Show cover of The Game of Teams

The Game of Teams

Teams are the new unit of currency in business. Harnessing the wisdom and brilliance of teams is not easy. It can be messy, confusing, non linear and complicated. Learn from your peers and thought leaders about what it takes. Listen to their stories, pains, and pride when it works. This show is about the magic of mining work and relations for high performance, satisfaction and fulfilment on teams


Exploring Team Coaching Supervision With David Rothauser
Introduction:  David Rothauser, MA, MS, PCC, PsyA is an executive coach, coach supervisor, educator and psychoanalyst who has worked in leadership & human development for over 20 years. David brings together expertise in these areas to offer a unique forum for growth and development.  David trained in executive coaching at Columbia University, psychodynamic group leadership at the Centre for Group Studies, psychoanalysis at the Centre for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies and Coaching Supervision at Oxford Brookes University. David offers individual and group supervision for coaches and is currently the Chair of Coaching Supervision for the Association of Coaching, US region. On a personal note David lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife and two children. Podcast episode Summary:  Supervision is explored through the prism of a live case that I brought to David as my Supervisor. David shares his approach and illuminates what can often remain mysterious & behind closed doors. We both opine on the value of Supervision and how it can bring relief and clarity from a place of being stuck as well as significant personal development. Questions asked & points made throughout the Episode:   o    Who are you? And could you share a bit about how you got to where you are today? David reminded us of his professional identities and when encouraged to go further went on to say that he is a husband, a father of toddlers which means it makes up a big part of his learning journey today. David went onto say that he is a patient in his own therapy, in individual and group therapy & a supervisee with multiple supervisors. o    Supervision has been a vehicle for David, over his career to support his development. o    The invisible parts of our practice means we do not get to see how we take care of our work. o    What interests you or intrigues you about a psychoanalytic approach to team and individual coaching? David is a trained psychoanalyst and he used psychoanalysis for his own development for his work as a coach in the professional world. David started coaching in the educational sector. o    David may not have encountered psychoanalysis if it wasn’t for his sister who was training to be a therapist while David was training to become a school teacher early in his career. Looking across both domains David felt that the field of Psychoanalysis for postgraduate work felt richer and more compelling. David noticed his field was more behaviourally focused whereas his Sisters field was more about people working hard to make meaning. That field was focused on what makes people tick and how can work get done more effectively. David began to dabble and have experiences with psychoanalysis.  He continued & pursued his interest, studied more and at this point is a graduate of two psychoanalytic institutes and has his own psychoanalytic practice. He does not think of his coaching perse as Psychoanalytic.   o    David is interested in being effective. This work has helped David explore cases where he was stuck, where the reasonable and rationale approaches of other disciplines have not been of help. Psychoanalytic training & supervision provides a space where we can access more parts of self & engage creatively when the counter transference is puzzling, when for example emotions are difficult and we don’t know what to do and where we are stuck. This realm has been a major orientation for David,  where the emotional and relational fields are enhanced with a psychodynamic lens. o    What do your clients appreciate about your approach and do they even know? What is common about David’s Supervision sessions is that there is a feeling of relief and an opening up for new creative possibilities. o    David takes an understanding based approach and in a lot of ways David draws on different disciplines, education, sociology, philosophy and psychoanalysis. When we are stuck we don’t understand what is happening. It calls for more meaning making. o    At this point I re-introduced a case I had brought to David for Supervision. My case is a small team about whom I was stuck. I was curious to see if David, for the sake of my podcast listeners, could help me decode the approach David took, the potency of supervision & how it served me and my client at the time. David wondered too. o    David shared that there is something about this work where there is a mystique about it. There are many kinds of supervision some for example where there is direct observation of a coach coaching with their client. The supervisor will observe a person actually coaching whereas a psychodynamic approach happens behind closed doors. o    We decided to try and David asked “how shall we try” Whilst I endeavoured to revisit the case David suggested that “we back up a little” to share how he thinks about the work o    A unique contribution of coaching & team coaching is offering an opportunity to the client to see themselves in new ways, to access their own creativity so that they can make new choices about what they want to do and how they want to be with others. No matter the discipline or theoretical orientation CBT, positive psychology, a PhD in coaching psychology or whatever the way we relate has a profound impact on the quality & outcomes of the work o    One area of work that can always be expanded and deepened is the work we do on ourselves. It is a lifelong process to know yourself and to use yourself. The difficulties we experience with clients like fear, hopelessness, anxiety, shame and not having access to our minds is natural o    Many of us in the helping professions are drawn to this work, either consciously or unconsciously because of the roles we picked up from our family of origin. That was when we were first introduced to our emotional lives. There were things we learnt about our feelings that were going to be acceptable and those we learnt to avoid. Our interpersonal tendencies around openness and avoidance were learnt in our early families. o    Often the feelings that pose challenges for our clients are feelings that we have learnt to avoid or step around. As a supervisor they are the clients David hears about from his supervisees & the ones he brings to his own supervisor. o    I shared my experience of working with my client and the feelings that were evoked in me especially the ones, fear of rejection, that I find intolerable. This is the value of talking. o    Psychoanalysis is the talking cure and coaching is a kind of talking cure too and supervision is too. o    In supervision with David, we dreamed up my case together. In our collaborative dialogue I was able to speak what might have been unspeakable for the client, to say more and more and more about what was happening. David pays attention to his supervisees and their subjective experience. He works to help supervisees make meaning and understand what is inside of them. David is happy to work & to talk about what to do but he leans more in terms of helping clients reach understanding. o    Many of us come to supervision to wonder what to do and the question becomes to what end? o    Looking for ways “to do” can  sometimes be about avoiding  the work of understanding and meaning and sometimes not. Brainstorming things to do or interventions to offer can provide avenues to see a way forward. Using our imaginations for example in a session like “what do I really want to say to this client in a world with no consequences” “what would I tell these people?” Some of those kinds of imagination exercises can be freeing. o    The unconscious is not a civilised place. It can be unruly. This is how we can get stuck with our cases when some of our more unruly parts get activated & our more professional parts are hard at work to make sure those parts do not get air time. That is why it is important in a supervision space to create a playful open space for any words to be expressed. o    How to deal with resistance on teams? Resistance is a word that can bring up a lot of resistance. The view of resistance that is helpful is that resistances are defences. They are needed to protect. There is no such thing as a relation without some form of protection. Peoples reluctances tell us something, they communicate something to us to us non-verbally. We will get a feeling that something is afoot or that this is a no go topic. Sometimes resistances show up not just in the non-verbal field but in the behavioural field, coming late to sessions, cancelling sessions etc.. these are all forms of behavioural resistances. o    Freuds ideas about resistance, the original psychoanalytical conception, or resistance to free association was what he was interested in. He gave instructions to patients to say everything which was of course an impossible task. It was Freuds observation that something would interfere with the patient saying everything and he called that interference the resistance. Each person resisted the task of “saying everything” in a unique way. Freuds idea was that it was the transference or the patients expectations of the authority figure that made up the fuel for the resistance. o    Freud had a particular method of intervention and there are many others ways of working with resistance today that are supportive, relieving and safety making for clients to find new ways to get the self-protection they need. o    What are some of those ways of working with Resistance? A coaching client brought a case to David where the client of the supervisee was not doing the work, the reflection work, the work in between sessions and the coach was left with the feeling that they were doing all of the work. The coach had an uneasy feeling that something was not right. It did not feel to the coach that the client had any real skin in the game. David and his client imagined how to join the clients resistance. Just be like the client, not in a tongue in cheek sarcastic way but simply meeting the client where they are. If you have an ambivalent client it is not going to be helpful to be eager with them o    The coaches mindset – a supervisee who already had the idea that there was resistance with her client enabled David and his client to work on the idea that the client was trying to protect themselves in the coaching process and they were then able to be curious about how and why that was the case. Resistance is important it is serving a protective function is a very different conversation than what can happen in coaching where a diagnosis is made and a conclusion drawn, for example this client is un-coachable o    Resistance is mysterious because they are hidden or non-verbal in so many cases. So one feature of resistance in this work is that we feel it and it lives in our body before we can put thought or words to it. o    If as a coach you feel those feelings you may or may not chose to reveal them to your client but you can of course speak to them in supervision. It is case dependent. o    Winnicott’s idea about the use of an object is an important idea that David takes into his coaching.  For any of us to make use of another is a developmental proposition. David needs to know how a client makes use of him. He wants to know how he is perceived and how what comes from him might be perceived and made use of. David needs to have an imagination about that, a sense that the client will give him and he treads carefully assessing the appetite or motivation a client has for the work. It tends not to go so well in a coaching or other helping profession to give something that the client is not asking for. It is a primary task in the coaching relationship to understand what is wanted. o    Coaches can be busy “cooking up stuff” to feel useful and of value especially in the face of uncomfortable feelings. o    The phenomenon of not knowing can be very hard for everyone, being in the mystery of how the client is making use of our work or the work with us can be unnerving especially as each of us has a relationship with not knowing. o    We explored so many topics across this podcast and David bemused that we did not speak to the unconscious. He chose “to leave it out there” as something we could pick up on another conversation and podcast. o    David ended the podcast by sharing information about his practice. He occasionally has spaces in supervision groups and individual supervision programs and he is available on LinkedIn and he is happy to talk. o    Finally after being asked how he wanted to close the conversation David shared how he didn’t want to close the conversation. He really enjoys talking with me about these topics and looks forward to more opportunities like this in the future.     Resources shared across this podcast 1. 2.    Donald Winnicott English paediatrician and psychoanalyst
36:23 5/1/24
From Tension to Transformation with Janet M Harvey MCC
Introduction:  Janet Harvey, MCC is a coach, author, educator, and speaker who invites people to “be the cause of the life that most matters to you” In 2020 she wrote the Book Invite Change and in 2024 has written the book From Tension to Transformation which is the subject of this conversation today. Janet is also CEO of InviteChange which is described as a success culture building organisation for companies. Janet is an ICF Global Past President, Certified Mentor Coach, and an Accredited Coaching Supervisor. Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast explores what it means to be human, to navigate life’s complexities acting  from a grounded sense of self, an inner authority, or Generative Wholeness.  Janet help us appreciate the many tensions we live and what it takes to mine our mindset and transform. Points made across this Episode:   Q1. Who are you? I wonder if you can share a bit about how you got to where you are now Janet?   o    The who are you question is often challenging to answer because so much of our conditioning shapes an answer that is related to what we do. Instead Janet answers this question as it is meant. She is an alchemical seer, sovereign , radiant love, black pearl beauty, savvy , sassy, generous expression, riding on the wings of joy. o    Janet shares that her words describe an essence statement.  Janet describes the journey she has been on as a Coach and Coach trainer taking over the company that is now called Invite Change in 2006.   Q2. How important is it to you Janet to help Leaders declare their essence?   o    Janet explains that there is no there, no goal or destination to reach with an essence statement. Goals are fine and have their place and the question becomes “what are we choosing every moment” This is the intentional self. How are we making decisions about how we show up and interact with others. We do not teach this to people instead of simply expecting they will intuitively get it. o    Neurodivergent Learning is bringing in the more intuitive instinctive sensory systems and ways of navigating the world, in a world that today often does not meet people where they are. This then creates the importance for understanding our essence.   Q3 What motivated you to write this book?   o    Janet describes a story at the start of her book where she was often asked by Leaders or CEOs what she was doing because so many reported that “working with Janet makes my head hurt? She heard these refrains repeatedly which led to a qualitative study to determine what was going on. o    She recognised that most leaders are rewarded for producing results. They are really good at producing results and creating stuff that is really practical. The whole system of business whether you are in a product company or a services company it does not matter. We want someone to purchase our products and services and we want to create these outcomes with excellence. o    So Janet was curious about what they were struggling with, what were the common themes that Leaders would present in coaching sessions? o    Janet touches on the four capacities housed in Generative Wholeness, or what it means to operate from an authentic self. The four capacities include To Originate, To Create, To Learn and To Produce. Leaders tend to be great at creating and producing but often lag in the capacities to originate and to learn. To be able to originate new thinking and to learn in a continuous loop were found to be underdeveloped capacities.   Q4. How do we lose ourselves so massively?   o    Janet was looking for ways to operationalise the authentic self. So many people are writing about authenticity, speaking about the subject but it is still so elusive a concept. It feels like a high spiritual value and it is but it is also very practical. o    When a person is operating from their full authentic self they are listening to an inner authority. We are so much more than just our personality, our ego and what it takes for us to navigate our world. When we set down our inner authority we get stuck. There is so much more to our wholeness and it is a continuous learning process. o    Inner authority is looking at a situation and determining what is the best relationship to it for me. This is what we do as Coaches to give people that pathway to the essence of who they are, turning the dial on their decision making rubric and have it come from the inside out. o    Janet was inspired to write a book that would simplify and make relevant what leaders were experiencing. She wanted to explore the journey from feeling something is not right to transit the form into a new form that works.   Q5. What are you asking of Leaders to get the most from this book?   o    Janet exhaled deeply and shared “frankly to go slow” She encourages Leaders reading her book to not read it as a text book. She further asks that readers do relevant reading o    The skill of noticing, ontologically, can be taken a bit more simply. When we are caught in the busyness of life, we barely notice or notice only so much that we forget. We can get very tripped up by this busyness and not realise that things are catching our attention all of the time. We simply go by these things and because our bodies prefer habits as our bodies are  an energy conservation mechanism, yet the thing we want most is right there. It is right at the edge of our awareness. o    Unless we can break our habits, biases, assumptions and patterns we will not get to our aspirations. It is therefore important to notice, be patient, stay with the tension a minute or longer to  pause, to put in relevance to our lives what we are feeling and noticing. This describes what Janet calls deliberate judgement. o    Janet suggests that we lean into tension, to let tension be our best friend rather than pushing it way. To allow tension to wake us up to realise that something inside of us is asking us to change. o    Janet shares an example of introducing a tension into a team that is apathetic wanting to be inspired. o    As a team coach Janet works with Teams to draw out from them language to describe an experience they are having. Then she will ask them to describe what their imagination is about the experience that could be, if they were feeling highly activated again. Generally apathy shows up in a team that has experienced a real high They are likely transitioning and feeling lost in transit. As a coach, Janet knows if she can help them cast a compelling vision that energy will carry them.   Q6. Could you say a little bit more about Generative Wholeness?   o    Janet answers by sharing how she really does not like models. She feels models are a little too rear view mirror. The challenge is that people do not fit very well into models. They certainly have a use and can be used as a way in or a gateway to a conversation. Yet when Janet was trying to articulate why she made leaders heads hurt she was really looking to describe the continuous experience that human beings have as they are learning growing and changing which all coaching does. Janet knew about the two capacities To Produce and To Create. She knew also that Leaders were with her To Learn and ultimately to originate new thinking or give voice to their thinking in new ways. Beliefs are constructions and so can be deconstructed. o    So the model is about adopting the dynamic capacities of originating, to create, to learn and to produce in a continuous cycle of movement always from the authentic self, that = Generative Wholeness.     Q7 How did you land on the 7 tensions you call out in your book?   o    There are four that Janet recognises are common to all human beings and come from her own journey to consciousness. These include Sovereignty -Performance, Intention - Expectations, Inside out - Outside in and Relationship & Person Oriented - Process & Plan oriented. o    Coaching is about awakening consciousness for each person and everyone they touch in their lives. o    We were all gifted with a tape in our heads  from our upbringing that taught us how to get along, how to do well in life until some point that tape stops working. We then chose to make a different journey and we start to come back home to self. There is nothing wrong with developing a strong ego and when we overuse something it has a tendency to backfire and that is true for any skill, competence or mindset. o    How do we find the formula for realising that we really are in charge? Nobody does anything to us that we were not part cause or agent to. That is often a hard pill to swallow. Janet goes on to describe a story about Northface the company who tried to promote an allyship program that ultimately proved exclusory. They were found wanting. They contributed to making exclusion even more visible. o    As practitioners we are working with Leaders who are trying to move fast in very complex circumstances. It is our responsibility to say slow down. No one person can “know” everything that is occurring. o    The CTO of Zoom was talking about adoption of technology. He shared that it took 18 years for the iPhone to get 100 million users. It took 3 months for ChatGpt. So that essentially means that the large language model is available to so many people on the planet that there is no possible way that any one person can know all of that human knowledge. Human knowledge is doubling every 12 hours. o    So as a leader if you think deep expertise is the key to success you are going to be epically wrong. The skills that replace deep expertise is collaboration, asking questions to receive and be a learner. Discernment is the skill of the 21st century. That is not how we have trained our Leaders so no wonder? o    Janet asks me if I have ever seen a team cave to a top request and then that teams resistance to relook at a situation or idea, knowing it is going to fail. These teams  then spend the next 18 months or so fixing a mess. Nobody goes back and asks what was the cost or opportunity cost of that period of wasted effort. Janet helps teams to articulate that story. Instead of caving Janet asks a team to articulate a  business case? What must you demonstrate and share about the impact & influence of your work on the business? Etc.. Janet is helping teams engage with Myth Busting, the idea that you can challenge sacred cows.   Q8 How did you land on the 7 tensions you call out in your book?   o    These 7 tensions were part of the original research & interviews  conducted with Leaders. o    Janet was curious about the things that Leaders were navigating in their organisations that led them to engage with her business of coaches. o    She was also curious about what they were learning along the way which produced the Generative Wholeness Model. o    The tensions were fascinating to Janet because there is goodness on both sides of the tension. Janet had studied paradox and polarities and these tensions were not presenting as either one of these phenomenon. o    The Leaders were telling about thorny problems they were experiencing. o    In Janet’s listening she could pull out certain traits that the Leaders had put in opposition to each other. Not as a polarity, not as a duality but a knowing that they needed a bit of both. o    Knowing and Not knowing for example is a tension. Earlier Janet talked about the adoption of technology and what it means to now know. Not knowing is increasingly important for us to accept and pull into our repertoire most likely from another. Knowing was probably 80% and Not knowing was 20% with an acceptance that we should probably allow for some innovation and creativity. Today that ratio is probably more like 40% not knowing and 60% knowing. The 60% is process knowing and not data knowing, asking how do I go about the process of learning, experimenting, testing, validating and socialising. All of these are important things to do as Leaders and they must be embedded into the process of building something. o    The Agile industry is fascinating. It is often spoken about in words that say fail fast. Janet asks what if we reframe that to learn fast? What if we allow ourselves to cycle internally first before we go to market. This is what Agile has done in the last decade. o    This for Janet is a developmental sequence for a team, to take a risk, to trial something before they have everything sewn up. o    This is a Leaders mindset to say “I do not need to see the perfect solution” What I need to see is that teams have exercised deliberate judgement.   Q9. How do you illuminate the power of your promise in your book from Tension to Transformation with Leaders?   o    One of the ways that is emergent in the field of coaching is working with the body. Somatic Work. o    When Janet is working with a client and she starts to hear two things in opposition, where maybe the ratio of the two things in opposition need to shift. She will ask the client to stand up and draw an imaginary line, She asks the client to put one quality at the end of the line and the other on the opposite side. She then invites the client to walk to one end of the line, to describe the situation through the lens of that quality. She asks questions like what are you feeling? What are you sensing? What is your intuition picking up? Once they have responded to those questions she then asks “what happens if this quality is overused? These questions often start to create insight. Then Janet asks the client to shake that experience off and to walk to the other end where she repeats the same questions. Janet is putting clients through a reflection process. The next sequence is to have the client stand in the centre, perfect balance and she then asks “what’s the ratio that works for this particular situation?” Competency 8 in the ICF suite of competencies- Facilitating client growth. o    Janet often asks a Leader to be curious with their own teams to see if what he or she has determined from this exercise, reflection and insight matches their reality. o    What do you imagine you can say to the team to help them see more clearly what was stepped over. This is the transformation.   Q10 How have the tensions you researched with your leaders been received more broadly?   o    Janet encourages people reading her book to find their words for the tensions they experience. Find your terms that are relevant to the situations that you find yourself in. o    Take the words control and care. Control and Agility is the one that is in the book. Ask what was the care for? He wants his team to feel that they are cared for and he has a responsibility to the organisation to produce results. The question becomes, what in his caring is not fostering autonomy for his team? Operating from his control means he is not allowing enough information to be transmitted or perhaps he is not allowing himself to be more available to his team as a mentor or coach? That would allow people to step into more authority with some confidence that he would have their back. He is controlling because they are not developed yet. He cannot care for them because he is disappointed that they are not delivering for him and he has no time. His choices are creating this tension. o    As coaches we have an ability to help reveal to a client that they have constructed this situation and it can also be deconstructed. o    We help clients to look at the habits, preferences and assumptions they are making about their teams. o    This is why wholeness is such an important idea inside of workplaces. We hired these people because we believed they had the raw material necessary to be successful and then we leave them alone. o    How do Leaders shift their mindsets to see what is working in their organisations and with the people who have joined these same organisations? How can a Leader be engaged with a colleague or team member to be curious about the opportunity they see for a person if that person choses to step more into their wholeness. That is a generative mindset.   Q11. “Your most reliable change strategy is your mindset” Janet Harvey, how would you like to close this conversation between us today?   o    Janet picks up the thread about Mindset and calls out the process of mindset mining. o    The art of reflection is about understanding the mindset we have adopted and being discerning about which ones are uplifting myself and others and which ones don’t. o    The act of mindset mining comes out of a more sophisticated practice of reflection. o    Janet wrote her books because she cares about humanity, she cares about dignity & the importance that we recognise that everyone has the right to dignity. It is a birth right of being a human being and it carries a responsibility that each of us are deliberate in the way we approach our relationships personal and professional. Janet writes to bring simple language to very complex and nuanced things to give everyone a way back home to dignity.       Resources   1.    Generative Team Coaching, InviteChange 2.    Invite Change by Janet M Harvey 3.    From Tension to Transformation by Janet M. Harvey 4.  
49:32 4/1/24
Words, Weasels, Triggers & Threats - The Psychology & Neuroscience of Communication with Dr. Laura McHale
Introduction:  Dr Laura McHale (PsyD, CPsychol) is a consulting leadership psychologist, executive coach and writer specialising in Leader Development, Team Psychology, Communication and Organisational Culture, Laura is the author of the acclaimed book: Neuroscience for Organisational Communication:  A Guide for Communicators and Leaders. Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast explores and explains the impact of communication in organisational life employing the lens of Neuroscience and Psychology of Communication.  Topics covered include Gaslighting, Absentee Leaders, The use of Pronouns, Weasel Words and Communication Practices that undermine employees. Laura sheds a light on a discipline that is often unspoken. Points made across this Episode:  o    Laura can you share a bit about how you got to where you are today? Laura is now a Psychologist and in her mid-forties she made a radical decision to go back to school and take a doctorate in Leadership Psychology. Prior to this move Laura was working in major international investment banks as a Corporate Communications Specialist. In 2010 Deutse Bank moved her to Hong Kong to head up internal communications for the Asia Pacific Region. Laura loved her career working with International Banks & she was really curious about human behaviour at work and wanted to go deeper and in particular understand the mysterious process we call Leadership. o    There were a number of reasons that prompted Laura to study Psychology including several transformative experiences with psychotherapy,  She was curious about the way we frame and talk about work and the psychological injury experienced at work. o    What inspired you to write your book? The book happened organically. As part of Laura’s Doctorate she had a required course on the Neuroscience of Leadership. Laura was fascinated by the discipline and had a sense it would become a big part of her intellectual life as well as her career. She noticed that nobody was talking about organisational communication and neuroscience and Laura wanted to close the gap with her book. o    What are the salient messages housed in your book that explain Neuroscience and Psychology at work? There is a natural interest in behavioural science. It is often hard to make the link about how the science can impact a leaders presence or choices in communication. There is a fundamental tension between the promotion strategies employed by internal communication teams and the prevention strategies they employ. In promotion strategies communicators are very assertive about the companies value proposition, what it offers and its unique differentiator’s. A prevention strategy often results in very cautions communications, judicious and a little bit like politicians the communications are somewhat evasive. Whilst understandable it can be a slippery slope and sets off all kinds of triggers with employees. The tension between promotion strategies, a desire to be open & transparent and prevention strategies can be tricky to navigate. It is often a schizoid perspective where communicators are trying to toggle two different strategies. o    The Psychology of communication is also important for another reason. It is a very difficult time for communication specialists. The scope of the role in the last five years has changed dramatically. Corporate affairs, ESG and Government affairs are rolled up into the typical role of a communications department. This is leading to increased stress. If you add AI, chat gpt and other generative models can pose an existential threat to these groups and teams. The changing nature of the role of communication professionals is also one of the reasons Laura wrote her book to help make sense of the changing landscape. o    The Neuroscience or physiology of behaviour is a bit different. Insights into neuroscience can shed light on how and why we are showing up at work. Understanding rewards and threat centres in the brain, knowing how we use pronouns and its impact on others is fascinating and can be leveraged to be more effective in our communications. o    How do leaders and internal communications understand the paradigm from which they are operating? Important to understand the paradigm you are speaking or when you are moving too quickly between the two. Employees smell spin from a mile off. Internally it can be tricky for executives to  over relying on prevention strategies in their communication. There are a lot of traps Leaders can walk into, sometimes unintentionally or at least unconsciously. Knowing about human needs can really help leaders be effective communicators. o    What are some of those traps that Leaders walk into, maybe unintentionally? Some of it is structural. Pronoun use for example. I and We pronouns can signal more or less personal involvement in any given situation. Pronoun use can also reveal the many assumptions a leader is living. It can also give potent signals about who is in or out or who has a legitimate stake in an organisations success or failure. For example there are two different kinds of We, the inclusive or exclusive We. Senior Executives are often confused about which We they are in and how they are communicating exclusion or inclusion. This sends messages to the brain to trigger threat responses whether we are part of the in group or out group. If in the in group we get a dose of dopamine from the brain & if in the out group we can experience significant amounts of pain. I pronouns are also very interesting, some are cultural, and a really high proportion of I pronoun use can trigger a threat response in the brain. There is also an assumption in organisations that communication needs to be sanitised. This can infantilise employees and does an injustice to the complexities operating in an organisation. o    What is your advice to executives and leaders who erroneously practice sanitising their communications. One of the biggest pieces of advice Laura gives is to speak the truth. Laura references The Loughran-McDonald sentiment analysis research to explain why telling the truth can be so instructive. The two financial researchers used sentiment analysis or the use of positive versus negative sentiment and modal or weasel words. The research showed the lengths that organisations go to obfuscate the truth or to describe adverse events. In fact many of the negative words were couched in positive words that the messages were almost impossible to work out. Curiously the negative words used were very weak words or weasels like impairment, disappointing which suggested something was bad but it was never clear. The companies using negative words more creatively had negative stock performances. The researchers noted that companies use of words in their corporate communications could be used as a smart investment strategy.  o    How do Leaders manage the responsibility they hold to use language appropriately and not Gaslight or cause unintentional emotions at work? Organisations are like people using all sorts of defence mechanism sometimes very elaborate ones to avoid difficult and painful emotions. It important to understand why we are using these words, weasel words. It is because of an environment that lacks psychological safety, where we are not allowed to fail, or ask a question that might be interpreted as stupid. Is it an environment where people get punished for taking risks. Laura does not wish to come across as the language police she also uses weak modals and weasels in her communications too, because they have a purposeful use to indicate uncertainty. None of us can speak in with absolute clarity all of the time. o    The link to absentee leadership is for Laura an interesting link. She imagines that weak leaders, or those who are unable to fulfil the core functions of Leadership, would employ weasel words quite a bit more than strong leaders. o    In 2022 Laura read a “cracker jack” of an article by Robert Hogan who mentioned this phenomenon called absentee Leadership. Laura was struck by the idea that absentee leadership is an epidemic that nobody had ever named but that most of us have experienced in one form or another. It speaks to the idea of people who occupy an authority position of leadership and fail to fulfil its core functions. Laura refers to those functions as giving direction, protection, role orientation, conflict resolution and setting and establishing and protecting group norms. The interesting thing about absentee leadership is how common it is. It is reported 7 times more than any other destructive leadership behaviour. Because it is so common and can feel so mild it can go unnoticed and is experienced as neglect. o    Gaslighting surfaces when someone is at the mercy of an absent leader they can be blamed or they blame themselves for their inability to cope with whatever is occurring. One of the things that inspired Laura to write this article for the psychologist was because of her many conversations with coaching clients. Many of her clients were  being given feedback that they were having trouble managing ambiguity. Managing ambiguity is becoming a core competency. The issue with managing ambiguity is that almost everyone struggles with it. Laura knows this from Neuroscience, it is a known stress trigger. This is a universal biological phenomenon albeit some people can handle ambiguity better than others. Laura wanted to highlight the subjects of Gaslighting, Absentee Leadership and emotions at work in her article in the Psychologist, to shift attention from blaming people for their lack of this competency as a  subjective fault to an understanding of the human needs within all of us and our need for Leadership support. o    The fundamental attribution error is yet another trap that Leaders and executives can fall into. o    What are some of the Villains of Communication, Threats and Triggers you would like to see squashed? The rapid communication of bad news. Communicating bad news badly. If bad news is not communicated in an open and transparent manner it can infantilise an audience. This tendency is really prominent in politics where there seems to be a tolerance for misinformation and it is seeping into the fabric of organisations too. Laura is not trying to malign all politicians but recognises that politicians regularly protect themselves against the loss of power and influence and often engage in this form of communication. This perpetuates cynicism and mistrust that Laura hopes we do not want to dial that up in our organisations. o    The Corporate Communications Reset Workshop is a  new workshop and is really the greatest hits from her book. Her workshop helps corporate communications professional access more joy at work by reclaiming their mo-jo and about being  more strategic in their work, whilst being cognisant of the changing landscape and being able to fend off some of the threats posed by Chat GPT and other generative language models. A lot of comms people are closeted behavioural scientists and this workshop gives them a taste or a lot  taste for Psychology and Neuroscience understanding. Included in her workshop is the methodology called Structural Dynamics, the building blocks for how we communicate and don’t. o    Structural Dynamics is a methodology created by David Kantor. It is David Kantor’s theory of interpersonal communication dynamics. It is a very interesting theory to describe the patterns that emerge when teams are together. There are a few different levels to this theory and the ones that are most often used to explain team dynamics and patterns are what David describes as the action mode, the operating system and the communication domain. The least discussed is the last one called the Childhood Story, work made infamous now by Dr Sarah Hill and her work. o    Structural Dynamics at its essence gives people a vocabulary to describe  what’s happening in a room & a roadmap for how to change those patterns to develop a more balanced behavioural repertoire.   Resources  a)       Neuroscience for Organisational Communication: A Guide for Communicators and Leaders by Dr. Laura McHale. b) c)       The Loughran-McDonald Master Dictionary Sentiment  Words list d)       David Kantor e)       Ronald Heifetz, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Leadership f)        Sarah Hill and her book Where did you learn to behave like that? g)       Corporate gaslighting, absentee leaders and the emotions of work – 07 November 2023, The British Psychological Society. h)       Robert Hogan:      
45:08 3/1/24
Team Rhythm - Eleven Ways to Lead your Team from overwhelmed to inspired with Iris Clermont
Introduction:  Iris Clermont is an Executive Coach, author, and professional mathematician. She holds certifications from Team Coaching International, & Conversational Intelligence and is a Professional Certified Coach from the International Coaching Federation. Her mission is to motivate teams to work effectively while having fun and gaining energy from their business life. Iris is also the author of the number one best-selling book Team Magic and has just written her new book Team Rhythm which is the subject of this podcast. Podcast episode Summary:  Iris has chosen a xylophone as an image and metaphor to capture the chapters of her book. The conversation explores her Team Model the ordering of her chapters on this xylophone and why music and maths support her work with teams. Points made throughout the Episode:   Who are you? Deep inside Iris is a mission to inspire teams to have more joy and energy in the workplace. Iris then goes on to share her career history and the early influence of Mother Teresa. After approximately 30 years in Corporate life Iris found herself moving “swiftly and smartly” into Coaching. She figured out that asking people for their ideas instead of telling them her ideas changed the game for her. Is it true you are also a Musician? Iris has played music since she was 3 years old and her interest in music form part of the auspices of Team Rhythm. What inspired you to write the book the way you did? Iris determined that many of the teams she was facing were in egoic conflict and were very serious. She was intent on approaching the solution to team rhythm in a different way using exercises and lightness in her approach. Iris saw that business leaders know what they need in business and what they do not practice like listening and presence. According to Iris teams need to not only speak their concerns but use exercises and lightness as a way to find solutions – As such her book is littered with music riffs and exercises that teams can employ to begin to develop skills As a child Iris listened to a talk given by Mother Teresa that she still carries. Emotional pain is a feature of business life and one Iris’s mission is to help people resolve emotional pain. She develops bespoke exercises for teams depending on their particular concern. Why was it important to cluster the book chapters on a xylophone and in that fashion?   –     Getting Synchronised comprises the first three chapters of the book and details the power of Listening, Creating a Clear vision and having Leadership Presence. Getting synched means looking beyond an individual’s ego and determining what is important to the team . Getting synched means raising a person’s listening skills, followed by a clear strategy & vision – this also requires checking for team and departmental understanding giving others a chance to question. Iris uses cartoons to illustrate her points. She points out that the Leader is there to serve and give direction. Finally Irish explains why her third chapter on Presence is so critical for team life. –     What in your opinion Iris do teams forget about those first three chapters? All three of them. Iris reminds us that we all think we are great listeners but when she encourages her teams to try out some of the listening exercises in her book, members realise they are not that good. Leaders are often pretty clear in their heads about the future strategy but do they check it is understood by all? Do they gain from the experts knowledge how they see the strategy working etc. Presence in the room is often disrupted by insecurity & Iris’s exercises help bring presence more assuredly into the room  Presence can change something. A lack of presence, often especially by the leader can communicate to others that the leader has more important things to do than be there for the team. –     What are some of the exercises you use with teams to build presence? Speaking to the last member in an audience as a choir is an exercise that iris uses with teams, –     What comprises the cluster called raising awareness? There are four topics covered across four chapters with skills that all have room to be enhanced. –     Raising effectiveness with Decisions. Decision making at the lowest level. Iris employs exercises to expand on Frederic Laloux’s work which says that bureaucracy gets in the way of effective decision making. He and Iris suggest moving decisions out and often down to the experts. This requires trust by Leaders to distribute power effectively to experts. Doing this is enabled by having done the work to get synchronised. A solid frame is provided that supports decision making. Trust is a big component for both the leader and the member. A leader can self-check to be curious if he/she does give power to the expert or has explained the strategy well. A member can ask if they trust themselves enough to honour the strategy and make a decision about which they are expert. –     Speed up Conflict Resolution: The blue note is used from Jazz as a way of helping teams to accept what might not be linear or clear from which beauty can surface. There is disruption on teams especially with diverse teams and Iris encourages teams to embrace the disruption and look to wonder what can be created. Iris explores building resolution on teams using Judith Glaser’s work, Conversational Intelligence. Iris explains the dashboard that Judith outlined in her book to support understanding between members on teams. The Conversational dashboard describes 3 levels of communication from distrust to trust. Level 1 is where people tell and ask. Level 2 is where team members advocate and inquire and Level 3 where two or more members are co-creating in a space of trust by sharing and discovering together. Team members have to suspend judgement and premature conclusions to accept that people have good intentions, have value to add and are not stupid. This helps move conversations from red/distrusting to green/trusting. Iris shares that the dashboard is an image or a picture in your home that you have to step back from and observe. Stepping back and inquiring helps a team wonder how they can move into the green area where engagement, encouragement, acceptance flourishes, a place of fun and creativity. Iris loves this chapter and since her work with Judith Glaser she only needs 30 minutes to bring this topic to light & resolution. The team conflict resolution team rhythm exercise helps a team see how they react to dissonance. The exercise is used to see how teams react, what is possible and what is learnt by dissonance and the use of it. Disruption is not always a negative phenomenon it allows for difference to be heard. Trust & Commitment, chapters 6  & 7 in Iris’s book are like twins. If commitment is honoured trust is built. Similarly alignment with the mission and strategy supports trust. Trust also has something to do with each individual and their respective histories. A person has to be willing to look inside and wonder what is blocking with respect to trust and trust for others., There is a team rhythm exercise on trust. The cartoons Iris employs in her book helps people self-assess and wonder about their own levels of trust. Micro-managing for example is an indicator that trust is not widely given to empower teams. –     What are some of the ways teams distract themselves from pursuing some of these ideas on effectiveness? Iris combines the knowledge and wisdom from her Commitment chapter with the chapter on Feedforward to suggest that team members need to be willing to open up to feedforward ideas –     Continuously Empower and Inspire your Teams. This cluster explores 4 topics housed in 4 chapters. The first speaks to the idea that you can add value to a team and its performance by engaging with mechanism and skills that encourage feedforward practices. The next chapter explores the nature of Virtual & Hybrid teams and how teams can move from being I-Centric to We-Centric and ultimately less egoic. The third chapter in this cluster speaks to value of using the power of diversity and moving away from blaming and shaming others for their difference be it with respect to their ideas, perspectives etc to gaining. This chapter uses exercises and rhythm exercises to identify how to make use of the full spectrum of diversity. The fourth and final chapter in this cluster speaks to the idea of gaining from areas outside of your own business. In this  Iris talks about Bands and what can be learnt for business gain. She also looks at film production and what is involved there in that domain a rich resource for business. –     What is important to you Iris about the difference between Feedforward and Feedback? The difference was experienced from Marshall Goldsmith. Feedforward is looking to the future and is hopeful. Feedback is backward looking and historic. –     The last few chapters are very current to the world we live, especially post the pandemic. What was important to you about including them in your book and on the xylophone? Iris wanted to update her book to reflect what she is seeing in business today, that is very different from when she wrote her book Team Magic. Iris is curious to explore with teams how they can gain by diversity. Iris tells a story about her favourite team  a virtual team she was part of twenty years ago.  Iris describes how she experienced this team and remarks that she felt special having team members come from Denmark and other counties. Iris shares that it was a hugely different phenomenon  in her working life then & she enjoyed it, The team worked well together and won a prize for innovation.   –     How comfortable are teams working in a hybrid or virtual way? Teams can get stuck in ways that are unhelpful. There are different types of people some who appreciate the technology that allows for video and others who prefer to be more private and not share their image. Some people like to see faces to focus on gestures and mimics and others are more focused on words. We have to allow for both. –     To practice for example on a band is so important, what do teams assume that they do not practice together? Teams often only focus on achieving results and forget the process necessary to get there. To be really effective as a team you need to have the skills outlined on Iris, xylophone listening, having a vision & strategy, leadership presence, decision making, conflict resolution, Trust, commitment, Feedforward skills, awareness of virtual and hybrid teams, making full use of diversity and gaining from the lessons learnt from the outside world. Iris understands why teams often take the shortest route to success. As a mathematician that is smart & it can also frustrate when you appreciate that others are different. It then becomes necessary to upgrade these skills in order to co-create and deliver collectively. There is a parallel here with musicians. As a musician you know  you need to work alone and then together. –     What are your thoughts about joy and how you infuse it across teams? Joy is linked to creativity and innovation. It also means looking at where I am stuck and what needs to shift. It is key to look outside of business and to gain from all of the experience we have from other domains. –     What makes you proud about this book? This book comes from deep within Iris’s heart to enlighten teams about what is possible. To bring lightness to the business of what is often serious business. Using cartoons, exercises and several rhythm practices can allow a team see an alternative perspective & explore their effectiveness with fun. Iris is proud of all of her 3 sons who contributed to her book and one of her sons, a musician co-created with Iris to get specific rhythm exercises.   Resources shared across this podcast –     Team Rhythm, Eleven ways to lead your team from overwhelmed to inspired. Iris Clermont –     Team Magic eleven ways for winning teams –     Conversational Intelligence, Judith E. Glaser –     Feedforward by Marshall Goldsmith -U Tube. –
44:53 2/1/24
How to listen Discover the hidden key to better communication with Oscar Trimboli
Introduction:  Oscar Trimboli is an award-winning Author, host of the Apple award-winning podcast Deep Listening and a sought-after Keynote Speaker. ·         Oscar’s third book, How to listen-discover the hidden key to better communication is the most comprehensive book about listening in the work place. Along with the Deep Listening Ambassador Community, Oscar is on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the workplace. ·         Oscar works with Chairs, Boards of Directory and Executive Teams.   Podcast episode Summary:  In this episode Oscar shares what he means by the transformational impact of listening, often beyond words, in the workplace. He provides numerous examples of what it means to listen and how. We reference his book across the conversation to illuminate the richness of his research and to expand on the idea that listening is a skill, a strategy, and a practice – a way to balance how you communicate.   Points made throughout the Episode:   o    Who are you? Oscar responded by saying he is really a confused human. He plays many different roles, the role of Grandfather, the role of carer for his Father and someone who loves to hike in the bushlands around Sydney. o    What motivated you to get into this particular domain, that is listening? Oscar shared 3 stories to answer this question. The first is that as a teenager Oscar required years of orthodontic work and he did not want to draw attention to his features so he became very skilled at asking others questions. The second is that Oscar went to a school with over 23 different nationalities and whilst playing cards teams would tend to form around their own nationalities. Oscar became adept at reading body language. The third story speaks to a seminal moment in Oscar’s career in 2008 at his employer Microsoft. He was part of a larger meeting involved in budget meeting. There were 18 people at the meeting. At the 20 minute mark in this budget meeting Oscar’s boss, Tracy, says “Oscar we need to talk immediately after this meeting” This statement caused Oscar to stop paying attention and to question how he was going to communicate to those that mattered he was about to get fired. Instead the comment altered the trajectory of Oscar’s career and he has dedicated his research and work to decoding the elements of Listening. Essentially his boss said “Oscar if you could code how you listen, you could change the world” o    That profound insight resulted a body of work where Oscar has coded how to listen and that body comprises 3 books, a quiz a jigsaw game and a playing card game that he runs in many organisations today. o    The difference between hearing and listening is taking action and Oscar believes he had made a dent in the business of decoding how to listen. o    What did you have to unearth or discover to know how to code listening? In the moment Oscar had no clue & about 2 weeks later he was asked to audit another budget meeting hosted by the then CFO, Brian. Despite the fact that the meeting proved almost incomprehensible with few people actually speaking, where when Brian spoke people asked clarifying questions, Oscar noticed he was taking a tally of this phenomena and then realised that he as actually beginning  to decode listening. o    Tracy asked Oscar to code how he listened in order to change the world and what he has used since then to decode how to listen  is the research of deep listening institute, the academic literature and interviews with diverse workplace workers. o    In all of this work Oscar is trying to make sense of what it takes to help  a person’s listening  move from  simply nodding and muttering to listening to what is not said. o    Oscar cautions listeners not to try and use a tip they might hear over this podcast on someone that is significant to them to ward against unintended consequences and to make his point he shares a story about his friend Mick. o    What are the salient features that describe the code of listening? o    The maths or neuroscience of listening helps people understand why people are not good listeners. The math is as follows;   1.     People speak at the rate of 125 words per minute 2.     People can listen at the rate of 400 words per minute 3.     People think at the rate of 900 words per minute.   o    What this means is that people can stay in the conversation. Jump ahead and solve or go ahead and judge and anticipate, while they are waiting for the speaker to catch up. o    Oscar analyses the math and helps us understand that what the speaker shares is 14% of what the speaker thinks and means. Good listeners listen to what is said, Great listeners & deep listeners notice what is not said in the 86% o    Most of us are dialoguing using the 14% each way and we can get frustrated. If instead a listener remembers that what a speaker says is only 14% of what they think and mean then the listener can move towards helping the speaker elucidate what is in the 86% o    In teams if you are not taking the time to fully listen this frustration is N squared by the number of people in the room. o    In the workplace as a listener your job is not to make sense of what is being spoken or thought but to help the speaker express what they think and mean.  o    As a nugget Oscar shares a framework which he refers to as a listening compass. First he shares that most of us are coded through our educational systems, to listen for similarities. Pattern matching. Pattern matching trains us to listen for similarities and what is divergent. o    The first question to ask in the compass system is directional to help the speaker say more from their original draft thinking. The question is asked with empathy and genuine curiosity “Say more about that?” This helps the speaker share more about what they are thinking and meaning. o    The second question works to explore the divergent to help illuminate what else might be considered, different perspectives for example. The question is “what else” o    The third question is exquisite silence. Silence and listen share identical letters. Silence is like a magnet to draw the speakers meaning to the fore. o    Silence is a sign of respect, wisdom and authority. A leader can shape the presence of the group or team to listen to each other and not just the active speaker. o    People can immediately complain that this form of listening will take time when in fact it saves time over time. o    What are all the ways we assume we listen and we don’t? o    Listening happens before, during and after the conversation and it is important that as a listener you learn how to listen to yourself. o    Many of us are not conscious of our own state, the state necessary to be able to listen. o    Many people are stuck at level one listening, listening to yourself. Level two is listening to the content, level three is listening for the context, level four is listening to what is not said and level five is listening for meaning. o    91% of workplace listeners are paying attention to a notification that is electronic, some of which are getting closer to our bodies such as our digital watches. We are distracted. We do not know the difference between paying attention and giving attention. We have so many browser tabs open in our mind, we are over flooded and what we want to do is shut them down so that we can give attention and listen. o    The best tip Oscar can give to those who host meetings it to set the time for the meeting 5 mins past the hour and to run the meeting for 50 minutes, to let people decompress from their previous meeting and be on time for the next. o    Most people are physically present when they arrive at a meeting but mentally present about 5 minutes after. o    You can change your state by changing your calendar appointments by 5 mins each side of an hour, by drinking a glass or water and by noticing your breathing and by listening to music before a meeting or conference call o    Oscar explains why he uses the negative in some of his questioning like asking people to wonder in an exercise “what am I not listening to in  myself” most people are used to listening to the noise so it takes a certain stillness to appreciate what wants to be heard. o    What are the villains of listening? Oscar, in response to a request from a CEO who wanted to help more in his organisation appreciate the value of listening, did some research to generate a quiz that organisational listeners could take. They based their survey on a few very simple questions like;   1.     “what’s the other person doing when they are not listening?” 2.     “What do you struggle with when it comes to listening?” 3.     How do you rate yourself as a listener? And how would you rate others that listen to you?   o    It proved interesting that people were able to describe in much greater detail and length what others were doing when they were not listening compared to what they personally struggled with as a listener. o    Similarly there was a massive differential between a raters self-rating and their rating of others o    74% of people rated themselves well above or above average for listening and when asked the other way only 12% of people who listened to them rated well or above average. From this analysis the research company were able to build like cohorts which became the Villains of listening. 4 Archetypes emerged.     1.     People who were unproductively using emotion- they were getting hooked into the story 2.     People who were time or productivity obsessed – they tend to interrupt a lot 3.     People who came across as vague, disinterested or distracted-people who are given the label of lost 4.     A problem solver -they are kind of listening but really they are trying to fix someone -often labelled as shrewd.   o    These archetypes are useful to identify the listening behaviours and not used to label the individual o    Some of the villains are related such as the shrewd and the interrupter they are both time and productivity hungry. o    Oscar began to talk about a process question in team or group meetings that is often missed. If asked the team and group have permission to check/interrupt respectfully through the course of the meeting to see if they are on track and to adjust as necessary. o    The question is “what would make this a great conversation” The question is NOT what would make this a great question for you Tara? The reason why Oscar and his team do not add “for you” is because of an understanding about dialogue. In a 1:1 there are always 3 present, the two people concerned and the relationship they co-create between them. Oscar describes it is the speaker, the listener and the dialogue. The question is designed to ask where are we taking the dialogue. o    In teams it is important to ask this question at the start of the meeting. It is also helpful to ask everyone to jot their answer down on a piece of paper and to indicate a process for sharing as opposed to cold calling on people. o    This round of asks is not done for the purposes of the host but for every member of the team. There will be times when people drift off, get distracted lose themselves in the meeting and this process can be called up by remembering one or two of the desired outcomes. o    A good host will notice who is speaking and who is not in a meeting, He or she will determine what role they assume across the meeting. Perhaps roles such as time keeping or note keeping can be shared to increase the listening attention of the group. o    A potent question to ask during the meeting, not at the end and don’t ask for feedback at the end either because there is not an opportunity to change, is “What is one thing we can we amplify & one thing we can  adjust for the balance of our meeting” o    This is a technique to get people to listen to each other in a different way. o    The antidote described above for the person who gets lost is equally valid for any of the four villains o    Oscar describes what it might sound like for a person who prescribes to the archetype of the drama or emotional listener. They listen for the drama and pull the spotlight over to themselves often to show empathy or connection – if you are this villain ask “where is the spotlight in the dialogue” Is it on the speaker, the listener or on the dialogue. Too much on the listener and it needs to shift, think instead about a third, a third, a third. o    What happens when the conversations go awry and descends into conflict? In conversation start to notice when people begin to use absolute language such as, “always, never , absolutely, precisely, exactly etc..” This language indicates & showcases the limits of our mental models Oscar shares another story from his experience. o    Two groups a Finance & Actuarial Group and  sales and marketing Group were trying to agree a pricing structure for their insurance company. The two groups could not agree and began to defend their respective positions based on their understanding of the  organisational structure, incentives, lived experience, educational experience etc.. They could not agree a way forward. Oscars construct is based on the idea that “every model is wrong and some are useful” That is a George Box quote, a statistician. o    The two groups were coming from very different orientations. In both cases everybody could only see why there model or world view was right. o    To unpick what was not said, Oscar asked each side to argue for the arguments and rationale of the other. He divided the groups into pairs, where one person from Finance and Actuarial talked with one person form Sales and Marketing o    The dialogue that ensued was much more energetic and engaged. People were reminded to put up stickies on the wall for information and understanding gleaned in the new conversations. After about 25 minutes into an exercise designed to last longer a person from finance stopped the entire conversation. He told the group that they all had to listen to what had been discovered. Essentially a piece of information assumed by Sales & Marketing to be part of the thinking held by Finance & Actuarial was absent.   o    The meeting ended early with agreement by both sides. Up until then there had been no attempt to listen for what was unsaid. This is where a group listens for difference rather than similarity as is customary. o    Many organisations live in conversations and dialogue where they speak from vested interests which has nothing to do with progressing the outcomes of the dialogue. o    I asked a question that was a version of a level four question to ask how to listen to what is not said so far. I was clumsy and asked a question that was not quite the question I had intended. I really wanted to know if there was anything I had not yet asked Oscar that would be missed by my listeners,  Oscar shared a question that might have served better. He asked “I sense there might be something really useful you could share with the audience that I have not asked into yet?” By introducing the audience we are listening from a different perspective o    The point here is that for leaders it is important to be conscious of the quality of dialogue, use of words and the intention behind questions. o    Oscar shared that the two different questions would yield two very different answers one more serving of the podcast listeners than the other. o    Oscar shared a final story to reveal the power of listening to all the voices in a room . The story of Elaine. This is a story of a team, a top team, working the issue of their growth figures compared to those of their peers. Oscar asked the group to think about two questions; 1.     What animal is our business? 2.     and what are the characteristics of those animals. o    Most people described the business as some fast moving bird or animal something that was fast and killed. Everybody has spoken except for the CFO, Elaine. The tension in the room was palpable as the CEO was anxious, angry to get to lunch. o    Oscar invited Elaine to speak with a gesture, an extended arm. She responded by saying. “I thought it was obvious” and she stopped. o    Again after a few moments and even more tension, Elaine came back and said “I thought it was obvious, I thought we are a snake” o    The animal, The Snake has negative implications in the west and very different associations in the East.  Elaine explained her reasoning for choosing a snake. She told the group that the business had failed to shed their poor practices & bad systems from the past & that was holding them back from serving their  customers o    The tension in the room evaporated and a massive dialogue ensued. o    The CEO admitted they never listened to Elaine. A few months later it was obvious that Elaine had found her voice and she had become a key member and astute commercial leader o    Oscar ended by asking the audience of the GOT Podcast- what is the cost to the business when you don’t listen to Elaine and or you don’t listen to all the voices in a conversation.   Resources shared across this podcast 1.     How to listen- discover the hidden key to better communication by Oscar Trimboli 2. 3.
73:55 1/1/24
Exploring the Board of Directors as a Team with Brendan Lenihan
Introduction:  Brendan Lenihan is a professional non-executive director, a management consultant, a chartered accountant, and an accredited mediator.  Previously he was a Partner with Andersen (with whom he worked in Dublin and New York) Through his consultancy, Navigo Consulting, he provides strategic, financial and governance advice to clients in Ireland and the UK as well as having a non-executive director portfolio in private companies, public bodies and charities. His is currently; Chair of Irish International Trading Corporation Cork plc which is 103 years in business and turns over in excess of €80m per annum, as well as Chairing the Advisory Board of Regan Wall, a business law firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions.      Chair of Good Shepherd Cork, a sizeable charity providing emergency accommodation and services to homeless and vulnerable families.   Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast explores the nature of Boards, our understanding of the role of Boards, and whether we can consider boards are Teams. In addition, Brendan illuminates the constraints on boards and the potential that exists to support boards be more effective. Points made throughout the Episode:   o    Brendan has led a portfolio career to date. An accountant by nature but he is more than that. His eclectic portfolio and experience has meant that he has learnt how to sell, navigate & supervise professional service bodies. o    Brendan doesn’t rush towards fires but he has noticed that he ends up in the thick of things. Around the time of the crash in 2008 in NYC he was involved in the Enron Scandal and as Finance Director for a Property Company he was instrumental in supporting them through the crash. Similarly he was involved with the HSE for 4 years through Covid 19- where he put his consultancy experience where it was most needed. o    10 years ago as the President of the Chartered Institute of Ireland it became clear to Brendan that accountants do 3 things,  they measure, communicate and decide. Brendan observed that if someone like him, even with his vast experience, were to survive he needed to move up the value chain to where decision making and governance happened. Decision making is the business Brendan is now in. o    The Myths of Boards: The great man myth and the myth of omnipotence of boards is very much alive.  The myth that the CEO is the eternal fountain of all knowledge and the organisation pivots around him/her is similarly active. The truth is that the health and direction of a company cannot revolve around one person, especially as CEOs come and go. There is also a great myth that board work is easy, you turn up, listen and go away. That is not the case. o    There is a grain of truth in the idea that the smartest group of people are the executives and the wise comprise the board. The smart and wise sit down together and generally the wise people approve everything the smart people have to say, although it is not always the case. The smartest and wisest is the relationship between the Chair and the CEO. There is some grain of truth to all of this but it should not be how people think for a heathy, dynamic and growing organisation to operate. o    A lot of people end up on boards because of their success in role and the because of their functional expertise but often they do not know what the role of a board member is. o    A healthy board is one that has a very clear sense of its role & its purpose. Many boards have an impoverished view of what their role is as a Board. Often  they encapsulate their role as their function to support management. That definition is too simplistic and too narrow a definition. o    A healthy Board is one you cannot assess on paper. As well as a board appreciating their role & purpose it is also crucial that Board members understand each other as people. A healthy board is one where the relationships are really strong, where people can deal with conflict and differences of style etc. o    What defines Governance? This is the starting conversation with new boards or new board members. Two central elements to Governance (based off an OECD definition) The first element is the notion that Governance is a network of relationships. The relations within the entity such as staff, the board and the executive management team as well as the relations outside of the entity such as shareholders, funders, regulators, customer as well as suppliers. The first role of a Board is to understand and add to the strength and functioning of these relationships. The second element is about the setting of objectives. What objectives is the entitiy trying to achieve, how are the objectives set and then how  are they managed and monitored. o    The degree to which this network of relations is worked governs the degree to  which the entity achieves its objectives. That is the role of Governance. o    Two further dimensions have to be considered. One, the compliance perspective to understand and appreciate the rules of the road with respect to this network of relations and two, a performance dimension to understand what travels over and between the network of relations. Brendan makes the point that too often people assume governance is simply about compliance and not about the management of ideas & the performance of objectives across this network of relations. o    Management has a governance role as well but this podcast is focused on the top level of the organisation, the Board. o    If you are sitting on a board you should be focused on the strength and productivity of the network of relations described above. In addition a Board needs to question what objectives are being set and whether they are being achieved. o    For the person in the street the subject of Governance comes down to the simple question, who is in charge? o    The interrelation between the work of the board and management is often confused and ambiguous. The biggest problem Brendan sees in his work is that folks on boards devolve everything to management. o    The Board should in fact be setting objectives, be providing Leadership and operating with an amount of oversight where the board asks whether the organisation is on plan, getting close to its objectives etc. o    Many board members especially new board members do not realise the many functions of boards and the many mindsets involved. 3 different mindsets prevail on Boards. The first deals with Leadership the second the entity strategy and the third oversight & compliance. Compliance for example requires an evidential focus. Strategy involves a creative process, a heavily laden communication process and psychological process. Oversight is where you are asked to form an opinion and decision based on the question “are we there yet?” o    Boards mix those 3 roles into one combined headset. o    Too often too, a board may be comprised of formerly successful executives you end up Micro Managing senior executives and end up squashing capability. o    In the absence of understanding of the many headsets required of boards duplication, frustration and missed opportunities are inevitable. o    The same is true of teams where there is lack of resources and lack of role clarity. This absence drives conflict and dissent and is especially evident at the interface between senior executives and the board. o    Board members end up on Boards because of their industry expertise, functional expertise and not because they know much about Governance & especially corporate governance. o    The rise of concern about Culture and the question about who is responsible for Culture in an organisation has contributed to the confusion that abounds. The idea that the Board is in fact responsible has really stretched and challenged boards. o    It is not clear what the headset needs to be with respect to the role of Culture setting  but it is clear from Corporate Governance that the responsibility lies with the Board. o    Making the interventions that shape Culture is the honours question that boards are struggling with today. o    The board is responsible for there being a well-defined strategy and it is also responsible for the culture of the organisation that is appropriate for its environment and strategic objectives. o    Boards are decision factories with very limited opening hours o    Consider for example the Public Broadcaster here in Ireland which has just faced a critical Corporate Governance crisis this year.  Its board would have met about 9 times in the year which is incredibly limited opening hours to get through an enormous remit. o    There is a real paucity of time that drives a lot of the dynamics of boards. o    Brendan works with boards to become as efficient as is possible with oversight and monitoring as a role to free up time to spend on Strategy, Culture and Leadership conversations. o    There are ways at releasing time and working smartly as a board but a week Chair and a board that does not appreciate its full role will fudge and burn time ineffectively leading to frustration and embarrassment as  likely possible negative outcomes. o    Brendan works with Boards by sharing simple ideas to support the various roles they play. Leadership for example is about two simple ideas, having a plan and doing the right things. So Leadership from the Board perspective is about making sure there is a plan and challenging the board and executive to be curious about the right things to discuss. o    Too often the senior management team is preoccupied with being busy 60-70 hours a week and they do not often get the opportunity to see the big things on the fringe about which they need to discuss. o    There is so much value a board can bring in terms of ideas, opportunities and even concerns that the executive team might miss. To be a good leader you have to be in the dance of the work but you also need to be on the balcony & able to scan the horizon and outside world. o    Boards can disempower themselves by not understanding their role, similarly they can also disempower their role by handing all power over to management and they can be disenfranchised by the lack of time, ability to meet and the resources at their disposal such as a budget to support Board training. o    Brendan gets asked to assist boards where Governance has gone off the rails and the criticism is made that the board was asleep at the wheel. Often the board has chosen a minimum level of participation or hibernation, which often surprises people. o    The lack of opening hours or time a Board spends together often means that the requisite reflection and quality control of their work is missing. The simple and evocative questions like “what worked” “what could we do differently next time” often do not happen. o    The Titular Monarchy Position is often witnessed on Boards. Every week the Prime Minister of the UK visits the Monarch. The Monarch has 3 rights, the right to be consulted, the right to be supportive of the Government and the right to warn if necessary. That is it. Many Boards operate the same way as a Titular Monarchy where they expect to be consulted, offer support to the executive team and are a bit avuncular when they are concerned about something. This is a recipe for disaster for a Board, because all power has been handed to management  o    A contemporary example here in Ireland includes the FAI (Football association of Ireland) who became a puppet board to management. The CEO had all power. o    The list of matters reserved is the list of decisions that only the board can make. Brendan will often ask boards whether they know these decision rights and he knows a weak board will not know what is on this list whereas a strong board will. o    A lot of basic structures that comprise sound principles and conditions for success for Boards are missing. o    There is a huge opportunity for Boards to benefit from some of the ideas housed in Team Coaching. o    It is not conclusive that a Board is a team but its performance could benefit if it thought more about teaming. o    The role of the Chair is absolutely vital. o    Boards are by their nature a collective and the Chair is first amongst equals. When boards break down it is almost always about the people and relationship issues. A good Chair is equipped to bring people insight, an understanding of styles and an ability to mediate if necessary, to support the effective running of the board. o    If the Chair is open to improvement in what Brendan calls the decision making factory then lots can happen. o    Brendan does not enter a board to discuss what he calls the plumbing or Compliance etc. His value is in helping a board get clear about the decisions they have to make, the headsets they have to be in and also the norms they have to exhibit. o    Brendan usually engages with Boards around practical decision dilemmas. He also employs a model to share 10 behaviours that he would expect every board member to display. The 10 behaviours from this model include Power, Dogmatism, Emotion, Decisiveness, Verbal Contribution, Civility, Preparedness, Knowledge, Trust & Director Tenure. With each of these behaviours there is a golden mean. o    If any of these 10 behaviours are out of whack the social system will be out of balance. For example if the Board has too much trust in the Management Team it will be gullible. o    Oftentimes these behaviours are out of balance and they remain unchallenged or unaddressed until there is a big car crash, a claim or other disaster. o    Brendan would like to see greater understanding and clarity about the  role of Boards. He would like the difference that can be seen on boards between board members to be empowered. He would also like to see a greater awareness of bias & to see more professional scepticism on Boards. o    The big problem with Boards, with biases present is over confidence.  Brendan recalls the Financial Crisis of 2008 where many boards, filled with good people,  simply grew over confident. o    Brendan wishes that Boards would allow Professional consultants, Coaches to better serve them than they do currently, to get that team working as a Board to work better together at a human level, on a decision making level and on a structural level so that organisations can achieve their objectives more quickly and efficiently. o    There exist a lot of obstacles to these desires as Brendan sees it. Often there exists a lack of openness, to examine Board performance and  to take advice or to think differently. Brendan opines the lack of diversity on boards, the range of people entering boards is still, he believes too narrow. The gender balance is better but it is still not where it could be and could be if boards had better advice, tools and more openness to improvement. o    Brendan shares two case studies, boards he worked with where governance had gone off the rails. Brendan through his work helped both to work out their roles, to define a clear strategy and to understand the interdepended nature between the board and management teams. He shared structure and processes over time to improve the decision making and relations on the Board and between the Management teams. o    Boards cover 3 things; Strategy, Finance and People. Strategy is often misunderstood,  Finance is often exceedingly well covered and the people piece is the lease attended. o    Since the Global Financial Crisis a number of tools have evolved to do what is known as a cultural audit. Boards are often shocked that people like Brendan can hold up a mirror and identify what the culture is at an organisation. o    Brendan shares his definition of what comprises Culture. Visible behaviours, behaviours people will see, the group dynamic and then the mindsets that drive these behaviours. There are tools used to hold to hold up a mirror and share what Mindset ideas are being operated. Brendan shares the example of the police force here in Ireland, An Garda Siochana. Its culture was audited and it revealed the high minded ideas that were housed in the annual report with the actual mindset that actually prevailed. The gap proved to be staggering. o    You have to ask what is going on in the narrative of an organisation, the psychology of an organisation, the group dynamic to shape its culture? It is important to tap into these dimensions to shape an appropriate culture, appropriate to the market and context in which an entity lives & it has to be attuned to what the organisation says it wants to achieve in terms of its objectives and plan. o    This is the role of Boards and the value they can provide. o    Brendan makes the distinction between Boards who operate answering the Pass Questions in an Irish Leaving Certificate and a Board that addresses the Honours questions, Culture, Leadership, Strategy and Oversight. o    The Board is a team and it is also a Team with the Executive Directors & staff managing the many relations that comprise the social system in a bid to achieve its goals. o    Brendan would love to see more conversation of this nature to increase awareness & understanding of Boards and board effectiveness and to show case the many tools and techniques that have evolved to support teams and boards to overcome bias in decision making.     Resources mentioned across this podcast   ·
59:16 10/2/23
Purposeful Curiosity How asking the right questions can change your life with Costas Andriopoulos
Introduction:  Costas Andriopoulos is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Bayes Business School (City University of London) He is founder of Bayes X, the Cnentre for Innovation and Disruption. He is also the Director of Avyssos Advisors Ltd. an Innovation management consultancy. Costas was born in Athens, Greece. He was educated in Greece and the UK & prior to joining Bayes Business School, City University of London in 2014, he held posts at Cardiff, Strathclyde, Aberdeen and Brunel universities. Costas researched New Product Design Consultancies and tech companies in Silicon Valley and was a visiting professor at Said Business School (University of Oxford) Costas is also an author and his book, Purposeful Curiosity  is the subject of this podcast. Costas now lives in West London with his wife and daughter. Podcast episode Summary:  In this episode Costas shares his Curiosity Journey and the work he undertook to understand what it takes to employ Curiosity in a meaningful fashion. We discuss what it takes to be purposeful, the distractions we must refuse, and the permission needed to nurture the “Itch” within us all to follow our passions and execute our dreams. As Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think again shares, Costas’s book “Nails the difference between idle curiosity and a productive drive to discover”.  Points made throughout the Episode:   o    What more can you say about you the person? Costas shares that since we was a child he was a very curious person. He took things apart and his friend was his screw driver. He is very grateful that his parents encouraged this fascination with how things worked, with his curiosity as a child. This same curiosity has taken him to different parts of the world to study and work and by way of it he has met incredibly interesting people. o    When you show interest in what others do it leads you to some very interesting answers. o    Costas wanted to become an Architect. Whilst his parents at that time discouraged that path it is not surprising to Costas that his PhD and research focuses on Creative & Innovative organisations, some of whom were design studios and others of whom where Architectural firms. There is something we are passionate about, sometimes we are steered away from pursuing these passions but if you like something so much it will always come back. o    Costas encourages people to do something about which you are passionate and good. We can follow many topics and we need to understand these topics. Costas became curious about Curiosity and he wanted to nurture that passion and understand what it takes to pursue curiosity purposefully. o    Because Costas knows Creativity, Innovation and Curiosity are closely linked or brothers he found researching Curiosity to be within his gift. o    He makes the point that if he wanted to research Rockets he would find it very difficult because he wasn’t very good at physics or related disciplines and most probably he would not be interested in any case. o    We have to care about something, we have to be passionate and we have to understand the subject to pursue purposeful curiosity. o    Notwithstanding the fact that Costas has studied Innovation and Creativity when he first mentioned his interest in studying Curiosity everyone he spoke with thought he was crazy. o    The external voices were really projecting their fears onto Costas about the potential pitfalls and opportunity cost of his project. When we embark on something new, and Curiosity is a new field for Costas, people are going to project their fears. o    People who surround us normally care for us. They want to protect us from failing and still if we are passionate about something we have to learn to silence these external voices to follow our path. o    Costas is not encouraging blind faith or reckless pursuits he is taking about projects where you prepare and surround yourself with professionals or people who know something about what you are trying to achieve. o    To illustrate his point Costas tells us about his new interest in Kite Surfing and how he approached becoming skilful when initially it seemed daunting. In the same way as before external voices tried to dissuade him. He was told of all of the dangers associated with Kite surfing and as before he noticed people were simply projecting their fears. o    Costas chose a good instructor, he went online to read up as much as he could about safety, essentially saying he did not go to his first lesson unprepared. o    Being curious about something means you go to your first meeting being prepared. o    Costas’s motivation to write his book was to research Curiosity and it became his purpose. o    Purposeful Curiosity is about translating our curiosity into something. We can be curious about stuff, satiate our curiosity somewhat and move to the next thing. Doing this means nothing happens, no processes get better or the community doesn’t benefit etc. It is a bit of a selfish act. o    Costas noticed he was doing this, his colleagues and others were too. o    He was curious to understand if there were people who followed their curiosity and executed change, translating their curiosity into a service, a product or a start-up o    For his research Costas interviewed 60 people from different walks of life, different geographical locations from Japan to California. o    What Costas noticed was that the people he studied stayed with their curiosity longer. Too often when we are curious and something doesn’t work out we drop it. What Costas found was the opposite with those who were Curious and executed. If something did not work out they became even more curious. o    Costas describes how when he began his research and project he got so curious his world disappeared and it became like a movement to him. o    Costas was curious to know how we can help people be more curious, to execute their curiosity and to improve life, communities, solve problems and provide solutions to life questions. o    It was important for Costas to address the subject of fear in his book Purposeful Curiosity. He admits himself that when he starts something new he feels fear. He is not fearless. Instead however he uses his curiosity to overcome his fears. o    When he started Kite Surfing in the Summer of 22, he saw Kite Surfers jumping 5 or 6 metres and he was afraid. By being curious he tried to figure out what could go wrong. He developed a list of mitigating solutions. He used his curiosity and questions about his fear to help him move closer to his goals. Fear doesn’t necessarily go away but you can make it become second nature to you. o    Costas uses his failure to learn, to ask for feedback and to course correct. o    Costas wrote this book during Covid. It was bemusing to Costas that he chose to do something so creative in isolation because he is a person who enjoys company. o    Costas explains making fear second nature by saying that the more we do something the more it becomes like skin. We get used to it. He uses the example of writhing his own book to explain this phenomenon. o    Writing a book is a big endeavour. Writing 300 pages in a year and a half takes commitment, it takes time and over time writing  & pursuing this project of writing a book about Purposeful Curiosity became second nature to him. o    Costas admits that writing is not something that comes naturally to him, in fact it makes him a bit uncomfortable, because for Costas it is about disseminating his thoughts onto paper for others to read. o    You have to be comfortable with discomfort. o    When Costas started writing he was very uncomfortable, it was taking him more time than he thought it should, he was stressed and he was beset with his inner critic asking “will he get it?” but curiously the more Costas wrote, the more time he took he started to get comfortable with his discomfort to the point that he began to enjoy it. o    Costas never felt paralysed by his fear, he felt energised. He studiously worked to bring down his fear by doing more research, reading books that were close to the kind of book he wanted to write, talking to people etc. o    To execute Curiosity you have to first give yourself permission to go on the Journey. Do not wait for others to give you the green light. o    Curiosity leads us to be relevant. o    All of us have to be lifelong learners. o    Costas encourages us to figure out “our itch” to take ownership for our particular Curiosity Project. If you have a passion, a curiosity, open a folder, take notes, do your research, have boundaries, don’t be seduced by the internet, there are a lot of smart resources like Udemy etc give yourself permission become a bit of an expert. o    Costas also notes that when you are starting out, following your itch and learning about your passion or topic you need  to find a Tribe. o    Ask “who is your tribe” go to meetings, participate & talk to discover. o    Don’t be afraid. The important thing is to continue learning, to continue asking questions to surround yourself with a Tribe, people who are passionate, different, open and open to being surprised and can add meaning to your project. o    Costas expands on his acronym Curiosity which neatly describes the qualities of a good team and in this case Tribe. o    Assembling a dream Tribe/Team is about hiring curious people. People who are Collaborative, Unabashedly passionate about the subject, Resilient, Iconoclastic, Open to outside interests, Urgent and Surprise seeking. o    What Costas admires in his field and in his career or on his teams are the people who bring you questions. They are not waiting for him to solve for everything. o    Costas mentions the wise adage “never meet  your heroes or heroines” He did not meet this problem when he was interviewing his 60 subjects or innovators for his research. He was surprised by their willingness to share things. People confided in him which for Costas meant that there was trust. Costas was struck by their degree of interest in his subject, their willingness to ask him questions and to take notes. There was a real dialogue with naturally humble subjects. o    Curiosity means you have to be able to actively listen. If your tribe tells you, you are not ready you have to be prepared to listen. o    Curious people can listen, they are present and they are humble. o    No matter his interviewees were very successful, often monetarily they were also humble. There is always something further to learn. There is always another itch they want to scratch and they know this. o    Costas reminds us that it is important to listen and to digest the information we are getting. We have to be patient & willing to take our time if we want to reach our goals. o    We need to be willing to do the hard work. We live in an era where there is instant gratification, from food, to education to romance. Everything is on our Smart Phone and curiously then people complain. The book is not a pill, serving instant gratification & guaranteeing results. It is a guide that invites the reader to put in the hard work, to embrace discomfort and to learn. This work requires commitment, time, enthusiasm and effort.  o    One of the nuggets Costas shares in his nine essential and practical lessons is the idea of “disciplined serendipity” which he explains using his own example of script writing. o    When he started his pursuit of script writing he went through the exact process he illuminates in his book. He met fear, his imposter syndrome and all the many ways his mind told him he should not pursue this path-he knew nobody in this field- he did not have a ready-made tribe, he knew he was not professionally trained etc.. Still he prevailed. He put the lessons from his own book to work. o    Costas put all of his concerns to one side and he started. He bought a notebook and he started to write. He soon got into “flow” a state of immersion where his world fell away. In flow you forget about time and place. It happened to him when he was researching and again when he started to write. o    Disciplined Serendipity means we can move from one thing to something else and by applying the nine lessons from his book we can become better. o    Costas has now found his tribe, he has identified an award winning script writer at the University where he works and he is getting the support he requires. In a way Costas developed his own curriculum & applied the lessons from his own book to become better at script writing. o    Curiously for Costas script writing has helped him in his teaching. In his classes he is helping budding entrepreneurs start their own businesses. An important feature of start-ups is Storytelling. He uses the art of storytelling from script writing in his lectures to help his students tell better and more compelling stories. o    Nothing is wasted. The time and effort Costas has spent learning how to become a better script writer has translated in him using this learning in his lectures. Many people refuse to start because they fear wasting time, using resources etc. Nothing is wasted you simply have to think about repurposing your efforts, combining your skills and knowledge. There is always something to be gained from curiosity projects  o    In response to the question “who did you become by writing this book” Costas replied “his younger self” the 10 year old boy living in Athens with his friend the screwdriver. o    The element of surprise that accompanies us on Curiosity Journeys is very fulfilling, especially as we live in an era where we do not know how stuff works. o    Whilst I promised Costas that I would use his book to discover my next personal & professional itch he told me that he believes I already have it, coaching and doing this podcast. He is partially correct and I know there is more. His book is worth a reread.   Resources shared across this podcast & ways to get in touch 1.     Costas Andriopoulos is the author of Purposeful Curiosity, How asking the right questions can change your life. 2. 3.
51:39 9/1/23
The Enabling Manager How To Get the Best out of your Team with Myles Downey
Introduction:  Author, Thought leader and Entrepreneur in the world of performance, learning and coaching  Myles Downey is a thought-leader and entrepreneur in the world of performance, learning and coaching. He was the founder of The School of Coaching, for many years a much- respected provider of coach training and executive coaching in the UK and Europe. Myles is the author of ‘Effective Modern Coaching’, ‘Effective Coaching’ and ‘Enabling Genius – a mindset for success in the 21st Century’.  Myles is one of the leading business performance coaches in Europe with extensive, global experience spanning thirty years. He has worked with CEO’s, COO’s and MD’s in the most prestigious organisations from Banking and Financial Services, to Manufacturing and Oil and Gas to Professional Services and in the Public Sector.  Podcast episode Summary:  In this episode Myles Downey shares his passion for his work, his writing work, and the work he does to support leaders and organisations express themselves fruitfully and joyously for the benefit of the organisation and each other. There is a focus on his new book, The enabling Manager where Myles decodes the distinctions between Lead, Manage and Coach.  Points made throughout the Episode:    How did you get into this domain called Coaching? Myles started back in the days when the word “coaching” as we know it today was barely understood. Myles was a good tennis player and enjoying playing and competing and he came upon a book called “The inner game of Tennis” Myles was a professional architect at the time and after reading this book within 6 months began to explore the ideas housed in the Inner Game  The book title effectively divides the world into two, the inner world and the outer world where most of the focus for coaching was applied -such as how you placed your foot etc as opposed to the inner world the stuff between our ears. That was the start of Myles journey into coaching.  Myles set up his practice first in Dublin and then in London where he set up probably the first Coaching School called The Alexander Corporation in 1987 Was the world of sport ahead of The world of Coaching by way of that book The inner Game of Tennis? No like Coaching it was very mechanistic and focused on knowledge and how to rather than what was happening interiorly for a person or player.  What did you appreciate when you first heard about the Inner Game? Gallwey the author made a critical distinction between what he called Self One and Self Two.  Self-One is that part of you that is in fear, in doubt, in worry and Self-Two is that part of you that is in flow. Teaching tends to put people into self-one. They start to emulate the teacher and they “try” and trying cripples people. Operating from Self Two comes self-reliance and autonomy.   Timothy Gallwey used to employ a formula which Myles calls out and explains. Performance = Potential – Interference where interference is about doubt, fear, thinking about winning or not losing instead of being present. If you can reduce the interference for people then they can perform.  How did Sir John Whitmore and Graham Alexander influence your work? These two gentlemen had the rights to the Inner Game in Europe. Myles joined them as they both moved into the world of Coaching in Business.  What made the work of Sir John Whitmore so impactful in the World of Business? Time & Place provided a rich landscape from which John’s work took hold. There was an openness in the mid 80s to alternatives. Sir John Whitmore was the first person to write a book on Coaching devoid of content such as tennis for example. His book was very simple and very readable. Sir John Whitmore was a man of humility and that meant his ego did not get in the way in his communication with others.  Myles does not subscribe to the Leader as Hero model. He shares his work with the English Rugby team and their take on Leadership housed in three capacities, Lead, Manage, Coach.  We often make the erroneous assumption that Leaders need to be omnipotent and be skilled in all three capacities. “Leaders are not perfect” and Myles loves that quote from Graham Alexander.  As an Author what motivated you to write? One of Myles greatest strengths is his ability to make intellectual distinctions that he can communicate.  Because Myles set up the school of Coaching he had to teach a lot and that motivated him to write too. Orian Publishing asked Myles to write a book and he felt he got “permission” to go ahead and write the book. Myles first book, a book on Coaching has been in publication since 1999.  What are the compelling messages you would like to share with the Listeners from your latest book?  Command & Control a model of Leadership that has been around for a long time does not work. Think engagement surveys, performance levels and a study that shared the 10 things people do not like about work. No. 10 was their manager.  Myles scanned the world to find what did work. The Military was one such place. Start-ups was the other place. In both there is an emerging practice that you could call an entrepreneurial mindset.  The US Army are exponents of what they call Mission Command. The thing they talk about most is Trust. 2 things prevail. People have to trust and they have to understand their mission. Entrepreneurial mindset is similar because everyone should know the primary objective of the new business.  Both places allowed for and encouraged people to be liberated to perform.  When Myles extrapolates these practices into his work he get to three doing words-nouns Lead-Manage-Coach.  Lead is about the Why. That is back to Mission Command-understanding the future direction and where the company is going.  Manage: describes the part a person will play in the game. Role, Goals, Projects, Tasks, Standards, Protocols etc.  Coach: once the person understands why something is important and their role in achieving it then you get into a conversation about “how” they might do it.  The authority shifts between the first two and the third. In the Coaching part the authority shifts to the person who is going to do the work. “Tell me how you are going to go about it?”  This shift in authority is one of the greatest difficulties for Leaders and managers alike. A lot of the time it is because they do not have the distinctions as described above.  The Leadership model moves from Command and Control to Align and Enable.  What inspired you Myles to encapsulate your model with the Noun Relate. A robust relationship based on trust will allow for these kinds of conversations to happen.  Relationships before results is a Mantra I use and Myles agrees it is so fundamental to work and for him before he does any team work he will indulge some time to build relations between members.  When people build relations and build trust they have the difficult conversations so quickly.  What eludes managers and leaders to apply these four nouns? A lack of understanding. So many companies try to build a coaching culture for example. Myles says “stop” stop right now. You do not want a coaching culture you want a performance culture. You have to be able to hold people to account.  Psycho Synthesis is a body of work built up by Roberto Assagioli in the last century. One of his ideas concerned Love and Will. There are two fundamental drives, one is love the other is will. Love is a feminine energy based on trust, based on nurturing, about letting things happen and is somewhat non-judgemental. Will is a more masculine energy, is founded in control, rigid and structured. Assagioli made the point that whilst love sounds like a good thing it has its shadow. If you are overly nurturing as a parent you rob the child of their opportunity to grow. Similarly Will might not seem appealing but if a child does not have boundaries that is not useful. Myles equates the love piece with Coaching and the good Will with managing and you have to have both.  Assagioli shared his idea that that any time you have two ideas, such as  Will and Love that naturally form a spectrum you need to get above both to see what is going on and for him that formed a tringle and the word he chose was Presence.  Presence, Will and Love underpin Myles model Lead, Manage and Coach. His model is underpinned by Relation.  Relationship and Intent or the fundamental understanding of intent allow for the application of Will and direct communication.  What does it take to be able to adeptly move between these domain, Lead, Manage and Coach? Myles answers by referring to some research that supported his book enabling genius. The research was looking at answer the question; Across those people who have displayed “Greatness” what did they have in common? The research unearthed a few things. 1. Identity was important- people understand who they are in a particular domain and how they uniquely express themselves. 2. Will was another and 3. Mindset was the third and 4. The importance of continuing to learn and grow Most people when given a new job to lead people are giving no training. In the UK 71% of people who are given responsibility for people are not given any training.  Most people when they get into a leadership position do not know who shows up. It’s a potpourri of the things they have had done to them, the expectations of the company etch. Rarely it is about that persons own authority what comes from within.  Myles works with Leaders to help them understand who they are as leaders. Myles has developed over time a process that starts by asking a few set questions followed by a visualisation exercise and then a few more questions to pull the analysis together. Some of the questions sound like the following; As a Leader what are you great at? What do people come to you for?  What are you becoming? The visualisation exercise produces a symbol that represents a Leaders presence/essence and genius.  The exercise ends with the question what would you say is your unique identity as a Leader.  Mindset is not a given it is something that you unconsciously develop over time and knowing that you can start to develop it consciously over time.  Myles shares his own approach critical to informing his mindset. He uses six post cards that characterise his desired mindset. This is something you can create and guide your behaviour every day.  FTSOW (For The Sake of What) is this mindset important. You need to contextualise a mindset.  Somewhere in that mindset has to be other people and how you influence and lead other people & there also has to be something in there about how a leader maintains a clarity of context and a vision that is further than the crippling short termism that is so often evident.  To bring your book to life is there an example of a team you would be willing to share?   An example includes a case from a TV production company and Myles is quick to point out, not the BBC. One of his 1:1 clients, a C-Suite executive was determined to increase the performance of his unit. The work started with conversations with him as a leader and what that looked like and how he brought on and supported the performance of others. The leader formulated an idea that if he could up his own performance it would create a vacuum for his team to fill. As they moved through the work the leader appreciated he needed to improve his capacity to coach as did his leadership team.  Myles supported this leader and team through five workshops where they went through the domains of Lead, Manage and Coach. These were very practical workshops where Coaching was emphasised. On the fifth workshop Myles shared his workshop notes and together the team practiced the elements of the program to get the feel of the work. The team worked in pairs and delivered the content to their teams together, thereby learning from each other and with people.  The work proved to be transformational. The pairs were asked to have the work delivered across and down several layers of the organisation.  Unlike other Manager as Coach programs which often do not gain traction this one did by way of the commitment of the team, the clarity of the Leader about what needed to happen & unequivocal will to make it happen. The Leader was incredibly compassionate with his people & supported them to integrate the material in a digestible fashion.  Myles ended this podcast by sharing his wish for the future of work. Human beings should find ways to express in the world, a genuine, authentic expression of you, me, they in the world. Myles plays tennis not because he is competitive but because he loves expressing himself on a tennis court. Myles wishes that our workplaces should be places where people can express at least parts of themselves, fruitfully and joyously.  Resources shared across this podcast  Myles Downing is the author of ‘Effective Modern Coaching’, ‘Effective Coaching’ and ‘Enabling Genius – a mindset for success in the 21st Century’. He is also the author of The Enabling Manager, how to get the best out of your own team.    
56:38 6/1/23
Activating the Who of You to Thrive with Alan McFarlane
Introduction:  Alan McFarlane is a Scotsman now living in Barcelona. A native of Paisley, near Glasgow, he studied law in Edinburgh before becoming a commercial litigation partner of a Top-10 Scottish law firm. His interest in business development took him in 1991 to Barcelona where he gained his bi-lingual MBA from IESE Business School before embarking on a long, global multinational career which saw him lead the design and implementation of major strategic initiatives, living and working around the world in places like France, Brazil (where he served on the Latam regional exec.) and Hungary.  Alan is a published author of two books, a book on Egypt post-revolution and the seven moments of coaching published by IESE. Alan collaborates with IESE, Timoney Leadership Institute in Ireland and Human Content, the cutting edge of understanding personality in the workplace. This is the focus of our conversation today.    Podcast episode Summary:  Human Content is at the cutting edge of understanding personality in the workplace. Alan McFarlane works with Human Content and over the course of our conversation across this podcast he brings to life the potential, the human potential, housed in this body of work, a potential that often goes untapped. Alan illuminates what the instrument, B5+ aims to measure, why it is different from other more commonly known instruments and what can be achieved when this human potential is activated.  Points made throughout the Episode:    The fundamental drivers for Alan include Freedom & exploration for creativity.  As part of his journey into this work Alan shares a story from his past. As a then 16 year old in Paisley Grammar School, Alan won a competition, having come from “the back of the field”, for writing, The Reed Prize for English. Alan explains that because there was a large element of creative writing in the challenge he won over the more scholarly classmates.  It was well known at the time that Alan was going to study law but after winning this prize no one reflected or guided Alan differently.  Studying Law in Edinburgh University proved to be a complete mismatch. He shares that by his second year of study he was down or depressed and the saving grace for him was a membership to the film society at University. This membership allowed him to consume 8/9 films a week and that was his creative escape.  He graduated after 5 years and went on to pursue his apprenticeship and again there was no guidance or self-reflection to wonder if that was the right thing to do.  Another “saving grace” for Alan, in an ill-fitting career,  proved to be his involvement with the marketing committee at his then law firm. KPMG were brought in to help the firm with a reorganisation and strategy and they challenged Alan on his personal goals and he realised he did not want to be a practicing lawyer anymore.  That decision back in 1991,took Alan to Spain where he applied to IESE Business school to undertake an MBA- his best subjects proving to be organisational behaviour, Leadership Communication and Business Strategy. Alan self-confesses to have been blind to the activation in him by of his strength in these subjects and joined an Insurance Company in Spain after his MBA.  Alan is not ordered structured or planful notwithstanding the career choices he made in his career  Tomas Lovenskiold, the CEO of Human Content advised Alan to leave his employ when his role was being redirected. He told him to “get out” take the check this is not you. Despite this advice Alan stayed.  A terminal disease for Alan’s father in law proved to be the lucky break Alan needed. The silver lining from this episode in Alan’s life proved to be liberation. Alan used the back In Scotland to write his first book and to get in touch with his fundamental drivers.  Various collaborations later and a meeting with bureau chief of Africa, based in Cairo, of the NYT, Declan Walsh meant that for Alan he finally got in touch with his own fundamental drivers Meeting Declan meant that Alan met someone who probably held his ideal role, creative writing exploration and freedom to live and write in many countries. Alan recognised this role could have been for him if he had known or if he had been guided differently. It took 35 years before Alan was matched to his ideal career. Alan is now passionate to expand the knowledge of the Body of Knowledge that is Human Content so that people can be activated to pursue their true potential.  Alan would like to see a way where people, at 18 or earlier could be given a way to understand their fundamental drivers. The problem is that these drivers, consider them rocks on the ocean floor, are often masked by the expectations of others, situations, social norms, peer  groups or job approximations. You need some way to clear the waves and see the fundamental drivers.  Human Content is a complete fit with Alan’s drivers. Human Content is the evolution of the Big Five Factor Model. Alan describes the evolution from the Big Five Factor Analysis  Alan names the modern labels for the Five Factors, two which relate to People factors 1 & 2, one where people draw energy from either their inner world or outer world and the other which measures how much people are naturally more compassionate and caring for people or more fact focused & outcome focused, making sure stuff is done at the right time. The next two factors, 3 & 5, style of work area, these include preferences on how we do things and preferences on how we think about things. The final factor measures factor number four measures emotional energy, where people are more present or absent.  Human Content is strident to say both side of any factor need to be regarded in equal light. There is no right or wrong way to be. The earlier use of the Big Five Factor model was biased in terms of the right hand side of the factor scales and  measures.  To be fully activated means a person’s needs to find a role or career which aligns with the picture created the B5-PLUS  instrument (Given the context in which a person sits)  Knowing your fundamental drivers opens up the possibility for a person to tactically manage themselves at work.  The scientific approach adopted by Human Content makes it significantly different from other better known instruments such as MYERS BRIGGS, DiSC and Insights. This scientific analysis recognises the uniqueness of each human being. Other instruments are too simple. People are extraordinarily complex and Human Content endeavours to recognise the difference.  Personality Research is a largely underdeveloped area and the legacy instruments served a genuine purpose to raise awareness about the differences between people. They did not go far enough in Alan’s opinion and he explains why.  Human Content is a well-kept secret because the legacy tools are well established and well publicised.  The precision of the outcome that is possible with B5-PLUS makes it attractive for organisational performance. It can drive employee engagement, You can clearly see the fundamental drivers for an individual. The fully explored factor analysis against a normed grouping gives much more exactness for role matching etc.  Growth Potential, Employee Engagement, Motivation and Understanding are some of the benefits that come from using B5+ as an instrument of choice.  The B5+-PLUS Instrument can be used to support team ambitions, understanding the needed fundamental drivers to succeed.  By taking the B5+-PLUS instrument a team discovers not only their individual fundamental drivers but also the nuances between them and the combination effects which means that they will have certain implications for how they are in the work place. This will have implications for what they enjoy doing and what they do well together and how they will interact together, smoothly or roughly.  Alan illustrates the impact of the B5-PLUS  instrument by way of a case study. B5-PLUS was used for 450 employees after a CEO decided to do a comprehensive role analysis and reformation. The employees were allowed to self-select their roles as a consequence of the rewrite using the analysis from the B5+ instrument. Customer Satisfaction as a key indicator for this firm went from 53% to 86% In another example this time from Norway, Alan shares a story about a hospital where the sickness rate was at 26%- 26% of all levels of the employee base at any one time were not available. The B5-PLUS  was deployed. People were allowed to be re-matched, where jobs or at a minimum tasks were readjusted or where people were reallocated to different departments. In four months after this work was completed the sickness rate fell to 2% Societal prejudice can blind us to the potential as expressed in certain kinds of personality or expressions of them. There is bias to seeing certain aspects of the personality spectrum as favourable.  Alan advocates that we take the B5-PLUS instrument and then acknowledge what is found. He asks that people acknowledge their fundamental drivers, embrace them and then exploit them for greater satisfaction in life.  Alan adeptly answers my question regarding the need often for people to wear multiple hats, say for example in a gig economy.  He also helped me be curious about a particular client of mine using the terminology of the B5-PLUS instrument and asked a couple of very pertinent questions that I can now explore with her at a future date.  The B5-PLUS is distinctive because of its precision as a instrument. It measures 5 personality factors and the facets that accompanies them in a manner that no other instrument does. There is a fully explored factorial analysis of the factors and facets, an order of analysis on personality that has never been done before.  The factor analysis, the design and process involved in B5+ makes it an instrument that is unique and helps others see their uniqueness too.  Alan uses his formula or 3 word frame, Acknowledge, Embrace and Exploit to encourage others to become aware of the contents of their individual B5+ report and to act on It.  The precision of this instrument allows you to confidently predict performance in the way that other instruments do not. Again this instrument can be used for recruitment and promotion that other legacy instruments advise cannot.  Alan used the last few minutes of this podcast to wish that individuals and teams at work could have their uniqueness recognised, and through that recognition for employers to make a conscious effort to match that persons uniqueness to their roles to make people, happy, satisfied fulfilled motivated & fully activated & for the employer to reap fantastic performance and growth.  Resources mentioned across this podcast    B5-PLUS Product from Human Content B5-PLUS personality assessment from Human Content Novaturia Global SL, The Seven Moments of Coaching by Alan McFarlane  Egypt’s Thousand Days of Revolution by Alexander Murray (my pen name)  
61:03 5/3/23
What Bothers Us about Supervision with Tracy Bertran, Michele White, Traci Manalani, Larissa Thurlow
Introduction:  Tracy Bertran, Michele White, Traci Manalini and Larissa Thurlow are all executive coaches, team coaches, individual and group supervisors offering diverse and extensive experience in the fields of learning and adult development.  Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast discusses the often-misunderstood topic of Supervision, how it serves coaches and team coaches and how it is distinctive from Mentoring and Therapy.  To fully appreciate the value of Supervision in the field of professional coaching this episode explores the evocative question: what bothers us about Supervision.  Points made throughout the Episode:    Tracy Bertran PCC, kicked this conversation off by sharing how she came to Supervision. It was an integral part of her Coach Training. She confesses that supervision and its value went off her radar once she finished her Coach training. Larissa Thurlow came to supervision slightly later in her professional career. Larissa was doing lots of training & exposure to team coaching and felt something was missing. She learnt about Supervision, still was not completely sure what she was getting into and then found its value.  Traci Manalini picks up the thread about not really know what you are going into by virtue of Supervision and shares that a colleague found that Supervision made him better as a Coach. Intrigued Traci explored more and found many to be of the same opinion. Supervision supports you to become a better Coach. For Michele White Supervision brings her back to herself and who she wants to be as a Coach. Like Tracy Bertran, Michele came back to supervision after a while and trained to become a trained Supervisor mainly because she wanted to become a better reflective Coach and from there her supervision practice grew.  In addition to becoming a better reflective Coach, Supervision offers more. It provides illumination that extends to the whole of the system. Supervision helps to normalise our practice. It helps to see better and see again.  The title of this podcast is called what bothers us about Supervision and Traci Manalini shares that what bothers her is that people really do not understand what Supervision is as an offering. The word itself, Supervision, has so many preconceptions about what it is. Often people assume it has something to do with a power dynamic, where the Supervisor is “overseeing” someone’s work. This puts an extra emphasise on education to support people unlearn their perceptions about what it is. It ends up that people do not understand what Supervision is and the close their minds to the possibilities it affords.  Tracy Bertran adds that what bothers her is the confusion between Supervision and Mentoring. Some treat the two modalities as interchangeable as if the names are simply semantic preferences. In addition to this confusion what bothers Tracy is the amount of supervision being undertaken by Coaches. Only about 50% are actively engaged in the practice of regular supervision. Professional Rigour is at question.  It makes Tracy sad given the fact that there is so much to be gained by undertaking Supervision. The opportunity to look at behaviours, thoughts feelings, patterns, systems etc is provided. Supervision allow coaches to build mastery as opposed to the acquisition of new knowledge. Supervision can be transformational.  Michele White builds on the feelings of sadness by sharing that she feels sad because Individual or Team Coaches do not experience the joy of Supervision & the depth of Supervision. She queries the ethical nature of the Coaching Profession if supervision is absent. This asks the question about the responsibility of the Professional Bodies to make supervision mandatory. It would appear they are tentative, not mandating supervision or enough supervision. Larissa Thurlow adds that there is an inconsistency at play if we as coaches are asking our clients to be vulnerable and yet we are not doing the same. If we are supposed to be thinking partners with clients who are we partnering with to stretch and expand our capacities, in thinking, seeing and ways of being.  Larissa turns the word “bother” on its head to suggest that increasingly we are bothered about taking up Supervision. She recognises the difference between when she first started out and people thought she had a number of heads talking about Supervision and now where it is being talked about.  What bothers Coaches and Team Coaches about Supervision? We have to appreciate that adopting Supervision is a change. It is a fundamental difference to how Coaches, at least in North America have been practicing. Maybe there is a perception by Coaches that they are being put upon by having to accept Supervision as part of their practice, especially if it is seen as mandatory. If coaches are labouring under the assumption that they have been practicing individual coaching and team coaching for ages and could write the book they might be assuming there is nothing to be learnt by going to Supervision. Without understanding there is every chance the imposition of Supervision could feel heavy handed.  Tracy Bertran adds that Supervision can be exposing. You have to be vulnerable enough to expose things about your practice to allow Supervision to be enacted. You can feel vulnerable amongst your peers and it cannot be forgotten that Supervision allows you space to celebrate as well to share successes and interventions that worked.  We can be brought to the of our thinking, our comfort zone our feelings of safety and right to the edge of where we need to go to invite learning. Supervision can be in equal measure scary and brilliant.  Traci adds that often Team Coaches will deselect themselves from Group Supervision believing they are not yet experienced enough or have enough cases. This can also mean premature judgement by coaches that they will not add enough value.  Judgement about experience, whether you are too experienced or inexperienced can confuse the potential value of Supervision when coaches fixate on the relative exchange they will experience.  The differences in experience could be handled in the set up by Supervisors as Michele explains. We need to be careful not to engineer the set up too much. We too can make erroneous assumptions about what might work. It is both and.  It is very likely that protective defences are being exercised by Individual and Team Coaches in the space of Supervision. This begs the question how can we help as Supervisors?  Traci Manalini offers that when talking about different experiences or levels of coaches and number of cases they can or cannot offer etc might mean we have to accept the differences and not over engineer the set up. As a parallel Teams, very often do not chose their team colleagues.  Having 1:1 Conversations is one step that support the development of care and safety, the next might include the norms we create in a group to ensure reciprocity etc.  There is another parallel going on with respect to group Coaching. Tracy suggests that if you think about Team Coaching, team coaches are looking at the wisdom of the team and the same is true of Group Supervision. The learning in relation you get in group Supervision is similar to the process of surfacing the intelligence that resides on teams.  Michele notices her own resistance the mention of hours and the nominal value of 5 hours to be undertaken by Team Coaches if they chose to become certified. She questions whether 5 hours is enough. 5 hours is simply nothing for a team coach.  Tracy had a similar allergic reaction as Michele to the mention of 5 hours. For Tracy it is another “bother about Supervision” The more team Coaching Tracy engages with the more Team Coaching Supervision she needs. It serves as a restorative place a place where she can get professional reassurance.  If we think about Supervision providing Normative, Formative and Restorative resources this is especially true with Team Coaching.  As Larissa puts herself in the shoes of Coaches and Team Coaches she opines that it is often the case that Supervisors extol the virtues of Supervision. For Larissa naming 5 hours to support certification is serving a purpose and it is getting Supervision recognised.  Supervision is an investment in time and money and that could potentially bother Coaches as well.  Tracy would love the 5 hours to be an introductory taster to Supervision so that people could experience its value and wonder how they could have lived without it in the first place.  It would appear that as Supervisors, guests to the GOT podcast, that a threshold has been crossed to appreciate the value of Supervision. How can coaches and team coaches be communicated to in a way that makes the crossing so much easier? What can be said on this podcast to help people imagine what we are experiencing?  Traci suggests “to try it” to give Supervision a try and maybe not just once. Most of her practice, at least 90% have suggested that Supervision has been transformative.  Michele shares a story to help illuminate the potency of Supervision. What Michele was feeling and brought to Supervision was a belief “am I good enough” What she learnt in Supervision was that she was carrying this belief on the part of the team. It was not hers to own. In fact each of the executives in her case was feeling really challenged and each of them in differing ways were questioning whether they were up to the challenge.  A parallel process was revealed. Tracy is pretty sure that each of us and anyone who has attended group supervision about their team practice will have been asked “what belongs to you and what belongs to the system?’ Larissa further adds to the same theme by describing how two coaches who operated as Co-Coaches both came to the realisation in Group Supervision that what they thought was about them as a dynamic or as a duo and around which they were stuck was actually the stickiness of the system. Having a place to get unstuck helped them see what they had to do to help the team get unstuck.  One way to distinguish between Mentoring and Supervision is to appreciate the different language used in both. In Supervision psychological phenomenon such as Parallel process, transference and counter transference are often used terms. Supervision is the art of looking at systems and calling out complex patterns and concerns. Mentoring is more about the acquisition of skills and competencies.  Coaching and Mentoring can often be about goals and achievement whereas Supervision is often a place holder for the unknown, that which wants to emerge. It’s often about “kicking the tyres” looking at cases from different angles or looking awry. Supervision is akin to theory U which speaks to sensing and allowing for emergence.  Some knotty issues can present in Supervision. Relations and team dynamics invariably surface in Supervision, especially when you think about the many interdependencies  on Teams. Entanglements is often a theme.  Contracting is or seems to be a fairly typical topic that presents in Supervision “All roads lead to contracting. System Patterns is another. Often difficult to see in the moment and very often surfaced in Supervision.  To be able to see the very many complex dynamics and pattern on teams is the territory of Supervision. Roles come up a lot in Supervision as well. The role of the Team Coach, the seduction to assume responsibility to fix the team is often a conundrum to be seen. The proclivity of Team Coaches to be sucked into the team, to assume a role on the team or to become enmeshed is often a theme to be explored in Supervision.  Money and people willing to invest in themselves is the unspoken elephant in the room. It bothers Traci that so many coaches, team coaches and often Supervisors question their own value and so do not invest in this magical offer.  The podcast conversation comes full circle to explore the vexating temptation by coaches to invest more in the acquisition of knowledge and skills than in their personal professional development and reflective practice as coaches.  Michele wonders if there also a need to educate our Clients as well.  Michele is provocative and asks, how many of us as Coaches put at the top of our credentials the fact that we are in regular supervision?  Michele acknowledges that she might have ceased the “grabbing” of more courses in favour of Supervision but she has not mentioned that in her credentials.  Tracy hopes that coaches embrace supervision as an integral part of their practice. Larissa shares this hope and adds that she hopes for more research, to provide an evidence based rationale for Supervision. Traci was really struck by the word integration used across the podcast and her hope is that coaches integrate their knowledge and skill acquired in Supervision. Michele would love everyone to experience Supervision for the depth, joy and resourcing it provides Ways to get in touch with my four Guests    Tracy Bertran, PCC, Director of Mu Team Brilliance Michele White, Owner People & Development LTD, Traci Manalani, MA, PCC, ACTC & rebel with a cause, Principal of Practical Solutions for Sustainable change. Larissa Thurlow,  
42:53 3/1/23
Quiet Quitting with Agnieszka Wolinska
Introduction:  Agnieszka Wolinska-Skuza is CEO of MasConsulting. She is an experienced strategic consultant with a background in top management consulting in Corporations. Agnieszka from the Warsaw School of Economics & gained her PhD in Economics from the University of Westminster in London, Trinity College London. Agnieszka is the author of the book The ART of Changing Your Mindset. Agnieszka recently moved to Barcelona where she lives with her husband and two children.  Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast discusses the important topic of Quiet Quitting, a phenomenon that is not new but has gained increasing interest and concern post the Pandemic. Agnieszka shares how pervasive Quiet Quitting is and what Leaders need to become to address this pernicious concern and to focus decisively on people. Much has to do with Mindset, the mindset around leadership, growth supporting a robust culture and responsibility.  Points made throughout the Episode:  Agnieszka entered came into this field by observing organisations in the process of change using her background in business consulting. She observed a lot of issues with Productivity, Retention and Mental Health issues post-Pandemic including of course geo-political and social crisis & high inflation together having a profound impact on workforce strategy  Quiet Quitting is a complex topic that Agnieszka has been investigating for a long time. It is not a new phenomenon but before it did not get the attention it is receiving today.  Quiet quitting presents in different ways making it complex to observe and detect. It impacts many elements of the business including a powerful retention strategy.  Quiet Quitting can be defined as a phenomenon where you can observe that people are disengaged at work, where people are losing motivation, losing focus, uneven participation by withholding and detaching psychologically from the job. Employees can refuse more tasks & question why it is important to work hard.  Quiet Quitting can be simply described as a change in Engagement  The critical characteristics of high performing Leaders & their teams and how much mindset influences how they are managed. Mindset is critical for Leaders and in particular having a Growth Mindset.  A Growth Mindset predisposes leaders to create a healthy culture of accountability, that drives business growth. Leaders with a Growth Mindset see opportunities within their teams, they look for possibility, they don’t hide believing all efforts have been wasted and they do not blame others.  Leaders who lead with a Growth Mindset make every effort to accelerate their teams growth even in times of crisis.  So leading with a Growth Mindset is critical if you chose to create a team that is pro-active, creative and solution focused.  Exceptional Leaders know & appreciate they have to consciously grow their skills and the skills of their teams. Strong passion, energy and a vision for growth inspires others to be part of business growth and success.  To adopt a Growth Mindset you have to interrogate your beliefs, thoughts and feelings and in order to assume a growth mindset you have to believe in the possibility for growth, to look opportunistically and to be focused energetically. You won’t be minded to blame the situation but be oriented to search for solutions.  You can always find a way forward if you look for possibility and solutions. If you have a fixed mindset the likelihood is that you will give up and retreat, you will always blame the situation and people and you will likely lose people.  Given how tired and exhausted Leaders and people are after the pandemic the question becomes one of asking how to try to do more with a more positive energy.  People are valuing their time differently and so if they observe that their leaders are not behaving positively they will put distance between them and what they esteem to be toxic leadership.  Focus and being deliberate or intentional about what work means today, giving people a new sense of belonging are ways to help retain people.  After the Pandemic people have come to value their time differently. They are focused on how they spend their time and the quality of that investment.  So quiet quitting is really about changing in engagement -Engagement is a kind of choice. You can chose to engage or to withdraw.  A culture that engages people could look like improvements in the ways flexibility is offered to work, a re-focus on purpose and an acknowledgement that empathy is required.  Leaders also need to look at time, their relationship to time, engagement and their choice of Leadership  Leaders are feeling the pressure of change, of market forces of their work loads and their own mental health. Important for Leaders to mind their mental health to be able to share their energy & empathy with others.  There is an onus on Leaders to monitor their state of mind. If you lose your energy and it impacts your capacity to be empathetic people will feel this and be equally impacted.  State of mind is everything and it is an everyday occupation. If you want to have a strong mindset you need to feed your mind every day. How does Quiet Quitting show up? No one will tell you as a Leader that quiet quitting has become a phenomenon in your organisation but you can begin to observe behaviours and be curious. Isolation, participating less, valuing time differently are the hidden signs that something in the culture is amiss. This amounts to disengagement at work. Others signs include becoming less available for mandatory meetings or less volunteering for social events or even not answering emails promptly or as before.  Gallup has for years now being reporting on engagement at work. Statistics consistently slight poor levels of engagement at work at around 33%. Quiet Quitting is not knew and so how can Leaders be more bothered about their approaches?  It is important to remember the power dynamic at work and Leaders have a disproportionate amount of power available to them and this power can be used to energise the work force.  Wellbeing, retention strategies, upskilling etc are all tools which if employed can make the job of workers more fulfilling. How do Leaders help their teams see this perspective together. They have to re-think how to engage teams in this work as well.  There needs to a recognition that people are valuing their time differently and they have talent that can be deployed. This requires new thinking, new methods of approach and more proactivity on the part of Leaders and teams.  It could be advantageous to start asking and questioning the employee base for their new thinking, to hear their obstacles and concerns and to find solutions together.  It is one thing to conduct exit interviews and hear the missing factors that precipitated a leave and another to engage earlier to understand how an organisations atmosphere could be improved.  Being explicit about the business, business performance, the standard you are respecting, the values you are honouring and the ethics by which you are operating are all features that could make a difference to employees to hear.  If Leaders chose to take a critical look at their culture and to institute change they need to go back to the fundamentals and examine their values. Open and transparent dialogue is required along with perhaps a modicum of vulnerability by the leader- asking for help for example.  As a Leader if you sense there are issues with your culture with Quiet Quitting don’t hide.  Changing Culture requires that the effort be shared,  where joint responsibility for the success is owned collectively. This can happen if the right atmosphere is created and there are no negative consequences for speaking up or sharing ideas.  Quiet Quitting and a lack of psychological safety are probably pretty close cousins which suggests that there is a large gap to address to course correct. It doesn’t mean it is impossible to recover especially if the right attitude is employed and Leaders can admit that they missed information.  The Pandemic has more than likely contributed to Quiet Quitting and the opportunity to catch creeping disillusionment when people were working from home and on screens.  To start adopt a Growth Mindset. Find out what are the limiting beliefs and obstacles on teams. Lack of trust for example is a limiting belief, or the idea that if people work remotely they will not be productive. Leaders might resist, by micro managing etc. this instead of looking for alternative solutions.  Accepting the phenomenon of hybrid working, accepting that people have a changed relationship to time could result in some constructive new norms that everyone can agree.  Leaders often underestimate their success in creating conditions of belonging for example believing they are doing a better job than others judge them to be doing.  Deloitte research has found considerable discrepancies or disconnect between how a Leader perceives their effort and how an employee experiences it. Only 56% of employees believe a company’s executives  cares about their wellbeing whereas the same executives score themselves 91%  Leaders have to be aware of theses gaps in perception as cited by Deloitte and start with manageable strategies to narrow these gaps.  Agnieszka suggests starting by setting clear expectations for teams, asking questions about working hours, and reasonableness in terms of those same expectations. There is often a large gap between expectations and realism.  Role clarity, growth opportunities and expectations are subjects or topics that are often not clear & require conversation. Are we clear about the many limiting beliefs and obstacles that sit on teams? Does the team feel connected to the Organisations Purpose?  Start with a diagnostic and get a base line understanding of where people are, knowing it might be hard to digest but recognising that this is a process and a start.  Agnieszka’s book covers 12 areas in business and in life that are important. Her book is about transformational change in each of this areas. To help she teaches her readers at the start of her book how to adopt a Growth Mindset. Change for the subsequent chapters is made easier by using this particular lens.  Agnieszka also talks about our Comfort Zone and notices how important this is for Quiet Quitting too. She encourages us to move outside of our comfort zone to deal with Quiet Quitting. It might appear as hard work at first but it can also be very rewarding.  If Leaders are willing to put themselves outside of their comfort zone they should not resist Quiet Quitting but instead take actions to minimise it, investigate and ask probing questions to do with the company’s purpose, structure, conditions etc.  Leaders need to create the space for employees to be part of the solution. If they hold on to solving the surfaced issues by themselves they are in fact engaging in a fixed mindset and likely disenchant further.  People are happy to share their thoughts, ideas etc if they see it can yield value.  Agnieszka’s final request to listeners and Leaders is to focus on people    Resources shared across this conversation The ART of Changing Your Mindset by Agnieszka Wolinska-Skuza Deloitte Insight   
50:46 2/15/23
Teamness at the Top with Prof. Anneloes Raes
Introduction: Anneloes Raes is Professor in the Department of Managing People in Organisations and holder of the PUIG Chair of Global Leadership Development as IESE. She holds a PhD in Organisational Behaviour from Maastricht University and an MA in Psychology at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.  Anneloes’s research has been published in academic journals such as the Academy of Management Review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Relations and Small Group Work. Her research has also featured in press outlets such as the Financial Times and La Vanguardia. Anneloes lives in Barcelona with her Husband and two young boys.    Podcast Episode Summary Teamness at the Top is not as prevalent as one might expect. Only 21-30% of teams across the globe can satisfy the elements that describe a real team.   The world of today and tomorrow asks that organisations can solve complex and wicked problems. That becomes possible if teams are able to mine the collective wisdom of teams, collaborate and share information so the best strategic decisions can be made. Anneloes illuminates what needs to shift to make this phenomenon a reality for top teams.    Points made over the episode Anneloes started this podcast by describing her journey into this field of work. Her interest in this field started by way of her research for her PhD at Maastricht. Her formative studies in Psychology meant she was already interested in the interpersonal dynamics between people. Very early on she got the opportunity as part of her studies to sit in on the discussions of a board.  That experience shaped her thinking about top management teams. The reality of top teams making strategic decisions, sharing information together and collaborating well together is often far from what you might expect. These teams like others comprise human beings with all of their flaws and differing perspectives.  Team Based Leadership at the top is as crucial as it is the requirement for effective teams across the organisation, even when often people wonder if it is feasible or possible. When we look at organisational life we appreciate that so much of its success is dependent on teams and collaboration.  It is true too that we accept that we can achieve more together by way of the diversity and also the complementarity of team members, knowing that and especially where the work is too complex to do by an individual the default is team.  The work at the top is particularly complex with a high volume of task and uncertainty.  It is almost hard to understand that top teams would not work as a team.  We expect our leaders to be role models and we expect everyone in the organisation to be team players, how is it then that a top team can get away with not being a team?  Real opportunity for the top team to exemplify real team work, given the need to solve complex problems and model behaviour for the rest of the organisation.  Why then does it not prevail? There are many different versions of team work that top teams  aspire or desire. It is not as binary as either or dilemma. There are degrees of teamness. There is also the real possibility that members of the team have very different perspectives of the order of teamwork required.  Anneloes work takes an evidence based approach. In her research she found 3 significant reasons why a Top Team might choose better teamness   Strategic Decision Making at the Top; The Executive take better decisions by combining more and diverse perspectives. It is important to have a good process in place to combine these perspectives.  Organisation Stability & Executive Sustainability -Being at the top of an organisation is a very demanding job. Operating in a truly functioning team can provide a lot of support. We say for a reason “its lonely at the top”  sharing the load of responsibility and creating a system of social support can mitigate this felt loneliness. It also makes sense when you consider the current focus on mental health and wellness and the increased openness to expressing vulnerability and concerns by employees in general.  The great man theory of Leadership is the oldest perspective on Leadership and one that is slowly being overturned for greater and greater degrees of peer executives teams. True teamness doesn’t come from scratch it requires effort even with the most benign of Leaders who welcome a strong leadership team around them. Time together & the maintenance of a well-functioning team needs investment.  Setting the Tone at the Top. What are the implications for others in the organisation by way of the behaviours exhibited by the top team? The outcomes, decisions and types of conversation held at the top, how the team interacts their style, the unity they do or do not espouse all has an impact on others in the organisation. Anneloes took a real interest in this area and the relationship between the tone set from the top and the organisational climate. She expanded on this research to wonder about the implications this same tone had on employee wellness.  There is a powerful cascading affect between the behaviour at the top and how it trickles down into the rest of the organisation. Empirical studies show strong connections and can refute the natural scepticism that might prevail to wonder if boardroom conversations behind closed doors can impact individuals who never come into contact with those same leaders. The tide is turning and in favour of this focus, where employees are now considered an incredibly important stakeholder about whom the top team needs to be responsible.  Top Management cannot assume that their conversations behind closed doors remain just that, behind closed doors. The conversation leaks out and has an impact on employees.  Teamness at the top  needs a variety of support and structuring in terms of time , relationship management and task completion as well as external professional help.  8 hours together in terms of relationship equity is a good start and top teams need to be able to manage the distractions that could impose on or collapse the time focused on building relations even when teams do not have the vocabulary, comfort etc..  We could collapses the notion of what it means to work and appreciate the importance of collaboration and relations and it does not have to be so difficult. Teams do not have to get too worked up about how “it should be” and run the risk of being discouraged because they cannot achieve relationship excellence.  Don Hambrick has designed an assessment for Management Teams that can be used to assess the Teamness of Top Teams. This assessment tool has a series of questions in three dimensions; Joint Decision Making, Information Exchange and Collaborative Behaviour. It is a very practical check list that top teams can use for conversation and contracting. It is also a very useful tool by which a team can explore different perspectives held on the team Anneloes refers back to the team she observed while she was researching for her PhD. She recalls how ably the team were to align their calendars and offer support to each other.  Teamness at the top is often stymied or hampered by the mindset that is held by the members of the top team. The idea of a strong one Captain on a ship notion gets in the way of real teamness. The real fear that the people on the team will get into conflict if they try to become a real team. Similarly the fear that the team will take forever to make decisions or does not have the accountability to do so are other reasons why top teams might stay shy of becoming a real team.  These fears are often valid as Team Work is not necessarily easy or even in all cases a good thing. Group think for example is a risk or trap teams fall into when they do not want conflict. On balance these concerns are held in the minds of Leaders but don’t necessarily play out in reality. Good process management for teams can prevent some of these perceived risks.  Being explicit about the teams mindset, their level of awareness, the common goals they want to achieve are ways that invite dialogue and help teams get into action as a team.  Having a common purpose, a why, can put the need for team into perspective and help the Top Team navigate what might initially be awkward conversations, fears etc.  Anneloes’ suggests a team can start by creating a common understanding of where the team is and where it wants to go. She uses the checklist mentioned above with the three dimensions, Joint Decision Marking, Information Exchange and Collaboration to discover with the team where they might against each dimension. It helps to have a common vocabulary. Anneloes is fully aware that of course there are so many more dimensions by which to asses a team for example in terms of interpersonal relations etc. but this check list serves as a starting point. Facilitating discussions, putting in place learning mindsets and creating the conditions for a safe space to express perspectives always in service of the collective goal are some of the processes Anneloes employs with Top Teams.  Having a discussion to really bottom out & understand what is the Tops Teams collective goal and what the strategic priorities is an important & relevant discussion.  Having the “What” we are here to do and the “How” we are going to get there along with a learning mindset, appreciating there will be hurdles along the way and it is a journey,  can advance the Top Team on a good level of Teamness.  The future of work would be better served in Anneloes’s opinion if teams and individuals alike had a better mindset around collaboration. The idea of a One Man Leader is very limiting to address the complexities of our world.     Resources Mentioned Across this Episode   IESE Business School The “Teamness” of Top Teams based on Hambrick, 1994, Simesek et al., 2005 and Raes et al., 2013 “Many Leaders, however are ambivalent about teams. They fear overt conflict, tunnel vision, lack of accountability and indifference to the interests of the organisation as a whole” ….their fear of delegating -losing control-reinforces the stereotype of the heroic leader who handles it all.” Manfred Kets De Vries, 2020    
41:50 2/1/23
We are never not in mood with Bernard Desmidt
Introduction: Bernard Desmidt is an accomplished Coach, Facilitator, Speaker and Author. His first book is called; Inside Out Leadership: How to master the 4 Principles of Effective Leadership and become the Leader that others will follow. His second book is called: Team Better Together. Bernard was born in South Africa and he lived there until he was 38 and then he emigrated to Australia where he now lives with his wife and children.    Podcast Episode Summary “Moods are the most contagious phenomenon known to humans. We are biologically, inescapably emotional beings – everything we do, is because of the mood we’re in. Each day we are called to deal with unanticipated interruptions and interferences - breakdowns to our habitual rhythm of life. Breakdowns can be both positive and negative - winning the lotto vs losing one's job. Our resourcefulness to adapt and deal with our breakdowns, is a function of the mood we choose to live and lead from. Moods are ‘spaces of possibility’; they can predispose us to limited or infinite possibilities for action” Bernard Desmidt.  This episode speaks to the domain of learning called Moods.    Points made over the episode Bernard starts this podcast by reminding us of his background and the Mood of life in South Africa that shaped him and then helped him appreciate the gift  & wonder of South Africa.  Bernard began to appreciate the potency of moods through lived experience.  Growing up in South Africa and living through Apartheid, Bernard recalls the moods of despair and anger as a “white child” living a privileged life by contrast to other children around him.  85% of Black South Africans lived in abject poverty, pain & abject cruelty. Bernard remembers his anger at the injustices and his feeling of powerless to do anything about his experience. It took Bernard a while to legitimise his heritage and to come to appreciate the other side of anger & despair to appreciate the wonder of South Africa.  3 African expressions inform his way of being and working today  Sibona -a Zulu word for hello, which means “I see you and by seeing you, I bring you into being. By seeing each other is this way we hold each other with respect, dignity and legitimacy- The mood is deep acceptance of who you are.  Ubuntu- Means we are because you are & because you are definitely I am. This serves to affirm an others humanity, by recognising their uniqueness and their differences. This expression acknowledges our interconnectedness-The Mood of Gratitude embodies this expression.  Hambi Gashi – means “Go well, gently in peace and travel safely- The Mood is of deep care and Compassion.  We exist as Human Beings in 3 domains. Language, Moods & Emotions and The Body. At its essence this trinity distinguishes human beings from any other living form.  Moods are fundamental to our existence yet we are mood illiterate.  Daniel Goldman brought us information about Emotional Intelligence and EI at its core is about mood awareness.  We are never not in mood & all moods serve us until they don’t. Example Frustration. What is frustration taking care of? What is it guiding us towards. Moods are signposts. The mood of frustration is signposting that I am not feeling heard or understood.  The mood of anger is a signpost to feeling taken advantage of. Use the energy housed in frustration or anger to access what is missing.  Emotions are energies that move us.  The mood of anxiety is letting us know that we might come to harm. The mood of curiosity is signposting us to our openness to learn.  Alan Sieler, Fernando Flores, Miriam Greenspan and for me Julio Olalla were all teachers of the distinctions of Moods.  There are six moods of life & Moods manifest in language. The language act of assessments illicit moods that predispose us to action. In resentment I am preoccupied with seeking revenge.  There are two linguistic acts that are fundamental to the understanding of the manifestation of moods. Assessments and Declarations. Generally when we are in assessment there are 3 categories of assessment that we make. Facticity, Possibility and Uncertainty. There are two declarations we generally make. Oppose and Accept. If we plot assessments on the horizontal axis and declarations on the vertical axis we can plot these 6 universal moods. Resentment, Acceptance, Resignation, Ambition, Anxiousness and Wonder.  Bernard goes through each of these moods sharing their predispositions for action  In the first category of assessment is for  facticity; we can either oppose the facticity and live in Resentment or accept the facticity and embrace acceptance.  The mood of acceptance is the gateway to living a fulfilled life. It is the highest order of mood. Grief for example is refusing the facticity of death. When we move into acceptance we meet the mood of sadness for our loss.  The second category of assessment is for possibility. Opposing the possibility for change leads to resignation. This is a toxic organisational mood. We are predisposed to look to whom to blame and or find reasons why things cannot happen. You cannot flourish in resignation you can only flounder. The acceptance of what is possible elicits the mood of ambition.  Bernard shares the example of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca looking for a vaccine in Covid. They had to live a mood of acceptance first that the protocols they usually insisted were not available and then live a mood of ambition that a breakthrough could be found.  The third category of assessment is uncertainty, in otherwards I cannot control or predict, When I do not accept the normality of uncertainty I experience the mood of anxiety. In anxiety we are minded to believe we will come to harm and we will not be able to manager or control this inevitability. The mood of anxiety is bubbling away when it comes to accepting a new cadence for work for example and it requires of us to accept the uncertainty and access the wonder of what could be.  When we give permission to these moods to control us they make us unresourceful. Resentment, Resignation and Anxiety are called “selfish moods” We are preoccupied with seeking revenge, victimhood and or protection.  The Moods of `acceptance, ambition and wonder are called relational moods.  To flourish a team needs to access the gateways of acceptance, ambition and curiosity.  I shared an example of a conversation I had the evening before this podcast where I became very frustrated with a hotel chain who with every person I spoke gave confusing and different information. I did not achieve a satisfactory outcome Bernard offered me the perspective that the mood of frustration was serving me. It was signposting me to the lack of clarity regarding the hotels policy with respect to Vouchers. He suggested the action necessary was an explicit request.  Brene Brown discovered through her research that the male species or at least 80% of men could only name 3 moods-Happy, Sad, Angry. We are collectively mood illiterate.  Working with Teams Bernard will share the first perspective & distinction that as humans we live in 3 domains, Language, Moods & Emotions and the Body.  The second perspective Bernard will share with a team is that teams rise and fall by the quality of their relationships. There are 8 elements of effective working relationships, Respect, Trust, Concerns, Moods, Appreciation, Co-ordination, Conversation and Alignment. Mood is an important constituent part.  From here a team can move into simple observation and identification answering the question “what mood am I in?” Followed by the question for what sake am I in this mood? What is this mood signposting and what is it taking care of? It is important to legitimise the potency of moods and become versed in the variety available to us.  Bernard shares a story with us about a team with whom he has been working for some time where the team was stuck around an issue. The team were invited to look at the issue from the lens of mood. They identified irritation, frustration and anger when this issue was surfaced. Appreciating that the team is responsible for the success of their collective efforts Bernard invited the team through a series of enquiry to be curious about the mood they needed to live to explore this issue productively.  Bernard suggests we stay vigilant in mood, to identify what these moods are signposting. Too often teams want to exorcise moods from the conversation.  Unfortunately for us as humans we cannot not live in mood. What is possible is to design the mood we can commit to live.  When Bernard hears someone declare “I am angry” he asks who is the “I” We are not our moods we only have them. When we can recognise that “I am in a mood of anger” we create the space between ourselves and our mood, to create a subject object distinction.  When we say “I am angry” we are allowing the mood to control us. What we can do instead when we say “I am in a mood of anger” we can manage the energy of that mood and the information it is sharing. Often we over identify with our moods and become fearful of them, leaving no room to manage them.  Bernard shares a story of a client and the many moods that same client moved through in the course of the conversation and how Bernard became acutely aware of his own mood and how he was being “infected” until he wasn’t and allowed himself to accept the choices his client was making in the moment.  Moods are contagious and Bernard had to be mindful not to take on his clients mood but instead “be with him” while he moved from anger to acceptance and through to possibility.  Important to remember when faced with a team communicating multiple moods to not rush to move them. Bernard invites teams to wonder about what is happening for them in body. Moods manifest in body. You can see a mood. You cannot fake a mood. As a coach you can offer a perspective and share what you see. Bernard shares his approach with a team and how he enters the conversation of mood.  We have to trust and accept that human beings live in moods. What is unknown to us and often confusing to us is the understanding of moods. Bernard facilitates the six moods of life with a team in an embodied practice.  Some tips or nuggets to learn how to manoeuvre our moods.  Notice & Name It- Monitor your mood and ask what mood am I in? Do not judge yourself  Allow & Acknowledge it  Investigate & enquire. For what sake am I in this mood? What is this mood taking care of? Choose and Cultivate- So what mood could better serve me? Declare and Develop that chosen mood. So what new possibility could this mood open me up to? Keep a mood diary. Ask what was the assessment you were making? Then notice what that mood predisposed you to do or not to do.  Use the acronym W.A.I.T – why am I talking? We talk for only two reasons to understand and to be understood.  Remember we are not our moods we have them. I am in a mood of anger or I am in a mood of happiness gives us space and the opportunity for choice.  Recognising that we are not our moods opens the possibility for forgiveness.    Resources shared Team Better Together by Bernard Desmidt A Guide to Manage Your Moods Inside Out Leadership: How to Master the 4 Principles ofI Effective Leadership and become the Leader others chose to follow
66:30 12/15/22
Confessions from the Field of Team Leadership with Marva Sadler
Introduction   Marva Sadler is the COO of Coaching.Com and has a reputation for her extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching.  She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 25 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations Marva has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, and as a Board Member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah.  Ms. Sadler is a certified Theory of Constraints Jonah. Podcast Episode Summary   This episode shares wisdom about Leading a team and the kinds of principles that help teams be great together. Applying Civil Discourse, being human and kinder with each other in our interconnected world are themes that feature across his conversation.    Points made across the podcast episode    Important to remember that Marva, in addition to the career highlights shared, is also the mother of five adult children  Biggest lesson Marva learnt from her own family is that a Leader is not without honour except in her own family.  Marva recognised that her children saw her as a parent or “just my Mum” and that kept her grounded, maybe humble but with a sense of perspective.   In a previous role, as owner for a small historic woollen blankets manufacturer, reproduction Civil War & Revolutionary War Blankets, Marva was invited to lobby Senators and Congressman. The lobbyist she was with was surprised that Marva could “hold her own” Marva makes the point that they are human too.  Her attitude in communication even in the face of authority is to treat people with respect.  Marva was doing very well in her previous role in a Tech Strategy Consulting firm and one of the main reasons she moved to WBECS to become CEO for a coaching company was because she believed there was a serious deterioration in civil discourse.  She asked the question, “who are the people most likely to change the way we speak to each other”? not politicians because they are part of the problem and not the religious because they have lost influence. Her answer was businesspeople and all of the people they touch.  The people most likely to influence businesspeople are coaches. The vast majority of coaches believe in and practice civil discourse.  The reason Marva got back into coaching was the desire that more/all people speak to each other more kindly.  WBECS firmly believe in the value of Team Coaching. It is a significant trend in the industry and the next step in the evolution for coaches.  Coaches are needed to help Leaders; businesspeople think about how to do things together. We can multiply our impact when we work with teams.  Teams are the building blocks for how organisations get their work done.  There are many approaches to team coaching not all of them coming out of coaching perse, for example agile principles housed in agile development and agile management of teams.  The project management institute or PMI are doing a lot of work around how to make teams more effective.  Important to remember that team coaching is not coaching more people at the same time. It is not about coaching individuals on a team but the team itself, the interactions between team members and the spaces between.  There are skills to be developed in working with interactions on the team and the spaces between that require skill development.  Marva has always been convinced in the efficacy and productivity of teams. She has always worked to help individuals on her teams to work collaboratively, use the collective wisdom on teams to be more creative The process of collaboration on teams gives you answers that were not even visible to individuals on teams.  There are techniques and methods that team coaches teach teams that help teams illuminate how they are showing up as collective.  Marva shares a story from her own history and family system that demonstrates the power of team. She regales a story about her own daughter and how in one year, participating on a soccer team, the team went from success to demise based on the different approaches of two different coaches, one believing in individualism and stardom and the other believing in the wisdom of collective endeavour. The individualist approach meant the girls were pitted against each other and the result was failure.  The question is then what does the team and or team of teams accomplish together by being willing to put their egos aside.  The most important techniques include the systematic view of the ecosystem in which the team resides.  Objectives come from discerning a balanced set of objectives in appreciation of stakeholder needs.  Marva has witnessed a shift in strategic focus from maximising shareholder value, or managing future cash flow, to maximising stakeholder value in a balanced manner.  The former approach was in humane. It did not value the environment or employees for example. Marva goes on to question the value of this former approach and she makes the case for Team Coaches, whom she believes take a broader more balanced and systemic approach to team and team of team value creation in terms of the balanced outcomes they help teams create.  Marva has empathy and sympathy for Leaders who preference 1:1 management of their team members. It is not however the most effective approach a Leader can take such as encouraging interaction among team members, encouraging collaboration and innovation across team divides is critical to team leadership. Getting people not just to row in the same direction but in creating new directions in which they can row together.  Marva is a big believer in rewarding the outcome and the people who contributed to the success of the outcome, she is also a big proponent of letting the group recognise individuals if that is important.  The Team Leaders job is to recognise the group or team and the productive behaviours they display.  Culture is critical to create the conditions where conversations can be had “in the team room” with such psychological safety that team members can disagree, including disagreeing with the team leader. To do this we need to transcend our individual egos.  We can sometimes believe in our own publicity and Marva refers to Marshall Goldsmiths book “What got you there won’t get you here” using behaviours that when overused become weaknesses. Most leaders suffer from ego fragility. Do team leaders really mean it when it comes to disagreeing with them?  One of the best things we can do as Team Leaders is to model the behaviours that support radical candour. How do we admit our mistakes, apologise in front of team members when we have lost our equanimity. etc. It is a hard principle to model vulnerability when often admitting you are wrong can be seen as career limiting.  The construct that you have to be “on” that you are performing, managing everybody’s expectations, is exhausting.  If we can give people permission to put down that holographic image, they are projecting to just being real would be so liberating. This directs energy to the right things instead of reputation management, image management or ego management.  Social media is a place where we curate our images. Marva helps her teams focus on the business outcomes they need to achieve together. It is also important to spend time and energy on working out what are we trying to achieve as human beings with each other.  Marva spends time working on the team by asking questions like “how did we do in this meeting?”  The ROI of establishing relations with team members and between team members, understanding each other, cultivating commonalities and strengths within teams is almost infinite because it gives people the opportunity to navigate the concerns they are dealing with.  WBECS was already remote and had learnt a lot of techniques about operating teams remotely. It believed in the principle of providing support and care for individuals and so it was able to double down on the kinds of supports needed during the pandemic. Marva shares a story of where this principle came to life with a colleague suffering Covid-19 with her daughter at home.  The pandemic taught us many great new norms, caring for each other, considering ourselves as whole persons not just professional suits etc. Some of the threads of these new norms have been loosened. Some people continue to compartmentalise their lives.  Marva believes that some coaches are prone to a form of compartmentalising too. We are taught Civil Discourse in our profession as coaches but sometimes we forget those same principles in other domains of our lives.  Marva shares a story “on herself” to honour the title of this podcast called confessions from the field of Team Leadership, where she was not happy with the way she behaved and how she caught herself and ultimately responded.  Marva shares the labyrinth involved in communication between complaint and solution, pausing & reflecting on experience and evidence, choosing how to respond, managing the space between stimulus and response.  Victor Frankl.  The marriage of WBECS and Coaching.Com means greater access by coaches to technology and the use of a coaching management system and greater access to coaches by enterprises. In the middle hopes to offer a marketplace not just for coaching learning programs but products and services that coaches and companies can use. Principles U is an example of such a product being developed by is building a responsive and dynamic eco-system, with a desire to raise the global standard of coaching by exposing more people to the value of coaching by lifting the quality of coaching and by bringing all things coaching into one space. is coaching methodology agnostic. It is an open platform where all kind of coaching, coach training and affiliations are welcomed.    Resources shared:  Website: 
63:35 11/30/22
Lead From You? with Aidan James Higgins
Introduction   Aidan James Higgins is the CEO of ADEO Consulting. He is a Leadership Consultant, Emotional intelligence & Teamwork specialist and is passionate about getting people to be at their best. He is the author of the book Lead From You, which launched at the end of 2021 and is now in 7 countries.    Podcast Episode Summary   This episode speaks to three concepts, awareness, authenticity & emotional intelligence. Aidan employs the psychometric The Enneagram to support leaders understand themselves and others better and to Lead from You.  Points made across the podcast episode    Fish Slap story explored and why it resonated with Aidan. He was woken up at a Management Training Program where he realised, he was living from one world view. The training had shocked Aidan that the world he had been inhabiting was only one point of view.   Most of us are asleep. We are working on our programming without interrogating it to improve our self- awareness.  Aidan wrote the book Lead From You because of the appreciation clients & friends held for the work and their interest in learning more.  Feedback from the book suggests readers are appreciating the importance of self-awareness and how it is contributing to clarity of decision making, trust building, empathy & compassion  Aidan points out that we must have self-compassion to appreciate we have grown up to be & do in a particular way and until we come to be aware we think it is the only way.  Aidan has attempted to author a book that helps a person be a more complete person, to be happier and to lead.  Aware, emotionally intelligent & authentic Leadership is what is needed in the 21st century  People & Leaders need to wake up and pull back what is referred to as the veil of illusion.  To become self-aware, to be authentic and emotionally intelligent requires of a leader or team member to wake up. Once people wake up, they generally become curious to learn more.  Resistance is often present in this work, too many of us are trained to avoid emotion, being soft and being empathetic or compassionate.  People do not realise they are unaware. Aidan shares a story from Anthony de Mello to help explain what he means by being self-aware.  Tich Na Han says “people will not change until they are sick of suffering” We are subject to a programming that was brought into us early on in our lives. We make all kinds of assumptions about the way we are to lead or act. Example: Must remain in control.  Benefits of becoming self-aware & other awareness means clearer decisions, clearer emotional awareness and therefore information, access to creativity and innovation.  We evolve a view of the world until we see it from where it has come and how useful it is to remain. For example, the child who learns to please people to get attention or a person who is ignored if they do not win can be programs that thwart successful leadership in the future.  Becoming self-aware is not a thing you do it is about understanding. Knowing what water is doesn’t make you wet.  Aidan helps clients become aware by first creating a safe space to be together and then by sharing how people are likely to have come up through the world. He shares his framework and gives people space to reflect on their beliefs, habits and patterns, ways that have informed up until now.  Aidan shares another example where he asks a client how is feeling when he is not working. The client responded “trapped” and felt the rise of anxiety when he wasn’t doing anything. This client then became aware that underneath is drive to get things done, there was an anxiety driving this way of being.  Understanding changes behaviour not a set of things to do.  Sometimes you ask someone how they feel, and they do not have the words or language to tell you. It can often be about giving clients words.   According to a Harvard Business Review, improved self-awareness on teams doubles decision making capability & doubles the ability of a team to deal with conflict.  The Enneagram is a system that has been around for years. Authored by the Greeks who divined that there were 9 ways to look at the world. These world views begin around the time of a child where object constancy is understood. It is similar but deeper than MYERS BRIGGS type indicator.  The Enneagram employed on teams helps team members understand each other better. Understanding in turn leads to emotional intelligence.  Working with a team, Aidan will start by building the self-awareness of the members of the team, often by using the Enneagram tool. Then he moves to create awareness of the other members of the team, which often brings a team to compassion and fuller sharing.  Team Emotional Intelligence explores nine norms. 3 Team Fundamental Norms: Roles and Responsibilities, Meetings and Goals & Objectives. 3 Individual Norms: Understanding Team Members, Demonstrating Care, Addressing undesirable behaviours, 4 Team Norms, Review the team, Support Expression, Build Productivity Proactively and Build Optimism, 2 External Norms; Build external relationships & Understand Team Context. These nine norms lead to three outcomes: Psychological Safety, Team Identity and Constructive Dialogue.  Aidan is amazed at how often the team fundamentals have not been worked. In an example Aidan shares how a Team Leader confused sending a team memo about the purpose of the team and their roles meant that they had been communicated with and would therefore understand.  Other examples of where teams get stuck include conflict avoidance believing “we are too nice” can mean bringing new ideas is risky.  Addressing team norms early on can mean a team becomes more effective early on and can in many instances take on bigger projects. Team resistance comes from being too quick with the change and not allowing buy-in over time, not explaining the “why” for change & not taking care to identity willing enthusiasts who could tip the team into working with the change.  With some teams all you can expect to get to is professional respect. Personal conflicts can mean enmity for years.  Resistance can also present from a formed organisational culture.  Teams need to remember that changing the composition of a team means that previous shared understanding is temporality lost, requires a period of mourning and then a willingness to induct new members. Teams must move back to Norm and storm where they had originally moved through all the four phases of team development: forming, norming, storming and performing.  Aidan explains that understanding is a holistic phenomenon.  Team Emotional Intelligence requires that a team deals with emotions, and we deal with them as they arise. Some people are terrified of emotions, or some of the 9 types are terrified especially in a high-pressured business that needs to get things done. There is fear that emotional expression will slow the team down. Instead, the team needs to generate appropriate boundaries, self-regulate and self-correct. The evolutionary mind suggests that teams are tribal, require a purpose and a Leader is appointed by way of certain needed tasks.  Notwithstanding that Aidan has already littered this conversation with anecdotes and stories he was asked to share a story of a team that illuminates his work. He chose a large team that was asked to go through extraordinary change, to cut costs while simultaneously improving productivity. This team was not provided all the information available, and they were not allowed to communicate the required change to those on the ground. Luckily the team were already self-aware, were IQ, EQ savvy and had each taken the Enneagram survey. Aidan had been working with the same team for two years. The situation demanded an understanding on the self of ambiguity, the impact of mindsets they needed to influence and the impact of culture.  That project was about teaching the team to focus on Purpose, decision making, trust and resilience but also about their own personal issues with control & trying & failing that needed to be managed.   Organisations today need to think in terms of Teams of Teams to be able to deal with the pressures & demands of today’s business. Complexity and expertise at the edges makes the case for this way of thinking. Teams need to be agile and have a peer structure where everybody contributes and where the Leader is a servant or at a minimum a supporter of the team.  Positive conflict is encouraged along diversity of opinion & an appetite emotional discourse within boundaries.  Finally, teams need time to reflect & improve.    Resources shared:    Books: Aidan James Higgins: Lead from You Website:
60:22 11/15/22
What the heck is Leadership and why should we care? With Gary DePaul
Introduction   Gary A. DePaul is an accomplished speaker, with over 100 talks, workshops, and seminars. He is an author, and his books include Nine practices of 21st Leadership, What the heck is Leadership and why should I care & several books on HR and Talent Development. Gary is a performance consultant using analysis, instructional design, knowledge management and performance support interventions. He is also a researcher on subjects such as Leadership, DEIB and allyship, HRBP development and performance improvement. Gary is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina, and he is also a podcast host. His show is called The Unlabelled Leadership Podcast    Podcast Episode Summary   Leadership is misunderstood. Gary is passionate that in the 21st century we get clear on the distinctions between Management and Leadership, and we immerse ourselves in the practices that can yield qualitatively different experiences of Leadership. In this podcast Gary’s latest book, What the heck is Leadership and why should I care is explored and one vignette an audio clip Gary shares illuminates the difference between management and leadership in nano seconds.  Points made across the podcast episode    Leadership started for Gary after being laid off from a company called Lowes and after a meeting with a gentleman by the name of Jim Hill who is a performance consultant. He encouraged Gary to “Think Big”  You never know the impact of your comments to another but in this instance, Gary took to heart the encouragement to think big and he decided to write a book. When you have enough people practising Leadership in an organisation it gives you a clear competitive advantage.  The challenge for 21st Leaders is the often-held belief of traditional leadership thinking. Our thinking about leadership has not evolved  Leadership is not the domain of the person at the top, wisdom or the second version of leadership says anyone can practice leadership  There is a famous definition by Mary Parker Follett, that says management is the art of getting stuff done through people. It is often considered a definition of Leadership Management is a role Leadership is not.  Leadership is not a role, but it is something you apply to a role.  Gary provides a technical definition for Leadership which is to help people mature, mentally and morally  David Marquett says Leadership is not about you but other people it’s about creating a work environment in which people can be at their best and Ron Karr from the Velocity Project says Leadership is about making people succeed beyond their wildest dreams. So Leadership is really about helping others build character that is revolutionary from Traditional views of Leadership  Gary shares an audio clip that illuminates the difference between doing managerial tasks and practicing leadership. Michael Junior is the compare.  The first clip sees a person asked to perform a task and he willingly obliges. The second practices leadership through a managerial task by encouraging the person to sing from his history, context where meaning is infused in the piece. The result is transformational  Gary shares an example of firing someone, where in one instance the manager can slave a script and execute the task perfectly or he can choose leadership and simultaneously give the person a “why” for the termination, help that person learn from the experience and grow.  The important thing to take from Gary’s 7 principles of Leadership is that it is not about you. They appear so simple, like for example the first principle “believe in others”, yet putting that principle into practice is beguiling challenging.  An executive for example believe that a person on joining an organisation must prove themselves before he believes in them. This is counter intuitive and can have the opposite affect that a person doesn’t perform.  It is so easy on a team to have in-groups and out-groups when you have people that might be a little different from you and you inadvertently exclude their opinions etc.  In a workforce reduction project, an executive warns against unwittingly firing minority groups and it turns out that is what happened. Further investigation proved that managers were reluctant to give Black people feedback and so their performance suffered, and they then suffered termination. Another example in Gary’s books showcases making assessments of people without due diligence to see if anything else might have been contributing to the workers seemingly being “lazy” So believing in others might sound simple but it is often much more nuanced. You have to dig deeper to understand what is driving people to behave as they do and your job as a manager is to remove those barriers.  Learning & Leadership go hand in hand. To practice the 7 principles outlined in Gary’s book, What the Heck is Leadership and Why should I Care, involves practice.  The Seven Principles include: Believe in others, Connect, Put Others First & Sacrifice Ego, give up Control, Encourage Change, Collaborate, Practice.  Gary studied 16 books academic books written on Leadership in the 21st century and from his analysis he derived the 7 principles from the patterns he saw repeat. He then wrote a book called the 9 practices of Leadership which showcases how to do Leadership.  Gary illuminates one of the 9 practices called Facing the Lion which incorporates listening and feedback. He shares that we comprehend so much faster than for example what we can read out loud and so when it comes to listening to another person the brain is nearly always focusing on how to respond rather than carefully listening and enquiring into what is being said for meaning.  Giving up or ceding control and sacrificing ego is a tough challenge for Leaders especially those new to Leadership.  Often employees feel they must ask for permission from line managers or leaders and the way to cede control is to ask for example “well how would you do it” very quickly initiative and learning can flourish.  Psychological safety, play and purpose are the wholly trinity on teams. If you as a member on a team believe that the Leader is not allowing for psychological safety to be the outcome necessary for great work, then you can initiate psychological safety by admitting “I wish I could do this better” or “I made a mistake” it is uncanny how quickly people row in behind you.  It be being vulnerable and allowing vulnerability it encourages others to do the same.  In response to phenomenon observed on teams Gary explains the “Fundamental attribution error” You need to study this idea, learn from examples, and not assume you know it.  We get in our own way. We assume as Leaders that we are the authority on so much and we fail to recognise the brilliance of others.  When you can recognise that you need the contribution of others, like those closest to the customer and you can contribute by way of your managerial experience then you can accomplish great things together  Gary explains group thinking and the importance of contribution and different contribution by team members.  Gary quotes Jack Zinger who says that “we take too long to train our leaders” and Gary adds to that by saying when we come into management, we do not express enough interest in Leadership we are all about the doing. Instead of taking more than 10 years to assume a Leadership mindset combine Leadership training with management training in combination.  A good practice for people coming into roles is to assign them a mentor and a better practice is to do that from outside of their discipline  Important to exercise our emotional and social intelligence in addition the exercise we already devote to our intellectual intelligence.  Gary would love to see a de-emphasise on technical functional skills, more emphasis on trying to avoid outgroups, championing ideas and enquiry. He wishes organisations were more attentive to biases, to championing leadership not just with executives but with many more across an organisation.  Gary would like to see organisations model values that are around Leadership to allow for innovation, creativity, and improved performance.  At the end of our conversation, I ask Gary for a Leadership hack and he offers his 4-step process to Leadership -material from Marshall Goldsmith    Foundation: You must read about leadership & acquire knowledge about leadership  Feedback: How am I doing? - what are two ideas to help me be a better listener for you?  Let people know about your blind spots  Follow up. Am I doing what I said I would? Resources shared:    Books written by Gary A. De Paul-  What the Heck is Leadership and Why Should I Care The Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership
61:37 11/1/22
Team Better Together with Bernard Desmidt
Introduction: Bernard Desmidt is an accomplished Coach, Facilitator, Speaker and Author. His first book is called; Inside Out Leadership: How to master the 4 Principles of Effective Leadership and become the Leader that others will follow. His second book is called: Team Better Together and is the subject of the Podcast. Bernard was born in South Africa and he lived there until he was 38 and then he emigrated to Australia where he now lives with his wife and children.   Podcast Episode Summary To flourish as a team is a choice. It takes discipline and in this episode Bernard Desmidt helps us appreciate the 5 disciplines teams can apply to get at impactful results & meaningful relationships. In addition Bernard litters this episode with nuggets of wisdom and incites to help understand the work of teaming better together.   Points made over the episode Bernard starts this podcast by sharing a story of his background that he has only recently shared publicly. 3 African expressions inform his way of being and working today Sibona -a Zulu word for hello, which means “I see you and by seeing you, I bring you into being. By seeing each other is this way we hold each other with respect, dignity and legitimacy Ubuntu- Means to affirm an others humanity, by recognising their uniqueness and their differences. This expression acknowledges our interconnectedness Hambi Gashi – means “Go well, gently in peace and carefully. Bernard spent 20 years in corporate life with companies like ICI and Goodyear in South Africa where he recognised the considerable waste of time on teams and the inherent dysfunction that often resides with teams After an outburst on an executive team, where Bernard was a member, the team engaged in Team Coaching. That was where Bernard met Peter Stephenson, a pioneer in team coaching in Australia at the time. Bernard recognised that he had found the work he was meant to do in the world and joined Peter’s company. The motivation to write Teams Better Together was born out of Bernard’s experience working with teams. The Paradox -The 80-60-20 heuristic shares that 80% of Leaders spend 60% or their organisational life on teams and only 20% of those teams flourish. High performing teams are elusive because Teams rise and fall by the quality of their relationships and until this is understood it is unlikely teams will co-ordinate wall and relate well together to get impactful results. It is important to invite teams to share their lived experience on teams to assess the quality of lived relationships – do team members hold each other with the same respect as they wish for themselves? Are they open to learning together? Is there sufficient trust and safety to speak concerns openly and honestly? These are some of the questions that can be asked to determine the quality of relations on teams Bernard administers an assessment against 5 disciplines. Two indicators in the fifth discipline score the lowest Team Behaviour & shared ways of working have been identified & consistently upheld Team members are open to receiving & giving feedback to each other on performance and behaviours The practice of observing a team in action whilst sitting in the corner of a room can often be the best form of due diligence of the effectiveness of a team. To flourish as a team is a choice. A High Performing Team is like an elite athlete, they employ rigorous discipline Teams are living systems that need to evolve, learn and adapt. Teams need to be able and willing to open themselves up to new ways of thinking, being and doing Teams need to acknowledge their interdepended nature, to know that relationships matter and have to be cultivated and will impact the impact of their results. 4 Team Types are distinguishable with discernment. Two dysfunctional teams reveal themselves as combative or competitive Two functional teams can be identified as Cohesive and Collaborative or Flourishing. There exists a subtle distinctions worth prising apart for our understanding. Cohesive Teams converge thinking similarly, they enjoy harmony often cordial hypocrisy, they often avoid speaking the truth or sharing their real concerns. Cohesive teams have a dysfunctional relationship with Conflict, Challenge and Critic. A Collaborative Team seeks divergence in thinking They are more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. Collaborative teams dance with conflict. Collaborative teams have a positive relationship with Conflict, Challenge and Criticism. Care underpins their search for the best results and best thinking. The work starts with an inordinate and unashamedly strong focus on the analysis phase. Bernard is keen to establish real commitment for the work of Teaming better together. He will do this in a few ways, by conducting in depth 1:1 conversations with each member of the team and by administering his own questionnaire against the 5 disciplines. The result is a discussion with the team that informs the work. Team Building is about forming. Where a team gets to know each other. Team Development is about informing where a team learns about decision making, processes for team co-ordination etc.. Team Coaching is about transformation where a team shift their mindset, ways of being and doing, the assessments they make & how they show up for each other. Team Coaching, or a typical program of work is about 7-8 months long. The work involves the assessment phase, contracting, 5 day long workshops, peer coaching and individual coaching of the CEO and others on the team The Five Disciplines can be described as follows; Discipline One- The Mandate. Often the mandate is assumed. Here the team discovers how their stakeholders appreciate the team, what they need more from the team and what they find difficult. Discipline Two- A Teams Purpose. Teams exist for a reason, they serve a cause and have a clear, compelling and challenging “WHY” Discipline Three – The team design This is where the team designs its culture, the ways of working, the health of team relations and the bulk of time is spent in this discipline. The work of Gloria Kelly is introduced here. Gloria Kelly is an eminent sociologist and determined 8 elements to support effective relations. Bernard has employed her work and tweaked her model to include 5 elements to support ways of being and 3 elements to support ways of doing together. Trust, Respect, Concerns, Moods & Appreciation comprise the 5 being elements and Co-ordination, Conversations & Alignment comprise the 3 doing elements. Discipline Four- This is the discipline to deliver. What are the collective performance goals that can only be delivered by the team working interpedently? In this discipline the work of Michael Bungay Steiner is employed where a team discerns between Bad Work, Good Work and Great Work Discipline Five- Team Learning & Development. This discipline involves the team giving each other feedback on performance and behaviours, reflecting on work together and developing skills and knowledge to support the teams results. This discipline has the highest predictive validity that the team will flourish. An exercise for Appreciation: Here the team sits in a round and for two minutes each team member is afforded a piece of appreciation from the other team members The Sequence of Learning for a team follows the 5 disciplines over time. Discipline 5 and 3 are being weaved from the beginning. The gift of 1’s and 5’s is offered at the start of the assignment where Bernard encourages team members to be firm giving 1’s for development and 5’s for excellence where 3 is considered cowardly. Bernard concludes the Podcast conversation by sharing a story of a client in retail who by following the rhythm of the 5 disciplines managed to move from floundering to flourishing through Covid. The Podcast ends on a hopeful note & Bernard wishes that teams who chose to flourish can enjoy the results of wonderful relationships and impactful results.   Resources shared Team Better Together by Bernard Desmidt Inside Out Leadership: How to Master the 4 Principles of Effective Leadership and become the Leader others chose to follow Do more Great work by Michael Bungay Stanier  
72:45 10/15/22
7 Essential Emotions for Leading positive change with Reiner Lomb
Introduction: Reiner Lomb is the founder of BoomerangCoach, an executive coaching firm specialising in leadership and career development, innovation & transformational change. Before becoming a coach, Reiner had a 30+ year career in technology, started and developed software businesses and led leadership development. Reiner is the author of the book ASPIRE: Seven Essential Emotions for Leading Positive Change. No Matter Where You Are.  Podcast Episode Summary: Much has been written about Leadership Effectives and the behaviours needed to succeed. What is often missing is the discourse on emotions and how they drive leadership behaviours. Reiner shares through his experience & stories the enormous potential for positive change which he believes is achieved by understanding 7 essential emotions and how they marry with 7 essential leadership behaviours.    Points raised across the podcast conversation:  Reiner is the product of a multi-cultural household and identifies as a next generation post war person.  He grew up in the Western part of a divided Germany through the cold war and felt the heartache over his country’s role in the Holocaust and World War II.  He believes the large challenges we face in the world, climate change, social, economic, political can and need to be figured out collaboratively  Reiner has been living in the USA for over 30 years and believes his adopted country is divided by emotions such as hatred, fear, resentment with mass shootings and a big political divide.  Passion & Purpose motivated Reiner to move into the realm of Leadership Development. He always loved learning for himself and gets great satisfaction seeing others grow.  His mission today is to mobilise leaders to help create a sustainable future for all.  Aspire is one of the Leadership Development models that Reiner employs with his clients  The name of his company Boomerang was a metaphor that captured his wish for people to return to their true passion and purpose  He formulated a neat framework, a pyramid of 7 essential Leadership behaviours that people will readily recognise, behaviours that are driven by 7 essential emotions.  Understanding these 7 emotions in a granular way can help further a Leaders effectiveness.  Emotions are a key domain of learning that are the least understood and developed.  We as humans are always in a mix of emotions and by becoming familiar with our internal states we can self-regulate for the kinds of conversations and actions we want to have in the world.  Emotions then are gateways to effective conversations and equally barriers to the same conversations if held in an emotional field that does not serve.  Empathy, Compassion, and Interest are the foundational emotions that drive Care, Serving and Understanding From this foundational platform a Leader can vision, understanding the needs of his stakeholders and people. To vision a leader needs to be optimistic about the future and the kind of future he wishes to create.  Emotions like resentment, resignation keep us mentally and energetically stuck in the past and do not serve when we are trying to Lead.  Inspiration on the other hand mobilizes people to co-ordinate action and achieve realisable visions.  To co-create a future in the world we live requires collaboration and that is fuelled by the emotion of trust.  Projects and plans to proceed no matter how well co-ordinated meet with obstacles and adversity and to survive both requires resilience. Resilience is supported by the emotion of positivity.  Negativity is counterproductive to resilience. The more negative the leader, the environment, and the culture the less resilience is available to the organisation  Positivity is a palette of emotions including optimism, interest, inspiration, joy, awe, gratitude, and hopefulness.  Leaders are well versed in the Leadership competencies required to lead what is missing is the discourse on emotions.  Reiner shares a powerful story from his client relations where he helped a client recognise through his storytelling that he was living in a mood of resignation. Reiner was able to share the impact of living in resignation. He also shared that there is not a straight line between resignation and optimism, the gateway is acceptance.  To become versed in emotional literacy takes time, patience, and practice. Reiner suggests choosing one of the 7 emotions to start, maybe one that could have the biggest impact to a person’s leadership. As a coach it is important to put language to what a person is experiencing. Similarly, a coach needs to employ interest, empathy, and silence to allow what needs to be spoken.  Part of the learning of emotions involves understanding the distinctions between each. The more granular the understanding and appreciation for the difference between each emotion the greater the possibility for appropriate action. Understanding is often thwarted around a team table by the need to have the right answer and quickest response born out of our educative system.  In organisational life we often do not get rewarded for asking the right questions or for spending the time to have a real and generative conversation between peers on teams.  We need to move from the predominant focus of “me” or self-interest to “we”  We must cultivate a mindset of “we” on teams  To do so we need to appreciate that everyone is responsible for the success of the team, its climate and what is possible  The team leader can do much to encourage dialogue, to mine the aspirations of each member of the team and to make sure they align with the team’s vision  Trust is very complex emotion. We must understand what we mean by trust. What dimension of trust, sincerity, care, reliability, competence is being affected on the team and with & between whom?  A Leader plays a large role in facilitating trust between team members especially in circumstances where teams are short lived, are remote or in a hybrid configuration.  I tried to share an example of a client who in a team meeting expressed guilt and was met with another colleague who expressed anxiety to get on with the work at hand. I clumsily said “Grief” to Reiner instead of Guilt. My apologies  The learning that Reiner shared, however, to decode the emotion of grief in this instance remains.  A formula if you will, is to attend to the emotion, allow it to be heard with the attendant thoughts etc. This can sometimes be enough. Choose the desired emotion to move towards. This may or may not be possible. Sometimes a better strategy might be to simply to attend to emotion expressed and to help the client process that same emotion.  What is not acceptable is to skip the emotional discourse.  Grief for example is an emotion that spells loss, sadness for a person or situation lost. For Reiner it calls for resilience to be able to balance the need to continue living, serving, be in relation with others and managing the emotion of grief. In Reiner’s case he sourced positive emotions  Do not confuse sourcing or resourcing positive emotions like joy, interest, hope etc for toxic positivity where you supress negative emotions  If negative emotions surface, allow them, try to hear the story that accompanies the emotion and try and identify the source and corresponding need.  Reiner shares a story from his work that explores his use of his model Aspire and how he supports leaders become familiar and fluent with the 7 emotions used with the 7 essential leadership competencies.  Reiner’s favourite leadership lesson extols the virtue of care. He encourages listeners to really identify their “why” a passion that will fuel purpose.  Pick what you care about and develop your leadership to support that passion.  Thank you
67:43 10/1/22
Own Your Armour with Michelle Brody PhD.
Introduction: Michelle Brody PhD, is an executive coach & clinical psychologist. She brings 25 years of experience in both corporate and family settings to the challenging problem of interactional conflict. Michelle’s speciality as a coach is to guide teams that have complicated dynamics to help them reach greater levels of collaboration, improve communication and resolve tension. Michelle is the author of two books, Stop the Fight and her latest book Own Your Armour; revolutionary change for workplace culture. Michelle is also a master trainer of psychologists, professional coaches and HR professionals and she is a regular public speaker.  Podcast Episode Summary This podcast conversation explores the mindset shifts team members, or indeed anyone, have to make to resolve interpersonal conflict and the consequences of negative team dynamics at work. Michelle Brody reminds us that when you think about conflict you are up against biology, we have to understand the threats we perceive, the armour we put on and the impact that armour has on others. Michelle’s book could be considered a graphic novel, its illustrations help cut through the complexity inherent in human dynamics and helps illuminate what’s at play in interactional conflict.    Points made over the episode The red thread that weaves throughout this podcast is the idea that conflict is cyclical and unless and until we can recognise our contribution that interactional conflict is not neutral and that armour is a suit and not a characterisation of the person conflict is likely to persist.  Michelle started her career after college as an Investment Banker but she realised she was not interested in numbers or financials but in the interactions between people. She was curious why cultures were built on fear. She then pursued Clinical Psychology Michelle pivoted into Coaching because she wanted to have a bigger impact in terms of helping others figure out what was happening in the dynamics at work.  As a psychologist you learn about the different types of defence mechanisms people employ to keep safe. Michelle became curious about how one person’s defence could trigger another’s and how that then gets locked in as a cycle.  Conflict cycles show up everywhere, in communities, in couples, in families at work  Michelle then conceptualised these patterns as armour, armour a person puts on to protect. She recognised that armour is a form of self-protection but it is also aggressive.   The number one important thing to know about conflict is that it is cyclical and the second thing to know about conflict is that the problem is not difficult people but that armour is put on for a particular reason.  There is always a good person and when they suit up you get an evil twin.  When we think about conflict you have to remember we are up against biology. The automatic response system to threat is our nervous system.  We get ensnared by conflict when we label or judge people. We make attribution errors of others. As soon as we attribute to another we then start to react and put on our own armour and we start the cycle.  There is a natural preservation phenomenon at work too we look to keep ourselves innocent.  We forget to enquire to try to understand what is happening and instead we label.  Often we give feedback erroneously by pointing out a person’s behaviour as a property of them. “Your anger is causing problems on this team” The impact of this feedback is not changed behaviour but more anger.  Begin with a description of the person in two ways, how you see them when things are going well  or as a core self and then as the evil twin. Be curious.  It is important to separate the person from their armour.  A threat can sound like a strong word but threats are what our nervous system respond to.  The kinds of threats that show up at work include; a threat to livelihood, a threat to belonging, a threat to fairness, control, authority and reputation or a threat to success Our family of origin and past life experiences has an incredibly important input into the kind of threats that grab us.  Michelle has an image in her book that encapsulates of Psychology in one page. Our family of origin and all its embedded dynamics create in every human a set of longings and sensitivities which then create our motivations and particular sets of threats.  If we can understand our Psychological Map we can have so much more power over our reactivity and understanding of others and their impacts on us.  Armour comes in many different forms & Michelle’s book invites self-analysis. How do I feel threatened? How do I react to that threat? What kind of armour do I put on? What are the unintended consequences or impact of my armour?  It is easier to work with a team if each person does this analysis first The ideal or best possible world is a team where there is 100% trust and everyone can show up as their core selves. Often teams do not show up this way & negative dynamics are instead at play. A Leader will often try to rescue the situation but it takes psychological understanding to really decode what is happening on the team.  Michelle works 1:1 with each team member to see how they are threatened, the armour they put on and the unintended impact of their armour. It is difficult for people to notice their threats when the intuitive mindset is to believe that the problem is outside of them.  We often do not notice our impact we have to be nudged there.  It is important to remember two things: 1. We all wear armour and 2. There is a difference between a person and their armour.  A person who seems sceptical is often simply wearing thicker armour.  It is wise to give each team member a copy of the book before a team offsite. Self-analysis and a commitment by all to do pre-work lessons the heavy lifting needed on the program.   Teams have a lot of work to sort out between roles, goals, norms, stakeholder expectations etc and the final frontier is team dynamics. A frontier that is often missed  There are intractable situations. Certain circumstances defy change. When the threat system around the team is too intense, when a strong willed Leader refuses to acknowledge his own armour are just a few.  HR is often employed to make a decision between an employee relations investigation or coaching. You cannot employ both simultaneously. The threat is too large to allow for the openness of coaching.  Michelle shares a story between two suits of armour to explain what might be going on if a Leader is demanding more initiative by a team and the Leader is frustrated with the team. Michelle seeks to elicit the “thirst’ by way of  team enquiry.  If you find yourself in conflict some great questions to ask include; what am I missing? What do I know about what is happening here? How are you feeling about this situation?  We all want Psychological Safety in our workplaces and one of the best ways to get at it is to be vulnerable and to be part of the solution, by recognising that in some maybe small way you might be contributing to the unsafety    Resources shared    Own Your Armour: revolutionary change for workplace culture by Michelle Brody PhD.  Stop the Fight: an illustrated guide for couples by Michelle Brody PhD.   
58:39 9/15/22
Inner Brutality or its counterpart Kind & Companionability with Anna Pinkerton
Introduction: Anna Pinkerton is a trauma specialist, therapeutic Coach and founder of My Kinda Life Methodology. She is a leading expert in stress awareness, chronic stress and trauma. She is a clinician, with 28 years’ experience working with Leaders, athletes, organisations and people in the public eye. Anna is an author of two books; The first is called My Kinda Life in Leadership: Live & Lead with Kindness for better relationship, be respected, create impact. The second book is called Smile Again: Your recovery from Burnout, breakdown and overwhelming stress.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the pervasiveness of Inner Brutality, a phenomenon or entity that we have lived as a property of us rather than a narrative we have built to survive. Anna shares how we can employ a Methodology to shift our relationship to self and expand our emotional palette for a fuller and more content life.    Points made over the episode The red thread that weaves throughout this podcast is the idea that we can take back the power of the Inner Bully and expand our emotional competence to live through life’s experiences good and bad with greater kindness and companionability to self and others.  Anna experienced Trauma 11 years ago. Initially she succumbed to her inner bully and found it difficult to forgive herself for choosing an ill-suited partner.  She then saw the experience as a privilege to understand how as humans we can be so out of control of our own neurological system.  It took Anna 3/4 years to recover and in that time she fashioned an alternative methodology called “My Kinda Life”  She describes the ways the inner bully works and how it creates a personal cul-de-sac.  The methodology surfaced from Anna’s personal analysis and questioning to wonder what an alternative could be to the ferocious and pernicious inner bullying.  The idea of Kindness to self and companionability to self-emerged. Kindness was the generic term for compassion and caring that Anna chose. She also wanted something more dynamic than compassion can be and chose the word companionability.  Inner Brutality can best be described as the words used by self to stay stuck in a self-imposed prison or cul-de-sac. A person who refuses to allow themselves to move through their emotions and move on.  The conversations in the minds eye include statements like; you are an idiot, useless person, stupid and much more profane language than can be repeated here.  We have assimilated this kind of inner talking as normal and not as a thing and Anna wanted to surface this practice as a thing, a thing we do not have to live with.  The power source of the Inner Bully is the pain of an emotional experience that has been aligned with lack of safety, so it is thwarted.  We are primed now to show inner strength, to be resilient and that brings with it its own pressure. We tend to demonise certain emotions such as anger, grief and jealousy. Simply put we have aligned pain with being bad.  To expand and accept all of these emotions for their purpose to help us feel as humans means that we get to move through life.  Two reasons in particular help Leaders she the veracity of Anna’s work.  1. There is a sense that something is happening internally that is scuppering someone’s success and 2. On paper someone might have achieved considerable success but they feel empty.  Inner Brutality is so pervasive that people can see themselves reflected in the two reasons above.  Why employ this methodology on Teams is a question that gets answered by way of the loss in understanding, communication and energy consumed by team members who have different emotional palettes and ways of narrating. Conflict often ensues.  Inner Brutality is conveyed and projected onto others.  If every member of a team can take responsibility for dialling down their inner bully and increasing their emotional palette things get easier on teams, conflict melts, communication is easier and the energy made available can be used for productive purposes.  Inner Brutality sits on a spectrum between being very loud and domineering to a whisperer.  Imposter Syndrome, Self-Saboteur, Perfectionism are all manifestations of the Inner Bully at work.  Start by seeing the Inner Bully as an entity and build a relationship with it, it arrived for a very purposeful reason and in all likelihood has out grown its usefulness.  Kindness does not have to be seen as paradoxical to Leadership. Kindness means empathy, means communicating in way that other can understand etc.. Selling Kindness is often made simpler by selling unkindness. The Methodology is exquisitely simple but intoxicatingly difficult because it is being levelled against a complex system that is a human.  Anna’s methodology comprises 8 steps:  Step One: Visualising -The Companionable life.  Can you envisage a time when you will not brutalise you? Find out how it hurts you, how it hinders you and how the inner bully affects you. Can you imagine the fluidity of acknowledging if you have done something, feeling the pain of that and moving on to do differently next time.  Step Two: Your Inner Brutality-how it reveals itself and how it controls your reality. Your inner brutality is pushing you from behind saying come on hurry up be better be faster be something you are not. The Companionable way comes along side you and says “Hey, I do not feel fully ok with me now, but I am going to re-learn how to be”  Step Three: Recognise the power source of the Inner Brutality-The decisions made about yourself based upon your experiences. It is rarely someone’s experience alone that causes long term suffering but a value judgement against self. Ask what are the value judgements made against self that are true and false?   Step Four: Being fully human with a full emotional palette.  10 Main emotions: Fear, Love, Happiness, Sadness, Envy, Pride, Disgust, Surprise, Grief & Anger.  Step Five: Determine your own objections to lifelong companionability- look inside of you, look without judgement. What does your head struggle to accept about living in a kind and companionable manner with self? Look for reasons not blame.  Step Six: The Vow-vowing to yourself from this day forward- you will struggle to make lasting change unless you make a decision to do so.  Step Seven: Your companionable alternative to Inner Brutality of Thought. Your brain has it favourite put down. It is habituated and like any habit it takes commitment until companionability is wired in and brutality is wired out.  Step Eight: Installing your Vow and living companionably forever.  30% more energy is available to a person by working through the methodology.  We are born with 10 globally accepted emotions. Our familial system and societal norms washes many out. We are left with a reduced palette.  We are born to feel and move through our experiences in life. Our inner brutality thwarts this natural phenomena. We create objections that the Inner Brutality convinces us are necessary. It convinces us that by suffering and hurting we are taking responsibility but this only keeps us stuck, in a cul-de-sac The Vow is underpinned by the foundational work of Anna’s methodology.  A companionable alternative looks like someone who appreciates that they have a full emotional palette, gives space and time to process emotions, uses companionable words like “what a shame you did that and you do not feel proud of what you have done” allowing the pain of that realisation and moving on.  Anna is a testament that the methodology works. We have to be able to overcome the stigma of looking after self. Remember Kindness and Companionability is contagious just as Inner Brutality is -you chose for a better leadership    Resources shared  My Kinda Life In Leadership- Anna Pinkerton  Smile Again : Your recovery from burnout, breakdown & overwhelming stress-Anna Pinkerton   
53:27 9/1/22
Everyone Needs A Fool In Their Life with Paul Glover
Introduction: Paul Glover is a C-suite Performance Coach with 20 years’ experience as a Federal Court Tral Lawyer. Paul is a passionate story teller who believes in the power of narrative to influence and educate in business, personal life and even in court rooms. He is now a recovering Federal Trial Lawyer having spent 7 years in a United States prison for felony charges. In prison he chose to transform his narcissistic patterns and on release he chose to become a business coach. Paul is a member of Forbes Council and author of the book “WorKQuake” This is a playbook for Leaders, Leaders who want to navigate the future of work beyond traditional command and control models of leadership to a more inclusive, engaging work environment.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode chronicles the professional and personal life of Paul Glover, the mistakes he made and the choices he assumed to transform. He explores his approach, the books he has written and life after prison as well as his contention that everyone needs a fool in their lives.    Points made over the episode Paul is a no bullshit performance coach He starts the podcast by sharing his own story, a different story from the bio that was shared.  Paul was incarcerated in a Federal Prison for 7 years for committing 33 counts of bribery, kickbacks and for tampering with Government witnesses, while he was a practicing attorney in the city of Chicago.  He was sentenced to 7 years but managed to get out in 5 for good behaviour  For the first two years of his sentence Paul spent his time consumed by “revenge fantasies”  For those two years he could not accept responsibility for his crimes  The mere fact of entering Prison was insufficient to activate Pauls desire for personal change. He was a committed narcissist.  The shock of seeing prisoners, white collar prisoners be resentenced was the shock Paul needed to commit to change.  Recidivism or the tendency for a convicted criminal to reoffend is 80% in US prison systems Paul started to self-reflect and quickly appreciated that self-reflection alone was insufficient to help him transform. He needed more. He needed people to tell him the truth about him.  He asked anyone visiting him to be willing to share a difficult truth about him.  By year 3, Paul announced to his wife that he was committed to change Paul admits that the commitment to change is hard-  it has to be necessary The people who respond to the kind of coaching Paul offers are those you have failed and are committed to change.  People fear success as much as they fear failure. Sometimes being successful is a curse as it blocks us & stymies our potential for future growth.  Time in prison afforded Paul the chance to reform. It shocked him to realise how much of an “asshole” he was before prison. He adopted a professional persona, a hard, mean and cruel persona that permeated his personal domain. He believed that rules did not apply to him, there were no boundaries and he would take any short cut he needed to meet his ends.  He transformed from being a committed narcissist to becoming an empathetic listener, more interested in the people around him.  He had a captive audience in the 300 inmates who surrounded him in Prison. They were drawn to Paul because they thought he could help them with their cases and he was able to practice being perpetually curious. He ultimately turned to service and volunteered to be a trainer for a qualification called GED or a General Education Diploma He activated the prisoners interest and attention by developing his own anti-recidivism program & he made sure every class attendee succeeded in getting the GED.  Paul could never practice Law again and he decided to use the skills he had as a practicing lawyer and his newly acquired skills in prison to become a no-bullshit performance coach.  He translated his acumen for critical thinking and storytelling from his days as a lawyer to help leaders become more effective.  He has developed a Leadership Coaching Program that requires considerable commitment from his C-Suite clients.  He employs the concept of the “fool” in his approach in that he is willing to share tough feedback and be tough as an accountability buddy for his clients.  Paul uses the arc of Joseph Campbells Heroes’ Journey to explain his approach.  Leaders need to become good story tellers and they need to be authentic. They also need to be willing to be vulnerable and to admit what they do not know. They then need to commit to find out.  The world knows a lot about engagement and still the figures for engagement languish at a miserly 33% with two thirds of the workforce remaining disillusioned. This phenomena has now become the “Big resignation” post the pandemic. Employees are not identifying with the purpose of businesses Leaders need to share adversary. They have to prepare people for adversary.  Little red riding hood would be a story about a walk in the woods if it wasn’t for the Wolf.  As a trial Lawyer Paul developed a finely honed skill for detecting bullshit. Clients do not tell the truth, as much as coaching clients rarely tell the whole truth.  Paul wrote the book “WorkQuake” ten years ago and it is still as relevant today. He calls it a classic. The messages inherent is his book include the following; Apply Self-Care- Leaders need to get the requisite sleep, exercise and work patterns to lead.  Eliminate Command and Control.  Stop paying for hours and instead pay for outcomes. We are assuming an industrial mindset instead of a knowledge centred mindset Believe in the concept of reciprocity  Apply 3 As’-Attraction-Attention and Appreciation -employees crave attention give it.  Stop being a professional & instead be personal    Paul summarises the need for everyone to have a fool in their lives. People create self-images that are often flawed.  The opportunity to recognise the need for a fool in your life is self-awareness. If you believe you are finished or have all the answers you are a narcissist.  People willing to have your back, people whom you respect and trust can apply for the fool role.  Paul surrounded himself with co-conspirators who did not have his back. They used and manipulated his blind spots. His need to belong overrode his need at the time to be discerning. You need a fool to hold you to account. Self-accountability is hard.   Paul shares a story of his own sentencing where he was offered a reduced sentence if he admitted his crimes. He refused.  It is often difficult for fools to rise up within an organization because of the power differential. Paul makes the case for an external objective person such as a coach to assume the role of the fool.    Resources shared across this podcast  WorkQuake by Paul Glover  The Heroes’ Journey; Joseph Campbell   
54:50 7/15/22
Development Beyond Learning for Young People, Graduates & Interns with Josh MacKenzie
Introduction: Josh MacKenzie, believes in personal growth, equal opportunity and business as a force for good. He is the founder of Development Beyond Learning (DBL)-an award winning organisation using behavioural science to future proof businesses and careers. Josh also spends time to support the growing 100% Human at Work Initiative; a collective of organisations creating a better future of work for humanity. It is now a movement of more than 500 organisations including Unilever, Accenture and EY. Josh is an Australian raising a family in the UK. He considers himself a global citizen, is a proud father of 3 and a mad U2 fan.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode speaks to the important need to equip young people make the transition,  perhaps the biggest transition they make in life, from education to work through the development of human skills.    Points made over the episode U2 The band inspired Josh MacKenzie in terms of having a purpose and giving meaning to what you do.  Josh first became interested in leadership and development at University in Australia where he was part of a student leadership body. It taught him that as individuals we have a lot more to learn than education alone affords When Josh joined the Corporate world he soon realised that there was a whole world dedicated to leadership & development, personal development and talent development – that prompted Josh to set up Development Beyond Learning. He noticed that the transition from education to the working world was probably the most difficult transition a young person can make. It is often underfunded and unsupported.  The Game of Corporate life is different with different rules.  For many young graduates there is a realisation that everyone around them is as smart as they  are and often with wisdom in years.  DBL is founded on 3 core principles.  Personal Growth: The idea we can learn the skills and beliefs we need to have the careers we want Opportunity: talent is everywhere but opportunity is not.  Career: To use your career as a force for good.  The future is human and it is human skills that make a person effective DBL make it possible to collapse the time it takes to realise that these human skills are important  Most young people will not get exposed to the idea that EQ, SQ are as important as IQ A lot of the problems we see in the world today are solvable with technical skills but require human skills as well in terms of critical thinking, self-awareness, negotiation and communication skills  The Good news is that more and more employers are investing in human development such as pre-boarding, on-boarding, 6-12 month development programs  Context is king. There is a difference between teaching a young person on a trading floor of an investment bank how to relate to his/her manager than a person sitting in a technology centre in India for example  Psychology and behavioural science is baked into the development programs  The DBL approach is comprehensive it involves a blend of virtual training and in person training teaching subjects like self-awareness, growth mindset, critical thinking, social intelligence and personal brand.  Young graduates can be sceptical and it is healthy to be sceptical not arrogant.  Evidence based research is vital, especially to connect with participants left brain  You can engage the right brain with high quality experiences, stories, relationships and engaging exercises but it is also important to have high quality content backed up by research Self-awareness can be perceived as a fluffy topic for investment bankers until they are shown the research that says 1,000 top executives cited self-awareness as the number one skill that helped these leaders become successful.  DBL are confident that 5 key behaviours will set graduates, interns and young people apart from others over the first 3-7years of their careers. Skills like self-awareness, building connections, having resilience & grit, growth mindset and mental wellbeing.  Mental Wellness is a topic that is now being addressed in graduate cohorts  Arguably young people have suffered the most by way of the pandemic & least resourced & supported over the many lockdowns Belonging & wellbeing are now important topics  DBL wrote a white paper, available on their website, which researched the topic of wellbeing  Young people joining organisations today have completed their studies virtually, have been hired virtually and are now often still working virtually.  The Pandemic coupled with the earlier work to attract diverse graduate pools has created the perfect storm. More than ever programs need to address belonging and mental wellness.  Organisations are also seeing the wisdom of putting some of the budgeted spend for graduates into management training for managers who have graduates on their teams.  Josh hopes that organisations do not swing back to how things used to be before the pandemic. Virtual does work. Hybrid working does work and can achieve more by providing a level playing field for all learners. Josh would argue that base line training is delivered virtually and augmented by premium in person training when it is warranted.  Investment in the future work force is going to mean more human development not less. In terms of our ever changing world it is important to bring graduates and interns through the organisation with human skills fit for purpose and value creation The 100% human initiative will support young talent emerge through the workforce with the skills to help navigate complex issues, work together really well, have humility help organisations be human.  Resources shared
44:48 7/1/22
Teams in Trouble - A Conversation with Kathryn McEwen
Introduction: Kathryn McEwen is the Global Lead at Working with Resilience. She is CEO and Founder of Resilience at Work (R@W) Toolkit and Team APP. The App is the world’s first team resilience App using tech, scient , real time data and powerful questions to help teams better together in pressure, complexity and uncertainty. Kathryn’s background is an organisational psychologist, coach, leader and mediator. She is also author of three books, Building Team Resilience, Building your own Resilience; how to thrive in a challenging job and the Resilience at Work Toolkit.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode features the work of a Team Coach working at the intersection of social justice, common ground and resilience for teams in trouble using a strengths based approach. Kathryn describes how she understands teams in trouble and the approach she adopts to support teams thrive. She also shares what teams can expect to see by employing her R@W model, toolkit and App.    Points made over the episode The red thread that weaves through Kathryn’s life is social justice. This theme shaped Kathryn’s research and approach to work.  Kathryn grew up in Wales on a council estate and can remember petitioning with her Mother on issues she was too young to comprehend.  At 16 years of age she moved to Australia.  She works with teams at the coal face, often teams in trouble, facing very difficult work.  Teams in trouble means “stuff has gone down” there is a history on the team that can include bullying & unresolved issues that make it difficult for the team to do meaningful work together. They cannot find a way out without assistance The referral source will often indicate the health of a team that can include bullying, stress leave, complaints about the Leader etc.. Teams in trouble often require a restorative piece of work in advance of what we might traditionally see as team coaching.  The first step requires the setting up of a Leadership team that will work alongside the Team in Trouble and one that will take up or assume responsibility for organisational themes that surface Education is often required to make clear the multi-faceted and multi-layered plan that needs to be fulfilled. Kathryn is keen to understand all the pieces of work that are taking place to support people such as mediation, stress leave, performance management etc The next step is the discovery piece Kathryn conducts 1:1’s with all members of the team and stakeholders. She is careful not to set out a plan prematurely.  It is important that the Team Coach is positioned as a resource not an assessor.  Buy-In for the Teams work happens when the team believes you are going to work on their concerns and needs and that stuff is happening with the parallel team on some of the process structural pieces.  Team Coaches are holding hope for the team. They are definitely not giving a perception that the team is hopeless. It is important to focus on strengths and the idea that strengths can be over played.  As a Team Coach don’t advice on anything, instead shore up the themes and offer suggestions for approach but allow the team to self-determine what is important  The notion of a Tipping Point is something Kathryn looks out for, that is where people on the fence can be pulled down into a negative space with those that are detractors. Kathryn works to create a space where people who might not normally speak up or who have not been willing to speak up before can call out bad behaviour and begin to help the team course correct.  Holding Trust is a vital component of the team coach’s work-holding confidences can be tricky but it is important to be able to do so to see the whole.  As practitioners we must not over complicate our work with teams. Learn to dance in the moment, don’t worry about content instead learn to work with people Humour is vital especially when life on teams in trouble can be so miserable  Kathryn shares a story about a particular team in trouble. It is memorable by way of the ugly behaviours the team members displayed. Team members wore sunglasses in meetings so they did not have to look at the Leader and some confessed that “we eat our own”  Kathryn shared that it would be so easy to run down the avenue of performance management and codes of conduct, instead she focused on strengths. This particular team were amazing at advocacy and creativity but they used those same skills against their work system. Kathryn helped the members see how they could influence for change and fight battles where they were particularly passionate.  Resilience on Teams looks at the ingredients that enable teams to thrive. Essentially they comprise practices and actions that are a flip of teams in trouble.  There are 3 facets to Kathryn’s model. At the individual level a person is held accountable for the way they show up, adapt and be proactive especially with the challenges they face.  It is a misnomer to consider that working at the individual level with respect to resilience will mean team resilience. Team Resilience is about alignment. Aligned Purpose, Aligned Values, Aligned Work load.  The Leadership facet looks at how a Leader can create a subculture where the team can thrive  This is a systemic approach where the model supports what the individuals are doing, with the team and leader to create a mini microcosm of the entire system to be the bests it can be.  There are many practical actions involved in the use of this resilience model. Team resilience for example includes a sense of connectedness, care and asks questions like “what does it look like when we care for each other?’  Kathryn is very proud of the Network that has been built out of her work, a network that is global.  Kathryn’s parting words included nuggets for team coaches to trust intuition and judgement, to be able to dance in the moment and not overcomplicate things.    Resources shared  Building Resilience at Work by Kathryn McEwen Building Team Resilience by Kathryn McEwen Building Your Resilience: How to thrive in a Challenging Job by Kathryn McEwen Whitepaper: resilience at Work A Framework for Coaching and Interventions         
46:41 6/15/22
The Power of Marketing & Inclusive Story Telling - A conversation with Margaret Molloy
Introduction:  Margaret Molloy is the Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development for Siegel & Gale. Siegel and Gale is a brand, strategy, design and experience firm headquartered in NYC. Siegel and Gale believe in the power of simplicity and essentially believe Simple is Smart.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the Power of Marketing and the Power of Inclusive Story telling for Organisations, Teams and Brands. Margaret eloquently shares her wisdom leading teams, building brands and the journey she has been on to break down and unlearn some of the myths & biases she may have unwittingly absorbed from her background and training. She also shares the values and experiences that have shaped her and have grounded her ability to be open, influential and inclusive. Her last story epitomises her work and her ability to navigate the tensions across two countries, two countries she loves and calls her home.    Points made over the episode Margaret grew up in County Offaly, Ireland on a diary farm. She was the eldest of six siblings. She enjoyed values of hard work, community, respect and dignity for others. She studied Business & Spanish in Coleraine in Northern Ireland and attributes that time as being formative, shaping her appreciation for cultural differences.   Enterprise Ireland sent her to NYC for her first role with them and Margaret has never looked back. She loves the energy and chaos of NYC. Margaret lives in the Middle of Manhattan, NYC with her two teenage boys and her husband. As a lover of two countries USA and Ireland, Margaret recognises that everyone has an identity and it can be multidimensional. Sometimes we are too quick to label people and put them in boxes. Margaret identifies equally as both American and Irish and she use the image of Janus, the God of all beginnings,  to explain her thinking.  Inclusive Story Telling is best explained in a story. Margaret shares receiving feedback from a guest after a Panel Interview she held in Boston, an event she thought went well but to the writer failed to show case inclusivity.  Margaret’s focus had been on gender diversity but she learnt that she was exhibiting colour blindness. The feedback she received turned out to be Margaret’s inclusive awareness moment.  Space for Reflection is an important consideration. Every strength for example has its shadow. Good to think about using time to reflect and to apply questions or frameworks to get at learning. Important too to remember to upgrade our mental models. Margaret has learnt from her own experiences to be colour brave as opposed to colour blind.  Curiosity and Judgement are two phenomena that cannot co-exist. Margaret shares how she unlearnt the supposed criticism that to be nosey was wrong. For Margaret one of the greatest gift you can give someone is to ask a generous question Simple is smart is a principle Siegel and Gale adopt. Being a simplifier pays. The worlds smartest brands understand the power of simplicity, whether that is through visuals, plain language or their promised experience. Research has shown that the customer will pay more for simplicity and will pay brands with loyalty. The Capital markets reward brand simplicity too.  Simplicity is the intersection of Clarity and Surprise. Clarity in the use of plain language, easily understood messages, smart visuals and the surprise component is the antithesis of dull, that ahah moment when a customer appreciates “this is exactly how I would have wanted it”   Siegel and Gale search for simplifiers. The beauty of simplifiers is that they know what to strip away and what to leave behind, such that a customer is clear on a brands intention and has a frictionless experience.  Management is a privilege & a responsibility. Siegel and Gale are extremely thoughtful about the entire employee life cycle and how it carries through on its promises. Onboarding for example comes with robust mentoring.  Psychological Safety is an important construct and Margaret pays attention to the culture she develops by encouraging people to speak in draft form, have constructive input and provide feedback. Margaret creates process, questions and frameworks to encourage psychological safety.  We cannot confuse Psychological safety with group hugs. Group hugs are great and humane but Psychological safety is about business, inspiring people is a precursor to profitability.   Getting at Psychological Safety is a journey. Many of us have been trained in ways that have encouraged command and control and hierarchical structures. We have been taught to value efficiency and much of the language used in corporate life is machine like.  Homogenous teams are a recipe for blind spots, especially for marketeers trying to communicate with audiences that have not had the same experiences as us. Our mental models need to adjust. We need to think in terms of our impact as well as the outputs we are generating.  Margaret shares how she cultivates Psychological Safety on her teams. After a project is completed she will ask what people liked and what they would wish for differently. This thinking framework evokes less defensiveness. She also uses affirmation with her team members-giving affirmation that is sincere, succinct and specific. As humans we are starved of affirmation.   Criticism is an oft used tactic. Our propensity to offer criticism is grounded in our quest for efficiency. We want to fix things. The culprit is often time. We need to prioritise ruthlessly.  In marketing things are changing so rapidly, there are so many new tools and processes for doing things. It is easy to get caught up in shiny new objects as opposed to being curious about what matters and impact.  Simple rules for teams include; Preparing rigorously, contributing wholeheartedly and safeguarding your own trustworthiness.  Important to mind your reputation and be curious to understand what people say about you when you are not in the room.  Margaret shares a few more thoughts on Leadership & Teams- consider the old practice of apprenticeships. Margaret hires for attitude and builds for aptitude.  Infuse Purpose, as leaders we can be quick to tell people how and what to do but sometimes we neglect the why for their work.  The purpose for meetings is a topic that is often overlooked. Consider the meetings purpose, manage the context, type of meeting, how you dress the room and the theatre of meetings. Consider the roles people have in meetings such as facilitator, moderator, scribe, equal colleague etc…We should think about meets as strategic devices not as something you have to show up at. The Pre-read and Post-read should be considered as part of the meeting.  In closing Margaret shares a story, a story that showcases the power of inclusive story telling. She shares how her passion for fashion and aesthetics and her love of her two countries served as an idea to create an event in 2019 to show case 10 Irish (unknown fashion designers) in NYC.     Resources shared    How CMOs Commit Podcast with Margaret Molloy- Future of Branding CMO panel series Twitter: @margaretmolloy @siegelgale Instagram: wearingirish Margaret Molloy
60:51 6/1/22
The Light and Shadow of Coaching - A Conversation with Tunde Erdos
Introduction:  Tunde Erdos holds a PhD in Business and Organisational Management, A Masters in Executive Coaching, A Masters in Translation & Simultaneous Interpreting and a Bachelor’s degree in Law. She is an author of 3 books, a prolific speaker at conferences and has published articles in peer reviewed scientific journals and professional coaching magazines. Tunde’s latest endeavour is a documentary on the Light and Shadow of Coaching and she produced this to raises funds for a Social Impact Initiative in Kenya.  Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the many facets of Coaching, our relationship to it and the often and many unexamined shadows that exist for coaches and the coaching profession. The phenomenon of Coaching Presence and our collective understanding on what Presence is and could be for coaching is discussed. The words, curiosity, relationality, power, presence and energy surface several times across this provocative conversation.    Points made over the episode Tunde when asked to share a different story of her than the one I introduced is quick to share that she is joy, playful and full of expansion more than the knowledge perspective I shared with the listeners. There are so many facets to a person, so many selves that we approximate a diamond. Coaching does too.  We are interactional human beings resonating, being stimulated and responding differently to whomever is present and in differently too depending on the contexts we live Tunde was quick enough to notice her own shadow operating her in the moment, where she was walking away from the direct question posed.  Tunde recalls a dark moment, shameful moment in Coaching where her client was more present than she and it prompted her to explore Presence, Movement Synchronicity, and non-verbal communication in coaching through her PhD Some of the results from her research were surprising. Coaches with more education, more advanced training are more reactive and defensive of their practice.  Tunde’s process research, which  looked at the energy between coach and client, the coaches self-regulatory capacity after a coaching session, and the many interviews with coaches and feedback sessions given on various noted observations from video recordings, showcased this phenomenon that was surprising.  Another research finding and a shadow of coaches, Tunde calls the Snow White Phenomenon where she reframed the famous expression the queen uses in the movie, Mirror Mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all to, Mirror Mirror on the wall who is the most present of them all.   The light of coaching is well documented and researched. We know Coaching is a powerful tool for growth, development, learning, change and transformation. We know and understand this.  We are in love with Coaching, so in love that is too is a shadow.  We have to be willing to be curious about our attachment to coaching in this direction. Some coaches like to think they know the “Ideal Client” but Tunde’s research found that often the energy between coach and client in an “ideal” scenario was asynchronistic.  In terms of our understanding of Presence, it diminishes over time. Coaches put a lot of effort at the beginning of a session to be present but they confuse the relationality of presence.  Curiously the effort we expend in this way to show up creates a lot of energy but also a lack of dissonance.  The ICF Ignite program aims to anchor coaching beyond 1:1 Coaching, beyond Team Coaching to be seen as a social impact tool  Tunde’s documentary’s main purpose is to raise funds for a Social Impact Initiative she is developing to support women in Kenya, through coaching to become entrepreneurial. The documentary also serves another purpose, to shine a light on the shadow side of coaching by way of several hundred interviews,  exploring the contributions made by coaches and leaders in the field.  Interestingly one contributor shared that he thought Coaches were too serious and then he himself refused to have a vignette of him practicing joy and presence be featured on the show. A Shadow, what we espouse we do not live.  We are not very trusting of ourselves in this field. Another Shadow.  We are also very disconnected from our humanity, from ourselves and whilst we are starting to use this wisdom we are very pre-occupied with ourselves as Coaches, trying to understand it from a cognitive space.  We underestimate or we do not understand the power we wield in organisations and the negative consequences of our work.  We do not fully appreciate the dynamic nature of organisations, the living systems we enter despite using several slogans in our literature.  We have to question how responsible we are as Coaches in the way we use our power in systems.  Some examples of this power include team members leaving a team when they discover they don’t fit, or a team dissolving after coaching. Other examples of power include coaches asking clients to “take a deep breath’ or similar when the same understanding around presence and mindfulness is not shared.  There has been a huge growth in the use of internal coaches in organisations and a corresponding growth in the building of coaching cultures. Often these cultures do not protect internal coaches from the very systemic issues they are dealing with in coaching,  parallel process for example.  Supervision by an external supervisor is required.  Tunde shared many wishes she would want for coaching and coaches.  To have conversations and be curious about our shadow side To watch our pre-occupation with the future when the present is not well understood and where our understanding of concepts like presence are burgeoning.  Words create worlds, are we too attracted to the future instead of the present, what drives this preoccupation? We pay attention to language in coaching and the words a client uses but we also need to pay much greater attention to the ways we are with each other.  Tunde left the conversation grateful for the opportunity to share the social impact initiative she is about to launch for women in Kenya for my interest in it and also for the relationship we developed over the conversation.  Resources shared  eBook on Coaching Presence
56:33 5/15/22
Strategic Teams & Development: A Conversation with Daniel Wolf
Introduction:  Daniel Wolf is the President of Dewar Sloan, a consultancy group with expertise in strategy & Governance. Daniel advises executives and governance leaders on the direction, integration, oversight and execution of strategy. He is the author Strategic Teams & Development, a field book for People Making Strategy Happen. He is also the author of several other books including, Prepared & Resolved, The Strategic Agenda for Growth, Performance and Change.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the value of making a clear and practical case for strategy as a team sport, with talent built for the intentions and challenges of the organisation. The raw ingredient or material for Strategic Teams is talent housed in what Daniel terms Talent Blocks and Beams. This podcast takes a deep dive into Daniels book and his wisdom about teams.    Points made over the episode Daniel has always enjoyed a curiosity and craving for different experiences in different companies to see him fashion a Strategic & Governance Consultancy Practice called Dewar Sloan.  He works best as an organiser & designer of teams, as a Coach co-ordinator of teams and as a Provocateur of teams & Individuals  As Provocateur he sees his role as helping others to step up to express their strengths and to engage with others in ways that might seem like conflict but are in fact catalysts for the work.  The Gift/Pain trade-off of working with really difficult people is the value they can provide. The challenge is to sit in the discomfort long enough to appreciate the value this person might bring to a project and or to partition this person from the team is he/she is too destructive without having to “off board” them.  The Rationale for writing this book came from appreciating what Strategy, Talent and Culture means for an organisation and how these three concepts hang together.  Strategy is not something you do once a year or is a form of thinking  Strategy is the whole body of thought and behaviour that surrounds the formation of strategy such as the direction, focus and choices a company wants to make, the integration effort this requires including thinking about all of the processes, systems, resources, capital, networks & people that enables a company deliver on its strategy and then to complete the execution or action and impact necessary to deliver.  The Constraints and Disconnects with Strategy are many Most companies have a strategic plan but it is a rare company where people can explain it. The complexity of all of the moving parts in an integration plan means acceptance of the realisation that there is never being enough. Organisations are dynamic and complex, resources are never complete.  Organisations are remarkably blithe about holding people to account for execution.  Talent blocks and beams are the raw material for Strategic Teams and Development. Many of us can quickly identify the six intelligences/capacities that comprise the talent blocks, technical, analytic, creative, resource, problem and relational.  The beams are, what are often considered the biggest complaints made by organisations of their people, he soft skills they see lacking.  Talent Beams include Individual Talent Beams such as self-awareness, contentment, character, self-governance, confidence, moral compass, resilience, motivation and attention  Team Beam Development alludes to social intelligence, role awareness, maze sense, influence, perspective, engagement, conflict management and context appreciation  These talent blocks and beams ask of an organisation to recognise the details of their talent in the blocks they have available, the significance and context of where the beams need to be developed. Culture is two things. It is the companies foundation and principles that guide everyday thought and behaviour and it is the companies expression of these foundations and principles , where people come together to learn, engage, develop and grow and advance together the principles and foundations of the company to deliver on its strategic agenda.  The book is about three things; The Strategic Agenda that makes sense to people, the talent blocks and beams that fit with the strategic agenda and the culture built on foundations & principles that are routinely and truly acted out in micro expressions of thought and behaviour daily.  This synchronicity is denied by the lack of a leadership mentality. There are four levels of Leadership. Individual, Group or Team, Enterprise and Social or Systemic.  What gets in the way of Group or Team Leadership is the old premise that Leadership is housed in one heroic leader. A new form of thinking about leadership would have leadership taken up in different roles, formal and informal by the team. A collective effort is harnessed when everyone assumes leadership for the well-being of the team.  Mindsets that could be missing to make this symphony work; one where people forget the dynamic and complexity of organisations today. A mindset that is not ready for change, is not anticipating change or accepting the ubiquitous nature of change. An expectant mindset is needed. Similarly while much is said of resilience, a mindset of resilience is the notion that as a principle we are engaged, steadfast and resolute to persevere & be flexible. Organisations have 10 or more needs and two stand out for Daniel in this conversation. One is the need for organisations to have a very active developmental laboratory for talent, individual and collective. The second is the idea that organisations need to think differently about their structure. They should embrace the idea of an eco-system of teams rather than the traditional vertical model of layers and spans of control with white space in between, that is the traditional organisational chart.  This latter need suggests that an organisation would have to dissemble the traditional constructs of organisational life, the innovators dilemma, and prize a system comprising talent housed in teams. It would also have to acknowledge and mine three different Leadership temperaments, Compliance, Integrator and Discoverer.  This thinking unnerves organisations and it is where opportunity lies.        Resources shared  Daniel Wolf; Strategic Teams and Development  Prepared and Resolved as well as The Strategic Agenda for Growth, Performance and Change.  The Innovators Dilemma, by Clayton. M Christensen Mindset by Carol S. Dweck 
58:56 5/1/22
Creating a Mentally Healthy Work Environment with Petra Velzeboer
Introduction: Petra Velzeboer is a renowned mental health expert, TEDx speaker and CEO of Mental Health Consultancy, PVL. Petra was born and raised in the infamous Children of God cult, conditioned to believe she was born to save the world. Having escaped that world, she now talks to audiences about her ultimate rock bottom and her subsequent transformation leading her to found a flourishing mental health business. Petra is a psychotherapist with an MSc in Psychodynamics of human development and is a qualified ORSC & CTI Certified Coach. Petra lives by her values of lightness, bravery and responsibility    Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the value of Mental Health at Work. Petra shares what it takes to build an environment where Mental Health is valued and discussed. She shares her vision of a world where every organisation can be the rising tide that lifts and sustains mental health for every employee. Bizarrely the Pandemic has helped shift the awareness & importance of this topic and also helped bust the misconception that by talking about Mental Health the floodgates will be opened and work will suffer. The opposite is true.    Points made over the episode Petra shares her journey starting with her birth in a cult, her escape and demise into addiction and battle with depression and her subsequent transformation leading her to found a flourishing mental health business.  Many people, including this host, held the view that Mental Health was really a misnomer for Mental illness. Petra shares the Mental Health Continuum where Mental Health, thriving and excelling is at one end of the Spectrum and crisis and struggle is at the other with surviving in the middle.  Thriving and excelling is informed by positive psychology.  Sean Achor talks about organisations falling into the trap of providing Mental Health weeks where only illness is discussed. We can however develop a whole other narrative where Mental Wellness, meaning thriving and excelling is discussed.  The environment where mental health can thrive is one which is open, where emotions are acknowledged and welcomed, creating a space where we can talk about our mental health openly.  Leaders need additional training and skills to deal with the whole person, not just the tasks necessary to succeed.  Evidence suggests that paying attention to this topic will support talent retention  Leaders could employ classic skills like empathy and active listening.  They could do well by modelling.  Leaders could be so much more compelling if they talked about how they safeguard their own mental health rather than simply telling others to manage their boundaries.  Can we get comfortable asking leaders how they protect their mental health and how they share this information with others.  This provides a bridge for people where they can feel they have permission to invest in their mental health.  A powerful approach is storytelling. Intent evolves over time. Education, experience and the space for people to be fully themselves helps cultivate an environment of Mental Wellness.  Petra sees a lot of fear on teams. The fight or flight reaction on teams is prevalent especially after the Pandemic. It is hard to be empathetic if we are in survival mode.  Petra also sees conflict and polarisation on teams. There is a nervousness to be open and to share feelings, believing erroneously that a pandoras box will be opened.  It is important to name fears.  The conflict in Ukraine is activating a myriad of emotions and often leaving us feeling bereft and hopeless. Important to check your news intake. Have a conscious relationship with the news.  Remember Victor Frankl and his book Man’s Search for Meaning, that despite the horrendous conditions he endured in the Holocaust and the things that were denied to him he lamented that his captors could not take away his ability to respond and the attitude he adopted with respect to his situation.  This wisdom sounds incredibly simple but it takes practice.  The Pandemic has opened minds about mental health even if some teams are still cynical and believe this discourse is a tick box exercise to complete.  Asia and parts of Europe are now where the UK was 10 years ago in appreciating the value of Mental Health at work.  Petra shares a client story about implementing an integrated approach to Mental Health across an entire global concern.  “Mental Health is everything” and research says so. Thriving at Work report by the UK, Business in the Community and the WHO workplace recommendations all point to the crucial links between mental health and business success.  There is lots of passion at the top for this work. 1/4 people have experiences of this topic -much more work to be done.  Psychological Safety on Teams, research by Google (Project Aristotle in 2014) is one of the top principles supporting success on teams  Petra shares several ways she incorporates Psychological Safety in her teams  Lightness and fun are key elements supporting Mental health We need to normalise Mental Health and our vulnerabilities.  We could consider a few practices to shift our relationship with Mental Health including practices to complete the stress cycle such as a 20 second hug, connecting with our somatic selves instead of only relying on our thinking brains.  Consider for example having a walking meeting.  Remember language creates meaning so be careful the language we use. Instead of pathologizing people recommend brave acts. We can use language that is too intellectual making it elitist and alien to many.  A lot of trauma research shares that trauma sits in our body 3 Tips to conclude  Knowledge is important around mental health and work can be a protective sanctuary. How can we create work environments where people want to show up and thrive. Have conversations on teams about how we work and not just about the work  Create space to connect, use check ins, downtime in chunks of time and walking meetings  Positive Accountability ask “how will you complete your stress cycle”    Resources shared  Viktor Frankl: Man’s search for Meaning  Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers -GOV.UK What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team(published 2016) 
42:06 4/19/22
How To Radically Rethink Inclusion For Sustainable Business Results with Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele
Introduction: Alison Maitland is a writer, speaker, advisor and coach. She is the co-author of two previous books, Future Work and Why Women mean business. She is also a co-author of the book we illuminate here on this show called Indivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results. Rebekah Steele is a business strategist, innovator and speaker with deep expertise in Diversity and Inclusion. Rebekah spent two decades in the corporate world including as a senior leader in Fortune 500 Companies. Rebekah launched her consultancy focussed on the intersection of diversity, inclusion, and human centred design thinking. Rebekah employs her signature D&I innovation labs and distinctive ecosystem design process to support leaders bring progressive strategies to life. Rebekah is also a speaker, a senior Fellow and Council Director with the Conference Board. Podcast Episode Summary This episode put simply explores the idea of radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results. Alison and Rebekah make the case that inclusion is a business driver and offers so much more to organisations who can connect the demands of a widening  stakeholder base as well as in advancing solutions to the many systemic challenges society faces. Points made over the episode The question how can organisations do better with respect to Inclusion, motivated Rebekah and Alison to bring their collective wisdom, their research and knowledge to write their book called Indivisible: How to radically rethink inclusion for sustainable business results Leaders are not questioning why inclusion matters but they are frustrated by not knowing how to define Inclusion, how to cultivate it and how to measure its impact Alison and Rebekah developed a whole new approach, an eco-system approach that they describe in their book to help leaders address the gap between the promise of inclusion and the practice. Radically rethinking inclusion means that organisations need to be much more ambitious in their approach to building inclusion at work. The challenges organisations are facing made more pronounced by virtue of the War in Ukraine, Climate Change, The Pandemic, The systemic inequities highlighted by Black Lives Matter, have amplified the need for a much more ambitious approach to inclusion. Where do organisations start? First off organisations must recognise that Diversity and Inclusion are distinct, are two different concepts that are complimentary Diversity is about the vast mix of different individuals, their experiences, talents, perspectives and the ways you harness this collective superpower is through inclusion Conventional approaches to inclusion are too narrow to harness the potential of this collective superpower. An expanded view of inclusion is about employing a strategic eco-system that you could liken to a traffic management system such as a roundabout to ensure safety outcomes. That system is much more than how drivers feel or behave but includes road signage, signals, licensing, penalties and maintenance. Many myths prevail about inclusion and some include the idea that results can be achieved by using piecemeal approaches. Others include the replication of best practices used by other organisations that in fact fail. An example of such is implicit bias awareness training Organisation set up inclusion practices as optional if Inclusion is not indivisibly linked to business outcomes, profitable growth and business decisions Simple solutions to inclusion like asking for a silver bullet do not work, instead a rigorous and practical eco-system is required. Overcoming conventional approaches is critical especially when ever widening stakeholders are demanding resolutions to societies inequities. Unless Leaders can break through ineffective piecemeal initiatives where inclusion is glossed over and is disconnected from the heart of the business then organisations will never reap the benefits inclusion provides as evidenced in the research. Businesses are facing huge challenges such as Artificial Intelligence, Climate Change and now War. To find sustainable innovative solutions requires more thinking and from a greater pool of heads. Indivisible talks about 3 P’s – Performance, Preparedness and Purpose to get at inclusion and an inclusive work environment. Organisations can fail to recognise market opportunities as evidenced by an example of a tech company whose design failed to consider left handed people and people with smaller extremities, mostly women. A whole approach works. Alison and Rebekah describe their eco-system model and approach used in organisations. Integration looks like people being rewarded for inclusive behaviour, behaviour that helps fulfil business goals. Employees are really astute at including alternative perspectives and calling in others views. It is important to paint a picture of what an inclusive environment looks like. Schiphol airport is an example of an integrated inclusion eco-system at work described in the book. There are many unintended and often invisible systemic biases at work in organisations, organisations who might ordinarily consider themselves inclusive. Consider the case of Carla a case described in the book. The book was written for all functions in the organisation and often it is the case that particular functions, such as procurement, are delighted to know that they can consider inclusion in decisions and thinking Teams can start by creating a really safe environment to discuss what might be being excluded on their teams. Important for teams to be really present so that they can readily start to notice the ways they are invisible to excluding people, ideas etc. Create Psychological Safety through the practice of crafting team agreements and expectations of each member. Discuss how inclusion and inclusive practices could achieve the teams purpose and goals. The 10 enablers of inclusion housed in three clusters; connection, common cause and opportunity goes down well in organisations The team can look across these 10 enablers to see what they are currently doing well and what gaps could be managed to create a consistent culture of inclusion Practices such as listening without interruption,  collaboration equity such as that provided by a company called Powernoodle and using or instituting a role for a person to notice barriers to inclusion on a team are all ways to further the dialogue on inclusion. One of the main points of the book is that inclusion is about everyone and everyone is responsible for making inclusion happen. There are many useful resources provided in the book to help people navigate this important topic. They include; the Inclusive Eco-System, 50 practical actions stakeholders can take, innovation metrics and a questionnaire as well as a free guide for Indivisible readers to create action circles and further their knowledge and insights on the creation of an inclusive workplace.   Resources shared Indivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results by Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele.    
54:22 4/1/22
Collaboration Equity for Remote and Hybrid Teams with Nigel Vanderlinden
Introduction: Nigel Vanderlinden is the CEO and Board Member of Powernoodle, a structured collaboration platform for remote and hybrid teams. Nigel is a seasoned business leader with 20 plus years in the tech industry. Prior to joining Powernoodle, Nigel was Chief Revenue Officer for Plum and has held senior roles for StarTech.Com and Blackberry. Nigel Currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario Canada with his wife and two children.     Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the meaning of Collaboration Equity, why it makes sense for the new world of work and how timely Powernoodle and the technology it provides is to support drive the motive for collaboration equity across different forms of teams and knowledge based entities. Powernoodle and the technology it provides enables distributed team work, allows collaboration to operate at scale and institutionalises and sustains equitable collaboration.    Points made over the episode Nigel believes he was destined to be an entrepreneur and in the business of start-ups focused on technology.  “He got the bug” He particularly enjoys the freedom, scope for direction setting and not knowing that this environment provides  He is particularly pleased that Powernoodle is of a time where his company can help solve a complex problem that is facing the world of work, a combination of remote and hybrid teams  The Paradigm of the past working world is broken Remote and Hybrid working requires new ways of working and new tools to support people collaborate equitably Collaboration is much more than an exercise of itself for its own ends but a means to get a better business outcomes  Collaboration is often seen in two narrow of a focus.  Some of the traps teams fall into with respect to collaboration comprise being too adhoc, and or failing to align on a purpose for the collaboration need. The worst decisions are those you did not know you made.  Teams need to declare the decision need, be intentional about their purpose and engage a design that allows for inclusive participation, evaluation and then execution Nigel likes the Bain & Co. framework called R.A.P.I.D to which Powernoodle adds impact and proximity  Collaboration Equity was a term coined by companies such as Google, Microsoft & Cisco. Powernoodle uses this term for their product vision and purpose. Essentially Powernoodle enables individuals, teams and others to contribute inclusive of all the ways that make them different including, gender, race, age, seniority, tech savvy or not, work preferences and work styles, language etc. Powernoodle sees it role to remove the barriers to collaboration and provide a landscape at work that is meaningful & equitable  This involves five distinct categories or steps.  Create a purpose for collaboration and design a process Engage diverse perspectives  Design for inclusion -considering Psychological Safety Work to mitigate bias  Create Information Equity.  3 things to consider when understanding technology and its use; People/Process and Workplace Tools  The Role of Powernoodle and the technology it employs is threefold Powernoodle is an enabler of Collaboration  It allows for a scaling process It sustains good practice Resistance often presents in ways that are familiar to many change endeavours. The need to preserve the Status Quo. Change Fatigue. Change requires energy and fatigue is very real, especially after the Pandemic. Power, power comes in many guises such as HPPO (Highest paid performers in an organisation) assertive personalities, loudest voices in the room. These kinds of players often exert a disproportionate influence on the outcome of a decision  DE&I & Collaboration Equity are two signs of the same coin. Collaboration Equity is often considered more focused and specific to an activity of collaboration and the organisation of people/process and technology to achieve a business outcome  Nigel has read the book Indivisible by Rebekah Steele and Alison Maitland and he was stuck by how similar the two themes are.  An Ideal Customer Profile for Powernoodle includes large organisations who house knowledge workers, who contain critical information often missing information that can be employed for better business outcomes. In practice this looks like organisation in Insurance, Financial Services, Energy Utilities, Government Agencies etc.. Nigel wishes that teams and organisations seize the opportunity, a critical moment in work history, to rethink how work is conducted together in the new paradigm that has emerged since the Pandemic. He hopes people will not be too quick to rush back to the office centric habits of the past.    Resources shared  INdivisble: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results by Rebekah Steele and Alison Maitland.
48:08 3/15/22
The Story Of A Merger Between Two Top Teams with Andrea Linehan
Introduction: Andrea Linehan is listed as one of the top 30 most influential Marketeers. She is a regular speaker at conferences and universities on subjects such as Marketing, Branding, Financial Inclusion, Social Entrepreneurship, Fintech start-ups/scale-ups and many more. After 10 years in Oman she returned to Ireland to join, as CMO, a FinTech start-up  called GRID Finance.  After 5 years she joined Currency Fair. Currency Fair Enterprises and Assembly Payments merged in April of 2021 to form the new company called Zai. Andrea holds a BSc(HONS)in Finance and is a Postgraduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketeers. She hold an MBA from Trinity College Dublin and is a Chartered Management Accountant.    Podcast Episode Summary This episode explores the Merger of two scale-up companies, Currency Fair Enterprises and Assembly Payments, and the work involved in bringing two top teams together. Conscious of the anaemic success rates of merged entities Andrea shares how her company and especially because of her CEO Paul Byrne, committed the time, multiple workshops across a diverse population of representatives to get aligned on the fundamentals: Purpose, Mission, Vision, Attributes and Personality. This work was completed against a backdrop of business as usual, Covid and the regulatory/legal machinations of combining two entities. Much of the work was completed over zoom.    Points made over the episode Andrea shares how she started her academic life studying computers but by year three discovered she needed to pivot to Finance and Accounting.  Andrea initially figured she would join one of the big four but after exploring what these entities might mean she joined Aer Rianta and a role in the Middle East  She moved to Oman without a job and quickly found her footing. She found herself too in Oman. She was shaped as a woman and learnt so much about different cultures  Fintech found Andrea. When Andrea returned to Ireland, after 10 Years in the Middle East she was curious to know what direction to take her career. She chose to do an MBA at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.  She was fortuitously introduced to the two founders of a FinTech start-up by her Professor, Eoin O Neill of TCD.  She joined the FinTech company called GRID Finance and worked there for five  years Andrea then shares the story of the merger of FinTech Currency Fair, where she joined as CMO and Assembly Payments, made in part possible by the investment of Standard Chartered Ventures.  The Merger was announced in April 2021.  Andrea describes how the Merger made two scale-ups slow down when so much else about the company was moving at pace.  Two macro forces, The Merger process and Covid meant a lot of moving parts and added complexity.  All of this work was happening over zoom  The two top teams, the task force and many colleagues had to build trust over zoom The success of this process was in large measure down to the willingness of the companies to take the time to form a task group and do the work necessary to peel back the layers to determine what really mattered for each entity in terms of values, mission, visions, attributes &personality  The two companies, Currency Fair and Assembly Payments realised they were enormously aligned.   A proposal made by Andrea to the Board to look at the Branding for the merged entities made these various conversations meaningful and possible.  The process involved bringing the two top teams together along with representatives from both sides of the business from different parts of the business to form a task team.  Importantly the two entities did not go at this work alone and instead brought in an independent expert from Human Dynamics to support the work.  The new company name emerged as Zai.  This first piece of tangible work completed by the two merged entities instilled a lot of confidence for the future.  Andrea shares what the work entailed.  The work to create a Minimum Viable Brand. Work was completed on creating a value set and company characteristics. The Human Dynamic expert, Adam, helped align the values set with a potential North Star or Purpose for the company.  Multiple conversations and workshops were had to iron out inconsistencies, fears, concerns and areas of mistrust.   The members had to be willing to refine their work several times over many workshops and this process, where people showed up and were vulnerable sharing their concerns helped people understand each other’s drivers/motivations, personalities and thinking and helped forge a team identity.  Laughter was a big factor and contributed to the success of the project on zoom.  Time for these workshop was preserved by respecting some non-negotiables included blocking out time, the “Golden Hours” of 7am to 10am in the morning.  After two years of working together via Zoom, Travel to Australia served to foster relationships further.  The Zai Leadership team met in London last week. Despite the obvious distractions of needing to work on a strategy and road map, the team was disciplined enough to spend the majority of time getting to know each other.  The Human Dynamic Expert flew to London to join the team for the week.  The team revisited the Mission, Purpose, Values, work of the previous year to assess it for its currency and fit for purpose.  The team used Hogan Psychometrics to get to understand each other better, to appreciate the gaps in personalities and needs each person had and to consider what that might mean for the team.  Two things stood out as making this work possible.  The CEO Paul Byrne wholly believes in the work of establishing Vision, Mission, Purpose and Values to build a foundation from which to operate.  The team itself was hand-picked by Paul for their commitment, passion and interest in working together as a team.  Andrea loves the work of professional development and did not expect to go on a transformational journey of her own. Over the week she was with the top team. she discovered, surprisingly, that she had a trust barrier she did not know existed.  Andrea believes the trust factor on teams unlocks so much. Finding a way to be in conversation with your colleagues about Trust is important.  Andrea did not envisage she would be so proud of the culture that Zai is creating and she is excited to embark on the next piece of work to bring an Employee Brand to life.  The company will certainly be busy in the near future. Zai expects to enter 7/10 new markets. It also expects to develop several new products and to grow its employee base from 200 to 450 A busy few years ahead.  Resources shared
49:28 3/1/22