated with. Steve Rush: You can't always visibly see this, but you can feel it. It's almost like a, I don't know how you'd describe it, but like it radiates from people. You can physically get good vibes, bad vibes, call it what you like from people. And that draws people to people, and it pushes them away. Doesn't it? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely, I mean, there's an interesting study that I came across in the research from my book, Steve, that showed that young children especially those under the age of three or four actually understand this in a way that we don't. So, to give an example, under the age of three or four children are still learning to speak fluently. So often they still speak quite broken, but if they were to walk into a room in which you know, parents have had an argument, a child can sense that and will react very differently to if the parents were very happy and were showering the child with love because they can't articulate those things in words, but they do it through emotion and body language. It's been shown that children actually can feel the energy of a room. Steve Rush: It's fascinating, isn't it? In fact, I was chatting to a future guest last week. Simon Alexander Ong: Mm-hmm. Steve Rush: And they do leadership work with horses. Simon Alexander Ong: Mm-hmm. Steve Rush: And apparently horses can also feel energy from people in a very similar way. And, you know, they've described taking leadership teams to stables and the horse’s kind of spooking because they're not particularly effective. And conversely, you know, you can see these animals physically manifest when there's a positive energy with this team. Find it really fascinating. Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. Even if we look at organizations, I mean, those in positions of leadership are like the thermostat of the energy field of an organization, the leader is. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: Constantly emitting positive energy and vibes, then guess what? The people beneath him or her will feel exactly the same. And it's seeing when they show up with. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: Negative energy, of course, everybody around him or her will start feeling negative. And so, that's the same thing when we think about organizations Steve Rush: And you close off your book with supercharging your impact, and ironically, the title of the book that you had planned was the last chapter of your book. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh] Steve Rush: Energy is everything. And how would you just kind of summarize the whole kind of energy and energy state? Simon Alexander Ong: Sure. So, to summarize, think of it this way for the listeners. You may call it Chi. I mean, we've touched on that before, you may call it Chi if you come from Chinese culture. If you come from Maui culture, you will probably call it Mana or if you're a fan of the Star Wars film franchise, you will call it the force. Now, whatever we are referring to, it is the same thing, which is energy as a life force. And for me, once we start to tap into that from a spiritual and emotional and mental and a physical perspective, we begin to not only unleash our deepest potential, but what happens is we actually start to contribute to a story that will positively influence all the lives of people to come into contact with us. And that for me is how we supercharge our impact. It's by understanding the relationship we have with our energy as a life force and then to sharing that with other people so that they will be inspired to step out of the shadows of their own story and into the light of their hero potential Steve Rush: Love it. I think it's amazing. So, we are going to share with our listeners at the end of the show, how they can get a copy of the book and learn more about you. Before I do that, though, I'm going to just flip the lens a little, and I'm going to hack into your great entrepreneurial and developmental brain and try and get you to distill all of that wise learnings and research into your top three leadership hacks, Simon, what would they be? Simon Alexander Ong: Sure. So, if I had to extract free leadership hacks, the first would be to ask for help. The second would be to help others. And the third would be to diversify your inputs. And I'll just elaborate briefly on each one. So, the first ask for help. Simply taps into the concept that we never get to the top alone. And unless you are humble enough to embrace that eternal student mindset and to ask for help from other people, people that may be better than you in some respects with regards to skills or knowledge or insights, then what happens is that you start to think more innovatively and creatively. So, ask for help would be the first one. Second would be help others. You know, something I learned from one of my mentors, a man called Bob Burg, who co-authored the book, The Go-Giver is, that the secret to success is giving. And that is because our value as a human on this planet is determined by how much more we have given to the world than we have taken from it. And I think that the more we can help others, the more that we can unleash other people's leadership potential. Then what happens is that through that process, we are demonstrating leadership ourselves. Steve Rush: Perfect example, of course, is when you give energy to people and you give the right attitude and environment, you get it back. Simon Alexander Ong: This is Kamer in action. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And the third one there is to diversify your inputs. And this is what I mean by diversity your inputs. If you only look at your competition, you can only be as good as your competition. And that immediately sets a bar to your growth because you're only using your competition as a benchmark. But once you open your mind to people from very different industries, from different walks of life, from different experiences, you begin to awaken your creative potential. And this is how innovation is born. It's not born by looking your competitors. It's born by looking at people outside of your industry, and then bringing in the impact and influence of those inputs into your own so that you are seen as innovative. So, to give an example, the idea for the cocktail to mark the launch of my book, Steve, that came about from being connected to the bartender, the world's best bar, The Connaught Hotel. The idea for the video trailer came from my conversations with a friend who directs movies. And so, by diversifying the inputs I have into my environment and my mind, I'm able to really explore my creativity. Steve Rush: Yeah, I love it. Super hacks. So, in the next part of the show, Simon, we call it Hack to Attack. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: So, this is typically where it hasn't gone well. Now, you've had an incredible success journey, but there have probably been times as all of us where, you know, it's all gone wrong, and it's not worked out as we'd intended. So, as a result of that though, has there been a time where something's gone wrong and it's now serving you well? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely. I think the first example that came to my mind as you asked that question, Steve was the beginning of my speaking journey. And you may record a story actually because I shared it in a chapter in my book and it was when I got invited for my first paid speaking. I'd never done that before. I mean, I've done free talks before, but this was my first paid speaking. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And so, I prepared rigorously for the delivery. I had notes, I had bullet points on what I wanted to cover. And I made my way to the event, which was held in Canary Wharf in London. It was at the top of one of these skyscrapers and fifty minutes before we were about to start, I checked him with the team. I said, are we all good? Can they see my slides? Does the tech work? And everything was okay. And then as I started to put my notes on the keyboard of my laptop so that I can reference them throughout the delivery, I noticed that in my rush, out of my house, I brought with me the wrong set of notes, i.e., the wrong set of paper. And suddenly I was thinking, do I continue? Or do I stop. Steve Rush: One of those moments, isn’t it? Simon Alexander Ong: Where your kind of like, well, I didn't expect this. And so, I had to really regroup myself. And just for context, keep in mind this wasn't like a Ted Talk that was only 20 minutes long. This was a 90-minute workshop. So, this was a lengthy delivery, but I stayed there, and I followed through and delivering to the audience. And if there's anything I took from that experience, Steve, it's how to buy time when you need time to think about what you're going to say next [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yes. I've been there many times. Simon Alexander Ong: And so, I remember a point saying to the audience when I needed the space to think what was going to come next, because I didn't have my notes with me. I would say things such as well. I would like you to take a moment now to turn to the person to the left and right of you and share your thoughts to what I just asked. And I would give them around five or six minutes or so. And I would use that time to think about what I'm going to say next, or what was I meant to say next? And so that taught me how to speak when things don't always go your way but also to speak without notes. And I think that has served me well since then, Steve. Steve Rush: Super example. So, the last thing we get to do is give you the opportunity for a bit of time travel. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: And you can bump into Simon at twenty-one and give him some words of wisdom. Now, what do you think that might be? Simon Alexander Ong: So much to share so much to tell Steve. I think the first thing that comes to mind, if I were to sit in front of that twenty-one Simon would be trust what your heart is telling you more than the approval of others. Because listen to your heart may not always get you to where you want to be, but it will always get you to where you need to be. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And it's far better spending a time doing that than it is seeking validation from people who don't really care about your success. Steve Rush: It's an interesting use of phraseology as well, listening to your heart because actually people argue, you probably have people at the end of their devices now going, how do you listen to someone's heart? The irony of what you've just described actually is listen to your energy. Meta physicians around the world will tell you that that's what's happening. It's the energy, right? Simon Alexander Ong: Definitely because that's why I described in the second, I think it's the second or the third chapter that the longest journey we make as humans are the inches for my heads to our hearts. Steve Rush: Yeah. Simon Alexander Ong: And the reason, it's never an easy journey because as you say, Steve, it's really about listening to our body and our energy. And some of us got the opportunity to do that when the world was in lockdown, because when you couldn't go outside, the only place you could go was inside. Steve Rush: Yeah, that’s right. Simon Alexander Ong: And so, as we reflected at a deep level about where we were in life and whether we were doing this sort of work, that brought fulfillment, it made many of us question what our next set of actions would be. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm. Simon Alexander Ong: And I think a lot of that did contribute to this experience that is going on in America. And I'm pretty sure elsewhere in the world called the great resignation because people are now awakening to the fact that maybe I should give what I really want to do a shot. Steve Rush: Yeah, and we're seeing that everywhere in every walk of life, which is really fascinating too. So, what's next for you then Simon? What's on the cards? Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh]. So, for me, I'm just enjoying as much as I can now, Steve, the book being out in the world, seeing in people's hands. I'm due to speak in India next month, next month, being June. So doing a free city tour and then Dubai in September. And I'm going to start thinking about book number two, because I'm already flush with lots of ideas on the back of this book. And so, join us for a moment, Steve, and then I I'll slowly see what's next. Steve Rush: Fantastic. Sounds like episode number two for you. Simon Alexander Ong: [Laugh]. Indeed, indeed. Steve Rush: So, Simon, where can our listeners get a copy of Energize and tap into the great resources that you're putting out to the world right now? Simon Alexander Ong: Sure. So, to learn more about the book and purchase a copy. You can head to That is energized with a Z. And if you would like to connect with me or ask any questions on the back of this conversation, then you can find me on all social media platforms. But the two that I use the most are LinkedIn and Instagram in which my handle is at @Simonalexandero. Steve Rush: Simon, thank you ever so much for coming and join us on the show. I am pretty certain that there is a massive opportunity around a corner for you. You are putting great energy out there and I'm certainly benefiting from it personally. So, thank you for that, and thank you for coming on the show and being part of our community. Simon Alexander Ong: Steve, thank you so much and very grateful to have been invited onto your show. Steve Rush: Thanks Simon. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, @the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
42:52 13/06/22
Coaching The Brain with Joseph O’Connor
Joseph O’Connor is the founder of the Neuroscience Coaching Centre, Co-Founder of the ICC, The International Coaching Community. Joseph is one of the worlds most renowned experts on NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming and written dozens of articles, over 20 books and education material on NLP and Coaching. In this show you can learn about: What Neuroplasticity is and how we could develop it. How can we coach the brain? The difference between experiences vs. the medical parts of the brain What is hot cognition and why it is so important?   Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services.   Find out more about Joseph Joseph’s website: Joseph on LinkedIn: Joseph email:     Full Transcript Below   Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you The Leadership Hacker News How many leaders does it take to change a light bulb? Well, the answer's one, however, it takes seven or eight leaders to decide that it's the right light bulb to change that it needs changing now, and that we have the right technical kit and equipment to change the light bulb. So where am I getting at here? Well, I asked a question. What is the optimum number of leaders that we need typically in a quorum to make the right decisions? There's lots of research about this. So, I dove into Harvard Business Review and Governance today. Harvard Business Review claims that seven is the right number and odd numbers in fact of any criteria is a good thing. While Governance today said it was eight to ten. Getting back to your actual number, think about the benefits of a large group. The more people you have, theoretically, the better chance you have getting the best information. However, if that said seven or ten have really opened channels of communication, have created a flow of information through their workforce, then it is probably the right number. What is critically important however, is the diversity of that seven to ten, making sure they bring social sensitivity to situations, making sure that they reflect the true voice of their workforce in those meetings and have the real clarity understanding of expectations from not only their workforce, but their shareholders too. Going way back to the 1970s research concluded by Hackman and Vidmar on the Optum size of groups for membership, communication and outcomes actually composed an optimum size of four point six. This is based on research and science and still holds true somewhat today. Their study concluded that senior teams operate best when the optimum size of number is about seven. Correlated with our recent research, the research and studies provide evidence that the more the numbers are in a team and particularly a leadership team, the more likely the team is to encounter problems with its functioning and its outcomes. So, getting the size right, get the diversity of your team, right, tick, but let's not forget. Engagement of that team is incredibly important, and size alone is not sufficient in creating a winning success. That success depends on you as the leader of that leadership team, encouraging, engaging, and facilitating great conversations so they put their energy to the front so that you all collectively can achieve your goals. And for those listeners here today who have maybe smaller teams than seven in its entirety, who's on your personal board? How do you extend that team? So, you get diversity of thinking input and ideas. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Our special guest today is Joseph O'Connor. He's the founder of the Neuroscience Coaching Center, co-founder of the ICC, that's the International Coaching Community. And he's one of the most renowned experts on NLP Neurolinguistic Programming. Joseph's written dozens of articles and over twenty books on the education of NLP and coaching. In his new book, Coaching The Brain, he explores how we can use our knowledge of the brain to help ourselves and others learn. We're truly in the presence of one of the world's global thought leaders in this space. Joseph, welcome to the show. Joseph O’Conner: Thanks Steve. It's great to be here. Many thanks for those kind words. Steve Rush: You're very welcome. You have an incredible history. There are very few guests that I get to speak to where I already have a bunch of their books that have taught me on my journey and yours is one of those. So, I'm delighted that we have the chance to speak it through. Tell us a bit about that, journey for you? Joseph O’Conner: Originally [laugh]many years ago, I was professional guitarist. I was a professional musician, and this got me into an interest, of course, in how we perform? You know, how people do well or not. Because if you're playing classical guitar in front of a group of people, it's quite nerve wracking. So, I found that with most players, I could teach them how to play, but I couldn't teach them how to be able to give their best in front of a challenging audience. If you see what I mean, you know, that's just the first thing. I think in any kind of skill you can teach the skill, you can learn the skill, but it's something else to actually be able to do the skill when you really need to, especially if it's under challenging conditions. So, this really got me interested, in first of all, NLP, coaching you know, in a game of all sorts of things and really how we can get out of our own way when we really need to deliver. Steve Rush: And since then, you have really dedicated almost a lifetime's work in that subject of NLP and coaching. What were the things that really drew you into that as a genre and as a philosophy, if you like? Joseph O’Conner: Well, I've always been interested in the inner game as it were. It's fantastic to see people who are really, really good at something, you know, whether it's athletics, music theater, presentations, teaching, it doesn't matter, in anything. You see someone who's really, really good at something and it looks easy. I can remember as a kid seeing these great guitarists and thinking, hey, I could do that. You know, that looks really easy. And then when you actually come to do it, it's not, it's quite different. So, it's like what goes on inside as it were, these great people that allow them to not only do so well, but also to make it look so easy. And I guess this is what interested me all through when I was learning anything, that inner game thing, really. Steve Rush: And the inner game as you call it, it's almost where NLP really overlays particularly well. So, the neuro is the neocortex, the part of our brain that's kind of supportive. And then of course. Joseph O’Conner: Yeah. Steve Rush: Neuro and linguistic is in how we teach our brain to perform in a certain way. And it is about teaching in habits, isn't it? Joseph O’Conner: Yes, it is. I mean, I got on to NLP [laugh] again, through music, which was funny, but yes, neuro you know, the brain, the mind, how we think? Linguistic, how we communicate? Because language is just so amazing. There aren't that many words, but the ways that we can put them together to be able to communicate with ourselves and with others is just incredible. And my father was an actor and a writer as well. So, I kind of got that quite early and then programming, because I don't think the brain really works as a computer. I think that's an out molded metaphor, but the programming in the sense of how do we accomplish things, you know, how do we actually do things? How does it all work together in order to get things done? I think that's the basis of NLP. And then of course those things in terms of, what do we want? What are our goals? What's important to us? What do we believe? How do we act? This is all really important in coaching and getting the best from ourselves and from other people. Steve Rush: And the irony of course is, that we've all been programming our brain broadly unconsciously from the moment that we were aware of the first environmental things around us. We started that coding and programming from a very early age, often that send us on a track, which we either recognize is helpful or hold us back, right? Joseph O’Conner: Yeah, well, you know, when we're babies and children, we just take in the world and we don't discriminate very much about it you know, we don't make judgements about it so much. So, we are very, very sensitive. I think that's the great strength of human beings. We're incredibly sensitive to each other, to language, to the messages we receive. And we're always, always looking to try and make it mean something. To try and understand it, and to help to predict what's going to happen because a random world, you know, where we just don't know what's going to happen next. We can't prepare for it. It's awful. It's an awful idea. So, we're always trying to predict, we're always trying to have ideas, beliefs, mental models that allow us to predict and find our way through the world in the best way. And yes, we are very sensitive to this, and of course our great strength and weakness is our ability to learn and to take in information and on a neuroscience point of view, it's that neuroplasticity of the brain, it's the brain's ability to change itself in response to experience. So, I like to think of the brain as a verb, you know, when we think of the brain, we kind of think of a big lump of whatever. It's a bit like soft butter, really, but it's stuff, but it's really a verb. It's really an organ for converting our experience into nervous tissue. Steve Rush: Mm. Joseph O’Conner: And then the nervous tissue in the brain in turn influences our experience and what we do and what we can do on from that. So, it's an amazing dynamic process. And our brain's changing all the time you know, my brain's changing, yours is changing. Our listeners brains will be changed after listening to this podcast. You can't help it. We are influenced by that. And that's both a blessing and a curse because in terms of the brain, the brain doesn't discriminate between some really poor messages and some really good ones. Steve Rush: Mm. Joseph O’Conner: So, it doesn't matter whether people are telling you or you are telling yourself more insidiously you know, I'm no good, I can't do this. This'll never work. All of these repetitive thoughts are going to build up the connections in the brain. That's going to start to make that a habit of thinking. In other words, a thought that's going to be the default easiest thought to fall into, in response to whatever happens. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: So, the brain doesn't discriminate about that. If you repeat that and if you get those messages, that's what the brain learns. Whereas of course we don't want to learn that sort of thing. We want the messages of, you know, you are good. You can do this. This is great. This is interesting, but we've got to take charge of our own learning very often. Steve Rush: And the reality is as a species, a human being, human sapien, we really want it to be as straightforward and as easy as possible. We often look for the quickest, fastest, easiest route because our body doesn't like to face into the emotions that come with that challenge, right? Joseph O’Conner: No, indeed. And we're quite lazy thinkers. There's this idea of the cognitive mind, you know? Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: It's hard work to think clearly and well and we tend to move away from it, which means that sometimes the sapien part [laugh] doesn't work so well. Steve Rush: That's right. Joseph O’Conner: My sapien ends. Steve Rush: And I noticed that you drew a correlation early in your studies, when you were looking at professional musicians who were incredibly well versed, and you facing that kind of ambition to want to do the same. If we apply the approach of neuroscience to those individuals who are excel at anything actually. Joseph O’Conner: mm. Steve Rush: The two or three things that you notice that happen alongside is, one. There's repetition and practice. Because without that, you don't get good. Joseph O’Conner: Yeah. Steve Rush: But also, there is a definite conditioning of the mind that said I can, which keeps people going rather than I can't and holds people back. And that's also a core part of NLP teachings, isn't it? Joseph O’Conner: Oh, yes. Yeah, absolutely. You know, there's that saying? Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: Because in that sense, you've conditioned yourself to, or put it this way, if you're going to succeed, it's good to believe it, right. You go into it fully, wholeheartedly, committedly. You're much more likely to succeed than if you go into it thinking, oh, well, maybe, you know, I'm not so sure about this. I'm not so good. That's kind of setting yourself up for failure. Now, there's no guarantees in the end of course. You may or may not get what you want, but you're more likely if you enter into it with those more positive intentions and positive ideas. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: And the repetition is important, absolutely. That's the way that we build habits. And we want to build habits because habits just help us to do things automatically. And we don't want to have to think over carefully, everything that we possibly do, these habits are really important, there's the saying, I think from the Chinese originally, that habits start as cobwebs, but they may end as chains. You know, we want to be careful what sort of habits we form because they're incredibly powerful. Steve Rush: Yeah, be careful what you wish for and all that, isn't it? Joseph O’Conner: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: Absolutely. Steve Rush: So, we're going to dive into a little bit about coaching the brain and neuroplasticity and neuroscience in the moment before I do, though, I'm just intrigued to dive into the whole community that you set up and founded. So, the ICC is definitely one of the most recognized international coaching communities in the world. And that must be a fantastic experience to have seen that grow from a little acorn into hundreds of trees all over the world now. Tell me a little bit about the ICC? Joseph O’Conner: Yes, well, we started the ICC myself and my wife and partner, Andrea. We started it in Brazil. In fact, around about 2001, we wanted to form something that encapsulated those three words. Like coaching, yes, absolutely. We were both coaches. We were both passionate and are passionate about helping people to be the best they can be as well as ourselves. So coaching, yes, international, we started internationally. The first was in Poland, I think. The second was in Rio Janeiro. The third was in Arboga in Sweden. So, it's like, it was international right from the start. And, you know, there's something about coaching something about people and helping people in this way that is international, it's transcends culture and country. When you dig down, we're all human beings and we all respond to the same basic things of what we want and what's important to us. That international was very important from the start and then community, we chose that word quite carefully because a community is a group of people that wants to be together that shares value. I think very important for a group of people, because yes, you can kind of group together, you can be together, but do you want to be together? Do you share those values? And that for us was really important. So yes, we started then and now the ICC has, oh, I don’t know, the exact numbers, but something like sixteen thousand trained certified coaches in over sixty countries. And we have fifty trainers all over the world. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: So, it's wonderful to see. Steve Rush: Amazing legacy, amazing legacy, and then fast forward to today. What's the focus of both you and Andrea's work today? Joseph O’Conner: Well, I'm particularly interested at the moment in creativity, this kind of strange word you know, we say creativity, but it's really a process. Again, it's really about, how are you thinking? What are you doing? And it's probably the most valued and valuable commodity, process, gift, whatever you want to call it, talent that there is around because, you know, as the world moves so far, especially technologically. You can create good products and have good ideas, but then, you know, [laugh] maybe a year, maybe months, maybe weeks later and the world's caught up and you've got to continue to do it. And I think you can see this really clearly with businesses. The businesses that are doing well are, the fast, nimble creative ones that are always being able to change and adapt and come up with something that works rather than the more monolithic you know, here's the product and this is great, and this is how it's going to be. You've got to keep changing. So that ability to come up with something new, that works, that's appropriate, that fits, is just so important and something that I've got really interested in and how it relates to our intuitions about what to do and what works. Steve Rush: Yeah, and I've also had a passion for creativity and studied it too. And delighted, we can kick this around, because what I've found in my research and exploring this whole philosophy is, this is something that as young children, we did incredibly well, we were naturally intuitive and we were naturally would go with our gut feel and we would be creative and we would play. But as we got a little bit older and more mature in our years and our days, it often was squeezed out of us unconsciously or consciously in some cases by our environment. What's the reason from your perspective, do you think that some people really struggle with this whole label of creativity? Joseph O’Conner: Well, yeah, a lot. I mean a lot of people think they aren't creative. They think that it's some kind of magical talent that you are born with or not. And I don't think that's true at all. I think we're all naturally creative just by virtue of being human. Steve Rush: Right. Joseph O’Conner: I mean, you're quite right about children and being creative. And I can remember myself and I think we all can of those feelings when we were young, when it's just, yeah, we could just think and play, and it would be very spontaneous and flowing. And then gradually as you say, this tends to go. And I think, I mean, there's many reasons, but I think one of the reasons is the way sometimes that people are taught, like, here's the right answer, okay. Steve Rush: Mm-hmm. Joseph O’Conner: And this is how it's done and well, yes, this is all very interesting what you are doing, but you know, you're not quite right. This is a little bit silly. This is how it's done. This is the right answer. And we get imprisoned by the bars of the right answer. And then we forget all about the other answers and we forget that the right answer is only right in terms of the right question. It's the question that's important. Not the answer. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: The answer is only a response to the question. If you generate interesting, good, powerful, and new questions, you are going to get better answers. And I remember reading a statistics somewhere and I can't remember it exactly, unfortunately, but it's something like at the age of seven. The average child asks something like two hundred questions a day, right, [laugh]. Steve Rush: Wow. Joseph O’Conner: By the age of twenty-seven, it's down to about four questions a day. Steve Rush: Blimey. Joseph O’Conner: Of which one is probably, what's for lunch? [Laugh]. Steve Rush: [laugh]. Joseph O’Conner: But you know, you can see that and that I think encapsulates what happens with us and how we tend to kind of sink into this well yeah. But all the answers are out there, let's just fit into them. Steve Rush: And do you think there's something to do with habit here as well? We get out the habit of being creative. We get out the habit of play. We get out the habit of asking questions. Joseph O’Conner: Yeah, we do. You know, for again, from the neuroscience point of view, habit is something that you've practiced with attention. And if it's a good habit, it fits, and you've done it and you've built it up consciously. So, you forget about it. You know, all of these things that we do automatically, we don't have to think about them. We forget about them. I think there's something really important about choosing your habits well. You choose your habits well, including habits of thinking, then you are going to do much better. And if one of those habits is thinking yes, of course I'm creative. Even if it's only in small ways, I am creative, I am intuitive. I can do this. And to give yourself the opportunity to do it and to continue to repeat doing it. Although of course you're not always going to be so successful as you would like, it's that repetition, it's the attention. It's the emotion and the value behind it. That's going to drive you forward and you'll get better at it. There's no doubt about it. Steve Rush: Yeah, and there's part of the limbic system called the basal ganglia, whose job it is to keep us in that habit. And as soon as we don't give it attention, it starts to lose that habit. And all the, while we think that habits formed, we can also lose habits as quickly as we can repeat them and gain them. Joseph O’Conner: Yeah, we can lose habits. And of course, a lot of people want to lose habits. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: And that's fine. And you can, of course, and the way to lose a habit is to replace it by another one. I like the metaphor of the ski slope. It's like, you've got the ski slope with this unbroken snow, which is like the metaphor for the brain. And there aren't any connections. So, then the first skier goes down and makes a track. There's already a track in the snow, tends to follow that. And the third and the fourth. So, after a while, because so many skiers have gone down in the same way, you've got this track and that's the habit. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: And that's the connection in the brain that's been worn down. So that's the default way that people will go down. Now, if you want to change the habit, what you have to do is, to ski down another way, not use the ski track that's already there. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: And if you continue then to ski down the other way, you'll make a track there and the snow will cover over the first one. So, we are more in control. We are in control of our habits as long as we feel that, and we can change them when we become aware of them. And of course, the difficulty is always, the habit is easy, it's the path of the least resistant. Steve Rush: It's a fabulous analogy. I'll be absolutely using that from today onwards. Thank you for sharing it. Joseph O’Conner: [Laugh], good. Joseph O’Conner: So, let's dive into the book, Coaching The Brain. What was the inspiration for you having? And if I can be so bold, you've covered pretty much every genre across the whole NLP and coaching landscape that I can see. Then coaching the brain seems like an obvious place to fit because that's pretty much all of the teachings I think you've had in the past. But what was the inspiration for the book for you? Joseph O’Conner: Well, two things. I like to write books on things I'm interested in, and I want to learn about, so I don't like to, I don't want to write a book on something that I feel that I know a lot about, and I'm an expert on, and it's just kind of filling in the pages. I want to write something that I'm interested in. I've always been interested in neuroscience and from a coaching point of view. Well, from any point of view, really, I like to look at the gaps, what's missing in some study? In the same way that as a coach when you ask questions and when people are talking to you, it's of course, interesting to know what they're saying, but it's also very interesting to know what they're not saying. What's missing? What could or even should be there in order to understand what's going on. So, in the same way if we go back a few years, there wasn't a great deal of representation of neuroscience in coaching. Steve Rush: That's right. Joseph O’Conner: And I thought this was a gap, and I thought it was important because the more we know about the brain, the more we can understand the purely psychological models of what works and what doesn't work, and we can refine them, and we can also change them. And we can also get new ones because the cognitive neuroscience is the biology of the mind. So, to understand that biology of the mind is going to help us to understand our mind and others and to use it better. So, the book came from that. It's like, yeah, neuroscience is interesting. I think I want to learn about this. I think it needs to be in coaching. So actually, I went first of all to New York to get a brain scan for myself. Steve Rush: Ah. Joseph O’Conner: [laugh] it's like, you know, let's start with yourself of course. I wasn't ill in any way, but I did want to do this and to find out. So, this was very interesting, and I came back with a lot of highly colored photographs and a lot of insight into how I think and you know, some kind of explanations about, oh yeah, that's always puzzled me. Well, yeah, that's how it works after all. And so, took the book from there, talking with many people, of course, reading and putting it together, but always with a sense of the subtitle of the book, which is practical applications of neuroscience to coaching. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: Because, yeah, of course neuroscience is interesting and you can really delve into it how the brain works and you can go into all the Latin names of all the, bits that are there. But in the end, unless you can actually use, for me, anyway, unless you can actually use that to make a difference for yourself and for other people, then for me, it's you know, it's only the first step, so, you know, hey, yeah. How can we use this? What's important? And that's how the book came about. Steve Rush: And I observe in my coaching career, so I've been coaching professionally and as an amateur coach, probably for twenty-five years. And it wasn't until I really understood the impact of neuroscience on my coachee that I really changed my coaching game because it is as simple as just understanding some of the subtle levers we might want to pull or not, as the case may be, the language we could choose, the environment we're in, all of these have an effect on an outcome, don't they? Joseph O’Conner: Yes. Oh yes, they do. Steve Rush: So how do we go about coaching the brain specifically? Joseph O’Conner: [Laugh] well, when you say that's phrase, it's an interesting question, because paradoxically my immediate response would be, we got to be careful not to isolate the brain and to think about when your are coaching somebody, you are just coaching their mind or their brain or any particular part of them. And of course, as coaches, we know, and all good coaches know that you are coaching a human being, mind, body, spirit, all the time. So, in terms of that metaphor of coaching the brain, it's well, how does our understanding of the biology of the mind help us to be better coaches for our clients who come to us and indeed for ourselves in order to be, you know, healthier, happier and more productive? There was three important things. I think, if I could pick the three biggest, most important things that came out of my studies for that book. Steve Rush: Sure. Joseph O’Conner: And they're not rocket science in a way. And you know, anyone listening may think, well, yeah, that's obvious, isn't it? Well, yes. In a way it is, but that's again, you know, when we look at something and say, oh, that's obvious, I knew that. Then sometimes that's an excuse just to forget it and think, well, okay, fine, you know, been there, done that, got the t-shirt and we can forget about it again. But if you take these things seriously, they make a huge difference. So, the first one was sleep. Sleep is really, really important for our brain and for our health. You know, there's only a few things that you die if you don't get them, one is air of course, very quickly, another, is water, food, and the fourth is sleep. If you don't sleep, you die. Takes a few weeks, but you do. And the brain needs sleep in order to consolidate the memories and the skills that you've done. The brain needs rest and healing every night, it's really important. And one thing really struck me with regard to some of the statistics which is, in the UK, of course we have this daylight-saving time where at the end of March, the clocks go forward, I think, and you have one hour less sleep. And even on one hour less sleep. The road traffic accidents due to people not paying attention, spiked dramatically the next day. Steve Rush: Wow. Joseph O’Conner: Even, you know, one hour less sleep. So, to expect people to function well on poor quality and poor quantity of sleep is crazy. And it's such a shame when, you know, hardworking executives will say things like, well, you know, yeah, I can do fine on four hours sleep at night. There’s a lot of work to do, right. It's more important than sleep well, in one way, it is. But in the other way, they're working against themselves because if they took an extra two, three hours of sleep, they'd actually do better with the work that they had to do during the day. Steve Rush: Yeah, just one observation actually around sleep. If you think about it in simple terms, if you didn't eat for a whole 24-hour period at worst, you'd be hungry. But if you didn't sleep for a whole 24-hour period, you'd start pumping into psychosis. Joseph O’Conner: Yes. Steve Rush: That's the difference between the two kinds of approaches, isn't it? Joseph O’Conner: [Laugh] yes. Well, I don’t know, I'm tempted to say we've all done it and pulled an all nighter. I certainly have, and you're just useless the next day. Completely useless. It's you know, you just lose a day [laugh] instead of doing some good for yourself at night, you just lose the next day. So yeah, absolutely. Steve Rush: So, what were the other things that came out? Joseph O’Conner: Well, exercise, physical exercise, because of course the brain is embodied, it's part of the body and if the body isn't healthy, then the brain doesn't do well either. So physical exercise very important. And the third is meditation, some kind of meditation or mindfulness practice has really iron clad research, in terms of benefits for emotional intelligence, emotional stability, focus, concentration for the brain. Steve Rush: Yeah, all form part of resilience as well. Ironically. Joseph O’Conner: Yes. Steve Rush: Yes. So, when I dove into the book, there were a few areas I'd just love to explore with you. One was hot cognition. Tell us a bit about what that is? Joseph O’Conner: Hot cognition. Yeah, well, I guess the metaphor here and there's been a metaphor like this for thousands of years, the Greeks had this metaphor of the human being as a charioteer. And they have two horses drawing chariot. One is black horse, which represents emotions. And one is the white horse that represents reason. And in the metaphor, which I think Plato used first. The chariot is always trying to get these two horses to kind of work together. And the problem is, very often the black horse of emotions kind of going off their own way and drawing the chariot to one side where they don't want to go. And sometimes that indeed is our experience of emotions kind of take us over and we do or say things that we regret afterwards which is a pity because emotions have enormous energy. And to be able to harness that energy in a constructive way is, really, really important rather than allow the energy to either, you know, explode like in anger or to kind of implode like in anxiety or fear and stop us doing something or in anger, you know, make us do something that we didn't want to do. So, you know, that's one metaphor. Now, the metaphor that I prefer is the hot and cold streams, because all of our thinking is warm to some extent, right. You don't get anyone who's completely cold, rational, logical thought outside Star Trek, you know, outside the Falcon. Steve Rush: [Laugh] yeah. Joseph O’Conner: It doesn't exist. You couldn't do it actually. You couldn't make decisions for a start. So, there's always emotion there. There's no thinking without emotion, there's no emotion without thinking. It's just that our thoughts change temperature, depending on what we're thinking about, who's with us and these sorts of things. So sometimes the thinking is much hotter. It's got much more of an emotional component. So, the parts of brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex that's involved with emotion and integrating emotion is more active. And at other times, the part of the prefrontal cortex is more about rationality and reason, and logic is more active. Most of our thinking is fairly lukewarm. Occasionally maybe if we're doing math’s or something, it gets quite chilly. And then if we get really angry, it gets very hot indeed. So, how do we manage that? I think is, the important question in terms of coaching neuroscience and this idea of what sort of thinking and how do we best manage that emotional intelligence as well? Steve Rush: And one of the other areas that I really liked, and I often find itself presents when I'm coaching is the whole notion of identity, the labels people wear. Joseph O’Conner: Mm-hmm. Steve Rush: And I wondered if you give us your spin on how identity forms are part of a coaching conversation and how we might want to help people pay attention to their identity? Joseph O’Conner: Oh, wow. Yeah, how long have we got? [laugh] A couple of days? [laugh]. Well, identity is a strange concept. And again, bit like creativity or the brain. I think it's a process. I don't think it's a thing. I think that once you kind of decide your identity and fix it, then I think you've lost something. I think you've lost an important part of living. Here's just a couple of thoughts. I think irreducibly we all are aware. We can all say I am, and that is in a sense, quite impersonal and the absolute bedrock of our identity. Everyone can say, I am. Now the things that then get pulled on top of that, where people start to say, you know, I am a coach, I am a leader, I am a father, a mother, a child, a teacher, a good person, a bad person, whatever it might be. Those come from the process of living an experience. And sometimes we identify with those for good or bad. So, I think the quick answer would be identity's a process that's always under construction. We all have a bedrock to it, the foundation of it, which is this feeling of I am. And I also think that it's more mutable and more changeable and more chewable perhaps than we sometimes think. Steve Rush: And it can often also create behaviors based on the identity you choose to wear. Joseph O’Conner: Mm-Hmm. Steve Rush: Because as you rightly said, you can choose that identity in different scenarios, and that comes with a different set of behaviors, right? Joseph O’Conner: Yes. Yes. I mean, in many ways we're fully functioning schizophrenics, you know, we are two different people, depending on the context. You know, we all know when I'm with my daughter, I'm a different sort of person to when I'm standing on stage giving a training or when I'm coaching or something like that. Steve Rush: That's right. Joseph O’Conner: We're very flexible in that way, amazingly flexible. But at the same time, there is something there underneath that we can always come back to and know clearly. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: To ground ourselves. Steve Rush: So, we're going to give folk an opportunity to dive into the work you're doing. Find out about the book in a little while. Before we do that, though, this is where we turn the table a little and we get to hack into your years of experience of leading teams and leading others. And just dive to find out what your top three leadership hacks would be? Top tools, tips, or ideas. Joseph O’Conner: Oh, wow. One would be authentic, be yourself. Don't try to pretend to be something that you aren't because it doesn't work. Usually, people will see through it. So whatever leadership context you're in, be authentic. Secondly, and this may be a bit of a paradox. You need to adapt to other people, as to what they are. I think one style of leadership for everybody doesn't work. And I think leadership has evolved over the last fifty to a hundred years from a time where it was, this is what you do to be a good leader, you know, learn these characteristics and you'll be a good leader, kind of laundry list thinking. Two, well, there's a whole set of skills here and people are very different. And leadership is a very mutable changing kind of skill that you've got to be very flexible in terms of, you know, it's not just about, I am a leader, but who are you leading? Because a leader, without anybody, as it were to follow them doesn't exist. You know, you can't be a leader on your own crying in wilderness. So, you've got to pay attention and adapt to the people that are with you. Let's put it that way. So that would be the second one. The third one would be the ability and willingness to say no where necessary because you know, people who are good leaders are usually pretty good at delay thing. Therefore, they are under a lot, people ask them, you know, the better you are at something, the more people will ask you to do stuff. And this becomes a vicious circle whereby you start being pretty good at something people start asking you then overburdening you. And very soon, because you're trying to do too much and spreading yourself too thin you lose that edge that you had at the beginning. So, I think again, part of being authentic is to say, this is what I want to do. And these other things, while very interesting. And I wish you the very best with them. They're not for me. Steve Rush: Power of no, really important. Love it. Joseph O’Conner: Yes. Steve Rush: The next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your life or your work hasn't worked out well, could have even been quite catastrophic, but as an experience, you now use it as a force of good. What would be your Hack to Attack? Joseph O’Conner: There's many examples. Just maybe a more trivial one. Some years ago, I was involved in some marketing, I think it, through some social media or LinkedIn or something like that. And I sent out an email, which I meant to send to one or two people. I sent it out to a list of some thousands of people. And, you know, you have that horrible. Oh my God moment. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: You've just pressed send, and then you think just a minute, did I do that right? And then that horrible thinking feeling where, oh God. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: So, and you know, a lot of people didn't like that at all, and I felt embarrassed and there was a number of emails back from people, but it taught me lot. It taught me to be able to, and I can remember this now after it happened, it's going, you know, initial panic. Yes. Absolute panic. And then you go, okay, well that's happened and there's no way I'm going to get this back. So, you better deal with it [Laugh]. And so, in that sense, it was a very clear example because often these things take much longer to happen. You know, you do something, and it carry on doing it and it takes maybe a few weeks. And then you think, oh my God, we know what have I done? And then there's a lot of trying to take things back or trying to change it or say, no, I didn't really mean that or whatever it was, and which can sometimes make things worse or covering it up. You know, they say that it's not the crime, it's the cover up that gets you into trouble. Steve Rush: Yeah, that's right. Joseph O’Conner: So, I think this was a good example where it's like, okay, that's done. No way to get that back. So, you better deal with it. So that was one lesson, and second lesson was, I've never done it again. I [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: I made sure that I learned in excruciating detail how these things work [laugh] so that, you know, I was much more a master of communications and marketing than before. And even now I have an email address where there's a two-minute delay that's programmed in so that I press send. And if it's wrong, then I know, oh, thank God it hasn't sent yet. It won't send for two minutes. Steve Rush: That's a perfect example of where neuroscience has created an instant reaction in you and created a really big, thick layer of neuroplasticity. Joseph O’Conner: [Laugh]. Steve Rush: Neuro pathways. I'm not going to repeat that one [Laugh]. Joseph O’Conner: Well, yes. You know, with neuroplasticity. If you repeat stuff, you learn, but also you have one big emotional experience. Steve Rush: Yeah. Joseph O’Conner: That also it's like a very heavy skier [laugh] or like a bulldozer going down the ski slope. Steve Rush: That's it. Tracks already made. There it is. Joseph O’Conner: It make a really big track. Steve Rush: Yeah, so the last part of the show, Joseph, we want to do is, we get our guests to do a bit of time travel. You get to bump into yourself at twenty-one and give yourself some advice and some words of wisdom. What would it be? Joseph O’Conner: Twenty-one, oh my God. Oh, I don’t know. It it's like, hey, man. Yeah, I love you. You're going to be alright. Don't sweat the small stuff, you know, sleep well and it'll be okay. Steve Rush: Awesome. Sometimes that's all it takes, right. It's just that little bit of reassurance. And I like that, yeah. Joseph O’Conner: I mean, you know, from that perspective, you know, what would you say to your twenty-one-year-old self? But supposing you are twenty-one and some guy comes, suddenly appears in your room and goes, hey, it’s going to be alright. Steve Rush: Yeah, I'm not sure I'd ever paid huge amounts of attention. Joseph O’Conner: But how would that change your life? Steve Rush: Indeed? Joseph O’Conner: Or would it? Steve Rush: Sliding doors maybe? Joseph O’Conner: Yeah, yeah. Steve Rush: Yeah, so that's the whole kind of crazy notion of time travel, isn't it? Is that, you know, you are who you are, you've created what you've created because that Joseph at twenty-one gave you the permissions to do what you did. If you change that, then who knows what the future would hold. That's a whole deeper, meaningful conversation. Let’s not go there. Joseph O’Conner: [Laugh] yeah. Steve Rush: So, I've loved chatting. I'm really delighted to be part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast, Joseph. So how can our listeners get hold of a copy of the books? And I say books, there are many, and find out a little bit more about the work you've done? Joseph O’Conner: Well, first of all, I'm on LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook as well. So can contact me there. is the website where you can read about the courses there. And I'm just starting the creator's club. So, if you're interested in creativity, intuition and hacking into to that, then you can get me at Steve Rush: Brilliant. We'll put those links in the show note and you can count me in. I'm absolutely in. Joseph, thanks ever so much for coming on the show, some great stories, some great lessons, and thank you for helping the world on the journey you've been and personally thanks for helping me on my journey too. Joseph O’Conner: Well, thank you, Steve. It's a pleasure. Yeah, we do what we do and it's like we all drop pebbles into the lake, don't we? And the ripples go out and we have no idea where the ripples go to, and we hope that they ripple against the shore in some good places. And I'm really pleased that it's happened. So, thank you and wish you the very best. Steve Rush: Thanks, Joseph. Really appreciate it.   Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.
49:06 06/06/22
SUPERBOLD with Fred Joyal
Fred Joyal was founder of of 1-800-DENTIST, which for over 30 years has generated over a billion dollars in revenue. No he’s a keynote speaker, coach and author of the book Superbold: From Under Confident To Charismatic In 90 days. This amazing show uncovers: What boldness really is? The PRIDE method, so you can unlock boldness. What “Dosage” is and what happens if we have too much or not enough. Why having an “Every Day Action” can transform your life. Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Fred below: Fred on LinkedIn: Fred on Twitter: Fred on Instagram: Fred’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Today's special guest is Fred Joyal. He's a speaker, author and business coach on the superpower of boldness and the author of Superbold: From Under Confident To Charismatic In 90 Days. But before we get a chance to speak with Fred, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: We're going to explore names, names matter. My name is Steve. Everybody introduced themselves with this one special gift that we were given from the moment of our birth. Yet, how often do we get people's names wrong? And how often do we give ourselves the permission to say, oh, I'm terrible with names, but I'm great with faces. A somewhat convenient excuse, maybe. We live and work in a really multicultural society. Our names come from all over the world and not necessarily from the location you are in, they sound different, they have different spellings, they may be shortened names that are nicknames almost in replace of their real names but come in many different ways. Some of my kids in fact have even changed their names. Well, metaphorically changed names growing up because they thought they weren't comfortable with this particular label, but soon changed it back. Whichever way we think about our names, it's our identity. You must know how it feels when somebody gets your name wrong and that's because getting someone's name right really matters. It may take a bit of extra effort. You may have to ask them to spell it. However, often minimal effort as a leader can really engage people when they know, you know them, and this demonstrates you're willing to take an interest in them and from wherever their name derives their culture too. So, is this such a big effort? Let's have a look. The acknowledgement, firstly, that the name is tricky for you is okay. Let people know that if they have got a tricky name. That demonstrates you care enough; recognize you may need to take time to practice somebody's name. And as much as that sounds crazy, it will make a huge impact to the relationship. Ask the person for clarification if you are unsure. I've made loads of mistakes on this podcast initially, when I've had guests come on the show and made an assumption on how their name was spelled. Only to have to re-edit episodes to get their name right. And by practicing and persevering until you do get it right, you create a bond between the individual and you, when we address your colleagues by name, especially in team settings and meetings, it helps collaboration, and that behavior will help create effective teamwork. Saying people's names is a strong signal that you see them, you value them and that you want their input. So, make this an everyday practice, greet people by their names, look in their eyes as you do so, and introduce colleagues to each other by their names and let's get it right. So, the next time, you're not sure on how to say somebody's name. Just politely ask. I'm not sure how to say your name, please can you help me pronounce it or just be brave and go for it and ask them, did I get that right? You'll soon find out. And most importantly, demonstrate once more that you value them. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's go ahead and dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Fred Joyal is a special guest on today's show. He was the co-founder of Futuredontics, the parent company of 1-800-DENTIST, which for over 30 years has generated over a billion dollars in revenue. He's just written a fantastic book called, Superbold: From Under Confident To Charismatic In 90 days. And it's an Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He's also been a TV and commercial actor as well as a standup comedian, and now sharing his learning through coaching, speaking and other business consultancy. Fred, welcome to our show. Fred Joyal: Steve, excited to be here. Steve Rush: So, I've just finished reading Superbold, and I can tell our listeners without hesitation. It is an amazing read. And personally, for a middle-aged guy falling into habits, I still found myself thinking, wow, that's me. So, we're going to get into some of that a little bit later, but before we do, it'll be really great for you just to share some of that very varied and wide experiences that you've picked up along the way. Fred Joyal: Yes, I'm happy to do that. I started many years ago as a junior copywriter as an ad agency, and that was the first job I really liked. Like, it was the first groove I really found. I was wandering and trying all sorts of things. I was fairly directionless, and then when I hit the advertising world, I thought, oh, I could actually do this for a lifetime, you know, for a career. And it led me to starting my own business, which was 1-800-DENTIST, which is a referral service for dentist, where we run advertising, run a call center to attract the calls and then disseminate those calls out to dentists. And I did that for about 30 years. I owned the business and sold it about five years ago. And it was much more successful than we imagined. But tons of twists and turns, you know, you run a business for 30 years, you know, through recessions and internet booms and busts and all of that. And plenty of good and bad things happen along the way. And that's actually what I coach businesses on now is, how to hit different potholes than I hit or not hit them at the same speed that I hit them so that they can accelerate their success. Steve Rush: Right. Fred Joyal: And then of course, got to the point where, you know, Superbold became an emerging theme that I really wanted to get out. Steve Rush: So, when you hear the word Superbold, you call it Superbold because you actually have come to the conclusion. I think, as I have having read the book that it is a superpower, right? Fred Joyal: Absolutely, yes. I mean, if I had to give my child one thing, it would be the confidence and understanding that confidence is the foundation. Boldness is taking that confidence and going into action and learning what happens when you're bold that bold people have always understood whether they learned it as children or they never unlearned it. But they learn all of these things that all of the great stuff in life really occurs when you're bold. Steve Rush: Right. Fred Joyal: And that's how you can have the most impact on the world. Steve Rush: And you cite in your book, actually, a bunch of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs just share some of those that you share in the book. And actually, we probably all noticed that there is boldness that comes with that. Fred Joyal: Yeah, certainly you know, somebody like, Sir Richard Branson is constantly making bold moves. He'll jumps from industry to industry which is a fairly reckless thing to do for most people. But he had learned that if you approach it in a certain way and you protect your downside risk, amazing things can happen. And you can take that brand from a record business to a telephone business, to a soda business, to an airline, to outer space. And now a cruise line and hotel line, all of these things, he has 400 brands under the Virgin emblem, as far as I know. Somebody like Tony Hsieh who started Zappos and he didn't start it. He actually came into Zappos as the CEO and had made millions very young. He and his brother had made a very successful exit early on that gave him tens of millions of dollars. By the time he was done, he had poured every bit of it into Zappos. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: And Zappos reached a billion dollars of revenue in 10 years. So, he generated a hundred million dollars of growth a year by just saying, I could go into the shoe business by approaching it in a completely different way and pushed all his chips in the middle of the table when he had complete financial security, but he went to the next level. Steve Rush: And people like Elon Musk at the moment, who's continually reinventing himself, just bought Twitter. And everybody's asking the question now, what does this guy want with Twitter? Fred Joyal: Yeah, and he's not going to tell us right away. Steve Rush: Exactly. Fred Joyal: But it fits into his grand scheme or it's just something he said, this has to be done differently. Just like, he looks at transportation as being needing to be disrupted and satellites and outer space. And, you know, like why would you launch a rocket and throw away the booster? You know, he looks at things like that. You know, why would you build a car and not use the battery as the chassis for an electric car, those kinds of things, and why not dig tunnels under cities? Why not create that technology? Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: What Twitter's got to do with that? Who knows? Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: But he guesses right quite often. Steve Rush: He does, yeah. And to your experience, when you think of entrepreneurs and businesspeople, can you actually be successful and Uber successful without being bold? Fred Joyal: I don't think so. Because you need to go into action without certainty. Steve Rush: Right. Fred Joyal: And actually say, whatever happens, I'm going to learn from it. I'm going to absorb that knowledge and make whatever changes or go in 180-degree, different direction. Because the marketplace has told me something about, that what it wants, and it wasn't what I thought I wanted. Steve Rush: Hmm. Fred Joyal: But they gave me a big clue and now I can go in that direction. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: You know, he started, even when, you know, Elon Musk started you know, the Tesla, it was a little Lotus with an electric engine, and it was a sports car. It really, only was fast. It wasn't comfortable. It wasn't useful as a car. It was a toy. Steve Rush: Mm. Fred Joyal: But then he said, okay, what people really need is a multi-passenger vehicle. And he actually created a seven-passenger vehicle. And the reason a lot of people don't realize that the original Tesla sedan was seven passengers, because he's got five kids. Steve Rush: [Laugh] practical as well. Fred Joyal: Yes. Little things like give feedback takes boldness, except feedback takes boldness, meeting people. The cornerstone of anybody's success is their ability to meet whomever they want. Steve Rush: Yeah. Steve Rush: Whenever they want and create a real connection with those people, not network, but actually connect. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: With people. And that takes stepping up and it takes developing those skills. Boldness allows you to develop these skills. You can read about them all day, if you're not bold enough to put them into action, you'll never develop the skill. If you want to learn to be a great public speaker, there's a hundred books on it. You could read them all. You'll still be a terrible public speaker. Steve Rush: Yes, right. Very true. Fred Joyal: But get on stage and suck [laugh] and watch the video of it and you'll get better. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: And every time you get on stage, you'll get better. Steve Rush: So, in its rawest sense, how would you describe boldness? Fred Joyal: It is chasing your dreams, however, going after an opportunity, a moment, whether it's fun, whether it's meeting somebody, whether it's taking a chance on a business, it's putting your idea out there, putting yourself out there, bringing your full self to the world, whether it's in a personal situation or business situation, personal situation could be say, I really want to meet that attractive young man or woman across the room at this party. Or it could be, I need to raise 10 million from my business and I have to pitch it so that they believe that I will execute it. And you know, if you know investors, they bet on the person, there's millions of ideas out there. They call it, we bet on the jockey, not the horse. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Is what they say. Steve Rush: I've heard that before, yeah. Fred Joyal: Yeah, and so you've got to, it takes boldness to say, I can make this happen. I will do whatever it takes to make this happen and project that. You can't succeed without it. And it is, just allowing your full self to blossom. You don't become somebody else. I'm not somebody else than who I was as a young man, very shy. I am the full me. I can bring the full me in every situation. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: And that's impactful. Steve Rush: What's the reason that some people often get boldness confused with either arrogance or confidence in your experience? Fred Joyal: Because they confuse a narcissist with somebody, bold. A narcissist is actually extremely, under confident, extremely insecure. Whatever you think of former President Trump, he had an incredibly thin skin. Every little slight offended him. And that's very typical of that type of personality. That's not bold. True boldness has an element of humility in it because you know that there's so much more that you can become rather than pretending that you are enough or more than enough, or amazing or great. It's, you’re moving through the world saying, I can be better. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Because that's what true boldness teaches you is. Wow. Just like what you're saying with my book is, you consider yourself probably a fairly bold person. But as you read the book, you say, wow, that's like five areas I could be bolder. Steve Rush: Definitely, yeah. Fred Joyal: As you mature in life, you become more humble because you appreciate how much more there is to know. But to me, boldness is, you want to have as much of a positive impact on the world. Because that's mature fulfillment. It's not about taking advantage of people or conning people. Because that's what a confidence man does is con people. He convinces them to trust him, and that takes a certain amount of boldness, but you've feeding the dark side. Steve Rush: It's almost misguided boldness, isn't it? Fred Joyal: Yeah. Steve Rush: Yeah, and the irony behind Superbold as well, Fred is, that you learned the techniques that you scribe in the book, but not in 90 days, but in 30 years, right. So, you were a really shy individual, struggled with boldness. How did that transformation come about? Fred Joyal: You know, I get to really examine it as I was writing the book and I realized that it was just a tremendous amount of frustration that actually I was angry at myself at times because I said, wow, you actually have missed a great opportunity. Whether it was meeting a terrific woman or speaking up in a certain situation or missing out on you know, a great adventure or just a very powerful moment or very important moment, like giving a eulogy for a friend and you know, so many people do this. They say, oh, I'm not good at public speaking. I hate to be in front of people. It's like, really? Your best friend just passed away and you're not going to get up and say something. You're never going to get another chance, that window's going to close. And that's analogous to a lot of things in life. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: These windows of opportunity shut, whether it's that person across the room that you want to meet and you say, oh look, nobody's talking to Jeff Bezos right now. I can go over and talk to him, and it takes you 10 minutes to get up the nerve. Meanwhile, somebody has walked up and talked to him and now you can't interrupt, or you have to interrupt, which is going to be even hard. I'll take you 10 minutes more to get up the nerve to do that. Steve Rush: You describe a bunch of situations in the book actually, where you've shared situations where you'd missed out or you thought you could do things. And it was only after the event that, that kind of boldness aha moment presented itself for you. Fred Joyal: And I saw bold people and I would say, why are they like this? Why are they not processing rejection the way I do? Why does it bounce off them? They just go in fairly uncertain about the outcome, but they don't care because they know they're going to discover something. And once you start doing it, once you start behaving boldly, you say, oh yeah, this thing was totally unexpected, but this thing's great that happened. I was hoping to do this, but I was open to anything and then something completely different happened that was better. I love to emphasize this, especially early on because a lot of people don't realize this, and bold people know this. It's almost as fulfilling to try and fail as it is to try and succeed. Almost. It's very similar. What hurts? Is not trying, that's painful. That nausea at you for years, if not forever Steve Rush: Moments lost almost isn't it, you know? Fred Joyal: Yeah, but if you tried, you go a lot easier on yourself. Look, I walked over, and I talked to that woman, and she told me she was married, and I turned around and I said, well, that's lovely to hear, nice to meet you and walked away. Instead of saying, geez, I really should have met her because she's the girl of my dream. Now what bold people also find out is, they're wrong about those things. They know is like, I could stand here and fantasize that person is my soulmate, a bold person walks up and realizes, wow, there's very little to connect with this person, but they're not as concerned about the outcome. So, they don't project the giant fantasy on top of it. Steve Rush: Yeah, now all the way through this spine of Superbold, you've created this methodology called pride, which is really an acronym of a couple of activities that really help people along the journey. I'd love for us to dive into that because it was when you were describing the pride method, particularly a couple of things that will come out as we kick it through. That's definitely when I had my aha moment and I'll share with you and our listeners kind of some of those experiences too. So how did the pride method come about for you? Fred Joyal: You know, when I first started teaching boldness, I said, I have to break this down into how I did it and how you could apply it. What would you summon to develop this boldness muscle and have the tools in any situation to know how to react? And pride means something. That word is very special because I tell people it's not being modest. It's about living a life that you're proud of. Why wouldn't you want at the end of your life, be proud of that life you lived. And that means you left it all on the mat. You took every opportunity. You took every chance. You didn't stack up the regrets. And so, let's break down the acronym. The P is preparation. R is relaxing. I is insight. D is dosage and E is everyday action. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Let's start with preparation. Steve Rush: Good place to start. Fred Joyal: What a lot of people don't realize is that we prepare for all sorts of things like driver's test or the bar exam or whatever it is, getting a fishing license even. But we think we don't need to prepare for social interactions and that sort of very specific behavior. They say, I don't know what I would say to somebody, it's like, that's because you haven't thought about what you would say. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Break it down to something simple. I want to meet somebody. I'm going to talk to a stranger. By the way, this is what I recommend to everybody is, talk to a stranger every day. Steve Rush: And I do that now. Fred Joyal: Yeah. Steve Rush: That's one of the keys learns for me is, I don't even know how this happened, right. Because I would've said quite bold. I can walk through my village and my town head down, right. Quite comfortable in my own skin, but actually just smiling and saying hi, makes such a difference. Fred Joyal: Yeah, and why not uplift somebody else with expecting nothing in return. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: And so, people say, they put all this pressure on themselves. Oh, I want to meet this person. So, but I can't think of anything interesting or clever or funny to say. It's like, wow. How about being nice? [Laugh]. How about just introduce yourself, take the pressure off yourself because if you come up and you're that clever, now you've set the bar high. They have to come back and be clever or just admire you. Is that what you needed? Did you need to be admired or did you just want to meet them? And when you prepare yourself to connect with somebody, it's simple, a compliment, ask a question, just say your name and say, hi, I'm Steve. I'd really like to meet you. That's you know, that's such an interesting pair of glasses you got on. I would love to know where you got them. Steve Rush: Hmm. Yeah. Fred Joyal: That's all you have to do. And you prepare yourself to do that. Now, you move on through life and say, okay, I'm going to look for a promotion. I need to prepare how I'm going to have that interaction with my boss. I'm going to rehearse that. I'm going to know what I want to say. I'm going to prepare my speech to go raise money from these investors. You're not going to walk in there and say, oh, I know my business really well. I have watched so many entrepreneurs, grossly unprepared to walk into investor meetings. And they think because they know their business so well, they can talk about it really well. Instead of preparing a methodical laying out of their business. Their biggest problem is, they know too much about their business. Steve Rush: Hmm. Fred Joyal: You say, what does it do? And tell me what it does. I actually just did this weekend. I said, tell me what your business does in one sentence, this woman talked for five minutes. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Fred Joyal: I went like, that was a long sentence. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: And I'm not sure what you do, because you gave me so much detail that I missed the bullet. Steve Rush: That's right. Fred Joyal: And, so, preparation is critical in any sort of interaction. And, once you get good at it, here's really important fact. Preparation is the foundation for spontaneity. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: You can be spontaneous if you've got the backup. If you know what you could say, I've walked up to plenty of people knowing I'm just going to say hi, I'm Fred, nice to meet you. And in the moment, I noticed they have amazing eyes or something like that, or an interesting piece of jewelry or they're reading an interesting book, whatever it is. And now I can talk about that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: But I got my backup and it's the same thing on stage, you know? Steve Rush: So, relaxation and insight are they correlated? Fred Joyal: Yes, because the part of relaxing is understanding that you can control your state. And a lot of people don't realize that you can control it just by breathing. Now I go into detail in how you do this. But if you check your physiology, because we tense up in certain situations. And if you just relax your body, before I walk on stage, I just shake off any excess tension in my body. And I take three deep breaths. Breathing will relax you. And there's more techniques that I talk about, but you can relax yourself, but it doesn't happen when somebody says, why don't you just relax? That just makes you more nervous. Steve Rush: It does. Fred Joyal: Because it’s like, oh I didn't realize I looked nervous. That makes me more nervous. But once you relax yourself, it reverses the process and you say, oh, I can control my state. And you know, as a public speaker, you turn that into energy. You're not like so relaxed that you're like a sloth. You are just, you've taken all that anxiety and turned it into energy. So now you're bringing your full self to the stage. So that's the key is, is learning the simple ways that you can relax yourself. And some of the ways you relax yourself are the insights. Bold people have key insights. The number one thing is, people are not thinking about you anywhere near as much as you think they are. Steve Rush: [Laugh] yeah. Fred Joyal: Who are they thinking about? Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Themselves, right. They'll think about you for about four seconds before they rotate back to themselves. But we think twenty years later, they're still thinking about that embarrassing moment that we had with them. And if you get to talk to them about it, they say, I have no recollection of that. And you go, no, really, I was so humiliating for me. And I was like, it's been nagging at me for decades. And you say, why would you do that? And so, this is what bold people do is, they have a tiny, tiny group of people whose opinions really matter to them and everybody else's, they don't, they say other people's opinions of me are none of my business. And they act that way. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: It's very powerful. Steve Rush: It is, isn't it? Yeah. Fred Joyal: Yeah. Steve Rush: Now your next one, I've got to tell you, was probably more aha moments thinking about dosage and how I behaved and how I continued to behave than any of the other things in the book, because this is where you either overplay for something or underplay it and just don't get it right. Tell us about what dosage means for you and how we could use it? Fred Joyal: It means controlling the intensity of the experience as you build your boldness muscle. And it's the same principle as exercising. If you were trying to get in shape, you wouldn't start by trying to bench press three hundred pounds. Because the bar's going to fall on you. And basically, decapitate you, you would start with lighter weights. This is how you build your boldness muscle is, you do simple things that build that strength to interact with people. Start by smiling at people, talk to a stranger every day, one or two sentences. What people do is, they overload themselves. They say, you know, I got to stop being shy. I'm going to go to a party and meet people and I'm going to meet five people and they don't meet one person because they've made it too challenging for themselves. Say, I'm going to go to this party and I'm going to say hi to three people. I'm going to introduce myself to one person. You control that dosage so that you don't retreat back into your shell. And what happens is, you gradually expand your comfort zone wider and wider and wider. And you look back at yourself and if you do it the way I lay out in the book, you look back at yourself three months ago and you say, wow, that was really challenging. Now, it's nothing. Anybody in the coffee line, I'll walk right up and talk to them, and I'll think of something to say. And before I know it, we're engaged in the conversation. Steve Rush: Yeah. Steve Rush: And you'll say that was impossible for me. And you know why? Because you built up gradually, people do these things, they put themselves in situations where it's so intense. There's so much at risk that when it fails, they're tormented by it. Instead of, you know, if you want to meet your soulmate, start meeting everybody so that when you actually meet your soulmate, you can talk like a normal person and have a normal interaction, not overload the whole conversation. And you also learned that maybe who your soulmate might actually be or not be, don't not be prepared by leaping into a situation that's way more than you can handle. If you going to do public speaking, don't start with an audience of four hundred people. You're going to crumble. You're going to be tongue tied. You're going to sweat bullets. And you'll barely get through your presentation. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Start with five. Steve Rush: And when I reflect back on the things that I've done really well, it's probably because I got my dosage right. Where I've got it really wrong is because I've usually got way too much going on and I've been overconfident because I think that's the right thing. Or I've been over bullish trying to make a sale. And that's definitely been a bit of a moment for me. My mom and dad would've probably told me as I was growing up, don't run before you can walk, which used to frustrate the hell out of me because I wanted to run. Fred Joyal: Yes. Steve Rush: But if somebody described it as just get the dosage, right. You know, lift the right amount of weights before you do your three hundred pound bench press as an example, you can start to think that actually we all have to find the right level of dosage. Otherwise, you will never be confident enough or feel confident enough to be more bold. Fred Joyal: And it's a very personal thing. You have to decide what dosage is right for you. Everybody's developing their confidence and boldness from a different starting point. So don't compare yourself to somebody else and say, well, this person, they just walk through the party, and they meet everybody they want to, I want to be that. So, I'm going to start doing that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: You are where you are and you're going to work your way up from there. You'll can get as far as you want to go, but it's a steady, upward climb. It is not serious of quantum leaps. Steve Rush: Indeed. It is. Yeah. So, when I look back on my career, I think I've actually forgotten to be bold. I've got up the habit of being bold and what you've allowed me to rethink and reframe is your Ian pride, which is everyday actions. Recreating those simple habits to become more bold. Tell us a little bit about what that means? Fred Joyal: Yeah, and this is really a life skill is to know that if you want to accomplish something, if you want to achieve something, whether it's personal growth or building a business or writing a novel or whatever, or learning an instrument, work at it every day. Even if it's for five minutes. I learned this from someone who was talking about how they wrote a book and they said, I had a requirement that I was going to write one sentence of that book every day, no matter what. And they said, you know, what happened is, sometimes I'd write a sentence and I'd let myself off the hook because I was tired or whatever, but I always wrote a sentence and then sometimes I'd write a paragraph. Sometimes I write a page or two pages. I'd hit a sweet spot in a way I'd go. But the fact that, they got to it every day tells your brain, this is who I am. And if you don't, if you do it on the weekends or you do it, when you feel like it, you're a dabbler and your brain say, oh, we're a dildock, we're a dabbler. This isn't important to us. And I ask people to say, well, I write when I really get in the head space, really feel like it. I said, wow, do you only exercise when you feel like it? Because that would only be like twice a year for me. Steve Rush: Exactly right, and me.  Fred Joyal: [laugh], you know? And so, and the other thing about setting a goal to do it every day is you don't have to decide to do it or not. It's like brushing your teeth. You're going to do it. It's just when, and you'll get to that point where you say, oh my gosh, it's like seven o'clock at night. I haven't talked to a stranger. I'm going to go to the grocery store. Steve Rush: [Laugh] Yeah. Fred Joyal: You know, I'm going to talk to somebody in the produce department just because it's like, I can't go to bed without doing that. Two things happen. The first thing is the brain said, we are a person who meets people comfortably. We know how to behave boldly. The other thing that happens is, just like controlling the dosage. It aggregates. Everything that you work at every day, no matter how little, aggregates. You want to learn a language, learn three words a day. At the end of the year, you know, a thousand words, that’s fifteen words, in any language, you can have a conversation with anybody. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's powerful stuff, isn't it? Fred Joyal: So, it aggregates, it builds gradually and your dreams decay. Not because they're so hard, it's because you don't get to them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: You think you will get to them. I can get to that next year. And you and I have both lived long enough to know how fast the decade goes by at this point. Steve Rush: Totally. Fred Joyal: Yeah, and that's a harsh, harsh lesson Steve Rush: Indeed. So, we are going to give our listeners an opportunity to find out how they can get hold of some tools that you got on your website that will help people with some of these activities. But before we do that, we are going to just flip the lens a little bit. This is where we hack into your leadership brain. And I'm super looking forward to this because you have such an enormous back catalog of experiences to draw from Fred. But we're going to ask you to dive into your top three leadership hacks, there your top three tips, tools or ideas, what would they be? Fred Joyal: My favorite one that I tell everybody. And it's because I have to tell myself every day too, is, one word, start, just start something. It's amazing how the hardest thing for human beings to do is to start and then you get through it. Whether it's working out, I've begun more workouts by saying, look, I'm just going to do some pushups. Because I don't have any time and I don't feel like it, but I just drop the floor and I do them. What happens next? I do some sit ups and then before you know it, I'm saying, I might as well go for a run or a bike ride, but I started. But what we do is, we do everything but start and we'll burn two hours sometimes. I was reading that the who wrote the Alchemist, I'm forgetting, Coelho is his last name. I'm forgetting his first name. But he was saying, I do everything possible in the house before I start writing [laugh] he said, I will clean everything. I'll sharpen pencils. I'll walk the dog; I'll take two showers. He said, it's like, finally, I'll sit down, and I'll start. We all do it. We torment ourselves. So that thing, if you just start to say, I'm just going to start right now, sit down, do it. And all of a sudden, where you go, whatever it is. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: The other big hack for me is, to celebrate failure as a step up to say, it's a two-stage process. You can feel terrible about it for ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes, whatever it takes. And then now you're going to say, okay, what's in this for me? How do I mine this for information? You allow yourself the emotional reaction, but you don't stay attached to it for the rest of the month of the year or forever. You say, all right, there it is. I had the emotional outburst for what happened. What's in this for me? There's a term in Aikido where it's called embrace the hit as a gift. And the more I've done that in life, the more I've said, wow, this is terrible. What's in it for me? And then it turns into something really interesting, and I've lost a million dollars on stuff. It was expensive tuition, but I learned from it, and I turned it into a multiple of learning from that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: So that's very powerful. And then the other hack is to get really good at asking for help, try to figure out who can help you. It keeps you from being a micromanager or a soloist because collaboration is amazingly powerful. I am a much better speaker because I get feedback all the time on it. I have a personal coach that talks to me every week and it's painful sometimes because he ends every session with an action plan. Like, what are you going to do? Like, I'm doing a Superbold workshop. And I've been wanting to do it since I put the book out. And so, he finally said to me, so what's the boldest thing you could be doing, which of course is a very painful challenge. He knows exactly how to come at me. And I said, well, that would be the workshop. He said, okay, how long would it take you to put a workshop together? I said, yeah, probably about 90 days. He said, all right. So, what's the date? Okay, June 24th, June 25th. He said, all right, put it on the calendar. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: That's what I'm doing. I'm aiming for that date. I have to make it happen. Because I booked the rooms. This is another hack. Let the door lock behind you. Don't give yourself a way out. So, you have to figure out what to do. Steve Rush: Yeah, love that. Fred Joyal: They call it, you know, burning the boats in the Harbor or whatever. But it's like, if you say, well, if this doesn't work out, I can always just do this. The entrepreneurs, I know that succeeded. They get in so deep. They couldn't get out. Tony Hsieh was in so deep with his money. He had to make Zappos work. Steve Rush: Very true. Fred Joyal: I get in so deep with 800 Dentists, I had to make it work. I owed my family money. I owed $200,000 in media that I had to figure out how to pay. You know, I had a personal guarantee on the rent. It was like, I had three doors locked behind me. Steve Rush: Mm. Fred Joyal: My partner and I had to figure it out. Steve Rush: Focuses the attention. Doesn't it. That's for sure. Fred Joyal: Yeah. Steve Rush: So next part of the show, we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your life or work has not worked out at all well, maybe even screwed up and been catastrophic, but as a result of it, that experience is now serving you really well in your life or work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Fred Joyal: A lot of people fall for this, and I certainly have, which is the whole sunk cost thing. Where you say, I've got so much into this. I have to keep putting money into it. Instead of cutting it losses, saying, look, take the pain now, because it's just going to get bigger. And you know, sometimes it's about money, sometimes you've put so much money into something. You've bought this piece of technology and you're trying to make it work. And it's the wrong technology, [laugh] it doesn't fit or it's too old or you know, whatever, and you just have to sell it or park it and get the right technology or it's the right person versus the wrong person. Everybody I know in business fires, that person that they know they need to get rid of months after they know they need to get rid of them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: You got to sunk cost in that person. You say, I spent so much time and money training them. I think I can make them better, you can't. Steve Rush: [Laugh] That's very true. Fred Joyal: Abandon the sunk costs. So that's, been, you know, just applying that to money and things that I've put time and money into and people. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: It's benefited me so much now because, I got so many scars from it. Steve Rush: Yeah, the last thing I want to explore with you is, you are now twenty-one years old, your toe to toe with Fred and you get a chance to give him some words of wisdom. What would it be? Fred Joyal: Nothing bad happens unless you decide to label it that way. Steve Rush: Nice. Fred Joyal: And all these things you're afraid of are things you really want to do, so do them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Be willing to be afraid and do them and use the fear as a directional signal for yourself. Steve Rush: And of course, fear is one of the very reasons why we avoid boldness in the first place. Fred Joyal: Yeah. Steve Rush: Yeah. Fred Joyal: Because we are incredibly good at calculating the worst-case scenario in our heads and the voice in our head loves to come up with all of these things, but really terrible at calculating the odds of it actually happening. Steve Rush: Yeah, very true. Fred Joyal: You know, smiling at 10 people a day, somebody's not going to smile back, but a really shy person said, nobody's going to smile back, but until you do it and you realize nine out of ten people smile back. The tenth person, who knows why. It could be the worst day of their life; they could have bad teeth. When you learn not to take it on, that's a really powerful thing. I'd say that to Fred too. You don't have to take any of this stuff on. Just keep moving. We're all flawed human beings working our way through life. Billionaires and homeless people. We're all in a struggle. Nobody is perfect. And trying to be perfect before you leave the house is a failed strategy. Steve Rush: So, in terms of dosage, I would love to have more of a dose of Fred, but we're coming to the top of the show. What I would love to do though, Fred is to let our listeners know how they can get hold of some of the tools you talked about. Maybe get a copy of Superbold and learn a little bit more about the work that you do beyond what we've talked about today? Fred Joyal: Yeah, easiest place is to go to You can download the first chapter of the book there. You can buy the book on Amazon, it's in hard cover and Kindle and audible, and it's me reading it. And if you do the digital version of it, you can go to and download the exercises because there's a whole bunch of exercises. You're going to want a physical copy of them. So, there's a PDF of them in the website. You can also see a couple of boldness lectures that I've done there. And if you're in LA or if you're willing to fly in. The first workshop is going to be June 24th and 25th in Santa Monica. And then I'll going to be doing them around the country and who knows? I might have to go to London, you know, I'll, do it. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly right. So, Fred, I just wanted to say thanks ever so much. I knew the first time I met you, that there was a reason I've met you. Having now read your book and you've been on the show. You have definitely shone a light on the lack of boldness I didn't even know I had and helped me reinforce some great behavior. So, I just want to say personally, thank you, but also thank you for being part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Fred Joyal: Thank you. It's been a real pleasure. I hope everyone benefits. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off, I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.    
47:22 30/05/22
The Courage to Learn Differently with Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox is the CEO and Founder of the Never Give Up Foundation, he’s a coach,  speaker and Co-author of the book, The Courage to Learn Differently. In this remarkable conversation learn about: How Matt became a successful entrepreneur despite his learning disability How your emotions can be a gift? What is emotional growth and how to unlock it? How as leaders, we can tune in to the emotional needs of our teams   Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services Find out more about Matthew below: Matthew on LinkedIn: Matthew on Twitter: Matthew on Instagram: Matthew’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Our special guest on today shows Matthew Cox. Matthew was diagnosed with a learning disability in high school where he was told he would never attend college and he wouldn't amount to anything. However, Matthew was an incredibly successful businessman. He's the co-founder of the Never Give Up Behavioral Services and Never Give Up Foundation. But before we get a chance to speak with Matthew, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: For any organization to be successful. It must find a way to develop talent. It isn't always possible to hire great talent in leadership, particularly from outside the organization. So being able to develop leaders within the organization is a key success factor and will help the company grow and meet future needs. I'm going to share with you four principles that really help drive leadership development and leadership potential for 2022. The first principle is taking ownership. This is about being fully responsible for your leadership team and their personal development in that journey. And it's different from being in charge. Taking ownership is simply about empowering people around you, but being fully responsible, knowing that it's actually a shared responsibility, great leaders make it their job to keep pushing things forward. They didn't sit back and wait for tasks to be given to them. They search for new ways to improve. That includes developing them and their teams. Learning through mistakes and continually being brave enough to make them. When everyone takes ownership, people are willing to do what's needed without finding ways to skirt responsibility. By taking ownership, this is also creates consistency and consistency creates routines, habits and patterns that others can also learn from rather than just one off activities. Principle two, use next level thinking. How do you know if you did something right? Most people look at the task. Did you accomplish it or not? Did you do what you said you were going to do or not? Well for leadership, we need to shift our thinking. Each task is important, and we consistently need to measure our productivity versus key performance. But next level leadership requires a shift in a perspective, helping people move away from linear thinking is really important. Linear thinking follows quick snap decisions without much analysis and a usually short term. Instead, we need to think systems thinking, see the bigger picture. Interconnection between the various parts of a system. In doing so, it gives us the ability to have much broader perspectives and allow better decision making. And if we think of systems thinking as the full business system, not individual parts, it gives us the ability, much deeper, more meaningful decision-making. Principle three, respect time, your time and others. There is an old adage of time management. And if anybody's ever worked with me, you'll know that it's a myth and I encourage you to think of it that way. You can't manage time. You can only manage you. The hack here is I want you to think about reframing time management to prioritization. And if you're able to look at tasks and compare them in terms of their urgent and important status, what you need to tackle first, that creates space providing you, create the space for recovery and wellbeing in your plan, create a model of the week that you want to see happen and feature into that model time for you and for others, but also encourage others to do the same, because by respecting others' time, you'll be able to be more efficient. You also need to micromanage and principle for focus on progress. Not perfection. Nobody is perfect and chasing for perfection means we forgo, experimenting or testing things because we don't want to screw up. You may be familiar with the terminology trial and error. By definition, there mean there will be error and that's okay. Doing so means continuous improvement. Create the space for people to feel psychologically safe so they can experiment. That means that they've learned it removes the need for criticism. The key learning here is that every time you win a step forward, it's a step of progress towards a goal, but not perfection. Of course, there are more than four principles that are going to keep us well for 2022. When we start thinking about our leadership development and I'd encourage you just to focus on what's working for you but take a step forward. Not a step back. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Our special guest on today's show is Matthew Cox. He's a CEO and founder of Never Give Up Foundation. He's a coach, speaker and the co-author of the book. The Courage to Learn Differently. Matt's story is even more remarkable as whilst he's an entrepreneur having sold multimillion dollar businesses in the past. He's also learning disabled. Matthew, welcome to the show. Matthew Cox: Thank you. Well, thank you, Steve. Appreciate it. Steve Rush: So right off the bat Matt, when you hear the word learning disabled, what does that really mean? Matthew Cox: Well, it can go two different ways. Learning disabled is a learning disability or intellectual disability versus the physical. So, when somebody's learning disabled, they struggle either with some sort of element like dyslexia, illiteracy or something that impairs them to not learn the way what's called normal society [Laugh] Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: So, it's been based on if you can't read or write, if you can't do something a certain way, you're a learning disabled. If that makes sense. Steve Rush: It's a label that most folk aren't particularly comfortable with, but you seem to have grabbed hold of this and created it as part of your identity. I'm keen to just learn a little bit about how that came about? Matthew Cox: Yeah, it wasn't always tough or easy. Growing up, it was trying to get, as you hear that saying, getting comfortable in your own skin. And so, throughout my youth I struggled with it like anybody. I didn't know why I wasn't able to keep up with all the other kids in the classroom. Now, if I was on the soccer field, that was another thing. I was pretty good at that. But when it came to the classroom, I hated tests. English was like a foreign language to me. So, it was tough that way. Until I got into my thirties, I finally got comfortable with it. But growing up from an adolescent to about then, it was always trying to hide things, was not comfortable. And then it just clicked one day. I just finally realized through some personal work, having a coach and having mentors, having good people around me, I finally just realized, it doesn't define who I am, and the definition of learning and art today is like reading and writings. It's not something that's been around forever. It's something we created as a society and we make decisions on scoring our kids, scoring our people around us that if they do X, then they're intelligent. So, it wasn't telling my thirties, Steve, that I finally just kind of got comfortable with it with a mentor that kind of guided me through it. And then from there on it's just been, it's, you kind of miss out, if you don't get to know me. So, when I do presentations, I don't stress anymore if I spell wrong on the board. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: I've kind of embraced it, which is freedom in its own self. Steve Rush: So, I'm not sure many listeners actually know this either. Actually, I'm dyslexic. And I've also written a book. Albeit it, was the best couple of thousand dollars I'd ever spent hiring an editor [laugh] to rewrite my book. I'm not sure that she was anticipating the amount of work and rework that was going to be required. But I too had found that actually, stood in front of a flip chart having to write up people's notes. I was able to get away with it by just squiggling on the board and people just, not even. So, if I just got a little word blind, which often still happens by the way, I can get away with it. As long as you were confident enough, did you actually find any of that play out for you? Matthew Cox: Oh, all the time. I have code, but before I was so forward about it, I used to try to just say, oh, I'm just going to abbreviate it or put a code up here for you. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And I kind of get around it that way until. Now when I do a presentation, I tell my story. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And I say, look, if you're a spelling Nazi in the audience, you're going to have fun. It's going to drive you crazy today. I wish you well. Steve Rush: Exactly, I like that. Matthew Cox: And so, I just make humor of it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And usually when you're vulnerable and you make that humor, people embrace it and I've never had an issue with it since then. Steve Rush: And often, it is about that disclosure that makes it safe, isn't it? Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: Finding this out and this level of comfort in your late thirties is really quite interesting because up until this point, you've gone through quite a lot of different twists and turns in your career and. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: You've gone through some personal tragedies, and you've come out the other end and been a successful businessman. I'd love for you to just share a little bit of the backstory. Matthew Cox: Yeah. So, you know, through all that fun time growing up, I learned early on, I was an entrepreneur, I'll start there, and I think it was after we lost my father when I was younger. I think I was ten at that time. And I had seven other siblings at the house. So, my mom raised us all. So, I started finding ways to make money. Because after that loss, we were struggling financially, and my mom did her best. And I remember my first business was a yard care business. I was mowing lawns for neighbors. And then I just kept building it and took it to the extreme and by buying trailers and buying a truck and buying more equipment. And so, at seventeen, I realized the power of entrepreneur. I was making four thousand U.S. dollars a month as a seventeen-year-old, still in school. And I was going, wait, there's something to this. And it wasn't until I started listening to Stephen Covey, kind of switching that mindset. And then that's when my business bug kind of just went from there. And then I started several other businesses after that and had a few failures in there, like any entrepreneur. And then when I was in my twenties, I was introduced to mental health. What I mean by that is, helping kids in foster care, helping kids at risk. Because I was one of those kids growing up where, when we lost a father, I struggled, I started hanging out with wrong crowds. And I talked about this in my book. Just the journey I went through because it was easier to get accepted to the wrong crowds when you're struggling with self-esteem as a LD Kid and growing up. So, in those twenties, I learned that I could influence kids on the soccer field and then somebody introduced me to foster care. And that's when I started my journey down that whole road. And I've been in that field since, and I'm 44 now. So, it's been a long journey. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: But it's been really, really rewarding because I've found that was my gift. And I think in any situation, Steve, a lot of entrepreneurs when they find their sweet spot, just like a basketball or a professional star or sports person, they always told me when I would work with them, coaching them and stuff they'd say. There's a sweet spot when you're playing your game. And I think as an entrepreneur, you have to find that. And in my life, I found it and it was helping people. Steve Rush: That sweet spot often referred to as purpose. Matthew Cox: There you go, purpose. Steve Rush: It's now played full round, isn't it for you? And the Never Give Up Foundation that you now run is focused entirely on giving people the opportunity to grow. Tell us a little bit about the work you do? Matthew Cox: Yeah. So now currently what happened is, from the foster care I moved in 2009, I moved to Vegas, and I started an outpatient company, which that means, outpatient in the mental health world is, people come in for therapy or medication management. And we serviced four to all the way up to ninety or a hundred or on, so there is no age gap from the limit. Me and my wife started that in 2012. Then in 2016, my brother approached me and says, hey, let's start an inpatient and for adolescence. So, we started that in 2016, we were the first one in Nevada. So, we were the first ones to do this type of work or inpatient. It's called a psychiatric adolescent facility. And it's for residential where they stay nine months to a year within the facility where all services are under one roof. And then they transition back into the community. Currently that facility has hundred and forty-four beds, and it serves adolescents from eight to seventeen. And then we have Sober Living Company that we started right after that. And the Sober Living serves adults, all ages and they stay there while they do treatment. When we did something unique with that sober living, we actually don't charge rent for them. We pay the rent and then we provide services around that. So, it's kind of a unique model that we run there. And so that's kind of been the journey for the [laugh] since 2009 to now. When I came into the state of Nevada and then we're now expanding into other states, we're buying other facilities around the U.S., and it's been a pretty crazy journey, but I've enjoyed every step. It's a very needed, especially after the pandemic, it's got very busy with mental health. Steve Rush: Indeed. And I guess globally now. The whole issue is magnified because of the pandemic. Matthew Cox: Globally, yes. Steve Rush: And from your perspective, how have you seen the patients and associates you work with change because of that? Matthew Cox: Oh, wow. We've seen, I'll start with just the adolescence. I mean the acuity level from when it was prior to the pandemic is a lot worse. When I say acuity, kids are trying to harm themselves. Eight-year-olds are trying to drown themselves in pools. Just the cases I see or hear. It's got a lot worse and then adults and colleagues, the anxiety and stress level has went off the charts, just the what ifs or the unknown. So, in the adult’s people, are just worried about the economy and what's going on. Steve Rush: And neurologically, of course, we're built to look for certainty and pattern and comfort and routine, and the pandemic's throwing that up in the air, for many people, right? Matthew Cox: Yeah, and I think it's that sense of reality or that purpose, right? Steve Rush: Mm. Steve Rush: So, like you said, that reality or that normal mundane everyday thing we do, just got disrupted. And so, in the world of psychology, it's that, hey, my story or my baseline. And that's where a lot of people, when I've coached a lot of my professionals or business owners, a lot of them are worried about what's going to happen to the economy. Am I going to have a business? And I think half the time our session is, in my high performers, I say, hey, you can't control that. What can you control? And you got to live today, not tomorrow, not five days. And so, a lot of people are doing too much, living way ahead. And that's when it causes a lot of mental health issues when we're thinking too much or too far ahead. Steve Rush: It's the traditional power of now, isn't it? Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: You can only control the moment you're in, rather than the one that's gone and the one that's ahead of you. Matthew Cox: Correct. Steve Rush: But that takes courage to think differently, which is exactly what the book talks to, of course. Matthew Cox: So, we create it in our outlines. The courage to learn differently was designed for kiddos or parents that have kids with learning disabilities. And so, when we went to start writing in it and Steve, like you said earlier, my coauthor bless her hearts, Erica Walkingstick. She's, the coauthor of True Colors. She's she wrote a book on the basis of temperament; her husband was the founder of True Colors. And it was founded in 1937. And it's a temperament theory using four colors to define your personality. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm. Matthew Cox: It's based on Myers Briggs, all those different ones. They're all kind of, every one of them, yeah. Steve Rush: Similar to any of the jungian personality types you might see, right? Matthew Cox: Pretty much. And it's pretty accurate. I've been using it for a long time. So, what we did is, we took it, and we developed this book around that concept of temperament theory and developed it to where the temperament theory helps us understand how these kiddos or parents needing to understand how the kids learn. So, for me, I'm a high blue orange. So, a blue is very emotional. Orange is a risk taker. And so, knowing that as a learning disability, if you have a kid with an LD and you know, their personality types, you know one, how to one teach them or approach them, and it works in as adults. And so, we use this within our business and it's really good just around the book. So that's why I've I started, I wrote this book because I wanted a tool and it's actually a workbook for teachers, special ed teachers within any school district. It doesn't matter if you're whatever, wherever you're at, it doesn't matter what part of the country or world you're in. This will apply to whatever it is with a kid with an LD, or if you're a parent or a special ed teacher or a teacher. Because a lot of times Steve, in the mainstream classroom, most special or most mainstream class teachers, don't get a lot of training to deal with us, ADD kids or us dyslexic kids. Steve Rush: That's very true. Very true. Matthew Cox: Because when we're younger, we're a little more frustrated because we're not seeing things. Now, the books, all designed around my story of my life, growing up with it. So, you get a little bit of different struggles. Then me and Erica do what's called a brainstorming session and we kind of do a dialogue back and forth and she didn't know how much work it was going to be either Steve, when she was helping me write. Luckily, she's a great writer. So, she did a lot of the ghost writing and so it's been a great journey and we're excited. It's going to hit the stores here soon, in all online stores as well. Steve Rush: What I particularly love about it, having had a sneak preview is, it is really super practical. Matthew Cox: Yes. Matthew Cox: And whether you are a kid or whether you are a parent or teacher, like you said, it just gives you a bit more visibility of the treatment strategies, the approaches you might want to take in order to get the best out of people. And that what I particularly love about it. Matthew Cox: Yeah. And that's what I was shooting for. I wanted to make it simple but have some really strong principles in there. So, it's an easy read, but you can follow the storyline really easy. Steve Rush: So, what's the reason it does take courage to think differently? Matthew Cox: I think the courage to think differently or learn differently is, it took me courage to rethink or learn different because I don't learn the same way as mainstream education teaches and something you got to think is, kids like us or adults like us. We don't learn that way. School's designed for a certain type of personality. It's designed for the gold green kid. And so, for us, orange, blue kids or kids that struggle, we have a tendency not to really form in school. And so, school's tough for us. And so that's why we either really do well in sports or we do well in something that's more hands on. I think that's why it takes courage because when I was in school, I just, wasn't never comfortable unless I was on the soccer field. If that makes sense. Matthew Cox: Yeah, it does. So, I'm blessed with having four children all come with a completely different set of skills, behaviors, and attitudes and where I see the courage is the courage and the conviction that if you're not as academic, then it's almost the courage to hold on, have that conviction that you will find your sweet spot. It will be there for you, but it's holding onto it without getting stressed and caught up in the moment of not having the best grades and not having, you know, some of the other things that other kids may have. Matthew Cox: Yeah. And I learned that throughout my high school, but also my college career. Because I flunked out college about seven times. When I first went to my basics here in the states, you know, that bachelor's degree or the associates. Steve Rush: Yep. Matthew Cox: The associates was a nightmare. I mean I couldn't get past math and [laugh] I remember going to the math department and crying to the head of the department after I fell so many times, I'm like, please don't fail me [Laugh] and what I did do is I learned how to shop teachers. So, I think what my disabilities taught me as, is to be creative and to be a problem solver. So, in my business, all my executives call me when they need something solved in a matter of minutes. That's my sweet spot. I've learned that from this, it created a superpower. So, I'm embraced and I'm grateful. I think it was God's gift of keeping me humble. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And also giving me the directions because I don't use logic. I go, okay, that's a bummer. We're there. What do we do next? So, I immediately always go into it. So, I remember when I was trying to solve the math one, I immediately went in and started interviewing every teacher. And I finally found Mr. Bowler. He was a lawyer. He only taught on summers and the summers in the states are very short. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: That's only a few months versus a whole semester. And I said, I'm going to take your class and the only class I'm going to do. And I sat down with him and told him, and he helped me through, and I got a C minus, and I said, piece out, thank you so much. Steve Rush: That'll do, yeah, it's a pass, right. Matthew Cox: But I learned you had to shop. We can either be victims our circumstance or we can solve it and move on. So that's one of the lessons I learned in that. Steve Rush: Emotional intelligence is a core foundation that you see in many entrepreneurs. And actually, I did the research for my book and looked at what the key themes were between entrepreneurs versus, you know, some very good successful businesspeople who were less entrepreneurial. And ironically, there are more entrepreneurs who have learning disabilities than don't. And I found that really quiet a remarkable, statistic actually. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Sir Branson. I always forget his first name. Steve Rush: Richard Branson? Matthew Cox: Richard. Steve Rush: Yep. Matthew Cox: He's highly ADHD. Steve Jobs, Steve Rush: Job source. He was, yeah. Matthew Cox: He was kind of more autistic or somewhere up there. He was off the chart somewhere. And then you have Microsoft guy, Bill Gates. He has something going on there and I think it engages certain types of the brain. I remember going into my master's degree. I had to do some testing and to get accommodations for the school because you know, having a learning disability, you can get accommodations throughout your schooling. And the guy that was doing it, he was a good friend, but he was also a psychiatrist or psychologist. His previous career. He worked for the CIA. And so, he used to go in and try to get people to go to our side. That's the kind of psychology he did. He would profile the individuals. And so, when he was doing my testing, he did the normal IQ test. He says, Matt, you're 109 as an IQ. You're normal. He said, but he went on and did some other testing. I don't know what it was called. He said, but your IQs around 160, 165. Steve Rush: Blind me, that's pretty high. Matthew Cox: And it’s because of the effort you put in. And he said, most people that have high IQ don't go past because there because they don't put in any more effort. It comes easy for them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: He said, you have to work at it. And it was an interesting insight. I remember that conversation with him. He's a great man. He's passed on since then, but it was just really interesting because his career and where he'd been, and all the trials and we talked for a while. I think that's why you see all these entrepreneurs, like we're talking about Steve, that's why they're so off the charts because they put more effort. Like Elon Musk. A lot of people think he's an odd duck, but he just has a lot going on. He's firing off. If you hear his memoirs, he talks about when he is a little kid, he just was having ideas from a little kid. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And that's just, I think they're gifts. And these individuals just finally kind of click in and use them. Steve Rush: And thanks to the work that you and others like you, Matt are doing by the way that are bringing this to the front of our consciousness, because there is no direct path to success. Matthew Cox: No, there isn't. Steve Rush: It's about getting the right people to do the right things at the right time. And recognizing that some people are just really good at school. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: And others are really good at life. And actually, you know, never the twin you’ll meet sometimes. Matthew Cox: No, and I have a lot of doctor friends. I have a lot of lawyer friends, and they're good at it. And like even my wife is very good at school. She was a nurse but there's a balance there because she's good at what she's good at. And I'm good at what, and it's a good partnership just like in partnerships like my brother, and I are business partners as well. And I think I shared with you that when we were talking prior is that we have a joke. I'm Walt Disney, he's Roy. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And he tells you, and I liked what you said, you know, business, a lot of entrepreneurs, if they're honest, you fall into success. One day you wake up and you're like, wow, we made it [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: Because you fumble and you make mistakes and there's a lot of messiness to get to where the end result is, right? Steve Rush: Absolutely. And the opposite is also true. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: Academics tend to stay in academia. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: Because that's what makes them good. And that's what makes them successful. They've got the ability to learn, research, regurgitate, apply, learn, and so on. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: And you just don't see that in entrepreneurs because they're in the moment. They're attaching their energy to the emotions that are presented for them and the opportunities that come along for them. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: And that's the dichotomy perhaps those two genres, right? Matthew Cox: Oh, it is. My brother's very academic. He has the gift of entrepreneur, but I mean, he can sit down and read anything and understand it after he reads it. I'm the visionary that has twenty ideas and only three are good, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: But I'm constantly looking at the trends of the market. I'm constantly looking at things that most people don't see, it's like the matrix, right. Steve Rush: [Laugh] exactly. Matthew Cox: I see it and I'm like, hey, this is what's going to happen. And then he's like, okay, because he is very laser focused. And he has to move from one thing to another. I can kind of juggle five things at once. So, it's good to have that visionary and integrator. Because if you have that, if you have a visionary in what you're doing and then an integrator to help bring it down to the ground, I think that's where our success took off. Because when we put that combination in, it was game over. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: But before then when you have too many visionaries, if the visionary is doing everything, it's a nightmare for the company. Because the visionary is all over the place, right? Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly right. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Because we started, but we need the help and that's what I found as an entrepreneur, you got to put good people around you. Steve Rush: Yeah. And it's having the emotional awareness to recognize that too, from my experience having worked, coached and spent time with some superb entrepreneurs, is that emotional trigger if you like is very acute. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: They know their strengths, but they also very much know their weaknesses. Matthew Cox: Yeah, and it takes them a little bit to figure that out after so many failures. Steve Rush: Yes, indeed. Matthew Cox: I'm not a CEO, I'll never be a CEO. I'm just not a CEO type. So, I create positions within my organizations like visionary or strategic officer because the CEO needs to be a very gold or (A) personality type, where they get things organized and they love to attend meetings. I hate meetings because I'm more high vision, bigger things, bigger ideas, bigger relationships. So, I think when entrepreneurs really figure that, especially if you're the founder or visionary entrepreneur. The founder of your company, when you finally figure out where you're good at and like we're talking about you get into that sweet spot, it helps everybody around you. Steve Rush: Yeah. You've also now taken your learnings of work and business and how you've learned, and you coach others. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: And one of the key things you focus on is the application of helping people with their emotional growth. Now for those folk that maybe aren't aware of what emotional growth is, be great if you could just explain it and maybe give us some insight as to how you coach that. Matthew Cox: Yeah. So, a lot of times, I find in high performers or individuals that are performing at that high level or executives, there's a lot of emotional. I mean, so many coaches out there and a lot of the coaches forget about that emotional growth. And I think having the mental health background and dealing with my own emotional health as that visionary entrepreneur. I really focus on that with them, the founders of the companies, the ones that get off the ground, because I can teach you all the systems in the world, but if you can't manage your emotion and your emotional stability, you're going to drive everybody crazy around you. Because we're odd ducks. I mean, if you think about all those guys that we talked about, like Steve Jobs, they struggled in their personal lives because we think so high level that a lot of times, I drive my wife crazy. So, I have to find my own person to go to that kind of can grasp my overload and that's my business partner and brother and he knows, he knows how to address it. So, what I usually do is, I start with your emotional stability as the higher performer. Once we figure out where you're at, then we go down and start working on traction and getting the system in place and envision because that emotional health, we have to have a people plan. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And the most important person is you because everything ripples down. If that makes sense. Steve Rush: Yeah. It makes bucket loads of sense. Yeah, for sure. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: And actually, it's one of those things that doesn't crop up in the classroom. Matthew Cox: No. Steve Rush: You know, nobody teaches you this stuff, right. It's one of these things you either bump into, you learn or you find out as you are learning from mistakes and challenges, there is definitely this bit that comes along with it, which is, innate radar to maybe spend more time focusing and being aware of people's emotions because you have to, but this is also something that you sometimes need another person to help you with, right? Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: I encourage all leaders. And this is why I tell them, you know, hire somebody like me to walk you through it or hire a therapist if there's more emotional growth that you have to do, therapy's not a bad thing. And when I tell high performers this, they're like, what, everybody could use the therapist or somebody they can go to work on certain things in their life. Everybody has something to work on. And when you discover that, you know, I had to discover when I worked with my individual person that I worked with, either it was a counselor or coach. Each of them would always teach me, you just got to slow down a little bit. Because being ADD, I kind of would go too fast for people. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: Or I would capitalize the conversation when I'd call an employee because I see a division, I see something coming and then by the time they're overwhelmed after a 30-minute conversation on the phone. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: Because it's kind of like an emotional dump, if that makes sense. Does that make sense, Steve? Steve Rush: Absolutely, yeah. Matthew Cox: I see this coming and as a high visionary, it was too much. Even my brother would say, hey, you got to break it down. So that's where that emotional growth as a leader's going to come. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And so, when I teach leaders, I say, hey, you got so much going in your head when you call your manager or whoever's under you, you kind of throw up on them. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Matthew Cox: And so [laugh] pick one thing. And so, we calm issues. I say, pick one issue. So, if you can get three issues in that week, you've accomplished more. So, we, you know, one of the things I do as coach, I teach them how to run a more effective meeting. So, when they come in they don't do the whole soup. They don't throw everything into the kitchen, in that soup and start stirring. I say, only bring three or four issues and let's talk about them and round table and they find that it's a lot more effective and then they just have this ongoing issue list that they just kind of work at. If that makes sense. Steve Rush: I like it. Yeah, really practical, yeah. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: So, here's the thing. Do you think that we're all broadly on the spectrum of some sort? Matthew Cox: Oh, I think everybody has something. Yeah, I think everybody struggles with something. I call it that everybody does have a learning disability, some sort. We just don't embrace it. It might be an emotional, like you might be quick to get anger. You might be highly intelligent. So, everybody to you is dumb. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: That is a disability. It's an impairment because it's not true. Not everybody around you is dumb. It's just, they don't think the way you think. So, I think it is, I think everybody needs to step back and kind of see what they struggle with and be aware of it. Because we're all human beings. We put our pants one leg at a time, and I think the best thing I ever heard from a personal friend is said, you know, a good friend or somebody that's going to lead you as a coach. I'm going to tell you, you have a booger in your nose and your zippered down, you know, and that's, what's hard for a lot of high performers. I'm going to be honest with them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And sometimes, I've scared some away, but if you're wanting to grow, don't hire somebody that's not going to be truthful to you. Steve Rush: And there is still stigma with accepting that you have an issue. Matthew Cox: Oh yeah. Steve Rush: Or you have some needs that are different. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: That need a different treatment strategy, right? Matthew Cox: Yeah. Even some of my high performers, I said, you need to go get, you need to go get therapy. I've had to tell them that. I said, there's some traumas there that are causing you to be a bad leader. And they're like, well, what do you mean? And we had to walk through it. And I had some that said sure. And they did it. And they've had very successful careers and some chose not to, and they've struggled. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: Yeah, so a lot of them don't want to accept it. And I here's what, I just encourage any leader, listening, not everybody's broken. Brene Brown's one of my favorite authors. It's just that daring to lean into it. If you ever want to read some good books, go read her stuff. Because she kind of addresses that society norm that everybody numbs out. Like most of my high performers that are numbing out, they're either using some sort of substance. They're staying up late, their workaholics and that's a form of numbing out. And so, you have to understand why that is. You have to have a good balance if that makes sense. Steve Rush: It does, yeah. So, we're going to give our listeners an opportunity to find out how I can get a copy of the book and a bit more of your insights in a little while. But before we do that, we're going to just flip the lens a little bit. Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: And I'm going to hack into your leadership brain. And I want you to share with our listeners, your top three leadership hacks, Matt? Matthew Cox: I'd say my top three leadership hacks, or you know. Have purpose, lead with purpose and understanding, but help others understand that purpose. Number two is, just let go. Once you hire somebody, let go, let them fell, help them understand their seat. Be very clear, what the expectation is. And then number three is just have fun. Enjoy the people you work with and love but have passion in what you're doing. If you don't have passion, it's going to be tough. Every day is going to be tough. Because being an entrepreneur is tough. And the last thing I'd just say is have a coach, because everybody needs a coach. Everybody needs somebody to guide them when they hit the ceiling. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: Because you will hit the ceiling. Steve Rush: Awesome advice. Thank you, Matt., Matthew Cox: Yeah. Steve Rush: Next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something hasn't worked out. It maybe been catastrophic even, but as a result of that experience, it's now serving you well in your life and work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Matthew Cox: I think as an entrepreneur or business owner, when you're wearing all the hats and you need to start hiring and increasing your team or grow your team, I've hired some bad people, and these are people I've known. So, I've had one that I hired as a head nurse, and I'd known her for years and it was the worst hire that I ever did. Because you don't know people until you start working with them, you might know them in a community base. You might know them somewhere else. So, from that experience I learned it's okay to hire people but hire slow and fire fast. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matthew Cox: And so from that experience, I learned that. Steve Rush: It's interesting dynamic, isn't it? When you only have a social view of somebody who can talk a great game. Matthew Cox: Yes. Steve Rush: Seeing them apply it is often sometimes different. Matthew Cox: Yeah. The way you live your life, it does ripple into how you work. Steve Rush: Yeah, does. Last part of the show, we get to give you some time travel. You can bump into Matt at twenty-one and give him some advice and some words of wisdom. What would it be? Matthew Cox: If I bumped into myself at twenty-one, oh geez, I'd say never give up. And that's the theme of my life has been, I'd tell my twenty-one-year self, I say listen to people around you that are good mentors. But I would probably just tell, him, take a break and enjoy things on the way as well. Steve Rush: Good advice. And taking a break is part of that recovery system that gives you the emotional capacity to go on and do great things, of course. Matthew Cox: Yes. It rejuvenates your battery. You need it. No matter what phase you're in. I think a lot of us entrepreneurs, we think we need to keep working all the time and I tell you don't do it. Steve Rush: So, I absolutely love the work you're doing Matt. I think you are making a massive difference. I think the book is going to be a game changer for many people around the globe in helping them understand their approach to other people who are somewhat different to maybe what they think they are. And I'm really excited for you that you are on this journey. If our listeners wanted to get a copy of the book and find out a little bit more about the work that you do, where's the best place for us to send them? Matthew Cox: You can reach me on LinkedIn. I'm actively on there. You could also email me or it's going to be available here soon in all the Amazon's online book, Barnes & Noble, all the different online ways to buy it. So, it'll be coming out soon or go to the website, Steve Rush: We'll put all of those links in the show note, Matt, and also as, when the book arrives in the various different jurisdictions, we'll help you get it out to our audience and our listeners. And we wish you all the very, very best with it too. I just want to say thank you for being part of our community in coming on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Matthew Cox: No, thank you, Steve. Appreciate it. Steve Rush: Thanks Matt. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
44:21 23/05/22
Business Leadership Under Fire with Pepyn Dinandt and Richard Westley
Our very special guests are global business guru Pepyn Dinandt and Military Cross holder, ex-army Colonel, Richard Westley OBE. They teamed up and wrote the book Business Leadership Under Fire. This is such a compelling show, packed full of hacks and lessons including: Why establishing leadership can stop your platform burning The “Who Dares Wins” approach to strategy and tactics Building and managing an excellent leadership team Team and organization structure to maximize business impact Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services Find out more about Pepyn and Richard below: Website: Pepyn on LinkedIn: Richard on LinkedIn:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   What do you get when you smudge one of the world's global business leaders and one of the UK's top Army Colonels? The answer, Business Leadership Under Fire, our special guest today are Pepyn Dinandt and Richard Westley OBE, and they wrote the book, Business Leadership Under Fire, but before we dive in with Pepyn and Richard, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: Have you ever heard, focus takes you where it takes you? Inspired by a blog by Seth Godin many years ago, he had a focus of depth of field, and I'll share a story with you around how and why focus is so important. Picture the scene. There are two runners, both have exactly the same capability, exactly the same pace and the same injury, an injured left toe. The runner who's concentrating on how much their left toe hurts will be left in a dust by the one who's focused on winning. Even if the winner's toe hurts just as much. Hurt of course is a matter of perception. Most of what we think about is, we had a choice about where to aim that focus, aim that lens of our attention. We can relieve past injustices, settled old grudges, nurse festering sorts. We can imagine failure build up its potential for destruction and calculate its odds. Or we can imagine generous outcomes that we're working on. Feel gratitude, feel compassion for those that got us here and revel in the possibilities of what's next, we have an automatic focus are instinctive and cultural choices, and that focus isn't the only ones that are available to us. Of course, those are somewhat difficult to change, which is why so few people manage to do so, but there's no work that pays off better in the long run than focusing on positive and progressive outcomes. Remember the stories that you tell yourself, your story is your story, but you don't have to keep reminding yourself of the story you've told yourself before. If that story doesn't help you change positively for the future, it's probably not the right story in the first place. So, focus on the future stories that you want to tell yourself, and guess what? Those stories become a reality. That's been The Leadership Hacker New. Really looking forward to our conversation with Richard and with Pepyn. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: I'm joined by two very special guests on today's show. Pepyn Dinandt is a business executive with 30 years’ experience successfully leading and restructuring companies in challenging situations as CEO and Chairman. Or in Amsterdam, Pepyn has lived in a number of countries over the years, including Turkey, Ireland, Switzerland, South America, and UK, where he attended University and now lives with his family in Germany. And he's joined by Richard Westley, a military cross holder, who's commanded soldiers and operations at every rank from Lieutenant through to Colonel and environments of desperate situations, including Albania, Afghanistan, Balkans. He retired from the army in 2010, having been responsible for pre-deployment training for forces bound for Iraq and Afghanistan. Between them, they teamed up and wrote the book Business Leadership Under Fire: Nine Steps to Rescue and Transform Organizations, Pepyn and Richard, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Pepyn Dinandt: Hi Steve. Yeah, good morning. Happy to be with you. Steve Rush: Me too. Hi Richard. Ricard Westley: Hi Steve. Steve Rush: So, a little bit about your backstory independently, and then we maybe find out how you kind of collided to come together to write the book. So, Pepyn, a little bit about your backstory? Pepyn Dinandt: Well, after leaving University, I somehow ended up in Germany and after spending three years at McKinsey, which was my paid business school, as I like to say, I landed my first CEO role in Eastern Germany, which was then just, you know, unified with Western Germany. And I ran a company which had a revenue of 50 million euros, but also losses of 50 million euros. So that was my first contact with the challenge of rescuing and transforming businesses and challenging situations. And I had so much fun. I mean, obviously it was very tough at the time, but I had so much fun doing that, that I have kind of never left that type of challenge. Steve Rush: Brilliant. And I guess it's the thrive of being able to rescue those firms that has kept you in that space, right? Pepyn Dinandt: That, plus the fact that you know, these are environments where you need to learn, because if you're not willing to listen and learn, you know, you're going to fail. These are always very, let's say complex situations, they're fast moving, they're fluid. And you know, it really kind of sharpens your skills and obviously, you know, some cases have been more successful than others. You never have only just big successes, but I thoroughly enjoy helping teams be the best version of themselves and you know, rescue these companies, rescue these organizations. Steve Rush: Yeah, and Richard, before what you do now, have you always been a military man? Ricard Westley: Yes, I joined the military pretty much straight after school and spent 25 years as an infantry officer serving around the world. Almost exclusively in operations and training roles. I managed to avoid the major staff roles and the ministry of defense for my 25 years. And then I left earlier than I, perhaps needed to, but I was ready to move. And I spent the last 12 years working in a number of appointments in commercial companies and now run my own consulting business. Steve Rush: Great. So, when did the stars align for you to both meet? Pepyn Dinandt: Well, I have been always interested in the application of military best practices in business. And I had met about four years ago, a gentleman called Tim Collins. The famous Tim Collins and you know, I had been discussing these ideas that I had about this crossover between the military and business. And he introduced me to Richard, that's how the two of us met. Steve Rush: And then Richard, from your perspective, what was the moment you thought, how we are going to do some business together, we're going to write a book. How did that come about? Ricard Westley: Yeah, so Tim. I was working with Tim at the time, and he mentioned Pepyn. So, he would you be interested in a conversation. I said, well, I'm always interested in conversations, and I generally like meeting new and successful people. So, you know, Pepyn and I had initial discussions and then some supplementary conversations and started looking at some sort of solution for leaders. It was a discussion over a number of months really. And then the book was a nice fallout because at that time we were in lockdown, and I think Pepyn, and I were both looking for something else to occupy our minds. And hence the hence the book, Steve Rush: Of course, when you think of the role that the military play versus the role that the commercial enterprises play, there's such a lot of crossovers in this sphere of leadership isn't there? Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah, I think, you know, when we sat down and this is interesting because as Richard just said, you know, we started working together without actually having physically met each other. We were basically, you know, we got to know each other digitally and spend a lot of our early relationship on Zoom. So, you know, we used these experiences, both Richards and myself to kind of look at our learnings, our insights, you know, from good and bad experiences, as well as insights from research we did on successful leadership cases, as well as fade leadership cases and developed from that, the concept for, you know, the book, including obviously the nine steps and Richard being, you know, a very hands on guy than me. So ultimately being somebody who's you know, a hands-on executive, I think developed a book, which is very much rooted in real life experience, has a down to earth approach. We believe is straightforward to understand because it's nine steps, with which we try to really cover all angles that we believe is important for leaderships facing transformation challenges. And ultimately, we produced, we believe a very practical guide for leadership when transforming organizations. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's a very chronological approach to how leaders can really consider how to transform and continue to grow their business, which we're going to dive into a moment. But I want to come to you first, Richard, just to explore the parallels from military leadership to commercial leadership, we've been very fortunate to have a number of major generals appear on the show already. And the one thing that's been really consistent from them is that leadership as a behavioral almost has been drilled from the very moment you join an organization, but actually that's often learned in the commercial organization. Been interested in your spin on things. Ricard Westley: Very much so. I mean, the military has the luxury of being able to devote time and resource to training and developing their people. And officers go through the RMA Military Academy Sandhurst. Mottos, serve to lead and behaviors are really focused from the get-go. So, you know, a young graduate who spent three or four years at university in quite a selfish sort of environment is suddenly thrust into a very pressurized, initial six weeks of a yearlong course where they're put under significant amount of pressure and strain to behave in the right way. And doesn't matter how good or well prepared they think they are, or how fit and robust, or how intellectually gifted they are by about day 10 of the RMA Military Academy Sandhurst. You are so stretched physically, emotionally, mentally, you are quite exhausted, and you have to reach out left and right, and grab people and say, look, we need to work together here. This is not about me. This is about us. And so that team bonding which then translates into the leadership of that team you know progresses and then going through your military career, you know, you are prepared for every new role you go. You are course trained and you are developed. And then at the collective level, you know, units or battalions or regiments will prepare for operations, deploy on operations, recover from operations, then start that circle again, that cycle, of course, in the real world, in the commercial world, companies don't have that luxury. You know, they are on operations 24/7. And so, it becomes really important at that stage that the leaders make time to develop their people and to nurture their talent. So, I think there are things that both can learn from each other. The final point I would say is that business find themselves in very, very volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous circumstances most of the time, and certainly now, and the military is designed for that voker, uncertain world. And so, to me, it's a natural progression for the military to talk to business because they're comfortable and are designed for that voker world. Steve Rush: Yeah, Pepyn, I wonder from your expense of being chairman and CEO on a number of businesses, whether or not there's room for that preparation to take leaders out of the operation space and really immerse them into some intense training and support. Pepyn Dinandt: Well, look, the practice in most corporations is unfortunately completely different to what Richard has described. In other words, people are not really prepared systematically for leadership. And in the book, we talk about the so-called career X point, which is an interesting phenomenon we've seen with many failed leadership examples where people, you know, over time, they do learn initially, and they advance in their career. But when you get to a certain level in organizations, you suddenly believe your now CEO, head of big division, have been successful in the past that you don't need to learn anymore. When the learning line crosses the career line, which keeps going up and the learning line flattens, we talk about the career X points, and that's when people basically start making mistakes in business. Steve Rush: Yeah. Pepyn Dinandt: And that's why it's fascinating to look at the crossover because especially the British military, you know, very, very actively train their leaders to be good, not many businesses do it that way. It's more always, you know, advancement by chance, advancement by opportunities, but not those systematic. Steve Rush: Yeah, that makes those sense. So, let's dive into the book and the nine steps and maybe get some perspective from you as to how the steps within that book can help us and Pepyn we start with you. The first step in the book is that building platform, you call it establishing leadership. Tell us about that? Pepyn Dinandt: So, Steve, you know, you coach leaders, you coach people that run businesses, you know, so you're seeing a situation where there is an obvious problem with the business. Steve Rush: Right. Pepyn Dinandt: Financials are declining, for me, for us. When we define the steps, especially the first step, we said, you know, this is an environment. This is an opportunity. This is a window where you take that situation, and you call out a burning platform. And with that burning platform, you basically achieve two things. First of all, you establish yourself as the leader, that's going to take charge of this situation. You know, that's about conveying the fact that you are safe of hands, having simple messages on, you know, what's happening and what's going to happen and projecting certainty as a leader, in a sense of conveying to people. You have a plan; you're going to get this done. You're going to save the situation. So that's the establishing leadership part. The other part, and this is very often something that you see with formally successful businesses. You know, the organization, which is ultimately the people that work there are in the comfort zone. That's very often the reason why the business in trouble in the first place. And one of the things you need to really focus on is to galvanize the organization into action, into a change mode by explaining why they need to change. And that's why it's so important to do that in the very first step. If you don't get people in a mentally ready for small or big change, you're going to have trouble later on with the other steps. Steve Rush: Yeah. Complacency is a real killer in most organizations, but often people don't even realize they're in that comfort zone until others like you or I, or other people on their team pointed out to them and go, this is a problem [laugh]. So, step two, Richard, you call in the book analysis and determination of mission targets. So very much a military focus. Tell us how that translates? Ricard Westley: Yeah, so the military has a command philosophy called mission command. What we would call you know, empowerment and it really centers around telling your people what you want them to do and why, but not telling them how to do it because they should have the technical skills and they may well be considerably more able than you to actually do the, what. What this chapter is about is really making sure that you understand the intent of your boss or bosses or board or shareholders at whatever level, making sure that everything you do and all the direction that you give to your subordinates is in line with that. And what's required here is real clarity, real clarity of vision to make sure you've got it right. And then clarity of expression to make sure that everybody, you know, from other board members down to the people on the shop floor, really understand what you are about and why you are doing this, so that's what it is. And chapter two really digs into that idea of getting the big idea, right. And then conveying the message as simply as possible to your people. Steve Rush: And it's that simplicity that often gets lost in translation, because my experience tells me that the more simple people can align to a common goal, purpose, mission, vision, the more likely they're going to achieve it, the more complex it becomes, then people lose that through a bit of diffusion. Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah, you know, Richard and I, we had a discussion about step one and two in the sense of what comes first, but we like to use the following analogy. I think, you know, if you're going to be the new chef of a restaurant before you actually get told, you know, what the goal is, what the mission is, it's good. That's step one, to get to know the kitchen and the team before you do that discussion. Why step one first and then step two. Steve Rush: Yeah. It makes sense. There's been lots of debate about which comes first. And I think I concur with you that you have to, what if you just think of the chronological order, you get hired first before you decide what you're going to do exactly. And it follows that same principle, doesn't it? Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah. Steve Rush: And in step three, you talk about the evaluation of the environment. I kind like this theater of operations. Tell us about that? Pepyn Dinandt: You know, steps three is, ultimately very big step, but we like to keep it simple and practical. It's the moment when you look as a leader closely at your competition or in the military term, your enemy, as well as your, you know, your customers, your market that you are serving, or in the military term, the environment that you're operating in. And we've seen my own experience, learnings, you know, good and bad, but also from the research we did, we've seen a truly great business leaders, never underestimate their competition. Everything they do is centered around staying ahead of the competition. And, you know, I talk about the degree of skill and business acumen. So, what's important is to know your business very well from both an inside perspective and from an outside perspective, know your strengths and weaknesses and those of your competition, because very often when people develop strategies and we'll talk about that in step four, you know, they overestimate their own strengths, and they underestimate the strengths of their competition. And interesting under step three is the fact that you may find things. You may find out things about your business, about the competition, where the mission you've been set under step two becomes maybe not even only just difficult, but maybe even impossible. So, you know, we do write in the book that after step three, it may be necessary to revisit step two, depending on what you find out. Steve Rush: Is it fair to say that there will be a continual revisiting of step two as their business and their firm or their mission if you like starts to evolve? Pepyn Dinandt: No, I think if you do it properly, and there's a great Chinese general called Sun Tzu who wrote a book, The Art of War two and a half thousand years ago, you know, and in my experience, as he says, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of one hundred battles, but if you know, neither of the enemy, nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. So, in other words, if you do your homework properly and you really know your business well, and you really know your competition, well, I think you can then move on to the next steps. I think could be that instant that instant where you need to go back once to step two. Yeah, but at some point, you just need to have done your homework. Otherwise, you're in trouble as a leader. Anyway, Steve Rush: I suppose it plays to the philosophy of having no plan B. Pepyn Dinandt: Yes, exactly. Steve Rush: Yeah [laugh] like it. Yeah, so in step four, I love title of step four, who dears wins. It's a very common used phrase in the military. I think this comes from the SAS, if my memory is correct. And this is about strategy and tactics, Richard. Ricard Westley: Yeah, and step four. I mean, I guess the theme that runs through step four is that simplicity rules. The military uses the acronym kiss, keep it simple, stupid, or keep it short and simple. But that strategy for me is about getting the big ideas, right. Giving clear instructions to your people as to what you want them to do. Supervising the execution, but not getting too close. And then having a good process for lessons identified in order to inform best practice. And the chapter actually draws on some work by Michael Porter, where he talks about cost leadership, differentiation and focus in niche markets in order to ensure that, you know, you can deal with your competitors, but stay on track. And as Pepyn says, it builds on, you know, you build on your strength and you attack your competitor's weakness, which is very much in keeping with the military maneuvers approach, which is, you know, find the enemy's weak point and exploit it whilst defending you know, your center of gravity. Step four, gets into an idea about risk taking and how you manage risk, how you mitigate risk and accepting the fact that you can never rule out risk. So, it leads on to stuff that we talk about later, such as contingency planning. And it also indicates that occasionally you have to go back to your mission and say, okay, something's happened. Something's changed. Is the mission still valid in its format at the moment? And therefore, you know, am I okay to crack on, or do I need a little bit of work here so that I can get on with the other steps? Steve Rush: It's an interesting spin on risk too. Because research has provided loads of evidence over the years that those organizations and entrepreneurs and business leaders who avoid risk actually prevent growth and stifle innovation. Ricard Westley: Absolutely, absolutely right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Ricard Westley: You know, from a military perspective, I always encourage my junior commanders to take risk. You know, my mantra was, go now with a 75% solution and tweak it. Because if you wait for the hundred percent solution, somebody will get there first. Steve Rush: Yeah. And I guess that spins then into step five Pepyn in the book, which is around determining the best course of action. And I guess the question I had was, is there ever a best course of action? Pepyn Dinandt: Well, that's a good question, Steve, but if we take a step back, one of the fascinating things for me, you know, looking at the crossover between military and business is that. Step five is something which in the military, in the best practice cases of the military is always done very, very, very well, but in business, not done very often. And the reason it's the following, you know, in business, a situation is typically where the leadership and the let's say top team develop a plan and then basically give the plan to the organization to get done. But what we say in step five is that, you know, if you want to do it properly, what you do is, you sit down as the planning group with the execution group and you get, you know, you brief them on what you want to happen, and they are allowed to give their feedback. And you know, you have to take the time to get that feedback. You, you know, you really have to also be open for a reality check of your plan. And the SES here is brilliant because, you know, in their mission success cycle, which is plan, brief, execute, debrief. The brief part is so important where the guys that have planned go to the guys that are going to execute, present the plan, but get feedback from the people that will be executing the operators and then maybe even change the plan because they see that from an execution perspective, things that are not well thought through maybe even unrealistic. And this reality check, that’s step five. Entails is something whereas a leader, as a CEO, you need a healthy ego, you know, to be able to deal with that. Because it means that somebody may criticize your plan. You know, one of the people that you are going to be hiring or that you're going to be entrusting with opening the French office of a company that is up to now only sat in Britain. You know, he may be telling you, well, this plan's not going to work because ABC and you have to be able to accept that criticism and go back and redo the plan. So that's why step five is critical. And it's unfortunately not seen so often in business, you know, not well done in business. Steve Rush: And I love the notion of healthy ego. Again, similarly, there's been a lot of research that, and in fact, to be fair, there's been lots of publicity and things written, ego is a bad thing, and it is if it's overplayed and it's not helpful, but having a healthy ego gives you confidence, direction and purpose. And I wondered what your spin on that would? Pepyn Dinandt: Every leader need ego. By definition, a leader has ego, but the problem that we have, and we saw this when we did the research, especially for the bad leadership cases, you know, many of these leaders are egocentric. And we see this, for example, again, in the military, the special air services I think is very, is a great example here. You know, you can have great leaders that haven't healthy ego that are, let's say, aware of their own limitations, are open to criticism. And basically, as you, in that podcast mentioned, you know, they don't have a centric ego, but rather a healthy ego. And I believe that that you know, good business managers, good business leaders, not necessarily founders entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, but the people that are entrusted to lead these businesses in the second-generation. Key is for them to have a good, healthy ego, because it's so important to creating a learning organization. Steve Rush: Yeah. Pepyn Dinandt: And that stops you from, at some point in the future, getting into a problem where you need to do transformation. Steve Rush: And that also will help you find other people around you who bring additional strengths and characteristics, which is leading into step six, which is about building and managing that excellent leadership team. Richard, this is essential in the military as well as in the corporate world, isn't it? Ricard Westley: Yeah, it is. And you know, this, whole idea of pulling together and then maintaining a high-performance team is absolutely crucial to mission success, as is, you know, spotting and nurturing potential. And we've already mentioned you know, committing time and resource to developing your people to make sure that team that you've selected is then maintained and developing your team to make sure, you know, they've got clear aligned, you know objectives and values. Those teams need to be encouraged to communicate frequently and effectively, they need to be collaborative, you know, that sort of collaboration breaks down the silos that can often slow up business. And that team needs to build trust through relationships, but it also needs to be able to learn and adapt. And we get onto that in step nine, but it is, it's about making sure that you get the right people and that you don't default to just people, you know, but actually getting the right people and the right job, and then giving them the responsibility Steve Rush: And step seven plays into that lovely, doesn't it? As part of that whole organizational structure in order to get the right people in the right place to get the best results. Pepyn, what's your experience of making sure that in that space you've got the right people? Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah. Look, I think, in my own experience, very often you come into a company that is in trouble and you have to very quickly, you know, go through your steps and act. So, one of the key questions is to look at the culture of the organization and to try to understand, because often, as I said before, these companies have been successful. So for example, find a customer centric culture in this company, or is a very technical culture. It's important to understand, you know, what you're dealing with because ultimately, as I said before, the organization is, another way of saying, you know, five thousand people, ten thousand people, you know, whatever the size of the company is, you need to get them to do something different. So, is it a dynamic organization or is it a company that is clearly in the comfort zone? You need to understand this because then you have to organize yourself to take that plan and make sure you develop the structure that has maximizing the business impact from what you're trying to achieve. My own experience, Steve is that in general, smaller units are much more effective than large units. But the thing that ultimately guides, you know, the structure that you're going to be implementing is, what you are facing in the market. In other words, are you competing against smaller competitors who are organized in smaller entities? Is it a local market? So, you know, once you have all this information, you can then develop and define the structure that you believe. Steve Rush: Yeah. Pepyn Dinandt: Is going to be most effective. But what you need to do is, change it, only for the sake of getting it out of its comfort zone. So typically, I find larger structures, more functional organizations, and typically I define them smaller. And I like to call these business units that have, you know, delegated responsibility, or as Richard said before, you know, where the people leading these smaller entities take responsibility and have freedom. Steve Rush: Yeah. Pepyn Dinandt: And degree of decision making. Steve Rush: That makes load of sense. So, step eight, Richard, there's two words in there that have really interesting connotations. Campaign delivery. So, for me, when I read that, the first thing I thought of is, oh, this is wrapped up in a campaign strategy at IE. There's a start and end. There's lots of moving parts all in the right places. And of course, the one thing that's essential in every business is you have to deliver, what does it speak to? Ricard Westley: Yeah. So, you've got your plan and you're probably feeling quite proud of your plan. But how can you stress test it? And how's it going to survive contact with a competitive arena. And that's absolutely based on the military assertion that, you know, no plan survives contact with the enemy because your competitors or your opponents on a sports field for that matter, they have a vote. And have you contingency planned against their likely responses you know, what is the market going to do when you introduce some new product or service in there, which disrupts, what is their default setting going to be? And how do you plan against that? And this whole idea of contingency planning is that, of course you can't plan against every possible contingency. And I always in the military planned against the worst case and the most likely case, because if you've got a contingency plan for those two, anything else happens in between, you can sort of tweak it, but it is about war gaming and red teaming. And this is not confined to the military or to business. One of the examples we cite in step eight was the way that the British Olympic Committee approached their metal chances and the matrix that was created by the likes of John Steele and Peter Keen in the committee that they would go and pour over, you know, twice a week to make sure that actually they weren't missing something. And if they need a contingency plan against, you know, an outbreak of, you know, foot and mouth in the country just before, what were they going to do? So, war gaming and red teaming, you know, which businesses should do, but often pay lip service to become really important. And finally, it comes down to accountability. Yeah, it's the leader's responsibility. You know, you take the credit when things go well, I'm afraid if they don't, then you've got to be held accountable. And it's all down to you at the last at the last count. Steve Rush: When you start to get people to think about plan for the end planned. The mindset will take you to what you know, or broadly what you can anticipate. But I bet that's changed in the last two years. Me included by the way, got caught out big time with how the pandemic through that perspective to us. And I wonder if in the future organizations will be more thoughtful to that because of what's happened in the last few years. Pepyn Dinandt: I think Steve, you know, step eight is, obviously, it's the execution of the plan, but it's so much more than that. And, you know, I learned for example, an interesting military term, which I believe is also very applicable to business, which is UDA. You know, this is something developed, I think during the Korean war where they saw that the inferior U.S. jets were winning against superior Russian jets flown by the North Koreans. And somebody figured out that the reason was because the pilots flying those American jets were much more in tune in what was going on in the world, let's say, applying a concept that was later called UDA, which is observe, orientate, decide and act. In other words, they were, you know, able to adjust to what was going on in the field. So as Mr. Von Moltke a famous I think Prussian General once said, you know, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. And that's why we also emphasize in step eight that a leader needs to be close to the action. Needs to see what's going on in the field with his plan so that he can adjust real time. You know, as Richard just said, have a contingency plan, but make sure the leader is leading that change of plan together with this team. Steve Rush: Which is why step nine is also then so important, which is that final after-action review. Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah, and the after-action review is something for me personally, that was completely new. I learned this from Richard, you know, Richard can maybe add to this because he was very instrumental in bringing that to the British military, but this is a very interesting concept. And this is by the way for the SAS, their last step in their four-step model. So, you know, when you have finished your transformation program, be it, you know, a cost take out exercise or a relaunch of a growth initiative. You know, you sit down with everybody which includes the boss, but also the people that have been, you know, executing parts of the plan and you have an open and frank and honest discussion as to what went right, what was good, but also what did not go right? And what can we learn for the next time? So, it's seldom a business leader. I have to say that is, you know, able to sit there in the room and take constructive feedback, open bracket, maybe sometimes criticism, you know, of their plan and then take that and think about it and, you know, change things for the next time. But as I said before, this is something which is so important to do, right. Because you create with it, the ultimate learning organization. And I, myself, you know, as I said, this has been a great, interesting learning for me personally. I have seen it in very successful organizations where this is practiced. Maybe not so systematically as we describe it here in step nine, but it's definitely something I would recommend for all companies to do because it’s so powerful. Steve Rush: Yeah, and it stops repeating mistakes in the past and focuses you on building on the strengths that you've achieved as well. Pepyn Dinandt: But also, you know, just a signal from leadership to do this, to you know, sit there and take criticism. I think it's so powerful for the organization because it just sends a signal. You know that there is a culture of openness where if it's constructive, if it objective, you know, people can step up and say, look boss, I don't think this is the right way. I think we need to do it differently because 1, 2, 3. Steve Rush: It's a really pragmatic nine steps. I'm really delighted that we were able to dive into them and get into them and we'll allow our listeners an opportunity to find out how they can get a copy and dive to learn a bit more about your work later on. But first I'm going to turn the tables a little bit. And this is part of the show where our listeners have become accustomed to where we get to hack into your leadership minds. So, I'm going to come in turn and quick fire, top three leadership hacks from you both. Pepyn kick us off? Pepyn Dinandt: My top three leadership hacks. One, you know, as I said before, absolutely paramount to get your first step right in a transformation situation. If you don't get that right, you're in trouble. Second, the plan is nothing. The planning is everything, you know. So, I love that saying from Benjamin Franklin, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. And three, if you want to be a really good leader, then you need to have a healthy ego because that is a key to being very impactful and leading a learning organization. Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, Love it. Richard, what about your top three leadership hacks? Ricard Westley: First thing I'd say. Two leaders is a need to learn to listen and really listen. Not, listen to respond, but to really listen, to understand their people because otherwise they'll miss so much more than just the technicalities and the practicalities. They will miss stuff that involves culture and culture is important. Second one is, you know, whatever you do, issue clear instructions, let people know the intent, the why, and empower them to get on with it. And thirdly, you are there to make decisions. And as my first colour sergeant said to me, you know, at the end of the day, Mr. Westley, you have to make a decision, good decision, great. Bad decision, regrettable. No decision, unforgivable. Steve Rush: Yeah. And bad decisions lead to learning as well [Laugh] you know. Ricard Westley: Indeed. Yeah, yeah. You've got to fail to learn and thrive. Steve Rush: That's it, yeah. So, the next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is where we ask our guests to share an event, a story or experience where something has particularly not gone well for them in their work or their life, but as a result of it, they've learned. And it's now a force of good in what they do. What would be your Hack to Attack Pepyn? Pepyn Dinandt: Yeah, look. First was when I was a, you know, first time CEO I had come from McKinsey, and I thought as many McKinsey do, that I could walk on water and do it all alone. But I was lucky because through fortunate circumstances, I very quickly learned that it's individuals that may play the game, but teams that beat the odds. And that's been one of my mantras ever since. And the other one is that later on in life, I learned the hard way that not every mission is accomplishable, yeah. So as a leader, you need to be brave enough to stand up to your board, sponsor, owner, and explain that this mission that you have been set is impossible and will not work as envisaged, you know, and not many leaders are brave enough to do that. Steve Rush: That's very important lessons learned there, and I can particularly resonate with the last, because there comes with a fear of particularly if you’re leading somebody else's strategy, letting them know that they've also screwed up in the process. Pepyn Dinandt: Yep. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard, how about you? Ricard Westley: Yeah, I'd harp back to a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia that very nearly failed. I mean, very nearly failed. It nearly brought down the UN and the British Prime Minister, John Major offered his position up to the cabinet because of what had happened to us. And we managed to model through and the town that we were defending did not fall unlike Srebrenica just up the valley and sadly but I would say what I learned from that is, you know, the depth of mine and other people's resilience and how you have to keep working at that and keep topping up their resilience banks when times are tight. I learn to never give up, to keep thinking, keep moving, and again, keep contingency planning at every level, Steve Rush: Really powerful lessons, particularly in times of crisis like that as well. You can rely on those foundations to help you through, can't you? Ricard Westley: Indeed. Steve Rush: So, the last part of the show is you get to do a bit of time travel and all the years of wisdom you've been able to attain in your more mature days, you get a chance to bump into yourselves at 21 and give yourselves some advice. What would Pepyn advice to Pepyn at 21 be? Pepyn Dinandt: Well, by the way, I wrote the book or we wrote the book or the idea for the book came about of providing my younger self, something useful and practical to work with. But to answer your question directly, I think for me, knowledge and experience, you know, the realization that these are greatest weapons in times of trouble that, you know, the good and experienced people that have trained it and done it a hundred times before. They are so valuable to you as a young person. And as a young man, I would advise myself to adopt the scout mindset. So be curious, be open, be grounded and learn. So, to listen and learn from those more experience around you, because typically, you know, young you, does not know at all, even if you think you do. Steve Rush: And the scout and soldier mindset are those kinds of different perspectives. And we can use a metaphor of almost a kind a growth and curious mindset versus a fixed and closed mindset, right? Pepyn Dinandt: Yes, exactly. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard, 21. I guess you were heading off at Sandhurst, weren’t you? Ricard Westley: I was pretty much passing out at Sandhurst at 21. Steve Rush: Oh, yeah [Laugh] Ricard Westley: What I would say to myself there is, the one thing I really learned is the most, for a military commander, but also in business, I guess that one of the most important information requirements you have is time. How much time have I got and when do I have to achieve this by? And so, I would say to young RJ Westley at 21 or 19, get better at time management. Because I don't think I was terribly good at it. And of course, I was fueled with the mindset of most young infantry officers that wanted to go and earn their spurs, go and prove themselves and yeah, and go into violent situations and win. And I guess what I would say to that young person is be careful what you wish for. Steve Rush: Yeah, very good advice, indeed. So, I've had a ball talking, I could spend the rest of the day diving into these subjects because as you probably already know, I'm a bit of a leadership geek and you have an enormous amount of lessons that we can learn from. So firstly, thank you for sharing them so far, but if our listeners did want to get a copy of the book, learn a bit more about the work that you both do now. Where's the best place for us to send them? Pepyn Dinandt: Well [laugh], there is a website, where they can learn more about the book. And then there is a link on the website to go directly to Amazon where they can then order it. I think that would be the recommendation for your listeners. Pepyn Dinandt: Perfect. And we'll include that link along with any social media links that you have in our show notes. So as soon as people listen to this, they can dive straight in and find a bit more about what you do. It just goes without saying, to say, thank you ever so much for coming on our show, joining our community here on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Pepyn, Richard, thanks very much. Pepyn Dinandt: Steve. Thank you very much. Ricard Westley: Absolute pleasure. Thanks.   Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
47:16 16/05/22
Build Teams with Fun and Play with Matt May
Matt May is Founder and CEO of Premier Team Building and Interactive experiences, he’s also a speaker and author of the Book, "Take the Fear out of Team Building." In this engaging and fun show, you can learn: Why “team building” is not a “bad word.” Why grown-ups have developed fear and anxiety around play and team building? How do you go about having fun/play yet keeping the learning real and authentic? How do you get folks to participate who just don’t want to get involved. Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Matt below: Matt on LinkedIn: Matt on Twitter: Matt on Instagram: Matt’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Our special guest on today shows Matt May. He's the founder and CEO of Premier Team Building & Interactive Experiences Company. He's also a speaker, an author of the book, Take The Fear Out Of Team Building. But before we get a chance to speak with Matt, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: The values and culture play a real part in leadership post pandemic. We're going to look at how environments have changed dramatically over the last 10 years and particularly since the pandemic. It's exposed weaknesses and for some businesses strengths and the effectiveness of company values and how they're put into practice. I want to dive in and have a quick look at how leadership drastically changes company culture and how values inform it. There's a fantastic report from the ILM called leading through values if you get a chance to get your hands on it, which gives you much more context and detail about the things I'm going to talk to you about. And just to throw something else into the mix that helps inform culture and values, right now. I wrote an article in CEOWorld Magazine and on LinkedIn called Mind The Gen Gap. For the first time, we now have four generations in the workforce, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers or Gen Zers if you're in the UK. And the reason this is important is because values is the principles, the rules of the game, and we all have perspectives based on our generations. And whilst these are not scientifically proven, it's a good barometer and we should take it into consideration. The ILM research found that 69% of people will reconsider a job if the company culture seems to be toxic, 77% felt that company culture was incredibly important to them and the values that their boss also brings to the culture and 56% ranked opportunities for growth as more important than their basic salary and package. So, the top values that impact on culture are having a person centered and authentic approach with the core elements, being congruence. In other words, your words and actions make sense to your employees. Being genuine in essence, empathy, having a deep understanding of what it feels like for employees of every grade and every level and an unconditional positive regard for the individual. And only if there is a genuine approach to demonstrate these values from senior leadership. There can be congruency throughout the organization. You'd expect wellbeing of employees to be up there and of course, it is. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD. Run a survey of over 3000 individuals in the UK. And the survey consistently found a 38% of workers experience work stress on a weekly basis. The problem in a lot of companies is that there is no clear standalone health and wellbeing strategy. In fact, only 8% of companies had such a strategy And at least 34% of managers expressed a need for independent authority and feel unempowered to really do anything. My observation here is if we have a people centered approach, wellbeing should be part of that, and we don't necessarily need to have a strategy or strategic. We do however need to be more thoughtful and compassionate. And as a talent management and learning and development, professional. It’s music to my ears, to see self-directed on autonomous learning to sit up here in the top tier, there's been a significant shift away from organizations investing in organization-wide learning programs and much more focused self-directed autonomous learning and it's becoming more prominent in most company’s culture. And this means that the company values are the basis of helping employees engage when it's meaningful and when it's right for them. But this strategy provides some challenges, too. Some people really struggle to learn on their own. They do need guidance, support, and others to help them on their journey. There are people not able to extract and absorb the information in the same way and still need that for face-to-face facilitator led sessions. And there's such a thing too, to have too much freedom. The number of possibilities can create overwhelm and anxiety. So, we have to sometimes help people direct them to the most appropriate resources. And their last one on my list today is recognition. Remuneration is important for sure but recognizing staff for good jobs well done is most important and a significant indicator in value-based leadership. Many employees want to feel that their work is being valued and valuing values plays an important role in this because they should stipulate in some way that there is a recognition of the hard work outside of the salary and the direct results as a result of their work. This will also inform great culture and culture can be formed so that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The final thing I want to draw our attention to is your company's purpose is not your purpose and your mission, but finding that connectivity by what you do to why they do what they do will really help you find true purpose in your work, as well as in your life Values based culture gives you the principles to accelerate progress together and purpose will anchor the activities that bring people together to drive great culture. That's been The Leadership Hacker News, lets dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining on the show today is Matt May. He's the founder and CEO of Premiering Building & Interactive Experiences Company. Who's putting the fun and energy back into play. He's also a speaker, an author of the book, Take The Fear Out Of Team Building. Matt, welcome to the show my friend. Matt May: Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. Steve Rush: So, I'm really looking forward to our interactive experience today. But before we get into that, maybe you can just give our listeners a little bit of the journey from where it all began in theater to you and how you ended up running in interactive experiences firm. Matt May: Absolutely. So, I was in music and theater in high school, middle school. I always was creative. Hey, let's put on some sort of a show or a presentation or do something for the family and the parents and the yada, yada in the backyard, in the garage. And when I went to school undergraduate, I went for theater. I earned a dual major in theater and arts administration. So, I got that business side. I also was a camp counselor when I was a teenager. I went through a three-year counselor in training program as a camper. Took some psychology courses in undergrad, as well as a number of leadership courses. And I don't know if they're call all seminars or what but opportunities that were presented through a variety of organizations within the university setting. So that kind of all sorts of came together for me after I graduated school, I went to New York city and did the professional entertainment thing for a while, but I also was always kind of had an education thought in my head. So, I really did a number of different things. I finally left New York after five years. I said, I'm moving to sunnier pastures because I want to be able to have my coffee outside, whether it's January or June. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah. Matt May: [Laugh]. I moved to Florida in the states and really haven't looked back. But when I moved there, I started working in administration at a performing arts high school and college and had a number of different opportunities that I embraced and did. And finally sort of fell into team building per say. I happened to be bartending at a comedy show on campus at the Fort Lauderdale Performing Arts Center, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. And the stage manager happened to be staffing an event, a team building event, just helping the company, which is actually based in Massachusetts. So not even close by. And she said, hey, do you want to do it? And I said, yeah, absolutely. And that was my first official team building as an assistant staff. And I said, oh, huh, there's something about this. So, jump ahead, several years I was facilitating, I started doing a lot of producing because of my theatre background. I was able to do production and logistics and whatnot, and finally said, you know what? I quite honestly, I'm tired of being on the front lines and not having control and what goes into all of the preparation beforehand and created my own company. And I like to call it a perfect storm because I have my logistics and my business and my entrepreneurship and my sales skills. And by the way, sales is my least favourite thing to do. But I get guess I have some sort of a knack for it. But then I also, when I facilitate jump on stage and I'm able to get people working together and be entertaining and whatnot. So, I'm able to use all of my experiences and all of my different training, whether it be from education or professional or theatre or business, and it kind of a perfect store and collides together. So that's kind of how I got to where I am now. And looking back, of course, hindsight is always 2020, I think. Oh, all right. Well, that's why I did all of those different things and worked in education and professional theatre and, you know, did some temping offices and whatnot so that all of this came together for me to where I am now, Steve Rush: Steve jobs, I think famously said you can't always connect the dots forward, but you can definitely connect them back. And that's perfect example, right? If you were trying to create the path to where you are now, you'd probably never get there. Matt May: No. And you just made me think, I don't know if I'm the only one, but I remember as a kid, when we would try to do mazes, you know, the mazes that you draw, the pen or the pencil through it all. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: Some reason, they seem to be easier going backwards. Steve Rush: Oh, that's interesting perspective. I wonder if that's something to do with the way that our brains are wired as well. Matt May: It must be, I've never really researched it, and until you mention that Steve Jobs quote, I hadn't really thought of it, but I think that's on my to-do list this afternoon. Steve Rush: Shout out to all amateur neuroscientists, or any professional ones that listen to the show, they can maybe contact us and let us know. That'll be interesting to have a look at. Matt May: Yes. Steve Rush: So, the work that you do now, it's very still theatrical, isn't it? So, you get to be that front to stage guy, but also then be that production guy as well. Is there a natural kind of thing that you prefer? Are you more of a front man or more of a production man? Where would you say you’re kind of true passion lie? Matt May: Geez, that's a tough question to answer. You know, certainly being a performer as I was younger and going to school for it initially, that's instilled in me, but it's funny. I will have clients who are new clients often come up to me after an experience ended and say, where did you come from? And the first few times that happened, I didn't understand it. But now I do, when I walk into a ballroom or whatever, and I'm setting up and managing staff and we're getting ready, it's very organized and logical. And you know, I'm just doing what needs to be done and I'm talking to a client or whatever, and it's very professional, but something happens that when I jump on stage or jump in front of a crowd or grab a mic or whatever, I just inherently turn it on if you will. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: And that's what they refer to now. The challenge is, in my line of work is. I'm not there just to entertain, right. And I'm reminded of the late Alex Trebek from Jeopardy. He was never wanted to be introduced as the star of the show Jeopardy. It was always the host of the show because his feeling was that contestants were the stars. Steve Rush: Yes. Matt May: And I try to keep that philosophy that the participants in the experience, they are the stars, the light shines on them. When I start a program, I'm doing kind of what I like to think of as audience warm up. And yeah, I do my skit and whatnot, but that gets people going. But then once the experience really gets going and they get hands on, it's all about them. Steve Rush: Yeah. And of course, the biggest thing, most of all is, you're there to facilitate a learning outcome. Matt May: Exactly. Steve Rush: And that's the one thing that is different from a performance, because actually as a performer, you are still having an ambition to want to entertain, but you are not having to be as thoughtful of the specific way that you construct an experience so that somebody takes away a different learning outcome, right? Matt May: Correct. Correct. And when we're watching as patrons watching entertainment, whether it be on a screen or on a stage. We are there for them to entertain us. Where in my line of work, I'm not here to entertain you. As you said, I'm here to facilitate the experience. So, you put in as much as you're going to get out of it. Steve Rush: Exactly right. So, when we start to think about the whole concept of team building, when you mention that word to groups of individuals, what's the reason you get a different response. So, some people will love it and some people will running in fear from it. What causes that? Matt May: The simple answer in my opinion is bad experiences. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: They have been thrust into experiences that didn't have positive outcomes for them, for whatever reason. So many people think of team building as trust falls or paintball or zip lining or white-water rafting, you know, extreme sports, if you will, or sitting in a room and being told, this is how you work together as a team, while watching a slideshow, right. I don't do any of those things. And I think it's because people have been thrust into those things, or that's the majority of their experience. They just have a negative connotation in their head that team building is a bad word. Now there's also, as you mentioned, some people are very excited about it. People who are extroverted and tend to be well, extroverts generally like it more because they're excited and their energy is locomotive full speed ahead. Where people who are more introverted and maybe have anxiety, or even if it's not full-blown anxiety just don't like to be in a crowd or don't like to be in a small group because they can't hide as easily. Those people have more apprehension. So, when they hear team building, I think their negative thoughts are even more heightened. Steve Rush: Of course, in any audience, you are going to have a mix of those types of individuals, because many will be extroverted and thinkers and feelers, and others will be introverted thinkers and feelers. How do you make sure that when you are constructing a session that you are thoughtful of those different types of personalities that might come out? Matt May: Well, our experiences are designed in such a way that everybody is on an even peel, equal, right. I generally tell clients; I don't want to know who the boss is. The CEO is here, okay great. Don't tell me who he is, or she is. I don't want to know because I want to treat every single person the same. Now Murphy's Law inevitably comes into play nine times out ten, and that's the person I wind up picking on [Laugh] just organically. And then, oh, that's the CEO, well, thanks for playing [laugh]. But generally, most of our experiences, Steve call for teams of ten, and we start off having everybody in the team of ten, doing a group exercise, and they're all doing the exact same thing before they even break out into, quotes, unquote. And I'm using air quotes here, roles and responsibilities that they will be in charge of, if you will, during the experience. Everybody does the same icebreakers and the same introductory games and challenges and activities. So that everyone is completely even keel. Then a lot of times when you break off into the experience, say it's building bikes for kids. For example, some people are more mechanically inclined, or they're really good with wrenches and they want to put something together great. Somebody else is better with puzzles and mind games and mind solving great. They'll focus more on that. Other people are better at marketing. And so, they'll kind of work on their team presentation more, but by the same token, a lot of times people say, well, you try this. This is not your forte or what you would normally gravitate to, this particular component. Why don't you try this? And that allows people to see their colleagues in a whole different light. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: For example, sometimes the CEO or the C levels or the Directors, whatever will be on teams with somebody who's the front desk receptionist. And that person will, for whatever reason, wind up in more of a leadership role or whatnot. And then next thing you know, the boss is saying, you are totally underutilized signing for packages and answering the phone. We need to talk next week. And, you know, ultimately the person becomes an office manager or whatever, because he or she was seen in a different light. Steve Rush: I suspect that having the opportunity to throw away the natural conventions of the work labels gives everybody the opportunity to see how others behave and perform. Matt May: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah, I love that. So as kids, when, you know, you first got up in front of your folks and did your, you know, theatre production and, you know, I probably did the same. What is it that causes some people like you, Matt, to continually have this energy to want to continually innovate and play where others like me will, you know, be a bit stuffy and go, well, I don't do any of that kind of stuff anymore? Matt May: Well, I don't know. I don't know if there's a certain quote unquote thing that is in me or not in you or whatever. I think some of it is inherent and its personality and as well as likes and desires, you know, what we follow or chase, but I think a big part of it too Steve is that we are conditioned as we grow up. Now I can only speak for the States, right. I can't speak for European school upbringing, but for the States, and this is changing to a degree, but for so long, it was sit at the desk, take the information that's presented to you, go home, do some exercises, commit it to memory, come back and regurgitate, wash, rinse, repeat, right? Steve Rush: Right. Matt May: So, as kids if we look at it, their favourite, well, I'm generalizing. Often the favourite part of the day is recess because they get to go outside and play. But as we get older, recess is removed from the school day. And by the time we're out of primary schools and into middle school, junior high, high school, and then certainly in college, we go, and we ask people to give us information and educate us that we are then going to theoretically use, but the play is gone. So, I think that's a big part of it is, just society. And don't get me wrong. Look, adulting is hard [Laugh] okay. Steve Rush: That’s true. Matt May: We all have responsibilities. We can't play on the playground all day. We have to work so that we can survive and support our family or if we don't have a family, at least keep a roof over our head and keep us fed and clothed. But the fun element in our work and our workday seems to have been removed. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: And it, takes like going on a boy's weekend to have our fun or the girls. I'm going out with the girls tonight or whatever. That is how we have our fun. Well, why can't we still have fun in the workday? And I know fun is not necessarily something we use to measure success or productivity, but it doesn't mean it can't be prevalent. And it doesn't mean it doesn't help success and productivity. Steve Rush: I think you actually might be able to measure that. So, when you look at things like employee engagement, you'll see fun represent itself in different ways. So, commitment to the organization, prepared to stay, creativity, innovation, elements of peer group recognition, that kind of stuff. But often we don't apply that three-letter word to it because we feel it's got less relevance in a workplace. Matt May: Correct. Steve Rush: Would that be fair selection? Matt May: Absolutely. I think that's very fair. And I will let you in on, well, I guess it's not going to be a secret because I've already told other people coming out there right now. I am a Hallmark movie junkie. I fully admit it. I'm a sap. I'm a big romantic at heart. I love Hallmark movies. And there was one that I watch about a year ago now. And there was a line that I sort of kind of touched on a moment ago, but the line was, and I know that fun, isn't typical metric in the corporate world, but you know what it's worth because fun allows people to relax and be fully themselves, which makes them productive and more engaged. And that affects the bottom line. Steve Rush: Right. And is that something also that helps remove some of that fear and anxiety around team building as well? Matt May: Absolutely. And I've had, I don't want to say arguments. Discussions with people who have said anything competitive is not valuable in team building. Well, hold on, going back to the whole paintball, I will agree with you on that. I don't, for me, that is not exciting. That is not team building. That's just crazy, whatever. However, the majority of our team building experiences are competitive in nature. However, we're not talking about tackling each other and taking each other out with guns. We're talking about light-hearted competition. People are naturally competitive, Steve, right? Steve Rush: mm-hmm. Matt May: Again, I'm generalizing. Steve Rush: That’s a fair generalization, yeah. Matt May: Yeah. When we start, we go to school, we earn, or we are provide with good grades for positive work and productive work. The mother of all, and I don't know if you have this over in the UK, but at least over here, the mother of all winnings is the lottery. People play, whether it's scratch off or the big one, people go to a casino for a night out, whatever, but they put their coin in the machine, pull that lever and they want to get the pay-out. We are competitively, we like to win things. So, when you tell people, hey, you are doing this for the winning title, and yes, you're going to win a gold medal at the end, whatever. It's just fun. We're just there to have some light-hearted competition, but people inherently enjoy that. Then they start talking smack to their colleagues. You're going down, whatever. Just again, it's all light-hearted fun. Nobody really means any ill will to each other. But doing that in an environment outside of the office allows you to see your colleagues in a different light Steve Rush: And neurologically, of course. It releases dopamine. Matt May: Right. Steve Rush: And that's a rewarding chemical transmitter, neurotransmitter that we thrive on. And you get a hit from that. So not only is it fun, it's also a learning, so you want more of it. Matt May: Exactly. We crave more of it once we've had the burst of it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: And like I said, the whole medals, I have a discussion and I usually talk about it on when to do team building exercises. I always say, if you have people that don't know each other and coming out of the pandemic, I have hear from more and more people, we're doing the sales meeting and 75% of our team has not met each other, other than on Zoom. Okay, well, then I would recommend doing it at the beginning. Well, we wanted to wrap up the three-day conference with it. Okay, we can do that. But if you're telling me, people don't know each other yet, do it at the beginning, they're automatically going to know nine other people from their direct team. The winning team is going to win gold medals. Maybe they'll wear them at lunch that day. Maybe they'll wear them that night to the cocktail reception. We'll encourage them to wear them the rest of the three days to remind everyone that they were the winners. Good for them. Well, that's a conversation piece right there. Somebody else might come up and say, we were robbed. Yeah, well, sorry. We got the medals, right. So, it automatically creates conversation. And again, it was based on that fun competition factor. Steve Rush: So, during your experiences as well, one of the things that I've noticed through the work that you do, Matt, is that there is always a purpose behind what you do. So mentioned kids for bikes earlier. So that's something that you use, exercise as a team together, but something that's also serving communities well. Just tell us a little bit about some of the things you do. Matt May: Well, as far as the philanthropic experiences, yes. Building bikes is for kids is one. We have an experience where we build wheelchairs for veterans, or maybe not even veterans for people who are mobility challenged. Foster care programs, kids entering foster care. Kids that need snacks. They don't get them during the school day when they're on vacation, places that they can go to get the snacks because they're underserved and maybe their parents can't afford to give them a snack every day. So, all of those types of things, many companies have CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives. And if we can align with them, that's great. Because, let's say, let's be honest. If we can get something out of it, i.e., getting our teams to work together, having fun, doing something out of the norm of the workday and give back, well, then it's win-win for everybody. Steve Rush: Yeah. Ticking all the boxes, right? Matt May: Exactly. And it doesn't have to be philanthropic. It could be a culinary program and your company, I don't know, maybe your company makes salsa. We could do a salsa margarita challenge. See, oh, wait, maybe that is the next new recipe for your brand, right. Or for an alternate version of your salsa, or maybe you make hospice sauce and, well, great. Let's use your sauce in this culinary team building experience. So, there are ways to incorporate the company as well. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. Love it. So, have you ever had a time where you've just had a participant who's just, you know, folded arms, stuffy, I'm not getting involved in any of this? Have you ever experienced any of that? Matt May: Yes [laugh]. Steve Rush: How do you deal with that? Matt May: To be honest with you, I don’t, and I'll tell you why. Usually, well, it's never not happened. So, knock on wood. The person ultimately says, well, I look like a schmuck standing over here, and I'm the one who's not having fun. Who wants to be in the corner? Right. All by him or herself. If your colleagues bring you in and you insist upon being that stuffy jerk. Okay, fine. You're only hurting yourself. So, peer pressure I guess, is the bottom line. And I say that in a positive way, not a negative way. That ultimately your peers are going to say, come on, let's go. You're being a jerk. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Matt May: And it happens, right. If somebody doesn't have the realization by themselves, that there are only hurting themselves and look like dunce. Somebody else, or several other members of the team are going to say, come on, let's go. Now, I'll be patting myself on the back. That rarely happens because our experiences are designed in such a way that you really can’t sit out, starting right at the get go. And when I facilitate, and our other facilitators have been trained to really put on the charm immediately, put on the energy immediately. So, we inherently, not we, but the participants inherently say, okay, I'm already in this. Steve Rush: The one thing I notice in those experiences as well is the other thing of course, is that, that individual's looking at everybody else having loads of fun, thinking. Now I'm losing out. Matt May: Correct. Steve Rush: So, I know over the last couple of years, Matt, you've had to really pivot your business model as we were going through the experiences of the pandemic. But I wonder having had the experience of being face to face and virtual, what the pandemics really taught us about how we participate or get involved if the case around things like team building or activities, what's it really highlighted for us? Matt May: Well, I think that it's proven to us that face to face interaction is necessary. And it's certainly good for us. We learn so much more and we get and give so much more when we're face to face. When you're on a video call, yes, you can see the person, but you may not see the person's hand gestures because the camera is close, right. And you don't get the body language. You don't get the nonverbal cues. You don't get touch, right. Human beings need touch. There's a wonderful book and its old. And it was Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom. And there was a movie made with Jack lemon and Hank Azaria, many, many years ago. And I'm paraphrasing here, but Morrie was diagnosed with ALS, and he basically taught this former student, Mitch Albom life lessons. And one of them was, when we come into this world, we are cradled by our mothers, right. Until we learn to walk. And even then, we are constantly cradled by our parents. Craving human touch. When we die, nobody wants to die alone. I know this is a grim thought. And I apologize for doing that on the podcast, nobody wants to die alone. Steve Rush: Right. Matt May: So, we crave it, but why do we push it away for the majority of our lives? Why do we begin and end with it, but not continue to make it so important to us during our adult lives? But again, going back to face-to-face, handshakes. Now, I know people are still, some of them are nervous about that and whatnot, okay. Then do an elbow, bump, whatever. But when you touch someone's hand and you grasp it, you are having a physical connection that you don't get virtually. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt May: Now, team building experiences and other were very valuable. They still are. We do them. I personally prefer face to face, but I know a lot of people are saying, we're just not ready to go back yet or we don't have the ability to bring in everybody just yet. We've got it six months down the line, but we want to do something right now. Great. So, it's still valuable because you're getting people interacting and hopefully having fun. But the face to face in person is just so much more valuable. Yes people were doing virtual events. I get that. But this wasn't even in our brains, right. As a thought, this conversation right now. Steve Rush: Right. Matt May: Because of the pandemic is why we're having this discussion. I can't articulate this. I don't know why, but going back, we never would've thought about that before. Steve Rush: That's true. And it's fair to say I think that people certainly in my experience in the last three to five months, I would say, are really grateful in when people come together as a group, there's definitely much more appreciation for that now. Matt May: Yes. It's not just, well, we're going to a sales meeting. It's oh my gosh. We're going to a sales meeting live and in person. Steve Rush: [Laugh] and therefore there's something deeply intrinsic that you refer to as that kind of cradling. That is a, also a very real metaphor for us wanting connection with people, isn't it? Matt May: Yeah. And when we're in face to face, at least in my experience. Observe people being more organically involved, right. When you have a computer screen behind you, how many times have we seen somebody looking down and we say, oh, well, he or she's checking text messages right now, or, you know, or, oh, oh, he's reading his email, we can tell. You're not as engaged because you have so many more distractions and there's no real accountability either. Steve Rush: That's right. Matt May: And I don't use that as a negative term. I use it as a positive term, even to ourselves, we're just not accountable because we have so many other things right in front of us on that fancy screen, that when you take that away and what's in front of you is an actual face. Oh my gosh. Okay. I'm totally engaged with you right now. Steve Rush: Well, fingers crossed for wherever anybody is listening to us in the world. They're going to get back to some level of connection and normality pretty soon, anyway. Matt May: Yes, I hope so. Steve Rush: So, this part of the show, Matt, is where we start to turn the tables, you've learned lots of different teams and had lots of different leadership experiences over your career. And I'm keen to really hack into those now. So, what I'm going to ask you to do, if you can, is try and think of all of those experiences and just distill them down to your top three leadership hacks. What would they be? Matt May: One is to utilize people's strengths and not only participants, but also staff and facilitators, right. In an office setting, in an assembly line, in a factory, whatever. We hire people based upon their qualifications and skills. So, let's do the same thing in a fun atmosphere. Now, again, this is going back to what I said before. Maybe let people get outside of their comfort zone, but at least for me with staff, I always want to find the right staff person, not only the experience, but the client. Steve Rush: Right. Matt May: What's the demographic of the client who is going to work best with that demographic? So that's one. Utilizing people's skills and strengths. My catch phrase is regress to kindergarten. Take off the sport coat, take off the tie, take off the high heels, whatever you're wearing. You're in a safe space. Nobody's judging you, if they are, judge them right back, because they're probably doing the exact same thing. It's not going to go anywhere. It's kind of like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in this room stays in this because if you don't have those inhibitions, you're going to organically be in a much better place to give of yourself for your team and the experience. And the third leadership hack. Geez, I would say. It's really kind of, my new catch phrase is, take the fear out of team building, which is the title of the book. And that is, let's give people experiences where at the end of it, they say, okay, so my goal is, when you see me walk in six months from now, you're not going to go, oh, that team building guy. Hopefully say, Ooh, what are we doing today? Or at the very least say, all right, let's see what he is got out of his sleeve today. Let's see how it compares to last time. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm. There must have been some magical experiences you've had over your careers. If you could just maybe call one out. The most fun, extravagant experience that you've had with a group or, an individual in a group, what would that be? Matt May: It's hard to pinpoint one. And I can't remember the exact number. I facilitated a military care pack program. This is probably seven years ago or more. Those always get me. I'm a big supporter of the U.S. Military. And I know you're over in Europe, but I'm a big supporter of people who put their lives on hold to make our lives better. Steve Rush: Absolutely. Matt May: That is very important to me. So military care pack programs always hit me pretty, pretty tough. They hit me hard in a good way. Also, when you see a kid who is part of a boys and girls club or whatever, come into a room and they don't know why they're there. And then all of a sudden there are 12, 24, 50, bikes, and they're then told these are going to your organization. The look of huh, on their face is just amazing. And little ones are just, I don't have kids. I'm too old to start at this point, but boy, some of the things they do and say they just melt my heart and make me just crack up [laugh]. Steve Rush: Makes it all worthwhile, right? Matt May: Exactly. I'm always appreciative for that. Steve Rush: Well, the next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something hasn't worked out for you. Maybe been pretty catastrophic, could have screwed up, but as a result of it, you've learned, and it's now a force of good in your life or work, what would be your Hack to Attack? Matt May: [Laugh] be careful what papers you sign to be quite honest. Steve Rush: [laugh] yeah. Matt May: Really and be careful with whom you go into business and protect yourself because you're the only anyone that's going to protect yourself. And I don't want to sound cold and snarky, but it's true. You can be a wonderful person and be very giving and loving and generous and still protect yourself. Steve Rush: Yes, you can. Matt May: And that's the business side of me, careful what you sign and know who you're getting into bed with proverbially. Steve Rush: Yeah. You're not the first guest mine you to have said that over the two years or so, we've been running the show. We must have at least half a dozen of our guests have, you know, some really similar circumstances where the greatest trusted relationships have gone wrong because of one piece of paper. Matt May: Exactly, exactly. And it's bad that happens. But it's the reality of the world we live in. Steve Rush: Certainly is. Now the last thing we're going to do is you get to go and give yourself some advice at 21. So, if that time travel happened now. You stood right in front of Matt. He's 21, you're in front of him. What's your advice? Matt May: Probably to embrace the opportunities that you're presented with wholly, don't be fearful of them. Again, hindsight is 2020. The older I get; I do subscribe more to the philosophy of everything happens for a reason. And for whatever reason right now, this is where you're supposed to be. And it may not be the happiest of circumstances, but what do you need to do to not only get through this but thrive beyond it and learn from it. Steve Rush: Great advice. Matt May: That would be my two words. It's okay. Steve Rush: Hmm. Love it. So, what's next for you and the team? Matt May: Well, we are very excited to be getting back to face-to-face experiences. Really trying to provide those to people who are ready. I hope more and more people continue to be ready and jump on this. My hope is that now, companies who are allowing people or have just made the decision to, we're not going to own real estate or rent real estate anymore, because we know work from home, works for us. Great. That money that you're saving, bring your people together. At least twice a year, quarterly is better. Have an all hands. Even if it's just lunch, an address from the CEO and a team building experience where people get to play and work together, hands on, do it. It's more important now than ever. My dream would be that it becomes instilled in everyone's minds that this is as important as ordering copy paper. Steve Rush: Right. DNA and the fabric of an organization should have all of those experiences to really exploit some of those unlearned or unobserved behaviors that you talked about earlier, right? Matt May: Exactly. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, when folks have listened into this Matt, where's the best place for us to send them so they can bump into some of the work and maybe get a copy of the book? Matt May: The best place is the website, which is It's premier as in like number one without the E at the end of it. But if you do happen to put it in, it'll direct you to the correct place. There's a contact form there. There's a links to Amazon where the book is. All of our social media links are there. You can follow us there. I love to travel personally. So, we do programs throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, abroad. I'd love to get over to the UK at some point. So more than happy to do that for anyone who's listening over there. Steve Rush: Course of action. Yeah, exactly. Well, Matt, listen, I've love chatting to you and you know, there's no surprise that you've been a success in the business that you're in and the energy and focus you bring to it. So, I just want to say thank you and we'll make sure all of those links are in our show notes. So, when folks have listened as well. They can dive straight over, but thanks for being on the show. Matt May: Thank you, Steve. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.
45:29 09/05/22
It’s Go Time with Jill McAbe
Jill McAbe is a bestselling author of “It’s Go Time: Build the Business and Life You Really Want.” Jill’s recently been ranked #1 in Entrepreneur Magazine's inspiring education Entrepreneurs to watch in 2022. We dove into a bunch of topics in this awesome conversation, including: Jill’s involuntary life reset and how that shaped her future. What is a “hot goal” and how you don’t need willpower to achieve them. Learn about the MOMA method. What “all-in” really means. Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Jill below: Jill on LinkedIn: Jill on Twitter: Jill on Instagram: Jill’s Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Steve Rush: Jill McAbe is a special guest on today's show. Jill is the bestselling author of Its Go Time. She's also a teacher, coach, and a business guru, but before we get a chance to speak with Jill, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: We all know leadership can be tough, right? Despite the success. And sometimes a glory leadership can bring, the lows can be incredibly low. The job can feel quite lonely at times, especially when you have to make unpopular decisions. As leaders, we must all deal with stress, but the very best leaders handle the ups and downs with ease. They let things slide off their backs with resiliency, grace and grit, and it's not easy to do. Leaders can't afford to break down, lose their cool and be oversensitive. Instead, they must be steadfast, tough, no matter the up and downs. In an article from Entrepreneur Magazine, Kerry Siggins talks about five things that can make a big difference. Be determined. Determination is often overlooked as a leadership attribute but is needed to get through the difficult situations. You must be resolute in your vision, decision making and resiliency. During the early days of the pandemic, the uncertainty was unbearable. Like so many of the leaders many had to make difficult decisions about expenses and staffing. Kerry Siggins planned and kept one thing in the front of her mind, her determination to succeed. And that grew stronger than as she arrived in into the pandemic in the first place, determination helped drive her decision making and kept her focused and resolute. Know when to let things go. The flip side of determination is knowing when to say enough is enough. And when things aren't really working, and resiliency is not about consistently pushing through. Resiliency is also about letting know when to let things go to move on. There are times when you must be tough enough to back down, let go, change your mind, pivot, whatever words you want to use. Just because you think you are right doesn't make it so. So, when people around you and the evidence suggest that you are moving in the wrong direction, make the toughest decision of all and let go. It's quite natural to get defensive when you receive tough or unpleasant news through feedback, but it doesn't mean you should allow yourself to go there just because it's a natural response. If you want a toughen up as a leader, you must handle yourself with grace and hearing hard things as being part of the way we do things. Kelly's trick for doing this is to look for the truth in the information. She recently hired a consultant to perform a leadership competency assessment for her executive team. When going through the results, she was told. The reasons you haven't got grown the company faster is it takes you too long to assess and tell the people on your team that they haven't got what it takes. You let things is slide for too long. You must give this type of feedback faster and more directly. It's a problem for you. She was hurt by the words. She was inclined to defend herself and going to say that she did give people feedback all of the time and she wasn't afraid of those conversation. But instead of vocalizing those thoughts, she analyzed what was shared by compartmentalizing, the feedback. She could see that the individual consultant was right and gave her an opportunity to reflect and adapt her approach. She looked for the truth in his words, and face to feedback with action, Find gratitude. When most people think of gratitude, they envision what they're grateful for in life, such as family, health, and possessions. A more profound gratitude practice considers being thankful for the hard things in life as well. So, if you want to be stronger leader, you must look for the good that comes out of difficult situations. What are the hardships you're grateful for? What are the challenges that you've been faced with that you've now are faced and overcome? In her article Kerry talks about the overcoming addiction has been something she's really grateful for. And even though it causes pain is suffering for her life. She wouldn't change anything. And she's grateful for the lessons it taught her. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's harsh but true. Exceptionally leaders require us to stop feeling self-centered and sorry for ourselves. Being a leader is difficult at times and can be really thankless, but that's what you've signed up for. We can't allow ourselves to take things personally. We need to let things slide off our backs. We need to make sure that we face into every opportunity. That situation with passion and energy, our job is to make good decisions for our team and our company. Not necessarily to manage people's opinions. Our job is to lead, so lead with confidence. With leadership comes great responsibility, responsibility to make good decisions, be transparent, give good feedback, with standard our setbacks and to be a great leader we must toughen up. So, the leadership hack here is finding the sweet spot between awareness, compassion, and self-care. Getting that right means you can focus on the things that matter. Thanks Kerry, for sharing the article. Thanks all for listening to our Leadership Hacker News. Let's dive into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: My special guest on today's show is Jill McAbe. She's a bestselling author, teacher and coaching the business success and finding one's purpose, particularly around the science of high performance and change. Her bestselling book. It's Go Time. Build the Business and Life You Really Want. Teaches the order of operations for building expertise-based businesses. Jill's also been recently ranked in entrepreneur as magazine as top 10 inspiring education entrepreneurs to watch in 2022. Jill, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Jill McAbe: Thank you very much, Steve. I'm really happy to be here. Steve Rush: Jill. What's really great about your backstory is it's not followed traditional path to get you to where you got to. In fact, there's lots of bumps and twists and turns along the way. And we'd love for you to maybe just share a little bit about the backstory that led you here? Jill McAbe: Oh, wow. Alright. The super quick backstory that led me here, I would have to say as most stories do started when I was young, probably trying to figure out what I was going to be or do when I grew up, but that was a really difficult decision for me because I was very unsuccessful in school. I struggle with fairly significant dyslexia and what was called ADD now often termed a ADHD growing up. And so, I really struggled in school and my grades were poor, which made me realize that a lot of my options were limited at that time. It just felt like I wasn't going along a traditional track. And I very exceptional siblings. I like ridiculously exceptional siblings, you know, one scouted for professional sports, I'm Canadian. My older brother was invited to be a U.S. citizen upon the submission of his masters because it was so brilliant. And I had a sister who excelled in the arts and sports and academics and looked a little bit like Marilyn Monroe. So, it was really tough growing up. And my goal was simply to learn how to be successful because my mother used to, you know, worry about me and she'd say to me, Jill, some people are good at school. Others are good at life, and you'll be good at life. You're wise. Steve Rush: That's a great lesson. Isn't it? Wise words though seriously. At such a young age, because it would be really difficult to disassociate that, you know, some people just aren't academically gifted and others are, right? Jill McAbe: Yeah. It's interesting because when I ended up going back and doing my masters, I got (A) plus pluses across the board. So, the academics, it was really about not fitting into the way of learning that the schools liked to taught and my brain needing to comprehend information differently. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: And I think that led me. So, what got me here was frankly, a very bumpy road of trial and error. Sometimes I'd hit and I'd, you know, and I'd get a home run and I'd do really well. And other times there was a lot of hit and misses and I have spent a lifetime really studying and understanding and creating tools that help me be smarter than I am [laugh]. So, I love creating like tools to make decisions or tools to make things happen. And I love taking all this research and turning them into practical tools. Had a scientist tell me once, he's like, you're like a translator, you take our work, you make it very easy to apply. Steve Rush: Nice. And the tools that you created along the way, is that also a bit of a coping mechanism to help you with your dyslexia? Jill McAbe: Yeah, I'm sure it is. You know, what I understand. So, I was very fortunate, much more than many people who might have been in that situation because my mother actually is at the forefront of research at that time for how to rehabilitate people such as myself. So, I had a great deal of support and rehabilitation that a lot of people might not have access to that kind of help, but what I come to understand about people like me, and I'm sure there's some listeners who are going to relate is that I like to dive deep into things and the tools are actually a result of that. So, you know, I'm the person in class who sometimes annoying asks a hundred questions. So, if the teacher says something I say, but I read this other thing and no that's not consistent with. And if you look at this person's information, so I've always been someone who will find the question in something and dive deeper and explore it rather than accepting. Instantly what's been said, if it goes up against something I've heard that that doesn't fit with, but it's also allowed me to find consistencies from very diverse places. So, I found consistencies from leadership research you know, Neuroscience, Daoism, Christianity, you know, any of the religions really with, you know, business teachings. Like I will actually spot the through line and go how fascinating. And that's when I create the tool, when I see it come from all sorts of different directions. Steve Rush: Nice. What a gift too. Jill McAbe: Yeah. Yeah. You see, there you go. It's one of the things, it didn't feel like a gift growing up. Steve Rush: Right. Jill McAbe: But it can be used as a gift. Steve Rush: Definitely so, yeah. Now you had a moment in your life, which in your book, you actually called it, your involuntary life reset. Tell us a little bit about what happened? That was so significant and how would that then set you on a different path? Jill McAbe: Yeah, I was 40 and I thought my life was humming along really. In my early thirties, I found my first sort of calling, which was a restaurateur, and I opened a restaurant with my brother in Toronto and we actually became internationally successful, which was, you know, really, we just had a lot of passion. He was the chef. I was very good at operations, management, and leadership. And those two things together really brought together an incredible business and ended up selling that. Because this is a leadership podcast, I'm actually going to veer off a little Steve and just going to share something really fun. Steve Rush: Go for you. Jill McAbe: So, restaurants are known for having a lot of turnovers because they're known for having very transient workforce, but we had sort of high-end food and, you know, the sommelier where our servers. So, we had sort of a more educated staff and we were known for being, you know, a group where people didn't leave. When we sold it after seven years, the average person was with us for six years. Steve Rush: Wow. That's quite unusual in catering and hospitality, isn't it? Yeah. Jill McAbe: Yeah. And at the four-year mark I got, you know, I had these new ideas and so I started saying to the team, hey, you know, hey, let's try this, let's try this. And I thought I was this great leader, you know, because we were so successful, and my team was so happy, and they really resisted. And that Steve, I understood that there is a different kind of leadership to forged straight ahead than one who wants to turn a corner. In fact, that became, I didn't talk about this in my book. Because it wasn't, you know, necessarily just a leadership book, but that became my lifelong quest to really understand what does it take to turn a corner? How do we make a change? And my team would say to me, we're so successful. Why do we need to change? And I'd say, because we're successful because we forged ahead four years ago. Now everyone's copying us. It's time to be fresh again. And I started going to all sorts of courses and studying leadership. And I went to act my team who didn't want to, you know, try anything. And I said, listen, guys, I'm bored, I'm bored. And I need to be able to try this. So please will you please try these things for 30 days? And if you nix them, they're next. But if we like them and we enjoy how things are running, then we move forward. And I basically made this bargain with my team. We had about 30 staff just to give you a sense of the size of the business. It was small and that became my leadership lab. And then I'll fast forward. So, we sell the business and I really want to move off in this like leadership growth direction. And I got pretty good at understanding what motivated individuals and people and off I was going to go into this consulting direction, and I'd sold the business and clients were coming to me from all sorts of industries. And I'd say, what do I know about your industry? I'm a restaurant person. And they said, Jill, you know, we watched your operations for years as clients, they were tight. We'd like you to work for us, for sure you can help. And that's how my career started. But the involuntary life reset, I was hit by a car. The driver was talking on his cell. It was a very serious accident, both on his side and mine because he critically injured a couple of his children because they were not in seat belts and me. When the ambulance drivers came to my car, you know, one of them remarked they didn't think they were going to find a live body inside. So, it was 18 months of recovery. The life reset was that prior to that accident, I was pretty excited about being good at leadership and good at operations and good at cleaning up businesses. But after that accident, and it probably was relevant that the client that I had at the time was really horrible to his people. And so, he was sort of truly one of those people who was making money on the backs of others, there was thousands of people in his organization and the way he treated people was terrible. And so those two things at the same time really, really got me thinking about, am I just going to help people like that make money? Steve Rush: Right. Jill McAbe: I have to do something more meaningful. Steve Rush: And from the first time that you and I met, one thing that really struck me is you have a laser focus to serve others and it's unwavering. And I wonder how that moment shaped how you think about things now? Jill McAbe: Wow. yeah, I think, that's a great question. I think I was ashamed to be helping this man make money. There were people in his employee for 10 years making minimum wage. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: And he was so happy with the operational you know, one thing I have with this, I'm really good at mathematical. Like figuring things out. I have a real creativity to see solutions. I'm exceptional at it. And I was with his company for months and he offered me a lot of money to stay. And when I saw people who had worked in his employee for 10 years, it was a food manufacturing facility, and they were making minimum wage, which you can't live on in Toronto. And at the end of every day, if there was any, you know, food or any waste or whatever, all went in the garbage, he wouldn't let them take it. I was so sickened. So, I think growing up sort of sitting on the outside, not fitting in, made me someone who just watched people and cared about people. And I just realized I couldn't do that. Steve Rush: Yeah, yeah. And then fast forward to all of the experiences you've had, you managed to kind of collect them together and you created a real system now that helps people achieve high levels of motivation productivity within their work and their lives. At what point did you recognize that, you know, what you had was a thing? Steve Rush: Yeah. I created a tool called mind code, and I think that's the thing, you know, when I think about what the thing was that really changed the game because there was a lot of, I did all this research. I mean, for over a decade on, you know, goal setting or planning. And then I ended up getting certified in changed leadership. And then I did my master's in leadership. And I looked at all these different things. The behavioral science aspects really became powerful. A lot of us are looking at goal setting, planning, and implementation as different skill sets. And I realized, well, any project needs all of that. I'd studied project management but that was often overly complex for the needs of a small department or team. And I think I realized when it was a thing. First of all, when I would apply change leadership in organizations, and despite the fact that the organizations would look at me and say, this is not going to work, like point blank. I've had that said to me so many times. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: And we have succeeded anyway. And it's like, you're powerful to stop this? Or you're beyond saving. But the truth is, you're powerless to stop us when we understand change leadership. And Steve, I know you get that. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm. Jill McAbe: It's like, no, you don't understand. I can rearrange your environment. I can add people and subtract people and you'll change and not even know you did. Steve, you know what I'm talking about, right? With change leadership. Steve Rush: I totally do, yeah. Jill McAbe: Yeah. Change is a equation. And once its supplied, change happens. Steve Rush: Right. Jill McAbe: So, I became sort of amazed at the power of this tool. When people would say, Jill, this will not work, and I will not do it. And I’m like, it will work anyway. One of my clients was like, oh my goodness, you can move mountains. And I'm like, it's not me. It's this tool. It's amazing [Laugh], you know, what's good about me is I'm willing to follow it. I'm willing to go through the steps. So really the system is not mine, you know, it's what I've learned. And my willingness to apply it, one of my clients and their organization did about 40 million and we're having a chat one day and I'm feeling pretty chuffed, you know, look at the great job I've helped you guys do this year. And he was not happy. Like he was visibly not happy. And I'm thinking what is going on? And he just said, yeah, yeah, no, no, no, it's good. I'm really happy with the organization, but I'm personally not happy. And I said, well, look, you know, we just use this tool that got an entire, and this was about 300 people that just got a, you know, a massive shift occur in your organization. What do you say we rework this and make it a personal transformation tool? And I later found out Steve, that the reason a lot of people don't create these tools for personal transformation is because there's no money in it. Steve Rush: Of course, yeah. Jill McAbe: Organizations simply pay more for that. And I've learned that the hard way because I tried to sell it. And I went from doing very well to not doing very well. So, I did learn the hard way. There's some truth in that, but yeah, I reworked it for a tool that individuals or teams can use. And that's a tool I called mind code and I share aspects of it in my book. And I think that's the moment when I realized when I reworked it, we used it on him first, it worked, then I used it on me. And now I've worked with dozens of people. I sell it as a standalone tool. I work closely with clients and use it and time and again, I mean, people have breakthroughs in their performance, and they have it fast. Steve Rush: Yeah. And a lot of breaking through performance is about decoding, almost our neurological pathways and our thinking that causes to get where we need to get to. And you have spent an enormous amount of time, energy, studying and focusing around behavioral science and neuroscience. And how has that really shifted your perspectives on the art of the possible? Jill McAbe: Wow. You know, what comes to mind? So, I'll say it is, my research started with behavioral science, which is, you know, really for the listeners, it's really thinking about what are the aspects in our environment that lead us to behave the way we do. And behavioral science would look at, you know, our social influences, our influence, our beliefs from growing up, our abilities, our personal abilities and our environment. And that was the first really profound. That was very profound research for me. I guess it goes back to this nurture versus nature question. Steve Rush: Right. Jill McAbe: And really understanding just how much in our environments, socially and physically were really causing us to be the person that we are. Like I used to think I was this autonomous thinking in control person of my life. And when I studied behavioral science, I understood, I was like a pinball in a pinball machine. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: I went wherever the people who had control of certain social and physical aspects of my reality wanted me to go. And we've seen that, you know, we've seen that in social media, like, come on, we've seen it over and over how fake news and environments and people can pull some levers and absolutely change. Steve Rush: Totally Jill McAbe: Yeah, absolutely change belief systems. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: So, I think that was when I realized, that's what got me interested there, but then there was this problem and this problem was, I couldn't seem to do it for me [Laugh]. Steve Rush: Right. Expert for everybody else, yeah. Jill McAbe: [Laughing] Like why isn't my life going the way I want to? You know, and when I got really honest with myself, there were some big things that I didn't seem to be able to do for myself. And honestly it was a fluke. My dyslexic brain wanted to, why, why, why, why, why does everybody talk about goals? Why does everybody talk about vision? And I decided to study the neuroscience underpinnings, and I'm fortunate to have a good friend who's a leading international academic, which means I have access to leading international academics, which means that somebody who had not normally give the time of day to someone like me, actually, you know, would sit down and have several conversations and guide me to cutting edge research that was, you know, just being published. And hadn't gotten down to the levels of press yet and consultants. I wanted to understand what was it about a goal that would make it work? Because if a goal worked, then all goals should work. So why were only some goals working? And that's when you know, I used to have the popular neuroscience of, you know, reticular activating system that almost infuriating neuroscientist, who's one of, you know, William Cunningham. Who's a leading neuroscientist in the area of goal cognition and the brain. And he just, please, don't talk about that. And, you know, because they really care about specifics and accuracy. And for some reason, it just really helped me to understand what created the kind of goal that was likely to be achieved? And then I was able to modify. And as I talk about in the book, I describe there's a popular system of goal setting called smart goals, which is you know, specific, measurable, attainable. I think realistic and timebound, and or something like that. Sometimes people change the acronym. Steve Rush: You're absolutely spot on. But it's commonly taught, isn't it? When you hear goals, they have to be smart. Jill McAbe: They have to be smart and smart goals have a critical flaw in that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: They're not often meaningful and gives to the willpower of peace, but they're actually good for strategy. They're actually good for developing strategy, interestingly, strategy, fancy word for plan, right. But they're not a good tool for developing goal or outcome statements. And what do we want to be true at a later date? And that was really a flaw. And I ended up getting to speak to, I actually ended up getting to speak to, you know, one of the foremost goal researchers in the world as well and look at his, you know, 2000-page book on goals, like no joke. I've really got into studying this. I was so fascinated and really started to understand how we need to change the way we think about the outcome slash goal development piece to make our brains naturally want to work. And so, one of the things that's made mind code such a powerful tool. Mind code is an acronym that stands for eight steps of goal setting, planning, and execution. And one of the main things that makes it powerful is the act of doing it helps whoever uses it to automatically program their brain to want to work on it, which of course is very important for any goal is the application of your energy behind it. Steve Rush: Yeah. And you call these hot goals in your book, right? Jill McAbe: I use a term that I learned from a neuroscientist. So that's a term from a group of neuroscientists actually, oh, gee. I want to say his name was O'Reilly, but it's not, it might not be fresh at the moment, but it is a group of neuroscientists who studied the kind of goals that are the ones that determine how you behave. And so, it's a term from neuroscience that describes the trigger of action. And so, if you're hungry, for instance. The hot goal might be, you know, life, right? Like I want to keep living, so I need to eat. So, it's sort of the top goal. And if you're making a decision between two things, it's, you know, whatever it is that you're spending your time on or moving yourself toward, that's currently the hottest goal. So, it's a neuroscience-based term for what it is that's actually leading your behavior or triggering your behavior. Steve Rush: And what I particularly like about this focus, and certainly the focus you put on this is, it's actually directly correlated to mindset as well. So, you talk about having prevention and promotion goals. Well, I have often referred to mindset as being a prevention and promotion mindset, which I direct behaviors away from risk averse to protection. That's a prevention to promotion, which is, you know, what can I do next? What can I explore? What can I find new? what's alluring? How does that correlate to helping people get that depth of clarity in their goals? Jill McAbe: Absolutely. I think mindset is, this is sort of the prevention and promotion is really what I was looking at there, which fits beautifully with what you were saying is the biological push/pull Steve Rush: Yeah. Jill McAbe: Of why we do what we do. So biologically we are really moving ourselves. There's a part of our brain that we don't have cognitive access to. That's making decisions about our behavior. And that part of the brain is making decisions about, what we see, say, and do. Millisecond, up to ten seconds in advance of us even becoming aware of what we're going to see, say, or do, which is incredible. And it's basing those decisions about action on prevention goals, which is preventing us from harm. So, and that could be emotional or physical threat. And so that tends to be automatic. Our responses tend to be very automatic that prevent us from harm. And I actually share one with your listeners in a second, that I think will really help them understand an aspect of their lives of something that they might feel held back in at the moment, whatever it is. And then there's promotion goals that the brain is using, are to move us towards more life. And the promotion goals, the big one is to have babies, right? And so, it's like more life. Preserve humanity. And so, the problem with promotion goals is that more money, more happiness, a lot of the things that we strive for just aren't biologically understood as necessary to live. And so that's why we have to put a little more effort into forming our goals and outcomes and objectives so that they are understood biologically sort of by this part of the brain, the amygdala. So that the action center of our brain is actually going to automatically take action. And so, I really used it from this level of, so if I was going to link it to the mindset of the promotion things and what we want, what would be important is taking those things that we want and really deepening our clarity about what they are, so that this part of the brain that you can't. I talk about these two parts of the brain, having two different languages, one's using ideas and thoughts and concepts, and the part that we need to program, if you will, hot goals with promotion things, what we want, it doesn't understand words. So, we need to give it images. We need to give it emotions. We need to give it feelings, which is why we really need to create clarity around our future desire state in terms of visuals and emotions. Steve Rush: And of course, the bigger and deeper that emotional connection is the more likely of achievement of those goals, right? Jill McAbe: Yeah. Because the part of the brain that's determining our actions, milliseconds up to ten seconds in advance of the action being taken is the part of our brain that's connected to our emotional center. So, it's like a way of translating because if it can't understand ideas and concepts like success, what's that, right? Oh, you want a blue, two-story house, three blocks from the ocean. I can get that. So there needs to be a concreteness to what we want in a way that we can see it in another little hack is to see how it's good for others. Steve Rush: Hmm. Yeah. Jill McAbe: So, a lot of times we look at, you know, in my case where I'm helping individuals build businesses. But even when I was working with leaders and their team is to really take the time to explore the benefits to the group is actually very motivating for this part of the brain, because social, you know, being a safe part of a social circle is critical. And so when we understand something we want to achieve is going to be good for the collective that makes it more motivating. And what I see happening, or, you know, what I know when happens with groups and leaders is that we think that that's just a given, we have an objective and we're like, well, it's just a given that that will be really good. But unfortunately, that would be like saying, you know, going to a country where you don't speak a language and saying, it's just a given that they understand everything that you want. No, it's not just a given. We have to really make an effort to translate our concepts into the kind of images and emotions that the parts of our brain who will decide if we do this or not [Laugh]. Steve Rush: It's great perspective. Jill McAbe: So, we have to take a minute and onboard that part of the brain Steve Rush: Love it. It's a really interesting perspective. So, if we get our goals, we're really methodical about this. I'll say that again. Does willpower play into this? Jill McAbe: Yeah. So, I have a cheeky chapter in my book, you know, who needs willpower? So, no, right. It's just an easy home test. Everybody can do this. If you have a stated goal and you're working toward it, then you know, it's a hot goal. It's something that you're automatically working on and you're good. You're just going to keep moving in that direction. However, if you have a stated goal for yourself or your organization, and there is not regular progress being made on that goal, then you know, it's not hot and you know, you're not going to, which is a problem. So, willpower is not needed once you've properly established a goal. Steve Rush: That's fascinating. I think it's a common misconception that people think you must have to have willpower, but to your point, if you've articulated it so well, and it's got all of the right drivers that are neurologically linked to you, then it's just going to happen. Jill McAbe: You can't stop yourself, Steve. Steve Rush: Right. Jill McAbe: You actually cannot stop yourself once you have properly established a goal. I work with some organizations, one of my passions is helping companies develop vision and strategy. That's my strength, who I use sort of a bigger version of mind code for that. And we'll do their strategy for the next three years or five years. And when we’re revisioning, that's why it's so important to be careful about the goals so that because when they're set properly, you actually can't stop yourself from working. You physiologically impossible to stop yourself from working on them because you've literally coded yourself. Because again, I think it's more than 90% of our action is triggered milliseconds up to ten seconds in advance. So, like that was the moment Steve, when I realized we have to stop focusing on the actions we're taking and start focusing on programming, the part of our brain that's taking action. It's like, we were looking at the wrong thing all this time. No wonder there are so many frustrated initiatives in the world. And so that's like one of my, you know, I get really excited. And then that's when I say, hey, be very careful what you decide to program in your subconscious, because not only do you not need willpower, you'll have to use willpower to stop working on it. Just so I'm accurate, because like my brain needs to be sort of accurate. Sometimes you need willpower to program the goal. So, you don't need willpower [laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah, I get it. Jill McAbe: That's where you can use some willpower. Steve Rush: So, willpower becomes part of the goal setting process. Jill McAbe: Yes. It's part of the goal setting process. Steve Rush: Once it's set up. Jill McAbe: Yeah. Steve Rush: You're off. Jill McAbe: Yeah, exactly. Steve Rush: Got it. Jill McAbe: You're off. You're done. Steve Rush: Excellent. I love that. And I've never really, until I've read it in your book, I've never really had that aha moment that actually if you program your behaviors and you’re thinking right at the outset and they're strongly aligned and they're hot goals, it just takes care of itself. Jill McAbe: Yeah. And it's not so instant to do that, but it is so worthwhile. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, you often hear people saying, you know, unless you're all in, it's not going to happen. So, when you hear somebody articulate the words, you have to be all in, what does that really mean for you? Jill McAbe: I personally use the term all in for my book. Probably what it means to me is faith. I mean, that's what it means to me. There was a point at which I was wondering, you know, am I going to be successful in developing my own education company? Or am I going to have to work as a consultant, some nice clients, some less nice clients, you know, what's my future look like? And there was a moment at which I really needed to make a decision if I was going to follow my heart and really try to make a go of my company, or go back to a world that I knew I could succeed in. And I guess having the life reset of the car accident, the stakes were a little higher because my life felt very empty after that car accident, I really felt like I lost it all. And I wondered what I had lost. I'd really gone into this 18-month rehabilitation but also significant depression and real questioning of what was the point of life. And all in for me was, like, well, I had to give it all.   I had to try my very best. I couldn't go back to just tolerating things and it meant going all in on my dreams and that's what it meant to me. And then it was also having the faith because I noticed that I was very good at helping organizations make striking advancements and teams make striking advancements when we'd work together. I'm very good at bringing forth the power of the individuals in the room. And then I thought, what is going on with me? Why have I been so successful at their businesses? And then in my own been, you know, lackluster result. Because after that crummy client, after my car accident, I only accepted clients who I really, really, really believed in. And I realized, yeah, I get results for people because I'm all in for them. And I have a hundred percent belief in them, and I was not taking action as though I knew I would succeed, but yet when working for my clients, I would take action with a singular focus that we would succeed. Steve Rush: Yeah, that's great. And now you're all in for you. How's that changed? Jill McAbe: [Laugh] most days. It's still harder. It's still harder when it's me! Steve Rush: Uh huh. Jill McAbe: But how has that changed? No, it's changed a lot. I've had, you know, is really, every day could be a slightly different answer. Some days I'm definitely feel like, you know, I can achieve anything and other days it's still running your own business is so challenging and there's lots of ups and downs. I think what's changed for me overall. Oh, well, I mean, the big picture is, when I really went after my dream. I mean, now I haven't established business. Back then I was not paying my way, you know, I'd gone from a fancy consultant to, you know, not being able to buy cereal and having my partner supporting me and you know, it was very humiliating for me. And now, I do, I mean, I have a business that, Entrepreneur Magazine is recognized as number one. Steve Rush: Exactly. Jill McAbe: You know, to watch in 2022. Like pretty important, actually. I'm pretty excited about that, but it's the people I also get to call, you know, it's the relationships that I've built along the way. There are so many extraordinary people who I call up and say, hey, you know, would you teach, you know, my people in BOOMU, would you teach them the stuff that know and they're like, sure. And that gets me every time, how many people I've reached out to and wanted to speak to or asked for them to do something for my community. An they say, yeah, and honestly, that's been one of the most exciting things is that I've been building something somewhat secretly. And even just now were sort of forming the outer view of the world. A lot of people who are only in our, like clients and students only see this because we are in a building phase, but it's truly a collection of incredible people sharing their gifts. And it's a dream. It's a dream come true. And I guess, because I almost got taken out of life with that car accident and I think COVID has helped us all see the need to maybe seize the moment. I'm really working towards building something that outlives me. Steve Rush: Awesome. I love it. So, this is a part of the show where we are going to turn the tables a little bit. We all know that you can't hack leadership, but I can hack your mind. And the objective of the next part of the show is, I want you to share with us your top tips, tools, ideas around leadership. So, what would be your top three leadership hacks, Jill? Jill McAbe: My top three leadership hacks. I'd say, this is just so small, but I think one of my favorite things. I teach, but I have a teach a collaborations course, and I think leaders listen first. And I think we know that leaders listen first, and you know, listening is power. Because understanding someone else's point of view before inserting your own is how to truly guide someone as opposed to speaking first. So that can be as simple as I have a very rigorous rule to always socialize for a moment before jumping into work. And in fact, it got me a quarter million-dollar contract once because I was representing a client and a possible investor came along and he was jumping in, you know, and he was like, all right, let's go. Let's talk business. And I looked at him and I held up my finger. This is the person with all the money. And I held up my finger and I said, just a moment. It's Monday morning, we socialize before we jump into work, how was your weekend? And he just looked at me like, who are you? We went to lunch, and I did a big project for his organization. And I do think that just taking a moment to be with people is critical. I'm going to say a leadership hack is definitely vision and having a clear vision. When I did my master’s in leadership, I was amazed, you know, I thought I was going to go find the unequivocal way forward in leadership and discovered there are as many leadership theories as there are theorists. So, I realized, oh, there isn't one rule. And of course, my dyslexic brain wanted it to be easy, but it wasn't. But then there was the power of vision, which for over a century, nobody had been able to disprove could actually help you know, leaders outperform their competition by two to twelve times, which is staggering. And it got so boring to researchers. They couldn't disprove it. And vision, by the way, fancy word for big goal, right? Steve Rush: Big goal, yeah. Yeah. Jill McAbe: And so, these visions are really critical that they be underscored by purpose and long term and not all visions have that. I do have an article on LinkedIn about the kind of vision that has that. So, I'd say that's a hack because once you do that and get your organization on board, they're automatically working to worry about willpower. I mean, you don't have to worry about procrastination and willpower and people not working. Steve Rush: Totally. Jill McAbe: It's such false economy not to take that week and bring in a facilitator and get that vision done because it's such false economy just going to work. So that's a hack. And then the third one I'm going to say is, I have a tool for decision making. ABC decision. I'm pretty sure there's an article about that somewhere. I teach these courses as well through my website, but that one really helps us go back and it helps remind us where we are. (A) is aligned to your long- and short-term goals. (B) is broaden your options, always choose from at least three. (C) is compare contenders and do not use pro and cons, those are really bad. And then (D), detach before you decide so that you don't make emotionally biased decisions. And I think that once you have that vision, you have the ability to use something like A, B, C, D decisions to navigate and stay on course, those are my three hacks. Steve Rush: Brilliant. I love that last one, particularly because it's one of the things that we often are knee jerk about making decisions and just being ordered and considered gives you the space to think. Jill McAbe: Yeah. Steve Rush: Love it. Next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something has not gone well in your life or work. Now you've already shared a couple of hacks to attacks already, but was there maybe something else in your work or your life that was maybe an aha moment that you've learned from that's now serving you well? Jill McAbe: A mistake that I seem to make regularly [laugh], which is embarrassing. In light of the show is, that I think I can outsmart my tools because I created them. Steve Rush: [Laugh]. Jill McAbe: [Laugh], you know what I'm talking about? Steve Rush: I totally understand that, yeah. Jill McAbe: So, I don't sometimes use them and then my projects don't go well, it's totally embarrassing. But I would say going back to really setting, I mean, for me, the tools, mind code and ABC decisions, I use the two of them in conjunction, but for me, it's going back and creating that second half. For me, it's that I stop using particularly my goal setting and planning tools, my execution, I'm pre-programmed on execution. I'm excellent execution because I program myself to be, so it's going back. Yeah, I have big fails or projects that are super lackluster, and then I realized I didn't start them the way I teach other people to start. Steve Rush: It's ironic. I, however Jill McAbe: [laugh] Steve Rush: It's reality. The reason that those tools were created in the first place, because it gave you results, it gave you processes, it gave you a methodology and you know what, we're human, aren't we? At the end of the day. And it's easy sometimes just to leave out some of those foundations, but the fact that, you know, that is a really powerful thing. Jill McAbe: Yeah. Like they bring out my smarts, right. I think I'm so smart. But the point is, they actually draw forth my smarts. Steve Rush: Yes. got it. So last part of the show, you get to do some time travel, bump into Jill at 21 and give us some advice. What would your words of wisdom be? Jill McAbe: So, this one is not leadership related at all. Steve Rush: Cool. Jill McAbe: Or business related. When I think about this question, I think about what would 21-year-old me actually listen to? And that's key, right. Because I might say a lot of things to 21-year-old me, but I have to go back and ask myself, what would 21-year-old me actually take action on? And so, with that in mind, I would tell 21-year-old me to go find the course in miracles. Steve Rush: Mm-Hmm. Jill McAbe: And I think 21-year-old me who was, you know, not into anything around faith and prayer or meditation or anything like that, I think almost really anti all those things because of how I had grown up. Would've been fascinated by a concept that there would be such a thing as a course in miracles. And I think that that would have helped 21-year-old me accelerate my career dramatically faster. Steve Rush: If only I could have bumped into a course of miracles at 21, in fact, I probably wouldn't have even listened to anything. I'd have said to me at 21, if I'm being brutally honest, but hey, that's another show. Jill McAbe: [laugh]. Steve Rush: So, I've absolutely loved talking with you. You are an incredible example of learning by doing and turning it into something powerful that's a force of good. And just delighted that we have the opportunity to share your story and some of your models and tools with our audience. If our listeners wanted to get hold of a bit more of your insights, how to access a copy of the book, It's Go Time, find out a little bit about BoomU, you where's the best place for us to send them? Jill McAbe: Come on over to my website would be a great start, with just one C a atypical spelling and or And that's where free copy of my book can be found or link to my brand-new podcast, Thinking Vitamins, where I am sharing actionable ideas and practices that boost abundance and anyone interested in learning about MindCode would be able to learn all about that there and my other sweet of performance skills for leaders and entrepreneurs. So, I think that would be the place to send them. Steve Rush: And the good news is, is that if they're listening to this right now, they'll also find them in our show notes so they can head straight over as soon as they're done listening. Jill, I just want to say thank you for being part of our community. I've loved to chatting with you. And it's no surprised that, you know, Entrepreneur Magazine have recognized you as someone to watch this year. So, thanks for being part of our community. Jill McAbe: I'm grateful for the opportunity to be on the show. I've really enjoyed speaking with you. Steve Rush: Thank you, Jill.   Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
55:49 02/05/22
Hacking People Processes with Rhamy Alejeal
Rhamy Alejeal is the CEO of People Processes, he's also an author and an HR guru. In this fun and engaging show we talk about: What comes first people or processes? What the HR systems are that business can’t live without? The differentials between human and resources. What common changes occurred to people and processes since the pandemic?   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Rhamy below: Rhamy on Twitter: People Processes Twitter: Rhamy on LinkedIn: People Processes Website: Instagram:     Full Transcript Below   Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Today's special guest is Rhamy Alejeal. He's the CEO of People Processes. He's an author, an HR guru, but before we get a chance to speak with Rhamy, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: One of the main reasons that keep business leaders awake at night, I ask that question to my network and reached out to over a hundred business leaders. And this is the top six things that they came back with that keep them awake at night. Number one is planning, planning around the short term, financial, their tactical, their team, and their strategy. Having a bad or an ill-informed plan keeps people awake at night, which is also strange. Because number two is long term strategy. So, it goes without saying, if you don't have a short-term plan, you're never going to have a long-term strategy. But long term to me is beyond five years. Beyond the linear. The next thing on the list was dealing with market changes and in particular, how they've responded to COVID, but generally how supply chains are moving and changing around. Hybrid working wasn’t before on the list but how they can gain access to their team's insights and behaviors while being remote and distant from them. Number five was around staff retention. We've heard lots of discussion in the past about the great resignation but holding onto real talent has become a real challenge for many business leaders and a final one coming in number six was finding enough diversity in their workforce through either gender, race, or just deep thoughts, because thoughts is about differentiation too. And there of course is then the elephant in the room. So, for those who listening to this who sleep peacefully at night, there's also a reason for that. And that reason is that you've likely gone from an intention to an action. You've made something happen. You've made a decision; you've closed it off before the end of the day. And therefore, you can do what your brain's designed to do when you get to bed and that's repair and recover. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Thanks to a number of you in the community who have raised us as a subject that you wanted us to feature on the show. So please also get in touch if there's something that you want to hear. Let's dive in. Strat of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining me on the show today is Rhamy Alejeal. He's a CEO of People Processes, or if you're in North America, of course it's Process and they provide the entire HR department for your business. He's also the author of the book People Processes, How Your People Can Be Your Organization's Competitive Advantage. Rhamy, welcome to the show. Rhamy Alejeal: Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here. Steve Rush: Me too. Now you have a really fascinating introduction to the world of business that started much earlier than many of us. In fact, you started out your first gig when you were 13 years old and actually made a bucket load of cash as a young man. I love for you to share the story with our listeners and how you got there? Rhamy Alejeal: Yeah, well, I was a lucky kid. I had an amazing grandmother and I loved to spend time with her. She was in insurance sales, she sold what are called Medicare Supplements. So, for people internationally, when you turned 65 in the U.S., you get to go on the Government Health Insurance Plan. There's a nationalized healthcare plan for people over age 65 called Medicare. And my grandmother would call them you know, right around their birthdays. And she got a big, long list of them. And I wanted to spend more time with my grandmother, but she would never let me spend the night on weeknights in retrospect, probably because she sure didn't want to spend [laugh] needed a couple nights off, but she told me it was because, hey, those are my cold calling nights. I can't have you come. So, at 13 I told my granddaughter, look, I could cold call. I can figure this out. Let me cold call for you so I can spend the night. And she somewhat, I think to humor me, gave me a copy of her, you know, 24 cassettes of call training and the big Medicare Supplement Guide and scripts and told me to read and listen to it all and she'd be happy to have me cold call. Well, I don't know that she really thought I'd do it, but I did. And I loved it. And I came in and said, hey gran, I'm ready. Let me cold call for you. And she, you know, this was back in the nineties and, you know, she said, well, let's give it a shot. She sat me down at her desk, handed me the big, you know, line printed green and white paper. Came in a big, long green, you had to tear the edges off. Steve Rush: Yeah, I remember them well. Rhamy Alejeal: Of everybody turning 65 and a zip code and said, get to calling. And it was, you know, first call, didn't go great. But on the second call, I said, hi, this is Rhamy. I know you're turning 65 soon. And my grandmother, she helps people who are turning 65, figure out Medicare, and she'd love to meet with you. And it turns out 13-year-olds calling people turning 65 and saying, my grandmother wants to meet with you was just the perfect, [laugh] the perfect phone script for a cold approach. And it started worked very well. I wound up setting a lot of appointments for my grandmother. And then I wound up growing that into a little bit of a dance with a couple of other agents and setting appointments for them. And by the time I was 14, I was making, you know, $50-60,000 a year setting appointment for Medicare Supplements Agents in my hometown. So that was my introduction to the world of business. It lasted for a few years before we figured out that, hey, there are some compliance problems with this, but it all went great and really gave me a good basis for understanding that world of rough cold calling and learned a lot about insurance and dealing with clients and having systems to make sure you’re consistently performing. And it was a great start. Steve Rush: And your journey into entrepreneurialism started that way. And I think from the last time we kicked this around, didn't you end up in insurance at some point? Rhamy Alejeal: I did, yeah. So, I worked with my grandmother till I was 16. After that I launched a lawn mowing company for a few years that also, you know, turns out mowing lawn over the summer with three other guys and some trucks make some decent money. At 19, I bought my first investment property. My wife and I bought a foreclosure in 2007, the height of the market. Moved in, it had no floors, no walls. We learned how to renovate ourselves. And after graduating, I actually launched Poplar Insurance Agency. I got my bachelor's degree in finance and economics with minors in math and physics, you know, so I could sell insurance like you do. And totally made a lot of sense to me. And over the years that company, Poplar Insurance Agency. 13 years later has morphed into People Processes and really helped me find my niche and the people I love to work with. Steve Rush: And you've done that through a series of acquisitions, and you've now got a really successful business, which is predominantly around helping organizations with their HR and their people processes, right? Rhamy Alejeal: That's right. It started in the insurance space of dealing with employee benefits, right? So, making sure you had attractive reasonable benefits to make sure you can attract and retain good talent in your industry. And very quickly that morphed into also managing the payroll side of the business, because that was a big part of benefits at the time, you try trying to figure out how to keep all that stuff straight, get the bills paid, which led to compliance problems and understanding. In the U.S. Obamacare, the affordable care act came out in 2013. And that really changed a lot of how benefits as a regulatory environment needed to behave. And each time the market became more complex, we either acquired a company or launched our own internal so that we could provide those services broader and broader. And by 2015 or so, we were simply functioning as an entire HR department. Not just benefits, not just payroll, not just compliance, but also looking at things like recruit and retention and performance management, retirement plans, the whole piece of it. Steve Rush: And of course, when people hear HR, it's human and resources and they're actually quite different things, aren't they? Rhamy Alejeal: Yes, [laugh]. you have a lot of humans and no resources, and sometimes you have a few humans, but plenty of money to go around. It's an interesting world. Steve Rush: And however, big, however, small you are, you need focus and attention on those humanistic things and the resources and processes that come with it. What's the reason when organizations scale, they might see HR as being a side gig rather than an integral part of their business. Rhamy Alejeal: Ah, well, especially, you know, your smaller businesses when they start out, I like to break into three stages. Imagine you are, I don't know, a guy selling insurance, just to use a random example. You start off, you have a product, how you wound up in the industry may be relevant, may not be. Your product is likely very similar to that of your competitors. Your pricing is likely very similar. There's a stage in the early part where you have to focus on your product to make it unique or valuable, find your unique proposition. Another way I like to put, is you just have to start by not sucking at your job, right. You have to learn how to be a provider that doesn't suck. You've got to fulfill your promises. Those promises have to be unique or good in the market, and it's a tough journey. And a lot of small businesses fail there, right. Your average tire chain shop starts off with a completely homogenous product that doesn't differentiate, and they have to figure out how to make their product, their company special. From there, they scale their operations. They start realizing, hey, I've got a thing that people want to buy. I've got new clients coming in through the door and they realize I can't just change all the tires myself. I need other people. And they focus on what I call operations processes. This is the E-Myth Revisited, right. This is writing down your standard operating procedures and figuring out how to benefit from labor arbitrage, where you can have somebody else change the tire, but you can focus on the overall business and continue to grow. That step alone eliminates 90% of businesses. They have enough trouble figuring out how to scale their operations, Steve Rush: Right. Rhamy Alejeal: But once that's done, you now have a new problem. You may have standard operating procedures for the standard things. In my business for example, we realized, hey, we've got you know, when we were in one state, in really one city with 25 clients, we developed processes. We grew our staff to around 10, 15 people, and everything was going fine. But then we started to really grow. We entered 50 states. We had clients who were headquartered in LA and in New York and in Memphis and in Kansas City. And the thing that started happening is that new items came up. Not just every once in a while, but every day, things that couldn't be written down as a standard operating procedure. My wife and I worked together; we started the company together. All we really had to deal with was the new stuff. The new stuff happened three times a day. And we were dying. That's where people processes come in, people process. So, first product doesn't suck. Then your operations are standardized. Then you need processes to develop people who will make the same decision you would make. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: But without you, right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: And that requires a lot. That requires they have guidance on behavior. They need to know how you think. And in a small business with four people, maybe the answer is they start off changing tires and then they drink a beer with you every afternoon and you hang out and they get to know your family. And eventually they just think like you would. Steve Rush: Right. Rhamy Alejeal: That can work. It may take a year and a half, but eventually you got somebody you can trust to make decisions. You've got a leader you can trust, but that not scalable. People processes is this operating system basically that allows us to take an enthusiastic new hire to someone you can trust to make decisions when you're not there. Steve Rush: So, here's a chicken and egg kind of question for you. What comes first? Is it the people or the processes? Rhamy Alejeal: It's a tough question, when I first thought about that question, my answer was actually people come first in that if, you know, if you have a process for requesting time off, but your top guy, you know, breaks his leg and needs to go to the hospital, and he doesn't fill out the form first. Well then obviously people come first, the process is secondary, and that is true. You have to be a human, right. You got to treat your people with respect and realize that processes can create a bureaucracy that can harm your relationship. So, you don't want that. On the other hand, I believe the development of those relationship so that you can trust people to not abuse systems so that you have the ability to say, hey, I know that Steve would never just not do a thing because he doesn't want to do it. It's because there's a good reason and I can trust him. The development of that trust has to be a process. Steve Rush: And it's interesting, isn't it? When you start to think about how that they're not mutually exclusive at all, that they're entirely intertwined, aren't they? Rhamy Alejeal: Absolutely, especially you were talking about, how do people start valuing this HR side of the business. When they start off, they're all external. They think all about how do I get new clients? How do I make my product better? How do I make it so that the promises I've made actually get delivered upon? They're thinking externally. And they're constantly looking at that framework. The internal process is what allows you to scale up your business. And those internal processes are around people. The only thing that does anything in your business, people. So, it's kind of like saying, if you look at it from an external focus and you think, well, what comes first? Client or product delivery processes or sales processes. And the answer is, the clients come first, but you're never going to talk to them or they're never going to stick around. You're not going to be able to do a good job for the client if you don't have those processes in place, it's the same for your employees. You have to have the processes in place, or you're not going to be a good employer. Doesn't matter how deeply you care about them. If you have to reinvent the wheel every single time for every little part of the employee process, you're not going to do a great job. Steve Rush: Guess a lot of the systems as well that you are talking to are actually when you are small in scale often unconscious or at the back of, you know, the own operators mind. But as you grow, they need to be shared and people need to understand them. Rhamy Alejeal: A system exists. Absolutely. It may just be that you know Steve makes a decision [laugh] every time and that's a system, but until they are standardized, public trained, some of the key pieces that are necessary to implement a process across an organization, it's very difficult for them to be improved. That's the genius of a system or a process. What I often train my small business clients to do is not try to invent whole cloth a better way to deal with an employee performance management, a performance management process. Maybe that's a bonus structure at the end of the year or an evaluation of their behavior or even a goal system. Don't start with that. Start with what you do now. Write that down, publish that, put that in front of the employees and say, this is what we do. And you will find within weeks, a lot of times. There are obvious, you don't need an HR expert to tell you, hey, that's kind of stupid we should do it different. Steve Rush: mm-hmm. Rhamy Alejeal: Right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: And make a small improvement to it. Systems processes, the great genius of it is that you can make a change and see the result, make a change, and see the result. And until you actually make it a public system, as opposed to one that just exists in your head, those iterations are very difficult to actually stick. So, the advantage isn't that having a system, lets people know what to do. Though that's not a bad one. The advantage is, is that the system allows itself to improve over time. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, I heard you talk about standard, standardization quite a bit Rhamy and I wondered how that sits alongside being agile and innovative and does one suppress the other? Rhamy Alejeal: It can, I mean, bureaucracy can kill a business. Steve Rush: Right? Rhamy Alejeal: I would say, you know, there's a line between chaos and order and you want to straddle it, right. You want the flexibility so that people can rapidly make decisions and experiment, but you need the order to make sure that everyone's going in the same direction. The information is shared freely so that good decisions can be made. There's a balance to be had there. What I find in most small businesses before hierarchies are heavily developed is that they are more chaotic than orderly Steve Rush: Right Rhamy Alejeal: Now when you're talking, for me, a 1500 person or 2000-person organization, I'm sure in 10 and 30,000 person organizations, it has been processed to death, right. There's a process for everything. They just may not be very good ones. They may not provide the flexibility necessary for employees to be able to well exist and grow inside of them, but in small businesses anyway, I often find that they're too far in the chaotic sphere. Steve Rush: Yeah, and it creates this discipline in the space, I guess, then to give that individual the opportunity to be innovative. Rhamy Alejeal: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: Well, think of it. Think of it. Anything that has a process removes, significant mental load off those who need to figure it out, right. So, let's take a maternity leave as an example, right. I'm going to have a kid, I'm pregnant. It's three months in. I've got six months to figure out what's going to happen with my maternity leave. That is not the time for the business owner to be deciding what does maternity leave need to look like in our business. Steve Rush: [Laugh] Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: That decision needed to be made while ago, right. And it may be that the decision they made a year ago and put in place and communicated and is easily accessible to the employee is not the optimal decision. It may very well be that. It's better to have made a decision in most cases so that the employee knows what to expect and knows how this is going to go then to have not made a decision and have to figure that out when you're staring down the barrel of a choice, a fun way to think about this is, perhaps you should think up the name of your child before the baby comes, right. Or at least before the epidural and you're knocked out on drugs, sorry, I've got a four-month-old. So, I'm a little into this world, right. We had to at least narrow down the list a little bit. Because if Liz, my wife had to make that decision, you know, under the epidural with the baby there, like I don't know what we would've been named, but I know she really loved Godiva Chocolate during the last couple months there. And I'm pretty sure it would've been Godiva [laugh] even if, David was born, so we got to put some time in upfront to make those decisions better. And I think that having the decision, having been made, having it as a process allows you to remove a lot of uncertainty. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: And that uncertainty is a huge mental weight on your staff and you. Doesn't mean you can't improve it. You should improve it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: See how it goes, run it through. If there's an immediate obvious, problem fix it, but allow it to be a process rather than the whims of how you're feeling that week or, oh my gosh, we can't let that employee go on maternity, she's too important. I tell you that kind of stuff comes up and you lose that employee. She's too important to go on maternity. Well guess what? She's way too important, not to, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: So those are the kind of decisions we want to make upfront. Steve Rush: Now Rhamy, you've had the opportunity of work with thousands of different people in businesses over the time and create and work with them around their systems. And I just wonder if there's a natural leveling or a pecking order on the systems particularly that businesses can't live without. And I just wondered if there was maybe one that sticks out above the others as being the most critical HR system or process that I might want to have in my business? Rhamy Alejeal: Well, gosh, I think, you know, I love all my children. You need to pay your people on time. You need a payroll system. You know when they work, you need time and labor. You need to know when they're going to work, you need scheduling. You need to know how to recruit. You need a recruiting system onboarding, off boarding. God, you need a way to fire people. And what happens when they quit? All of them are important, but I will say the one that separate the big boys from the newbies, right. I can often tell how developed an organization is by the existence at least, or complexity and depth of their performance management system. Now if you're a small business, the truth is, if you have seven employees, you know what all of them do, [laugh], you know, if they're doing a good job. You may not need an in depth, performance management system outside of maybe setting expectations, right. So that the employees know what to do, at least that, but you probably don't need an in-depth dashboard that connects and executives and HR and make sure that everything is connected. But what I often do is, one of the first things I try to deep dive in is, where are they in this performance management spectrum? On one hand, a small business where the owner provides nearly no expectations and nearly no review. And everyone is surprised when they're in trouble. That would be the bottom of the spectrum up to something like Google, where every single keystroke, metric, time spent, thought had, contribution made is analyzed by a machine learning algorithm to generate analytics and demographic data. And they know that you're going to quit before you do. Like, there's a whole other world all the way over there that honestly, I like to read about, but I don't get to play with much. If you are at marginal scale, say 20 to 50 employees, focusing on your management of your existing employees, your performance management can often have an outsized impact in both your turnover, your employee satisfaction, and your ability to deliver to your clients. Steve Rush: And that's where you get your marginal gains, right? Rhamy Alejeal: They come from everywhere. But absolutely it's much better to have a system in place that allows good employees to become great employees, right. And allows you to keep your great employees than not. And that's probably less work or less financial investment anyway, than a system that allows you to rapidly replace top performers with new people, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: That's an important system too. Your top performers will leave eventually, and you need a way to do it, but for many businesses they could cut their turnover significantly just by really focusing in on that performance management piece. Steve Rush: And I wonder as well, the whole notion of performance management can sit differently with different focus or can't they, so some will thrive in the opportunity of having clarity and guidance and the process that follows that where others might feel a little bit uncomfortable and uneasy as they start to evolve that as well. What's your experience about some of the psychology that sits alongside performance management? Rhamy Alejeal: Well, that's a very good question. People creatives, which by the way, entrepreneurs and artists have the same brain, it's the same high risk, high reward drive a lot of times. So, you find that systems that constrain behavior are very important in a hierarchy. It's very important in a system, a business to give people places to go and know what to do. But you will often find that creatives and those who are more entrepreneurial, like a salesperson may find those constraints significantly more constraining [laugh] right. They may chafe under that pressure or the limited pieces there. For them you want to design performance management systems that are primarily around them setting their expectations, right. And then a method of making ensure that their expectations or goals align with the company's expectations and goals. It's a lot more a system of alignment than it is say, giving them a track to run on. Whereas in an accounting organization, you can be significantly more focused on very specific, measurable pieces. There's actually a great story of a company that did customs management. So, every time someone would come in, every time a shipment would come in, they'd have to fill out all this customs paperwork. And they moved to measuring their primary KPI for their direct frontline agent was not number of cargos filled out because some cargos required hundreds of pieces of paper, some required two, and counting the pieces of paper, which were government forms that had to be filled out by hand or in a typewriter. These weren't even digital forms because it was a customs international thing. They did it by the ounces, by the weight, by the weight of paper, they moved, literally. They had their intake and outtake replaced with scales. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: And that was their primary metric every day and said, hey, are we improving or not? That sort of micro level of performance management may suit some, but likely would not do well with a group of aggressive salespeople, right? Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely right. Yeah, I can see that. So, you managed to gather all of this experience and you threw it into the book, People Processes. Tell us a little bit about how the book came about and what was in inspiration behind it? Rhamy Alejeal: Well, People Processes the book came about because of a podcast that I did call Don't HR Alone. I did a daily podcast for about a year and a half, closer two years, really. Couple hundred episodes. They were daily 15 minutes, hey, we're going to dive in on this issue or there's a new compliance update, or gosh, Minnesota's changing their minimum wage. And what does this mean for you? Whatever I could find honestly, to fill a daily podcast but it did pretty dang well, and that actually led to the book deal. The book truthfully, I wrote almost 400 pages, single spaced in word over the course of six months. I'm effectively made an HR textbook. My editors took that and laughed at me and said, what are you trying to make around Rhamy? Because this thing, ain't no one going to read. this. [Laugh] right. Are you trying to make a college textbook that people will assign, or are you trying to make a book that your clients or your target clients would like to read? And that really changed everything. People Processes is a broad guide that lays out the key sections of the employee life cycle from onboarding to offboarding, right through termination and even alumni management. It lays out what the key processes are, what a good process looks like, what a bad process looks like. And then the last quarter of the book is actually almost a workbook. It's exercises for you to actually lay all this out in your own organization. The first quarter is justification for small business owners and boards on why they should invest in the time and energy in necessary on these. And the idea was, and again, I give credit to my publisher on this, was that this book would be an excellent book for all business owner to read, to get their head around or for an HR professional to read quickly. It's nothing earth shattering in there. There's some good fun insights and some great stories, but to read and then pass on to the executive or the boards that they have to work under because it will show them both why it's important, and how it can be accomplished in a reasonable manner. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: And that's where the book sits. If you're an HR professional, who's Sherm certified and done this for 10 years, you're going to find the book to be fun and entertaining and cover all the basics [Laugh]. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: But if you're a small business owner, who's looking at maybe be turning in inward for a little while, you've got the business growing, but you're realizing that the pieces inside your company, aren't up to the task of delivering on the promises and clients that you've been able to make and gather. This is the book for you, because it will give you the steps you need to get this well, moving inside your organization. Steve Rush: Awesome. And if you think about the journey that we've all been on over the last couple of years through the pandemic, as we hopefully start to move beyond the pandemic, how have you seen people change their approach to processes and their people? Rhamy Alejeal: Well, HR has been a hot topic over the last few years, of course. In the U.S., especially we had lots of diversity equity and inclusivity issues, and then the pandemic changed everything. And suddenly CEOs started realizing that their processes for keeping up with their people were heavily reliant on management by walking around, right. You had managers and they just kind of talked to their employees every day and sat next to them. That was a big part of management. That doesn't work very well in a remote world. It doesn't work in a global world where it may be 9:00 AM my time and 3:00 PM your time. Many companies were able to adapt very quickly to the pandemic and remote work and hybrid offices and the globalization of the marketplace very well, because they were already there. They already had the processes in place to manage remotely and not just rely on the gut of the manager, right. But the ones that didn't were hit very hard and they, I think over the last two years, three years have learned that they have to have processes in place to be able to scale that people's side of their operations. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: Both over a larger staff, but also over time at distance. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's that moving from one place to another place, but if it's not there in the first place, then you're going to end up back in that chaotic basically you articulate earlier, right? Rhamy Alejeal: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, we're going to flip the lens a little bit now. You've been leading people and teams, since you were 16 years old from those grass cutting days, right the way through to now where you've got a really large organization. So, I'm really keen to hack into that leadership experience of yours. If you had to dive in and think about the top three things, the top three leadership hacks, what would they be? Rhamy Alejeal: I think there are a few places where everyone can improve. Of course, one piece of leadership is to understand and embrace that you are on stage, that what you do matters. It is the price of leadership. And it's not really a hack. It has nothing to do with people processes to a large degree but know that your organization is a reflection of you. And I find that often my business does best when I think about improving parts of my life that are not relevant to my business, right. Being in better shape and having a closer family and having a better balance, it shows, and it matters. So, no matter what processes and what technology and where your industry's at. Know that by signing up to lead an organization, either through entrepreneurship or in an executive role, you are signing up for a public role, a role where you will be judged in a role where the things that are not necessarily exactly tied to your performance at work matter, it's a public role. So, some people just need to hear that and understand that is what it is. Steve Rush: Like It. Rhamy Alejeal: It's a tough thing. Next up would be that the genius of processes, as we mentioned earlier, is in their iteration and improvement. Many people, especially leaders are high performing individuals who have turned in perfect papers, their whole life, right. Who have been at the top of the pack, the fastest runner, the best player, the top academic, and they've done it through hard work and perseverance. Business is a little different. Business never has an in season. Well, most of them anyway, unless you're running a football team. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: But most, it's going to go on forever. And the great genius of systems is that you can put one in place and then improve it and improve it and use the scientific method. Change one thing, see what the effect is, change one thing, see what the effect is. It's so much more valuable for you to put something in place and then improve it than it is for you in your great leadership genius, to sit in a dark room with Brandy and think hard for hours and come up with the perfect answer because you won't, there's no chance of it. It's just too complicated. So, I try to pull back my clients from feeling like their unique genius has to be expressed through any system inside their organization, allow it to exist and then make sure that a part of the system is to improve itself. And it will over time become significantly better than anything you alone could have dreamed up. Steve Rush: Great. Rhamy Alejeal: The final piece of leadership hack that I would say is, just a random kind of piece of information is to always think at the front lines, many organizations and a lot of times in the smaller organizations, as well as the larger ones, the executives think about other executives. If you ask a small business owner, who do you want to hire? It's always me, right. I want someone who's going to read my email, reply to it as if it were me, make my decisions, handle my books, and talk to my clients and just do me. And that's unfortunately not going to happen. Steve Rush: That's right. Rhamy Alejeal: Instead, look at what you do on a day-to-day basis and break it into the smallest job possible. The most focused job possible. One of the exercises I have my client go through as a true hack is to design your org chart for what you envision the future of your company to be. Recognizing that there are only 12 of you now, or 20 of you now. In my organization, our org chart is about twice as large as we are currently. We actually review that org chart quarterly, and that org chart is about half empty. And we've done that since we had three employees [Laugh] Steve Rush: That's great. Rhamy Alejeal: We had six people on our org chart and that gives you a direction to go and recognize that you, as the executive in a small business are probably doing seven jobs and your top people are probably doing three or four and that's okay. But think about them as unique individual jobs that have different requirements, descriptions, metrics, goals, competencies, skills. Recognize that in a small business, you may be doing multiple jobs, but think about them as individual ones. And that will give you a path to growth significantly faster. It will help you understand where your next hire are going to be and what needs to be done. And then fill in from the bottom to the top, the number of seven-person, small businesses I've spoken with that have a CEO, a chief marketing officer, a director of finance, a COO, a receptionist and a bookkeeper, right. And I'm like, wait, hey, hang on, buddy. You got to always start. And especially if you're new to hiring and scaling a business, start with the smallest job, you're going to screw it up. Might as well be that rather than a partner, Steve Rush: Next part of the show, we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something has not gone well, might have even screwed up, but as a result, you've learned from it. And it's now a force of good in your work or life. What would be your Hack to Attack Rhamy? Rhamy Alejeal: I've screwed up so much. It's hard to pick. When I started my company at 22, I had $105,000 in the bank. I rent a quarter floor and a high rise because I needed a beautiful place for my clients to meet me. I was spending $5,000 a month on marketing and advertising, and I didn't know would be successful. Six months in I had $4,000 in the bank and a payroll due of five and a rent due of five in like three weeks. And it's only gone down from there. We did well. We survived that, but multiple times throughout my business, I have come to these points of near utter failure. I have sobbed in my office. When I first launched payroll eight or nine years for example, my sister who'd worked with me for years. Young college student, she really took it over. She took over payroll. She helped me find the company that we purchased, which she helped me with every client. She was the head of payroll. And after graduating and then getting her master's degree, well, I couldn't afford to pay her as much as a big accounting firm. And it was right for her to move on. But man, I sat in my office and cried [laugh], why are you leaving? I thought we were going to grow this together. And it was incredibly painful. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: Some of the lessons I've learned, every single one of those issues has forced me to find a better way. And they have been the points of the greatest growth in my organization. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rhamy Alejeal: Every single time, every single time without fail, I have actually come to like when reality steps up and punches me in the face and says, you're doing it wrong. There's a major problem. So, try in that moment to take a deep breath and think. I'm so lucky that it happened now and not two years from now, two years of wasted work when I'm just building further into the structure that doesn't work. So, look out for those moments and consider them an opportunity. Steve Rush: Super advice. Thank you, Rhamy. The last part of the show, we get to give you a chance to go and do some time travel now. Bump into Rhamy at 21, give him some advice. What would it be? Rhamy Alejeal: I'm going to say 22, because that's when I started my company. 21-year-old Rhamy was going to be a physicist. He was pretty sure. So, that didn't work out. But 22, the day I opened my company. Some of the advice I would give me. Some of it I wouldn't need, but reading, learning every day is a huge value. I don't know that I need to tell myself that I've read and listened every day. So, it made a big difference. I think for most, it shocks me the number of successful businesses who don't just look at a library and salivate and go, oh my God, there's just so much success in there. I got to go look at it. I got to go read it. So that's my number one piece of advice for a younger person. For personally. It would be that this is going to be harder than you ever expected. And the spreadsheet you made, you know, everyone makes a spreadsheet a couple months before they start their business. Steve Rush: That's right. Rhamy Alejeal: And they project out and say, hey, five years, I'm going to be making money. And in 10 years, I would tell myself, that my spreadsheet is way optimistic for the first five to seven years of my business, that I was underestimating how incredibly difficult and hard this will be. But I would also say that my spreadsheet at 10 years has way underestimated how good it can be. Steve Rush: That's nice. And that leads me to ask of you Rhamy, how we can get our listeners to connect with you? Find out a little bit more about the work that you and the firm do, but maybe you'll get a copy of the book? Rhamy Alejeal: Oh yeah. Well, is our website. You can search People Processes on Amazon to find in the book. It's also linked from our website. We have some great free resources for subscribers, including things like overall templates to use, great onboarding checklists, ways of setting up a performance management system. Up at the top there's an academy where you can sign up for courses. That'll help you develop this in your own organization. And of course, right on the website, there's a contact us where you can reach out and schedule time with my staff or even me to figure out if we can work together. We work in the United States, but our academy is internationally focused and can help you with anywhere across the world. Steve Rush: Excellent. And we'll make sure that's in our show notes so that as people finish listening, they can dive straight in. Rhamy Alejeal: Wonderful. Steve Rush: Rhamy I've really enjoyed chatting to you, and it's no surprise that you've made an enormous success in helping others build their business in the way that you've built yours. So, I just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, to be on our show and thanks for being part of our Leadership Hacker community. Rhamy Alejeal: Thank you, Steve. I really appreciate it. Steve Rush: Thank you Rhamy. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.    
45:47 25/04/22
Thrive or Wither with Gary Frey
Gary Frey has served as president of a number successful companies, including, a business news portal which he helped transform from a three-person organization to a $100 million company which he sold to Microsoft. In this show you can learn about: The most important attributes of successful leaders today The role gratitude plays in leading others The philosophy of just connecting with good people How to use the Thrive-Wither self-assessment.   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services Find out more about Gary below: Gary on LinkedIn: Gary’s Blog Page:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you  Our special guest today is Gary Frey. He's an entrepreneur, multiple C-suite executive, and now super coach. But before we get a chance to dive into the conversation with Gary, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: In the news today, we explore how to balance employee happiness and building business expectations. Toxic workplaces are nothing new. We've likely heard of horror stories of offices run on terror. What is new is, few workers are willing to put up with such conditions, a recent study for the Human Resources Management, SHRM. Completed the study that indicated one in five have left their job in the last five years because of company culture. So that culture is not only bad for the health of employees, but it's also bad for business with an estimated cost to businesses of being over 200 million pounds. Clearly, then keeping employees happy is critical to run a successful enterprise but needs a balance, and that balance needs to be achieved so that you get productivity too. And we can't become subservient to the needs of every employee, or we lose sight of the business needs. In 2017, Google's apparent overcompensation of some staff politically was incorrect at the time called the F.U. Money, but colloquially led to a departure of many, and they took their hefty paychecks and used them to pursue other roles. And if you're underpaying employees so much that they can triple their salary elsewhere, well, then they should leave. However, if we allow every person who is headhunted to jump ship, we won't be left much talent at all. Those do stick around most likely to be under performers and unable to get a job elsewhere. And therefore, the companies left scrambling again. So, we have to create the right environment that fosters loyalty and motivation, so that talent feel the need to stay and want to continue on that journey. And of course, some businesses may not have the budget or flexibility to pay more, but it's still vital to show employees that ownership or leadership of a firm are doing all they can to cultivate happy and healthy work culture. Paying more doesn't necessarily mean you get results. And this is where the key to balancing employee happiness lies. It's critical that we first communicate clearly and transparently any responsibilities that are tied to a position. If performance doesn't match that position, then there needs to be some open dialogue about standards, expectations, and the consequences of positively achieving and negatively achieving those outcomes. And honest, candid conversations can motivate individuals to work hard, to improve their skills while simultaneously given them a reason to stay finding their purpose. There'll also be times when it's in the best interest of the employee to leave too whether we'd like them to stay or not. Someone may get an offer that comes along, gives them new opportunities. In that case, I know that moving on is likely to be best for the individual in the long term, albeit it's going to be painful for you. The goal for each staff member is to thrive in tandem with the business and as leaders to clearly communicate honestly and identify the circumstances that will allow them to thrive and clear communication and openness fosters trust. So, show people your engage with careers so that that helps them want to succeed. And the hack here, with clarity, trust, and mutual understanding on both sides, you are more likely to achieve your expectations and outcomes and therefore standards are adhered. Expectations are met and positive consequences achieved by all. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Dive into our social media and let us know what you'd like to talk about. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining me on the show today is Gary Frey. He served as president as a number of successful companies, including, a business news portal, where he helped transform the business from a three-person organization to a hundred million dollar plus company, which ended up selling on to Microsoft. He's now done two turnarounds and held executive positions in two Fortune 100 Companies, and now runs an incredibly successful coaching business and community. Gary, welcome to the show. Gary Frey: Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be with you. Steve Rush: Looking forward to diving into learning a little bit about the journey you've been on so far. And we'd like to kick things off by our guests, just giving our listeners a little bit of a perspective on how they've arrived to do what they do. So, what's the backstory for you? Gary Frey: Oh man, we don't have enough time. I started out as a graphic designer early in my career and did my first turnaround when I was 28 years old. I had no credentials whatsoever to be able to do that. But we did in nine months, which was really cool. I thought it was going to be my forever home. It became the Morris Frey Agency. So, my name was on the door, and we grew it into a really cool creative small but powerful little juggernaut. It was only a dozen people or so when we turned it around and then caught my partner, you know, his hand in the cookie jar one too many times financially. And I had to leave my own company. And so, I always thought I'm just going to, you know, I define myself as a creative director, you know, a designer and creative director and a guy in the ad agency world. And you know, again, kind of, I planned God laughed and my career journey has been anything but to typical. And it's been an amazing journey, actually terrifying in many times and exhilarating in other times and taking me into places that I would've never imagined. So, as you had mentioned, I've run four companies and done a couple turnarounds and I've been inside the belly of the beast of two Fortune 500 Companies and that's where the MacGyver in my title comes from actually was one of those Fortune 500 Companies, which was really cool. But you know, being able to look back in the rear-view mirror and, you know, it's easy to see patterns when you're looking backwards. It's hard to see it when you're in the fog of war. Steve Rush: Yeah. Gary Frey: Anyway, I'm extremely grateful. It's taken me into industries that I had no business doing, including bizjournals, you know, I was not a publishing guy and I was not, you know, a tech guy and yet, you know, I was running a .com in the middle of crazy .com stories. And I got some amazing, funny and wild stories from that time too. But, you know, on insulating glass manufacturing company, like what do I know about that? Nothing. When I look through all of these things, all of my jobs, except for two were because of somebody that knew me or had worked alongside me and saw something, typically they saw something in me that I didn't see myself. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: So anyway, and I've had great leaders and I've had really terrible leaders and I've learned from both. So, you know, you're talking about, you know, leadership hacks, you know, that's awesome to be able to have worked under some really powerful and wonderful leaders that demonstrated servant leadership. And then under ogres that demonstrated just because you're sitting in a power perch, doesn't make you a leader. Steve Rush: Exactly, right. So, when you head did off on your entrepreneurial journey and you started bumping into these opportunities, was there something that was common amongst them that was alluring for you? What was that one thing that drew you towards the opportunities you had? Gary Frey: You know, it's funny. Relationships actually, quite frankly, a lot of it. And I would say early in my career, you know, there were some star gazing moments of, you know, I'm going to, you know, put my name in lights or whatever, and that was pretty short lived, you know, one thing about it, you get kicked in the teeth a few times and then you lose that luster. But one of the things early on, when I was 31, I caught my partner doing some financial impropriety things that he shouldn't have been doing and caught him twice, you know, which, you know, when you got to leave your own company and I chose to leave, because I wasn't going to destroy him, you know, he had made some bad choices, were all one stupid choice away from disaster, I think. Steve Rush: Yeah, you're right. Gary Frey: And I didn't want to destroy him, and I didn't want to destroy my own name. And I would've had to do that if I would've taken the company across the street, everybody in town and Wichita, Kansas knew who my partner was. He had been the head of corporate communications for Cessna Aircraft, and he was 20 years older than me. And you know, that’s a big, small town, you know, a few hundred thousand people. And so, my choice was, I'm not going to destroy him and I'm not going to destroy my name. So, I got to start all over again. And one of the things that I did was at the ripe old age of 31, did this really simple T-Chart that I call thrive, wither. And you split the piece of paper in two. On the left side, you right thrive. And on the right side, you write wither. And I didn't have a ton of experience, but I had enough to know what environments and the kind of tasks and the kind of responsibilities and kind of environments that made me come alive. And on the right side, the wither side, I also had enough experience at that point. I've got a whole lot more now, but enough to be able to say, what are the things that I might even be good in these things, but they just drain my tank. Steve Rush: Yeah. Gary Frey: And you know, one of the things that I learned really quickly when we did that, turnaround, everybody quit except for me and my partner, we had to take 20% pay a cut. Everybody hit the doors except for me and my partner. And so, I had to do everything except for the PR, he was a PR guy. So writing, designing, selling, billing, that all fell on me. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: Then when you scale, you got to divide and conquer, and you got to find other people that will never do it just like you did. And I had to find three people in particular pretty quickly to take some of the things off of me and, you know, we didn't have a lot of money. So, I had to hire younger folks, you know, with less experience, but had kind of batteries installed already. And so, I learned really quickly, you know, more about how to communicate better. I wasn't perfect at it, but, you know, set the sites on what the target is, let them find their own way to hit it as long as it doesn't violate core values and who you are as a company and what you're trying to instill, they're going to find a different path than you would've taken. And that's okay. So, I would say, you know, keeping, you know, true to my, you know, what makes me come alive. I started looking at all these additional opportunities that eventually came and some of them, they came on the heels of destruction, you know, quite frankly, where you're just forlorn, wondering, you know, if the world has fallen, you know, do you have what it takes to continue to move on, et cetera. I started really trying to evaluate, well, does this fit me and my unique giftings and that sort of thing or is it asking too much of things that I might even be able to do or that I really suck at that would drain my tank because that's not going to be a good move if that's the case. So hopefully that answers some of the question. Steve Rush: Sure does. And one thing, I guess I've just noticed in all of the things that you've just shared is that in entering those entrepreneurial journeys, you were pretty confident you had most of the attributes that were going to get you there, but not all. And therefore, there was definitely this energy that comes with that around confidence and conviction, as well as having a majority of the attributes, but not all of them, right? Gary Frey: Yeah, and quite frankly, in some cases, I didn't think I had any of them. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: You know, it's really funny. That turnaround, that was kind of the first of many times where I've felt completely outgunned, completely unworthy, you know, completely like they've tapped the wrong guy on the shoulder. In some of those cases, in some of the biggest moves I've actually been brought into, which had me terrified. And I thought, oh my gosh, no, I'm not the right guy, because you know, then once I take that job, then they're going to see the emperor has no clothes. I don't know what I'm doing. In all of those cases, people identified stuff in me. So that first one, this guru that was brought in from Richmond, Virginia. He was a really a business development guru. And it was a Hail Mary because my partner was basically bankrupt. I mean, it was a last-ditch effort to try to keep from going bankrupt. And this guy was extremely expensive. I mean he was 10,000 bucks a day plus expenses in 1991. Steve Rush: That’s a lot of cash. Gary Frey: It was a lot of money, but it was, like I said, a Hail Mary. And when they called me at home, we didn't have cell phones at the time. I didn't know him from Adam, and he said, Gary, you know, I know you don't know me, but here's the opportunity that I'm looking for. I've talked with a number of people and your peers around town, your name keeps coming up. And I said, I don't know anything about, you know, doing a turnaround or anything. Like, he goes, yeah, but these are the things that we need, and you know, the kind of position in the marketplace they were wanting to own. And I had worked for the top firm in town that had that position that they wanted to have. And that firm ended up selling to a larger company. And so, kind of destroyed a lot of the stuff that made it unique and special. And in all of those cases,, same thing. When their top publisher said, Gary, you're the guy, we've got national search looking for somebody to be president over this entity. And I said, Ed, I don't know anything about, you know, publishing, I don't know, I'm not an early adopter technology guy, that's not me. And he goes, no, no, no, but here's what we need. You have started, run, and turned around companies and we need somebody to take this three-person entity and grown into real Bonafede business. Two, you're a bridge builder, you know, you connect really well with people, even in warring factions, in big companies. And I'd done that in a couple big companies. And he said, we got 41 publishers that basically run their own businesses. And they are terrified of the chairman announcing that we've got this .com entity and it's a separate entity. And they think they're going, by the way, the dodo bird, they're very defensive and we need your bridge building skills. And then the final thing is, it's called am for American City. The holding company was American City Business Journals. And he said, it doesn't make sense, that name makes no sense for papers that are called business journals. And some of them are business chronicles. His was the Atlanta Business Chronicle and he was the top publisher. And he said, so we're going to have to rebrand this thing and you're the right guy to do that. So, he outlined very succinctly three things that I would was really good at, but I was terrified of going into a situation where I was going to fail because I didn't have those credentials. Oh, and by the way, I'm a college dropout. So, you know, I have two years of college and was offered a job at the height of the great recession actually before 2008-2009. But in 1982 is the highest unemployment in U.S. history since the great depression. And so, I had this job offer and my advisor said, ditch the paid scholarship and take it because grads aren't finding jobs. So, I had this additional achilles heel or, you know, albatross around my neck that was following me around everywhere saying I'm not good enough. Steve Rush: In hindsight, Gary, do you think that the fear of the unknown has actually been a driver in many respects? Gary Frey: I don't know if it was a driver, but it was definitely there. And the responsibility of providing for my family, you know, I got married at 21 and my wife was 19 and we're still married 39 years later. And we had kids, you know, a couple years later her after we got married and she stayed home with the kids. So, I had no option, you know, I had to provide for my family. I wanted to provide for my family. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: And in many cases it threw me into situations where if I would've had an option, I wouldn't have taken the option. I would've taken a safer option. So, you know, the best boss I ever had was still one of the top execs at Bank of America, a woman. And she would often say, Gary, we have more confidence in you than you do, which was very true. But she did the same thing where she would just push me and encourage me, you know, you've got more under the hood than you think that you do. And sometimes a little bit of that kind of encouragement and cajoling combined with the necessity of, I just got to do this. has pushed me into it, but she would often say, Gary, you're just so entrepreneurial. And this place was a pretty entrepreneurial place. We went from 80,000 associates or employees to 160,000 in two years with the three largest bank acquisitions in history at that time. And so, it was a whirlwind all the time and she would say, you know, you're an entrepreneur. And I'd say, you know what, actually I'm not. I'm more of a turnaround guy. Entrepreneurs, like they see the non-existent and they call it into existence. I've worked for some I'm amazing entrepreneurs. And sometimes you would go, well, you're lying but they would go, no, I'm not lying. I can see it, even though it's not there yet. And that really isn't me, but I am a problem solver, and I can see things. And so typically I love to come in alongside, in bizjournals, the same thing, three people, we turned it into a real business, but you know, somebody had gotten that thing off the ground, they got it moving and then they needed some additional oomph to take it to the next level. Steve Rush: That must have been some moment though, when you know, Microsoft come along. Hundred-million-dollar company at this time, and you sell out. That must have been a really proud moment for you, right? Gary Frey: It was very interesting. So, they bought 20% of the company for $20 million. And before that, that was the second all offer that we actually had. And that was a year after the .com bubble blew up. And so, we had .com wasteland everywhere. The one before that though, and this was only a few months into my time there as the president, I was meeting with a competitor in San Francisco, we put a million dollars in this competitor, and it was before I got there. So as soon as I got there, the chairman said, I need you to go out to San Francisco, meet with these guys. I put a million bucks into them. I go, why'd you do that with a competitor? And he goes, and he just kind of winked at me. And he's like, I like to keep my enemies close, like smart, right. And so, I go meet with these guys. And then shortly after, within a few months I developed a pretty good rapport with them, but one of the first meetings was really hilarious. They were losing 40 million a year, burning it. They were just spending money like drunken sailors. They had a million-dollar top line, not quite. And I asked the guy, he was an Oxford educated, really brilliant Egyptian guy. And I said, Timor, you know, I was just blown away. They had big screen TVs everywhere when they were about $15,000 a piece, you know? And like, it was just crazy. Hundreds of people running around, bringing you lattes, doing neck massages between meetings. I'm like, what the heck is this? I said, what is your business model? And he says to me, look, Gary, it's a very nimble business model driven by eyeballs. That's what he said, word for word. And I said, so Timor, what you're telling me. I said, I'm not a real smart guy. And I didn't go to Oxford, but what you're telling me is you don't have one. And what you do have is advertising. Steve Rush: Yeah. Gary Frey: And he goes precisely. Well, they sold about a month later. He calls me and he says, Gary, you got to come out here and you got to meet with all these investment bankers. We're having this big celebration party. We sold to NBCI for $225 million. We're rich, and I thought, you have freaking got to be kidding. After they sold, they wanted to buy 20% of our company. And they had that same valuation. But we were going to have to take all of our traffic and run it through. It was called And so, I take this to my chairman. He has to think about it for a few weeks and he comes back and he says, you know what, that's mind blowing. But he said, I don't think these guys are going to be in business in 18 months. He goes, Gary, this whole .com thing is going to blow. And he called it to the month. He called to the month, and we ran extremely conservatively. I had gone from running tens of millions of dollars in marketing budgets at Bank of America. I had to arm wrestle this guy for, I think, 7,500 bucks for the whole year of marketing. But he called it. And so, when the next year when Microsoft came through and I mean, that really validated what we had, you know, a .com that sells to NBCI for stupid money in the stupid world of the .com crazy at the time. That was novel, but it, you know, had a much bigger valuation and they were losing money, hand over fist versus their brick and mortar, so that was kind of not real. Microsoft made it legitimate. But what that also meant was I was not going to be having the reins that I did and, you know, things were going to change. And so that's when I left actually to go, I had merged two companies together when I was at Bank of America. I was consulting with two friends who owned separate firms. And I actually merged those things together. I made the introductions, they asked me to be the third partner. And I said, no, you know, I'd been through the partner fiasco that I'd bitten once, I'm not doing that again. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: Well, they came back after they heard about the Microsoft thing and they said, you know, why don't you come and be our third partner? We'll still give you a third of the company. You be president, so it's truly a merger because I don't really actually believe there are mergers. Somebody acquired somebody. And then the person that got acquired, they're made to feel better by yeah, we merged in with them. Well, you actually, he got acquired. In this case they really did merge. They both had very complimentary groups of people, their places in the marketplace. And by having me come in as president, it wasn't, well, one acquired the other is like, I'm completely a neutral party. And I actually brought those guys together. So that was kind of a cool thing. So yeah, it was cool with Microsoft, but it also meant that okay, things are going to change and I'm probably not going to enjoy a lot of it, you know, beholden to somebody out in Seattle Steve Rush: When one door closes another open though, right? Gary Frey: Well, yeah. And it did, yeah. Steve Rush: It led you to do what you do now, didn't it? Gary Frey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Quite frankly I loved what I was doing there, but I'm glad I'm not in publish, you know. I mean, I loved it and I loved the people, but I've been in private equity since then. I've been in some really interesting places that I would've never been brought into had I just, and I actually took a pay cut to leave that gig and, you know, joined these two partners. Steve Rush: And one of the things that I remember from the first time that you and I met Gary, is you have this philosophy that cuts across all of the work you've done and that's just connecting good people with other good people. And that's been a real tenet of yours, isn't it? Gary Frey: Oh yeah. I love it. If I was a billionaire and when I was in private equity, we actually had a couple billionaires in the group, and I learned so much from these extremely high net worth people. But what I learned from them is even if they were in their eighties and some of them had run the largest oil companies in the world, you know, I mean just some amazing human beings. They were still engaged in what they loved to do. And, you know, rarely were they out playing golf. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: You know, they were engaged in business. They were engaged actually in helping other people. And that was one of the things that I did within that private equity group, where we had 300 ultra-high net worth families in the group. I had actually invested in it a year before they bought my company. And I was small potatoes compared to all these other guys, quite frankly. But what I learned from them was, and what I learned about myself I guess was, I became the connecting rod in between these people, because they're all high value targets. They can't trust anybody for a good reason, you know, everybody is coming at them with an angle, and they want in their pockets quite frankly. Steve Rush: Yeah. Gary Frey: And so, it was an honor and a privilege to be able to connect these really amazing people with other people that they could trust. Because it's very lonely. It's very lonely, actually running a company and at the top of a company, but I can't even imagine being a billionaire or worth $350 million. And when you've gone from not much to that, and then all of a sudden, you know, everybody's coming at you for something rather than for who you are. Steve Rush: It's an interesting perspective, yeah. Because people then see people that high net worth as a commodity, don't they? Rather than a person, Gary Frey: Oh, big time. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: Big time. Steve Rush: So, you're now focused on coaching some super big hitters, as well as some startups and a really nice diverse portfolio of coaching. What's next for you on your journey then Gary? Gary Frey: Well, so here's, what's interesting. Coaching is really lonely and every time I've done it, somebody's tried to hire me. So, the biggest one that I got to work with was the CEO of Yokohama Tires in California. And it was because the top American introduced me to them because after he had gotten to know me for about a year or so, I was helping them on some challenges that they had. He's like, you need to meet Mr. Karashima and so I did, and from what I can tell, I was the first kind of American outsider that was allowed to come into the inner circle, which was really cool. That was wonderful. And then they tried to hire me, you know; we did this huge project. And it was re really successful even to the point where a number of years later, when I talked with Jim, who was the top American, I said, you know, and this is right in the middle of the rubble of 2009, when the decimation of the great recession was everywhere. And our company, our private equity firm blew up 30 million bucks, most of us got wiped out, including me. And I just felt extremely low at that time. And I said, Jim, did we make a difference? And he said, do you know how many people we had to let go during the recession? And I said, no, I was just going to be even more depressed. And he said, zero. I said, are you kidding me? He goes, no, we didn't have to let go one person. And he goes, you know what? Karashima still says to this day that, that exercise and, it was kind of a repositioning and getting them really clear on their core values and their purpose. They had been chasing, you know, each CEO would come in after, you know, they'd do a three- or four-year stint and they would chase and put their own mark in the American market of whatever they were chasing. And they'd kind of lost their way, quite frankly. And so, all I did was help them using some research, but then also guiding them as to no, you guys need to own this market, hold fast, don't waiver. And, you know, they saw great success. Well, he said that was the single most impactful thing. He said, Gary, and I think we charged him a quarter million bucks for this. He said, you could have charged us 10 times the amount and it would've been worth it. And I thought, wow, this is amazing. But I've kind of taken that bait one too many times. But as soon as you take the bait and you go on the inside of the company, you lose your voice as the coach. And so, I've got kind of the best of both worlds right now. I rolled my coaching practice into a regional CPA firm. I'm not a CPA, don't want to be, but it's very unusual because 11 of the 80 of us have started run or turned around companies using our money. That's extreme unusual in the CPA world. And we work with privately held companies. We love helping them grow. So, for me, one of the things I learned early on part of my thrive, wither was, I got to be part of a team to really have fun. I could make more money just being a solo guy, coaching. And all you got is, you know, your brand and your time. And if you can, you know, one to many it by doing programs and stuff like that. But I love being part of a team. I swam my fastest splits when I was a swimmer in high school and college on my relays because I wanted to win more for the team than I wanted to a win for me. And so, I think, you know, I'm probably going to be the first non CPA to become a partner and buy into this company, because even if they changed all the tax laws and you could mail it all in, what we do is help business owners who know their industry and they know their company, run their companies better, more financially prudent and smarter to where they understand those things. But also, on the culture side to where they can get above the three line and not have to just be working in the business but working on the business. So that's kind of my happy spot. Steve Rush: Excellent stuff. So, this is the part of the show where we turn the tables a little bit. Gary Frey: Yeah. Steve Rush: And I get to have the great honor of diving in and hacking your great leadership brain. And if I could, I'd ask you this to get those leadership hacks down to your top three belters, what would they? Gary Frey: Yeah. So, the first one, and there's no substitution for this, in my opinion. And it comes down to, are you going to adopt the position of I'm going to serve or I'm going to be served. And only each CEO can really ask that, or each leader. Is my objective to be served or am I going to serve? That's the number one, the best leaders I've ever had and worked around. They had the disposition of humility, and I am going to serve. I'm going to choose to serve, and they walk among the troop. They're the ones that stay in the fight versus issue edicts from a position of safety. That's hands down, the number one thing. Number two would be, understand kind of your own thrive and wither. Like what makes you come alive and what makes wither? Because if you do that and then you do it among your team, then all of a sudden, what I do with my high growth coaching clients on a yearly basis, we'll go through kind of their thrive, wither. And then we'll look at how their functions are working you know, do we have bottlenecks where too many people are going into this, you know, are waiting for this person where they've got too much on their shoulders. And I do, I call it horse trading of responsibilities. The CEO is still the CEO, the CFO is still the CFO but sometimes stuff that they've willingly shouldered because there was nobody else do. It's dragging them down, kind of like barnacles on a boat, slowing the boat down, you got a dry docket. And then you see, oh gosh, we got barnacles, scrape them off, so that's really an important number two. And it is in that order because you could do thrive, wither and all that, but if you still have the disposition of y'all are serving me, well that's, you know, it's going to show, and you aren't going to go real far. Steve Rush: Yep. Gary Frey: And then the final thing is, really how do you, and you got to keep asking this question because you never really arrive, but getting the team, your team one, your core team around you. Aligned, focused and executing on the important versus the tyranny of the urgent. Those are my three. Steve Rush: Awesome. I love this whole notion of thrive, wither. Because it not only is it visual, but you can actually almost anchor energy to what makes you thrive and what makes you be aware of dragging that energy away from you as well. Love it. Gary Frey: Yeah. It's so simple, man. I'm again a T-Chart. you split the piece of paper vertically into two and you write and do a horizontal line at the top and you write thrive on the left and you wither on the right. And I have everybody do this. I say, give yourself 30 minutes, quiet, turn off all the distractions. And seriously just give yourself 30 minutes. Stream of consciousness, all the stuff that makes you come alive, the environments, the variety, or the routine, whatever those things are, focus on, what the positive first then move into the wither and think about even the stuff that you've accepted, because you may be good at it. You may be the expert in pivot tables, but you just hate doing pivot tables. Well, put it down. Steve Rush: Yeah, super. Next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is to where something hasn't worked out well, but as a result, you've got some good learning out of it. And it now serves you positively. What would be your Hack to Attack? Gary Frey: You know when I was at Bank of America. Early on, I was given a team because I had to go figure out why did this acquisition, why is it not working? And why is our attrition high and blah, blah, blah. They thought it was a communication message. And you know, having run Ad Agencies or whatever, that's why they thought. And I was from that part of the country, this 11-state region in the Midwest versus the East Coast. And so that was another reason why I was in there. But what was interesting is, one of my lieutenants, she was really good at helping me kind of navigate the organization because you start in and you know, everything's new. But I had a very young associate vice president that was on her team. And what I was doing was I was actually micromanaging some stuff like; I wanting status reports probably too frequently on some stuff. I mean, we were moving at the speed of light, it seem like anyway, just trying to, you know, assimilate these acquisitions and then getting stuff done and dealing with problems and all this. And they were long days and short nights for sure. But this Lieutenant came to me and said, Gary, you know, Lisa, you are just killing her, you know?  And I said, well, first of all, I'm really glad that she raised this to you. I wasn't aware that I was doing it. Steve Rush: Right. Gary Frey: So, she has complete access, and I was a senior VP, and she was, you know, three rungs down. She can come to me anytime if she sees me kind of grab up in the wheel again, she has a permission to spank my hand. Like, no, no more of that, and I will adhere to it. So that was one thing but another one that was kind of hand in hand with this is, she said when's the last time you ran? Because I was a big runner and I said, oh, it's been a few days. And I said why? And she kind of looked at me, she's go, Aah. I go, what do you mean? And she goes, well, your kind of edgy. I go, really? She goes, yeah. And so, she said, I'm going to take over your calendar and I'm going to make sure that at least three days of the business week, because on the weekends, I would run anyway. But at least three days, we're going to put meet with Jim and that's code to get your butt to the gym, strap on those running shoes and go run. And that was a huge thing for me, and my wife acknowledged that. She's like, yeah. And so, I know that I'll get more edgy. I want to get more controlling. If I'm not physically exerting myself and getting exercise to clear my head routinely. So not six days a week, period. I don't miss it. Steve Rush: Awesome. Gary Frey: So that's another one. Steve Rush: Yeah. And the last part our listeners have become really accustomed to and love diving into is you get a chance to give Gary some advice when you were 21 and do that time travel. What would your advice to Gary 21 be? Gary Frey: Well, I would've said ditch the Tom Selleck mustache that I was trying to hide behind first of all, it was ridiculous. But seriously I'm actually writing a book right now with this is the working title and it's ignored the imposter, give me anything but typical. And the imposter syndrome was really heavy with me. College dropout, every job I was up for was masters preferred, bachelors required. And yet somehow, I landed these jobs, but I always felt less than, and I was always comparing myself to somebody else. And it's been working with so many CEOs and entrepreneurs that I've realized that they have had some. There's this woman, she had 10,000 employees at one point, privately held business. And she's become a very good friend and she had two years of secretarial school. She never even had a CFO, even a fractional CFO when she had an organization that big, and she said, Gary, I don't know what I'm doing. I said, Tana, I know people that don't even have a hundred employees that they still can't survive without a fractional CFO or a CFO. You are far better than you thought. And some of those conversations just reinforced to me. Oh dang, you know, we're all created uniquely. We all have unique fingerprints by design. And so, I'm very, very passionate about helping people understand, like, you know, that imposter syndrome none of us are immune to it necessarily, but there's a way you can silence it and that's, you know, and some of that kind of goes back to thrive, wither and being true to yourself is, you know Shakespeare said, right? Steve Rush: Yeah, very much. So, Gary, I've loved chatting with you. You got loads of great stories, and I'm confident that our listeners would be thriving versus withing as a result of the conversation. Gary Frey: I hope so. Steve Rush: But how can we make sure that we can get them in touch with you? Gary Frey: Yeah, probably the easiest thing is just connected with me on LinkedIn, you know, it's just Gary Frey at LinkedIn and that's probably the easiest way to do it. I'm also on Instagram and again there, I’m just Gary Frey. Steve Rush: Brilliant. Gary Frey: But I love writing about leadership and things. Some of the crazy things that I've experienced to hopefully help and bless somebody else and give them encouragement. I'd be remiss if I mentioned we started a podcast like you. Steve Rush: Absolutely Gary Frey: A couple years ago and it's called the Anything But Typical Podcast. And we just feature privately held business owners and entrepreneurs. And primarily in my City, Charlotte, I've had people from around the globe say, hey, can we be on that? And typical, I say, no, because I want to continue to elevate what's happening in my own backyard first. Steve Rush: Well, Gary this goes without saying thanks ever so much coming and sharing your stories with us and thanks being part of our Leadership Hacker Community. Gary Frey: No thank you. It has been a blessing and just a ton of fun. So, thank you. Steve Rush: Thanks Gary. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.    
47:09 11/04/22
Anyone for the Enneagram? with Matt Schlegel
Matt Schlegel is the Principal of Schlegel Consulting and Evolutionary Teams, he’s an entrepreneur and ex Tech Executive and now author of Teamwork 9.0. In this show you can learn: How Matt evolved Teamwork 9.0 and why numbers and not letters? How Teamwork 9.0 plays to “Whole Brain” thinking Neuroscience and the Enneagram How to build problem solving muscles Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services.   Find out more about Matt below: Matt on LinkedIn: Matt on Twitter: Company Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Matt Schlegel is joining me on the show today. He's an author, consultant speaker, and founder of Schlegel Consulting. But before we get a chance to speak with Matt, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: We've all heard of the great resignation, right? However, employees say and sustainable workloads and expect are the things that are driving to quit. In a recent article by Emmy Lucas of Forbes. She describes that not only unsustainable workloads or one of the top factors contributing to the great resignation, others such as uncaring managers, inadequate compensation, lack of career development are all contributory factors. However, survey completed by McKinsey recently, which queried nearly 600 employees looked at those who'd left without another job lined up and those who returned to work. Much of the analysis of how to solve the great resignation is really focused on giving workers higher pay, better career opportunities and nicer perks and days off and mental therapy and help and better family leave. But there's been less attention paid to actual workloads employees have. And how employees plan to address that issue. 35% of respondent said unsustainable work performance expectations were they reason that they left their job without another in hand. And the same percentage said that they would leave uncaring leaders or a lack of career development. Following these reasons were a lack of meaningful work, better support for employee health and wellbeing, inadequate compensation, but ironically compensation ranked six as a reason of leaving, suggesting that evidence that pay isn't everything. It means something, of course, the report showed that those who work in an environment, they like also find purpose in their work and have better relationships and therefore, probably stick around. When it comes to returning to work. 47% of the 600 respondents polled and about a quarter of those return to non-traditional work, whilst three quarters went back to traditional employment and of those 600 respondents who left without another job lined up, 44% of them said that they'd have little or no interest in returning to the same job doing the same work in the next six months. The highest-ranking reason for why people did return to work in the work they were doing previously was having a strong identity and policy that addresses workplace flexibility. So, post pandemic workplace flexibility includes not just ours, but flexible places, space, time, empathy, understanding. Commitments to the work that they're undertaking. So, organizations and employers really need to take a hard look at whether they're ready and can actually deliver on making the right structural changes to actually deal with things like work overload. As we move into the next phase of change, we're already in the future of work. So, it's really important that the work itself is prioritized. We tend to want to make those quick and easy solutions, but it will take us all effort and time to readjust in the hybrid world or whatever label we choose to give it. So, my leadership hack here is. Often when people leave an organization, we conduct exit interviews. I wonder if it is time for us to have stay interviews, to really get to the heart of understanding. What's really driving the needs and desires of people who want to stay here. And if we listen, adapt, and create the right environments for our teams, our coworkers, and our organization, we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Really love for you to share any stories, insights on either our social media or through our website. Let's get into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Our special guest on today's show is Matt Schlegel. He's the principal of Schlegel Consulting and Evolutionary Teams. He's an entrepreneur and ex tech executive. And now the author of teamwork 9.0. Matt, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Matt Schlegel: It is a delight to be here. Thank you so much for having me. Steve Rush: It's our delight too. And we always like to kick off our shows to dive in, to find out a little bit about the man behind the magic. So, tell us a little bit about how you, Matt ended up doing what you're doing now and moved away from the tech business to help lead Evolutionary Team. Matt Schlegel: Oh yeah. thank you so much. Yeah, so like you said, you know, I started out with a tech background, studied engineering, electrical engineering. And as I, you know, proceeded through my career, my boss came to me one day and said, hey, Matt, you know, we want you to manage a team. I'm like, why do you want me to manage a team? I know nothing about leading people. I only know about leading electrons. And he is like, don't worry, you'll be fine. Well, I'm not the type to be not worried. So, I was worried. And when I get that way, what I do is, I go and study and get my hands on everything, you know, information I could find and learn about, you know, what it is that I'm embarking on as you know, a leader of people. So, along that journey, I encountered a system called The Enneagram and Enneagram is, you know, commonly understood as a personality system, has nine types that are in the system. And by the time I had encountered The Enneagram, I had already been exposed to other you know, personality systems in the workplace like Myers Briggs and Disc and Strengthfinders, there's a bunch of them. And so, I kind of put it into that category and, you know, I want to use it and I tried it and I used it for myself and my family just to kind of test it out. And I found that it was so powerful and fascinating and helped me understand myself in a way that I'd never understood before and understand my relationships both professionally and personally as, you know, my type interacted with the other types. And so, yeah, so, you know, that fascination just led me on this journey of exploring it more and more. I started to use it in the workplace and had incredible results and that's why I went on to build a consulting practice around that. And you know, eventually wrote my book Teamwork 9.0 to share, you know, some of the learnings that I had along the way. Steve Rush: And was there a pivotal moment for you? Because, you know, let's speak quite frank about it. You're quite modest. You had some big roles in some big organizations, you know, you were part of the PalmPilot evolution, you know, back in the day, there must have been, you know, you were riding the crest of a corporate career at one stage and there must have been a pivotal moment you thought, you know what, I can take what I'm learning and I can share it with others, what actually happened there? Matt Schlegel: Yeah. So, my career you know, it started out in tech. Started in San Diego, I was raised in the Bay Area. And so, when we had children, we wanted to move closer back, you know, to where our families are to raise the kids. And so, I started on the, you know, just that journey of startups and it was just exhilarating to be in that environment, and you know, and developing new products, you know, cutting edge all the way. And so, you know, being in that for, you know, 15 years or so, just very intensely, I got to the point, and I guess it was around 2007, it was during the downturn. And I just had this idea of, you know, one day I wanted to go into consulting and have my own practice. And at that point in my career, I said well, if that's kind of what my long term path is, why not test it out? Why not see if I can start a consulting business and run a consulting business now and, you know, if it works, great, because then, you know, in my dream role, you know, earlier than anticipated. If it doesn't work out, then my Plan B, you know, go back into tech. Well, fortunately and gratefully it did work out really well. And so, I was able to just go down that path and build my consulting practice. And I've been doing it now for 15 years this year. Steve Rush: Yeah. Excellent story. So, when you talk about The Enneagram, it's revolved around nine numbers, which I guess is what's driven the whole Teamwork 9.0. Matt Schlegel: Right. Steve Rush: What is it about the numbers then that is so different with what you do versus then some of the others which are letter driven like Disc and Myers Briggs and the like? Matt Schlegel: Right, as an engineer, you know, one of the things that I found really satisfying about The Enneagram as opposed to some of the other systems is that it, really speaks to, you know, our evolving over time, how our behaviors change over time. And those behaviors will change depending on our stress level. Are we feeling secure or insecure? And our level of maturity. Are we younger? Are we older? And so, this is one of the fascinating things. And if you look at The Enneagram diagram, you'll see these lines within the circle. And that's what those lines are talking about is, how it moves. Well, so that was one aspect. But then I did ask that question, why are they numbers rather than letters? And it turns out there's a reason why they're numbers and it's because it speaks to motion around the outer circle. And so, if you look at The Enneagram, you just look at the circle and numbers, it looks like a clock, right? And just like the hands of a clock, go, you know, clockwise around the circle, The Enneagram is also describing a dynamic of clockwise motion around the circle. And when I thought about it more, I realized, oh, this is describing a process. And these are the steps, the order in that process, one through nine, and it describes the way humans solve problems. It's a problem-solving process. Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: Once I had that epiphany, I'm like, oh, now I have a problem-solving process. I can work with my teams on. And there is a personality type that's perfectly tuned for each step-in problem solving. And once you have that, you know, model, then you can have, you know, great success with teams understanding how to work teams around problem solving to get results. Steve Rush: So, it's almost kind of decoding the problem inside out, isn't it? Matt Schlegel: Exactly, exactly. And it lets you understand, you know, where your teams are going to be really good at problem solving. It's going to tell you where they might struggle or where, you know, steps they might skip altogether, just because there's no dynamic represented by the team at that point in problem solving. Steve Rush: And from the top to the bottom of those nine steps, there's a neurological and chronological order in the which way we do this, right? Matt Schlegel: This is another thing that before I really dove into The Enneagram, I wanted to make sure that there was some neurological underpinning to the system and it's still very early. And we don't have, you know, really good understanding yet. But I found a fellow who described a model of how you could get those nine distinct types out of two parts of the brain, which is the Amygdala and The Prefrontal Cortex. Each one of those parts, since we have a Bicameral Brain, you're going to have right dominance, left dominance and then a middle, Ambi or Ambiguated. And it's the three states of the Abliqua, times the three states of The Prefrontal Cortex give you the nine types. So that's a model that I came upon and it seems to match well, the behaviors described by those states of the Abliqua and The Prefrontal Cortex match well to the behaviors described by The Enneagram. So, it kind of gave me, you know, at least two ways to look at the way people are behaving that were consistent with one another. Steve Rush: When we first met Matt, I had this kind of look bit of an aha moment around the fact that this is where it can really start to engineer great teamwork and thinking, because if we're thoughtful of what triggers a reaction or a threat response in our Amygdala, which is that part of the brain that regulates the emotion. Matt Schlegel: Right. Steve Rush: We can maybe think about tactically, how we can avoid them. And then we can practically spend more time in our executive thinking, which is that Prefrontal Cortex. And it was that aha moment for me around, ah, that's why there's nine and that's how they kind of fit together. Matt Schlegel: Yes, exactly. And you bring up such a good point. And this, you know, speaks to one of the ways that an individual can use The Enneagram is, once you understand, you know, that  Amygdala trigger in yourself and what that feels like, and what you know, that's going to cause you to do. Once you have an understanding of that at intellectual level, then when you do go into that state, you know, you can know it better and manage it better and then, you know, bring yourself through it and back out to, you know, a more secure and healthy state without inadvertently just letting yourself be taken over by that emotional state. Steve Rush: Right, yeah. So, let's dive into the nine themes. Like, it'd be really helpful just to get a sense of what are they and how they work and how they all related? Matt Schlegel: Right, right. Yeah. So, you know, I'll go around in order and also describe how each one of the types helps in problem solving. You know, so, you know, what's the first step in problem solving? It's, you know, hey, there's a problem. It shouldn't be like that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: It should be like this. Well, that's the dynamic of type one. Often called the perfectionist and the perfectionist is the one who's going to like identify, hey, things shouldn't be like that. They should be like this. So, that's the dynamic of one. And then the dynamic of two, speaks to, you know, who cares, right. And that's the next step in problem solving is like, you know, if there's a problem, then you need people to care enough about the problem to actually want to do something, to solve the problem. And type two is called the helper. And so are there are ones who identify, oh, there's something that needs to be done and I'm going to help get that done. So that's step two, and that's the dynamic. Then, you know, step three in problem solving is just coming up with ideas for how to successfully solve the problem. And the dynamic of three is, they're often called the achiever and they're the ones who want to succeed. And there always scanning for, you know, what ideas can I work with and execute for ultimate success. And they also have this wonderful ability to suppress their emotion because every time somebody throws out an idea, you know, most of us are going to go, oh, that's a great idea or, Ooh, that's a terrible idea. Well, the three doesn't have that filter and so when they start throwing out ideas, they can generate lots of ideas, kind of unfiltered. It's like throwing spaghetti against the wall. Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: Right. So, then you get to step four because step four is to see what sticks, right. It's that, oh, that's a great idea. You know, it's that emotional reaction to any idea and type four they're often called the romantic. But what it's saying is that they are the most emotionally tuned in to, you know, the emotional content in their environment. But it also in problem solving gives you kind of this emotional filter to pass ideas through so that you outcome, you know, the most positive ideas. The ideas that the team wants to pursue and has the emotional energy to pursue because, hey, we still have a long way to get the problem solved, right? Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: So now we move over into, what's called the head group. The head group is the five, the six and the seven. So, after you have your positive idea, then what you want to do is validate that idea. You need to test it; you need to analyze it. You need to, you know, so you do your pro, con analysis, your cost benefit analysis, and maybe some prototyping to make sure that the idea's going to work. Once you have validated your idea, then you need to build, oh and by the way, type five is called the analyst or the observer. They're the ones who like dig in and go very, very deep and explore ideas and collect lots of information. So, then you go to six. Type six, it's kind of like a planner. They're always thinking about the future, and they map wherever they are, connect the dots into the future to a successful completion of the goal. And so, you have that idea. Now you map into the future, and you create your plan, okay. Next step is, you need to sell the plan to, you know, the rest of the team or the broader collect of stakeholders and get buy-in and that's step seven, that's called often called the enthusiast. So, you can imagine a cheerleader, you know, saying, hey, we found a great idea. Let's go, let's go solve the problem. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: And get everybody excited, okay. Now what have we done steps one through seven? Talk, talk, talk. Now we get to eight, time for action. The type eight is one of the most action-oriented types and they want to get stuff done, you know, they want to just get to the point and just move forward. And the type eight dynamic is essentially wanting to secure control of the environment. So, it's really a take charge, get stuff done, type of dynamic. And then finally we get to nine, you know, you think, oh, after the eight's done, you know, oh, okay. We solve the problem. And inevitably whenever you have any kind of transformational change, some feathers are going to be ruffled and some toes are going to be stepped on. And so, what you want to do is, you know, have the conversations to smooth out and integrate the solution with the broader community. And that's the dynamic of nine, is listening, understanding other people's perspectives and trying to reduce and conflict and harmonize with everybody. And inevitably in those conversations, people are going to identify new problems, which is why The Enneagram is a circle Steve Rush: And it goes round again. Matt Schlegel: Exactly. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: So that's in a nutshell, that's the dynamic. Steve Rush: So, if I completed an assessment on Enneagram, would it give me a kind of a push and a pull kind of, so I might be strong in a nine, but less in a one, how would it kind of play out as a result? Matt Schlegel: Right, and that's a great question. And, you know, I advise people when they take an assessment to just, you know, use it as a process of eliminate because whenever most people take the assessment, they score highly on two or three types and low on other types. So, you eliminate the low scoring types, and you keep the higher scoring types. Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: And, you know, the first time I took the assessment, I scored highest on type eight. But I'm not a type eight. It turns out I was a type six and that was my second highest scoring. But I was in an environment where I had to behave like an eight and environment the encouraged me to be like an eight. And so, when I'm taking the assessment, it's like, yep, I do that, yep, I do that. Yep, I do that. But it wasn't really speaking to, you know, the way I would like innately, you know, respond is just my environment was encouraging me to respond in that way. So, you know, that's pretty common. And so, when you have, you know, high scoring on several types, then you have to kind of go to that next level of understand those types, understanding the underlying motivators of each types, and then identifying which of those motivations best match with your internal innate motivation. Steve Rush: Got it. So, is there a naturally occurring opportunity or is there a natural occurring time when it's best to do this? Matt Schlegel: Oh yeah. It's probably okay to do it anytime if you are interested in, you know, knowing more about yourself, knowing what, you know makes you tick and knowing that, you know, having that knowledge will make you, you know, a better leader, a better entrepreneur, you know, it just can improve, you know, all of the relationships that you have in your life, both personally and professionally. So, you’re ready for that, then that's the best time to take the test and then start to ask those questions about yourself. You know, what is making me tick? You know, where is it that I excel? Where is it that I'm not as interested? And I want to put people around me that can, you know, compliment my skillset so that we can be an ever stronger and more effective team. Steve Rush: And I love the whole idea as well, that, you know, when you first did it, you came out as an eight, but actually you recognize you're more of a six and it's important that we don't just do this once in isolation, that we may be revisit it from time to time to ensure that we fully understand that, how the environment's impacting on our behaviors as well, right? Matt Schlegel: Exactly. And once you do understand your dominant type, you know, and I kind of look at it this way, it's like handedness, you know, our brain has dominance that drive our handedness and it will, you know, people will say they're right-handed or lefthanded, or maybe you know, they're ambidextrous, well, the same way with your Prefrontal Cortex and the same way with your Amygdala. And so, you know, one of these Enneagram types tends to be more dominant than the others. And that's kind of your starting point. And then you can, you know, once you know that, then you can see yourself change over time based on that Enneagram model and those lines within The Enneagram. Steve Rush: So, is there a perfect map for a team? So, you've just studied this for years, and I'm just curious to find out whether or not you've noticed a pattern occur over that period of time that said, in order to have the perfect mix across a team, this is what it might look like. Matt Schlegel: Yeah. And so, you know, I'll start off and say, you know, it's highly unlikely that any team that you come across is going to be completely and well balanced. For whatever reason, you know, you're not going to have all nine types represented on your team. Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: When you start to, you know, work with a team to try to, you know, solve a problem, you know, if you have an initiative that you want to, you know, bring your team together to tackle, what I found is, you need to pull people in from whichever starting point they're at. Pull them into the dynamic of that step-in problem solving, right. So, you know, step one is that, you know, let's define the problem and take the time to get everybody to think through what is the problem from their perspective. And then also think. Once the problem is solved, you know, what will the world look like? So, in that step, you're essentially getting your list of things that need to be solved, and then also creating a vision for the team of how the world would look like once the problem is solved. And, you know, and even though you might not have any type ones on your team and type ones would just naturally get this, but you can pull people into that if, you know, direct the team to actually focus on it and make sure that all the voices are heard. And so that's how I use it. I just pull people into that dynamic and then work through the various steps so that the team systematically hits each one of those energies. Steve Rush: Yeah. And I suspect also, if you are highly dominant in any one of these nine, then that also becomes then a development area I suspect. Matt Schlegel: Right. Right. And, you know, and this speaks to, you know, how people want to play to their strengths, right. So, they want to jump to that, you know, point in problem solving where they're naturally gifted, right. So, the eights want to jump right into action, you know, so they already have a sense, I know what needs to happen, let's just go do it, you know, and they want to jump straight to type eight, or excuse me, step eight, without having worked through, you know, the other steps. And so, you'll see this in teams, you know, so if you go into a team that is dominated by a type eight leader, you know, you'll find that the team has kind of learned to just, you know, do what the eight said. And then, the type eight leader might confide in me and say, you know, I really wish the team would take more initiative and you know, come up with ideas and execute them themselves. Steve Rush: Mm Matt Schlegel: Well, right. And I'll say, well, you know, you would need to let them do that in their way, working through those steps, because the team might not have that same intuition about what to do that you do. So, if you want to encourage them to, you know, take initiative, you have to allow them to do it in their way, which won't be your way and give them the space and the time to work through this process. Steve Rush: Hmm. Matt Schlegel: So, that's one of the ways I guide, you know, my clients who are type eight leaders is to, you know, let them work through the process and let them kind of build that problem, solving muscle themselves. So, they're not always relying on the type eight leader for direction. Steve Rush: Right. And I also wonder if a type eight leader might make assumptions by jumping straight in at eight that could have been identified by going through the steps proceeding that? Matt Schlegel: Well, of course, you know, when you jump straight to action you know, you are having assumptions and you're making assumptions and, you know, the interesting thing about the type eight you know, they're in the intuitive group, which is the eight, nine and one. So, they already have intuition about what it is that they want to do. The other interesting thing about eight is that they don't really dwell on, you know, failure, you know, they're happy to just jump in, try something, hey, it doesn't work, okay. Let's adjust and you know, do a course direction and start going in this direction, right. So, they will, you know, just, you know, by always acting iterate towards the solution without necessarily stepping back and taking time to think things through. This works great for type eights, but, you know, for those of us who aren't type eights, it can be a little uncomfortable because, you know, like type six right. We're trying to map the dots into the future, right. And we're thinking, but if we do this, then this could happen or that could happen. And then our brains start racing on, you know, all of the problems and that we want to try to mitigate, but, you know, rather than, you know, crashing into the wall and then changing direction. So, you know, and that's where a dynamic, you know, that's just like a six, eight dynamic that happens on teams. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, you wrote the book Teamwork 9.0. Matt Schlegel: Yeah. Steve Rush: How does that differentiate from the traditional Enneagram? What would be the kind of the extra layer of context they get from that? Matt Schlegel: Right. So, the thing that I really wanted to focus on in my book was that dimension of problem solving, and, you know, there are many books about The Enneagram as a personality system. So, I didn't want to write another book just about the personality side of The Enneagram. What I wanted was to take that and then build onto it that dimension of working through that outer circle of The Enneagram in order of those steps with teams to you know, show that The Enneagram has this other dimension to it, of a problem-solving process. And so that's where I talk about the problem-solving process. I give some case studies and anecdotes. I talk about as a leader, you know, how do you respond when your team doesn't have a specific strength in problem solving and how to overcome that? How to get each of the team members to step up, I call it shared leadership, you know, because if you know, you have somebody who's really strong at a certain point will then encourage them to take the lead at that step and problem solving. I talk about the creativity, you know, each type brings a distinct creativity to problem solving. So, there's, you know, a number of aspects that you can apply The Enneagram to when it's in the context of team, problem solving. Steve Rush: Love it. And we'll have an opportunity to share with our listeners at the end of the show, how they can get hold of some of that information too, before we get there, want to dive into and hack into your leadership brain. Now having led and worked with numbers of teams all over the world to distill all of that great knowledge and learning you've had on your career, Matt and hack into those top three leadership hacks, what would they be? Matt Schlegel: Right. So, you know, the first thing that, you know, I mentioned at that opening story, you know, is, I realize that you know as a type six, that worrying is a part of my dynamic and that is caused by anxiety. So, you know, the five, six and seven are in the thinking group or head group, but the underlying issue for us is anxiety. I have this like feeling in my gut, that's kind of a constant friend I have, and I could feel it kind of go up or down. I like a thermometer and The Enneagram gave me a word for that. It's like, oh, that's anxiety. That's, what's causing that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: But it's also, you know, it's like a nuclear furnace for me. It gives me tremendous energy. And now that I know what's going on, I can use that and say, okay, well, where am I right now? Am I feeling comfortable? Are we headed in a good direction or my Spidey senses telling me, oh, you know, something amiss and we need to kind of reflect and look back? So, you know, so that's one way as a leader learned to just be more conscientious of my internal state, both to, you know, understand myself, but also to make sure that, you know, whatever is causing my anxiety, doesn't spill out over into my relationships with my team that, you know, might adversely affect our forward progress, right. Steve Rush: Right. Matt Schlegel: So that's you know, I think just that self-awareness is super important. And then, you know, the other aspect is, you know, once you understand yourself, you can really start to understand the dynamics of the other folks on your team. And they really appreciate this because you are understanding them in a way that helps you better communicate with them, helps them better motivate themselves, you know, and you can put them in roles where they can really thrive and show off their natural gifts and allows you to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with your team, so that you can better build rapport and trust with them, which is another key to leadership. Steve Rush: And your third Matt Schlegel: And the third I would say is, you know, once you have that, then you can understand what your, you know, the strengths and weaknesses of your team. And then what you want to do is like realize, okay, I have gaps in my I team. I want to make sure that, you know, we have a diversity of perspectives and so many people are talking about the need for diversity on teams. And there are many dimensions of diversity, but I would also say that, you know, be aware of style diversity. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: Because people tend, you know, to like people like themselves. That's why we have the saying, you know, birds of a feather flock together. And, you know, if you're a hiring manager and then you're hiring people, you like, what's going to happen is, you're going to build a lopsided team. So having the understanding of, you know, the value of having a more diverse team in terms of styles, you're going to get, you know, a better set of ideas to work with. And you're going to have, you know, better overall outcomes, because you have all of these different perspectives that are adding to the overall success. Steve Rush: I love that last one. Difference makes a difference. Matt Schlegel: Yes, exactly. Steve Rush: So, the next part of the show, we actually call it Hack to Attack. Matt Schlegel: Okay. Steve Rush: So, in essence, this is where something is just screwed up. It hasn't worked out well, maybe it's been catastrophic, but as a result of the experience, you've now taken that as a learning, and it's now a force of good in your life or work, what would be your Hack to Attack? Matt Schlegel: Yes. And you know, so one of the things that I've learned, you know, as a person who is somewhat based in anxiety, I tend to be on the cautious side. And so, I might overcompensate on being too cautious. And so that's one of the things I have to, you know, I've learned about myself. And then I learn, you know, and this is where I can, you know, value the perspectives of others who, you know, aren't necessarily as prone to that perspective. And then, you know, tap into that dynamic when I need to. And that's been a great learning for me, and it's allowed me to better appreciate the other perspectives and the other members of my team so that I can, you know, rely on them when my anxiety might start to, you know, get too much. So, I would say, you know, one of the, you know, bigger learnings I've had to, you know, deal with personally and overcome personally Steve Rush: All starts with self-awareness again, though, doesn't it? Matt Schlegel: It does. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: It does. And I think, you know, that was the starting point. That self-awareness was the starting point for some of, you know, the best learning and experiences that I had in my career. That's why I got so excited about this and wanted to pursue it and write the book Steve Rush: Exactly. Last part of the show. We get a chance for you to do a bit of time travel bump into Matt at 21 and give them some advice. You have a chance giving some words of wisdom, what would they be? Matt Schlegel: Yeah, that's a great question. And if you ask my kids, they'll tell you what it is because they know, and that's you know, learn The Enneagram. Learn that, you know, style is, learn, you know, how that's influencing your behaviors and your decision making and learn that, you know, your style, isn't the only style. It's not the correct style. It's not the right style, you know, and once you understand that, you know, there are these distinct styles and that you can now put them into context of, you know, it's valid to just be, you know, like the type four swimming and emotions, what does that bring to the party? How does that help the team move forward with that, you know, connection to emotions or, you know, where are the intuitive people that sense of how is that informing the team? And so, just that appreciation of you know, where each type is coming from is hugely important. And I think as a young person, to be able to appreciate that and understand the value in it, you know, just makes you have a better appreciation for all the people in your life. Steve Rush: Great advice, as you are sharing that, you know, I'm thinking I need to get my young teenagers and my kids in their early twenties into this, because actually the more dynamically they're aware of things, the more it can help them. And also, I wonder if this works across the family as well, right? Matt Schlegel: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. Matt Schlegel: You know, and this is really, you know, how it's commonly used to help people, you know, understand, you know, the dynamics with, you know, in your personal relationships. It's, you know, very valuable for that, because then you can end up you know, avoiding, you know, conflicts and understanding if you do go down the path of conflict, why that's happening and then how to get back out and great tool for that. And then young people, you know, they're experimenting with different relationships in their life, you know, and then, you know, having a framework for, oh, okay, well, I'm a type eight. And I was, you know, I had a relationship with a type nine. And what did that feel like? How did that work? Is that feel right for you? You know, and at least understand and navigate those relationships a little bit better when you have that framework to work with. Steve Rush: Awesome stuff. So, as folk have been listening to this, Matt, I'm pretty certain they're thinking I need to get a copy of Teamwork9.0. I need to find out a little bit more about The Enneagram. And of course, you've got a bunch of resources that can help them. Where's the best place that we can send them so they can connect with your work? Matt Schlegel: Oh yeah. Thank you so much. So, my website is So that's all one-word evolutionaryteams, and there you'll find you know, some resources, there's a complimentary assessment. Enneagram assessment that you're welcome to take there. And also, you can find out information about teamwork 9.0, and then I blog and share, you know, different topics on leadership decision making and teamwork. And I'm doing a series of interviews with leaders who are using their essentially self-awareness about their emotional state in their leadership practice and how that motivates, inspires, and drives their leader of behaviors. So, it's really fascinating stuff. Steve Rush: Great. We'll put those links and the links to your social media connections as well in our show notes. So, folk can connect with you as soon as they finish listening to this. Matt Schlegel: Well, thank you so much, Steve. I really appreciate it. Steve Rush: Matt, it's been fascinating talking. I am incredibly excited about the different dynamics that Teamwork9.0 brings about, and actually how that can help other teams become more effective in their work that they do. And thank you for coming and sharing your stories and being part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Matt Schlegel: Well, thank you so much, Steve. I really enjoyed the conversation. Steve Rush: Me too. Thanks, Matt.   Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories, please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube, and on Instagram the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into the next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker
47:11 04/04/22
Breaking Out of the Matrix with Michael and Audree Sahota
Michael Sahota is a thought leader, author, and speaker in the Agile industry. He's also the co-founder and CEO of SHIFT314, and he's joined by Audree Sahota, Chief Metaphysics Officer and also co-founder of SHIFT314, together they wrote the book Leading Beyond Change. In this amazing show we discover: The story behind SHIFT314 What is emotional science and how that could that help me as a leader Why leaders find it so hard to unlock the right energy in our lives The SHIFT314 Evolutionary Leadership Framework (SELF) Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Michael and Audree below: Michael on LinkedIn: Audree on LinkedIn: Michael on Twitter: Instagram: Company  Website:     Full Transcript Below     Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Our two special guests on today's show is Michael Sahota who's the founder and CEO of SHIFT314, he's a speaker, a thought leader. And the author of Leading Beyond Change. His co-author is Audree Sahota who's also the co-founder and Chief Metaphysics officer at SHIFT314. But before we get a chance to speak with Michael and Audree, it’s The Leadership Hacker News.   The Leadership Hacker News   Steve Rush: It turns out in times of crisis, that's a perfect opportunity for us to do some self-reflection and think about what's really important to us. According to some recent research completed by Microsoft, workers' sense of worth grew during the pandemic and during 2020 during terms to crisis, so did their expectations. For almost a year of publishing the first study, Microsoft shared results of another iteration of the Microsoft world index. And it's a study run across 31 countries, 31,000 people along with analysis of trillions of productivity signals in Microsoft, 365 trends on LinkedIn and labor trends. Some findings found that flexible working is here to stay. And leaders seemed out of touch with employees while workers were highly productive, yet also exhausted. Gen Zed or Gen Zers if you're in the U.S. needed, re-energizing due to a lack of networking opportunities. And finally, talent availability grew with the hybrid work, but the word hybrid work means so much to so many. Organizations still grapple to get an understanding of what hybrid work really means to them. What comes out in research from Microsoft is that COVID changed our relationship with work forever. 53% of employees are more like to prioritize health and wellbeing over their work compared to that pre pandemic. And in addition, 47% of responders said that they're most likely to put family and personal life first ahead of any work commitments. Employers must be ready to accommodate the needs and trends that are playing out or risk losing their talent to competitors who might offer exactly what they're looking for. The study shows that many hybrid employees, in fact, 51% say they'll consider a switch to remote working over the next 12 months. And even more remote employees, 57% said they would consider a switch to more hybrid. And while the two data points could be confusing, they clearly speak to the role of hybrid working is here to stay, providing the flexibility needed to lead a more blended life while offering opportunities to stay connected with coworkers. And it clearly shows that deciding what's best for your talent will not be a one size fits all affair either. Needs will be different based on the seniority within the company, the type of job, how long somebody's been with the organization, their home circumstances. It's also critically to fully understand and embrace hybrid work so that it requires more than just offering working from home. It really does mean making sure the employees feel part of their work at home and are also being seen and communicated as if they were in the office. And the final data point I wanted to share with you is that 54% of leaders felt that productivity had been negatively affected since going to a more of a remote and hybrid working environment. Although 80% of the same employees said that there had been an improvement in their productivity since that shift. Getting people back into the office must be driven by the employees and those who want to have a real desire to build connections. But particularly for those who were joining during the pandemic and may have not yet had the opportunity to form strong relationships. And the leadership hack here is, it's not just about flexible work location, flexible environment, but most importantly, flexible mindset and a flexible mindset from business leaders who understand their talent, know that it's not the same as it was two years ago. And they also know that their needs have changed. Understanding intrinsically what's driving each individual on your team could be the one thing that really unlocks true high performance. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. Looking forward as always to hearing your tweets and information about what you'd like to hear and see on the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: I'm joined on the show today by our first ever husband and wife duo, who are also business partners, Michael Sahota is a thought leader, author, and speaker in the Agile Industry. He's also the co-founder and CEO of SHIFT314. He's developed unique IP to unlock success with agile, digital, and lean, in other new ways of working. And he's joined by Audree Sahota. Chief Metaphysics Officer, and also co-founder of SHIFT314, and Audree has a mastery over many practices and techniques for rapidly shifting consciousness, which I can't wait to Welcome both, to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Audree Sahota: Thank you. Michael Sahota: Yeah, pleasure to be here. Steve Rush: So, first husband and wife duo, first question. Who made the first move? Michael Sahota: That would probably be me. Audree Sahota: Well, yeah. Considering I didn't really like Michael, when I first met him, Steve Rush: Which is often the case, isn't it with relationships? Audree Sahota: Right, yeah. He was kind of a thorn on my side. We actually met in India in a really incredible personal growth and transformation course that we had both been involved in for many years. And they put our classes, no, you skipped, did you skip a grade? Michael Sahota: Yeah, I did. I did two courses back-to-back. Steve Rush: You, only just found out now, right Audree? Audree Sahota: Normally you're supposed to wait six months and then join the next course. And I was in the course ahead of him. I think I was in the pilot program, and he was there, and we had some mutual friends and so eventually as I got to know, Michael, I was like, oh, this guy is kind of different on the inside than what he's projecting on the outside. So, you know, it's a longer story. But what I found was that when I needed help and I was working through a really, really deep block, that was probably the biggest block that I had that was blocking all of my success in my life. We were sitting around the dinner table with a bunch of people, and I was expressing what was going on with me. And it was like 10 o'clock at night. We had all been processing and doing these like crazy, very intense, deep, personal growth and transformation processes that included a lot of breathing and dark spaces and stuff like that. So, we were all pretty crispy and everybody one by one just kind of left the table. And it's just Michael and I sitting there and Michael's like, well, do you want to work through this issue? And I said, yeah, I want to remove this block. And he said, well, I'll only work with you if you go all the way through, like, I don't want you to stop, I want you to opt in fully into this process. And I said, yes, I'm totally ready. And so, as he was working with me and kind of holding a space and facilitating my process, which was touching into some really, really deep, deep issues, I was like crying. And it was just like really intense. And at the same time, every time he would say something as a facilitator, I would be like, oh, that's what I would say. That's exactly how I would work. And at the end of the whole entire process, which was incredibly liberating for me, I went back to my room with my roommate, and I said, hey, you know, that Michael Sahota guy just helped me with a really deep issue that I had. And he works exactly how I work, how I facilitate. And I've never met anybody like that. And she's like, oh, he's your other half. And I was like, no, not Michael Sahota, there's no way, he's not my type. And she kept saying it. And I think that, that was the moment that I knew that there was something else deeper going on, and then it went from there. Then we started discussing like our kind of, like our dreams and our hopes and our life purpose and stuff. And turns out we had the same life purpose, which is, take it away Michael. Michael Sahota: Yeah. So, it's really about helping people evolve from their current limitations. Like this deeper level of work that gets ignored, that isn't fully addressed by traditional means to allow us to show up as the partner we want, the parent we want to be, the leader we want to be, which ultimately is what we need to create, create high performance environment. So, it's really about creating a better world, a better workplace, starting with ourselves. Steve Rush: In my experience, having spoke to hundreds of very successful business leaders and coached many, it often starts with ourselves. Michael Sahota: Well, yeah, there's this funny saying, everybody's heard this, and everyone knows this true. You can't change anyone else. You can only change yourself. Everyone knows this, but 98% of leadership behavior acts as if this statement doesn't exist. Steve Rush: What do you think the reason is for that? Michael Sahota: Oh, there's a really simple reason. It's the ego, our default egoic conditioning causes to look outwards for the problems rather than look inwards. Steve Rush: Hmm. Audree Sahota: Right. Michael Sahota: Basically, we're all tricked by the ego. Audree Sahota: And we always say, you know, we're the problem and we're the solution. But I think that we don't really know where to go with all of that as well. So, part of it is the ego blocking and the other part is, if you don't have the tools, the techniques, mostly the knowledge or the education about what's actually really going on, it's very difficult to start to explore your inner world. And so, I mean, we found ways to do it through our own, I think our own evolutionary process and our own journey. Michael Sahota: Our basic view is that everyone is innocent. Audree Sahota: Yeah. Michael Sahota: Like, so if someone is listening to this call and they, well, geez, I'm not doing that. I'm mostly focused on outward. And how do we make changes around me, blah, blah, blah. You're innocent, and the reason is because, you don't have the tools. You don't have the knowledge and awareness and understanding. Even if you discovered that there's some sort of inner block inside of yourself, actually work through it. And that's really what our work is about is, giving leaders, the evolutionary capabilities for not only the self-evolution, which is one part of it, but it's also how to put that into practice, right. There are lots of people who go to yoga classes, they go to a, you know, 10-day meditation retreat and they go back and it's the same thing all over again, like nothing's changed in their regular world, right. They have a little bit of stillness and then it fades off. Steve Rush: Right. Michael Sahota: As they go through their day. And so, it's really about how do we integrate that into our regular work? How do we do that in every single thing that we do at every single interaction as a leader, as collaborator, as a parent? Audree Sahota: We even think about coaching and leadership. And we always say that it's a transmission, like transformation is a transmission. You're very being, who you are and what you've been through, and all of your experience is what is going to shift and change another person or another organization. And we find the clarity in that statement, you are the transmission, a very powerful perception to have when we're looking at organizational change, or we're looking at working with our clients who, you know, want to show up as better leaders or create high performance, or we, you know, for our own selves personally, in our relationships with our family and our friends and in our partnership as Well. Steve Rush: And the whole evolutionary framing that you have, and you talk about. How did that come together from your different work experiences to create what you do now? Because you both have very different backgrounds that have now come together as SHIFT314. Audree Sahota: Right. So, I have a little weirder background. I'm a professionally trained energetic healer. So, what that means is I didn't take a weekend workshop and I became a healer. I actually went to eight years of formal training. I worked on a medical team for five years. I worked with very, very ill people. But what that really means is I've studied the psychology of disease. So, I learned in my profession, thoughts, belief systems, behaviors, lifestyle, all these things contribute to a healthy body or an unhealthy body. And so, I believe that looking at the psychology of disease, you start to look at, what's going on in your mind? What's going on in your consciousness? What's going on in your perceptions? And so, that's where I take this weird thing of energy, kind of mixed with psychological background. And then I start to work with my clients in a way, not only to heal, but also then to transform their lives. But in order for me to do that, my training has always been you first. Steve Rush: Right. Audree Sahota: Always, I'm the transmission of the work. If I'm clear and clean in my perceptions, my glee systems, my psychological makeup, and my body, I'm able to transmit a very high vibrational frequency that will aid in the healing of somebody else. So that's kind of where my background is from. It's like the weird stuff. Michael Sahota: Yeah, my background is the exact opposite. It's an engineering. I worked in research. I've published papers and artificial intelligence, robotics. I went professionally, started working as a software developer and had management roles and got involved with a thing called agile, bringing organizations to like a more people-centric way of working, a more evolved way of working. And that eventually led me to this realization. Well, wait a second. It's really hard to help companies make this shift because the leaders don't get it. The leaders are stuck in these traditional mindsets, these traditional patterns that are totally incompatible with these new ways of working, what they call agile, digital and so on. And then I looked at it, I said. Well, how do I help these leaders like transform? How do they help them show up as leaders that we can create these amazing work environments, we can actually get high performance? I said, well, the only way to help them to solve this is to help them grow. And I thought, well, am I equipped to do that? And the answer I got back was well, no Michael, you're a well-intentioned hassle. You can see everything that's going on, but you are not showing up in a revolved way. So that's what kicked off this realization that I'm the problem and I am the solution. That I am the limit for everything that I want to create around me. And so, kicked off this you know, really broad scoped search for, how do I grow myself? How do I evolve? And I had no idea. So, I just started doing random things. And eventually this is one path took me to India, right, and that's where I met Audree. But really, I think this is true for me still today is, that I am the limit of everything that I want to create in the world. And I continue to invest in my own personal evolution. That's why I got a lot of humility around this. It's not like, well, oh, I'm better and blah, blah, blah. It's like, hey, we're all on our journey of evolution. All of us, every single one of us, the only question is, how much energy are we putting into our own evolution? Number one, and number two, what are the rate of progress we're making? And what we've seen here is a lot of leaders are at zero rate of progress and zero investment in their evolution. And as a result, they're continue to be the same leaders that they've always been Audree Sahota: Because it's so hard. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: The pressure to succeed, the pressure to get things done actually takes you backwards. So, you have to be very, very careful because that's where you get tripped up. It's like when something's happening and the organizations in a crisis or your teenager just, you know, crashed the car, it's either one. Michael Sahota: And It’s kind of weird, right? Because I started as an engineer, right. And scientifically running experiments of like, what can we do to a system to improve performance? And I followed root cause, eventually it said, wait a second. The only way to do this is through inner evolution, integrated with, you know, external models, tools and so on. And that's what we've created is this technology, this co-creation of Audree and I, we didn't like wake up one day and say, here it is. It's been this evolution over like the last decade of both of our work. Steve Rush: Yeah. Michael Sahota: It's called the self-framework. Audree Sahota: Right. Michael Sahota: And it's just really this beautiful tool kit, Audree Sahota: And we didn't even know that we had a framework, we had no idea. We were just trying to explain to people what we did. And it was through writing the book. It was through that process of writing the book that it actually really homed in Michael Sahota: What it is we're doing. Audree Sahota: Yeah, what it is. First the intention that we had no idea what we were doing. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: We were just doing it. Michael Sahota: Be very successful. Audree Sahota: Very successful. Michael Sahota: Training thousands of leaders around the globe and giving them transformational experiences and like, this is the thing, is like, you know, on the outside, okay. It looks like we're leadership trainers, looks like we're organizational consultants. So, we help companies with agile. That's the external, right. That profile fits lots of organizations around the world, but there's some something special and deeper about what we do. That's very human where it's not just about the workplace. People who go through our trainings realize, oh, wait a second. This is actually more important to me with my family. Steve Rush: And the reality, I guess, of what you've just described is that evolutionary journey that people take. But if you went to an organization and started with those energetic, emotional science-based conversations, most organizations would go, whoa, hang on a second. That's a bit too deep, but they could probably understand and contextualize the broader conversations around leadership development and organizational consultancy, right? Audree Sahota: Right, and high performance. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: Because everybody wants results. Everybody wants to do well. Even people sitting in a yoga class, why are they there? It's because they want to make their lives better. So, I think it's a natural occurrence in nature. Nature is always perfecting itself. And it's really, really beautiful, you know? We think of like having a disease or birth defect and transitioning or not living as something that's really, really terrible. And we look at the way nature functions. It is always trying to perfect itself and we're doing it everywhere. It's not just in nature, but we are nature, we're animals. It's the natural progression in the life cycles of an organization that we're looking at where things have to get destroyed in order to create something new and something better. So, we tend to forget the natural cycles that occur in life. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: And when we start to look at, we're just wanting to create high performance and that's okay. It's okay. Michael said all the time, in our courses, he goes, I don't care if you're here because of financial success and you're worried about the bottom line or you're here because you want to make workplaces a better environment for people. We don't have any judgment of why you're here, but what is that there's this merging together of, oh yeah. I want both. And why can't we have both? Steve Rush: Right. Audree Sahota: Yeah, and it makes sense that if your workplace is healthy and people are happy and engaged and love what they do and they're supported, there's a benefit to the organization and it's a financial benefit. Steve Rush: And there's loads of science about. Audree Sahota: Yes. Steve Rush: That happy workplaces create better productivity, better productivity creates better and happier environments and therefore more purposeful business. And it becomes self-fulfilling, doesn't it? Audree Sahota: Yeah. But it's an old way of thinking in the traditional work environment, it's oppressive, it's slave like mentality and it's this old way of how humans existed in society. That is beginning to change because we realize, oh, oppressing people doesn't actually work. You know, having poverty and lack doesn't work. Michael Sahota: I mean, no manager goes into work and thinks, oh, I'm going oppress people today, right. Nobody thinks that, but everyone is caught up and this is why I see people as very innocent. We're caught up in this industrial machinery, this structure's is a business as unusual and we're just like hamsters running around the hamster wheel. And so, it's about helping people wake up to say, wait a second, do you see what's going on? You're just following in this traditional pattern, traditional management path and these are the consequences. That's where we start. We don't talk about any of the personal shift, any of that stuff. Because like, hey, let's just have a conversation about what's going on in your organization and how's it working for you? And it's never working out well for organizations. Everybody is struggling out there. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree, you spend quite a lot of time with metaphysics, energy, you know, the root of kind of what drives people's behaviors. I'm keen to just understand a little bit about why it is that organizations and often individuals who lead those organizations and teams find it really difficult to peel the layers right back to where they need to be effective and explore some of that? Audree Sahota: That's a great question. And I actually don't know the answer. Michael Sahota: I know the answer. So, the answer is, we don't ever try to get anyone to do anything. Audree Sahota: But he's saying like a general, like. Michael Sahota: Why is it happening? Audree Sahota: Why is it happening? Steve Rush: Why is it so difficult? Audree Sahota: It's a really deep conversation that I'm not going to go into right now. And a lot of it is that, oh, it's way too deep to go into. But I can't tell you that. We're raised from birth in a way that we're just in this command-and-control habit, we're in a habit of fear and anxiety. We're in a habit of thinking and believing. We're duped into believing that we deserve eternal punishment. Michael Sahota: Yeah, and everyone listening to this. Well, that's not me. And it's like, well, if you don't know that's going on with you, you just don't know what's going on with you, but it's going on with everyone until you're actually enlightened. So, it's there and most people aren't aware, but we don't even start there. I just want to back up, this is not a good starting place. The starting place is what we actually do in our trainings, which is saying, well, okay, great. We're here to talk about how do you create business agility? How do you be high performance leaders? Right? So, the egos invested. People want the result. People want the outcome. And this is what our whole book Leading Beyond Change goes through. This is the anti-pattern of what you're doing in your traditional business. And this is the pattern for what is happening in healthy organizations that get really extraordinary performance. And we just take people through a series of patterns where they realize, wait a second. What I am choosing to do every day creates low performance. Audree Sahota: Nobody wants to understand the fundamental fabric of why humans are in suffering. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah. Michael Sahota: Yeah. Audree Sahota: Except for me. Michael Sahota: So, what we get people to do is realize, wait a second. When I try to drive a change program, I'm actually create a lot of resistance. When I mandate things as a boss and use my power without listening to other people first, I'm creating damage. Audree Sahota: And inner more advanced courses what we do is, once you can see that behavior, that I'm creating damage, then when you have the tools and the techniques and the understanding, then it's easier to look inside. And we always ask, what does it feel like in your body when you're trying to drive change? Steve Rush: Because your body's a good barometer to tell you exactly what's going on, right. Audree Sahota: It is the thing, that is the radio receiver. So, the body will tell you, it's like, oh, I feel tight. Oh, it's hard to breathe. Oh, there's a knot in my stomach. And then we have the tools to help to dissolve that because those are patterns from the subconscious part of the egoic system that are actually, it's like the root cause of why you're trying to drive change to begin with. It doesn't mean that you're not going to create change. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: But an impact change, but it's going to come from a very different place where there's a release within your system and you're letting go. You're not attached to the outcome, which is very, very hard to do. But when not attached to the outcome anymore, you're no longer pressing onto the system and creating that resistance. And there's an opening that happens. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: We always call it the secret to the universe. Steve Rush: Wow. If only we could all tap into that, it sounds incredibly. Audree Sahota: We all can, and we all deserve it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: Like every single one of us deserves to be successful and happy and productive Michael Sahota: And having an amazing day at work every single day, Audree Sahota: Every single day. Steve Rush: And the reason why some do, and some don't is completely about how we are showing up, thinking about or how our mindset is driving, how we're thinking and showing up at work. Audree Sahota: Oh yeah, and that's a choice. Michael Sahota: Well, actually there's two factors. One is internal. What is our internal composition? And how are we choosing to perceive the reality that we're in. The other one is the external system because a really beautiful organization can help people uplift, to help people heal and help people grow. Whereas their traditional organizations are taking people down. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, you both talk about a series of patterns, which are the series of patterns that you explored and bumped into as you started to write the book Leading Beyond Change, and you talked about this self-evolutionary framework. I'd love to get into a little bit about that and explore some of the elements of what that is and how I might use it? Audree Sahota: Well, let's start off with the name. SHIFT134 Evolutionary Leadership Framework. Michael Sahota: The abbreviation is the S E L F or the SELF. Audree Sahota: And then we went, oh my God, about the self, it is the self. Michael Sahota: Think about it? Audree Sahota: But it was an accident. Michael Sahota: Yeah. Audree Sahota: I just want to say that's how miraculous it is. It was an accident. Steve Rush: So where does SHIFT314 come from? Michael Sahota: Ah, okay. So, everyone has heard of this number 3.1415, and you go, oh my gosh, it's Pi. Steve Rush: Pi. Michael Sahota: A Pi symbolizes the universal timeless principles of the universe through mathematics. With SHIFT314 we give the universal principles, the timeless principles of human dynamics and organization dynamics. We're talking about how do things actually work. Not some, you know, popular, made-up theory, do these three things and you'll have success and blah, blah, blah, blah. It's actually worth the laws of cause and effects of human beings. And when human beings working together and creating change in organizations Audree Sahota: And how to mitigate the damage. Michael Sahota: Hey, so here are the patterns. Hey, do you notice when you do this, when you oppress people, here's how you're oppressing people. It actually disengages them, demotivates them so on. And when you create a space for people to contribute, they can, and they're happier and they perform better, like very simple, simple ideas. And we go through, I think about 40 patterns in the book to give people like a really clear sense of wait, when I'm stuck in this matrix, this mindset, trap of traditional business, or even slightly, some of these progressive things are actually, very weak sauce countermeasures, you know, oh, wait a second. I'm not getting high performance. What I'm doing today is not high performance, it’s the opposite. Audree Sahota: And a lot of it is common sense. It's just that we don't set our intention to really think about it. And I believe we don't do that, and I'll go back to it is, we don't have the tools and the techniques to move through these patterns. So, like for one of them is, we talk about leaders speaking last. So, when you go into a meeting, you allow everybody else to speak first, before you give your opinion, give an answer to the problem, you know, give a solution. Michael Sahota: Yeah. I show you the anti-pattern, hey everyone, you know, here's my idea for this. What do you guys think? Yeah right. Versus like, hey, you know we need to solve this problem. I've got some ideas, but we're all smarter together. Why doesn't everyone share their ideas and then we'll have a conversation. Audree Sahota: And everybody goes around the table, gives 30 seconds or a minute. Shares their perspective, shares their opinion. Michael Sahota: Then we get the deeper truth of well, okay, but this is not a trick. It's not a tactic. For a leader to do that they have to get their ego under control. They have to stop trying to be the smartest person in the room and create a space for others to be leaders and to want to build other people, to be leaders. That's the inner journey. That's why people need tools to make it. Steve Rush: Is there a particular pattern that you've recognized through these different of patents? Is the stickiest, like people get stuck the most. Michael Sahota: Command and control habit. Command and control habit. We don't understand that we're addictive. Audree Sahota: Very different and we're exactly the same. Michael Sahota: We don't understand. We're addict. Gender is the commanding control habits, is actually two different words to the same thing. We don't understand. Like right now, everyone listening to this probably said, I'm not addicted to command and control habit. That's what everyone's going to listen to, is going to say to themselves, I'm not addicted to it. Audree Sahota: I give people their freedom, let them explore. I give them autonomy. Michael Sahota: Guess what? Get into one of our trainees. And you'll see that you actually don’t, and you'll see the damage you are causing. And it's going to wake you up to an extraordinary journey. That's going to change, not just your workplace, but all of your relationships with your partner, with your kids, everything. That's what happens because we're stuck trying to use the same words that everyone else uses, you know, leadership and culture. Audree Sahota: Mindset. Michael Sahota: And blah, blah, blah. But we're doing something at a very different, very deeper, much more personal level, touching the core of our being. Steve Rush: Which is where energy plays that vital role because you're dealing with then raw emotions, much of the time, aren't you? Audree Sahota: Yes, my philosophy on healing has changed quite a lot. I mean, and I've been doing this since probably 1994. So, what I can say is that I no longer believe there's has to be a story. I no longer believe there has to be something that takes a very long time. I do believe in instantaneous healing, I believe up and out, up and out. Michael Sahota: Not just believe, we live that with our own work on ourselves and the work we do with our partners, clients and those in our training programs is like the, you know, we tell people, if you get stuck, don't stay stuck, just reach out to us and we'll get you unstuck. We've got a lot of tools. Steve Rush: Mm. Audree Sahota: Right, and I think the biggest thing here is that it's a choice for everyone, no matter what you're doing, whether it's like our work or somebody else's work or your own work or whatever you are doing in your life. But we really believe that if you're having an issue or a problem that you don't have to, you have a choice. And when you understand that you have the choice, that becomes a very different perspective to live by. And when you make the choice not to have the issue or the problem, the solutions come, it just makes it easier if you have the tools and the techniques ahead of time, on purpose, you know, striving towards creating more success. Steve Rush: That's the essence of metaphysics as well, isn't it? You know, it's the kind of the whole energy. Allowing the energy to feed your direction, so to speak. Audree Sahota: Yes, and energy is moved by thoughts. Michael Sahota: Yeah. So, this is where it all ties together. Like, you know, our oppressive behaviors, our anti patterns of traditional business, our low vibrational frequency, like it's actually like stuck trapped energy in our bodies. And we're walking around basically emitting all this like sort of toxic radiation. That's most traditional leaders right now are walking around emitting toxic radiation, acting as a beacon of a very destructive, oppressive culture, which is why so many people are disengaged. Now really effect leaders aren't doing that. They haven't evolved consciousness. They're pure in their being, they're operating in from a higher vibrational frequency. They're emitting positive energy around them, and people just feel good around them, right. It's not just what they're doing. So, what we're saying, it's a transmission. And, you know, taking it back to the energetic layer, they're actually admitting, you know, good vibes, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: But Michael, what if you're not the leader and you're just in an organization with those toxic leaders, then what do you do? Steve Rush: That's a great question. Audree Sahota: I will interview Michael. Michael Sahota: Well, first of all, the first thing you need to see is that how those toxic leaders are taking you out and you are now part of the problem. Audree Sahota: Exactly. Michael Sahota: And so, what we see is that anyone and everyone can be a leader. Our approach or framework is about leaders at all levels that anyone at any place in the organization can create change starting with ourselves, because we can't control everyone else, but we can control ourselves. So, change, therefore, is 100% possible if we choose to do it. Audree Sahota: And it's a moment-to-moment choice. You can, you either choose to be in resistance and negative, in anger, in frustration and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or you can choose to be in peace in harmony and calm in not getting taken out by the drama and the chaos that's going on. So, you can actually just show up and function with your full intelligence. Michael Sahota: Yeah, we're calling it almost like radical responsibility, like just taking full 100% responsibility for one's interstate of being, thoughts, actions, energetic stake, and taking responsibility in stewardship and taking action and looking after it, the way you look after, you know, a child that was in your care. So, we need to look after our interstate of functioning. Audree Sahota: Yeah. I think as a society on a whole, we're generally in a low vibrational state, we're always in the state of fear, anxiety, worry, anger, blame, all these different aspects of who we are. And it becomes an addictive pattern. There's actually an addiction going on in your body. So, if you start to really slow down and feel like, just watch the news, that's a really great example. While you're watching the news, what's going on in your body? Oh, I'm feeling this searing burning sensation and this, you know, tightness in my chest, sit with that searing burning sensation in your chest for a while. You'll start to feel like, oh, that feels really good. And then start to notice how many times a day do you actually instigate that sense and that feeling in your body, there's a chemical release going on in your body. There's a biological reaction to whatever emotional state is happening. You know, that's caused by the environment and what happens is our bodies become addicted to those chemicals, the cortisol and all that stuff that's going on in the body. So, you really have to almost like take back control of this addictive patterns. That are not only, you know, psychological patterns, you know, with emotions, but it's also. Michael Sahota: It's like energetic, it's physiological, its neuro chemical, it’s societal, it's in our environments and the conditioning. So that's what we're talking about, breaking out this matrix, we're trapped in, right. And that's where, you know, our work is very, very different because we're looking at, you know. Audree Sahota: Everything. Michael Sahota: Universal principles, what is really going on here? Oh, I'm in fear. So therefore, I'm not getting blood supply in my frontal cortex, therefore my brain can't operate. Ah, okay, no wonder, now I know what's going on, right. Audree Sahota: And just taking it back to something really simple because you shouldn't believe anything that we're saying at all, it should be an actual personal experience to validate your own belief system. And so, this is what I always offer people. Find somebody that you can't stand, that you have a huge problem with. And let's just say, it's your boss okay. You could pick a lot of other people, but let's just say, it's your boss, because this is an easy one to work with. There's somebody in your organization that you have such a hard time with and spend a bunch of time, maybe 30 minutes just sitting and feeling positive about this person. Like what if everything I thought about this person was wrong? What if, and just start to calm the nervous system down, calm your body down, calm your mind down, open your heart and change your perception of this person. Just do it, make the choice and just do it. No matter what the external circumstances are. I guarantee everybody, if you do this, that relationship will automatically shift. Steve Rush: Like it. Michael Sahota: That's the advanced step. Most people aren't ready for. The first step. Steve Rush: Yeah. Michael Sahota: The first step for that is just see how you don't want to do that. Just see how you not want to do what Audree just described. That's how you are the problem right now. You're not ready to let go of that anger. Audree Sahota: Oh yeah. Because you're addicted to it. Michael Sahota: Yeah. Audree Sahota: It's an addiction. Michael Sahota: It's not your fault. You just need to be aware of it. Step one. Audree Sahota: It’s like drinking, smoking, doing drugs. It's the same thing, right. We love it. Oh, we love getting angry, oh my God. Michael Sahota: At that person. We tell other people about it, yeah anyway. Audree Sahota: Right, sometimes our identities are wrapped around, you know, certain situations that we're having. For me personally, when I started to look at, why do I want that? Why do I want the negativity? And then I was like, oh, wait a minute, I don’t. Why do I want too not be successful? Well, wait a minute. I want to be successful. Why would I create something that's you know where I'm going to fail? Steve Rush: Addiction. Audree Sahota: Why would I do that to myself? Steve Rush: Yeah. So, this is where we turn the tables because I could spend all day talking to you by the way. You are in incredibly fascinating and I'm getting juiced up listening to you. But this is a show that we have thousands of people listening to all over the world and it'll be rude for me to not exploit the opportunity to hack into your years of experience and wonderful learnings. So, I'm going to now ask you to tap into your top leadership hacks. So, if you consider the things that you've experienced, things that you've done, and of course we know leadership's not hack, you've got to work at it, but what would it be if you were to distill top tips, ideas or tools? Michael Sahota: Listen to other people's ideas before sharing your own. Audree Sahota: I think for me, it would be. Asking what if I'm the problem? Just what if I’m the problem. Steve Rush: That's a fabulous reframe, isn't it? To think of a different perspective. Audree Sahota: And then the other one for me, this is my favorite question. How can I help you be successful? Turn the tables instead of it being about you, how can I help you be successful? And that might mean that you're on a team and the whole team is like, how can I help another team be successful? Steve Rush: Really, really like that last one. So, the next of show, we affectionally called it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your lives or work has gone, particularly not well. It's been more catastrophic. It might have been a complete failure, but as a result of that experience, you now have that tool that is useful in your life and work. What would be your Hack to Attack? Michael Sahota: You know, it’s really interesting, it’s really a great concept and our answer is, everything. That’s one of our teachings is, everything that’s going on around you is a gateway to learning. Steve Rush: I like that. Michael Sahota: And most of our lies, we ignore everything, all these gateways to learning and evolution, but it's every single moment, every single frustration, every single you know, thing we perceive as failure, everything we're resisting and we're not flowing with life is the gateway to evolution. Steve Rush: Yeah. Audree Sahota: Oh, I would say my marriage, my first marriage. Steve Rush: Well, without that serendipitous moment that you had in India, of course you wouldn't be where you are today either. Audree Sahota: No. Steve Rush: So, the last part of the show, we get to give you an opportunity to do some time travel, bump into yourselves at 21 and give yourselves some advice. Audree, you go first. Audree Sahota: Oh my God. I would say stop partying so much. And, you know, I don't really know. I think for me it would be things are going to get better and you stop sabotaging your own self, yeah. Steve Rush: Great. Michael Sahota: Yeah, for me it would be Michael, you're not going to believe me because one of your problems is you think you have it all figured out and you don't need to listen to anyone. So, I'm not going to ask you to believe anything I'm saying now, but just keep in your back pocket when things are going to go wrong, because they're going to go wrong. And when they go wrong, I just want you to think about this. Steve Rush: That's super. Michael Sahota: You can't help anyone else until you stabilize yourself and your own healing and growth is the most important thing you can do. And I know it will not make any sense to you now. I understand that, but when things are going wrong, it's not about what's happening around you. It's what's happening inside you. Audree Sahota: I think you told yourself at 21, you're going to go to India and meet some hot girl and to pay attention. Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely. If only we could have a crystal ball, right? So, I'm pretty certain that you've inspired people to want to learn more about what you're doing and maybe get a copy of Leading Beyond Change, diving into some of the communities that you work with and run, where is the best place for us to send them? Michael Sahota: The best place is our website Audree Sahota: Yeah, we also have another book, Emotional Science, and I think you can get through to both of those books, Leading Beyond Change and Emotional Science from Steve Rush: And we'll make sure that links to the website and how people can get hold of the copies of the books are all in our show notes as well. Audree Sahota: Thank you so much. Steve Rush: I've really enjoyed this conversation. I hope it's not our last. I'm pretty certain it won't be, and I'm really delighted that we have you both on the show to share some experiences and get us to think differently about a few things that you've really poised today. So, thanks for being part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Audree Sahota: Thank you so much for having us here. We really appreciate it. Michael Sahota: Yeah, our pleasure. Audree Sahota: Yeah. Steve Rush: Thank you both. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories. Please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
47:28 28/03/22
The Productivity Paradigm with Richard Medcalf
Richard Medcalf is Founder and CEO of Xquadrant and an executive coach to some of the world's most impressive and successful CEOs and their teams. He’s also the host of the Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast. In today’s show you can learn about: The productivity paradigm and the infinity trap. Why we don’t need a productivity hack, we just need a mindset shift. Why many struggle to focus on higher-value tasks and prioritization. How to kick start our strategic thinking. Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Richard below: Special Link to resources: Richard on LinkedIn: https: Richard on Twitter: Podcast: Company  Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Joining on today. Show is super coach Richard Medcalf. He's the founder of Xquadrant, and he's an Executive Coach of some of the world's most impressive and successful CEOs and their teams. He's also the host of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast. But before we get a chance to be Richard, it's The Leadership Hacker News The Leadership Hacker News Time is a valuable commodity that should not be wasted. A marketer is likely to be concerned with both time and money about the value they create. Luckily, plenty of thought leadership techniques are also available for those who do not mind spending time on their strategy, but don't wish to spend a lot of money on marketing. Thought leadership is a leader's best friend for promoting what they do. Recently I researched Services, a global thought leadership agency that focused on evidence-based research, published a list of techniques and ideas to help leaders in the space of thought leadership. And I'm just going to share with you the top four. Be accessible. Thought leadership is about being visible. You can boost your visibility by making yourself accessible to others. Sharing your expertise freely and having your team do the same. Don't be afraid to speak to media outlooks or bloggers or write articles. It can all help you get your brand out there and your message to the audience. Always create content. Consistently creating content can take time, but it also can help you build an audience for your brand. Additionally, it can help you create more ideas, content creations is an excellent way to show that you're aware of your industry. You're aware of the news and you're aware of what's trending. This can really help you become an industry leader, become more renowned so that people can see your content and become familiar with who you are and what you stand for. Hone your problem-solving skills. Problem solving is a life skill and one you should hone. It shows that you can identify, analyze, and solve a problem. It also shows that you are innovative and capable of being an industry leader and helping others solve problems with you, demonstrates credibility. Be a leader. Thought leadership is about being a leader in your industry. This means that you should express ideas and take action when the opportunity arises. While you shouldn't strive to jump into every issue of controversy that abounds, you should also not be content to sit on the sidelines, particularly if it concerns your industry, it's all about having balance. So don't be afraid to try any these techniques for your thought leadership. It will cost you nothing. It might cost you a bit of time, but you'll get loads of value, and you'll learn along the way. So good luck with your thought leadership. That's been the leadership hacking news, and we are looking forward to sharing more news as the weeks go by. So please let us know if there's something specific, you'd like us to talk about. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining me on today's show is Richard Medcalf. He's the Founder and CEO of Xquadrant. He's an Executive Coach and coach some of the world's most impressive and successful CEOs. He's also the host of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast. Richard, welcome to the show. Richard Medcalf: Hi Steve. It's great to be here. Thank you for inviting me Steve Rush: Looking forward to getting into the mindsets behind some of the work that you do and the work that Xquadrant do with you and your clients. But before we do that, we'd love to get the opportunity for our guests. Just give the bit of the backstory as to how you arrived doing what you do? So, tell us a little bit about Richard? Richard Medcalf: Well, sure. Obviously talking about myself with my favorite subject. So, you've got a spare five-hour, strap in and we'll, no, just kidding. So, my background is that I'm a bit of a strange hybrid. I like to describe myself sometimes as what you get. If you take a kind of a McKinsey Consultant, a slightly unorthodox pastor, and an entrepreneur, and you put them in a blender. Steve Rush: That’s interesting. Richard Medcalf: I'm a Brit’, but I've lived in France now for twenty-two years. My first role having studied Oxford, got my master’s degree there. My first role was in strategy consulting. I was asked by one of the partners in that firm to come over, to help him build out the Paris office for a year or two, sounded like a good idea. And then 22 years later, I'm still here. I married a lovely French lady and have kids and everything else. So that was how life evolved. I really enjoy strategy consulting; I think have a strategic brain naturally. And that all work really well. I became the youngest have a partner in that company, worked with a whole load of really interesting clients at board level, mainly the tech and telecom space. And then I was head hunted by Cisco, just at the point I'd been in the partner role for a couple of years. And I felt, you know, perhaps it was time to do something new and keep learning. And so, I joined Cisco, obviously a huge tech company. So, I became a smaller fish in a much bigger pond and cut a long story short after about 11 years again, I had a really interesting ride at Cisco. The last role was in a small team set up by Cisco CEO to really catalyze board level business initiatives with partners and customers. I'd like to describe it as fulfilling rash commitments made by the CEO in executive meetings. Steve Rush: Which happens a lot, right? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, so they both get excited about, you know, let's do something together in enterprise, you know, Wi-Fi, or I don't know, in internet of things or in the cloud or whatever the subject was, and they'd get like very excited and then we'd get the phone call to say, okay, there's some excitement to the CEO level, but now you need to help these organizations find something in that space that is strategically meaningful, operationally feasible, and both sides actually want to do at the actually operational level. So, it was really interesting role. For various reasons though, I kind of started to think after a couple of years of that, you know, although it was a lot of fun, I was thinking, you know, what's the legacy I really want to create in my career, in my life? What do I want to be telling my great-grandchildren when they're on my knee? You know, at age 90 or whatever it is. And I realized that although I love creating business results and I still love doing that. I didn't just want to tell my great-grandchildren that I helped increase, you know, AT&T and EBITDA margin by north 0.5% or whatever, you know, that wasn't quite enough. So, I decided to really look at what did I do really, really well, you know, what was my unique secret source? What’s the impact that I really wanted to make in the world? And I kind of came to the conclusion that what it was, was helping already competent successful leaders make an even bigger and more positive impact in the world. And to do that, you have to obviously make a bigger impact in your organization, in your people and on the mission that you're there to create. And I think that was for me, the heart of it, was saying, you know, how can I actually help people who have already got a success formula that works really well as evidenced by their track record? How can I help them reinvent that success formula and think strategically and get past their own fears, perhaps of change or of failure or of stretching too far to actually create the impact that they can make? And that's really what sets me on fire today. And so, I set up Xquadrant a few years back, it's basically a small boutique coaching and consulting practice where we help leaders generally often CEOs or Founders, or sometimes other C-suite members, generally of tech firms or firms going through a lot of technology, disruption and shifts. It really help them find what their next level of impact is going to be? And to do that, it's always about thinking more strategically and operating more influentially and that's it. Steve Rush: Got it, yeah. So, the title Xquadrant, is there something in the name there? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, there's a few things in the name, obviously, apart from the fact that the domain name is available. Steve Rush: So, it was a good start, right? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, there's a few things. So, you know, the first one is a bit of a, you know, a nod, right. Consultant’s love drawing two by two matrices and drawing an X in the top the top right corner to say, that's where you need to be. And so first of all, it kind of speaks to ambition, right. The second one is, is often, insight is found when we realize that it's not an either-or choice in front of us, but there's perhaps a new option that allows us to do both things, right. So, you know, we either support our team or we challenge our team. Well, you know, what happens if we created an environment where we really support them with high support, but we also create really high challenge? Right. Suddenly something feels like an either or becomes a both and. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: And that is also kind of, if you like that X on that two by two represents to me. And the final reason for Xquadrant is, the X stands for multiplication. And this is really key for me. It's easy in a sense to continually add value and play the game of being incremental, but I'm really interested in what does multiplication look like, right? How do we create an exponential curve for people? Where behind us, it looks flat and ahead of us, it looks vertical because we're on such a curve, and that's what excites me. Steve Rush: I like that, really nice. So, when we are talking around exponential and matrices. From the last conversation you and I had, I'm going to be talking about a lot of execs get stuck in this productivity paradigm. So, tell us a little bit about what that really means and how I get out of it? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, so the name I like to use for this paradigm is the infinity trap actually. So, the infinity trap is, you know, we live in a world of infinity, right. There's an infinite number of tasks, of people, of content out there. So, there's always more to do and we just can't get through it, right. The more books we buy, the more recommendations on books we get, the more emails we reply to, the more emails we get back. It's never ending, right. And so, we can't use productivity to break out of that because you can't defeat infinity with productivity. There's always more to do. And so, the infinity trap, and I see it all around and is, just for people going, you know, I'm crazy busy or even I'm good busy, but people are so focused. They're running, they are perhaps very clear on what they're trying to achieve actually, but they've got their heads down trying to achieve it. And so, what happens is, they haven't got enough time to think. They know they're not really thinking about all the big issues around them. They've got tunnel vision, in fact. So, in a sense, they might be really focused, but perhaps they've even lost serendipity from their lives, lost a bit of randomness or lost a bit of contexts. So, it shows up in different people in different ways. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: But I think the infinity trap is really where we are running fast. It feels good. We kind of feel that we are making progress. We kind of feel that we are perhaps being the super leader in our organization and, you know, lifting things on our shoulders and everything else. And we know it kind of works in a sense, but actually progress is becoming incremental at this point. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: We can't see it. Steve Rush: However, I guess the flip side of that is, we still need to keep productive and improve productivity where we can. And I remember, again, from the conversation we had before, there aren't any real productivity hacks. It starts with yourself, and it actually starts with shifting your mindset. From your experience what's playing out there? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, so obviously there are things we can do to kind of organize ourselves and do things differently and create an environment around us that's conducive to the work we need to do and all those things, right. But I think the fundamental limits to all that are, it's what we believe, right. It's what we believe is necessary desirable or achievable, possible around things. It depends on the self-image we have, right. How do we achieve things? How do we get things done? Right. What has to be true for us to succeed? What is success? All these things actually shape us. So let me give you an example. A couple examples come to mind. Let me just start with this one. I was talking with an executive, just being promoted to board level in a seven-thousand-person firm. It's pretty big firm and he'd got operations around twenty different countries. And I was being asked to help him really onboard into this executive role, into the C-suite and maximize his impact as he does that. He was clearly a high performer. People loved him, but he knew he really wanted to play bigger game. And so, we identified together a couple of big transformational projects that he was going to champion throughout the business. Things that had never been done before on a global scale. And he was really going to move the needle. And he was very excited about this, and all the stakeholders were excited, and he was working on them and making some great progress. And then one day he came to me and said, you know, Richard, I'm just stuck in my email. I'm just like, I'm not getting enough time to work on these projects. They're not going as fast as I wanted. And so, I kind of asked him, well, why is that? You know, why are you spending so much time in your email? He says, well, you know, I just want to be a good team player. I want to be trustworthy and reliable. I don't want to be the guy that people have to chase up. I don't want to be that person, right. The one who never replies to emails, who is a bottleneck for everybody else, who's not pulling their weight in the team. And indeed, he was a people person, right. He really wanted to do his best with people. And so, I stopped, and he was asking me for a tip, you know, Richard, what tips can you gimme about email? And I said, well, you know, if you’re coming to me for a tip, it's probably a waste of your money, right. You can probably Google the tip, right. I don't think that's what you need from me. In fact, I can just tell you that whatever tip I did give you, you wouldn't do anything with right now. I can't help you on that level. And he was like, what do you mean you can't help? I said, well, you've just told me that the reason you do your email and you spent so much time there is, because you want to be reliable and trustworthy and a team player. So, I'm not going to tell you to be an unreliable, untrustworthy, non-team player. You're never going to buy it. So, he was like, ah, that's a good point. So, I said, well, let try it another way. If the CEO was in the room with you, what would he be asking you for? He had to think, and he said, well. Yeah, work on those big transformational projects. Because he's really excited about the benefits that's going to bring. Okay, what about the investors? What would they be asking for if you were in, one of those board meetings? Oh, well. I guess same thing I suppose, because that's going to make a really big difference on our financials if we can shift the employee experience in this way, okay. What about the employers themselves then? What about the team? What do they most want you to be doing if they could be in this room with us right now? And he thought, he said, well, I guess the same thing, right? Richard, the same projects, because they're sick and tired of the old ways of working and the inefficiencies that we've been working with. And what about customers, if they could talk to us, what would they be telling us? And he said, well, they won't know so much. Because it's a bit of an internal project, transformation project, but I guess it'd be the same kind of thing. Because if the employees can focus less on internal admin, they can spend more time with the customers and solving customer issues. So, I said, okay, so at this point, you're telling me, that all these different stakeholders really want you to focus us on these two or three transformational projects? Yeah, that's right. Okay, so let me put it to you that you're being untrustworthy, unreliable, and not a team player when you are busy getting to inbox zero, you know, and managing all these inbound requests. And at this point, you know, the penny drops, right. And he’s like, oh, you're right. Like, this is not who I am anymore, right. I need to be playing a different game. And so, at that point he didn't need me to tell him how to set up a filter in Gmail, right, or how to turn his notifications off. Although those things always help, right. I’m a strong believer in turning notifications off, right. I mean, these are proven things, but the key shift was in that identity, you know, thinking actually, what is the trustworthy and reliable thing for me to do? Steve Rush: Yeah, and then choosing that right identity creates the right behaviors and beliefs that come with it, right? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, exactly. I was working with somebody else, and he was explaining how he couldn't possibly delegate to his team because things had to be done at certain level of quality and he wasn't sure if his team was able to do it. So, I just kind of made up a concept on the fly and said, oh, so you're telling me you're being the high performing janitor. Then you want to be the high performing janitor, you know, wiping those floor tiles to perfection. Whilst there's a business to be running. And again, he just a little aah. I know you're right. Perhaps I'm focusing on doing low level tasks incredibly well. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: And perhaps not getting on into the messy business of working on the big issues. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: Which I'm not quite so certain on. And again, it's these kinds of shifts that when you make this shift, then the productivity stuff finds its natural flow. Steve Rush: And the story you just shared, ironically is not, you know, an isolated incident. You get a lot of people, certainly at the senior level, also getting drawn into those menial tasks. Richard Medcalf: Certainty. Steve Rush: From your perspective, then Richard, what would be the reason that many executives and this is not exclusive to executives by the way, this could be, you know, junior team leader, right the way through to senior executives. I think most people will struggle with this. What's the reason we then struggle to prioritize in the right way typically? Richard Medcalf: I mean, there're actually a bunch of possible reasons, but I think some of the common ones are, yeah, number one is instant gratification and the comfort zone. Have things put in front of us that we deal with. So, you know, if you're always getting notified by your email, then it's easy just to deal with emails as they come. Because they give you instant gratification, right. It's not the important work necessarily, but it’s some something. So, I think that's part of it. I think the comfort zone is another, right. In other words, there are some areas that we know how to do pretty well, but those are probably areas which actually are not the cutting edge of the work that we need to do. But we do know that we add value when we do them. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: So, there's a bit of fear. I may as well just do the things that I'm really good at, and I know that's going to do some benefit, right. Rather than tackle this kind of other stuff, which I probably should be doing. But it's a bit less clear and that's really the third point is, ambiguity, right. We don't often take the time to really define what are those high I value tasks? Right. If I had five minutes, how would I actually proceed on them? Once we can define how you'd spend five minutes, then it's quite easy to do that five-minute task. But if it's like, I'm just need to do some strategic thinking. Where to begin on that? Right. It's really difficult. So, I that mixture of that kind of comfort zone, instinct gratification, and then this kind of fear and ambiguity on what are these higher value tasks that we want to be doing. But all those things play together Steve Rush: And there's some chemical reactions that go on with us as individuals that happen there. This is not kind of an instinct. That instant gratification, and it gives us that dopamine rush. It makes us feel good in that moment. And therefore chemically, we're also drawn to those quick hits rather than the other chemical reactions that come with uncertainty and fear and challenge that can sometimes hold us back as well, right. Richard Medcalf: Yeah, exactly. So, it's also important to try to hack those emotions a little bit, right. And celebrate when you start to feel those, right. I've defined something that was a bit ambiguous, like give yourself a fist pump, right. Actually, reward yourself for making a dent in those ambiguous fluffy areas that are actually the important ones. Steve Rush: Yeah, and you mentioned strategic thinking there as part of that kind of role that we all have and strategic thinking's quite overplayed in my experience. I'd love to get your spin on this, by the way. So, for me, strategic thinking is just about thinking about what we don't know yet and thinking about what we don't know, that we can then translate to what we actually do know. And again, role agnostic, whether you are a junior team leader or a C-suite executive, it's all of our responsibilities to think that way. What's your experience about how strategic thinking plays out in our workplace, these days? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, I mean, you're right. I mean, there's a couple of ways you can look at strategic thinking, right. For me, strategic thinking actually is a laser, right. Or it's a lens, right. For me, it's a lens that focuses us in, right. So where do we put our focus and our attention? What are the subjects where we need to focus? So that's part of it. And I think the other part is the more diffuse one, as you said, which is like, what is it in the environment? What are the factors that I’m not, that we're not folding in at this point? And I think those are both important ways to look at it, right. But I mean, but for me the most pragmatic way or most is to think about, there's a book I called The One Thing. And it's quite a helpful question they ask, which is, you know, what's the one thing that if we were to achieve that would make everything else easier or more relevant? Steve Rush: That's a great question, isn't it? Richard Medcalf: And I think just focusing on that, so what's the one thing right now that we most need to do? Right. I think that's just a really simple way of thinking about this. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: And the answer to that lens, right, that focus. My particular angle on strategic thinking is, I suppose I kind of call it exponential leadership, right. So, I'm always thinking, you know, how do we multiply impact rather than add value? How do we multiply value, not add value? How do we multiply things? And the way to think about that is, what's the constraint, right? Where is the constraint in the system in which we're operating at the moment? There's pretty more than we can get into right now on that and exactly all the constraints, but for example, we have limited time, we have limited attention, we have limited resources, you know, there are kind of things. We might have limited ambition, right. I need to understand, like what frustrate me personally, as a leader and also in the organization. And again, the goal here is to find, what's the one area that if we were to address and improve would allow all this whole system, this business, for example, to kind of expand up to the next level of impact or to the next level of results? And for me, that's kind of the question. So, it's about rather than just turning the handle on the machine, it's trying to step back and look at the machine we've built and think about, you know, what's the one thing that's holding back performance? Just a little point on that. If people are interested in this idea of exponential leadership and moving from a more of an incremental, to more of a multiplicative mindset, I've actually written a short email series is about, I think, six emails and people on my newsletter have just been going through them. And I think I've had more feedback on that one email series than anything else I've ever written. So, it's really resonating with people, it's called The Exponential Leadership Principles. And it walks through, you know, these different constraints and what and do to overcome them. If people are interested, they can just go to is a simple way for them to find their way there from this podcast. Steve Rush: We also make sure that links in the show notes, because as you said, it's just a simple process that gets people to think and reflect, and that's half the challenge, isn't it with strategic thinking? It's giving yourself the capacity, the time that you need to be thoughtful about what it is you're doing. Richard Medcalf: Yeah, it could because just one insight can change anything, right. One insight can certainly make us see the world in a new way, see the options we have differently. See, what's not working, that we're spending so much time on or whatever it is. And so often it's just encountering new ideas, new people, having new conversations that opens us up, right. To get onto a different trajectory. Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely right. Yeah. Now you managed to interview some of the world's largest CEOs on The Impact Multiplier Podcast. And it's really interesting to dive into, I've listened to quite a few of your episodes now, and they all bring different perspectives and different stories, but there are still some commonalities. And I'm sure you find, as I do with many of our guests, that there are some common themes. From your perspective in having those conversations, Richard, what would you say is the maybe the most common challenge that keeps representing itself in and amongst these CEOs and Executives? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, I've seen this. Yeah, right on the podcast and in my own work with these kinds of leaders. Actually, there's a couple of things on trends. I mean, a bonus point, I'd almost say one of the things I've really seen as a success component actually is a theme, you know, is (A) genuinely being interested in people, right. And (B) really thinking about creating structures that multiply in fact, right. I interviewed some of the CEOs of the fastest growing companies in Europe and in the U.S. and like their common refrain was how they pushed down decision making responsibility, created independent little entities, you know, and empowered leaders who could build their own subparts of the business, and really, really interesting. In terms of the challenges. I mean, I suppose what I really see is, I think there's an internal challenge actually in a lot of people, which is even at that level, it's about confidence and imposter syndrome and all those things that's always there. There is that kind of focus challenge of getting out the weeds. I think, you know, they all say, you know, my next level is going to involve me living behind even more operational tasks, right. Trusting in my team, even more. Focusing, even more on some of the new areas, perhaps it's, you know, it's an acquisition plan they want to roll out or whatever it is. And so, continuing to get out the weeds and focus on higher level tasks. And the third one is, that one around nailing the critical conversations. So, you know, leadership is delivered one convers and at a time, and you can have all the plans and strategies you want, but actually just slowing down to master that one conversation with that one report, that one stakeholder, whoever it is, perhaps bringing them on board to what you're trying to achieve is really important. And so, I think perhaps those three areas that, you know, be in a game of confidence, the kind of higher-level activities and those critical conversations would be the three themes that I see come up. Steve Rush: Awesome. Yeah, good. And delighted you share those now, however, I'm going to turn the tables a bit and hacking to your top thinking and your top tips for the future. And I know we think about tips and hacks and ideas. People kind of have this different perspective about what they mean. And in essence, hacking for me is just shorting into your great thinking. So, if you think about your career as a leader and what you do now, if you had to kind of get them into your top three tips or hacks, what would they be? Richard Medcalf: Number one would be play the long game, which means they'll always be so transactional, right. It's easy to kind of get transactional and just focus on the thing in front of you, but, you know, build relationships for the long term. Think about where you want to be, you know, a little bit longer than the next year or the next quarter. Play the long game, right. And build relationships that last, right. So that'd be number one. The second one would be, go in the direction of your discomfort. See the discomfort zone is where you learn, that's where you grow and therefore treat imposter syndrome as a feature and not a bug. In other words, when you're feeding imposter syndrome, it generally means that your confidence is lagging your competency, in fact and it also means that you are actually playing a bigger game, right. You're pushing yourself; you are seeking to add more value and as a result, it feels a little bit uncomfortable. So, I think that second one, go in the direction of your discomfort. Steve Rush: I love that. Richard Medcalf: And then, I think the third one would be, I guess it comes back to what I talked about earlier is, focus on the key constraint, think about multiplication and not addition. Goes back to that email of course, I mentioned. Goes back to that thinking around yeah. How do I stop just using my time, doing the same tasks, time and time again? And how do I invest my time? Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: To remove constraints Steve Rush: Three fantastic hacks. I particularly love the idea of playing the long game. I guarantee many people listening to this will be going, ah, because we often don't think long game. We think, you know, this quarter, this year, next year, but actually it's all part of the long game, isn't it? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, it's what I said. I thought about, where do I want to be when I'm 90? Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: One thing I love to ask my clients, you know, is what's so important to you that you have to 100 X it? What really matters, right? What do you really want a 100 X? So, for me, for example, wouldn't it be amazing if I got a 100 X, you know, the number of leaders who really point to me as a real catalyst for the impact that they've had in the world, right. As somebody who's really helped them a 100 X their impact. So, I'm on a mission, you know, I said, let's actually do that for a hundred leaders, right. Let's actually a hundred X the impact of a hundred leaders, that'd be a fantastic legacy. So that's what I'm excited about, but play the long game, think about, what would that 25-year vision be? What would be bring a silly grin to your face? Because it's so exciting, get a bit embarrassing. Because you're not sure how you're going to do it. Steve Rush: Yeah. My unconscious thinking though, is just worrying and ticking as I'm thinking about my own long game. So, I'm hoping that it's inspiring our listeners in the same way. Next part of the show, Richard, we call Hack to Attack. So, this is affectionately where we dive into something in your life or work that has not worked out as you'd planned, could have been a complete catastrophe. It could have been a minor hiccup, but as a result of that event, it's now serving you well as a learning in your life or work, what would be your Hack to Attack? Richard Medcalf: Yeah, I think when I look at my time at Cisco, I think there was a period at that time and perhaps it was okay. It was just life. There was a bit of a time in that 10-year period where I think I stagnated a little bit I, my kids were very young. I was in my comfort zone, shall we say, right. So, I was delivering, I was performing, people like my work, but I think I had not necessarily growing and not necessarily increasing my impact for a period. And looking back, I felt that's a bit of a missed opportunity because just like putting money in the bank, you know, things compound over time, right. If you want to play an exponential game, things compound over time. One example that's recently come to my mind is, you know, dominoes, right. If you lineup dominoes and you knock the first one over, it can knock over another domino, that's 50% bigger than itself. And then that one can knock over another domino that's 50% bigger and that's again, exponential, right. And so, I think I got into a time at Cisco where my dominoes were all the same size, shall we say, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: And it was okay. But I think that also started to kind of, I got to a think at a stage where I realized that perhaps I'd missed some opportunities and again, I had a good career, right. Good thing, and I got into this amazing team that was, you know, reporting to the CEO. And so, it wasn't a bad moment, but I think within that, before I got into that team, there was a phase where perhaps I wasn't making the most opportunities that I've been presented with. Wasn't my eye on the ball. And so, I think that's something I've really thought about now is, invest in myself, you know and reinvent. I think probably reinvent is probably the best word, right. So, I always say to people, what's your Madonna moment? You know, Madonna who, you know, turns up and she's like, we got a new style and, you know, whatever it is or any other rock band or pop star, who's been around for a long time. And most of them have had moments where they've reinvented themselves and they've changed things up. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah. Richard Medcalf: And I did when I left Cisco, you know, I changed things up. And it's worked really, really well. And I think continuing to reinvent ourselves, not to leave things behind actually. We think we are leaving things behind, but we don't, we just build upon them, right. And we add to ourselves, we become more multifaceted, and I think that's what I would say. So, reinvent ourselves. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: Get stuck. Steve Rush: Cool. Now the last part of the show, we've affectionately become used to giving our guests some time to do some time travel. And you get to go and bump into Richard at 21 and give him some words of wisdom. What would your advice to Richard at 21 be? Richard Medcalf: I think, I'd say read self-development books. Invest in yourself more, generally, never be scared of investing in yourself. Don't always wait for your company to do the investing in yourself and always be wary of the comfort zone. And I kind of knew that in some ways. But I think all those things I kind of learned more and more over time. Yeah, so now I invest in myself more than, you know, more than ever by orders a magnitude. I remember when I was in the corporate world, I was invited to go to a conference by a friend who's running the conference. I knew it was going to be a really, really good conference, but I didn't go because I had to pay for like a 200 Euro, you know, Eurostar ticket or something, right. The company wasn’t going to pay. And so, I said, oh, I'm not going to go then, and ridiculous right. I mean, and nowadays I write checks for, you know, five figure checks, right. I wrote check for $25,000, the other day for my own self development, right. Because it's so important. Steve Rush: Yeah. Richard Medcalf: And yet, you know, there I was in a well pay corporate job and even spending a few hundred euros, seemed like a bit of an ask. It's completely ridiculous. So, investing ourselves is the best investment we can make. Steve Rush: Great advice. So, what's next for Richard and Xquadrant then? Richard Medcalf: Well, there's quite a few things. This year we're kicking off a CEO mastermind group. I've got a group of really, really incredible CEOs. Some of them are running kind of startups, scale up. Some of them got million-dollar companies in the U.S. and in Europe and other places around the world. And we're creating that community, which is really, really exciting because, you know, iron sharpens iron, right. You know, you get these really impressed, capable leaders together, often of whom they don't get enough of that peer input. And that's really exciting group. And then I'm also doing another program for kind of the slightly lower-level leaders as well, but another kind of community for them called Xquadrant Core. We kicked off the first session of that a couple of weeks ago. And that was a really strong start as well. So, there's a couple of kind of programs I've been up to. And moreover, what I'm focused on is that mission right. Of helping a hundred top leaders multiply their impact by a hundred. That's what gets me out me of bed. Steve Rush: Yeah, awesome. And if we want to connect our audience with you beyond today, we know we've got that one link that we shared a little earlier, but where's the best place for us to send them? Richard Medcalf: Yes, absolutely. So obviously, if you go to, that's going to be a blog post. You can sign up at the bottom to my email and newsletter, The Xquadrant Insider, which is where basically once a month, I talk about something around this whole idea of multiplying impact. And you can deep dive into different topics if you're interested at that point. The podcast you mentioned as well, right. The Impact to Multiplier CEO Podcast where I interview some really interesting business leaders. And people are always happy to look me up on LinkedIn. Just if you send me an invitation request, just customize your message so that I know why you're connecting and where you found me. And I'm always happy to have a conversation, right. Because play the long game, build interesting relationships with interesting people, add value and generally good things come back to you over time when you take that approach Steve Rush: And we'll help people play that long game by making sure those links are in our show notes as well. Richard Medcalf: That's perfect. Steve Rush: Richard, I've really enjoyed chatting with you and looking forward to you and I working together in the future. And I'm really looking forward to letting our audience find out a little bit more about the work that you do and explore some great things together. Thanks for being part of our leadership packet community Richard. Richard Medcalf: You're welcome. It's been fantastic. Steve Rush: Thanks very much.   Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories, please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, Leadership Hacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
40:16 21/03/22
Look Inside with Rasha Hasaneen
Rasha Hasaneen is the Vice President of Innovation and Product Excellence for Trane Technologies. A former executive with global businesses, Rasha also leads the Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces as Executive Director. In this show learn about: Why, when the world is diving into ESG and Climate measures we are not normally drawn to consider inside spaces, – why is that? Why is how we live indoors so crucial to a sustainable future? What is the impact on productivity loss due to unhealthy indoor spaces? Covid 19 is not the first pandemic and not likely to be the last, learn about the “extra layer.” Join our Tribe at Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Rasha below: Rasha on LinkedIn: Rasha on Twitter: Company Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as The Leadership Hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Today's special guest is Rasha Hasaneen. She's a Vice President and Executive Director, at Trane Technologies where she runs Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces. Rasha is also a board of advisor member, a board member for a number of technology and climate tech companies and councils. But before we get a chance to speak with Rasha, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: In the news today, we explore whether or not organizations and leaders are taking ESG seriously. And if they do, how it can directly correlate to great results. The letters ESG of course stand for Environmental, Social and Governance, and are typically how organizations structure activities and commitments to each be it greenhouse gases and emissions and waste, that's E. Staff, labor, relations, employee safety, that's the S or board diversity in supply chain management, that's the G and while most organizations will have a view and a lens. Having tactical and focused activities can be really relevant to the business world and more and more shareholders and stakeholders, as well as customers, staff and consumers are starting to take more notice around ESG and ESG ratings. The momentum towards ESG has not slowed with the pandemic. The crisis has intensified and reinforced the important issues of ESG. George Serafeim, a Harvard Business School Professor and ESG expert said COVID 19 has caused us to dive deeper and integrate our ESG inside organizations around them management and their strategy. And it's no longer just about feel-good issues. We're talking about even more important value drivers. So, let's have a look at how ESG can really drive shareholder return and maximize value for the organization. In one HBR Study, they found that $1 investment yielded $28 return over 20 years for companies that focused on ESG. And those that didn't focus on ESG measures only returned $14. In a recent study by McKinsey's, they explained executing ESG effectively can help combat rising operating expenses. Affecting operating profits as much as 60%. For leaders who want to reap such reports, they should immediately begin measuring ESG metrics alongside other KPIs. Of course, companies can then demonstrate what they measure and the impact that has to returns, and ESG helps with talent too. According to Wharton, Professor Peter Cappelli. Most hiring is a result of drastically poor retention. This issue has only been compounded in recent years with Mercer Global Talent Trends, 2020, calling the great recession. Revealing that nearly half, that's 46% of C-suites believe that their organization is ill equipped to attain, attract, the right talent. Though ESG and talent may seem unrelated, they are deeply correlated. A study from Marsha McLean & McLennan found employers with an attractive ESG strategy, attract, and retained the best talent in the marketplace. In addition, saw performance roughly 25% higher than average employers. There's enormous amount of evidence pointing that ESG is a value driver and will be even more of when moving forward. So, if leaders want to win, they should be putting those three letters, ESG at the heart of their strategies. That's been The Leadership Hacker News, as always please get in touch, in news, stories or insights that you might have. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Rasha Hasaneen is our special guest on today's show. She's the Vice President of Innovation and product excellence for Trane Technologies, a former executive with Global Businesses. Rasha now leads the Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces as Executive Director for Trane Technologies, Rasha welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Rasha Hasaneen: Thank you, Steve. It's a pleasure to be here. Steve Rush: So, you and I have taken an absolute age to try and get together, right? With the moving schedules, global pandemic but we are finally here at last. Rasha Hasaneen: Yes, agreed. It's been a little crazy. I mean, every time we think there's, you know, there's light at the end of the tunnel, there's more to come. And so, I think we're all trying to navigate it as best we can Steve Rush: Indeed. And the first time you and I met, we were talking around climate change and the role that Trane Technologies plays in that. And if anything, timing's perfect because the world has just really grab hold of the whole climate change initiative, hasn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: You bet, absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. I'm looking forward to getting into that in a moment before we do, though, we love our guests to give our audience the opportunity to share their backstory and understand a little bit about how they've arrived to do what they do. Tell us a little bit about Rasha? Rasha Hasaneen: You bet. So, I'm originally Egyptian. I moved to the United States very young. My mom came here to study. And then, you know, I spent my formative years between sort of the U.S. and the Middle East. Came back to do University, actually in Canada. So, I am also Canadian. Then worked for a few years, came back to the U.S., did a Masters, then sort of dug in on the digital side of things. So, I worked in Silicon Valley for a number of years. Decided I was really interested in sustainability with a big S, versus sort of sustainability with a little less S. Sort of doing stuff at home and composting and doing all the cool stuff. I wanted to really understand how I could impact climate change at the time. I will not date myself by telling you when the time was, but it was before climate change was cool. But I realized that sort of the combination of digital technologies with actually the industrial world was going to have a much bigger impact than the combination of digital technologies with the consumer world, which was kind of all the rage at the time. This was the early days of Amazon, again, dating myself. The early days of Amazon. You know, I had an iPod before the iPhone came out, which a lot of listeners may not remember. Steve Rush: Yep. Rasha Hasaneen: But it became clear to me that actually the integration of digital and industrial was really where it was going to be. And so, I went back and did the Doctorate, focusing on sustainability, but really focusing on industrial businesses. Made my change from Silicon Valley to sort of oil and gas and power. Finished my Doctorate. And then I was really on the supply side, I would say of climate change. So, power generation, you know, fossils versus renewables, et cetera. And then at the time Ingersol Rand, which then became Trane Technologies, came to me and said, hey, how would you like to be on the demand side? And they presented a very compelling argument about what it means to be on the demand side of climate change and really understanding how to reduce consumption through efficiency and so on. And so, they convinced me, and I joined the company to do product excellence and innovation and have never looked back since. Steve Rush: Awesome. So where did the bug come from? Because the whole career so far for you has been around sustainability. Rasha Hasaneen: Yes. Steve Rush: And where did that kind of a little S turn into a big S? Rasha Hasaneen: For me, you know, I'll share a very personal story. When I was working in Silicon Valley, I got really sick. I was in the hospital for about nine days in the intensive care unit. I was very young. And until that point I was kind of invincible and so was the world. And then you kind of examine your own vulnerabilities at that point. And then, for me, it was more about what, you know, you get to a point where it was like, what do you want to do with your life? And you want to do something that matters, right? And you also want to do something you're good at, and that you enjoy. So, I knew I enjoyed building things. I enjoyed, you know, building teams from scratch, doing things that were completely new and what I loved to do. And so, when it came to where I could apply my skillset in a way that would really help, sustainability became sort of part of the narrative for me personally, right. It was like, you know, how do we make businesses more sustainable? How do we make it better for people all over the world? Not just people in certain economic situations or in certain countries. And how does that the ubiquity of climate, how do you impact that? It was a big problem to solve, and it seems really overwhelming. And that was kind of, you know, it became a big puzzle for me, like, it's overwhelming, how do you break it down into kind of bite size pieces? And so, I started to understand it more and I wanted to really work on something that would really like change the world. And, you know, at the time, you know, apps were growing in popularity. And so, people would make apps for everything, right. I think at one point there was an iFart app. I was like, that's not what I want to work on. And so, I started to really sort of get the bug back for, you know, industrial businesses, I’m Mechanical Engineer by trade. My Masters is in Industrial Engineering, so I kind of missed that sort of the tangibility of being part of a business that builds things. But I also knew that it was that combination of my digital experience, bringing it to sort of the heavy metal type industry that was really going to make a difference. And every time I looked at something that was made better by digital, it was like the gains were humongous. And, so for me, it was really about doing something of import with sort of your superpowers. And that's kind of how I landed here. Some of it was serendipity of course. But a lot of it was really just having an internal sort of self-reflection over a period where your kind of most vulnerable, I think. Steve Rush: It's a great reflection. So, when it comes to climate change, our listeners are probably thinking, you know, traditional ESG measures. It's unlikely that when they do think of climate measures that they think of indoors. Rasha Hasaneen: Yeah. Steve Rush: And being drawn to consider indoor spaces, what's the reason it doesn't get the same profile, maybe as some of the other more explicit things that folk are undertaking right now? Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely. Great question. And it's a question I think about a lot. So historically it has taken a very long time, even for climate measures to become acknowledged as quote unquote real or something that we need to pay attention to. It took focused effort by science and researchers. It took, you know seasons and seasons of intense weather for sort of this very deliberate approach to take hold among the population. Indoor climates are very similar. They're intangible, right. Like your indoor climate is fine until it's not. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: And it has to be really bad for you to want to do something. Like, just think about your own home, right? Like you're in your home, if you're a little cold, you put on a blanket, right. You know, if it's a little stuffy, you open a window or you kind of deal with it. And it's not until like somebody burns something that you're like, okay, I got to turn on the hood vent. I've got to clear out the smoke and it's got to really be irritating. And humans tend to go to the bad, like I want to make the bad better. I rarely want to make the good, better if it's good, it's fine. And indoor spaces are no different. The impact of negative indoor environments is chronic. It's not acute. So, it happens over time, and it could be so many factors. And like, is it genetic? Is it this? Is it that? Why do I have asthma? And so, in the south here, in the United States, we call it the boiling frog syndrome, right. If you put a frog in really hot water, it jumps right out. But if you put a frog in cold water and you heat up the water slowly, it can boil to death. I know it's very gruesome, but without realizing that that's what's happening to it. And that's kind of how indoor environments are. You can't see it. Most of the times, you can't smell it. You can't feel it. And so, these indoor environments are not given as much attention by individuals. Steve Rush: Mm, and also. People perceive climate change to be an outside thing. They don't actually make the association that it's everything around us. Rasha Hasaneen: Inside, exactly. And so, were so focused on planetary health and sort of, you know, our very existence that we won't always then come back and think about human health. And if you just think about ESG metrics, the E gets a lot of attention. The S gets a little bit of attention, but not nearly as much. And human health is really a part of that social piece, right? Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: So, if you think about, you know, environmental, social, and governance, that social piece, that human health, the health of employees. The health of communities, it's something that's very big. It's very nebulous, very much a like climate change, but hasn't gotten the same attention. And people don't realize that, you know, you experience 90% of the outdoors in indoors, right. Because that's where you spent most of your time. And if you're bringing outdoor air in, if you're bringing in, you know, outdoor lights, you're bringing that in, but you don't think about it that way, because those walls are up and it feels very safe inside and you could be creating some negative health effects or maybe not negative health effects, but they're not super positive, right? Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: They're okay. Steve Rush: Yeah. What are the things that contribute to inside sustainability? The things that are around us at work and at home we can be thought full about. Rasha Hasaneen: That's another really great question. So, I think that what people most associate with is thermal comfort, right. Am I too hot? Am I too cold? If I'm too warm, you know, I can't sleep. I can't work. I can't get creative. I have to sort of get to the right temperature and that's absolutely part of it, but you also have a number of other factors. Air quality is one of the main one’s. Different levels of what we've historically measured as a proxy, CO2 can improve or decrease productivity and the amount of CO2 in a space can make you sleepy, but it can also make it very hard for you to think and process information and complete tasks. In addition, you know, with respect to air, you know, there's compounds that are generated all the time, either by the materials in your room or by activities of people, we call them volatile organic compounds. Those can be pretty harmful. They can be irritants. You hear about allergen, so air quality is a huge part of it. Lighting is another part of it. We've seen a lot of focus on lighting recently with the capability that LED gives you. So, when you had incandescent bulbs, you know, it was just one temperature, it was on or off, and so, you took it for granted. The productivity that came with the introduction of electricity and indoor lighting will far outweighed any potential issues with lighting. But as we started to have more access to light emitting diodes, now you could vary dimness, so light intensity, you could vary the temperature of the light. Is it white? Is it yellow? Is it sort of darker or lighter? You see daylight bulbs come out; does it simulate daylight? So, lighting has a huge component on our circadian rhythm, but it also plays a huge part in how well we also process information and so on. So, the third one here is lighting. And that's part of a bigger sort of piece around visual comfort. And that includes things like outside views. It includes things like, is there enough greenery? You know, our bodies are programmed to feel better when we are exposed to things that are good around us. And we're programmed to love plants and love outside views and so on. So, lighting and visual comfort is really important. And so, the last part of this is really acoustics. So, acoustics is really about sound and noise and really poor acoustics that you get from either equipment in a building or even externally coming in. So outside noise pollution can have a huge impact on how productive you are, how well you sleep. So, you might be able to sleep. You might be able to work, but the quality of that sleep and that work matters. And that has a lot to do with ambient noise, whether it's noise intensity, or noise frequency. Steve Rush: That's really insightful actually. And as you were spinning through those different themes, I'm putting myself in that scenario in my office and thinking about, oh, I'm not got enough light here or you know, I know how frustrated I get when I hear some outside noise and I get distracted easily. Rasha Hasaneen: Right. Steve Rush: They're all things that contribute to that. So not only is that sustainable, but absolutely has a direct correlation to people's wellbeing, doesn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: Exactly. That's exactly right, right. So, we think about LED lights, for example, we use the lighting example as being a phenomenal way to reduce energy intensity in the home or in the office, right? So, you see all these sort of LED projects where I'm like I'm going out and replacing all of the lighting in a skyscraper, all of the lighting in a mall. But what you don't understand is, what we are starting to understand is that that also improves wellbeing. So, that technology has enabled us to vary lighting temperature in a way to make, you know, and commercial organizations have known this for a very long time, right. The type of lighting you have changes, you're buying behavior. So, if I want to buy something, it's got to have the right lighting around it in order for me to be attracted, to buying that. Or if I'm at a restaurant, I have to have the right ambiance in order for me to feel relaxed or romantic or whatever it is you're aspiring to do in terms of the restaurant. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: LED lights have turbocharged that, right. So, in an effort to reduce energy intensity and improve outdoor kind of sustainability or the carbon footprint of the built environment, we've also introduced a tool that can improve human health indoors, but you have to use that tool. So even though for example, LED lighting is very dimmable, most switches are still on, off. The dimmability of light is very important, right. You need to reduce light intensity throughout the day so that you can sleep at night, so you can be healthy the next day, so you can be productive. And, we're still learning in the built environment, how to do that. Air quality is no different, acoustics are no different, right. And so, as we're starting to learn about the impact of these different elements on human health, we can start to change how we build things, how we implement these systems in a way to take full advantage of not only their impact on sustainability, on climate, the big climate, but also their impact of the indoor climate on human health and start to tune these environments in a way that allow you to have different environments for different situations. Steve Rush: It's far more scientific than most people give this credit, right? Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely. Steve Rush: You are talking about it in almost a forensic way, which I love by the way. I think it's really insightful, but I wonder how many people have to struggle with getting as thoughtful about that? Rasha Hasaneen: You're absolutely right. And we did a survey recently of just homeowners, right. So commercial spaces are a little bit different because a lot of times, you know, facility managers and building owners are really focused on employees, but the home tends to be where kind of your average consumer is. And when we talk about indoor air quality, for example, it's like, so what are the types of things you would do to improve your air quality? It's like, we light a candle. And you're like, oh my, right. Because it's like that fantastic. Except you know, there's so much more to air chemistry, you know, than lighting a candle and you could be making it worse. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: Funny story, we're doing a project with a company in India and it's an indoor air quality sensor. And they had put it in these locations and every day and around the same time, they would see these particulates go up, right. And particulates are not great for a lot of reasons. They kind of get into your lungs and they cause asthma. But they also kind of carry viruses, bacteria, et cetera. And some particulates would go up and they would spike around the sensor. And so, they went to this place, and it turns out they were like lighting incense to worship. And it's like, okay, well, you might not want to get too close to God right now, right. Or in this way, there's other ways. But they were lighting incense right around this sensor. And the incense was creating, you know, this really crazy indoor environment. Now, again, in the grand scheme of things, right. Huge space, little stick of incense, not a big deal, but that's how people think about this kind of air quality. It's very unspecific, unscientific, but really the impacts on human health, super scientific, lots of studies out there that show the impacts of different elements of air and light and acoustics on productivity and health. And so, there's a lot out. And the challenge we're going to have through the pandemic have been sensitized to this is really bringing that science to the average consumer in a way that they can understand it and that they can digest it, right. And then really developing solutions where I don't have to have the consumer know every scientific detail to implement those solutions where they can just say, hey, I want a room for an asthmatic child. Can you please dial that in for me? Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: Right, and somebody else who understands the science, who understands the situation can help them really get the best indoor environment. Steve Rush: And it's like anything with, if you take the whole climate or journey to net zero, whatever your focus is right now. Rasha Hasaneen: Yeah. Steve Rush: It's everybody taking personal responsibility to do their bit, that will make the big difference overall, right? Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely. And there are definitely strategies just like with anything else that could give you a really fantastic indoor environment that could have a really devastating impact on the climate, which then creates a poorer outdoor environment, which makes you have to work harder to create this really good indoor environment. So, I'll give you an example of that. If you in an urban environment, a lot of times the immediate microclimate around where you live or where you work is not fantastic, right. So, then you get the indoor environment, and you know, guidance that says, hey, you need to ventilate. The easiest way to ventilate is to open a window. Well, if you're out in the country, or if you're in a suburban environment, chances are your outdoor air is fantastic. And if you open up a window, you're going to create a really great indoor environment. However, if you have an HVAC System, if you've got your air conditioner on, summer, you have your air conditioner on. It's going to have to work harder because your kind of air conditioning, the world, right. All of that cool air sort of goes out your window, and the hot air comes in. So, it's going to work harder. It's going to use more energy. A lot of that energy is still very much fossils, and you're going to start to get a degrading outdoor environment. So even when you now open the window, you're not going to get the environment you want. If you're in an urban environment, you're already there. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: When you open a window in an urban environment, a lot the CO2 and all of those things that are accumulated inside, they dilute, that's great. But what you're bringing in could have different things going on, right. You could have different pollutants coming in, allergen, smoke, VOCs, et cetera, depending on where you are in an urban environment. So, it's not easy, right. It's not easy. And your actions as an individual have a direct impact on climate. So, if you do one of these things and you have to use more energy to do it, multiply that by 7 billion people. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: Right, so if everybody, and not 7 billion, not all 7 billion people have air conditioning systems, but a billion, let's talk about a billion, right. If everybody opens their windows and keeps their air conditioner on, or if everybody opens their windows, turns it off, then everything gets hot or everything gets cold depending on whether or not summer or winter or where you are in the world. Then you have to bring down the temperature again or bring up the temperature again, if it's cold, that air conditioning unit is working so much harder, multiplied by a billion. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly Rasha Hasaneen: Right. And so that's the issue, and that's just homes, right. Now, let's talk about industrial environments or commercial environments and so on. And so, there are things that if you do them, could give you a negative environment on climate and give you a positive outcome when it comes to indoor environments. And the key is to get those indoor environments in a way that also reduces your greenhouse gas footprint, because you don't want to do one at the expense of the other. And that's why, you know, we call it The Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces. It's because we want to make sure that the actions we're recommending to our clients, we want to make sure that the actions that I recommend in these podcasts are actions that will have a positive impact on both indoor and outdoor climates. Steve Rush: Yeah, it's all about pulling levers and getting balances. Isn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: Exactly. That's exactly right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Now you mentioned this a little earlier on, as you were talking through the different things that we could be thinking about, and you mentioned productivity, and there's a real business case that sits behind this, alongside that sustainability case, isn't there? Rasha Hasaneen: There absolutely is. So, if you look at a given building, right, let's say you're renting a space in a building or you've got a building and you've got a small business, you're an entrepreneur. The amount of money you spend on energy is a 10th of maybe the amount of money you're going to spend on people. It could be as much as the hundredth, right? So, it's a much smaller amount of money that you're going to spend on things like utilities and that's sort of our proxy for energy consumption, right. But your people are probably going to be one of your biggest assets and the health of those people becomes a huge economic lever for you as a business owner. We know, for example, that indoor air quality can have a productivity. So, let's just take indoor air quality as an example, and we can do this. We have studies on lighting. We study on acoustics, but I like air for a couple of reasons, you know. It's not just about sort of direct productivity every day, cognitive function, et cetera, but think about airborne pathogen transmission, which is still, I think, top of mind for a lot of people with the pandemic kind of still raging. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year is lost in productivity due to absenteeism. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: Same with schools, then you combine both, absenteeism as a result of kids being sick from school. And then there's hundreds of billions more of loss productivity as a result of employees working while sick. Now think about that. I don't even have to make everybody perfectly safe from pathogen transmission. Like, I don't need to reduce a hundred percent of pathogen transmission in a building to improve this. If I can just improve the air quality in a building such that I reduce transmission of cold or flu, or COVID in this particular case by 10%, tens of billions, right. 20%, like, just think about that. Those are not big numbers, but if I create these environments in such a way that I can just reduce absenteeism, that's hundreds of billions of dollars. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: And that's, just one part of the productivity. We know that air quality impacts asthma, chronic illnesses, which reduce productivity without creating absenteeism, right. If you're a chronic sufferer asthma or upper respiratory disease that has an impact on your productivity, but also impact cognitive function, right, as much as 30%. You can have poor indoor air quality and just your ability to process things and do tasks at work goes down dramatically. Steve Rush: That's a significant amount of time too, isn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely, and learning, right. So, we think about school systems and the measures they have with student learning. Let's take out absenteeism for a second, right. Like just kids being sick. We found that, not we, researchers have found that the indoor environment can have as significant and impact on test scores as grades. So just think about public test. You want to predict how well a student is going to do on a test, okay. On a public test. There's a number of factors that can give you an indication of how well that student is going to do. The most common one we think about is, are they a good student? Do they get good grades? That has a really strong correlation with how well they're going to do on these tests. As strong a correlation, how good is their indoor environment? Steve Rush: Wow. Rasha Hasaneen: As strong a correlation on how well they're going to do on this test is whether or not while taking that test, do they have a good indoor environment? And that includes acoustics, it includes lighting and includes air, and it includes temperature. And so, you're thinking about this and you're like that child's ability to score on a test is that dramatically impacted by indoor environments. Like it boggles the mind, right. And these are, I mean, these are scientific studies. They're peer reviewed, they're out there. You can kind of see them, but I mean, these are, you know, they've done control groups and testing doing these things on days where it's good indoor environments, days on bad indoor environments, it's amazing to me and that's the type of productivity we're talking about. And so again, there's so many people on the earth, right. Multiply that by hundreds or millions or billions. And you're talking about a huge sort of impact, not just on human health, but also on sort of economic productivity. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's amazing when you start to just think of the tiny little changes we could make and then multiplication across the globe, we can make a massive difference, not just for sustainability, but also productivity and wellbeing. Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely. Steve Rush: Really fascinating. Rasha Hasaneen: And then when you think about, just to close this up, when you think about the places that have poor indoor environmental quality, it's typically those places that don't have a lot of investment. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: And therefore, they're in disadvantaged communities and disadvantaged areas. So, it exacerbates any equity issues we have, right. So, you just think about social equity and having sort of high-quality indoor environments as a human right almost, right. To say, look guys, like kids in school and disadvantaged communities, have the card stacked up against them already. And this is yet another card that's kind of stacked up against those who are less fortunate. And so, you start to look at the equity impacts of this and how much this exacerbates that. And you start to realize that a lot of where we think about human health and social equity, it comes right down to, you know, can I create these indoor environments for people in different economic situations, in such a way that I'm leveling the scales a little bit as it relates to social equity. Steve Rush: So, ponding, how many of our listeners right now are thinking about their environment as they listen to this? Very interesting to get some feedback from our listeners about that, wouldn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: Oh, you bet. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely would love to hear from listeners on that. Steve Rush: So, we're going to flip it a little now, and this is where I get to hack into your leadership brain. Rasha Hasaneen: Awesome. Steve Rush: But before I do that, I just wanted to get a sense from you that if I was a listener listening to this and I was a leader or an entrepreneur, where's the first place I should really start to think? What's the immediate kind of win I can make? Rasha Hasaneen: When it comes to indoor environmental quality, it depends on your situation, right. If you're working, you know, from home, if you have control over the environment, definitely you can start by doing things as simple as improving your lighting, right. You can get LED lights pretty much from any hardware store, you can get dimmers. You can improve of your lighting. You can connect with your HVAC provider, make sure you have the right number of air changes that you're getting enough ventilation, that you've got filters, right. The simplest thing is make sure your filters are changed on a regular basis. You know, there's a lot you can do when it comes to acoustics, to insulate things like window coverings and in fact, now there's actual window coverings that say on them, how much energy they save. You know, there's a lot you can do when it comes to your own space or the space for your employees. And then you can also consider in room type solutions. If you don't have access to those broader systems, right? So, we carry an in-room air purification solution, you just plug it in and run it and away it goes, and you do a little bit of maintenance. You can do an in room HEPA. You can think about opening windows on a regular basis to make sure there's enough ventilation. So, there is a lot that can be done by the individual, by a small business, an entrepreneur just by being conscious of this, if you want to do things that are more sophisticated, definitely, you know, you would need to connect with a professional. And I would say, if you do have a larger business or a larger building, it's not a do it yourself. Steve Rush: No. Rasha Hasaneen: Right. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: It's definitely not, because you want to make sure you're balancing energy or make sure you're balancing the different elements of indoor environmental quality. So definitely if you're a listener, and you're a building owner or you've got multiple buildings, you're a real estate investor, or you've got sort of a number of opportunities to improve people's and their environments. Don't try to tackle it yourself, definitely reach out to a professional and have them come in, do an indoor air quality assessment or indoor environmental quality assessment, understand where some of the gaps are. There are fantastic certifications, right. Out there for building performance. So, whether it’s wealth certification, fit well certification, there's a number of certifications out there that can be done to ensure, and to communicate to your tenants, that these buildings are optimized for indoor environmental quality, Steve Rush: Great advice, good hacks too. So, leadership hacks time. Rasha Hasaneen: Awesome. Steve Rush: I want to dive into your experience. You've led businesses all over the world, different types of businesses and different types of teams. And I want to try and get into your top three leadership hacks. What would they be? Rasha Hasaneen: That's a really good question. So, my leadership hacks, or I think there are things that I do deliberately that if I were to say them, you would be like, of course, but most people probably wouldn't do subconsciously. I know I wouldn't do subconsciously. So, the first thing I do is, you know, so most of the teams that I lead are innovative high performing teams. And I think there's a leadership approach that says you have to have a vision and the strategy, and you have to have the answer as a leader. And the answer is you don't. And it's very jarring for employee or for team members that are used to kind of having a more autocratic approach. So, I take collaborative to the sort of, to the extreme and I work with my teams and have for years to build strategies, to build visions. I don't expect to, you know, I don't expect to come up with the vision and kind of have everyone follow. So, for me, it's really around early and often with the team. Talking about the team's vision and the mission and how we want to be seen. And so, that sort of extreme collaboration, I'm not going to call it delegation, but really working with your team and giving them ownership of not just the tactical execution, but also of the strategy. Really for me, has worked exceptionally well. The outcome is a lot better. It's scratchier, and so that's my second sort of leadership hack, which is, don't be afraid if people are uncomfortable, don't be afraid to be uncomfortable because that's when kind the best outcomes are. And I always feel like afterwards people really appreciate discomfort. Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: I've had a couple of team members that are just, oh my gosh, I never want to do that again. But most of the time people start to get it and they're like, oh, I get it now, right. And it's like, there's no epiphany there. It's a really uncomfortable place when there's a lot of disagreement about where to go and feels very chaotic, I think at first. So that's the second one, is to really get comfortable with other people's discomfort and your own discomfort, right. Of not having the answers and maybe being seen as vulnerable. And that leads me into my third one, which is really sort of leaning into the vulnerability piece with teams. And again, a lot of times there is this view that the leader has to be a strong leader and you have to kind of carry the burden. And I don't actually think you do, you know, being comfortable with not having the answer, being vulnerable with your team, being very authentic. Like I tend to hear on the side of being transparent. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: And again, for some people that's very uncomfortable, but for a lot of people, I think having that context and transparency, even if it takes a little bit more time matters. And what that then leads me to do is I actually have unstructured time even during the pandemic. I have a lot of unstructured time with people I interact with. And I feel like people really appreciate that. So, by unstructured time, I mean, like we're in a meeting, it's 30 minutes. It may only take 10 minutes to get the work done. But you know, taking that extra 20 minutes to get to know people, having them get to know me. Being really transparent about what's going on just in your life, just creates this sense of empathy with others and with yourself that gives sort of, and I may use a very Southern term here, that allows people to give and get grace, right. Like there's so much of business interaction that is very businessy. Steve Rush: Right. Rasha Hasaneen: Get the work done. Don't waste my time. And it's like, no, no, there's grace too. Like no one is perfect. And so, if you know people's circumstances, you can give them grace, if you know people's circumstances, you can be empathetic. And so, when they do make mistakes or if deadlines are missed, there's a very sort of collaborative approach to it versus being very adversarial. And I think that comes with really getting to know people and showing them that kind of grace in interaction. I know they're very wishy washy, but those are my top three. Steve Rush: Awesome advice. No, not wishy washy at all. The next part of the show, we call it Hack to Attack. This is typically where something in your life or your work hasn't worked out, but there's a real learning that come from that, and it serves you well, what would be your Hack to Attack? Rasha Hasaneen: I thought, didn’t I already share the time I almost died. Like that was my thing in life that didn't work out well. But you know, that to me is probably the standout one. I've had many sorts of things that haven't worked out well. In Innovation you tend to have something called a pipeline conversion, which is, how many things have to fail, fail is a bad word, but how many things don't turn out the way you expect it before you kind of have something succeed, right. And for me, I look at it like, if things don't break when you're doing them, you're probably not taking enough risk. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly right. Rasha Hasaneen: And so, things go wrong around me all the time, right. And the question just is, what are you learning from that? And how are you turning that kind of into a positive experience? And I feel like I do that all the time. I've had a couple of big ones, or probably the biggest is when, you know, you expect your body to do something, and it doesn't want to comply. I like if you expect your body to breathe and it doesn't want to breathe, that's not a good thing, but I did learn a lot around sort of work life balance or work life management, whatever you want to call it, making choices about who to work for, where to work and being sort of an understanding that you're blessed enough to be able to make those choices, because that again, leads to a lot of grace when it comes to working with others. So, for me, it's hard to point to one thing outside of almost dying. Steve Rush: Yeah, maybe dying kind of does it though, doesn't it? Rasha Hasaneen: Yeah. That kind of trumps everything you possibly could do. Steve Rush: So now, the last thing we get to do. You get to do some time travel, bump into Rasha at 21, give her some advice. What would it be? Rasha Hasaneen: Don't color your hair. That's the advice. Steve Rush: If you have hair, of course. Rasha Hasaneen: If you have hair, of course. But me at 21, I did, and I had a lot of it, and it was starting to turn gray. I remember at 21, I was started to get gray, and I was obsessed with coloring the gray and it led to about 20 years of hair damage, which I have now thankfully reversed. Steve Rush: On a serious note, though. That's really serious advice. If it starts to happen to you, it can change your future outcomes for sure. Rasha Hasaneen: Yeah. Well, that's it, I mean, for me, it does come down to sort of being really authentic as a leader. Don't color your hair is just a euphemism for that, you know, at 21, man, I had just graduated college. It was my first kind of job. I was still a competitive martial artist and appearances really mattered and they kind of don’t anymore. Steve Rush: Talking of which, little bird tells me, you were actually national karate champion, is that right? Rasha Hasaneen: I was, I was. And so, I will tell you at 21, I was pretty oblivious to a lot of stuff going on around me and I grew up in a very sheltered sort of, high school. It was a small girl finishing school in the Middle East. And you know, my graduating class was like 10 people. I was very sheltered, when I went to college, I didn't have the same college experience as everyone else, but I will say, you know, at 21 that would be the one thing is, sort of, you know, while I would say at 21, I was definitely judged differently because I didn't have a lot of the credibility I have now. I do feel like I spent an inordinate amount of time sort of maintaining appearances and I was very naive. And I feel like, one. I trusted people too much, but at the same time I felt like I only trusted them so far, which was kind of the worst of both worlds, right? Steve Rush: Yeah. Rasha Hasaneen: So, you're either all in, like you're all in, on being kind of your authentic self and your kind of over the top or you're sort of super reserved and it's kind of in the middle that confuses people a lot. And I was definitely in the middle for a long time before I embraced being all in on authenticity. So, I'm glad I did that, but that would be the one thing. Negotiate your salary. That would be another thing like, yes, you can negotiate and no, that's not enough. And the third thing I would say, would be, definitely look at work relationships differently than I did. I would say, I probably didn't understand the role of sponsors and mentors and sort of those work, call it friendships. I didn't understand how important they were at 21. And I made some sort of real mistakes in terms of getting that kind of sponsorship early on. And so, it took me some time to get there, but that's it. That’s what I would say. Steve Rush: It's some great advice for people listening to this, for sure. Rasha Hasaneen: Yes. Steve Rush: So how do we get people who are listening to this to connect with you and Trane Technologies? Where’s the best place to send them? Rasha Hasaneen: So, couple of things. Definitely they can reach out. We know I think, is what it is now. The Center for Health Efficient Spaces has a spot under sustainability there. And you can definitely connect via the inbox. In fact, that likely get a faster response since the team definitely monitors that and there's a lot of great resources on The Center for Healthy Efficient Spaces. All of those numbers, I quoted about productivity. We have a primer on indoor environmental quality if people want to learn more. I would definitely recommend they go to the Trane Technologies website and look us up at Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces. Steve Rush: We'll drop those links into our show notes as well. Rasha Hasaneen: Absolutely. Thank you. Steve Rush: Rasha, thanks ever so much for taking time out and I know you have a really, really busy schedule, so I am super grateful that we've been able to connect and get you on the show. Thanks for being part of the community. Rasha Hasaneen: I appreciate it as well. You've got a lot of fantastic guests, and this is a great podcast. So, thank you for having me and help helping us tell our story. Steve Rush: Thank you, Rasha. Closing Steve Rush: I want to sign off by saying thank you to you for joining us on the show too. We recognize without you, there is no show. So please continue to share, subscribe, and like, and continue to get in touch with us with the great new stories that we share every week. And so that we can continue to bring you great stories, please make sure you give us a five-star review where you can and share this podcast with your friends, your teams, and communities. You want to find us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphacker, @LeadershipHacker on YouTube and on Instagram, the_leadership_hacker and if that wasn’t enough, you can also find us on our website Tune into next episode to find out what great hacks and stories are coming your way. That's me signing off. I'm Steve Rush, and I've been your Leadership Hacker.  
51:20 07/03/22
The Six Flavors of Success with Shannon Russo
Shannon Russo is the Chief Executive Officer for Kinetix, After a successful career as a finance executive Shannon founded Kinetix with the goal of creating a firm that could help growing companies get the talent they need to compete. In this special show, learn about: How to pivot in a pandemic. The six flavors or “potential factors” for success. How has the workforce changed and how you need to change in it. The Great Resignation, is it just a moment in time or a change to how we work for good?   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Shannon below: Shannon on LinkedIn: https: Shannon on Twitter: Shannon on Instagram: Company  Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Today's special guest is Shannon Russo. She's the CEO of Kinetix, has a background as an executive with companies, such as M&M/Mars, Kidder Peabody & Company, and after riding the corporate wave, she opted to run her own firm and founded Kinetix, with a goal of creating a firm that could help grow companies, get the talent that they needed to compete. But before we get a chance to speak with Shannon, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: The great resignation is a real thing and it's happening to many people around the world, but of course it even impacts on global enterprises as well as global superstars in the world of business. Tesla, CEO, Elon Musk has joined the great resignation, or has he? He's tweeted numerous times over the last few months that he's quitting his job to become an influencer. But while he still sits as a CEO, his role has significantly shifted to appeal to his lifestyle choices in philanthropic adventures. Shareholders, customers, and regulators haven't always appreciated the humor in Elon Musk's approach to his Twitter or high jinks, 2018 Tesla shares plummeted after he posted an April fool’s day message saying the company gone bankrupt. He quoted earlier this year that he was going to dispose of all of his shares and equally had a massive impact. Tesla shares fell from about 20% from November to now, as Musk has offloaded his shares. And he tweeted in December that he would be able to buy by a poll that he took whether or not to sell his stake in the car maker. So even Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and space exploration technologies cited to be the world richest person with a fortune and an estate worth 266 billion dollars. Even Elon Musk has been affected by the world around us over the last couple of years. So, if you're a leader, listening to this, pay attention to how our teams are performing and behaving. Some of the idiosyncrasy, and little idioms that you might notice in people's behavior could be a sign that they're being restless and actually having conversations to help people find their purpose is really what it's all about. Finding out what your team need, want and expect from you as a boss is incredibly important as well as appealing to their intrinsic motivation, and that can really help the great resignation become the great retention. So that's been The Leadership Hacker News today. Please continue to get in touch and contact us through our social media. We'd love to listen to your insights and ideas about what we can talk about on the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Our special guest on today show is Shannon Russo. She's the chief executive officer for Kinetix. After a successful career in finance, as an executive, Shannon founded Kinetix with the goal of creating a firm that could really help growing companies get the very best talent that they needed too to compete in a marketplace that is really tough. Shannon, welcome to the show. Shannon Russo: Thanks Steve. Great to be here. Steve Rush: So, I'd love to hear about your journey from finance executive to Kinetix. Tell us a little bit about kind of what happened and indeed before that? Shannon Russo: Yeah, absolutely, thanks. Really, and it's a sort of a joke because prior to forming Kinetix, which now has been 16 years, crazy. I was a finance person for an HR company. For a workforce solutions company for the prior 10 years. So, while I was doing finance, I was helping drive the strategy for a company that was in the workforce solution space. So, I've had a much longer perspective. I think what finance gave me was really this ability to drive analytics into the HR processes and talent acquisitions specifically. And so, when I went down the path of forming Kinetix, it really was because I saw some opportunities to really bring value to clients. And it was my finance background and the analytics that I did. Sort of looking at it that helped me come up with, there's a better way, right? These multi-billion-dollar companies do it and outsource their recruitment, but smaller companies never think that they can do that. And I came up with a model in which small and growing companies up to big companies, could do it in a way that's slightly different than what it was done before. So, it kind of helped me feed what I was doing if that makes. Steve Rush: Yeah, and I remember from the first time that we met as well, it was kind of almost born out a bit of frustration from you. Watching how others were getting it wrong and how the opportunity was just almost there for the taking, right? Shannon Russo: Yes, well, and part of it is that the relationship between recruitment providers and clients, right. Hiring leaders and companies in my mind is very much like the real estate. I don't really like that relationship. And so that was the other thing we were trying to do is, really go at it a little bit differently. We can really provide some leverage, perspective, process, you know, a lot of that kind of stuff that, especially if you're a growing company you don't have, but we could also provide this perspective if you're a large company that said, you're doing it wrong, you're taking too long, right? You're caught up in your own things and bring that to the table and really provide value. So, it's really been an interesting ride because of that. I don't want to call it a conflict, but just difference in terms of what, the historical way that firms deal with each other, to what we've been trying to build. Steve Rush: Right, yeah. And there's a double sword question for you. Shannon Russo: yeah. Steve Rush: Interesting to learn a little bit about the work you do specifically now, and just wondered as a result of the crazy world we've been in over the last couple of years, how that might have changed? Shannon Russo: Yeah, thanks Steve. You know, what I would tell you is, the media loves to talk about the great resignation in air quotes and how this is this amazing opportunity for workers and while in some cases that is absolutely true. I think that the mist that we are living through that my team and my clients, and hiring leaders are living through painfully is, for many folks. They think that that has given them the right to be in many cases, unethical in doing things and really not to realize that this is some kind of a relationship that's happening. And when you're going down the path to get a job, you should decide who you want to be with. And if you accept a job, you should take it. So, what we are seeing is sort of the dark side of the great resignation is this willingness for people, again, to be unethical, in that. They will accept a job and then take another job before they even start and just ghost the first job. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: Just doing things that are really horrendous and somehow thinking that that's okay and the world is all about them and there's no honesty and things, it's okay if you don't want to work for someone, right. That's the whole reason that you go through this recruitment process is to figure out if it's right fit for both parties. Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: If it's the right fit for you, take the job, don't look back. If it's not the right fit, say no, move on. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: This sort of, we're seeing it. And it's not just low end. We're seeing six figures plus people doing things horrible things like that, where they take a job and two weeks later, they take another job. Steve Rush: Wow. Shannon Russo: That's ridiculous. Steve Rush: And do you see that this being generational as well? Because I think I might have shared the story with you before that when my son who's 22. His most recent job he's in now, and it is the one he stuck with. He was kind of almost lining up these opportunities and in so much as he was going to have like a juggling game at the end, when they'd all offered. And I said to him at that time, you know, hey, this isn't right. You know, focus on one role, the role that you want, because ultimately there's people in the process at the end of this. And actually, you're taking up space for other people at the same time, right? Shannon Russo: Yes, without question you are, yep. And I do think that the younger generations have been, they're less jaded than us on the one hand, but because of it, they're more enamored with this. It's all about me perspective. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: And so, I do think there is a little bit, well, we've seen it. Irrespective of age, I do think that what we are seeing is a little bit more willingness to do that. If you are slightly younger than myself, I'll say. Steve Rush: And I guess, that comes with a little bit of naivety, maybe you can be a little bit green around the gills, but actually, at one point in time, you're also going to become the hiring manager. And at one point in the future, you are going to be in a position where you have a group of people applying for a role. And I think, you know, what goes around, comes around. Shannon Russo: Steve, that is exactly the right perspective. And part of the reason that they're so willing to do it is because they haven't had it happen to them for someone who they were really excited to join their team. Steve Rush: That's right, yeah. Shannon Russo: And that might hopefully change their perspective a little bit, but that's an experience thing, right? That's a time thing. Steve Rush: Totally. So, you talk about the great resignation and it's, you know, everywhere you turn, somebody is quoting it, somebody's referencing it. I'm curious from your perspective, because you hire thousands of people into different organizations, right. And I'm just curious to find out, is this just a moment in time for us or do we think that maybe this is something that's going to be with us for a while? Shannon Russo: Great question. I wish I knew the answer to that. What I would tell you is right now for the next 18 to 24 months, it's with us. Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: Beyond that. I don't know that I can give your perspective because I'm hopeful that instead of this dialogue about, we just have people that have been beaten down and the great resignation is them fighting back. That we have a dialogue around the actual realities of what the employees are doing, right? So, this is a relationship and both sides have a part to play. And it's not all one sided in terms of who's wrong and who's doing things that are not so great. And so that's really where I don't know how long it'll be around is because the media loves to play that. But here's what I could tell you that, is a significant shift that's going to be with us for a while. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: Because of that. And because of really some of the workforce mentality and shifts that we are seeing a tremendous difference in the volume, we are needing to contact in order to get to the same number of candidates to be interviewed. So, we call that the funnel and so the top of our funnel has gotten significantly bigger in terms of the amount of outreach that we have to do because less people are responding. Even if they're saying like, hey, not interested. And then because of some of these other things, we just talked about. Less people moving through the process, because we have people dropping out in the middle which doesn't necessarily bother me except for their ghosting us instead of saying, hey, I took another job. I'm not interested or whatever it is, any of those things are okay. So, it's just making the recruitment process from a delivery standpoint, more challenging, right? You're talking to more people; you're reaching out to more people. I don't that that's going to go away for a while. I don't love that, but it's sort of what I'm seeing, and I can't see until sort of the mentality starts to change. Steve Rush: Sure. Shannon Russo: Some of that changing and then we have all the demographics that are working against us, right? Aging population, people retiring, right. People getting tired, all of that stuff that just makes it where we really have to kind of build up the younger generations to where there will be enough people for certainly some of the technical jobs going forward. Steve Rush: And from your experiences. The great resignation just for those specialists and technical jobs because the talent pool hasn't significantly changed in the last two years, right? Shannon Russo: Nope. Now, that's the rub, right? So, here's what I would tell you. You're seeing it across the board for the niche’s skills, you're seeing it, but you're seeing it for things that you and I might consider pretty basic, where there's a pretty good volume of employees or candidates, you're seeing it there as well. And so, I think that's driving a lot of dysfunctions across those. I literally have a client in the Midwest. I'm not joking. We are hiring candidates that I consider to be making a decent amount of money. So, between 45 and $75,000 a year, so not low, low end, right. These are not $10 an hour workers. And they are having one half of their hires drop off after they have accepted an offer. Steve Rush: Wow. Shannon Russo: Between then and start. Steve Rush: That's massive in terms of cost for hiring, isn't it as well? Shannon Russo: Think about that. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: Yes, just in terms of the volume and what you're doing, and we've been working hard together to kind of shorten that, so right. Because time is part of it. But also, how do we kind of close out people? Yay or nay. It's more we, right? The hiring processes are not taking so much time with people that are not going to make it to the finish line. Steve Rush: How do you expedite that as a process then to make sure that you do, you know, speed up that early kind of vetting if you like? Shannon Russo: Yeah, it's a great question. So, you try to truncate the recruitment process once the person has been, right? Are they qualified and interested? Once you know that. For us, that's around the submittal. Then the interviews should be fast, right? Even if you do some of them via video and some of them face to face, so you don't want to have this really long 10 step recruitment process. And then at the very end in your kind of pre onboarding and onboarding for some clients, we're actually starting candidates while the background check is finishing. So, for some states where the background check process is long because the court systems are slow, we're having people accept, what we would call a contingent offer as long as their background comes back clear, they start early and they get paid for that, right? So, there's nothing untoward happening, but we're doing things to kind of speed up that onboarding. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: To lessen the time from when you accept the job to when you start. And obviously that depends on if you're coming from another job, then that has to be two weeks, but just how can we make that as tight as possible? Steve Rush: And having you talk through kind of the process, I wonder how many of your hiring managers maybe have changed their approach in so much as maybe feeling a bit more anxious or bit more, you know, desperate almost to hire people because of the environment we're in now and whether or not that's going to help hold people back? Shannon Russo: You know, I think it's interesting, you're right. The ones who are really taking it on the chin right now, they are starting to adjust. Where I see as big of a challenge in terms of people being willing to be flexible are folks that maybe don't hire as much and don't have as much experience in the world that we're living in right now. Still thinking that, oh, everybody wants to come work for me. So why don't I have ten candidates to review for this, you know, very nichey job. Well, the reality is, that the world has changed and you're going to have to move faster. You are going to have to actually sell the candidates at the same time, as you are vetting the candidates to figure out whether or not they fit you. So, it's a very different challenge than some of these older mentalities. It's not an age thing, older mentality. Like if you were a hiring leader three years ago, your perspective is very different or needs to be different than it is today in terms of how you deal with the candidates that you are talking to. Does that help clarify a little bit? Steve Rush: Yeah, it does. Shannon Russo: Big shift. Steve Rush: Yeah, and of course it's in parallel to future employees and candidates having the opportunity to completely reevaluate what's important to them in their work and life at the same time as well, isn't it? Shannon Russo: It is, 100%, and that's what we're seeing. And one of the things, and you'll chuckle, your son may have done the same stuff. Sometimes the candidates have unrealistic expectations of what they're getting and they just sort of lay that out for hiring leaders, which they think they’re a little bit smug in that, oh, hey, this is what I want. And this is what I got to have, and I'm all that, right? And sometimes they're off in what they're thinking, right. In terms of the reality of, you know, this is a job where, I'll give you some limited examples, that'll make you laugh, right. The big call now, along with the great resignation is a hundred percent remote. Everything has to be a hundred percent remote. Well, if the job requires you and I to touch each other or face each other, or do any of those, then guess what? Steve Rush: Exactly Shannon Russo: Not remote. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: And so, there's a little bit on the middle of the spectrum where, you know, there's some myths where people have a job. We did something for a manufacturing company, and they needed the person to be on site because they're actually doing quality, right. How else can you do that? Steve Rush: Exactly. Shannon Russo: But for us to have to actually have the conversation to be like, no, you can't check the quality of what's happening on the line unless you are physically there. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. Shannon Russo: And so, some of those things are, you know, in some ways surprising, but some of the shifts with this where people maybe aren't, they listen some of the stuff in the media and then they don't think it all the way through, into the reality of either their kind of job or any of that. And whether they do or not, they want some of the other stuff. Steve Rush: And you know, you and I have seen these cycles a few times in our careers. I'm sure Shannon, and one thing is for sure, is that in a few years’ time, 2, 3, 5, 10, whatever the number of years is, there'll be a time where jobs are scarce, and the tables will have turned. And it's important that we're just really thoughtful of that in terms of our behaviors, isn't it? When we start to proceed on these journeys. Shannon Russo: It’s 100% vital. And what I would tell you, unfortunately. I agree with you, who knows when it's going to be. But the inflation that we're seeing is kind of making me a little, you know, stressed about how soon it might be. But what I can tell you this time. This will probably make you chuckle Steve, is the whiplash is going to be very harsh. Steve Rush: I think so too, yeah. Shannon Russo: Because if you are really trying to hire right now, how you're getting treated by candidates. Yeah, it’s going to come back to bite some folks on the other side, I don't disagree at all. Steve Rush: So, there's one thing that you have created, which I really love. And you call it the Kinetix Code and it's definitely not a playbook because I know you say it's not a playbook. It's not a handbook. It is really a set of principles, or you call them flavors actually that are just really potential factors that you not only help your clients with, but it's also key to your team. And I'd love for us to just get into those six principles or potential factors. Shannon Russo: Yeah, thank you Steve. So, you're exactly right, right. In the United States specifically, handbooks are very typical. And in many cases, you need them. Same for us, right? Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: Certain things in terms of the basic expectations and legal requirements and what we're expecting when you have to start work, when you finish, how does pay time off work? All of those kinds of policies, HR policies necessary. For us, we know that's important, but coming out of the HR space, one of the things that we felt like was missing and that's the Genesis of the Kinetix Code and then I'll get into the potential factors. As part of this, and you heard me talk about it, right? You're vetting candidates, but you're also trying to share with them and either, on the one hand sell them. But, but conversely, maybe repel them, if who you are, isn't a fit. You don't want them literally. You don't want them. Think Zappos back in the day, who used to give you a bonus to leave. If you weren't the right fit, it's sort of in that model that says on the one hand, I want to be as transparent as possible to have everyone understand who we are as a company and how we operate and what the expectation are. And if you like that, that's going to lean you in. If you don't like that, my hope is, it's going to lean you away because I don't want us to dance and waste each other's time, right. So that was sort of the first part. And we wanted more than just the policies, which is sort of the, you know, legal jargon. But we set about with the Kinetix Code to really introduce you to how we think about things and what kinds of people are successful, so we could get you there. And then the potentials as a key part of that, the potentials for us are what other companies call their culture or maybe their values. That's probably the best comparable. So, if you think about your values, our potential factors, our values. And I'll talk about them in just a second, but what I would tell you is they flow through everything. They're not just in the Kinetix Code, as what we think is important. We use them when we give kudos to each other, on a daily basis and when we do performance reviews. Your job is one part and those potential factors, right? Our values are the other thing that we rate you on when we try to decide kind of what's next for you. So, most companies have values, for us taken that to the next level and put it into as much of everything that we do. So, if you are an employee of ours, you know what to expect, how we're going to rate you. What's important to us and all of that. And so that's really how we came up with it. And as you mentioned, we have six, we tried to do five. But we just couldn't get it done with five. And so, when we came up with it, the last one is KICK ASS TEAMMATE, and it's really important. Plus, we call it a plus one because what we found is, the people who are the most successful, that is one of the traits of who they are. And Steve, you know, you've worked with people who that's, who they are, and you've worked with people by the way, who that's not who they are. Steve Rush: Definitely. Shannon Russo: And so, when we were doing it, we just ended up adding that to the table. Because when we thought about who, was the most successful working for us? That was something that with the other potentials or values, however you want to frame it, that might have been missing in that. So hopefully that gives you the framework. Steve Rush: Let's dive into them, just maybe give us a bit of a framing on each of them and what that means. And as a leader, then how I can think about using that with my team. Shannon Russo: Yeah, yes. So, one of the things you'll notice, and you heard it from my sixth one that I just mentioned, these are not things. So, we actually spent more time than average thinking about them and I'm going to piss off some folks with what I'm about to say. Steve Rush: Go ahead. Shannon Russo: They don't include something like integrity. And I'm sure there's a lot of people whose head's going to be like, what do you mean? Integrity's one of our values. Yes. Integrity is something that we find very important. Here's the problem with integrity. How do I measure it? You either have it or you don't. And I typically only find out if you don't, when it's too late. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's not one of those things you can jump on an e-learning course to see, you know, I'm just going to take a course on integrity and top that up, that doesn't work. Shannon Russo: Right, and so while we value it, since we were using the potential factors across how we're going to rate you, how we're going to decide if you're the right employee, how your performance management is going to go. Integrity, because you either do it or you don't, or you have it, or you don't, how do I, to your point, how do I say, you're doing really good Steve, let's do a little bit better on your integrity. That's not how it works. It's a switch. Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: Right, either you do, or you don't. And so, we spend a lot of time really making sure that the things that we have as our potential, our values, that they were also things we could articulate. And they were also things that we could measure and rate people on. Steve Rush: Got it, yeah. Shannon Russo: So, all right. I'm going to go through the six. I'm just going to them one at a time. And Steve, please give me your comments. Steve Rush: Sure. Shannon Russo: So, the first one is, get stuff done, because for our perspective, listen, it's a job, right? We're hiring you to do stuff and to execute what's in front of you and to not get distracted by all of the things that can help you slow down. So, for us, getting stuff done very important, we operate at pretty high pace and our clients are relying on us. So that's a really important one for us. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: And we brought it down to something that makes sense, right. Get stuff done, Steve, I'm pretty sure you know what I mean by that. Steve Rush: You don't get paid for effort, do you? You get paid for results. Shannon Russo: Exactly. Exactly. We also call it shipping product, right. Getting stuff done, executing and moving things forward, yep, that's it. The next one is, figures it out. Again, Steve, I'm guessing, you know what figures it out means. We call it the smart factor and we spend a lot of time because politically, that doesn't sound nice, right. But here's what we mean by that. This is not an IQ discussion. This is, we're going to give you incomplete direction sometimes. And we need you to dive in and figure out what we mean by that. Ask questions. Do any of the stuff to figure out how to execute on what's in front of you and what your job is. That's what matters to us, not high IQs, willingness to figure it out, take the next step to deliver for our clients. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: So again, we try to dive in a little bit deeper. So, the next one is one that we found some of our most successful people have this as part of who they are. And that's passionate innovation. This one was a little harder, frankly, for us to kind of dive in. But I feel like we got to a good spot and so passionate innovation. If you asked just about anyone, Steve, Steve, are you passionate? Do you believe in passionate? Yes, right. Like, are you going to pick up the garbage? Steve Rush: Yeah. Everybody's passionate. Everybody says they're passionate, right? Shannon Russo: Right, but here's how we define it. So again, defining these so that someone can understand what you expect more than just saying you're into it. What we are expecting is that you love what you do so much, that you routinely spend discretionary effort. Let me be really clear, discretionary effort, which is more than average, more than expected, extra time learning things that can make you better. Experimenting on things to make processes better. That's how we define it. Not just some esoteric. Oh yes, I'm passionate. No, how do you do things routinely that help you and us do better, get better? Figure things out. Steve Rush: Like it. Shannon Russo: All right. So, the next one is self-evident, given that we are a recruitment firm connector, right. You've really got to be able to connect with people for all different ways, right? So, you're doing it because it's who you are. These kinds of people connect when they're at the coffee shop, right. It's just how they are. And they also, as part of that for us, we include a little bit of that paying forward because I might connect with someone or you might connect with me, Steve and I might not be able to help you fill a role you're working on right now, but a good connector at Kinetix means I'm connecting with you and I'm getting your information because tomorrow I might have that great opportunity for you. And so, we see it as a little bit, even more than that, all right, I'm coming into the home stretch, Steve with this. The next one for us, again, we're kind of keeping these front and center, but they are real in that. These are things that make Kinetix a successful company. The next one is called likable. Yep, we said it, likable. Steve Rush: It's one of those those things that people are quite uncomfortable using that word these days, because it doesn't feel particularly quantitative, but actually we all feel it. Shannon Russo: That's right. And again, it’s similar to the other ones, we've dove into kind of tell you what we mean by that. So yes, for us likable means authentic, means professional, means that you have command of what you are doing in person, on the phone, how you write and communicate with people. So, it's very much around communication. But at the same time, you're viewed as approachable, and you can work with teams. So, this is something that we actually spend a lot of time on. We talk about being classy honest. That's the other part of being likable is being real enough to tell the truth, even if it's not what the person wants to hear, because ultimately that does make you likable because you're trustworthy. Steve Rush: Yeah, and without that trust and likability, you actually can't be honest with people. So, if you wanted to give some feed forward or feedback to somebody and you didn't like them, it would be really uncomfortable. And it would be really hard to execute because you have this unconscious worry about offending them. But if you have that trust and likability with somebody, then that communication's going to be more, free flowing anyway. Shannon Russo: 100% Steven. We even take it a step further with our views on being classy honest. Here's what we would say that aligns perfectly Steve, with what you just said. I could give you Steve, some feedback on the job you did for me yesterday. And I probably could get that done in thirty seconds to a minute in terms of giving you very direct feedback, Steve, that might not be how you can receive it. Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: So, as a leader, I need to take a step back and maybe I need to take five or ten minutes to give you that feedback in a way that you can hear it and that you can a simulate it and not burn you up. Being honest does not mean I need to scorch the earth with you. I just need to be honest and truthful about the situation, especially if it's a performance thing and communicate that to you, but the likability part for us comes in. I don't need to burn you up to get there. I can take a little bit longer. I can be a little more caring in giving that feedback. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so, and when you think about your six flavors, your potential factors, how has that evolved your teams since you've introduced it? Shannon Russo: What I would tell you is, it has really helped, and this is our view of what's critical about how you manage culture at your organization as a leader. One of the reasons that we spent so much time on the languaging was, we want people to use it in their regular conversation. We want people to reference it and that Steve is the benefit, that is what has happened. So, we literally talk to each other about man, Steve, that call that you were on, you were so likable, right? You really showed that. As I mentioned, you know, way back in the old days, we used to put it on cards. We had six of these cards that you could write on and put on my desk, but now we actually use an app where I can share kudos with the whole company on an app, and tell you Steve, the great things that you did. So, we've really kind of brought it into our day-to-day culture and the app that we use, which is called Recognize, we buy it. It actually integrates to outlook what a great way to be able to just get it done. So, we tried to make it as simple as possible for our team to recognize each other and recognize when they are executing on these potentials. And then to cement it, we use it for performance management, but let me tell you what really gets people going. At the end of every year we have, and if you didn't know this by now, I'm sure you do. Orange is one of our main colors. Steve Rush: Exactly. Shannon Russo: And so, we have the bleed orange awards. How do you get a bleed orange award? You ask Steve. You get it by getting the most of these kudos Steve Rush: Love it, yeah. Shannon Russo: So, we're keeping everyone very, also focused in their day to day, because it's really easy to lose kind of those cultural tenants if you don't make them part of everyday conversations. Steve Rush: Yeah, and so many come make the mistake of just having words on wall. And that's the perfect example of creating some themes and making them part of what you do rather than words on wall. Shannon Russo: And that that's how we make a difference. It makes it easier for us to recruit people. Here's what I could tell you. Like so many people, 2021 was a heavy recruiting internally year for Kinetix as well. We have doubled the size of our team. It helps them because here's something that I hear from new employees regularly. What's amazing is how consistent everyone is and how everyone that I meet kind of displays the same value, is like, by the way, for me, as CEO, I'm like, oh, can I hug you? That's exactly what I want. Steve Rush: Exactly. Shannon Russo: Because that's how we're successful, right? And the bigger you get, the harder that is to do. So, continuing for us to focus on it, is really how we think, you know, we continue to be successful. Steve Rush: Well, kudos to you. So, this is part of the show where we get to flip a little bit and dive into your leadership brain and tap into your years of experience and leading teams and others, as well as, you know, coaching other leaders around the way that they do things too. So, the first thing I'd like to ask you is, if you could try and dive in and think about what would be your top three leadership hacks? Shannon Russo: Whew, big one. So top three leader hacks are a little bit aligned with some of the stuff that I talked to you about on values. So, I'm not cheating, but that classy honest that you heard me talk about in terms of being likable, being a leader is very much about making decisions, executing on stuff, or driving execution as a leader, right. And then holding people accountable and performance managing that. So that classy honest is a leadership hack. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: That too many people on the hard, and I'm very hard driving, but on the hard driving side miss that I would tell you is a critical one. Here's the other one that some folks, especially people trying to get into leadership. Often what I hear people say is, I can't wait to be a manager and have to do less. Like you don't really understand what's coming. Steve Rush: No way. Shannon Russo: And so that's the second part because I do see this sometimes, especially with candidates that come from very large organizations where their ability to actually do stuff gets limited by the nature of the organization. So, my leadership hack is being willing to dive back in at any moment. Now that doesn't mean you always do that, but I had a situation. I'll give you an example of where it kind of came back to me and it made me smile. We had a situation where we were working on a presentation for a client, and I'm not normally in the middle of all of that, right. As you might expect as the CEO of the company, but the account leader really was struggling with a couple things, and I had some history, and we knew that. And so, I dove in with her and we worked together one afternoon. And unfortunately, because the presentation was the next day into the evening, she was like, oh my gosh, it was so amazing that you were willing to dive in. And when I heard that, you know, I thanked her, but I was like, but that is being leader. Not just let her fall. Steve Rush: And it's the willingness bit that's most important is just letting people know that you are willing too. Shannon Russo: That's right. That's right. And here's what I would tell you about that person that works for me, she will never doubt me again. Steve Rush: Right. Shannon Russo: Now, I didn't do it for that. But after she told me and I thought about it, I was like, wow, wow. That's not why I was doing it. I was doing it because I wanted her to be successful and I wanted us to be successful. But the reality is, I was building my leadership profile with her in the process without even realizing it, last one. I would tell you; this is a mixed bag because some of the worst leaders do this too much, but I still call it a leadership hack. Because for me over the last two years, it's really been a rough two years, like so many people, and I've really had to work on this and that is, take time for yourself. Don't be embarrassed about that but be willing to do it and balance it, right. Don't bleed it through everything that you're doing but be willing to kind of take that time for yourself, whatever that is. Steve Rush: So Important. Shannon Russo: Right. Steve Rush: So important, right. Shannon Russo: And so, I know you didn't probably think I was going to give you that as a leadership hack, but I would tell you it is, because that's about sustainable leadership. Steve Rush: Totally, yeah. Shannon Russo: Those are my three. Steve Rush: Awesome, really great hacks, great lessons for people to dive into. Next part of the show we call Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your life or your work has maybe screwed up. Hasn't worked out as well. But as a result of the experience, you've now got something that you can use as a force of good for you, what would be your Hack to Attack? Shannon Russo: So, my Hack to Attack was, I formed Kinetix. So, I had come out of the finance as you know, I'd come out of the finance side, which means. I was in the corporate infrastructure of a very large company; we were Fortune 500. And so, when I formed Kinetix, right, I didn't have a ton of experience running a small and medium size business. And so, I have lots of learnings, but the learning that really was a challenge that now has become better from my life and from work is realizing a couple things. And that is, I don't know, everything. And by the way, it's 100% okay. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: Right. So that was the biggest thing because coming up in the corporate environment of a very large company, you really were known for what you knew, right. And so, you sort of build this up in yourself and when you sort of, I don't want to say I started over, right. But I sort of started with a small business that I was going to grow into what Kinetix is today. But the reality is, there was so much, I didn't know. And so, my willingness to ask questions and be opened to feedback, because some of the feedback that I got, I did not want to hear. And I did not like, but being opened to do that, because it really, you know, listen, I was not a young kid when I started Kinetix, right. I was in my late thirties and like so many folks in their late thirties, right. A very successful Fortune 500 top five person, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, all this stuff that says I'm good at what I do, whatever, yeah. What about the stuff you've never seen before? Steve Rush: That’s right. Shannon Russo: What about the situations you've never had to deal with? And so, the big learning, some of them did not go well. And my takeaway that I really feel like has made me better today is, darn you know, don't let my ego get in the way of being willing to learn every day from anyone. Because that was the other thing. Working for big companies, right. You're working with all these very smart, very professional people. You can learn as much. And I did from somebody who really doesn't articulate very well. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: But they can teach you some hard lessons and they can teach you good lessons. So be ready and willing to accept that learning wherever it's going to come from because that's literally a hack. Steve Rush: Yeah, totally is, isn't it? Shannon Russo: To getting better. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so. So, the last thing we get to do today, Shannon, is you get to do a bit of time travel, bump into Shannon at 21 and to give her some advice, what would it be? Shannon Russo: Oh shoot 21. Wow. That's a long time ago, Steve. But here's what I would tell myself. There was some things that I feel like I've learned later. The biggest one is, when you've done all the work and you have gotten all the perspective, don't be scared and don't waste time before you make the decision. I had some things that I ended up getting involved in as I was coming up in my career were looking back, if I had, you know, an example was. I needed to let somebody go whose role I was taking over, but I was afraid. I didn't know what they knew. There was all this other stuff. And so, I waited six months. That was the worst decision of my life. I should have let them go immediately and taken the risk. That's the kind of coaching that I would give myself because I only got it by hard learned results. And so, I would tell myself again, not to be ego, right. So don't be ego. Be careful, make sure you're getting all the information, but once the decision has been made and you're ready to go, go, take the risk. And a lot of times it's around things like letting people go, right. Liberating them, freeing them, freeing you. Steve Rush: Yeah. Shannon Russo: Be willing to just jump off the cliff. Once you're prepared, don't wait, nothing good can come of it. And that's probably the coaching I would give myself at 21, that took me a while to learn. Steve Rush: Yeah. It's lovely. I like it a lot. Thanks for sharing that, Shannon, great stuff. Shannon Russo: Yeah. Yeah. Steve Rush: So, for folk, listening to us talk today who might be curious around the work that Kinetix do, maybe getting their insight around the Kinetix Code, but also tapping into you and your network. Being true connectors in your potential factors. How can we make sure we connect them with you? Shannon Russo: Absolutely. So, our website is That's K I N E T I X You can get a little bit of scoop about us, connect with us. Any of that kind of stuff. Also, that kinetixhr is my handle on Twitter. It's my handle on Instagram. So, if you want to find us there, LinkedIn is name obviously. And then if you want to dig in a little bit more to The Kinetix Code. One of the things we did for recruiting as well, but it's an opportunity for you. You can go to the Steve Rush: Awesome. Shannon Russo: And that's where it is, and you can actually see it all. So, it's not locked up in some vault. We want it to kind of be living and breathing and it can give you a perspective on who we are and kind of how it makes us tick if you're thinking about that kind of thing for your company Steve Rush: And we'll dump all of those links and connections in our show notes as well. So, it's dead easy for people to connect with you beyond today. Shannon Russo: Wonderful, wonderful. Steve Rush: Shannon, I've loved chatting. You had I had some really interesting and deep conversations about the world that we're in and how it's changing and evolving. And I'm just delighted that we've got you on the show so that we can share that story with our wider audience. So, thanks for being part of the community. Shannon Russo: Steve, thanks for having me. It's been really fun, kind of talking through some of this stuff. You made me think about some things that I haven't thought about for a while and I think that's always super helpful. Steve Rush: Thank you, Shannon.   Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.          
47:31 28/02/22
Context is King with John Reid
John Reid is the president of JMReid Group. He's an entrepreneur and author of multiple books, the latest being the Five Lost Super Powers, why we lose them and how to get them back. In this show explore: John survived cancer 4 times, find how that builds resilience. Why context is king. Compassion with Empathy is life changing. Explore the Five Lost Super Powers and if you need to get them back. Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about John below: John on LinkedIn: Facebook: Instagram: Company Website:   Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Joining me on the show today is John Reid. He's the president and founder of the JMReid Group, a global behavioral change organization, specializing in leadership development, sales effectiveness, and skill enhancement. But before we get a chance to speak with John, it's The Leadership Hacker News.   The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pointed out the power of empathy in an interview with Harvard Business Review. He connected empathy with not just taking care of people, but also to design thinking, to innovation, customer care, and ultimately the bottom line. We’ve been taught since school, that empathy means stepping into somebody else’s shoes and seeing the world from their perspective, but truly powerful forms of empathy, neither start nor stop there. They reach all areas of our life and work. They help us feel seen and safe, connected to others and empowered to manage conflict with kindness and inclusivity. A truly empathic leader is proactive. Good leaders just don’t solve problems when they arise, but they actively seek out ways to smooth the path for their people and smoothing the way and removing obstacles requires empathy. It requires the ability to understand the wiring, the needs, the pace of people, and to respond accordingly. This kind of proactivity may require you to do your homework on the people you work with, understand their strengths and their challenges. It may also be required that you occasionally push back on things. And it’s difficult as those things may seem, the kind of investment in your people. The compassion you need will really drive empathy and pay you back richly. Cognitive empathy is just what it sounds like. Empathy based on cognitive understanding. Somebody else’s perspective. It doesn’t require emotion from us, but it does require understanding and a willingness to engage with what is their understanding. Effective empathy is empathy that is based on emotion. When somebody cries or feels anger. This is effective empathy at work. A truly empathic leader is inclusive. More than just seeing someone else’s perspective. Empathy means slowing down and seeing others’ needs, speeds, and creeds, and then helping them find the environments that work best for them. An empathic leader is a leader who understands that not all of our brains are wired the same. Taking time to see other people’s perspectives. Seeing them as individuals with unique wiring, with unique needs and unique motivations that creates them as an individual. So, if you want the best work from the people that you work with to encourage innovation, design thinking, all of the good things that come from psychologically safe environments, then take your compassion and your empathy muscles out for a workout. Building empathy as a leader is a skill and it’s a great investment. You can do it for yourself, your people and your organization all at a time when the world needs kindness more than ever. That’s been The Leadership Hacker News. We’d love to hear your insights and your stories, so please get in touch with us. Start of Podcast. Steve Rush: My special guest on today’s show is John Reid. He’s the president of JMReid Group. He’s an entrepreneur and author of multiple books. I’m delighted to have John on the show. John, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. John Reid: It’s great to be here. Thank you, Steve. Steve Rush: We always like to dive into our back stories of our guest, because they provide such a great landscape to how people have arrived at doing what they’re doing. So maybe we can start John by this digging into a little bit out your background and how you’ve arrived to do what you do. John Reid: Why, thank you. I think everything’s, you know, everything’s important and sometimes nothing’s important, but I’ll leave that to the audience, I’m the youngest of five, and I grew up in Maryland, went to the university of Maryland and got an undergraduate degree. At that point in time in America, anyway, companies would come interview you on campus, and I got interviewed and got hired by Dow Chemical. What’s interesting there, is that I’d never taken a chemistry course in my life and there was a brief period where Dow would hire people that they thought were good communicators for sales roles, despite having no chemical background. Steve Rush: Right. John Reid: And I joined them and that’s the beginning of my chemical career, which I had great success in. I was actually in chemical week magazine as a rising star of the chemical industry back in the early nineties. So I was in sales, marketing, business — I had P&L responsibility, sort of the classic path. Left all that behind to join the training and development industry because I had a real passion around that. Around the idea that people could get better and wanted to get better if the development training was better. So, I got into that industry and worked for several different companies and ultimately started my own company 13 years ago. Steve Rush: And what was that pivotal moment for you when you thought, okay, now it’s time for me to lead my business versus work for others? John Reid: It’s a great question. And the truth is, I’m a four-time cancer survivor. And in America, again, at that time, when you have cancer, you need health insurance. I had four kids and I was the worker. So, I had to have health insurance and it’s hard to have health insurance. So, I changed jobs to work for a company in Dallas, Texas, and we were negotiating to be the head of sales. And I was asking for, you know, a compensation, should they decide to let me go. And they said, no, that’ll never happen. They’ll never let me go. But I did negotiate health coverage for a period of time. And within three months they let me go. They were having real cash flow problems and they couldn’t really afford me they thought. Interestingly enough, they called me two weeks later and asked me to come back because I made the point to them that they had a revenue problem, not a cost problem, but they thought they had a cost problem, let me go. That was the driver to start my own company, because I had that safety net of having health coverage and I could take a chance finally. Steve Rush: Yeah. It’s funny, isn’t? How unconsciously, we sometimes just need a little bit of security to give us that entrepreneurial flare of spirit to moving different directions. John Reid: Yeah, absolutely. Because we’re always making risk reward calculations. Steve Rush: Right. John Reid: That’s part of the work that I think about when I do leadership or sales training — you watch current behaviors and how they’re behaving, you know, unconsciously, they’re making this risk reward calculation and oftentimes they’re making it incorrectly. And that’s why they’re behaving the way they are. And so sometimes you have to— you need to have them see a different calculation for some of these behaviors. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so. Nonchalantly you just said, yeah. Four-time cancer survivor. That is, one. It’s incredibly unusual to survive cancer four times. But what I’ve learned from having met you previously, John, is you have this huge amount of resilience that comes from having been able to battle through these different events, time after time. And I just wondered, you know, how much of that drives your current approach and how much of that helped you with resilience? John Reid: Oh, it’s helped me greatly. I had a type of cancer that you should frankly die from. It was a spindle cell sarcoma, which is a very rare sarcoma, and they don’t know much about it and all that good stuff. To survive that of course you need others. So, I had a strong social network, particularly my wife Rose. So, you know, you need to have that. What it does give you — I had a friend who was a New York Times a writer and he had the chutzpa or whatever to ask me, you know, so what’s good about having cancer? And I thought that’s a gutsy question, you know, but it is a good question. And what’s good about it is, it does give you perspective, you know, it does make you step back and what really matters? Like what am I doing? What matters? Steve Rush: And for your perspective’s, been massive, isn’t it? In all of your work in life. And I’ve seen that through, you know, some of the articles that you’ve read and some of the writings that you’ve done. There’s lot re recall to perspective and get people to think about that context. John Reid: If I could wave a wand across the world and if I had my wish, I just wish everybody knew they’re just walking around with a perspective. They’re not, objectively, right. They’re just not, it’s all subjective. So, it’s just— we’re people walking around with perspectives. And unfortunately, we quickly because of the way our brain processes and all the stuff we know, we quickly go to right, you know, and us versus them and right versus wrong. When no, it’s just a different perspective. Steve Rush: I love the framing of that because we all do have a perspective, but from often we come from a position of being sure or being right or being wrong about things. How do you get people to think about reframing that perspective so that it can serve them well? John Reid: When we look at learning and development, we’re very learner centric. We’re very much “who’s the learner and where’s their head at and why are they acting the way they do? Do they even know that?” And we don’t approach anything from right wrong or from bad to good. People aren’t behaving— I mean, bad is bad and bad is obvious. So, we don’t, you know, we’re not going to say— but most people are behaving good. They just could be better, better versions of themselves, better decision makers, build trust in a different way. So, they could be great, right? But most of us behave in a good way. So, to get the learner there, you’ve first got to say, hey, you know, we all make inferences and assumptions and that’s quickly easy to do. You can have an inference test where people make all these inferences and you say, look, and then you show, them like the ladder of inference, how we move from data to selecting data, to assumptions, conclusions, and forming beliefs. And then you can have them explore another person’s ladder and show that. And so, you can get people to quickly realize, yeah, I just have a perspective. And then what’s cool is, we have this activity where we have a list of hot topics and not that hot, but topics like, I think vegan stuff is nonsense, or I think college should be free. Whatever the issue is. And the other party selects a topic that they have some interest in, that they have a point of view in, and then they’re required to ask questions to a different point of view. So, I’ll play the other point of view and adults simply cannot ask a good open ended, curious question about a topic that they believe they’re right in. The questions are leading questions. Don’t you think? Wouldn’t you agree? How about, you know, it’s just, we struggle. We can be curious in stuff we don’t know about, but once we have a point of view, we really get in our own way. Steve Rush: Yeah, I love that. And curiosity is one of the things you were called out for when you were in your sales career at Dow, when you were on that rising star and RMB telling me it was that curiosity that really set you apart from all the other salespeople. Tell us a little bit about what happened there? John Reid: Yeah, and it was a blessing, right? These are all hidden blessings. So, I get hired by Dow. A lot of chemical engineers, chemistry degrees, technical experts. And there’s little old me, you know, with the university of Maryland marketing degree and I’m going out and I’m actually one of the most successful salespeople in the company. And they had a rating system. And anyways, I just simply was. And I was because I would ask questions because and you know, I didn’t know anything, but turns out, surprise, surprise, something with all know, people like to talk about themselves. People like to talk about what they do. They like to talk about their machinery. Now I wasn’t going around acting like a complete idiot, but I was like, geez, you know, I don’t know much about this operation. Why do you do it this way versus a different way? And people would talk. So early on I realized, you know, let the client talk. I do believe that salespeople work way too hard. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: By that, I mean, they’re just talking too much. Just ask questions and let them talk. They’ll come to you; you know. I was lucky not to have that knowledge. There is a curse of knowledge. There is the technical expertise trapp. The more I knew, the less curious I got. There were people Steve who would say, I would never ask that question because you should know that, but I don’t know it. Steve Rush: Even if you did know it, you should still ask the question. John Reid: Yeah, and it’s not fake until you make it. A lot of technical salespeople by the way, what they do, having observed them now year after year, they’ll hide their technical expertise in the question. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: You know, ‘what do you think about a high membrane ion exchange system?’ It’s like, okay, what are you doing there? What is that? You’re trying to show what, you know, in your question. That’s terrible. So yeah. There it was a good blessing to be who I was at that time. Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. And it’s an interesting notion, the whole sales thing. So, you know, at some point in my future, I’m going to regurgitate this in either in articles or maybe even another book, but this whole notion of, if you want to be really successful at selling, don’t sell, ask, be curious, ask questions, find out, learn. And by default, if you have a product that helps fill those gaps and problems and solutions, then people will buy it from you. John Reid: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I would say the other part of that, which I’m sure you agree is, listen. Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely. Starts with 1.1, right? John Reid: A colleague of mine has a great quote that the customer will tell you what your next question should be. What I see, you know, because of how people have been trained is that they prepare a list of questions and they’re going to be consultative, but they’re really not consultative. They’re quasi consultative because they’re only asking questions about stuff that drives to a sale. Steve Rush: Right. John Reid: They go through the question in order. And so, the buyer could say anything, to the answer the first question and there’s no, let’s chase that rabbit. They go right to the second question, right to the third. So, they’re not really listening and then going in a conversation. So, we’re doing a lot of work now on just, how do you have a conversation? We need to untrain salespeople on, how do you have a consultative sales call, where you ask questions and then, you know, position yourself, versus having a conversation, which is much more fluid. Steve Rush: It’s ironic, isn’t it? That if you’ve got a list of 10 power questions or whatever, you know, the buzzword in that organization is, you can’t be listening because you’re cueing your next question. John Reid: Ah, it’s even worse than that. And we have insight selling and hypothesis selling and it all makes great sense. The idea that before I go in, I ought to have a point of view. And I agree with that. I go in with a point of view, but it’s so hard to unwind somebody that, you know, your point of view could be wrong. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: Right. Your point of view is not objectively right. Just having a point of view going in, they get trapped by their own point of view. Steve Rush: Goes back to your perceptions and assumptions. John Reid: Yes, Steve Rush: Exactly right. So, in your latest book, The Five Lost Superpowers. Title, which of course I absolutely love and it’s around why we lose them and how to get them back. And you talk about these five key elements that as leaders, if we were thoughtful of them, we could pay attention if we started to lose them or indeed lost them, but here tactically, how we could put them right. And I wondered John, if we could just spin through each of those five, just to get a sense of how I might pay attention to them and notice them and maybe tactically, how I might go about fixing them. First one, ironically is curiosity. John Reid: Yeah, a fan favorite with me, of course, curiosity. And it was the first one that I came up with. So, years ago, I would say, I would teach it as a lost superpower in the sales training. And of course, at one point I said, there must be at least five lost superpowers. And so, I got a team together and we brainstormed, and we came up with these five and they had to be independent. They had to research based. I mean, you know, it wasn’t just an opinion. It had to be something grounded in research, curiosity is for leaders. I mean, it’s critical, right? It gets back to this. You don’t know everything. One reason why leaders make terrible coaches. We actually ask this question, Steve, you know, we ask people, ‘what do you have to believe to coach somebody?’ And people will say, oh, that they’re motivated, that they have skills, they have capability. They miss the most important thing that you have to believe to coach somebody. And that is that the person you’re coaching knows something you don’t know. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: Otherwise, why would you ask questions? Except for, to lead them. But we act like we know it all. It’s just the human condition. We act like we know every everything, you know. And so, curiosity’s critical to be more curious about why this person’s behaving this way, doing this thing, you know, how did that get done? How can we leverage that? What we talk— it all gets squelched, by the way, most of these get squelched, you know, in school. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: And with our parents, right?  We have our parents to blame. We have society to blame. I mean, it’s just, you know, we grow up wildly curious and all of a sudden, we stop asking questions and we’re rewarded for answers and all that good stuff. We say here, cast a wide net, read fiction. That’ll make you more, well there’s a variety of things that fiction does, but you know, cast wide net, read a lot of different things, be a person of interest. You know, ask better questions, questions that make the other person think, questions that demonstrate you really care. Not just, how’s your day going? Which, you know, do you really care? Do you really want to know? Is that the best you can come up with? Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: So, there’s better questions in there. There’s perspective seeking, of course. You know your own perspective, you love your own perspective. You want to be… great? Good for you. Who cares? Steve Rush: Exactly. John Reid: Find out a different perspective and learn something. Steve Rush: Yeah, that’s really neat. John Reid: You know, and then of course the whole system is sort of designed. I came upon this in the research. I can’t remember the researcher but explored then exploit. Like the idea as we explore stuff. And then as we get older, we exploit what we know to make money, to make a living to do that. And we sort of lose that explore part. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: So, I like the explore exploit idea. They continue to explore. Steve Rush: I like that too, yeah. Your second lost superpower is resilience. Now, if ever there was time, we needed to grab hold of some resilience is now, right? John Reid: Oh, absolutely. And it’s doable, right? It’s teachable. It’s not something that if you’re not resilient… it’s not a fixed state, right? It’s all learnable. The key things around resilience are always, you know, the network, your tribe, your group. Do I have a group that supports me, or do I have a group that brings me down? In other words, when things are going bad, they, is it ‘hey, you can get through this’ or do they say, ‘yeah, you know, they took advantage of you. You ought to leave. You know, they don’t like you’  you know, what group am I hanging around? So, the tribe matters. Of course, optimism, right. Having an optimistic viewpoint. And that’s all the, you know, ‘Is this permanent? Is this temporary? Can I get through this?’ But there’s an Optimism— Seligman from University of Pennsylvania calls, explanatory styles. How do I explain things when they happen to me? Do I explain them if I’m a victim? Or do I explain them in a different way, that’s more optimistic. Of course, meaning. Finding meaning in what you do with what you do is a way to get through resilience, find something of meaning. So, there are techniques and of course being present. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: You know, being mindful, being in the moment. I don’t subscribe to, you know, go out and meditate. I’m not one of those people, you know, I meditate it every day. Because I think it’s all up to us. I had cancer four times. I’m almost always in the moment. Steve Rush: Yeah, I should well imagine that. Gives you a sense of focus that meditation just won’t give you, right? John Reid: People will say, oh, you know, I’m always in the moment where, but I know that people in other places are worrying. Whatever their words are, searching for. But you know, they’re worrying about the future. They’re thinking about the past, but I’m pretty much in the moment. And you have to decide for yourself. Now we’re not necessarily good, right, at self-assessments, but nevertheless, you have to figure out what what’s going to work for you. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: But the point is, you want to be present when it comes to resilience. Steve Rush: And it’s got to be right for you. There’s no good trying to read a journal or replicate somebody else’s behavior. So, it doesn’t fit for you, right? John Reid: Yeah, context is king, which is, you know, it’s the number one premise of my company. When I went through training in the chemical industry, what I was shocked to find out and still happens is that, you know, a training company built something let’s say in 1980 and there you are in 2021, and it’s the same program being delivered to you and voila. They just happened to have designed it in ‘80 for you. It’s the silly season. Steve Rush: Right. John Reid: I mean, nothing off the shelf was designed for you. Does it have value? I guess some, but we all want to be considered unique. We want to be appreciated. We want to be respected. And you do that by understanding the context and, you know, treating me with some respect versus treating me as an empty vessel that you’ve got to fill with a model. Steve Rush: Sure. Now authenticity is your third superpower that we’ve lost. Now, it’s interesting because 10 years ago, everyone was blogging around authenticity and it’s almost become a little bit cliche in so much as a little bit overused, perhaps. How do you think we did end up losing some focus around authenticity and how do we get it back? John Reid: Yeah, that’s a good question because I think it’s anything, so authenticity is just the latest, you know, in the bag, is the answer, right? So unfortunately, there is this desire for simple answers to complex problems. Steve Rush: Yep. John Reid: So, the simple answer is empathy. Oh, the simple answer is grit. The simple answer is purpose. The simple answer, you know, it just drives me up the wall, frankly, as a learning professional, and these people participate in it. I mean, the people that create this stuff, you know, don’t say, no, this is just an answer. It’s not the answer. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: They go full in it. This is the answer. Authenticity, you’re right, it was in the mill. I think it gets it because, you know, people know when they see it and there’s genuine authenticity and transparency. And there’s something that you learned in a classroom that you’re trying out, which by definition isn’t authentic, Steve Rush: Exactly. You know, the other funny thing I hear a lot is I’m going to be my authentic self. Well, one, if you’re having to tell me that, then you’re probably not going to be. And because you’ve given it a label, you’re probably not going to be. John Reid: I always think I’ve operated under an…. So, you know, there’s a better version of yourself, right? That’s why we’re all after, right? We’re after a better version of ourselves Steve Rush: And that’s the right language John Reid: And there is a better version of yourself, right? When you fly off the handle, you know, there’s a better version of you that wouldn’t have flown off the handle. When you were gossiping, there’s a better version of yourself that doesn’t gossip, whatever it is, there’s a better version. You want to be the best version of yourself. And that best version of yourself, you know, is authentically you, it’s your true self that we’re after. So, we have a relationship with a company called The Wise Advocate. The idea that there is this wise advocate inside of us, all, you know, there’s two mental pathways. One is the habitual sort of reactive “How do I get out of the situation?” The other one gets in the executive center and says “what’s the right thing?” And what we want to encourage people is to take that other path and think about, is this decision, is this behavior aligned with my best true self? Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely spot on. Allied with that is compassion, which is your next lost superpower. Tell us it about that/ John Reid: Well, Compassion’s probably my favorite, again, I had other authors, so I should have said this earlier, not just me, but there was Corena Chase, she wrote Authenticity, Lynae wrote Resilience, Andrew Reid, my son wrote the chapter on compassion. So, I have other authors here, which I should have mentioned earlier. Compassion, I love compassion. And I’ll tell you why I love compassion because I was tired of empathy a little bit on so many levels. Steve Rush: So, here’s the thing, what’s the difference then between empathy and compassion, is there a difference? John Reid: There is a big difference, and it depends on whose definition. So, everything becomes definitional, but I think the majority of people would agree that compassion is empathy with action. Steve Rush: Nice. John Reid: Empathy is, “I feel your pain. I can take that perspective. I feel what you must be going through” but I don’t do anything about it except for verbally maybe acknowledge it. Compassion has risk. Because now I put myself in that situation, that’s personal risk. I take action. So, compassion is, I think what we ultimately get judged on, not what you say, but what you do. And we want to encourage people to take more action, an inclusive environment. It’s not like sitting around going, oh, you know, it’s got to be tough. And I know, you know, I’ve thought about this a lot and being different but what am I going to do about it? You know, am I going to become an ally? Am I going to risk my neck? Am I going to say something? So, Compassion’s the right word. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: And I think Compassion’s the next authenticity, unfortunately. As you point out that authenticity might be dated, compassion might be, I might be cutting edge on compassion. So, part of my problem with empathy, and this is debatable, but I had cancer four times and I did not want empathy. I wanted sympathy. Steve Rush: Yeah, big difference too. John Reid: And Brené Brown acts like sympathy is some horrific thing. And I’m like, she’s wrong about this! She’s brilliant. I think she’s brilliant, but she can be wrong, right. And I don’t know. I would like to have her on the podcast now to explain, maybe I’m understanding it wrong, but all I know is in that moment, I wanted sympathy. I don’t want you to say, oh, I know what it must like to have cancer four times. You have no idea. You just have no idea. Steve Rush: Absolutely. John Reid: And you look foolish and why are you putting yourself into my pain? If you’re not going to do something about it. So, the other thing about empathy that is problematic Steve, is that we are empathetic to people who are like us. This is the us, them quandary. I’m very empathetic to people that look like, me act like me or who are in my socioeconomic. It’s the them’s that I have trouble with, right? Humans now, not me personally, but you know that doesn’t get talked about enough. We get told either that we’re not empathetic, which is not true. And we know it’s not true because we are empathetic or, you know, so we ought to be told, hey, we teach empathy, we do, and we do in terms of emotional intelligence, we say, look, you’re wildly empathetic. We tell that to the participants, right? Because they are when it comes to people like them. So, we say, hey, here’s the data, here’s your empathetic, here’s the bad news. So, we have to expand, we have to have a different way of viewing the ‘them’s’ in a more inclusive way or a more belonging way to think about the others in order for us to tap into our empathy. Steve Rush: And for me, compassion is a little bit more experiential as well. It means, I’m actually really thinking and immersing myself into that situation so that I can change either a behavior or a skill, or indeed my approach to other people in different situations, right? John Reid: Yeah, it takes bravery. The five lost superpowers, we have the superpower theme. So, we try to carry that through the book in some degree that wasn’t hokey. But for each of the superpowers, we have like a tool belt and the tool belt for a compassion is BAM and the B stands for brave, right? It takes a level of bravery to be compassionate. Steve Rush: It does, yeah. Because you put yourself out there, right? John Reid: Yeah, you’re putting yourself out there. Steve Rush: Yeah. John Reid: You’re taking personal risk. I mean, he took personal risk, obviously again and again and again. So yeah, compassion is very deserving of being a superpower. Steve Rush: Your Last Lost Superpower. I absolutely love, and I’m really excited to kick this around with you. And it’s a whole notion of playfulness. Now, as kids, we had no boundaries and we would’ve done this willingly, vast majority anyway. And yet it’s something that when we get to become more mature and we get careers and jobs, we do less, and it can unlock such a lot of greatness in our lives and work. Just wondered if, what your take on that would be? John Reid: Yeah, I mean. I loved playfulness because, you know, I’m writing a book for businesspeople and, you know, there’s risk, right? With playfulness, you know, we don’t want to be silly and we’re adults now and we shouldn’t be playing. And that sounds like a waste of time. I mean, the biggest thing is that being playful sounds like a waste of time, you know? But in fact, if we look at imagination, we look at creativity, we look at innovation, there’s a sense of playfulness you have to have. So, we went playfulness versus the other words. The time I came upon playfulness in the business context, when I was reading, unfortunately, the report about the towers, the 9/11 report, and it starts with, it was a lack of imagination and I thought, wow, that’s, you know, we never could see that happening. We weren’t imaginative enough. Which lends itself to… we’re taking ourselves so seriously we couldn’t just go there and think wildly. And then as I got in the business world, I ran into this theory by Lev Vygotsky that really transformed our thinking around this. Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who talked about children on the playground playing a head, taller, meaning he observed that five-year-old played like eight-year-olds and eight-year-olds play like twelve-year-olds. We took that quote to mean that kids from a playground would take these risks. They played head taller. They took risks, but eventually we play a head shorter and that’s tragic, right? We don’t take those risks. We don’t extend ourselves and it’s not the best version of ourselves again. And so that really struck me. And then when I looked at like things like brainstorming, I always had this resistance to brainstorming. This idea, that great ideas come in this antiseptic where no ideas are judged and everybody’s ideas the same. And I always thought, boy, when people are being creative, they’re having fun. They’re laughing. They’re making fun of your idea. That’s a stupid idea, it’s just like, we forgot to have fun. Now it needs to be safe, and people need to be respected and talented, but you can interrupt people and laugh at some idea or, you know, be a fool yourself, and I think you can get more creative than what we’ve been led to believe by a lot of this stuff. So, and I think we know that now to, even to a large degree, but playful is an exciting one to think about. It’s not being silly. It’s just not taking ourselves so seriously. And there is a gift of going second. I love this idea, Steve. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but if I, as a leader can be playful and make fun of myself. I’ll give you an example. Can I give you an example real quick? Steve Rush: Yep, yeah. Please shoot for it. Yeah. John Reid: So, I’m six foot four and I weigh too much, but I went paintballing once in the woods and there was a tree and I tried to hide behind tree, but the tree was a small tree. And so, people were pelting me with paintballs because they could see me. Well, years later years later, I find this picture of a bear hiding behind a tree. So, I send it to all my employees. I say, this is me at the paintball game. Now they thought it was funny, but that allows them to be silly. So that’s the gift of going second, if you, as the leader can say, you know, we’re all human. We have foibles, we do stupid stuff. I’m like you, and you get people’s again, you get their best self at work. You get their playful self, their imaginative self, a ’try this’ self, a sense of that can take risk. You know, not everything is life or death. I mean, I think you want that in your environment. I’m glad you like that chapter. And I think it deserves its own space. Steve Rush: And also, this is not about whether somebody’s introverted or extroverted because there’s also an unconscious assumption that if I’m introverted, I can’t be playful. It’s just a different style of playfulness. John Reid: Yeah, I’m one of those introverts who can do extroversion obviously by the pace at which I talk and all this, but I am, you know, much more regenerated when I’m alone reading, thinking, or small groups than I am in large crowds. It’s where you get your energy from and it’s so easy to judge somebody quickly or you’re an extrovert and like, see, you don’t even know what it means and that’s not good. And why are you putting me in that box? And what does that mean anyway? Steve Rush: But it happens all the time, right? John Reid: Oh Yeah. We love boxes. We’re trying to make it simple. Steve Rush: Labels. John Reid: Labels and boxes, and you’re one of them and you’re DiSC style is this. And your insight style is that, and therefore this and you do that. And it’s like, oh my gosh, what’s that about? Steve Rush: Well, listen, I’m delighted we had the chance to spin through those. We’ll give you an opportunity at the end of the show so we can connect people to find a copy and the rest of what you do. Before we do that, though, just going to turn the tables a little bit. Now you’ve been a successful leader in lots of different businesses, including of course leading your own successful group. So, I’m going to tap into your leadership thinking and your leadership brain right now, John. And I’d like you to distill those down to your top three leadership hacks, what would they be? John Reid: I would say, what we did, which was very clever of me by accident, I think. We didn’t declare values until we lived them. So, I had a company that was going on for four or five years and I said, okay, what are our values? Because we give grace, have a perspective, you know, but we actually lived the values before we declared them. So, I like that, well, I like the idea of having alignment, right? If you’re going to say you’re about this, you got to hold yourself accountable to that. Because people are going to look to when you’re not. So, I think as a leader, you always want to be very clear. You don’t want to leave it to people to try to figure it out. You want to be able to articulate. Here’s what matters to me, and here’s what it looks like. So, people have trust in you. So, there’s building a trust. I would say the other one related to trust, because trust is the coin of the realm. As a leader, you’ve got to show an interest in the whole person. So, if they say, hey, I’d like to take off, my dog’s sick. You’ve got to ask, oh, what’s wrong with your dog? Most leaders are like, okay, no problem, you can work later or something tomorrow. They miss the opportunity to build a human-to-human connection. And then they wonder why people don’t trust them, don’t like them, don’t confide in them, don’t leave, you know? Well, because you just missed all these rapport cues. Steve Rush: Compassion again. Of course. John Reid: Yeah, it’s just taking that extra step to show you’re listening and oh, and that doesn’t mean you have to care about this person’s dog. No, what you care about is this person and you know that to care about this person, have a relationship. The dog’s important to them. So, I’m going to ask about the dog. People get all caught up and that’s not authentic, that’s not me. I don’t care about dogs. No, you do care about a relationship though, right? So, get out of your own way and ask about the dog. So, there’s rapport building, there is aligning your values or whatever it is. I think the last one and this is where the training industry always gets it wrong. Not wrong, I shouldn’t say that. But candor is a compliment. Being honest with people about their performance is a compliment, good and bad. Oh my gosh. Could talk so much about this. If you do nothing else, start recognizing people more. When they do something, right, thank them. That was great. I like how you did this. That makes having the difficult conversation so much easier. Steve Rush: Exactly. John Reid: You can just go right into it because you’ve got that. You’ve done that. You’ve told them when they’re good. It’s much harder when you’ve never said anything good to them. And now you want to deliver some bad news and then you try to hide good news in it and create that infamous crap sandwich. So, people that work for me never have to wonder what I’m thinking about their performance. They just don’t, that burden’s gone. Sometimes they’ll say, wow, that’s terrible. Oh, don’t do that again. What was that? You know, but I do it in a playful way. We shank that one, we talk about that in the book, ‘shankapotamus’ - I shank that one. But that’s what you want to do as a leader, you want to recognize people and then be honest about their performance. People deserve honesty. People deserve to be treated a like adults, not children. And they deserve the truth in a way they can hear it. Not just let it all hang out, but in a way that is intentional about the way they can hear it. Steve Rush: Love that, great advice. Next part of the show, John, we call it Hack to Attack. Now this is typically where something in your life or work hasn’t worked out. But as a result, the experience you’re now using as a force of good. Now, we’ve already talked about surviving cancer four times. But if there was a moment in your life where you look back and think, well, that’s definitely something that was pivotal for me. What would that have been? John Reid: I think the moments that are pivotal in my career were when I was under stress, and I didn’t deal with things in the best way. And that happened a lot. And so as much as I said, I was mindful in the moment, I still had stress, right? Because you have cancer. You’ve got kids, you have kids in college. And I worked for some managers who were great. And I worked for some managers who were really not good human beings. They were really, you know, dysfunctional human beings and those dysfunctional human beings got to me. And one of them made me cry. I was like 50 years old or 45 years old. I don’t know. It’s a long time. It was like 45 years old. And I’m crying because this person is making my life hell. And it was funny when I did my exit interview, I said, you know, you made me cry. He said, do you think I meant to? And I said, I don’t know what you meant to do. All I know is I cried. And I’ve never cried before, but I think those turning moments are, you know, not dealing with it, trying to wish it away, not taking control of it, not taking action on it, but just becoming a little bit of a victim, right? Where you look at things that are being done to me and losing your sense of agency. And that’s where I first fell in love with the word agency, right. That we have to have agency and we don’t have agency if we’re so helpless until we’ve got to regain it if we don’t have it, we’ve got to find a way to regain it. Steve Rush: And that’s where it’ll make you stronger and you’ll become more resilient and more effective as a result of the learning that you get from that experience. John Reid: Sure, and I want to give people agency, I want them to know everything. I mean, I tell my employees, we just had a meeting and here’s all the numbers. Here’s everything you need to know. Here’s everything I know. So, you know, you’re making choices with full information. Because you’re an adult and you’re entitled to that, and you have agency and I want you to know how we’re doing. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so John Reid: The right thing to do. Steve Rush: So last thing we get to do today is we get you to do some time travel, bump into John at 21 and give him some advice. What would your words of wisdom to him then be? John Reid: Well, I would say to John at 21, there’s some things about you that the world is going to say is wrong, but it’s actually your secret sauce. So, the secret sauce was, I was always authentic. I was never anybody, but me. I was always curious and always playful. I think those three qualities I had from the beginning, what I would tell 21-year-old me is, you know, it’s not about you though, right? I mean, I was that guy. I was a little bit too much of that. Hey, look what I did, look what I accomplished, and nobody likes that guy. And also, there was a better version of me, a sort of a more controlled. I used to walk in a room of people. This is what I would tell younger me. I would walk in a room, a group of people, 21 and probably just start talking. And I would defend that behavior by saying, well, that’s me and the people around me go, that’s John, look at John, only John can walk in a room and just start talking. But you know, there is a good percentage of people in the room are like, you know, I hate John, John’s a jerk. I was talking and John interrupted me. And this John that some of you like is kind of a jerk. And it took me a while to realize that you can be authentically John without being a jerk. And you know, I think that’s what I would tell 21-year-old, John. I hope he would listen. He wasn’t a good listener, either 21-year-old John. Steve Rush: Well good news, it kind of all figured out at the end, right? John Reid: Yeah. Steve Rush: So, John, listen, I’ve really loved chatting and I could spend all day chatting or be at our listeners will probably drop off about now, because this is typically where our shows kind of run to and from, but before we wrap up our conversation today, how can we make sure our global audience can connect with you and the work that you do, maybe get a copy of some of the books. John Reid: Yeah, please reach out. A couple ways, one, is the website, and I’ll give my email. Can I do that Steve? Steve Rush: Absolutely. I know you’re really connecting with people, so please do. John Reid: It’s John, J-0-H-N at J-M-R-E-I-D And please email me, any emails I get I’ll send a copy of the book if it’s in the United States of America area. But the book also available. Steve Rush: Hashtag expensive international postage. John Reid: Exactly. But you know, we’re on Amazon. We’ve had good success with the second book and the first book. So, you know, they’re readily available. We’re going to have an audio version coming out, I think in the next month. Steve Rush: Sure thing. We’ll make sure that the links to your books, as well as to the JMReid Group and your email are in our show notes. So, folks can click straight into when we’re done. John Reid: Great. Thank you, Steve. Steve Rush: John, I’ve had a ball and thank you ever so much for being part of our community. Wish you ever success. I know that you are in the moment, and I know that there are some great things ahead for you and the JMReid Group. So, thanks for being part of our community. John Reid: Thank you. Closing Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers. Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handle there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.    
43:43 21/02/22
Visual Metaphors at Work with Dr Kerstin Potter
Dr Kerstin Potter is an Executive Coach with over 30 years in international business the private and public sector, She is the Founder and CEO Visual Metaphors at Work. Explore these topics: What is the difference between metaphors and visual metaphors? The unconscious thoughts and neuroscience triggered by visual metaphors. How visual metaphors help leaders express themselves in situations they find difficult. It’s not about being a leader of – but a leader with.   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Kerstin below: Kerstin on LinkedIn: Company  Website: Full Transcript Below ----more---- Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker. Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you Our special guest on today's show is Dr. Kerstin Potter. She's an executive coach with an enormous amount of international experience, and she's now the CEO of visual metaphors at work. But before we get a chance to speak with Kirsten, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: How can use in the news today, we explore how we can control our brain for optimal functioning, that mighty three-pound organ that sits in amongst our skulls. How do we get that to work for us instead of against us? When we are preparing for significant events in our careers and our work, we tend to focus on preparation. For a big presentation to do we practice until we get comfortable. If we have an interview for a new job, we'll practice some research so that we understand what the obvious questions might be. When we take this approach however, we're only doing half the work of being effective and successful. How often do we take time to prepare our brains? What do you do to ensure that you keep that pivotal organ in the game? Not just your body in actions, it's fair to say that physical preparation is what controls the brain, but there are specific things we can do to ensure that our brain is as prepared as our body for those important career situations. Let's dive into a few areas. Thoughts play a massive part in how our brain is used. Truth is, we can manage emotions, but it starts with controlling our thoughts. Every emotion we experience comes from a thought which occurs consciously or unconsciously. Then we experience one or more emotions based on it. And if those thoughts don't serve you well, it can be pretty destructive. You might find yourself getting into a Whirlpool that takes you away from the work that you're at distracted, and therefore will reduce your opportunity for peak level performance. The hack for brain training here is to be thoughtful around whether or not your thoughts are helping you move forward, or they're going to hold you back. Take the time to consider these thoughts and replace them with data by asking yourself specific questions. These questions can help you replace the thoughts with information that could be really helpful. An example could be consider how many times you've given a successful presentation and then do a quick mental scan of what it was that helped you accomplish what it was that you set out in that presentation. What were the things that helped you? Do you have evidence to support your experiences, aligned your education, your previous jobs and your career accomplishments, all will give you data to reinforce your capability in order for you to do a great job. And when you provide your brain with evidence and data, it doesn't have to do the hard work of finding the information to fill the uncertainty, but reminding your brain, you have the skill sets to take on the task that you have the background to be credible on the topic. Your brain will create the right emotions that align with these thoughts, replacing anxiety with confidence, the power of words is a really important hack to continually evolve and build brain power. As a professional, you're like to be aware of the power of words. It can be used to motivate, demoralize, strengthen, undermine. But how often do you think about the words which you use on yourself? Yourself talk. Such words might be conscious ones that you say to yourself, as well as the unconscious words that whisper around in your ears when you're thinking to yourself. The problem here of course, is that words create thoughts, thoughts create actions. So, these words have to be the ones that serve you well. And I've been quoted in saying before, this is the voice in your head that you wake up with. It's the one you go to bed with, and it'd be the last one you hear before you die. So, it has to serve you really well. The heck here is to avoid the words that don't serve us well. And there are a few examples could be, should, have to, need to, must have, which create thoughts of you not doing enough or not being enough. They may experience feelings of guilt or put you under a position of pressure. To avoid creating an internal climate of negative thoughts and emotions. Replace these pressure words with power words, such as, want, will, do. Instead of telling yourself, you should going to work to review X, Y, Z, use the words I will. Changing the pressure word of should to will and want. Shifting the focus from my making a mistake to building confidence puts you back in control of your thoughts and emotions and builds brain power. And with the hacks that we've shared so far, we've talked about the thoughts that are creating actions in the way that we do things. These all stem from mindset. When you work on a project for your organization, do you plan to start and only complete 50% of it? Of course, you don't, but this is a metaphor of how we've been engaging our brain when it comes to preparation for our professional roles. Overall, how you function is your choice, it's a mindset. You can determine what thoughts you want to encourage to create beneficial emotions, your mindset related to create the thoughts you need to get you closer to big performance. And that mindset will allow you to decide what words will generate the right behaviors and actions that align with you achieving your goals. And you can tell your brain where to focus and in doing so unlock the results that you want. These simple strategies and hacks will help your brain become a better tool for you and remember mindset triggers, your thoughts that triggers your behaviors. That's been the leadership Hacker News, we'd love for you to share your stories and insights with us so please get in touch. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining me on the show today is Dr. Kerstin Potter. She's an executive coach with an enormous amount of international experience of over 30 years in leading both private and public sector businesses. She's now the CEO of Visual Metaphors at Work. Kerstin, welcome to the show. Dr. Kerstin Potter: It's great to be here. Thank you. Steve Rush: I'm delighted that we've got you to come on our show for two reasons. One, the first time that you and I met, it was a kind of a bumping into visual metaphors. And then subsequently I've been coached by you. And it was an enormous experience for me. And I just wanted to get our listeners to feel how that might have been for them. But before we dive into the whole notion of what you do, let's get to know a little bit about you. What's your backstory? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Right? Well, I was born in Sweden, and I spent my early childhood there. And then when I was 13 years old, my family moved to Switzerland. I was placed in a convent school where only French was spoken. And I didn't know where to French at the time. And my family wasn't religious. So, I didn't understand any of the rituals either. So, I felt very much as a mute, you know, for six months I had to really get by, by looking at how people were acting, what they were doing and the tone of their voices and so on to try to understand what was going on. And at the beginning I made many mistakes and didn't really get it at all. And then I got better and better at really looking at what's going on around me. And after six months, I was ready to then with my French to start the normal school. But I think with hindsight, that time of newness was what made me really interested in how people work and operate and listening and looking at people in that way. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the life and culture in the French part of Switzerland. So, I stayed on there and trained as a scientist by reading chemistry at the University Lund. I was interested in how a scientist mind worked in the observation experimentation, looking at feedback from systems and then making changes and looking how that worked. I then had a brief interlude in Sweden, reading history of art. This is where images came in, I think. And this was really because I needed to see Sweden or this culture of Sweden from the viewpoint of grownup, rather than a child, because many people were asking me about Sweden, I couldn't really answer them. After that brief interlude. I then went to the UK to do a PhD in chemistry, in Cambridge. And this was really to get myself or make myself a better scientist by training in actually doing real research work. After I had finished my doctorate, I joined a pharma company AstraZeneca as a graduate trainee. I think I went into this with some detail because I think this is the pattern of my career really is trying to move on into a different and new industrial or business area. And at the same time change country, because I really enjoyed the learning and the new culture. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Kerstin Potter: The new cultures I encountered. So, I carried on in that pattern. After working the pharma industry, I moved back to Switzerland as part owner of a startup, and that was specializing in mentalized textiles for high precision printing and also protection cages for electronic equipment. So, a completely different area again. I then spent three years with Nestle in food ingredients, six years as management consultant in Germany. And then I moved back to the UK, setting up European safe effort for high tech consultancy. Again, in Cambridge, I was back made a complete tour. I then moved on to become director of Executive Education at Cass Business School in the city of London, the school specialized in finance. So again, I walked into a new area for me. This is also where I was first asked to act as a coach, particularly for me for women who moved in from outside the UK into the higher levels of management in the city of London, I thoroughly enjoyed coaching. I mean, this was, again, something completely new to me and I felt I needed to become more professional here. So, I trained as an executive coach at HEC Business School in Paris. I wanted to do this in Paris rather than in the UK, because at the time UK coaching was very much influenced by the US. And I also wanted to see how a different culture was working with coaching. And in addition, I also knew that in France at the time a team coaching was very important, and people were very interested in how this could work out. That hadn't really started yet in the US and in the UK. So, this is where I then really started as a coach, as a professional coach. Steve Rush: So, one of the things that just rung a bell with me is, you were talking about that Kirsten, is that the kind of whole notion of cultural backdrop of coaching. Do you notice that there is a kind of a difference between different cultures in the way that we coach and are being coached? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, we have a different attitude towards power in different regions of the world. We have a different attitude to how we communicate in general and also the sort of careers, because executive coaching is about coaching people in their business careers, the way you look at your careers and what is important is completely different. Steve Rush: So, from the time that you became a professional coach, how did you end up with Visual Metaphors at Work? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, I've been part of teams and I've been responsible for teams during my whole career. And I was starting to become really frustrated and worried. By the way that corporate culture and office politics get in the way of change and growth both at the level of the organization and the visual. So, this is where the team thing comes in. When I remembered some pioneering visual metaphor work carried out by Professor Angela Dumas at London Business School. She used images and objects to help teams reveal tacit knowledge and promote deeper conversations and trust within the team. I came across though when I was working with this high-tech consultancy in Cambridge. She'd been mandated by the consultancy to kick off a series of workshops for a client in Finland. This was an engineering company producing giant paper making machines. And they had acquired a smallest Swedish company. Directors and the management teams from both organizations were to meet for the first time to agree on a common strategy for product development and service development. And Angela Dumas had been asked to pick off this whole thing using her images and objects. I was very worried because I don't like putting people into boxes, but I think it's well known that Swedes and Finns are not particularly talkative. And adding to that a group of engineers having to face up to images and try to talk about them. I was worried that it was going to be a complete disaster. I didn't know whether I was actually going to be there and see this big car crash or whether it would be better for me to just keep away from it. But yeah, my curiosity took over and I ended up joining them all. It was in middle of the winter. It was very dark in Finland, very cold. And Angela Dumas took out her bag of tricks, showed all her images, asked her questions, et cetera. And I was absolutely amazed. After 10 minutes, she had these people talking together in a very constructive manner and having fun at the same time. And they ended up with some really strong decisions and ways forward that they actually acted on, which I thought was amazing. So, when I had finished my training as a coach, then as a team coach, I remembered what had happened there. And so, I contacted Angela again to see what had happened with her methodology, her visual metaphors, et cetera, and unfortunately, she had been very ill and had to leave London Business School. So, I ended up sitting by her bedside and then we took walks together, slow walks together in the park as she was in convalescence and listened to her talking about her research in the area, watch she'd done, the experiments she'd done. And I was also going through her paper asking her lots of questions. So, after that Angela and I decided to start a company together, which is now Visual Metaphors at Work. We set it up in Dubai in 2012. And we started working on developing the Lephorus to be a coaching tool for coaches, facilitators, and executives and companies to have some coaching experience to use with teams and we call this Lephorus. Angela then decided to retire in 2014. And I've been carrying on the work since then. Steve Rush: This leads us to this point, right? So now you have your organization, and you are inspiring different coaching conversations using a really neat and different talk. And before we get into that, let's just for our global audience. We have 94 countries that listen to this podcast. So, on that basis, let's start with metaphors. For those that might be less familiar with that English phraseology, metaphor. What does that mean? Dr. Kerstin Potter: We humans have been using metaphors for a very long time, indeed, and young people or young children from the age three or four, understand them without any problem at all and they exist in every culture. So, for example, we say time flies to show that time may have a direction for us and that it can go past very quickly in a flash. We also say time is money. We have hourly monthly wages. So, we paid for the time we spend at work or the time we give to the companies where we are working for our work. And also, if we do something wrong in society, we pay our dues by spending time in prison. We also say time heals. So, these are different ways of framing and reframing the quite complicated concept of time. Using metaphors like this is a way we have developed able to actually get a handle of complex concepts and to talk about them with others. Scientists use metaphors a lot in order to try to explain to each other what's going on in their experiments and so on, for example, I mean, say atoms bumped together, they don't, but it's very helpful to describe it in this way. There are also other metaphors like gestures, and also there are sound metaphors, for example a rooster crowing in the morning could indicate a new start, a new beginning. So that's met metaphors in general, and then there are visual metaphors and visual metaphors are images. We say an image is worth a thousand words, for example. Steve Rush: Another metaphor as well. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Yes, exactly. Steve Rush: So, I remember when you coached me, the thing that made the real difference for me in using metaphors is it helped me unlock my unconscious thinking. And when you coached me, you were using words around a situation. So typically, it would start with, let's talk about this situation and I want you to look at these images. And I remember you saying, look at the image. What do you see? What do you notice that similar to that situation? And on the face value, you look at an image and you think, well, it, can't, here's a bunch of colors and shapes and directions, or here's a chair that can't be possibly similar to the situation I’m in, but actually when you allow yourself to be present and in that moment and think about it, you can start noticing some patterns and some similarities. And that was the one thing that really intrigued me about this whole process. So, for me as a coachee, what's actually happening there? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, actually when I talk to people and it's interesting the words you've been using there, what people say is that when you see the images you seem to have an instant reaction to these images. It's a more like a gut feel. You know that bit is important to me, but you don't know why. They then say they try to process them intellectually, so there's an internal conversation. And then they go back to the instant reaction, the gut feel they had in choosing one particular image in that situation. So, it's not really very reasoned. It is a gut reaction, you know, does that make sense in what happened to you? Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. What's quite ironic is we're talking about visual metaphors on a podcast, which is an audible means of communication. But even as we are describing this, I suspect our listeners can start to think about, if I described that, you know, we had four boxes each within an image, some would have shapes, some would have curve lines, some would have bright colors, some would have less bright colors, and you are naturally drawn to an image that for whatever reason, draws you there and there is no intellectual reason for that either. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Exactly, and then what people say to me is that that picture that you have selected gives you an anchor, it's an anchor point to be confident and specific about articulating the feelings around that situation and the insights you have, so you can do it. It goes very quickly. You start talking about important things very fast, and I think it's also something to do about if you have a white page, you know, how do you start writing? It's always difficult. The same thing, if you are asked to talk about your situation, you know, tell me more about it. Again, it's a blank page. Whereas if you have this image as a sort of anchor, it makes it much easier to are talking about things. Steve Rush: And I suspect then unconsciously, because something been triggered in that conversation. We've triggered the conversation. Then it allows you as a coach to then ask additional relevant questions because you've got something out early. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Absolutely. And what we also do and what's important with Lephorus is that we use several sets of images. So, we keep on asking questions, using different types of images. That's what you saw too Steve, didn't you? Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Kerstin Potter: And also, it's not just any images. These images have been developed. Starting off bound, read your mind, then by us, we now are at the third generation of images because we have learned as we go along, what works in well in certain situation and what works less well. So, it's very important. The type of image, the family you use, the questions you ask and the type of questions, you have to be very careful with how you word your questions. Steve Rush: And I suspect if you are not careful, you end up leading people to anchor into an image that they might not naturally migrate towards, right? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Absolutely. And also saying things that they think they should say, because, you know, it's the way you prompt the way you ask questions about the image to try to get deeper into it. You can't ask leading questions, that's clear. Steve Rush: Yeah, and people learn in lots of different ways. So, if we go back to the core foundations that most of us learn, it's either visual, auditory. So, we see things, we hear things, we like to touch things that's kinesthetic. So, what if I'm not naturally visual, will it still have the same effect for me? Dr. Kerstin Potter: You know, it's an interesting question. First of all, from the experience, there is no problem. Everybody actually gets this very, very quickly. The only people we've had real problems with are those who are actually in the art world or in the design world, because we use images of abstract images. So, they're immediately trying to get back to, you know, who might have painted that. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Kerstin Potter: You mentioned images of chairs. They might say, well, who might be the designer of that chair? So, they get into their professional life before they look at the image, just as an image. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Those are the only people who've had problems with. It's interesting, you're saying this about more visual or more sort of language based. It's actually been shown that, and that was some recent research carried out in 2017 by Elinor Amit at Harvard Medical School who showed that, in fact, we internally use both sort of language reasoning and visual reason, but it depends on the complexity of the issue at hand, which one we turn to. When the issue is quite simple, we use more language thinking. And when the complexity is increased, we start to go more towards the visual. And that happens with everyone. Steve Rush: That's really interesting, isn't it? Yeah, so particularly when we find ourselves in difficult situations or elements of particular conflict, you found that people using visual metaphors can also unlock some learning in themselves far quicker than if they would do through regular coaching. What's the reason that happens? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Because It's yourself, the person itself who is actually finding these insights within themselves, you then move on to actually understanding how you can go forward in a quite different way. You know, if you move towards something, you have to know what would be good and you have to know what would be bad for you. And then you can start building the road. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Kerstin Potter: From where you are today to where you want to get to, again, using images to show you the different paths you can take. And you then very quickly, very easily get into, right. I can try to do this. I can try to do that. If that doesn't work, I can move on to this other pathway and so on. So, you get to something very quickly and something practical. Steve Rush: Yeah, and also from a team and group perspective, this can really also help stimulate conversation in broader teams rather than just individuals as well. And I just wondered what your experience was of that. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Oh yes. Well, I mean, one of the things that people do say also is that this creates, you know, the famous psychological safety. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Kerstin Potter: You know that Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School has been talking about for many, many years. Here, were actually seemed to be creating that. And there are two things. One is the ritual. We ask each person of the team, one after the other in silence, choose an image that represents the situation or the issue at hand or whatever. And then to talk to their teammates about this image. And we find that when they do that, people lean in and want to listen to what their colleague is saying. They're very interested to see which image their colleague chooses. And then to listen to what they're saying about that image. You then very quickly, have other team members more questions about the image. On fact, for example, saying, well, I chose that image too, but for this and this reason, which is different from yours, and you have a conversation happening again very quickly. And because you're talking about the image, you're not talking about the person, it's becomes nonconfrontational and non-aggressive. Steve Rush: Yeah. Dr. Kerstin Potter: So, you have an openness in the team that happens very quickly, and which is very constructive. Steve Rush: And to your point, psychologically safe then, isn't it? Yeah, like it. Dr. Kerstin Potter: They say afterwards, I feel as if, you know, I've been working with these people for years but after this session, I feel as if I'd been to school with them. Steve Rush: How fascinating, yeah. So, if I'm a leader listening to this and I'm thinking, great, I'll just whip myself onto the internet. I'll download of images, and I'll try and run this with my team. What's the danger in doing that? Or is there a danger in doing that? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, it depends on what you want to do with it. I mean, there's something called photolanguage that has been used for very many years in teams, when you start a workshop, for example, and photolanguage is the selection of images to use about 50 images, photos. And it has people in it, it has animals in it, it has as cars, you know, anything. And it's very useful. If you say at the beginning of the workshop, say, you know, how are you feeling now? Or what do you want to get out of this workshop? Instead of doing the usual flip chart, you know, what are you wanting to get out of this workshop? You do it with this image, and that's been going on for years and years and that's useful. However, you don't get any deeper than that. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Kerstin Potter: You know, the important thing with the Lephorus is that we have the different types of images for different depths of conversation. We are really digging in, we're starting at the higher level saying, you know, what's your situation? What is the situation as a whole? And then we dig down during a workshop, which usually takes about two hours or two and a half hours. Steve Rush: And your images are scientifically chosen over time through experience and through methodology to make sure that they stimulate the conversation, right? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Yeah, they've been chosen through experience. I don't know about scientifically. But yes, over, you know, over many years, since 2012, we have been working with those images and looking at how they worked in workshops. Steve Rush: So, if I wanted to dig into visual metaphors, what's the easiest way for me to kick that off? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, our website is a good way to start because there are videos there explaining what metaphors are and how they work. And they're also courses for coaching and facilitators to learn the techniques. And in a few weeks, there will be an eBook with more background, more theoretical background and so on. So, there's quite a lot of information there. And then I'd always be happy to talk to anybody about my experience, our experiences and also give examples of what we've been doing and the issues that we have been helping organizations face and find solutions too. Steve Rush: Excellent, and at the end of the show, we'll make sure we capture how people can connect with you so that they can dive into some of that. But at this part of the show, typically where we turn the tables a little, we're now going to hack into your leadership mind. So having led a number of different businesses, lots of different international experiences, I'm really keen to dive in and hack into your leadership mind. So, if you had to think about your life's work and distill that down to your top three leadership hacks, what would they be? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Right. Well, I think the first one is that it is not about being a leader of, for me, it's being a leader with, so it's about walking together, walking side by side with a team. And I find that important because there is an intelligence in a team. There's an intelligence in an organization that we often don't take account off. Steve Rush: Okay. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Number two, if you do work in that way, you know, rather than being a leader with, it's very important that wherever you are, the top management, actually agrees with this because if that's not the case, and you do listen to the intelligence of the team and you then are not able to take account of that, then that's worse than not listening in the first place. I've seen that happening. We have been working in organizations where we actually have walked away because we had to say, no, this is counterproductive. If we don't act on the intelligence of the organization that is destructive rather than constructive. Steve Rush: Definitely. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Numbers, three. Unforce humor is important, has an important place. So that's why I really like when we are running these workshops that those early banter, you know, people laugh a bit about the images, about the things that's being said. And then very quickly when they realize that important things are coming out, it becomes serious, but there is banter and laughter and I think that's important. Steve Rush: It also unlocks the chemicals in the brain to allow that deeper thinking and trust also comes about as a result of that, doesn't it? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Yeah, that's right. And I think, you know, if we can have more unforce humor in organizations in general, we'd all be happier. Steve Rush: Definitely, yeah. Next part of the show, we've affectionately called Hack to Attack. This is where something hasn't worked out, it may have been pretty catastrophic, but at the time you took some learning from it and it's now a force of good for you in your work on life. What would be your Hack to Attack? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, I told you that I've been moving from one job to another and into and out of different countries. And of course, that can feel very risky and scary. But I must say that at the end, every time it's actually produced something very good, but for me and my family, even in places or in circumstances, when I've been asked to leave an organization, which is never an easy place to be in, with hindsight, that's been a good thing. And I've seen other people in similar situations thinking that their world has had ended. And in fact, this was actually an opening for something new, something different. So yes, it's scary. But I have learned that it's actually, usually very positive in the end. Steve Rush: It's that moment, isn't it? That you make a call that either something is scary or alluring and it's a very fine line, isn't it? Last part of the show, we get to give you some time travel. You get to bump into Kirsten at 21 and give us some advice. What would your words of wisdom be to her then? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Right. Well, I'm naturally quite introverted and I would advise myself at the time to be kind to myself because I tried to be something I wasn't, I tried to be extrovert because I thought that was the way to be. Steve Rush: Right. Dr. Kerstin Potter: And I've learned over many years that it's better to accept what you are and then to find ways of doing what you want to do, but in that context. So, for example, I go to networking events, but I allow myself to leave 30 minutes. So, it's those little things to be kind to yourself, not to stop yourself doing things because they are, you know, you're worried about them, whatever, but find ways of working it so that it fits with who you are. I have to say that if I'd said that to myself, age 21, I wouldn't have been listening. Steve Rush: That's the other thing, isn't it? With hindsight. I reflect back on the same question to me. That's been asked many times and at 21, gosh, I was a very different individual and a different framing. If only we could listen to ourselves at 21, our life may have been a bit more seamless. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Perhaps. Steve Rush: But who knows? Then we wouldn't have had those learning experiences either, right? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Exactly. I was going to say you need those bumps. Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely, so. So beyond today, what's the best way we can connect our audience to your firm and to you through the work that you do? Dr. Kerstin Potter: Well, our website is It's a bit of a mouthful. But as I said, lots of information there, I'm also active on LinkedIn. So, you can connect with me through that. During the last year, I've discovered that I like doing videos during the pandemic, last two years during the pandemic. I really like doing videos. So, we'll soon have a presence on YouTube as well. Particularly describing case studies from our clients. So, you know, guest contact me via LinkedIn or the website, and I can then give you updates on where things will appear that you might find of interest. Steve Rush: Super, and we'll make sure all of those links are in our show notes. So, folks can literally head over soon as they've listened to this and click in and find you. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Thank you. Steve Rush: So, Kerstin, thank you for coming on our show. I am really delighted that we've been able to showcase your work and my experience have been coached by you. And in hope that others will also find that visual metaphors can really unlock their experiences at work. So, thank you for coming on our podcast and thank you for sharing what you do. Dr. Kerstin Potter: Thank you for having me. Steve Rush: Thanks Kerstin. Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the Leadership Hacker.                                                 
40:08 14/02/22
Spiritual Intelligence with Amy Lynn Durham
Amy Lynn Durham is the CEO of Create Magic at Work. She's also a Berkeley Certified Executive Coach, and one of the world's leading practitioners on spiritual intelligence. In this intimate conversation we discuss some great learning including: What is Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) How we can use SQ and EQ at work as leaders What to do, to create magic at work How to feel connected with your teams or organization   Join our Tribe at   Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA   Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services   Find out more about Amy below: Amy on LinkedIn: Create Magic at Work Website: Amy on Twitter Amy on Instagram   Full Transcript Below     Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach, or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.   Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush, and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you   Amy Lynn Durham is a special guest on today's show. Amy is the CEO of Create Magic at Work. She's also a Berkeley Certified Executive Coach, and one of the world's leading practitioners on spiritual intelligence. But before we get a chance to speak with Amy, it's The Leadership Hacker News. The Leadership Hacker News Steve Rush: Given today's show is about spiritual intelligence. We're going to start off by diving into emotional intelligence. So what is it? Well at the most basic level, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own emotions and other people's feelings. A high level of emotional intelligence will help us as leaders engage with others effectively. Emotional intelligence affects all aspects of our professional and personal life. From our ability to self-regulate our emotions to manage behavior, sell an idea and lead and form healthy relationships. Many companies have determined employees with a high level of emotion, intelligence increase a company's productivity and significantly impacts on the bottom line. So as a leader, if you're looking ways to boost your emotional, here's a few steps to help you on your way. Learn to stay cool. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. You're more likely to get what you need by being polite rather than being rude. We say things we regret when we are stressed and angry, while stress is of course a normal part of life, it can so distract us from the rational thinking that we absolutely need. Stress, however, dramatically affects how we deal with problematic situations. You feel yourself getting stressed, take a walk, get some fresh air, sip some water, but take a break. If you want to boost your emotional intelligence, you need to learn how to avoid succumbing easily to the stresses in our personal and professional lives. Next, develop empathy and compassion. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage not only our own emotions, but for those around us as well. Their opinions, judgments, demands, requests of others can also cause us to lose our cool. But by stepping into their shoes, understanding can really set us apart. Be present in the moment and try and examine it from all angles. It could be entirely possible that you are reading into a situation that isn't actually happening right in front of you. Their intent could be altogether different from your understanding of their situation. Be definitive. Are you someone who has things happen to them or are you the person that makes things happen? Learn how to take ownership of the situations in our lives. You're in driver seat after all. With higher emotion intelligence, you'll realize that you are in control of all of your outcomes, even though you might not think so, emotion and intelligence help you respond in an empowering way where circumstances and situations could be even really quite challenging and help you find a way around. Remember you're in the driving seat. Change old habits, change how you engage with others. If you are in a habit of cutting people off, when they speak, practice stopping it. Learn to be fully present when engaging with others. Listen thoroughly to what somebody is saying without thinking how you're going to respond, just be in the moment. And yet it takes practice. And lastly, practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of observing the present moment without judging what you notice. The more you're able to observe without are judging the less slightly you are actually to react to the environment that’s around you. And to sum this up nicely, Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search For Meaning. States that everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms, which is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances. And developing our emotional intelligence will help us all enjoy this freedom to choose your attitude in any given circumstance. So, in conclusion, researchers have determined that emotional intelligence has more impact on success than IQ, your intelligence. The good news is that your level of emotional intelligence is not fixed, and it can be changed, and we can nurture it and it can grow. If you want some more informational emotional intelligence. One of the godfathers that brought this to our four is Daniel Goleman and he has a book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Please continue to keep your new stories flowing to us. But for now, let's get into the show. Start of Podcast Steve Rush: Joining me on the show today is Amy Lynn Durham. Amy is a certified executive coach. She's the founder and CEO of her company Create Magic At Work and they offer spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence tools to energize and transform the workplace. Amy's also written fantastic book named of course Create Magic At Work. Amy, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Amy Lynn Durham: Thank you for having me, Steve. I'm happy to be here. Steve Rush: We always love to kick the show off with an opportunity for you to share a little bit about how you've arrived doing what you're doing. So, tell us a little bit about the backstory? Amy Lynn Durham: How have I arrived? What a question. Yeah, it's a roller coaster ride for sure. Being a solopreneur entrepreneur. My background is in the corporate world as a corporate executive. I've worked for private and publicly traded companies. At my peak, I was working for a large telecommunications company, and I was operating about 40 million dollars a year in operating income and managing a little over 400 employees. And I mainly ran half of California, which is the size of a small country if you will. Steve Rush: It's in fact bigger than many countries, right? Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. And part of which was the Bay Area in Silicon Valley. So, I have a strong background in achieving sales goals, HR, recruiting, employee engagement, workplace culture, and all of those things that are involved with that. While I was in my position there, I really felt like my creativity was stifled in the workplace. And in my final year in that position, I made a goal within myself that I wanted to show to the C-suite leaders, that human connection improves productivity and profitability versus pitting people against each other in unhealthy competition. And so, I planned for a year to leave my job and I didn't tell anyone because I wanted to go on a journey where I reinjected myself back into the workplace to do these connecting activities. But what I did during the year that I stayed in my job was. I used my employees to test out these field, tested activities that I ended up putting in my book and I wanted to make sure I left on top, again, to show that these things work in the workplace. Steve Rush: Awesome. And in doing that kind of test and learn under the radar, so to speak, what did you fundamentally learn about your existing team that happened as a result of you changing your approach? Amy Lynn Durham: Wow, well, it freed me up as a leader to actually do my job. I'm going to start with the end result and then kind of unthread it from there for you. Once the team members saw the humanity within each other, with these activities, we were doing that really at the end of the day, elevated their spiritual intelligence, their SQ, and their EQ as well, their emotional intelligence. They worked together better. So, you know, one person would call the other if they had a question or needed help, collaboration skyrocketed. I wasn't the only main point of contact anymore. And the other thing that it did, which is a huge result of skill building and spiritual intelligence in the workplace, is it decreased the ego induced drama. Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: That is pretty time consuming in the workplace. And there were a lot more results. As far as like the ripple effect for humanity. I mean, there were some beautiful moments that I feel were healing that people had where they could really show who they are authentically in the workplace. And I know that team remembers each other forever now. Steve Rush: Because they've got a deeper, more meaningful connection, right. Amy Lynn Durham: A hundred percent. Steve Rush: Yeah. So, you pivoted then into the world of helping others on this journey that you'd experienced yourself by really diving into that, what you call spiritual intelligence. Now for focus, listen into this. They may be more familiar with the language of emotion intelligence, but perhaps less so for spiritual intelligence. So maybe you can just give us a little bit of an overview if you like, as to what spiritual intelligence is and how that differs or not as a case maybe from EQ? Amy Lynn Durham: Right? Right. Yeah. So, this is an arguable data point, but I'm going to share it because it's a great way to frame it. You get to SQ by way of EQ. So, if you have been working on self-awareness of your emotions and working on building connections in the workplace, that's sort of skill building in EQ. SQ you is when you start pondering, you know, why am I here? What is my life purpose? What are my values? And am I living in alignment with those values? And it's that point in your life where you start thinking of those different questions for yourself. The adult development theory says it typically happens around your early to mid-thirties, but obviously we're all human and there's exceptions, right? Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: The definition of spiritual intelligence is the ability. And this is from Cindy Wigglesworth who developed the 21 skills of SQ. And her definition is the ability to maintain inner and outer peace, make decisions with wisdom and compassion, regardless of the situation, even under great stress. So, if you take that definition and think, wow, what if all of our leaders were able to do that in the workplace? How amazing would that be? Steve Rush: Be an amazing place. Yeah, definitely. Amy Lynn Durham: Right, yeah. Steve Rush: It's an interesting notion that in order to get to SQ, you've got to go through this emotional intelligence journey, but actually it starts with self, doesn't it? In that kind of foundation block. Amy Lynn Durham: It does. I mean, you don't even have to know what emotional intelligence is. Again, the adult development theory says that that's around your early to mid-twenties where your brain is developed enough to really start experiencing compassion for others. But if you're in that space and you're working on self-awareness of your emotions, building connections, having emotional management strategies, all of those things. Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: The next steppingstone would SQ. Steve Rush: If I was a leader, listening to this thinking around. Okay. So, I thought relatively grounded in my emotion intelligence. What's my next step to start exploring spiritual intelligence? Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. Okay. I offer an SQ experience that I take you through all of it. I issue an SQ assessment on the 21 skills, and you can see what level you're operating at, at this current timeframe of the 21 skills of SQ. And then you can go from there, you can deep dive into whatever skill resonates with you. You don't have to work on all 21 skills if there's a few that you're like, I don't even care about this. Great. we can work on the ones that resonate with you. And for me, it's a life lifelong journey. So, I have a client just to give you a client story that knew their life purpose for the majority of their adult life. And they really did a great job with their career, and you know, working in that life purpose space. Well, now they're in a different phase of their life. Their life has changed as our lives do, and they're trying to rediscover a new life purpose. And so, this stuff can be cyclical too. It's not like a one and done. Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. Steve Rush: Got it. So, what are the core elements of then spiritual intelligence? Amy Lynn Durham: The first Is creating an awareness of your ego versus your higher self. Once you've created that awareness, this is my opinion. This is what I think is really the core element here is moving on to, okay. I'm aware of when my ego gets in the driver's seat, I'm aware of when I'm operating from my higher self, and now I can practice seeking guidance from my higher self. I can practice operating from the space of my higher self-more. And that to me is the core of all of this. How can we become aware of our ego and when it's operating? How can we work to have our ego in service to our higher self? And how can we practice seeking guidance from our higher self? So spiritual intelligence is faith neutral. You can be agnostic, you can be atheist, doesn't matter. As long as you believe there's a place within you that comes from wisdom, compassion, love, that you can access. You can work on the 21 skills SQ. Steve Rush: I guess you have to have gone through that realizing first in order to be open to this, right? Amy Lynn Durham: The realization of separating your ego? Steve Rush: Yeah, and also realizing that there is something else to explore that you haven't yet gone through to find new ways of thinking and behaving. Amy Lynn Durham: Yes. You have to definitely have some sort of awareness and some sort of curiosity to want to do the work that's required. Absolutely. It does take looking in the mirror and some inner work. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: And some leaders don't want to do that. And that's okay. That's the space they're in right now, but I really truly feel, this is what will make you and your company a next level organization is operating from these skillsets. Steve Rush: And from your experiences being a coach using the spiritual intelligence, SQ steps. Maybe just share with us a story or an example of where you've seen somebody really transition and make a significant difference to the way that they lead their business and the team? Amy Lynn Durham: So, there's a really common skill that a lot of clients want to go to and talk about it. And it's in quadrant four at skill 19, and the skill is making wise and compassionate decisions. And let me tell you where the transformation happens. The transformation happens with the individual most often, lately. And I don't have the scientific data behind it, but I can speak to a correlation with the pandemic. These leaders are great leaders. And what ends up happening is when we dig a little bit deeper, we discover they need to make wise and compassionate decisions for themselves. And they're great leaders, obviously, because they want to dive into that skill, right? Oh, I want to dive into making wise and compassionate decisions. I want to operate at a really high skill level for my team and my people in that area. That is a great intention, beautiful, creating that ripple effect as a leader, but oh, by the way, are you making wise and compassionate decisions for yourself? Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: Are you burning yourself out? Are you overworking yourself for your team? Then we get into boundary setting and a little bit of self-care with that. So interestingly enough, the transformation happens with the individual taking care of themselves so they can take care of their people in a better clearer way. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: That's one example. Steve Rush: It's a great example. And I remember when you and I first met. You shared this story with me around how you go about helping people on this journey. And I remember you sharing the approach that you take because you genuinely take coaching to another level when it comes to SQ, where you not only do you get the report to make that spiritual connection yourself. I remember you sharing that, you know, you meditate over the report and the words you actually use, which I was quite inspired by was you actually almost ingest the energy that you get from their reports. And if you remember you and I had this conversation, is that the right word? And I think that felt really quite powerful for me. And I just wondered if you could share how that experience evolves? Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. So once we start the SQ experience. They start the journey with taking the SQ assessment, and then once the results come through, I spend a lot of time reading those results, meditating on the results. And really, like you said, and I ingest the energy of the results. So, I can really show up for my client and be there for them. And then I create custom coaching questions for them in order to help move them forward on their leadership journey with this. It's a really cool experience. I had one particular client. This is just coming to mind. I just love this story. I love to share it. He scored so high on being able to operate from his higher self. And I was like, oh my gosh, did you know that you have this magic gift already innately that you just operate from your higher self? And when a leader can do that, you know, like I said, before ego induced drama just kind of falls away, or you don't attract drama or people that are angry in your presence, the anger sort of dissipates. And I pointed that out to him because it's nice to name that and to know like, yeah, when I'm in a space with other people, my energy as leader, or as someone in a position of power actually ripples out 10 times over. So how amazing is it that this type of energy, this coming from a place of common healing presence, inner wisdom, compassion, love, is rippling out to the people that I'm interacting with. And he said, oh my gosh, when I was a little boy in school, the teacher would always sit the bad kid next to me. And she always said she did that because he seemed to behave better when he sat next to me. Steve Rush: That's really fascinating, isn't it? Amy Lynn Durham: And I said, yeah. The things that come about with these interactions are really cool and people discover hidden strengths that they know we're there, but they just need a light shined on them. Steve Rush: Yeah. So that's tapping into spirituality the much deeper level, isn't? Than perhaps most people would consciously be aware of. Amy Lynn Durham: It is. Steve Rush: And I wonder as a coach, how do you get people tuned into that depth of understanding? Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. So, I have two parts to the way that I operate. I have that deep stuff that I was just talking about with you. And then I have the super fun, playful tools that I offer. So that's why I designed Create Magic At Work. I put all the fun leadership activities in my book that leaders can grab. My book is like 64 pages, it's tiny. And I did that on purpose, and I designed it for the leader that can just grab it and go to an activity and do the activity with their team. The activity elevates their EQ and SQ, but it's super fun. Steve Rush: Right Amy Lynn Durham: So, yeah, we do the deep inner work with the one-on-one SQ experience or the workshops or the speaking engagements. But at the same time, you can just do something fun with your team and it can start simple. It doesn't have to be this huge, deep dive into SQL. I have a journaling exercise in my book. It's called journaling with a twist. I designed a journal prompt card deck for the workplace and for your career. So, you can pull a journal card for your team to journal on a theme. Time them for 10 minutes. They rapid write answers to the questions. And then if they're comfortable, they can share it with everyone. That was a huge connecting activity that I did with my team that brought everyone together. Because once everyone hears each other's answers, you start seeing the humanity in each other. And it's simple. Steve Rush: Yeah. And fundamentally, this is about that human connection. About how we become more connected so that we become more empathetic, more productive, more, right? Amy Lynn Durham: Absolutely, yeah. Steve Rush: What would be your experience that generally in corporate life? We don't have as much human connectivity as we both perhaps could have or should have. Amy Lynn Durham: Okay. I'm really glad you asked me this. I saw an article the other day on some neuroscience data and I know that there's all kinds of intelligences coming out right now, but it narrowed it down to the three to IQ, EQ and SQ. And to answer your question in the short form, it's because the workplaces that we're working in are mainly designed to only operate under IQ, that part of your brain that works under the IQ space. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: And then, I'm going to answer your question longer now. I'm just going to give a simple example. Let's say you're working for a company that's like super IQ only, you know, P&L statements, Excel spreadsheets, no team connecting. They don't care about EQ. We're not going to do that woo, woo stuff. We're not going to kumbaya by the fire. Whatever, right? Like boiler rooms. And then you finally get to go home, and you get to kick up your feet and relax a little bit. And then that EQ part of your brain starts being able to kick in. And this neuroscience data was showing that it's actually different parts of your brain that you're accessing when you're utilizing these skills. And so, yeah, you get to use some emotion at home. You get to relax; you get to be who you are. And then finally, what they were saying is the spiritual intelligence part of your brain is another place you can access that takes you into that beautiful feeling where you're aligned with the ebb and flow of life, where you're in that creative, innovative, playful zone. As a couple of examples. And as I read that article, because I know Steve, you and I are on LinkedIn, and we see all of the latest and greatest for workplace topics. And lately, even on my podcast, we talk a lot about how to be your authentic self at work. Can you be your authentic self at work? Why can't you be your authentic at work? All of those things. And I thought, no wonder, no wonder why some people feel like they can't be their full, authentic selves at work. Well, it's because a lot of these systems and these places that we work in. Their environments that allowing for accessing one third to maybe two thirds of our total potential. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: Of our brain. Steve Rush: And typically, and I could be really candid here, right. We just don't teach spiritual intelligence in the same vein as we do with emotion intelligence as we look at leaders, right? Amy Lynn Durham: No. And I think that some leaders might get caught up with the word spiritual and think that it's religion. And then, oh, we don't want to talk religion in the workplace. We don't want to touch that. And for lack of a better word, I think it's just a little bit of un education or ignorance on what exactly it is and the benefits of it. So that's why I'm happy you have me on The Leadership Hacker to talk about it because it's so deep and it's so much more than that, yeah. Steve Rush: It's really more about higher self, right? Amy Lynn Durham: Totally. And when I talk about accessing your inner wisdom and your higher self, if you have a specific religion that you follow, that's beautiful. And if you want to utilize seeking guidance from your higher power, same thing, right. and so whatever works for you in your life. Steve Rush: we're going to ask you at the end of the show, how folk can get a copy of what you're doing around, Create Magic At Work and so and so forth. So, hang fire to the end of the show and you can find out how to access Amy great stuff. Before that, though, we're going to just flip the lens a little bit Amy. We're going to hack into your broad and deep and wide leadership experiences. I'm going to try and get you to get them down to your top three leadership hacks. What would they be? Amy Lynn Durham: Top three leadership hack. Okay. So, if you want to asked corporate Amy, like 10 years ago, they would've been like super corporately answers, like on time management and on productivity. But now that I am the spiritual executive coach, I am going to share my top three leadership hacks that are going to be so different for you. The first one is when mistakes and chaos occur in the workplace, take a moment to look for the innovation and inspiration hiding underneath. That will put you in a quantum leadership space and move you into the space of being a true wise and effective change agent. So that's the first one. The second one is, remember, it's never too late to start and there are never perfect circumstances. And the third is, I'm tying it into our whole theme today, Steve. Take time when making decisions to practice accessing your higher self and your inner wisdom or that higher power if you believe in that. We seek advice from a lot of experts. That's okay, as long as you're not just literally doing what they're saying, and you're taking a moment to sit with advice, you seek from an expert and see if it's actually right for you and practice seeking that guidance from your higher self and putting that ego aside in the process. I Steve Rush: Love that last one. I can honestly say I act on advice that intrinsically feels right and seems right. And off I go into a direction of activity yet had I maybe just spent more time trying to tap into that thinking it might have changed the activity instead, right? Amy Lynn Durham: When we feel unsafe or scared, sometimes we run to experts to tell us what to do. And I just say, take a pause and see if that really sits right with you before you make a decision, whatever it is. You know, I'm just, real broad here. But think about that because giving away responsibility to someone else to make decisions for your life is not where you want to be. I was going to say it's an SQ failure. Steve Rush: I know you mean. Amy Lynn Durham: I don't want to say that. Because it sounds so harsh, but the only reason why I'm sharing that is because I personally went through that journey during 2021. Steve Rush: Right. Amy Lynn Durham: And it was a beautiful learning experience for me and yeah. Steve Rush: And often we will behave differently at work than we would do in our non-work life. We will ask people for advice and decisions and help me make these decisions at work. Whereas at home we probably make them ourselves because we have less people and noise around us. Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah, or, I mean, sometimes people really have their EQ and SQ like really locked in the workplace and then personal relationships forget about it. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: And so, that's our practice. Thank you for the lesson. Sometimes it's our personal relationships. That's really our practice that makes us better at work. Steve Rush: Definitely. Yeah, I can resonate with that one for sure. So, the next part of the show we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where an event, an occurrence, a thing, has happened in your life or your work that hasn't worked out well, but as a result of the experience, you know, use it as a positive force in your life, in your work. And you've clearly articulated a direction, travel using some of those techniques, but was perhaps one event which created that Hack to Attack for you? Amy Lynn Durham: I'm going to be super vulnerable and share something I did with my business that I don't like. At one point I decided that generating a bunch of leads for my SQ experience was a good idea. And I got talked into using the LinkedIn automated thing, you know, I should have sat with it like we talked about and felt whether it was a right fit for me or not. And I utilized it for a couple of months, and it just was not authentic. And it was not for me. I really learned from that because, it's my whole, you know, transforming workplace culture, human connection. How did I miss that within myself? And I had to shut it down. And what I learned from it is the power of, again, as we know, a reminder, the power of just connecting with people. Steve Rush: Yeah. Amy Lynn Durham: And having a real conversation. And I knew that, and I gave up my responsibility to some expert, you know, quote unquote experts and I had to take it back. Steve Rush: That's great. And then trustingly, you know, even when you look at some of the advances in machine learning and data science, there still needs people that are humans that are connected to each other and to the work that they do in order for making the data science advancements in the last 10, 20 years as well. So, without human connection, we still can't even advance through our automated life. Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah, absolutely. Steve Rush: Yeah. Last part of the show, we get to give you a chance to do some time travel. So, you get to bump into Amy at 21 and give her some words of wisdom. I'm fairly sure I know we is going, right? But I want to sense check and get a sense from you as to what would your advice to Amy 21 be? Amy Lynn Durham: Oh my gosh, she was a completely different woman than the woman she is today. And my advice would be to slow down. Everything's going to be okay. Take moments, really, to be with yourself, stop running away from yourself. Steve Rush: Like it. Really wise words. Great stuff. Amy Lynn Durham: Yeah. Steve Rush: So, I'm conscious that in the world of human connection, what we do through our medium of podcasting and writing is about that connection and therefore want to make sure we help you connect with our global audience. So, where's the best place for us to send them now we're done. Amy Lynn Durham: Well, I already mentioned LinkedIn. so, I'm Amy Lyn Durham on LinkedIn. And then also my website has all those fun tools I talked about for the workplace and also the SQ experience that I offer. And you can message me on LinkedIn. You will get me responding now, the full human Amy. Steve Rush: The real you. Amy Lynn Durham: Exactly. And I love to connect and chat and discuss the topics like we discuss today. Steve Rush: So super. Amy Lynn Durham: yeah. Steve Rush: We'll make sure we put those in the show notes, along with your other social media links as well. So, folk can head straight over and connect with you from here. Amy Lynn Durham: Perfect. Awesome. Thanks Steve. Steve Rush: Amy. Thanks for coming on our show. I love chatting with you. I think the whole notion of SQ is going to explode in the future. I'm a big fan and would love to explore personally some more. So that's call to action for me. And thank you ever so much for being vulnerable, being part of our community on The Leadership Hacker Podcast. Amy Lynn Durham: Thank you. Thank you for having me. And I hope we sent some magic to everyone today. Steve Rush: We certainly have. Thanks Amy. Amy Lynn Durham: Thank you.   Closing   Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.   Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.
36:54 07/02/22
Show 100 with Steve Rush - The Leadership Hacker
Steve Rush, The Leadership Hacker interviews the top 5 guests by download during the shows 100 mega episodes. Listen in to this special show with special guests, Dr Oleg Konovalov, Michelle Boxx – The Blonde Fixer, David Marquet, Andrea Sampson and Andrew Bryant.   Join our Tribe at Leadership Hacker Apple Podcast Leadership Hacker Google Follow us on Twitter Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services ----more---- Start of the show Well, hello and welcome! I'm incredibly excited; this is our 100th show. If you haven't had your opportunity to join us until of late, we started out in March 2020, right at the beginning of the first ever lockdown in the United Kingdom. While all our guests are as global as our audience comes from all corners of the world, we have been a lockdown podcast. And I want to reach out to you personally, while you're listening to this to say, thank you. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart, without you showing up every week, tuning in, downloading, and listening to our podcast, there is no show. There would be no Leadership Hacker Podcast - period. And I think that's an amazing sentiment to everybody that is contributed to the show, both as listeners and more importantly as our wonderful guests. So, to our guests who are listening to this, we have had the most amazing diverse group of CEOs, C-Suite executives, leadership coaches, and experts, and have shared over 300 hacks with us and with our audience. And we're now connected through algorithms, through the internet, through our websites. And I'm incredibly proud and privileged to have been on this journey with you. So, to celebrate our 100th show, we are going to dive into our top five downloaded shows. We're going to revisit some of the stories and we're going to revisit some of their learning that we had from our great guests. Dr. Oleg Konovalov Steve Rush: The first of our five top downloads is Dr. Oleg Konovalov. He's global thought leader, author, business educator, consultant, and C-Suite coach. Oleg is named amongst the top global thought leaders and shortlisted the distinguish award in leadership by Thinkers50. He is a Global Gurus top 30 in leadership and has been recognized as the number one thought leader on culture by Thinkers360. Having been named as da Vinci of visionary leadership by many leading authorities of our time, Oleg is helping companies to create and execute their vision and strong purpose and corporate culture. And in our show, we got into talking about visionary leadership and vision is not gift, but a well-structured algorithm can be taught. We talked about how to create and execute a strong, compelling vision and leadership being a system of growing. And you join the conversation. As we talk about why knowledge is the most important part of every leader's kit-bag. Dr. Oleg Konovalov: Knowledge is the sexiest thing in the world. Knowledge is their most demanded product in the world. Knowledge is what shifts us into the future. Knowledge is always in demand. And it's always respectful and always well paid, but it's most rewarding thing when you see people succeeding because of you helping them. This is far beyond our instant necessities, like food and shelter, because it is impact on the next generation, it is everything. You see when we talk. The digital era being now, we should assume that it is a knowledge era triggered by people who changed the things in management that allowed to change technologies and so allowed to make this digital era coming, so it is knowledge Steve Rush: And I guess knowledge was what led you to put pen to paper and your first best-selling book was The Corporate Superpower. And that was around, you know, taking some theory if you like, but giving it some structure and having read it myself, it's around that whole theory of how do we give structure to culture? Tell us a little bit about that? Dr. Oleg Konovalov: It started from very, very curious point. We love talking about positive culture and how culture is important. Then I looked at, hold on. Why are we not talking about negative culture? Because the majority of companies, these days. They are still have negative culture and what I have found. Right about 450,000 articles, you could find only from academia on positive culture and only about 72 articles on negative culture. Whereas reality is completely opposite, and I said, hold on, what is the algorithm? Because whatever we are reading in the books or listening to the conferences. All discussion is wrapped around how to have a good culture, but how to have a clear, simple and effective algorithm was still remaining as a gap. And so, I decided to cover this gap and created Corporate Superpower as an algorithm, as a response for everyday needs. Where every leader, every manager could open it and see how to create culture. What stance on it? you know, how to create values or defined values? What’s the properties of engagement? Everything, so to find the code, therefore I called at the end of the book. I called defined making a checklist because it is like winery; you are taking care of it. You growing, you cultivating it, and then you get a great result. And therefore, it was important to give people really practical solutions instead of general chit chat and that's a good point of being an efficient industry. You must come with a result.   Steve Rush: Right   Dr. Oleg Konovalov: Because you can't sell the fish that you don't have. People need exact instructions, simple, because we don't have much time for philosophical conversations about something being good or not. Steve Rush: You've either caught fish or you haven't caught fish, right? Dr. Oleg Konovalov: Absolutely. I love catching big fish and so big results Steve Rush: But laying behind that, I guess, would still be all of that foundation of disciplined, structure, the people you work with. That does not change, does it?   Dr. Oleg Konovalov: No, because I would call myself lucky, blessed, whatever, because I have worked with incredible professionals. I learn and study from incredible people from academia. You know, I am really grateful because it's a matter of who teaches you and not just a personality, not just a professional, but a whole person from whom you really learn how to be a whole person yourself and that is incredible. For instance, if we look at a simple point, which we often neglect, and outlook is one thing, but how you could connect dots, which seems like very non-relevant is a mastery itself. So, you must know how to make so nice pictures, really vivid pictures that could give you the right answers or most effective answers. Steve Rush: I always enjoyed talking to Oleg. And what we learned from this episode was knowledge impacts on everything and everyone, it informs our next generation. It isn't the digital world that is changing, it's the people's knowledge that is changing the digital world. And I particularly like the way he reframed the whole notion of being taught and people who teach us doesn't have to be in academia it doesn't have to be a college professor, but anybody who teaches us should be teaching us to be the whole person ourselves. Thanks Oleg. Michelle Boxx – The Blonde Fixer Steve Rush: Next up, we're going to introduce you to Michelle Boxx. Michelle is a CEO of Boxx Marketing and started out on her entrepreneurial career when she was just 15 years old, starting out in politics, helping folks fix campaigns and was a real campaign manager for many years. She then had a stint as a successful real estate agent. And after achieving great successes realized that using her public relations knowledge and campaigning, she could turn her hand to marketing. And she's now a small business advocate helping teach small businesses and owners to really thrive. You join us at the part of the show, where I ask Michelle to just describe how her early life in politics and real estate sales has helped her grow her business today and some of the core capabilities. Michelle Boxx: You know, I learned a lot through policy and politics. I learned a lot about communications, of course, but I also learned a lot about leadership. You know, speaking at that one, the video you found. It’s so funny that you found it. I have tried to take it down so many times, but I have lost access to the account. Through that, I ended up launching a website a few months later that was really a policy website geared at covering legislation here in the States and I recruited a whole bunch of my fellow high school friends to help me with it, and so we would literally read legislation, we would post content every day. And so, the website got 10000 page views monthly just organically from us posting this information, and so that was really my introduction into marketing, into leading the team and everything that I do now as a CEO. Steve Rush: And it is a super experience because people get often confused with leadership, has something to do with the job title or a career or a salary, but actually what you have demonstrated is leadership is about just behaviors and we can have leadership skills and behaviors at any age, right? Michelle Boxx: It is so true. A lot of it is really just jumping in and saying, okay, you know what? I am going to do my best here and I am going to figure it out. So many of us in life do figure things out as we go along. And so, it's better to not wait for that moment of coronation, if you will, and instead just jump in and say, okay, I'm going to do my best here. This is the result we are looking to achieve and nurture these people in the process. Steve Rush: So here we were talking about leading ship as a behavior, not as a thing, not as a job title. And as often we find ourselves just jumping in, gives us the experience to find ways of working and nurturing people on the way. We've rejoined the conversation when I ask Michelle from her experience of being a young entrepreneur through politics and real estate, what her biggest learning in leadership was? Michelle Boxx: I think the realization that you can't do everything alone, that you really do need support, so you need your mentors, you need your team, you need. If you have a lot of internal drive, it is very natural to think, you know what, I can figure this out on my own. I can do all of this on my own. I am independent. And then just really putting your ego to the side and saying, you know what? I don't have all the answers. Like you said, you know, copy, and paste and really having the network around you to support you along your way up. Steve Rush: Super wise words for Michelle there. No leader can be successful on their own. They need a team who can support them and help them on their way. And many of our guests have echoed that sentiment throughout the series. We thank the blonde fixer Michelle box for being part of our show. David Marquet Steve Rush: Number three, highest downloads of all time was for David Marquet. David's a real superstar. I met David on location in London. We talked about his humble background being pretty much down to earth in math club when he was in Pittsburgh. Then joining the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981, where he ultimately took control of the USS Olympia. A Nuclear-powered submarine as a Captain in the U.S. Navy, it was there that he started evolve his leadership career when he was appointed to lead the US submarine, Santa Fe, which was the worst performing submarine in the fleet. It was these foundations that gave him the story that now forms Turning the Ship Around his global best-selling book, where Stephen R Covey, the infamous author and guru, spent time on the Santa Fe and ended up creating The Eight Habit. In recognition to his global successful leadership, based on David work. Since retiring from the U.S. Navy, he has shared those lessons and is helping Leaders to think about creating more leaders, and giving control to only those who need it the most. You join us in this show where we were talking around how the language of leaders has changed over time and how the labels, we give people have been unhelpful. How by reframing some of that language and changing our perspectives, we can get a greater outcomes from our leadership behaviors ourselves. David Marquet: So, we have work. The industrial age organization design was this. One group of people will make decisions and one group of people will execute the decisions made by the first group of people. And we have labels because they all look like humans, but we need to know which tribe you're in and we call them leaders and followers or thinkers and doers or management and workers, and we pay people by salary or by hourly. White collar, blue collar. We wear different uniforms but there is this whole cultural industry with artefacts and rituals to put us in one of these, two groups, and this is one of the things that is suddenly embedded in our language and in minor organization design, which is totally unhelpful. Steve Rush: Yeah, and you talk about this in your new book. Leadership is Language. David Marquet: Yeah. Steve Rush: And you give the type to behave as color, don’t you? Just tell us a little bit more about that. David Marquet: Yeah. As an author, you have to create a new term. No one gets credit, here is a bunch of great ideas. Aristotle said everything let me reiterate them. I call them red work and blue work. So, the doing work is what we call red work. Red being typically the color of focus and action and blue work the color of creativity, and the difference is when red work. I want to narrow my perspective, but in blue work, I want to broaden my perspective, so I am using my brain in two fundamentally different ways and industrial organizations solve the problem by not asking people to change. The thinkers were just do thinking and the doers just did doing. And we didn't need the thinkers to do doing and the doers to do thinking. Now we say let the doers be the deciders. So, what we're going to do is say this group to the organization at the bottom who used to just do what they're told. We are now going to pause and give them the chance to think and actually make decisions, but that requires them to use their brain in different way. That requires us if we are in the leading group, to talk in a different way. Steve Rush: And as leaders, it is our responsibility, isn't it? I guess through our language will influence and either help new ideas and creativity or we will stifle them. David Marquet: You can only control yourself. So, when you say, oh, well, this person does not speak up, it the really frustrating working with them. The unhelpful behaviors is to go give them a lecture. I give you some feedback? i.e., can I permission to be a jerk? You really need to speak up more. Well, how about this? How you look inside yourself and you figure out. You know what, the way we are running the meeting, the way I am asking the questions, if someone comes to me and says, well, I am not sure about this decision, and I said, why would you say that? Again. Subtle, but it sends a signal, you are wrong. Justify yourself, not, oh, tell me about that. I am really interested in that. We really need to know before we go ahead, launch this product. If you think, we are off track. Steve Rush: So, what David's describing here is the outdated leadership model that we've all perhaps learned about at some point in our leadership careers, however old or young you may be, it doesn't seem to work anymore. It's time to shift perspectives, fall out of love with our own voice and to listen to our teams, let the doers be the deciders is how David described this. In order to harness the eyes, the ears, the minds of our people, our teams, the people we lead and work with. We need to foster a climate of collaboration and experimentation that encourages people to speak up. And when they notice problems that are not working well, to identify them and to get on with testing solutions, we salute you David, and thank you for being part of our community on the podcast. Andrea Sampson Steve Rush: Once upon a time in a land not too far away, there is somebody reading a story to somebody else. Wow. The power of story continues to be the most important way of communicating. Well, why is that? Well, it's been the way we've been key communicating for millennia. People have been writing on walls and drawing pictures, around campfires, around dining room tables, as we've evolved, because stories make the emotional connection. I'm going to introduce you to Andrea Sampson. Andrea not only tells great stories but is teaching the world how to tell better stories through her TED Talks, coaching business, Talk Boutique. Andrea was a former strategist and consultant spending over 25 years in a marketing, in advertising space and with a natural flare for compelling stories and persuasive content. It wasn't long before Andrea sort after, assisting teams and executives in developing their presentations and pictures. Having worked on a side hustle with TEDx Toronto, where she volunteered initially as a speaker coach. Worked out that her technique for teaching storytelling could be really powerful. That led her to create Talk Boutique and is now the founder and CEO. Not only is this a second downloaded episode of all time in our series is actually the number one for 2021. So, if you've not yet unlocked, the power of storytelling with Andrea now is the time to download that episode. You join us at that part of the show where Andrea was telling us about what she'd learned from her time, coaching TED Talks and how she developed story by helping unlock great emotional connections with audiences. Andrea Sampson: What I've learned in doing TED Talks and now working with very seasoned professional presenters is that it's really about building a story in five steps. And we developed, so my company Talk Boutique has developed a process that we call the story-spine, which really allows for a speaker to take about, you know, anywhere from 30 seconds to three to four minutes at the beginning of their talk and set up the premise of a story that will hold the idea. Steve Rush: Really interesting. Andrea Sampson: The spine is so important because what it does is it forces us as humans first of all, to think about the things that create good storytelling, because it starts off with what we call the environment. So, if you think of an environment, the environment is your sense of place. Now, most of us, when we're at a cocktail party or meeting up with a friend and we started telling a story, what do we do? We rushed through the environment, first of all, and we rush right into the purpose of the story. But if you take a moment and you step back and you say, okay, let me just set this up for you. So, I was walking in the woods the other day. Now it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, you know, it was warm, but not hot. You could feel that the day was going to get really hot. But we weren't there yet. And the moisture in the air was activating the pine needles. So, I could smell as I was walking, that musky scent of pine, and it was just a beautiful morning, and it was peaceful. Now you're all on that walk with me, aren’t you?  Steve Rush: Totally, I’m right there. Andrea Sampson: Right, now when you do that, what's happening is everybody is leaning in, but what's really happening is their brain has just gone to the place when they were last in the woods or a meaningful moment when they were in the words. That smell, the sounds of the birds, the feeling of this sun dappled through the trees, everybody. Now, if I were to stop the story right there and ask a question around how everybody felt, the likelihood is, I've got everybody at the same place in that moment, which is, in a peaceful place, in a memory that is enjoyable. And from there, it's almost like I'm a mind reader now, because now I'm controlling how they are feeling and what they're thinking. Steve Rush: Its very powerful, isn’t it? Andrea Sampson: It’s incredibly powerful. That's the power of environment. So, once we have the environment, the next thing that we want to do is say, who's there with you? Who are the characters? Now, you know, characters, aren't just me and my friend. You can do that, but the thing is, you've robbed the audience of getting to know who you are and who your friend is. So, what you want is just a little bit of a backstory. So, there's me, you know, this was about five years ago. So, I was in, you know, maybe an emotional place. This was just at the breakup of my marriage; I'm making this up. And my friend, who was a dear friend, who was supporting me through this very emotional time, her name was Shawna and Shawna was a lovely human. She's still a dear friend of mine, but she's one of those people whose incredibly compassionate and helps people through really difficult times. So here we were on this early morning walk, going through the woods and, you know, we can hear the birds chirping, and I'm at that point in the separation where we are, you know, separating stuff. And so, it's a difficult moment, and Shawna is helping me to see, you know, that I can let go of things that I thought were really important, but the reality is, they weren't. Now, again, I just want to stress here. I'm fully making this up. Steve Rush: Hey, listen, you may be making this up, but I'm still ironically with you because of the compelling use of language. Andrea Sampson: Right, the language I'm using. Every piece of language is using rhetoric, really, right. I'm using a combination of metaphor. I'm using emotional words, words that have meanings that go deeper than just the core idea of that word. I'm also using in some cases repetition. So, I'm using metaphor all the way through it. So, what we've gotten through now is the environment, the characters, and we've gotten to the issue or opportunity. That's the third part of the story spine. And this is where most people jump into a story because this is the real reason, I could've just started it off. Steve Rush: That's true, yeah. Andrea Sampson: I could have started off going, you know, the other day I was walking in the woods and Shawna was helping me figure out what I was going to give to my ex, right? Because that is really the story, except you can see I've built it out, right? And so, then what you want, the fourth part of the story spine is what we call the raising of the stakes. This is the difference between a good story and a great story because the raising of the stakes is that tension moment. It's the end to them, and so, you know, as Shawna and I were talking about the things that I was going to keep and what I was going to let go of, we came to that blanket. You know the one, the blanket that my family had given us, but it was also the blanket where we had our first date. And it was the blanket that had followed us all the way through our relationship. And there was a part of me that really wanted that blanket, but there was a part of me that actually didn't ever want to see that blanket again. And I was distraught in that moment. How could I let go of the blanket? Now I think if you're following me, what you know is that blanket is really a metaphor for the relationship. Steve Rush: Yeah, it is. But it's ironic because it is still also a physical thing. Andrea Sampson: Yeah. Steve Rush: It's a metaphor, but actually we all kind of have something that we relate to in our day jobs and our lives that are similar metaphors of physical things but carry loads of emotion with them. Andrea Sampson: Right, and so, as I'm going through this story, you know, anyone who's listening to this, you know, they may or may not have lived a similar story, but they have lived, everybody, because, you know, here's the thing about stories. Stories are all meta stories, as humans, we all live the same stories