About Arthur Carmazzi
Arthur Carmazzi is a renowned motivational keynote speaker and trainer. He’s ranked in the top 10 of the world's top 30 Thought Leaders in both Leadership and Organizational Culture categories by Global Gurus. He is the best-selling co-author of "The 6 Dimensions of Top Achievers", the author of "Identity Intelligence" and "The Psychology of Selecting the right employee". He brings with him an experience of over 25 years.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Arthur Carmazzi today to our interview series. 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.
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, Arthur. We’re thrilled to have you.
Oh, it is absolutely my pleasure. And don't forget there's besides the other 12 books that I've written, the new book that's coming out it's called ‘Game on Reinventing Organizational Culture with gamification'.
Wow, that sounds really interesting. Could you give us a gist of what it's about?
Well, all right, so see first of all. We are in the age of instant, right? The PFB era, post Facebook era. Okay, so right now people's expectations are directly connected to their emotional gratification and their emotional gratification is directly connected to connectivity social media and well basically the state of how we have essentially come to interact with each other and expect certain things like when somebody sends you a WhatsApp message and you don't reply within the next 10 minutes.
They think, "oh, my gosh, are you okay?" So essentially because of the various expectations and power that we have achieved through social media through instant communication, I mean, essentially, we need consistent and regular feedback in order to maintain our levels of motivation. Now, in the past, for example, you may have an annual review and what, of course, happens during those annual reviews is that, like the first part of the year, let's say that you totally screw up and it's okay because by the end of the year nobody's going to remember it.
Okay, so yeah, unless, of course, you do something really good at the beginning of the year. But nobody remembers that one either. So what ends up happening is that a lot of times right before the annual review one month, maybe two, that's what people actually remember. And that's more or less what gets reviewed.
People aren't that patient anymore at the end of the day, if you're going to create an environment where people are going to be excited, they're gonna be passionate. You have to essentially use work gamification. This doesn't mean that you play apps at work.
What gamification is literally about creating gamified work processes where essentially people are excited through their tasks through their processes, through achieving certain behaviors, not necessarily just KPIs that are connected through this kind of interactive play that is not necessarily again requiring technology to achieve.
And that, of course, creates a culture of people that are, well, basically having more fun at work and therefore more innovative and engaged.
Wow, that is so interesting. And I'm sure I mean, it's gonna be a very fun book and I wish you all the best for the success of it.
Thank you so much.
Absolutely. I think it's phenomenal to actually have people who are passionate about your work. That's what you're addressing, it's really the need of the hour.
Can you tell us a little bit also about your interesting work as the ‘Chief Awesomeness Officer’? We're curious, What do you mean by that?
Well, first of all, I mean, if you're gonna be the chief awesomeness officer, then your job is essentially to make everybody else awesome. I mean, that makes sense, right? Because if otherwise, you just be the regular guy officer, which wouldn't be fun. Okay, so how to get people to be awesome. Well, you can't.
Everybody can't be awesome like me because I'm me and I'm already taken. Right? So we got to help people be awesome like them in their way. So of course that requires us to understand how people work, what they want, what primary motivators as well as even the generic processes of, how they get clarity so that they can do their work in their best natural way.
Well, that is so interesting. I think you talk a lot about psychological approaches and genetic approaches.
So when you need to give a psychological angle to leadership strategies and organizational cultures, why do you think the new age organizations of today are doing a better job with employee engagement?
All right, first of all, I mean, when you're dealing with human beings, you have to apply psychology. I mean, that's kind of the whole thing. See, if you don't understand psychology if you don't understand how and why people are doing what they do well, you're basically kind of like, "Oh, maybe I'll try to find my way through and see if I can figure it out", okay? Which isn't very useful, especially when you're trying to actually connect people to, I mean, as a leader, especially you are responsible for these people's well beings. And that also means their emotional wellbeing. Let's just look at this. Right. Okay, so, do you have friends?
I mean, not on Facebook. Like real ones?
Yeah just checking. Right. So let's say you have these friends now with one group of friends. Do you notice that? Like, well, this is, of course, in normal times when you can actually go out with your friends. Right?
But do you notice even online or offline when you are with your friends, one group of friends, your behavior changes compared to maybe when you're with people at work?
And you notice that your behaviour changes again when maybe you're with family.
Now you're not doing it on purpose, right?
I mean, it just automatically changes, and you have a different group of friends and that group of friends also brings out different facets of who you are. So this is essentially the science of group dynamics.
Why do some groups of people literally bring out the best in you where you're like,"Wow, I am in the flow, I am excited, I am passionate, I am awesome", while other people are like, "Oh, gosh, do I have to go and do this again? I mean, really?"
Okay. So often what happens at work is people go, is it Monday again? Okay! Suddenly you end up going to work. And, the environment doesn't really bring out the best of who they could be. And so, therefore, well, it affects them, and it affects their potential.
It affects their innovation. It affects their engagement. It affects their literal efficiency as a human being. Okay, this is bad because, let's say, for example, let's just okay for the sake of making it easy, let's say that you are an employee and you get paid $1000 a month, all right?
And so out of that $1000 a month, the company has paid you this because essentially that is your value now the moment that you're excited and everything else you're working at, the potential that you have, which is, let's say, $1000 a month, which is what the company's paying you.
But what if after because you're in with these people and these people are like, "Oh, my gosh. Why are you doing stuff like that?", and then you are going, "Okay?" And then after a while, the other people are blaming you for doing something is okay.
And what? Just tell me what to do, now your potential has drastically reduced because you're not taking the initiative. You're not being innovative. You're not trying new things. You're not sharing new ideas. You just basically have become disengaged and taking the straight road because the environment itself, the culture isn't supporting your success.
So now the company is still paying $1000 a month. But your actual value is down to maybe $500 or $600. So that companies are losing money
Absolutely. So it's really that the employee is not being able to work to his/her maximum potential because the culture is just not supportive.
Exactly and this is whereby understanding the science of group dynamics, you can literally craft or sculpt cultures that support high performing individuals.
Right. This culture that you talk of right now, suddenly we're just finding ourselves in a very different environment where leaders are forced to manage a remote work team.
So how would you like to address them? How should they handle this situation?
Well, all right, here's the thing, right now is a unique opportunity. I mean, the whole Covid-19. I mean, it is devastating and all, but at the end of the day, it's still a very unique opportunity. And let me explain why, right?
Most organizations prior to covid19 are very busy. They're busy doing all of their busy things that they normally do, and people go to work and they're doing all of their busy things.
And what ends up happening is that even though these organizations, they may want to do some kind of an initiative to improve engagement and support people to essentially create better working environments so that they can be more productive, efficient and all of these things well, basically, they've just been too busy.
And so therefore all of this stuff gets kind of thrown by the sign. Okay, so now people aren't that busy right now is such an amazing opportunity for organizations to literally get their people to create the type of organizational culture that is going to support the success of the people, & of course, ultimately the success of the organization and the reason is here, first of all, let's look at the science behind what's going on?
People, often in isolation end up kind of going a little bit stir crazy, and so they become a little bit more irritable. All right, now, that's bad. All right, now, also, you add in the whole thing of, like, the thing where you've got fear and you've got some uncertainty and you've got disruption.
All of that basically creates cortisol in your body, which basically makes you more irritable even more. And on top of that, it doesn't help you to solve any problems because you are more reactive than proactive, all right. All of this stuff is bad. So let's see what else we can do. First of all let's look at the concept of crisis now in a crisis.
What happens is that people, if they have a common goal, can come together. And if that goal creates a greater purpose, something bigger, something that they have hoped for something that they're gonna go like, oh my gosh in the future, if we do this, we're gonna get this great thing. And now they get excited, and then you've got the crisis that's bringing people together.
I mean, it's like, I don't know anything about history, for example, like Armenias, alright. Armenia was this German guy that was during the Roman times, who essentially, brought together all of the Germanic tribes that were fighting against each other to literally overthrow. Well, actually, throw Rome out of the area.
And that was the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. Right? But see, it required the crisis that required him to basically get everyone together against a common enemy. In this particular case, the common enemy, the Coronavirus. Okay. And so now you've got these people that are like, wow. Okay, so here's this thing, And what can we do together?
So now you've got an opportunity for people to kind of come together, do some teamwork, actually. Go ahead and create some new ideas. Get innovation and the first thing they got to start with is what is the ideal working environment? And I don't mean like, swimming pool in the class, in the office. I mean ideal environment.
Okay. And generally, that's going to relate to more teamwork, supportive environment where basically, you can go ahead and talk to the finance guy if you need something over there or you can go and talk to the CEO it relates to trust either being trusted to do things in your own way or, for that matter, trusting other people to be accountable.
It relates to clarity, having clarity, having the vision, having the knowing what you need to do in order to succeed. And finally it relates to funds. Okay, and these five things. I didn't make those up.
We've actually asked this question. What's the ideal working environment? We've asked this in 57 different countries, different cultures, different age groups, different education, different levels from CEO to janitors. It's all more or less the same thing, very simple.
And so if you get people connected with this concept of creating their own ideal working environment, which essentially is predictable because people generally want most of the same stuff. Okay, and when you connect it with solving some of the main problems of the organization, and you'll find that ultimately, there are about three things that most people would agree on that are going to be the bigger problems.
Okay, and the senior management may not be aware of these, or in some cases, the senior management may sort of be aware. But it's kind of not important. But once the people have the opportunity to solve these problems, create this own ideal working environment, and then what they do is they create guiding principles or what types of behaviors they want to have in order to treat each other in order to achieve that ideal working environment and basically to solve those problems for themselves.
So essentially, it's an opportunity for senior management to facilitate their staff to achieve the culture that they want to achieve, and the staff will do it. Why? Because it benefits them.
It gets them excited about their ultimate place to work, and the Coronavirus will eventually go away, so it gives them that future potential is like, wow, we can do this, think of what we can do and it's gonna get them all creative and it's going to get them to communicate and connect with each other online’ and this is such a unique opportunity that hopefully won't happen again.
Absolutely. So it's like just engaging them in such a way to show them that there's a higher purpose in all of this and when distance all over, there is just so much more to achieve.
So just understanding that psychology, the brain is under constant threat right now, because there is something that's larger at play outside. So, it's the concept of flight or fight.
We are kind of battling with that still, I think it makes total sense to just look at this as a very opportunistic situation right now and really have something which will be very purposeful and I think that there is a lot huddle even though we try to create a beautiful organizational culture and ideal workplace, which a lot of people have in mind, but they're unable to execute it.
So do you have any tips for executing this ideal workplace culture?
Okay, well, let me just kind of give you an idea of what we do, right? So first of all, I mean Pre Coronavirus. Alright, we actually, that's one of the things we do. We go into companies, we facilitate their people to create the organizational culture and then we facilitate their people to maintain it and implement it. It's an implementation situation.
It's not like, "Hey, let's try to come up with something", and then nothing happens. One of the key things is having those consistent purposes being there on a regular basis. I mean, it's kind of like when you have a project, right, or or a goal? Okay.
The moment that you have finished that goal, it's like, "Okay, I'm done." Well, then, in order to maintain that level of purpose, you have to have another goal, right? Or another project.
Okay, so one of the key things I mean, for example, one of the things we use is gamification, so we used an app called Squadli. All right. S-Q-U-A-D-L-I. So this app basically gamified behaviors. Okay, so let's say, for example, that we wanna have as part of our organizational culture, we wanna have cross-departmental cooperation.
Okay, that's now rather than having that, you know, like, okay, we want to have this KPI and this KPI, at the end of the day, if you have, if you work backward, if you reverse engineer any kind of end results for your KPIs, it's going to come down to behaviors, right?
Okay, so if you gamify the behaviors that means that you are able to essentially achieve those KPIs better, faster, and overall as a group. So one of the things that Squadli does is we were talking about earlier creating guiding principles.
Those guiding principles are what is the behavior that I am holding myself accountable for and holding you, my friends, and colleagues accountable for. But if the management comes up with those, it's kind of like telling your kids don't go to the cookie jar. OK?
But if you come up with those, right, if you come up with those behaviors, we want management to treat us like this, and we will treat management and each other like this also now you're coming up with it. It's your thing, right?
So it is very important to the people that this is a bottom-up initiative, okay. And then when you use Squadli, you're simply gamifying it, you're helping each other to essentially tag each other, either supporting those behaviors like cross-departmental cooperation.
Or in the case of maybe somebody is doing the opposite of cross-departmental cooperation. Then they get, like, little negative emoji, right?
That also kind of makes it fun to give feedback in positive and negative ways based on your behavior. Okay, so what happens is that through this little gamification app, you could be reset every week or every month, or however you want to do it so that basically people start over, you end up having, like, who's in the top 10 for innovation who is in the top 10 for cross-departmental cooperation who's in the top 10 for this that and it gives a different people opportunities to make different lists, which basically keeps them thinking, oh wow, if I made this list, maybe even get on that list, too.
Or maybe I could get on that list, okay? Because if it's just like one list, well, it's always gonna be more or less the same people on the list, right? And then everybody else gets demoralized and then it doesn't work so implementation requires some creativity, some gamification and making sure that you always have the next thing to go to the next purpose, the next greater thing. So creating the ideal working environment that is a bottom-up initiative. The people own the culture, not the company.
"The people own the culture, not the company."
Right, that makes so much sense. It's actually a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down approach that I think organizations fail to understand, in this gamification process.
I understand that technology, according to you, doesn't play that major for the world. But if it does, What kind of a role can technology play in it?
Oh, no. Technology plays a huge role. I mean, just, for example, all right, before you could do any kind of a culture initiative. I mean, the first thing that you've got to do is you really have to understand where you are, right? I mean, what culture you're at.
So let's say, for example, you're on Google maps, okay? And you say, oh, here's my destination. If you don't say where you are to start with, it can't give you a direction. So the first thing I feel like there's there's another app. Okay, at cultureevolution.com, which is essentially the ocean tool. All right, so ocean stands for Organizational Culture Evolution Assessment Navigator.
First, it benchmarks where your culture is and of course, using technology because if it wasn't using technology, would you know, it would make it a lot more difficult, but on top, once it benchmarks it, see, now you've got a place you've got up here we are at this level of organizational culture, evolution.
Now, then you apply some of these ideas and you implement these in your people and you get your people to kind of go ahead and do this. And now one month later, Okay, after your people have been working on it and everything else and putting stuff together now you do the little mini culture audit again. And then what happens is you can literally get the ROI of your efforts. You can see, okay, we've improved, we have evolved in this area where we've evolved in this area.
These are all areas where technology really supports our ability to connect and for that matter, yes I can understand and then they go and do something completely different. Have you ever noticed that?
Yes, I have.
So that sometimes that creates some problems. So there's another tool called the colored brain communication inventory, which is, you can also find it colored brain.com.
So this again uses technology not just to give people an idea of how they process information, how they get clarity, but it puts everybody into the system. So that way you can go ahead and click on this person and you can say, oh, I want to find out how I can leave this person better. Or how can I be more productive with this person?’
You just click a little button and it gives you a list of what you want to do to improve in that person, and it'll give you tips on how to improve your relationship, how to be more productive, how to do whatever simply because the communication processes are different. All of this is true it could not happen without technology.
Absolutely. I understand. The role of technology is now increasing more than ever. And then now that we're even remote working, a lot of people might not go back to workplaces.
I think it makes all the more different and you know what you say I do understand that this uses a lot of artificial intelligence also right?
Well. Artificial intelligence is a big word, Okay? I mean and yeah. Anyway, there's various levels of artificial intelligence, but to a certain point, I mean, if you have a system of understanding and you understand how people work and based on their answers and what they do and how they process and what they think and various other things that going on, well, that's gonna give you a model of that person, okay?
And in this very simple sense, a very simple sense. Human beings are far too complicated to be put into any kind of box. But if you take one thing, for example, like the colored brain thing that I was telling you about, only one thing. How do people get clarity? That's it.
Doesn't say whether you are a risk-taker or an introvert, anything like it's only one thing, how you get clarity, but how you get clarity affects how you interpret and process information and also the process of how or if you take action, so if you take the small elements and then you use them specific individual, you're able to have a greater understanding of different things because you, as an intelligent human being, can say I understand this about this person.
And I also understand this about this person. And I understand this about my environment. So now, I, as an intelligent human being, which is a very important part of the equation, I'm able to make personal assessments and actions or inactions towards whatever it is that I need to do right.
It’s essentially connecting the dots and using a slice and dice method to really get to an objective, that can really help them be more engaged, also using gamification techniques and technology to understand all these connect points.
Absolutely. I mean, for example, in the coloured brain, right? One section depending on what goes on there are people who are in your danger zone, okay? And these were people that you might have difficulty communicating with. But by understanding that now you can say okay, how can I communicate better with these people?
And that's very interesting, actually. When you think about this if I talk about the future, right, what is your opinion on the future of work? What do you think it's going to change on? Do you think that would be an ideal future workplace?
See, you know the ideal future workplace. I mean, first of all, this is giving us everybody an opportunity to work from home. Okay, and the thing is that they're still got to be that element of connection. If we separate ourselves at work, we're also separating ourselves from a very important part of the human element.
And I think that if we try to say, oh, hey, let's be more efficient and just kind of let everybody work from home in the future, not that that's necessarily bad. Because sometimes I mean, especially in some places, commuting can be a serious problem, right?
But the thing is that at the end of the day, there are some elements of just having the human beings around you make you more innovative, make you more creative, make you just kind of feel better at work.
And so well, it may not be exactly the same, because now we've had a little bit of a taste of what's possible. There may be a blended type of workplace where you come to certain areas.
Or maybe only certain teams will come to in certain places in the office and at certain times and whatever and the rest they can work from home or you've got a kind, maybe a blended element of this, but at the end of the day, we still have to work together, if you don't need to work together with other human beings, your job can be replaced by a robot.
There's all your Artificial Intelligence, actually as managers, not as leaders. Okay, but managers for the most part, can actually be replaced by robots and the robot doesn't have to have hands and legs. It could be on a computer that basically makes decisions based on data. Okay, this needs to happen. This is inefficiency. We need to change this. This business I mean a computer would be a better manager than a human being. But a computer could never be a better leader than a human being.
"Computer would be a better manager than a human being. But a computer could never be a better leader than a human being"
Absolutely. That makes so much sense because managers just tried to be very task-oriented or just micromanage things all of it can be taken care of, but I think the difference is that leaders are people who inspired their teams and come up with better ideas and drive the team to success and that something that technology still cannot accomplish.
Yeah, makes sense.
Do you think with the energy of millennials coming into the mix now and there are so many gig workers, especially when you talk about Gen Z, their attention spans are really decreasing. Is that a way that they can manage their time effectively and be more engaged at the workplaces?
Okay. First of all the assumption is that Gen Z is not engaged in the workplace. Well, okay, if you actually look at the research, most Gen Z actually want to work, and they're actually willing to work a little bit harder than their predecessors, the millennials.
Okay, at least according to the statistics however, I mean, at the end of the day, it's still gonna be about your parents, your upbringing, and you're still going to have that element of technology that is now a part of your life.
Okay, The biggest problem is that parents okay have essentially used technology as a babysitter. That has really been the creation of the problem because now it's like, okay, well, my son is starting to cry or whatever, or, I need to focus on my own stuff so here play a game, Okay?
If you carry that through into the workforce, they think of the ramifications of that. Let's just do a quick fix. Okay? Therefore, things like innovation and customer service and things like that may fall by the wayside because it's like, oh, it's a quick fix, let's just do this, let's just give them that. Still, it's really about creating again it goes back to creating a culture, a culture that brings out the best of the person that you want to become.
Not necessarily the person that comes out when you're with this group or that group. Because if you put one person into I mean just here let's just look at some of the research we've done. Right? Okay.
Let me give you an idea, there is one of the companies we were working for, one of the logistics teams was of 10 people. Their job was to take furniture that has been ordered by the client and deliver it to a client on time and with as little damage as possible, when this was a big company, there were still about 10 people on this team.
Now this particular team was always having some problems. They always had problems with damage, and they always had problems with meeting schedules. After observing the team for two days, we removed one person so now you have a team of nine people doing the work of 10. Guess what happened on time and fewer problems with less damage, one person can screw up an entire team. Just one.
Okay. By understanding how and why that happens, you can literally create environments. You can, you know that they're going to support you being the best that you can again, culture is not all about like, hey, let's make everybody happy let's get everybody to be on the same page because some people are just never gonna be on the same page.
They're just not okay. You gotta take those people out and put them somewhere else or fire them if you can so that you can protect your culture and the well being of everybody else in it.
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense just to kind of have the right mix in the team to see how you can make it more efficient even if that means that you might have to remove the weakest link in the chain.
There's one of my books called ‘The Architects of Extraordinary Team Culture’. I've actually put down very specific recipes so you can predict team performance.
Interesting. Right. So just to kind of summarise this, what you just spoke to asking everybody to focus on is that you can bring about an engaged team, even remotely or even at workplaces, when you just drive the team to a specific purpose and gamify it, it will kind of become all more easier to match niche.
Absolutely. Again. I mean, have fun. It's okay to have fun at work.
Arthur to wrap this interview. I was gonna ask you the last question, which is if you have any important soundbites that you'd like to leave our viewers with?
Wow, an important soundbite. If you are a leader, and you really want to have an impact on your team, let your team tell you what to do. Being a leader is not about being the person that's in charge. Being a leader is about basically getting the team or the group to achieve a specific result.
"If you are a leader, and you really want to have an impact on your team, let your team tell you what to do. Being a leader is not about being the person that's in charge. Being a leader is about basically getting the team or the group to achieve a specific result"
Okay, if you're part of the team, it's okay to take orders from the janitor, if necessary. If the janitor just happens to have a better idea or he's extremely excited about an idea and he wants you to help him.
So if we can just take our own egos and put them aside and a lot of times, this is the response that I get from from, leaders when I kind of give this idea and they say, oh, Arthur if you do that, the people aren't going to respect you and then they'll just walk all over you’
And, you know, as long as the structure is clear, as long as the results are essentially key and it is clear that the results are supposed to be made and they are supposed to be made on certain times and uncertain to certain levels, it doesn't matter what people think. The only thing that matters is the result. Okay?
If people don't achieve the result, well, okay, now there's a different thing. Ok, but if you start exchanging ego for results, it doesn't necessarily work that way. Focus on results first, ego second.
Absolutely. It's the results that matter in the end, whatever you've said, it's been such a learning experience for us because these are new things and concepts that we understood so, thank you so much for talking to us. Arthur it was a pleasure.
It was my pleasure.
Take care, Arthur let's stay in touch. Have a healthy time ahead of you.
You too, Bye.