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Engaging the workforce with stories - Jeremy Scrivens [Interview]

Engaging the workforce with stories - Jeremy Scrivens [Interview]

Sneha Moorthy
December 28, 2021

About Jeremy Scrivens

Engaging Workforce with Stories- Jeremy Scrivens [Interview]

Jeremy Scrivens, the appreciative futurist, as he's rightly known. Helping drive innovation and collaboration for the workforce, he is indeed a catalyst for increasing the strength of organizations and teams. He has been recognized by a lot of international organizations like UK guardian, engaged, and silicon republic as one of their top HR influencers. Known for his interesting takes on the future of work, Jeremy is a well-known keynote speaker and leadership coach.

Aishwarya Jain

Engaging Workforce with Stories- Jeremy Scrivens [Interview]

We have the pleasure today of welcoming Jeremy Scrivens, today to our interview series - LeadersHum. I’m Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of peopleHum -  peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work with automation and AI technologies.

We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month. 


Welcome Jeremy, We’re thrilled to have you!


Thank you very much. I hope I live up to some of that.


Of course, Of course.

So I just wanted to begin with the first question, Jeremy which is, an interesting thing about your profiles, that you work to positively disrupt enterprise’s cultures to collaborate and innovate, so tell us a little about the emotion of the economy at work!


In my view, innovation and future works are both destruction and continuity, and the continuity is that the idea of innovation is the reconfiguration of strengths.

"Innovation and future works are both destruction and continuity, and the continuity is that the idea of innovation is the reconfiguration of strengths"

So I was 20 odd years in HR and 10 years in Telstra Big Telco here in Australia on the executive HR team in the ’90s but moved away in about 2000 to start my own practice. And I thought, What do I call it? And at that time they were starting to emerge as a whole conversation around employee engagement.

And there was a Geller group in particular who did some interesting work, and they discovered that only about 13% of the world's workforce is engaged to work. And, to be honest, that that figure has not changed a whole lot in the last few years. Those who were engaged, those top 13%, were kinda first engaged from the heart, not from the head.

And yet most of us talk for 300 years as managers to engage the head and maybe rarely if ever the heart because that's a bit crazy, isn't it? But so I thought heart, of course, emotional on them with engagement was intrinsic still emotional. So that's the term emotional engagement.

So I became interested in flipping, changing that, disrupting the conversation from the head to the heart in work. And at the same time, people like Gary Hamel, who was a leading thinker on business, was talking about how low engagement has just been discretionary for managers.

We're moving into an age of innovation beyond continuous improvement so that innovation is about collaboration. And in order to collaborate, you got to engage people so, in a nutshell, my work is forming around the strength-based approach to innovation, collaboration, and engagement at scale, in a digital world.


That is beautiful. The way you put it, you know, it's about the heart and not about anything else, and that is a beautiful, emotional concept that you've built out. So you know,

What is it that really drives employee engagement? Why is there less engagement? What do you think are the factors?


Well, there's a lot of research being done. But in a nutshell, I think it goes, the fact that organizations have been built on what I call the factory model of work for 300 years, the first industrial revolution. What they did, before the industrial revolution, work was done as a community. People engaged in doing what I now call life work together.

What was that? Now with the current crisis, while it's a crisis, yes, we need to be smart. We need to be caring for each other and make sure we're safe. It was also a massive opportunity to disrupt the way we think about work because what's happening is that people are getting back to their homes, they're still working. This is life work.

This was work as it was before the industrial revolution of this big monolithic factory, which wasn't about you or me. They were about the machine, the process, the factory.

So all the automation or the decisions were - How do we keep feeding the machine to make it more efficient, producing more? And so you and I became dispensable or disposable in that conversation, too. So if you engage people from the head, you can dispose off people, make sense?

But if you engage the heart and we know that people want to be engaged in the heart, it does mean something very different. So challenge managers because managers have been taught to reduce variation in all the process stuff- leave thinking, six sigma, business process management, quality thinking, talk about reducing variation.

Managers have been talking about the uniform views of the world but innovation, creativity, human issues, the new 4IR tech, which is seeing patterns of things, is requiring every scrap of talent to come into the room to engage and question around why and who we are, that is a heart-based conversation first. So innovation, at it's best, is engaging the heart rather than the head.

In other words, to engage the story, your life story, my life story #Me #We corrected that together, then say what tech could help us to take that journey? That's the right order of things. Factories don't do that very well. But communities of belonging and propose to do that very, very well. And what we're seeing now is the emergence of belonging and purpose from every individual's personal life.


Absolutely. And I think, you know, with the recent scenario of Coronavirus, it's really the heart that is at work. And we're all in it together as a community, right? And you know, the concept of #I #We, I really really think, that is so important, you know, especially in these times, right?

So talking about Coronavirus, right? How do you think, what’s your take on the future of the workplace going to change? Or will it get reinforced?


So it depends on how we see the world and what value, what mind construction we go through. So in a nutshell, I write about the future work could be one of two streams, think of a pathway, the road less traveled, two converging streams. So the new tech, I'm not a technical guy but I keep going on this tech list, right? And what I understand is that tech is converging, it is converging everything into like this (shows the phone)

So your data around your life or work is not broken apart. When I still used to go to work as a baby boomer, I was not allowed to bring my outside of work into my work. So the data of work was the stuff related to my job. Nothing else was important. I was owned by the companies and not by the individual, but the new data has allowed individuals access to that data.

But what it also is doing is challenging the way in which we see things. So if you are a first stream leader of those who used the tech to continue to see the factory at work, then they want to protect the factory. So what you're doing now is the ones that lay off their people, the other ones that hold the money and keep it in the bank, seeing work, jobs as being to serve the stakeholders of shareholders so people are dispensable.

The factory of the building has been the center of work, right? That's why this term remote working is so wrong. If you talk about remote working, what we're saying is we're working remotely for the factory, right, for the office. That's the old 300 models of management.

Remote working at its best now will need you and I and others to create new conversations, new collaborations and we'll see work that's starting to form beyond the single enterprise into a collaboration of strengths as a living ecosystem.

And we'll be around the life and work around causes and around commercials all mixed up together, as it used to be before the factory took that away. But what the new tech will do is to restore the community, and extend it because of the power, we've got the new tech. And it'll be the convergence that will spring up, and they will surprise us with who they are, not just the hierarchical guys, there will be people like your age who will come together, startup movements and they'll be unstoppable.


Well, we're coming back full circle, isn’t it? But just with, technology in the mix.


It takes a crisis to change something radically. The word crisis comes from the Chinese word krises, K.R.I.S.E.S, which means an opportunity taken to change the way we are. It's not just about survival, it's about growth. And how could we form new connections? I'm involved in conversations in Australia now with a group of manufacturers who have been asked by the government to come together to find ways quickly to manufacture more pieces of kits like respirators and stuff.

"It takes a crisis to change something radically"

So I'm supporting the virus. But that means they will form new collaborations, that will bring the unusual suspects in the room. They will need to put their IPs on one side. They'll need to actually share and to be generous and to collaborate and to give. And it's a different mindset. And the young kids coming through the workforce, the young talent, they know how to do that so very well.


Right, Right. It's very insightful, the way you put it. I think a lot of people will benefit from what you're trying to stay. You know, in these times, how are we supposed to cope with it? Because I'm sure a lot of people are struggling with remote working, and it's very insightful. The way you put it, you know that we've actually done it in history, and we're doing the same thing now. But we have to leverage technology and be adaptive of it


One example of crisis is where technology and people come together for something bigger than ourselves. So, for example, without plugging anything, I mean, I'm part of a group of people that are deploying the world's first digital talent dashboard. It is a dashboard that goes into the hands of the people themselves on their laptops. It's an individual and team dashboards.

"Crisis is where technology and people come together for something bigger than ourselves"

It's a kaleidoscope of strengths, and they can see how their different strengths play with each other. They can form virtual teams so they can look after each other so it is a conversation around well being and doing well. So the last blog I wrote just a couple of days ago was how last week I did a piece of work with these two people officers team that said, 'Jeremy, how can we design a conversation or our teams not just to survive but to flourish now?'

Wow, So I wrote that. And I think there are three questions: how we're gonna be well together through the kaleidoscope of our strengths, how do we be well together, even though we're not working physically together, how could we take this opportunity to re-imagine the way we work? And that's the kind of conversation now, without that mindset behind that leader, it's not possible without the digital tech dashboard, it's not possible.

And we are de-expertizing things now. So I was taught to be the expert, so I was taught how to do things like this and other sorts of things, accreditation, really, and all that sort of stuff.

I got two weeks ago, two truck drivers to debrief their CEO on his talent profile, using the dashboard on what you pick yourself up off the floor cause I got them to substitute for me, they have incredible conversation together, two truck drivers with the CEO using a new piece of 4ir kit, which they can understand that he can use, and they can collaborate as equal players in this space, that's what is possible now.


Wow! That is very, very beautiful. I mean, how do you really leverage all these things that you have and to do something that's bigger than you are on? Just not surviving but actually trying to be productive in this crisis, Right?


So I would say, we're moving into the new age of leadership, leaders used to be heroes, they come up with all the answers through their internal or external consultants. So I'm gonna grab this expertise. I'm gonna encourage my HR colleagues to shift the lens from the leader as a hero to the leader as host.

So right now, my question to HR is, are you trying to lead the conversation around remote work, and wellbeing and well-doing, as the hero, or expert, or are you going to enable, are you gonna host that conversation and do you have the right questions and the tools to do that.


Right! it's important to ask the right questions, than having the answers


Meg Wheatley, the great writer, she did amazing work with the community globally, years ago, and she read about the new science, the new leadership and she said there are a set of principles,10 principles on how you engage people in change. The first principle is people own what they create! 

"People own what they create!"

Are we allowing people to create a solution or a new pathway?

Secondly, people take responsibility when they care about the topic. Do we engage them with the topic or not? For example, old staff, employee engagement surveys, old school. Right! Good for work, Fantastic! But the questions and the topics are pre-set by external third parties.

We don't get people to say, what questions would you like to ask? Because the process, becomes more important than the conversation and the future is the conversation between two people. What do you want to talk about? What do you care about? That's the first question to ask someone in the remote work Conversations? Who are you? What do you care about? are the topics now we want to talk about


Yeah, that's very interesting! Because engagement surveys are so traditional, it is just a monologue, But can we extinguish that and make it a dialogue!


It's also extrinsic, not intrinsic, because privacy laws prevent us from having a conversation. Conversation is the way human beings have always learned together.

And Storytelling is the heart of that! Stories come first, not the data, the data informs the story. It helps people to share and create their own unique #Me #We

"Conversation is the way human beings have always learned together.And storytelling is the heart of it! Stories come first, not the data, the data informs the story"


Absolutely Right!


What we're seeing now with stories that right now, as we did the stories, we need more stories around, where remote working is working well, what are the ideas? What are the opportunities? What are the stories of thriving that we've seen? What are the stories around breakthroughs we've seen? Because of the crisis, the coronavirus crisis, some of us took advantage of the knowledge to use to grow, not just survive.


Absolutely! And talking about stories, you know, the workplace is like a journey in a filled with story, experiences, emotions, conversations and interactions. So how much of an impact does Social Media play for engaging and bringing together the employees of an organization? And...

What's your take on using a human capital management platform, to create a digital workspace journey?


So I think they are two different things. So I think the story, social is not digital, are two different things, So I saw a few years ago, I was in Adelaide with a group of 50 people in a mushroom farm on a Sunday morning, working with them together to create the future.

They created the world's first colored mushroom growing for kids who went into the schools to do something about engaging the kids to eat healthy, to reduce beastly levels. At the same time, they created a whole new customer market for them, and they bypassed the supermarkets. But in that room were the young Thai women going to university, who were told to switch off their phones and the African Somali refugees who are laboring all co-creating futures as equals.

One of the Thai girls got up and they presented their future, they talked about how they had grown into the schools, and she said we developed a social movement on Facebook and Instagram and she said that we have the data on our phone. So she was talking about the story first, then the data, and I saw that wasn't the right order of things, so my son said, 'Dad, you gotta get on to Twitter and LinkedIn', and this was five years ago, So I began that conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I began to talk about workers, a social movement around social causes that people care about. So the CEO of Grant Thornton, three years ago, said Jeremy came to England. I want to engage a group of my young interns and help them become social natives, so she's actually a social native.

She's on Twitter all the time. I'm a social native, teach my people and let's come to have a course we can create so we can engage their personal “why” on social media, their personal, “why” and around the cause that they care about engaging authentically from the heart with a city is about the city of Manchester, we created the world's first social room.

Six months later, back in the city of Birmingham, working with a team, the civic are the private sector part of the City of Birmingham construction design, laboratory research. They are on the war for talent. So Trevor is there, he is the CEO, just retired.

He said to come back to England, I got a bunch of about eight of us now, take us away for four or five days, and I did! I started by asking the question, what is it, if you could change the world to make the world a better place by using social media to collaborate at scale? What is the story and what is your personal hashtag?

Teach the dealers in finding jobs for ex-offenders, looking after the homeless and as they began to collaborate and share their stories, and one full architecture of the social room is the actual architecture instructed by the host team around LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, around the individual “me” stories around social good, which of the young kids care about with a group conversation around a common cause which includes the commercial part of the business social room.

They started their social room and it got picked up with the HR  by the Guardian newspaper and went viral. Six months later ultimate software, either with no ultimate software, they're one of the world's sneakiest tech companies. They were the first and I think, if I'm right in America 10 years ago to put payroll in the clouds, saas platform, they are now developing some of the sneakiest HR tech in the world voted by Forbes magazine as being the best place in America to work for, in tech

They created. They asked me to go across to Miami last year to build their first social room following Civico, Grant Thornton. They’ve got global equity at the social room where they think the people in there are talking about things like suicide prevention, gender equality, sustainability, end of payday loans so people can be paid a decent wage, right?

And they have been allowed by their or I’d say released by their leaders to engage in the cause-based conversations openly on Facebook and other platforms around things that they care about and what they're doing, they're bringing talent into that space because the best talent wants to work for a company that allows them to do that! Does it make sense?

So these social rooms and I believe more social rooms, even now is a beautiful time to build a social room in this period to elect a leader who is thinking to spend time and say, come on, let's start a conversation and start with our own community, How could you engage our community and tap into the talent to help each other at this difficult time. And then that will become a new way of doing business in the future and working together.

So yes, it's important, and the digital platforms are the data part of it. I think one important thing with digital platforms is it's very important that people own those platforms and operate them just like they're doing with the brilliant fit.

So you got an HR engine room, data analytics, dashboard information for the organization. That's really important that the dashboard or platform is integrated into the very heartbeat of the people's work, groups work on a day to day basis. Yeah!


Yeah Absolutely, and that's wonderful, what work you are doing there with the whole social room part. It's very, very engaging for especially millennials. Because if we can talk our hearts out and if we can really engage with other people and talk about something without any filters on so many topics, that is really, really wonderful. It actually helps people to come together as a community which is what we need right now, especially right now.


So bring together more strength and open up and connect! So all we are doing is helping people to connect, discover and create to enable their personal “why” to be realized, by collaboration with others and bringing those together, so the individual is the center of the future of work. There's no individual as an ego thing. I think it's the individual being fully engaged, then connect with others around a person of themselves that they can see how their own purpose is engaged as well.


Absolutely. And that empowers individuals if they see something that is, seeding a bigger purpose. And they stem themselves a part of it right!
Even the tech part if it, you spoke about, you know, really using these tools to kind of “get out there, be more productive.”  It will be very important in the future to really work with tools and tech in the right manner. So thank you so much for you know, that wonderful explanation.

So, you know, talking about something that's very close to your heart. If you could give us a few insights on the adaptive challenges that organizations are facing now!


Well, the obvious one is what is happening right now. This doesn't require an adaptive challenge. So that's the difference when technical management or technical leadership, which is fixing with no knowledge or existing knowledge replacing solutions from kit base or consultants. Adaptive challenge means truly adapting from the very sense of who we are and creating new stories! 

That's why I think it's important now to engage. Start off with engaging individuals and groups in a more authentic conversation, taking time out to reflect, so we're not very good at that in our world. So it was professor Heifitz from Harvard, who is the master and adaptive leadership.

Understanding what adaptive challenges are, says that it's important if you're gonna engage people in authentic conversations and create a future together because an adaptive challenge, no individual or expert has the solution, it requires the system itself as a living system to come together to correct their act together and take ownership for it so Heifitz says, take the time to take people off the dance floor and onto the balcony.

"Take the time to take people off the dance floor and onto the balcony"

So I write now, my best advice to an HR manager or a leader would be, set this up so the basics are in place and then shift the conversation to a reflective conversation. Take this timeout to re-discover who we are and to release the fullness of trust and the authenticity of those conversations.
If we do that right now, 2021 will be a mixed contribution.

If we look, this is the chance not just to be well in terms of survival, but to flourish from the mere understanding of what it means to be fully alive at working and life. Take time out and if you want a conversation, I'm happy to help you. So, we're taking time off the dance floor, get onto the balcony, the balcony is the social room. It's what we do now. Time to reflect, time to engage, time to think. Time to be together.


Well, that is so aptly put. Leaders should go from the dance floor and take some time out to the balcony, that is a beautiful analogy.


Take everyone with you, not just you go to another balcony. It's not the helicopter view is this elitist idea - the executives in the boardroom in the helicopter while everyone else is trudging on the ground. Take everybody with you on the dancefloor.


Ah, you have to be on the ground down on the field to understand the pulse of your employees as leaders, not just hover on top of them and just kind of try micromanaging, right? That was beautifully put.

So as leaders, What is it? What is the most important thing right now that we should be doing instead of just micromanaging them?


I think to change the conversation. Change the conversation and so innovation is what we need. We need innovation now, and we need everyone's ideas. We need new thinking. We need fresh insights, and that means that from the wholeness of things, maybe different. We need to bring unusual suspects into the conversation.

Don't try and hunker down with the experts trying to solve this. Open it up. We need to open up, so your government, the Indian government, my government in Australia, in England are telling us to shut down. They’re telling us to hunker down, to hibernate, to go into hiding, to survive, not to sniff the air in case there's something nasty outside. Now all that's important. It's so much more than that. This is a time not to feel hunkered down, but to connect.

"This is a time not to feel hunkered down, but to connect"

And that's why doing it from home is a much better idea because the thing is that, when we're home, each of us then owns that area. So in the boardrooms or in the workplace, there's often a hierarchy to that but because each of us is in our home now, we can start with a fresh platform, that is a different stimulus to a calm conversation.


Absolutely. And it's amazing. Another crisis got us together for an interview. I’m so lucky to have you here. It's kind of productive, you know for me too, actually to get this word out to a lot of people.


What will happen is that we're doing this face to face. One day we'll be together. One day we will all come together somewhere to do something face to face. The social tech has not been given the same credence as digital tech. So I know this is digital behind here, but I don't think this is digital.

This is social, social conversation, connection. We are not using the analytics here. We're not using a separate platform in terms of doing things with numbers or steps. We are having a conversation. We're showing stories and ideas that are social.

Social media is a terrible word. It's the wrong use of the words, not about the media. It's the social room. Call it a social table. Human beings have always eaten meals together? I know Indians love food, right, And this is a chance now, to think of this as being the social table.


It's really right. And you know what we are talking about, like, diversity and inclusivity?

How is that diverse and inclusive workforce going to shape the workplace of the future?


Well, the first thing we need to build inclusion, and we need to release diversity. And the reality is that most of our workplaces are not well, many of them are not diverse or inclusive in this sense of being fully that way.

Yeah, there's still some work to be done, right. Um and I don't think it is part of a social justice agenda there. So if you look at the conversations, I would encourage people to look at the equity work, conversations with the LinkedIn group.

But people are posting about things that they are angry about in the sense or feel wrong like gender equity or, race. Older people are not getting jobs in Silicon Valley. You don't get a job if you're 50 that kind of stuff. So these are things that I call it #whatbreaksyourheart.

But then we're gonna bring conversation together in which people can come into that room and bring the non-usual suspects in the room. Because innovation always works best when people have different perspectives and they're not like you. The hardest thing I think to break, in organizations is that consciously or subconsciously, we employ or work with people who are like us.

Whether they are of the same age or profession or way of thinking or religion or caste or whatever it is. That is creating a culture of noninclusion and so bringing people together in forums that provide equalizing platforms like a place to inquire summit, where every story, every person’s story matters. I was at Sidney Walter a couple of years during a summit room experience, where they create the future work.

It's a big engineering water organization and the CEO interviewed the cleaner and asked her a story around what's been the most exceptional time you've ever had at work here? What would it take for you to feel even more engaged? Right? Then she instead, interviewed him and asked him the same questions and then they turned around 300 people in a room and said you reckon they have a story to tell us?

Well, every person started to share their stories and it's positive when you see this inclusion working well as distinct from not working to change to a positive conversation. But in that room, every person's story method, it was equalized. That's why the Social Room is so powerful.

You don't have to be a licensed member of the HR. You don't have to go through HR degrees or be the owner of the business. Anyone can join this conversation because it is going publicly out on YouTube. Anyone can have a YouTube account, that means they can play comment, share, get excited, have a story to tell. This is the power of creating, using platforms that equalize.


Yeah, you're right. It's really you know when you want to be inclusive and culture, you don't have to do so much or even pay for it. It's all free together. And what is the point of, you know, the same kind of people coming together? Are you creating a military army because diversity watch will bring value. And I think everybody has to really think about how to make this platform's diversity to encourage, you know, more inclusion. That is definitely an interesting thing to think about


Tech serves humanity to augment humanity, to make the world a better place, we need the stories to be told and to be connected. Right now we need the stories around the best of human behavior with the virus, for example, not the worst.

We hear stories of, you know, panic buying in the supermarkets right, which has been happening in India and has been happening in Australia. We need the opposite stories to be heard. I mean, the stories of sharing.

Yesterday I saw someone come out of a supermarket with two lots of toilet rolls and then there was someone there who was one mother who was upset because she had missed the oilet rolls and the other mother gave her half the toilet rolls and said don't worry about paying me, they're yours. Now we didn't hear that story. We should. We need to hear their stories. 


Absolutely. The positive ones. The ones that would, you know, make us feel that we are connected and we're in this together.


And from that coming together will come new opportunities. So one of the one in one of the social rooms, one of our members, I'll call her Jill, was engaging with a young business executive in an airline that had their office being relocated to the city and they were helping a cause around homelessness in that social room. And then he turned around and said, 'You guys, fit our buildings, don’t you? And she said, Yeah, and he said, If it's good enough for us to do our cause together, it's good enough for us to do commercial stuff together. Would you like this job?

So she wasn't a salesperson, but she goes onto a sales team and says, I've got a client. $10 million gig. No tenders. No, messing about and I call that bypassing the gatekeeper. In the future of work, in the social room, every individual is a salesperson but doesn't start with sales. It starts with the cause. How are we making a difference in the world together? Let's do a cause together.

"It starts with the cause. How are we making a difference in the world together? Let's do a cause together"

By the way, what do you produce? What do you make? What services do you provide? I think I could use that. Why don't we do commercials together? That's how it works.


Wow, that is indeed beautiful, right? The social cost to the commercial part of that It's just a connection. It's easy to do.


Two C’s! Care, cause. Care for each other and from that will come an abundance of commercial opportunities and from that will come to the new jobs. So new jobs and new ways, new industries, new collaborations, new ideation, new technologies will come from this time, and those people come together to innovate, to deal with the response to the crisis. 


Yeah, we would have a lot of, you know, unemployment. But if you really kinda you know, use your model of, you know, the “C”s together, that which really help us solve a lit bit of the employment problem that we are going to face, especially with the millennial workforce kind of on increase, you know, like...

The gig economy is rising and we have contract workers for so many roles and how do you think this trend is actually relevant with respect to the future of work?


Well, the contract model is the old way of thinking about work where you are a contractor to an organisation. So you are bolted onto the machine, right? You are a temporary worker.

There's a factory operated and then you're discarded when you're not needed. But if you see workers, it could be a unity of connected people in a purpose in a community of belonging, to the world's his life long belonging, then purpose, then projects which continued as reconfiguration talents connected to a project where you're always part of that community, regardless of whether your contract or not when you're working with people around causes and conversations around putting the world right. If it's good enough for us to do this clause together, would you like to come and do a gig with me?


Well yeah, that's the same concept that applies everywhere.


Concepts of wholeness, connectivity sharing, giving lifework. So for me, I can find work as anything and just want you and others to grow.


That is then empowering. That's really empowering.


So, looking out,  when that woman gave some toilet paper to another mother, she was helping her to grow. That's work.


Yeah, that is wonderful. It makes a lotta sense also, because again, you know, we are talking about doing something that's bigger than all of us. And imagine if it is at an individual level, I can make this change. And if you know people do these in their respective groups, it will just have such a huge network effect that would be wondrous.


I think it was Heifitz who said that you can't have any form of human endeavour of six more people without some kind of authority structure. I think we're taking that too far. And I think there's a need for ownership.

So you know, regardless of what were the things that Brexit and the UK, there is an argument that says well Britain will now have its own ability to make his decisions again. But it'll lead to even more interdependence from a sense of ownership.

Yeah, I think also, we are moving into a stage when we're moving into this global connection now, your generation was brought up with a smartphone.
You might say you 8-year-old granddaughter has her own YouTube channel for Heaven's sake. So she creeps around YouTube. She is eight years old. She's teaching others how to do schoolwork or homework or stuff like that, you know, and it's crazy what they talk about, but she's got this crazy following, but she's talking to people in Ecuador, in Peru, in Argentina, in Moscow and she will think globally and she’ll be connected globally for the rest of her life.

The old business model was, let's start local, let's expand regionally and then national and then international. But globally doesn't think that way. The young kids don't think that way and don't want to do it that way.

And they don't need to jump on planes all the time, like the old executives, in order to have a decent conversation who say, 'Lana, Honey,' with a face and stuff like that. Yes, we need to get together, but when we do get together, it is incredibly powerful because we've already made those connections.


Absolutely! You can even reduce your carbon footprint. You know, you don’t really have to go around places to have a wonderful conversation and you're right and i think it's amazing how young people leverage that technology and they are so interconnected. And the older ones, the ones that are stuck up in their minds, they have siloed thinking and it just kind of, they are really close to up. They can’t think at a global level. It's amazing we can learn from these young kids.


Single enterprises are designed around protection. It's dog-eat-dog. It's the business strategy that used to be and still is in many organizations, the language of warfare- strengths, opportunities, witnesses, threats.

It sees the world as a fight, as a dog to dog, the survival of the fittest champions. Who's won? Who's competing? It's a war. It's a deficit mindset that says they could only be one winner. Whereas domicile bandit's mindset says 'No, If we actually give to each other, we can actually do more, more than enough to go around.' But it can't be done from a single enterprise mindset.

I went as a baby boomer to work for Telstra and I thought Telstra. I didn't think of any other organisation, right? I wasn't allowed to. Yeah, but the young kids don't think that way. They think in terms of a career.

#Me, #we and that happened. So they're being students at the moment, but they think they're already globally-connected, they are much more globally connected in many cases of people and they are in their workplaces where they're told not to connect with people. 

You know and that is going to change. I think now is the opportunity to have those conversations in the next few months.


Yeah, absolutely. We can make the best of this opportunity and really do something great out of it and it will change all our minds if you do it the right way. Yes, makes a lot of sense.


I just want to say a personal view. Thank you for the work you're doing. Thank you for posting this podcast that makes me feel very comfortable. And I feel appreciate it and you know the hope of the world is in your generation's hands.

"The hope of the world is in your generation's hands"


It is really very useful when it comes from, you know, people like you, we can like, learn so much of how the entire thing is kind of changing.


I think I know I said this, but I think the new leadership is hosting. I mean, I love the equity work, social room. The ultimate software started because I'm one contributor.

Everyone, there is engaging their stories as equal players and I just support them. I cheer what they're saying and raise them up and they are writing their first blogs. I’m going Yayyy!! That’s it and they’re sharing and there are no heroes. There are no master chefs in the social room, right?


That's amazing. I think we really need more people like you, who will actually think at a global level than just, you know, in their heads and there's nothing really coming out of that head


I'm very fortunate so when I started my HR career, I was at the front end. I've never been back-ended with HR, mostly front end.

So, that means I'm involved in startups, right? Started the mobile app business in Telstra in 1993, where we started building the mobile towns and  I was given the job to go and recruit the best talent in the world because we're facing competition from Optus and Vodafone and we had to create new ways of innovation, So I brought the first 360 assessment tools into Australia in 93, but it was about growth.

The conversation around survival is not the same conversation as conversations around growth. Growth is a different conversation and I think a lot of HR has been around survival and stopping bad things from happening. Take time to create mechanisms like the social room for people to get off the dance floor and onto the balcony.

More effective conversation and ask yourselves this question. Think about this is an HR community with an HR leader getting their people together.

But don't just get the HR people, get your customers. get your clients, get the interns in that room with you, and to ask a question like this, 'Do we spend more time putting in systems and processes about that which we wish to avoid? Or that which we wished to accomplish?' and if we take this time now to switch the 80-20 rule?

So if we switch the lens from spending 80% of our time not on stopping bad things but listening to the good- what with that new way of working look like and what would our services be to our people and our managers? That's a very powerful question and how can we use the new tech (social and digital) to help us take that journey?


Absolutely! That's definitely powerful. We need to ask those questions and go out of our comfort zones to seek those answers. You know, because if you just stay in our comfort zone, there will never be innovation.

There will never be something different coming out of you. There would be no value, so I agree with you. Thank you so much for the explanation. 

So just a last question, any other important sound bites that you actually for our viewers.


So a quick, 30 seconds story. I was in India this time last year in New Delhi at the People Matters conference. Our guest was Esther Martinez, who asked me to start up the day and I said, What do you want me to talk about? She said, 'Rock their world'. I said, OK and I got up. I said, I shared a little bit, a few before constructs for about five or six minutes and I said,

I've got five questions to ask you and I'll come back because I ran a master class later on the day with a group of 100 of them to go deeper into this and equip them to hopefully have conversations with their people. The last five questions here was-

  • Do you know your personal why as an HR leader, as an individual person regardless of title? Do you know your personal why?
  • Are you creating a pathway for you as a person and as an HR leader to create your own pathway into a future of work, in the future of HR?
  • Do you know the ‘personal why’ of every single person who works in your organization?
  • Are you working with them to enable them to create their pathways with their colleagues to enable their personal why's to be enacted and their story told in the future, Are you doing that? Someone said, Jeremy, we don't have to do that and I said, That's not the question, the question is, is it important?
  • Is this a lot of rubbish or does it really matter? If you think this matters, don't worry about how that will come, but whether it matters, put your hand up.

I thought, right, this will be interesting. What would happen here? I put my hand up. Then about seconds later, someone put their hand up, another put their hand up within 30 seconds, everybody in the room had put their hand up. Those five questions are important, and that's why I wrote a blog last year saying that an Indian HR community will lead the future work by engaging every person's individual life. That's the takeaway.


Ya, I'm putting my hand up, too.


So I think this is an opportunity to engage the whole person because what they're experiencing at home, the conversations, the fear, the love, the stories, about how they're coping, how they're surviving, how they might be paying the bills.

Are they looking after their grandmother? How are they looking after their kids? What are they doing to keep their kids busy? Because that's life work. That's a community at work and play and life and work together. Yeah?


Yeah, thank you so much for sharing your views. I think a lot of people will benefit from this and pressed me to have had an amazing experience talking to Jeremy, and I really, really thank you for your time, too. 


Pleasure's mine on too. I look forward to having opportunities to talk with you again and also to see if we can bring some more of those social rooms into play right now? That would be amazing.


Yeah, absolutely. I would love to collaborate with you on a lot of things. The movie one bullet, hopefully, you know, you should come into India the next time or I come to a conference in Australia, I would really love to meet you face to face.


 Thanks again. That pleasure has been all mine.

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October 25, 2021

A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together


October 25, 2021

This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all

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