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PeopleFirst! with Morag Barrett
34 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
People First! Kimberly S. Reed,
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Kimberly S. Reed discuss her new book, "Optimists Always Win!"Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:31 - Origin Story4:28 - Optimists Always Win8:37 - Looking For The Good13:12 - The Worst Year Of Your Life19:11 - Discouragement Eliminators24:55 - Staying In The Game31:26 - Learn More & Wrap-----Website: https://www.thereeddevelopmentgroup.com/Book: http://optimistsalwayswin.com/YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCazE_IiDtJ-raDP7QNFQiyw
33 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
People First! Scott Mautz, "Leading From the Middle"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Scott Mautz discuss his new book, Leading From the Middle!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:22 - Origin Story2:11 - Pivot Point3:35 - What Is Good Leadership?11:38 - Unique Challenges for Middle Managers17:41 - The Beach Ball20:47 - The 90/10 Rule27:36 - Leveling The Playing Field31:33 - Learn More & Wrap-----Website: https://scottmautz.comFree Tools! https://scottmautz.com/freetools/
19 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
People First! Roberta Matuson, "How To Make difficult Work Conversations Easy!"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Roberta Matuson discuss how to make difficult work conversations easy!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:27 - Origin Story2:15 - Pivot Point3:17 - Can We Talk?4:39 - Interpersonal Feedback6:44 - Courage8:31 - Clarity10:54 - Closing the Loop12:35 - Rounding Out The Corners15:24 - Other Books17:38 - Learn More & Wrap-----Website: https://matusonconsulting.com/Twitter: @matusonLinkedIn (mention People First! when connecting): https://www.linkedin.com/in/roberta-matuson/
19 minutes | Oct 5, 2021
People First! Cody Sudmeier, "Happiness Through Shared Experiences"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Cody Sudmeier discuss pursuing happiness through shared experiences!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open0:58 - Origin Story2:48 - Pivot Point4:57 - Money Can Buy Happiness?7:17 Spur Experiences12:11 - Allies15:04 - 2,5,&816:56 - Learn More & Wrap-----Website: https://spurexperiences.com/
21 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
People First! Howard Prager, "Are You A Memorable Leader?"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Howard Prager discuss his book, Make Someone's Day!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open2:26 - Origin Story3:18 - Pivot Point4:25 - Make Someone's Day18:51 - Learn More & Wrap-----Website: https://howardhprager.com/
27 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
People First! Jeff Kirschner, "Creating A Litter Free World"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Jeff Kirschner discuss creating a litter free world!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:38 - Origin Story4:03 - Off The Beaten track5:03 - Legacy Of The Journey6:23 - Litterati12:57 - Breakdown In The System14:08 - What Is Most Exciting?16:04 - Societal Change17:27 - Near Term Goals25:39 - Wrap-----Websites:Web: https://litterati.org/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffkirschner/
26 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
People First! Deepa Prahalad, "Creating Practical Magic Through Design."
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Deepa Prahalad discuss Creating Predictable Magic Through Design!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:29 - Origin Story3:11 - Innovation & Emotional Collection12:55 - Societal Level Design16:36 - Building Trust18:36 - Emotional Connection21:39 - The future23:51 - Learn More & Wrap-----Websites:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepaprahalad/Twitter: https://twitter.com/deepaprahalad
28 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
People First! Digby Leigh, "Practicing Law A Little Differently"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Digby Leigh discuss relationships and practicing law a little differently!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:12 - Origin Story2:14 - Pivot Point4:41 - Shaking It Up10:49 - Value Based Fees16:50 - Side Hustle17:58 - Professional Relationships & success25:59 - Learn More & Wrap-----Websites:https://leighco.ca/altfeeco.com
30 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
People First! John Warrillow, "Are You Built To Sell?"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and John Warrillow discuss his book, Built To Sell!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:12 - Origin Story2:11 - Pivot Point4:47 - Basics of Entrepreneurialism8:18 - Inflection Points13:22 - Pulling Levers15:33 - 8 Drivers17:13 - 2020 Cocktail Shaker22:03 - M&A Frenzy?24:37 - Successful Exit28:41 - Learn More & Wrap-----Websites:Free Gift! https://learn.builttosell.com/people/
33 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
People First! David Nour, "Curve Benders"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and David Nour discuss his book, "Curve Benders!"Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:11 - Origin Story4:47 - Inspiration for Curve Benders8:24 - Be A Curve Bender10:42 - Jim Thorpe16:36 - K Shaped Recovery18:04 - S Curve30:35 - Wrap & Close-----Websites:https://nourgroup.com/
37 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
People First! Michele Wucker, "What You Need To Know About Risk"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Michelle Wucker discuss the concept of risk!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - Show Open1:20 - Origin Story1:53 - Pivot Point4:06 - The Menagerie8:30 - Unprecedented9:43 - Risks We Are Ignoring14:08 - 35K Choices A Day14:59 - Everyday Risk20:53 - Risk Fingerprint Change23:58 - 20 lbs of Butter30:48 - Wrap-----Websites:https://www.wucker.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/wucker/
25 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
People First! Troy McLaughlin, "How To Cut Through The Million Distractions."
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Troy McLaughlin discuss cutting through the million distractions that we all face, everyday!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - A Note From Troy McLaughlin0:18 - Show Open1:11 - Origin Story2:05 - Leadership Journey12:06 - Pandemic Habits14:22 - Through The Camera Eye20:07 - Different Hats22:59 - Wrap-----Websites:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/troy-mclaughlin-0930b877/Podcast: This Undivided LifeInsta: https://www.instagram.com/troy__mclaughlin
24 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
People First! Ramon Ray, "Be The Celebrity CEO Of Your Career!"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Ramon Ray discuss being the celebrity CEO of your career!Chapter Breakdown:0:00 - A Note From Ramon Ray0:17 - Show Open1:37 - Origin Story3:13 - Jack Bauer4:46 - Define Small Business7:35 - Personal Branding9:44 - LinkedIn Advice12:49 - Secret To Your Energy16:54 - Bring back the Fun21:16 - Let It Go...22:36 - Wrap-----Websites:smarthustle.com
26 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
People First! Ron Carucci, "How To Lead With The Power of Truth, Justice, and Purpose"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Ron Carucci talk about leading with the power of truth, justice, and purpose!Chapter Layout:0:00 - Open0:55 - Origin Story2:29 - Fifteen Year Study4:00 - What Is Dishonesty?6:52 - Honesty8:18 - Just Do It!11:50 - The 4 Domains24:23 - Contact Info & Wrap Links:https://tobehonest.net/https://www.linkedin.com/in/roncarucci/
33 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
People First! Jeffrey Hull, "Leadership For A Vibrant Future"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Dr. Jeffrey Hull discuss leadership for a vibrant future!-----Websites:https://www.jeffreyhull.com/https://instituteofcoaching.org/
24 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
People First! Gerald Kane, "The Technology Fallacy"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Gerald Kane talk about his book, The Technology Fallacy!Chapter Layout:0:00 - Open1:34 - Origin Story4:40 - Fax Machines8:25 - Knowing Doing Gap11:02 - Successful Digital Transformation13:35 - Golden Age of Corporate Leadership19:04 - How Paranoid Do We Need To Be?22:11 - Contact Info & Wrap Links:Website: https://www.geraldckane.com/- [Intro] Welcome to Skye team's "People First" with Morag Barrett.- Welcome to this week's episode of People First and my guest this week is Dr. Gerald Kane, who is a professor of information systems and faculty director of the Edmund H. Shea Jr Center for entrepreneurship at Boston College's, Carroll School of Management. Wow, I can only imagine the width of that business card.- Yes absolutely.- Jerry researches and teaches about how companies can understand and respond to digital disruption to undergraduate, graduate and executive education students worldwide. He's published more than a hundred papers, articles and reports on these topics. And today we're going to be talking about his book, "The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation". And you might also be getting a sneak peek of his upcoming book, "The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization through Uncertain Times". So Jerry welcome to "People First."- And it's great to be here. Thank you for having me.- All right. So as all of this, this is a podcast for leaders by leaders and it's exploring the journeys that we are all taking or have taken to get to where we are today. So I'm going to take you back. Flashback to elementary school. You're sitting there in class, your teacher has just asked you to draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up? So when you were a wee lad, Jerry, what was your answer?- Gosh, that's actually a hard question. Perhaps I will just answer it with what was I, when I grew up before I became a college professor. And for 10 years I was actually a United Methodist minister working at a large church in Atlanta. I really enjoyed my time there. It was a great experience but it was sort of like serving in the military. I did my tour of duty and I realized it was time to move on and went back to get my PhD. So I have two hats. One is the... I'm officially Reverend Dr. Kane, even though sort of my job is fully in academia now.- Okay. Well, wow. I wonder so how has that informed the research and the work that you do now?- In all sorts of different ways. So my early research was in social media. So the first day... My first day as a college professor was the day that Facebook launched this new feature called newsfeed. And all my students came into class mad because how dare they, this is an invasion of our privacy. We're going back to Myspace. And so my first day as a college professor I called an audible, and basically explained to them the business reasons why they wouldn't leave Facebook and lo and behold, 15 years later, that lesson proved right. As I got into social media there's a lot about working in a community-based organization where you don't have the traditional command and control structures of a traditional business that really aligns well with the sort of rough and tumble organic nature of the social media space. And I actually think informs very well many of the challenges that companies are facing as we move into a more digital world when you don't have all the bureaucracy and the level of control that you're used to because you need to empower people. You know, working with volunteers was a great way to learn those skills because if you can't fire people and you don't have a paycheck for them, you need to learn to motivate them and lead an organization in fundamentally different ways. And a lot of that experience actually informs sort of how I'm thinking about organizations transform in the 10 to 20, one year for the COVID and then five to 10 years beyond that.- Essentially I'm looking forward to diving into your book and a reminder it's called "The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation." And two quick stories. Well, quickish, in terms of my own journey through that digital transformation. If I flashed back to my first career in banking, I remember the moment when a fax machine was delivered and installed in our branch. And we thought we had reached nirvana.- The pinnacle of-- The pinnacle-- Of technological advancement.- Now I realized this is not the main focus of your research but can you answer for me why is it that we still have fax numbers on business cards? I don't know the last time-- I actually can answer that it's because we actually have this in the technology fallacy books that the real challenge is not that technology moves fast, it does. The challenge is there's differing rates of change between technologies, individuals, organizations and public policy. And there were some rules about fax machines, you could do things over fax that you still can't do over email. And so it's a lot of the regulatory stuff that hasn't caught up to the new environment.- And we'll talk about that later. 'cause there's the ethical piece too-- Ooh absolutely- That is gradually eating sometimes different pace. All right, so fax machine arrived, six months later it's catching dust. The other digital transformation that I remember seeing again in the nineties was smart boards and I remember all the companies that invested in these phenomenal white board kind of computer things that would download everything that you write. And they sat there like the white elephant, nobody dared use them in case that you use the wrong pen which brings me back to the subtitle of your book that people are the real key to digital transformation. You can buy the bells and whistles, but if I'm too afraid to use it, or I use it in appropriately that investment is going to be wasted. What are your thoughts?- Yeah, and so as we research companies, really what the technology fallacy, we actually came up with a title last. So we never actually describe what it means in the book. But since then, I've come up with the definition which is basically the technology fallacy is this mistaken belief that just because an organization's challenges or problems are caused by digital technology that the solutions involve digital technology as well. Many of the biggest challenges were not technological. They were organizational, they were talent-based, they were leadership style based strategy. And those were much more of the challenges to get them up to speed, to working in a digital world. And I actually think COVID has basically proven our hypothesis true because the tech that, it's really been remarkable at how quickly organizations have been able to flip switches and adapt to, you know remote work, to all sorts of different approaches. And the technology has been strong. You know, I was a little nervous as we were flipping schools and everything to Zoom and online, and by and large the technology has been rock solid. So the technology has always been there. It's the people side that we haven't been sort of able to change as quickly as the technology and nothing like an existential event for organizations like COVID to get people willing to experiment and to learn new ways of working. And I think the real challenge is going to be what happens with the next disruption in September of 2021 or December of 2021 when we can start going back into the office. My real fear is that companies are going to say, "We've made it. Now we can go back to the way things were." Where I would argue where we were in 20, you know January of 2020 was already 10 to 15 years behind where we needed to be. And so by the challenge and that the message of this new book is how do you innovate through disruption? And when September 21, 2021 comes, resist that temptation to go back, lock in the gains, figure new ways to innovate because so many companies have made such progress and it's been really inspirational to research it. I just fear what's going to happen in the fall when people feel like, "Okay I can let my guard down now."- So I'd love to hear some of those stores but let's go back to this whole knowing doing gap. Why is it so pernicious and sticky?- Yeah, it's hard to say. I wish we could say we coined the knowing doing gap 'cause it comes back from some researchers in the 1980s. So this has been around, we all know some things that we should do but don't have the courage to do it or the will to do it. So the stat from our book was that something like 87% of our survey respondents said digital technologies are going to transform our industry to a moderate or a great extent in the coming years, yet less than half of those 44%, said my organization is doing enough about it. What we talk about this in terms of the new book is the difference between chronic and acute disruption. So digital transformation is a chronic, like a chronic or acute medical condition. Chronic conditions are slower. They happen over time. We can put it off and ignore it to a certain extent and still go on with our daily lives. And that's digital disruption. That's what we've been living through. And that knowing, doing gap is just saying, "Yeah I'm not ready for it today." I don't want to make that lifestyle change today. Whereas COVID has been that acute disruption where it's a heart attack where you have no choice but to deal with it. And actually why we think the technology fallacy, the lessons from the technology fallacy apply really well to a companies have been dealing with over this past year is there's really two sides of the same coin. It's both disruption, it's just the speed at which it's happening. And the bright, the silver lining has been, we've not been able to ignore it. Now we've had to collapse that knowing doing gap and what's really been surprising to me is the number of people we interviewed, digital leaders who said this has been the best months of my career dealing with the disruption because all of the organizational barriers that have kept them from pushing change and being innovative, fell away. And they were really able to accelerate in fact, you know decades worth of change over the past year. And there's actually some data that says, it has in fact been decades of change. If you look at certain adoption rates, et cetera, et cetera.- Nothing like a good crisis to get-- Absolutely.- So in your research you've touched on there on the interviews. I know you surveyed like 16,000 leaders. You've done copious amounts of research and conversations with leaders at all levels in organizations. So as you think back to those which ones stand out that really personify the cultural the essential characteristics for successful digital transformation.- Which specific people or just what characteristics?- Both. So the characteristics, but then the people of the organizations that personify those and seem to be doing it right.- Yeah. So pre COVID, I would have highlighted Walmart. So when I first was interviewing the chief human relations officer, chief people officer at Walmart in probably 2015 ish, I was like, why are we even talking to these people? There's no way that Walmart is going to be able to turn this behemoth of an organization to be able to compete with somebody like Amazon. And as we spoke to them, it really was clear that they were doing a lot of things right. In fact, one of the things that shocked me was in that interview or one of the interviews, they said, "When we look ahead 10 years and think about how our customers are going to be shopping. We're not the type of organization. We're not the type of company that they're going to want to be shopping at. So we need to make changes." And the fact that they were forward-looking enough, we really encourage people to look at that 10 year timeframe, because if you're not thinking at that scope, the technology is just moving too fast. So I was really surprised and they really got that, it wasn't just the technology they couldn't buy their way out of this problem. they had to change the culture and culture is critically important. A couple of other ones that we've seen since then. I interviewed Kristin Darby, who's the CIO of Envision Health. And they are the physician group that manages most of the ER's in New York and New Jersey. And so she was literally on the front line of COVID when it was hitting in March and the ability for them to pivot and innovate to meet this need. So they, over the course of a week I think put together a new app that allowed them in a HIPAA compliant way to turn tablets into monitoring devices. So one camera would monitor the patient. The other camera would monitor the devices. So the nurse didn't have to enter the room as frequently when we're lacking in PPE. And just the ability to sort of identify that need and boldly and move quickly to make that happen was just really inspiring and amazing. And there are so many of those stories that we ran across. I really call the past year as the golden age of corporate leadership because I think you've seen a number of executive leaders really step up with empathy, with boldness to really sort of lead their organizations into these unprecedented times. And there were story upon story about just inspirational types of leadership and visionary and bold.- So, oh, thank goodness is my response to that as I think back to my banking career and being told you know, it's not personal, it's just business. And the concept of empathy was not something that entered into the lexicon, let alone the behavioral patterns of leaders at any time early in my career. Now it's forefront. So if you think this may bridge into your upcoming book, "The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization through Uncertain Times." How is leadership today then and for tomorrow different to what might have gone before?- And so some of the things we've seen is that greater empathy, sort of the getting rid of the corporate speak, not being afraid to say when you don't know what the answer is. Many of the people we talk to is actually said it was a very refreshing change in their organization and they hope they wouldn't go back. Of course, we will go back to a certain extent but you know, if we can keep remembering these things because one of the themes of the new book and this was sort of eye-opening for me, we think of COVID as this, life altering experience. And it has been, but if you go back so many of our interview people were also talking about the financial crisis. We're talking about 2001 or talking about, you know all, we've been dealing with a lot of different crises and disruptions over the past 20 years. And many of the folks said, you know, it's because I lead through these other ones that I knew how to lead through this next one. And what we're trying to just say is, look disruption is the new normal, you know if you think it's all going to stop once COVID is done you know, it's not. And so how do we lead, and how do we sort of be these empathetic leaders? And I do hope we've see the next great generation of leaders emerge from this. And one of the things we're trying to do in this book is tell those stories. And in fact, in the Wall Street Journal, two of my co-authors are from Deloitte and they were able to secure many of the interviews. And we have a profiles in leadership series coming out in the Wall Street Journal because we had just too much good content that couldn't make it all into the book. And we're releasing the stories of these leaders we've interviewed, you know, every week or two because they're just so many good ones.- So you're talking both about the future waves of disruption. What are you most excited for as you look to the future and this continual pace of innovation and change?- So my kids are 14 and 16, and I had my son who's the 14 year old trained at an early age when they would be asked by a podcaster, what do they want to be when they grow up? He learned to say, "I don't know the job I'm going to have, hasn't been invented yet." And it's that sort of what gets me excited. There are some really amazing technological advances coming down the pipe, whether it's artificial intelligence, whether it's blockchain, whether it's autonomous vehicles, whether it's dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. I think the next 20 years are going to be more disruptive than the last 20. And if we can learn some of the lessons and not only try to, you know create great businesses that deliver real value to the customers, but also ones that end up creating a better society as well. And I'm hearing that more out of some of the people we've interviewed, it's not just what can I do with the technology but what is the world we're trying to build? And I think we need to have more of that conversation because we are at a real inflection point. Do we want to, you know, basically sell every moment of somebodies existence for ad space or do we want to design these technologies in a way that create more equitable society, create better quality of life for the individuals? And I'm seeing more of those conversations take place and more leaders approach it from a much more holistic perspective which I think is really exciting because it would be great if this technological change can sort of be a net positive not just for companies, but for society in general.- And that's an interesting concept because I think if you read the headlines, there's a lot of scaremongering going on about the future of work and how AI and robots are going to replace us. And yes, I think there is going to be a seismic shift in terms of the skill sets that are going to be needed. But it's also shortsighted to think that we're all going to get laid off. And it's all going to be robots because if I'm not earning money, I'm not going to be able to purchase the services or the products that the robots are making. And in your first book, The Technology Fallacy you quote Andrew Grove, one of the founders of Intel who says only the paranoid survive. And then I immediately flashed to the pictures of Boston Dynamics. I love those videos, but they also terrify me because they are, you know, "Oh, cute doggy. Oh, look, the robot can dance." And we lose sight of what else can that robot do. So in your research, how paranoid do we need to be?- I mean a lot, but I also, I would turn it on its head and say, "You know, the super power for the next 20 years is going to be continual learning." You know, there's a downside to being locked into a job at 25 and going through that career your entire life. I mean, there are plenty of people who in their forties and fifties and sixties feel burned out and trapped in their job because they can't do anything else. Whereas with all of these changes, if we can embrace a spirit of continual learning, and growth mindset, which we talk about considerably in the book, I think it creates opportunities for us. Now it's incumbent upon us to be continual learners but there are so many opportunities out there. I tell my students, you know, anything I could teach you in this class is going to be obsolete by the time you get out and can actually put it into practice. So the main lesson I'm trying to teach you is how to how to keep learning, how to use all these technological tools to keep growing and expanding your skillset. And I think for those sorts of people who are willing to continue learning and willing to continue growing and recognize that they can, and I think everybody can, I think the future is going to be a really exciting time. At the same time, we are seeing some societal exacerbating some societal gaps for the people who don't have the equipment, who don't have the background to learn. And certainly that's a problem, you know that we need to address. I'm not sure technology will address it but you'll find ways to make sure it's a society where everybody can participate.- I love that. And that almost brings us full circle because whilst that educational gap or access gap isn't necessarily indicative of the knowing doing gap, it is indicative of the knowledge doing gap that we need to close so that as human race, we can move forward together and continue to keep up, but also accelerate this change.- Yes, and my hope is a lot of the silver lining from this pandemic will be that people recognize that they can do these things, that they can change, that they can learn. Their students are going to say, "Ah so my son has decided he wants to learn Python." The programming language Python, he's in seventh grade. And he has just picked it up, and he's gone to some of the online platforms, and he's just teaching himself how to do it. And he's gone a little bit insane with it that, you know there's so many resources out there for learning that my hope is that this pandemic has opened many more people's eyes to what's possible and they will get out there and do it.- Okay, well, Gerald Kane thank you for sharing a few of the insights from your two books. How can our listeners get ahold of you, learn more- Well, so both are available on Amazon. One is for pre-order. You can find me on my website, www.profKane, P-R-O-F-K-A-N-E.com. We have the whole Wall Street Journal series there, leader series. Had some videos of talks I've given out of the book, links for the book, et cetera, et cetera. So it's a great place to find everything you want to know about me, but were always afraid to ask.- I love it. And we'll make sure all of that information is in the show notes around this episode. If you've enjoyed this episode, then make sure that you subscribe, hit that button, and then you won't miss future episodes with great thought leaders like Gerald Kane who are helping you to invest in your own leadership journey.- [Narrator] Thank you so much for joining Morag today. If you enjoyed the show, please like, and subscribe so you don't miss a thing. If you learned something worth sharing, share it. Cultivate your relationships today when you don't need anything before you need something. Be sure to follow Skye Team and Morag on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And if you have any ideas about topics we should tackle, interviews, we should do or if you yourself would like to be on the show drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's S-K-Y-E team.com. Thanks again for joining us today and remember businesses is personal and relationships matter. We are your allies.
29 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
People First! David Burkus, "Essential Skills for Leading a Remote Team"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and David Burkus talk about leading remote teams!Chapter Layout:0:00 - Open1:55 - Origin Story5:42 - Smooth the Waves7:30 - Pain Points10:30 - Remote Community14:03 - Scheduled Spontaneity18:09 - Pretending Asynchronous Communication is Synchronous19:13 - Virtual Job Market22:13 - Effect of Lockdown on Networks27:40 - Contact Info & Wrap Links:Website: https://davidburkus.com/TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_burkus_why_you_should_know_how_much_your_coworkers_get_paid?language=enLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidburkus/Transcript: - [INTRO] Welcome to SkyetTeam's "People First" with Morag Barrett.- I'm excited to welcome this week, a friend and colleague from the Marshall Goldsmith 100, David Burkus. He is one of the world's leading business thinkers, forward-thinking ideas and best-selling books are helping leaders and teams to do their best work ever. He's the author of four books about business and leadership that have won numerous awards and been translated into dozens of languages. His insights on leadership and teamwork have been published and shared through The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review amongst many others. He's an international speaker, both in this little three-by-five box but also in 3D too and his TED talk has been viewed more than 2 million times. This guy is worth listening to. David, welcome to "People First."- Oh, thank you so much for having me, you know, you point out something interesting. I'm going to have to update that bio because in a zoom first world, international speakers not as impressive, I guess, is that you back when you had to get on an airplane to go speak somewhere it was a commitment now, I guess not so much. Right? So yeah. I'm going to have to update that.--- Have camera will travel and I know we're going to get to talk about your latest book, which is so pertinent for all of us, your newest book, "Leading From Anywhere: The Essential Guide to " finish it for me.- "Managing Remote Teams."- There you go, and all of us are part of a matter of remote teams whether we're the team leader or the team participant. And what I love about your book is it's got practical tools and techniques for all of us, wherever we are in our career to make this work from home and work remotely work, but more on that in a moment. So, David, I do want to go back to your origin story. So, let's take you back. You're a wee lad, however tall you are at this point you're back at school and your teacher comes to you and says, "okay, David, what do you want to be when you grow up?"- Yeah, so I'm pretty sure if we go back to like elementary school, that the answer would be that I wanted to be a professional wrestler. You know the big muscular dude who did the whole showmanship thing in the ring and went up, actually, it's funny, I have a replica of an old WWE belt right here on the screen. I don't know if you can see that, but that one--- Okay, it's not crocodiles that you were going to wrestle then.- No, no, no, but what's funny about that is as dumb as we all are in childhood with that sort of thing, there's a storytelling element that goes into that. By the time that I was in high school, the storytelling had pivoted from being a professional wrestler which is a little weird to wanting to be a writer. To wanting to be a novelist, et cetera. I went to university to study that, I studied English and Creative Writing as an undergrad and while I was studying that, I found Science Writing and Narrative Non-fiction and Long-form journalism and people who were using storytelling to tell true stories that helped people, right? And I thought, wow, that's fascinating. That's what I actually want to do, right? And so I went on to partly because I got married to a medical student, I went on and did a graduate program in Organizational Psychology, now with a dimension of ever being an academic, of ever doing research or anything like that, but just a pairing the two together, pairing the writing that I got as an undergrad and the Organizational Psychology as a grad to be able to tell those same stories but tell stories about the research that actually helps people live better lives, do better work, et cetera. And so in a way, I'm still doing the same thing. I kind of think it'd be cool maybe to have the long hair and the giant championship belt, like a pro, but at its core--- And you get taught why not come across so well on camera.- That's true, that's true.- Yes, we'll have to say, so I'm curious 'cause I know you for your Non-fiction writing. So do you still dabble in fiction?- No, no and in fact, one of our mutual friends, Whitney Johnson, and I were hanging out just before the world ended in in London and think it was 15 November and she actually challenged me. She's like, "you need to write a novel, like before you die you need to write a novel 'cause that's what you said you wanted to do." I don't dabble in it mostly because reality is so entertaining, why construct an alternative one? Like I go looking at every book that I write, I go looking for two types of stories. I mean, obviously, there's stories of companies or people that are living the principles from psychology that I'm trying to offer in the book. But I go looking for stories either stories about famous people or companies but stories you've never heard about those people. Or I go looking for stories that are so incredible, these people should be famous, right? And that's entertaining enough. Like I've just never felt the need to construct a fictional story because reality is so amazing. I can have plenty of fun capturing those real-life stories.- So it's funny 'cause Organizational Psychology when you're studying humans, it's all about the stories and some of them are going to make you laugh. Some of them are going to make you cry and some of them are just that shock, horror, thriller ride. And I just saw a meme that was put up for those of us in the Human Resources profession and I'm going to paraphrase it for this video but along the line of, I can't fix stories but I can document them. And of course, some of the things that people do at work where you go, what on earth were you thinking? How could you think that was going to have a positive outcome for you or others? But I suppose that's what keeps you and I in business, is it helping to smooth the waves and the volatility that happens individually but also on teams?- Yeah, oh no, that's exactly right. And I think stories are also a powerful way to convey concepts. You know, so I've written four books now and every principle and every takeaway is steeped in research from organizational psychology, social psychology, and every one of them nobody's ever said, you know, I remember that principle of whatever. They never say, you know I remember the story you told about Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, finding each other and founding the UFC and how important our old friends and our old colleagues are. They always remembered the stories, right? So what I try and do is just pair that with what we know is true about human behavior but with stories of people doing it right, right? And I think as soon as you see that again, you can't correct other people's stories but you can document the good ones and hope people remember the good ones and extract the lessons. And then they accidentally, it's a bit like one of my buddies calls it, chocolate-covered broccoli, right? The story is the chocolate, the broccoli is the org psych lesson I want you to take away.- Okay, fair enough. So for everybody listening and watching this podcast episode, I want you just to briefly pause right now and think about the stories that you've shared with others. Then, you won't believe what happened at work today because David and I are going to share some tidbits and some advice that are going to help you to come back from that, for the sequel, the following on movie that makes it better. So, David, you mentioned there that March 1st, last year the world ended and it certainly turned on its side. And I know here at SkyeTeam we're coming up on our 14th birthday. We have always been a virtual team. But what I realized is that there is a difference between choosing to work from home and work remotely and having to, so as you watched the world pivot, there were no doubt, pain points and symptoms of ineffective teams that are happening in 3D anyway that have just been exacerbated as we've gone into 2D. So what are some of those just common carry-through challenges that you're hearing from the clients and the teams that you're working with?- Yeah I mean, specifically I was talking to somebody I think just yesterday, it might've been two days ago about what team leaders have thrived in the last year and which ones haven't and what have you. And you know, the big difference there is sort of if you were demonstrating what you and I would call good leadership, leadership that leads from a place of trust that gives autonomy, that provides support, not just trying to document that you're getting the work done and reward or punish you if you're not right? If you're providing that, you actually manage the transition pretty good, right? And your team managed that transition pretty good. And interestingly enough, like you said, there are companies that choose to be fully distributed to be fully remote. Then there are companies that actually choose to increase the level of freedom and autonomy they give to their people and they become accidentally remote, right? Because just over time, people are spending less and less time at the office. They're the sort of work from anywhere companies that I think is where most of us are headed. And then of course there are all the people that have remote thrust upon them in the last year, right? And that's a totally different game but the people that are leading from that place of trust and autonomy, and my job as a leader is to get you the things you need to do to do your work. They're doing okay, right? It's the micromanagers, the people who thought presence equal productivity and so they were keeping track of when people were coming into the office and all of that sort of stuff. And now usually most of them traded presence for responsiveness and so what they're really doing is tracking how responsive you are in digital communication. And then using that as a proxy for productivity, those teams even a year later, I think are still suffering. So a lot of that, it's less about, you know, the team dynamic and really more about how the leader of that team is setting that culture. Is it one of trust and autonomy? And if so, you could be at your desk in an office or you could be at your desk at home and it could feel pretty similar except 3D to 2D. If you're running the micromanagement thing, I honestly don't know how a year later the bosses of, the micromanagers have anyone on their team to still lead. Right? I don't know why people haven't left at this point because it's been a painful year if you were trying to lead from that place.- Well, I think there's a misguided belief that people are trapped, that there isn't a job market that is still thriving out there and there is and we can talk more in a moment about, well, how do you search for that next opportunity in a virtual world? 'Cause it's a different mindset and a different skillset. But I was working with an executive team last week that did make that transition quite well in terms of they were balancing not only do you have access to all the systems you need, do you have a laptop? Do you have a space to work, et cetera? The what if business but we're all also focused on ensuring that they retained a sense of community that they were checking in on how are you doing? And the conversation last week was about how do they now broaden it and recalibrate the rules of engagement. So what advice do you have for people listening, the first steps for building culture remotely? 'Cause now we brought, you know, 300 corporate head offices in bedrooms and kitchen tables and corners of living rooms versus one office that has a look and feel for this company. So what advice for building culture remotely?- Yeah, I totally agree. Well, culture has never been a building, right? And culture has never been a foosball table and a keg in the refrigerator and that sort of thing, right? Those might've been indicators of culture or they might've been indicators that your leaders don't know what culture is depending on the organization, right? I think the biggest thing we're a year into this and I think after the first couple, I'll actually go ahead and give most leaders a pat on the back, right? And say that when we were told here in the United States, we were told 15 days to slow the spread, right? The day we're recording this, by the way, it's day 361. So we were told 15 days to slow spread and we did a pretty decent job, getting people to tech, coming up with systems to keep people productive. We probably called too many zoom meetings in the beginning but like we did okay. It wasn't until months into this great work from home experiment that we realized what we left at the office, which was the unstructured time that builds that sense of culture, right? The time before the meeting, when two or three people walk in together and have a chat about their day or their other sort of non-work things that actually build bonds right? The after work events that may have been totally spontaneous, right? All of those things are what build culture much more than running an effective meeting. I mean, I think there's a lot to be said about running an effective zoom meeting but one of the best things you could do is actually be a little unstructured to create that time for people to chat, et cetera. And we're only now, a lot of organizations are realizing, they need to take that back but that's one of, I think the biggest things we've forgotten over the last year, when we look at the research around teams that choose to be distributed or teams that choose to be virtual like SkyeTeam, we find that the ones that work are marked by a company culture of shared understanding and of team identity, shared understanding is just how well I understand who is good at what, whose roles and responsibilities are what and also the context that everyone's working in. I know who is working from an office in the basement of their house. Like I who's working from the kitchen table. And then shared identities, is how much do I feel like a team? Now the interesting thing is, both of those things are built from deliberately unstructured time where the whole purpose of getting the team together is to get them to not talk about work, but talk about other things so that they find uncommon commonalities with each other. That can take the form of a zoom happy hour. Although I think we're all a little hung over from the zoom happy hours. They can also take the form of playing a deliberate game but it can take the form of just, there's a company, there's a team sense of culture that if the meeting scheduled at 10:00 AM, half of the people are on at 9:45 just to chat and catch up, right? Or that we still because we're not geographically dispersed, we're all still kind of near each other, just working remotely that once a week, we do lunch together even though we're doing it via zoom, right? Those little things that unstructured time is where culture has always been built. The difference is now that's not accidental. It has to be deliberate and it falls upon the leader of an individual team to make sure they're deliberately building that time.- I'm hearing the same. What you're saying, it's scheduled spontaneity is what we need to embrace in 2021.- Yeah, yeah to be honest with you and I think especially in 2021 as we start to put the pieces back together and as offices start to reopen as different people are vaccinated or have comfortable levels of coming back to the office, scheduled spontaneity actually becomes even more important because there's a tendency towards an us versus them that'll creep up, the co-locateds the ones who came back first are going to get all of that unstructured time with each other and the remote are going to be well, they're going to be remote. They're going to be out there, right? And so deliberately structuring that time probably becomes even more important in 2021 than in 2020 because you're going to have this us versus them creep up if we don't.- Yeah and it's having that conversation 'cause it's not just on the shoulders of the team leader to make this happen. It's also on us as team members to actually ask for what we need and the beer keg is easy to replace. I've got, I think a few cans down in the fridge downstairs but what I'm hearing from the leaders I'm working with, is that what the camera has tended to do much like you just described is turn every meeting into a straight down to business meeting. So I love what you said there about just allowing 10, 15 minutes whether it's at the beginning or the end for that informal chit-chat and being available. Now, the other end of the spectrum, I've been reading about companies who've been asking employees to have a permanently open Slack channel. Which to me just, ah, I mean, I love, I love interruptions and variety but the idea of being at the beck and call of that all day, what's your take on, you will be on that Slack channel all the time.- Yeah, my take is it's a terrible idea. I mean, for a couple of different reasons, the first thing is that Slack in my opinion, driven by the data but I am editorializing a bit here. In my opinion, Slack is actually only good for one thing. It's a terrible project management tool. It's a terrible tool because people are typing in sentence fragments. It's the equivalent of a prodigy or an AOL chat room and trying to get a project managed on that. It doesn't work right? But it's very good as a virtual water cooler. It's great as a place to have those non-work conversations those little updates, it's great as a place to update people for when you're at work and when you're not at work but you need to respect that there are times where people, everybody's calendar is going to be different, right? There are now more than ever people who will at three o'clock go do not go away or do not disturb, go pick up their kids from school and they're not back until five or six o'clock because they're finding the schedule that works for them, right? So keeping the Slack channel open at all times. I mean, first of all, that's like trying to, I mean it's like trying to get a meeting done in a Chuck E Cheese. Like it's just full of distractions and it's just not really going to work, right?- Yeah but when you get those tantrums and they pop out of the machine, there's an adrenaline rush there--- Well, okay, that's fair, that's fair. But it's also just, it's not a great tool for asynchronous communication either. Right? And that's what we needed to be... So, I think and I feel weird about this 'cause five years ago I wrote a book called "Under New Management" that talked about sort of the need to eliminate internal email, right? And at that point I was actually very excited about tools like Slack because they had the opportunity to be a pull medium as opposed to a push medium. The problem with email was hitting your inbox every five minutes distracting you and Slack was something you had to physically log into in order to see any of the messages. Now, I think there are better tools for that because I think Slack has turned into a push medium, just like email. And if we're going to have an asynchronous conversation we might as well have a digital face to digital face or audio, you know, these things still do make phone calls. Isn't that weird?- I know, isn't it wonderful when it rings though, and the idea, and I go, I'm doing this old fashioned 'cause my air Airpods or your Earpods aren't working. I'm putting you to my ear.- Yeah, it's weird, it's not comfortable.- And not being on camera and worrying about you know, how does the hair look today? By the way--your hair looks great.- But again those are great tools for synchronous communication, for asynchronous communication, we need to recognize that we don't want to pretend that an asynchronous tool is really a synchronous one and that's the problem with leaving a Slack window open all the time or with subtly judging people by how quickly they're responding to emails, right? People who are responding fastest are probably your least productive members of the team.- Yes and indeed, and again, resetting expectations around, what are the SLAs? How soon should we be responding? And as you said earlier on understanding the context in which we're all living and working right now do I have school-aged kids that at 9:00 AM my time. I am trying to get logged into their school portals and therefore don't expect me to be responsive and having those conversations so that we can show compassion and support to each other, 'cause we all have, and will need each other's support at some point, you may not think it today but I promise your limit is coming it's just a matter of when. We talked earlier on about the misguided belief that as employees, that we're trapped, that there isn't a job market out there and there is. So what advice do you have for successfully onboarding and being onboarded into a new company? Because without the walk in the halls, building relationships horizontally can be very tough. What advice have you seen from the best leaders and organizations in your work and research?- Yeah, yeah. So we know even BC, before Corona, right? We know from the research that onboarding processes that prioritize connection over documentation work better they lead to longer tenure more productive employees, more engaged employees. Every measurement says that if we focus on getting you connected to the other humans, you're working with that matters more than making sure Legal will get its paper gets his paperwork done on that. But unfortunately, most onboarding processes are driven by Legal and HR. No offense to everyone from Legal and HR who's watching, we love you and I think, you know, this too, it's just this juggle between, we do need to get these things done. What I've seen from some of the best fully distributed companies is that they have blended the two. In other words, like one company I'm thinking of in particular and I'm going to leave them nameless because I'm probably going to miss a detail or two and then he's going to be mad at me. But the way that they did it, is they had Legal or HR, whoever was in charge of the documentation. You mean you remember what this is like in-person you sit in a room and somebody talks to the slide show at you and then they go, great! We got you the safety, the OSHA training like boom checkbox done right? Sexual harassment training checkbox done, right? What they did is they basically had all of that prerecorded for the expert in the company. But then they paired every new employee up with a member of his or her team to watch that together. So the idea is that it's actually, it's not someone from Legal going through it. It's your coworker, Sarah, or your coworker Bob, taking you through it, answering any questions or promising to find the answers to any questions. So, that you're not just getting 45 minutes of OSHA training. You're getting 45 minutes with Bob and the OSHA training and now you're getting to know a few people, right? If you're on the flip side of that, if you're joining a new company and you're in that situation, well then you need to force that connection, right? So that does mean you need to be the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. That gets a little more time with everybody. That means you need to be the bold one unfortunately, that sends emails to the new team and says, hey, I'd love to grab, you know a coffee zoom chat for 30 minutes sometime this week just so I can get to know more about you, et cetera, right? That one-on-one individual connections with each person on your team. That's going to help you feel connected to that team much longer.- So that brings me back to one of your earlier books "Friend of a Friend" and how to hack networking. So I love that advice of don't wait to be invited to the table. Once you're there, start reaching out to folks and just finding out what they do within the organization that you've joined. But what advice then do you have for people right now to nurture their network but also to extend it if they are looking for that next big adventure?- Yeah, so this is, I've been thinking about this one a lot actually 'cause about three weeks ago, there was a paper published from a couple of network scientists that I really admire, showing essentially the effect of lockdown on people's network and I thought this was really interesting. They showed a 25% decrease in the average person's network because we weren't meeting in person. We weren't meeting around events, et cetera, but here's what's really weird, that decrease was almost entirely driven by males. What they found is there was a gender divide, that females tend to bond over discussion, over interactions, over phone calls, like you said, over zoom calls and so they've done a better job in the last year of keeping their network active. Then have men who mostly bonded around activities. Now I'm going to give a bit of counter-intuitive advice here, which is that we need to take back the activities piece. You can't do it in person but you can be the person in your network planning these sort of shared activities. We saw this a little bit early in the pandemic, the most extroverted of our friends were inviting us to the zoom happy hours, the little connections, et cetera but they didn't have structure, right? And so that's kind of the missing piece, right? Try and see if you can start in your organization or in your network, you can say, you know, I'm going to start a book club. I'm going to start a virtual book club where we read a different leadership development book every month that we come together, right? That's a shared activity that'll help you, not only reconnect with people but also foster new connections 'cause other people can invite their friends and et cetera. Take back those activities. If you're on the guy side and you're like me and you've really neglected the one-on-one conversations then yeah, you need to do that too. But I think everybody can benefit from this idea that if humans have bonded around shared activities for a long time, that's what we've been missing for the last year and virtual is not an excuse for that. It's just different but it can be done.- It's interesting, I have to go and find that paper because I hadn't made that connection. I'm thinking about one of my male colleagues who has started a regular game session that brings people together but also coupled it with raising to now tens of thousands of dollars for not-for-profits and to impact in the communities around him. And I'm talking about me, what I decided to do was to set myself a weekly target of phone calls and handwritten cards and just sending messages out to people and coincidence maybe because those two examples of the gender different approaches came to mind. But it is again about being deliberate and thoughtful because whether and when we come out of this pandemic, we need our relationships intact and if we're staying here for a longer term, we need our relationships intact. So it's not soft and fluffy, pick up the phone guys but start reconnecting even if it's been a year because that's how we move through this together and would you in that sense of isolation.- Yeah, I totally agree. The only thing I'd add is sort of a trick from a buddy of mine who did it in the context of sort of professional services. He always had this phrase, always have something to invite people to. And that was like, you know he worked with financial advisors and agents meaning like always have a workshop on finance that you can... But I think the same is true for personal networks, right? Always have some activity that your running, book club, charity event, whatever it is that you could invite people to. My good friend actually our friend, 'cause he's MG 100 guy Michael Bungay Stainer has his Cocktails and Questions. I don't know if you're ever a part of that but it was a very structured thing. It wasn't just, hey, we're all randomly on zoom. It was a curated list of 10 people, a curated set of questions designed to you know bring out discussion. It was an event. Always have to the extent that this is going to go on. I have no idea how long that'll be. The best thing you can do is always have someone to invite people to. And by the way, when this is over, it's still good advice, right?- It is, 'cause work from home, you used the word experiment and I'm not sure that it's ever been really an experiment because companies have been doing this for years and decades. What it is now is a massive adoption and an element of it the hybrid approach is here to stay. There is no going back to what was or what we might remember. So start learning these habits and flexing and redefining how we connect and how we do work together because we can only all benefit.- Yeah, yeah I totally agree, the future of work it's not a binary, it's not office versus home. The future of work is working from anywhere and we better get ready for that, right? We better, whether you consider yourself a leader of remote teams or you consider yourself someone who is just trying to pass the time until you can get back to the office, you lead a remote team from now on because not everyone's going to be there all of the time like we were before.- So David, as we come to the end of our time together what final thoughts do you have for the people listening and watching this episode?- Oh man, I thought that one was good.- What, I know but I want to make sure that you have the opportunity.- You know, I love it. Again I think the biggest thing we left at the office was that unstructured time that builds bonds. And if you haven't already come up with a plan or a way that's unique to you. I don't want you to be inauthentic with your team or anything like that but a way that you would feel comfortable an activity you would feel comfortable putting on with your team that will bring out those non-work discussions. You can really up-level your team just by making a commitment to doing them on a regular basis for however long we're still not together. I think it will be longer than you think though. So this is a habit we should be cultivating now.- All right, well David, I want to thank you for your time here today and I hope you'll come back for a second part too because I think I could continue to talk with you for hours and for everybody listening today, make sure that you check out David's website, definitely watch his TED talk. Let's see if we can get it to 3 million. We'll make sure all of that information is in the show notes below and grab a copy of "Leading From Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams." I promise you will not be disappointed and it will help you to find that authentic way to be part of and lead the teams that you are engaged with. So thank you all and thank you David.- Thank you so much for having me.- [Man] Thank you so much for joining Morag today. If you enjoyed the show, please like, and subscribe so you don't miss a thing. If you learned something worth sharing, share it. Cultivate your relationships today when you don't need anything, before you need something. Be sure to follow SkyeTeam and Morag on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and if you have any ideas about topics we should tackle, interviews we should do or if you yourself would like to be on the show, drop us a line at email@example.com, that's S-K-Y-Eteam.com. Thanks again for joining us today and remember business is personal and relationships matter. We are your allies.
23 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
People First! Darren Kanthal, "How Positive Intelligence Will Transform your Leadership"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Darren Kanthal talk about the power of Positive intelligence!Chapter Layout:0:00 - Open1:20 - Origin Story2:49 - Emotional Arborist5:46 - Increasing Your Vocabulary8:13 - Transitions11:44 - Be Present13:02 - Positive Intelligence15:02 - Grudges18:19 - Take Your Own Medicine21:51 - Contact Info & Wrap Links:Website: https://www.candidcareercoaching.com/about-usPQ Saboteur Assessment: https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenkanthal/Transcript: - [INTRO] Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First with Morag Barrett- I'm excited for this week's episode of People First because my guest is my friend and colleague Darren Kanthal who is an executive career coach combining a passion for developing leaders with deep expertise in the career process and more than 20 years of experience in human resources and talent. He knows people. He's a New Yorker at Heart which I think just means he walks quickly. Darren has a uniquely unapologetic yet compassionate style and an individualized results approach, orientated approach to helping leaders show up as the best versions of themselves at every stage of their career. What I do like though is that Darren describes himself as an emotional arborist. He likes "Smokey the Bear" and believes only you can prevent emotional forest fires. So Darren, welcome to People First.- Thank you, thank you. That's a very well-written bio. I wonder who wrote that?- Well, I hope it was you, but if not it was me when I'll take credit for it. Hey but I'm going to come back to the emotional arborist piece in just a moment. But I'm curious when you were a wee lad you're sitting at elementary school and the teacher said Hey Darren, hey, Darren, pay attention. What do you want to be when you grow up? What was your answer?- So two answers. The obvious answer was a baseball player but I was not going to be a baseball player interestingly enough because I formulated a career in human resources. My grandmother was the personnel manager at my pediatrician's office, and I love my pediatrician. And so I wanted to be a doctor. That's what I wanted to be when I was growing up to be a pediatrician.- Fair enough. So did you end up studying medicine at all? I mean, how do you make a pivot from wanting to be a pediatrician to now a career coach and a human resources professional?- No, not at all. I really was not very good at Chemistry nor Biology and it became pretty evident in high school that being a doctor was not my path. And so going into college, right as a 18 year old kid my only idea was my dad was an entrepreneur. And so I was like, oh I'll go after business, I'll be a business major. And interestingly enough my college was so focused on four classes of economics which was yawn boring. But being in business was what I enjoyed. You know, I got a chance to work with my dad and took over his business when he passed away. And that was the runway to being an entrepreneur.- Entrepreneur, so as I shared in the introduction you describe yourself now as an emotional arborist and along with Smokey Bear that only we, I, can prevent emotional forest fires. Tell me what does that mean?- All right, so there's a story here of course, right? So for much of my formative years I exhibited really two emotions which was happiness and anger. Those closest to me knew that my range was much deeper and wider but in my immaturity and lack of emotional vocabulary I knew happiness and anger. That's what I had displayed. And it became a joke amongst my friends that I was this rock. Like, you can count on me to be happy or angry, and that was it. And fast forward to 2013, I get divorced happily. It's a good thing. I go to therapy because I'm 50% of this equation. And however much I want to blame my ex-wife I'm still a piece of this pie. And shortly after I started therapy, I cried for weeks. I cried at commercials, at billboards, at songs, driving, sitting, doing nothing. I cried. And I said to my therapist I think you broke me. And she said, no I didn't break you. You're exhibiting emotions you've held in for a long time. And really what came out was I am an emotional being. I have a wide range of emotions. I just didn't have the vocabulary. So that was the first step towards this emotional arborist. Throughout my early career the emotional forest fires that I would ignite were my emotional outbursts. What I've learned is a lot of my actions were to cover up insecurities. And so if I felt challenged in a way I didn't want to be challenged if my control was taken away, I puffed up and I got pointed, and loud and defensive, and accusatory, and all these different things. And those are emotional forest fires. Bridges were burned, I had to apologize, I've been let go or fired from jobs. And it's a difficult place to be.- It is and it's I listened to that story and I'm thinking, oh my goodness we could be twins because as a British woman, certainly as I grew up displaying emotions was not encouraged. And whilst I don't necessarily have the external forest fires that I've created, I certainly know that they were internal. I tamp them down. And in fact I recently wrote a blog post on LinkedIn that I'll put a link to it, but it was called "if you don't like the show change the channel." Because I had that emotional epiphany the dam well broke only in fall of last year. And I recount that story in that LinkedIn post. So I encourage people to go and have a look because whether we emote them or not we all are emotional creatures. It's just whether we tamp them down or how we let them out appropriately. So for people listening, I mean what are the first steps in terms of increasing your vocabulary from, you know the happy to angry spectrum? What advice do you have for us for even naming, name that emotion?- Honestly, a cheat sheet. And I'm happy sharing with you, my cheat sheet and it's a pie. And the middle of the pie is kind of the obvious emotion a lot of us feel happy, angry, sad, I said angry already, a couple of others. And then it goes out to the secondary and tertiary sides of that pie to show you, okay, you're angry, maybe you're disappointed, Maybe you're insecure. Maybe you're all these other things. And I didn't have that vocabulary. And so that's how I started. I looked at the primary and the center and I started moving out and realized like, oh my God I'm angry because of these other things.- So I love that because there are, we're told more than 400 emotions, but we remember the strong ones the intense ones, and I liken it to angry. So is angry incandescent rage that's been my latest phrase or is it miffed? And understanding the degree of anger allows us to think about, and to what reason? Why is it? Is it because I feel disrespected? Is it because I feel that my voice isn't being heard? Is it disappointed because somebody didn't put their mug in the dishwasher? And then once I understand the why and what I'm feeling I can make a choice as to how to respond versus just coming out, fight or flight.- Yes, and that's the second piece to it is the emotion is the alert signal. My innate way or my old way was to react as soon as I felt whatever. Like I was angry and then I'm enraged and I'm screaming at somebody. Nowadays, if I'm feeling rage or whatever the emotion may be that's on the negative side of the spectrum, there's a pause. And then there's a series of questions in my head. Just like you described, like why do I feel this way? What is happening? Is my body giving me a sensation? Do I know the answer? Am I just feeling annoyed? But don't even know why? And if so, what do I do with it, right? The old way was I would react not in kind. That's what I used to do. And nowadays I pause and I communicate with myself and others. I might say I'm annoyed today. I act out of character my pot not an excuse. It's an acknowledgement that I'm out of character today.- So in your work as an executive career coach, I mean when people are going through a time of transition whether I'm choosing to leave a career or move to a new role, or it's being foisted on me because I'm being exited from an organization that's a very emotional roller coaster. So what are your learnings and observations from the leaders that you're working with now as to how to navigate that?- You know interestingly enough, it was kind of what you were saying earlier about, you know the English way is not to talk about emotions and we tamp it down. And it's very similar in corporate America. I mean, I've heard so many times check your emotions at the door. It's business it's not personal. And I call BS on that, right? If you having a bad morning because your kid had a temper tantrum you got stuck in terrible traffic, you got a flat tire, you spilled coffee on your shirt, fill in the blank. How do you just turn that off? I don't know that you really can, I couldn't. Now some people can compartmentalize and I'm sure we can discuss that where I'm going with this is the way it relates to executives trying to up-level or improve upon competencies or in the individuals looking for a new job, It is being aware of how I feel. If I am recognized that I'm the center of my universe and that's not to be self-centered, even though it is right? But we see nothing other than through our own eyes and through perspectives, right? If these things make me annoyed or miffed or enraged or extraordinarily happy or fill in the blank and we're cognizant of the reasons that we feel that way, right now we're looking more clearly. Now we're not tamping things down and bottling up emotions that at some point are going to explode or spill out of our container. And so that's the big thing.- And I think it's even important more important now because that whole myth of leave your emotions at the door, which I agree with you BS, I talk about that in Cultivate my book, which is business is personal relationships matter. That's what's now when we're all work or many of us are working from home, and it's just a bedroom door or the kitchen door that stands between us and our family then it's not just the emotions we're bringing into the work meetings and our Zoom calls but also what's happening in the Workday. And how do we take them? And how does that impact our family our social and that part of our lives too?- Yeah, and that's, you know excuse me. that is something that I hear a lot from my clients which is the dissatisfaction, the lack of fulfillment they have at work bleeds into their personal time. There's a lack of enjoyment in things they've always enjoyed being outside, skiing or snowboarding, riding bikes, exercising, fill in the blank. They're not quite as present with their families and think about all the downstream effects, right? If you're not present with your kids or your family or your loved ones, or your friends, right? They start thinking there's something wrong with them. And you may or may not even realize that you're more reserved, or isolated, or impatient, or not quite as funny as you normally are or all those things. That is one of the things that I see most often and that is relatively unspoken- Okay I love what you're saying there. And of course, what we've shared is we need to be able to name our emotions. We need to be curious as to why am I feeling it? Why am I feeling joyous today? Or why am I feeling like I'm working through peanut butter? And everything's an effort today because then that gives us a choice on how we respond. So what advice would you give to people right now to be present and centered and channel their emotions in a way that is helpful for them and others?- The big thing for me has been the pause. And I've gotten this advice so many times in my career because I was the guy that fired off the email when I was pissed because something happened. And I had so many managers tell me to pause or to write the email and send it to them or send it to myself or whatever the thing was. The biggest thing is pause, right? Many of us are actually pretty aware of, hey I'm about to lose it, or I'm feeling overwhelmed, or fill in the blank on the emotion. If we can pause before we take action if we can use the emotion as an alert signal, kind of like the pain of burning your hand on a hot stove, right? That's the alert signal that it's hot off. If the negative emotion is the pain of the hot stove and we're like, whoa! let me pause before I react, that is the biggest thing. It's very hard. I'm not suggesting it's a simple thing yet that is a one piece of advice that has been so ignored early in my career. And so adopted and accepted now.- Now I know one of the tools that you use actively in your coaching practice and we do too is positive intelligence. So give us a little bit, what is positive intelligence and how have you found it useful?- Positive intelligence is built on the premise or the concept of mental fitness and in the same way that you exercise your body to become strong, in positive intelligence we say you have to exercise your brain to be mentally fit. And we define mental fitness as your ability to handle life's challenges with a positive rather than negative outcome but with mindset, sorry not outcome. The ability to handle life's challenges with a positive rather than negative mindset.- Does that mean I have to be little house on the prairie skipping through the daisies glass half full all the time.- You know, it's funny, some of my clients will say that, they'll say, I feel like you're just telling me put on rose-colored glasses And no, it's not that right? It's not to suggest that we don't, we, as in people who practice positive intelligence or we as humans, don't feel negative emotions, don't lose our tempers, don't fill in the blank. What it is saying is that we, if we are mentally fit, can overcome some challenges that may otherwise derail us or hijack us and not get hijacked. One of the greatest outcomes that I've had from positive intelligence is what I call the recovery time from hijack to recovery. I used to hold grudges. I used to beat myself up for mistakes. I used to berate you for whatever I deemed that you weren't good at. And then that was the story. And that would go on for days sometimes. Today currently, the time I get hijack to recovery can be a matter of minutes or hours. It has not been days in well over 12 months. I have not held a grudge for days in over 12 months, where earlier in my life I would hold it for weeks sometimes.- And what I like about what you're sharing with those stories is my guess is that some of those grudges that you held, you held against me and I had absolutely no idea, maybe ranting at me. But you're ranting at me, you know I'm off screen. You're ranting at me in your head, you're ranting at me with your significant other or the dog or the cat or anybody who will listen but you're not sharing it with me. So I'm oblivious.- That's right.- And then the fact that I'm oblivious the next time you and I are in a meeting together just fuels your inner rage Because how could I not know?- Right.- And here I am going. Everything's great, you know? So how do you get to understand then what those saboteurs are? And then shorten that time to recovery that you talked about- Difficult question to answer just because there's a lot to it. Simplistically there is a free assessment to identify what we call our saboteurs. And these are our derailers. These are the characters that play out in life. Things like the avoider, we avoid difficult conversations or uncomfortable situations, or even the discomfort of the emotions we feel, right? There is a saboteur called the pleaser. It's the person that says yes to everything and puts themselves second third or fourth to everybody else's needs and at some point they become resentful. There is one of my top ones and more I know one of yours as well is restless. There was always something better out there. I'm easily distracted. I'm looking at you but my mind is thinking about something else. These are just some of the characters that we call saboteurs.- I love the little voices in your the little icons on your shoulder that can cause this. And I know for my own purposes you said avoider is one of my top ones. In fact, I don't know if it will show but I scored an 8.8, hey a winner here for avoider. So I will put the link to the assessment in the show notes so that others can go and look at it but here's it coach me now then Darren now that we know the avoider is my top characteristic for those listening, what might that look and feel like? And of course now, what do I do with that information?- Yeah, my belief and what I coach a lot of my clients on is recognize what you're doing, name it as we said earlier with the emotion, sit there for as long as you need to sit there and then think about the action it needs to take to move. In my coaching I'm a big fan I'm a big believer in, we need to take action to move, move from negative emotion, move from negative situations just move. So the coaching would play out in a sequence of like this of where do you see the avoider showing up? What is the story you tell yourself, right? Is there a lie you tell yourself like, oh, I'm going to avoid this difficult conversation because I don't want to hurt their feelings. Or I don't want to sit in my discomfort or it's easier if I just don't deal with it. And we know typically it's not it's easier in the moment, but then it lingers- A small hill becomes a mountain when we don't have these tough conversations. And here's the irony as a leadership coach myself as somebody who creates program and teaches others to have effective conversations taking my own medicine, it just proves on human too. But it comes to taking my own medicine. Cause there's all of those reasons that you've talked about. I don't want to upset you well, surely Darren knows, he understands, oh well maybe it will go away on its own.- Yeah, and it doesn't, that's the thing, right? So there's an identification of the situation. There's an identification of what are you telling yourself? Which is typically a lie, right? Now with that being said sometimes it does make sense not to engage in the fight. That's all we say, pick your battles, right? So they're not always bad, meaning it's not an always or never.- What I like about that though is it allows me to let it go. Because if I'm choosing not to have the conversation then I can't carry the baggage of Darren's not meeting my expectations because that's a twofer. So if I am going to continue to vent and ruminate on it then I need to have that conversation.- That is right. Correct, yep. There's also an element and what I say a lot of times is you have to give yourself grace, you've got to be willing to forgive yourself for your imperfections. If you did avoid a battle that in hindsight you should not have, beating yourself up further for not doing it serves no purpose other than to bring you further down. Give yourself grace. I recognize in that moment I avoided, okay what do you do with it now? Do you want to revisit the story and go back to that person? Do you want to say, okay this is a learning spot for me? And I will remember this. Now I have the knowledge and power for next time to say, okay, I avoided that conversation with so and so on this particular day. If we remember that much, I'm not going to do it again. So you got to give yourself grace- Give ourselves grace. So Darren, I know you're also in addition to being the executive career coach and HR consultant you're a sought out keynote speaker. And you recently spoken for SHRM. I mean recently spoken for The Association Talent Development. What are some of the key messages that you're sharing in your keynote presentations?- So I do speak on positive intelligence. It has been the thing for me. So much so I think about life before and after PQ. And the main messages are one be able to recognize when your saboteurs come to play when you may be spinning or stuck on negative emotion and stop, recognize it and stop. Two is and of course this gets into the positive intelligence program is do some mental exercise, stop, pause, rest, do whatever you do in the positive intelligence world we call them PQ reps, which are mental exercises which in a functional MRI switches the gray matter in your brain from negative side which is left survivor brain to right side which is our human conscious brain, positive emotion brain. So stop the negative emotion do something to shift your brain energy and then find a different perspective. Now it doesn't mean just pick one out of thin air but what could happen if we take this different perspective, right? What is the positive that could come? What gift might come, right? Yes, I may be uncomfortable having this difficult situation and what may come is they could be really appreciative that I'm giving them this feedback. I am no longer harboring the conversation of this grudge that I've been holding for two weeks. I'm respecting my friend and colleague Morag by saying Morag I'm not happy with you right now. Those are the three main points.- Well thank you I appreciate that. So Darren how can people learn more about you and the work that you do- I am the only Darren Kanthal in the United States. Lucky enough really your last name is from Germany, and not a happy story but my grandparents defected Germany during World War II, Jewish, and there's a very small clan of us in the United States. I'm the only Darren Kanthal so easily you can find me on LinkedIn and my website is candidcareercoaching.com.- All right, well, Darren, I will make sure all of that information is in the show notes. I wish you every continued success and thank you for sharing the insights on positive intelligence.- Thank you Morag, nice talking to you.- [Narrator] Thank you so much for joining Morag today. If you enjoyed the show please like and subscribe so you don't miss a thing. If you learn something worth sharing, share it. Cultivate your relationships today when you don't need anything before you need something. Be sure to follow Skyeteam and Morag on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And if you have any ideas about topics we should tackle, interviews we should do, or if you yourself would like to be on the show drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's S-K-Y-E team.com. Thanks again for joining us today and remember business is personal and relationships matter. We are your allies.
30 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
People First! Jen Goldman-Wetzler, "Free Yourself From Conflict!"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Dr. Jen Goldman-Wetzler discuss how to free yourself from conflict!00:00 Open00:08 Intro01:50 Origin Story03:11 What Is Conflict?05:08 Patterns06:33 Breaking Patterns09:49 Do Patterns Change With The Situation?11:16 Happy Ending15:30 Dealing with Emotions24:58 Little House on the Prairie27:22 Where to Find You & WrapLinks:https://jengoldmanwetzler.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-goldman-wetzler/Transcript: - [INTRO] Welcome to SkyeTeam's "People First" with Morag Barrett.- Welcome to this week's "People First" and the theme for our conversation this week is conflict. One of my pet topics because it is a topic and an environment I try to avoid. But my guest this week, Dr. Jen Goldman-Wetzler is the CEO of Alignment Strategies Group. She is the premier New York based consulting firm that helps CEOs and their executive teams optimize organizational health and growth. But the key here is that she is the author of "Optimal Outcomes," which I can see on the shelf behind you Jen. "Optimal Outcomes; Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life." See, the secret to success. I can't wait to learn more. And this book was selected as Financial Times' book of the month. She's a keynote speaker for Fortune 500 companies, public institutions and leading startups including Google, Harvard Law School and the United Nations. Ooh, I'm looking forward to some stories about that Jen. And a former counter-terrorism fellow with the US department of Homeland Security. She has a PhD in social organizational psychology from Columbia University and has taught conflict freedom at Columbia for a decade. Jen, welcome to "People First."- Thank you so much. It's great to be with you.- Well, as I said as somebody who personally avoids conflict wherever I can, sweep it under the carpet, pretend it never happened, I am looking for some words of wisdom from you as we go through our conversation. But as ever I want to start with the origin story. So when you were a little girl, I don't know. Were you sitting there imagining that you were going to become a counter-terrorism fellow? What did you want to be when you grew up?- I was not dreaming about being a counter-terrorism fellow. I was very interested in design, in interior design and architecture. I loved looking at houses and I grew up in a like a little red apartment building at the end of a long street in Riverdale, in the Bronx, in New York. And so, looking at houses and, you know, designing rooms was a fantasy to me. It was not something that was part of the day-to-day for me. And so that really, you know today what I do is I design organizations. I design lives, I help people design their own work lives, their own personal lives, their own organizational structures and so, you know, that's how I think that there is some connection there from what I love to do as a kid.- Okay, that's also, I was trying to think, well the most I can think of as conflict for interior design was arguing over paint colors and trying to decide is this little swatch going to look fabulous when I do the whole wall? So thank you for that. Well, let's start with the basics, conflict. What is conflict? How do you define conflict?- Yeah, well, people have so many different ways of defining what is conflict and what is conflict resolution? You know, the interesting question to me has been how do we, why am I talking about conflict freedom as opposed to resolving conflict? So, to answer your question one way to define conflict is simply say when people who are interacting with each other have different points of view or different interests that don't seem to be reconcilable. And over the last 40 years, we've had a lot of research and a lot of practice come out about how to resolve that kind of conflict. And a lot of that has come, has been about win-win negotiation. And the idea that even if we, our positions are different if we get underneath those positions and look at what are the interests that each person involved has, the reasons why we want what we want, it can be easier to come to a win-win solution. My work is all about what to do when that kind of process fails, when that win-win negotiation just doesn't work. We've seen again, over the past many decades, time and time again, whether you look at the international realm or the business realm, or the, you know inside the home community realm, very often these best practices using interest based win-win negotiation just doesn't work. And so my work is all about looking at seemingly intractable situations, where we feel stuck and how can we free ourselves from those situations from the thought patterns, from the behavioral patterns from the emotional patterns that get and keep us stuck on those conflict loops.- So where do we learn these patterns that get us stuck in the first place?- Well, very often we learn them from a very young age. We learned them from teachers, parents, coaches, religious clergy, you know, anyone in our lives who is helping to teach us something about the world we are likely to get the messages from them. And sometimes it really is just the most obvious, you know nuclear family that we learn how to deal with conflict from there. And I talk about these as conflict habits. These are the ways that we learn how to approach conflict. So you, at the start of the show said, I will admit, I like to avoid conflict as much as I possibly can. So that is one of the four conflict habits that I write about in the book and that I work with. We either avoid it. We blame ourselves, some of us. Many of us blame other people. And finally in somewhat more counter-intuitively what I have found is that now after 40 years of teaching people how to collaboratively work with conflict some of us actually relentlessly seek to collaborate with other people, even when it's not working for us. So we can actually get stuck in conflict by trying to collaborate with other people when those other people are unwilling to cooperate with us, we stay stuck.- So again, realize, even though my internal, my natural desire is to avoid it there are times where I have to face up to it and own it. And I know in the book you talk about eight practices and that first one is knowing your habits and patterns. So for me, as soon as my heart rate goes up I can feel that adrenaline spike and it's either fight or flight, more often flight. I then have to make a choice to do different. So how do we break these patterns and know when to push and when actually flight or keeping quiet is the appropriate answer?- Hmm mm. Great questions. So, the first thing to do as you noted, and that's why it's the first practice in the book is about simply pausing and noticing how you are stuck, because without noticing that you're stuck or how you're stuck, or why you're stuck it really is impossible to break free of anything because you don't know what you would need to break free from. So the first practice is to simply notice your conflict habit and notice whoever is involved in your situation with you, guess what might be their conflict habits. Sometimes this is not so hard to do, right? There are four choices and it's often very obvious that you know either I'm stuck in a blame-blame pattern where I and one other person are blaming each other back or I am avoiding while the other person is relentlessly trying to collaborate with me, or we're both shut down. We're both avoiding each other and that's why nothing is getting done. So your question about how do you know the difference between a time when avoiding might make sense versus a time when avoiding might be less helpful and you might need to break that habit, break the pattern by changing your habit, a habitual response in that situation. The best way I can help you think about this is if you are consciously, intentionally choosing to avoid a situation because it's one you don't care about very much. The issue is not that important to you. The relationship is not that important to you, then might be a great choice to avoid a situation. But if you are finding you're consistently avoiding a certain topic or consistently avoiding a certain person and that means your work can't get done, your relationship is on the rocks. And that this is not something that you have intentionally chosen it's more like a knee-jerk reaction that falls more in the category where I'd say, take a pause notice where you're stuck. And by the way, there's a free quiz online. Over a 1,000 people have taken it at this point that people can take if they're interested. It's at optimaloutcomesbook.com/assessment and you'll see the conflict habits quiz and you can take it there to, to find out very quickly. It's a seven minute quiz, what your conflict habit is and you can ask other people to take it as well and then you'll know what pattern have we gotten locked in? What's my habit? What's your habit? And what pattern has that created for us?- Wonderful. I'll make sure to include that information in the show notes as well. And is the pattern that I have going to be the same in every conflict situation or does it change depending on the who, what, where, the scope and complexity, I suppose, of the issue?- Yeah. Typically our habit is more or less consistent across our own behavior, across our own lives but the pattern is going to change depending on who the other person or people are that you're involved with. So, if we can just take the example we've already got from what you offered us. So if your habit is avoid or shut down over time avoiding consistently means you're basically shutting down. So if your habit is shut down, then if you and I are in conflict, what's happening is, 'cause my default conflict habit is blame others. I am not proud of this but I will admit to it 'cause it's true. So if you and I, you can imagine what's going to happen, right? I'm going to be blaming you and you're going to run away,- Yeah.- And go hide. And that doesn't help, you know, then we're stuck. There's nothing either one of us can really do. I'm frustrated 'cause I'm, you know, so upset and blaming. So that's our pattern. But if you have a partner, a business colleague who is also a shutdown, uses a shutdown habit, then you know you're both shutting down and also stuck. So the pattern that you're in depends on who the other people are that you're involved with in any given situation.- So with the work that you've done with leaders and teams can you share just an example and a story about how an awareness around both the nature of conflict and the patterns that each person brought, how that affected change and hopefully a happy ending?- Yes, absolutely. So I was working with the CEO of a design firm in New York City and the head of sales. And, similar to one of the examples that we were just talking about a moment ago the head of this company just had a real temper and he would get angry incredibly easily. And anytime that someone did something that would set him off, you could be sure that he was going to kind of just run in and go blame them and yell at them. And that was a pattern that he and his head of sales were in. Anything that she would do that he didn't like he would just immediately go and start screaming his head off at her. And what would she do? She would cower in a corner. Sometimes, you know, start crying. This was not easy or good for either one of them. And then she would kind of go hide out for days. So sometimes, you know, they couldn't get their work done for days or weeks at a time because of this interaction that they would have. So it was not only impacting the two of them negatively but also their teams and other folks in the organization, clients. And so, my work with them was to help both of, to help bring to their attention for each of them the role that they were playing in this dynamic with each other. For him, for the CEO, to help him see what he was doing and how he was being triggered emotionally and how the impact of him doing that would lead her to go hide. And also to help her see that her hiding wasn't doing any of them any good and that what he did wasn't personal to her. She was able to see that the conflict habit that he had of blaming and yelling was not about her, though it was scary to her when it happened and unsettling to her when it happened but it wasn't about her specifically. And so just pausing and helping each of them notice this dynamic and take responsibility for their part helped each of them change their behavior to some degree. And in this case the power really came for the director of sales, right? So this is an imbalanced power relationship in many ways. You know, one of them reports to the other the head of sales reported to the CEO. So there's a lack of power and a power imbalance structurally but also personality wise. You know, someone who's screaming often kind of can feel or seem more powerful than someone who's sitting and crying or cowering in a corner. So she was actually able to take her power back and of course, there's gender dynamics there as well, but she was able to take some power back by recognizing that her going and hiding away wasn't actually doing anyone any good. And she was able to call, start to call him out on his behavior which was pretty incredible for me to watch happen. And it was effective the way, I mean, we can talk a lot more about exactly how she did it and why it was effective, but that's an example.- No, I love that. And emotions are often are not necessarily the trigger of conflict, but they're certainly a parallel experience. I mean, I think recently as much as I run away from conflict, I use the phrase incandescent rage and I did not respond to the conflict in the moment whilst experiencing incandescent rage but I likened it to like the Avengers. There was fire coming out of my eyes. I could feel it in every atom of my body, this incandescent rage. And whilst those emotions you can wait, you know, the advice is always wait until you're cool and calm, disconnect so you can reconnect more powerfully. Those emotional reactions are valid. And how does one communicate those to the other person so that they understand how important this situation is and not dismissing it or brushing it under the carpet? Or do we ignore the emotions and just deal with the thing 'cause it's the logic and the heart. How do you balance the two?- Yeah. I would not choose to ignore emotions because what we know is that when we try to tamp those emotions down and ignore them and push them away they just ooze out in other ways that we can't control and don't tend to, that doesn't tend to do us any favors, that doesn't tend to help us deal constructively. So, my advice about emotions is to first of all, again just stop and pause as you can. Sometimes that pause, you might actually start to catch yourself in the moment. So I talked about two different types of pausing; a proactive pause and a reactive pause. So a proactive pause, and these can be, you know whether you're doing it proactively or reactively you can take anywhere from a 30 second or one second pause to, you know, an hour or two hour long meditation session, but start small if you haven't, if you're not used to doing this kind of practice my advice is start small, 30 seconds, two minutes and just sit quietly and ask yourself what am I feeling right now? That's the first question and see if you can identify or name an emotion. So you named an emotion, incandescent rage which is fantastic.- Maybe a blog post about it eventually, but yes.- Great, great. So identify, what am I feeling? Am I feeling, you know, right now we could even do that together.- Okay.- So just take a moment and notice what am I feeling? Might be feeling interested, might be feeling bored, might be feeling excited, might be feeling calm. Angry, happy, joyful, sad, fearful. So there are five basic emotions that researchers have have noted that humans tend to feel and then there are all different variations coming out from there. And so, first of all, identify, how am I feeling, what am I feeling? Second, we can let those emotions settle. So Zen, you know Buddhists, Vietnamese Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggests just like a muddy glass of water, if you've got a muddy glass of water if you just set the glass down the mud will settle to the bottom and then you have clean water that you can drink. And so the same can be true with our emotions that sometimes not necessarily necessarily when we're dealing with incandescent rage but sometimes if we're just dealing with some sadness or an inkling of fear, settling down can help it just glide right on by and then the next emotion will come along. But the question for me, helping people in conflict, high conflict settings is typically that doesn't work because our emotions are ones like rage. And when you were feeling rageful the idea that you would sit, you know, you'd have to sit for a very long time sometimes to enable that to settle in. So then my challenge is to ask yourself what message or what messages are my emotions trying to send me? So the emotion of fear is often trying to send us the message danger. There's danger here.- Yep.- There's danger ahead. So then the question is, what do I want to do? How could I constructively deal with that danger that might be present? Or sadness, right? Am I feeling sad? Why am I feeling sad? What message is that trying to send me? Or anger. Oftentimes anger is there to tell us there's an injustice that's occurred or there's been a boundary that's been crossed. And so, you know, some of the most famous people leaders of our time and in history who have dealt with their anger constructively are people who have said, I feel angry, right? Martin Luther King, Jr, Rosa Parks, these are people who didn't ignore their anger. They actually acknowledged and recognized their anger and used it as a catalyst for constructive social change. So I encourage us all to think of ourselves like those leaders and ask ourselves, how can I use this anger for doing construct, taking constructive action?- And I like that advice. And the advice that you can do it in a second 'cause sometimes in a real life or death situation you don't want to say, hang, hang on. Just going to sit here for an hour and just work out, you know what's going to happen because then it might be too late. But even in that second, it's the curiosity. I mean, I remember thinking, wow, 'cause for me to go incandescent rage that's, wow. What has provoked that and being British, trying to damp down and put it back in the box but also how do I channel this in a way that helps us move the situation forward? So you're talking there about what is it that I'm looking for? What is it that that CEO and head of sales were looking for? What's the future between incandescent rage and the outcome? So how did you help them then to narrow their conflict gap or however you describe it and create a more productive future together?- Well, what the head of sales started to do, like I was saying a little bit before, was call out that CEO when he would start to get rageful and angry and yell. She started to find the courage within herself and courage is a piece of the final practice of the book. It really, you know, this, these practices are simple but they are not easy, necessarily. And courage is one of those that it's very simple but not easy. And the way you know fear often tells us that it's a moment that is going to require courage of us. So she was fearful but she was able to kind of gather up her courage and say I'm going to do something different than I've done before. So if normally I would cower in a corner, today I'm going to experiment and I'm going to walk up to him and I'm going to say, you know when you yell at me like that, it causes me to want to run away and that doesn't help either one of us. So my request going forward is that if you are angry about something that I have done or said that you come to me once you've cooled down and we can talk about it, but I cannot and I will not respond to you when you're in this emotional state. And you know it didn't take her having to say it more than once or twice for him to kind of be so taken aback. So that's what, one of the practices that I talk about is take making a pattern breaking path. And one of the defining features of a pattern breaking path is that you do something surprisingly different than you've done before. So we can all imagine this woman who's been cowering in her office in tears suddenly coming back with these words of power. This was very surprising. And what happens when you surprise someone else by doing some things so different than what you've done before is that it jolts them out of this conflict loop, this pattern that you've both been stuck in together as well in a good way. So it really kind of jolted him out of this pattern and he realized, I can't, this is not going to work. This hasn't been working. It helped him see that what he had been doing wasn't working. But again, you know, it required an immense amount of courage for her to do that with my help of course.- I love that. And in the work I've done with individuals, I'm coaching a CEO right now, or with teams, when they go home at the end of the day and do what I call BMW, bitch, moan and wine about, oh, you won't believe what so-and-so said. A, you're having the conversation with the wrong person but there's a sign to your point to go back and express our needs and wants in a way that draws a line in the sand like she did. So yes, I will hear you out when you're frustrated but after you've calmed down.- Yeah.- And by articulating it, you can hold yourself accountable for not cowering going forward but also hold them accountable for not yet come back in an hour,- yeah.- If they're still at the simmer point.- Yeah.- But if we don't have the conversation 'cause we're stuck in the pattern of, in my case say avoiding, then we're never going to renegotiate how are we going to disagree.- Absolutely.- Yeah.- So I'm curious that in terms of your book and your research I'm assuming that the intent isn't that we end up in "Little House On The Prairie" where nothing is ever contentious.- That's right. That's right. That's not life. So conflict is an inevitable part of life and it can be used in creative, you know, to push creativity forward, to enable innovation. And it, there's a ton of research that shows that that is the case that conflict can be used for positivity in the world. So, the question in my mind is not how to get rid of conflict or how to free yourself forever from conflict. The work is when you're stuck in a conflict loop that just keeps going around and around and around, no matter what you or other people have done to try to break that loop and you just haven't been able to do it, these eight practices, designing a pattern breaking path, being courageous, reckoning with what would happen if I walked away versus what's going to happen if I just do nothing and stay put and stay in conflict versus what might happen if I go for this imagined future that I have. How can I imagine a better future? Taking into account the reality of the situation that I'm in and the people I'm dealing with; that all of these practices can help us make breaks in that conflict loop and then in looking for what's our optimal outcome we can actually free ourselves from that loop by designing a pattern breaking path out of the loop.- What I like about the work that you've done and you offer the assessment, I'll make sure again for those watching and listening to the podcast go and take the self assessment and find out what your own conflict style is, is through the conflict style assessment and also the "Optimal Outcomes," your book, you're naming the elephant. And it's breaking the pattern of, well you're just being a jerk. You were mean to me at playtime. You stole my toy, you know, whatever that keeps us trapped and allows us to reflect on either culpable negligence. How did I either create the situation either by creating it or by not articulating my needs and wants. And then we can, once you've named the elephant we can start working together as to how are we going to reduce the impact. So it doesn't undermine what we can deliver at work together or our individual reputation.- Right.- So, once I've read the book, once we've taken the assessment if we want to learn more about the work that you do at team levels and so on, where and what do we, where do we go to discover more about your work, Jen?- Well, the best place is optimaloutcomesbook.com. And there's a ton of free resources. In addition to the assessment, there's also a emotion traps assessment that you can take as well. And then there are 10 other PDF files that people can download for free that walk you through each one of the practices in the book. There's a values inventory. There's a mapping, a practice which walks you through, step-by-step how to do these practices in order to free yourself and others from conflict. And I would also add, I love what you just said before. One thing that differentiates this set of practices this "Optimal Outcomes" method from other conflict "resolution methods," is that conflict resolution requires you working with someone else to collaborate with someone else to achieve your goals. The "Optimal Outcomes" method is really the opposite. It's all about what power do you have inside of your own self within yourself that you actually don't need anyone else's cooperation to do. So everything we've talked about from designing a pattern breaking path to noticing your own emotional needs and the traps that you fall into and how to change those, it's all about what you can do yourself. Even the story that you know we talked about about the sales, the head of sales it was her who was able to make a change even in a situation where she arguably had less power than the other person involved.- Powerful. I love it. Jen, thank you very much for sharing your wisdom today and for joining us on People First.- Thank you so much for having me. It's been such a delight to be in conversation with you. I look forward to more.- [Narrator] Thank you so much for joining Morag today. If you enjoyed the show, please like and subscribe so you don't miss a thing. If you learned something worth sharing, share it. Cultivate your relationships today when you don't need anything before you need something. Be sure to follow SkyeTeam and Morag on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And if you have any ideas about topics we should tackle, interviews we should do, or if you yourself would like to be on the show drop us a line at email@example.com. That's S-K-Y-Eteam.com. Thanks again for joining us today and remember business is personal and relationships matter. We are your allies.
20 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
People First! Tian Shi, " How Not To Underestimate Or be Underestimated"
Welcome to SkyeTeam's People First! In this series, we explore the people side of successful business and careers. We all have a story to share, a leadership journey that we are experiencing.We'll be interviewing authors, business leaders, thought leaders, and people like you to uncover the latest ideas, resources, and tools to help you become more effective at work - and in life. As it turns out, the secret is cultivating winning relationships. Business is personal, and relationships matter!So, sit back, and grab a coffee as Morag and Tian Shi talk about how not to underestimate or be underestimated!Chapter Layout:0:00 - Open0:55 - Origin Story2:53 - Pivot Point6:44 - The Book17:53 - What Are You Taking Away?18:45 - Contact Info & Wrap Links: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/exceptionally-average-by-tian-shi#/https://www.linkedin.com/in/tian--shi/ - [Intro] Welcome to SkyeTeam's, People First with Morag Barrett- So my guest this week on People First is the exceptionally talented Tian Shi who is currently studying at Georgetown University but is also the author of an exceptional book called "Exceptionally Average Through Their Eyes." And I'm looking forward to learning more about the book, the research that you've done with entrepreneurs around the world and your leadership journey, but welcome to People First Tian.- Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate your time.- Well, I'm looking forward to this conversation and as with ever with my opening question, it's all about the leadership journeys that we are on, whether it's towards the beginning of our leadership journey as you are role modeling or midstream as I would like to think for myself. So if you flash back to when you were in elementary school, just a wee las and the teacher's going to you Tian what do you want to be when you grow up? What was your answer?- When I was younger, I definitely loved the community aspect of school. So mentorships, having older friends, having younger friends who share my personal journey and professional journey. So when I was younger I definitely wanted to be a kind of child doctor a biologist because I love interacting with people, I love sciences, I love how people worked and being a doctor sounded cool to me. But as I discovered in high school and my first year as a biology major, I am very bad with needles, very bad with blood and very bad with dissections. So if you stuck me in the operation room, I will be the first one to faint. So that kind of took me off my pre-med track and with my passion education policy and business. And my love for talking to people, I really discovered that maybe, consulting was a way from me because by virtue of going to Georgetown, everyone is in investment banking or management consulting. And in the middle of a pandemic in 2020 staring at a screen for 10 hours, listened to the same people talk about the same things, it was not for me. So I had to pivot again and kind of understand myself, understand my values, understand what I want to do for myself and that's how I came upon entrepreneurship. Which is a place where I can marry my personal passions with my professional aspirations to create meaningful change with my career. So that's how I ended up here at a place that's a very, very different to how I started.- So it's interesting this is one of the things that fascinates me about the United States of America, the university system here, because it seems like you have much more hybrid degree programs than I certainly recall from the UK where you go and you study finance or you study architecture. So what is it that you are studying now as you've gone through these pivots and decided, okay I'm not going to be doing the gory end of doctoring. So what is the course that you're following right now?- Right now I'm a biology major studying cognitive science and entrepreneurship. So I wanted to take my niche technical background in biology and apply it to the business end of entrepreneurship. Maybe working on a startup, maybe working at, as an entrepreneur at a large med tech company focused on innovation. So it's more, I want to to use my technical background to benefit society and to bring my niche knowledge to help everyone.- Okay. It's fascinating. And you've already started 'cause I understand you invented a smart tattoo, now the woman who's finally got tattoos, but not smart tattoos. Tell me about that and what was it, what's the problem you were trying to solve? And what was the solution that you created?- I, going into my senior year of high school I was fascinated with neuroscience because potentially that could be my major in college, I did not know. So I went to a summer program in Chicago that was focused on neuroscience it was basically a first year college course and I understood the fundamentals of neuroscience, neurons, synapses et cetera. But what really fascinated me was Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease because I knew from my grandparents, in my minimal interaction with my grandparents that it's something that is very pervasive and affects a lot of our older populations. So that really stuck with me and I went to a camp in Boston for a few weeks and it was more of an innovation camp. So little did I know that I might be an entrepreneur one day but 17 year old me was fascinated with Alzheimer's and I kind of backtracked this disease to dopamine because dopamine is something that we've heard about and in our middle school days, in classes everyone needs dopamine to survive. But dopamine is the primary controller of our growth, our emotions. So too much dopamine would result in excessive energy. So for example, ADHD is caused by an excess in dopamine but on the other side of the coin too little dopamine results into depression, other diseases. So there's usually that, U, bell-shaped curve where the perfect amount of dopamine is necessary for the survival and persistence of people. So I developed this bi-layer tattoo that is modeled after an MIT iGEM project, that the first layer the top layer would sit on the top of your skin and the second layer would go into your bloodstream and detect for dopamine metabolites in your blood stream because you really cannot detect with dopamine because your brain wouldn't allow anything to enter and kind of mess with its functionings. And then the bottom layer would detect for the perfect range of dopamine. And it will send high colors to the top layer where a red color were, were mean too little or too much and a green would mean that there's sufficient dopamine in your body. And you, if there's too much dopamine in your body you can get rid of it by exercising or meditating. And just too little dopamine, you can supplement your diet with chocolate, almonds or yogurt. And that is just something that developed when I was maybe 17 years old. I hadn't really put into the lab or tested any of the results, but it's something that I still have on my desktop that I look at day-to-day and just kind of see how I can develop this something, this invention without knowing organic chemistry, biochemistry, all of the hard sciences, but hopefully one day I can carry out and see information.- I love it. I love the big thinking and I have confidence if it's still on your desktop, that you will get there and it comes back to my book cultivate. And then it's not necessarily that you need to have the understanding in organic chemistry, is going to be finding that right connection. And then together you can transform the idea into maybe a practical solution. But what makes me think is let's talk about your book then. And ironically, given everything that you've just shared, the title that you've chosen is exceptionally average and already that is not two words that I would use to describe you. So tell me about the inspiration behind your book "Exceptionally Average Through Their Eyes."- Definitely. So kind of going back to high school, I was never the one in front of the podium I was the quiet girl who spent Friday nights and Saturday nights in her bedroom studying. But the transformation that I undergone through high school was phenomenal because if you had told me as a freshman that I will be school president, the captain of the track team, the leader of the school newspaper and yearbook, I would say you're completely kidding me. Please don't tell these lies. But it was something that kind of, I struggled with when I was younger because I will never get the awards, I will never get the recognition, but everyone knew me as an individual who has ambitions and who can stand for her own moral values. So exceptionally average comes from the fact that I have been exploring who I am as a person and how I can achieve great things by being inherently myself and not sticking to the traditional values of oh, I have to be the one raising my hand or I have to be the one in front of a podium addressing everyone.- So it's about understanding what makes us all uniquely us as individuals and being able to show up at that versus wearing the mask and pretending or trying to fit in elsewhere. And of course you've lived globally. So can you think and share a story from your life about where you've either felt the need to fit in or where you have surprised yourself and others by being you and fitting out is how I'm going to describe it. Standing out, let's go with standing out.- Of course. So my freshman year, we have these pre-orientation programs for freshmen first year students to kind of show them the University of Georgetown and kind of how everyone fit in. And the program that I chose was leadership and beyond. And it was a very tight knit program with 40 individuals including mentors and mentees. And we go through a seven day program of understanding ourselves, who we are, what we stand for. And how each of us can be leaders in our own ways. And that process, that that week long program was incredibly it still sticks with me. I still think about the times when I was sitting with my 40 peers, looking under the stars and telling our personal stories to, like our defining stories of who we are. And I discovered through that program, that each of us are incredible. Each of us has our own stories and each of us has a potential to achieve great things. We all got to George town in different ways and we bring so many ideas and thoughts and just all of us combined are so different but we all are the same. We're all people. And that really made me realize that I don't really have to fit in because I'm not fitting into anything I have to fit in as a person. And I have to develop my own relationships and cultivate myself so I can be the best, so I can best help others.- That is just so inspiring to hear. You say that and at such a critical point in your career because I can tell you being a few years ahead on that journey, the imposter syndrome, that plagues all of us at different times can be debilitating or cause us to run below the radar versus stand up and shine. So I love the fact that you are embracing that uniqueness in you, because that just means as you continue to build on it so much that you're going to be able to achieve. So tell me about the book then the research that you've done and the interviews that you've conducted to put together the insights in "Exceptionally Average Through Their Eyes."- So I started off with my book writing process in late May, early June. I kind of went through the ideation phase which I spoke about on how I can develop a book based on exceptionally average based on my own experiences and my desire to explore a future career in entrepreneurship. So I would spend my mornings interviewing the possible people for my book. I would spend the afternoons writing up a transcript and writing their stories into a story that will fit into my book. And I spent the nights just kind of scouring the internet looking at entrepreneurs who may fit the criteria of coming from unconventional backgrounds achieving great things. So that process lasted three months from the beginning of quarantine to end the quarantine where I started my school year. And then in September, three months after I started the book writing process I had my initial manuscript finished. And that was when I started on the initial editing phase. And then in October, I started the marketing phase where I filmed my video my promotional video, and then started my presale campaign and just kind of establishing my beta reader audience and an audience who may be interested in reading my book. And then in November, I started reaching back out to everyone who I'd interviewed and kind of sharing their stories and sharing the insights I'd found. And I discovered that I was tackling too much when somebody asked me the question, what is your book about? I paused, listed out five different things.- Okay.- Heard myself and I thought I need to narrow the scope down.- All right so I'm going to stop you then. So tell me what's your book about, and if I'm, when I read it, when we all read it, 'cause it's coming out soon, what are we going to take away from it? So tell us about what the book's about.- "Exceptionally Average" is about how we can combine our personal passions with our professional aspirations to create meaningful careers to innovation. So being an entrepreneur doesn't mean being someone who it ends up is being someone who's different and being someone who stands for their own beliefs follows their passions and follows what they find most meaningful. And they can create change by being intrinsically themselves.- So you mentioned earlier, something about was it unusual backgrounds- unconventional backgrounds yes.- So tell me more about what you mean by that. And then share a couple of nuggets, a couple of the interviews that really stand out for you who were they and what were their stories? So tell us about the, the unusual background please.- Of course. So entrepreneurship, when I was younger I always thought, Oh, it's about Elon Musk. And it's about Bill Gates, where you can hit the jackpot and you make a billion dollars in your first year and become worldwide world renowned, all of that. But these men doesn't capture the spectrum or diversity or the capabilities of entrepreneurs in our everyday lives because an entrepreneur may mean a mom and pop shop down the street where you get your groceries, or maybe your uncle who has his own company. So I want to capture the diversity and the ability that anyone could be an entrepreneur. So I looked at individuals who were not really born into money, minority groups and people who had many difficulties when becoming or building their own brands. So people who are women, people of color, minorities, immigrants, high school dropouts, and college dropouts. So individuals within the larger society who doesn't have that societal definition of, Oh they're going to be successful. And I kind of capture their stories in my book trying to show that anyone can be a leader and anyone could be an entrepreneur and have somebody that the, my readers can relate to.- So I love that because that brings the title alive. What you're talking about here is that through biases, through just lack of knowledge, it's the people that others might glance at and assume are exceptionally average or are not going to amount to much. But in reality is because they've stepped into their own truth, they found their passion, their talent they've exceeded everybody's expectations and demonstrated success in different ways. That's wonderful. So tell us about a couple of the interviews the characters you've met- Of course and the stories that they shared.- My, this whole book writing process really opened so many doors to me and gave me the ability to talk to some really incredible people. So my, the interview, like one of my first interviews was with a recent Georgetown grad. He comes from DC. He, his father was shot dead when he was nine years old he became homeless with a single mother at 11, and he managed to get a full scholarship to Georgetown university but he was battling depression. He was battling trauma associated his father's death. He was battling anxiety, but he found that the best way to find himself is to lose himself in the service of others. So his senior year of college after being suspended for some incidents early on, he founded a company that is helping to lift 500 families out of poverty in DC. And he's very recently elected in the Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneurs class for social impact in this year. So he has truly embodied being on social entrepreneur and using his personal experiences to give back to the people who have helped him become the person that he is today. And then another person and not necessarily interviewed but research to kind of glean his story. His name is Sharrock Frepom. He was born in Ghana and he comes from a family where nobody graduated high school. So one day he was out playing in the river with his friends running away from school and he caught a very infectious disease and he has to be taken to the hospital or he would lose both of his legs. So in order to pay for transportation to the hospital, the closest hospital which was five away by truck his father and mother forfeited their entire cocoa farm for a week to pay for a truck to take him to the hospital. And by a stroke of luck he was able to keep both of his legs and sitting there in the hospital room, looking at the ceiling he realized that my parents should not have been trapped in the cycle of poverty in Ghana where the cocoa industry is billions of dollars. He vowed to himself that he would help as many people as he can escape the situation from a village that's trapped in poverty and a village with no healthcare system. So he returned home, worked as hard as he could and got a full scholarship to University of Pennsylvania where he studied environmental science, architecture and I think it was biology. And he returned back to his rural village in Ghana to create the first farm for profit organization with a local hospital. So that farmers, cocoa farmers in Ghana are able to reap the benefits of the cocoa farms without having all of their profits being taken away by large corporations that run the industry which is around $2 billion in the country. So that's another story that I kind of discovered in my book and it really shows how he uses passion, he uses experiences and how he brought back his intellect and ambition and talent back to his home community to benefit as many people as he could.- Wonderful. So how has the research and the writing process impacted you? What are you taking away from this?- Well, by virtue of writing this in the middle of a pandemic I was kind of struggling with my own uncertainties but seeing how these incredible people can achieve such great things was truly inspirational for me because a few months ago I did find myself kind of escaping my day to day realities of oh, am I going to see my friends, is like am I never going to see my international friends again, the whole culture of, the just escaping my mental anxiety by just focusing on a certain project. So it really showed me how my ambition and determination can lead to such a great project that can benefit so many people but it also showed me incredible people that, incredible things that people are doing and it motivates me to do better and to kind of push myself so I can achieve my full potential.- So Tian thank you so much for sharing your journey and a little bit but more about the book. Where can people learn more about you and obviously get their hands on the book?- Of course. So I have a website called "Exceptionally Average" that I'll be sending over to Morag and I have a pre-sell campaign that I can also send where you can pre-order a copy of my book. Then kind of help me in this publishing process. And you will get early access to a manuscript. And be mentioned in the acknowledgment section of my book.- Okay. Well, I wish you every continued success. We'll make sure all of that information is in the show notes. And I look forward to continuing to follow your leadership journey. Thank you Tian.- Thank you so much for having me.- [Presenter] Thank you so much for joining Morag today. If you enjoyed the show, please like, and subscribe so you don't miss a thing. If you learned something worth sharing, share it. Cultivate your relationships today when you don't need anything before you need something. 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