Are you confident that your organisation follows a people-centric approach to its culture? If the answer is no, you must stop giving employees what they want and give them what they need. Here to guide you through the people-centric culture shift is speaker, author, founder, and culture consultant Gustavo Razzetti. Gustavo is the originator of Fearless Culture, an organisation that redesigns workplace culture that makes collaboration, agility, and innovation thrive at their peak.
Culture is about helping people do their best work. Throughout the discussion, Gustavo defines the root issues associated with poor culture, the approaches required to amend these problems, and the benefits of creating change. Gustavo also explores the gift of feedback, clears the smoke and mirrors of employees’ expectations, and offers realistic and actionable advice for optimising organisational performance. Further key points include:
– An introduction to Gustavo Razzetti
– The Workplace culture conundrum: addressing the leadership gap
– Self-Awareness and fearlessness for culture transformation
– Embracing feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth
– Fixing Mode: How questions are the solution
– An insight into the blameless postmortem model and mistake policies
– Breaking the culture of fear and redefining the concept of hard work
– Working methods: Deep Work vs Shallow Work
– Virtual Presenteeism in this new working era
– How experimental leaders can influence the organisational culture
– What Being Happier at Work Means to Gustavo
“Questions are better than solutions, as they help people clarify what they’re going through.” – Gustavo Razzetti.
THE LISTENERS SAY:
Do you have any feedback or thoughts on this discussion? If so, please connect with Aoife via the links below and express your thoughts. Aoife would love to hear from you!
Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Dr. Tasha
Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World by Dr. Tasha
Remote Not Distant by Gustavo Razzetti
Connect with Gustavo Razzetti
Connect with Happier at Work host Aoife O’Brien:
Aoife O’Brien 00:00
You’re listening to the Happier at Work podcast. I’m your host, Aoife O’Brien, this is the podcast for leaders who put people first. The podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership, equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the happier at work podcast relates to employee retention. You can find out more at happieratwork.ie.
Gustavo Razzetti 00:26
Because Indian culture is all helping people do their best work. Our people don’t have issues that get in the way, then they can do their best work, they’re going to be happy because of that, and they’re gonna be engaged as a consequence.
Aoife O’Brien 00:42
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Happier at Work Podcast. I’m so thrilled that you decided to tune in today. My guest today is Gustavo Razzetti. It’s kind of hard to define today’s episode because we really did cover a lot of ground. We covered things like the gap between what leaders say and how they behave. We talk about self awareness, we talk about feedback, and performance. We talk about a fear of speaking up and psychological safety, virtual presenteeism, and how to get more of the important work done. So things like working more on deep work focusing on outcomes. We also talk about some cultural changes, and happiness at work. So like I say, we cover an awful lot of ground today, I know that you’re going to enjoy today’s episode, as always do stick around for the end, where I will do a summary of some of the key points that were covered on today’s episode. And also, I would love for you to get involved in the conversation over on social media. If you want to find my social media channels, go to the website happieratwork.ie. And you will find all of my social channels there. Gustavo, you’re so welcome to the Happier at Work podcast. I know we had a conversation a few months ago. So I’m really excited to dive in and continue that conversation, and this time actually recording what we’re saying. Slightly different approach this time, but really excited to have you on the podcast. Do you want to introduce yourself, give people a little bit of a flavor of your background and how you got into doing what you’re doing today?
Gustavo Razzetti 02:19
Absolutely. And thank you for hosting me. I mean, the first thing that comes when we tell our story will usually tell us in a structured way that feels Oh, everything was planned. But I think that in my story like many others, it’s a bit of based on different emotions, different changes, and mine. Usually it’s our frustration. That’s what made me do it in different instances. And when he changed career, and I worked for over two decades in the marketing and innovation world, helping companies come up with better solutions, better ideas be more creative. And at some point on sale out of frustration, I realised that it’s not a lack of ideas or talent, what’s holding innovation, and creativity in many companies with sexually their culture. So I say well, in organically, I was hoping some of my clients, they would even come to me or my company or my previous employers to work on cultural Indian, we always started discussing that and say, hey, what if I do or what if I shift and start helping them in that area, because if we don’t have a conducive culture, all the talent that people are bringing to, to the workplace, all the ideas that are being discussed, both organic, or ideas that consultants like I used to be bring to the table, they’re never gonna see the light of day. So that’s basically what makes me find my new path.
Aoife O’Brien 03:38
So interesting that you say that I kind of can slightly related coming from an agency background where we used to present our ideas all the time to our clients, you know, we worked with with huge global clients, as well as smaller local clients and fast moving consumer goods. So the likes of Unilever, Coca Cola, maybe they’re the ones that people are most familiar with. But we would present these recommendations based on data and exactly like, you could Java, maybe they will never see the light of day, you know, and it’s a little bit frustrating when you put your heart and soul into making these recommendations to someone and then they just don’t go anywhere. Now, from an agency perspective, perhaps that’s because we weren’t so ingrained in the business, that’s a conversation for another day completely. You know, and how to kind of become that trusted partner as opposed to kind of the the extra pair of hands like normally gets hired from an agency perspective. But what are the kind of big challenges that you’re seeing out there with organisations at the moment and whether it’s in relation to innovation culture?
Gustavo Razzetti 04:44
Yeah, I think that the there are many common themes. The biggest one that I hear from employees a lot. So in my line of work, I do a lot of consulting, but then I do a lot of training. We have programs so we have people. They join us in either scenario and they share the things that they will share with your managers. Right? Yes, and the biggest thing, it’s the gap between what leaders say they want from their teams from their culture, and what the decisions that they make actually tell people. So for example, they say, I want a culture of collaboration. But then they are the first that don’t promote collaboration, or they reward by promoting someone who is the least collaborative team member. They say that they want innovation, but then when people are trying to get funding or time to innovate, or they’re trying to make risk score, they make a mistake, boom, they get punished by that. So in the end, that huge gap is what frustrates people No. So either you need to align your actions, your words with your actions and say stop saying what you want to innovate, if you’re really not willing to take the risk or experiment, or maybe open up your mind and create a culture that rewards for example, mistakes, not every mistakes. I’m not talking about stupid mistakes. But those that happen when you’re learning to do something for the first time, when you’re experimenting, new paths, new technology, things that no one has done before. And of course, you’re going to fail until you graduate.
Aoife O’Brien 06:13
Yeah, I love that approach. And really insightful, I’d say, I certainly can relate to that, from my corporate experience. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people listening today who can absolutely relate to that, that. On the one hand, they’re saying this one thing, but they’re not actually backing that up with their actions. So they’re saying one thing, but they’re not leading the way by example. What would you say is the kind of the first step to changing that kind of behavior?
Gustavo Razzetti 06:38
There are two elements, one is a increasing self awareness. So Dr. Tasha Urich, she did a lot of recent research, she wrote a couple of books on self awareness. And one of the things that she uncovered is that most of us believe that we are self aware, right? Yeah, of course. Yeah. 75%, but actually, a very tiny percentage close to 10-15 really know ourselves really well. The problem is, when that comes to leaders, especially male leaders, the numbers, the people that believe, hey, I’m self aware, goes to a roof over 90. But the ones who are actually say, for worse, go down to the basement if you’re okay, percent. So if you, as a leader, with all due respect, are not self aware, you don’t see what you don’t know, you don’t understand your blind spots, you don’t get feedback from our people to understand what you’re missing, didn’t want to be making lots of assumptions and remaining killed off of mistakes, or making decisions without the right information. And that’s a critical point to understand that many times is not our finger point is, but usually, the leader is the problem. And also leaders are the ones who will define the culture who shape culture, they’re not the only ones people to, but if the leader is basically the problem, how can you improve a culture if you don’t start working with a leader? Yeah, the second element is our relationship with fear. And that’s where a company is called fearless, fearless, doesn’t mean the absence of fear. No fear is an emotion we needed a when you’re going to get into unchartered waters, or you’re going across the street fears that signal that tells you hey, watch out towards the side, because something might happen. However, when we are in a fearful environment, that we’re driven by fear, so we cannot connect with the fear, we cannot deal with it, then we let fear of making mistakes, the fear of pissing someone else could be the fear of the red tape of a saying something that your manager wouldn’t accept or wouldn’t agree with, then that makes people like a self censor. And they keep their best ideas, they keep their best questions to for themselves to themselves.
Aoife O’Brien 08:54
That’s a pick up on this idea of self awareness again, and I can totally relate to this, this idea that I think everyone likes to believe that they’re totally self aware. And, and you know, and I suppose I’m thinking about from the point of view of a leader, and you know, this is a topic that has come up again, and again, on the podcast, like, it’s, for me, it’s a critical skill to have, if you are a leader, and one of my previous guests says, said that there is in relation to self awareness when we think we’re so self aware. But actually, it’s part of that is understanding what our impact is on others. And you can’t grow in self awareness, just by going into your own mind. You have to actually get feedback and develop your self awareness from that. And I suppose for any leaders listening today, if they’re, you know, I suppose there’s a couple of different ways to look at this. They might be feeling a bit like, if I am so self aware, but I haven’t actually asked for any feedback. So how do I go about asking for feedback to get to build up that level of self awareness? And then, you know, how do we continue to develop that interesting statistic by the way that leaders, the number of perceived or perception of self awareness increases massively, and then suddenly, it comes down, you know, for the actual self awareness that people have, I’d be curious to know. And I’m a big fan of Dr. Tasha. So definitely check out that research that she’s done.
Gustavo Razzetti 10:20
Sure. And that to send you the link afterwards, they, they you mentioned something that’s really important, which is feedback. And the point is, what do we mean by feedback? Usually, when I, I, we do a lot of training and coaching and working with clients on feedback. And usually feedback equals to a performance review. And feedback is much more than that feedback can be to your point, you’re presenting an idea to a point and how the plan gives you feedback, no, judgement not. I like it. I don’t like it. But hey, what about this, sometimes feedback can come in the form of questions, sometimes feedback can come in the source of a maybe help the person that stuck, reflect on their situation. So if an employee’s doing great, maybe the feedback is not telling them what they need to improve, but it’s more about helping them first realise that something’s going wrong, but also what’s going on. Because we don’t know the context. And we don’t know if that person is going through some personal issues. We don’t know there are some contexts within their team members that it’s not helping that person thrive. Or maybe they’re in the role in the wrong role. A, Google has done a lot of experiments in which by changing one employee from one team to another, their performance in proof exponentially. So sometimes a way to focus more on feedback, in terms of the context, not just only an individual. Also, feedback shouldn’t be a fixing tool, it should be a tool for learning and growth. And to your point, when practice that works really, really worked to build a culture of feedback is to help managers ask for feedback to request feedback rather than dealing. But I’ve only started this many years ago in which leaders no longer give feedback, but actually expected to ask for feedback. So when they ask for feedback, normally they get to see their blind spots. But also, they send the message Hi, if my leader is so open, to receive feedback, if they realise that they’re not perfect, if they’re willing to go through that painful experience of realising that they need to get better, well, I’m going to do the same. So it kind of creates a contagious kind of a positive, vicious, virtuous cycle in which a one is starts asking for feedback.
Aoife O’Brien 12:30
Brilliant! I love that. And I love this idea that it’s, I mean, I always think of feedback as as a gift. Now, it’s, I think, when a lot of people hear the term feedback, it puts a shiver down their spine, because it’s always associated with exactly like I say, performance review, getting constructive feedback or negative feedback, I think we tend to focus on that, rather than the positive reinforcement of this is what you’re doing really, really well. I love the idea of being able to identify blind spots, as well for people that maybe they didn’t realise they have and then leaders as role models. So with my leader is asking for feedback that maybe it’s okay, if I ask others for feedback as well, in order to help me improve. And because I don’t have all the answers, and it shows to me a level of vulnerability as well, when when leaders do that, you know, that it’s it gives other people permission to be able to be vulnerable at work to admit that they don’t have all the answers that there are areas where they can improve in this.
Gustavo Razzetti 13:26
Building on the metaphor, we will say feedback is a gift. So when people see the the box, they say, Oh, what’s this hacker got on like it, they already like resisting it. But if it comes from your do your point from a place of a vulnerability, if it comes from a place of empathy, then the gift is always going to be held, even if you don’t like it. Now, that’s feedback. It’s an opinion feedback is not the a true when you’re giving feedback. The same way, when you choose a gift for someone, it’s your best guess that’s something that that person either needs that or they’re going to like it, or it’s based on something that mentioned to you. But it’s not the truth. So as a giver, never assume that because you’re choosing the gift that you’re right, it just Yeah. Okay, this is on the other end of the spectrum. If you’re the receiver, always assume good and positive intent. Assume that the person wants to give you something out of a good vulnerability or have empathy out of a being good to you and what they see out of you. And always be thankful we say thank you, even if you decide that you’re not going to choose that feed, but that’s something important. And both givers and receivers need to understand the feedback that we get is not mandatory. It’s just a gift, and we can choose to use it or not.
Aoife O’Brien 14:50
Yeah, really, really interesting points there. And I think it ties in with this idea and that you mentioned about Google and the context of the situation that you find yourself in maybe we’ll come back to that In a minute, I just want you to illustrate and I suppose, put home this idea that feedback is an opinion. It’s one person’s opinion. And, you know, if that’s coming from someone who you don’t necessarily get along with, maybe you don’t assume positive intent, I think it is really important to assume that the outcome that both parties want is improved performance of the individual who is receiving the feedback in this constructive feedback situation, let’s say that it benefits both sides in if that person improves their work performance, and looking at what the outcome that both people want from this, but I also love that you say that, okay. It’s, it’s, you don’t have to take it on board. So you can listen to feedback from lots and lots of different people, but you get to decide what you’re actually going to implement and what changes you’re going to make as a result as well. Yeah,
Gustavo Razzetti 15:50
I think one one aspect that people can incorporate to a process is asking a very simple question, which is, what kind of help do you need. So if I go to see my boss, and my manager, and share here, how this issue people, immediately managers, and sometimes colleagues to jump into what I call the fixing mode, this person is broken, they have an issue and the hero, I’m going to tell them how they need to improve that behavior. Many times people come to us simply because they need to, not only I wouldn’t say bend, but because it’s a complaint, they want to get something out of the system. Sometimes people they need someone to listen to them to empathise to, hey, I’m here to help you support your get it. Sometimes when you talk, you get to clarify your ideas, when you’re like bouncing some thoughts with someone else. Sometimes you need people to help you clarify thoughts, questions are better than solutions to help people clarify what they’re going through. And maybe people need a solution or maybe ideas, not the solution. Or maybe they have ideas, but they need someone to validate them or someone to help them clarify those ideas or maybe add additional words. So that’s very important that feedback is not just about providing the solution, which is the other thing that we need to correct. Feedback is about helping people. So ask, what help do you need before you provide that help?
Aoife O’Brien 17:15
Yeah, yeah. So it’s taking that coaching approach where you’re asking, rather than providing the solution, you’re telling people what to do? You’re asking coaching, probing questions, to help someone to help them to get to their own answer. And I know certainly when people have taken that approach to me in a corporate environment, it’s really made me feel empowered, that I can actually do this myself. I absolutely gave credit to the coach who helped me with that situation, but at the same time, felt really, really empowered that I had the answers inside me that the entire time, you know, so I think taking that approach is really, really, really, really beneficial. I would love to come back to the Google research that you were saying, so they take an individual and put them into a different team, and their performance just was exponential. You know, I haven’t heard that of that research before. So I’d love to know a little bit more about it.
Gustavo Razzetti 18:11
Yeah, there are many studies about that. But in the end, I mean, no, of course, people are gonna say, Hey, you work on culture. So of course, you’re gonna push. But it’s it most performance issues are the result of a system not of thei ndividual. Of course, there’s that doesn’t mean that people are never going to be wrong or not. But before jumping to the conclusion that we need to fix the individual, get back to understand what’s going on with the system. So one tool that we use a lot, and companies like Etsy, and Google and many others Atlassian software companies, it’s called the blessed blameless post mortem, we develop a framework for that our own approach to it and it’s available for free for anyone to download it is dependent on a blameless post mortem. It’s that helps people when something went wrong. Now there were a prog issue, someone screw up, we missed a huge deadline, or whatever the the problem was, is to reflect not without blaming people, without finding who’s corrupt. But actually try to understand what was in the system that make it easier for people to screw up. Are there certain signals? What do we lack a clear communication protocol? Is there something in the technology that’s not helpful? So that’s in the end, the performance mistakes? Problems usually are the result of a system so what we need to understand is not hey, this person is broken, but what about the system that had encouraged or promoted or make it easier? Or maybe push people in that direction? So then we had a huge mistake or no?
Aoife O’Brien 19:52
Yeah, no, I absolutely love that. 100% behind that, and I think the tendency, I know certainly in organisations that I’ve worked in in the past, the tendency has been to look for the person to blame and to find the scapegoat to you know, and one of the organisations that I worked in was a very openly cover your arse, as we said, bodies kind of scenario. Yeah. Because it’s like, you want to make sure you have everything in writing. Because what if something goes wrong? You want to make sure that your covers that you did everything that you could, you know, and it’s, it’s really a shame, because when we start looking at blaming people that impact on the culture, it brings morale down. But when it’s when it’s kind of a no false thing. And let’s look at, well, what set of circumstances actually led to this thing going wrong? And what do we need to do differently next time? So kind of forward focused rather than past? How do we make sure that this doesn’t happen again?
Gustavo Razzetti 20:51
Absolutely. And once again, when you’re looking for the scapegoat now that mean that the the the Haitian people used to do that though they kill the goat, they blame it to someone and then oh, the Brolin magically is gonna go away, but it didn’t, and they wont in your company. So blame, I mean, an even if one person really screwed up, there’s still something behind that person that was whatever the word is something to relearn. So don’t rush into the finding. They’re like the the witches of Salem know, there’s always somebody that we need to burn. And we think that the issues are going to go away. That’s something that has been part of our a human instinct, because it’s a self preservation because we don’t want to admit that maybe we’re part of the problem. And that’s the issue. And so we took our leaders, we juggle culture, a we need, we all need to self reflect, rather than simply put all the burden in one interview or two.
Aoife O’Brien 21:51
Yeah, this is kind of going back to your earlier point, Gustavo, it’s it relates to this entire culture of not admitting mistakes, and therefore not opening your mouth, not asking the right questions, not sharing your ideas, because you’re afraid if things go wrong, that you will be that scapegoat. And it really hampers innovation. You know, I’ve certainly been in that situation where you’re kind of afraid to say anything, so you just don’t say anything at all. And if you do make a mistake, you want to make sure that that mistake is covered up. And if it’s covered up, then it you know, it happens again, this is the thing.
Gustavo Razzetti 22:26
Yeah, I talk about that companies are mistake intolerant. So similar, like if you’re a lactose intolerant, and your system rejects a particular or other foods, and it creates from allergy to more serious kind of reactions. The same happens with the company because the system starts to react in a weird, way. And I think it’s important to understand that usually as clients, what’s your mistake policy, and they look at me like what you need to clarify and clarify how you deal with mistakes, which mistakes are okay, which are not how we’re going to react because it’s a territory that’s open for interpretation and denigrates a lot of issues. And if we don’t have a clear mistake policy, which codifies how we’re going to react, how we’re going to deal with mistakes, how to improve how we’re going to share them in the open, so we can learn when people are afraid, or they’re mistaken, tolerant the system because it rejects that kind of issues, people are going to hide mistakes under the rug, or only you’re going to find too late. If there’s something that you know, a mistake can be. If you find easier or quickly you can fix it before it becomes a becomes a bigger problem. But actually, people if you don’t share them in the open bill, you’re gonna start repeating the same mistakes are not correcting the system, you’re just encouraging individuals to hide their mistakes.
Aoife O’Brien 23:52
Do you know how much imposter syndrome is costing your business? The thing with imposter syndrome is that we don’t know from the outside who is experiencing imposter syndrome at any given time. On a recent study that I carried out, employees describe their experience of imposter syndrome as feeling really anxious and feeling really stressed. Imposter syndrome is known to be linked with burnout, because we tend to want to hide our imposter syndrome by overworking. And another symptom of imposter syndrome is that we’re not sharing our ideas, and so our voices don’t get heard at work. The company that we work for becomes therefore less innovative. Imposter syndrome occurs at all levels within organisations. And it’s especially prevalent when we start a new role when we start a new company, and it can become really debilitating when we are promoted to a position. If you’d like to know more about the work that I do with organisations when it comes to imposter syndrome to identify Is to managing as to overcoming it, please check out my website impostorsyndrome.ie. Absolutely 100%. So this, the kind of second element that we spoke about is this idea of the relationship with fear. Now, that’s something that comes up I talk about imposter syndrome a lot. So fear is kind of one of the things associated with impostor syndrome, fear of judgment, fear of success, fear of failure, all of these different things. And what kinds of things do you see coming up specifically in relation to fear in organisations? Like how does that manifest itself?
Gustavo Razzetti 25:44
Of course, the fear of speaking up and again, talk about that, which is the most common and lack of psychological safety, how to fix. It promotes groupthink, it promotes people to even toxic culture you got when people stop it stop talking, then they allow bad behaviors to become part of the culture. The other point I want to make is they pretending that we are working. So the fear is the one of the biggest fear that we’re seeing is that people need to show that they’re busy in order to be perceived as a good employee as a productive employee, because we’re still confusing the hours that we put the effort that we put as signs of productivity, rather than focusing on the outcome. So before the pandemic, we sort of have people that were, you know, they will never be the last to arrive to the office, neither nor they, they they first leave, because the more hours you you spend on the desk, well, your manager would see all i office are very hard working woman, I like her. She’s a great employee. That’s the kind of mentality a fast forward, we went through a pandemic, no in a hybrid environment. And we’re seeing what’s called virtual presenteeism, so the remote personnel that in which people are spending close to an hour per day, that means like, it’s worth talking about 20 hours per month, or even more, pretending that they’re working. So I’m gonna clarify this for the audience. And literally all the people who slack I’m talking about highly committed highly engaged employees that feel the pressure not only from their managers, but from their colleagues as well, to show him busy. So they create useless meetings, they send calendar invites, they send emails, message on Slack, in different hours to simply show, hey, I’m working, I’m not slacking, I’m not playing video games or playing with my family. And that’s really bad, that shows the culture a culture of fear in which people need to be busy to be accepted and be respected as a high performance employee.
Aoife O’Brien 28:00
Wow. And yeah, I mean, I was going to kind of dive into that a little bit more detail, because that’s, it’s pretty shocking, but at the same time, I could relate to it, especially having worked in offices where presenteeism. presenteeism is absolutely valued. And I remember there’s an old saying of like, don’t, don’t leave before the boss. So if the boss is still in their office, or if the boss is still at their desk, then you absolutely don’t leave, because you want to be shown that you’re actually working. And I think we’ll come back to this idea of the input versus outcomes in the second something I hugely believe in, get behind. But I suppose you know, what, so what’s driving people to pretend that they’re working? Is this fear that they have to be perceived as being busy, but what are they actually doing? If they’re, if they’re spending all of this time pretending to be working? What are they doing instead?
Gustavo Razzetti 28:51
Early more hours to their work. So they come in what they’re doing. They’re recovering. And also, yeah, it’s, I mean, instead of having to work eight hours a day, they’re working maybe nine hours, so there are the more hours to their work.
Aoife O’Brien 29:04
Yeah, yeah. By by essentially pretending that they’re so busy and important by creating, you know, by feeding into Slack channels, or by creating additional meetings that are not really that necessary. Is that the kind of thing? Yes, yeah. Yeah. They want to be perceived as a little bit more important. And it is, it’s, I think, for me, it’s a shift in mentality that needs to happen. We are not, you know, and I’m, I’m still having spent almost two decades in the corporate world. It’s still ingrained in me. It’s the hours that you do, it’s the nine to five culture and you put in those hours and, and, you know, working for myself, I need to shift that mentality and be like, it’s no, it’s about what outcomes I’m achieving and how I’m spending their time so maybe Can we talk a little bit more about how to shift that mentality from the it’s all about the hours that you put in to um, I’ll share an example I’m sure I’ve shared this before on, on the podcast, but it was one that really struck a chord with me where this is a friend of mine said to me that she was she worked two additional hours, let’s say on a Wednesday, and she said she was thinking to herself, well, it’s okay, if I knock off two hours early on Friday, because I worked two additional hours on Wednesday, you know, and again, it’s this mentality of the number of hours that you work, as opposed to what you have achieved in a day, in a week, in a month, whatever it might be. But how do we start shifting that mentality from the input of the hours, the energy, the time the, you know, whatever else he wants, the the intellect? How do we shift that to the outcomes that we are trying to achieve and put the focus on what those outcomes are?
Gustavo Razzetti 30:50
I think that it started with having clear goals. And you know, companies have OPRs, sometimes they miss no, because they forget all the OPRs in the focus on that. One of the shift that we talk a lot with clients is focusing on goals. So there’s one activity that’s really good for teams, which is, what’s your goal of the day, as a team or as an individual, or both? When I say goal, I’m not talking about the tasks that you’re gonna do or perform, but focus on one goal per day, what are you trying to accomplish? Now? What are you going to do? We’re still thinking in terms of to do lists? No, I need to send an email, right? But in the end, what’s the impact that your work is going to create in your organisation? Another element, it’s to stop thinking that everything’s urgent. And also thinking that if I don’t complete this task, today, the world’s gonna end. So I’m not gonna, I’m not by any means encouraging procrastination. But perfectionism, it’s as bad as procrastination. So the people that never get to jump into doing things, because they’re always procrastinating and thinking, Well, I’m gonna do it tomorrow, tomorrow, that’s no good. But the people that feel the pressure that they need to be perfect, and everything needs to accomplish today, and right now, it’s as bad as that. There are many companies that shifted towards our for the weak, it’s a good approach. I’m not saying everyone should. But for some companies, it might work. And one of the biggest challenges was for them to shift their mindset towards don’t feel bad if you couldn’t finish something. So once again, what are the critical things that need to be completed today? And what are the things that if we don’t do it, nothing’s going to happen. I do an activity a facilitated activity with teams that are really a facing too much workload, and ask them to identify what are the two or three things that you think that are unnecessary. For example, we need to write a report that only serves the purpose of one manager is looking good in front of their prospective manager, a, we have a meeting to touch base. And we can move that to a synchronous communication and whoever wants to. So there are many things that people can do. And I tell them, we’ll start eliminating one thing at a time and see what happens. And in most cases, you live in a dose, a recurring either meetings or reports of stuff, and the work and the outcome doesn’t get affected. So we are operating under the fear that if I don’t do this, then they will. So separate what’s crucial from what’s not necessarily crucial. And lastly, it’s there are two types of work a, like a that we do, which is deep work, work that requires concentration work, that is significant work that’s more strategic and is going to have a bigger impact. And then there’s shallow work. Most organisations shallow work is a having a quick meeting sending an email, they report on daily scaling, meaning daily minutiae that we all spend time, when asked companies across the world, like how much time they spend on each mode, most companies are spending close to 70%. Most individuals have their day work on a shallow work. And actually, they should be the other way around. Of course, start with 50-50 as improvement but if people don’t have time to do significant work, as we always say, they don’t have time to do the right thing. But then they have time they find time in the future to fix all the mistakes because we’re always rushing from little things to little things underneath things get either unattended, or they’re done wrong and we need to fix them.
Aoife O’Brien 34:38
I love that. Absolutely love that. I want to come back to this idea of goals versus tasks because I think there’s maybe a subtle difference that I want to so people understand really what the difference is between saying okay, this is what I want to achieve today. Here’s my list of tasks versus having a focus of Here’s the outcome that I want to achieve today. And maybe the tasks associated with that outcome, you don’t necessarily have to do them all to achieve that outcome. So do you wanna elaborate a little bit on the subtle difference between what you’re talking about, and how to kind of look at your day,
Gustavo Razzetti 35:15
You mentioned that, for example, you’re working on projects, you have an initiative, and you need to either get a green light, or you need to kill it. Usually you focus on oh, I want my manager to approve it, or we need to schedule a meeting, or we need to work, we focus on all these steps, those are the tasks that need to happen. But the outcome is, in the end, we need to get a green light, or we didn’t get a red light. And that’s it. That’s the goal don’t so that’s the outcome that we need to focus on, what are the things that we do, if you need to enter a police report for one of for for your company? Well, there are a lot of steps that you need to take from coming up with an idea to crafting it to do the research, to share with people getting feedback, then someone in your company needs to assign it a lot of steps. But in the end, your goal is to get it polish. And I think that’s where we need to start from start from the end know, what’s the outcome, and not all the steps and people are still thinking several steps. That’s, that’s why we have a lot of little things, because we plan from steps rather than think, okay, let’s do what’s the ideal outcome. And let’s do let’s redesign our work around that.
Aoife O’Brien 36:26
I think it’s it’s really important, subtle difference. And really, really interesting, I think, I want to know, just before we wrap things up, come back to this idea of the deep work versus the shadow work. That’s like, in some ways, 70% of our time is in meetings and emails and whatnot. In some ways, it doesn’t really surprise me. If we’re saying that we want people to kind of have it the other way around. And maybe the first step is 5050. How do we start doing that? I mean, I’m thinking you cut down on the number of meetings that you have you meetings, that could be an email, or you have rules around communication internally, like no internal emails, it’s slack, only it’s you know, asynchronous is accepted all of those kinds of things. But, you know, any any thoughts on how to make that shift, to focus more on deep work at work,
Gustavo Razzetti 37:17
You mentioned, a lot of a fixes, which are important, but sometimes companies fail to implement those fixes, for many reasons. First, because they try to fix too many things at the same time. Yeah, and also, because they don’t change their mindset. So just breeding, many companies fail to shift towards an asynchronous first, because they still think that real time is better, right? When people are forcing now many leaders try to force their employees back to the office, we heal the Deuter story, many hours, that’s based on the assumption that only great quality work can be delivered in the same place, which equals to real a real time so synchronously. And that’s a misconception. There’s a lot of collaboration that we can do, for example, we can have a kickoff call meeting, whatever you want to call it, to design, how we would approach and tackle a project, divide and conquer. But then when each person is conquering their own territory, we don’t need to continue having meetings we only meet if there’s a problem. The rest can be managed a synchronously and that’s an issue. Many people still think that for example, brainstorming only and Creativity only can happen if you’re having people in the same room. There are a lot of great ways to a brainstorm a remotely and actually there in my experience, and we run 1000s They are much more productive, more efficient, that are more inclusive, because introverts and women and minorities get to participate more than when they’re loud and someone’s taking the lead. A also a when it comes to making decisions, many companies have shifted this filmmaking to a synchronous mode. So they create like a document in which someone comes with the this the problem. These are my a perspective, and then people can chime in and present their ideas and their solutions in a written form. So it allows for a more educated civil conversation, but also allows people to reflect so we don’t have to rush in there. So but once again, it’s a mindset that needs to change. And it’s really, really hard to do that. Some companies like Asana, which is a software company have taken what they call like a medium Doomsday, and they cancel in a couple of teams every meeting so rather than make tweaks they say, Hey, let’s start from scratch. And I think it builds on this idea from Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO when he took all the new reality and Airbnb now has worked from anywhere policy is said, if we didn’t have an office, at the office as a concept, what are we actually invented in today’s world? And if we invented from scratch because it didn’t exist, what for? What do we In the office for and I think that’s the most important thing that leaders need to do. Stop trying to make tweaks really zoom out and try to reset your culture, you need to think differently. And leaders are not doing that. They’re just funding patches fixes for the brothers was saying, Hey, we went through a pandemic, a remote work, a show us that people can work differently, we realise that we need to stop creating a wall between our personal and professional lives. We know that people want flexibility, skill, flexibility, not just location, they want to design how they work. Well, what if we create different rules, rather than just implement two or three fixes, because the fixes are going to last so long?
Aoife O’Brien 40:40
I like that idea of the fixes versus the new rules of work. And so from based on everything that you’re saying, Gustavo, it sounds like it’s challenging the existing beliefs that organisations have. So if you believe that work can only be done going back to your earlier point in the same place, that you are where someone else’s that causes leaders to say, I mandate you back to the office, I’m making sure that that everyone is coming back to the office so that they can work together, that stems from a belief. And if you are in that situation, and you don’t share that belief, maybe that’s going to drive you to go and look for a company where the beliefs are actually shared with your own beliefs. Would that be fair to say?
Gustavo Razzetti 41:21
Indeed, it’s ingrained in the belief system. But also, in the experience. You mentioned, the both of us had a couple of decades work in the office. And that’s when you know, we had to, for me, it was a really sation, not only when I started working on my own, but also the pandemic forced me to rethink my business, because I used to do a lot of things in person, then I found works to do it remotely. And now I do a mix of both depending on the occasion needs. And that’s something very interesting. When I started interviewing people for my book, I realised that those who are thriving in this new reality, either because they weren’t remote First, from the beginning, or the shift from in person to a more hybrid environment, where people who are willing to understand, hey, this is not just hiatus, the pandemic wasn’t just, hey, we boss. And now we go back to normal, they realise that it accelerated things that were happening, we’ve been dealing with technology, there are many things that we can do, that we don’t need to in the same place, and we can be as effective. So I think that to your point, we need to change our belief systems. So things that we think the culture that got you here is not going to get you there. And you can stretch it so far. But it’s going to be too late. I think that the builders are open minded, they’re experimenting, now they’re getting better results. But actually be for example, the Spotify people talk a lot about the the Twitter and Elon Musk be super a top down and people need to get back to the office. But few people are speaking out Spotify or Airbnb, they’re getting fantastic results with their working from anywhere. Culture. One thing that from me, not only Spotify is getting better performance, less attrition, but one data that is super, super fantastic. They will women in leadership position at Spotify in the past 18 months have recent from 25 to 40%. So now, four out of 10 leadership positions and Spotify are occupied by women. That’s fantastic. We’ll talk about diversity. Well, hello. If you want to increase diversity, offer flexible work, not flexible in terms of work. But hybrid provides women more opportunities, not only to work, but actually to lead. And that’s where we need more women leading companies.
Aoife O’Brien 43:31
Yeah, you won’t get any arguments from me. Yeah, I got very passionate about these kind of things as well. And Gustavo, is there anything that we haven’t covered on the podcast today that you kind of want to make a point about
Gustavo Razzetti 43:46
I could talk, I’m very passionate about this topic. So I do want to feel more people to turn No, I mean, there are many things. And of course, you can reach out and we can continue a conversation. It one thing that I would maybe to summarise, I talk about experimentation is critical. It leaders need to understand that they own the final word when it comes to defining the culture, they own the culture in the responsibility, meaning of the ownership side. So in the end, if the culture is broken, you’re the first person who should take action, you’re the first person who’s a leader who should feel accountable. But owning the culture is everyone’s job in terms of making sure that we have a great culture. So leaders have a key role. But the culture of the company is not the result of what leaders do is a result of everyone’s behavior. So if I’m a great leader, but I have employees that are treating my customers really bad, and I don’t do anything about it, well, the people are creating about culture too. So invite your people. culture should be co created because the way people behave, shapes your culture. So don’t think that because you write a nice list of values or behaviors that you expect from people that you have a good culture. And also don’t write those without involving people in the process. I’m not saying go democratic. I’m not saying hey, everyone should have a saying or everyone’s going to vote, but gain input, invite people to the conversation. There are many companies I mentioned Airbnb, they refreshed their bodies a couple of years ago. And they invited everyone to have a saying, Here, what drives our culture, what inflates what the fleets are culture, and they took that feedback to revisit their bodies, because bodies don’t resonate with people. They’re not going to mean any anything to anyone.
Aoife O’Brien 45:30
Exactly. And I have been in organisations where the values were fairly meaningless. They weren’t anything to do with my day to day experience of the organisation, whatsoever. So I can definitely, I can definitely relate from that perspective. And it is everyone like, to me what’s rang your mind when you were talking about that is it’s it’s, it’s what gets tolerated. So if there’s bad behavior happening, and we kind of talked about that earlier, excuse me, if there’s bad behavior happening, but leaders aren’t stepping in to do anything about it, it means that that bad behavior has been tolerated as being accepted. And it’s been shown as it’s okay to do this here. When actually, it’s not because leaders need to be empowered to have those sometimes very difficult conversations about this kind of behavior is not accepted here.
Gustavo Razzetti 46:19
Absolutely. We took our behaviors, we reward them, and sometimes we reward the wrong behavior. So you need to be mindful about that. The there’s a company that a couple because it happened with two companies in a row that we’re working with that we basically found out that the people were high or low performers, were giving up pass a free pass, obviously, no one was doing nothing about them. However, they were. So they were being rewarded for not working as much as the rest. However, the companies in these examples, they were punishing their high performers, because they have to work even more to offset the work that their team members weren’t taking care of.
Aoife O’Brien 47:04
That’s really interesting. I think that happens a lot. You know, a lot of what I see in organisations is that if you perform well, you get given more work, which, you know, it’s you might take it this is great, and then getting the visibility. But the result is that people who perform really well end up burning out. And then you have two people who are kind of coasting in the team, and no one’s actually doing anything about that. Because, excuse me, either they don’t realise or they’re not having those tough conversations.
Gustavo Razzetti 47:31
Absolutely. Yeah, good point.
Aoife O’Brien 47:36
So Gustavo, the question, I ask everyone who comes on the podcast, what is being happier at work mean to you?
Gustavo Razzetti 47:42
That’s a great question. And I want to challenge the spirit. I’m going to start with a thought that, first of all, we need John my principle, my philosophy about happiness, helping happiness, something that happens inside. So it’s not something that can be provided no employees say we need to create a happy workplace, the happiness is not what you get. But because you can get people more and more, and they’re never going to be happy. And people can be happy with fewer things. So I think having a happy happiness is an internal decision is accepting what you have, rather than wanting more and enjoying what you have. However, I would say that the role of organisations is to make sure that they’re not adding unhappiness. Now. So remove those speed bumps, the things that are creating unnecessary friction that are frustrating your people. So don’t try to create a culture that pleases people to make them happy and give them more and more because you’re never going to please them and actually are going to lose their sense culture is not just about making people feel good. It’s about making sure that people can do a great work and they enjoy and they want to show up at work, however, don’t remove unhappiness so for me, that’s my person. So what are the things that are making biller unhappy, frustrated? working longer hours? Is getting in the way of them, you know if there’s something or complicating their lives for the sake of it? Get rid of it!
Aoife O’Brien 49:01
Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely love that. And really interesting and valid point about people pleasing, versus creating that culture where people can thrive and do their best work. So sometimes we default to making sure that people are pleased or by doing things that we think will make them happy when it doesn’t actually make them happy. What you really want is to create a culture where they can succeed on their terms and bring their best selves to work.
Gustavo Razzetti 49:29
Yeah, I always think like we need to shift from people first to people centered, or people centric. So people first is a shift from I don’t care about employees to Oh, whatever the employees one, we’re going to do it another thing the culture should just serve the employees need to serve the business need to serve the customers in to serve everyone. So people centered these considering people’s need, and making sure that whatever benefits you can bring to the table to make their lives easier, from health benefits to maternity leave to whatever to a flexible working hours or location scale. Bring it on, but not just to please people, just to show them, I care about you. And I want to help make sure because in the end cultures are helping people do their best work. And when people don’t have issues that get in the way, then they can do their best work, they’re going to be happy because of that, and they’re going to be engaged as a consequence.
Aoife O’Brien 50:19
I’m gonna repeat that for the masses, because I love that I just jotted that down. Culture is about helping people to do their best work. And I think that really summarises everything that we’ve talked about today. So thank you, I really appreciate that if people want to reach out if they want to connect if we didn’t even touch on your book. But if they want to learn more about your book, what’s the best place that they can do that?
Gustavo Razzetti 50:42
The book is available in many online retailers like Amazon, and so on so forth. It’s called Remote Not Distant. So it’s easy to find a in many retailers like Barnes and Nobles, Target, Walmart, etc. And if they want to reach out to me a they can connect by a LinkedIn and the only Gustavo Roselli with two z and two d. So that’s it odd that we’ll see that we’ll see that’s easy to find. And also through our website, it’s a fearless culture.design.designer.com. So make sure you have fearless culture dot design. And if you want to learn more about what we do, there’s a lot of stuff there. If you want to use our tools you can get we have over 600 articles and different free tools that you can implement with your teams to win better cultures. And if you want to join some of our workshops have session Look it there you can just register on our website we do a culture design masterclass. We also have a session Brian, which is build a fearless culture and of course we do consulting with teams and companies or whatever you want to do. Feel free to visit our website fearless culture dot design.
Aoife O’Brien 51:52
Brilliant, thank you so much for your time today, Gustavo, as always, you know, absolute pleasure to chat with you. So really, really enjoy the conversation today. Thank you,
Gustavo Razzetti 52:00
Likewise. So I love the the interaction and the spontaneity of our questions for those we didn’t prepare the question. We just make it happen. And yeah, it went really good. I appreciate I’m very honored to be here in your show Aoife.
Aoife O’Brien 52:14
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. You’re very conversational, you know, people have commented in the past, saying, it’s like having a coffee or listening in on a couple of people having coffee, discussing things that are really important to creating happier working environments. So yeah, really, really appreciate that. Thank you so much. That was my guest, Gustavo Razzetti. And we covered quite a lot of ground. In today’s episode, as you will have heard, I do want to pull out some of the key insights from the episode and share with you some of my thoughts and maybe have a think for yourself about some of the actions that you can take as a result of listening to today’s episode. Before I do that, though, I wanted to remind you that I do post on social media about the podcast, I’d love to get you involved in the conversation. If there’s anything in particular that you learned, that you took away that you wanted to share yourself, of your own experience of any of the topics that we have covered in today’s episode. I would love to get you involved in that conversation, connect with me over on LinkedIn. Or you can also follow me on Instagram, my handle there is happieratwork.ie. You can also head over to the website happieratwork.ie. And you’ll find links to all of my social channels there. One of the first things that we covered on today’s episode was this idea that there’s a gap between what leaders say and how they behave. We talked about two ways of addressing this. The first one was self awareness. And Gustavo mentioned Dr. Tasha Urich, I’ve been following her for quite a while. I read really love her content. And it’s about not making decisions without the right information. So or, or making decisions without all of the information that you need. The second aspect is our relationship with fear. So that’s moving towards being fearless. And it’s we have this concept that we’re going to we’re afraid to say something wrong, we’re afraid of making mistakes. And so sometimes we keep our best questions to ourselves. We covered the topic of feedback then, which is another topic I’ve spoken about previously on the podcast. But I always love to get people’s viewpoints around feedback. I think it’s one of those tricky topics where people kind of shy away from it or they hear the word feedback, and they, you know, they feel with dread. But really, feedback is an evaluation of your performance. So it’s like a performance review. And it’s an opportunity, opportunity to ask questions to reflect. It needs to be contextualised for the specific situation. So the feedback that you’re giving and look at it as an opportunity for learning and growth and an opportunity perhaps to see some of the blind spots that you may not have seen previously. It’s the I suppose the downside of feedback is It’s realising that we’re not necessarily perfect, but it’s about role modeling to others what, what it looks like to receive feedback. The other thing to bear in mind with feedback is that it’s the opinion of potentially one person, maybe, maybe more people, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. And so you still get to decide whether you’re going to act on that feedback or not. The important thing is to assume positive intent so that the person is not trying to cause you harm by delivering feedback, but rather, they’re trying to help you. The other thing that stood out for me as well is it’s sometimes we jump into this fixing mode for people without asking them what actually what they actually really need. So, you know, it might be that someone just needs their voice to be heard. Another interesting point is that a lot of the performance issues are result of the system and not necessarily the person. And again, this is something to bear in mind. And I love this idea of the blameless post mortem. So that’s reflecting without blaming people, I think there tends to be this, this tendency to want to blame people when something goes wrong, but it’s not about blaming people, it’s about looking to the future, and fixing the system so that we can find, you know, find a solution, or that the same thing doesn’t necessarily happen again. Again, another little insight, or another little idea from Gustavo, is this idea of being mistaken tolerant, or what’s your mistake policy? So thinking about what your your policy is around mistakes? And is it okay for people to make mistakes, and I’ve spoken about this before in the context of psychological safety, and it being okay for people to make mistakes and not having a blame culture around that. If there is this blame culture, then it means that there is no psychological safety. And people are afraid to speak up about it. And bad behavior becomes part of the culture then that we’re not speaking up. We’re not, we’re not addressing these issues. And we’re learning to live essentially, in this blame culture. We also talked about virtual presenteeism, and that people can be pretending to be working, because we’re confusing input with outcomes. So input being the time, the energy, the resources that you give something, but the outcomes are what you get as a result. So you can be really, really busy but still not achieve anything worthwhile. So it’s really, really important. And again, something I talk about continuously. On the podcast, we talked about shifting our mentality to outcomes, and it’s about focusing on goals and potentially having a goal of the day. Again, I love this concept of having a goal for the day, we tend to focus very much on tasks and what tasks need to be done. But shifting that to focusing on goals and what goals need to be achieved. Another piece of advice from Gustavo is stop thinking that everything is urgent, and I’m guilty of this myself, I like to kind of when they think of something I like to get it done more or less straight away. But it actually brings a great sense of calm, to plan something in advance. So to think of something, okay, that’s something that I that needs to get done, or that’s a goal that I have potential, move that into a different time period. So maybe start out in March time or start out in q2, something like that. We talked also about the amount of unnecessary work that happens, you know, when we’re working, and there’s a lot of things that are not necessary for us to be able to get our job done. So it’s about starting to eliminate those things. One at a time, we spoke about the two types of work. So there’s deep work, which has the bigger impact, but there’s also shallow work. So things like meetings, emails, and it’s about starting to eliminate or cut down on a lot of those because they don’t necessarily help us or move us forward in achieving our goals. We talked about the fact that a mindset shift is required. So it’s about challenging beliefs within organisations. And I would challenge you today to think about what beliefs or assumptions are held within the organisation like, you know, is there something that you can potentially challenge have a look at the belief system that exists within the organisation? One example that Gustavo shared was about Spotify and Airbnb and how they’ve shifted from a sorry, how they’ve shifted to a work from anywhere policy and that has seen an increase in women in leadership from 25% up to 40%. And finally, we spoke about workplace culture and happiness at work and how it’s about experimentation and how leaders own the culture in that they have the final say, and they play a key role, but it’s, it’s a result of everyone’s behavior. And I have touched on this in the past where it’s about Addressing poor behavior as well as promoting and rewarding positive behavior. So culture should be co created. We talked about happiness as an inside job and accepting what it is that you have. And also making sure that organisations are not adding to on happiness. It’s not about people pleasing, but it’s about being people centric versus people first, and addressing what people’s needs are. And for me that’s addressing needs on an individual basis. If you want to learn more about addressing needs at work, there is, again, a previous podcast episode all about unlocking happiness at work. So go and check that out if you haven’t already listened to it. Or if you have, maybe you want to re listen to it and see if anything else kind of comes up for you there. And the final thought I want to leave you with is that culture is about helping people to do their best work and again, really, really great insights from Gustavo, I really hope you enjoyed today’s episode, do get involved in the conversation over on social media, and hopefully I will see you over there. That was another episode of The Happier at Work podcast. I am so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoy today’s podcast, I would love to get your thoughts head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoy the podcast, I would love if you could rate, review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business head on over to happieratwork.ie