7 - Whiskey-Sided Brain

Big shots of Jessi Marcoff - Chief People Officer at BentoBox (and amateur whiskey collector) - on this one… This episode has sweet notes of change management, HBDI, pissing people off, why engagement surveys still suck, people-pleasing, the true resiliency of People pros, and the impossible question of if HR can be your friend. LFG.







Release Date: August 3, 2021

[00:00:00] Tyson Mackenzie: 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 This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices.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.

[00:00:17] Alexa Baggio: We had a strict no-alcohol policy and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink, HR is here." Meanwhile, I'm mid-crack the beer. If they're disengaged before they're going to [unintelligible 00:00:26] the office just be sitting at their desk and Facebook. They were never going five ways.

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

[00:00:39] Alexa: Hi, Tyson.

[00:00:39] Tyson: Hey, how are you doing?

[00:00:40] Alexa: I'm good. I feel like I'm not allowed to ask you what's up anymore, because I feel like you're woefully unprepared every time I asked you that.

[00:00:47] Tyson: Everyone always is. Usually, the answer you get when you ask people at work like, "Oh, how's it going?" whatever. It's like, "Oh, I'm busy." I don't want to be that person. I hate that answer.

[00:00:57] Alexa: I feel like people use busy as like, "Oh, I'm busy because I'm so important, I'm so busy." I'm like, "How are you always so fucking busy? Manage your time better."

[00:01:04] Tyson: What is everyone so busy doing? I don't know.

[00:01:07] Alexa: I'm busy, but not all the time, it ebbs and flows as it should like, Jesus.

[00:01:13] Tyson: When you say, what's up, I'll say, "An organized calendar. That's what's up."

[00:01:17] Alexa: That feels like a very HR answer.

[00:01:21] Tyson: The fact that I have my sweet kitten sitting next to me, he's being a total angel, but he's going to be a dick in five seconds.

[00:01:27] Alexa: If anybody hears weird meowing, it's Tyson's cat who loves to join us while we're recording, always makes an appearance for those of you who can't see us. Amazing. Well, Tyson, let's get kicked off here. I'm going to start us with our pops in the news.

[music]

I don't have any rock-solid, earth-shattering news this week, however, I feel incredibly vindicated by the following Financial Times article based on some of our last conversations. The title of the article is COVID Uncertainty Means Permanent Change for Managers. It's an opinion piece in the Financial Times. It's largely about how I think the UK recently shut out a bunch of outbound flights because of COVID. They redacted some of their travel allowances, and so a bunch of people, this person works in Hong Kong got stranded.

Basically, the idea that this brought up nobody's figured all this crap out yet, what do you do when a bunch of your employees have gotten stranded in another country because they've shut the borders and eliminated the flight? I'm vindicated in this because this is just another article about hybrid work, and where's this all going, and what are we getting back to blah, blah, blah. What was very interesting is they found out, I guess it was in a working paper for the US National Bureau of Economic Research, they mentioned it was a mass social experiment working from home, which I think quote, I said last time.

Anyway, they said they find the practice of hybrid or remote work increased from 5% to 50% in the US, and they expect it will settle at about 20% after the crisis. When we were, everybody was like, "Oh my God, nobody's ever going back to the office." Then, "Oh, my God, everybody's going back to the office." Turns out we're going to land somewhere, we're going to go from 5% pre-pandemic to 20% around 20% at best.

[00:03:20] Tyson: For a hybrid.

[00:03:23] Alexa: This just as flexible work arrangements, which I believe is largely like, you can work from home if you need to.

[00:03:30] Tyson: That's so low, I was expecting to be so much higher.

[00:03:32] Alexa: Everybody was.

[00:03:34] Tyson: You did the hybrid. I was actually having this conversation with my husband, I couldn't imagine a company not doing a hybrid post-pandemic.

[00:03:44] Alexa: I know, which is what we talked about last time, you'd have a really good fucking reason for being like your ass has to be back here 9:00 to 5:00 in butt-in seat.

[00:03:53] Tyson: The only other option that I was expecting would be companies that have gone 100% remote. I would actually think that the higher than--

[00:03:59] Alexa: Well, I'm assuming a bunch of that is small enough companies that can do that, or bring 5 to 25 or making up a majority of that. Interesting because someone and I'm going to screw this up because I'm not reading this while we speak, but one of the quotes in the article is the more harder line you take, the less competitive you become. Because why do I have to be here? For a certain kind of work this, obviously we're blanketing this.

Interesting, because there's also some comments that I don't know that people consider this, there's some comments about how certain kinds of companies are starting to look at talent acquisition globally, because they can get more flexible workforces, less expensively without the need to do this huge transition to take someone who was used to being an office executive and move them to a hybrid executive. They've actually now looked at that as like, "Okay, if we're going to be hybrid, just gives us a bigger talent pool of people who know how to work this way," which is fascinating, I think for sure.

[00:04:53] Tyson: I love that, I really liked that perspective on the post-pandemic and being hybrid and having the ability to work from home and that sort of thing is being able to hire from all walks of the earth. I think it's about time. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about like, "Oh, the San Francisco market, it's so hot, and that's where we get all our people," or, "In New York, it's the hot market and it's expensive." I'm not saying that we need to be going out for talent in places that are cheaper just because I know, for example, a lot of people will outsource payroll to India because it's cheaper labor.

I'm not saying that, but just being able to have the ability to hire from anywhere without having to go to these hot competitive markets and find people in other areas of the world.

[00:05:34] Alexa: All things, it seems like hindsight's 2020, but it also seems like one of these like, oh, everybody's like, "Oh, a blanket rule. Everybody's going to be all remote and all our talent's going to go global." It's like, no, there's nuances to these things, but I don't think any of this is earth-shattering, but it is very interesting to think about what this does do in a certain way beyond just make you competitive as a tech employer and the things that stuff gets talked about is like, this actually just potentially affects your business from a domestic versus a global perspective, I think that's like [crosstalk]

[00:06:04] Tyson: That's a huge conversation right now. It's not easy. It's not like a company can just overnight be like, "Oh yes, we're going to start hiring people in this country." It takes a lot of work with all different people, like the tax people, all that, it's a lot.

[00:06:20] Alexa: Yes. Speaking of that, I am very, very, very excited to introduce our guests today because she has so much experience in global workforces and other fun things. I'm just a raving fan of hers, but I want to introduce our guest today, Jessi Marcoff. Jessi is the chief people officer at BentoBox hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. She leaves the global talent development and employee engagement efforts at BentoBox.

She has over 15 years of experience building and scaling workforces at software companies like Privitar and Brandwatch, and she is intimately familiar with designing the right relationships between the business and its people and building best-in-class people development practices. She's originally from the west coast, Portland, Oregon, to be exact. She's also a huge whiskey fan, which I can attest to because I always see the bottles in the background when I talk to her. She loves the history and overall process of making whiskey and currently has over 140 unique bottles that she's acquired over time. Jessi, welcome.

[00:07:07] Jessi Marcoff: Hey, wow. What an intro? I'm really into gin right now, just for the record.

[00:07:11] Alexa: Oh no, my-- I got bad intel.

[00:07:13] Jessi: No, no, no. Whiskey's my winter drink. I know I sound like a lush. Gin is I'm starting to get into this.

[00:07:19] Alexa: I'm just starting to get into whiskey because I just think it's cool. It's like teaching myself to drink coffee when I was 12. I'm just determined to do it, even though I don't really like it.

[00:07:28] Tyson: [unintelligible 00:07:28] scotch. I do that with scotch.

[00:07:30] Jessi: Yes. Scotch is really what I have a ton of. We have a huge selection where we just brought it back from Scotland and our luggage, which I probably shouldn't be saying that as it's being recorded, but we've got like a lot of it, but it's just a cool--

[00:07:45] Alexa: We have a lot of customs agents that listen to People Problems.

[00:07:48] Jessi: Exactly, right, on their free time. It's definitely a cool spirit to learn about because there's not a lot of women in that area in whiskey.

[00:07:59] Alexa: I just think it's like cigars. I like cigars just because I'm like, I'm not supposed to like this, so screw you I do.

[00:08:05] Jessi: Yes.

[00:08:05] Alexa: We'll see. I'm just putting some hair on my chest. I just got a bottle called, I'm going to forget the name of it, E.H. something.

[00:08:13] Jessi: E.H. Taylor? Yes, that's a good bourbon.

[00:08:13] Alexa: E.H. Taylor. I just had that's had a bottle of that ship because I like Buffalo Trace and one of my teammates was like, "You like Buffalo Trace."

[00:08:21] Jessi: Yes. It's a good one.

[00:08:22] Alexa: Yes. Speaking of global workforce, tell us a little bit about how you got into the crazy and wonderful wild world of people.

[00:08:29] Jessi: I was twitching a little bit when I heard you talk about well just go find talent wherever let's just hire them all areas of the earth. Yes, could you imagine really being able to do that? I'd love to hear people that are doing that well. It is very challenging employing people, right?

[00:08:47] Alexa: Yes. We need like a NATO for employment law.

[00:08:50] Jessi: Yes. Just what I call global mobilization around that, there's a lot of tentacles attached to that. I think in theory it's a great idea. We just need to figure out how to simplify, just getting people to come work for your company. There's just so many things that are attached to that. When I was working with Brandwatch, we were running into this left and right. It was like before the pandemic hit, we were already getting pretty good about working remote and virtually half of the team. Brandwatch little history there, they acquired a company called Crimson Hexagon in Boston. We went from 120, basically overnight to 600.

[00:09:28] Alexa: Wow.

[00:09:29] Jessi: We went from two countries the US and the UK to nine countries. It was very much like how are we keeping track of all of the humans that we have working for both entities and making sure that we were doing that right, doing that justice. I know way too much about Germany and about UK law. I'd catch myself going, wait a minute. Is that applicable here in the US or is that just like a British thing? Definitely, I was able to cut my teeth on some countries I may or may not ever visit.

[00:10:00] Alexa: What's the craziest country constraint you've ever come up against?

[00:10:04] Jessi: I think Germany is pretty strict. France is definitely a strict one too, trying to--

[00:10:09] Alexa: Strict in what way?

[00:10:10] Jessi: Well, try and get rid of anybody in France is like basically that they need to kill someone in order for you to fire them. It's nearly impossible. Germany is pretty similar, but there's a lot of negotiation and mediation that happens in Germany. They can actually appoint a group of employees that essentially become a board, and weigh in on decisions. Any company can do that over a certain number of employees. Things like that, where like, "Whoa," the power can just immediately transfer over to this group because they don't like the answer to what you're building, but France is definitely a challenge. I

t's like, "Yes, you're not performing," and it's like, "So what's your point? You can't get rid of me."

[00:10:47] Alexa: Feels like a very French--

[00:10:48] Jessi: That was hard.

[00:10:49] Alexa: Feels like a very French answer. [laughs]

[00:10:51] Jessi: Yes.

[crosstalk]

[00:10:52] Tyson: It's important to consider too like when you're opening shop in different areas of the world, is also just their values are so different. You can't just like cookie-cutter, something as simple as benefits, their values are completely different. Yes, of course, you're going to have to follow the law in the country, but even just the design of the total rewards package is so different. I had had employees come to me and say like, "I don't really care about stock options. I just want more benefits." Your benefits are not competitive. US and Canada, we're like, "What? I thought it was all about the money," but no, they're like-

[00:11:26] Jessi: Totally.

[00:11:26] Tyson: -it's way more important to have different types of leaves and benefits and stuff above and beyond, of course, with the law dictates.

[00:11:33] Jessi: I was going to say, and then you add another layer onto that benefits, right? When people start working with other people in different countries, the water level just rises. Whether you like it or not. They're like, "Well, I'm in the US. I don't really need that much time for going out on like family leave, but I know that people in Germany get like a year." That's one thing that you just have to be aware of that people are going to start talking.

[00:11:55] Alexa: People in Canada get a year, we're just over the border. We're-

[00:11:58] Jessi: It's amazing.

[00:11:58] Alexa: -next to our neighbors. We--

[00:12:00] Jessi: It's amazing.

[00:12:01] Alexa: There's a lot more differences between the US and Canada. I realized since recording this podcast.

[00:12:05] Jessi: There's a lot.

[00:12:06] Alexa: It's awesome. I was just actually talking to-- Maybe this wasn't that reason, but we were having a conversation about-- It was a group of us talking a little bit about diversity and inclusion issues. I truly do not even remember what we were talking about, but an anecdote came up about how someone in the group was doing a survey, or I think they were actually just trying to collect data around diversity and inclusion. I think they have a team in, and I may botch the details, but it's an anonymous anecdote anyway. Hungary maybe would've been the other country.

They were asking these racially-based questions. Demographic data was my understanding. It was what they were asking. It got a lot of pushback from their team in this other country, because they were like, "We just don't talk about this stuff." It's not normal to ask your race and ethnicity on a survey or an employer form in that country. People were like, "Wait, what is this? Why?" They were alarmed at the questions, and it was so interesting for this person in the group to be like, "I hadn't realized that without the cultural understanding, I was actually being culturally insensitive to the other group by just having the conversation."

Whereas here, I'm getting pressure to have the conversation and the data and address it, and, and, and just assumed that because it was an issue here and a conversation here, that it would cross global borders, and that was not their experience, which is [crosstalk].

[00:13:25] Jessi: All of those cultural nuances, they really add a lot of complexity to everything that you're doing. As a leader, when you're looking across and scoping that out for whatever country you're in, you've got to start thinking through those things before you even put anything in place, for sure. We ran into the same issue as well.

[00:13:41] Alexa: Before we jump further down this rabbit hole, I do want you to go back for two seconds. Just tell people a little bit how you got into this space. How'd you start working in people?

[00:13:49] Jessi: Oh, well, let's see. I'm from Portland, Oregon. I worked for a utility company, so Super Sexy. It was electric utility company, and I started working very young there, 17, right out of high school, and essentially worked while I was in college, had a lot of amazing opportunities. I think part of it was because I was a female, and there frankly, wasn't a lot of females in the utility space. Grew up with a lineman's stepdad in the union, understood that space a little bit. I started getting involved in people management. At one point, I was managing a team of women that had been there 20, 30 years in outdoor lighting services.

[00:14:27] Alexa: Got it, girl.

[00:14:28] Jessi: Again, very exciting. I know a lot about the different types of welding [crosstalk]. In parking lots, it's just really fun facts. I started working in these spaces, and then I got into project management work. We were actually switching out all of the technology. At the time, things were written on paper, they'd turn it into Nancy in the office at the end of the day, for whatever they fixed. We were actually implementing a new technology, where it was like a handheld device, essentially for them. You'd think that we were letting them down. It was a huge deal.

I had to get the union involved, but I recognized very quickly that I loved the change management aspect of that. I loved working with these guys and getting them to understand that you care about Nancy in the office. Don't you think this helps Nancy that at five o'clock, she gets to go home instead of having to do your paperwork? They started thinking through, "Okay, yes, I see the benefits of this trickle-down effect that I have on people I care about that I've worked with for 30 years." I just got an itch for more change management, more communication training on these things really enabling people to do a better job.

At the time, it was HR, it was traditionally HR. It was like you went to HR if you were in trouble. I didn't find that they were respected in the space at the time. I knew I didn't want to do that. I just said, "Well, I don't want to get into HR. I'd love to just continue into this change management space. Maybe I need to cut my teeth in consulting."

[00:15:55] Alexa: Hashtag not HR.

[00:15:56] Jessi: Hashtag not HR. Huge bitter taste in my mouth. I ended up getting into consulting for a little while and the problem I had with that while I loved the project work and I loved being able to figure out the whiff on, the what's in it for me. I was lonely. It was like you were on this project for 12 months at a time. Then you'd go to the next client. For me, that was just really challenging because I never felt like I could sink my teeth into getting to know people and working with them for a period of time. Plus, they didn't always trust you because you were a consultant. That was definitely an angle I didn't quite understand because I had such built trust so quickly with the utility guys.

I ended up moving to Boston. My husband or guy was dating at the time walking red flag, he's living on the East Coast and divorced with two kids and I'm like, what am I doing? He got me into consulting, but he ended up taking a job in Boston so he wasn't traveling anymore. I ended up moving here and that's where I started my Boston journey. Tech was, I think exploding at the time. This was like seven years ago. I really felt like there was just a different playing field for me than there was in Portland. I just started networking a little bit more, ended up working for Crimson Hexagon, and came in really running their learning and development programs and their people management training.

I was still able to do some of that. What's working for you, what's not, how are your teams performing? What are you providing for them as people managers and then was able to facilitate some programs around that? I loved it. I loved everything about the SAS space. I loved understanding sales and CS and how we were supporting customers, but I also loved the product side and how we built the portfolio for the customers and what they were using. I ended up moving my way into people partnership or traditionally, HR business partners.

That's still to this day, probably my favorite role because you're a bit Switzerland, you get to hear all the bitching and complaining, but then turn around and be like, "Okay, what are you going to do about that? How are we going to solve for that?" Then you were able to use learning and development tactics or other tools in your toolkit to be able to help them make better decisions. I loved it.

[00:18:12] Tyson: I love how you created the pathway to people operations before it was even a real thing. You were like, "I see HR and I don't want to be that," but you created this role and this space for yourself. That was exactly what I think now, years later, a lot of HR folks are trying to bridge in tune. We talk a lot about that as people who are classic HR and trying to do more of that. The good work that the people operations work as you explained.

[00:18:42] Jessi: I think it's also hard to, in my opinion, identify those skills in the HR space or in the people space in general. How do you actually go about finding a great people partner? It's some of that critical thinking skills I had to figure out. I love talking to strangers. You can put me in a room full of a bunch of people that I don't know and I'm thriving. I love learning new people and what they're all about.

I had to figure out a path for me that satisfied that. I think naturally, I'm a caretaker and I want to make sure that people are taken care of and they're literally living their best self at work. I had to figure out what that path looked like. I find it challenging finding people partners that fit that mold a little bit. I don't need just an extrovert. I don't need someone that's just going to be able to carry on a conversation.

It's that connective tissue that I think is really challenging when you're in an interview process or you're trying to network for that role.

[00:19:43] Alexa: It's almost like EQ meets extroversion meets. We actually do. Ironically, I think we talked about this on a previous episode of just like, does this mean that most people in people ops are empathetic high EQ extroverts? I think maybe we were talking to Dom or somebody else. I don't remember the episode, but it was like, yes, it probably just means that, probably exactly what you're trying to hire for. One of the things I'd be interested in hearing more about Jessi and only because I know you're pretty prolific in this space, is this idea of change management?

I think that's one of these big elephant terms that gets thrown around that may or may not actually mean a whole lot when you say it. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, how do-- and I think, Tyson, correct me if you disagree here, but it is one of those terms that when I think about what is people operations and why is it different than old school HR hashtag not HR change management is one of those things. It's one of the things you got to be able to harness in order to actually see a non-administrative change in an organization. I'd be curious how you think about change management and how do you organize, what's your framework for thinking through change management?

[00:20:49] Jessi: Well, I think we all have some adverse reactions to change whether we realize it or not, you move something wrong in my kitchen and I'm like, "Who put this away last? This is not where this goes." There are little things of change management that through that change curve that I'm sure you've heard of before, but I am a big fan of something called HBDI. All around the science of the brain and that we all have preference [crosstalk]

[00:21:13] Alexa: HBDI. Do we know what that stands for?

[00:21:15] Jessi: Yes. Herrmann Brain Diagnostic Index. It goes over well for folks that are considered left-brain thinkers, engineers, product designers, people that are focused on financials or KPIs or metrics because there is some science to the brain, right? The left side of your brain is all about those facts and logic and the right side of your brain is known to be more of the expressive, entrepreneurial creative side of your brain. When you can start to understand that, it almost takes the emotion for me out of why people react the way that they do and if you can start to understand from a right brain, I'm very, very high right brain.

Any program that we start to put to put in place or as we talked about earlier benefits or total rewards based on culture or location, if you can actually stop and say, "Okay, how are people going to respond to this and not making it personal?" Not getting defensive that, "Oh my God, why is this person complaining about this? Why is this not resonating?" but if you can start to understand the science of the brain and people's preferences and how they're going to react to things, it can go a long way, right? It can really make or break the adoption of something.

When I think about change management with just about everything that my team puts out and how I'm getting the executive team now to think through that is-- there are questions we can ask in each quadrant of the brain, essentially like a task list. You start in the blue and it's like this frontal quarter of your brain where it's all about the numbers. How much does this cost, how big of an impact is this going to have on the business? Then you move over and you're like, "Okay, why are we actually doing this? What's the strategy behind this?"

The people that are going to ask why let's answer that for them and then the emotional side of that is who is this going to affect and how is this going to affect them? Let's think through that and then finally, what are the details? How are we going to actually execute this and activate it? If you can start to think through change management initiatives through that lens, it not only sets up your plan, but it also helps you anticipate how people may react or not.

[00:23:17] Tyson: I think what I love about that is that it's, you said it early on in that explanation, just about how we can't take change personally because just biologically, people don't like change and I love that. Even if that's all you took away from what you just explained because there's so many storming, forming, whatever storming, [crosstalk] forming's forming things. There are so many theories about change that we try to make it so processy, processy, that's a word now. I think--

[00:23:44] Jessi: Yes, it is.

[00:23:46] Alexa: It's Canadian English right there.

[00:23:49] Jessi: That's finest.

[00:23:50] Tyson: I just think that at the essence, just knowing people do not like change and let's be prepared for that because sometimes I think that change management can become almost distracting and not ambition. We've all been working for organizations where there's so much that goes into change management. There's so much talk, talk, talk all the time about change management and it's just-- let's just do the thing, expect that people aren't going to like it. Then go from there with some of those questions, those probing questions that you just explained, so I love that description. It's actually something I've never heard either, so that's something I'm going to look more into.

[00:24:23] Jessi: That's exactly it, right? Whether you like it or not, you're going to piss someone off. You're going to upset someone. Someone's not, even if you gave them so much information ahead of time and you made it a silver platter as you can get, people are not going to be happy with some of those results, right? I feel I had to learn that early on is that I always go by an 80/20 rule, is this going to hit 80% of the masses? Cool, I'm good with that. We can deal with the outliers, but you think about engagement surveys.

There are sections when I look at certain numbers, I'm like, yes, I just anticipate that we're going to have people that have FOMO. They have fear missing out, no matter what level of communication you provide to them, they're not going to be happy. They're going to feel like they don't understand what's going on. I think that you got to bake that into whatever it is that you're rolling out to your sanity.

[00:25:10] Alexa: How do you feel about engagement surveys?

[00:25:13] Jessi: Gosh. I just thought you'd never ask me. I know you guys talked about this. I think that like anything else, it is definitely a nice data point that it's absolutely not the only data point. I think real conversations with people is where you're going to get the most of the sticky gooey data that you really actually need. I definitely use it as a data point. I don't love them because it's like anything else you catch someone on a bad day. Who knows what you're going to get. I like the idea of pulse checks, I think IQ does a really good job of doing almost a daily question and it's random and then you actually get I think a more level-headed response that you can collect on a monthly basis.

[00:25:57] Alexa: Normalize.

[00:25:58] Jessi: Yes. If someone's having a bad day and then we have them take an engagement survey, you're probably going to see it in that.

[00:26:06] Alexa: It's going to be incredibly biased by the people that answer the survey in the mood that they're in. I like that. I always say there no feedback is bad feedback. It's just feedback. There's no good feedback, no bad feedback, it's just feedback, as long as you can do something with it. I feel like you tend to know what feedback is fair. Even if you get an overwhelming like a bunch of assholes on a bad day or everybody's bitching about something, they largely shouldn't be surprised by that and you know why? In our business we've got thousands of people we deal with on an annual basis across different products, different things.

Also at large trade show events, that's part of what we do as a business then I always tell my team, there's about to be [unintelligible 00:26:49]. On event, I'll be, "Guys there's about to be at least 1,000 people that walk into this room today, that means 100 of them are very likely to be pissed off about something that you probably haven't anticipated." Just know that's pretty normal and that also means I think I'm being statistically conservative here. One of them is going to be butt shit fucking crazy. Every time we have an event that has at least 1,000 people, someone is butt shit fucking crazy. Just totally off of planet earth not in the same dimension that we are in.

[00:27:24] Jessi: It's probably over parking. It's probably over parking, get it there.

[00:27:26] Alexa: It's always over something ridiculous that's got nothing to do with anything that matters or the intention of why we're all there for the day. Multiply that out by a 10,000-person employer, multiply that out. If it's 10% or are just off to be pissed off and 0.1% are literally nuts and they're just irrational, multiply that out by trying to do policies and change across a huge organization. Of course, you're going to piss somebody off. Let's just call it a spade, a spade.

[00:27:56] Jessi: You shouldn't be focusing on that small percent either. Those people can space out eventually they're the outliers. What you should focus on is getting let's say that 80% even happier. I think I learned early on in my career we were like, "Let's do an ice cream party," or something like that. There was one idiot that was like, "Oh, what about people who don't ice cream?" and then the whole thing was shut down. We just didn't have any ice and then nobody got any ice cream. That's just a very lighthearted example.

[00:28:26] Alexa: Why has HR gotten in this place where it's seen as your job is to make sure nobody's pissed off? Your job is to fail.

[00:28:35] Jessi: I like that you're talking about this because I think that there's something here around the type of, for lack of a better term, training, and preparedness that we get in this space. I've been talking about this for a while that there's got to be a business model here and maybe it exists and I just haven't found it yet. Around training for this space on how to almost be psychologists and counselors on the first run-

[00:29:02] Alexa: But not therapists.

[00:29:02] Jessi: -of training, but not therapists. We psychologically can understand what's going on because I do think that there is a bit of a gift. I feel pride and I'm very thankful around the fact that I have created at least a bubble around me, that people feel that they can come in and open up to me and trust this space. I think that there's something sacred about that that I am proud of but I think that we don't do a great job of preparing the people function for the types of things that are going to come their way.

Whether it's some butt shit crazy person who's pissed off being able to say, "Okay, I'm reading through the lines here something's up. Something's wrong and how do we actually prepare our teams?"

[00:29:44] Alexa: Just like you're getting yelled at, take a deep breath.

[00:29:47] Jessi: Chill out.

[00:29:48] Alexa: I think by nature, people who go into HR also tend to be people pleasers. There's a lot of that, that happens and we just want everyone to be happy [crosstalk] [inaudible 00:29:57]

[00:29:57] Tyson: [crosstalk] podcast.

[00:30:00] Alexa: People pleasers.

[00:30:00] Jessi: People pleasers.

[00:30:01] Alexa: You need to acknowledge that in yourself and be careful of that. I know early on in my career, even drawing boundaries with leaders that I was partnering with-- There would be a form and I would have to fill out the form for them because I didn't want to upset them or like, how dare I ask you to fill out this form when I should be doing it. That was just like a fuck off thing that I had a construct that I had. I think a lot of people starting out probably have a little bit of that people-pleasing gene in them. It leads to that. Like if, oh my gosh, one person is unhappy about the steps that we're taking forward or the change.

[00:30:35] Alexa: People pleasing and change management literally are like oil and water. You just don't-- They can't be in the same.

[00:30:41] Jessi: Yes, so true. Exactly.

[00:30:43] Alexa: Yes. You just have to be put your luck.

[00:30:43] Jessi: No, you can't be a people pleaser. You almost can't be a people pleaser in this space too, which is why I worry that some people do get burned out or they think maybe I'm actually not fit for this space. I thought that this is what I wanted to do, but like it's, you know what I mean? I think if we could do a better job of resiliency training for this function, we can teach people the skills that they need to protect themselves to create those healthy boundaries for employees to be able to leverage them, almost executive coaching skills. There's probably some areas in there that we could do a better job of. I've been thinking a lot about that.

[00:31:17] Tyson: Right. I also like going back to your comparison at that first rung of being a psychologist thing, I think what that really is that ability to build a rapport and to build trust with people. If you have that while maintaining boundaries, I do actually see a huge similarity to the way psychologists have to work. They have to build trust quickly and they have to be able to hold boundaries. I think that's really important for folks in this space as well.

[00:31:43] Jessi: Yes. It's transferable and then we can take it the next step further and figure out how to do that for people managers because so many times, as you guys know, we are there to help get people promoted and what am I not doing right or my manager won't talk to me or whatever, fill in the blank. Then we need to figure out how to get people managers equipped to be able to have those conversations. Performance is a huge topic for me right now because frankly, I hate doing it. It's the one model or strategy in my space that I really really struggle with which is why I try to tackle it as much as I do. I think the pandemic has opened up.

Especially, you both talked about this pendulum swinging around flex or hybrid models, and I'm surprised, it's not as little higher than what you talked about in that article. I think from a performance perspective is how do we get away from this whole like I can't see you anymore, or I don't have a butt-in-seats, so how do I know you're actually performing? How do we get away from this very traditional way of thinking about performance and look looking more at an outcomes-driven model that encompasses not only the things that you're sure producing but also how do you show up?

Are you difficult to work with, do people like being around you and figuring out how to actually articulate that into a model for managers?

[00:33:07] Alexa: The article actually touches on a little bit of a different side of that same coin, which is someone who's a senior executive switched employers twice during the pandemic says it's been very hard to do that online quote. The trouble is that organizations with a deeply entrenched culture, you're at risk of being less successful because you won't see the triggers. Similar to, how do I get you to perform and how do you show up? It's also like, what do I need you to know contextually that you're not going to pick up on a screen. How do I give that set of expectations to you in an environment where it's a touch feel, look smell who sits in his office all day. I've noticed that culture.

[00:33:48] Tyson: On the flip side of that, how are we not making sure we're giving people raises that we just used to go to coffee with. How do we make sure that there is some rigor to the process that you can't just be promoting your best friend?

[00:34:00] Jessi: I feel like it should be like even pre-pandemic, attendance did not equal good performance. [crosstalk] That's never been the case. It's just, I think about--

[00:34:10] Alexa: It's how we got the whole engagement conversation.

[00:34:13] Jessi: What were some of those other outcomes that we measured even before when we were sitting in the office? Even when I sat in office, it's not my boss was sitting there watching me. I wasn't making widgets. I think that's the problem that I have with performance is that it's grounded in like the performance review process is very much grounded in factory work. How many widgets did you create and we just never changed it? Were you at work today? Did you produce a physical counting thing? You can't always count the way we work or quantify a lot of the work we do. Even as HR professionals, how do you--

There's no real data point that shows like I'm doing my job well or not. Don't tell me of the engagement survey results. I did work for a company that said that was on our performance, the engagement results, so that's not on us though. At Brandwatch. one of my bonus criteria was at first it was on the eNPS score and increasing the eNPS score. I was like, "What? How am I supposed to control 600 people on that given day saying that they would invite their family and friends to work here?" That doesn't make any sense.

[00:35:19] Alexa: That's such a great example of people just being like, I don't really understand this function, but I'm going to try to give it a metric because I don't have a better way. I feel like I need to have a metric versus like I just have a team that is aligned with the general mission and goal of our organization. I trust that they have the skills to deal with how to create a people culture around that, right? Not even the C-word. That's just such an awesome example of just like how, I think you said it earlier, Jessi, you talked a little bit about how sometimes you think people get frustrated because they feel like they're bad at this. Right?

So many people who come to this space, it's one of the reasons I've leaned into evangelizing so much of this stuff because I've seen so many people get discouraged and they're young wide-eyed, bushy-tailed high EQ, great with people who really care, want to affect change. Then they go like, "Ah, shit, I'm not this good at that." I couldn't get the eNPS score up. The engagement surveys are, "Shit, I'm doing something wrong." "No, every manager in the company's probably doing something wrong, but you can't change that on your own."

[00:36:26] Jessi: For sure.

[00:36:26] Alexa: It's all tied together. What are some of the things about performance management that you think are really important or very effective?

[00:36:31] Jessi: Yes, some of the criteria I'm looking at right now, and I do think it is dependent on the type of organization that you're working in, which is probably the most important factor is that it does need to be set in a way that makes sense for your business, right? In some places, it may make sense for a rating scale or a carrot and stick, or like, "Hey, I'm making widgets, it's great."

I think in the tech space and one that is in hyper-growth mode, which we are, we need to look at the performance model. How I'm thinking about it is this three-pronged approach or three-legged stool. One is around true OKRs and metrics, getting a really clear understanding by function. What are those OKRs and the outcomes that we're looking at for short and long periods of time and being very clear about that all the way down to someone who is an individual contributor two to three years in their role or in experience, how does that actually make sense to the stuff like I'm putting out every day?

Second area. I think that's important is to talk through the secret sauce, whether it's relating it to your values. If you have pillars as a company, figuring out, it's the like don't show up and be a jerk, right? How do you actually tie some--

[00:37:42] Alexa: Don't be an asshole.

[00:37:43] Jessi: Don't be an asshole. How do you tie some of that too, what I call culture cues or like secret sauce or whatever? It needs to be just not a week. You're easy to talk to and we can go get coffee, but it's like, what? How are you actually moving the needle on making someone feel better working with you? You are a subject matter expert, you're a go-to person, like identify what those things are for your business. I would encourage you to tie it to if you leverage your values or pillars and stuff, we do at the BentoBox, which is making my life easier.

The third area is really around capabilities or traditionally known as like a competency model. I feel like we need to change it to capability because I think competency it's like, are you competent in your role? It just sounds so stupid, right?

[00:38:30] Alexa: It is.

[00:38:30] Jessi: If you're capable-

[00:38:32] Alexa: Yes, very patronizing.

[00:38:33] Jessi: -you can really-- It is. You can actually sit down and go through a spectrum. Let's be honest. We are all on a spectrum with something. Okay, you can talk through capabilities on a spectrum model and not necessarily a ratings model and you can actually work on foundational all the way through advance. What does that actually mean/ By putting that in place for core, which is like everybody at the company needs to be on the spectrum around these capabilities? Then you identify it by function, specialized capabilities, whether it's an engineer or someone on the people team, the nuances are a little bit different.

How we measure them on the spectrum are the same. All three of those areas make up whether or not someone's like killing it in their job. That's what I think we need to figure out how to do a better job of is like modeling that out for managers to be able to assess and use better judgment, and critical thinking skills. I think we're getting a little lazy in that right now, being in this hybrid approach. That's my long-winded answer.

[00:39:36] Alexa: Going back to the first point that you made, how do you feel about goal cascading?

[00:39:41] Jessi: I think when it's done well, when you're using a true OKR model.

[00:39:46] Alexa: Should we say what it is? Yes. What is goal cas-- Okay. When the CEO--

[00:39:48] Jessi: Oh, I'm sorry.

[00:39:49] Alexa: When the CEO sets their goals and then that goes to their direct reports and they are inspired by the CEO's goals to set theirs and then it works its way. It cascades its way. through the organization so every employee has goal alignment that works up to the CEO and the CEO's goals.

[00:40:06] Jessi: I think that when it's done well, it needs to be one part of the approach, right? It needs to be one data point and whether or not someone is nailing their job because if I can't sit here and help my team members see that the initiatives that we're working on as a company-- BentoBox does this very well. We've got four really clear initiatives that we're working on, and they do cascade all the way down into the organization. What we haven't done a great job of yet is actually tying that to performance or tying that to any sort of benefit or compensation, so that's my next layer that I'm working on.

I think when it's done well, you can actually tie a CSM, a specialist, a recruiter, and you can start to really actually tie that all the way through to the top.

[00:40:50] Alexa: Yes. I think the reason I ask is because I also think it can be done very well. What I also like about it is so often people might just be working in their regular role and they don't see how they fit into the greater puzzle, so I do like giving people that understanding of how their role impacts the goals of the company and the goals of the CEO. It's interesting because I am noticing more and more that noses are turning up at goal cascading. I'm like, "I don't know why," but I feel like it's sort of a thing where people are like, "Oh, we don't do that." It's interesting.

[00:41:20] Jessi: The SMART goals? Yes, it's probably when it-

[00:41:22] Alexa: Oh man.

[00:41:23] Jessi: -references SMART goals.

[00:41:24] Alexa: Yes.

[00:41:25] Jessi: Yes, I agree. I think anything that's been around for a while, like even the 9 box, you've got some people that are coming out of the gate. They're like, "Oh, who does a 9 box anymore?" "I'm like, "Actually when it's done, it can be--" Any of these tools can be effective. You just commit to it, right?

[00:41:40] Alexa: Yes. You commit to it and also remember it's like, "Why, and what are we solving for?" With all fucking things it's like, "Why and what are we solving for?" The first thing, I was like, "Well, that just seems fucking obvious." Are we all supposed to be moving in the same direction? If the CEO's goal is X, why would the frontline A, B, or C workers' goals not be a derivative of the same thing? They may not be exactly the same or said the same way or with the same metrics and OKRs and stuff that outline that goal, but in theory, the whole point of the organization is to move in lockstep together. All points towards the North Star, so that seems fucking obvious.

I can understand how you could see a bunch of people sitting in a boardroom absolutely bastardizing this framework and being like, "We've just beaten it to death and it's useless and it doesn't get implemented correctly," or "We just paid some asshole consultant thousands of dollars an hour to sit here and do it with us. Then they left and we never implemented it, so it's useless." It's like 9 box. Same shit, right?

[00:42:35] Jessi: It is. I do feel though, like the New Age employee-- What are we on? Gen Z's are thinking you hired them as the experts and they can dictate organizational direction versus the direction on [crosstalk]

[00:42:48] Alexa: How do you get hired as an expert when you're in your mid-20s?

[00:42:52] Jessi: Well, they just think they are. They're not actually hired.

[00:42:53] Alexa: I know. I can say that is probably the asshole in my mid-20s who thought I was a fucking expert in something and now at 33 knows I'm still not an expert in anything.

[00:43:02] Jessi: It's just to diminish the hierarchy. I think a lot of organizations are trying to like, "Okay, it's not a hierarchy anymore. We're all equals." It's that kind of thing which is another reason why people are turning their nose up at the fact that everything should be cascaded down but again, this is the New Age.

[00:43:20] Alexa: Yes. Look, I'll give my quick opinion here just because maybe it'll ruffle some feathers, which I like doing. I think that's for people who just like you haven't set up a culture where the people that work above you are people that you respect and want to be like. That's the bullshit that comes out of cultures where you're just like, "Oh, I don't want there to be a hierarchy because everyone who works above me is a fucking asshole." Versus, I walk in and I'm like, "Oh man, I really want to be like my boss. That's a cool chick," or like, "The people above me, I'm going to shut up and know my place because I want to be like these people."

That's an alignment that I think gets sorely missed in talent acquisition conversations. It's like, "Does this person have a reason to align with the other people here personally and professionally?" If the answer is yes, I feel like you don't get a whole lot of this like, "Oh, we're a flat organization." That's for a bunch of fucking whiners that are like, "These guys suck. I think I can do it better. I'm an entitled Gen Xer, let's go." Half of me is like, "Dude, if you can do it better go nuts."

Some of this is you've got to create good respect amongst peers in a way that shows people who come to work in the organization like, "Here's the real value of why this person is the oracle for this thing, and this person is the oracle for this thing."

[00:44:33] Jessi: I actually think this could be an entire podcast, though-

[00:44:35] Alexa: It could be,

[00:44:35] Jessi: -because I do think that that approach to what you're talking about is very much like the soccer game. Everybody gets a Capri Sun and an orange at the end of your game.

[00:44:46] Alexa: Participation trophies?

[00:44:47] Jessi: You're all tired. It's great. We're all-- Yes, no one is actually--

[00:44:48] Alexa: Yes, fuck participation trophies.

[00:44:49] Jessi: Well, there's no winners or losers, but I do think that that's playing. I see it playing out, at least in some of the environments that I've been working in lately, where people are complaining that there aren't avocados in the kitchen. I'm just like, "Don't you want equity at this place? Don't you want to have a stake in this?" It's just fascinating to me, the things that folks coming into the organization who are younger than me in experience, I'll put it that way.

[00:45:16] Alexa: Avocados.

[00:45:17] Jessi: What they care about. Avocados and the coffee.

[00:45:19] Alexa: Values changed. Like when you're young, you're like, you want a place where you can socialize. Even with the whole working remote, like I work for an entirely remote company and we often see the younger folks are like, "Oh, shit." I wanted a place to socialize and to have fun and be cool, but people who maybe are a different place in their lives where maybe they have kids or they're older and they're happy to be remote. It definitely like you can't please everyone. I think that's maybe title episode or the title of the episode.

[00:45:50] Jessi: It's impossible.

[00:45:49] Alexa: That on no assholes, but yes.

[laughter]

[00:45:53] Alexa: What do you think just are some of the things that just get whiffed on in performance management?

[00:45:57] Jessi: What does that mean whiffed on? Tell me more.

[00:46:01] Alexa: You're like people do so much of this crap and it just isn't effective. Between change management and performance management, there's a lot of getting humans to do things. What do you think is just like common misconceptions that you-- You've been to a few organizations. You've implemented this stuff across various organizations. What are some of the things that you're just like this just other than 9 boxes and some of the things we talked about? What do you think are some misconceptions?

[00:46:25] Jessi: I think we talked a little bit on setting expectations earlier. I do think that people are like, "It's fine. Everybody's going to be fine. We're just going to roll it out. We don't need to communicate it. It'll be okay. People just fall in line." I think that's definitely a misconception but I also think that on one hand, you hear a lot of, like, "I don't want a very strict process. I want to have some autonomy in running my teams and figuring out like who's cutting it and who's not."

Then when you go to put the model together and it's more like guides for people managers, I'm using air quotes since I know you all can't see me, but we put these guides together for people managers, and then they're upset that we haven't given them like-

[00:47:05] Alexa: Every specific.

[00:47:07] Jessi: -I can write data for them to be able to fill out and pop out an answer like I'm a machine. I think that that is probably one of the whiffs that drives me nuts. Again, it goes back to that 80/20 rule. It's like, I'd like to just get you to the lake to drink. Like you need to drink though, as a people manager, that's one. I think that it just dovetails into, they expect the people function to be able to outline in detail. We are supposed to do that for them so that their folks can get promoted or they can move around or get an increase. I think that there is a disconnect between what our role and what our job is in that space and what a people manager's job is.

[00:47:46] Tyson: I hate that. I hate when people come to me for an explanation and what, like good looks like. If you're looking [crosstalk]

[00:47:52] Jessi: I saw you posted on Instagram and I shared it with my whole team. This last week it was like, when an employee comes to you and says like, "Hey, how am I supposed to get promoted?" You're like, "How fuck do I know? Go ask your manager," like seriously?"

[00:48:05] Tyson: It's such a pet peeve. I'm like, why [crosstalk]

[00:48:08] Alexa: When managers ask me, they're like, "Oh, we just have like these new performance categories. What do they each mean?' I'm like, "I don't know." We make them general on purpose so that there's a general framework that is equal and consistent but then we don't want it to be so specific that you can't have any say as a leader in terms of what good looks like for you? I agree that there's a happy medium of like HR maybe creating like a framework, but then managers have to interpret that framework and apply it to their groups. What makes sense for them? Their performance indicators, their OKRs is like all that great stuff.

[00:48:48] Jessi: I was just saying, I don't know if that's fear or if it's laziness and that's the part that I'm always like on the fence about is like, do you just not want to do the work do not care? [crosstalk]

[00:48:56] Alexa: I think so much of management is just, people are ignorant to what it actually is because it sounds cool and there's so much culture around being a manager and it's seen as like how you move up. The funniest thing is if you talk to people who've been in management for a long time, they're like,-

[00:49:12] Jessi: It's hard.

[00:49:12] Alexa: -"It's hard. It's not sexy and all I do is delegate to other humans, all God damn day." It's very unsexy if you just manage all day. Which is--

[00:49:21] Tyson: There is fear though, too.

[00:49:23] Alexa: For sure.

[00:49:23] Tyson: I would say that there is fear. What is everybody else doing? Am I applying this the same way that like other people are doing it? How are other people interpreting this because there's not that confidence that they could do. I think we've created a bit of a monster when we try to make everybody the same all the time. The unions created this monster and that everything needs to be dictated and blah, blah, all that good stuff. Managers, sometimes they don't feel confident in their own ability to rate their people because they're worried about what is everybody else doing? Am I doing the same way as them?

[00:49:55] Alexa: So true.

[00:49:55] Tyson: Fuck conformity.

[00:49:56] Alexa: Anyway.

[00:49:57] Jessi: Geez.

[00:49:58] Alexa: Sadly ladies, I have. Sadly, we'll have to do a Jessi part two because I have to move us to our people problem for the week.

[music]

Tyson, would you like to read out our people problem?

[00:50:19] Tyson: Yes, for sure. This is a question that I've received from people on HR Shook. Do you think it's possible for people in HR to become friends with people that don't work in HR at work?

[00:50:33] Alexa: Can HR be friends with employees?

[00:50:35] Tyson: Exactly.

[00:50:40] Alexa: That's not an editing blip. That's a pregnant pause because nobody wants to dive in first.

[00:50:45] Tyson: I think it's fitting right now, especially based on like this conversation and how this conversation has gone thus far.

[00:50:54] Alexa: It was a really good question by accident for this conversation. Go ahead.

[00:50:59] Jessi: Obviously, we're like the coolest people to hang out with. When I was in the office, I was the one that had my whiskey.

[00:51:05] Alexa: Your whiskey collection.

[00:51:05] Jessi: People knew, come in, at the end of the day and we can sit around and chat, but I personally can't speak for everyone in this space, but I set pretty clear boundaries with people and I would take it. I would take it right to the edge.

[00:51:19] Alexa: Do you set expectations early, Jessi?

[00:51:22] Jessi: I sure did, Alexa. I just told people. Obviously, come on guys you can't ask me those questions and they would. Kids, they got to push those boundaries, but I was pretty good about it, but I would do it in a humorous way where it wasn't like, "Oh, wow, okay. Don't want to hang out with her because the way that she's going about telling me, don't ask me that question is just a turnoff," but it was just more like come on you can't ask me that. I think you can. I think I did. I think I [crosstalk]

[00:51:50] Alexa: What are some of the things you tell people they can't ask you?

[00:51:53] Jessi: If they want to talk some shit about people that are on the leadership team or they want to bitch about certain people that I'm just like off-limits, we can't do that or I'll usually say, "Okay, so fine. Let it out. Then what are we going to do about it?" Or they'll ask me questions about like the board or what's going on or I'm sensing this, is this true? They're trying to get some dirt and I'm just like, "Come on, you know you can't ask me that." That's just my line.

[00:52:20] Alexa: It's a fine line though. Earlier in this conversation, we were like, "You can come into my office, you can talk to me about anything. I've got this awesome aura. Everybody wants to hang out with me, everyone." That's a little bit of being the political octopus that has their tentacles and everything, and I'm the only one here that knows everything that's going on. That makes you uniquely powerful. It is actually a very powerful seat if you do it right. To be the person in the office. That's like I not only know what's going on in the board room, but I know what's going on in the break room too.

I have so much dish and you have to be smart. You have to be a politician in a way to be smart enough to be like, I'm going to let certain parts of this information flow to other parts of the organization and other ones I'm going to gatekeep. I'm going to stop it. How do you do that while also saying to employees, "Well, we're friendly, but we're not friends"? It's honestly such, I've gone back and forth on this so many times. Very early on in my career, we ended up in a really shitty position where we had to exit or fire the person that someone that I was friends with in the office. It would've been me who was supposed to be doing, like sitting in on that meeting. I totally chickened out.

I was like, I can't do it, I can't fire them. It's too awkward. I can't do it, so I made my boss do it. Then thinking about that, afterward, I'm like, would that individual have felt better? Had I been there supporting that conversation? Would she have felt like we were close? Would she have been embarrassed maybe by the fact that it was me and I go through that all the time, but then you also have to consider from a power perspective, we're also sitting in on conversations where performance is being discussed?

Compensation is being discussed, whether this person's going to get promoted or not. It's this weird. It's like a manager being friends with their direct report sometimes. You really do have to create boundaries because you don't want biased going into some of those conversations either. It's so hard. I think being able to build a strong rapport, but keep boundaries is where I've landed. Being friendly, but also being respectful. What if something really shitty happens in that person's life and they have to share some really personal, like deep information, would you rather be their friend, or would you rather be not their friend? I don't know the answer to that question because I go back and forth.

[00:54:33] Jessi: I think a lot of people will see that you are able to hold things to the vest and that's actually a pretty powerful thing for them to see too, that they know that the things that they're bringing to you, you are ensuring that that's safe. It's held under locking key verses if you were just a blabber mouth about all kinds of stuff, they're going to be like, "Wow, she's just ready to just tell everybody everything." I think there is a fine balance there. Of course, talk about stuff in a humorous way that I know aren't, it's not going to do anything. There's no like big damage.

[crosstalk]

[00:55:03] Alexa: Like I said, sometimes you got to let the steam out of the gasket and you got to let things go till acknowledge, like, "Hey, I realize something's going on in the culture right now that every--" I'm calling it, I'm naming it, but I'm not telling you everything about it. I'm just telling you that it's not lost on us. You need to know this isn't-- like everyone upstairs, not unaware. There's stuff like that's really helpful.

[00:55:28] Jessi: That's a really good point.

[00:55:28] Alexa: It's funny because and look, I will go on record of saying, "I have no fucking idea what the answer to this question is. I think it might be an unanswerable question. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on it." I always think about this because I'm the dumb jock in the room. That's like the boundary is that of a teammate. It's like when I was in college, there's nobody I told more secrets to and there's nobody I partied harder with than my teammates. There's just nobody.

There's probably nobody I had a closer relationship on certain levels than my teammates, but I knew if we got to a match and somebody was fucking up that they were going to know that one of us would say something. It was the same reason why, if the match came down to one of us and you see your teammates sitting on the bench, you're like, "I can't fuck this up. This isn't about me. This is about us." It's hard to build that rapport, but I do think like not just sports teams, but teams in general, there's a dynamic there where it's like, we can actually have an incredibly close and personal relationship, but there's this unspoken just don't fuck with the bread.

Like just don't fuck with victory and we'll be good. I think that's-

[00:56:27] Jessi: Here you go.

[00:56:27] Alexa: -probably just in professional relationships in general, the line I try to walk, but it's not easy. It gets very blurred and Tyson, I don't know if there was a right answer to your-- should you have helped fire your friend or not?

[00:56:39] Jessi: It's a great question.

[00:56:40] Alexa: Yes. This is an unwinnable unanswerable question. We tricked you, Jessi. It was a trick question.

[laughter]

[00:56:48] Jessi: It depends question mark. Is that like basically how we answered that one?

[00:56:51] Alexa: Consult the guidebook

[laughter]

[00:56:53] Jessi: Yes, exactly.

[00:56:54] Alexa: It's in your employee guidebook. All right, Jessi, if people want to get in touch with you and tell you what they like that you have, what you have to say, where can they reach you?

[00:57:00] Jessi: LinkedIn's probably the easiest way. I don't have like a cool Instagram handle for people to follow.

[00:57:06] Alexa: I feel like we're just a walking LinkedIn ad because all of our guests are like, "Find me on LinkedIn," yes, handle.

[00:57:12] Jessi: Just for me, is handle a thing for Instagram, or is that just Twitter? I don't even know. Just [crosstalk] on LinkedIn.

[00:57:16] Alexa: Don't ask me, ask Tyson.

[00:57:17] Jessi: LinkedIn.

[00:57:18] Alexa: All right.

[00:57:19] Jessi: Find me on LinkedIn.

[00:57:19] Alexa: Jessi, you're a rockstar. Thanks for being here.

[00:57:21] Jessi: I'm going to go drink some whiskey. Thank you.

[00:57:23] Alexa: Got it, girl. Thank you.

[00:57:23] Jessi: Thank you for having me.

[00:57:24] Alexa: You're very welcome. This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at People Problems pod on--

[00:57:40] [END OF AUDIO]


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