Tami Simon: Welcome to Insights at the Edge, produced by Sounds True. My name’s Tami Simon, I’m the founder of Sounds True, and I’d love to take a moment to introduce you to the new Sounds True Foundation. The Sounds True Foundation is dedicated to creating a wiser and kinder world by making transformational education widely available. We want everyone to have access to transformational tools such as mindfulness, emotional awareness, and self-compassion regardless of financial, social, or physical challenges. The Sounds True Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing these transformational tools to communities in need, including at-risk youth, prisoners, veterans, and those in developing countries. If you’d like to learn more or feel inspired to become a supporter, please visit Soundstruefoundation.org.
You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today, my guest is Carley Hauck. Carley is a learning architect, leadership development consultant, author, speaker, coach, and serves as adjunct faculty at Stanford University and UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. For the last decade, she has served hundreds of leaders in companies in Fortune 100 companies and high-growth startups such as LinkedIn, Genentech, Pixar, Clif Bar, Intuit, and Bank of the West.
With Sounds True, Carley Hauck has written a new book. It’s called Shine: Ignite Your Inner Game to Lead Consciously at Work and in the World. You can tell Carley has lots of experience coaching people on workplace dilemmas, those places where we hold ourselves back from being as brave and loving as we really are. She helps us come forward with our values and our hearts online, in service of something beyond ourselves, the creation of a new workplace that prioritizes people and planet first. Here’s my conversation with Carley Hauck.
Carley, I know there were many different factors that led you to the writing of your new book Shine. By way of introducing yourself to our listeners, tell our listeners what those factors were. What brought you so that it became an imperative inside you to write Shine?
Carley Hauck: Great question, Tami. Well, it starts when I was a very little girl. I just have always felt this very strong connection to the earth. And I would also say, the divine. And I remember taking walks on the beach of St. Augustine, which was where my family and I vacationed when I was a child, St. Augustine, Florida. And I noticed that there were lots of plastic bottles and plastic trash on the beach. And at the time, I don’t even recall that there were garbage cans or trash receptacles, and there definitely wasn’t any recycling. And when I would find bags of trash on the beach, I would pick one or two up and I’d fill them as full as I possibly could. And then I’d walk back to the condo that my family was renting, and I would hand the bags to my mother, and she would always look at me incredulously and say, “Carley, what am I supposed to do with these bags?”
And at the time, I was very interested in marine life, and knew that if a sea turtle ate any of this plastic– which they would likely do because they’d think it was jellyfish– that they would die. And as I moved more and more into adulthood, I got this really wonderful opportunity to start doing work with leaders and businesses. And it felt very aligned for me, because as a child and up until I was about 18, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist, and realized that I probably wasn’t going to be that great being outside all the time and on a boat.
And what I ended up finding was that the place that I could make the greatest influence, to support the most people to shift their minds and hearts so that we could create a workplace and world that really works for everyone and is in harmony with the planet, was through the door of business. And when Trump was elected in 2016, a fire just really got lit inside me. And I felt this culmination of all the work that I’ve been doing with leaders and businesses, and a desire to really, hopefully, inspire hearts and minds to act differently. So that was a long answer to your question, but there it is.
TS: And Carley, the subtitle to your book Shine is Ignite Your Inner Game to Lead Consciously at Work and in the World. What do you mean by the Inner Game?
CH: So, the Inner Game is really this way of cultivating a new operating model. A way of embracing all of our parts. And I feel like this is the way that we can lead from a more conscious and inclusive way. And there are lots of qualities that this could encompass, but there are six that I’ve really honed in on in my work in the last decade with leaders in businesses. And these are self-awareness, emotional intelligence, love, resilience, wellbeing, and authenticity.
TS: Yes, I want to pick up on the use of the “love” word. That’s a word– personally, I’m comfortable with it. And I have no problem talking about creating love, workplaces that are clearly characterized by loving relationships. But I notice a lot of people are like, “Really? Please do not use that word in a workplace environment. Talk about care, talk about something else.” Why do you intentionally use the word love?
CH: I feel like love is the greatest energy and frequency that we can emit as human beings, and is so powerful. Now, if I’m cultivating loving thoughts about myself, about you, let’s just say right now, which I am. [LAUGHS]
TS: Thank you.
CH: That automatically has a vibration on the outside. And we know when someone is maybe leading from more fear or from anger. We can feel that. It has an energy. And I feel like energy is the currency. But if I’m emitting a different vibration of love, of care, of gratitude, whether I’m in a Zoom room or I am sitting in front of you, that’s palpable. And I feel like we’ve been in such a state of leading from fear, from scarcity, from greed, that love can really be the bridge that we need right now.
TS: So, Carley, when you said, and I jokingly threw off, “Thank you.” But when you said, “I’m cultivating a mindset of love, like I’m doing for you right now,” tell me, how are you doing that? What are you doing?
CH: Well, even before we got on the call today, I was feeling so excited to have this conversation. And I shared that with you before we hit “Record.” And I thought, “Tami Simon has had such an impact on my life.” And just honestly, Tami love how you have shown up in this pandemic. Your alignment with all the programs you’ve put around systemic racism and this beautiful offering of The People’s Inauguration, I really feel you’re trying to wake up the world and be in service and the best of ways. And I love that. So, I was reflecting on that before our call and how grateful I was to be able to talk to you today, and how grateful I am to be part of the Sounds True community of authors.
TS: It’s a beautiful example, but I want to get into the nits and grits here for a moment.
TS: To that person who says, “You know, look, let me just tell you the truth. I don’t love X, Y, Z person at work. Whether it’s someone on my team, or the manager that I work for, the employer that I work for, or somebody on another team. In fact, I can barely stand this person. Truth be told, Carley. How can I try to cultivate this new operating model that you’re describing? One of the characteristics is love– when I can barely stand this other human I work with?”
CH: Well, I get asked that a lot, and that comes up a lot.
TS: I’m sure, because I think this is a pretty common situation.
CH: And truth be told, it’s not always easy for me, either. And so, normally, and I’ll speak how I utilize this practice in my own life. And then hopefully, that will be a model and example for how other people can do it. So, when I, for example, notice that there is someone in my life– whether it’s at work, or in my personal life– that’s triggering me. Let’s say they’re triggering me, there’s something about this person, the way that they’re talking, their actions, their behavior, that I don’t like. This is really getting under my skin.
And one of the things, if I’m aware enough of my trigger and the reaction that is happening in my body, I’ll pause, and I’ll ask myself, “What is this really about? What part of me am I not embracing that this person is showing to me on the outside?” The shadow, so to speak. So, whether they’re being selfish, or they’re being controlling. “When am I selfish? When am I controlling?”
And that then brings more compassion for myself, but for this other person, because at the end of the day, that person is just like me. Maybe not exactly, we have a different color of skin, a different lived experience, a different worldview. But on so many levels, we’re not that different. We all want safety, and shelter, and love and acceptance. And so, if I can just take a step back and recognize that however this person is showing up has nothing to do with me and it’s not personal.
And the only way that I’m going to be able to build a bridge with this person–and that may not be possible– but if I come from, “Eww, I don’t like this person,” if there’s aversion, if I push them away, if I lead with fear and anger and obnoxious aggression, so to speak, that’s only going to create more of a divide and more conflict. But if I can actually be really curious, “What’s happening for this person? Why are they having such a difficult moment right now?” And just have a little compassion. And that might also require setting some good boundaries too, speaking up, saying, “Hey, what you just did, that didn’t work for me. I’d prefer if you did this.”
TS: Beautiful answer. Now, Carley, you talked about this whole notion of the Inner Game being cultivating a new operating model for how we go about conducting ourselves in business, conducting ourselves as leaders. And one of the things you write about is this notion of moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. And I wonder if you can talk about that for people who are new to this concept of developing a growth mindset: What is that, and how do I get one?
CH: Great question. Well, so Carol Dweck, who is a Stanford University colleague of mine, she did a lot of research on mindset. In fact, she has a book, I believe it’s called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. And she basically explains that our mindset exists on a continuum, from fixed to mixed to growth. And so, essentially what that means is that people with a fixed mindset believe that they possess only certain basic abilities, intelligence, talents. And their goal really is to look smart and never fail. So, people with a fixed mindset usually are not willing to do something out of their comfort zone, because they don’t want to fail. They don’t want to look bad. They only want to do what they know that they can do well.
But people with a growth mindset are more willing to step into the unknown, the uncertainty. I would say that the leaders that really thrived in the pandemic were willing to take on a growth mindset. Probably so many different moments of the day.
And that basically has a sense that, “I’m willing to learn and grow. I’m up for the challenges that are ahead.” And one of the questions that I think is a good indicator of a growth mindset is, instead of, “Why is this happening to me?” when difficulty or obstacles arise, “How is this for me? How is this for me to learn to grow?” Or “What is the silver lining?” That would be a growth mindset versus the fixed might be, “I don’t want to do this. I’m going to do what I’ve always done.”
TS: Now, I want to talk to that person who finds in their own experience, they can eventually get to this place. “How is this for me?” This thing that’s happening that feels very challenging. It’s not what I wanted. But their first response might be something more like, “Oh my God, I think I’ve really screwed up.” They turn on themselves. That’s the first move. What are your suggestions for how people can work with that, so that they more quickly move to this growth perspective of, “How is this happening for me?”
CH: That’s a great question. Well, I feel that growth mindset, developing that is part of the inner game of resilience. That’s one of the six qualities of creating a strong and conscious inner game. And for myself, and again, this is a practice that I share with a lot of my clients and the companies, I have developed these four questions. So, we may initially be hard on ourselves when there’s something that happens that we don’t like, or is causing discomfort, or is a challenge.
And so, the four questions that I think are helpful to turn it around, to move into a growth mindset, and to have more compassion for ourselves is to say, what can you control? Then, can you see these setbacks as a challenge, and an opportunity for learning and growth? Can you trust that this is for you, and serving your greatest good? And then, essentially, the next question and last question would be, what can you commit to that would help you move forward? What’s the next step, so to speak?
TS: Now, Carley, you go into all kinds of companies and work with various leaders, coaching them, and then working with their teams, offering trainings. I’m curious, what are you seeing? These are the biggest, like the top three. These are the top three presenting challenges, presenting issues that most often come up when I first go and start working with a leader and a team. This is what I see. These are the most common ones.
CH: Well, usually I’m brought in because there’s some dis-ease. And I say dis-ease, which I really think of as disease. So, in graduate school, I studied organizational psychology and health psychology, which is really looking at the systems of the organization, but then health psychology is really the system of the human body, and how we can prevent or intervene disease. And I like to think of them very much connecting to each other. So, if you have a leader, for example, who is leading from more fear, who is more aggressive, that creates a culture where there is a lack of safety, a lack of trust. And then there’s not effective communication. There isn’t the opportunity for vulnerability, or inclusion, or belonging. And that has a systemic effect on everybody that works there. But even more importantly, that one leader then has a huge impact on the product that’s going out into the world, because it’s all connected.
And so, going back to, “What am I usually brought in for?” there’s usually some dis-ease that I’m being asked to solve for or to heal. I really like to think of myself as a healer for companies. And it usually has to do with conflict. So, it could be a lack of self-awareness. It could be a lack of empathy, or a lack of emotional intelligence. It always comes back to safety and trust, and people not feeling like they can really share vulnerably, and that’s impacting the bottom line, and how they are able to create and innovate and collaborate as teams, as senior leaders.
TS: Throughout your book, Shine, you quote various leaders that you’ve interviewed and worked with. And one of the people you quote is Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, and you quote him as in saying that, “Instilling trust has to be the number one priority of a CEO.” And I thought this was really interesting. And I wanted to know how you help leaders instill trust in their organization.
CH: Well, I’ve been working with Amy Edmondson and her team, The Fearless Organization, and Amy Edmondson has done some really powerful research around psychological safety. And one of the things that I first do when I’m brought in with any new team, or even any new training that I conduct with a company, I’m always really curious about the psychological safety within that group, within the team. And in fact, Clif Bar & Company is a client of mine, and I’ve been teaching their standardized communication curriculum for the last several months. And one of the things that I do, and Jen Freitas, who co-facilitates this training with me, she’s their L&D director, we create psychological safety guidelines at the beginning of the training so that everybody feels safe to really share and practice this new way of communicating.
So, for me, and I have this, I believe it’s in Chapter 6, I call it the Barometer of Safety, it’s really assessing, do people feel safe? Do they feel included? Do they feel like they can really speak up? Are there guidelines in place, for example, to call in microaggressions, or Subtle Acts of Exclusion, however you want to call it. So, I feel like that’s the very first step. And then assessing, how can we change what’s happening with each individual leader on the inside, so that they can create more safety and trust on the outside?
TS: Now, Carley, I think you’re aware of this, that Sounds True has produced a nine-month training program called The Inner MBA on developing many of these inner skills. And some of the feedback that I’ve gotten from people in the group is, “Hey, a lot of these principles and teachings are really helpful, really useful, but I don’t feel I’m in a place where I can impact some of these core characteristics of the organization that I work for. I’m not the CEO, I’m not on the leadership team. How can I really make a difference and change this organization?” And I’m curious what you would say to individuals like that who are listening right now to our conversation?
CH: Great question. Well, I feel like anyone can be the change. I’ll just start with that. You don’t have to be given the leadership title to bring something forward to lead the change. And I would say whatever it is that they’re noticing or observing, that’s not working in the organization– whether it’s the way a leader is communicating, maybe it’s a system, maybe it’s a process, maybe it’s a structure that needs to be changed– that they see as impacting the whole in a
not-so-effective way, I would say talking about that to someone that does have higher influence and social capital, is important and it’s a good place to start. And if that doesn’t get anywhere, then find someone else.
I think the other pieces, people and companies are only… And teams, I’ll say that. Individuals, teams and companies are only going to really be willing to change if there’s enough suffering. That’s always been my experience. If the team is really not getting along, and this is having an impact on the products and the bottom line, and there’s enough that’s coming up around this that is creating a real catalyst for change, then they’ll change. But I think there has to be a certain level of suffering.
I wish it wasn’t the case, but that’s been my experience. And sometimes that doesn’t have to be there. Sometimes there are leaders and teams that are self-aware enough that all you need to do is share it once or twice. And then they’re willing to dig in and just say, “Oh, thank you so much for that feedback. Well, what would you suggest?” And then, “How can we all work together to really create this new systemic change?”
TS: This phrase, “Thank you so much for this feedback.” I have to be honest with you, I notice anytime people say, “Hey, I have some feedback for you,” The first thing that happens is I bristle. The second thing that happens is I breathe and I relax and I open and I prepare myself to listen. How can you help people get better at actually wanting the feedback, hungering for it?
CH: That’s great. Well, normally what I would say, which is before, “Can I give you some feedback?” or “I have this feedback.” Normally I would say something a little bit more subtly, which could be, “I’m noticing this,” or “I’m having this observation that I feel might be in service of you, or might be helpful. Would you be open to hearing it?”
So, I don’t just lay it on them, because they may not be in a space that they’re willing to receive, and then it’ll go nowhere. We’ll have no positive impact. So normally, I ask if they’re ready to receive it first. And if they say “yes,” or they say, “You know what, I’m tapped out right now, but could we schedule a call” or whatnot, and then just make sure that you really follow up and you keep that accountability.
TS: A couple of times, Carley, you’ve talked about how part of the problem, we could say, with the old, operating mindset is people leading from fear, leading from fear. And I want to address real fears that people have. People have fears that if they try to bring more of these principles into their work, they’ll lose their job, they’ll lose their income. Leaders have fears that they’re not going to hit their targets unless they hold people accountable in more of an old-school kind of way.
And my question to you is, how do you suggest people work with their fear, whatever it might be, just that they know, “The truth is I’m afraid, I feel it. I feel it coming up in my body right now. I even feel it while I’m listening to this conversation,” someone might think. They might feel fear because they realize, “The truth is I have to leave the job I’m in. I can’t have the kind of organizational culture be part of the kind of organizational culture I want to be part of at the company I’m at right now, but I’m afraid to leave.”
CH: Hmmm. Well, I have a question to ask.
CH: But I also have an example that might be interesting to bring in that a colleague, actually, of mine just shared this with me, and it could just be, yes, it could be helpful. The first question that I always ask when fear is here, and again, it requires a certain level of self-awareness for me to really pause and be with the fear in my body first to then get to asking this question, I’m not always perfect at this. So, I just want to preface that I try to do it as best I can, but once I recognize fear is here because I notice the sensations in my body, my heart rate has gone up or I notice tension in my upper back, or my belly or my neck, I then will breathe. I’ll be with it. I’ll slowly breathe from my stomach in and out, calm down my nervous system.
And then when I feel ready, there’s actually two things. One is I might give fear some space, and just let it talk to me for 90 seconds. It’s usually not helpful if I let it go for too long, but I want to acknowledge the fear. I don’t want to just shove it away. I want to say, “OK, tell me everything that you feel scared about.” Essentially, I ask, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And then it goes on and on and on and on and on. And I listened to it and I say, “Thank you very much.” And fear is usually just here because we want to feel safe. We want to be protected. And so, usually the worst thing that could happen is not going to happen. But if we ask ourselves that, then we can prepare for the worst, and hope that it will be even better than that. So, that’s something I would invite.
Another practice for when fear is here, for myself, is I like to shake it out because fear lives in our physical body. So, for me, if I’m feeling it, I will often shake. I’ll just move my body. And I have really fun memories of doing a shaking out exercise of fear when we were actually able to meet in person. When I was teaching at Stanford, I’d have a whole room of faculty and staff and students, and we do this exercise of them just standing up in this conference room and shaking. And it was so wonderful to shake all of our fear out together. And there’s such a release after doing that.
But the example that I was going to share is, I was talking to a colleague of mine who’s been part of the Conscious Capitalism community. And apparently, they haven’t taken as much of a stance on their inclusion, and diversity, and equity principles as she would like. And she’s been pretty steeped in this community for quite a long time, but it’s not in alignment with her ethics for diversity, and inclusion, and equity, and justice. And so, she’s going to be leaving that community. And so, that, I would imagine, is bringing up a lot of grief for her. And that was probably the worst thing that could happen because she works in DEI.
So, I’m sharing that because that might’ve been a really hard decision for her, but it’s not in alignment, it’s not in integrity. And so, she’s likely going to go to the B Corp community. And so that’s just an example of how that can happen.
And even if the worst thing happens, we can still find our way. We can still find right alignment if it’s the job that we’re leaving, or the community we’re leaving. And even if that community or that leadership doesn’t do the right thing, there’s grief and loss in that, and disappointment. But at the end of the day, we want to be living and working in a space that feels in alignment, feels like there is a similar value set. Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult for us to stay.
TS: Now, you mentioned, asking this question, when you have the wherewithal and steadiness of mind to do so, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And then giving yourself 90 seconds. And I thought to myself, “If I ask that question to myself, it’s going to take me a hell of a lot longer than 90 seconds to respond. I’m going to be able to go on for a long time.” Do I ask myself to make it short? Give me the Cliff Notes of the worst thing that could happen here?
CH: Well, the reason I say 90 seconds is because research has found that normally our emotions will last for 90 seconds if we really give them space. Now, there’s lots of caveats to that because grief and trauma, all of those have a longer life span than 90 seconds, but that’s where the
90-second rule came in. And then you could put yourself on a timer, or you could give yourself more than 90 seconds. You could give yourself five minutes. I would say 90 seconds is probably the minimum amount, but at least you’re allowing yourself to feel it and not just bypass it.
TS: Now, you shared, Carley, this example of someone who is in the field of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and felt that they had to leave the business they were a part of, to be part of a business they’re more aligned with. And in your book, Shine, you have a really interesting and powerful section on how it’s possible for white men in power who are in leadership roles at companies to actively become allies in the service of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. As part of this changing our operating system, the Inner Game of business, talk some about that, about how you came to these ideas and what your suggestions are for people who find themselves to be white men in power in organizations, what they can do?
CH: Great. Yes, this is a powerful part of the book. And there are nine different leaders that are highlighted through the book that I’ve really gotten to know in the last few years of writing Shine. And I really feel that they are embodying this conscious and inclusive way of leading at work and in the world. I’ve had lots of opportunities to see this in action with these men. I’ll start with a story of one, and then I will talk about the “how to.”
I really feel like there is this, I don’t know what I want to call it, this real opportunity for a new version of manhood that is happening. And from the conversations that I’ve had with lots of men, many men don’t like the current version of masculinity. Whether we want to call it “toxic masculinity,” I feel like there is a reckoning happening, and there are men saying, “No, I don’t want there to be this aggression. I want there to be more of a softness, this ability to showcase my vulnerability, and to push back against the aggression.” And I could go into this in a much deeper way, but I’ll just say read the book. There’s a lot in there around this topic.
But one leader that I’ve gotten to know is Vince Guglielmetti. And he happens to be working at the company, Intel. And Vince and I met at this really wonderful conference that I attended called the Better Man Conference at the end of 2019. And he happened to be one of the leaders that got invited to speak. And Vince and I have gotten to know each other in the last few years since this conference, I just actually had a phone call with him maybe a month ago. And he really believes that his role as a white male leader in Intel is to leverage his voice for women, for LGBTQIA people, for people of color. And he often will say, “I know you need my voice. How can I support you? How can I be in service of you?” He’ll say that to his team members. And so, he’s really positioned himself as a strong male ally within Intel.
And what is the “how to.” I think, again, if you’re a man who is wanting to support people of color, different marginalized identities, women, and I think the first part is actually just to show curiosity, to really want to get to know that person or these people. And then find ways that you can use your social capital, maybe even your voice speaking up against, for example, a microaggression. You can invite someone to a meeting. You can offer mentorship. There’s lots of different ways. You can ask, “How can I be in service of you? What is it that you need to really get to where you want to go, in this role, in this company?” Those are some examples.
TS: All right. Carley, just a couple more things I really want to talk to you about. I know you developed a course called Flourish about helping people be resilient at work, and you emphasize that we need to honor our wellbeing, our wellness. You talked about being a healer for companies, honoring our health.
And I wanted to ask you about this because at one point, an organizational psychologist we work with at Sounds True, came to Sounds True– before the pandemic when the building was open– and he had a bunch of little plastic buckets. They were just a couple inches big, and he gave one to everybody and he said, “Put it on your desk. And remember to fill your bucket. You want to have a full bucket when you’re at work.” And it was this corny, cheesy metaphor to try to help us remember to nourish ourselves, and prevent burnout by keeping our buckets filled.
But what I’ve discovered is that people often seem to have empty buckets. And even, no matter what I do from a leadership level, it’s just the way people’s lives seem to be structured. There’s a lot of empty buckets happening. So, I’m curious, in your view, what’s the organization’s responsibility? And what’s the person’s responsibility to help people maintain their wellbeing, to flourish, to use the name of the course you created?
CH: That’s a great question. Well, I feel like it’s particularly challenging to have full buckets right now in this virtual world. We’re still navigating this, especially in the United States, but also worldwide. There’s so many different restrictions and guidelines and they’re changing all the time, and we can go outside, we can eat at this restaurant, or we’re all not back in the office for the most part. And so, I feel like we are spending more and more time on our screens than we ever have. And that’s exhausting for all of us. And I feel like it’s requiring more and more boundaries that we need to put into effect individually, but also at work so that we are not overextending ourselves, because burnout is not going to get us to where we want to go.
I think it’s really having a certain level of awareness of when am I feeling, like “I’m at enough,” and when do I feel like I still have more to give? And I think that’s just going to require some fine tuning.
But one of the things that I’ve been doing in the last year is, I have five to six senior leaders that I’m doing some executive coaching with. Most of my work tends to be in training and manager development, larger programs, but I am seeing a few people one-on-one, and I’ve really noticed the emotional labor and burden that has been put on managers and leaders during this time to really make sure that they’re keeping their teams intact and cared for.
And these are things that managers and leaders have not necessarily been trained to do, and they didn’t have the skill sets. And they’re not only being asked to perform at a high level and get all of their deliverables, but they’re having to really take care of their teams in these vastly different ways, in addition to making sure that their kids are doing what they need to do online. And I’ve had many coaching sessions where the two-year-old or the three-year-old was eating lunch, and they were in the coaching session with my client.
I think we’re all feeling stretched in different ways. And we have to figure out what’s the balance of work, of home, of being outside and away from our screens? I think one of the refuges that I hope has become a resource for people is getting out in nature, leaving their technology behind so that they can really restore their energy, their creativity. I know for myself, being in nature has always been a huge part of my inspiration and is what gives me the fuel to keep going, to bring that into the work and the people that I’m serving.
But I think there’s really a self-assessment that needs to happen individually. And then for companies to understand: How much are we asking of people at this time? Is it really OK for people to keep their screens off? Are we being really effective with how many meetings we’re asking people to come to? Is there an agenda? How can we shorten this? I think there’s just a lot of creativity and curiosity that needs to be happening around the impact of how we’re working on the people in our companies.
TS: Now, a couple of specific questions. If you’re someone who’s a manager, has responsibility for other people, what are the most powerful things you can do to care for their wellbeing at this time? Most powerful actions you can take?
CH: I think at the beginning of meetings, and I think so many teams and managers are doing this, but just doing a weather report. Just real quick, before we even get into the agenda and why we’re all meeting, “How are we all doing?” And really creating safety by you being the person to lead more vulnerably and showing that it’s OK to really show and bring our whole selves. So, I think that really creates more safety and trust. And then really listening to what you hear. “Oh, I just gave this huge report to Janet and I hear she’s completely exhausted and is going through this, this and that. And you know what, maybe I actually need to do an extra one-on-one with her, or I need to help her delegate this to somebody else on the team.” So, I think that’s really important.
And I think we all need to be growing more and more empathy. I feel like that has been lacking in our culture. And I could say in the United States, but I think it’s just something that we could deepen a lot more as individuals and have that be part of the culture of work, of really, again, recognizing, “This person is a lot like me. And how can I have more compassion? How can I imagine how I might be feeling if I were in this person’s shoes?” And empathy comes naturally to me. Sometimes I think I have too much of it, but I feel like we could all benefit from more of that. Yes.
TS: OK. Now, specifically, if you were coaching that person who says, “Yes, I need to have more and more boundaries at work. I need to do that. That’ll help me in terms of preventing burnout. But coach me in how I can share with my manager and my team that I’m at my limit without it making sound like I’m weak, not a strong performer, dispensable?”
CH: Great question. Yes, because that’s normally why we don’t speak up. We don’t want to be seen as not performing well. I think that in this time, there is more care and more of the shared lived experience. And so therefore more empathy for what we’re all navigating, because we’re all going through it at the same time in variations and different degrees.
But I think you could just be real and say, “This is what I have going on at home right now. I have a three-year-old. My nine-year-old is in school all day long, and I’m trying to manage work and home, and my partner and I both work. And I’m wondering if there’s a way that I can be on for these hours, but be off these hours. And I want to make sure that this works for the rest of the team. What do you think?” Something to that extent, I think could be really helpful. And then it’s a collaboration. There’s a co-creation of how everyone’s going to navigate this together.
Another piece, especially if you’re feeling like you are concerned that you won’t be seen as a high performer, you could also add something that says, “I really want to show up in the best way possible for this team. And I’m wondering how we can find a creative solution together.” That could be the end of the statement, so to speak, or it could even be how you start the conversation. That could give context.
TS: Very good. Good coaching there. Now, you emphasize in your book, Shine, this importance of brave exchanges. I think what you just demonstrated would be an example of a brave conversation in my book, brave exchanges. And one of the things I’ve found is that there are some people I work with who seem like they’ve got it, they do it, they know how to do it. And there’s a lot of people I work with that, even after they’ve received coaching, even after they’ve read the books, they shy away. They shy away from the brave exchanges, and instead make some kind of circumventing of the conversation instead. And it seems to me this is such a critical skill. Why is it so difficult for so many people to do it?
CH: Well, I can share the answer to that. Have you ever struggled with that yourself? I feel curious and I’m turning it back on to you. But my sense of you…
TS: Sure. Sure.
TS: I feel like I’m probably a pretty high in capacity based on all kinds of typology and other things and the fact that I’m the leader of the business. So, I’m in a powerful position to begin with all of those things. But even in positions where I haven’t been powerful, I think I’m pretty good at it, but I have struggled sometimes, too. I do struggle sometimes.
CH: What’s the struggle for you? What has you pause before being willing to have the brave exchange?
TS: I don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings. That’s one of it. One of the things that’s going on for me. Yes, that’s probably the biggest thing. I think that what I’m going to share, they will experience as hurtful, and that creates pain for me. So, I’m trying to find ways to frame it in a way that won’t be so hurtful for them.
CH: Thank you for sharing that, Tami. I think that that’s what a lot of other people feel, too. They feel fear that they’re going to hurt someone by being really direct with their feedback. They’re afraid that there’s going to be more conflict. They’re afraid that the conversation is going to go sideways. I ended up teaching a lot of people how to have effective communication. And so, all of these fears are normal, but this is the thing.
And this is, I guess what I would have this person ask, when they’re feeling the hesitation to speaking up. If they don’t say what they really want to say, then what are the consequences of that? So, there either will be continual conflict, or they won’t be able to move forward in the way that they want to, or the product, for example, might go to launch when it really needs to be stopped because it’s not going to support the company’s mission. There’s all these reasons why it’s important that we speak up.
And if we don’t, then there usually are negative consequences to that. And it goes back to the fear. We don’t really know what’s going to happen when we speak up, but we have to hope that if our motivation is coming from a wholesome place, that however we deliver it is going to come through in the best way that we can. And then we don’t really have control over what the other person does. But for example, if we see a microaggression happening, and we don’t speak up, then that hurt and harm continues, and the silence is complicit. And that’s not OK. So, I think you have to look at your motivation. If your motivation is pure and as good and as wholesome, then speak up.
TS: Now, Carley, I want to make a full circle here as we come to the end of our conversation. In the beginning, you shared with us a story from your childhood where you were collecting bags of trash from the beach. And it’s very clear that underneath the book, Shine, and your whole body of work related to helping people with their Inner Game to lead consciously, there’s a motivation that has to do with us becoming better stewards of the Earth. And I want to understand how for you, there’s this connection between how we operate in our workplaces, and the type of stewardship we have of the environment. How do you connect those two themes?
CH: Great question. So, I study systems. And when I was talking, again, about the, for example, unhealthy leader, and how that has a ripple effect into the company and the culture of the company, but that also has a ripple effect into what then goes out into the world from that company. So, a lot of capitalism has been focused on “more is better.” And from following the climate sciences I have, we are consuming way more than what we have resources of for everyone here.
I feel like we’re in this really pivotal, transitional moment right now as we’re creating the future of work. And we need to really prioritize people and planet and not just profit. And I see business as being one of the major forces that can really shift things. I actually see businesses being one of the greatest organizations to shift racism. And why those are all connected is because we need everyone together to support this complexity that we’re navigating right now.
Climate change impacts everyone, and it doesn’t discriminate. And so, there is this way that having diverse teams, having an inclusive culture coming together in this kind of microcosm of work, allows us to come together in this greater system of the world where we’re caring for one another, where we’re caring for the planet. And so like even looking at Patagonia, which was one of the first Benefit Corporations in California, they really put into their business operations that people and planet came first. And then the products that they put out into the world were regenerative. And that is so meaningful for where we are right now.
TS: And Carley, we’re coming to a close here. Two final questions for you. Why did you call your new book Shine? What do you mean by “helping people shine?”
CH: Because I feel like we all have a light, a unique set of skills and strengths that is unique to each one of us, that the world needs. And some of us have the mindset of, “Oh, I don’t have anything that’s special. I can’t really create this particular change, or do this thing.” And I would argue that that’s not true. And that if there’s something that you really care about, that you want to be the change for, that you show up, and you let those brilliant qualities that you have shine.
And the other reason that I call it Shine is because we do have some big problems in this world. And it requires, again, all of us to shine our light. And if I’m the only one that’s, for example, holding my torch, I’m going to get really tired holding that torch. I need you and you and you and you to all hold that torch that’s unique to you, so that I can rest. And then when you get tired, I put my torch back up and you rest. And we can all come together. And as you were sharing in The People’s Inauguration, I believe this is research that Valerie[Kaur] quoted that came out of Harvard, we only need 3.5% of people to shift, to really create this very big change in the world. And so, if 3.5% of people are shining their light, then we’re going to solve some really big problems together. And that is so exciting.
TS: And finally, Carley, this program’s called Insights at the Edge. And one of the things I’m always curious about is what someone’s personal edge is? What your edge is in doing this work of helping people with conscious leadership?
CH: I’m just going to reflect on that for one moment. That’s a juicy question.
TS: I like to leave the juicy curve ball for the end.
CH: I think it’s still about balance and boundaries for me. I think sometimes I can very much be a yes person, and I’m recognizing more and more and more that I’m not Superwoman. And it’s really learning what my lane is, and where I can really use my zones of genius, so to speak, and then delegate the rest that is not my ultimate strength, so that I can really be in service in the best of ways.
TS: Balance and boundaries. Those are big. Carley Hauck, thank you so much. I’ve been speaking with Carly Hauck, leadership consultant, who teaches at Stanford University and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She’s the author of the new Sounds True book, Shine: Ignite Your Inner Game to Lead Consciously at Work and in the World. Carley, thank you so much for being just so transparent and fully present, and sharing so many really good practical ideas with us. Thank you.
CH: Thank you, Tami. This was so helpful.
TS: Thank you for listening to Insights at the Edge. You can read a full transcript of today’s interview at SoundsTrue.com/podcast. And if you’re interested, hit the “Subscribe” button in your Podcast app. And also, if you feel inspired, head to iTunes and leave Insights at the Edge a review. I love getting your feedback, being in connection with you, and learning how we can continue to evolve and improve our program. Working together, I believe we can create a kinder and wiser world. SoundsTrue.com, waking up the world.