Investigating The Lived Experiences of Others Jenn T. Grace, Brian McComak, and Jennifer Brown

[00:00:00] Jenn: [00:00:00] Good morning, Jennifer Brown.

[00:00:03] Jennifer B: [00:00:03] Good morning, Jen grace. Uh, welcome. And you are in a new home, which is very exciting for you,

[00:00:10] Jenn: [00:00:10] which is why we didn’t have our call last week. We’ve been consistent since the beginning of March and last week was the one that we missed because I was in the middle of moving in.

[00:00:20] Did not actually have a desk at that point. And right now I’m, I’m still surrounded by boxes, but at least I’m in my new office.

[00:00:26] Jennifer B: [00:00:26] So that is very exciting. Great. You look great. I love your lighting.

[00:00:30] Jenn: [00:00:30] Yes. Yes. All about the lighting.

[00:00:34] Jennifer B: [00:00:34] Yes. These are the things we obsess about and

[00:00:37] Jenn: [00:00:37] Brian’s like shaking his head.

[00:00:39] Like what, what have I gotten into the whole

[00:00:43] Brian: [00:00:43] conversation about lighting before we came on the call? Right?

[00:00:47] Jenn: [00:00:47] All right

[00:00:47] Brian: [00:00:47] enough, because we’re all are we

[00:00:54] Jenn: [00:00:54] going to have good lighting and good sound or else people don’t want to? I think lighting, you can probably [00:01:00] get away with not having the best lighting. I think sound is the key that people want to just really be able to,

[00:01:04] Jennifer B: [00:01:04] to hear what we’re all saying. That’s the most important thing. Yes. So here we are.

[00:01:09] Jenn: [00:01:09] And we have Brian McCormack with us today. Hello, Brian.

[00:01:12] Jennifer B: [00:01:12] Hello friend. Good friend of both of ours. Yes. P Y soon to be PYP author. Gotta get reading.

[00:01:22] Brian: [00:01:22] You know, I love, I I’ve said this on. I think you both know. I have my conversation series that I host on Wednesdays and I actually set it on one of those, one of those episodes and I’m like, Oh no, it’s just out there.

[00:01:36] Like I can’t take it back now.

[00:01:40] Jenn: [00:01:40] No, no, no. Jen called you out within the first minute and a half. So now, now it’s gone. There’s no vote.

[00:01:47] Jennifer B: [00:01:47] Can we do it with love. I promise.

[00:01:50] Brian: [00:01:50] I appreciate it. Well, of course, you know, I, you know, the two of you have been so instrumental in everything I’ve done in the last few months, so I’m, I’m grateful and I’m grateful for the nudges.

[00:01:59] Uh, [00:02:00] actually I don’t remember who introduced me to Edwardo, uh, one of the two of you, but Eduardo was the reason the conversation in this series even exists. Like he was the one who’s like Brian, You talked about it for three months, it’s now time to make it happen.

[00:02:14] Jenn: [00:02:14] Why don’t you, why don’t we start off? Can you share for those that don’t know what, what we’re talking about, what you’ve been up to.

[00:02:21] Brian: [00:02:21] Let’s just keep it a secret. It’s more fun that way. Of course, you both know. I like to, I like to infuse levity in life when I can for asking, I. I started an organization called hummingbird Manatee, uh, and, uh, it’s really, um, the idea with based on my 20 plus years in, uh, Human resources and diversity inclusion work and organizational culture, employee engagement.

[00:02:49] Um, and I, what I wanted to do was to build a affirm and a message and, um, a framework around human centered workplace cultures. [00:03:00] Uh, and so as the launch of hummingbird humanity, I decided that since I believe that our stories and our, who we are as individuals with snow and important to anything we do in the workplace, including the messages and the things we do externally out of our companies, I wanted to spend for it on the stories and experiences.

[00:03:20] Of diverse individuals, uh, and a diverse group of individuals. So I know have this weekly series on Wednesdays, cultural partner and the human spirit. And, uh, I have this wonderful, um, collection of people who’ve shared their stories and their wisdom and their experiences. And. You’re going back to Eduardo plus Sarah, who I mentioned a moment ago, the founder of fields communicators.

[00:03:42] Uh, he’s also been one of my, um, uh, mentors and supporters and champions, and he was the first guest. Uh, so, uh, if you’re curious, you can check it out on, um, hummingbird, humanity.com uh, uh, websites for slash events. Uh, and you can [00:04:00] get links to all of the episodes there

[00:04:03] Jenn: [00:04:03] and you know, what an Eduardo was. I believe Jen, correct me if I’m wrong.

[00:04:07] I think he was the first person that we had as a guest and everything kind of unraveled from there in our conversations. Right. He was the first one, right.

[00:04:15] Jennifer B: [00:04:15] I think he was. And I discovered Eduardo. I wonder if it was me, I’m not sure, but, um, he was emceeing a, a women’s event and that I was attending and I walk in the room and I see this guy at a women’s event.

[00:04:28] And I think this is going to have to be a super stupendous guy, you know, and, and lo and behold, He of course was, I mean, we all know how magical he is as an emcee. And, um, you know, Brian, you actually you’re, you have a side hustle that you love of auction auctioneering. So it’s funny that I feel like both of you have so many talents, um, But that you also do some auctioneering too, which I always wanted to fit in.

[00:04:54] Brian: [00:04:54] Yeah. Well, thanks. Thanks for many of your tracks. Well, of course, option events don’t happen [00:05:00] right now. Um, so, uh, so I probably get my marketing materials to say, hire Brian for your live event. Um, and we’re, we’re, we’ve some of us who are benefit auctioneers have pivoted to being fundraising ambassadors on live events, uh, to help out for money.

[00:05:14] Uh, but yeah, I, you know, When I worked at Christie’s auction house, uh, a decade ago, uh, I. I was fortunate to be able to combine my passion for giving back my love of performing, uh, and, uh, my desire to understand the business of auction, um, more, um, More just, I wanted to understand the business because I believe to be an HR professional, you have to understand the business like that.

[00:05:42] That’s the conduit for conversations and work and everything we do from an HR perspective needs to match the business strategy. So this was a way for me to bring these sort of connect these connections of, of, you know, passion for purpose and performance and understanding the business together. And I [00:06:00] learned from, um, Lydia from that who I know that Jennifer, you know, I don’t know.

[00:06:05] Jen grace, you know her yet, but you must know Lydia and I love to make sure you’re getting connected to her. So she taught me how to be a benefit auctioneer. And so for the last, almost 10 years now, I’ve helped organizations, both, um, architect, their live events. So really figuring out how do they maximize fundraising over the course of the evening.

[00:06:24] Right? Uh, and then also I can go on stage and deliver the auction experience. Um, and, and many times I do it on my own. Uh, and so that’s where the, my passion and desire for having levity helps. So I, cause I call it, I call it, stand up comedy with a purpose. Although, I don’t think I’m very funny, so there’s that sort of conundrum.

[00:06:44] Um, but, uh, I do it, uh, I, uh, I do the options on my own, but occasionally I get to work with celebrities too. So I’ve been on stage with Justin Bieber. Um, and, uh, who else? Oh, uh, uh, Judy gold, [00:07:00] um, Rocco, Lorene, Baraka was so fun to work with, um, Alan coming. So I like to name drop when I can cause. You feel cool?

[00:07:08] I’m I’m so not cool. Um, but it’s, it’s been fun to really, to help these organizations that are doing good in the world to be able to continue doing that work and then they need those dollars. So it’s a great way for me to be able to give back. Yeah.

[00:07:23] Jennifer B: [00:07:23] Awesome. That’s so many talents. So in towns. Oh Brian.

[00:07:28] And so, so that’s, that’s one of the many things you do, but, but returning to. Hummingbird. Like what, when you say like focusing on lived experiences, how were we not focusing on lived experiences in the past? I guess, like, I think that would be instructive to people. And what do we mean by lived experience?

[00:07:47] Like don’t we all have lived experiences of our own diversity dimensions. I’m playing a little bit of devil’s advocate, um, which has, which have been missing. What made us realize that. You know, and how do you sort of, [00:08:00] how are you marching forward, use your voice to center those in a way that you think is different from what’s happened up till

[00:08:06] Brian: [00:08:06] now.

[00:08:08] That was like 17 questions

[00:08:14] Jennifer B: [00:08:14] to my brain,

[00:08:15] Jenn: [00:08:15] which

[00:08:15] Jennifer B: [00:08:15] is a really confusing place.

[00:08:17] Brian: [00:08:17] I do the same thing though. I’ll say I’m going to ask you a question. Okay. I’m going to ask you two questions, actually. It’s

[00:08:27] totally. Well, I think there’s a, there’s a few things in there that are themes that are helpful. Um, so I’ll start with just one of my beliefs about. The workplace of, of today, um, is, and, and there’s an interesting question about whether humanity was part of our workplaces ever in a very real way.

[00:08:48] Jennifer B: [00:08:48] I think,

[00:08:49] Brian: [00:08:49] um, cause one of my first iterations of this book, uh, title, the working title was.

[00:08:55] Bringing humanity back to the workplace. And I shared that with someone there, like, was it there before [00:09:00] Brian and for that title has been sunset and we’ve moved onto new ones, but, um, I think it’s a really interesting question. I think there are. Companies and organizations who that, uh, that infuse humanity into everything they do.

[00:09:13] So there are certainly examples of that. I think, uh, certainly that over the last few months with the pandemic and the conversations around black lives matter, we’re seeing more companies recognize the importance of infusing humanity into their workplaces. Um, and really being people first are people centric in their decision making and their actions and their decisions.

[00:09:32] Um, but I also believe that, um, Human resources, uh, as it evolved from, um, people administration, or sort of more administration practices started to move into more human centered, focused decision making so that there was this journey in the eighties and nineties that, um, that was really the focus. So it was very.

[00:09:55] Yeah, that people came first. And a lot of what HR was doing, HR has been [00:10:00] challenged to become more strategic in the work that it does and a business focus. And I love that. I think that’s an important evolution for HR. HR work is now very much more human capital focused. And how do you manage the financial impacts of the resources of the people?

[00:10:17] Resources, um, is my, my belief. So what’s happened is diversity equity and inclusion. Those professionals are now the people who are focused on diversity, equity inclusion, but are really the, the barometers or the caretakers of heart and soul of companies. And, uh, so that’s, so that’s where I think this humanity question in the workplace comes to life.

[00:10:41] Um, when I talk about heart and soul, though, There’s a whole collection of ways that heart and soul comes to life. And where I start with is what’s the lived experiences of all the people that work at our companies. And you’re right, John, we all have lived experiences, every single person. And actually, you know, the title here investigating the lived experiences of others.

[00:10:59] The [00:11:00] good news is that applies to every person. There’s, you know, if I have a commitment as a gay white man, as an apprentice person with a disability, Um, I can share my experiences and my stories. Um, But I can’t speak for either of you. You’re both, you’re both women, you’re both members of the LGBTQ plus community.

[00:11:20] Um, but your experiences, even in the LGBTQ plus community are different than mine. And then, you know, all of us are having conversations now about black lives matter. And what is, what are the experiences of the black community? Um, and then there’s, as you know, with this, there’s lots of complexity here as we think about it.

[00:11:36] But one of my commitments as an ally and intentional ally for people of color. And for women, I try to understand those stories and their experiences and find opportunities to learn about what that, what it feels like to be in your shoes. I’ll never fully understand. I’m like, I can’t, I can’t actually step into your shoes.

[00:11:54] Um, but I think if we can all just understand each other. Um, we go back to this workplace [00:12:00] example, sort of bringing all this together. I think we w w what’s happened is we’ve all started to be put in these boxes. You’re a manager, you’re an employee, you’re an HR person. You’re a marketing person. And we’re like, you need to follow these rules.

[00:12:12] Well, the person who’s in that box with those rules is a person they’re a person first. And they bring all of their stuff with them to work. We try to put it away. And I think we should, I think professionalism is important in the workplace, but you know, what, if we understand each other as people and humans.

[00:12:27] What, what I just wonder what’s really possible if we really start from that perspective and then do good work together versus the Atlanta

[00:12:36] Jennifer B: [00:12:36] would not be nice.

[00:12:37] Jenn: [00:12:37] I would love it. We’ve touched upon this in previous episodes, videos, whatever we still were, how many in them, we don’t even have a name for what this is yet.

[00:12:46] We’re just going to roll with it. But just kind of the differences that you might be seeing Brian, in terms of the virtual workplace, that is our current existence, and then maybe the future iteration of what that looks like, and you know, [00:13:00] that whole bringing your full self to the workplace because now.

[00:13:04] As Jen has brought up a number of times. I feel like we, we have a, we can’t hide. I can’t hide ourselves as much because we’re like in our homes and you can see the things and the stuff that’s going on around us while we’re at work or having an important call or whatever it might be. So what now, what are you seeing right now based on, you know, based on that,

[00:13:25] Brian: [00:13:25] it’s such a good question.

[00:13:27] I, um, I feel like there are both. Um, as, as with anything there’s always the pros and cons, right? There’s the things that are good. And then there’s the things that are pro are posing challenges. And, um, and how do we manage through that? So in the, um, in the good buckets, uh, what I am excited about is, uh, I’ve been one of, at least people who were really championed for.

[00:13:53] Greater flexibility. Um, as we integrate work and life and all of our various responsibilities [00:14:00] and both, uh, and, uh, I believe and hope, uh, a little bit of both, uh, that, uh, corporate America and leaders in corporate America who have been resistant are now seeing, Hey, actually, Remote working, virtual working and flexible working.

[00:14:16] It actually really does work and you can actually get a lot done and sometimes you can even get more done and you can get it done in ways that are, uh, that minimize some of the negative impacts to both people and the environment. You know, I think about some of my friends in New York city who commute an hour or an hour and a half to two hours each way, that’s not good for it for anyone really.

[00:14:38] Um, and, uh, and so I think, you know, I think we’re seeing the benefit of it. That I also think that it’s raised this whole collection and you’ve said this already, Jen, that it’s raised these other questions that have imposed some new challenges for us of, um, I love this phrase that I heard, I think was actually on one of Jennifer’s calls where someone mentioned how the soundtracks of our [00:15:00] lives are now entering the workplace because we’re, you know, we’re on these calls and, you know, Bob go, my dog hasn’t appeared yet.

[00:15:06] We might show up in a few minutes. You just never know, or kids in the background or, um, or individuals who live in an environment where they don’t feel like they have space to be quiet space to work or, um, uh, or they, or, or that they’re proud of that they want to show on camera. Um, and so there’s some, there’s some negative impacts of that.

[00:15:27] And then we started asking questions around how will that affect their performance reviews and their potential for promotion and opportunity. Um, and then the last thing I’ll just sort of mention there is the reality is FaceTime is a thing being invisible is a thing being heard as a thing. Like those things are all real.

[00:15:43] And so how do they, how does that play out in this new world? How do we start to learn the skills to make sure we’re inviting. Voices of a collection of diverse voices to conversations, particularly those who are less comfortable with being on video or camera or, you know, sharing over the phone or who might be [00:16:00] introverts.

[00:16:00] And there’s less likely to share in the first place. And now we have this barrier where they can like, Oh, I can just hide behind this, which might be comfortable, but doesn’t necessarily help them progress in their careers. So I think it’s going to challenge us as leaders and organizations to think about.

[00:16:14] How do we put away some of those paradigms around FaceTime and in person time, and really think about what does contribution to the success of an organization, a team, or what does success of measuring, measuring success of an individual? What does that look like? Um, and I think we’re, we’re still figuring that out.

[00:16:32] That’s all, that’s all new, but I’m hoping we can find the balance of providing flexibility and new ways that allows people to still thrive.

[00:16:44] I don’t, by the way, answer any question with a straight answer. There’s not

[00:16:50] 17 things there in my head.

[00:16:54] Jenn: [00:16:54] One company though. I often say when I’m talking to anybody, I, as I’m about to go on like some [00:17:00] random ramble, I will say my brain works like fireworks. So like once it’s ignited, I’ve got more ideas than I can contain. Then I’m going to try to get them all to you. But. There might be some, you know,

[00:17:10] Jennifer B: [00:17:10] sometimes virus fires in all

[00:17:12] Jenn: [00:17:12] directions.

[00:17:12] Honestly, I’m going to steal that

[00:17:19] Brian: [00:17:19] totally will. And you know, one of the things before we joined the call that, um, Jennifer mentioned, if I was going to break down all of those, that’s the thinking that I just shared to a core concept and I want to give credit. Credit to Jennifer for saying this. So the concept of empathy I think, is going to be really important.

[00:17:38] Um, even more so I would have said it was always important like that it’s not a new concept, um, but having empathy for the different experiences and how this, this new reality works or doesn’t work for others, I think is going to be important. Um, and understanding that you don’t live in someone else’s shoes, but they need to be seen and heard.

[00:17:57] I think that’s another example of empathy. I’m a [00:18:00] huge fan of the Jennifer Brown consulting framework of welcomed, valued, respected, and heard. I use it all the time and try to make sure I give credit, because I think it’s so important that that is true for all of us. But I think when I think about the action of empathy, that sort of is an underpinning value for each of those experiences, as we’re showing up in work and showing up in life.

[00:18:19] So I, you know, I’m a as, as a, as a. Um, offer for, for those of you watching or curious the Bernay Brown video on empathy on YouTube, which is a three minute video that’s depicted with a cartoon is something that I, I go back to a lot just for myself to remind myself, what does it mean to be empathetic? How do, how do I demonstrate that day to day?

[00:18:41] Jenn: [00:18:41] I love that question for both of you. If you don’t

[00:18:44] Jennifer B: [00:18:44] mind.

[00:18:46] Jenn: [00:18:46] I’m curious how you think, I don’t want to say new forms of discrimination, but maybe different takes on the same type of discrimination might, may or may not increase as a result of being in these virtual [00:19:00] environments. You know, like with Brian, when you were talking about like, just kind of introverts versus extroverts, like I’m thinking in terms of promotion and access to additional opportunities and, and things like that, where once upon a time you would have that FaceTime.

[00:19:14] With somebody, you know, like the whole water cooler chat and that type of stuff. Do you like are either of you kind of predicting that different forms of that might actually kind of take place in this virtual environment?

[00:19:27] Jennifer B: [00:19:27] Yeah. You know, Brian, if you I’ll go first with my thoughts on this, cause it is something I worry about those casual encounters that were facilitated in the physical world.

[00:19:38] We now have to create those intentionally. So I think that the manager skill set is going to change to the being sort of the promoter and the sponsor of their talent in order to ensure visibility in this virtual world, they’ve got to be way more intentional, like literally like setting goals. Um, I would, I would boil it down to actual metrics.

[00:19:59] I [00:20:00] mean, I would say like, here’s my team here, or my colleagues. Here’s what I’m doing to get them in front of certain people so that they’re seen and valued and thought of. When promotions and advancement discussions are happening, but it’s going to be much harder, I think, to do this and this. And that means that leadership needs to really step up and add some self accountability for that to their job description, to say, like, I’ve got to, I’ve got to work harder because we are at risk already.

[00:20:26] Those of us who are diverse, I hesitate to use that. But those of us who are underrepresented in the workplace and, and underestimated, which is another word I really like. Here again, we fall out anyway from the process and from the pipeline, even in the sort of optimal circumstance of the physical. And actually there’s some things that are not optimal about the physical workplace either, right.

[00:20:46] From, in terms of access and visibility. So, so I’m thinking, I’m thinking a lot about. Um, this being a manager, it’s just, it means we have to be, and we always needed to be more intentional about elevating talent. We [00:21:00] always needed to do this better. So now we just have a different palette that we have to work with.

[00:21:05] Um, and I I’m intrigued to think about like, well, what does that mean on a day to day basis when somebody does really good work? Like, what do you do about that? Like, do you connect somebody by video for like a mentoring chat? Like, do you, do you sort of intentionally. I love the idea of reverse mentoring as well.

[00:21:22] Like, like the reverse teaching, like flip it over so that it’s more democratic because I I’ve been thinking about that a long time too, to say like, Hey, the senior person is not always a mentor. And I think we’ve got a, for diversity sake. We got to really flip that one 80 degrees to say, like, there’s so much knowledge and there’s the most kinds of diversity that’s overtly being shared in the, in the sort of more junior sort of emerging leader.

[00:21:47] Contingent. And how can we put those folks in some kind of a driver’s seat to be teaching so that it’s more flat and more 360 degree? Um, so I it’s a long [00:22:00] answer, but I think we’ve got to think about talent, like visibility of diverse talent, because we have to counteract the fact that we are becoming more invisible.

[00:22:08] We are at risk of becoming more invisible and we meaning those of us who are not seen very often, who aren’t really. Understood who, whose lived experiences haven’t had the chance to generate that empathy. Uh, so yeah, I think, um, but maybe Brian, you know, some organizations are also doing really amazing job in the virtual world of this because we’ve got more FaceTime on the screen.

[00:22:31] You know, we’ve got zoom meetings where we check in with everybody. So maybe it’s not one voice it’s more democratic. Um, maybe we do have more access actually at the same time, which is an enabler of what I’m talking about.

[00:22:43] Brian: [00:22:43] Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to say, I just, I agree with everything you’ve just said, and particularly around the skillset, that’s going to be required from leaders and managers and facilitators of conversations of really engaging the voices in [00:23:00] the room.

[00:23:00] Um, and I know we’ve, you know, We’ve had the conversation in the DDI space in particular around diversity equity and inclusion for anyone who may not be familiar with that acronym, um, around, uh, th there’s been people who’ve, who’ve said, um, that the zoom world is the great equalizer in many ways. And, uh, and we have to be careful about that because as, as Jen grace mentioned a few minutes ago, we’re we’re entering people’s homes.

[00:23:24] Um, however, it’s a Jennifer’s. The point that she just made a moment ago, which I think is really interesting is we all have the same size of a box. We have the ability to say something in chat or to say something out loud in that room. And, uh, so I, I think in some ways it can be an equalizer in, um, and taking out some of those physical manifestations of power in the, in the organization.

[00:23:49] Um, which could be really interesting. Uh, you know, the, the two other things that I’ll just mention. Briefly here are one of the questions that’s come up is, is there, there [00:24:00] were high performers who struggle with this remote or virtual work environment. Um, and so what’s the impact on them. Um, and the, but the reverse is true as well, right?

[00:24:09] There are people who in the virtual environment will be more successful. So how do we provide flexible environments, um, going forward and how do we, what does that look like? I think are more questions than others. The other one though, that I think is. No, but it’s new discrimination, but it’s certainly challenging.

[00:24:24] Um, outside of the workplace context is, um, there are a lot of kids in our world, particularly, you know, in the United States, which is where I’m, I have more knowledge around, um, who don’t, who don’t go to school to get access to a computer or to get access. There’s you get it? Good food. And as I think about longterm impacts, um, of what’s happening with the pandemic that I, I do worry about the, um, the amplification of impacts to marginalized communities who don’t have, you know, who those kids don’t have access, uh, to, to, to what they need for sustenance or for education, [00:25:00] or, um, you know, so much happens in the virtual environment now.

[00:25:03] Um, so I think, you know, I worry about that and I wonder. What can corporate America do to just help to solve that problem?

[00:25:16] Jennifer B: [00:25:16] Yeah. You said so

[00:25:17] Jenn: [00:25:17] much. I feel like if no one is working on this, yet there should be some kind of thought leadership around, around what this looks like in terms of what. Maybe this, maybe this is a new JBC thought leadership piece. I don’t want to call it a white paper. Cause I think he moved away from using the phrase white paper, but, um, you know, something, something to the degree of like giving, giving organizations kind of practical guidance on, you know, what are some of these best practices.

[00:25:45] So people aren’t getting left behind in this new virtual world that we’re living in. Since I think we it’s pretty, I think, well, agreed upon that. We’re going to be in COVID for a. Quite a, quite a bit longer. So I feel like we’re going to have to figure these things out. I feel [00:26:00] like there’s not much of a, not much of a choice.

[00:26:02] Brian: [00:26:02] You have Jennifer. I’m curious if you, I love that question because what I know that I’ve heard a lot about is this, the navigation that HR leaders and business leaders are, that are grappling with around. Physical safety of return to the office conversation and those conversations. So I, I, those are, they feel like they’re the focus and not this other, um, I don’t put it in the words I I’ve been using, like this impact on just the humanity.

[00:26:32] Those are the people it’s, how do we keep them safe? Which I think is, is respecting human life. And I wanted to acknowledge that, but there’s this deeper question that Jen’s raising. Have you heard conversations about that in your circles?

[00:26:45] Jennifer B: [00:26:45] Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t think, I mean the whole question of how work, how work gets done.

[00:26:52] Who do you need? Who’s your work team? Like, how do you need to be physically co located in order to produce things [00:27:00] successfully or actually are, is the work product the same or better with a virtual team? I mean, um, and then bringing portions of the workplace back to work, but having them be distanced, um, like what does that do to collaboration and a sense of belonging?

[00:27:15] Um, So I just, it’s a really like, fascinating question. And then, yeah, I don’t think anyone’s really asking, like, W, you know, the question is like, where do you do your best work? How do you do your best work with whom? Um, what would the scenario that would make the most sense for you from a productivity standpoint, but not just to X.

[00:27:33] I love this. I’m thinking about this word extract a lot. I feel like capitalism is about extracting it’s extraction. Like what can I get from you? You know, how can I justify my giant office building, you know, real estate costs by like forcing people to come back in. It feels like the tail is wagging the dog.

[00:27:51] Here. And it’s definitely not about, we’re not being asked. Um, I don’t know. I mean, Brian, you might know more about like HR surveys that are going out to say, to give people as [00:28:00] much agency as they deserve to design the way and the place that they work. Um, That should be, this should always have been the conversation.

[00:28:10] I mean, we’ve been a virtual team for a decade. And so the question is when you get the work done, what are your rhythms? How do you like to be communicated with, do you like to be on camera or not? Um, when are your best, most productive hours during the day and night? Um, how can we sort of give you just enough so that you’re not overwhelmed and if we need to reapportion work, like I need to know that so that we can share.

[00:28:31] Workload more, you know, it’s like these, this is such a golden opportunity to revisit a lot of these things that haven’t worked for a lot of us, but I do, I’m not sure I don’t have the confidence in organizations that we are putting the human first. Sadly. I think we’re, we’re probably, if I had to guess, I think we’re probably doing the most expedient thing, which is often.

[00:28:52] The tail wagging the dog of humanity, it’s all these other things, the pressures of the sort of running the business and extracting and profit and [00:29:00] whatever it is that, um, are not putting us first. And that, that really does worry me tremendously. Um, it’s almost like the mentality where you’re just lucky to have a job, you know, and it’s a total lack of investigation into what makes us tick and what makes us creative and how can we be most comfortable so that we can be creative and we have to be comfortable like people with disabilities.

[00:29:20] I think a lot about. You know, if we can stay in this virtual world, the commute goes away, which is problematic for a lot of people for employment. Okay. And the issue of accommodations and workplaces that weren’t built by, and for people with disabilities goes away because you can have your accommodations at home.

[00:29:36] And so just thinking about that as an example of like, what are the accommodations for all of us? Like, what do we need to feel? Maximally creative and present and focused. And then what is the company’s role should be to provide that and let us design it. I mean, that’s really what we should be talking about.

[00:29:56] Do you, but I’m curious, what are you, are you seeing the same [00:30:00] thing or predicting the same thing?

[00:30:01] Brian: [00:30:01] Yeah. Yeah. You asked this question around the surveys that I’ve seen. And certainly there are, uh, you know, as HR is a big part of my community. And so I’ve had conversations with my HR colleagues and the I’ve heard moments where they are leading into that, that humanity element of it, of like the flexibility and the experience.

[00:30:24] And. Uh, the impact to individuals who, um, you know, the virtual environment does work for them. So I’ve heard in some of those moments, but the, the, the conversation is really around expediency for return to work and safety for return to work. And again, I want to acknowledge that safety is about humans. So there is, there is, there is a human component to that.

[00:30:44] Um, but it’s, it is more about the practicality of. Where we’re working and how we’re getting work and work done then rather than it is centered from how do we help the humans that work at our company, the people that work at our company be able to do their best, um, [00:31:00] and, and balance that. And I, I, you know, I, I think there are companies that are doing a really nice job, you know, I think some of the social media companies, uh, Twitter, for example, you know, they’ve said, we’re just going to say, you can work from home.

[00:31:11] Um, and I suspected the Opendoor offices and they’ll provide virtual workspaces. Um, this has been hypothesized and I have not read this about Twitter. Um, but I could see them having hot desks to say, if you need a place to work, we’ll have it for you. And they expect that they’re going to equalize the organization of you have a variety of ways we can work here.

[00:31:27] Um, it doesn’t surprise me that our personal media or technology companies are gonna lead the way on that, uh, because they tend to be more comfortable with sort of challenging the norm. Um, but I, I, I agree with. Unfortunately, which is all about why I started this whole effort with Tommy Burke humanity, is we all, we seem to default back to how do we make money?

[00:31:50] What does that look like? And I get the, most of our organizations are for-profit and even those that are not for profit, so they’ll have a budget they have to hit. Um, but I just believe there’s a better way to do that. [00:32:00] If we start with the humans and minds, then, um, we can actually accomplish those goals that are the bottom line measurements.

[00:32:06] So I’m hopeful that we can get to that place.

[00:32:12] Jenn: [00:32:12] Yeah. I just, because I have so many more things that I would love to ask and say, but I know that we are at the top of our time. And if I asked what I wanted to ask, we would be going for an extra 20 minutes and we don’t, we were all running out of time for that.

[00:32:24] So this has been a great conversation.

[00:32:28] Jennifer B: [00:32:28] Well,

[00:32:29] Brian: [00:32:29] of course, well, I always enjoy my time with both of you individually and together. Um, as I said earlier, it’s, you know, you guys did the, I’m trying not to use you guys. The two of you are both instrumental, um, in my, my journey as a consultant over the last few months.

[00:32:43] So I appreciate it. Um, and I want to, I’m just going to make one challenge plug here. Cause Jen grace, you challenged that for Brown about doing a thought leadership paper. I feel like you, you work in an organization where you help people, right? For a living. So maybe that’s to go [00:33:00] that direction too.

[00:33:03] Jenn: [00:33:03] Maybe this is the beginning of a burst of something new between the three of us and whomever else.

[00:33:07] We need to rope into it. I know Jen, I feel like you and I are very good at luring people into our

[00:33:15] Jennifer B: [00:33:15] yes, we are come into our layer.

[00:33:19] Jenn: [00:33:19] Yeah. Well, I hope you both have a good rest of your day and rest of your week. And then Jen, I know you and I are planning on having one of these conversations next week, and then we might be taking a short summer hiatus because we’re trying to just figure out calendars and schedules.

[00:33:33] And it is, um, even with COVID it’s a little bit tricky with folks. So, uh, we might be, we might be on a break for a little while, but we will be back next week with at least one more of these. And then we might be gone for a little bit. Yeah, not gone forever though.

[00:33:46] Jennifer B: [00:33:46] Not gone forever. Just take a little break.

[00:33:48] Thank you, Brian, for joining us.

[00:33:49] Brian: [00:33:49] Thank you

[00:33:50] Jennifer B: [00:33:50] so interesting. Thank you.

[00:33:52] Brian: [00:33:52] Absolutely.

[00:33:53] Jennifer B: [00:33:53] Have a good day.