Today I’m interviewing Dawna Jones and She’s the author of Decision Making for Dummies for the 21st century.
She’s also the best selling co-author of From Hierarchy to Performance. She’s unearthing human organizational potential in leaders and decision-makers for expanding adaptability.
She also runs the Insight to action Inspirational Insights Podcast, she also contributes to the Huffington Post, hosts workshops and speaks to of course transform mindsets and business culture.
Dawna has also learned to stop people from wasting her time too and you can learn more about how to avoid the brain pickers here.
- 1 Decision-Making Strategy For Dummies
- 2 Organisational Strategy Management – How strategy changes when there’s exponential change underway.. a mindset shift 22.02
- 3 Change Management: Why play and people work more effectively to respond to change – 37.00
- 4 Emotional Social Intuitive Intelligence: the role of sensing over thinking – 49.44
- 5 Corporate Social Responsibility: Why it isn’t a department or a tagline – 58.56
- 6 People Management: Trust versus controlling. The difference between autonomy and chaos – 113.33
Decision-Making Strategy For Dummies
Organisational Strategy Management – How strategy changes when there’s exponential change underway.. a mindset shift 22.02
Change Management: Why play and people work more effectively to respond to change – 37.00
Emotional Social Intuitive Intelligence: the role of sensing over thinking – 49.44
Corporate Social Responsibility: Why it isn’t a department or a tagline – 58.56
People Management: Trust versus controlling. The difference between autonomy and chaos – 113.33
Buy Dawna’s DMFD Book Here
If you want to learn more about Decision Making for Dummies visit From Insight to Action
You thinking about your own domain name?? Here is a link: https://legacymediahub.com/11-reasons-to-use-your-own-domain-name-for-email/
Here are the AI transcriptions!
Well, it’s great to see you Dawna. And I’m really quite interested to hear what you got to say.
We’ve got some fantastic topics we’re going to talk about today.
Dawna Jones 1:12
Thanks, Nate. I’m interested in hearing what I’m going to say! We’re gonna have a fun conversation.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:22
We are. And, you know, I know, you know a lot about all of these topics, because you’ve written a best selling book, and some other books as well.
I’m quite interested to hear about the decision making strategy for dummies because that’s quite interesting.
Decision making, for me, causes me a headache. I mean, you know, when I get too much on my brain. I’m going through a lot of stuff, personal stuff as well, and business stuff and working, you know, like people in life, even if you’re in your own business, or you’re not if you’re working within a corporation, you have so much on your mind. And it can be, it can be sort of almost debilitating with decisions because you don’t know, do you send that email or not, you know!
Where do you start with decision making for dummies?
Dawna Jones 2:20
Oh, great question. And, you know, it’s funny, because when I was writing decision making for dummies, or the proposal for it, I was in California. And in some, like, just, and somebody told me, they asked me that same question. They said:- “What is the key decision making?” And the answer was “self-awareness.” And I didn’t actually premeditate that answer at all. But I realized that when you’re aware of how you’re feeling, where you’re, what you’re thinking, where your focus is going, you know, what’s your feeling in terms of overwhelm, or balance or whatever it happens to be, then you can make the decisions that correct the situation so you can actually make the, the optimal decision.
So I think it said self aware and contextual awareness, you know, what’s going on for me? and what’s going on in this environment that’s having an impact on me?
So it’s those two together that kind of have a little bit of a dynamic dance happening.
Nathaniel Schooler 3:09
Right, right. I just put one of these massive sweets in my mouth! It got to the point in the afternoon. I just, you know have worked really hard. And, and literally, I just needed a bit of a sugar boost, you know! So with all that said, there are all sorts of different types of decisions that we have to make. Right. And, you know, some of them are going to be more important than others, obviously. But so how do you stop the paralysis of like, just delaying making the decision? How do you how do you stop that in, in in people’s minds?
Dawna Jones 3:51
Yeah, there’s a couple ways of answering that. I mean, generally, what I look at decision making, I’m looking at it through the lens of biology and what an architect recently called our environmental physics, because that, that helps you understand what are the things that I can’t see, how are they impacting my emotions about this. So in generally delays, you know, procrastination or delays are going to have something to do with either it’s really low priority that you’re trying to make it a higher priority, or it’s something that you’re somewhat afraid of. And in terms of its scope, or its size, or maybe it’s stepping outside of the comfort zone, variety of different reasons there. And the opportunity is to figure out which one that is, and, and then just allow yourself to step forward in the sense of:- “If I make a mistake, if I can learn from it, you can always learn from that.”
So that’s not true. If you’re a doctor, or an airline pilot, well, a little bit different. But those kinds of those environments are also designed for mentorship. And so there is there’s always checks and balances in those environments. So I’m talking here about more day to day kinds of things where you have got a dream that you’ve wanted to put into play in your life. And you’re, you’ve been putting it off, putting it off, putting it off.
And frequently, sometimes what happens is, life just gives you the option, it gives you a pink slip or something and says, okay, off you go, now, and then people realize, okay, this is my chance to do what I really want.
Nathaniel Schooler 5:19
Dawna Jones 5:20
So yeah, now the other part of it is overwhelm, and overwhelm usually happens, because people are trying to process everything cognitively. And that part of the of the decision making, you know, dynamic that you’ve got going on is slow, it’s, it can only handle so many units of data at any given point in time. And so in the world that we live in, which is complex, moving fast, uncertain, unpredictable. You actually have an opportunity to bring online, more capacity to sense your way through things. So you don’t, you can take the beta, the cognitive processing offline, and just allow the information to come in, and then work with it that way.
So, largely, when you when you are working with cognitive overload, it’s time to go for a walk in the park, you know, take some time out, walk the dog, visit it a friend, you know, any place where you can bring your brain waves down to a, you know, calmer state, even colouring, you know, the colouring, just anything to shift it out of that, you know, rapid fire beta, and yeah, and then, and then you can go back and look at it. So, sometimes you also use a metaphor. I was working with an executive pilot at one point, and it would be more a matter than of just, okay, you’re flying over landscape, how do things look from there, from that landscape?
So there’s a number of ways of doing it.
Nathaniel Schooler 6:52
Yeah, and there were lots of sort of techniques. I mean, I have a coach I’ve been working with for a long time. And I don’t know, probably about six months ago, I had so many tasks to do, and so much stress going on that I needed a way of a way of just calming the brain down. So what she said was, right, why don’t you just draw a lot of draw a lot of circles on a piece of paper. And every time you cross off one of your tasks, or do a task, you just colour one in, and I found that really, really useful at the time, it was necessary for me, but I’m kind of getting a lot better now. But it is working out if that task is really important, if that decision has to be made now, or tomorrow, or whenever.
How do you decide if something is, you know, important or urgent? I mean, like, because important things or say it’s not important, but, you know, it will become important if you don’t do something with it. I mean, I struggle with categorizing the non important, important and urgent things.
Dawna Jones 7:59
Yeah, a really good question. Because it’s relative to what you know, is the is the follow up question is this because I love that example you just gave of if, if I make this decision now that I can offset a whole bunch of stuff down the road, those ones get typically dropped off. And then organizations are running on panic and or crisis mode all the time, which means the people are running on crisis mode all the time. And then that means that people are under stress, more stress than they need to be.
So, you know, those are the ones that you recognize, if you’ve got that kind of foresight operating, which you can only have, you know, when you’re listening to your intuition, that’s the only time that kind of signal will wave itself at you. And then, you know, okay, I’ve got to deal with this. Those ones are really valuable to take pressure off you and off of the other people in the in the world you’re in as well. So those ones are the ones you pay attention to.
I think there’s also especially in organizations where people are running like crazy to get meet targets and deadlines. And, you know, it’s really just to say, why am I running because at some point, you’re just doing your in autopilot. And somebody I was talking to yesterday said, it’s like being on hypnotic state for a long period of time, hypnotically doing the same thing over and over again, and I think rolling back and just say, why am I doing this exactly?
What is the purpose of this?
And don’t mean purpose in terms of lower purpose, like, I’m doing this so that I get my pay check or I’m doing this. And when I say that, I’m referring to the fact that it’s, it’s meeting a basic need, you’re looking at it from a higher level and saying, you know, what is the contribution that this decision is working toward?
Is there a bigger goal at stake here?
And can I see it?
Because generally, it helps people to see what the goal is, it helps people to know, am I doing something meaningful or not. And that helps we, that helps weed out a whole lot of those little micro decisions that will take us there, but may also distract you. And so you can start weaving, you know, sifting those out and looking at the ones that are really pivotal to getting the goal accomplished.
Nathaniel Schooler 10:10
Yeah, I think a lot of people they spend, you know, they have to actually check their emails all the time. But for people that have the luxury of not of not actually checking their emails all the time, it’s, it’s lovely to, you know, because you can look at those emails and say:- “Well, I don’t actually need to look at those emails. Right now, I’ve got some more important do you know.”
For example, I mean, if someone makes an introduction to you, for example, you know, and you know what time zone they’re in, let’s give that as an example, say they’re over in America. I mean, I had some introductions from someone who’s at IBM today, and she gave me them yesterday. And so now, today, I’ve got all the follow ups from all of those, you know, people in New York are following up before people in San Francisco, because they’re up earlier, and, you know, and it’s like, well:-
“Am I am I actually going to die by not sending that person an email?”
“Is it going to stress me out to the point where actually, if, if I do do it, I’m overworked and I’m exhausted and I’m going to be burned out?”
Or:- “Can I leave it a few hours and do it when I’ve spoken to Dawna?”
Because my working day unfortunately, needs to be longer because I have to catch up with these people. So that’s how I manage that particular decision. For example, I mean, I had a people can just take the slot. I mean, like, if someone says to me, you know, I’ll send someone a message the other day, I said, “Look, I would like to interview you about sexual harassment.”
Because this is, this is a big topic. And so the lady got back to me, then today. She said, Yes, that’s great. Send an email to my PA. So I sent this guy an email, and I don’t get an email back for like, it’s gotta be like, a week or something. And I was just like:- “I’m going to put your content right in front of like, so many companies, and you you’ve entrusted your PA right with, with thinking about how important that is.”
It worries me that that people are actually just making the wrong decisions.
Dawna Jones 12:38
Yeah, that’s a really good example. Because I have seen that as well. And experience does exactly the same thing where you’ll reach out, and it’s an important conversation, but it’s a month and a half before they get back to you. And I think somewhere there’s been some broken synapse in conversation between, here’s what I need you to, you know, what I need, and he here’s how to set these priorities is there as you’re dealing with incoming, and I think there’s some a lot of assumptions made? Well, I know, there’s a lot of assumptions made, it doesn’t matter whether it’s personal or organizational communication. But there’s a lot of assumptions that get made when those details are not, you know, specific specified.
Nathaniel Schooler 13:18
Dawna Jones 13:19
If someone just says, Well, I know, you know, if I refer somebody to you, I’m expecting you’re going to contact them, you wouldn’t necessarily state that you would assume that they would understand that that’s, in fact, what we’re what you’re needing. But I think in many cases, it has to be much more explicit.
Nathaniel Schooler 13:35
Yeah, communication is so difficult. I was reading some of the other day. And actually, I listened to listen to a Harvard Business Review podcast about communication, because I was just, I was just lost, I was just sort of, like, blaming myself that communications have gone wrong. And I actually listened to this and it’s like, well, if you look at, you know, the world, and you look at how quickly, we’ve moved from speaking, face to face to speaking on the telephone, to text messaging and emailing. And then social media, which just creates a whole new complexity of “hyperbole”, that’s one of the words I would I would use, but there is so much to learn. And, and, and what this actually said was that using emojis is a really good idea when you’re actually emailing people, because it helps to set the tone of your email. I just thought about this quite a bit. And I thought, well, actually, can’t you just gotta do the opposite and write something and say, Well, how about I have removed all emotion from this email?
That should be like, your header for the email, right. And, and, and so so I don’t know, I think a lot a lot is lost in translation. And it might actually affect the decision making as well, right? I mean, in your, in your book, how do you how do you kind of take people through the sort of steps on on on decision making for dumb people like me?
Dawna Jones 15:14
You’re not dumb, you know that.
But you know, it’s funny, because when I wrote the book, that when they asked me the book on decision making, I was sort of me, you know, because I’d been facilitating decision processes with multiparty stakeholder, I mean, just really tough stuff, complex issues across a wide range of parties. And I sort of like, I was like:- “Okay, I’m done with that. “
And then when they came along, and asked me to do that, and I thought, you know, really, it’s the doorway, just about everything. And it’s the doorway to who we become, when challenged as individuals, what role and organization plays in the world today, what role of business place in the world today?
So I thought, “Gosh, I better take another look at this, and, and dig a little bit deeper.”
And so I did. And, of course, what I realized was, when I facilitated these multi party conversations, stakeholder decision making, which is you take that you take it apart, you’ve got all the screen criteria, all the linear things that we recognize.
And what I’ve learned is that people will invariably feel better when they’ve made that decision intuitively as well. So they, you know, all the numbers and facts will add up all the linear side. But, but then they’ll be this, this intuitive leap of faith that says, Let’s go here. And, and it’s, it’s, that’s really what what I found I was doing when I was started writing it, because yes, there’s the sequential gather your data, look at your options, you know, very linear, it never works like that.
It’s a very messy process, let’s face it. And so, you know, in a perfect world, it would look like that. But this world is, you know, you’re not going to have all the data you need when you need it. And so when I started working on it, I thought, well, who else has been doing some really interesting work in the field of intuition and, and just merging these two domains of oneself together, and Gary Kleine’s work was brilliant and nationalist of decision making. And he was, he was a contributor in terms of helping me, I translated his map, which was part of the US military conversation about how we actually intuitively file through multiple options, and pick one in a millisecond, less than a millisecond.
This is where we have to go to, because a good 90 to 95% of the decisions we make every day, we’re not consciously aware, but we give all the attention to the ones that we are consciously aware of, you know, the ones where we’ve got the options, and you’ve got the time to think it through. But at the executive level, you know, you you are taking in information along the way data along the way data points along the way, including, hopefully, emotions.
Nathaniel Schooler 17:56
Dawna Jones 17:56
Because if you don’t, you’re not going to get your timing right. And then, the psychology of the situation accurately assessed or understood. And then you make any of that intuitively, you know, most of those strategic decisions at the top are extremely, they follow that, that blend, whether it’s intuition, rational intuition, it doesn’t matter so much the order so, so there was that element of it.
And then there was also knowing what I learned about the heart maths work about, you know, the hearts intelligence and, and just simple basic anatomy, which is, you know, the Vegas nerve and, and the information going from the heart to the brain. So it’s all of these things blended together. And then what I also added to, that was my own experience, working with groups on as I said, tough stuff.
But then there is personal growth, personal experience and how stress takes you offline.
So naturally, that takes you into the neuroscience of the whole thing. And, and there’s a lot less of that in the, in the decision making for dummies book more of the biology and the, you know, the workplace environment kind of conversation, but, but those are the things so it sounds complicated or complex, if you will, depending, those two different domains if you but, but realistically, it’s more a matter of just paying attention to what’s going on. And yes, there’s a role for linear and there’s a role for intuitive and quite frequently, the best option is to have those the best approaches to blend those two and unknowingly do so.
Nathaniel Schooler 19:34
Right. Yeah, my Dad says, right, what you do is you get a piece of paper and you and you just draw a line down the middle. And then one side you write, you know, this is this is one decision, and then these are the plus points and this is the bad points. You see. That’s That’s what he said to do. I quite like that. I quite like that idea.
Dawna Jones 19:57
It has been proven to not be as accurate as one would hope. You know, I think the statistics are that if you’ve got three valid, viable options to look at your statistics going to be more accurate than you would be if you’ve got binary this or this.
Yeah. Now, of course, if you’re working with a three year old and you’re trying to get them to dress, sometimes binary works just fine. You want to wear this or that.
But when you’re working in in the context of organizational larger decisions that have bigger impact, then then you’re looking for three viable options.
Nathaniel Schooler 20:32
Dawna Jones 20:33
When people are afraid what they do is they narrow down to one, they say:-
“This is the only thing we’ve got in front of us, it’s the only option we’ve got!” And that sometimes it’s true, no, you know, no question. But the other question is, well, what else have we not considered that we could put on the table and need to look at? What outlier ideas can we bring in and take a look at?
Because more often than not, organizations push conformity to an excruciating extent and when they do that they eliminate all those innovative approaches that could have both mitigated the risk and or created an innovative moment and that’s the other reason why why I suggest at least bringing the options then from the outlying thinking, you know, the people that you would normally go all their crazy, they come up with the craziest ideas super go get em.
Nathaniel Schooler 21:27
Well, that’s the thing it is an innovative mindset, isn’t it? It’s is really, really important. There’s so much I’ve been talking a lot to a lot of people about that recently. I thought, so too. What’s his name? Dr. Churchill, Dr. Pano Churchill yesterday, or day before yesterday, he’s the founder of American angels. They do like, you know, angel investment and stuff. But we were talking about decision making, and like growth hacking, and innovation and stuff like that. It’s fascinating, really, really interesting, let me know, and that’s when that’s out there.
But I think we should move on to the next to the next topic. I know, you’re also very knowledgeable, our organizational strategy management and how strategy changes when there’s exponential change underway. And it’s like a mindset shift, right?
Dawna Jones 22:22
Massive, absolutely massive.
Nathaniel Schooler 22:27
Dawna Jones 22:30
How do we begin? You know, one of the, I think the simplest way of putting it is a traditional strategy. And again, I facilitated a ton of that. Traditional strategy is based on here we are now and here’s where we want to be in the future. And then the strategic part is between the two goalposts here we are now we don’t know what the future is going to look like, you no longer have that goalpost.
So what you’re doing then is rethinking it completely different, and bringing it back down to:-
“What’s our purpose?
What’s our higher purpose?
What do we really want to do in the world making a difference?
And, of course, if companies are not looking at regenerating the nature systems that they’ve been drawing down on for, you know, hundreds of years, couple hundred years of commerce commercial endeavour, then they need to be because that is the big one of the biggest threats, we’ve got both whether its climate change, or at the top of the list or ecological breakdown, that is a massive challenge.
Nathaniel Schooler 23:32
Dawna Jones 23:32
For civilization. And so if companies are not looking at that, and saying, Look, how can we collectively put our wider band of intelligence on this, then they need to be that’s, that’s critically important. So I think that’s what we’re starting to look as is these companies that are doing exponential work, are thinking way past:- “What am I going to do three, five years from now?”
They’re thinking, what is the big contribution, what’s the highest, you know, the 10X with you put it in Google or X PRIZE terms, you know, what’s the next goal, and then you can bring that back down to what do I do in the next period of time?
But mindful that goal is always moving that there’s always dinette, you know, a dynamic and so again, you know, decision making has always been designed around predictability and linear. If we do this causality, if we do this, then this will happen, we do that, that there’s nothing guaranteeing that so you really have to pay attention. It means, you know, not falling asleep once the decision has been made.
But going back and saying:-
How did this play out?
Did it go right or wrong?
If it went badly wrong. We need to learn from that process.
Nathaniel Schooler 24:38
Dawna Jones 24:38
Not ignore it, not try to pretend it didn’t happen. Or it’s not my fault. But more:- “What did happen? What can we learn from that?”
So I think that’s where strategy starts taking you into a growth mindset, and looks at it very much in terms of what’s emerging and responding to what’s emergent. So it’s not saying:- “Well, there’s no plan.”
No, not that. But but it’s to say it, you know, if you set it, if you break it into goals, then then you’re at you’re in, or you’re adding it you’re working at at one bit at a time. And I hope that distinction is clear, because, this is about the opportunity we have today to really look at things and go reach reach larger, much, much larger, I think that’s the way our human ingenuity and engagement is really sourced in those bigger, bigger 10X goals.
Nathaniel Schooler 25:29
Right. So it’s really down, it’s really back into the corporate social responsibility. And, actually, you know, what, what does our enterprise want to do?
And then actually involving the people externally, internally to move that forward, right? I mean, because we can all make a difference. But then you’ve got a, then you’ve got an even bigger issue, if you like, which is the governmental level and you’ve got countries who are, you know, potential, actually not actually going to help very much. I mean, you know, you we’ve got Canada, which is doing a great job, right, we’ve got, we’ve got, you know, certain European countries that are amazing in terms of recycling, like Sweden is just insane. Yeah, but then we’ve also got China who have got all this innovation. And they’ve said:- “Well, yeah, we can, you know, we can clear up the smog and whatever, and create all these amazing innovations.”
But then they won’t sign a sign a document or a treaty to move forward. So then what you’re saying, is that it needs to be more around the businesses. And what I struggle with thinking about is how that fits in with the government. You see, I think there needs to be more of a collaborative approach myself.
Dawna Jones 26:52
It would, it would be lovely to have that. But, you know, the reality is that Richard Barrett, a colleague of mine did “Nation state consciousness.” And when you look at through nations through that lens, you can see they’re not capable, some of them, at least, are not capable of making those big decisions.
They’re not capable of working with complex issues, because they’re working at basic needs, you know, they’re still working at that level. And so, which is totally fair.
Nathaniel Schooler 27:19
Dawna Jones 27:19
The distinction is, then in order to meet those basic needs, this is where we have to get extremely ingenious. So we’re not just doing it through power, or corruption, and all those negative kinds of things. But we’re doing it using some ingenuity again, so. So I think this is where business leads. And I also think it’s where citizens lead and it would be ideal if government stepped in, sometimes they do, sometimes they sabotage efforts. But I also think that this is where business can do a lot to help ensure that or mitigate that risk. It doesn’t mean that’s going to be perfect. We’ve got nations that will trump that as well. But it still means that we’ve got the opportunities to try something else.
Nathaniel Schooler 28:00
Yeah, but we need to monitor what’s going on as an enterprise, each department needs to monitor what’s going on within their particular remit. And then they need to go to the CEO or their line manager or, you know, whomever and then actually say:- “Well, this is a risk, this is something that that can potentially really hurt our business, we need to do something about it.”
Then someone makes a decision somewhere to give them the budget, because it’s all around budget, isn’t that everything’s to do with budget, right? So then it’s like, well, how are we going to actually do something about this? What what are we going to do? And, you know, is, is that is that is that thing we’re going to do going to actually help? Or is it really just sort of bit of a shallow, late effort?
Dawna Jones 28:58
I appreciate that question. Because I just was an article on purpose washing, and I thought. Oh, no, they’re taking absolutely everything that has meaning, and turning it into something that doesn’t have meaning any more. And this is, you know, if we look at the source of depression and anxiety in the world today, it’s got a lot to do with disconnection from what has meaning.
So a couple of things. I mean, you mentioned earlier, social corporate social responsibility, I think it’s just about responsibility period. And let’s be responsible for our people for the social interactions. Because when we’re responsible for the social interactions, then high quality ones, we actually make better decisions as an entire company, when you’re working in hierarchies. hierarchies, use control in a centralized way, typically, you don’t get necessarily rid of the hierarchy. But you use control differently, you you release, you know, the need to control risk, you have to manage change, and all of these things.
And you, you instead, work with them as, opportunities to gain more agility. In thinking agility, in response, escalate those issues faster and pull out the holding the limiting patterns that hold things back. So most organizations that are built on hierarchies like that middle or large, doesn’t matter are built for stability. And they’re built for conformity they don’t like surprises, that’s the neuroscience of it all. They don’t like surprises. And so when the surprise comes, they’re going to do their best to kind of, you know, just sort of, either ignore it, and hope that nothing happens, or, or reduce it down to something, they feel can control. And that’s kind of like, in terms of personal growth, for business, that’s, like, completely walking away from the opportunity to make a big jump in contribution in role, you know, and in profitability overall.
Nathaniel Schooler 30:55
Dawna Jones 30:55
So, yeah, so I’m trying to offer a different way of seeing that.
Nathaniel Schooler 31:00
I get it. What you’re, what you’re referring to, is a kind of innovative thinking, isn’t that really, it’s a mindset of growth, which just enables people to take the right ideas to the right people, and those people will in essence, they will listen to the right, those ideas. And if they think that they are, you know, really going to make a difference, then someone’s going to do something about it quite quickly. I mean, that’s, it’s really about being more Japanese, in, in management style, right? More consensus, instead of, kind of, yes, there’s a hierarchy. But there must be a communication method to get from here to there quickly.
Dawna Jones 31:45
Yeah, that’s true. But and again, in hierarchies, which you’ve also got our people who are associate leadership with authority. And so they will use that authority to make themselves feel better about themselves on whatever level of need is going on for them. And that’s the other that’s the other opportunity for growth in this. So that if someone raises the risk, then whistle-blowers are that that whole scenario, whistle-blowers a tremendous opportunity to see what happens when you raise a risk, and the system pushes back, you know, the system meaning these, this loyalty to the way things have always been done, that that pushes back. And I think this is where, you know, self leadership is critical collect, you know, collectively standing up and for, for what’s right. And for what, what’s, what does no harm basically. So, I mean, this is one of the things that we put in the “From hierarchy to high performance” in the last book I just contributed to, which has seven other authors, and we really tried to take each chapter to take a different angle on it, so people could see their different entry points to the conversation and different different lenses to use when you’re looking at your own organization. And what’s going on in that.
Nathaniel Schooler 33:01
That’s interesting. So that’s all about organizational management, right? Is that is that fair to say?
Dawna Jones 33:07
Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s also about because the big buzzword, right now is digital transformation. So then that, and then you have interpretations of that you have everything from better marketing to, and I’m just going to do a program with a colleague of mine who’s looking at what happens to operations, when digital innovation takes place.
The question that hasn’t been talked about, and a number of my colleagues who worked on the book are dealing with this space, but it’s, it’s that question of :- “What the impact is this have on people?”
So when we talk about robotics, AI, all these things, normally, people respond in fear, that’s a natural psychological response, because it’s or neurological response because it’s one of those ones like:- “I don’t know, what’s going to happen.”
It removes an enormous amount of certainty from the equation. But equally when you were in create, when you add uncertainty, it’s an opportunity for challenge and growth. And so this is where, instead of running off and fear, and then we have the opportunity collectively to say, all right, well:-
“How can we use this to advantage?”
And how can we make smarter decisions about it?
So I’m seeing lots of conversations about ethics and AI. AI is developed by people, it’s going to have human attributes, how do we how do we work with that intelligently without just sort of pretending it’s not going to be a factor because somehow now we’ve, we’ve delegated human intelligence to the artificial side of it. I mean, we will always be able to do a lot more than a machine.
Nathaniel Schooler 34:43
Yeah, very much so. And, you know, I was talking to, I was talking to Churchill, Dr. Churchill on a couple of days back about this. And, he laughed he made this reference to he said- he doesn’t think we’re going to be living like the Jetsons anytime soon. And, and, and he just sort of laughed and then he said, but you know, if it all goes wrong, like Elon musk who smokes all this weed that will end up like living out of the Flintstones, you know. I just thought it was priceless. Absolutely hilarious.
But there’s far too much hype around AI and all this. I mean, I talked to a lot of machine learning experts. One of them was saying he gets approached by top CEOs.
They’re like, “Well, we need AI.”
And he’s like:- “Well, yeah, okay, well, do you realize that, you know, you’re going to have to increase your staffing by by two times as many to actually get that AI to work for two years. Yeah. And then you might be able to reduce or at least change your workforce.”
The hype that has been generated by these tech companies does not explain the fact that if you want to streamline something, it’s a very specific process. If you want to get a race car to drive around a track on its own. Yeah, and have the right speed and not fly off the track because the tires are cold, because you haven’t worn them up enough. You have to, you have to experiment and experiment and experiment forever to get that to actually work. Yeah, and yes, they can do that. But that’s one track. Yeah, right. And that I just, I’m just, I’ve had enough of the hype that’s involved. But there are amazing things that are happening with machine learning. It is truly amazing. And, you know, I’m still quite hyped about it. I’m not, I’m, you know, I’m not gonna lie. I’m quite passionate about it.
But. I think, I think in terms of like, you were saying, you know, in terms of sort of change management people.
I’ve got a title here for this part of our of our conversation, you know,
“Why play and people work more effectively to respond to change”
I mean, I think if we’re playing and we’re working at the same time, yeah, work life integration. I was talking to talking to Mike Tobin OBE about that the other day, he’s got a book about literally work life integration. Yeah. And, and I think that’s the major issue, is that we don’t really know what it looks like, yet. We’re quite scared. Because at the moment, we seem to be working more than we were working before all of this stuff started happening. And I think it’s like, it’s like this pendulum swings. And at the moment you know, we’re sort of over there. But actually, when the pendulum starts to swing a bit more slowly, and ends up in the middle, everything will sort of be a little bit easier for people, at least, that’s what they promised us the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, you know, I mean, what’s happened with that? How are we going to do it?
Dawna Jones 38:17
Yeah, exactly. And, I mean, I find it, I run it, by the way, you’ve got somebody in the UK, Robbie Stamp, who I’ve interviewed on my podcast about AI, and ethics.
Nathaniel Schooler 38:27
Dawna Jones 38:27
Yeah, and he breaks it down beautifully. Because he, he sort of specifies the areas that we need to pay attention to, if we’re going to actually use AI to advantage because people, you can see the ones that are built based on based on the movies where the machine rebuilt, is going to get rid of humanity, because it’s the superior being, and, or whatever. But we’ve got, we’ve got the opportunity to do things quite consciously, and be aware of it. And, and that means, for example, when we’re talking about AI, and robotics, we’re not using a fraction of the human talent in our organizations. That’s why the engagement statistics are the way they are.
And yet we’re off trying to develop a whole bunch of things that will augment, you know, humanity, augment human contribution, without necessarily knowing how to tap into the what the contribution we’ve already got sitting there on idled for my heart. So I think I think we’ve gotten when people listen about AI, and robotics, I think they need to be extremely mindful that they themselves all of these can open up opportunities for them to contribute at much more fulfilling levels than they currently are.
And I’m hoping that they don’t do something stupid, like introduce robotics into medicine, and remove the intuitive part because that is the part that frequently saves lives where your diagnostics fail, there is always that that undercurrent of intuition that pulls out leaps, leaps of of diagnosis, if you will, that allow for a completely, you know, more accurate approach. So I think, I think we’ve got lots of opportunity here, when these when AI or robotics come up, we just have to be not in fear around it. And to recognize that there is places where we need to be cautious, and we need to pay attention. And we need to ask a lot of questions and make, you know, invoke our curiosity and then decide how do we want to approach it, as opposed to just falling into it, and, you know, letting it run the show.
Nathaniel Schooler 40:37
What DR Churchill and I were saying was, you know, he shares my opinion, which people actually forget that, if:-
“Let’s just imagine that in the, in 10 years, 20 years, 50% of the population don’t work.”
If that 50% of the population of the planet don’t work, what that means is, there will be an entire economic catastrophe, which means consumerisation will die. Okay, so all of those companies that have brought AI in and they’ve got rid of as many people as they can, without, without having an ethical approach to, you know, for instance, charitable donations, or letting people own a share of their business, for example, when they promote it, you know, just as an example, then that will kill consumerisation all together, and then those companies will die.
So, it really is in their own interests, to think about this in terms of the change management that we’ve just talked about. Because that’s just like, that’s the biggest threat, yes, we’ve got the climate change, which can, I believe can be fixed, I think we need more information on it, I think that we need to know how many trees we need to plant and if planting those trees will actually do as much as we hope it would do. Because there’s trees and there’s also there’s also sustainable building and there’s, there’s obviously, you know, electricity and where it comes from, and then and then, you know, stopping using oil and whatever else. But it’s like, we we need to have a total data lead approach to actually working out what is going on. And what that effect of the change that we’re going to have on that business is gonna is going to do to the people within it. And the people who are around it and their families and the and the world as a whole, right. I mean, that’s kind of sums it up. Yeah,
Dawna Jones 42:44
It does beautifully, because it is it brings it right back to what’s our impact on people on the ecological systems that support us, you know, it brings that responsibility right back down to what impact are we having? And where do we need to be much more responsible in our decision making to take those impacts that into account and designed for better outcomes?
Nathaniel Schooler 43:08
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s certainly going to be a very interesting few years. It’s very interesting. Now, on a theoretical level, I mean, I think, you know, a lot of companies have started the AI arms race, China has, has, at this point, taken some of their test cases, and they’re actually ramping up the usage of those AI machine learning software tools, whereas America did not invest enough or as much so they are, in essence, just doing the trials. But that’s not far behind. I mean, I think that China will have wasted a lot of money, there will be a lot of wasted AI experiments from people that just took the funding and hired a few programmers.
But I think that there are usage use cases, which are very, very helpful for the world. I mean, if you think about counter terrorism, and and actually what a I can be, you know, people don’t even realize that when they go to the airport, they’re being monitored by AI, you know, and if they look suspicious, that computer will flag them up, and then someone will speak to them, they don’t even realize that, yeah, they don’t realize that in the towns where they are walking around, that they are being monitored by a computer, because it’s not possible to monitor all these computer screens, 1 person, or 10 people, or 20 people, there’s too much space.
So what interests me is how to actually change an organization, but actually, like, you’re saying, you know, make provision for the future, and it’s for the leaders or for anyone involved, it’s difficult, because it’s ultimately it’s the people who say, look, I think I’ve got this great idea where I could use a special at all, I know what it needs to do, okay, and I know what I need to do to make sure it works properly. So my job will be safe, I won’t have to work as hard. And I will have less room for error, right.
So everyone in that organization needs to needs to get involved with it. So if I was in an organization, and I was heading up a big, big organization, I would, and I was implementing digital transformation. And I wanted AI, what I would do is, I would actually get everyone to put all their job, everything that they do on a daily basis together and think, and I would tell them what AI is capable of now, and then I would put that into some project management tool, which would then rank that cost saving, because the cost saving is important in terms of any accuracy as well of what doing because there’s two elements that it can help with, and then I would start making decisions. Do you think that’s a fair way to look at it?
Dawna Jones 46:12
Yeah, yeah, it is. I mean, again, I’ve got a colleague who who’s putting together and distributed decision making app, and it will have AI components in it, because that’s, that’s where there is predictable patterns and behaviour. And so you’re really using in my world, at least, you’re using the AI to, to support the parts that are done faster than repetitive parts that are done faster by AI, then then perhaps humans. So you’re really looking for ways to mitigate by some of the human failings that we have knowing, of course, that is designed by people.
But still, there’s an opportunity there, through how we design it, to mitigate some of the things that result in the kinds of decisions, we see it certainly at the political level today. So I’m not, I’m not sure what it would look like.
But I do know that we can use these tools to our advantage, but we have to be very thoughtful about what the impacts are on, on humans, and their plate and the place in the world, you know, the bigger question, yeah, and then, and then, of course, what are we trying to achieve by doing this. So, you know, and, and I think that’s, again, where I looked at it from a health point of view. And I thought, well, you know, there’s, if you or even a car mechanic, I have found that when companies that are repairing their cars, they use these checklists. And, and so those things, you know, it computers do it. Now, they run through those checklists, but you will have a mechanic who’s got a lot of experience, really, really a tune. And he will say something like, and I’ve talked to them on planes, he will say something like, it didn’t sound right.
Nathaniel Schooler 48:03
Dawna Jones 48:04
And he will follow that sound, and then find out that it was something that the diagnostics miss completely.
Nathaniel Schooler 48:12
Right. Because it’s gut instinct. Exactly.
Dawna Jones 48:16
Nathaniel Schooler 48:16
So in essence, run through the whole conversation that we’ve, that we’ve just had. It’s, it’s about using whatever method of decision making you’re using, but also reminding yourself that you are human, and that your gut instinct that you feel could actually be supported by all of that data and information, right?
Dawna Jones 48:40
Yep. If it’s run by it, we have a problem. Yeah. But if, if it’s supported, that’s ideal. And, I mean, that’s why in the chapter I wrote for, for, from hierarchy to high performance, I sort of realized that, gosh, you know, here we are doing all these self driving cars and all these sensors. And we’re trying to duplicate what humans already have. And that’s, that’s fascinating, because here, we are trying to duplicate what we already have been point don’t use it in organizations to sense through what how to navigate ahead, you know, how to apply it to strategy, which is where we started this conversation. We don’t use those sensory devices that those sensitive capacity, you know, to detect the future. We don’t do that. We just ignore that. And hence, we’ve got this ridiculous. disengagement statistics.
Nathaniel Schooler 49:31
Dawna Jones 49:32
But then we turn around and go:- “Okay, well, let’s design cars around what we like our capacity to gauge things.” And I just find that so contradictory in so many ways.
Nathaniel Schooler 49:44
Yeah, that’s a very good point, actually. I mean, I think it’s about taking in my mind, it’s about it’s about just changing the way we look at our lives. So if you can imagine, very few people will have an office. Yeah, if you can imagine that our cars will become our offices. So having a self driving car is a necessity as opposed to a car just for fun, or just forget to a to b, it’s like, well, you need to have one because that’s your office. So then the car will drive you and it will arrange meetings for you, with your colleagues and whatever along the way. So you could you could, you know, and it will change those meetings based upon traffic, or lunchtime, or whatever other meetings your your system puts in the diary. Right. But what you said there was quite interesting about, emotional, social, intuitive intelligence, and the role of sensing, overthinking is what is what you were sort of talking about. And I’d like to hear more about that actually.
Dawna Jones 50:58
Well, I mean, I, I’m not the only one talking about this, but it’s very much How can I say it? There’s so much data in the workspace. There’s so much data in the world today, that if you you have to be very mindful of where you patch in? Where do you focus? What do you focus on?
And so you’re always taking this data in with you know it or not, the there’s plenty of research out there on that heart math is done, probably the heart methods, who’s probably done the best job of putting it all together, and some people go with I don’t like that research with that, that’s okay. But I can tell you from someone who’s quite sensitive, energetically sensitive, it’s accurate, because when you go into environments, it’s very easy to detect what the emotional social safety is. And you can tell by how the decisions you can tell by the spirit in the workplace.
Do people care?
Do they reach out?
Do they keep to themselves?
There’s all of these these signals that tell you:-
“What’s the health here?”
“What’s the well-being of these conversations?”
“What is the quality of these conversations?”
Can they ask the difficult questions and not fear that they’re going to lose their jobs?
Is it a place where you can actually just put out boldly:-
“Look, here’s an unethical what we’re doing unethically”
If they could have had that conversation in a company in a company like Wells Fargo, for example, where that was just a nightmare. And they couldn’t see it at the top. But you can certainly see it at the employee level. So can the employee then say:-
“Look, this is this is what’s going on? I can’t breathe at night!
Right away, there’s a signal there, this is all the data that tells you what are we doing here, what’s going on. And that, you know, if you can detect that at the, you know, whatever level if you’ve got a distributed decision making process throughout the organization much better, because then it’s faster response, you can waive those alerts. But if you don’t have distributed decision making, then you have to have people who are in those centralized authority positions who are extremely solid as humans.
Nathaniel Schooler 53:09
Can you explain what distributed decision making is, please?
Dawna Jones 53:13
Well, I mean, basically, the premise behind that is that the person who’s best equipped to make the decision is the one closest to what’s going on. And that really gets rid of the bias of, I’m going to make a decision on your behalf. But I don’t really know what’s going on. I’m working with marginal data, but I’m the one who has the authority to make that decision. So I’m going to make it and and I’m not having a clue. And I’m, there’s no shortage of commentary on the senior top four levels of management don’t have a clue what’s going on past those top four levels. So they’re missing all this information.
So it basically says, look, we’re going to distribute the decision making to the level where it makes the most amount of sense. And, and, I mean, certainly, they do that in construction when you’re building something. Good idea. And, but we don’t do that in organizations. So this is where you gain greater agility, because you’re, you’re giving the decisions back to the people that are closest to it. They have the data they might have, in self management, governance models, they might have commitment agreements.
As Dr Patrick, my colleague, Dr. Patrick talks about, where where, you know who you’re committed to go and see in order to consult on specific decisions. So it really that that’s what we’re talking about here. And taking sensory means taking into account the emotional, social and the ecological, you know, what’s our relationship to things, communities that we’re in the customers that we have, what’s the bigger dynamic because otherwise, these companies spend too much time focusing on inner goals for getting that they have a wider, you know, they’ve got customers to pay attention to, and even more importantly, society. So it’s a very big, big container, shall we say, you know, that that goes from the planet, right down to every decision and every company at every level.
Nathaniel Schooler 55:14
So it’s throughout this is the corporate social responsibility and the mission of the business, right. So like, you know, I mean, I was talking to a chat the other the other week about so what he’s done is he’s created a distillery.
Okay. And he actually encouraged farmers to start planting barley again, so they could make whiskey, right? And, and I sort of said, You know, I was open the conversation about and I said:- “Well, it’s an amazing, you know, that you can, you can do this?”
And he’s like:- “Well, hold on a minute. This is a serious business that we’re in. However, that is a by-product of this business.”
And I mean, I think that’s, in essence, what, you know what, I think the confusion in my brain is like, Well, you know, we are struggling with all of these things in the world. And we’ve got all of these social enterprises, non-profits and stuff. And it’s like, well, it’s still a business, the non-profit is still a business. It’s just more focused upon helping the world, that there’s no reason why a business couldn’t actually help the world more than a non-profit if it had the right team, the right ethics, the right drivers, it’s kind of thing.
Dawna Jones 56:41
Absolutely I mean, you know, b corps were designed around that, because the whole idea originally was that you build value, and then you sell it and, and you you basically take that value apart. And, the goal was, well, why do we do that? Why are we doing that? When we build something that has a legacy to it, it has so greater value so, you know, b corps came up around that, and then ran into the legislation that said, companies can exist for profit only, they’re not allowed to do anything else. And so that legislation has been systematically changed as a result of that, that initiative, but it’s not the only one.
I mean, there’s their book that I often reference or the person the the, the research I often talk about is Joseph Bragdon’s lamp index, living Asset Management performance, which is a research index and he’s covered the most recent is in companies that mimic life. And that that is companies that are management model is organized around I call it bio-mimicry management. But it’s really around living systems, understanding that organizations are living systems. And so there are ways that those organizations behave collectively, internally and in the relationship to customers, they see not just customers, but ecologically, you know, on a much wider basis, they’re more responsible for every part of their operation. And the decisions are at every level leadership is at every level. And so he’s, he’s written about that on the Huffington Post. And I’ve also done a podcast with him. And, but then there’s the book and that is a, an investment portfolio. And out of that he pulled these seven example are companies that actually understood what they were doing and, and have, you know, succeeded and embedding it even further. And those are the companies that I see at when I go to the World Economic Forum. I see I see those companies taking a leadership role in doing good things. So it is business with benefit, wider benefit, and it does go far beyond social responsibility. CSR, that’s just a nice department. And if they have that department, then there’s a good chance they’re not doing it holds, you know, they’re approaching it holistically there, they’re just sort of, you know, sort of making it the lingerie department, or they separate it out into these divisions.
Nathaniel Schooler 58:56
Do you remember hearing about that person who was at NASA and someone approached them? I think they were I think they were actually the cleaner and someone approached, I don’t forget if it was a lady or gentleman, and someone said, What are you doing here? And I pretty sure it was a pretty sure it was a lady and she said, Well, I’m, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.
So it’s kind of like, what needs to happen is what you’re saying, right, is what I think you’re saying is that the responsibility of the business needs to actually be communicated properly all the way through from the ground all the way up. So everybody actually knows what on earth they’re doing there. And why right?
Yep, yep, absolutely. I agree. And, and, and yeah, and, and I also think that when we were talking earlier about, about overwhelm, and some of these other things, I also think organizations have made it harder for themselves. Because when you are looking for, you know, to make these big jumps, and vision and contribution in value, then then you give a higher beacon. But more a lot of organizations have got like, hundreds of KPIs, they’ve gotten completely absorbed in so many KPI, why are we measuring all these things you actually simplify? How are we doing by one or two or three, you know, shorten it up considerably. And then you can remove a whole lot of complexity that you’ve created that honestly isn’t serving that much of a purpose. I am I did an interview with an energy company in Norway. After I went to a beyond budgeting, I spoken to be on budgeting round table conversation in London. And, and then I interviewed someone from that company later who had gotten rid of the budget in that company. And what they discovered was that when they were budgeting, they were spending 80% of their time looking backwards copying stuff forward. And, and when they got rid of the budgeting, their focus was shifted forward, they flipped it. So, you know, if you’ve got a company, this, it’s got a lot of, you know, massive budgeting processes. There are other ways of knowing how you’re doing and, and you you so you really have to be observant and say, which way am I pointing? Am I pointing behind or ahead. And in today’s world, if you haven’t got 80% of your resources pointing at minimum forward, then you are going to get blind-sided because the past does not determine the future one bit back to what we were talking about with term with respect to strategy. Oh, yeah,
definitely. So we’ve corporate social responsibility, why why it isn’t department or a tag-line? Like, why Why? Why is you know it? So it’s more it’s more than a department, right? Or is it is a way of thinking it should be. But it isn’t. Is that what you’re saying? Or
in some instances it is, in some instances it is. And it’s going to depend entirely on how the company lives it and why they decided what they believe about the role of that particular function. So if they believe that that function is something that is integral to their, you know, success and sustainability as a business and role and wider contribution as a company, either through social, you know, socially or, or ecologically then then they will see that that will just be a way of tagging someone a label, if you will, but but how they perform will be distributed throughout the entire organization, right? If they believe it’s a trend or fad, or a pendulum swing, as I heard, when somebody comments on when I was in, in the divorce in this January, then then No, they’re just using the title to sort of say, look, we’re doing this, we’ve got this report, we put
make more money. Yeah, photos, right?
Yeah. And that’s where that article that I read on purpose washing came out as well. Same idea we’re going to use we’re going to sound like we’re doing great things in the world. But realistically, we’re not. And, you know, I mean, you only people, you’re fooling there, you’re ourselves, because your employees know, and they know whether you’re on track or not, or whether you’re genuine and sincere, and how committed you are to, to being of service to the world.
Yeah, well, it’s, it’s, um, it can be, I’m sure. The motivational entirely foot foot for people in an organization, it’s got to be pretty awful, you know?
Well, yeah, because, again, that’s where, where people start feeling anxious about the future. And that anxiety is a signal, it sort of says, there’s something that needs to be done here, we’re not doing it. And, and, you know, there’s that desire to contribute. And, and that’s where people start disengaging and disconnecting. And so I think that’s really the opportunity then, to go, let’s reconnect and re-engage. But But let’s make it worth doing, let’s make it really worth doing. So purpose is almost like that higher purpose, not the one that says we’re going to meet the targets in the next quarterly target, which is, you know, nice, but doesn’t have a lot of meaning. It would be social that we can, you know, and so, you’re really what this ultimately challenges and people have heard me talk about this before, but it ultimately challenges the rigid belief that profit is a purpose. And it’s not, it is an outcome of doing things that are important in the world. And we have no shortage of really strong entrepreneurs who are demonstrating that repeatedly, and companies as well. So, you know, that’s the that’s the mindset shift. It’s the it’s moving from that narrow to something that’s much more responsible, much wider contribution and, and higher value and higher benefit.
Yeah, I mean, it’s possible to change the world and do amazing things, but it needs to be it needs to be, you know, the people need to need to decide what that is, right? I mean, or at least fit in with the organization, would you would you say,
yeah, I mean, when I look at it, like, for example, when I was in divorced in January, I was watching a panel with Matt Damon Gary whose last name I keep forgetting but he they call co founded water.org bringing water into rural communities and their partners were trade-shift. The CEO of trade shift as well as the I can’t remember the title but from Amstel brewery, so. So they and what they all shared was an interesting water, right, you know, yeah, because beer takes a lot of water.
Yeah, it does. Yeah.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:05:27
Yeah. And so there’s they’re saying, Well, you know, to be responsible, we need to be in on this equation. Because, yeah, we use a lot of water, it’s, it’s part of the onus on our part is to is to recognize that, that that’s an impact we have. So now how can we turn around and, you know, support something that that actually addresses the accessibility to water? So that’s the, you know, you’re looking always for shared goal Where are we sharing responsibility? How can we share responsibility? How can we contribute towards something that is life serving life, no drives life supports life but we can do it in a way where you either take it on ourselves in a big way or we we work with others the example of long us no one or desk has done a tremendous job on that co2 emissions and their employees were the ones that that brought it together so you know, there are places where companies where they demonstrate how to do it generally they won’t be found that will definitely they will not be found on the unethical list ever they won’t be spending their money on lawyers there will be spending their money on on reducing costs right or finding savings as it worked but it more you know finding cost savings in their operations
yeah it’s um it’s it’s an interesting one isn’t it? I mean there’s so much there’s so much that actually needs doing in the world like because you know the homelessness problem and then the food and then you know the environment and then I animal welfare people welfare
there’s just so much that
that can be done. And then we just saw you know, Microsoft apparently is just started donating 25 million to handle homelessness in the Seattle area. Very good. You know, the tech companies have been sort of course, the bed, I would say, but, you know, they’re being pushed to provide some home better housing in San Francisco. I was in San Francisco in November, and you’ve got people living under bridges. And I know it’s ridiculous.
Yeah, look, I had a look at that on TV is awful, like, absolutely awful. Like, there is streets of people like actually whole neighbourhood full of people who are just living on the street. It’s awful.
Yes, technically, what we’re seeing there is that the economy’s the structure of the economy. There’s something not working there. And I mean, that the gap between rich and poor is ever widening. And the question is, what’s happening for the middle? And how is that going to be navigated in the future? So these are bigger questions that demand more thoughtfulness, I think, overall, but definitely more commitment and engagement on the part of corporations and big companies to be a part of the solution instead of the other side of that. So I think, you know, I think this is what makes the whole idea of working with adversity as a growth a means to grow, both in terms of, of how we see things, how we use adversity to reach more deeply and, and use those to create better solutions overall.
Yeah, well, I think anything that really is raising awareness around around these topics is really important. You know, I try to fit in, I would say, what, you know, an episode every so often about homelessness, and that’s what I’ve had two so far on my website.
I’ve got another the one that we see coming out in the next few days of a lady she set up her own charity doing that, that she’s funded herself. And, you know, that’s, that’s quite interesting. But I think, you know, I think in terms of the way that it can be tackled, I think we’ve got the solutions already is literally just a matter of just putting them together and actually making making it work, you know,
Dawna Jones 1:09:24
Yeah, I agree. And, I mean, I can tell you that I spent nine years homeless in pursuit exactly what we’re talking about in pursuit of, of widening the consciousness of individuals, but also companies and taking on a deeper and wider role. And I think now we’re at that place where we can have this conversation, I’ve had a home now for about almost a year
Nathaniel Schooler 1:09:55
I ended up there because, because I was aiming for something that the world wasn’t quite ready for. And I worked hard and, you know, believe that that would be the, the way through, it wasn’t.
Dawna Jones 1:10:07
So I’ve learned a lot about the skills that it takes to rise above and transcend adverse conditions. And, you know, it’s been a tremendous learning experience.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:10:23
Oh, it is. So, you know, pain is unfortunately, the best teacher isn’t it, you know, and, it’s, we either learn from other people’s pain, or we end up just learning from our own. And, it’s very difficult life at times for people is, very hard. And anything that companies and people can do to help others is fantastic, you know, and yeah, there are loads of great things going on right now for, for homeless people.
I was talking to a chat the other day who he’s created a QR code payment application that it goes around your neck, on a land yard, and then people can come along with their phone. And they can actually pay a bank account, which is linked to a care worker. So because you see, there’s a big disconnect, there’s a disconnect between you give people money on the streets, you don’t know what they’re going to spend it on. So then you stop giving people money on the streets, because you feel that they’re spending it on something that they shouldn’t be spending on, right, because that’s generally the way that our minds work a lot of people.
So then you, you think:-“Well, okay, so what if I did give this person some money, and they had someone who is going to help them to spend it in the right place, which is going to get them back into the career that they could have.”
Because actually, we all know that everyone has skills, and it’s a matter of, I think, really encouraging people to, you know, recognize that they do have a genius quality within them. There’s a movement called genius hour in schools, which is a friend of mine, that she launched that I think it’s in like I am sure it’s like 26,000 classrooms.
So it’s like, over 2 million children are for one hour a week doing something “Genius.” They’ve passed 120 laws, they one girl who’s nine years old, she actually created 11 orphanages in her country,
The stuff that these kids are doing, and they’re not even 10 years old. And it’s like, we need to embrace these sorts of things. So that we can actually avoid this potential car crash, that that will happen to us, if we keep suppressing people, because everybody even if you’re in an organization, and you’re not a you’re not feeling valued, right, that’s perfectly normal, to not feel valued. But actually, we need to change that.
We need to actually make those people feel valued, don’t we, so that, then they can create better processes, and they can, you know, find some machine learning to replace some awful things that they’re having to do in their job that they absolutely hate and, and that would improve their lives, because 60% of their time is wasted on that particular work. Just as an example.
On to people management, trust versus controlling, and the difference between autonomy and chaos.
Dawna Jones 1:13:49
So the, the massive shift in mindset between traditionally run companies, which we, you know, we’ve been talking about traditional management, centralized decision making, telling people what to do very much around controlling performance.
So there’s performance management systems and all of that stuff to the other side of the spectrum, which is the self management, commitment, actually, there’s more structure in self management than there is in the centralized control system. But the point being that, that in those kinds of environments, and then in the newer, more adaptive organizations, they, they’re, they’re running on a higher level of trust, they’re capable of handling the tougher issues they’re learning constantly.
So even when something gets thrown at them, that is unexpected, they use it to learn and expand and grow. So you can appreciate, the personal shift that goes from traditionally run, where everything is based on authority. And, controlling or, you know, criticism is considered feedback, which it is not conformity, all of those kinds of things, then switching to something that’s more open, more fulfilling, more trust based, it’s a, it’s a real mind mess.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:15:16
And so yeah, so I put the chaos part in because some people, you know, I’m doing workshops now on navigating the messy middle. And that’s the part that’s in between. and this is really interesting, because when I watch the dynamics happening in a lot of these environments, what what they’re doing when they get the messy middle is defaulting back to the command and control behaviour. It’s nice and safe. It’s familiar, it’s gone.
Dawna Jones 1:15:41
Yeah. And, and that’s where, you know, if you under if you sort of keeping an eye on things, and you’re, and you’re seeing, okay, we’re slipping back here people are criticism is being assumed to be feedback, but it’s, you know, having the opposite effect, that suppressing contribution that then you call up, you know, you’re actually hurt this shift, because it is such a so we’re there’s a lot of, I think, I mean, certainly my experience with being homeless for nine years, for that changed my brain around a whole lot.
Because you have to move from thinking you’re in control to recognizing you don’t have control. And what you can do is control your response, you can work with what shows up, you can accept what’s in the moment, you can be present with it with what’s there, you can be mindful of what you’re thinking how you’re feeling that you can do a whole lot of things.
But it’s not going to involve reaching out and finding a tool and plugging it in and playing and thinking that’s going to fix everything. So within that chaos of the messy middle, there is an emergent order that that can shift toward trust can shift toward greater capacity to learn and work with the unexpected. If, in fact, you cheat sees that moment you recognize that that’s the direction you’re heading. And so I think, I think that this is right now with a question. The biggest challenge we have for all economies in every nation is to really recognize that that shift is essential.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:17:18
We’re not, you know, it’s moving away from and it’s not so much as there’s no loss around it, per Se. I mean, there’s always that fear people have of:- “Oh, my gosh, I’m going to lose control and therefore chaos will result!”
Dawna Jones 1:17:31
No, it’s changing completely how you use control, right? It’s you know, it’s not a matter of throwing away control so that everything goes and you watch the press do that, in fact that the press coverage of Zappos when early took on holacracy which was hilarious, because it was like:- “
“Well, how can you possibly do that? If you let go of control, then everything must fall apart?”
No, it’s not so much. It’s about it’s about controls. Not controlling it’s about you know, it’s about using, you know, self control over trying to control others. It’s using diverse perspectives and views to make something better and in different than you would have if you just had one dominant view.
So, you know, I think this is this is really the key to being able to handle anything that shows up right now, anything from natural disasters, to AI, robotics, any of the other exponential trends that are underway, it’s to know that we are each capable of working with what shows up in a positive way, you may not know what that looks like when it’s finished.
But you are capable of doing that. And so that’s the part that I think is being called out in, in terms of self leadership, organizational leadership, and, and transformation toward those those kinds of ecosystems of, of learning and performance and creative contribution that that will be able to tackle pretty much anything we put in front of it.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:19:05
Yeah, I think it’s quite exciting. Really, if you if you, you know, because a great leader wants to create more leaders, they don’t want, they don’t want to be a manager do that. I mean, it’s the difference between being a manager and a leader, right? I mean, like, there’s a big difference isn’t there because, you know, sure, you can still have good managers, like, there’s nothing wrong with being a manager is there? But if you can give people autonomy to do their job the right way and actually make it work, then the motivation goes through the roof as well, doesn’t it?
Dawna Jones 1:19:39
Nathaniel Schooler 1:19:40
And I think, you know, I think this is a point that the lot of people are wrestling with, is I, you know, especially if you’re a manager, it’s like, what does that mean, I’m redundant? Or what happens to me? Well, certainly, from a financial point of view, there’s been the math, I think, that has been done on the cost of, of management. And it’s, you know, expensive, extremely expensive, but the really, the other question is, what role do you play? You know, do you want to be playing:- “I’m really good at managing crisis 24/7!”
Dawna Jones 1:20:07
Or, you know:- I”‘m contributing to something that’s important in the world.”
And, those two don’t tend to sit in the same place necessarily, you know, usually, if you’re managing crisis, you’re just constantly unresponsive mode, dealing with stuff that’s coming at you. But if you’re working towards something bigger then you’re very much creatively focused, and it uses more of the spectrum of intelligence, then you would use in pure crisis mode. So I think this is, where we have to rethink how we how we frame up this role. And, certainly how it’s delivered is more in terms of engaging others, as opposed to trying to control others, you might serve as a mentor, but you’re not necessarily the boss. And to be honest, this stretches from companies of 6 to 6000 to 60,000 to, you know, pick a number! It doesn’t really matter it it boils down to who are you? And how do you use power, your power?
Nathaniel Schooler 1:21:06
Right and are you just obsessed with power? And what it feels like?
Or are you or are you actually being responsible with your actions?
I mean, that’s, in essence, what, it’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? Like, do you actually want that person to grow and to enjoy their job and to be, you know, in that organization for many, many years and move up, and they might even surpass you where you are in that organization? Or do you want to suppress them to do what you want them to do? So they just get the job done, and go home at the end of the day? And, that’s the kind of kind of thing we’re really talking about, isn’t it?
It is it is exactly. And of course, you know, the person that’s doing the suppressing is the one who’s most out of balance. And that’s the one who, you know, that’s the opportunity there to really look more closely at at one who am I and why do I need to put other people down?
Dawna Jones 1:22:07
I mean, obviously, almost always, it points back to the need for the ego to fulfil some kind of need that that got missed along the way. But it still boils down to responsibility for that growth being accepted at that personal level and saying:- “Yeah, I need to I need to do this!”
So anytime I hear blaming going on in the workplace or their fault, you know, that these organizations are running on victim stance, there’s no there and haven’t reached yet the capacity to co create with what they’re experiencing a tall, so I think that’s the other opportunity is to is to know, when they’ve had too much suppression. And it starts looking like everybody blaming one another for what’s going wrong, you’ve got a real problem in business!
Nathaniel Schooler 1:22:54
Right! By that point, you sort of people are thinking of leaving and finding other things to do on a I suppose?
Well, you’ve definitely lost your good people, your best people, you’ve you’ve lost, the ones that would do the innovation and so forth. If they’ve stayed on after that they’ve probably not got they’ve had to dampen down their creative spirit. Sure.
Dawna Jones 1:23:17
Which means that there it’s going to take time to reignite it because there has to be a whole lot more safety then there is when you come across a victim kind of workplace tone.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:23:27
Dawna Jones 1:23:29
Yeah, it is. It’s not. But then all those are what we call toxic environments. And those are the ones where the accident rates are higher. I mean, it’s just like a series of bad decisions come out of them. So you know, and people are can’t don’t have to do that. They don’t have to work in those. I know that sounds like a well, easy for you to say that that the data but it’s not easy for me to say, or anybody else to say it. It simply is one of those things about what will you accept in your life? And what will you choose to create?
Nathaniel Schooler 1:24:01
And will you lie down at the first sign of adversity? Or will you stand up and see what you’re made of? That book. “Grit” was wonderful. I read that recently Angela Duckworth’s book on “Grit”.
Oh I have heard of that.
Dawna Jones 1:24:15
Yeah, it was great. Because I sort of, you know, when I look back at all the things that have happened to me, I thought, you know, I wonder what happened there?
What was that? And when I read her book, I thought, Oh, thank you. So just a whole lot of things came into sharper clarity, then then they might have otherwise. So yeah, I do. Right. I do recommend that book and through it quite a bit, and wondered how you still standing?
Nathaniel Schooler 1:24:42
Well, I think, I think I think also it’s, it’s, it’s all linked to learning compassion. I mean, if you haven’t been through certain stresses in life, and things like that, unless you really are quite a compassionate and empathetic and sympathetic individual in the first place. It’s very difficult to understand what someone else is going through. I mean, that’s the major positive output that comes from from going through that, you know, stress because it’s stress to the point of desperation, isn’t it?
I mean, when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s, it’s terrible, isn’t it? And you don’t know when it’s going to end as well. I mean, my, one of my, one of my regular guests Michael Tobin OBE. He, launched something called the CEO sleep out in London. And that’s quite a few years ago, but they do that every year. So you get like, the CEO of Barclays Bank, and, you know, all sorts and they go, and they raised kind of, I don’t know, 200,000 pounds or 250,000 every year for homeless young ladies in London, a specific charity. And what he said was, is that there was this chap came up to him, this CEO, came up to him afterwards.
And he said:- “That was awful, Mike, I really you know, understand what it feels like.”
And he said:- “Well, actually, you don’t really because you don’t know when it’s going to be over when you’re actually out there.”
I think that’s the point isn’t it, when you’re going through these these things, you don’t really unless you’ve had a sort of taste or an almost taste. I don’t think you really understand it as well as you could. Unless you have those qualities anyway. Or have friends who’ve, who’ve been through that and actually listen to their stories. It’s very tough out there, you know.
That’s extremely well said, because I know I went through that myself when I mean, looking at everything, okay, well, this is not going to last long. It’s gonna, you know, you sort of make these things up. Yeah. And then nine years later, you go:- “Wow that was longer than I thought!”
Dawna Jones 1:27:01
But it was, it was one of those things that you, you realize:- “If I live for it to end, then I’m not living in the moment at all, I’m not using my time. Well, and I need to, you know, if I’m here, I might as well experience being here. Yeah. And understand what that value has for me. And so it’s funny because now I can look at and go, Okay, this is about being present, you know, but the concept of being present when we talk about it in workplaces, sort of like:- “Yeah, well, sounds a little fuzzy”
But it’s not fuzzy when you’re sitting across from somebody and talking to them and and and talking to them and then looking at your phone you know, it’s it’s it there’s some distinctions that emerge from those kinds of experiences that are invaluable for today. And it was funny because the head of HSBC at at the World Economic Forum made the point that that it is those people that have coming out of depression or anxiety that come to the other side of that, that are better employees, because they know how to what I call bounce forward. They know how to get through that.
And so I personally believe that if you’ve been through any kind of adversity, you are better equipped now to work with the kinds of conditions we have in the world today, which are rapidly changing. There are a lot of surprises coming, you know, there and some people live in bubbles of reality where they go:-
“Okay, I’m feeling nice and safe and secure.” And that may change tomorrow morning.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:28:26
Dawna Jones 1:28:27
We don’t know. And so, but it’s that background, that experience with adversity that allows you to, to, to know that that you can actually work with what, whatever is going to show up, it’s, it’s possible to turn the worst into a better experience. And yes, it’s not easy, like a hockey player say that to me. The other day, he lost everything. And he was an absolute mess. And he said:- “It’s not easy.”
And I’m pretty sure that, you know, becoming a hockey player wasn’t easy, either. But it that doesn’t make it you know, it’s almost like, if it’s not easy, it’s worth doing.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:28:58
Oh, yeah, that’s how that’s how diamonds and made like, you know, like, it’s like going through adversity. It’s just what what you become from the other side, you just become a much more, you know, I just, I’ve stopped talking so much as well. Like, I can sit there and I’ll listen to people like in a social situation. And I talk about things that I was talking about two years ago, and I just sit there and I’ll listen to them. And, and I’ll just sum up what they’re saying in like, one and a half sentences, and then just shut up.
Dawna Jones 1:29:30
Nathaniel Schooler 1:29:32
it’s just really, it’s just really funny that you just kind of, you just become a different person, you know, you listen more, you become just just more, I suppose, more worldly, really, more understanding of other people. And that’s the problem is, is that we are, we’re kind of lost in our own selves, aren’t we, as opposed to understanding that people think about themselves, like 95%, or whatever it is, I forget the percentage, but it’s over 95% of the time isn’t it?
Dawna Jones 1:30:07
I have not heard that. But I’m not surprised. Wow.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:30:10
So the way I look at it is, if if, if you can kind of just fit in with that 95% that they’re enjoying themselves, then, you know, you’re going to have a much better relationship with the mind you I mean, that’s what it is, isn’t it?
Dawna Jones 1:30:30
t makes sense. And, you know, the other part of this that I find interesting is when you look at some people that are acting out badly, or they’re just not coping overall. Well, there is a point where people kind of want to pull away and leave them on their own and just judge them or put them in a box or a label, give them a label of some kind and, and stick them there.
But in real terms, you know, it is where we have compassion for the human condition. This is where we have have to sort of say:- “That could have been me yesterday, or it could be me five years from now. It could be me!”
And can I have compassion for myself in those moments? And then and then can I have compassion for someone who’s going through a rough time right now?
And how can I reach out and reconnect?
And when I read Johann Hari, so book loss connections, my instincts that always been that part of this depression because my own experience with that had been around feeling disconnected and isolated, and so on and so forth. And his book really brought that home and I think this is where we get to organizationally care this is where care comes in. And this is where we we actually reach out instead of shrink away and label them and you know knew that- you know, step back, you step to, toward and and you’re you’re you’re clearing your mind and working with your heart more directly I think that’s where we’ve got hope.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:32:03
Okay. Yeah, I think hope is definitely there and I think there’s so much more awareness around this now around depression and homelessness and and people are becoming more caring there’s no doubt about it in my mind, but it’s been such a joy speaking you I really appreciate it and if people want to get hold of you? How do they find you?
Dawna Jones 1:32:26
Thank you. Nathan.
From inside the action calm is the website it’s a to say it’s under construction. So I don’t really know what shape it’s going to be in but when you get there, but I’m also on LinkedIn under Dawna Jones. So you’ll find me there and Twitter underscore Jones and Facebook but less so. So those would be the main ones at the moment.
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