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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

A New Leadership ROI - Return On Intentionality

Two spectacle wearing men discussing intentional leadership on a podcast
Joshua Berry (left) and Andy Goram (right) discuss the impact of intentional and conscious leadership

Have you ever heard yourself say, "This may sound naïve, but..."? Don't worry, you're not alone. It's a phrase many of us use to test the water before we say something. To couch it. To gently float our ideas before someone potentially crushes them, or dismisses them. But there's also something wonderful about naivety. An almost childlike perspective of imagination and "what if?" What could be possible. Imagine if our leadership could combine this open perspective and use it with real consciousness and intentionality in our actions, as we attempt to help our more of our people fulfil their full potential.


In the latest episode of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, I spoke to Joshua Berry, CEO of Econic and author of the book, "Dare To Be Naïve" about just that. The following is a full transcript of that conversation, where Joshua shares the key takeaways from his research and experience, or you can listen to the full episode on the player below.


Podcast Transcript

00:00:10 - Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky from the Inside, the employee engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them, and create tons more success for everyone. This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode, we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you, do and why you do it.

So if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.

 

Return On Intentionality

00:01:10 - Andy Goram

Okay then. Now, for decades, the business world has been captivated by the concept of ROI, return on investment. It's a metric of efficiency, a gauge of profitability, and to many, the ultimate indicator of success. But as our world grows more interconnected and socially conscious, the limitations of focusing solely on financial returns are becoming increasingly apparent. So, in today's episode, I'd like to offer up a new ROI to consider - the return on intentionality. I'd like to explore the impact of intentional, conscious actions and what they can create. To look at the power of leading with purpose, of making decisions that align with people's core values, and the courage to embrace a more human centric approach to leadership.


Today, I don't think we're just talking about leadership. I think in some shape or form we might be redefining it. We're going to discuss how to create ripples of impact through intentional leadership, to think about the bravery required to dare to be naïve in a world that often rewards cynicism, and how leading into hope and optimism can not only change the trajectory of our lives, but also the lives of those around us. So, with me Today is Joshua Berry, CEO of Econic and the author of the new book Dare to be Naïve, how to find your true self in a noisy world. Joshua’s research and insights into the transformative power of leading with intentionality, daring to be naïve and fostering an environment of hope and optimism, will, I hope, show us what's possible. His insights invite us to reconsider how we show up and measure success, urging us to value the goodness in others and the positive impact we can have on our people and our businesses. So whether you're a leader looking to inspire an individual, striving to find your true self in a noisy world or someone just curious about a new currency of success in the business world. I think this episode will have something for you. Let's see if there's something in this return on intentionality thing and discover how we can all make a more meaningful impact by being purposely intentional in our actions and decisions. Welcome to the show, Joshua.

 

00:03:34 - Joshua Berry

Andy, thank you so much for the invitation and for that extremely generous introduction.

 

00:03:41 - Andy Goram

Oh mate, I can't tell you how long I've been looking forward to this conversation. Ever since we had our first catch up chat to even talk about what we were going to talk about, I have been looking forward to this. Before I leap straight in, as is often what I end up doing, do me a favour, my friend, will you just give us a bit of a brief background into who you are, what you're doing, what you're focused on today?

 

Introduction To Joshua Berry

00:04:07 - Joshua Berry

Absolutely, Andy. So as you said, my name is Joshua Berry. I am focused today, really, on creating spaces for people to practice the behaviours that grow themselves and their businesses. And I really believe that work is a great sandbox for people to practice more of those things we need more of in society and families, of course, in helping grow businesses. Bit of my background. I went to school for International Business and Spanish, spent the first ten years working with companies around the world, everything from the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company to Mercedes Benz USA to Cheesecake Factory restaurants where I definitely ate too much food and gained a little bit too much weight and had the opportunity through that international human resources and talent consulting work to really get to understand the heart of people and cultures and what makes successful businesses thrive. Post that, spent time working in the startup world and had an opportunity to not only be in my own startups, but also coach over 100 venture backed startups and eventually went on to co found Econic in December of 2015.

 

00:05:16 - Andy Goram

And now you're with me. Amazing! To talk about something I know we're both, well I think we're both very passionate about, in this form of leadership that really does focus in on the intentionality of our actions and our behaviours and our decisions. Before we get into your book, the things that fall out of it, your belief system, why is talking about this topic, do you think, timely and important today?


 Intentional Leadership

00:05:43 - Joshua Berry

It's extremely timely because change is happening faster than ever and we have so many more options of where we can spend our time. And so I find more and more leaders are burnt out or on autopilot. And so the idea of bringing back around the idea of intentionality and honestly waking people up to the idea of what should you pay attention to and why are you choosing the things that you're doing is extremely important. Because if not, there's momentum that can carry not only personal decisions, but business decisions down paths that you may not intend to. So just as much as we're in a space right now where I think business sometimes and capitalism can get a bad rap, we're also at a spot where the right intentional leaders can continue to see how business can be a force for good and be able to bend the arc of history towards that.

 

00:06:44 - Andy Goram

It certainly does feel like we're at this kind of inflection point, I think coming out of the last few years and all the impact, positive and negative, that that's had, I think we're at a junction where we have almost control of being able to make a decision to be intentional, to be more human-centric with our attitudes at business, rather than go back to perhaps some of the older, more pervasive ways of everything about the shareholder and that's about as far as it goes.

 

00:07:16 - Joshua Berry

Well said. I think the drastic shift of how to do business during the pandemic opened up people's eyes to new ways of working and being. And you have employees who now have a lot more options of where they can work and how they work. And so this idea of shifting back to some of those things is being met with more resistance. And therefore, leaders also need to be more intentional about the decisions they're making and why they're making them, because there is, at least right now, here in the United States, quite a bit of power that the employees have. And then not only that, I would also say back to the larger business influences that are happening. Consumers continually are demanding more and different and better, right, of business and commerce. And so I think that there is a lot of pressures there besides the internal pressures that hopefully each and every person has to be able to be a good human and do good with the work that they do in life.

 

Ripples Of Impact

00:08:19 - Andy Goram

I think you have just set up that whole myriad of friction that we're dealing with across so many different touch points today. And for me, that's exactly why this conversation is so bang on for this podcast. Right! I need to get on with it, really. I chucked in my own definition for a new ROI, this return on intentionality. But I don't know if you remember, but that was inspired by our first conversation where you got stuck into talking about ripples of impact, which I absolutely loved. Can you kind of like tell us where did ripples of impact come from? What's the influence its been on you, and what are you trying to do with that right now?

 

00:08:57 - Joshua Berry

Yeah. The idea of a second ROI beyond return on investment was really the idea of ripples of impact, as you said. And it was a callback to something that I learned from Chip Conley, who it was actually a couple of faculty members from the Modern Elder Academy who he credits to this phrase. But when I first learned it during the research for my book, it really struck me as something that I think I've been feeling but didn't have the words for, for the longest time. And it was truly that idea that often when we just like tossing a pebble into the ground, into the ground, into the water, the ripples that can come from that, you can't really control those. A lot of what you can control is that pebble toss. And oftentimes as leaders, positively or negatively, we have huge ripples of impact that come off of what we do. And again, part of what I saw in the research of my book is people who actually were prioritizing the positive impact they were having through those ripples also often generated a strong return on investment for their businesses and their shareholders.

 

Moving On From Command & Control

00:10:07 - Andy Goram

I have talked a lot about trying to find the links or the connections between what drives the business and what drives the people within it. And I guess what fascinated me about this concept of ripples of impact is you go back to your stone, your pebble analogy. You can see some of those ripples. You don't see all of them. You don't see the end result. And I think when we're talking about a world where we have to connect more with the employees that are in our care as leaders, and you can bury your head on that one if you want to, but the reality is, I think you do. We have to be quite conscious of all of those ripples and the impact they have. Right?

 

00:10:53 - Joshua Berry

Absolutely. There's a story that I share in the book about the CEO who took over a manufacturing facility called Favi. And in it, they did things the traditional way that they'd always done, right, time clock cards. You get penalized if you don't hit your parts per hour that you're trying to get to. And like any business, they were trying to increase productivity, they were trying to decrease their turnover, all of those sorts of things. And the way the links that they chose to do that were through punishments or penalties or other things. Right. To keep control and command of what was going on. And this CEO had an interesting observation that he said some of these things are actually only getting a limited amount from each of these people, even from a pure capitalistic perspective, if we want to get more out of these people, what would happen if they also use their own discretionary effort, if they also chose to want to care about the quality of the work that they're doing, et cetera? It isn't just about trying to get the minimum out of it. What I loved about what Jean Francois did, though, is he took it a step lower. He said, I see all these links that we've built into the business, and most all of them are built on the assumption that mankind is bad or that these people are going to cheat me.

 

00:12:12 - Andy Goram

Right?

 

00:12:12 - Joshua Berry

What if I built systems with the premise and the starting point, that mankind was good, and I assumed the best of these people? And so fast forward? And that organisation not only exceeded great business results by starting to have some of these shifts, but to your point, you had people who were better family members, who were better community members. All these ripples that surely go beyond what the board likely cared about for that organisation, and yet they were extremely important to those leaders there. And of course, they were important to the people who were a part of that organisation.

 

00:12:49 - Andy Goram

Absolutely. I think that just listening to what you said there, again, the question I continually have, and I come with way too much bias to be objective about this, I'm afraid, is that when we think about the old method of command and control, and you listen to what you've just sort of said about the power of positivity, why do you think so many? And again, I'm chucking out so many because I have a belief that there are still way too many people who really struggle to let go of that command and control method of leadership. Why is that?

 

00:13:25 - Joshua Berry

I don't know. I have some theories, though. One, it's what they likely grew up with, and they felt like that was the right way to do things. Two, it did generate a lot of success for a long period of time in certain regards. Right. If you go back 150 years ago when things were not in order, when things were not completely controlled, and dare I say, when change was moving slower, there was a lot of gains that were had by standardizing and normalizing and metric sizing everything around that. And what that did is it also then allowed a certain bent of person to be successful and seen as a leader and rewarded and recognized, et cetera. We started to get this friction, though, obviously, when change starts going faster, right, when you can't take the same amount of time to replace the cogs in the machine, whether the cogs were literal cogs or people, the change was happening too fast for that. And so we started to get this friction of people who are. We need more agility in the work that we're doing. And one of the best ways to get that agility is to return some of that power and that decisioning and everything back down to people. Well, now, one, you've already had people who've said, wait,

The way this worked for my parents or the other bosses was this other way. Now you're telling me there's something where I don't have as much power, I don't have as much status or as much influence, or I have to do it in a different way.”

So I think there's definitely some of that that's at play and makes it hard for people to let go because it's the way that things have been done. Also some fear in terms of loss, sometimes of power, of authority and uncertainty. Right. There's the promise, and oftentimes nowadays, more the illusion of certainty by pursuing more of a command and control approach. And yet any of us who've had children realize that it's always an illusion of control that you have when you are trying to set all these boundaries and firm things in place with people who have their own free will and volition.

 

Harnessing And Releasing People Potential

00:15:38 - Andy Goram

This is the thing I'm fascinated to kind of dig into, because I love the idea of optimism, positivity, seeing the best in people, which I know are sort of core tenets with your message and my own message here, I guess, since I've started to work on my own and came out of corporate, was to believe in the fact that there is a core of latent potential just sitting there waiting to be released in all of your people, in your teams. I think one of the saddest stats I first read when I was researching getting into engagement and what have you was the fact that nearly two thirds of people just show up, because they've never been asked for their best ideas or to share stuff. They just go through the motions. And it seems to me that this almost suppression of potential and talent which comes out of the command and control is one of fear, of change, of letting Pandora out the box for some reason. Right?

 

00:16:43 - Joshua Berry

It can be messy. You just hit it there. It can be messy because I don't know what else I'm going to get. And it may not be the things that I think I want to get out of that. I'll give you a concrete example from our team, this was many years ago, had just hired an amazing consultant. She came on board, was doing a crack job in terms of all of the things that we'd hoped and aspired. And eight months into it, she came to me and said, I have this amazing opportunity to leave, move to London, and start a new team for a very well known organisation. And one, because we had the trust, she was able to come to me and talk to me about that. Two, she genuinely knew that I and the other people on the team wanted the best for her. We wanted to see that potential come out, whether it was for our benefit or for others benefit, because, again, that blurs when you start to get to a certain point in maturity, I believe. And so ultimately, she ended up leaving, and we couldn't have been happier for her. And yet, if I was just limited to, I want the amount of potential that gets me what I want, but not that fully gets you what you all need, or I wait until that's perfectly aligned. It doesn't always work that way. And so I want both. Right? I want my business to succeed. I want you to succeed. I argued that a lot of organisations would be better off if we also said, I want you to succeed, even over us succeeding, because there's some magic that starts to unlock when you start to see that.

 

00:18:21 - Andy Goram

I just love that idea. I just think there'll be people listening to the podcast going, you're nuts, Joshua, (probably). But I think this is part of that inflection point. I mean, look, the topic of human centric leadership, it is not new. We've been talking about it for at least the last decade or so. But I just think there is something in actually now needing to do something about it on a more wholesale matter because of everything that's kind of happened that I think if we do go back, I think we're missing a major, major opportunity.

 

00:18:57 - Joshua Berry

A lot of leaders, especially senior leaders that we've talked to, if they were truly honest with themselves, are they 100% happy and fulfilled in using all of their potential?

 

00:19:08 - Andy Goram

Right.

 

00:19:08 - Joshua Berry

We saw a recent study from, I believe it was Deloitte, that said 69% of C suite leaders claimed a burnout was affecting their decision making, and about 70% of them were considering potentially quitting. I don't know if it's all roses for those individuals either. And so there is a lot of intentionality, back to our word for the day here around, what am I doing and why am I doing it?

 

The Power Of Intentionality

00:19:38 - Andy Goram

I think that's so right. So let's get back onto those words, which I'm sure we'll overuse today. I would hate to see the word count of intentional or conscious of this particular episode. But what do they really mean to you? And why do they add so much value from your optimistic perspective that you have?

 

00:19:58 - Joshua Berry

They add so much perspective for me because I think it's at the core of the human experience is to be awake to these days, hours and minutes that we have. And I think that so much of life is a gift. And when I think about the things that I've gone through and others, there's such a trend right now, obviously, in mindfulness and meditation and a number of other things. They're all about coming back to presence, coming back to understanding your reality and maybe someone else's reality and all of these things. And so to me, intentionality or consciousness, it all comes back to the same thing. It's that, Andy, you and I are sharing this moment right now. Whoever's listening to this in whatever moment you're in right now, that is your moment, that you're listening to these sorts of things and being able to wake up to the power and also then the agency that each of us have in those moments. Back to where we started about almost the forks in the road that we have in society. I think today we have the choices to each and every moment live into cynicism, pragmatism, which is okay in some regards, but constantly choosing those things over and over and over and over creates ripples of that. And yet, if we look in our world, what I at least believe is we need more dialogue, we need more understanding, we need more value for the diversity of how you see life and how I see life. And that comes from, in this next moment, me choosing to want to make space for that. And so that's about being intentional. That's about being conscious of what I'm choosing to say, how I'm choosing to see or receive you.

 

00:21:44 - Andy Goram

And I guess making a choice not to just make a lazy assumption of who someone is, why they are what they are, why they're perhaps behaving a certain way today. That full consciousness of, let's actually have a chat about it, let's call some of this stuff out. Let's relate. I think those are some of the things we need to have a look at. We've said already, intentionality is important in the research or even perhaps in your own experience. Joshua, where have you noticed the seismic difference that kind of switching consciousness can make? Do you have references, stories, best examples, or even your own awakenings as to where this stuff really starts to make a difference.


Conscious Decision-Making 

00:22:30 - Joshua Berry

The example that's coming to mind is from Yvon Chouinard, the founder and CEO of Patagonia, or former CEO of Patagonia. One of my favourite parts of Yvon's story was when they had grown to be the largest manufacturer of rock climbing equipment in North America. At that time, it was called Chouinard Equipment, not Patagonia. And in those moments, they then noticed that the exact same equipment they were making that made them profitable was actually damaging the mountains where they loved to climb. And so they really, truly had a choice, do we continue to create this equipment, or do we choose a different path? And they came out with an editorial in one of their catalogues that said, we cannot sustain this line of business because of what it's doing to the environment. And so they killed their most profitable business line and then proposed an approach to clean climbing, actually, from over in Europe, but was completely untested in North America. And so that was a moment of intentionality and consciousness, where, again, they said, here's the practices that we're working, but what are the principles that we truly hold to? And will we go back to those principles at the end of the day? So it's a fascinating thing. And again, if you know the story of Patagonia, or at least see them around today, they're a very large company. They have absolutely continued to make decisions that were aligned with their values and who they were by coming back to making what I'll call conscious or awake decisions.

 

00:24:08 - Andy Goram

100%. I mean, they could be one of the leading examples of staying true to your values that we see today in the face of real challenge and tough decisions. I mean, that is a fabulous story, by the way. It comes back to one of the words that you shared with me that I think is behind the book, that I dropped into the introduction today around bravery. There's something around the power of bravery making some of those decisions. And as a concept, how's that played out in the book? So I'd like to start picking some pieces from the book, but I think that there's something in that bravery stuff, right?

 

00:24:51 - Joshua Berry

Yeah. To me, bravery is close to courage. Would you agree?

 

00:24:55 - Andy Goram

Yeah, 100%.

 

Courage To Be Naïve

00:24:56 - Joshua Berry

And courage, the root word of courage, core, is heart. Right? And so I absolutely think that it takes art for people to lean into this. And so sometimes that may come across as competing with the rational mind, and I think that's important to understand. One of the things I talk about in the book is the idea that I'm not trying to say, throw out being rational about things. I mean, the book is called dare to be naive, which some people might say,

Oh, you're saying throw out rational thinking.” All I'm doing is saying, “Let's bring up intuitive thinking to the same level as rational thinking.”

If we're going to be brave or courageous, let's honour the fact that our heart and our gut also have intelligence systems built into them and that we can tap into those at the same time as we are using our thinking mind as a good tool. Right. Not as the thing that defines us or drives our primary behaviour.

 

00:25:57 - Andy Goram

No. I mean, in some of the behavioural work that I get to do, you look at things like logic versus empathy, and they are diametrically opposed in terms of where they would sit on that sort of psychological profile thing, which can feel like Dr. Doolittle, push me, pull me, right in the head, unless you're really conscious about it, in which case it can become a superpower. Harnessing those two things that could rub up against each other, but actually, when harnessed and used brilliantly, puts you way over the top and allows you to do amazing things. The combination of logic and empathy, wow. I mean, that's a big thing. And when you come to some of those words like naivety and thinking about the definition of the word naivety within the book, that's fascinating in itself. Right? Yeah.

 

00:26:46 - Joshua Berry

I appreciate that you and I are both word geeks here, but, yeah, naivete. What surprised me when I finally dug into it was even though so many successful leaders that I was interviewing and researching were using this idea of saying,

This might sound naïve, but.”

And then would share this amazing story or philosophy or idea, they were using the word naïve in a different way. Right. They were using it as a shield. They were using it as a qualifier. And when I really dug into what the word meant, I learned that the original origin of the word actually meant innate or genuine or natural or that which was in you from the start. And so back to kind of courage, Cour, right, heart, all of these words keep coming back to you, have something that is inside of you that is also extremely useful to use in these times. And to your question, a while back around what drives me and the inspiration for the optimism or any of those sorts of things, I find that, at least for myself and a lot of even the business leaders that I work with, when they give themselves time and space to be able to sit for a moment and tap into some of that, they also have those seeds of good, of optimism, of trust, of all of those sorts of things that are within them. And this dare to be naïve is truly about making more space for that.

 

00:28:15 - Andy Goram

Trust and encouragement and openness. You just say those words, people's shoulders relax and people open up. And if we're in a world where we've got to face new challenges or ways to solve problems, then it's those positive, enabling environments, words, leadership principles. I think that's what we need. Far less of the control restrict. I think it's about trying to sort of get around this stuff, right, and come back full circle to the things I believe are coming out of your book. And that whole phrase, it might sound naïve, but like you say in some way that someone's saying,

Don't judge me for saying this, but here's an alternative for you”,

and it says something of the environment working in that someone might have a new thought, that you have to couch it in case someone thinks, well, that's a bit weird.

 

Faith & Confidence

00:29:14 - Joshua Berry

Absolutely. Again, so a lot of our work in organisations is around innovation and culture change. And this is where we've been able to refine. So much of this at the practitioner level is on the innovation side. They want people to be more curious and to try new things that may not work well. That means you have to create a space where it's okay to be wrong, and hence you need to make it an okay space for someone to say, this might be naïve, or this might sound off, or this might be there, and then create space for people to be able to do that. To your command and control conversation earlier, most of our business has been set up on predicting the right answer and needing to be right. And so we truly do have to make space to make it okay for people to be wrong or to be curious or to be able to tap into some of those other elements that organisations need again, even just for sustainability and longevity of the business. If they want to be good at innovation, if they want to change with the adapting times, they need to be able to create a space where it's okay for people to have different ideas or to come up with things that may not work.

 

00:30:23 - Andy Goram

Yeah, it seems crazy to me, but if you're trying things that haven't been done before, new ideas, how are you going to concretely know that something is going to work, or be right in those scenarios? You're having a punt, you're having a best guess. You're not just going to throw money out the window willy-nilly. There's thought and there's effort and there's consideration behind it, but you don't know.

 

00:30:47 - Joshua Berry

You don't and even one of my favourite, since we're going on the word train here, one of my favourite words, confidence, just means with faith. So even when you're doing scientific work in innovation, we use the scientific method quite a bit to be able to test some of our ideas. And we're trying to get to a 95% confidence level or 100% confidence. What you're saying is, now I'm 100% with faith in this thing. Right. There's always a question of, do you believe this? Do you have faith? Is there something that you're now going to attach to, to these ideas? And so we do ourselves a disservice by pretending like it's not there.

 

00:31:25 - Andy Goram

Yeah. I mean, if you think about medical research, millions of case studies or experiments on a line of thought, we think this might be the cure. Let's do literally millions of versions of that test so we can get to the point of having more confidence that this thing will work. But it takes the millions of tests to get to that confidence. It's the same when we work together in work. The last time we spoke, you said a sentence or a few words that kind of stuck in my head about not allowing people to be squashed by business law, which I loved. Right. Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like something you think you might…

 

00:32:06 - Joshua Berry

It might be something I'd say, for sure.

 

00:32:10 - Andy Goram

And I think we were talking about positive alignment and harmony, right, in it. So explain that to me from the book perspective. What have you seen in that squashed by business law?

 

00:32:25 - Joshua Berry

And I'm not thinking about it from a legal esquire sort of law perspective. Right. I'm thinking about it from process and rigidity and all of those elements.

 

00:32:37 - Andy Goram

Old practice or. Yeah, common practice.

 

00:32:39 - Joshua Berry

All of those pieces. And what I mean by that, a concrete example was with a team just last week, and there was a strong message from the CEO to say, we have a lot of unwritten procedures and processes. We need to get these things written down. That is true. And at the same time, what he's also saying is,

I want more critical thinking in this business. I want people to challenge. I want people to be comfortable with having healthy disagreements with each other.

In some ways, if you look at it shallowly. Shallowly. Those two could be at odds with each other. Right. We need everybody to get into standard operating procedures, and I want people to challenge. I want people to think critically. I want people to do that. But at the end of the day, what he's saying is, I don't want you to be squashed, if you will, by this mandate for this thing. What I want is I would actually rather have people who were intelligent, thinking, conscious, intent based leaders who are saying, you know what? Yeah, we need more processes here, here and here. I wonder if we truly need it here. All of our organisations will be much more valuable and successful if we go along that approach versus just saying, well, now, this is the way to do things. Now we must all fall in line to that.


Surprising Findings From The Book Research 

00:34:03 - Andy Goram

I'm going to ask a question that I'm not sure where this will necessarily go or whether it's even valid, but it just popped into my head based on some of the things you were saying. When you're in the research phase for this book and you're going through and you're pulling all the bits out, Joshua, did you have moments of finding things that really surprised you? Or was it a journey of confirmation of your belief system or the hypothesis that you set out with any kind of surprising things that really kind of stood out during the research that made it through to the book?

 

00:34:43 - Joshua Berry

The main one that comes to mind is I originally started out writing a book that was more case studies on doing good in business. And as I got further into the research and then also the immense great body of work that's already out there around conscious capitalism and a number of other good bodies of work around proving the traditional ROI of doing good in business, I started to become convinced that actually I don't need to, nor do we need to write another book quite yet on the ROI of doing good in business. And so that was a big aha moment to me, because I found that I think the people who were in alignment with those things and needed another case study probably weren't the people that I was meant to be writing a book for. What became the Aha was helping those people who were probably already saying, this might be naive, but to understand that there were other people like them out there and to be able to give people permission to lean into some of that, and then that started to unravel the idea of, well, what makes someone think, I need to see more evidence or proof before I would go and do that? Then that little gem is what then led to the inclusion of the four questions that I use throughout the second part of the book around just helping people understand what beliefs limit them from trying new things, because we have all of these new ideas and new ways of doing business. And yet I don't think it's another case study that's going to prove to you, you better be better to your employees. What I actually think needs to happen is more leaders need to do the deep work of saying, what do I actually believe to be true about people? And where did I learn that? And what might be limiting my potential or their potential by still holding on to that belief.


Challenging Limiting Beliefs 

00:36:47 - Andy Goram

Can you share those four questions with us?

 

00:36:50 - Joshua Berry

Of course. Oh, yeah, absolutely. They're built upon the immense amount of research of Byron Katie. So I'm standing on her shoulders here, and I modified them to fit in, I think, in the business world and what I'm using here. But those four questions are,

Where did you learn this belief? Is it true? And then what do you gain and what do you lose by holding this belief?”

And those four questions allow for someone to take a moment of objectivity or intentionality back to saying… there's a survey we do with people, and it has things like, “I think people are trying their best, or I think people would steal, if given the chance”, different belief statements like that. And what it does is it removes at least outside judgment of saying, “Oh, you're wrong. Like, everybody is trying their best, or everybody isn't trying their best.” What it does is it says, okay, let's say I'm on the side of the coin of I believe everybody is trying their best. Where did I learn that? Is it really true? And that's a good, objective, rational sort of, is it really true that everybody is trying. Maybe not. But then what do I gain by holding that belief? Everybody is trying their best. And then what do I lose by holding that belief? And what it does is it helps us understand that all beliefs are just mental models. It's our ways of getting through reality. And hopefully what it does is it helps people create space for being more intentional about how their beliefs are shaping their behaviours and practices, but also creating space for others. Right. To understand what their beliefs are and how those influence their work.

 

00:38:33 - Andy Goram

Yeah, it almost forces some objectivity into something that's quite emotional.

 

00:38:38 - Joshua Berry

Absolutely.

 

00:38:38 - Andy Goram

And emotions, I think, are wonderful for getting people to come over the top with you and follow. But sometimes when it comes to decision making, they can be limiting, they can be debilitating, because you find it impossible to kind of get to a decision because you got a flurry of emotions running around your head. I really love that. And maybe this is where mindfulness and stuff are getting a bit of a bad rap because it maybe takes it too extreme for some people. But just the nature of pausing for thought to give yourself, like you use the word space so eloquently in this episode today, to give yourself some space to think about the things that you don't normally think about because you're head down backside up, work, work, getting through stuff. But if you afforded yourself a bit of mindfulness time to think about some of the things that you've talked about here, then maybe you may see some things differently. Maybe you may try some different things. Maybe you'd be able to bring a bit more positivity.

 

00:39:38 - Joshua Berry

And there's very practical application to the business world. We use these for all of our, we call them our operating systems within our business. So a very concrete one around compensation. For the longest time, we had this belief that client… we're a consulting company, client facing people are paid more than non client facing people. Very standard practice. And yet we created space for ourselves to say, what's the belief that underlies that? Do we believe that those people add more value to the company and that they should be paid more? And then we asked ourselves those same questions, right? Where did we learn that? Is it really true? What do we gain and then what do we lose by holding that belief? And then after going through that, it allows us to say, is there anything we want to modify or shift about that belief? And I'll say, as our internal team did some of that work, we still affirmed we are going to pay client facing people more than non client facing people. But we can't justify it, maybe to the extremes that we've seen in the past or at other places, we couldn't do it, and we couldn't do it transparently right, to the rest of the team. And so there's very strong practical application for anybody in business to say, what are we trying to do? But then what are some of those subconscious or unconscious beliefs that might be powering this? Can we name them and can we at least be honest and a little bit more objective about what we gain and what we lose by holding those beliefs?


Hope For The Future Of Leadership 

00:41:08 - Andy Goram

I mean, getting them out in the open and almost visually seeing them is part of that process. Right? Once you can kind of objectify it or visualize it, then it becomes a thing. And once you see something, you can address it, you can fix it, you can use it, right? I'm interested to understand the message from the book, the thing around courage, naivety, whichever of the amazing words that you've picked out, we want to use. But what do you hope? What is your hope for the future of leadership, Joshua? What would you like to see, and what would you like the book to evoke in people?

 

00:41:48 - Joshua Berry

My hope is that leaders who I believe have an asymmetrical amount of influence and power in the world, especially senior leaders within organisations that they can wake up to, the difference that they could make. The seeds that could be planted for doing more good in the lives of the people that they serve, whether it's their employees or their customers, shareholders, suppliers, whomever it might be. And especially for themselves, because I keep running into so many senior leaders who have squandered dreams, lost dreams, sadness. Right. Maybe success. The old proverbial they've climbed a ladder only to realize that they leaned it against the wrong wall.

 

00:42:36 - Andy Goram

Yeah.

 

00:42:38 - Joshua Berry

So my hope is that it creates space for those people to be able to start to wake up and maybe start to choose some different choices, or at least be aware of the choices they're making.


Sticky Notes Of Wisdom 

00:42:49 - Andy Goram

And I love that. And I so enjoy our conversations that I've managed been lucky enough to have to date unbelievably. When I look at my little timer buzzing away next to me, I've got to the point in the show, Joshua, already, where I'm looking for you to kind of drop your bombs of wisdom on the simplest of all mechanics, three little sticky notes. So I would like you to have a think about this. If you were to offer us three gems of wisdom, where we think about our audience, and if anybody's out there looking to be a more intentional leader, looking to really do good in business and is out there daring to be naïve, what would those three pieces of advice be, my friend?

 

00:43:43 - Joshua Berry

The first one would be, choose your action. You have agency, right? Every person has agency. Do not forget the agency that you have. Choose your action. The second one would be, don't let your whole person be pushed to the side, because the world needs more of you in it. And what I mean by that is there are so. It's almost like servant leadership, I think, sometimes gets a bad rap. And that it's very much about I got to put everybody else in front of me and show up at the pearly gates, a used dirty tool, because I've just poured out everything, and yet it is a give and take. So don't let your whole person be put to the side. I think the third is make space to listen to that still small voice inside of you.

 

00:44:44 - Andy Goram

I'm sitting here grinning. In that last one. What's behind that for you?

 

00:44:53 - Joshua Berry

It's back to being naïve, natural, innate. That which you had from the start, right? We have this childlike wonder as a kid, and then the world, education, everything tells you that there's a right way to do things, and it needs to be done in this way. And you're constantly choosing the mask that you put out to everybody else. And then at some point, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s sometimes never. But hopefully you get to a spot of saying, wait a second, I get to choose, I get agency, I get to do it. And a lot of times I've seen that that's a turn back inwards to start to really do the deep work, to say, what do I need? What do I want? What are the dreams that I've set aside? What could that be? That's where it comes from.


Closing Thoughts 

00:45:41 - Andy Goram

I love it. I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting to you, Joshua. I feel there's a connection here in the hearts and in our souls without wanting to overplay it. But I can only thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate your time. Before I let you go, where can people find out more about you, more about Econic, and certainly about the book?

 

00:46:10 - Joshua Berry

Sure, in reverse, then. The book website is dare to be naive.com and it can be found at all of the online retailers as well as a number of in person retailers. To learn more about Econic, our website is www. Dot econic. That's Econic Co. And then I'm most active on LinkedIn. And so if you want to see any more content or other things, you can go on to LinkedIn and find me there.

 

00:46:43 - Andy Goram

Well, I will put all of those things in the show notes, my friend, and more besides, based on what we've talked about today. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

 

00:46:52 - Joshua Berry

Andy, this was a gift. Thank you so much.

 

00:46:54 - Andy Goram

Okay, my friend, you take care.

 

00:46:55 - Joshua Berry

You too.


Podcast Close 

00:46:56 - Andy Goram

Okay, everyone, that was Joshua Berry, and if you'd like to find out a bit more about him or any of the things we've talked about today, please go ahead and check out the show notes.

 

00:47:11 - Andy Goram

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting, and heard something maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forward. If you have, please like, comment and subscribe, it really helps.

I'm Andy Goram, and you've been listening to the sticky from the Inside podcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.


Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world. 

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