How To Find Ultimate Fulfilment At Work: Marcus Buckingham | E140 | Transcription
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Could you do me a quick favor if you're listening to this please hit the follow or subscribe button It helps more than you know and we invite subscribers in every month to watch the show in person. I lost my dad I lost my marriage. I sold my company then you sort of ask yourself. What are you doing with your life? My name's Marcus Buckingham. He's a best-selling author a rock star in corporate America I couldn't say my own name until I was 12 the more you try to fix a stammer the worse it gets from a very early age We start telling people that strength is what you're good at but yeah, I'm good at some things. I hate what's that? That's a weakness. I had got myself into position where I was solely responsible for one huge client Disney I look like I sort of feel confident, but I had years of panic attacks It was super psychologically damaging To be trying to be somebody that you're not the first relationship you better have is a really good one with yourself The best people in any job they find love in the activities themselves Love is for work and work is for love and if we do that, it's not just individualistically satisfying It's what companies want from us So without further ado, I'm Steven Bartlett and this is the Dyer over CEO USA edition I hope nobody's listening, but if you are then please keep this yourself Marcus, it's a pleasure to have you here in our studio here in LA another Brit We've had quite a few Brits in but you're one that's particularly inspired me with your work When I was doing the research on you and reading through your book and your prior book I I was overwhelmed with the amount of questions I wanted to ask you because of the depth of knowledge but also how much the topics you talk about resonate with me The place I wanted to start with you though that I found particularly surprising having met you having spoken to you having seen how people have become very enamored with you as a public speaker is You started your life with a stammer.
Key Discussions And Insights
Overcoming a stammer to become a public speaker (01:15)
Yes a really bad stammer. Yes How does someone get from and I want to talk about that but for context you went from having a stammer which was pretty crippling in terms of social aspects to Mark French who's the US US's top lecture the leader of the top lecture agency called you one of the best public speakers he's ever seen How does one go from having a stammer and being you know really hindered by it to that position and tell me about the stammer Yeah, so when I first started to speak and this happens for quite a lot more boys and girls actually as it happens my synapses Didn't fire right and so you have almost immediate Disfluency so my earliest memories Steve are not being able to say my name One of my very earliest fears was not ever being able to be married because I couldn't say will you marry me? So you start off and you start trying to communicate at three and four and then you realize that something's really wrong But you're so young you don't really understand what's wrong and then you get older and older and you realize you can't He can't put words together. Um, so for the first 12 years of my life Not being able to speak was what I thought about every single moment of every day and everyone's got their own traumas and their own difficulties and I had lots of blessings in my life, but I couldn't speak and I had a lot to say so I would keep trying and then it wouldn't work And I didn't know why and a stammer's are really it's a perfect metaphor for everything that parents Try to do with their kids you the more you try to fix a stammer the worse it gets So I went to the speech pathologist and they did the whole Peter Piper picked a pack of pickle packers thing and you trying to sort of get them the muscles to kick in and it just got worse and worse and worse and worse and then I Was one of five boys that was asked to read aloud in chapel I had kept volunteering to be in Christmas plays and stuff and I was never picked because everyone rightly was like You can't talk So I'd never really spoken in front of anyone at all when I was talking to you Like if I was seven years old and talking to you like this I couldn't say anything like I wouldn't I would try and then you would be like this is mortifying so I'd never been asked to read aloud anywhere anyway that day I Can sign my palms are sweating even just thinking about it because you realize my life's over Every single child in this school is gonna see me now stand up I can't fake the words because they've got the Bible study books because he was in chapel so they can see what I'm supposed to read So I can't use the substitute words that I could say for words. I couldn't send old stammerous trick But they're like you can see what I'm gonna read and Girls and boys at that age as you know, it can be pretty cruel. Um, some I'm done. I'm just baked, you know, stick a fork in me but anyway, I walk up and I turn around and I look at all the faces and like it was it was like a stimulus and Then my response my brain felt different. That's all I can say about it just felt different felt warmer it felt fluid and I just read the whole piece with not single stammer really just the whole thing and what occurred to me was I love Eyes on me. That sounds really weird, but the more people I'm talking to I'm better brain comes faster words Come out better stories. I don't know why I didn't work at it. I didn't struggle with that It was just that worked on me in the same way that some people ever stammer when they sing they don't have a stomach So I took that away. I was blown away Didn't understand it but Then I just went you know what that should be an unlock for me. We often go to our Deep traumas to try to understand how to fix ourselves and if you have social anxiety What caused it when it started and we sort of we we pathologize ourselves with the best of intentions But I went the other way and I was like I know so much about this dance down I've been the more speech pathology sessions and read more books and I know so much about it I just can't fix it instead. I'm gonna I'm gonna decide that when I talk to one person. I'll just pretend I'm talking to 400 I'll just literally pretend I'm talking to 400 and The stammer went away in a week. I was faking public speaking when I was just speaking and I was doing it as a Coping mechanism so that I didn't stammer and it worked. It's amazing. It's weird makes no sense Right, it's like We're mysterious and that's what I read about in the book is that I don't think we've really grabbed hold of the huge variability in variety that lives in human beings We have talked about it in terms of race or gender or age or nationality or religion But we haven't really talked about it in terms of why you different from your brother by the time you get to be about 1819 You have a hundred trillion synaptic connections in your brain that lead you to love some things and load others Things that shouldn't go together go together things that you lean into that you shouldn't lean into what you do like for me I shouldn't have a lot of public speaking but for some draught reason idea why no idea but we We have this unbelievably intricate network of synaptic connections that makes us completely different from the person We grew up in the same house with and what no one's ever taught us is a How do you understand that uniqueness like what are the signs life is giving you and be? How do you use it like can you rewire your brain to become someone else? What happens if you put your 10,000 hours in can you rewire your brain and become a different human being? Can you rewire that network in your brain? Well, if you have a growth mindset supposedly you you should and yet actually we know that's not what happens at all You grow more synaptic connections in the part of your brain. You have the most pre-existing synaptic connections Everyone because you've got the alpha-integrin proteins and the blood vessels and the infrastructure So actually growth for all of us is becoming actually a more defined Version of who you are you don't rewire your brain to become someone else the question in life isn't really growth or no growth It's where will you grow the most? So I don't think we've ever really grabbed grappled with the 11-year-old who's basically asking herself Who am I? Is there a me in there? And we could have 10 years of school. Yes, where we learn geometry, we could have 10 years going. Here's how to use the raw material of a week of school to start helping you know a little bit more about that weird massive and massively filigree network in your brain and we could help you learn to have a language around that and how to describe it without bragging or how to be interested in other people's Network we could do all of that and of course as you know as an entrepreneur You want to hire people like that because then they have mastery of themselves So when they join a team they can start going well You can lean into me for this and you know Here's a bit where I struggle actually I need some help and here's where things come really fast and here's where I'm like a deer in the headlights But I know certainly in the company that I built it's like you don't hire people like that you don't hire people that are completely lovely and smart but really quite inarticular at describing where they find love and what they do where they're at their best and where they Struggle we don't we just haven't grappled with the beautiful wonderful extensive variation of us as individuals And when you were that age when you heard say 11 or 13 or 14 What was if I had asked you what you wanted to do when you're older?
Starting your journey in Physiology (09:13)
What would the answer have been? I didn't own it if I go all the way back to nine or ten I wouldn't have known what I wanted to be I Did know that I started to pay attention to things that other people didn't pay attention to and that was interesting then it's 16 I bumped into this Titan of Positive psychology his name was dr. Don Clifton who? Was the chairman of gallop but also a chief scientist and so at 16 He said you're gonna go study psychology and I had chosen psychology and he was like come to Lincoln, Nebraska and I'll tell you I'll teach you about positive psychology and studying what's right with people and I was like All right, I'll do that didn't know where I would lead but knew that research and psychology Real world observed human behavior. I just was always interested in that for people that don't know what is gallop? Well, gala's the first company I joined after school after university gallop was founded by George gallop who was the inventor of polling You like polling? I hate it. He figured out something which was if you talk to ten thousand Very carefully selected people your predictions of what they're gonna do or vote for anything is more accurate than taking 100,000 people because your hundred thousand people might be skewed But if you have what's called a representative sample in your ten thousand then you've actually couldn't extrapolate from your ten thousand to 100 million Now there's subtleties around that but but that's where it started after George died Don Clifton bought the company and Dance focus was psychometrics. So how do you measure things about a human that are really really important? But you can't count how can you measure engagement? How can you measure strengths? How can you measure? Resilience Talent how do you measure that? Like could I figure out a set of questions that would help me discover? Something about you in terms of your strengths your talents your advantages your attributes that you don't even know yourself Like I just loved that idea and so half of gallop was polling and half of gallop was Psychometrics and so I was there for the first 17 years of my career and we built this This tool that 25 million people have taken called strength finder Strength finder is all about exactly what it says That's trying measure you on 34 strengths and then we'll give you your top five So that was the side that I spent my first 17 years of my career with is trying to measure the uniqueness of human beings From a top line perspective when you were in that role because I mean 17 years trying to remember turn it find the uniqueness and human beings and inventing this thing called strength finder What is what did you learn about what a strength is because when I think about strength? I think it is I guess just something that I'm good at yeah So when you dive into what a strength is what you find is it's shot through with emotion It's what do you love to do?
How do I know what a strength is? (11:49)
What do you lean into? What do you find yourself unable to stop doing? There's an obsessive? And joyous quality to a strength so when you push and push and push on a strength people think that a strength is what you're good at We this is what you're bad at But actually if you push on that even just a little Stevie bump into people going you but I'm really good at that and I hate it What's that? What's it where you're really good at it even in school when you go on a and you're like? I'm thank goodness that class is over because I don't want to take it again your parents go We got an a in fact you got an a in biology So you might want to do medicine you should be a doctor But deep down yourself going by don't I don't like sick people actually don't like sickness at all And yet no matter as a doctor you keep curing them. There's another one the next day they keep coming into my town office You know I'm never done and and so we've from a very early age we start telling people that strength is what you're good at But yeah our own human experiences. I'm good at some things. I hate What's that? Well when you push on that? That's a weakness and so we should change our definition a weakness is any activity that weakens you Any activity where before you do it you don't want to do it while you're doing it time drags on when you're done with it you feel drained That's a weakness. I don't care how good you are at it If that's how you feel after it and then somebody would have said you build your career around that that's sadistic but that's that's That's the proper definition of a weakness is if it weakens you definition of a strength is any activity that strengthens you Before you do it you lean into it. You sort of just can't stop yourself from volunteering while you're doing it time whips by and you're like You look up you thought it was an hour, right? It's and it's now it's it's you've been doing it for seven hours and you're like oh my and then when you're done with it you're like I Know I feel Completed or I feel like me or I feel authentic right? I don't feel drained. I might not want to do it right away again But I'm like You're from the Latin right you're invigorated your strength and Which of course means if a strength is what strengthens you and a weaknesses what we can see what's super cool about that Is that you're the best judge of both? No one knows better than you what we can see and what strengthens you from the nine years old We could be saying to people hey, what strengthens you about even video games? Okay, which video game? What what about it? Is it multiplayer game is a first person shooter? We could start to get people to be Cultivating their own cutting you know genius about what what are your strengths? Somebody else is the judge of your performance. No question. So if you say I really really love Remembering people's names No one can come in and say no no you don't they can't say well you should probably use that to give better customer service And here's how you might want to do that But no one can come in and say you don't love that because if you say no no no I do Then you're the best judge of that now we might want to help you learn the detail of that Well, what do you mean by helping people? What do you mean by learning their names or what bit about it? You so we could help you get more detailed around it, but a strength is What strengthens you and you are the only genius when it comes to your strengths 17 years with Gallup? That's sort of the biggest takeaway And and strength finder or other tools that can help you sort of get in the vicinity of what are your strengths? but really a strength is an activity that strengthens you and and life frankly is waking up every day kind of putting on a show for you going what about this? What about this? What about this? What about this?
How do I ask a good question? (15:38)
And Yeah, you're on the receiving and going hmm. How about that? What is it about that? 17 years ago, you know The other thing I was thinking about before you arrived was you must know how to ask a good question Because that's sort of central to Gallup's work is knowing how to ask the right type of question And there's so many questions that are trying to get to the same answer But there's various routes you can take and the divergence between I guess the in terms of outcome of a good question and a bad question must be quite significant Like if I'm trying to find out what motivates you There's a number of ways that I could ask that and I think a lot of the ways that I would ask that simple question Would actually lead me to the wrong place because they're like laced with biases and presumptions and maybe they're not open Maybe they're too binary So how does one go about because asking good questions is so important in life generally whether you're trying to help a friend You're trying to hire someone you're trying to understand anything. It's all about inquiry How does one ask better questions? Is there did you learn anything about that? I got it Well, you're right. That's that's what the product is And you would test it out you would do what's called a concurrent validity study where you take a hundred really good managers and a hundred average ones And you try out 250 questions 250 questions and you see which questions elicit patterns of answers that the best people in a role do versus ones that are less successful and Many of the questions that you thought were great questions you have to throw out because they don't work as in The most successful people don't answer them in any way that's similar to each other and different than these people So that's really what the business was trying out lots of different questions to figure out What are the best questions you can ask in this case for a particular role or job, but in general If you want if you want to ask really good questions, the first thing to know is you should be asking open-ended questions So you're asking, um, what did you love most about your previous work? Do open not yes, no like just open-ended. What did you love most about? That's so the that's the it sounds like an obvious thing, but it's amazing how close ended our questions are as opposed to like what's What would be an example of close? Did you love managing people are you an overchiever or an underachiever? Um, you know or um, do you like overcoming people's resistance to your ideas? That's yes, so you can If you're not careful, you close the answer down best questions are always like Uh, tell me about a time when you uh When you build something that you didn't expect to build it's just open hard to measure They're right if it's open that's why I think people avoid open questions, right? Because then because then you get such a divert like variety of answers. How do you like put them in categories? Well, when it comes to psychometrics, you have a listen for and you code it Plus when you hear the listen for and zero for everything else like boiling and not boiling So when you're actually building an instrument, this may be too inside baseball as it were, but inside cricket Um, but that's how you do it when you're building an instrument. So for example, you take a question like um How do you know if you're doing a good job of listening? Let's say that you're trying to figure out empathy And you decide that one of the ways to measure empathy would be a question like How do you know if you're doing a good job of listening? So you take your study group of highly empathetic People Your your contrast group of less and you experiment with a whole bunch of questions one of them is that one Well, it turns out by the way that one does have a listen for a really good listen for listen for Um a pattern of responses that the most empathetic people all seem to share even though they don't know one another Okay And the listen for if you imagine all the possible answers to that question How do you know if you're doing a good job of listening? You could imagine somebody saying well if I can repeat back to the person what they said or if I just nod or like all sorts of If I mirror their body language Turns out the most empathetic people all say the same thing Um They don't say it in exactly the same way, but they say exactly the same thing They all say I know I'm doing a good job of listening when the other person keeps talking Well, that's interesting because that means the empathetic person instinctively knows that the job of a listener is not to understand what the person's saying Interestingly the job of a listener is to be However, they do it in such a way that you keep talking The job the outcome of listening is the other person sharing What you realize in most interviews frankly first of all that the interview Split of time is 60 40 the wrong way the interviewer talks for 60 At the time and the interviewee talks for 40 So we've got a big imbalance and by the way the interviewer rates the person More highly in a job interview when the interviewer talks most there's a very strong really yeah totally When I've talked to you I rate maybe you didn't when you were building your company, but Across the board when you study this there's a positive correlation between amount of time the interviewer talks and the rating of the interviewee Wow But anyway the in terms of building instrument once you've got oh wow All the most empathetic people say the same thing to that question How did you know if you're doing a good job of listening when the other person keeps talking? Well, then that becomes a listen for and then whenever you're trying to measure empathy you throw that question out you shut up You let the person talk and then if you hear unprompted Of the top of their head if they just say unprompted by you no cues from you no biases from you No nudging because I like the look of you when you walked in you just shut up Even when the person says well, what do you mean by that? You and by the way, this is one of the tricks of interviewing you have to learn your parry phrases A parry phrase is like when somebody because everyone wants to try to narrow you down I'm sure in dragons den you've seen this like people try to narrow you down towards getting to the place where you say yes And so when somebody says, you know, how do you know if you're doing a good job of listening the interviewee tends to say Well, what do you mean by that? You mean at home or at work? Do you mean if I know them really well if I don't and the tendency because that's just what humans do is to go oh Work or when someone you don't know what and you narrow it down so they can get the right answer So you have to learn a parry phrase like Well, I know what I mean by that, but I'm interested in what you mean by that Just to knock it back just to knock it back And then if you aren't if you ask a question like that and the person spontaneously goes If the other person keeps talking and then you actually code that you can score it Going back to your question about how do you score it? You can score that you didn't tell them what to say You asked an open-ended question and you knew what you were listening for and so you can code it In this case a plus and everything else isn't a bad answer. It's just a non predictive answer of that particular trait um There's a whole bunch of I mean if you wanted to select really good salespeople Um Here's a great question How do you feel when someone doubts what you have to say? How do you feel open-ended? How do you feel when someone doubts what you have to say? Imagine all the possible answers to that question And what you find is highly successful people get a hundred of them less successful salespeople get a hundred of them These people In answer to that question, how do you feel when someone doubts what you have to say? They all say It pisses me off the successful ones. Yes Look don't buy from me. That's all right disagree with me. That's all right. Don't doubt me What we called we did call it this a negative emotional reaction Because when you're a salesperson you're like listen I respect the fact that you can choose what products or service you might want to go with don't doubt me It's like when people say with salespeople well, you shouldn't take rejection personally the best salespeople are like you kidding That's what i'm saying I'm me. So in this case when you put the word doubt in there, it's like It's like a bang and you're like oh Don't doubt me. So the listen for there is like very specific By the way when you ask great teachers that question and average teachers that question They say completely the opposite They say the best teachers go. I love that Because to them are not all teachers because there's a whole bunch of teachers who don't say that but you look at great teachers They go no the doubters are student I want the student to be doubting that's learning And so you've got asked that put a great nurses average nurses The question doesn't work anymore because who doubts a nurse? Yeah, you know, so it's With all these things i've shown you found with your business you can ask one question and then You're really just trying to pin your ears back Shut the heck up and let the person ramble because it's so Revealing Even a question like what did you enjoy most about your previous work? Yeah, I mean what a great question that is And again people will say well, what do you mean with previous work? Do you mean this job? But you'll go hey What did you enjoy most about your previous work? Just talk to me about it It's Well, I think it's fascinating and it's predictive like you can start to predict what people are going to do If you can hear what they have repeatedly done people say, you know past behaviors the best predictor of future behavior No, it isn't repeated past behavior is the best predictor of repeated future behavior So if you want to know repeated past behavior You ask an open-ended question and then you shut up and top of mind is what the person repeatedly does or thinks or feels And it's so revealing We just mostly in conversation. We just talk at each other. Well, I did this. Well, I did. Oh, you didn't fall asleep. I didn't fall asleep I was not either you missed your plane.
The biggest predictor of employee satisfaction (24:57)
I've displayed it. Yeah, you know, it's like waiting to talk exactly In your your first book, um, you talked a lot about employee satisfaction so your first book was called first break all the rules and You really highlight the importance of employee satisfaction and I think you know, a lot of people might think oh, yeah, keeping employees happy is You know, it's you know, I will do our best, but Um, it really is from your read from your um, your work It's clear that it's central to the success of a company. I guess my first question is then What is the single biggest predictor or the unexpected predictor of employee satisfaction in the workplace? Because I would think it was like, you know, one might think it would be How much pay them or how many holiday days they get what did you find out? Well, the two biggest things from all of this research and it sort of goes full circle from first break all the rules, which is the first book I wrote which is based upon gallop research in you know way back when but it comes all the way full circle Steve to this book which Is all about love? When you push and push and push on your question what you bump into is an item a survey item That just keeps showing up in people that I'm more likely to stay with you more likely to be productive more likely to have fewer lost work days Less likely to sue frankly if they have an accent on the job like all sorts of really good predictive real world outcomes I'm more likely to happen when someone says firstly Um, I have a chance to use my strengths every day Or I love what I do and I'm good at it Um, there's something about Person work fit person work fit this job has some big bits of it that fit me Now who me is is variable of course, but is this job in any way an alien job to me? Or is that actually part of me when you have that in any job We were talking before about the first job I ever studied was housekeepers where we think oh stupid, you know housekeeper stupid job I mean I bet they all just want to get out of it as quickly as they can But you study the world's best housekeepers and you're like oh my word There are some people that love certain aspects of that role any role done at excellence has got a lot of love in it And every role done averagely is loveless if you have loveless work You're a worse worker. We now know all sorts of biochemical reasons why that's so but it just kept showing up in survey after survey after survey Work you fit. However you want to talk about that is huge Which is why of course, I'm sure when you build your company you realize this teams are everything teams are everything because they make homes for unique Individuals and you can start going oh, you're all weird But but you do this and you do this and you do this and you do this and learn behold The teams well-rounded precisely because each person on it isn't well-rounded And then the team leader of course can be really creative about well Which bit of it do you love and can we get used a bit more of that and then you can lean into this person who weirdly loves balancing the books But you hate it. Well, that's interesting. They love excel. You love powerpoint. Okay. Well, that's it. That's a team And and so that's that's all about person work Fit so that's a huge one and then of course the second one in terms of In terms of all the discoveries around engagement is It's your manager stupid it's like If you think if you don't trust your manager if your manager doesn't know you if your manager doesn't pay attention to you Then your whole company becomes the manager And you can actually walk around your neighborhood going you know what it's a pretty good company But I freaking hate her And if you freaking hate her you leave I left the company's great Now for you clip that around so you can go the company's terrible like the the pay is bad and the and the You know the benefits packages and really what it's cracked up, but my manager Steve. He's I mean I would follow him anywhere Which by the way sometimes happens when Steve moves companies. So those two things of everything I'm I'm not saying that pay is nothing or benefits and nothing people like those things But if you want to see where people give that discretionary effort if you want to see where certain teams saw and you go Why why is that team crushing it and this team struggling which by the way you go inside companies you start measuring anything? Lost workdays productivity sales profitability and what you find and no one talks about this, but you find variation you go inside of You go inside of Home Depot, um, where you go inside of mark suspense's or you go inside of um Goldman Sachs So you go inside of Tesla you go inside of Disney. Oh, well Disney's got this culture Tesla's got that culture all of that is rubbish You go inside a company. Let's just take Tesla and you start measuring. What's it like to work here? What you get is range What's it like to work at Tesla depends massively and what's bloody team you're on? And if you are working on a team down here, this disengager manager doesn't care about you're not trusted That's Tesla and when you leave you're leaving that Now this team over here is a super engaged shipnet same business card Tesla Tesla But you I don't know you read that I don't know what you read, but you read the business press it sure looks as though companies have one culture Frabish they have as many cultures as they do teams. They have one stock price But that's a totally different ballgame So in terms of what drives engagement on this team Does someone really think about how I can fit the work that I'm doing a lot of and then do I really trust that my team leader is out to make Me bigger better is interested in that when I was two things I'm not saying there are other things recognition. It's important mission You want to talk to Simon while you're here the why is important But the why doesn't compensate for the what if what you're doing on that team doesn't fit you It's like nurses You know why we have such burned out nurses in the NHS and over here too There why couldn't be stronger of course they're wise so vivid and yet they're burning out They have higher levels of PTSD than veterans that return from war sounds It's like we're crushing our nurses why well one many reasons, but one reason is the span of control One nurse supervisor to 60 nurses, which is the average over here I don't know exactly what the average is in the NHS, but it's really big. There's no teams in hospitals Hospitals aren't built around teams. They're built around vertical areas of expertise. So if you're a nurse 60 of you one nurse supervisor that poor nurse supervisor can't do those two things I just mentioned he or she can't get to know you in terms of where your strengths and passions lie And then they can't put you on a team to help you be collaborative with others so that together You can reinforce and support one another in those areas where you don't have strength or love or whatever Humans have been working in teams for 50,000 years And if you go to hospitals There are no teams because the structure is set up to make it impossible And then we wonder we go out and we clap But it's all a bit It's like hey rather than dragging people out of the river who are drowning Why don't we go upstream and see why they why we're pushing them in in the first place With nurses we've built a system where they don't get those two things those two needs met No one's interested in who they are and what they bring and no one Has enough time to pay attention to How they're feeling what they're into what they're not into who could they come up with like all of that stuff that humans need That particular profession doesn't care and that's the reason why in all of our studies I run the ADP research institute now, which is a big global institute It's the least resilient profession of all even pre-pansemic it was and funnily enough the second most Burned out is teachers So the two Most burned out least resilient professions have the clearest why? the clearest center purpose But the reality of the work the day-to-day reality the work is super disengaging. There's no teams in schools It's like wherever you see no teams You get no trust in team leader and no link between you and your work you and your role you and your role It's like teams are this magic technology That we discovered 50,000 years ago when we tried to bring down big game It's so interesting you say that because um, I've always pondered so there's so many things that I thought about there The first thing was actually how right you are having seen in my own organization over the years where I would do my one-on-ones with team members and if Jason fissure was managing the team Even though they were in the same room. They're all in the design department But the 15 people Jason fissure was managing would report a tremendously high levels of job satisfaction A team sat next to him doing pretty much the same work would come in and it I was I felt like I was fighting to keep them in the company Because they were managed sat next to the other team managed by a different person And the crazy thing is in the second team I described one-on-one sessions with me They would ask to be managed by Jason fissure So could we and then eventually our decision as a company was to put Jason fissure up above the whole Design studio so he was he was in charge of 40 people but then he could like oversee Right team and those people were happy and then the second thing you said just at the end there which really made me think was um About freelancers And about their levels of engagement and motivation. They are not in teams. They tend to work at home alone on computers on work Which actually is not connected to them a different project today a different project tomorrow and I believe that they Muh, and I just it's this an anecdotal thing that I've seen in my friends that freelancers I think they struggle the most in terms of fulfillment and happiness in their work generally obviously there's perks But generally no you absolutely right the data would back you up a thousand percent We've just finished we did a 25,000 person 25 country study two years ago Just came out of the field three days ago with a 27,000 person study 27 countries the least engaged really least resilient professions are people who are Alone who are working as exactly as you said um that doesn't mean that there aren't some benefits to your point they do actually like the flexibility but The only one place is where it really works is where the company and there's a few companies that do this actually Because of the label laws or whatever you stay fleet, you know in a freelance role, but actually you're brought into the team You're treated like a member of the team. Look that in 2017 I read about this too because I just was fascinated by the fact that the The oldest human art we've ever found Like in 2017 this guy and the little island of silhouette see in indonesia He's climbing up in a limestone cave and he's looking for a handprint because that's the oldest art we've ever found is like A red handprint in okra or something. He's looking to see if he can find it and he comes climbs in takes his um iphone And he's got a 15 foot mural on the wall and the mural turns out to be 50,000 years old So it's the oldest human art we've ever found well, maybe it's sorry 44,000 years But they think it's actually conservatively. It's 44,000 years old And it's a painting not the hand not of a foot or a face even it's a painting of A bunch of little human figures some carrying spears some carrying rope and then very clearly the local Fauna so an anoa a deer uh wild cat And clearly this group of people is trying to get together to capture or kill these animals And what's cool about it is that the artist and they think most artists cave artists was done by women so they think it was women Has drawn each human figure with an animal characteristic so one of them has the face of a lion one of them has a Tailor crocodile one of them has a trunk of an elephant And they're called Therian throats Who knows why but anthropologists call half man half animal um Therian throats and What it looks as though has happened is the artist has looked across the cave across the fire and gone oh She's super wily like a crocodile and he's really strong. So he's brave and this one and She's represented a team of differently talented people So what's super cool about it? I think and I could just be geeking out on it But the oldest human expression of us with each other is a manifestation of how different we are from one another in the cave And how acutely astute that person must have been to spotted and then went hey What happens if we all Came together and then we could do together what we can't do alone and then everyone went all right We'll try that and then it worked and then they when we realized it on a cave and that's called a team And then fast forward 50,000 years we go to schools and hospitals and we build place with no teams or course centers or manufacturing facilities and just like Uh, you've run a business. You what you just said by the way data backs this up a thousand percent too You can go into a company And you can ask a question like I trust my team leader or do I know what's expected to me at work And you've got two teams in the same room And you'll have one team where 90 percent of people strongly agree that I know what's expected of me And the same doing the same job right next door where less than 40 percent do And I remember when I was like really young in my career and walked back into a company and the CEO would go because we did these surveys And they would go what's our culture like and I would go um Well, uh This team everyone knows what's expected of them and then right next door is a team that doesn't has no idea what they're doing And that the CEO would be like what because we've got policies and we got goals setting and we got Software that enables cascaded goals to hit people like and you go yeah, I know We bought and you sofa for the whole lot too. So they should have the and you're like, I don't know but there's huge variation inside that room and You in terms of your experience had that insta, you know Every single place you looked you found variation But you don't it's funny. You don't really read that much about it. I don't you don't you don't it's actually weirdly This is kind of the first time I've really deeply pondered it I can see it having happened in my company But and I can see it happening office to office So our office in Manchester versus office in london Our son london was really not good good in terms of satisfaction at one point our office in Manchester was amazing and just Yeah, and I and the real point that stuck with me is that you don't have one culture I'm like that's kind of been a bit unnerving for me. It's made me rethink a couple of decisions I made but um the other thing I I I I know you wrote about in that but before we get on to this one is you talked about how great managers handle under performers And how every team has people that under perform that are for whatever reason From what you've understood how do great managers handle people that aren't performing To a certain standard.
How to manage under-performers (39:15)
So the first thing that we've got to remember about all managers and again We don't hear this much discussed either is Um, like why do we all hate the performance review? Why do we all hate the annual performance review? Many reasons because when I go through it and somebody says you're a four I go what i'm not a number Um, so there's that part of it, but it's also it's too infrequent right once a year So you go in going I've got to tell this person everything i'm worrying about anxious about thinking about because i'm not going to talk to them again for a year It's too infrequent the best managers know That the world moves quickly. There's 52 little sprints. That's a year 52 little sprints So the best managers are checking in with each of their people really light touch like 10 minutes 15 minutes, but every week One on one every week one on one Really simple questions like would you love last week and load what do you practice this week? How can I help? But like that every week little because remember the goals you said at the beginning of the year are irrelevant by the third week of the year I mean we're in the middle right now of like all sorts of global conflict. We didn't know that three weeks ago So we also know from data by the way people don't go back in and check their goals. So Less than 4% of people Once they set a goal at the beginning of the year, maybe there's a software program that records it or whatever They don't go back in and check it, but we all know it changes so dramatically even in the next couple of weeks So the first thing is the best managers are frequently going. How was last week? How was next week? How was lot? It's really this sort of that rhythm It's like 52 little sprints like that And of course that means if that you've got an underperformer You are hitting it really early. You don't wait until December and go you Have had a bad year you're in two right you're hitting it every week and because you're hitting it every week You've got an opportunity much earlier to start saying two things the first is And this is so it sounds so obvious, but One of the questions that separates a good manager from a bad manager by the way Is you put this question to them? You got someone who comes into work consistently late? What would you do? Do you take a study group take a contrast group? 100 great managers 100 average ones and you just throw that question out you got someone who comes into work consistently late. What would you do? And you again think of a million different Answer to that question these folks here they all stay the good ones Yeah, the stuff we call it the study group when you're doing a concurrent validity study you take a hundred Great ones measurably and then a hundred average. I won't get into how you measure it But it's like that's that's how you do it and uh, anyway these ones here their first the top of mind response unprompted is I would ask why Before I do anything else. I would say Why are you coming in late? Who is it? Is it a bus issue? Did you miss that you got something with your kid is it a drop off time? Should I change your start time to 9 30 so you can get your kid? Why if you start by assuming this is a real human You start by assuming this person's not trying to get one over on you Which is kind of an interesting mindset. It's like the best managers start Like Douglas McGregor called it theory x you start by assuming that people want to do good work And so if someone's underperforming you start by assuming there's something going on that I don't know And so that's the beginning you and then because you're doing it every week. It's like The person's not going wait wait. That was three months ago. I fixed that now. No, no, this is last Tuesday and Wednesday. Remember? 15 minutes late. Oh, well, but now the person may come up with an excuse But the first thing you do is you ask a question you shut up and you let the person define their own reality Of course, if you're doing that every week and you're putting together little strategies to help the person in this case show up and they don't then the The instinctive inside the best managers seem to have and the best coaches Is that your job isn't trying to put in what god left out? Your job is to try to draw out what god left in your job as a manager is not to make someone Your job as a manager is not to perfect someone your job is to go who the heck are you? And then can I find work or indeed a work context in which you can express you And if I've consistently seen underperformance from you, it's not because you're a bad human It's because for some reason I put you in the wrong role in which case my caring doesn't stop My loving doesn't stop. I just practice sometimes tough love and I'll come in and I'll say to you quickly I love you And you're fired And I still love you because this job I put you in it maybe And it's wrong for you. I can see it. You can see it. We can all see it So let's move you out quickly because this job is we're not going to rewire your brain So that you get to be somebody else you're you and this job doesn't fit you and it it's my job Again, another great question. This is a closed-ended one But ask great managers would you give people what they want? Or do you give them what's right for them? And you then you just shut up and they go with the second one you get people what's right for them even if occasionally isn't what they want so I mean there's more to it than that of course, but but in terms of how best managers do with poor performers Frequency ask questions and shut up and then stop trying to rewire people's brains Most of high performance is the function of talent role fit And when you get low performance, it's because the person's not a bad person. It's because they miss fit And I bet you've seen that with your people you've had a thousand so you moved I bet you moved some people sometimes not always but you go from a C minus So frustrating and then you tweak the job even just a little and you're like, yeah, who are you? And they're extraordinary. Yeah, that's why I always hate the stuff where people go well. They're an a player. It's like Stop categorizing people A players depend upon which flipping role you put them in I could take your a player. I'll make them a D So don't there's no a players There's just people who really fit their role and get real joy from it and I'm have mastery in it etc etc And then there's people that don't I bet you've been a B minus in some things right me too put me in finance I'm an E right. Oh, he's an a player. Uh, have you seen his spreadsheets? Yeah, like So that's that notion of like I'm not trying to fix you I'm trying to see you And then find roles in which you can express you as woo-woo as that sounds You and I both built businesses. We know it's like no, that's not we were at all. That's a good night's sleep That's what that is when you've got a person and a team that we go.
Dealing with people that don't do things the way you do them (45:57)
Oh That that's a thing of beauty One of the things you said as well was the hardest thing about being a manager is realizing that your people will not do things the way that you would Mm I think everyone can resonate with that part of the part of the frustration. I think of being a founder as well is you Because you're very often very clear on the way that things you think things should be done whether that's right or wrong you just have your own subjective opinion on how it should be done or How hard people should be working whatever it's sometimes difficult to appreciate that other people don't have the same clarity of vision or Perspective as you do. I see that throughout my teams and just with managers generally they tend to be quite um, what's the word? resentful that their their teams might not be Doing it the way that they would do it Yes, we um some of us get into management because we want more control. Yeah, and then you're like, uh, surprise You now have to manage by remote control. Like you're sitting here people are doing stuff and you're not there. You're here It's like ah But that's why you know we took a lot these days about feedback and of course The opposite of feedback on some level is is ignoring people and people don't want to be ignored There's no question if you want to destroy your team just ignore them, but Feedback's actually pernicious. The best managers don't give feedback By which I mean Feedback meaning are you doing this wrong? Let me tell you how to do it right. I don't mean feedback as in you got that fact wrong um, but In terms of me telling you this is what your performance is and this is how you should do it better. That's feedback Well, you read a lot right you'll see a lot of tools articles books even on how you should learn how to give and receive feedback Uh, that's that's how you grow somebody tells you because you're up. You're blind spots are the people they know the truth about you So they're going to tell you who you are because you can't see it. That's called feedback But of course what that means is that the person the managers assuming a that I do own the truth about you Which they don't we have observer bias like crazy and I don't mean race gender age bias I just mean idiosyncrasy in fact in psychometrics. It's called the idiosyncratic rate effect Which means I have a unique pattern of rating that I'm unaware of and then when I'm rating you and I'm rating this person over here And this person my ratings should move because I'm looking at different people. They don't my pattern of ratings moves with me Which means that basically all ratings reflect the return not the rating even though we end up paying or firing Or promoting the ratee as though the ratings reflect the ratee, but they don't reflect the rateer We've known this about this in in psychometrics for years and yet in businesses today still most people Are rated by their manager? But the other thing is in terms of learning when you give when I give you feedback and I go do it my way I mean even with the best of intentions most feedback basically ends up meaning you would be better If only you were more like me. Yeah, there's a realization at some point is in there as an entrepreneur where you go I think what I really need to do is actually just create the conditions in which a person Can express the best of themselves rather than me Assuming that learning for that person is just information transfer and dumping it into their blank slate like that's not at some point as an entrepreneur you learn what basically Brain sciences have learned for a really long time learning is insight all learning is insight It comes from within the person And so all you can do as a team leader or manager is create conditions Which within which a person can interact with the world a client a prospect a thing they're making it And then go oh ah oh ah oh okay, ah and then the person has the learning you You're not telling them how to be when the moment you tell them how to be is the moment you're assuming that they are wide like you are So I try to tell a person how to sell it's like No, you sell when the person believes you and The prospect believes you and everyone has a different source of belief What's yours? Some people sell through competence some people thought sell through relationships some people sell through impatient some people sell through Being silent some it's like everybody's source of belief and trust is totally different so Yes, tell people your reaction as a manager like If somebody comes in late you can say look when you come in late, it makes me think you don't care The person can't then say well you shouldn't feel that because you go no I do feel that I feel like you don't care when or in that meeting when you interrupted your colleague I felt like you weren't listening because I felt that felt weird to me. You shut her down. That's what it felt like to me That's a reaction When you then tell the person what to do differently tell the person how to change their behavior That's feedback and you've basically just crossed the feedback bridge and now you're telling them how to be And how to be is how to be more like you and so as we talk about in the book a lot It's like give people your reaction you own that Don't give people feedback and if you're on the receiving end of feedback shut it out Because no one knows you like you know you It's so true because yeah I mean everyone says how the importance of giving feedback and communicating and The narrative I've always heard in terms of like management Advice is always you know you've got to give people constant feedback to help them Grow Yeah, people don't want feedback people want attention. That's different If you give people no attention, they'll shut down. I mean loneliness is a killer We knew so that's true, but people don't want feedback and imagine when somebody says to you. Hey sit down You want to have a conversation? I want to give you some feedback It's like an anvil on your head your brain leaves the room and all you're thinking about is how do I survive this darn thing with markers Because it's going to turn out to be markers didn't tell me Something that he's got the truth about me that I don't have and then he's going to tell me a bunch of things and I'm going to have to do this As he tells me a bunch of tactics and stuff that don't feel like me And and you're just trying to think how do I survive this conversation here? Let me give you some feedback. It's like So yeah, I'm on a bit of a campaign going that is so arrogant feedback is arrogance What people want is attention, which could be your reaction So if you said to me Marcus, you know halfway through that whole session that we did. I thought you got a bit off track I can't then go no you didn't think that Because you went no, I was lost man. Well, you shouldn't have been lost because I was being really clear and you go if I was lost Well, that's a reaction and people do want a reaction. There's no question That's why once a week the managers really that's what that is is that once a week check-in is like a just frequent attention They don't want feedback because they're not you And they don't want to be you and I know for me as an entrepreneur. That was the hardest thing to learn was like step back They'll show you who you are who they are and then you can Help kind of arrange a world in which they get to express and express and express I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast It's so crazy that in the last couple of months. I've had so many people Tag me on instagram even on telegram and in my twitter dms In a picture of them starting their heel journey and it's one of the most Amazing things in my life that I get to do a podcast which of course needs money to to fuel and I have a sponsor like he'll who I genuinely believe Is going to help every single person Who starts their heel journey change their life because this podcast the central intention of this podcast is to help people live better lives And we get to sit here and I get to promote to you a product which has not only helped me change my life But it's going to help millions of people and is helping millions of people live a nutritionally complete life It's so it's such an incredible product and for me the reason why it's incredible is because it gives me my protein It gives me my vitamins minerals. It's plant based. It's low in sugar Gluten free. It does all of that in a small drink that tastes good. There are other products There's foods. There's the hot and savory collection many other things But for me this ready to drink is the absolute saviour of my diet throughout the week where I'm moving at such pace Look, I don't want to labor the point, but if you haven't tried he'll give it a try and if you do Tag me Instagram wherever you try it. Give me a tag. Anyway Back to the podcast Why did you call the book love and work?
Your book Love + Work (54:19)
Why the word love in particular? Well, I did it as a Two reasons one the juxtaposition is always interesting like one piece like love and work you just don't hear them So it said that way um, so in part of it was like Yeah, it just gets your attention And the other part of it from a research standpoint if you interview people that are really really good at what they do And that's really been my entire career. I mean I was talking to you before about study group contrast For 25 years. That's all I've been doing is you take 100 great nurses 100 great teachers 100 great housekeepers 100 great lawyers And you're just asking open and get ended questions. You're shutting up your tape recording the whole thing transcribing and going hmm What's there? And when you do that the best people in any job they don't all love the same things, but there's love in what they do there's um banishing into the activity the activity isn't something they're doing it's something they're being Whether it's cleaning a room and vacuuming themselves out so they can see the lines and they get kick out of the lines Whether it's another housekeeper going I lie on the bed and turn on the ceiling fan And I'm a back then going why? Because that's the first thing a guest does after a long day at the theme parks And I like looking at the room through the lens of the guest you're like Whoa, I love looking at the room. That's why I sit on the toilet or I lie on the bath Even though there's rules in the job description say do not lie, you know in the bath or sit on the toilet. You're like whoa So when you look at really really good people in any job, they find love in the activities themselves Interestingly though, they don't love all they do that whole cliche about find what you love and you'll never have to do a day's work in your life again And I'm a bit of a data nerd so you look around and you go is that true? And you study the most successful people My first Master's thesis actually at school was the social and psychological issues of entrepreneurship Even the best entrepreneurs don't love all they do And so you go, okay, find what you love to do and you never have to work with any in your life again Is there any data to support that at all? No, none. So let's stop saying that And let's rehabilitate with science the word love Measureably when you study highly successful people they find love in what they do They don't love all that they do but they find love in what they do they find activities on moments or situations every day that they love How many 100 50 20 percent are really good threshold male clinic research shows Doctors and nurses who are not burned out have at least 20 percent of their activities be things that they love Take a bunch of emergency room nurses. They love different things, but 20 percent you get below 20 percent 19 18 17 it's like you start getting really dangerously psychologically damaged Even if it's you know 21 percent though 27 percent 50 percent it doesn't seem as though you get necessarily a massive uplift in resilience It's not like you need to love all you do 20 percent are threshold like get above that And every day feels different Every day feels different. So And then of course if we dive into the brain science of it You find that when people are actually in that state of the positive psychologist who we lost last year Mike Czechs Schumahai He called it flow. Okay When you get into that flow state even if it's just 20 percent of your time if you look at someone's brain When they're in the moment in the zone in their element whatever your phrases They have the same chemical cocktail in their brain as you do when you're in love with someone So vassa person oxytocin nor penephrine with the addition of this weird cocktail called anandamide which is brings feelings of wonder and or but your brain on love Looks at work. It's a lot like your brain on love with another person and when you're Doing something that you love You are more open measurably you perform cognitive tasks better your memories better You're more accurate in measuring or identifying the emotions of other you're just better So love and work was like hey If you want this is kind of when I was sitting there trying to fill the pages and thinking why are you writing this On one level I mean on one level I was thinking my kids I want my kids to be happy in life and have joy in what they do and yet most people don't and I wanted to have something I could go Read this you know, um, but on another level. I wanted to write to CEOs like you and me and go listen If you want collaboration if you want innovation If you want creativity if you want really authentic customer focus you can't get it without love So if you feel abashed talking about love then shut up talking about these other things you won't get them Loveless excellence is oxymoronic and that's not just A phrase it's like you look at what people look like on love at work And they're amazing So if we took it seriously at work And we thought about what do you love? How does that turn into work and how does the work that you do inform the detail of what you love? And then it becomes this wonderful infinite loop of work is to help you. Sorry. Love is to help you figure out contribution which then informs what you love that Your life is like this you've already built a company you've sold it now You're doing all this other stuff because your love leads you to turn it into contribution Which required you spending tens of thousands of pounds to do something and then now you're doing it and we're sitting Here and there's there'll be stimuli that Information's going into your brain right now and it will add detail to that which you love this whole thing But over here in LA well, I've had a little more detail and your life will be this now listen I don't know your mom and your dad, but if your life was like this they would go Yes, I don't care how much freaking money he makes if he knows that which he loves and turns it into contribution Then on his deathbed he'll feel like he lived a first-rate version of his life And I've got an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old And I just wish in every fiber of my being that they get to feel that loop That's love and work love is for work and work is for love and if we do that It's not just individualistically satisfying.
Should we be dragged by what we’re good at in a job we hate? (01:00:39)
It's what companies want from us. We just haven't taken it We just haven't taken it seriously You um you talked about we think I don't know if this was before we start recording but this the the curse of you know I remember a conversation I had with a young lady who was a lawyer and um she was clearly dissatisfied in her job and It transpired that the reason she was a lawyer is because that's what she had been good at in terms of A levels then University and also her mum and dad had said like that's a good job And she was she was almost on the verge of a midlife crisis when she spoke to me Because she had she was so good at this thing that it kind of dragged her off Into the future and she was she was now that that was her identity So many people listening to this now will resonate with that in various ways They would have become a a banker because their parents were bankers and they were really good at maths What have you found out about those people their satisfaction? And really what they should be doing I guess is there something else they should be doing instead is Should we be dragged by our our competence in something? Well, no as we talked about before me the competence can be a A devilish curse Um because you can get the A's and hate the work you can get high performance, but actually hate the activities um For anyone if they want a a really great career The why is important like to think about Do you really believe in the purpose or what you're doing that's important? No question the who is important? No question If you hate the people you're working with that's always a bit of a problem But the what trumps the who and the what I in the end like what do you actually filling your days with? So if your friend is a lawyer, it's like which Give me a day talk to him about a day. What's the day look like? What are you doing at 10 o'clock on a monday morning? What are you doing at 3 p.m. On a thursday afternoon? That's the what what are the actual activities themselves? So if anyone's the other things what always trumps the who and the why? Which is why we've got nurses and teachers who were so disengaged. They believe in the why They really love the people on their shift, but the day-to-day reality what they're doing doesn't fit them No one's paying attention to it. There's no manager helping them There's no teams all the stuff we talked about before that goes Is anyone paying attention to what I have to do every day and whether or not it fits me? Which bits do which bits don't how do I lean into one another? What does collaborate all that stuff? Is missing so the why is there the who is there the what is wrong? So if I say lawyer that could be a that could be an entirely different experience for You know everybody that's a lawyer. So one lawyer could be doing a completely different thing different working hours work from home Working a great team with you know weekly check-ins Yeah, and another lawyer although it's the same job title could be in an awful corporate office two-hour commute every day On their own in a tiny cubicle. Yes. So to anyone watching or listening the the first thing to do is assess like where you're at which really means How much love do you have in a week? Do you have a lot? Do you have a loveless job? How would you do that? Well, the simplest way to do it is Just take a blank pad around with you for a week drew a line down the middle of it But loved it the top of one column and loathed it at the top of the other and this is easy to do most people never never done this And all you're going to do is you're going to imagine that your day Is made up of many many different threads There's a fabric of a workday It which bit like a tapestry on a wall when you're far away looks like just a picture But when you get close there's many many many thousands of threads. Well, the same strip any day You've got a thousand different activities moment situations context Like stuff just hits you like and it's little baby five minutes two minutes seven minutes five minutes two minutes seven minutes But these are threads some of them are white some of them are black some of them are gray some are Green they lift you up a little they down a little but some of them are red So in the book here I talk about red threads Activities that when you're doing them all that stuff we talked about before the flow the energy the Instinctive volunteering the I'm in my essence the feeling of an eight mastery the those moments They could be like two minutes here seven minutes here ten minutes But they're red threads and your life is sort of putting on a show for you every day going what about this thread? What about this thread? What about this thread? What about that thread and the most successful people in any job? Of course they identify their red threads really well And then they weave them into contribution now we can talk more about how they do that But it starts by going take a black pattern with you Think about the clues to your red threads What do you instinct to be volunteer for while you're doing something does time fly by when you're done with it? You feel sort of an incense of of mastery a sense of being up not down And then take it around with you for a week and anytime you find anything That fits those criteria scribble it down And anytime you find the inverse before you doing something you try to procrastinate or or or hand it off to the new guy Because it'll be developmental, you know Or or you're doing it and the time drags on like a snail and it's like you thought you'd be doing it for an hour But you look up it's five minutes and we've all got stuff like that It's like and time and love have a weird relationship You know it's like when you're with someone that you love that whole day goes by in 15 minutes And yet before you're with them like you Time just stretches out and you're with them and whoa Um same shoe with an activity that you love if you don't love it You keep trying to do this and then when you're doing it's like how's it how is it this long? Um scribble it down in the loath day and so get to the end of one week Just one regular week and see what's in the love to call them and what's in the loath to call them If there's nothing in the loath to call them, well, then you have to stop and do it again next week And pay attention and if you get no red threads Two weeks in a row, and this is really easy to do no one's ever told people how to do it It's really easy to do you're two weeks in a row of no red threads Then you've got a loveless job and and the bad trade for anybody is somebody going well My job doesn't have to love me back. I'm making the money Uh, I'll just stick it out pay my dues or I'll earn the money for three four five years then I'll You know that well five years then I'll As though you emerge the same person after five years of loveless work You don't you are psychologically damaged you're a different person after five years of loveless work You're damaged and the people weirdly who feel it the most are the people you're supposedly supporting at home You think the people around the dinner table don't know that you come back every day on your loved it loath It list all they wouldn't say it this way. There's nothing on the loved it column They know they can feel it people often worry about don't bring your personal stuff to work Uh, it's way more powerful the other way people bring their work their emptiness their alienation at work back home So if you two weeks in a row Nothing then you have to stop and you have to in a sense apply the loved it loath it to the rest of your life Just take that around and see whether you can find any red threads anywhere In your hobbies as a mother as a father as a friend in your community in your faith. What I don't know Where right? One love note to yourself Which is simply I love it when and then finish the sense and the thing after the word when has to be a verb That you're doing not I love it when people praise me or something. I love it when I what just write one sentence. It's amazing Steve How many people at adults Can't be articulate About describing something that they love. I know it sounds really weird, but you ask people We've done this so many times you ask people, you know, tell me what you love or tell me your strengths are. Oh, I love people Wish people What are you doing with the people? Give me a verb any verbal do let's start with a verb But we've trained people so long to be divorced from their own Emotion or believing that basically their emotion could be rewired if they just work at it and show enough grit or whatever And you're like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, it's real you and your emotional reaction to things is real So I would say to people first of all do that. Love it. Love it and then try to write one. Maybe even two Love it. It's a silly word, but I love notes yourself. I love it when I do what I love it when I do what What many people will actually find is that if you hate lawyering It might well be that you're the wrong kind of lawyer. It might not be that you have to ditch your degree It might be that you can start to rewire or re So Reweave your job So that it has more red threads in it So if you do that for a week and you find there are a couple of things on there actually there are a couple of love dits There are a couple of specific things where I'm like, oh, oh Well, when you have that first of all pay attention to it Things that are not paid attention to they wither so every day wake up Sid by so I would give you or you might give me every day wake up and just try to rather than what I have to get through What's the to-do list? I have to get through. Why don't you wake up every day? Yeah, you may have a to-do list, but wake up every day and go what red threads can I weave today? Because they're going to be not 75,000, but they might be five. What are the five? Start there and then over time what you'll find is You can start to maybe go on next week actually. I'm going to pick one day. It's going to be all red It's going to be all red one day. Then you might go because people start to lean into it They might go could you actually do more of that for this client and this client in this client and you're and then maybe you learn a competency like somebody's Brown I'm really good at Creating emails that people open you might go Eliqua will teach you Eliqua will teach you that competency because you've got something that you seem to be Able to write text that people actually open that's kind of interesting I know that's not in your job description But but you seem to keep doing it and so we'll teach you now a new competency a new software program and learn behold you start doing that over time and you get to the place Where the most successful people get to where we look at the most successful people and we go Had they find that job? Seems to fit them so perfectly had they find that job and of course they know they didn't find it That's totally the wrong verb. They made it They took their red to use that metaphor that they took their red threads Seriously, and then they and they didn't imagine someone could read their mind and tell them what their red threads are because you only you know What these things the little moment situations context are that really lift you up But then they took them seriously and and wove them ever more deeply into the fabric of what they do now sometimes that might mean stop being a lawyer You know what you've worked you tried this now for six months and there's nothing there for you Okay, well then that's really tricky. Now you have to change Your entire focus and hopefully your loves will be your guide But we actually know over here. I don't know the number for the UK But 73 percent of Americans say that they have the freedom to maneuver their job to fit themselves better That's a lot of people And yet only 18 percent of us do because if you ask people do you have a chance to use your strengths every day that number is 18 percent So you got 73 percent 18 in psychology. We call that an attitude behavior consistency problem I know I can do it. I don't So that's people are watching a lot when the wrong job. Maybe maybe you're one of the 27 percent. You're in the wrong job All right before you get there though Try to I pick out your red threads anywhere And no one can do it for you. That's the thing that it's like you want to go. Hey, nine-year-old Let's start you on this life skill early because even at nine, you know better than all your teachers do About this part anyway about the red threads part And that way when you wake up, you know, your mom's going beard dentist beard dentist beard dentist, you know like Mom, there's a whole language actually here that talks about dentistry And whether I love it or not and I'll keep walking on down that path But I'm actually supposed to look really carefully about which bits of any job Really lift me up and give me a sense of mastery Kids have more of a language as I say in the book. They have more of a language about geometry than they do about This thing I was just talking about So your parents are so powerful and they're so scared And they want you to not be a layabout. They want you to be able to get a job and they want they're so scared for you But what they've not done and even the best teachers are sort of scared for you. Come on, Steven you can And no one really goes wait a minute How do you make sense of your own emotion in your own life? What do you lean into? What do you not lean into? What are the words for that? Is there any detail around that or what do you like about people? What are you like doing with the people? You imagine how early you could start with that And that wouldn't mean that it's Pollyanna like we're still going to put people in the wrong jobs I built a company that was focused entirely on people's strengths and I still put people in the wrong job because people are super complicated But at least we'd have a framework And a set of shared understandings about what we were even trying to do I don't know. I think there's for all of us There's stuff we can do we don't have to change the company you don't have to change all the HR policies You could any one of us could start right now To do what the most successful people do In terms of weaving red threads into their into their work What were the in chapter two? I know you talked about having panic attacks when you're I believe at gallop What were the red threads that were missing in your role then that led you to getting to a point where you're having panic attacks And how did you sort of rectify that personally?
How did you overcome your job challenges? (01:13:22)
Yeah, that's You know, it's funny this I've written a lot of books a lot of them have mostly been about data and That's fine because I like I like the precision of data But I felt like like many people I'm sure the pandemic the last few years have been really difficult for us and you sort of ask yourself what What are you doing with your life? What life are you living or what? Mark you're leaving, you know, I lost my dad. I lost my marriage. I saw my company Pandemic you sort of look in the mirror and you're like, what am I doing? So for this book? I was like, you know, I'm a repressed Brit Um, but I'll put my own story in here Because I feel like it's more honest and everybody's life is a story the only one I can tell is mine Maybe I could share parts of it and other people could learn To tell their own story. So I did put things in there that I have buried buried buried and Yeah, 29. I was managing gallop's relationship that well Disney Company So I was living down in Orlando and um I uh did start having really bad. I didn't know what a panic attack was I mean as I say in the book now everyone knows all about panic attacks and it's like it's like acne, right? Everyone has them and it's great and We're not great, but um, I didn't know I thought I was going mad. I mean I thought it's the It's the buildup as the doctor told me it was like it's not that one moment that's causing the panic attack. It's the buildup actually of Again, we talk about love as a force like if you don't express that which you love. It's not neutral It turns from a beautiful powerful Force love into a really caustic substance that eats away at you. It's damaging So for me, I had got myself into a position where I was I was really solely responsible for one huge client Disney And I was the interface between gallop with all the people on the teams in the dirt and Disney and I hate that I hate having to be responsible for other people's emotions That I can't do anything about I hated that every single day waking up and thinking Are the 200 people that are basically our clients at Disney are they happy? What are they thinking? What are they wondering about? What do they need? Do they need this? Do they need? I mean even just saying that now makes me break out in a sweat because it's like I can't do that I don't I'm not a connector like that. I'm not a connector I don't like reaching in going if I say this did this person and this did this person and then they're gonna and yet that's really what the job had become and I like I mean when I think about what I love I love when I have a chance to sit down and really grind on an idea or a set of data to come up with a conclusion that's based on data Like I love that. I love trying to get up on stage and try to figure out the most evocative way to help someone realize A particular insight that I've come up with like that's a love note for me And more and more and more I was doing less and less and less of that and instead I was holding the emotions of the people behind me at gallop and the people in front of me at the world Disney company and For me for no good reason It panics me Now I should have known better. I guess Um, I hadn't done the love it low that thing back then hadn't even thought about it all the way through to the word love But it was clearly a loveless existence And when anyone has loveless work that they're pat you know, they believe in it But the days are empty psychologically empty. You don't get to express that which it's like being a loveless relationship It's like it's awful Even if you feel like you want to help that other person If the being of relationship with them doesn't allow you to express who you are. They don't see who you are They see who you are and wish you weren't that way It's awful So for me, that's I think what built up and up and up and up and in the end it was like it was super psychologically damaging To be trying to be somebody that you're not When you You didn't plan to be there, but now everyone's counting on you To be a certain way and I don't mean in a macro sense to be a certain way I mean at two o'clock on a Thursday afternoon You're supposed to be thinking and feeling this and at my you know nine o'clock on a Monday You're supposed to be feeling all the and you realize your days are filled with empty minutes Week after week Meditation Yeah, that became a tall fee, right? Yes. I'm a huge advocate of Well, as you can see from love and work, it's like the first relationship you better have is a really good one with yourself and so the point of love and work on one level was to help everybody have a more Articular fluency with their own language with their own reaction to the world And so that begins on some level by shutting out I mean here am I chatting away like a mad prune, but um Can you breathe in and breathe out for 15 minutes? I mean, that's I don't know. Do you do you meditate? I try sometimes when I'm with my partner. I do we do breathwork and stuff like that, which is a kind of meditative practice Um, I do like micro meditations, which is during the day if I notice that my breath is incredibly shallow. I'll go I'll try and do the seven second thing. Yeah, I'm trying to take time to just do that, but I I've never been To get it the whole like 15 20 minutes alone thing. It's well again everyone's different, right? So who would dream of saying to you? You should meditate all I know is when I had a chance to try to be in sync with my own breath It gave me power I felt and so when The Disney people were freaking out or behind me the gallop people were freaking out. I was like I was okay with it, but as I said in the book that was a coping mechanism. It wasn't a flourishing mechanism I'm not saying some people can't flourish through meditation. They probably can't I couldn't for me It was like I got clear enough in my own head to realize This isn't what I should be doing. This is a big mismatch between me and what somehow I was getting paid to do prestige is a big thing, right? It's like somebody goes you want to run the Disney account How much money will I make what's my title? Oh wow? Oh wow? Yeah, I'll do that And so you end up in a role where you it's a I call it in the book a miss yearning I thought they're gonna say miss instincts. Oh, yeah, I'm a miss instinct like you go. Y'all do that you raise your hand But you're like yeah, everyone has that and I when I read that has been chapter 11 Everyone has that in their lives where you you're offered a promotion for example and because I mean who turns down a promotion at this really interesting day in my company many years ago where I called in the head of mark the Head of he was the marketing manager and I said you've been here four years now Um, we're gonna give you a promotion.
Promotions and helping people grow (01:20:25)
You're gonna become the head of marketing for the UK and the US and he was like No What he was like no no, I'm not I don't I don't want that. I'm not ready He was like I'm not ready for it yet and he put in there four years And I don't want it and I walked out of that room and I tell you the amount of respect I have for that individual for being able to say no to promotion because they were didn't eight like weren't ready for that yet I just thought unbelievable. This is someone that's actually gonna be happy in their life Well, and the funny thing is at work, right? We because we don't start really early and say to people hey listen You are a totally unique human being and the way in which you respond to the activities of school is really interesting And let's help you have a language for that then you get to go into a job and you don't really have a language for that And then somebody comes in and says they're gonna give you a promotion And you are on some in co-ed level you're like oh wait a minute. I really really love this Like I'm I'm so into the design that I'm doing I love the fact that it's me doing the doing and I'm not responsible for somebody else's doing the doing I'm the one making the decision I love the thing that I made yesterday and the other thing I'm gonna make tomorrow and you And it takes such strength of character to go when somebody comes in and says no, we're gonna promote you out of it It's like how weird is it at work that the most creative way we've thought to reward someone for being really good at a job Is to move them out of it like that's bizarre I think they call it the Peter principle right that you keep playing with that You just get promoted to your level of of incompetence That's that's the Peter Prince Lawrence Peter. I think was the professor who came up with that It takes such a creative character for that person to go Wait a minute You're saying I would get to do less of all this stuff that really really invigorates me. Yes, that's what I'm saying Why would I want that? Wow, it's gonna come with a bigger title and more money Yeah, but yeah, but Doesn't fit but I loved it now that's self-awareness That's self-mastery Obviously in the last or second of the last chapter of the book games our love and work organization We ought to create broader pay bands that allow someone to grow in their role Extend their contribution and yet not necessarily have to move out of the job in order to manage other people that doesn't have to be the only way In which we help someone have a career that wasn't really as you said, I was just it just reminded me that one of the most um Interesting points of feedback that I got in terms of Pushback when someone was getting a promotion was their realization that that would change the team dynamics For them. So if they were becoming a manager, I often heard people say things like They didn't want to become a manager or not even just in my companies But just generally people message me on instagram will LinkedIn They're hesitant to become a manager because they feel like the friendships that they have in their team would then change They then have to speak to the people in a certain way. You have to have this like there becomes this hierarchy Which they don't actually want it's really interesting One of the great questions to ask people to see if they want to move into management is simply the question Would you rather do a job yourself or would you rather be responsible for other people's work? That's a great. I know it's not an open-ended question But it actually turns out to be for some crazy reason a beaut people don't lie to that question I don't know why but we've asked it Probably 50,000 times and it's as a predictor of whether somebody actually then excels as a manager There's an awful lot of people who deep down you throw them that question and top of mind they go I'd rather be responsible for my own work actually And as a manager or sorry as an entrepreneur Often we go well You'll grow into this you will and on some deep level is you could you could probably split the world into two There are some people even though they have friendships They go I think I know how to do this though. I like being responsible for other people's Work their choices. I like being the one to hold them. I like Even though i'm a friend and I love them I like being the one to try to help them as we talk about in the book. What's the point of a relationship? And that's by the way a super I think a super interesting question. What's the point of a relationship? Is it diversity? Is it protection? Is it complementarity? Actually, no, it's just any relationship even a lover relationship is I want to make you bigger. I want to make you bigger. I see you I want to try to correct you perfect you. I just want to make you bigger. Like what a beautiful Relationship that is to be in where you know the person sees you It shuts up and listens or watches and then you know that their intention towards you is Not competing with you. They just want you to do this and it's like wow and for many really great managers They've got friendships like you shouldn't be a friend of people you manage. That's just absolutely no data on that at all Some managers are best friends with the people they manage, but they have a relationship with that person feels like that manager Who's really just another human once you to be bigger and that's That's as cool as heck that as if you got a work team Where people on the team feel like my manager who might well be my friend wants me To expand not to become someone else like it's not like I don't see you and here's my model of who you should be and you better fit it It's more like no who are you? Oh, that's this is how that might look for you as you grow Some people I don't know if I'm one of them But some people are able to maintain those beautiful friendships And still move into managing because they see managing in a sense as an extension Of what a beautiful relationship is anyway I know they always say don't get too close to people because you might have to fire them And then you ask really great managers. Can you ever care too much for your people? Every one of them goes no the best ones you can never care too much Now look Capitalism capitalism sometimes you run out of business and our clients ditches and we go to downscale the company And that's that doesn't mean I don't care. It means this is a bloody problem Sometimes you get you in the wrong role as I said earlier tough love, but there's love there big love there and You know people all say well too much love in the workplace is soft. It's like Think about people you really love if they were abusing drugs You would intervene You would because you would not your love would be like I can't let you keep doing this Not because I don't love you, but because I do Well at work Sometimes we're gonna go this job is I don't know man. I love the salaries good for you I get it this job is not right for you And I'm saying that to you because it's hard for me to say it to you is difficult And you don't want me to say it to you, but I love you and this is wrong for you And if we got more of that at work, that's not idealistic the best managers in any company Do that and that's why when they leave a company all their people run with them because it's so delightful and human and possible Yeah, what did you learn then about you referenced romantic relationships there? And much of your work centers on you know the relationship of one person to another and how to Optimize and get the best out of it.
How to have successful relationships (01:27:38)
What advice would you give me on how to have a successful romantic relationship in terms of principles? Based on all you've learned from your book love and work, but also all of your previous Work on relationships and Yeah, so it's funny to write I mean there's a whole chapter here on love and work relationships Particularly in after the me too movement you think well you shouldn't bring up love and work like this just that's needs to bad situations But the person who I'm I'm getting married like the person I might use to work for me So and depending on which data you look at between 22 and 27 percent of people met their partner at work their life partner at work So clearly seeing somebody at work is kind of cool because you see all the bits of them And you see with them doing kind of wonderful and crazy things Doesn't mean that we shouldn't have ways sort of ways in which people have relationships at work, but But it's obviously the you can't really write a book about love and work and not talk about love so And I'm gonna sound so bloody Nurdi saying this but there's actually quite a lot of research on what it means to see someone with love Like there's a What does it look like when you're in a love relationship that works? Mostly of course when we study relationships we study broken ones so we study divorce to learn about marriage as though You know happiness is the opposite of sadness. It's like No, but there has been some research studying happy marriages And when you look at what characterizes a really successful relationship Three things stand out and they're all weird the first one is They had couples rate each other on a list of qualities and you would think that in the best relationships if I rated myself high on Impatients and low on creativity and then high on urgency and low and then my partner Rated me the same my our patterns matched then you think well That's a good relationship because then they your partner sees you the way that you see you and love shouldn't be blind Love is not blind loves like clear-eyed. I mean love starts blind They're amazing, but then you see them and who they really are and then boom boom boom But actually in the best relationships the ones that tracked over time Less conflicts more longing more yearning for each other over time in the best relationship is the other partner rates you high on everything The other partner sees you with rose-tinted glasses the whole time And they do that because you then why does that serve the relationship where you feel You feel so safe and they feel so confident because they see you like this So that's the first thing keep your rose-tinted glasses on in a relationship The second thing I would say to you is If you want to be a good partner to your partner or if you want them to be a good partner to you Always look for the best explanation of why they do what they do and believe it There's an awful lot of reasons why you do what you do some of them are not noble Some of them might be selfish 100% And if you're with a partner who You know they keep coming in and going. What's the real reason you do? You know, do you know what you do that because you blood if you're living with a detective Oh god forbid you're living with a therapist who's like, let me tell you why you really said that it goes all the way back to your mom is what it does, you know, and that's Then you here's what you do you bury it you you armor yourself against the detective because the detective is sometimes right If you want to think about what serves the relationship It's to be in a relationship with someone who's always looking for the most generous explanation for why you do what they do And then they believe it because if they believe it then they actually lean in more and you are more vulnerable because you go deep down You go there's all sorts of reasons why I did that but they are looking for the most generous one That doesn't mean they let you off the hook if you let them down I'm not saying it but as you look at what the best couples do They look for the of all the reasons why you do something and it's never one reason there's a lot of different ones They look for the most generous one and then they believe it And then the third thing in in really great relationships is that you never in a relationship balance out Well, he's impatient But at least he's creative. I mean he is so disorganized but at least he's charming like If you have that kind of detail about your weaknesses and you know your partner knows these really really well Even though they love you for this they go. No, but he's just awful of this This is like a villain that sits off in the wings and you know when you're arguing your partner whenever they want They can just pull out the card and play the villain card and go see it's you and you know This person knows you better than anyone else in the world has 17 000 examples of why that villain is real and lives in you That means you do this you just keep leaning back and back in every argument You're like when are they gonna play the card when are they gonna play the card? hurts the relationship in the best relationships turns out Your partner looks at you everything they see about you They weave it into I'm sorry. This is gonna sound so soft, but they weave it into a red thread So they know that this isn't an aspect of something over here that's separate It's part of what you contribute to the world and the example I gave in here my shall my fiance is Oh gosh, we are not an example, but I mean we're an example just of ourselves so we you know we argue when we're up and down so but one of the beautiful things about my relationship with her is is I have immediate rejection syndrome Well because I like to really noodle on an idea when people come to me with ideas sometimes If my mental brain is full I go no like it's an immediate rejection syndrome which she called immediate rejection syndrome is a joke and rather than saying putting it over here it's a villain she's in our relationship it works actually She knows that this is a part Of me wanting to get to the core of an idea so that I can actually push it all the way through to what I consider to be something really deep or wise or true and and I if I Can't get there yet because I'm still grinding on it then it turns out to be immediate rejection syndrome But but if you try to Unweave that you would unravel all of this Which is the only good I'm ever going to do in the world is this so I'm with a partner who's like I get and by the way sometimes Marcus it's bloody annoying, but I get that it's a part of this It doesn't excuse it like should I not be blunt when I go no Yeah, but I know that she knows that I know that she knows that I know that she knows that I know that this is a part of me doing anything good She's not putting the villain over here. He rejects ideas It's like oh no he needs to grind on him and sometimes that manifests in this And that's the acceptance piece, which I think everybody and being seen and being seen so it's like you can't love what you can't see And so in a relationship if you're in a really good relationship with your partner You will feel seen And then intelligently You will see that person go oh, that's why he does what he does And then you know that they're looking at you with those beautiful Rose-tinted glasses on not to pat you on the head But to have really beautiful and powerful expectations of you based upon what they see Now that's a relationship And that doesn't mean you don't argue but it means you're in the hands of somebody who wants you who wants you to be this Like that's intoxicating and super sexy We have a closing tradition on this podcast. Oh the previous guest writes a question for the next guest Oh, and they don't know who they're writing it for and we'll ask you to do the same as well Um the previous guest who sat here said he wrote a question for you not knowing who you were And they said Okay Tell me something about yourself That no one knows and would be surprised to know about you Oh, I like that one That is a stitch up Well, the challenge there is I wrote about some things that I've never written about in love and work that I've
The last guest's question (01:35:00)
never shared so I now have shared that I couldn't say my own name until I was 12 Which I don't think anyone would really have known given what I do um I look like I sort of feel confident, but I had years of panic attacks so Those are now shared and for me were like really um Really hard, um And I think the other thing when I wrote about My children and I we didn't get into it, but the whole like college cheating scandal thing for me was Really difficult to see the world reach into your kids So the panic that you feel when you realize the world I mean you're a social media expert, right? You know how porous the world is um and so inside of this person is a as a person who is now forever fearful of how the world can reach into your life and completely mess it up and The struggle that I probably have that doesn't people don't know is how do you ensure that you aren't cynical? How do you ensure that you retain? Some of the joy and the awe like we didn't meet before like i've loved this and I probably talked too much, but It's an awe-inspiring thing to me and other human and I want to be able to retain all of that openness in the In the face of a world that sometimes really Dangerous to challenge right yeah. Yeah, yeah cynicism is the death of love Thank you so much, Marcus. Honestly, um, it's really astounding that there was a point in this human being's life where you couldn't Speak because you were one of the most eloquent powerful engaging speakers I think I've ever had on this podcast and um, you know you talk about it in the book when when time flies You know you've been enjoying it and time is certainly fun. We've been here for more than two hours now It feels like 10 minutes. Um, I mean I don't need to to Evangelize about the quality of the book you've written because I think everyone that's just listened to this conversation Can understand the wisdom and the value of this book just by listening to our conversation But I will anyway It really is a brilliant book and there's certain books that I come across sometimes that are written in such a way That time does flies you're reading them and you come away with a real profound almost like you'd been through a um Almost a cathartic therapeutic journey and I have from this conversation, but also from this book I have a very long list of things that I immediately think I need to do differently in my life though I think will lead to better outcomes um And the way that you deliver the message on this podcast but also in the book is in a as a helpful friend That's guiding me there as opposed to a preacher that knows best and and that's why this book is so important So thank you. It's my pleasure. It's been a real pleasure and um, we're gonna do this again soon sometime because you really are a special or a term communicator and well, I really appreciate it. I uh Yeah, I'm in your war of anybody who's done what you've done frankly Who started businesses and built businesses and and gone across town as it were stoplight to stop late to stop late Making it up and now you're doing this so it was a real honor to be invited on. I've and yeah time is Time was flown by Quick one as you might know crafted are one of the sponsors of this podcast and they make really meaningful pieces of jewelry This lion piece they've made I wear all the time along with the little time piece the sand timer that I wear often And the lion piece you might have seen quantum agrega has a similar piece which was custom made for him For me it represents courage And if you walk through my house the house that i'm in right now if you walk Six feet in that direction you'll see a huge lion portrait if you go upstairs You'll see a lion portrait if you look behind me on the shelf near the top there You'll see a lion as well The reason my house and my life is surrounded by lions is because they represent courage calmness and that tenacity that I've applied to my business success to my professional life into everything in between For me the lion has always been an animal that can be almost a bit of a contradiction They are so loving and so caring of their own and can be powerful and courageous when necessary In order to achieve what they want to achieve So if you like me are a big fan of courage bravery ambition while also being calm and composed check out this lion piece and let me know if you get it