How To Generate A Truly Caring Culture
What does it take to generate a truly caring culture within a business? And actually what does that even mean?
What moves you from talking about caring about the people you work with and have the privilege to lead, to actually doing it? What are the benefits of truly caring? Is that even a question we need to ask? Isn't it obvious? Well, whether it is obvious or not, it certainly isn't common practice, despite what the last two years have shown us about the importance of looking out for each other and showing that people really matter.
In this episode of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, your host, Andy Goram, talks to Jane Adshead-Grant, executive coach, and author of the books “Are you listening, or just waiting to speak?” and the recently published “The Listening Coach”. Jane is also an Ambassador of Truly Human Leadership and part of the Chapman & Co. Institute who want to create more businesses who truly care. The wonderful Bob Chapman and Barry Wehmiller story provides the backdrop for this great conversation about employee engagement, leadership and an enabling workplace culture and what it really takes to generate a business that really cares for the people that work within it.
This is a full transcript of that conversation, and you can also listen to the conversation here.
The Transcript (in full)
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 their 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.
00:01:10 Andy Goram
OK, last year when I recorded episode 25 with Perry Timms and we talked about the future of teams in the workplace, I was introduced to Bob Chapman and the Barry Wehmiller story. Now this is a story of a man's journey through corporate leadership. Following the footsteps of his predecessors during tough times and then realising that there was a better way. He dared to care, and, by focusing on treating his employees and colleagues like family, alongside clear strategic thinking, he managed to turn around the fortunes of that company and now travels the world telling others of that journey and helping them make the same transition.
The Bob Chapman story is like a beacon of light for me, proving that having humanity at the centre of business is not only important and the right thing to do, but it brings success with it. Success for the people in that business, the families that those people belong to, its customers, communities and shareholders.
Now, after decades of economic downturn and struggles, people being seen as expendable resources and frankly greed driven behaviour by some big businesses, it has perhaps taken this awful pandemic to float this idea of human-centred leadership to many more businesses and leaders. I've said it many times, but I think we've seen a bow wave of humanity creep back into business on the back of COVID, where people look out for each other more, take notice of each other more, and want more from their work. It's the one silver lining I cling to on the back of this terrible period in time, that I genuinely hope remains and grows and inspires the creation of many more caring workplaces.
But what does creating a caring culture really mean? And what does it take to create such a thing? Well, my guest today is the wonderful Jane Adshead-Grant. As well as being an executive coach and author of the books, “Are you listening or just waiting to speak?” and the recently published “The listening coach”, she's an Ambassador of Truly Human Leadership and part of the Chapman and Co. Institute who want to create more businesses who truly care.
Now, as someone who's interviewed and worked with Bob Chapman, who better to help us answer these questions today, than Jane? Welcome to the show, Jane!
00:03:31 Jane Adshead-Grant
Thank you, Andy. I'm thrilled to be here.
00:03:34 Andy Goram
I'm so happy you're here. This story that Perry introduced me to, around Barry Wehmiller and Bob Chapman just was so inspirational to me. And then for Perry to introduce me to you and get to hear your story, and how you're kind of bringing this caring culture thing to life. It's an opportunity too good to miss really. So, I'm really looking forward to this. Jane, could you just do us a quick favour though?
Could you perhaps do a much better introduction to you and the things that you do and the things that you're concentrating on right now, please?
00:04:11 Jane Adshead-Grant
Of course, and I would love just to say a big thank you to Perry Timms who did kindly put us in touch. So thank you Perry, when and if you may be listening to this. So what do I do? Thank you for the question. Well, I as you mentioned, I'm an executive coach and leadership facilitator. And so what that means for me is that I create the space for leaders and their teams to think for themselves with courage, with rigour and with imagination. Then and in so doing, I listen to them with empathy to help them connect more with themselves to understand themselves more fully. And I listen to them to generate the best of their thinking, to become unstuck, to gain clarity, to gain confidence and courage in being the leader that they want to be. Being the leader that's real for them, that's true to who they are.
And so in my work, I seek to encourage and inspire leaders to create environments where everybody matters, where their team members feel and know they are valued and appreciated for who they are, as well as what they do.
Creating A Caring Culture - Where Did It Start?
00:05:23 Andy Goram
I mean, that's why you're such a great fit for this podcast. I mean, if I was to write a contents page, a new contents page based on all the conversations we've had over the last couple of years, I mean, I think you've just listed the bullet points perfectly for us there. Now, today, Jane, we're concentrating on this creating a caring culture. But where did it all start for you? What inspired you on your journey to create more caring workplace cultures?
00:05:53 Jane Adshead-Grant
Well, I think. It starts with meeting Bob
00:05:55 Andy Goram
00:05:57 Jane Adshead-Grant
And maybe I can share my journey of meeting Bob. Well, I don't believe in coincidences, Andy. I really feel this was meant to be. It took, you know, probably 45 years before I, well even longer actually... Gosh! I’m 55, so when did I meet Bob? six, seven years, six years ago now. And so I met with Bob because of my husband. So my husband Ed, was studying at Harvard and doing the advanced management programme. A programme he'd wanted to do. It had been an aspiration of his for more than 10 years. And was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend it, and so did so. And Bob was delivering a session there, and shared... the class members had to revise and revisit Bob’s case study. And the next day Bob came in and asked class members what did they think, and a fundamental question, you know,
“What do you think is most important, strategy or culture?”
You know it was a fabulous conversation, you can imagine, with all of these amazing business leaders from around the world discussing this. Anyway, it was a really invigorating conversation. And then the class ended and whilst everybody was queuing up to have Bob sign a copy of his book, Ed went up to his room and grabbed a copy of my book, “Are you listening, or just waiting to speak?” and he gave it to Bob. Not only did Bob take it, two weeks later, I received a phone call from Bob's executive assistant, Diane, who said, “Bob met your husband, received a copy of your book and was really interested in talking to you given listening is one of the core tenants of the truly human leadership culture.” So that's how I met Bob.
So, we had a conversation and he, being based in Saint Louis, I was here in the UK, for an hour one evening. And it later transpired, five months later, he's going to be in the UK. So, I get another phone call from Diane saying, “Bob has got 15 minutes in his schedule. Would you be able to meet him on this day in Nottingham?” And Andy Nottingham is a 4 hour drive there and a four hour drive back, where I live in Essex.
00:08:13 Andy Goram
I used to work in Nottingham. I know where Nottingham is. Believe me, that's a long drive though, but you’ve gotta take that trip, right?
00:08:20 Jane Adshead-Grant
Well, haven't you? That's exactly what I thought. I said to Ed, that I would cancel my day. I'll get up really early. Like 5 o'clock in the morning, and off I’ll trundle. And so again, it was totally worth it. In fact, I met with Bob for half an hour in the end, but more than that, an hour and a half with his amazing team members, Rhonda Spencer and other members of the team at Nottingham. And so that's how it all started. And I think what stood out for me, Andy, was that in meeting Bob, I had met a leader who perhaps, one that I had previously imagined, but here was a person, a genuine gentleman, who not only spoke about caring for his people, he actually lived it. Together with his leadership team, they, you know, create this environment where everybody matters. Where people go to work and leave work feeling better than they did when they came in each and every day. And that's what I felt truly humbled by. And so, my journey began in promoting that, in inspiring the leaders that I coached to think differently about the impact they have as leaders and to begin to generate not only the business growth and the people growth, but this idea of the keeping it in harmony. That we can invest as much in our people. And it's not just the, kind of speaking to it, it's the physically doing it as well.
00:09:46 Andy Goram
I mean the action is always the thing that sets everybody apart, in terms of that success piece. Because lots of people can talk about this stuff, but I think it is those that actually really, genuinely take action and are, I guess, relentless in their pursuit of the message behind it. And I think this is an interesting thing for us to sort of like cover on today, because I think some of the problems that people get into when we're talking about culture and engagement and caring, is that people are looking for a quick fix. And they're looking for a like a rapid solution to these things. Now look, in my experience, and you're far more experienced than me, those things just don't exist, right? This is a long-term commitment. And I'm sure that must be at the back of The Bob Chapman story. The long-term commitment.
00:10:38 Jane Adshead-Grant
Oh totally! And as you're sharing that, it reminds me of a new book that Dorie Clark, another Harvard Business Professor has just published. You know how to invest in long-term thinking in a short-term world. And I think that's one of Bob’s strengths. He has a very compelling vision. And his vision is that business can be a force and is a force for good. And that he takes his team members from around the world to a place better than where we are today. And so, it is long-term. You're absolutely right. And my experience of working with the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute, as well as those I have been fortunate enough to connect with at Barry Wehmiller, is being able to feel part of a long-term vision, and know that their part in that, and also to subscribe to the values. The values, what they call... and certainly the guiding principles of leadership at Barry Wehmiller, that help provide this kind of guidance, and how do we show up, each and every day, that will enable us to be on track for this vision. And so this didn't happen overnight. There was a long process of Bob and his team members undertaking many, many listening sessions, tours around the organisation, to figure out who are we going to be in order to generate this kind of leadership such that we can grow and nurture the gifts and talents of those in our organisation, so they can be the best they can be and generate that in others.
Barry Wehmiller - The Guiding Principles
00:12:12 Andy Goram
Yeah, I mean that listening is so important, and you are a listing expert, but can I just pick up on a couple of bits that you've said? Not trying to put you on the spot here, but you've mentioned the truly human tenants - the guiding principles. For the listeners to the podcast are you able to just to give us an overview of what those guiding principles are?
00:12:32 Jane Adshead-Grant
Yes, absolutely. So, one of the things that Barry Wehmiller is they have this incredible University. So they went out as research, you know, how do we generate, how do we help grow leaders to care? And actually, there wasn't anything in the Business School that was teaching this. So, they brought it in-house and they developed their own curricula. And as part of that, they invite leaders to pursue or follow a checklist, so that they can... after being through the sort of three fundamental leadership skills trainings, that they go away with these wonderful, you know, leaflets and information that they can regularly connect with.
So, the guiding principles of leadership and the checklists that leaders will fulfill are, for example:
I practice the stewardship of the guiding principles of leadership through my time, conversations and business and personal development.
Another one guiding principle is:
They advocate for safety and wellness, both through their actions and their words.
So, we talk about safety being, you know, Barry Wehmiller is a $3 billion capital goods organisation, and you know, safety is a big part for those in their plants, and I visited Nottingham, as I mentioned before, you know, safety of keeping their team members safe is critical. And so, how do we...
so another guiding principle is advocacy for safety.
Another is around inspiring passion, optimism and purpose such that leaders will do that in every interaction they have with their team members.
Another guiding principle is such that their personal communication, which includes listening with empathy, cultivates fulfilling relationships. So listening with empathy so that we seek to truly understand our team members and can listen with empathy. To be there with them, alongside them.
Another is committing, or rather fostering a community whereby they are pursuing the same goal.
I talked about this vision and that Bob has, and then within each individual functions and business areas that people know and are committed to pursuing this common goal.
And another guiding principle, is to exercise responsible freedom by empowering others to accomplish their potential, not the potential that's in the future, but the potential that's right now. So how do we do that? Well, we listen, we ask questions to enable others to think for themselves and empower them to come up with their own solutions.
And building on from that another guiding principle is to proactively engage in personal growth of individuals, the self and the team.
And also another principle is a way of setting coaching and measuring goals so people know where they're at. This kind of sense of measurement, i.e., you know this is where we start and this is where we're heading. But where are we on the journey in order to inspire and empower people to stay motivated, we need to know where they are. And two last things.
One is to recognise and celebrate team members continuously so, but in a way that's really meaningful.
And finally, to commit to daily continuous improvement.
A big part of the Barry Wehmiller journey is the sense of continuous improvement such that we are, you know, bettering our world of business and life.
The Language Of Caring
00:16:13 Andy Goram
I love the connection of these things. To me there's a massive link there to the work that I and other volunteers do for Engage for Success. The four enablers of employee engagement links so very closely to a lot of the things that that you said, particularly around employee voice and knowing and understanding your place within the direction of the business and how you contribute. The fact that actually, this is about action and doing things, not saying something and there being a massive gap between that and having that organisational integrity.
And the whole message is incredibly positive and no surprise that there's elements of lean and what have you in there. And I spoke, very early in my little podcast to Professor Zach Mercurio, who's championing this message around mattering and significance at work and genuinely taking an interest in the people that work with you. I just think this is a beautiful kind of like ecosystem of what I believe really good, strong businesses, sustainable businesses look like going forwards. I just love it.
Just picking up on some of the language you’ve used, when you talk about confidence and the language of caring, how does that manifest itself? What do you mean by that, Jane?
00:17:35 Jane Adshead-Grant
Oh, that's a brilliant question, Andy. And even listening to you there refer to Lean. You know I'm familiar with where that originally comes from, and I think one of the the great things that Barry Wehmiller did is they turned that sort of Lean language into human, caring language. Some of the things I just spoke about. And so that continuous improvement, helping us to improve as human beings.
I think you raise such a great question because the language matters. You know I'm passionate about language, and one of the things that really resonates with me and my working with Barry Wehmiller and the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute, is their caring language. And the noticing of everyday language we hear of today in business and leadership dates back to, you know the Industrial Revolution and is very military focused. Even the word “company” comes from military.
00:18:35 Andy Goram
00:18:36 Jane Adshead-Grant
We hear about people saying “frontline workers” or “we're going to win this battle”, or dare I say it, “human resources”. We hear about “challenging conversations”, we hear about a “boss, supervisor, manager”. All of these words don't really conjure up this sense of care. And so, even Bob’s book, “Everybody matters. The power of treating others like family”, and that's what it is. It's around, you know, the language is around what's best for everyone. How can we celebrate what's going well? You know, as if... how would we talk with our family members, those that we love, those that we care about? Something I'll invite, or say to people, “What's the stretch?” rather than necessarily, “How can I challenge you?” Which is not bad, but you know “What's the Stretch goal here? How can I encourage you?” And this sense of creating an environment for people to feel safe, not only physically, but also psychologically. And to do that rather than fear any kind of retribution for people to show up and be their real selves, true selves.
Committing To Care
00:19:47 Andy Goram
I love that. I love the whole message that it's OK to be you. I mean it's backed up by a whole focus around diversity and what have you and that's not just the the race, the gender, type of diversity that's recognising people’s individual skills, superpowers, differences, whatever you want to call them and how they can all help us, you know, fulfil our full potential as a collective, right?
I'm a huge believer in that for sure, and I just when you were speaking, that whole kind of military language. I mean, I guess I've noticed that. I guess we've noticed that before, but these things just come out loud and clear and you just join all the dots there. I mean, even words like company. I mean, that's crazy, that's crazy. Is it any wonder then, we've kind of taken this sort of mechanistic hard, driven, aggressive approach to business and neglected the other way?
I mean, my understanding even of Bob's story, is it came down to a really tough period of time when there was going to have to be an awful lot of lay-offs made. My understanding of the story is that the deal was almost done, right? We're going to have to do this and a crisis of conscience really came out that was like
“No, no, no, no! This is not caring for our people. There has to be a better way. Why don't we ask them for some solutions? But surely in all the people that work for us that they can find ways through.”
And that's what I think is so inspiring about this story, is come back to the point you made there's wonderful stuff around the intention of caring, but actually committing to it, and listening, and then putting things in place that really deliver on that is where the difference is in this in this story. And I know it's inspired lots of other businesses and lots of other companies to think, and lots of other leaders, I mean, Bob does a lot of that stuff, you do a lot of that stuff now. In my little way, I try to talk about human leadership, right? It's so important,
But what have you noticed in your own world, Jane? When you're talking to people about caring. You’re talking about personal fulfilment. I mean it's a quid pro quo thing because it must have a positive impact on you as well as it does on the client. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
00:22:20 Jane Adshead-Grant
I can and I would just love to back up to what you just shared. It is an amazing story that... Bob's story of how, you know, when the company was going through major losses and they needed to, you know, to stop haemorrhaging the loss. And actually, it was having this clarity of purpose around what they stand for, and the way they measure success. So, Barry Wehmiller, the way they measure success is by the way they touch the lives of people. Those they interact with, all of their stakeholders. And so, for Bob, the decision to think about bringing in this... having like, a payment holiday for people. So, everybody receiving sort of four weeks unpaid leave, for the whole company, that was the answer to resolve the situation. It came from the idea that,
“Hang on. If we measure success by the way we touch the lives of people,” that was the kind of trajectory of thought. “Well, if we are true and living to who we say we are, it's a no-brainer.”
That actually rather than one or two people suffer a lot, or more than one or two, you know, rather than you know, 10 or 20 or even 100 people suffer by losing their role, “what if we all suffered a little?” And that was that was what happened. So, everybody took this sort of unpaid leave piece for four weeks. And you know, there's more to the story it's definitely worth a read. And if you haven't read already, “Everybody matters.”
But it comes back to that around, and I guess that's what in answering your question now, when I notice, in when I support leaders, that I coach, and teams that I facilitate, is helping them connect with what really matters. So, when they set themselves, when they get clear on who they are being as a human being first. Who am I being? How do I show up in leading those I have the privilege of leading? What are the values that I really subscribe to, and how am I behaving each and every day that's in alignment to that? When they do that, they begin to generate trust in their team members. And with that trust generated, team members begin to speak more openly. They connect more deeply. They begin to innovate more courageously. And so what I notice for leaders that I have the privilege of coaching, is that engagement levels go up.
And one gentleman I coached only last year, when we started coaching, his engagement levels with that team survey were minus 20!
00:24:55 Andy Goram
00:24:56 Jane Adshead-Grant
And at the end of our coaching, they went up to plus five. Never in the organisation's history, have they seen such a massive break? I would love to say, however, in context, there's a massive transition going on, with organisational restructure, new CEO. So, engagement was low when my client took over this team, so he kind of went into a tough environment. But because of his leadership, that was a huge trajectory. And a core part of that he was saying was, due to his focusing on being more empathetic, listening more to team members and co-creating ways forward to accomplish what they want and continue to want for the team.
So, what I notice is when we create an environment for care, where people feel cared for, the results speak for themselves. People feel more confident, more courageous and their thinking enhances to greater improvement, innovation and productivity.
Mattering & Significance
00:25:54 Andy Goram
And these things, these things about showing that people care, that people matter. That there is some significance to their existence. They don't have to be massively complex tasks, right? This is just about having a conversation. This is just about shining a spotlight on someone for 20 seconds in the corridor or as you walk through the factory, or as you walk past them in the car park. That's really what we're talking about here, right? Just making some connections. Everything comes back to trust at the end of the day. I live my life, I think, most of the time, by Lencioni’s triangle with trust at the bottom. But it has to start somewhere, and I think this whole thing around, caring, significance, mattering all starts with a simple conversation.
00:26:42 Jane Adshead-Grant
It does and I would love to add to that Andy, that it comes, I believe also, in seeing the person as a Human Being first. So, you know we have these titles of, you know podcast host and leader of a business or a coach, and at the end of the day we are human beings. And so, if we can see our fellow team members, our clients, our stakeholders as human beings first and we connect with them at that level.
00:27:12 Andy Goram
00:27:13 Jane Adshead-Grant
You know, seeing somebody as... understanding their name, you know. Finding out who they are, what matters, you know, what family they might have.
00:27:20 Andy Goram
00:27:21 Jane Adshead-Grant
And not that you need to go to it all of the time, but you know, by saying someone’s name, Andy, even that in a conversation can make people feel, “Ha! They only remember my name, but they're saying it again, so they've really heard, you know, who I am.” And so, I think that's a key part of showing how much we care. Is to relate to people at the human level, as well as all you know, not just as their function as the receptionist, the finance gentleman, or you know the sales guy, or, you know, the marketing lady. It's who we are as human beings.
00:27:57 Andy Goram
Absolutely agree, and it's a choice we make. You know, I work with a lovely friend, colleague, Karen Turton, who has a thing about people's names. She is known for being in a room of 200 people, and she will know everybody’s name in that room and and something about them. And it's not a sideshow gimmick. This is a choice she's making to make a connection right from the get-go. And doing those sorts of things you know, I've learned, really, really does show the importance of those relationships and that the individual that you're speaking to is more than just a body in front of you. There's a personal connection. There's a relationship, no matter how embryonic, how early, but I'm making a choice here to interact with you as a person, which I think is so important.
So, when you think about creating cultural movements, Jane, from what you see today and from all the things that you've encountered, what does it really take to create a caring culture within a business? Where would you start for the uninitiated?
How To Start Creating A Caring Culture
00:29:05 Jane Adshead-Grant
Lovely question. Well, I think the first thing I would love to say is perhaps we don't create a culture, rather we generate a culture. And so, I'd love to suggest that we generate a culture by... it comes through the way that we show up as leaders, as parents, as mentors, as coaches. You know, we generate the culture wherever we are. And so, in organisations we will see micro cultures within. You go into one organisation and the culture on the 6th floor... I used to work and my very first job was on the 6th floor of this building. It was the executive suite. I used to work in the Chief Executive's office. I was the assistant to his Executive Assistant. You could hear a pin drop. You go down to the second floor, where Finance was, I used to love going down there. It was buzzy. It was fun. It was younger. It was... so the culture was different. So that was the first thing is we generate culture by the way we show up. The way we behave. So, therefore as as we think about how to generate a culture of care, my experience and noticings are that it comes through the way we consistently behave, that says to people, you matter.
And so, it begins... you talked about trust there. For me, it begins with generating mutual trust and respect. Which is all about and begins with our listening. Listening to understand, listening with empathy. Asking questions to show that we're interested, but to help other people connect with themselves and their own solutions. Generating a culture of care for me also requires creating opportunities for people to develop, to nurture their gifts and talents and experiences. Because I believe that work is one of the places that we come to each and every day to contribute. Because as a Human Being, I believe that we all want to contribute in some way. And therefore, this is my business has the power and is an amazing source for good in the world, because it creates that opportunity for us to give and nurture our gifts and talents. And I also think that creating a culture of care means giving regular feedback. Giving feedback in a way that is true and honest but given with care. It's feedback that celebrates what's right and it's also feedback that encourages people to develop more further. And so that's a big part I would offer, of how we generate a culture of care.
00:31:37 Andy Goram
Yeah, I mean that's... all of that, is is so true.
And it just prompts me to think about the title of your book. Because when I first saw the title of that first book of, “Are you listening or just waiting to speak?” I think, confessional. Back in my early days in work, I was definitely just working out what I was going to say next. But, why I think your title is so clever and your message is so bang on, is you notice immediately the difference when you do properly, actively listen to what someone’s saying. Not least of all your next question is far easier to ask, because you understand where the person is coming from and the things that they're saying, rather than trying working out before it happens, which I know sounds really obvious and daft, but it's just not common practice everywhere. So, I love that whole listening thing.
I'm in danger, when we talk about these topics of being accused of being a right old fluff merchant, right? So, all the engagement stuff. All this caring malarkey, in some people's words, is
“That's not the purpose behind business, right? We're here to get stuff done.”
What To Say To The Doubters
Now this pushes my buttons, Jane, because I believe the two are hand in hand. With of course we're here to get things done. Of course, we're here to drive success, whatever that might look like, but we can do it in a different way. I think in a more collegiate, caring way. But do you get people coming to you asking or criticising this caring approach? And what do you say to those naysayers? What's your message to them?
00:33:22 Jane Adshead-Grant
Oh, that's a great question. No, I don't get many people coming to me in that. I think because we attract people who want what we subscribe to. So it's no surprise to me that business leaders that choose to work with me are individuals that care deeply about their team members and want to get better at it. So, I don't have too many of those, but I do appreciate that there are naysayers, so I do appreciate there are those out there. And I guess what I would say to them is two things. That to your point, I’d just love to amplify your point, Andy, which is that you're absolutely right, that you know, business is a force for good in the world, because we're generating value both from an economic perspective which we need to because you know, business makes the world go round and business provides livelihoods for people, and so we need to have a business that generates revenue in order to do that. And at the same time, we're wanting to generate in harmony value for our humans that make that business go round. I mean, there isn't a business without humans. And so hence, you know, this is why I feel so strongly about this message and an ambassador for them, you know, creating value in harmony both economically business growth and also human value. And so, what I would say to the naysayers is that.
That was the first thing. The second thing is, I would love to ask him a question. I would say to them.
“How happy would you be for your son or daughter, your niece or nephew to work in your organisation?” If I'm really brave, I'll say, “to work in your team.”
And sometimes my clients will say, “Never. No way.” And I'm like... but then I say to them, “OK, so why not?” They then reveal to me what it's like. An environment that they would be horrified for their child to work in and know that it's that, you know people speak over each other. They sometimes describe it as a toxic environment. You know, very super competitive where you know ideas are squashed. There is... growth and fulfilment is stifled. And there's no time to think, it's a meetings culture, and there's a very heavy blame culture. So they’’ go on to share these things and then I'll invite them to think about, “Well, what would you change? The role that you have, the impact you have what would you change?” This creates a very compelling coaching conversation, Andy. And one with real insight. And so, they begin to start thinking about what would I do to create this place that I would be proud and want my children or my sibling’s children to work in this environment. So to the naysayers, that would be the question. “How would you feel if your son or daughter would work here?”
00:36:21 Andy Goram
I think that's great. I mean that to me in a linked world, the whole world of Net Promoter score. That's why it's so important not just to say would you recommend this to anyone? There has to be some kind of relationship with the people that you would recommend it to, otherwise your reputation, your care is not challenged. So I think that's a brilliant question. I love that. And we often forget the impact that work has on people has a knock-on to those people at home.
Having a bad day at work, you go home, you take it out on the family. I mean, that's not a place you want to be. That's not a thing we want to do.
I love, again I may have this slightly paraphrased, but and maybe I've built it up in my in my own head, but I loved when I think Bob Chapman was asked a similar question around
“What do you say when people ask you on what's the ROI of caring?”
And his answer I think was something like, a raised eyebrow and “Really? You want me to put an ROI on caring? I think you need to find another question really.” I mean that to me sums the whole thing up beautifully.
I am amazed at how quickly these conversations go, Jane. There's a part in the show that I call Sticky Notes, which is where I try and have my guests summarise some key take outs that my listeners can fit onto 3 different post it notes and take away and start doing stuff, right? So in this context of generating a caring culture at work, what are your three main pieces of advice that you would give to someone thinking about trying to make a change?
00:38:04 Jane Adshead-Grant
Thank you. A lovely question as well. So, Andy, I would say it begins with you. So, first sticky to reflect on your core values. You know that what matters most to you and behave in ways that are consistently in alignment with that. And what I mean by core values are those things like growth, encouragement, gratitude, service, humility, inclusion, whatever it is for you. But focus first of all, reflect on you. What's important to you? And then, as I mentioned, behave consistently in alignment. That would be my first sticky.
My second sticky, no surprise, listen more.
00:38:43 Andy Goram
00:38:45 Jane Adshead-Grant
Listen more and you will become more because you have listened. One of my favourite quotes and the Dali Lama says, you know,
“When we talk we simply repeat what we already know. But when we listen we may learn something new.”
And I truly believe listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give any human being. And so, creating a culture of care requires us to listen. So invest in your listening skills and I really encourage you to be more disciplined and decisive in choosing to listen.
And the third thing I would love to offer, and my third sticky would be to appreciate others. Not only for what they do, but who they are as a human being. And so, for those listening right now, my invitation would be just take a moment, right now. Think about somebody who's added value to you this week. How did they make you feel? What did they do? And what was the impact they had on you?
As an example, Andy, I felt really engaged and inspired the other day, because of the email you sent me. The care and thoughtfulness of the preparation for this conversation has made me feel that I want to do more and more of this kind of work. Thank you.
00:40:10 Andy Goram
Well, thank you for the compliment and thank you for three wonderful, thoughtful sticky notes.
I have looked forward to having this conversation for so long. I truly, truly hope that people take inspiration from the stories that you've told and the insights that you shared, because I truly believe that we have an opportunity right now, after the last two years, to not make this a blip conversation. But to make caring for the people that we work with, like the mainstay, the main driver, the undercurrent behind all the businesses, rather than this nice little bolt on that people refer to. And I hope this conversation goes some way to helping people think about it differently.
Jane, thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate it, and I don't know, I look forward to the next opportunity of listening to you again.
00:41:04 Jane Adshead-Grant
Likewise, Andy, thank you so much and for those listening, I appreciate the time you've taken to listen in to us today.
00:41:11 Andy Goram
Thank you. Well, everybody that was the lovely Jane Ashtead-Grant. If you'd like to find out a bit more about her or any of the topics that we've discussed today, please check out the show notes.
00:41:27 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 forwards.
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.