Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Colin Newlyn

Colin Newlyn – Decrapifying Work

Colin and I were introduced by the previous guest Sharon Aneja, Colin is on a mission similar to my own, his mission is to de-crap-ify work. Yes, simple but effective, to it make it less crap.

Why Listen: Colin is on a mission to decrapify work, Colin has had a great career and has set out to improve work by breaking down the general issues of the work day and workforce and helping individuals by ensuring they put themselves first and understand if they do not proactively try and make the change, you can’t expect others to know how bad a time you are having.

What Colin and I discuss:

  • Decrapyifying work 
  • The top tips to decrapify work 
  • How leadership is about leading 
  • Why we should be more pirate 
  • Should we rethink the whole work week, should we even have a commute? 
  • Policing from managers 
  • Why politics and proximity still dictate success 
  • And how to rethink and realign our people, heart first leadership 

Essential Soundbite

Colin’s Key Quote

Show Notes & Links

  • “While leadership depends on depth of conviction and the power coming therefrom, there must also be the ability to share that conviction with others.”  — Mary Parker Follett
  • Blog – Seth Godin
  • Video To Watch – Brené Brown – The Power Of Vulnerability
  • Podcast: Bruce Daisley’s Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat Pod

Colin Newlyn Bio

Colin is a recovering corporate executive who is on a mission to ‘Decrapify Work’. In his career he experienced the highs and lows, starting in an open, supportive and enabling culture and ending up in some thoroughly toxic ones – and he knows which one was best!

He wants inspire people in organisations to use the agency they have to improve their own work experience, that of the people they work with and ultimately the whole organisation.

Colin is a variously described as a sage, critical friend, optimistic realist, independent thinker, coach, mentor and pirate. He writes, blogs and speaks regularly on leadership, teams, the future of work and the insanity of the organisations. He helps people start mutinies, break rules and make good trouble.

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Must Read: Intro to decrapifying work

  • The TLDR:
    • Too many work environments are toxic and harming the people in them, which is why
    • stress, anxiety and depression are at record levels and rising
    • people are dying from work-induced stress-related illnesses
    • burnout is commonplace (and now a recognised illness)

Listen To The Other Podcasts

Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast With Colin Newlyn Full Transcription

[00:00:00] Danny:

[00:01:05] Colin, thanks very much for joining me today. I really appreciate you spending some time to talk it through. I’d love for you to give the listeners an introduction to who you are and what you do.

[00:01:15] Colin: Yeah. So I’m Colin Newlyn and I am on a bit of a mission to decrapify work. So I’m teasing out the reasons why work is so crap and what we can do about.

[00:01:27] And trying to generate some conversation around that, because I think it’s something that we all know. And I know this because when I say to people, I do decrapify work, everyone says, oh yeah, that’s important. But we actually don’t talk about it very much. We don’t seem to be making very much progress.

[00:01:42] Danny: You and I are really aligned, like I’m trying to fix the broken world of work. We’re trying to decrapify it. So I wonder which one it was probably comes before mine. So mine’s like a mission I’m on to complete, yours is there is action for every day.

[00:01:58] Was there a reason why that you went to decrapify work??

[00:02:02] Colin: Yeah. So my sorts of corporate. Went through two distinct phases and fortunately a good bit came first. So I started off in this little bit of BT that was rather surprisingly very entrepreneurial. And we were creating this new platform called Prestelit was a very exciting place to work. And you got a chance to do all sorts of stuff. And if he came up with a problem, people would say, oh, what do you think then? Why don’t you go? And if you can do something about it. So it was very a great opportunity for me for growth and development and it was really good fun. And then we got merged into a little bit of BT which was rather different.

[00:02:41] It was a very sort of fear-driven command and control hierarchy. Organization. And it was pretty horrible, really.

[00:02:50] And it I had a real sort of struggle with this, cause I didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t quite appreciate, if you’ve been in a good environment, you think the world’s that.

[00:02:59] And then you get in a bad, one useful think, what the hell is going on. And what really well, I think all I really struggled with was that the actual. The way I saw it, all the stuff, all the bad stuff that was going on in this second environment was actually completely counterproductive because it made us less creative, made it harder to do the innovation we were supposed to be doing, make people miserable made us less productive, it was just like why do people behave like this?

[00:03:23] Yeah, so that was, that’s like the conundrum that has bothered me for some time. And I think it was really when I started to look into this because I spent a bit of time not trying to speak TD, so coaching and trying to create a business. And I just couldn’t get away from this issue.

[00:03:37] It’s like why is this going on in workplaces is you seem stupid to me. And then I started to come across, the Gallop data. And I’m not sure what it was now. When I first looked at it, it was something like 18% of the workforce are engaged, which means you’re in the 80% aren’t and I just thought this is insane that this has become normalized, that it’s okay for eight out of 10 people to be not really bothered about their work.

[00:04:02] Yeah.

[00:04:02] Danny: I had a similar experience where, people go for it and they don’t ever work for, whatever their work situation is. You always think that the smaller the company, the easier it is. And then the bigger the company, the more corporate becomes the harder is for people.

[00:04:19] And often you get brand policed, you don’t get brand coached. You get you get given a list of. orders essentially it’s very difficult for you to be you and especially when you’re either acquired or you become part of a bigger company, becomes very difficult for you. Your identities changed.

[00:04:40] And a lot of the time, many people will struggle. with adapting into that environment and into the new environment. What I loved about a lot of the stuff that you put out and you’ve got brilliant newsletter and you’re prolific on LinkedIn, I really recommend people follow you in and connect to 10, or I think is really important is you hit the nail on the head is why should work be crap?

[00:05:06] Why should 80% or eight and 10 or 80% of us be unhappy or I think more recently it’s people more disjointed at work. Some people, I see some people have a print experience and they say other people, haven’t a really bad experience. I think it’s really hard for you then to decide which way you’re at and something I’ve been talking to with different guests and different businesses I’ve been interacting with, is there isn’t a everyone’s happy or everyone’s miserable.

[00:05:38] It sways day-to-day. And if. What company culture really is. And that’s what engagement is and what people feel within an office, especially a larger ones that I tend to find the bigger the office the more people tend to put their head down and they don’t want to speak out. Obviously apple I’ve had slightly different experiences recently as of base camp and a number of a tech firms.

[00:06:05] But I wonder what are the top three tips that you give people to start decrepit find work?

[00:06:11] Colin: Yeah. It’s interesting what you said about not wanting to speak out. Cause I think the fundamental thing you have to, if you want to decrapify work, you’re going to have to speak out, you’re going to, because you’re trying to make change happen.

[00:06:24] And that’s a bit of a challenge for people. But if you’re not, if you’re not prepared to do that, then nothing’s going to change.

[00:06:30] I suppose the first thing, yeah, all change starts from the inside outwards. So you have to start with yourself and you have to start to. Ask yourself questions about what your values are and what you really want to happen.

[00:06:45] And, essentially am I prepared to make a stand, to make work better? And that’s an ongoing process, but I think one of the things that one of the reason I struggled when I moved from that very supportive environment to that other environment was I had no idea of who I was or how to ask these questions or to me.

[00:07:03] My inner self, yeah. It was like, that was like, like on those maps where this is, you’ve got the coastline and then a bit further out is here be dragons. I think that was my sort of inner self. It was definitely when the dragons were.

[00:07:17] So yeah, so you’ve got to start with that sort of self-inquiry, Build that self-awareness, get to know who you are really, what’s important to you.

[00:07:24] And then the question you have to start with is how can I make things better? Or the other side of that question is, what pisses me off? And I want to do something about and once you’ve got that sort of kernel of this is something I would want to do something about then to start to find other people.

[00:07:39] That, have chats with people. See if they’re finding the same things, just start that conversation, there were stupid things we do that we could stop doing, or we should stop doing, or what’s the stuff that really is just getting in the way and it’s completely unnecessary.

[00:07:53] So I’m going to talk a bit about pirates in the course of this, but this is about finding your crew of people who feel similarly motivated to do something. And I want you to get your crew together and you have these conversations you really looking for some rules that you can break and replace the better ones.

[00:08:11] Cause we have all these rules. Some of them are very obvious. Yeah. Some of them, all company policy, but there’s quite a lot of rules that are unspoken or habits that people get into. So things like copying emails left right and center is like a, it’s become a bit of a rule, in some organizations and you can just take a stand against that.

[00:08:29] There was an organization where they got together and just started putting a footer saying, we don’t send our emails to anybody unnecessarily, that’s the start. It’s really about making change happen in the world, around you, in the way that you behave, the way you interact with other people, the things that you do because you that’s what you’ve got control over.

[00:08:52] Did you start to have some impact where you’ve got control and you’ll be surprised at where the ripples go to, that’s a much better approach than, either trying to boil the oceans or throw your hands up and say I can’t.

[00:09:03] Danny: There’s definitely a shift where I think things are becoming a little bit more normalized first for people to actually have the opportunity to speak out.

[00:09:13] Probably 10 years ago, people wouldn’t dream of speaking out against it or suggest that there was a problem, especially because company culture wasn’t really necessarily a thing. There’s like this, an unwritten rule of you followed the heartbeat of the company and there’ll be one or two people that might go against it, but everyone followed it.

[00:09:35] And I think it’s been a good trajectory. I think it has been a good movement towards people, understanding that things can be better or should be better.

[00:09:44] There is still a distrust around certain rule makers. So I think, HR is always there hire and fire. And I think, the first thing you do is you go to the manager, but if you don’t have to repport with your manager how are are you going to have that conversation?

[00:09:58] And would you trust them with that information or trust in that they’re going to do something likewise, the HR thing, a lot of time, they are hire and fire and you go to them and they’re not equipped or, they don’t understand how to take that forward. And I think actually it is, there are people now that, that are forward thinkers and future seers and do want to go in and bring that forward.

[00:10:23] Then there are people in the management team I’ve recently had written around what you should have in a management team and how should make them up after answering a, an anonymous career advice question I get submitted via the website. I, one of them was, Had the build, the best of management team.

[00:10:39] One of my recommendations is in people might have to fall into these is you need an approachable one, you need one, that’s going to listen. You’re going to need the approachable person. Who’s going to try and help with some of these issues. And I think. If they’re unsure of nature and have lower trust with HR and their manager or the process, there should be someone on a management team that you can go and speak to that will take it forward and know that, X and Y it’s I’ve had this feedback.

[00:11:07] I believe we should look into it, and these are steps we’re going to take and raise it. So I think there’s definitely a shift towards that. Do you with the movement towards the hybrid world of work. There are people going fully remote and having worked from home almost 18 months, do you have an opinion that might help or actually break and add onto the crap of work?

[00:11:32] Colin: It’s yeah, so it’s quite interesting. Yeah. I’ve been a remote worker for when I was in employment and in the 1990s, I had a laptop and would go around, plug it in wherever I was to do work. So I’ve found it a bit mystifying that companies are dragging their feet on, on this.

[00:11:55] But yeah, with the pandemic, they were forced to do this thing that they previous abuse. I was impossible. They were forced to trust their employees and much to their surprise or are not really to mine. In many cases the employees came up trumps and we’re very adaptable and flexible and made stuff happen and have managed to maintain a level of performance that frankly, a lot of their managers. thought it will be absolutely impossible. I think it’s been important.

[00:12:24] It shown the value of trust and has changed some attitudes of some companies, not all of them, as we can tell from some of the nonsense that gets spouted from time to time. But it’s it’s also shifted the power and I think that’s, you’re seeing that’s where you’re seeing some pushback from the, the managers and the leader.

[00:12:43] And I use that leaders in inverted commerce. This is the people at the top of the organization who have seen some of that power go away from them and they want to claw it back.

[00:12:50] my advice would be like you’ve got a little bit of power from this keep pushing.

[00:12:54] What else can you how else can you exercise your agency and make more change happen?

[00:13:00] What other things can we stop doing?

[00:13:02] I was reading a thing yesterday about commuting. Someone was saying, when are we going to sit down and I’ll ask why we spent all those decades, pointlessly, commuting And it was just such an ingrained habit again. It’s like one of those hidden rules really, we have to go into the office every day and now it’s been blown out the water, people are saying, wow, that was actually, that’s a bit stupid. Really? Isn’t it? What was the logic behind it? And and what else do we do routinely? And we think is, a necessary way of doing things is actually complete stupid. There’s probably quite a few.

[00:13:34] Danny: A couple of points I touch on.

[00:13:35] I’d love to dive into it a little bit deeper commuting. i actually recommended to someone, I was having my hair cut a few weeks ago. It was me in the barber and the next person who came in, who booked in, was talking there and he worked for a local council. And one thing that he said I missed the times where I I could have the 30 minutes to myself or the bike ride where I went from home to the office and I said why don’t you make your own commute?

[00:14:00] Won’t just put it back in, go for a walk for 30 minutes. And if you’re working from home, come back home. And he was like, oh, that’s an interesting idea. I said I started early. Yeah. A little bit later, but have your commute again. I said, are you going to miss down anywhere? He said, not really. So I said put the commute back in.

[00:14:19] And I said, what’d you do at lunch? He said, I was sitting at home. I said, we’ll go for a walk at lunch then and have a commute in the evening. And I completely agree. I think the commuting is. Fight for some people because it’s their way to, get themselves and bring themselves up to going to work.

[00:14:34] And for a lot of people, it was a way to decompress down, but because we’re always on, I often question now around shift patterns around that she should still be doing a nine to five.

[00:14:47] Colin: So just to unpack that a little bit with that, so people are missing the commute because it’s become an ingrained behavior.

[00:14:55] And it’s you talk about decompressing? That’s a sort of coping mechanism. I completely agree. I used to quite enjoy sitting on the train and reading the paper and get out of work mode, but that’s only because work mode was like so mad. So it was a way of correcting like an imbalance or dysfunction and actually what can we be better off curing the dysfunction rather than replacing the coping mechanism. Okay. And I completely see some people miss that commute, they missed the routine, they’ve integrated that into their life. And they haven’t had a way of replacing it.

[00:15:32] Other people don’t miss it at all. They’ve got more energy.

[00:15:37] They’ve got, they’re more relaxed.

[00:15:39] Danny: They just

[00:15:39] Colin: stand under. Yeah. And I think somebody says generational. If you spent 10, 20 years getting on the train every day then it does become part of your rhythm and changing away from that is quite easy. It’s the problem people have when they retire, the rhythm of their life has changed and it takes time to adapt.

[00:15:56] But for people who haven’t gone to that rhythm, they don’t think twice about it. Now we’re talking about train journeys you know. What about people who drive? I know two people actually gave up the jobs they had in their sort of in their fifties because they were having to drive and found M 25 every day.

[00:16:11] And one of them said to me, I knew it was only a matter of time before I killed myself, not deliberately, but just because the number of times he nearly nodded off at the wheel these are just, I can’t keep this up.

[00:16:21] So we have these very, yet dysfunctional patterns going on in our life driven by work.

[00:16:27] And we now have an opportunity to look at those and say, is there a better way? And there almost always is.

[00:16:35] Danny: The way I would tackle some of this and, thinking like a pirate or of, thinking of a growth mind. Is I say to everyone you know, your work schedule, I know I’m quite in touch with my energy source and I know when I’m at peak performance and I’ll be brutally honest.

[00:16:55] I used to go in silly o’clock so I still wake up early 5 55, get on the train, going on the train. The between a 20 and 35 minute walk to the office, because that was my way to put my podcasts in and do my routine. It’s the office, seven ish, maybe around then. And I liked spent early because I could get the time in to do my work first before my teams came in or people that would want to come and have conversations or something else pulled me into the, in a war room or the boardroom.

[00:17:27] And then. I don’t know that I’d have to go for a walk and I’d put in freeze schedules and I knew it for me because I knew that’s how I would operate at my peak. And like I said, we’ve on the previous podcast. Sharon but there’s no, there’s not really a manager or leaders or teams understand. So I think if I was to think positivity around making positive change, This is going to be a little bit controversial. We have 24 hours in a day. We have seven days a week. There’s no reason why we have to work a Monday to Friday nine to five anymore. If it’s in an office environment, if people are better in the mornings, change their shifts make work day change because we only jumped in meetings and people are only in zoom meetings now. ’cause that’s the only way they feel they can make a decision or be collective on something.

[00:18:19] And that’s not how people work. That’s not how people act in the seventies, eighties, nineties, early two thousands, even in 2010’s that wasn’t how people work. So we could

[00:18:29] do an eight to four, or we could do a seven to a three, or we could do a midday till 8, 9, 10. And we could even do an overnight, newspapers isn’t the best example for people, but they made the new newsroom 24 hours and it was pretty easy for them to do. And if you hear sub editors, or editors talk, it’s actually helped them become a little bit more efficient and understand what needed to do.

[00:18:53] So I haven’t actually worked. Can change. I know China’s just changed and abolished. And 9, 9, 6 culture. They had two, a nine, six days a week. But what that, what we need to do is as business leaders is help people become the best at peak performance in that time. And then to get enough people together, collectively to improve it.

[00:19:16] I’m not saying that people should work seven days a week, but I know there’s a lot of people that do work seven days a week. I have less hours in most days. And they know that when they perform best. So I don’t know how you think around schedules or four days a week. I wonder what your pirate mindset or

[00:19:34] Colin: it will be so you know, what we have now are all know desk factories and it’s driven, the whole sort of way.

[00:19:45] Structure work is driven out of this factory model. And why do we need to have set workdays? Why do you need to have a 40 hour week? There are some roles where, yeah where it is a very process driven. But increasingly people are doing, knowledge work, which is much less easy to define.

[00:20:05] You’re looking for people to as you say, the bits you’re looking for is people to have those moments of peak performance. You’re looking for teams to have moments of peak performance, to achieve breakthroughs to have those have those moments of insight. And it’s much less about just grinding through stuff.

[00:20:22] So you should, you, why not have a conversation with people about what helps them do their best stuff? And it seems, you’re saying to me that, a huge amount of effort is spent in trying to select and recruit the very best talent and all that sort of stuff. And you don’t sit down with them and say, so what do you need to work at your best?

[00:20:44] It’s bonkers. Instead you stick them at a desk between nine and five in an open plan office where they can’t hear what’s going on at all. They can’t concentrate and expect them to perform their best stuff. It’s just never gonna happen. And I suppose it also touches on the other side of it is we also.

[00:21:03] although there’s more focus on it now, there’s still not a really engagement with the whole person. If somebody is happy in their life, they’re going to do good work. And yet we’re expecting people to turn up and do good work and all the other stuff, we may or may not get involved in, but that’s really your affair. If we look after the people, then they will provide the results that we’re looking for as an organization. And we seem to just want the results, but don’t want to look after them.

[00:21:30] Danny: There’s definitely a, like a hands up hands off moment. There’s like the hands up, you stand up and be counted.

[00:21:37] And then if something’s going on, you tell us, but then as soon as you, someone works out of something going on this hands-off, it’s like this fair and the eyes get wide has been a,

[00:21:48] Colin: it’s been a sort of creepy.

[00:21:49] So one of the reasons I started the crappy fly work here, cause I had, as thing I called the process of crapification of work, which is a number of different sort of things that have been going on trends that have interacted to make things declined quite a lot. In the last 20 years, I would say.

[00:22:09] One of those is this sort of like creeping intrusion into your life. So part of it is timing intrusion. So because we all got mobile phones and they can check our emails, there’s been this expectation of being always available, which means people are actually working they’re may be commuting, but then they’re spending like an hour in the morning and an hour and a half at night checking emails, which is really bad for your mental health. Cause you need that downtime and to switch.

[00:22:37] And you’ve also seen it in that you’re expected to be committed to the company purpose and to bring your whole self to work, but oh, no, not that bit cause that’s a bit messy and tricky and we don’t really want to deal with that. When I started work, there was very clear delineation between work and your personal life, which had its pluses and minuses.

[00:22:55] But it seems to me that boundary has been made very fuzzy and mostly to the detriment of the individual.

[00:23:03] Danny: Would you blame tech for that? A lot of the time, I remember clearly having to put in a battery solution at a company I worked for many years ago and a select few would get a Blackberry and all of them became addicted. Did it Blackberry. And it was a fight that you knew that you made it in that company, if you were given a company Blackberry and not just because of BBM and all the different features add it made you of the, in crowds that could be part of the email revolution that was going on. And then if it was, had to be part of a chat, he’d go off and have the chat and people would blame in tech for this, I think a little bit more than actually leadership

[00:23:44] yeah, because people always have a choice, but it’s whether you feel like. Remove yourself from it. So people have a choice, especially when it comes to everyone, having a smartphone it’s really tempting to check in, or it’s in a, you have this fear of missing something and obviously tech has enabled it.

[00:24:02] But I think managers are the ones that should be held accountable and saying, if you’re working this shift or in a you’re at peak performance, yeah. You should do this. You shouldn’t do that.

[00:24:12] And that’s why I love it. agreed principles across businesses. If they don’t have it, they should have it.

[00:24:16] So I don’t know whether you’d paint tech or it leadership or a bit of both?

[00:24:22] Colin: So,. It’s ultimately it’s yeah. It’s leadership that is to blame. I think what with that’s a sort of that’s to do with how status is established, it’s to do with how people get recognized and rewarded which is not, people should have status and get rewarded on how they perform and out the outputs that they deliver. And that’s not what happens. What happens is people get rewarded for over presenteeism and, performative busy-ness. And proximity to the boss, it’s still the case that if you can get more face time with the boss, you get promoted. That’s just, that’s ridiculous in this day and age that we still do that.

[00:25:03] And so that sort of the tech has enabled that Presenteeism. It’s digital presence, it’s everything, isn’t it. And you see the same. You’ve seen the same with some sort of work from home scenarios where people are having to be on zoom all the time, or are sending out loads more emails and messages just to make themselves visible.

[00:25:26] And that’s management that should be setting, leadership should be saying, this is not what we can reward people for. This is not important. This is irrelevant stuff. What we’re really interested in is what your contribution is.

[00:25:39] And good organizations do that, but most organizations still got quite a long way to go.

[00:25:45] Danny: You said around proximity in the chat tools, an email tools. Proximity is an odd one because, I call it political intelligence. Unfortunately, it’s a PQ, you’ve got IQ, EQ and PQ now like political intelligence has always been something people are rewarded for and building that bond or the trust relationship with your boss has always enabled people.

[00:26:07] But very few people would have, again, that’s a choice. Very fair. Few people decide. Can I make a decision, this is the way that they’re going to be rewarded. I know that loyalty is rewarded greatly in big us companies and some of the larger, UK based companies. It’s because there’s this relationship that, there’s either a trust relationship.

[00:26:30] There’s a “do” relationship. I say what they do and they do it, therefore they should be promoted. And I think proximity is going to be challenged in the near future because when it’s hybrid, it’s gonna be very difficult to understand what’s good proximity and what’s bad proximity and leaders have to teach managers is the clear difference between the two leaders have to teach managers to get better at being. More approachable have make more time for that team.

[00:27:00] Also help them help people perform a little bit better, not just you’ve done a good job. You’ve done a bad job. It’s helped coach and mentor them. I wonder if this, the hybrid world’s going to it. Have a clear line between a good manager and a bad manager.

[00:27:15] I truly believe bad managers can be bad manager wherever they are. They are going to need coaching. Whereas I think a good manager can really Excel themselves in a hybrid world or a more remote world because it’s all time-based and then they can help people with productivity and energy and flow.

[00:27:32] Colin: I think, the first comment I’d make on that is that there’s a lot of leaders that actually get I’m not very good at being approachable or coaching people or, and a lot of a bad leader will create bad managers, bad leaders below them. And I think that is we should be looking. We, this distinction between leaders and managers is a bit redundant these days. Everybody needs to lead.

[00:27:55] If you’re trying to make something happen, you’ve got to influence and encourage and help the people that you’re working with to, to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. And that’s being a leader. And yeah I think as has happened in so many areas with COVID, it’s really strip things away.

[00:28:12] He’s got rid of a lot of the noise and bad managers have really been shown up. So the ones that, you know, because the qualities that are needed in a virtual environment are actually the qualities of good leadership.

[00:28:26] It’s about being compassionate and having good relationships with the people you’re working with and coaching and supporting them. And not the usual, directive approach of the command and control structure. And a lot of the performance of the manager has also been stripped away, so there’s no room for office politics when you’re not in an office everyone’s equal on a zoom screen. You

[00:28:58] Danny: should be,

[00:28:58] Colin: right? Yeah. Yeah. And I know that, yeah there’s always people who would to dominate those sorts of situations, but it is a much more equal environment.

[00:29:08] A lot of frankly, the bullshit that people have got away within the past just doesn’t work. And you can’t do a power play on someone when they can just switch their screen. And go and make a cup of tea.

[00:29:21] Danny: That’s what I love about the TikTok generation that’s coming through is because they’re making things far more aware, making people and the bad behaviors, they’re making other people aware that’s just not something that should happen, although they’re going through it, they called it out and other people see it.

[00:29:40] I think from really creating an awareness around it. I was on the helping a company with some training. And it was with the middle management up to the senior leadership team. One of the middle managers was a very strong personality and they said, beinga middle manager is rubbish.

[00:29:57] Like you’re not given any support. You’re basically you’re a puppet. And that was with me as an external person on it. And it really telling and I said, okay, Let’s quickly go into this. Why is that? And they rattled off a list. And I said, have you heard this before? And most of the the management team said no.

[00:30:17] And then for through choice, the actual “leader” said, oh, actually I have been taught this, but not directly. I’ve heard it through two different fruit, two different sort of chains, and I’ve never had it directly. And I said maybe. Introducing we’ll skip me. In’s oil. You should listen a little bit more away from the feedback that you get written feedback.

[00:30:37] You should probably try and get the report on it. And I think that’s the crux of a lot of problems. A lot of companies saying at the moment is it comes back to what we first said is if people aren’t speaking up or not giving you opportunity to, it’s gonna be very difficult in any situation with your back to the office, or we can be working remotely or hybrid in the future

[00:30:59] If people don’t know, they’re not made aware of it, then how are they going to address it? I think that’s one of the first actions people need to take, especially when it’s hybrid. Because there’s going to be some people that thrive when in a back in the office and can be as political as they want. And then you’re going to have the loud extrovert people that have probably struggled.

[00:31:19] Whereas introverts are probably won out, a little bit on zoom it’s because they’ve got, like you said, to have an equal voice or equal in a share of the screen almost. And I think this is a couple of things that people can probably take away, is if you’re an actual. You’re going to fry with other people and the energy around you in person and going to love it when they’re on a screen and they can include the chat in, they could type the point out what I can stop someone and don’t fill it out.

[00:31:43] That can be overall. It’s I think it’s a sort of key lesson for people understand.

[00:31:49] Colin: There’s a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion.

[00:31:52] And what you’ve just described is an environment that’s specific for a long time where we can’t even include introverts and extroverts effectively because the office is basically set up for white male extroverts.

[00:32:07] And we need to ask some deeper questions about what we’re really trying to achieve. Yeah, you need and the keyword tool, this is it’s about, there needs to be more flexibility. It comes back to what you’re saying earlier. Everybody has different requirements in order to perform at their best.

[00:32:21] And yet we don’t have any conversations around that. And I, when a leader says, oh no, one’s told me that before. Why didn’t you bloody go and ask people, why don’t you get out there and talk to people? One of the roles, I was in middle money. Okay. So it’s in some ways, it’s great because you can actually, when you’re leading a team, you actually get stuff done.

[00:32:40] So I think teams, that’s something I put in my newsletter last week, like teams are where it’s at because that’s where stuff happens. Things get done. But if you’re in that middle management position, you get all this directives that strategy and stuff handed down from management that is out of touch with what really hands on the.

[00:33:00] And you have to do this sort of translation job. I think I will. I’ve told us to do this. And what would that actually mean in terms of what we have to do? And the management above you don’t appreciate the translation job you’ve done and the people below you think, they might think you’re a bit of an asshole for making them do that in the first place, even though you’ve done your best to soften as much as possible.

[00:33:22] So you really gain cool in a squeeze there. And in some ways, middle management is being gutted in a lot of organizations, but the only works. If you take out that sort of layer of adaptability, communication only happen. Only works. If the people at the top are connecting directly with the people at the bottom.

[00:33:41] And I, I. Yeah, I don’t see massive efforts on their part to do that. All I see, it’s a lot of them, a lot of complaining going on about, millennials or generation Zed or whatever the latest problem is. And this is what’s Tom, Peter’s called, management by walking about , go bloody talk to people. And it’s what a company called Barry Waymiller that’s an engineering company in the states and the guy who ran it, he is the president now talks about truly human leadership and getting out and talking to people and they don’t have any, I have a lot less structured reporting and

[00:34:22] They basically rely on managers getting out and talking to people and he himself used to do. I think he was he set himself a target of over 600 one-to-one interactions every year, some years he’d do seven, 800 actually. So three, three or four people a day, you would sit down and have an hour’s conversation with them all over the organization.

[00:34:43] And he expected all of his managers. And what’s going on, then you don’t need lots of reports because you’ve spoken to people and you’ve also built up, you’ve opened up those channels and built the trust that if someone sees something going wrong, they’re going to get in touch with it and say, this isn’t right. We got a problem here.

[00:35:03] Danny: There’s an over-reliance on dashboards as well though. I think people, some people. Foodies dashboards in businesses, quite these numbers up. And they were like, all right, if we need to talk around it, we can talk. Dashboards, enable people to become is lazy, disconnected. And it becomes a part of the blame culture. And like you said, if you can do 600 1- to ones and you can make the time and be you can performance at that level. It’s amazing. The best pieces of information, the best performance I’ve got is sitting down either informally over a coffee or in a, or coaching, is having those conversations and regularly weekly, especially with some people always say, I don’t want it and I don’t need it.

[00:35:48] And thats “micro-management”, but a lot of people just don’t realize the importance that it has. What you can get from spending time with people is their pulse. You understand their heartbeat of what they’re working on and then how it ripples up and down and fairly organization. And too often now people are surprised when there’s something goes wrong.

[00:36:10] Becuase they haven’t to have an had the tool or told them,, isa tool isn’tnot going to tell him if the input’s not there or the person’s not happy. It’s

[00:36:18] Colin: all about building those relationships. And I know when I manage people, they used to have a weekly, we’d have a monthly meeting or I’d have a weekly check in meeting really.

[00:36:30] And I do I put those in the diary and I try not to let them get shifted. I it, if I’d missed a couple, then it became like that’s not that’s immovable. And quite often people would say, I’m not sure we really got anything to talk about this week. And I said let’s just have a quick run through what you’re doing and stuff.

[00:36:46] And it, first of all, there’d always be something come up, but that we really did these tools. But also it just meant, you’ve you’re taking an interest in them on a regular basis and that builds the trust and the understanding. And you get to know, you can tell if someone’s a bit off, you notice it because you’ve had enough contact with them to think last just that’s not, they’re not right.

[00:37:09] I need to have a chat with them. And they get to trust you. And some of the things that people have shared with me have been really quite humbly that they’ve had that level of trust, but you have to work at it. There’s no shortcuts. And I think that’s the problem with dashboards a lot. It’s so much. So much of the stuff you read, in the business press and on the internet, it’s all about shortcuts. There are no shortcuts. You have to work at this stuff.

[00:37:32] Danny: That was my favorite newsletter. It feels actually it’s the shortcut newsletter, every shot

[00:37:38] Colin: in this.

[00:37:38] Danny: Guy’s exactly something that you said and i’d love to o pick out quite quickly.

[00:37:45] Is there are so many times. Where you talked to someone and they say, oh, I don’t have much to say this week. And then you dive into it. I actually spoke to a therapist who was doubling up as an Uber driver. And he said that through his work through benefits and being onscreen, it took some of the. private connection away, but he also said what’s really interesting is some people found that even more intimate because it’s on their most intimate device.

[00:38:20] So there’s two ways of looking at the on-screen relationship that we might have to build relationships with, is actually for some people, it will be the most intimate because the chase to do on their mobile phone. Not on the work laptop. They might choose to do it that way. So it’s really interested.

[00:38:37] And one of the best things I’ve ever done with cognitive behavioral therapy. And I actually I’ve said it on the previous podcast. I truly believe that every leader should go through therapy because I think it makes you aware of so many different things. And that’s some generations don’t always think it says as applicable as possible, but I truly believe that if you can understand the motives and the behaviors of different people and understand what their connection is.

[00:39:04] You can really pull out the best bits of information and you can become a much better person as an alongside manager and your choice to be a leader. If you understand that relationships with different devices or if they’d prefer, actually that they’re going in and you might be going in once a month for every fortnight is to have an hour session with them, as opposed to. On the phone or through a device?

[00:39:28] Colin: Yeah, I think, it comes back to what you used when you asked me for three tips it’s so you will only learn if you’re willing to undertake that self analysis and self examination. And I’m afraid there’s, certainly lots of people out there of my generation who that’s just not somewhere they’re prepared.

[00:39:46] So they’re never going to be good leaders, in my opinion, they’re only ever going to be these very directive leaders. And that, that’s not that, that, that worked 30, 40 years ago, 50 years ago because. Life was more stable and more, and there was much more certainty about what was going on.

[00:40:07] But today in, in what we like to call our VUCA world that’s just not going to wash it. It’s just not good enough. Yeah, so they, yeah, they need to probably retire.

[00:40:20] Danny: Is there a question I should have asked you? I’m interested if it, if you think there’s a question I should’ve asked.

[00:40:25] Colin: Yeah.

[00:40:26] So you sent me some questions you asked about what about, what does leadership mean to you? And I think and I did a series of posts on this, so there’s an article on LinkedIn where I, when I lay out my thoughts on leadership, but for me, it was always about creating an environment for the people I was responsible for. To do their best stuff, to thrive and grow. And I haven’t really come across anything to suggest that either that’s not actually what leadership is about.

[00:40:54] And that’s why, that’s why the personal was, is really important because yeah, because when we’re leading people, we’re not leading systems and processes.

[00:41:06] When I started out in the world of work, people related, most people, they had much more interaction with other people.

[00:41:12] And, we talked a bit about the dashboards. So tech has of going the way of people interacting with each other.

[00:41:20] And we’ve seen this, focus on process, the curse of bloody MBA graduates coming in and determining process and not paying attention to the human connections, which are actually, processes work because people do stuff and yeah, people have a lot of discretion about how they operate.

[00:41:41] So if you don’t connect with that person, you. You’re not going to get the best out of them. I also think one of the phrases I’ve come across recently is by Mary Parker Follett, who was wrote about management, science and stuff in the 1940s. I think it was. And just to what she said, I come with these phrases, leaders create leaders.

[00:42:02] So I think leadership is, that’s part of flourishing. If people are flourishing and growing, then they will lead others. They’ll lead themselves and they’ll lead others. And we need everybody to be able to lead in some capacity.

[00:42:17] Danny: I hundred percent agree and I think leaders need to step up and be the difference between though that there’s a difference between managers and the.

[00:42:28] I understand. I agree. I’ve actually never come across that report, but yeah,

[00:42:34] Colin: But managers, the management is a function you have to management is about making sure the resources are in the right place and stuff happens. But that’s something that I lead to does, lead, leading up for it.

[00:42:46] Talk about leading rather than leaders,. Yeah. Leading is something that you do. It’s an action. And it’s also, I believe it’s a way of being with you, whether you’ve got the title of up or not, you can lead and people do all the time. As teachers you lead parents lead, they lead the children.

[00:43:04] They lead, they lead their children’s friends sometimes,

[00:43:06] Danny: I, I spoke to a head teacher last summer on a sort of mission. I was on speakers to do as many different leaders as possible. And he completely changed with his team. Completely changed the way they communicate with parents, with internally with teachers and admin, the students.

[00:43:24] And I said, oh, how’d you make sure that the message gets through. Because now you’ve got 500 different channels that you could send out. And he said, still the best thing to do is to have a letter that he give to the child that then gives to the parents. Still the best way, but they write blog posts and they’re really forward, seer’s bringing a the future forward for the company at, for the school and for the students.

[00:43:46] And I said, oh, what’s leadership?. And he basically said, agreed, it’s in its lead-ing. And what we both agreed on was leadership as a choice management is a job.

[00:43:59] Colin: I thought that’s a perfect case of, so the whole purpose of a school is to enable the pupils to flourish and grow. And why should work be any be any different?

[00:44:09] I’ll give any schools, the current education system. It doesn’t do a great job of it, but it does a lot better job than many workplaces.

[00:44:18] Danny: and where do Most people get a lot of their training from is overdoes school or the workplaces they’ve been in. So I’d love to finish in a quick fire round.

[00:44:28] It’s always call it content corner. You’ve given us a lot of different talking points and i’ll share as many of your brilliant pieces as possible. I’d have to finish in a quick fire round. It’s there’s there one book that you’d recommend that everyone should read yeah. Be

[00:44:42] Colin: more pirate followed up by how to be more pirate.

[00:44:44] Which is. We haven’t really talked a great deal about this pirate ethos, but it’s about taking agency and establishing principles of behavior. Through your pirate code. So yeah, there’s some, and I like also the way that it takes the common perception of what pirates are and turns it around.

[00:45:07] It’ll make you think. And ultimately, I think that’s a large pit part of what we have to do is take what we perceive to be. Truths or established facts and we examine them and say, is that really true? Is that really how it is?

[00:45:22] Danny: Steve Jobs was a huge fan of Steve

[00:45:24] Colin: and the front of the book.

[00:45:25] It says, I’d rather be a pirate than in the Navy, which is a quote by Steve jobs. Yeah, there’s lots of good stuff. If you were a pirate captain, you had to be voted in by the by the crew and you could be voted out. I think that would certainly have a, quite an impact in the workplace

[00:45:42] Danny: Interestingly,.

[00:45:45] It probably happens a lot more than we realise. Just not formally. Yeah. Yeah. Is it, is there a podcast that you’d recommend people to listen.

[00:45:55] Colin: I’m going to suggest a couple, cause I think eat, sleep, work, repeat by Bruce stately. It’s been suggested before. But yeah, that’s a good, that’s a good podcast.

[00:46:03] The other one I listened to is a lead from the heart by Mark C Crowley. And he gets some really great guests on there, but Mark’s been pushing this idea of heart-based leadership. Since way before it was a cool factor yeah, so I think that’s a good source of ideas and the latest thinking.

[00:46:22] Danny: He’s a good follow on social as well. Yeah,

[00:46:25] Colin: he does long Twitter. Yeah.

[00:46:27] Danny: Is there a newsletter that you’d recommend other than your own?

[00:46:30] Colin: I dip in and out of newsletters, the one I’ve I guess it’s not a newsletter, but I. I follow Seth Godin he blogs every single day and usually makes a pretty punchy point.

[00:46:45] I think, yeah, my, my blogging style was in start inspired by Seth Godin reading.

[00:46:51] Danny: He’s influenced so many people that don’t realize it all that once they say one of his masterclasses or they hear or see him speak or read one of his newsletters, that property realized that especially when the shorter ones, how succinct good writers are.

[00:47:04] The west passage for certain things are too long, especially crane presentations that I just find these, every video, any sort of video that you’d recommend movies, documentary, or YouTube video that people, if they want to help decrapify work,, they should watch.

[00:47:19] Colin: There’s loads. Again, I would I know Sharon Aneja set this one, which is the Brene Brown talk of vulnerable.

[00:47:27] Which was a real turning point for me in terms of starting to get into that in a world properly. Cause like a lot of people, I had a block around exploring my emotions. Yeah, so that’s a good one. The other one is so Ken Robinson’s video, Ted talk on education, which is both insightful and.

[00:47:50] And said yes, long lamented. But he was a great guy.

[00:47:54] Danny: Yeah. Thanks so much for your time to say is there anywhere that you want people to connect with you obviously we’ve brought up your LinkedIn in his letter. Is there any way that people should contact you on or connect with you?

[00:48:08] Colin: So I’m most active on LinkedIn, as you said, connecting me to.

[00:48:12] And there is a deep crap if I work a website, and I’m all over bits of social media, mostly as Collin Newlyn. Yeah, can email me at as well..

[00:48:26] Awesome.

[00:48:28] Danny: Thanks so much.