42 - Magic (in) The Gathering

Updated: Jun 18

How to get people to show up to your meeting? When should the meeting be an email? what's in it for me?!?... And all your other gatherings questions answered. In this episode we are joined by Lindsey Caplan, screenwriter turned organizational psychologist. Lindsey uses learning and development foundations to get desired behaviors from gatherings of humans and gives us all the tips.

Release Date: April 20, 2022

[00:00:01] Ellie Brigitta: Morning. This podcast is about the realities of working in People Operations. This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Alexa Baggio: It's Saturday in the office. There's nothing better than like a bunch of people who work in HR getting around the table and sharing these stories. We have this like outer body experience in HR where you're like, "Can I get here?"

[00:00:26] Tyson Mackenzie: HR is not that bad. It's not.

[00:00:29] Alexa: Coming hang out with Tyson and Alexa podcast we'll make you laugh.

[00:00:31] Ellie: This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:39] Alexa: What's up Tyson?


[00:00:40] Tyson: Not too much. Um, probably say a package in the mail today.

[00:00:44] Alexa: Oh, what did you get?

[00:00:45] Tyson: So, the baby's passport came in. So, like yeah, honestly like ready to party like I'm so pumped. Like I feel like freedom, is just calling my name.

[00:00:53] Alexa: Like ready to get out and ready to cross the border? I love it.

[00:00:58] Tyson: I am so ready to cross the border I can't wait.

[00:01:00] Alexa: I'm very excited for you to get out of Canada for a little while.

[00:01:03] Tyson: I know, I know, it's been a long time. [laughs]

[00:01:03] Alexa: It feels like you've been stuck there. For our whole relationship.

[00:01:06] Tyson: We've been here for a long time.

[00:01:07] Alexa: Because you have been. You have been here a long time. I know you live there but you've been here a long time.

[00:01:12] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:01:12] Alexa: Uh, well that's exciting. Um, can't wait to see you over the border at some Foxconn events this fall. We finally get to do our own tour together uh, and for our listeners who have not taken advantage of our partnership, use the code I believe it is 'people probs' for free tickets to any of those events@foxconn.com.

[00:01:31] Tyson: Whoo, I can't wait.

[00:01:31] Alexa: Uh, yeah, I'm gonna, I've decided I'm gonna wear tall shoes. That's what I've decided about our first in-person meeting is that I'm gonna wear heels so I don't--

[00:01:38] Tyson: Yo, I'm probably gonna wear heels too because this is gonna be like mama's first night out. So, like, you're gonna have to wear extra, extra high heels.

[00:01:46] Alexa: I can't wear heels at events. I just wind-up walking around and standing too much but I might-I might have to come up with some sort of platform situation for you. I saw a woman wearing platform crocs.

[00:01:53] Tyson: [laughs] Don't.

[00:01:55] Alexa: [laughs] I saw a woman wearing platform crocs the other day and I was like, they were also lime green. So, like, there were a lot of things happening in this outfit, but they were platform crocs. It was amazing. I didn't know those existed, so, maybe I can get some platform crocs for-for our first IRL meeting. All right, anything else new you want to report before we jump in here?

[00:02:15] Tyson: I don't think so. Otherwise just the same old same old.

[00:02:19] Alexa: All right. It's hard to be you I know. All right, I will move us-I will move us to pops in the news.


[00:02:34] Alexa: So, our--

[00:02:35] Tyson: It's a good one.

[00:02:36] Alexa: It is a good one. Our-our article this week is a little bit more of the long-form article. It's a little less like buzzy news article. Uh, it's in the Atlantic and it is called 'Why are people acting so weird?' And the article is uh, it's actually not very long. I shouldn't-- I don't want to preface this. It's not like a long Atlantic article where you're like "Oh my God, I can be reading this for days." It is actually quite short, but it is talking about obviously opening with sort of Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars and just this sort of uptick in sort of crazy behavior that people have noticed.

Like there's just a lot of outrage videos like, you know people punching flight attendants and, you know, freaking out at airport staff and you know, some guy freaking out skiing, and-and just sort of like what everyone's like, where is all of this behavior coming from? And the article sort of talks through, you know, basically how the last two years have been really, really stressful for everybody. It's been a lot of high stress, low reward, you know, and-and sort of the obvious, like, "Hey, we've all been in a pandemic for two years, but it also goes through and the reason I thought this was interesting was two other-two other factors that I think in considering people coming back to work is actually probably worth being mindful of.

One of those is that people are drinking more, uh, and using more recreational drugs, which is probably not a surprise to anybody at this point, but- the I guess something of the incidence of-of regular drinking is up 14% and reported abuses and other things they're sort of also up. So, while you may have a, an employee who maybe isn't dealing with that directly maybe a family member is or someone they know is. And then the other thing is, um, isolation. So this idea of you know, we've talked a lot about working from home, we've talked a lot about return to office but this idea that I think we're you know, we're social beings, that's not a new concept.

But the idea here is that there's a lot more ties to society that we thought-- that we have, that we have given up that are having a more detrimental effect that maybe people realized. And so, it's not as easy and I said this in the article is just like summing this up to mental health, although that is also an issue because they're all the mental health hospitals are basically tapped down. It's-it's more a fundamental like, we are social beings that-that work is a hive and no one has been part of the hive for two years. And so, what I thought was interesting about this is we keep talking about return to office and nobody wants us to go back to the office, but it's not just the interactions that you used to have with your colleagues in the office, right?

If you go through like a normal week from a prior life, it was like you said 'Good morning' to the guy at Starbucks when you ordered your coffee, you got in the elevator with a stranger you-- like, there or you picked up your kids at school. Like there were all these little tiny micro ties that I think gave us a lot more robust sort of feeling of purpose and cause and you know, you were sort of bouncing yourself off the social netting a lot more than people have been for the last two years. And so basically what we're seeing is just a bunch of like, you know, sort of untreated rage and isolation coming to bare.

And again, I don't know that any of this in-in sort of individual comments is super novel. Um, the article is quite good but it also just brings to light like before we throw everybody back into the working environment together, like let's be cognizant of the fact that like some weird shit might pop off here, and there is going to be a bit of a transition period for people to get used to that level of interaction again. And basically, the article wraps with saying like, some of this is just anti-social behavior sort of butting up against itself, but some of this is also just like human interaction is gonna take a little while to get back to normal.

And you-you need to be cognizant of that behavior. Let's think we will get back there but like you got to be pretty cognizant about that. So, I thought it was fascinating. I thought it was just like someone finally named the thing that everybody's been thinking or just like, "Is this a weird shit going on right now."

[00:06:31] Tyson: Yeah, that's what I loved--

[00:06:31] Alexa: Um, but that was super-super to talk about in the context of like, everybody's about to try to go back to work.

[00:06:36] Tyson: Yeah, that's what I loved about this article because I was like, wow, like it kind of like calls what I've sort of been thinking, um, just in the fact that like, people are just acting like absolute bizarre, and things that are like just strange behavior, just like you said. But I thought it was interesting because it does talk a little bit about like dehumanizing and mask-wearing and I'm like, you didn't realize like, how strange it was for everyone to be wearing masks until I went to the grocery store without the mask on, and everyone was like smiling. And like I literally had like oxytocin like pumping through my veins like wow, it feels good to smile at people, like I forgot how good this felt and like something we so took for granted before.

[00:07:13] Alexa: My first reaction was like, "Oh, I forgot that they can see my face again. Like I need to like get back." Like yaay.

[00:07:19] Tyson: To like, what, what's your expression?

[00:07:21] Alexa: Go yeah, like I'm shaking at. Yeah, yeah but then I was like, "Oh, yeah this feels good."

[00:07:25] Tyson: But I know, I've always been like smiling.

[00:07:27] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:07:27] Tyson: I'd always been smiling under my mask and like really like looking bizarre because I'm like, trying to like, people, trying for people to see through like my smile through my mask.

[00:07:35] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:07:35] Tyson: But, um, so that-that like in itself showed me like just how like much we sort of had to acclimatize to like covering our faces. And I think we had to definitely adapt when we went remote as well, right? So--

[00:07:49] Alexa: Right.

[00:07:49] Tyson: At the beginning of the pandemic, when we all went remote that was another thing we, that was new. And I remember that we did sort of have that like, you know, how people say that like on Twitter or on Facebook like you're a lot more like a bully and you might say stuff that you wouldn't actually say like that sort of, those sort of conversations were happening on Slack, right? And we have to get used to that we're like, "Hold on people like we need to have uh, uh, uh, uh, a conversation about what's appropriate, you know, internet use or like Slack rules or you know, instant messaging rules, et cetera, um, now that we're all remote and like what some of those rules are."

So, we had to adapt that way, and now we're gonna find ourselves having to kind of go the other way. I-I, I'm, I feel positive that people are fairly adaptable, though. Um, I'm worried about kids. [laughs]

[00:08:30] Alexa: I think they are in, look, I think on social media and stuff, you're always going to see the like total like insane situations, right? Like social media tends to attract the extremes, uh, or at least that's what goes viral. But I-I did think it was interesting to think for a minute like, wait a minute, like, we're gonna need to plan for the adjustment here and like, yeah, everybody knows everybody's gonna be a little awkward for a while, but also remember, like some people-- so it's, it-it, they actually ends the article like this. It says there have been periods where the entire nation is challenged uh, and whoever is quoted here, I apologize.

I'm not gonna get the name right. But you know, there-there have been periods where the entire nation is challenged and you see both things. People who do heroic things and people who do some very defensive, protective, and oftentimes ridiculous things and that's how the article ends. And it's-it's true, I just think everyone needs to remember like, especially going into these conversations, like you're about to see some of the shit at the office like not just awkward, "Hey, that guy forgot how to have a conversation at a happy hour. He's lost his small talk muscles," but like, you know, some people have been through some shit for two years.

And when you throw them back together and you tell, you gotta get all the crusty, you know, pandemic off, you're gonna see some weird stuff and people might get protective and people have had some stuff going on for two years, you know, besides, a collective brief and--

[00:09:41] Tyson: Especially from a lot of people who don't want to be there.

[00:09:43] Alexa: Yeah. Which is also--

[00:09:45] Tyson: Yeah, but I think that that's-that's the bigger thing is that, getting people back to the office. It's gonna, [chuckles] It's gonna be a pain in the ass because people aren't gonna wanna be there so add that on top. [chuckles]

[00:09:50] Alexa: Yeah, although, I-I would say for the friends of mine I know who have gone back to the office in some capacity, very few of them are as angry about it as they thought they would be. Most of them have not been forced back in a full-time capacity or without some level of like adult flexibility. Like, okay, you choose how you do this, which I think is kind of the make or break. But most of them think have been very grateful for, like, I kind of forgot what it was like to talk to these people every day. And I feel closer and you know, I don't regret that I went in today, uh, that kind of stuff.

So, I just thought it was a fascinating, like you said, it was just kinda like a breath of fresh air that was like, okay the Atlantic is finally naming the thing that, uh, everybody's been talking about, which I thought was fascinating so.

[00:10:33] Tyson: I feel like this is an excellent segue into our guest today.

[00:10:35] Alexa: It is an excellent segue. You took the words right out of my mouth, Tyson. I would like to introduce today's guest a Lindsay Caplan. Lindsay is a screenwriter, turned organizational psychologist who now works with HR and business leaders to script their change efforts for the effect they want via her consultancy, The Gathering Effect. Her expertise is in scripting experiences and she has a storied career in learning and development having worked for Zendesk, Credit Kama, Flexport, and others. She is an organizational psychologist and Head of Talent Development Extraordinaire. Please give it up for Lindsay Caplan. Lindsay so awesome to have you here.

[00:11:07] Lindsay Caplan: Hi, thanks for having me and Tyson, congratulations and Alexa I never wanna wear heels again.

[00:11:13] Alexa: Never. Never.

[00:11:15] Lindsay: I hear you.

[00:11:16] Alexa: They don't ever get more comfortable, like regardless of how fashion changes, they never get more comfortable.

[00:11:23] Tyson: I love high heels. Okay. So-

[00:11:24] Alexa: Still?

[00:11:25] Tyson: -we all know, I'm like almost, I'm like almost 6 feet tall and I was so like embarrassed about my height for so long. And then one day I just woke up and I'm like, dang, like I love towering over other people.

[00:11:37] Alexa: Yeah, I don't mind that part.

[00:11:42] Tyson: So, I wear like literally the highest of heels. And once you put on your high heels, you have to marry those shoes. You have to commit to them. I don't wanna see anybody walking around in their bare feet. It's a no but I don't keep walking around perched pawning your bare feet up.

[00:11:52] Alexa: And once you take them off, I won't, I don't wear heels anymore um, when I do events, no, I.

[00:11:57] Tyson: I can't wait to wear heels.

[00:11:58] Alexa: Oh, now I'm gonna have to. Now I'm gonna have to throw down the gauntlet and come in in something just ridiculous. Uh, I don't mind being taller than people. I just it's purely the, like my feet start to hurt. I've had enough foot injuries from athletics but anyway, moving on, Lindsay. How do you feel about heels? I know you came here to talk about foot wear.

[00:12:15] Lindsay: I'm wearing slippers right now. Yeah.

[00:12:17] Alexa: Oh, I'm not wearing shoes right now.

[00:12:17] Lindsay: I'm wearing slippers, so I'm, I'm good. [unintelligible 00:12:20]

[00:12:20] Alexa: I rolled my ankle this morning. Uh, it's another reason I don't do high heels. I-I wanted to run this morning, this beautiful trail system here in Vermont and, uh, just absolutely ate it. And I've probably rolled each of my ankles, like 50 plus times. And so, like high heels just makes the odds that I do that go sky high. So, it's just not, I'm too old to be risking this yeah.

[00:12:41] Lindsay: Sky high. You get it.

[00:12:42] Alexa: Exactly. But, um, all right, Lindsay, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you go from screenwriter to organizational psychologist? That is a first on people problems.

[00:12:53] Lindsay: Isn't it? Yeah. I mean, uh, I didn't plan it. I don't think anyone plans this. Um, but the-the quick sort of one sentence is I realized I wanted to develop people in real life instead of characters on a page. I think I was missing the impact, uh, from the earlier work, the creative spark was there, but I felt like I wanted to see the people I was helping and feel I think a bit more reward from the work.

[00:13:17] Alexa: How do you develop a character? Let's that's-that's, I wanna put a pin in that before we move to humans.

[00:13:23] Lindsay: It's very similar to thinking about, you know, in learning and development a lot of my job was how do I script an experience to help someone or a whole company or a group get from A to B? Who do they have to meet? What experiences do they have to have? What are they motivated by? What do they care about? Um, it's really, I think understanding, uh, motivation more than anything else and being able to put myself in someone else's shoes from an empathy perspective, you know, that coupled with, uh, observing people I think is really the key. So, it, it's actually very, very similar in a lot of ways.

[00:13:56] Alexa: Awesome. So, you transitioned into sort of corporate America and what did your-

[00:14:02] Lindsay: Yeah.

[00:14:02] Alexa: -what-what did you take away from all of that?

[00:14:05] Lindsay: Well, I mean, I-I-I loved my time there for the most part. I mean, I spent about 10 years working in learning development and-and once I sort of honed in on a specific problem that I wanted to solve, which we'll talk about, I think, you know, gatherings, I realized I really wanted to spend all of my time there. And so that's when I sort of said, let's-let's take a step out and go to the-the dark side or the light side, depending on how you view it, which is the-the consultant or vendor-vendor side of the work.

[00:14:32] Alexa: Dirty words.

[00:14:33] Tyson: Did you have like a, an experience or like a, a bad experience that kind of led you like pushed you further into that direction?

[00:14:39] Lindsay: You mean of going out on my own?

[00:14:41] Tyson: No. Like, so, um, like you, you focus specifically on-on gatherings kind of thing. Like, was there an ex- a specific exp- was there like a moment in time in corporate, in the corporate world that you were like, wow, we don't do this well?

[00:14:54] Lindsay: Yeah. So, there was a personal moment and there was a professional moment. Personally, I was on a bus in Ireland as you do, going from one town to another randomly in the summer of 2017. And this book title popped into my head, which was about gathering. And I thought, oh, that's what my whole life has been about. Oh, gather. I hadn't really put it together until that one moment. And so started playing with the idea, but then there was a time, I think it was maybe four or five months later once I got back to my learning development job and, uh, the CEO I worked for wanted to bring in a guest speaker in order to use a gathering to spark change in the organization.

And through that conversation and-and watching what the plan was and working together with the speaker and the CEO, I could see that it wasn't going to have the impact that everybody wanted, and I wasn't able to describe why I wasn't able to put language to it or a framework to it. And that set me down this path to try to uncover what the, what the framework is, what the conversation is to help people see, you know, gathering in a different way. So definitely some frustration, you know, fueled this fire, but more so I think the possibility of-of what this work can be as well.

[00:16:04] Alexa: So, for everyone, who's-who's not as familiar with the terminology as-as they're about to be, because we've already said it about six times in the last two sentences. Let's define what a gather, what you mean by a gathering. Do you mean a big meeting? Do you mean a presentation? Do you like, let's define that in-in the scope of the work and the expertise that you have, please.

[00:16:23] Lindsay: Yeah, sure. So, I define gathering maybe a little bit differently than others. I think there is, you know, a dinner party wedding, a meeting, et cetera.

[00:16:29] Alexa: Right, those are my favorite gatherings.

[00:16:30] Lindsay: Because of my background. [laughs] Yes, because my background is in communication, um, I look at it a bit more specifically, which is matching a message with a moment to create an effect. There's some piece of content I wanna share with somebody else in order to produce an effect in them. So, it can be anything in our companies from a training class, a conference, a webinar, a town hall, an offsite, you know, new hire orientation. These gatherings are happening all the time, and they're also in my experience, the most common tool that people reach for to spark that movement or change. And so, I wanted to understand what do they all have in common and again, how we can, you know, make them all more effective.

[00:17:12] Alexa: What do they all have in common and how can we make them all more effective? I love when the guests do our job for us Tyson. I love that.

[00:17:21] Lindsay: Uh, yeah, so, you know, I lean on the business background, but I also lean on my previous experience across, you know, entertainment as we talked about, but also in learning and development, so the education context. And so, I was able to map gatherings on a couple of different spectrums. And maybe as I'm talking about these spectrums, you can think about your own examples. If this tracts for you, I'd love to know if it tracts. So, all of the gatherings that we've been a part of, whether it's the comedy show, a college class, an offsite, a training class tend to fall on two spectrums. On one side, the X axis is pull or push.

So, am I forced to go to the gathering and-and is in more passive experience where I'm just sort of consuming content and listening? I would say most company gatherings, like all hands tend to be very push. On the other end of the spectrum is pull, which is what it sounds like. Maybe we want to be there, but also, we as a participant are more active. We are, the gathering is done with us and not active. So, we're being asked to contribute or being asked to co-create and that's a very different experience. So, you know, a comedy show is probably pull because the-the comedian needs you there though after it's, you know, your laughter is super important. So that's-that's one spectrum.

The other is one size fits all and personalized. So, is it made for everyone one size fits all? Does it matter who's in the audience? I think a lot of Zoom gatherings kind of have that feeling of like, they didn't even know I was there versus personalized where it's really a need for me. It's made about me and there's a unique reason why I'm at the gathering and my contributions are important. And so, when I think we understand both this language and these spectrums, we're able to plot our experience across this framework and maybe describe what's missing from the experience.

[00:19:11] Alexa: So, okay let's-let's use an example and let's-let's use something that people are just usually uninspired by. Uh, um, town halls is a pretty good.

[00:19:21] Tyson: Town halls, I was gonna say.

[00:19:22] Alexa: Most people, those are pretty fucking boring. Uh, uh, or they're just they're my favorite, my favorite word is asinine. Uh, sometimes you're like, really, you had to get us all here to tell us this, like, okay, come on. This could have been an email.

[00:19:36] Tyson: Right.

[00:19:36] Alexa: I-I used to love the-the meme that was like, you know, this meeting could have been an email. And now there's the counter meme, which is, this should have been a meeting, yeah.

[00:19:45] Lindsay: Yeah, or this event could have been an email.

[00:19:47] Alexa: Right. Exactly.

[00:19:47] Lindsay: So, people are feeling now let's go back to the office. You know?

[00:19:50] Alexa: So, if I follow the framework, I'm gonna venture to guess that town halls fall very hard on the one size fits all side of the spectrum cause it's everybody, let's say it's a 300-person company and push versus pull, we already identified in your example, it is very much a push scenario. So, like I kind of have to be there. Um, I'm not really indicating that I want to go or being sort of like overly participatory in bringing myself there. I'm just, it's ob- it's obligatory. So how do we- how do we- how do you- how do you work with someone to like identify the issues with that meeting and then, you know, therefore to make it more engaging?

[00:20:25] Lindsay: Yeah. I'm actually working with a client right now on this very problem. Um, so let's take just one quick step back, which is, you know, you can plot your gathering on pull or push or one size or personalized. And what that does is put it in a specific quadrant. I mean, a two-by-two sort of kind to create a specific kind of effect. And so, if your push in one size fits all, what that creates is compliance. If you're pull and personalized, what that creates is engagement. And so, depending on the effect that you want, right we can design or adjust our gathering for that specific need.

So yeah, I would say a lot of all hands fall in compliance maybe they fall more in inform, 'cause it's personalized, I think to some extent to a specific group or-or-or audience, but yeah, I would say most all hands tend to fall at least on the-the push side. So, the first step is, yeah, what effect do you need from your employees? Do you need them to be informed? Do you need to entertain them? Do you wanna a DJ? At your town hall have seen some deejays. I've seen some town halls try to get everything to everyone and achieve all four effects and that can be incredibly confusing to employees.

And I would say, you know, though, we think everything should be about engagement and we always need engagement, which means, you know, ownership and buy-in and behavior change. And the-the analogy equivalent is, you know, you are-you are singing a song on-on your own and sharing it with somebody else that's engagement. I-I would say not all town halls need to be engagement, right? It's okay for them just to be informed. But the first step is to figure out what you actually need. And then we could talk about how to move it, but the same gathering can fit in all four quadrants depending on the choices that you make.

[00:22:00] Alexa: Sorry, what was the fourth quadrant? So, I got compliance, inform, engage, and?

[00:22:05] Lindsay: Entertain.

[00:22:06] Alexa: Oh, entertain. That's a good one.

[00:22:08] Lindsay: And-and the difference between entertain and-and engage is emotional involvement. So, I can feel like, oh, rah-rah, guest speaker. That was super cool. We have a celebrity coming to speak, but if I'm not emotionally connected to the material for doesn't hit the nerve or I don't feel something it's not gonna stick. So just describing these differences, I think is step one for people to say, "Ah, that's why that didn't work so well." Or "That's why that had a short shelf-shelf life."

[00:22:34] Alexa: I-I feel like you're also just creating a language of intent, right? Like so many people, especially, I feel like sort of the bigger the company or the faster it's growing, the more they slap the shit together, other and they're like, "Well, of course, we have to do a monthly town hall" and it's like, wait a minute. Do you have to do a monthly town hall? And if you have to do a monthly town hall exactly to your point, like, why are you doing it? And what are you aiming for now? I was gonna say like, you know, is it just a performance update in which case, like, you probably don't need a DJ. Is it to like rally the troops cause you're asking them to do a lot?

And so, you need like a pep rally then you might want to consider a DJ. But you're right. I-I've seen a lot of companies just like, I don't know, we just started doing this 'cause we're supposed to do it. Uh, you know, very Silicon Valley moment and [chuckles] the-the sitcom, not the location. And I could see how organizations this just runs a and you just walk in and go like, what are you doing with this?

[00:23:22] Lindsay: Yeah. I think, you know, a few things about that. And I could talk about this all day, even though I won't, maybe we bring in a DJ 'cause we don't think that people are gonna show up otherwise. Right. I've seen that happen. We try these sorts of tricks and I would dig deeper and say, okay, let's actually talk about why people aren't showing up because even if they show up, it doesn't mean they're listening. So, if we really want people to remember the material to do something differently because of it, I think that's where, you know, some help is probably warranted, but something you said, Alexa a couple of minutes ago.

Yeah. We slap it together and I understand we're all super busy, but we tend to start with the information, the content slide deck. And that's not the place to start because we don't come to a meeting or a gathering for information. We come to the gathering to connect because of the information we can get by ourself. So, it's these small nuances and differences that I think take a little bit of correction, um, to understand again yeah, what we can do differently.

[00:24:16] Alexa: I love that.

[00:24:17] Tyson: And I think that's- I think that's like super important to think about it that way. Like it, it doesn't always have to be entertainment or doesn't always have to be like X, right? Because oftentimes I-I find it, I'm gonna pick on the town hall. I'm gonna continue to pick on it. But people just feel as though they're so disingenuous. Like it's just like, oh, like, you know the big, oh, you're, you know, we've so value you guys as a team and like this and that. And it just like, people leave, like the intent was to like really recognize people and make people feel good and motivate them. But then like people leave with like, wow, that was like a bunch of bullshit, right?

And like that's how sort of like the-the result of those meetings. When I-I think that there's not the right thought put into like what the actual intent is and like how to get that particular group of people to feel you want them to feel versus like just doing some like cookie-cutter thing, like Alexa, oh, we're just doing this 'cause we have to, right? Cause I-I-I've literally been like sitting in the same room as like friends when they're like in these like town halls, like the end of year wrap up and everyone's like, "Oh, you guys are so great and it's so wonderful." And the person's like sitting there like giving the finger to their computer, right? Like they're likes not-not having it at all.

[00:25:23] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:25:23] Lindsay: Yeah.


[00:25:23] Tyson: Um, and I don't know, maybe like, is that an engagement pro? Is that like a-a person problem? Like, hey, maybe this person's just like off and they don't like their job or is that like a problem with the gathering? I don't know.

[00:25:34] Lindsay: That's interesting.

[00:25:36] Alexa: Yeah. How do you know, how do you know if it's the problem is the gathering?

[00:25:39] Lindsay: Well, so-

[00:25:41] Alexa: They didn't wanna call your consulting magic the gathering by the way. No?

[00:25:44] Lindsay: [laughs] My-my brother-in-law thought that would be a great idea. Um, no, uh, so sometimes clients bring me in to-to fix or help with the gathering. Sometimes what they see is something I sort of hope, which is the gathering is a symptom for the culture of the company and also how we're making change happen because it's the most common tool we use. If I look at your gathering, I can tell you a lot about your culture, right? And so, for trying to change the culture and your gathering's very compliance. Again, it's sort of one-to-one it's- it's- it's hard to do one and not the other.

Um, and then seeing characteristics that make gathering stick, make change, stick. So that's why they're super connected. Ask your question around. Is it the gathering or the person or something else? I don't know, but I think people are really fed up with not feeling seen and recognized and valued, especially through a computer screen. And I think we come to a lot of these gatherings thinking that we-we wanna feel important. We wanna feel recognized and visible to your earlier point about the article and these gatherings are culture on display and that's why they really matter. That's why it's much more than a slide deck. It could really affect motivation and morale in ways that we probably haven't considered.

[00:26:52] Alexa: Yeah. It's- that's usually how I- how I feel about someone who's like truly bringing in a consultant for anything is like, there's something else going on here usually. Uh, you're recog- you're recognizing you need some help, which is a good thing. So, I guess my-my question is, Lindsay if we were gonna double click on this, like as the expert who's- who's worked with hundreds of organizations on this, like what do people get wrong the most often? Like, what's the one thing that you're just like every single time, you know, it-it's like it's just a whiff or just a common mistake that you wish people knew about.

[00:27:21] Lindsay: Yeah. Um, I'll highlight it too, I think the-the overarching mistake I see, and um, I wanna use careful language, mistake, opportunity to be positive about it. We can say the opportunity to be better is I think we tend to focus on the production, like the slide deck and maybe the-the tactics or the games or the technology or the emojis. And we don't focus on the consumption. So how people will absorb it or remember it or obtain it, or we want to motivate it- want to be motivated to do something with it. We don't tend to think that we think content is enough, but other side of the-the equation is someone's motivation. That's one.

I think, you know, secondly, the thing I see over and over again is that we pump these gatherings full of content as much as we possibly can because we think it's super-efficient. Let's get as much as we can in. Um, but it's actually really wasteful cause people can't retain or remember all of it 'cause we don't give them time to debrief or talk or share or think about what they were hearing.

[00:28:24] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:28:24] Lindsay: So, I see a lot of common mistakes, but those are- those are two.

[00:28:28] Alexa: It reminds me- it reminds me a lot of like when-when people go to give a wedding speech and they do it from a phone or a- or a like a postcard and there's just, no, it could even be a good speech, but it's just like the person reading it monotone from their phone. You're like, this just doesn't really land when you do it like this, that kind of case.

[00:28:47] Lindsay: That's very helpful 'cause uh, in two months I will need that, uh, reminder for my wedding guests. So, I will-

[00:28:52] Alexa: Don't let your people congrats on your pending nuptials. Do not let your wedding guests read from their phones. Like Sarah was so fun in college. She had the funniest smile. She used to make the funniest jokes. We used to always tell her that she was the greatest like, oh my God, stop looking at your phone, remember three or four things you wanna say to the audience, and just get out there and talk about it. It's one of your best friends. Like just to ad lib it it's fine.

[00:29:16] Tyson: You know. That's good advice though.


[00:29:18] Tyson: That's good advice though. I think sometimes in general, like depending on like who's speaking is like, that is so much more meaningful than like we've all had CEOs or-or people or bosses who have sat there and like read the script and you just know it is so scripted. And sometimes- sometimes that it has to be, right? Like there's a reason why it has to be, but like it's so going back to like my previous point, like when things are just phony, like you can tell, right? So, like reading the script versus like just like speaking from like your heart.

[00:29:48] Alexa: Right. Which goes back to too much content, right? Like you can only remember so many things in your own head when you're giving a speech. So, like keep it simple.

[00:29:55] Lindsay: It-it's interesting when I ask people like what gatherings do you remember or what trait if you remember, people probably ever remember, "Oh, this content was amazing." They remember how they felt about it. So, you know, I- I take some of my lessons from the comedy world that we've talked about from comedians and stuff. I remember an interview with Stephen Colbert, you guys know who Stephen Colbert is, right? A long time ago where he was trying to figure out why his new show wasn't working, The Late Show that he's doing. And he would go through his monologue jokes and it wasn't really landing until someone told him, he had to share how he felt about the jokes, how he felt about the content, and not just the content itself.

[00:30:34] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:30:34] Lindsay: And I think that's really key and something that I tell, you know, clients too. Don't just go through the slides or the updates, tell us how you feel about it because that's also signals to employees about how they should feel about it, too. So, you know, that's a- a small thing that heightens emotional involvement and makes it not just entertaining, but hopefully engaging.

[00:30:54] Alexa: I think that's awesome.

[00:30:54] Tyson: And I think- I think, on that point, like, when I think about back to like, the meetings of the gatherings, like I remember, oftentimes, when there's like maybe like a lot of information or like a big announcement or something, there's usually the announcement that comes from like, high level-- Let's say it's the CHRO. And then you know, it's important because your boss will book like, a follow-up meeting for like, 15 minutes after that meeting, um, just with like, your small team, and those are always the best meetings. So, it's like, "Okay, this was the message that you received. Now let's all talk about like, how are we feeling?" Right? And those are the meetings that I always love.

It's like the after meeting, that's like the debrief of like, "Oh, shit guys." Like, "What are we gonna do? How are we responding to this?" Like, "What's next? And it's on like a smaller scale, where you can actually discuss and have like a little bit more of a dialogue with people that are more relatable to you and in your immediate workspace, right? So, it's your colleagues, your immediate supervisor. Um, so when I think back on like gatherings, I always love that like, after meeting, uh, where we-

[00:31:54] Lindsay: Yeah.

[00:31:54] Tyson: -can like, you know, just brain dump everything.

[00:31:57] Lindsay: It's like the after show. But that's a great way to take something from- from I think, maybe one size fits all to personalized, it's a great way to take it to pull and personalized. I think Meta actually did something very similar when they announced their new values a month ago or so. You probably read about that. But they, you know, launched new values at an all-hands, and then they did these smaller gatherings with their immediate teams to personalize it to their specific departments and groups and talk about how it's relevant to them. So-

[00:32:27] Alexa: I can't think of a-

[00:32:28] Lindsay: You know [crosstalk]-

[00:32:28] Alexa: -company that needs new values more than Facebook.

[00:32:30] Lindsay: [laughs] Yeah, no comments on the actual values itself but I think the strategy of how they, you know, activated this change, you know, I think there's something to learn from that.

[00:32:41] Alexa: I like the idea of- of being mindful of the fact that when you are doing something one si- one size fits all, is there a way to create a- a personalization of it shortly thereafter? Because sometimes you-- Especially I think town halls are a great example. Like, people get, they get-- Sometimes they get a lot of information. Sometimes they get big information, like an acquisition or a firing or a-- Who knows what, and all of a sudden, they just go like, "I know, that wasn't about me and I know it might not affect me, but like how exactly-" like Tyson like, wha- "Am I doing okay? How do I feel about that? Does that affect me and I'm just not aware?

[00:33:12] Tyson: Because people do think about that.

[00:33:13] Alexa: They do.

[00:33:14] Tyson: They always-- Like, people are always thinking about themselves. Like, "How does this affect me? What about me?"

[00:33:18] Alexa: Yeah, but that's I mean, that's also where good managers come in, right? It's like having the- the foresight to be like, "I think this is gonna be like big news." Or, "I know this is big news." Or, "Hey, that was big news." Like, "Let's just hop in together." So, question for you, Lindsay. Any- any thoughts-- I guess it may be same question. And- and maybe this is not as much an area for you so- so feel free to tell me if it isn't. But what about informal gatherings? We've talked a lot about structured gatherings like big town halls, and, you know, things that you planned for, and you made a deck for but what about informal gatherings? Does any of this, uh, sort of carry through to that or any times you've worked with organizations and been like, "Hey, this actually needs to be less formal."

[00:33:52] Lindsay: Interesting. Yeah, maybe so I'll answer your question but I think, you know, to the earlier point around, everything has to be about engagement. Sometimes I think I've seen organizations plan a big update for something like a new performance management system, or an HRAS change [crosstalk]-

[00:34:13] Alexa: Everybody get excited.

[00:34:15] Lindsay: Right but it's, you know, it's- it's important to the people who are owning the change, but it's not important to everybody else-

[00:34:22] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:34:22] Lindsay: -unless you make it so. And I've also found-- Well, not found. I also believe the announcement is not about the tool, it's about the outcome or the fact. But we're so excited about the tool because it's ours, that no one else really cares. So [crosstalk]-

[00:34:35] Alexa: Or all they hear is like, "Oh shit, it's just gonna be a headache to get my paychecks now." [laughs]

[00:34:39] Lindsay: Exactly.

[00:34:40] Alexa: I have to change- change my dependence on my benefits, fuck. [laughs]

[00:34:44] Lindsay: Right. And it could be like a performative thing. You want to announce this or there's a lot of work. I mean, there's a lot of reasons to do this. But that's a case where I say, A, send an email. You don't need to pull people together, especially in this age when it's really hard to do that. But in-informal just might mean don't do it. And A lot of times what I advise people is, "Don't have a gathering if you don't need one." And I tell people when and why. Why they [crosstalk]

[00:35:07] Alexa: When do you tell them they should have a gathering? When is it like you got to get people together and do this instead of just like passing it around the hallways?

[00:35:14] Lindsay: Yeah, good point. I think two thoughts there, one, the motto I follow is pull together and push apart. So especially in a hybrid, remote, whatever we want to call it worlds, pulling people together super hard. We know this. So, when do you want to do it, if all you're doing is pushing information on people to inform or comply, right, like we talked about, I say, send an email, do it asynchronously have a Loom video, whatever? If what you really need is engagement, that buy-in, ownership behavior change, that's worth pulling people together for. And so, first step is what's the effect that you need. Not that you want, effect that you need. And that that determines whether or not you should have a gathering.

[00:35:54] Alexa: I love that.

[00:35:55] Tyson: I want to double click quickly. You said-- So you just mentioned quickly there, asynchronous videos, which I love. Um, especially like being in the realm of HR, like, it's a really good way to put your face out there. But also like, not take up people's time by like booking meetings all the time. Like, if you have like a HR update for your client, I always really loved using async videos, because I could just record myself and it's like my face and my little video. And then people can, you know, listen to it when they have the time and you're not actually like booking a meeting just to share an update that could be async. So, like, I think that's another tool that people probably don't use often enough but could.

[00:36:32] Lindsay: I think one of the things that keeps people from doing that, though-- And by the way, I think let's just define synchronous and asynchronous just in case people don't know. Synchronous is when everyone's together. So, you know, we're all watching a movie at the same time, or we're all part of a live gathering. Asynchronous email, Slack, we don't all have to be together. It can be done separately. I-I totally agree with you, Tyson. I think sometimes people are worried about the numbers how many people will show up, can I prove the metric that it's worth it?

Like it's a-- The-the measurement of success can sometimes dictate whether or not people are gonna cancel that gathering or not. And if we're concerned that we don't have a lot of people there, then will anyone read it? If we- if we're- If they- if they're there, and they showed up and they heard it and we said it and they feel they can check the box but we all know, that's definitely not enough.

[00:37:21] Alexa: How do you define success for a gathering?

[00:37:24] Lindsay: Well, again, it goes back to broken record, the effect that people want, but it's certainly a-- For compliance it's probably-- Yeah, people will never know. You know, again, the analogy that I use just to compare it to a, uh, musician. Compliance is that they bought a ticket to the show. And form is they listened to your song, entertain is they're singing the song with you, and engage is they're singing it on their own, and sharing it with somebody else. So, they're- they're bringing people together around it without you there. And, for change to stick and spread, I think you really need engagement. Uh, but like I said, it's not- it's not necessary for every single change effort that we're introducing.

[00:38:03] Alexa: Yeah, I feel like sometimes people get, uh, I'll use- I'll use our term but not intentionally gathered out. They get just like, "Oh, my God, not one more." Like, "Not one more thing."

[00:38:12] Lindsay: Yeah.

[00:38:13] Alexa: Uh-

[00:38:13] Lindsay: For sure.

[00:38:13] Alexa: -which I really like your framework, because it gives people a lens to be intentional about it. It's like, "No, no, no, the goal here is engagement." Or, "No, no, the goal here is to entertain, you know, whatever, maybe we owe it to our team to like, give them a time that we just entertain them. And you know, we do something on a big scale and-and that's enough, that's okay." I oftentimes find, I mean I've worked in the benefit space for many, many years and oftentimes find that like, you know, you've got whole teams of people, organizations are literally paying for whole teams of people to plan shit like a benefit fair.

They have no idea how many people are there. They have no idea if the information being shared by those vendors is helpful. They have no idea if that's benefiting their enrollment or utilization over the year or not. Like they just have absolutely no idea. They're just doing it because they think they're supposed to do it and it's a lot of time.

[00:38:59] Lindsay: That's very interesting. So yeah, in a- in a previous organization, that happened a lot where someone would say, "Hey, we're doing this new benefit or this new program, can you create a gathering around it to spread the word?" It's like, "Yeah, okay, we can totally do that. What is the benefit of having everyone in the same room? And what's the timing of it?" So, you know, we can have an open enrollment session, but open enrollment is two months from now-

[00:39:22] Alexa: Right.

[00:39:22] Lindsay: -people are not going to remember it." So oftentimes, you know, the- the- the closer it is to the moment of need, proves the importance for the gathering. So, there's all these considerations strategically, that I think would benefit people for the- the time and trust and money that they're spending, and not just this is a check we did it.

[00:39:40] Alexa: Yeah. And then they get they're like, "Oh, well, you know, we can say we had 200 employees there." And I'm like, "Well, you have 1,000 employees. Like, is that- is that a win?" I don't know if 20% is a win. It could be because it's more than zero but it's less than 50. I don't know like what's the win there, right?

[00:39:55] Tyson: I think the win is- is- is how- how bothered is the HR business partner with people asking questions about-

[00:40:01] Alexa: Yeah, stupid repeat questions. Yeah, exactly.

[00:40:03] Lindsay: Right.

[00:40:04] Alexa: In which case they- they're trying to inform and they should not have meetings about this or gatherings but that's a different conversation for a different day. [laughter] All right, so-so my question for you, I guess, to turn this around and wrap this in a nice little bow, Lindsay for people is, what are some easy wins and some easy takeaways for people? Like what are some real like, all right, if you're-- you know, someone's in the middle of planning something right now, what's a couple things that you would tell them to be cognizant of that are maybe easy wins?

[00:40:32] Lindsay: Yeah, let's see. So, I mean, I think, a couple- a couple things I tend to say over and over again, is an agenda slide tells me the content of the gathering, um, but it doesn't tell me what I'm going to walk away with or what the effect is. So can I clarify for people in the email I'm sending or even in that, that general slide, by the time we're done today, here's what you're going to walk away with. So, focusing much more on the effect versus just the content. I think that's one. Two is to, um, give people time to adjust to the material like we talked about.

So, you know, can-can you pause for a minute and put a question on the screen to get people to think about an answer to a question, or just to sort of hand over control for a minute for other people to personalize and put it in their own words, especially if it's a really important change that you want the organization to latch on to. And then I think the-the-the third tip I tend to tell people all the time, is have a takeaway slide. So, what's the one thing that you want people to do differently? By the time you get to the end of the gathering, people probably have forgotten what the one call to action is and for adults specifically, they need to know what's expected of them and what they should be doing so just tell them it's totally okay. And these tips, I think, sound very learning and development.

[00:41:46] Tyson: I was just gonna say that. I was like wait a second, I've heard this before.


[00:41:52] Lindsay: They are very, basically, you'd be surprised how-how often they get forgotten. And again, if you want these to be successful, and to stick people for remember the content and have that clarity. So, there's tons of tips that I share, but those are just a few to get started.

[00:42:07] Tyson: Yeah, I think it's genius- genius to use the approach to learning and development to gatherings as well, right? Because it, it's exactly what we've been talking about is you're looking for desired behavior. You're gathering for a reason, right? So, it's- it's very much like our approach to learning development. I think it's- I think it's genius to make those connections.

[00:42:26] Alexa: Right, and people always complain. They're always like, "Oh, I hosted this event." And you know, especially in HR, like, "Oh, I host this event and nobody came." It's like, "Well, wait a minute, did you communicate any reason upfront that they should be there?" Other than like, "Oh, we're just having this, you know, we're having this happy hour." Or "Oh, we're, you know, we're doing this gathering", or "Oh, we're-" like, it's like, okay, that's the what is the thing, right? That's not the why I should spend my time on it. That's not giving me a preview of that takeaway in advance. That's not speaking to me personally.

[00:42:54] Tyson: Yeah, how will benefit me?

[00:42:55] Alexa: Exactly. What, why is this worth two hours of my time? Exactly. What-- yeah, with him, what's in it for me man? People love that shit and most organizations communicate on such a, it's boring, it doesn't even do it justice. It is such an emotionless perspective that it's like because they're, you know, look and I realize that organizations sometimes get worried about being a little too emotive because they don't want to turn anybody off but the answer is like, if you're driving a certain effect, there's going to be somebody who's just not in the mood for that. Like you're just not going to win everybody over all the time.

You know, especially if you're charging emotions like or behaviors, you're there's just going to be somebody who doesn't go with it. So, you, have to communicate upfront, like this is exactly the thing that we want you to feel if you attend. This is exactly the takeaway we want you to have when you leave, right? These are in the event space all the time. Uh, people don't come to sessions if they don't know what's in it for them, like, "What are the two or three things I'm going to leave this session knowing, learning or wanting?" And that just gets missed a lot. So, I guess my last question for you, Lindsay, before we turn it over for our people problem would be what's one thing you would- you would encourage people to do to actually get people to their events? Not once they're actually there but like, because if you plan the best gathering in the world, but nobody shows up, it doesn't matter, right?

[00:44:15] Lindsay: Yeah, uh, I would use data to connect it to their need and what you heard in the organization. So, you collect all this data about employees, right? You've got feedback surveys, you've got listening tours, you've got whatever it is, tell us how this gathering connects to the needs that you heard. So, for example, 75% of our people managers told us that they want more support with performance reviews. And that's why we created this gathering around performance review feedback. It's just this simple connect the dots for me so I know, you see me and you'll understand what's at stake for me personally, versus what the leadership or somebody else believes at that stage.

[00:44:54] Alexa: Yeah, that's great. And they can identify, right? They can be like, "Oh, I'm one of those 75% like I should get there. This is for me."

[00:45:01] Lindsay: Yeah, they're motivated to attend and motivated to, you know, pay attention as well.

[00:45:04] Alexa: Yeah, that's awesome. All right. Tyson, any last questions? Oh, go ahead.

[00:45:08] Tyson: One quick sort of follow-up question on that, like, how do you feel about using like a leader to say like, "Hey, I find this important so I'm going to attend", um, as sort of like a bait to like make other people attend. What are your thoughts on that?

[00:45:22] Lindsay: Well, I don't believe in bait [laughs] uh, but although it can be used for evil, I guess.

[00:45:29] Tyson: It's very pied piper situation.


[00:45:33] Lindsay: So-so, I'll answer your question with a couple of adjustments. One is, I think social proof is important to the proof of someone that's in a social group, interacting group who's already said this is important, I think is really key. If you've got past resistors, who sort of at one time believe it wasn't worth it-it changed their mind. That's a powerful influence but I think sometimes those are status plays that can make people a bit more fearful versus that leader is saying, "We really need your help to make this change effort successful." So, inviting people in by meeting their health and their insight versus just "Hey, I want you there." So, it's small language differences that I think help people feel a bit more elevated status versus just like, "Mom and dad told us what to do."

[00:46:17] Alexa: Which means you immediately don't want to do it, obviously.

[00:46:20] Lindsay: [laughs] Yeah, for a lot of people.

[00:46:22] Alexa: Exactly. All right, Tyson. Hate to cut a good one short, but it is that time, what is our people problem?


[00:46:39] Tyson: Awesome, yeah. So, this one comes from a listener, and it's kind of switching gears completely here. So, this is just more of a general question. Uh, they want to know, so their boss is a workaholic? How do I talk to them about it?

[00:46:50] Alexa: So, the employee's boss is a workaholic, and the employee wants to know how to address it with that boss?

[00:46:57] Tyson: Yes. Oh, Jesus. That's a good one.

[00:46:59] Alexa: All right, Lindsay what do you think?

[00:47:01] Lindsay: Don't look at me. [laughs]

[00:47:03] Alexa: For those who are not watching this, but listening to this, I am explicitly looking at Lindsay square on my screen. [laughs]

[00:47:10] Lindsay: Um, honestly, I think this was a case study in grad school. I'm really trying to remember what the answer was. I think what's the- what's the effect of this workaholism on the employee? I mean, what does that mean for them? And there's just a couple of questions I would want to know.

[00:47:26] Alexa: Yeah, we never get all the answers from- from those kind of questions. [crosstalk]

[00:47:32] Tyson: I know, right?

[00:47:30] Alexa: They're always guarded.

[00:47:31] Lindsay: That's not my problem. Not my problem.

[00:47:34] Alexa: I'm gonna ask you a very vague, very big sticky question. Solve it for me. Uh, the plight of being a podcaster.

[00:47:41] Tyson: It's a good question though. Like how does it affect you?

[00:47:43] Alexa: It's a fantastic question. I think I would go snake oil, and not like snake oil salesmen, but the game snake oil, which is always when I like turn my little salesy hat on it, which is to ask the questions that uncover the pain that you can then turn around. And this actually goes back to our Steven Baker conversation or sales conversation, many episodes ago, but what is-- in order to get someone to see that you have to identify that there's something they're neglecting and a pain that they need to solve, right?

So, to your point, like, hey, you know, do you think it's really important that you know, we have health wellness balance, family time, whatever the thing is that they as a company care about, that's the value? Um, you know, do you think that's important? Do you think that, you know, this is being manifested in, you know, work when I do acts, like use yourself as an example, and then say, you know, well, what- how do you think other people view it when- when you do? Why? Right? It seems like if this is something that you care about, for us, maybe you're not taking that time for yourself. What I wonder is, why is this person asking? Is it because they're like, this person wants me to do more work because of it or just like, we worry about this measure?

[00:48:49] Lindsay: Right. Are they in front- are they like going in on their like personal time with family?

[00:48:52] Alexa: Right? Because if like, because if they're going in on personal time, and then it's a conversation just about boundaries. It's like, "Hey, we need to establish, like, clearly, we haven't established boundaries here. Like, we need to do that because I'm hearing from my colleagues and other such things that like, this is not- this is not gonna- gonna work. Like there's just some pushback, and it's causing issues and like, we need to be mindful of it." The other- the other reason is that they're like, "I am actually looking out for my boss, like, this person does not have balance and I'm-- I need to figure out how to address that." And so, I don't know which one this is, unfortunately. What do you think Tyson?

[00:49:27] Lindsay: I appreciate you going first, because now I've had time to think.

[00:49:29] Alexa: Okay, yeah. That's- that's usually why I talk is to just give the smarter people on the podcast time to think.

[00:49:34] Lindsay: No, no, no. Uh, I love what you said. The great thing about this work is there's a lot of possible answers, right? I think. First thing I want to know is what's the one thing you're asking from them? What are you actually asking because they're not going to probably change at their core? They're workaholism. So is that, "Please don't email me after 8:00 P.M." I think it's important to-

[00:49:59] Alexa: Is it, "Take care of yourself and be an example of-" you know-

[00:50:01] Lindsey: Yeah.

[00:50:02] Alexa: -self-self-care. Like, what-- Yeah, I like the idea of-

[00:50:05] Lindsey: What's the--

[00:50:06] Alexa: -all down to one thing.

[00:50:07] Lindsey: What's the actual thing? Yeah, then maybe you just have to establish those norms with that person. But as your report probably not going to change-

[00:50:13] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:50:14] Lindsey: -so trying and changing it--

[00:50:15] Alexa: And just to be fair, it's totally fine if they're a workaholic. The question is, where is it manifesting that it's not okay, right? Like, someone just like to work hard, right? They work a lot.

[00:50:24] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:50:25] Alexa: I'm one of those people. But, like-

[00:50:26] Tyson: Yeah, because--

[00:50:27] Alexa: -when it starts to bleed into my sleep and stress and, you know, manifests itself in ugly ways, like, I would hope that someone would be like, "I've noticed you're a little stressed out." And my team actually has done that a few times. "Hey, I've noticed you're a little stressed out. Like, anything we can do?" And just acknowledging it is helpful. Go ahead, Tyson.

[00:50:41] Tyson: Yeah, 'cause, like, is it resulting- is it resulting in, like, mistakes? Like, is this like to a point where, like, their workaholism is like-like you said, like manifesting in, like, negative ways or like putting the-the team at risk in some way? Like, again, I don't even know what industry these people are in. But if this is a situation where it's like putting the-the reputation of the team at risk because they're burned out or-or, you know, they're get snippy and, um, grumpy over things, like that's-that's another conversation to have. And I always say, like, "Have those conversations head on and don't call your HR person to have the conversation."

[00:51:015] Alexa: No, this is- this is a conversation that needs to be had directly, for sure.

[00:51:18] Tyson: Talk directly with the person, um, because that's always-always received so much better coming-

[00:51:24] Alexa: Yeah, it's also--

[00:51:25] Tyson: -when it's coming from someone. Especially if it's coming from ca-- a place of care and concern, right?

[00:51:28] Alexa: Mm-hm.

[00:51:29] Tyson: Like people who usually, um, respect really respect that.

[00:51:30] Alexa: Yeah. I think I always leave with lots of questions. That's always the best way to start these conversations. But more importantly, is it, uh, try, try? And this is exactly to sort of put a nice little bond on Lindsay's comments earlier. Like, let's talk about one the desired effect of that-that conversation. But, two what--wha-wha-- why do we think this person is doing this? Like, what-what benefit are they getting from this current behavior? So, when you go attack it or when you try to change it, you understand what you're putting at risk for them.

So, they might be a workaholic, because they're-- they've been told by their boss that they need to do a certain amount of outcome or a certain thing or whatever because they're trying to get to the next-- maybe it's the next job title, right? Or they're this way, because they're avoiding their-their husband and kids. Or they're this way, because, you know, they struggle to let go. There could be a whole myriad of reasons that someone has a sort of maybe unhealthy work relationship or tendency to do that sometimes.

So, I think when you have these conversations, you have to try to-- If you don't know what that is, maybe start with why. "Um, hey, notice you're burning the candle at both ends." Like, you know, curious. Like, "What? You know, what's really driving you to be doing all this work." And then when they're like, "Oh." Like, you know, whatever the reason is, you can kind of navigate from there and ask more questions and-and decide if you wanna, you know, poke the behavior or not. But I think you-you have to remember before you go critique someone about something that you don't identify with which is being a workaholic that there's-- Everyone is on a different journey, right?

That person might be gunning to be partner in two years. And you might be like, "Yeah, cool. I just love my 9:00 to 5:00 and good benefits, right? Like, remember that not everybody has the same motivations as you. If it is detrimental to you, then you also need to be aware of like, "I know why you're doing this. I know you want to be partner by 2024. You know, I just want to have a conversation with you about maybe how some of your, you know-you know, late night messages may be, uh, causing, you know, uh, misunderstanding on the team about boundaries and maybe, um, not-- they're not being received as well as maybe you'd like them to be."

And like, "We all know you're working hard. And we wanna- we wanna keep that attitude on the team. But can we talk about maybe setting a boundary where, like, your Slack messages don't come after 7:00?" Or something like that? You just got to know--

[00:53:42] Lindsey: I love poke that behavior.

[00:53:43] Alexa: Okay.

[00:53:44] Lindsey: Let me take that away?

[00:54:45] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:53:46] Lindsey: [laughs]

[00:53:47] Alexa: You gotta poke. You can't- you can't change it if you don't poke it first. You know, you got to just-

[00:53:49] Lindsey: Right.

[00:53:50] Alexa: -see what's under that [laughs]- under that thing-

[00:53:52] Lindsey: [laughs]

[00:53:53] Alexa: -real quick, uh, because otherwise, people just are like-- People-people struggle to take feedback, you know, if it just comes out of nowhere. Uh, you got to contextualize it. So--

[00:54:01] Lindsey: Empathy is so important. I love what you said.

[00:54:03] Alexa: So important. I love what you had to say, Lindsey. If other people love what you had to say on this episode, where can they find you? See what I did there, Tyson?

[00:54:10] Lindsey: Great-great. I love it.

[00:54:11] Alexa: See? I told you I'm getting better.

[00:54:13] Lindsey: [laughs]

[00:54:14] Alexa: I'm getting better.


[00:54:15] Lindsey: Yeah, I'd love to connect and my website is thegatheringeffect.com.

[00:54:19] Alexa: Thegatheringeffect.com. Yes. For those of you are terrible scholars like me and don't know if that's an E or A. It's an E. Uh, thegatheringeffect.com. Well, Lindsey, it's been absolutely fantastic to gather with you today. Uh, and we appreciate you being here.

[00:54:35] Lindsey: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

[00:54:36] Tyson: Wait a minute. Before you leave, take some time to leave us a five-star rating. We'd really love your feedback. Also, if you'd like to see our lovely faces each week as we're recording these episodes, check us out on our new YouTube channel. Thanks.

[00:54:48] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me Alexa Baggio with audio production by Ellie Brigitta of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigitta of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes.

[00:54:59] [END OF AUDIO]

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