Thriving in Uncertainty: A Discussion on Abundance, Certainty, and Identity with Dave Ulrich
Speaker, Author, Professor, Thought Partner on Human Capability
Dave Ulrich is a renowned author, speaker, and management expert who has made significant contributions to the field of human resources and leadership development. He is a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group, a consulting firm that helps organizations create value through leadership, talent, and HR. Dave has authored over 30 books and published hundreds of articles in prestigious journals, and he is known for his research on human resource management, leadership, and organization design. He has been named as the “#1 Management Educator & Guru” by BusinessWeek and one of the “Top 10 Influential Business Thinkers in the World” by Thinkers50. Dave has also received numerous awards for his contributions to the field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Federation of People Management Associations.
Take home these learnings:
1. What is your core value and identity that remains unchanged amidst uncertainty?
2. How can your commitment to learning create value for others?
3. How can you prepare for the future by anticipating settings where your identity and values can be played out?
4. How can you focus on caring, nurturing, and compassion in your interactions with others?
5. How can you validate and reinforce your brand and identity?
6. How do you balance the liability of success?
2. How can your commitment to learning create value for others?
3. How can you prepare for the future by anticipating settings where your identity and values can be played out?
4. How can you focus on caring, nurturing, and compassion in your interactions with others?
5. How can you validate and reinforce your brand and identity?
6. How do you balance the liability of success?
00:03 Dave, thank you so much. Such a pleasure having you here. Thank you for accepting my invitation to be on this podcast. 00:10 Gaurav, thank you what a privilege to join you and share some ideas and maybe learn together thank you very, very much. 00:17 Can't wait to get into this conversation. I remember reading your book, ‘The why of work’ several years back, and least today expect that one day I would get this honour to speak to you about this book and the several other books that you have written. So thank you. 00:36 You know, a book is almost always, being an author's very private experience, because you sit in your room and you write and that one I did with my wife whos a very good writer. And generally, they're based on an experience that we want to explore. The experience in that book, it's just a way to start because that may lead us into what we're doing. We were living in Montreal for three years doing service for church. One day, we had an opportunity as the as the president of a mission, church mission, to visit with a family. And they were an immigrant family. They were living in poverty. Not very affluent. As you can all imagine. We've all seen those and said anything can sit. As we walked into this immigrant family, there was such a sweet feeling in their room. I get emotional, just remembering that decades ago. The warmth, the kindness between the mother and the father in the children, just a sweet experience in in poverty. That night, we had dinner at one of the fanciest houses in Montreal, if you've ever been there with up on the hill it had a butler, it had stay and stuff. And we sat around with original art and fancy catered food. And there was no spirit, there was no spirit. And as we walked out of that room, to drive home, my wife and I said, “Wow, what an interesting day.” That the feeling of purpose, the feeling of connection is not tied to affluence. It's tied to something else. Now, I don't want to make fun of those who are wealthy. That's not at all good idea at all. 02:10 But I know what you're saying, yeah. 02:12 We began to say so what gives people a sense of abundance, what gives people that feeling? And Wendy approached that as a psychologist, she works with the psychology issues. I work in organisations. So we tried to say how do you begin to experience a sense of abundance or feeling in the organisation where you live and work? And that led to that book, simple experience? I mean, I hope you can imagine that experience, I'm sure you'd have the same thing, where you have different things happen in the same day, and you try to make sense of them. And then we spent about a year and a half trying to understand what what was that about? Anyway, long answer to your unasked question. Thank you. 02:53 Yeah, no, it's a very valid example that you've just pulled in, reminds me we were doing something for the partners of one of the big foods in India. And as a part of the programme, what we did was we took them in different organisations. And one of the common question that all these partners were asking, Hey, why you do what you do, why you do what you do, why you do what you do. Now, the interestingly, the way we chose different organisations was so that we can understand the kinds of people who stay in New Delhi. So we visited one manufacturing company, we visited one IT company, we visited to NGOs, we visited one of the temples, wow. Well, what happened in the manufacturing is something different, what happened in technology companies, something different. But what stayed with me is when we visited two of the NGOs, and when we asked the people who are working at the grassroot level, why you do what you do. And this lady I still remember very vividly, she said, You know what, when I bring back these clothes, which people call waste, and when we bring these clothes to small villages, and they just embrace those clothes, not because it's a matter of pride for them, but these clothes, help them to protect themselves from cold winters. Right? I said, Wow. We visited another NGO, and in that NGO, that NGO and Google, they take care of old age care people. And this gentleman, who had the privilege of creating over 5000 dead bodies. He said, that's my life's purpose. And then we visited one of the temples, where all of us had to sit down and be well served, and the cycle came together. So I know exactly what you're talking about. 04:58 Yeah, you know, to experience because even IT manufacturing temples, NGOs, there's some underlying principles there. And if we can identify what those are, we may be able to transfer those to another setting. And I think that's such a critical part of being an effective leader. There's a lot of words for that we did that book about 10 or 15 years ago, we keep evolving our ideas. Today we evolve it the same principle is there, how do you help people have a great experience at work? That's, that's the topic people are looking at a lot. Today, and thank you for having the book. Go ahead. We boil it down to four things. What do I as a leader, as a coach, as a manager, at any level in the company, give my employees so they have a great experience at work are four things very, I love simplicity, be safe. I think that's we've learned that from the COVID crisis around the world, physical safety, psychological safety, lack of toxicity, got to be safe. That's a kind of table stick. Believe your example was so good. The woman who's making clubs believe have a meaning have a purpose. Even in it, what's the purpose? Become, learn, grow, develop, and Belong, and be part of a community. So are we did the book why of work, and I'm proud of the book. But I think we've evolved it to say, if I'm a leader, and I look at my employees, what is it either by coaching by setting goals by working with them, I can give them be safe, believe, become and belong. And when employees experience that good things will happen to them, to my company, and ultimately to my customers, and investors, which which creates a virtuous cycle. Anyway, that's the that's the evolution of that stream of thinking about the why of work to believe becoming belong around employee experience. Thanks for letting me share that I I feel that so passionately, 07:11 thank you. And I could sense that while you were sharing that, if you can help me define how do you define abundant organisations? That's one second question that I have connected to this as you spoke about principles, what are those principles that you have noticed in organisations, which are so called abundant irrespective of whether they are for profit or nonprofit organisations? 07:37 Great question. I love the term abundance that comes from the Christian literature. This is life that I give up more abundantly was the word that Jesus Christ use. And it's an interesting metaphor. Our publisher said, Don't title the book that way. Because it's not just a religious book, it's a temple or a mosque or whatever. But abundance is where the organisation survives, and the people thrive. So part of abundance is creating a feeling. It's always interesting people say, give me a definition. And my comment is, you'll know it when you feel it. Think of those five organisations you visited, how long before you could feel the energy, the passion, the rays of death, whatever you want to call it, the abundance in each of those organisations. Think about why. 08:28 In the temple, it was right before I could enter the premises. I could experience the stillness. Despite there were so many bells ringing, there were so many people all around me. And yet, there was stillness and me. 08:46 Nice, nice. You know, when I when I have the privilege occasionally of coaching leaders, not as much as you do, you're the master of coaches. But when I have that privilege, they often have multiple sites, multiple rooftops where they visit. So it could be a retail store, it could be a manufacturing set asides. And I asked him that question, because they often say, okay, Dave, you're a professor, you love statistics, what's the data? And I say, I can give you data. But tell me what it feels like to walk into a site. And how long does it take before you're I say you're an ethnographer, you're an anthropologist, you can feel it. Now, how do you define abundance? We can put all kinds of words around it, you, you survive, you thrive, you engage people, but you feel that there's something different in one of those places, and then to get underneath it. Why? What is it that causes that? I'll give one quick example. And I'm trying to give leaders ideas and tips that they can use as they try to do this. I had the chance to visit a plant factory a few years ago with a team. I was an outside person and we had the CEO, the plant manager and a couple of other members of the organisation. We did it an hour and a half to where you've all done it kind of like the manufacturing has happened to be a manufacturing plant. We went back into the room. And I was thinking, Well, that was pretty good. Everybody was dressed, they had collars on their shirts, they had the lean manufacturing, flip charts with all the data. And one of the people I was with turned to the CEO, and the plant manager and said, there's a problem in this plant. Whoa, what's going on? I didn't see it. Everybody was dressed. They were responsive. They answered questions. It was clean, as you can imagine, because it was a scheduled tour. And the manager said, what's going on? And the person who was so prescient, looked at him and looked at the CEO and said in the last two hours, not once, did you or a member of your management team, go off the tour and go engage with an employee? Sally, how's your mother who's sick? Joe, how's your son? Who's playing soccer? How's your spouse? How's how's the health going? Not once was there a personal interaction between you and your team who were on the tour, and the people in the plant? And I sat and I went, Ah, I said a word in my mind. I shouldn't say I missed it. But he was so right. Because you can feel that sense of if you're a leader, you show and I know you've done great shows on compassion on empathy on on the leaders as mental health providers. Go talk to that person, know that person what's happening with your son, your daughter, your spouse, your elder mother, show that you're connected to those people in this tour in two hours. It was beautifully scripted. It was as if you were in a Broadway or a New Delhi play. But there wasn't the feeling. That's an example of what I hope those who are listening will do. Go connect, go share. 12:00 Yeah, thank you for sharing that. Let me just absorb what you said. And trust me, Dave, I was not even expecting our conversation to go in this direction. I was thinking that our conversation would go into systems and processes and the HR guru that you are considered to be one of the pioneers in the space, at least did I expect. In fact, it's my mistake, I forgot that I'm going to connect with a human being who happens to be an author, who happens to be a pioneer in the space of HR. Thank you. 12:37 You, thank you. That was very kind I love HR. Let me tell you, why, not because it's human resources. What you do through the human resource practices is you institutionalise what we just talked about, because you might get a leader and you've you've met them, you know them, it sounds like you are one who does this instinctively. They're really good. And I've met those leaders. They're so motivational, they're charismatic, they're dynamic, they're engaging. How do you institutionalise that through the whole organisation? That's what HR does. We hire people, we train people, we pay people, we communicate, we structure, we build systems. Then institutionalise your word abundance. How do you do that? That's not easy. 13:26 Exactly. That's what my question when you said that you will be able to feel that the word that came to me was intuition. When you spoke that when you spoke about did you connect with Sally, did you understand how is her mother doing? How's her daughter doing? The word that came to me was connection. How do you institutionalise intuition, 13:49 and make sure it's so good. I think you identify the skill. So think of a leader who either by instinct or training talks to Sally that she knows that that's something important. So then what do you do? You find out what that set of skills are. You define it you operationalize it, you listen to your show 102 episodes, what are the skills that coaches should teach? Once you've identified those, whatever you want to call them, that buzzword today, skill based organisation, competence, I don't care what you call it. We use those skills to hire people. So when we bring someone in to be a leader, we got to have the technical skill, but we've also got to have that set of skills that create empathy and compassion and energy. You train it, you build it into your executive development programmes, you and senate leaders who have those sets of skills and behaviours, they're going to have a better compensation package, they're going to have more opportunity to work. You build an organisation that encourages those skills. You build an organisation where leaders who have those skills, have autonomy, and they're able to run that plant and make a difference and you highlight it, you communicate it. What I've just done is giving you the HR systems, staffing, training, compensation, communication or design those systems once you recognise what's necessary, we'll begin to transfer that from you. To the rest of your leadership team, we've done quite a bit of writing on leadership. And the headline is leaders matter. We love individual leaders, and we'd love to do the exercise. Name a leader who you admire, what did she or he do? Leaders matter. But in an organisation leadership matters even more. Because it's not just the iconic leader who may be at the top of the manufacturing plant or the company. It's the distributed leaders, leadership that exists all the way through the enterprise. And when we can use our HR system, staffing, training, development, those systems to build that right leadership. That's where I think we create again, I love your term, but we weren't able to title our book that, but it's where we create abundance, we create organisations that embed meaning and purpose and belonging and belief. So thank you for letting me share that. 16:12 Thank you. You know, let me just pick up something from this book. It's mentioned on page number 23, where you have spoken about leaders who focus on meaning create an abundant response. Crisis can shock us into facing the questions we often sidestep. Now the question is, who am I? What am I trying to accomplish? What really makes me happy? What do I believe? What is my purpose? What matters most? And interestingly, all these questions you have pleased. in inverted commas. All these questions are quite difficult questions they even being with they're quite disturbing. I mean, who am I without my titles? Who am I without the books that I've written? Who am I without organisation that I work with? One-How do you introduce this heavy dose to leaders that you work with? Who are elevated based on the designations that they have? You're just pulling off. We could 17:25 spend hours on this one. Leadership is not about a title. And let me talk about how we've done that and pick your word. I know you've done a lot of work around identity, reputation, brand. But this is what I love to say lately to leaders. You and I don't know each other very well. Do you happen to have children? 17:48 I have a daughter? How old is she? She's three. 17:53 Wonderful. Wonderful, congratulations. Do you know where she might go to school in the future? 18:03 We just got her admitted. We just got her. o, I'm 18:06 talking about college? 18:08 No, no, no. 18:09 What is she going to study? 18:12 No idea. 18:13 Who she's going to have a relationship with? What are going to be her strengths. I don't know. The world we live in today is uncertain. We don't know what the future is going to hold. So I take that simple example of those of us. I have three children, and they're older. And I have grandchildren that age, 18:30 10 grandchildren, 10 grandchildren 18:33 whom we love, and we don't know what's gonna happen to them. I think the same is true in organisations. Everybody says, harness uncertainty. I don't think we know what is going to happen. Now, having said that, no matter where your daughter goes to school. studies or skills or strengths or hobbies, what do you know about how you will treat and feel about your daughter? 19:08 I will love her. Now I'm going to tell you the bad news. She's going to test that again and again and again, our children test us. We will love them. I am certain about that. Now, why do I take that very personal example? Because I think many listening who have children 19:30 would have to relate to that, of course. 19:33 Focus on the certainty in the midst of uncertainty. Let me say that again, in the midst of uncertainty. Are we going to have recession? Are we going to have inflation? Are we going to be global? I don't know. Is technology going to change? I don't know how it's going to change. So to the leader. You don't know what's going to happen. But what are you certain about? What is your core value? What is is your identity whatever word you want to pick out of those questions we raised? What is it you are certain about that creates your values and ultimately your identity? I've asked myself that question a lot. I love to ask it of others. I may ask it of you in a minute. I'll give you a moment to think. I asked that to myself, Dave. In fact, a year ago, we were sitting here, and I'm obviously older, my wife and I were going, do we keep working? Do we not work? Do we do a book? Do we not do a book? We were struggling with uncertainty. And that's where it came to us in the place. We're sitting right now. And we said, timeout, quit chasing uncertainty. What do we know will happen in the next year regard? Well, how will we respond regardless? My answer is really simple. I am committed to learning. We're going to have inflation, I'm gonna learn. We're gonna have a recession, I'm going to learn. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste kind of the illusion. And for me, number two, I want my learning to create value for someone else. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what the next talent agenda is the next organisational agenda, the next technology revolution. But I'm going to learn, and I'm going to try to do it to help others. So let me come to you. You did not expect this interview and neither did I. This is so getting, I'm getting a feel for you and how lucky your your beautiful daughter is. What are you certain about? You've done 100 episodes, you're a master coach, you've worked with some of the best companies in the world. You're partnered with incredible colleagues. If I were to ask you, what am I, Gaurav, certain about, no matter what happens? I know that I…… 21:53 such a beautiful question. The one thing is for sure that I'm going to learn. Right, that's for sure. And another part that I've been playing with these days for the last 1 2 3 4 5 6 months is what should I be preparing for? Life or Death. If I'm preparing for life, I'll continue to hold things. For tomorrow. If I'm preparing for death, I'll continue to let go, learn and give, learn and give operate from a space of abundance. 22:39 Now, if I were coaching you, and I would love to have the privilege, and I'm doing a little bit on this podcast. That's your identity. I grew up wanting to be known as a learner who gives to others. That's it. And now let me coach you back. Before the podcast I said what are the podcasts that have had impact of the 102 you mentioned, every one you mentioned, had a theme of caring, of nurturing, compassion, compassion. So of the 102 that you pick, you didn't pick the one that said, get your financial house in order. That wasn't where your identity went. So what I'm now doing is saying, Here's a methodology to discover your identity in the world of uncertainty, what am I certain about? And then validate it. Where do I focus my energy? When it's an open ended question, pick three of the 102 podcasts. I love your identity. Now, I'd love to go the next step. So having said that, and now you asked me how I do that with leaders, as a coach. Anticipate the future. What might happen in the next week, month, three months, six months, where your commitment to learning and caring would be played out? Can you begin to anticipate those settings where my identity (not mine) yours gets played out. And that could be at home with your beautiful daughter in your family. It could be with your parents, it could be with siblings, it could be at work, it could be in a hobby, it could be anywhere. But now begin to get clear about your brand. So when I coach people, this is a session often for those who are coaches or leaders being coached. I tried to draw a picture in the middle is your brand. That's your identity. That's what you're known for. That's what you're certain about. Then I love to put around that the star, the stakeholders, your family, your hobbies, your team, your boss, headquarters, who are the people you're going to interact with, and how in the next three to six months might those ideas get played out? That's the coaching image that I love to give. It's, it's a meld of Marshall Goldsmith who talks about behaviours, but I want the behaviours to be connected to the stakeholder. Marshall has been my mentor and coach for a long time. I adore Marshall we have so many things in common, we went to the same university, we both travelled too much. We're older, and we'd love to help others. But that's my model in the middle. If I were coach, if you're envisioning this as a coach or as a senior, an XO, middle of the constellation, the sign, if you will, what's my identity? Yeah. And then to the star, to the planet. 25:22 I'm just loving this conversation, because at least I have not heard about branding yourself as the leader, from the perspective of the values and the purpose and identity that you operate from. And on several episodes, I've spoken about who you are is how you coach. I've heard people saying how you lead is who you are. And right now I'm listening exactly the same thing. Because whatever identity that you're holding close to yourself, is how you're going to show up irrespective of crisis, or no crisis, being it, my daughter, or I'm talking to any of the guests on my podcast, or the stakeholders that I deal with. 26:02 I love it. In fact, I wish I had that on tape, that would be exactly the message. And then the agenda becomes how do I make my identity valuable to someone else? Because the goal of leadership is not what you do. It's what someone gets from what you do. So one of the things I've been discovering, I'm working on this, because I'm not always very good at it, I can be snarky, I can be a little bit snippy at times. How do I help someone leave an interaction with me feeling better about themselves? So think of those stakeholders? When I interact with that person, how does my identity help them feel better about themselves, and that's what leadership is, it's not being in charge, it's helping them feel good. I'll give, I could give some examples. This is stuff I've been working on is my commitment to learning. I'm coaching, I was coaching a very senior executive, again, I'm trying to help the coaches that listen to this, or the senior executive. Big company, it was one of the I won't mention it, obviously a global company. It's one of the companies everybody admires. And he was very senior. And an employee made a horrible mistake that cost the company an enormous amount of money. Global company, the senior executive used email, which is not a good solution, but he was going to send an email and he drafted it. And he said, “You made a huge mistake, it's going to cost us an enormous amount of money. If you don't fix it, you're fired.” And he agreed to send me the email before he sent it. Thank goodness, time. So let me make three edits. Real simple. Number one, I care about you. Number two, you have great potential at this company. You made a big mistake, it's going to cost us millions of dollars do not run away from the accountability. But then number three, what can we learn together so that you can improve? And he said, that's not the way I've led in the past, and I fit that's why I'm coaching you notice you don't walk away from it, you made a mistake. And it's really difficult. I'm not gonna hide from them. But number one, I care. And I hope we can do this with almost every stakeholder. Number two, you've got potential, you made a mistake. What did we learn? How do we get better? The agenda there, the theory is a mindset. That person leaves that interaction, either by email or in person, feeling a little better about themselves. And I'm trying to do that. I'm trying to do that I fail sometimes. I'm on LinkedIn a lot. I hope your followers will follow me. Sometimes people say things I don't agree with. I have been working so hard the last year. Thank you for that comment. I appreciate your opinion. I don't necessarily agree with it. But here's what I'm learning from you. Thank you. That mindset is so difficult to for leaders who are XOs listening to and for coaches. Don't give them a that's the direction that anyway, that's what I've been trying to discover in the last year about leadership and coaching. 29:19 You know what I must tell you this, that I'm Dave, I'm just loving this conversation. I think whatever little identity that I've created for around myself is getting validated because I'm I know I'm moving in the right direction. When you said that every interaction, you want people to leave a little better, a little happier. I tell that I want every interaction whether the person is leaving that conversation with some hope. I love it. Right? 29:49 I love the idea of hope. I love the idea of go ahead. That's so good. 29:55 Here's my question now. You spoke about this. This gentleman, the senior executive who was about to send a disastrous mail? Thankfully, he sent that mail to you. And you shared, what could be another possible way to articulate your expression. Now, my question is, what do you think? What are the primary, what are the biggest difficulties that you face to coach these individuals who have been, who have who have developed a particular way of dealing with their team members? And steering that huge ship in another direction requires humongous, humongous efforts? What are the difficulties? How do you deal with that? 30:42 I let me give you a bad example of coaching that I hope your coaches run in, don't run into, I was invited into a company I flew in, I go to a room and the head of HR is saying you're coaching a senior member of the management team in the other room, I walk in the room to the senior member of the team and I say “Hi, I'm Dave, I'm here to coach and he said, good. And I said, what what do you want to work on? He said, I don't care. Why? I just, I was told by the board that I have to be coached by somebody so that I can get promoted. So whatever you want, that's fine. Just, you know, you tell me and I want to tell them I've been coached.” And they said, Are there any things you're worried about working on trying to be better? No, just you don't understand. I just wanted to tell people, I've been coached.” Five minutes, I walked I said, I there, I hope there's nobody listening to your podcasts, he would take this assignment. And I walked out the head of HR was still in the other room. And he said, I don't think that went very well did it? And I said, “No, I mean, you're wasting my time and his.” That's a bad example. But you get the message. So I'm coaching. 31:46 But I think that's a very, that's a very good example. And I want all my leaders and all my coaches to know that that one, everyone is coachable. You may or may not be the right coach. At the same time, if you don't get buy-in, even Lord cannot do anything about that person. So don't take unnecessary stress. Don't carry people's monkey on your shoulder. 32:12 Yeah, some of the best insight in coaching I give coaches is know when to walk away. I could have coached that person, we could have had 10 sessions, and I could have made some money and I could have put it on my resume. Again, there are people who may do that I'm not going to judge them. That's not my style. So when I meet with leaders, I almost always start by saying what is it you're trying to accomplish? I love Marshall Goldsmith starts with behaviours. I love outcomes. What are you trying to accomplish? What? How do you define success? Clayton Christensen, who was just a brilliant man who passed away recently, What are the measures of your life? What is success for you? Number two, are the things you're doing as a leader helping you reach that success, what's getting in your way, my job is not to give you as much advice is to coach you to define the behaviours that will get you the outcomes you care about. I'm coaching a man right now just starting a coaching engagement. We had two calls before the engagement just to get to know each other. And he said, I'm trying to build a company that will grow. It's a anyway, I don't want to say a lot. It's very private, but I'm trying to grow a company. And I ended up getting distracted that my unintended behaviours, whatever those are, get in my way. And I said, Would you like to have some coaching sessions where I can look at? What can you do behaviorally that will help you get the outcomes you care about? And he said, I've been through two or three coaches, and they give me surveys and instruments and 360s. But I want to accomplish this. And I said, let's explore that. Why is that not happening? That's coaching. What is it you're trying to accomplish? What is it that gets in your way, your meeting your goals. And if I can help, if as a coach or as an XO, if I can get coached, find a coach who will help you meet your goals. I was coaching another leader and I'm sorry, I'm telling coaching stories. I don't coach all that many leaders. I only tried to do a couple of years. I'm not as aggressive as you aren't as prominent. And he said, Dave, I love meeting with you. Because everyone comes into my office with an agenda. They want something. They want a budget, they want my time, they want my resource, they want my attention. I know and I'm almost gonna get emotional. This was a senior leader of a company in trouble. When you walk into my office, you care about me meeting my goals. And he said, I really appreciate that. You are here to help me meet my goals and to be reflective. Now. I'm not a therapist, that's my wife. But that's what a good coach does. Help me clarify the certainty in a world of answer The End helped me then put in place the behaviours that will help me meet my goals, so that the stakeholders are well served. And I remember he said, this is one of the highlights. And I said, I'm not charging enough. And he said, That was funny. You're charging too much. Anyway, that was a joke. But he said, I appreciate the coach, who I know is there to help me meet my goals. 35:25 Yeah, let's change the gears now. And by the way, I heard that you care for me. I heard that I know, you are here for me. When you enter that room to coach that individual, that is what I could hear. Dave you work with actually, 35:48 I care for your daughter whom I'll never meet. Aw, thank you. I care that you as a father and a parent will help that daughter realise her potential. And that gets into a set of personal beliefs. Again, Marty Seligman who did the work on hope, and you mentioned hope, I love hope. Marty Seligman did work on help learned helplessness. Now he's doing the work on intentional hopefulness. And how do you create a world of hope. And so I hope that you and the family that surrounds her will be an ecosystem so that she can fulfil her dreams. Anyway, let's get off where we want to. 36:27 Thank you. All your blessings. Yeah. Dave, when you work with leaders, what do you think are the major roadblocks in the way primarily the CEOs of organisations? They experience while dealing with their direct reports? What are the impediments that they experience that stopped them to cascade down the why in their team members, to cascade down a sense of purpose in the direct reports? 37:05 I love your question. And and, and I take a little bit of an answer from people like Marshall Goldsmith, who are so good. I call it the liability of success. When somebody is a CEO, they are founder of a small medium enterprise or CEO or business leader of a large group, they have been successful. Sometimes the things that got them, there are not the things that will get them in the future. And they love to look at their success in the past as a predictor of the pathway for their future. I got to help sometimes, I mean, this leader that I gave an example, who wrote the rather offensive email, he was successful, he was one of the leaders of a global 500 company. But What Got You Here Won't Get You There. That's Marshall Goldsmith line, and I'll reinforce it. I love to sit with coaches, with leaders and say, you've been successful. What's it going to take now? What do you have to change? And how do you overcome I call it the liability of success? How are you going to overcome your history, so that you can create your future at a personal level? I teach. I'm a professor at the University, I teach a class every year an executive course. My rule of thumb, just so that I'm very concrete is 15 to 25% new material every year. And you say that's not very much. I've been teaching for 30 years. That's not easy. And so when I put together my PowerPoint presentation, I look at it and I go, do I have about 20% new ideas this year? That's easy, once in a while. During COVID, it was pretty easy. How do you do hybrid work? How do you build skill based organisation? But now what do you seen that's coming? And how do I continually learn? I share two things this year that I've learned about certainty and uncertainty. And people feeling better about themselves when they leave an interaction. I hope those that are listening to this are constantly in a learning mode about what's next. What's next. What's next. And to me, that's the challenge. And that's my rule of thumb. I'll tell you where I got I have a friend. I have a friend, I should stop there. I have a few friends. He's a professor of electrical engineering, you know, some of these folks, they're brilliant. And I said to Rich, what percent of your PhD course in electrical engineering is new every fall? And he said, 70%. The half life of knowledge is about a year. I've got to have new stuff every year. And I said, I'm so glad I'm not in your field. Because I can't learn that quickly. But I think we do have a half life. I hope you're learning. And we're all and every year trying to find new words and metaphors and images that that will inspire us and others. Thank you for letting me share. 40:01 Thank you, Dave, in fact, sharing with us your identity of a teacher, I read it somewhere. A good teacher is someone who does not only deliver this content, who is content. 40:18 Nice, the 40:19 20% shifts that you are bringing, the 20 person shifts that you are bringing in your teachings? What shifts have you noticed in your being? 40:29 Well, that's a great thing, 40:30 When you take a pause, when you take a pause. You say, hey, shucks, man, thank you Universe for allowing me to go through that. 40:42 You know, failure is an opportunity to learn. I've had a lot of failures, I try things I experiment. And somebody told me the other day, Dave, you're the most resilient person ever? And my answer is, because I'm trying. And I'm still trying. That experience that led to the Why Of Work, I'll go back to that when we did three years, we were invited my wife and I to be the leaders of a mission for a Christian church in Montreal. And I don't want to get into preaching and religion, that's not the agenda at all. I came back from that three years. And our children. I don't know, if we didn't have grandchildren, then they looked at me and said, Dad, you've changed. You're nice. And I said, Thank you, I hope to hold on to that. So for me, personally, I think the idea of building value and others and compassion is something I've been working at, it doesn't come naturally. I know, people probably like you, and maybe I know my wife, and maybe your spouse and others. They're naturally nice. That's a learn thing. And I'm really trying to calm down, be nice. I mean, anyway, that's when I'm opening my kimono a little bit and sharing, trying to really care about people. And and I've, I've tried to learn that. And in the last year, I've really tried to learn how do I help people envision their future? Where do they want to go? What's meaningful to them? And then how do I help? I've been reading lately, some religious works from different religious settings, the power of asking good questions, how can I ask questions that help people and you've done that in this interview beautifully, that helped people discover their identity. They'd help people discover their where they want to go and how they get there. So those are some things I've been working on with myself. 42:43 Thank you. You know, I'll not be wrong in saying Dave, this is definitely till now one of my favourite interviews. 42:51 You know, what's really funny? Have you said that 102 times and I felt joking, thank you. 42:57 No, I actually, you may want to listen to any of the podcasts 43:01 I saw, like genuinely mean it. So if you were given, I am trained as a taxonomist. Nobody knows what that is, or cares what it is, is somebody who finds simplicity and complexity, I'm going to ask you a tough question. You've got 102 data points of interviews. What's one or two messages that jumped out at you that you hope your listeners are beginning to assimilate? What jumps out at you and let me I'll give you a second to think while there are a few seconds to think, to me, that's the essence of anybody who follows my work, I tried to create classification simple, simple types, that allow us to make better decisions about leadership and the five skills of leaders about the steps of HR. So I'd love to ask you and learn from you and with you. Just top of mind, what are some of the messages that jumped out for you that you hope your listeners get from your podcast? 44:02 You know, one is very clear cut message. And I think you have emphasised on that, that how it's so important for us to be aware of our identity and continue to evolve that, rather than getting stuck with any identity. That is one. The second one is compassion and kindness will never go out of fashion. Third one, as you just mentioned, the quality of your life depends on the quality of questions that you ask. Another one. 44:34 So you just discovered ICE—Identity, Compassion and Explore questions. You are the ICE-man. I'm sorry, thank you. I love Thank you. I love those. And when you couple those with your personal certainty about learning and about caring, I just think I hope those who listen, find a way to translate that into their lives. They won't do it the way you do it or the way I do it. But if they can do that in a way that works for them, let's hope that that creates a better setting for them for their families, for their employees. And hopefully for the companies where they work as well. 45:12 Beautiful. Here's the last question that I have for you. You wrote another book called Leadership Code, several years back. What do you think are the common threads that you can pick up from that book? And especially post pandemic? If you were to revisit and write that book again? What would you keep? What would you let go? What would you add? 45:40 Great question. I said, I'm trained as a taxonomist. My mentor was Bill McKelvey, he was the only professor who studied classification. They find simple patterns that are enduring the four food groups for food. And then you build diets. The five big five personality, then you build personality tests. We found in the code, there are five, pretty much fundamental principles of leadership that are enduring. If you're and that's why we call it the code, the leadership code, the DNA, the essence of leadership, the principles are the same, the practices differ. Here they are. And if I were giving you a mirror to hold up, I'd say number one, are you a strategist? In today's world can you manage in a world of uncertainty? And can you define your unique contribution—The certainty? Number two, can you execute? Do you get things done? Have you created the discipline of accountability? Agility as today's world concept moving quickly, agility? Third, managing talent? Are you able to make other people? Are you able to communicate, to share information to make other people better? Number four, what we call human capability, are you able to institutionalise that into your company through your culture through your systems? North South East West. North–Strategy where we going. East–Execution, how do we get there? South–Talent, human capability. In the middle personal values? Are you aware of your strengths, your character that will drive the other four? That's the north south east west, the five dimensions strategy, execution, talent, human capability, and then personal in the middle. That is the that is the critical feature. 47:33 That's the heart of the four activities such as. Better 47:36 said, better said, better said. 47:38 Thank you so much, Dave. I gently asked two questions while I end the podcast. The first is if you were to give a piece of advice to your 21 year old self, what would that be? And the second question is, what do you know for sure, the answer to your last question, I know what you're going to say is what you know, for sure this learning is important and you're going to so and give back to humanity. Going back to the last question. If you were to give a piece of advice, what would that be to your 21 year old self? 48:08 Or your three year old daughter as she grows? Yes. Oh, that's interesting. I'm gonna get emotional. Mike. I'm known as Abu Michael, that's the most proud name I've got in the Mid East. They're known as a father of Mike, I love you. And I always will. I hope you discover the things that are meaningful to you. And that gives you a sense of peace, acceptance and joy in your life. And I hope you'll let me join you on your journey and help you find it. 48:49 That's it. Shukran, Shukran, Shurkan.Thank you, Dave. An absolute honour. An absolute honour privilege having you on this podcast. 49:04 Your kind. Thank you. I hope people will follow me on LinkedIn. I've decided I've done a lot of books. And I've decided the last two years. I love LinkedIn, because people in India, Pakistan, Venezuela, who've gone to anywhere can connect. Somebody said, Are you the one writing all those comments? And the answer is yes. I'm on LinkedIn an hour to a day. And it's become my global focus group. It's where I learned it's where I listen. And so thank you and my my dear friend, again, I'm going to congratulate your daughter. And you know why Kim? Thank you. Well done.
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