5 - Leadership Training Under A Cancer New Moon


Tyson is getting all the feels and we're joined by Nicole Obst, Talent Management and Development extraordinaire, under a cancer new moon to discuss the complicated layers of management and organizational development and why leadership training just... never works.




Release Date: JUNE 2022

[00:00:01] Tyson Mackenzie: Warning. 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 This is not a stuck up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices.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 Alexa Baggio: We had a strict no-alcohol policy and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink. HR is here." Meanwhile, I'm like mid-crack of beer. "Why are we enabling you?" By being like, "Oh, well make HR the bad person in the room and we'll let them fire crew and that's cheap bullshit." The thought of being in a large room with other people just gives me so much anxiety. I have become like [inaudible 00:00:37]. If they're that disengaged before, they're going to be badly disengaged at the office, just be sitting at their desk looking at Facebook. They're going to find ways to go.

[00:00:45] Tyson: This is the People Problems podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:54] Alexa: How are we doing, Tyson?

[00:00:55] Tyson: Doing good, considering it's a cancer new moon. I usually get all the emotions that are coming in, but once a--

[00:01:02] Alexa: What is involved in a cancer new moon? I mean, this will come out a week or so from now. I don't know if that'll still be the case, but do tell.

[00:01:09] Tyson: No, it'll still be residual. Look, so cancer is a water sign, which means everybody is like super emotional right now. Everybody's just crying and upset about things. Usually, in HR, I like to follow what's going on in astrology because it's my only way of explaining the crazy that people are doing.

[00:01:26] Alexa: [laughs] Grasping and straws there. Like, "Why is everybody being a dick this week? Oh, cancer, new moon."

[00:01:32] Tyson: Then I burn some sage and wish them well.

[00:01:35] Alexa: [laughs] Oh, I know what to get you for Christmas. Just a lot bushel of sage. Oh, I love it. All right. Everything's good though. All is well, anything new from last week?

[00:01:46] Tyson: No, I don't think so. I'm excited to kick into this episode.

[00:01:49] Alexa: All right. We're going to jump in here to pops in the news.

[music]

[00:02:00] Tyson: This one is fun. This is just a silly little equipped to get us started. The title is a New York Times article. It's a Dear Vanessa article, but the title is, Can Men Wear Shorts at the Office Now? This one's fun. Not only because it is a picture of LeBron James wearing like the flyest Tom rown suit with shorts I've ever seen. Your first response is like, obviously, if they look like that, you can wear them. This is actually the fashion, the lead fashion critic for The New York Times who gets asked by a listener, "I've always founded shorts in the office, but now I like the idea of long shorts and untucked shirt and open-toed sandals at work. Is this okay?"

[00:02:38] Alexa: Oh, not the open-toe shoes for no one.

[00:02:41] Tyson: People's feet are gross. There's only like some fun little learnings in this article. The fun part is like, where does this stuff like come from and what does it signal? I actually am such a dork. I'm really how big a dork I am here. I actually just bought a book on dress codes, because I think it's like fascinating to learn this stuff but she said the shorts is well, short for short pants, which are what little boys traditionally wore to denote their juvenile status. That's interesting the history of where shorts came from.

On the other hand, the expression that someone "wears the pants is intended to denote the person's powerful boss-like aura." [laughs] She goes, in an office environment, the message you want to convey to colleagues and clients alike is probably not, "Hey, I'm still a kid." The message you want to send is more likely, "Have faith in my decision-making, Juju," which is funny.

[00:03:29] Alexa: I find that so sexist.

[00:03:31] Tyson: I don't know that it's sexist so much. It's just like isn't the entire idea of what you wear to the office project that you want people to think about you? If you wear sweatpants and a t-shirt, then people don't take you that seriously, I don't know. Everyone's judging you based on a few factors, they have to. We're humans.

[00:03:49] Alexa: I think what I didn't like with the article is how it's like, oh, poor men. They can't wear shorts. They can only wear pants.

[00:03:55] Tyson: Maybe if you wear shorts. No female has ever been like, "Is it cool if I wear my two to four-inch old Navys to the office with open-toed shoes?"

[00:04:03] Alexa: As a woman, we have had dress codes since literally the day we were born. There has been so much scrutiny for women to dress a certain way and not show off certain body parts. God forbid, you're 5'11 and you wear shorts that are too short. I'm not speaking on personal experience or anything, but look, like I could not find shorts that didn't go beneath my monkey arms. It just didn't happen. In high school, I was asked to change into gym shorts. I don't have any sadness for men who want to wear shorts. That's what I didn't like about the article was how it was like, oh, poor men, they're forced to wear pants and it's so sad for them.

[00:04:42] Tyson: It's hot out poor boys.

[00:04:43] Alexa: It's too hot. Like I said, if everybody looked like LeBron James and Tom brown, I don't think we'd be having this conversation. For me, it's more like, how do we feel about dress codes in the office? Because I go like, okay. I have a colleague who joined my team a couple of years ago. Came from just a different setting, different culture. I'm not going to snap judge somebody else's business, but it didn't seem like the funnest place to work. This dude had to wear a suit every single day.

I was like, "I don't understand why you're wearing a suit." There's just nothing about this matches the cultural time. You look like a used car salesman. If I ever see you in a used Brooks Brothers blue suit again in this office, I'm going to be upset because it just isn't-- It's no fun for you. You look miserable. Just dress appropriately, but stop with the suits, right? It's a good joke between us. If he wanted to wear a suit every day, I wouldn't tell him not to. I would just be like, "I don't know that that matches the vibe."

[00:05:40] Tyson: Yes. My biggest thing now is, since working from home in that I don't have to get dressed in office clothes, I just find that my decision fatigue has gone down. I don't have to think about what I'm wearing. I can just throw something on and then that just gives me brain space to focus on something else, because when you need to get up and go into the office and-- I worked in a downtown office before, so you had to be pretty trendy and you couldn't just roll in sweat pants. I just enjoy the fact that I can use my brain power to do something other than pick out an outfit.

[00:06:09] Alexa: Yes. Certainly, meet the times. There's minutes where you meet with clients or you meet with external people and you're like, "I want to get a little dressed up for this. Am I meeting with the CEO? I'm going to put a button-down shirt on above the waist for my Zoom meeting. No one needs to see my slippers. I feel like it's everything else. It's one of the things I hate about people when they talk about this industry and when they talk about some of the workplaces is like they're always pandering to this infantilized version of a human at work, and it's like, "No, just use judgment."

[00:06:38] Tyson: Yes. I sure as hell don't want to be enforcing their dress codes.

[00:06:40] Alexa: Don't be an asshole. Exactly. Just don't be an asshole. It's so silly. Anyway, I think LeBron should wear those shorts all the time because they look fresh. All right. Moving on. I'm very excited, Tyson, to introduce our guest today. Our guest today is Nicole Obst. She is a senior consultant in talent management and development at Hughes Recruitment. She has experienced talent and organizational development professional with a demonstrated history of working in the design consulting industry.

She's worked in coaching, facilitation, employee engagement, organizational development, employee relations, new hire orientation, and recruiting to name just a few things. Never wanted to do things the easy way. Life's lessons have always been her biggest teacher, she says. In every situation she's encountered, she believes there's a great lesson and a story. As an HR professional, she's embraced a storytelling approach to advice with humility. So, without further ado, welcome, Nicole.

[00:07:28] Nicole Obst: Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here.

[00:07:31] Alexa: How are you doing?

[00:07:32] Nicole: I'm doing good. It's a beautiful summer here in Alberta. We've just had a heat wave, and I can't say that I'm sad about it.

[00:07:39] Alexa: I'm outnumbered by Canadians today. I like it.

[00:07:41] Tyson: Yes. Especially because it's typically snowing in Alberta.

[00:07:42] Alexa: Are you or are you not wearing shorts?

[00:07:45] Nicole: Well, I was actually looking down at my very unprofessional wear today, knowing that we are on the podcast and, yes, I am wearing shorts.

[00:07:53] Alexa: There you go.

[00:07:54] Nicole: Yes, I think that LeBron can wear whatever he wants and I'm happy about it.

[00:08:00] Alexa: He can.

[00:08:00] Tyson: I'm also wearing shorts, so I don't know. Are you also wearing shorts? [laughs]

[00:08:03] Alexa: I'm also wearing shorts right now. It's 93 degrees here with the heat advisory. Just to be clear, we're all wearing shorts while we work but if I was in the office, I would not be wearing shorts. I wouldn't do it. It's like people who always say, "Oh, my God, I've never seen you with your hair down." I'm like, "Why do you need to see me with my hair down?"

[00:08:22] Tyson: Oh, that's another sexist comment.

[00:08:25] Alexa: I don't know. I look drastically different with my hair down. I have very long hair. It's a whole thing. It's why I don't do it during the week, but I'm also like, "Why does that matter?"

[00:08:33] Tyson: Those are the same people that ask you to smile. Not down with that.

[00:08:36] Alexa: [laughs] Yes. We'll put them in a whole category of haters for another episode. Anyway, Nicole, tell us a little bit about how you got into this profession. Tell us your story about how you got here.

[00:08:48] Nicole: I wanted to be an accountant. I think that that was the first thing that broke my soul about the business world. I was all gung ho as a commerce student going to university, and I did my first internship with an accountant, and there was no way I could see myself sitting in the back room stapling receipts for the rest of my life. I happened to come across a temporary physician working for health care, and they were looking for a temporary receptionist to do vacation coverage during the summer in the HR office. It started there, and that was well over 25 years ago.

I started there and I just loved everything about HR from the recruitment process and meeting new candidates, meeting people in the first day, and then being so darn excited to be where they were. I could see myself having a long career in HR starting at that point. Then I worked for Health Care for about four or five years while I was finishing my degree. Then I moved on to oilfields. I am an Alberta girl, born and raised. That's where the money was. I can't lie about that. I enjoyed that work immensely and then I ended up deciding that I was going to have a few kids in a few years. Three kids. Three years. It was a goal. Nobody told me that there was no prize.

[00:10:06] Alexa: Oh my God, woman with a plan.

[00:10:10] Nicole: [laughs] There was no plan. It was--

[00:10:12] Alexa: There's no prize either.

[00:10:14] Nicole: No plan, no prize. That's something that I definitely was not expecting. That being said, I have three teenagers now, one out of them in college and two more in high school. While they were growing up, I did some consulting work. Loved every minute of it. The reason I think I loved the consulting side was because you got to go into organizations that really needed your help.

They had a good accountant, they had good people doing the marketing. They had good business people. The people side of the business was lacking. A lot of the firms were organizations that couldn't afford an HR person. They had hired an HR assistant or maybe somebody who didn't have a lot of experience or payroll person to deal with HR things, talent management or what you know, we want to call it now.

I love that work. I did it for six years, but I also was afraid of [unintelligible 00:11:12] for too long at that point in my career because it also makes you very impatient. Then I ended up moving into the engineering world as an HR advisor and was working with the organization then doing helping out different areas in the business. Truly, my passion was really in the talent management and the learning arena where I could see so much potential, as opposed to just checking boxes as an HR person and really having the opportunity to make a difference. Yes, that's where I am now, and I love it. I like all things talent management. I'm definitely a geek when it comes to that.

[00:11:53] Tyson: Nicole, can you explain what is your version of talent management? I know that this is something that you do very well and you understand. I think a lot of people talk about talent management in the people operations realm, but they don't really know what that means or how to do it well.

[00:12:11] Alexa: Yes. Put some guardrails on this for us.

[00:12:13] Tyson: Yes.

[00:12:14] Nicole: All right. I'm a little bit different in my definition of talent management, so feel free to critique me or we can get to healthy debate. I'm happy about that. I really feel as natural professional and talent management that my job is to make sure that processes are in place that works for an organization that allow managers to manage their people. I'm really, really solidly against HR circumventing the employer-employee relationship. It's hard when you have HR people that want to solve all the organization's problems.

You typically do have very good problem solvers, naturally, that go into HR because there's so much conflict. What I find with that is that what ends up happening is leaders start to default to HR to make all other people's decisions and then you see this trickle effect of HR having to grow and then you need more people and then you have HR running all the programs and then you have leaders losing control, not building relationships, not tackling the hard people shit and it's hard stuff. Oh, am I allowed to swear?

[00:13:24] Alexa: Yes. It's very welcome. We curse like sailors. We haven't had a chance to do it yet on this episode, Nicole, but we'll get there.

[00:13:32] Nicole: All right. Well, I was just going to say you might want to edit that out but okay, we can get back at it. Sorry about that.

[00:13:37] Alexa: No. Absolutely not. We love it.

[00:13:39] Nicole: I feel like managers really need assistance in finding their authentic style and so part of being a good HR supports your organization that comes talent management specifically is really listening to your leader and learning what their style is so that you can then figure out the processes that work for them and specific tools that they can then use with their staff.

If there's someone who likes to have face-to-face meetings, making sure that they can do that, whether you're in the middle of a pandemic or not, or whether you're dealing with a virtual team, being able to help them actually be able to manage face to face to people using technology, et cetera. Sometimes your job is actually teaching them how to use their space more efficiently or effective or explaining to them that holding their camera underneath their chin, having a conversation with someone probably isn't showing their best side.

Being able to have something that isn't like here's a one-page how-to have a conversation about performance with your employee. I'm walking away and going, "Check, I did my job as HR."

For me, talent management is really about ensuring that managers and employees are set up two weeks before they start their job. That whole onboarding experience all the way until resignation and an exit interview is all the stuff that happens on the people's side of it all the way through someone's career. Including ensuring they know what's expected of them and performance goals and those sorts of things. How to have a conversation when someone isn't meeting, their performance targets other than once a year, ensuring that you understand what they want in their career.

That you're, looking for opportunities for them to grow that you open the doors up for mentorship, for coaching if it's required, for sponsorship if they're one of your bright stars or whatever term they-- we use hypo. So high potential. Knowing how to determine who your high potentials are. It's the real nitty-gritty HR stuff that isn't just about checking a box. I think that's the best way to describe it. Then learning side of it, that's just the fun. That's the fun, getting to teach people stuff and seeing the light go on in their eyes and doing that. I don't know who couldn't love that part of HR. It's definitely the fun stuff.

[00:16:11] Alexa: Well, give me some examples for people who may not have as much experience in these realms or maybe are just in different groups or maybe want to aspire to do this stuff more. Do you have examples of things you've done on the talent management side where you may have two different leaders that just have truly different styles and they're both effective?

Then obviously I want to dig into the learning stuff a bit, but I'd love to hear examples of that because I think, and what I've seen a lot of is management training it's been on the rise as an outsourced service for many years now. What I see is a lot of anecdotal coaching tips, use open-ended feedback asks open-ended questions, and the things that are I'm like, "Oh my God, this is so obvious. Why are people paying thousands and thousands of dollars to train their teams on this?"

The issue I see with that is these are first and foremost amateur tactics, but also we're painting a very broad stroke here. To your point, Nicole, the first thing out of your mouth was every manager is different. They have a different style. I'd love to hear if you have any examples of people who just you've worked with two different, very different people with different styles that are both successful.

[00:17:25] Nicole: That is the challenge is where, if you haven't been in the industry long within HR, you tend to default to like those canned answers. Like use open-ended questions, and make sure you're listening.

[00:17:38] Alexa: Give specific feedback.

[00:17:40] Nicole: Exactly. I think it all starts just with the real basics of really, and this is actually a really great example where there were two business partners that had a different style. One was more collaborative and definitely more extroverted and social. The other one was more introverted and very by the book. Both were successful. The reason they were both successful is because, number one, they knew what they needed other than their employees and what success looked like. Because that was their north star, because they knew that information, they knew what it meant to be successful in the organization. What it took to be the top professional within the organization, they knew, they came up through the ranks, but they also had a lot of respect for one another as business partners to understand that they both did it in different ways.

Because they had each other, as examples of different people, being able to be successful, one being very extroverted in a relationship-building them and being very intranet or introverted and process-driven. Because they grew this business together, knowing they each had a different style and were able to work with one another, I think that they were more open to those differences within the people that reported to them. That was a foundation, but the other part of it was truly, you have to know what success looks like, and if you don't know what it means to be successful in a job and you're hiring for it, you're not going to find the right person and they're not going to be successful.

[00:19:14] Alexa: Why are you hiring for it?

[00:19:16] Nicole: Exactly. I always start there. The managers, one of them likes to be in the interviews. The more extroverted one, he actually wanted to hear the person and see them in video and get a feel for who they were. Whereas the more I introverted person was more reliant on their references and hearing what somebody else had to say about them and their experience of them.

It was just really interesting, but the basics were still there that they had this north star to go back to, which is what means quality in this? What questions do we have to ask? How do we know that somebody has, actually done the job that they've put on a resume? How do we ask a reference a question that actually tells us that they've actually done that job? We know and maybe even some of us right here on this podcast today actually have used somebody as a reference for us that we never actually worked for. Maybe not. Maybe we haven't done that.

[00:20:18] Alexa: I've never done that, but maybe once I was trying to get my first waitressing job.

[00:20:24] Tyson: When I was young, I think I used my uncle a few times.

[00:20:26] Alexa: I worked at an ice cream shop for my friend's dad and I said I was a waitress there because I was basically. It was connected to the restaurant. I was basically a waitress. He was like, "Yes, she was a waitress." Besides that, I recently had a reference call where the first time ever in my career someone went, "You shouldn't hire this person." Between you and me off the record, based on what you just told me you were looking for, this is not your person. I went, "Wow, thank you so much for telling me that." Was just like, hey, it sounds like you're a business owner and you're looking for a certain-- this is not the guy. It's not the guy. I was like, "Oh my God. That's so refreshing. Thank you." Because you always just assume references are going to be like, "They're great."

[00:21:07] Tyson: I just want to double down though on something that you said, Nicole, about the difference between introvert and extrovert because I often think that organizations are built for extroverts and a lot of stuff that we do. Whether it's like--

[00:21:19] Alexa: Oh, Susan Collins would be so sad to hear you say that. Or Susan Kane, what's what's her name? The introverts TED Talk. What's her name? Susan Kane.

[00:21:26] Tyson: Oh, yes. I think I've heard of that. We hear a lot about squeaky wheel gets the grease or for promotion processes, you have to have exposure to certain people to get a promotion. Usually, it's extroverts that get that. I just find it interesting and maybe it's because HR is building a lot of this stuff within a silo without really understanding the business. You've made that super clear, Nicole, that it's so important to build for the business and the uniqueness of each manager and in person.

Building organizations for extroverts, I've seen it in multiple organizations that I've worked for. It's funny because oftentimes the managers are actually introverts themselves. HR has built this shit that rewards extroversion in some way or another. Managers are introverts and they're not able to really make that jive for themselves or for the people that they're working with.

[00:22:17] Alexa: When you say extroverted, Tyson, just to clarify, are you explicitly saying verbally outspoken?

[00:22:23] Tyson: Look, I think a real definition of extrovert is someone who gets energy from being with other people. I'm going to say it in a way that someone who speaks up at meetings, somebody who is visible to people, that's the classic definition of extrovert.

[00:22:42] Alexa: I don't know, Nicole. There's been this age-old adage, especially now. It just makes me think why aren't there more athletes in HR? Because I look at this and go like, you would never want to build a team for anything that's just full of your captain types or your loud team members. You need the balance, you need the quiet midfielder and you need the stoic defender and you need those things to make the energy of the teamwork on the whole.

But I'm a jock, so I use very simple examples. I know one of the things that's been increasingly popular and I've seen even more with all this management training stuff popping up, and look, I think it's good that management training is more in the forefront. I'm not saying it's not, I just think there's some groups that are doing a shady job but they do all this Myers-Briggs stuff and all these personality tests. You're an eagle and you're an owl and you're a parent and it's just like, is any of that stuff actually helpful? Do you use any of that in getting people to articulate their differences amongst each other?

[00:23:46] Nicole: Oh, man. So many things like you guys have just talked about it at this moment. I'll try to focus. First of all, Alexa, you can't assess your way out of having organizational [unintelligible 00:24:00] if your organization actually--

[00:24:05] Alexa: You can't assess your way out of assholes. That's the only takeaway from this that is valuable. You cannot assess your way out of having assholes on the team.

[00:24:14] Nicole: If that's the only way that people reward in the organization is by one singular metric of performance and that's financial, then guess what? Your organization's going to be full of assholes. That's just the way that it goes because those people are typically, if they know you can always cook the books on financials, the one number you can't cook the books on is your people metric.

You can't cook the books on that. If people are quitting, if you're actually accurately gathering that data, you can't cook the books on that. If you have people that are leaving a team and you have a high level of turnover under one manager and yet he's financially successful, there's probably some unethical shit going on there because he knows how to manage the books in a way that looks good to the people that are looking at it. If your organization is only looking at things from one metric perspective and that's financials, you're probably not hiring and recruiting the right people who want to be managers or want to be managers for the right reasons. Like you said, majority of HR people are extroverts and it does cause problems in how they go about creating programs and processes, so you need to have that sound approach.

[00:25:27] Alexa: How does someone look at a group of people? I feel like this is like one of those great top 10 HR myths. Because someone is a manager, it means that they should be. It's like this weird self-fulfilling prophecy. Like, oh, we'll take our best sales guy and make him the sales manager. It's like usually your best sales guy is the last guy you want managing other people.

Like he's an asshole just chasing dollars. [crosstalk] I think this is a thing that everybody knows is a problem, but maybe not enough people are equipped with the understanding of how to change the infrastructure, which is like how do you actually promote the right people? With the caveat, Nicole, that in some organizations and especially those plagued with us millennials is like the only way to go up is to be "promoted" to a manager.

That's actually problematic because there's a lot of people that shouldn't be managing other people, but you get people in organizations that go, "I want to be a manager, I want to be a manager, I want to be a manager," because they want to achieve, they want to move up. The only way to move up is to manage. How do you tell an organization here's how to identify the right people for management?

[00:26:37] Nicole: I think you brought up this point that you're a jock and you love sports. You have to look at the sports mantra. Why are sports teams successful? Because the highest paid person, isn't the fucking GM. It's not, it's the people on the field. If your compensation structure only rewards people and the only way that they can move up is by getting a management position in order to earn more money, then that is exactly, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Because individuals that see that, we all want to make more money. I don't know who doesn't, none of us do this for free. Our world's expensive to live in. I have three kids to put to university. I'm not interested in making less money tomorrow, but if I was able to be hired into an organization where what I could do every day was to create programs and processes and not get paid $35 an hour, because you want people who are skilled, who have been through their organizations, who have experienced doing whatever their job that are called a master of their trade.

You want the Wayne Gretzky or whatever, sorry, that's my era. I know I'm old and because I'm an oldest fan, I have to talk about Connor McDavid. When you recognize those individuals that are top players or masters of their trade, you need to be able to compensate them as such. If your organization structure holds those individuals down or forces them to take a management role in order to be compensated more fairly within the organization, you're taking them out of the role that they're successful in. It's bonkers to me.

[00:28:18] Alexa: Also I think it's hard to walk the ladder of like jack of all trade's master of none, because sometimes you need those people too. So you're like I actually don't want to necessarily encourage you to just be a master of this particular thing you're doing for me right now, but I'm also not going to promote you to be the manager of that thing, because you're not that good at it.

[00:28:35] Tyson: No, you need the worker bees too. People that stay.

[00:28:37] Alexa: You need the utility players, but also like to Nicole's point, there has to be a way to incentivize those people, that's not just management. There has to be a way to say, "Hey, you do this and this is your core function and you're pretty good at and we're going to keep developing you to be better at it." Also, there's these other things we need as an organization, we think you'd be pretty good at. Like developing trainings or creating these other things. We're going to give you those opportunities and we're not going to do that for fucking free.

[00:29:06] Tyson: I think-- [crosstalk]

[00:29:07] Alexa: If we're going to do this for us as an additional added-- Like what are we talking about in one of our last episodes, other duties asked of you?

[00:29:14] Tyson: Yes.

[00:29:14] Alexa: We're going to compensate you for that and we're going to play it like it's a quasi promotion. It's a benefit that you get to take on this responsibility and do it for us, but I just don't think groups look at it like that. It's very linear.

[00:29:23] Tyson: I think a lot of companies are starting to develop technical tracks. Like when they're looking at their job level frameworks, they've got your leadership track and your technical track. Both companies I've worked for have been extremely like the essence of the companies are so technical that the people who are usually really good at their jobs are not people at all.

The people that are doing and then those are the people that end up getting promoted to people leadership. I do like the idea of having a separate track and a separate career path for someone who's not interested in people leadership. The challenge that I've seen with that is almost everyone that takes that route still ends up with some sort of people leadership responsibilities because we just don't have enough people that want to be people leads. I guess it's a step in the right direction.

[00:30:05] Alexa: Especially if you're super technical, you're like, "I'm the only guy that codes like this and does this and I'm going to teach six other dudes to do it. Now I'm in charge of these six guys and I can't stand humans." Guys, girls. Go ahead, Nicole.

[00:30:18] Nicole: Right back to the beginning when I was talking about that's when you have to know what success looks like right, and you have to have the good people processes in place that you're having that continual career conversation. Someone could be wanting to be like a master of their trade and you're like yes, you are the doer, you're the person, you're the worker being, you're going to work, work, work. Maybe somebody's a late bloomer in terms of their leadership potential if you're not having that continual conversation that person does die outright. At any point during someone's career they can be taught the skills to be a good manager, there's no management.

[00:30:58] Alexa: I want to talk about that?

[00:31:00] Speaker 3: Let's dig into that.

[00:31:02] Nicole: There are no management things that can't be taught. There are leadership things like how to manage a spreadsheet and a budget anybody can be taught how to do that. The people side of it, you have to want to actually deal with people, and if you don't love dealing with people every day, that's going to wear you out. It doesn't mean you can't do it. You can be taught to do it and you can be taught to fake it. I know a lot of people have faked it their whole career and then they get close to retirement and they take a step back into that master of their trade role and they feel like a weight is lifted off their shoulders.

He was taught how to be a good manager, leader, I don't want to get to leadership versus management because that's a whole another hour. Let's just put it under the umbrella of management knowing that you do need different competencies to do that. I think that you can be taught to do that and you can fake it if you're not naturally inclined to do it but if you do not care about people, then you won't be successful. End of story.

[00:32:03] Alexa: Controversial question, I mean, I think Tyson and I both started this podcast and an effort to be like if you're in human resources of people, you have to like people. Shocking, but let's just get that out there for now because it's not always true. My question for you, Nicole, would be then to Tyson's earlier question, do you think in some ways that management is biased towards a certain type of, I don't want to say personality type because I think that's a little hokey. But if you're an extrovert odds are you are less exhausted and more exhilarated by dealing with other people shit aka management than others.

[00:32:38] Nicole: Absolutely. As much as I say that introverts can be successful, they can but they often then need a partner in leadership that they can rely on when they get too burnt out.

[00:32:50] Alexa: I was going to say how do you take an organization who's done a lot of the things we've talked about and just promoted all the wrong people, everybody like the only way ups management. How do you walk into an organization, Nicole, and go, "Okay, we're going to get you to a place where you're promoting the right managers for management, but you also have real development for other people."

[00:33:09] Nicole: I think you just have to be really clear about your values and your culture and they can't just be what's for statements written on most pat or something like that, I don't know. I've heard of some organizations doing that but you actually have to have a culture that everyone actually believes in. It's got to be something that is felt when you walk in the door and you have to be authentic about it, no different, then you have to be authentic about yourself. If you work in an organization that is highly competitive, then you need to have other people that are drawn to a highly competitive organization.

There is something about having a diverse workforce and all of that and that can be in there. If at the heart of your organization's competitiveness, that has to be a value that other people have to want to win. No different than if the biggest value of an organization is compassion and caring about other people, then that has to be a value that you see in the people that come into your organization there's no questions on that right. That's the parts I say when you think from a diversity perspective, diversity of thought, diversity of experience, diversity of backgrounds all of those things are very important but at the heart of your organization is truly high competition.

You hire people that do not see that same value, that are not competitive in nature, that are not driven to meet metrics not to do that. From day one, I can tell you that if someone's values do not match the values of your organization, they're not going to be happy and you're not going to be happy with them.

[00:34:49] Alexa: Is that almost the process, the change management process is like we walk in and we figure out what is really the core of what's important to the leadership team and the culture that they want to build here and you just walk it back and you go like, "All right, we're going to take this lens to everybody," and it may not be the right culture for everybody. There are some organizations where I'm sure having a highly competitive team is maybe not the best thing, right? I don't know. I'm just the jock in the room.

There's other organizations where collaboration's super important or you've got to have a philanthropic bone in your body or a greater good sort of aspect to it. Do you walk in and go, "Okay, we've identified the essence of the population here and now we have to screen for that, and almost walk backward to who fits the core here"?

[00:35:34] Nicole: You have to screen for it. We have to line for it, right? I read a great HBR article around ethics because I was trying to find something to add to an ethics training at some point in the last few years, and one of the things that they talked about was that if speed and quickness is a part of your value, you're automatically going to face more ethical issues. Therefore, you have to have more processes and policies in place to ensure that just because the speed that you demand your organization to work at doesn't encourage people to step outside of those ethical boundaries in order to keep pace, and it made sense to me. It clicked in my weird brain.

[00:36:15] Alexa: I'm surprised you took it off.

[00:36:16] Nicole: Yes. So I think that when you talk about walking it back, it's really that foundation. If you look at organizations that are clear on their values and culture, that understand what it takes to be successful as an organization, and that becomes the basis for how they hire, for how they reward, for how they measure performance, all of a sudden, you create an automatic alignment that doesn't feel like some HR person tapping on the shoulders saying, "Hey, you need to measure for this." It's like, "We already know what we need to measure for."

If your goals for the organization don't match that, people aren't going to get it. If your goal is to be the very best in your industry and you have a competitive nature, then your goals automatically should align to that because if your goals are like, "Well, we want 50% market share," what? 50% market share? How does that compare to our competitors? If we want-- maybe it's 80% of market share, it means that we want to be the best. All of these things have to line up because, as soon as you have a mismatch, there is an opportunity for ambiguity, which all of those things, then your policies become guidelines because it's like, "Well, it's a soft goal." It's a soft thing. We [unintelligible 00:37:30] to that. I hate that. What does that mean? [chuckles] When people say, "We aspire to be this," well, yes--

[00:37:37] Alexa: Aspire on your own time.

[00:37:38] Nicole: Exact-- yes.

[00:37:41] Tyson: I want to go back to Alexa's question though. Her original question. A lot of people who are listening to this might think like, "Hey, if there's a problem with management or with leadership," I know, leadership training.

[00:37:52] Alexa: Even the management training should-- I'm like, "If your culture's that broken, management training's not going to fucking fix it."

[00:37:56] Tyson: Okay, we've all been part of organizations that have sent off their high potentials for leadership training. They go away and they have kumbaya moments. Can we talk about why that always fucking fails?

[00:38:06] Alexa: I've never had a fucking kumbaya moment in one of those. Every single time I still go, "You're still an asshole. He still doesn't tell us anything and that guy's still not in the office enough." Every time I come away from one of those, I'm like, "All right, you guys caught me when I fell off the pier, but you're still a dick." I still hate working with that guy.

[00:38:23] Tyson: Yes, why does leadership training just fucking suck?

[00:38:26] Nicole: Ultimately, and this is not to make it sound like being a CEO of an organization is easy because it's not, but what I see is a lot of company leadership, they want an easy button and leadership training sounds good. It sounds good in theory, the promotion around it is awesome, but at the end of the day, if your C-suite does not know what they expect out of leadership training, so what does success look like? We're going to send everyone to leadership training and when they're done leadership training, this is going to the results on the business. If they cannot articulate that, you will not be successful.

You need to do a needs assessment and the very first part of a needs assessment is to understand what ROI is. What is your return on investment? No different. They make those decisions all the time financially. "We're going to buy this business, but what is our expected ROI? How do we know if this is a good decision?" Most CEOs--

[00:39:28] Alexa: They wouldn't do anything without the level of analysis.

[00:39:31] Nicole: Absolutely, but do you know that companies will spend millions of dollars, a 30,000-person firm will spend between $10 million to $17 million on training, and not measure whether or not that training was successful.

[00:39:49] Tyson: The best is when you send everyone off onto leadership training and then they come back and everybody quits. [laughs] I've definitely seen that. The highest turnover rate is from all the folks that went to the leadership training because they're like, "Oh, shit. Why am I still working for this crappy company when I've got my tires pumped up?" then they all leave.

[00:40:08] Alexa: Yes, but it's all this hokey bullshit, right? It's like, "Oh, the team dynamics are off here. There's no trust. There's no communication, but we're going to go do trust falls with some asshole consultant, tell us how to do better team dynamics from a bunch of HBS case studies."

That doesn't change any of the dynamics, and largely the only effective-- not even "trainings", but just events I've ever been involved in at a growing company are the shit where you go, "I didn't know that context about that person. Now I have it, and it gives me a better landscape with which to interact with that person on." "I get why Sam's a dick because his dad did this to him and he grew up without this. He really cares about this and his wife worries about that." [crosstalk]

Exactly. "Okay, now I got to get the context for--" Say, I'm the employee. I'm a little less judgemental when he overreacts to a certain thing because now I know why he's so sensitive to it. That's the only thing that's ever been successful in my opinion. You can't do that on a one-day massive scale.

[00:41:12] Tyson: Wait, I just need to tell a very quick story about a leadership training that I was invited to as the HR support.

[00:41:18] Alexa: Yes, please.

[00:41:19] Tyson: We were having this kumbaya moment, and I was working with a team of architects and structural engineers. We had to do the activity where you have to build a structure out of marshmallows and sticks. The goal was to have the highest structure out of everyone in the group. Anyway, again, it's a couple of HR folks with a group of structural engineers and architects. They give us our 5 minutes to build this thing, and at the end, guess who had the tallest tower?

[00:41:47] Alexa: You did.

[00:41:47] Tyson: We did. The HR team had the tallest tower. It was really funny because at the end, they were like, "You know who typically does the best on this activity? Kindergartners. Why? Because they don't talk about it. They just do it," and I thought that was so funny. It was so funny because all the egos in the room were like, "Ha ha, HR, you're like kindergarteners," and I'm like, "No, actually--"

[00:42:11] Alexa: No, we're winners. [unintelligible 00:42:12] [crosstalk]

[00:42:13] Tyson: [unintelligible 00:42:13] Anyways, I digress.

[00:42:17] Alexa: "Say that to my gold medal, bitches." [laughter] I love that. That's a great anecdote. Yes, it's the egos and territory, and that's why I was asking Nicole. I've seen so many cultures that just get-- I don't want to say past the point of no return because I don't believe that's a thing in cultures. I think they just change. I think they evolve over time, and they can evolve from negative to positive just like they can evolve from positive to negative.

When you're talking about a group of people where there's a higher rung than some, and they're ingrained in these cultural norms, everybody's been to an office where you walk in and you're just like, "Oh, people fucking hate working here," right? "This sucks," or the engineering team seems to be dysfunctional, but the sales and marketing teams, they love each other. Everything's great. You can always feel when there's a black cloud in the culture.

My question for you is in working with groups to do this stuff, especially because so much of it is management driven, one bad manager will just spoil the whole lot, is how do you work with them to get to the place where the values and all those things are actually coming through in a way that's positively propelling the organization versus being like, "We have a bunch of competitive boiler room type assholes up in here," it's just infighting left and right, right? At that point, your leadership and management trainings aren't going to do anything.

[00:43:37] Nicole: We're in a place and time where getting data is so easy now, like, clicks of buttons, right? Whether or not you listen to that data and you take a look at that. That has to be the basis, right? You can't anecdotal feedback. There's nothing that pisses me off more. "We're going to do this initiative because somebody told me this about this manager."

That stuff doesn't work. I honestly do believe that it has to come from a place of, do they want to fix it or not? The person who's at the helm of that, whatever that department, it could be a whole organization, it could be one faction of the organization. They have to want to fix it, and they have to want to deal with the consequences of what it takes to fix it. If you come into a room and you have your leaders, all your people leaders in a room together, and you say, "Look, this isn't working," you have to be honest about why it's not working. You have to be able to provide clear facts. No anecdotal shit.

It has to be like, "Last year, we were this much profitable. This year, we're only this much profitable and we can't talk about the pandemic. We have to actually talk about us servicing our clients, and this is actually what's going on," and address the elephants in the room. If you won't deal with the shit that you can deal with, then the people stuff often is the thing that they try to tackle without by telling people to get along, by sending them to, like you said, a consultant to talk about trust or get along. "Let's all do a team building event where we all learn one another's--" whatever it is.

At the end of the day, the issue maybe is that you still have one project manager that's a total jerk that is losing money, that isn't listening to the client, that isn't doing all the things they say they're going to do. The people around them that are working underneath that person, you're not going to change their behaviors if you don't actually fix what's wrong and going back to--

[00:45:41] Alexa: In that case, do you just work with that person? Because these group settings aren't going to help that out.

[00:45:45] Nicole: No.

[00:45:46] Tyson: No, but I think that problem-solving together is actually something that's beneficial. Rather than just sitting around and talking, but actually problem-solving as a team is one of the best team builders.

[00:46:00] Nicole: I mean if you bring everyone into the room, and John's the project manager that doesn't get back, he micromanages the team, he doesn't get back to the client, he does all of this stuff that they know is not the right stuff, and you say, "Okay John, we're going to have a meeting, and I just want to get some information from the rest of the team," and you bring the team together without John in the room and you say, "Okay, how would you fix this problem?" The answer is in that room already because they're all experiencing it.

Then you go and you meet with John on his own and you say, "Okay, John, how do we fix this problem?" If he starts pointing his finger to all the other people that are out there, if he starts pointing the finger at this person and that person and that person and is not problem-solving, then your answer is that guy either has to go, or you have to seriously set the stage for them about what's going to happen if they don't start doing their job because if you bring everyone to--

[00:46:57] Tyson: I would like to normalize just getting rid of John. [laughs] I don't want to be that HR person, but let's just get rid of John.

[00:47:03] Alexa: Let's just never have promoted John to a manager. Let's just nip this in the bud.

[00:47:08] Nicole: I think maybe that's where my people side is more-- I find that oftentimes John got to where he was because John is really good at his job and no one ever told him the negative things. We had 12 years of performance reviews that were exemplary because he made the company money. At the end of the day, everyone around him hates him and they've had to shuffle him around, and I just can't say it enough, the data--

[00:47:33] Alexa: What he made in profit he lost in dollars on the personnel line basically in turnover.

[00:47:39] Nicole: His leader that's sitting there has to be able to have a playbook that is the playbook that understands what success looks like. No different than the GM in baseball, your pitchers, you have to know what the benchmark is and how you benchmark people very quickly. If you don't have that data at your fingertips in any organization, you're very likely giving-- especially with a bad egg that's probably fairly intelligent, you're often getting the wool pulled over your eyes or they have an excuse right there ready to spew out to you that they didn't perform because--

[00:48:11] Tyson: Or they manage up well.

[00:48:12] Nicole: Exactly. I think that's the part of the talent management side that I love the most, is take the data, understand the business, make sure that your processes work for the organization, and that you can support managers that maybe need a little bit of different help because of their style. At the end of the day, you have to know what good performance looks like and what that means to your company. That employee down at the very bottom, the one who you've just hired on and is the worker bee, they themselves have to know what success looks like.

They themselves have to know what the next step in their career looks like so they can be driving their own career. I think if you can put all of those pieces together and that matches your values and you know where your organization is headed in terms of their vision and their goals, that is where you're going to get success. That's where organizations are flowing successfully and the money's coming in as a result of this.

[00:49:10] Alexa: All right. Well, on that note, I'm going to move us to the last segment of our show which is our People Problem segment only because it's a great sequitur. This is not just like a hard right turn on this conversation. It's actually right in line which is why I'm going to move us there.

[music]

The question comes from [unintelligible 00:49:32] who's a listener, says, "How are you tracking learning and development or training plans? I'm looking for some guidance on how to follow up with managers. I have a few managers that are unfortunately not investing enough in training and development." Exactly to your comment earlier, Nicole, it's like how do you track this stuff?

[00:49:47] Nicole: You got it. I mean, nowadays it's so much easier with all the different HRIS systems and stuff, but like I said, you have to know why you're doing it in the first place. If project management is your game and you're not monitoring how many people are taking project management courses or how you're developing project management within your organization, if you're not measuring that, and you don't know what your benchmarks is because you don't have any data, you're not going to be successful.

You have to know why you're doing it in the first place, so that you have those metrics in mind to know whether or not it is working, and benchmarking outside your organization. That information is all available now. It blows my mind that companies don't know some of those benchmarking numbers. I'm not saying you have to hit them. You need to be comparing yourself with other organizations, like Mercer is a great organization to get that data from on how many dollars and hours are being spent on that.

That's a good opportunity to look there, but also really understanding in terms of capability and competency within your organization. Is your success rate getting better? If it's PM, then you should be able to be on budget more. You should be seeing more profitability within your projects as a whole. If it's IT, whatever area you're looking to learn in or to grow-- not learn in, but where you're looking for an organization to grow and learn in and develop, you should know what you're looking to improve upon. If you're just hoping that it happens, it won't. There has to be a plan and you have to measure it. I think that no different--

[00:51:37] Alexa: It's also inputs versus outputs too.

[00:51:39] Tyson: It has to be intentional. Training has to be intentional.

[00:51:42] Alexa: If you're just measuring like hours of training, it's like, "Okay, well, I can waste time and do an hour of training," but it leads me back to a conversation we had in a different episode about leveling. If your structure as a team is not set up such that it's clear where mastery in something lies, then how are you ever going to train or-- excuse me, how are you ever going to know if you're developing people to the level of mastery?

They have to kind of go together and you can't-- I feel like this is one of those things that people just get so lost because they forget what they're solving for. It's like, what you're solving for is a way to make sure you are increasingly developing a human in the ways that you, as an organization, need to use that worker.

[00:52:24] Nicole: They have to be lined up.

[00:52:26] Alexa: It touches lots of things-

[00:52:29] Tyson: The question asked-- the question sort of just pivots there. It's like, "Okay, how do we track it?" Well, that's HRIS system, that sort of thing. Then there was a component there about getting managers invested, and I actually feel really--

[00:52:40] Alexa: It's like, "I have a few managers that unfortunately have not invested enough in training and development." My first question was like, "Well, how do you know that?"

[00:52:46] Tyson: I would also say that if managers-- this is probably like a taboo thing to say, but I think that if your people and your managers aren't investing in the training that you're putting out, then you're not doing the right thing. Then you should scrap that training right away. Unless it's obviously-- we have AODA, which everybody's got to do. It's like a compliance thing. Just check the box. We have that type of training, which isn't what we're talking about here.

If your managers are thinking like, "The training that's being hosted by the company," let's say it's an internal training that you want everybody to do because you want to upskill project management, and if the managers are like, "No, I don't want to invest time in that, then scrap it." [chuckles] Honestly, figure out what the managers want to invest in. There's got to be something.

[00:53:28] Nicole: Or scrap the manager.

[00:53:29] Alexa: I also feel like it is one of those things like--

[00:53:30] Tyson: Yes. Maybe. [laughs]

[00:53:32] Alexa: Shoot the manager. Exactly. Nicole's catching on. Here we go, but this is one of those things that it's like, we've fucking "academicized"-- I don't know what the fucking word is that I'm looking for. We've beaten this horse into a nonsensical pulp. It's like if you have a manager who has a person that cannot fulfill a current need, a project, a client interaction, a piece of code, whatever it is, you're like, "This employee on my team is not currently capable of doing this thing on their own. I couldn't just give it to Susie Q here and expect her to just crush, the project," it's a very easy line of sight to say, "I'm going to write down exactly what this project is and why I don't think this person is qualified to do it."

Then the plan is going to be in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, to be able to prove that this person can now handle that responsibility. It's like, stop-- it doesn't have to be all this crazy fucking language and all of these hours in this and trainings in that. It's like, "Pick something they cannot do now that they should be able to do if they're progressing in this skill set, that would contribute to the team, and put a fucking timeline on it. Then let's figure out how to get them there."

[00:54:42] Nicole: And measure it.

[00:54:43] Alexa: "By this time, next year, this person should be able to do this, which I can measure by the outcome of whatever." Let's go back to the-- again, I'm just the joke in the room. I'm not that fucking smart. You can't make it this complicated. [laughs] You can't do it now. The goal is to be able to get you in a reasonable amount of time with the right support, which is what-- learning and development is the space between what you cannot do now and what we need you to be able to do in a certain amount of time. It's not always just these blanket trainings and tracking. It's like, we might need to get someone a certain number of hours with a mentor because there's some soft skill here they've got to learn, right?

[00:55:19] Nicole: Agree.

[00:55:19] Alexa: We've got to get them-

[00:55:21] Tyson: Intentionally.

[00:55:21] Alexa: -a certain amount of exposure to a certain client, or yes, it's got to--

[00:55:25] Nicole: You hit the nail on the head there, Alexa, because that was the only other thing I was just going to add to the end of what I was saying was about the fact-- then you have to look at the individual learner and make sure that there's options to meet their needs because not everybody learns the same way. I think when you force everybody into a room together to learn together, without recognizing your learning style, I think that is another issue.

It's like one-size-fits-all training. That blows my mind. You can't do that. It has to be what you said. "This is what we need you to do. This is how we're going to help you. These are the skills you need to learn. This is what it looks like if you're successful. Now let's talk about how we get that for you because if I'm someone who wants to sit next to somebody, because I learn through osmosis and I watch them do it, and I can replicate it, then let's do that for you.

If you're someone that wants to go away and immerse yourself in the language, in the technical training side of it and then come back and apply it, then how do we get that for you?" But not holding people back because you as an organization feel you have to do it all within your own little kingdom, because that's the other side of it.

[00:56:35] Alexa: That's the thing I was going to say, yes, is I feel like this is a perfect moment to just pause and say-- correct me if I'm wrong here, ladies, but I think this is the exact moment to get HR involved because you're like, "I'm a manager and I don't know all the answers." So, yes, I think managers get a bad rap, and I'll be the first one to say I'm a hater sometimes, but you also don't have to know everything.

This is one of those perfect moments where you go, "I've got this person I need to develop and I know what the future of this person should look like." I'm not totally sure how to fill the gap here. I don't know what their learning style is. I don't know what skills I have and tools and budgets--

[00:57:12] Tyson: Just as long as HR shows up with the options though. This is what I don't like about HR is that they're like, "Oh, you have somebody who needs to develop on PM training. Here's a PM training that you can go through." It's just like a series of videos and slides.

[00:57:25] Alexa: They have a thousand-dollar professional development allowance. Figure out how to use it.

[00:57:29] Tyson: Exactly. That's why I say if you're in working in HR and the business is not picking up on what you're putting out there, you have these conversations and you're like, "Hey, I would suggest this," and then your managers still aren't investing, that's why I'm saying, I'm like, "Yes, okay, there could be a few problem managers out there that just aren't doing-- but if you're doing this bespoke, we are going to get someone from point A to point B," I think that is more well received by the business because they understand, like, "Yes, I need person to do X. Let's get them to do X."

That's what I want to see HR people doing is the bespoke-- I think, Nicole, you very briefly talked about the idea of a needs assessment, which we probably don't have time to get into, but it's really about drilling down, figuring out what the hell needs to get done here to get this person up leveled or upskilled, whatever that is.

[00:58:16] Nicole: Well, it's the needs assessment in the organization, but that also includes those individual learners and those options. I mean, there's so much available in terms of free learning. Organizations that say, "Yes, we just don't have the budget for it," I just want to scream loud and clear like, "Bullshit. There's so much free stuff out there." If you choose to want to be able to upskill and you can be the least bit creative, it's available out there. You don't have to hire a $10,000 person.

[00:58:44] Tyson: Often time, they're just sitting next to your high performers. Have them sit in with a high performer. Have them job-shadow. Personally, even though I have a very useless master's degree, I'm not very receptive to classroom-style learning. I need to do the thing. I need to see someone who's really good at doing the thing to learn. For me sitting and watching a series of videos is not going to do anybody any good, so keep your $5,000.

I think that precisely is it, like understanding the person and certain skills need to be learned in a different way as well. There's nothing worse than when you try to teach soft skills by doing a PowerPoint. Anyways, I digress, but I really like-- I think this entire episode we've talked so much about designing for individual needs of the person, the manager, the organization, and I love that takeaway.

[00:59:34] Alexa: Exactly. You got to be able to go-- that's what I was going to say, I think Nicole has highlighted a really important concept here, which is good organizations-- and again, when you're 20,000, 30,000 people, none of this shit happens on that level, this is all happening on a much smaller, more regional scale, and that's a good thing, but you've got to be able to zoom in and to zoom out.

You've got to be able to say, "Okay, our larger people strategy is to do exactly what Nicole said, which is like, the minute you walk in here, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, we give you and your team and your manager exactly what you both need to succeed in this relationship because we've put the right parameters in place for how this relationship is supposed to function." Then there are these moments where individual managers, and sometimes their HR or people teams alongside them as a helpful coach, need to sit down and do this on an individual by individual level.

Sometimes I feel like in these conversations, especially people get so fucking frustrated by people in HR, they're like, "Well, this is broken and why don't they fix it? Why don't they do that?" It's like, "Well, sometimes we have to think about the 30,000 employees. Sometimes we have to just think about you." It's one team that has to do all of that effectively and in a way that solves for a lot of things that you're probably not cognizant of.

If you've got someone who is sitting down with you and taking manager, people, team, whatever, taking time to make something bespoke for you, you better fucking appreciate that because that is not a scalable business practice and nobody on the C-suite loves when there's people being like, "Well, I need to sit down with every single person and manage this to their learning style."

It's like, "Yes, that's expensive." If you get it, enjoy it. Also remember people have to pull back and say like, "Okay, this is about Tyson's learning style right now because I'm Tyson's direct manager, but I as a manager of 15 other humans also have to take what upstairs is telling me and where we're moving this ship, and I got to keep things going forward." People just lose sight of the fact that people teams, really good people teams have to go through the three levels you've just mentioned. They've got to go from organization to team, to person really effectively all the time.

[01:01:32] Nicole: Pick a few things, then do it really well. Then try to bite off everything, and do it all at once. Honestly, it is truly eating that at your-- what is it? Eating the elephant one bite at a time. That is what you have to do with-- [crosstalk]

[01:01:47] Alexa: How to eat an elephant one bite at a time.

[01:01:48] Nicole: Yes.

[01:01:48] Alexa: Exactly. One bite at a time. It's one of my favorite proverbs, Nicole. All right. With that, I will wrap us up here. Time flies when you're having fun. How can people get in touch with you, Nicole, if they love what you have to say and they want to learn more?

[01:02:01] Nicole: I'm on Instagram @Nicky4. I've actually just recently remembered that I'm not ancient. You can also find me on Twitter @HRladysmash.

[01:02:16] Alexa: Oh, HR Lady Smash. All right. Any parting words, Nicole? Anything else you want to-- parting wisdom?

[01:02:22] Nicole: No.

[01:02:23] Alexa: This has been an absolute blast.

[01:02:24] Nicole: Thank you for the time. I appreciate it.

[01:02:25] Tyson: We loved having you. It was a great conversation.

[01:02:27] Nicole: You're very welcome.

[01:02:29] Tyson: Go Canada. [chuckles]

[01:02:30] Alexa: Go Oilers.

[laughter]

[01:02:32] Tyson: Thank you, Nicole.

[01:02:33] Nicole: Take care, guys. Bye.

[01:02:35] Alexa: Bye. This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by Elle Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Elle Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at peopleproblemspod--

[01:02:51] [END OF AUDIO]


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