The Power of Co-Creation with Chris Deaver and Ian Clawson
Creativity and Innovation, Leading a Team

The Power of Co-Creation with Chris Deaver and Ian Clawson


What approach leads to greater creativity in leadership teams? Chris Deaver and Ian Clawson argue that co-creation is the solution for turbulent times, leading through empowerment. They share six principles that enable co-creation: Lead with a Question (Wisdom), Turn Pain into Power (Passion), Make Others the Mission (Compassion), Define the Situation (Action), Create Context (Purpose), and Follow True North (Alignment). Chris and Ian also touch on the individual journey towards embracing co-creation and share real-world examples of the principles.

Listen For

00:00 Introduction
03:47 Co-creation in Book Writing
05:08 Concept of 'Brave' in Leadership
06:57 Co-creation in the Workplace
10:34 Implementing Co-creation in Meetings
13:28 Six Principles of Co-creation
18:33 Alignment and Action in Co-creation
22:59 Role of Ego in Leadership and Co-creation
26:11 Creativity in Business and Leadership

View Full Transcript

00:00:08:03 - 00:00:30:21
Kevin Eikenberry
Even if we think we can't or wants to. In a turbulent and changing world, we can't achieve success alone. Most of us would agree with this. And yet all too often we don't collaborate or still try to take the lead and make things happen largely alone. I guess to say our excuse me, our guests today say the solution and the future is co-creation.

00:00:30:21 - 00:00:55:16
Kevin Eikenberry
I'm confident you'll be inspired by our conversation. Welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Leadership podcast, where we are helping leaders grow personally and professionally to lead more effectively and make a bigger difference for their teams, organizations and the world. If you're listening to this podcast in the future, you could join us live because these are all created in a live stream event.

00:00:55:18 - 00:01:17:09
Kevin Eikenberry
And so if you wanted to know about how you could join us in the future, we do it on your favorite social media channel. And so you can get access to all that. Find out when these are taking place and more by joining our Facebook or LinkedIn groups. Just go to the remarkable podcast dot com slash Facebook or remarkable podcast dot com slash LinkedIn to do that.

00:01:17:15 - 00:01:39:01
Kevin Eikenberry
Today's episode was brought to you by our remarkable master classes pick from 13 important life and leadership skills to help you become more effective, productive and confident while overcoming some of the leader's toughest challenges. You can learn more and sign up at Remarkable Masterclass dot com. Now I'm going to bring in our guests and yes, its guests today.

00:01:39:01 - 00:02:00:23
Kevin Eikenberry
For those of you listening and then I'm going to after I have them join us, here they are. I'm going to introduce them and we're going to dive in. Our guest today are Chris Dever and Ian Clawson. Chris is the co-founder of Brave Core and co-host of the Lead with a Question podcast. He has coached C-level executives and influenced Fortune 500 from the inside out.

00:02:01:01 - 00:02:26:06
Kevin Eikenberry
He's worked at both Apple and Disney, working with inspiring teams that shaped I products and Star Wars experiences. He's a regular contributor to Fast Company, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and entrepreneur. He earned his MBA and continues to be a guest lecturer at the Marriott School at BYU in. Clawson is the co-founder of Brave Core with Chris and the co founder of that same podcast Lead with a question.

00:02:26:08 - 00:02:52:21
Kevin Eikenberry
He is a regular contributor, Fast Company as well, whose work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. Forbes Inc, USA Today and more. He is also the co-founder of Story Circle, a development studio focused on co-creation, worldbuilding and original storytelling, acting as a lead writer and story architect. He earned his degree at BYU, Hawaii and International Cultural Studies, and where he developed a high interest in world philosophy and communication theory.

00:02:52:22 - 00:03:08:18
Kevin Eikenberry
Together, they have authored and co-created the book Brave Together, lead by Design, Spark Creativity and Shape the Future with the power of Co-creation. And after all of that. Welcome, guys. Glad to have you.

00:03:08:20 - 00:03:09:12
Ian Clawson
Thank you for having us.

00:03:09:13 - 00:03:30:05
Kevin Eikenberry
Kevin It is my pleasure. So let's start with this. We have this in common, among other things. Actually, we have a lot in common. A number of the folks in the in the that talked about your book in the blurbs have been on this show or. I know. So we have a lot in common. But one thing we have in common is we're writers of books.

00:03:30:05 - 00:03:47:04
Kevin Eikenberry
And so there's always a journey to a book. And so maybe as a way to sort of finalize a little bit more about yourselves, but also to talk a little bit about the book. What's the journey toward this book? One of you want to take a shot at that?

00:03:47:06 - 00:04:10:14
Ian Clawson
Cheryl Yeah, so it's really interesting. I never set out to write a nonfiction book. I lean more on the creative side of things, but I have a fascination for leadership and thought leader material. I enjoy those kind of books, and that's how Chris and I connected. Was this overlap of creativity and timeless principles that we find in these books.

00:04:10:16 - 00:04:37:11
Ian Clawson
So coming together, we didn't set out to, you know, tell people what to do, but it was more of this openness of of discovery. How can we find this next book that is an ecosystem of principles? You know, both Chris and I, we have history with Stephen Covey's work. We really enjoyed his material. We truly haven't seen any book since that has an ecosystem of principles.

00:04:37:11 - 00:04:58:23
Ian Clawson
A lot of the books that are out now, you know, publishers, they go that they go the safe route where it's like, just go on one thing only do a deep dive. It could be all about productivity. And there's a lot of merit to those books. There's value to be found. But what we were looking for is how could there be an ecosystem of principles for the day and age that we live in now?

00:04:59:01 - 00:05:07:23
Ian Clawson
And that was kind of the the the for me nature of how we pursued this book and the material thereof.

00:05:08:01 - 00:05:27:15
Kevin Eikenberry
So so, Chris, I'll address this one to you then. And you can, of course, change anything that Ian just said if you want to. But in reality, you know, if that's what you attempted to do, you used a very interesting word in the title. That word is brave. So. So, Chris, Why brave?

00:05:27:17 - 00:05:53:22
Chris Deaver
Yeah. Most of us, how we experience fear in some big or small way every day, you know, conscious or subconscious at work, at home, and things that are unknowns or or things that we are just worried about or stressed out about. And, you know, we can stay in that space and just live in fear. And it's it's you know, it kind of we hear, you know, toxic bosses.

00:05:53:22 - 00:06:32:23
Chris Deaver
We hear those stories about cultures people don't love or they struggle in. And that's that's fear based. And the way out is by being brave. And, you know, it empowers us to just have a different mindset. And as we are brave, we can, you know, explore things together. We can, you know, live ego free, collaborate and, you know, build things that, you know, not you know, none of us may have been able to have imagined before coming into a meeting together or having the kind of conversations that that we can have together.

00:06:33:01 - 00:06:57:13
Kevin Eikenberry
So the first word in the title is brave, brave together, and the last word or word in the title is co-creation. So what do you mean? I mean, I think a lot of times we hear a word like we all sort of know what you mean by co-creation or we have an idea. But I don't know that until you read or dive into the book or listen to this show, will you really know what you two mean?

00:06:57:13 - 00:07:04:18
Kevin Eikenberry
So when you use that word intentionally, what are you meaning by it?

00:07:04:20 - 00:07:28:14
Ian Clawson
Right. So back to writing the book, Right? You know, if I set out to write this book by myself, it wouldn't have ended up the way it was at all. So it's it's great to have a coauthor, but it's messy, right? Co-creation is messy. And so but I think, you know, like, for example, we had the intro of the book that was written.

00:07:28:17 - 00:07:50:19
Ian Clawson
And in reviewing, you know, the quality check of our book, you know, we challenge each other to improve the intro the way it started out. And there's a little bit of heartburn at first, right? When someone challenges because you put everything on the table, you're like, Hey, it's great. And to too many degrees, it is good work that we do individually.

00:07:50:21 - 00:08:18:14
Ian Clawson
But if, if there's principles at the base, you know, principles like respect, you know, good communication, candor, radical candor, things like that, then there's an openness to co-creation. And I think the traditional sense of teamwork or collaboration, it's it's kind of assignment. It's project based. You know, like if you work with an employer, you don't necessarily choose the people that you have to work as a team with.

00:08:18:16 - 00:08:38:20
Ian Clawson
Co-creation is more intentional and it's being open to and even desiring to work with other people, right? So knowing that there's a there's a sense of humility, knowing that you don't have all the answers and your skill set and gifts could take you so far. And that's what the power of co-creation really is.

00:08:38:22 - 00:09:01:16
Kevin Eikenberry
Okay, so that sounds really good, right? I'm going to play the cynic here, which is not my best suit, but that sounds really good. And people might be listening saying, Well, that's easy. If two of us have decided to write a book together, but I'm in the workplace or I've got a team. How do I create code? How do I get co-creation to happen when there is a project, when there are tasks, when when I may not have picked all the people on the team?

00:09:01:21 - 00:09:13:10
Kevin Eikenberry
So all of those things being true. Expand on that a little bit more as it relates to what most people would see as their current workplace.

00:09:13:12 - 00:09:52:20
Chris Deaver
Yeah, a lot of times, you know, we we talk about flow, right? This state of being where you're step outside of time, right. In art or in sports where we love and that that happens individually. At times it feels a little rare. But how often does that happen at work or in conversations? And that's something we can amplify that has it's a it's a kind of perpetual source of energy, like perpetual motion that can power projects.

00:09:52:20 - 00:10:12:18
Chris Deaver
It can power builds, it can power, you know, shaping products, new products and different services that, you know, weren't didn't exist before that are that are, you know, truly kind of leading edge or that that that, you know, I'm going to bring this into the future.

00:10:12:20 - 00:10:34:16
Kevin Eikenberry
So one of the things that you do relatively early in the book is give us some examples of what co-creation could look like in one of the most common experiences we all have at work, which is meetings. So let's just get really, really practical for a second. Like I'm guessing, Chris, everyone listening to you and they're saying that all sounds awesome.

00:10:34:21 - 00:10:47:23
Kevin Eikenberry
I love that big picture thinking I'm going to five meetings in the next 4 hours. So like what? What does what does co-creation look like? Give us a couple of specific examples of what that would look like in meetings.

00:10:48:01 - 00:11:12:07
Chris Deaver
Yeah. So you start with reimagining the meeting as a brief conversation, right? So it's an exchange, you know, not just transactional, but transformative. And so you have a different way, a different outlook of being open to changing your mind. And that's a kind of the groundwork is Ian said about the power of leading with questions. They do this at Pixar.

00:11:12:09 - 00:11:31:15
Chris Deaver
So the plan to question, you know, week in advance, or at least before a meeting and let people marinate on that question. And so it just emerges as something that they've had some time to an intention to be thoughtful about and to explore. So there's that there's a couple of things you can start with.

00:11:31:17 - 00:11:55:02
Kevin Eikenberry
I always want to add to that point of leading with questions, and we can talk more about that principle in general in a second. But as it relates to meetings, I think that the idea of giving people something to think about ahead of time is incredibly valuable for a whole bunch of reasons. We don't have time to unpack all of them, but the thing I just want to say is it isn't leading with a question, it's leading with questions.

00:11:55:02 - 00:12:19:20
Kevin Eikenberry
And so I'm thinking about a meeting that that I led last Friday that everyone on the team had the questions and it was like five of them several days before, the intention being that I didn't necessarily need the answers to any one of those questions specifically, but as a group, they set the framework for what we were going to talk about and I think made it a far more productive sort of setting.

00:12:20:01 - 00:12:20:12
Ian Clawson

00:12:20:13 - 00:12:22:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And you're nodding. You're nodding your head.

00:12:22:02 - 00:12:51:22
Ian Clawson
Yeah. Yeah. I think it just automatically creates an invitation to others to add, you know, creativity, to add ideas, because many times meetings that we are part of, it's very agenda driven. You know, like the the employers or a leader wants to control the outcomes. And so it's very top down agenda driven download session almost people show up to meetings checked out at the start of it.

00:12:51:22 - 00:13:04:07
Ian Clawson
They know what to expect. It's very predictable. So doing this with questions really open things up to, I can help shape this. And it's there's a sense of empowerment there.

00:13:04:09 - 00:13:28:05
Kevin Eikenberry
So in use you said that you've you both have learned a lot from the work of of Dr. Covey. And of course, the seven habits is what everyone thinks of in this book. You guys have six principles. And the first one we've just been talking about, which is to lead with a question. What I appreciate about each of the six is that that you talk about the idea lead with a question or lead with questions.

00:13:28:07 - 00:13:48:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And then then you say, well, this is about wisdom. And then each of the six there's a principle inside of the task or the behavior, if you will, anything else we've talked about this one in as it relates relates to meetings, but anything else you guys want to add on this one before we move on? Either of you?

00:13:48:00 - 00:14:07:23
Chris Deaver
I think it's one, yeah. When you look at yeah, and we talk about this later in the book, but it's it's one of the components of what we call the building blocks of culture, right? So you kind of Legos, you want to build something and you want to build something meaningful in a culture. Shared wisdom is a great place to start.

00:14:08:01 - 00:14:15:11
Chris Deaver
There's and there's others deep empathy being powered by principles as well. Yeah.

00:14:15:13 - 00:14:34:22
Kevin Eikenberry
Okay. So the next of the principles and we don't have time to go in all that deeply on any of them, obviously everybody. So we are talking to Chris Dever and Ian Clawson, the authors of the new book Brave Together. If you're watching, you can see it in front of my face, bring together by design, spark creativity, Shape the Future with the power of co-creation.

00:14:35:03 - 00:14:57:20
Kevin Eikenberry
Six principles is I just want to sort of highlight a couple more of them and and let you guys sort of talk about them as you wish. So. The second one, though, is has an interesting description to me, which is turn pain into power. Like, that doesn't sound really fun to me. And most of us don't love that idea of pain.

00:14:57:23 - 00:15:04:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And you're saying, no, we need to turn that into something powerful. What do you mean by that?

00:15:04:02 - 00:15:22:05
Ian Clawson
Right. Well, it follows up nicely with lead with the question. Right. So if you were to look in the mirror as a leader and you have struggles with your team or at work or outcomes in results. First thing you're going to do is you're going to lead with the question. You're going to ask yourself, what can I do differently?

00:15:22:07 - 00:15:49:00
Ian Clawson
Right? And so this next principle is actually taking those steps with the intention of starting to show up differently. Right. And so that can be scary. A lot of times we think we need to do more. So this principle challenges us to maybe consider shaving things down a bit, maybe giving up some negative attributes or habits that, you know, are no longer serving our future and get real about that.

00:15:49:02 - 00:16:07:20
Ian Clawson
And so that's one way you could turn pain into power is just switch switching your thinking or flipping the script, rather, instead of focusing on the losses, which is just suffering and pain, focusing on the gains, what can you do today? Just baby steps to to start to pivot towards that future.

00:16:07:22 - 00:16:26:21
Kevin Eikenberry
And if this one is about passion, the next one is about compassion, which you guys describe as which I love, by the way, making others the mission. Make others the mission. So, Chris, what do you what do you mean by this? How does how does this one play out for us as a leader?

00:16:26:23 - 00:16:51:18
Chris Deaver
Yeah, this sounds big for well, give an example. You know, Satya Nadella, Microsoft, which they're just nipping at the tails of Apple right now for the most valuable company in the world. And, you know, it wasn't long ago that that Steve Ballmer was was kind of running the company into the ground, let's say, culturally, you know, sweating on on the stage.

00:16:51:20 - 00:17:14:03
Chris Deaver
But, you know, he had some a fair amount of success. But there's a lot of execution orientation stack ranking, you know, and you just had a culture of what was it? Well, it wasn't optimized. It wasn't it wasn't as great as it could be. And so Satya takes over. But what's the real difference? It's deep empathy and how did he develop that empathy he had?

00:17:14:05 - 00:17:41:09
Chris Deaver
He and his wife had a son named Zane who had had cerebral palsy. And so he spent a lot of time taking care of his son and learned from the example of his wife as to make that kind of hear a sacrifice and just spend that time and really be present. And that that deep empathy, you know, led him has led him to bring that to the culture of Microsoft.

00:17:41:11 - 00:18:04:06
Chris Deaver
And people feel it and you feel it in the products. They don't feel as clinical. You know, it feels much more intuitive and, you know, it has made some great decisions. But he's out. He's probably also doing a lot of brain trusting and listening and connecting with his, you know, kind of key constituencies. You know, I mean, just few examples, open eye, you know, some brilliant moves that they've made.

00:18:04:06 - 00:18:06:05
Chris Deaver
So it's good stuff.

00:18:06:07 - 00:18:31:19
Kevin Eikenberry
All right. So the next two principles are about action and purpose. And I'm curious why you put the action. One, define the situation ahead of the context one or purpose. So I'm just curious. I think those are two things we pretty much all can understand, Right. But I'm also confident you had a reason or rationale for listing action before purpose.

00:18:31:19 - 00:18:33:00
Kevin Eikenberry

00:18:33:02 - 00:19:01:19
Ian Clawson
So I think people's notion with purpose is they feel like they got to find their purpose. They're always searching externally. Right. And we believe that, you know, prior to really understanding and embracing your purpose, knowing it on a deep level, it's taking action. It's it's being brave. Back to the theme of the book and brave with others. Taking action with others is where you're going to really learn more about your purpose.

00:19:02:00 - 00:19:22:22
Ian Clawson
And I think people feel like they got to have it all written down there. Why? And it's got to mean something for their actions to land. Really. It's we have a phrase that we use experiment with experience, which just means just just get your hands dirty. Just go and do the work. You want to write a book, Don't just research and read tons of books for years.

00:19:23:04 - 00:19:38:03
Ian Clawson
Start writing, and you're going to refine your practice. You're going to you're going to get sharper with your messaging. You're going to have clearer words in, and that's how you really come to find your purpose. So I think that ordering matters to us.

00:19:38:05 - 00:19:55:19
Kevin Eikenberry
I think that example and obviously as a as an author as well, maybe it resonates for me more, but I will I've told hundreds of people. That's right. That as you write, you find your voice. And so finding your voice is sort of like finding that purpose. So I love this idea.

00:19:55:20 - 00:19:57:06
Ian Clawson
Use your voice.

00:19:57:08 - 00:20:27:18
Kevin Eikenberry
Right? I love this idea of don't wait to figure that out. Figure it out in the process, Right? Experiment with experience. I love that a lot. So the last of the six principles is follow true North and the principle being alignment. So talk to us about that one. I think this is again, something that people people know that alignment matters, but I don't think that we do it very well.

00:20:27:20 - 00:20:35:19
Kevin Eikenberry
So what would be some advice about how to create better alignment within our team and with our team to the rest of the organization?

00:20:35:21 - 00:21:06:01
Chris Deaver
Yeah. So as as we've been setting context or building the story of, let's say, the future culture, right, what we want to have, right, that culture that we love, we can get better at working as a collective, as a team, and we see this kind of movement and rhythm in sports teams when they play well together. And the difference between when they do or don't and, you know, prime example, Golden State Warriors right now, that's so much sometimes.

00:21:06:02 - 00:21:48:17
Chris Deaver
Draymond Green, he's the outlier here there. But there have been times when they've been fully aligned and dialed in and they're following their true North to be successful as a team. And so there's examples like that in sport. And then, you know, in the workplace, it's, you know, seeing how we can, you know, and there may be moments of disagree and commit there may be rock tumbling debates best ideas win but then you align around you know and just really stay focused on that and that North star you know throughout And you know, another example is teams at Apple.

00:21:48:19 - 00:22:10:11
Chris Deaver
You know, they would always go back to in times of wrestle or struggle or debate, hey, we're out and we're out to make the best product in this category. Fill in the blank. Right. So if it was the Beats Pro, that's what we're here for. So you have your ideas. I got mine. We disagree on this or that, but ultimately that's what we're after.

00:22:10:16 - 00:22:18:01
Chris Deaver
And so if people can stay focused on their main intention, there's there's power in that.

00:22:18:03 - 00:22:59:20
Kevin Eikenberry
That's the word that I was just thinking of was intention fact. I just was writing about organizational creating organizational intention. And it requires alignment is a key piece of that very that very thing. So I'm curious about one other thing. One of you mentioned it at the start. And, you know, those of us who are listening to this podcast are watching us live, have leader in our title or leader as a part of our role and whether we want to acknowledge that or not as humans and as leaders, there's ego involved in that.

00:22:59:22 - 00:23:23:04
Kevin Eikenberry
And when we talk about co-creating so much of what we've talked about for the last 20 plus minutes has been about sort of the collective and not about the individual. And so what is that? What advice would you have about the role of ego in what we're talking about today?

00:23:23:06 - 00:23:52:08
Chris Deaver
Yeah, I think one quick thought on that is, you know, in in the year 2020, we just passed through 2023. So here we are, 24. Gotta remember we, you know, the Western Webster, the top word was in the dictionary was authenticity. And a lot of people use this word, you know and Brené Brown's popularized it's it's very talked about and that's that's good.

00:23:52:10 - 00:24:16:07
Chris Deaver
But you know one of the dangers or risks is we call it toxic authenticity. Right? So if it's if it's about propping up ourselves to, you know, or just focusing on what we need over others, you know, it's not it's not going to have the effect or the power or staying power, you know, that that we need for the future.

00:24:16:09 - 00:24:27:22
Chris Deaver
And so we think about it as true authenticity. And, you know, going back to the empathic conversation we were having earlier, it's more and more tied to that. Yeah.

00:24:28:00 - 00:24:28:21
Kevin Eikenberry
Anyone and that.

00:24:28:21 - 00:24:42:05
Ian Clawson
Ian Yeah, I think there's this self-made pressure that people, individuals, leaders even have to have all the answers to to be that that rock star right?

00:24:42:07 - 00:24:44:10
Kevin Eikenberry
And you talk about that a lot in.

00:24:44:10 - 00:25:10:20
Ian Clawson
The book is to be the expert. Right? And I think those around us are disempowered if we are acting in that way. But you can go farther with the collective. And I think there's a learning curve for people that really start to understand that it's a journey, it's an individual journey for people to embrace that notion. And so part a part of a leader's, I guess, stewardship is to help others along that path.

00:25:10:22 - 00:25:18:18
Ian Clawson
How can we help people, you know, shift towards that collective leaning and be brave together?

00:25:18:20 - 00:25:40:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah, I think it's it's so true for so many of us that we got into the leader seat because we were expert, because we were really good at something. Right. And so for us to be able to make that shift out of that ego is not a bad thing. As long as we keep it in the right perspective.

00:25:40:15 - 00:26:00:16
Kevin Eikenberry
And in fact, if we have a really strong ego, we have the ability to really, I think, lead and be a part of co-creation before we go round the final turn into the final part of our conversation, if I said to each of you, what's one thing we didn't talk about that you wished I would have asked, What would that be?

00:26:00:16 - 00:26:11:16
Kevin Eikenberry
Chris, you first. Well, I don't have anything and I did a fine job. Awesome. But what's one thing we didn't talk about that you kind of wish we would have?

00:26:11:18 - 00:26:35:21
Chris Deaver
One that we talk about as well as what? Why do companies kill creativity and, you know, just unlocking the power of creativity in this context of team and working together is is a powerful thing. You know, the Sir Ken Robinson question right. Was it was time to schools. Right. So Ted, you know, but we think about it in terms of business too and work.

00:26:35:21 - 00:26:53:07
Chris Deaver
And, you know, there's just so much focus on results and performance and kind of squeezing creativity out that that voice, the true identity of people can get lost. And there's top and there's power in that. So we need to ensure that that's part of, you know, part of everything.

00:26:53:09 - 00:27:16:17
Ian Clawson
Ian You know, I'd like to maybe dive a little bit further with, with the concept of leadership. I think there's a lot of people that may come across our articles or book and and they may say, I don't have a formal title as a leader. How does this apply to me? And that's a beautiful idea around this framework, is anyone can be a co-creator.

00:27:16:19 - 00:27:36:11
Ian Clawson
It's a mindset. You could be a co-creator as an employee and make a difference in your team dynamics by by shifting the way you practice and approach work. Co-created fully, right? And and with this foundation of principles, I think is is is the key here.

00:27:36:13 - 00:27:47:17
Kevin Eikenberry
So Ian, the question actually, Chris, you're going to get it too, but here you go. Ian I'm shifting gears before we finish up. What do you do? Ian For fun.

00:27:47:19 - 00:28:14:19
Ian Clawson
Wow. You know, a lot of it is writing. I love creative work and so you know that the nonfiction writing is a lot of fun too, because if you can get clarity around these concepts and it's there's different iterations, right? I really enjoy writing and helping others kind of see what you envision yourself as a as an author, a writer.

00:28:14:21 - 00:28:17:19
Ian Clawson
It's hard to it's hard to pull off.

00:28:17:21 - 00:28:19:22
Kevin Eikenberry
Chris, what about you?

00:28:20:00 - 00:28:31:00
Chris Deaver
I enjoy spending time with my kids, you know, co-creating paintings, playing sports together. You know, board games. All those things are really fun.

00:28:31:02 - 00:28:34:08
Kevin Eikenberry
Apparently watching the Warriors or maybe this season that's not quite.

00:28:34:08 - 00:28:37:14
Ian Clawson
Is not not so much fun, better years.

00:28:37:16 - 00:28:45:17
Kevin Eikenberry
So the only thing you knew I was going to ask, which I told you just before we went live and Chris, you can go first with this one. What are you reading these days?

00:28:45:19 - 00:29:04:05
Chris Deaver
I'm actually listening to well, it's the star book that counts, but our audio book is out. So it's you know, it's interesting to hear your say our own voices, but it's actually we have a narrator and and then Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. Yeah.

00:29:04:07 - 00:29:07:11
Kevin Eikenberry
All right. And Ian.

00:29:07:13 - 00:29:39:01
Ian Clawson
I'm currently revisiting an end to end 2023, and I'm carrying it over to 24. Malcolm Gladwell's books. And so the 1021 particular, the one that talks about the 10,000 our world, I'm really fascinated revisiting that because I've read other books like Range with David Epstein, which he kind of challenges that some I'm contrasting because I think Malcolm Gladwell is a great storyteller and it really helps me with my writing.

00:29:39:01 - 00:29:42:10
Ian Clawson
So I'm just revisiting these concepts.

00:29:42:12 - 00:30:10:06
Kevin Eikenberry
I am Miss, I am. I'm forgetting in this moment and I don't want to look away as we're doing this live, but that the researcher from Florida State, that was his research was underneath the 10,000 rule. His coauthor was on this show and I will put that in the show notes for everybody. If you're listening, as long as we always do, we'll put that in the show notes that the other books that have been mentioned here, as well as, of course, Brave Together.

00:30:10:06 - 00:30:20:09
Kevin Eikenberry
So how where do you want to point people so that they can learn more about you guys, your work and this book, Brave Together.

00:30:20:11 - 00:30:38:09
Chris Deaver
Yeah, Brave caught CEO. So with that brave that CEO as the best way to connect with us, you know, get the book, get other free artifacts and resources connects, you know, connect with links and articles that we have. Yeah.

00:30:38:11 - 00:30:53:09
Kevin Eikenberry
All right. Well, listen, before we go, everybody, and first of all, I want to thank both of you for being here. It was worth the wait to do this. I had the chance to read the book a while back and we were able to put this together, and I'm excited that we were able to do that. So thank you both for being here.

00:30:53:09 - 00:31:13:12
Kevin Eikenberry
But I have a question and I'm going to ask all of you as viewers and listeners. It's the question I ask every single episode, which is now what? Okay, so you heard all of this. What are you going to do with it? What action are you going to take? Maybe action is your answer. Maybe you're going to experiment with experience.

00:31:13:14 - 00:31:37:01
Kevin Eikenberry
Maybe you're going to take any of the other ideas that you heard today and say, I'm going to put that into action for myself or with my team. Maybe it's getting a copy of this book, but whatever it is, ideas are wonderful action. Turn them into something far more powerful. So I hope that you will take some action on what you heard today.

00:31:37:01 - 00:31:41:15
Kevin Eikenberry
And again, guys, thanks to both of you for being here. It was a pleasure to have you.

00:31:41:17 - 00:31:43:11
Ian Clawson
Thank you Again.

00:31:43:13 - 00:31:59:20
Kevin Eikenberry
And with that, I will let you all go. But we'll be back. So I hope you'll be back if you're with us live. We'll be back tomorrow, but we'll be back next week, as always, with another episode of the Remarkable Leadership podcast. I hope you'll join me. I look forward to it then. Thanks.

Meet Chris & Ian

Chris Deaver and Ian Clawson are the co-authors of Brave Together – Lead by Design, Spark Creativity, and Shape the Future with the Power of Co-Creation. They are the co-founders of BraveCore, and co-hosts of the Lead with a Question podcast.

Chris' Story: Chris has coached C Level Executives & influenced Fortune 500s from the inside out. He has had the dream career at Apple and Disney, working with inspiring teams that shaped iProducts and Star Wars experiences. He’s a regular contributor to Fast Company, featured in The Wall Street Journal & Entrepreneur. He’s developed landmark studies of the most innovative teams, partnering with Stanford and Harvard professors. Chris continues to advise startups and coach leaders contributing to 10x growth. He earned his MBA and is also continues to be a guest lecturer at the Marriott School at BYU.

Ian's Story: Ian Clawson helps leaders build cultures people love. He is a regular contributor to Fast Company who's had work featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, INC, USA Today, Influencive, & Disrupt Magazine. Over the past decade Ian has led culture transformation initiatives in the healthcare industry. Overseeing a multi-million-dollar skilled nursing facility operation in Silicon Valley, CA. He is also co-founder of StoryCircle, a development studio focused on co-creation, world building & original storytelling acting as a lead writer and story architect. Ian earned a degree at BYU-Hawaii in International Cultural Studies where he developed a high interest in World Philosophy and Communication Theory.

The way out is by being brave and it powers us to just have a different mindset and as we are brave, we can explore things together, we can live ego-free, collaborate, and build things that none of us may have been able to have imagined before coming into a meeting together. – Chris Deavers

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The Long-Distance Team. Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

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Creativity and Innovation, Personal Leadership Development

Intrinsic Motivation with Stefan Falk


Too often, when we focus on the reward or incentive, we lose interest in the work and effort decreases, eventually leading to negative outcomes. Stefan Falk suggests that, as humans, we want to learn, grow, and do good by others. When we are intrinsically motivated, we become happier and more productive. He highlights the importance of changing our mindset and provides actionable exercises to nurture our intrinsic motivation. By discovering joy in our work, we can encourage our teams to do the same and create a path to success.

Key Points

  • Stefan Falk defines intrinsic motivation and why we default to extrinsic motivation. 
  • He shares the mindset shift to make intrinsic motivation work for us. 
  • He provides practical exercises we can use.

Meet Stefan

  • Name: Stefan Falk
  • His Story: Stefan Falk is the author of Intrinsic Motivation: Learn to Love Your Work and Succeed as Never Before. Falk is an internationally recognized human performance expert for top business executives, specials-ops in the armed forces, and elite athletes. He has spent more than thirty years helping thousands of individuals, teams, and organizations become intrinsically motivated. He is a McKinsey & Company alumnus specializing in leadership and corporate transformation, he has trained over 4,000 leaders across more than 60 different client organizations in North America and Europe.
  • Worth Mentioning: Stefan has studied employee satisfaction surveys and other relevant work performance data covering more than 1,500,000 professionals and performed more than 2,000 360-feedback interviews and surveys around more than a 1,000 leaders and executives. He has held C-suite roles at several global companies and has been responsible for driving corporate transformations valued in excess of two billion dollars. His mentor for many years was the late professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of many books, including Finding Flow, Creativity – The flow of discovery and innovation, and The Evolving Self.

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Mauro Porcini
Creativity and Innovation, Professional Development

The Human Side of Innovation with Mauro Porcini


Innovation is not a one-time event; it’s a continuous cycle. It requires an environment that encourages and supports creativity. It requires an environment that leverages the human-centered mindset. Mauro Porcini tells Kevin that we are in an age of excellence; either you do it, or someone else will. The most important tool for innovation is curiosity. We need to maintain the balance between dreaming and executing and growing through practice.

Key Points

  • Mauro shares why innovation is an act of love. 
  • He discusses design vs. design thinking. 
  • He talks about good answers to wrong questions and trend surfing.

Meet Mauro

Mauro Porcini
  • Name: Mauro Porcini 
  • His Story: Mauro Porcini is the author of The Human Side of Innovation. He is the senior vice president and chief design officer at PepsiCo. In the past ten years, he and his team have won more than 1,800 design and innovation awards, and in 2018 PepsiCo was recognized by Fortune in its Business by Design list.
  • Worth Mentioning: He was previously 3M’s first chief design officer. Porcini has received many honors, including Fast Company’s 50 Most Influential Designers in America, Fortune’s 40 under 40, and Ad Age’slist of the 50 world’s most influential creative personalities. In 2018 Porcini was awarded a knighthood (Cavaliere) by the president of the Italian Republic.

This episode is brought to you by...

Remarkable Masterclasses. Each masterclass is designed to help you become the remarkable leader and human you were born to be. Details on how to get on board for a specific skill or get discounts each month can be found on our website.

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Creativity and Innovation, Personal Leadership Development, Remote Leadership

Competing in the New World of Work with Keith Ferrazzi


Fewer than 15% of larger organizations reinvented their work because of the pandemic. They learned they could get by and did the same "work" remotely. Keith Ferrazzi joins Kevin to discuss his research looking at the innovations that emerged during the pandemic. Leaders need to understand the risks and opportunities that need attention today to stay competitive.

Key Points

  • In this episode, Keith Ferrazzi shares how he thinks the pandemic changed the way we work. 
  • He discusses the importance of active foresight. 
  • He highlights the Lego block workforce.
  •  He talks about mental health and resilience from both an individual and team standpoint.

Meet Keith

  • Name: Keith Ferrazzi 
  • His Story: Keith Ferrazzi is the author of COMPETING IN THE NEW WORLD OF WORK: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest with Kian Gohar and Noel Weyrich. He is Chairman of Ferrazzi Greenlight and The Greenlight Research Institute, where he works to identify behaviors that block global organizations from reaching their goals and transform them by coaching new behaviors that increase growth and shareholder value.
  • Worth Mentioning: Ferrazzi is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, and Inc Magazine and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leading Without Authority, Who’s Got Your Back, and Never Eat Alone.

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Kevin Eikenberry: Our guest today for the second time is Keith Ferrazzi. Keith is the chairman of Ferrazzi Green Light and the Green Light Research Institute, where he works to identify behaviors that block global organizations from reaching their goals, to transform them by coaching new behaviors that increase growth and shareholder value. He is the author, among others, of the new book Competing in the New World of Work How Radical Adaptability Separates The Best From The Rest.

With a couple of coauthors, he is formerly the chief marketing officer of Deloitte and Starwood Hotels. He spreads his ideas with enduring influence as a New York Times best selling author of Who's Got Your Back Now and Never Be Alone. He's been a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes Fortune and many other leading publications. Just 20 years of experience from the C-suite, as I said, to founding his own companies and distilling those experiences into practices and solutions that he brings to every engagement, including a return to the Remarkable Leadership podcast.

Keith, welcome. Thank you so much.

Keith Ferrazzi: That robust introduction is taking up half of our time.

Kevin: Always a challenge to like, where do I stop? Where do I start? All that stuff. Hey, I'm going to I'm going to come in hot right off the bat, right off the top. So you know, you and I are having this conversation in early January of 2022 and we don't know when everyone will listen to it.

It'll be a little while before anyone does, but I'm going to come in with this question right here. Has the pandemic changed work forever?

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Keith: I hope so. And the fear I have is that it won't. So at the peak of the pandemic, I asked that question. This was after we got beyond thinking that this was a two month blip. Remember when we thought it was a couple of weeks and then we thought it was two months?

Kevin: You and I were talking, I think the first time it was two or three months and something like that. But yes. So after that, you asked this question. After that.

Keith: I asked myself the question. Boy, this is an inflection point in the world. What will we be saying about it when we're done? Whenever that is. I mean, nobody ever expected this. And my biggest fear was that we would crawl out of the rubble, having clung by our fingertips. To the ledge and gotten through this garbage crawl out of the rubble and go back to old ways of working.

You and I, Kevin, have been advocating for, you know, for decades now that there are needs of shifts in the world of work. Leadership needs to shift. Teams need to shift. My area of specialty, of course, is teams. And what I recognized was that this could be a reboot now. So I started a research institute study within our research and said I started a study, raised $2 million from some amazing sponsors.

I mean, I'd love to mention them, but they're just great names. And you can see it all at go forward to work because I wanted to make sure we didn't go back to work. We went forward to work. So what we did, Kevin, was we we had 2000 executives over this two year period, and we would interview these individuals and extract the things that they were doing that were true best practices for reading, leading in this radically volatile world.

And we found some extraordinary best practices. We found those. And then we put these executives who had these best practices into small peer to peer groups of five individuals, and then they would meet and wrestle their cumulative best practices and come out with something that they think is even better. Then we took those best practices and reapplied them in different teams.

We were working 300 different companies during this period of time in the Research Institute and then we would see whether or not those practices move the needle on something. So we call those high return practices. This book is organized around the four critical attributes of leadership that need to be dialed up and the very distinct practices in order to do that.

And the second half of the book talks about how do you apply those leadership practices to reinvent your business model, reinvent your workforce, etc.. We if a leader watching this, wants to have a quick clip of why this research was important, you would just ask yourself, do you want to learn from 2000 of your peers? Their cumulative best practices during this volatile time to carry forward, to work, not back?

So that's that's the the reason for writing this book. That's the work we've been working on. And it's been great not to have to travel because I could have I did this that's where you and I were talking about beforehand. I would have never been able to do this in my old in my old world.

Kevin: So, OK. So and that gives us a bit of a preamble to all of the direction for a lot of our conversation. Keith. But so I asked you, has the pandemic changed the work forever? You said, I hope not. Now I'm going to ask you.

Keith: 15%. 15%.

Kevin: 15%. So in what specific ways do you think it's changed forever?

Keith: Well, that's actually a great question. And the ways it's changed forever is it's opened up individuals to the recognition that the traditional mindset of being tethered to a desk is needed to achieve collaborative success. We got it done on a remote basis. Now, there's only one chapter in the book specific to remote and hybrid, but it's a very important chapter.

And what I can say is that we still didn't learn enough. All we learned was that we could get by or do it. And it was very interesting. Kevin, there were studies that came out at the same time. We were doing our research that showed that remote work was less effective at certain things than physical work was. And it was a study done out of Cambridge and I think it was at Cambridge only the Cambridge study that I'm referring to.

Well, I looked into that and I and I recognized that they did not cultivate or curate that data set to determine which of the organizations that reported that work was less effective. They didn't look at which organizations were and were not using the tools. Right.

Kevin: Exactly. Or what cultures were supporting this change successfully. Right. Right.

Keith: So if you look at Dropbox, my friend Drew Halston, who's a part of our or my my faculty for this group, for this work, drew thousands organization thrives in a remote work environment. I'll tell you a funny story. We were coaching the Delta Airlines executive team going into the pandemic and the executive leading. That was a guy named Gil West, who's the chief operating officer.

Keith: Gil left and retired and moved over to cruise the unicorn self-driving car company. And he came back to me, says, Keith, I tell you, the one thing that I noticed, which was the biggest difference is over at Delta, if we had a problem to solve, the first thing we said was we got have a meeting. He said over a cruise.

When I said, I want to have a meeting, people thought I had just, you know, put a turd in the middle of the room. The reality is you do a meeting when asynchronous collaboration fails collaborating in the cloud, visibly arguing right on decision boards and and and slack rooms and getting things done in asynchronous fashion is is the first wave of collaboration, but not for fortune by hundreds, but for high tech startup and unicorns.

So he recognized that big gap. And I said, 15%. Because in our work we found that fewer than 15% of of reasonably sized organizations reinvented their work. They just did it in a remote basis.

Kevin: Yeah.

Keith: They didn't invent their work.

Kevin: And as we think about work moving forward, that's what that's the that's the banner that we're carrying is that organizations have to be thinking about the redesign of, of teams, the team. What does that look like? What does it need to look like? And, and getting to the idea and this is oversimplifying, but it's the point that you're making, the idea that, yes, we can collaborate without a physical whiteboard, right?

Like it's possible in fact, in many ways. Excuse me, as you said, it could actually be better.

Keith: I mean, I could share my script with you right now and show you how there's a product that I found called neural and you are able it's written up in the book. It's an extraordinary way of collaboration. In fact, it search reinventing innovation because what I have found is this. In the olden days, our our engagement with a number of people was limited to the size of a room flying in.

Right. People's schedules, you know, and now it's unbounded. It's totally limitless. So we know at the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, I was looking at diversity and inclusion. And as a very strong proponent of it, I have blocks on myself. The the focus that I was on was not just that. I was like, thank God that's finally being addressed appropriately.

I'm not sure it retained its its significance as it should have. But but now what happens when we get a diverse population? How do we make sure that all voices are heard yeah. Right. And so with Federal Express, our research showed they co-created there. They had never done an annual leadership meeting in the past because they just they were frugal organization, et cetera.

They ended up having a 3000 person leadership offsite over a period of several days. With offsite co-creation offsite. Right Unilever reversed engineered business planning instead of top down, cascaded from the CFO and the CEO. And then the numbers get cascaded down. They started with the 300 top leaders and crowdsourced what were the growth opportunities and then built the plan up from there.

Again, we they would never been able to do that before. So, you know, the chapter that we have on the power of collaboration and inclusion in an increasingly hybrid world and how that should be reinventing the way you work, the way you collaborate and the realization that, you know, with what we talk about in the book is what we call the collaborative stack, the cloud it's not.

And these people are like, well, what's better, physical or remote? It's irrelevant what it's for, what purpose you use. You use asynchronous collaboration to get multiple inputs right in the fastest period of time without having to schedule a bunch of meetings. Then you use remote meetings for the broadest group of individuals to be able to participate. Then when it really comes to push to shove the crunch time, right?

And you've got difficult, challenging issues, that's when you could have a physical meeting that would have some distinct advantage.

Kevin: 100%.

Keith: So we work through and we give very distinct best practices and how to do each of those. Well.

Kevin: Yeah, it's so it's so true that ultimately this is the, the there is no answer except by starting with the questions of what are you really trying to accomplish? Where are you in the stack, where are you in that process and all of those things. So one of the things that you talk about in the book is a phrase, and I think it's worth us talking about a little bit.

It's the idea of active foresight. So what do you mean by that? And how can any leader take that idea and apply it?

Keith: So I think you're now in chapter four or something. The foresight is I'll give you a wonderful example. We found that there were literally fewer than ten companies in the Fortune 500 that fully reacted to the pandemic shut down prior to the government obligation. One of the companies we found was a company called Lockheed Space. And Rick, who's the president there that we interviewed, what he had is a process in place of entirely iteratively looking around corners for risk and opportunity.

And I'll give you a very short cut for this. How do you do foresight with your executive team once a month? Every executive team should assign to each member of the executive team a lens or vantage point to have foresight. So, Kevin, you're the CMO I want you to look at the the competition. Dave, you're the head of sales.
I want you to look at customer sentiment. Jane, you're the you know, the head of blah, blah, blah, CFO. I want you to look at macroeconomic issues. The center, everybody looks at something different once a month for 5 minutes on the on the executive team agenda, we ask the question what risks or opportunities are each of you or any of you seeing that deserves our attention?

Some people say none. None. Right now, we're good. You know, what I said last month is the word, but some might say, as one did at Lockheed, you know, I've been following this virus in China. I think that it's worth looking at. So it's only a five minute meeting. They don't go into it there. They say, great, let's schedule a meeting on that.

Who wants to be a part of that? You all assess the risk or the opportunity. If it's an opportunity, you assess it. And if it needs to come back to us after that meeting, then bring it back to us on an agenda item and we'll decide as a discussion whether where it goes, could it go into planning, et cetera.

So that was in December. That was in December. Lockheed Aerospace went full virtual in February. They had no problems getting PPE. They got all of their green laptops. The only ones out there then that they stockpiled so much that they ended up giving it away to clients after the fact because they everybody was scarce and they were trying to be generous to clients and other folks in the community.

So, you know, it's.

Kevin: Yeah, go ahead. Finish. Go ahead. No, I.

Keith: Was just going say that simple process, that simple little tip or tactic can transform your business.

Kevin: What I was going to say, Keith, is earlier today I recorded a conversation with a gentleman named Len. Herstein and it will have it will already be on the podcast for those of you who might hear it. And we were talking about stopping complacency and this idea of having active foresight as a way to make sure that we don't get resting on our laurels, thinking everything's good, you know, how do we deal with success?

Right. It was one of the things that he and I were talking about. So there's a really great connectivity.

Keith: Did he have a good best practice to carry into this because this and remember with the thing about our research that I want your your followers to know about us is we're not like Gartner Group where we're doing trends or, you know, systematic observations. All we we are a we are a high return practice research institute. That thing that I just shared with you, all that foresight, 5 minutes changing.

And it's such a simple and elegant practice right now. So what the book does is it gives you those very simple and elegant practices across all of the areas of our research and they were all gained from your peers, sharing information, iterating them, and then testing them.

Kevin: One of the other things I really like about the book is you have a metaphor. It's one of the chapters near the end. The metaphor is the Lego block. And you say it's the leg. We're moving into the Lego block workforce let's talk about that for a second. There's a lot of detail that we won't probably have time to get into, but talk about the idea of how do we start to think if the world of work is going to be different and it will be how do we benefit from that?

How do we leverage that? And you're saying think Lego blocks. What do you mean? Yeah.

Keith: So maybe I'll even look, I'm a small company, we're 50 people, but maybe I can share how it's impacted me.

I went out and bought a fractional chief marketing officer that I could not in my organization have afforded at the level of his sophistication. I bought a fractional chief marketing officer. I then decided that one of the critical elements of our business is very direct B2B marketing. So in the olden days, an administrative person helping me administer my network, then I would then market to content marketing, direct marketing, et cetera.

That individual would be about an 80 K to a 95 K person in Los Angeles and in and if you were to.

Kevin: Not in Peoria, but in New York.

Keith: Right, exactly, exactly. In Peoria they're 60, you know, but guess what? In the Philippines there are 20 and they're bright as heck driven and ambitious, willing to work on my time zone. Bro. So they get up, they start working at ten in the evening and get to like six or whatever and perfect English drive and ambition and by the way, incredibly grateful for 20 because it's at least 30% to 40% more than they've be making locally.

And they get to work with a cutting edge you know American company. And so I have built out a six person marketing team that has cost me probably less than two years and that's a Lego block workforce. That's an example of a Lego block workforce. You can begin to globally distribute put apart, put together, think about roles that you would have never in the past thought of anything other than a W-2 and have them be an agency like I have plenty of agencies, people who are moms and have two of their clients and me, you know, and they're a part of my organization and I don't treat them like a vendor.

They're my person who's running acts and it's working beautifully and I'm loving it. But that's a part of the Lego workforce, you know, you can and you can that kind of variability and allows you also to be more agile, which is another chapter in the book. But the agility that you need to be able to adapt. Right? So I know I at the peak of my research institute, I had this amazing resource who was the president of my research institute, but that we were you could imagine the size of this work.

We had 14 people. We raised $2 million. It was a big research project when as this is tailed off and I'm still doing the research on an ongoing basis, but not as heavily right I've named I moved her over into actually running my sales organization and because of the type of sales we have and the and the success we've had to date, she's only 10 hours a week, but she's kicking ass right and so it's, that's a Lego block workforce and that's the ability for that to bolt into agility.

Kevin: Perfect. You know, one of the things and as you and I are talking here in January, I'm very confident that for unfortunately for the foreseeable future, the topic of mental health, mental fitness resilience is going to be at the top of the list. In fact, I believe perhaps ought to be at the very top of the list for us to think about as leaders.

What are you learning from your research or from just for the folks that you interact with about some some high level best practices in these areas? What I guess I'll ask let's ask in two ways. First of all, for us as individual leaders, what should we be doing and thinking about for us? We'll talk about our teams after that.

Keith: Yeah. Well, hmm. I'm not sure that those two things are are separate questions. And I'll explain what I mean by that because what we found so I wrote an article in Harvard Business Review during this period of time that showed that our research showed the thing that was the greatest strain on resilience was not the rioting in the streets, was not the political unrest in our own capital, was not the zoom fatigue to some extent.

Yes, it was actually the the the frustration and the difficulty with getting things done so the real drain or on resilience in organizations is our work. And when we found that when a team came together with a strong commitment to a relational commitment to each other, which is, you know, the guy wrote and every loan believes a lot of the relationships that with a strong relational commitment to the point where there's no passive aggressiveness, meaning we're so committed to each other that we speak truth in the room no conflict avoidance.

We wrestle and argue things transparently and openly, not in the back. Shadows are talking behind each other's backs. That's the stuff that breeds a drain in organizations. Now, the number one predictor of our ability to to attack this stress and fatigue that does I'm not saying that's the only thing that does happen because we're always on, et cetera, is actually the peer to peer relationship of your team.

So the best thing you can do, Kevin, the best thing I can do is to be able to share vulnerably and openly with my team about how I you know, there's a very simple high return practice. It's one of the simplest it's called an energy check in. And I would once again offer that at least once a month, maybe twice a month in a meeting, you stop and you ask the team on a scale of zero to five, please put at the beginning, the beginning of the meeting as you're coming into this meeting, on a scale of zero to five, what is your energy level?

Zero is in the dirt. Five is your you're sipping on rainbows with unicorns. And then you look and you and you and people know that if it's two or below, you're going to pause and ask if they're OK. So they're signaling right? So if somebody puts a two or below, we pause and, and we say, are you OK, Kevin?

And Kevin says, either, you know, new baby, I was up all late last night. Cool.

Kevin: I it's just today it's a temporary thing. Right, right.

Keith: Or or Susan says, well, my husband Dave just got diagnosed with needing a kidney transplant, which I was present at both of those. Right. And interestingly enough, Susan, not in the real name Susan, but Susan she said that after having that information for two weeks, but nobody knew it because your ability to create an esprit de corps in a shared commitment to each other's energy and mental well-being, that peer to peer that my second book that who's got your back?

We've got each other's backs. That idea of co elevation, that word I created for for a team coming together and not letting each other fail, but lifting each other up in pursuit of a mission but helping each other at the same time. That is in fact I believe in our research has shown is the leading thing we can do is to create that community around us.

Now, I know one of things you might be looking for some tips around routines now. We did study routines of executives that breed better mental health. One of the routines is to actually create up to 2 hours a day, but at least an hour a day of thinking, not just thinking, but contemplative review time. You know, if I showed you my calendar at the peak of the pandemic, it was half of an hour straight through.

And no wonder I was exhausted at the end of the day. But I just got up and did it again today. You look at my calendar and I've got 21 hour blocks of red on my on my calendar that have been given to me to think to actually read my emails, to review things so that it doesn't bleed into the evenings and weekends so that I can actually lead my life because I've I've given so much more time back to the company by not traveling, that the company doesn't deserve to have all of my time and evenings and weekends.

And so we've got to leave that that curated space. And we in my comp- my team treats those red blocks like they are my meetings and they are. They're my meetings with me.

Kevin: 100% and I often say to people, if you, if you had had, if you'd had a heart problem of some sort and you had a follow up with your cardiac cardiologist, would you cancel that? And of course you'll say, Heck no. I said, Have you ever canceled a meeting you scheduled for yourself? Yes. Why? Right. The whole point is why?

Well, you know, you wouldn't cancel the card-. It's cardiac. Red blocks are cardiologist time.

Keith: I still violate it, right? I did it this morning. It was funny. I was I was with my administrative assistant and we were in a meeting with my team and that and I and it was an half an hour meeting and they ended up going an hour, half of an hour into my review time. Right. And I paused at that and I said, you know, I said, Michael, you have permission when I'm bleeding into review, time to remind me and the team that that's what we're doing.

And to make us make a conscious choice.

Kevin: That's the key making. We're going to sometimes do it, but let's make it totally conscious in this moment. That's the right.

Keith: And I have to say that that's the thing that we learned in our research, which is we did a lot of things during the pandemic. Well, and yet they weren't purposeful. They were out of reaction. So, for instance, the chapter in the book on agility and how you build an agile organization, we practice what I called crisis agile during the pandemic.

Kevin: I love that because we don't have a choice right. Right.

Keith: We woke up every day and said, OK, what did we get done yesterday? All right, what do we need to do today and what are we committing to and then we went for the next day. What's changed? All right, we're assessing. Let's get together. So that process of, you know, commit a sprint, assess, commit sprint says that is an agile process that is used in programing and using project management.

That's very effective but is not used in leadership teams. It's not used as a way to run your organization. I believe that we were running agile as the operating system during the pandemic, and I want us to solidify that. And that's what that chapter is about. How do you how do you turn your organization into an agile operating system?

That pivots and assesses and forecasts and pivots and assesses and forecasts? And that's so important for all of us to be able to stay ahead of the curve. As we were talking about that forecasting conversation. Absolutely.

Kevin: So and I agree with you that what we need so what we need to do as leaders individually is the same thing we need to be modeling for our teams, and we can't certainly be at our best for them if we're not at our best for ourselves and all that stuff. I'm going to add one more thing that we ought to be doing and that in the research that we've done, not the same type of research as you, but in the work that we've been doing is that most leaders need more sleep now.

Keith: And, you know, I have to say, don't you think that most of us got better sleep in some ways during the pandemic because we were home and I think get you what you may have the data and I haven't seen this data and I actually look at this data. Arianna Huffington is a friend of mine, and she's like all about sleep and she's been preaching sleep for me for a long time.

I don't maybe I'm not maybe I'm a data set of one. But I didn't I've never gone to bed at ten, nine, 930 or 10:00 back in the olden days when I was on the road out to dinner. And then, you know, and then I don't know if I have found myself during the pandemic having more restful sleep than I have.

Kevin: Which is awesome. Right. And so for those of you that are getting that great, but many aren't still. And if you're not, I just want to put that in your in your list of things to think about. So so Keith, as we start to move toward wrapping up here, a question, is there one thing that you would like leaders or you would encourage leaders to do today?

What's 11 sort of piece of. Yeah, one piece of advice that you would give us today.

Keith: If if you go to go forward to work dot com, you can see so many articles we wrote during this period of time, so many pieces for Forbes Inc, Fast Company, our business review, etc. There's a ton of stuff there about how do you begin to really revamp your staff meeting for the better leverage of the tools you have.

I only picked this one area because once you because I know right now and I don't know if it's going to change by the time we're airing this in the late spring or early summer, but I know right now we are meeting overloaded and it is the death knell of many organizations whereas we can reduce the meetings by 30%, give ourselves back time for that thinking time, that reflective time that we're talking about, that asynchronous time, if we stop having meetings, be the first line of defense for collaboration, learn asynchronous collaboration.

That's one of the biggest things I could say is the takeaway. The other thing that I would say is just more macro than that's something as specific as that is make sure that you and your executive team take a meeting and stop and say, what was it about our behavior during the pandemic? And you can read the book as a mechanism to spur this conversation.

But what was it is a part of our behavior during the pandemic that we don't want to stop as we, quote, go back to work, but we want to hold on to. So, for instance, you know, somebody might say, you know what, we were a team. We came together, we didn't give a shit about silos and org charts, and we just got it done.

And we didn't let egos in the way turf wasn't an issue. Can we hold on to that? Right. We were vulnerable. We we cried together when, you know, when our parents were were were ill. With COVID and we didn't know was going to happen. And and we cared about each other in a way, and we helped each other.

We don't want to let go of that. Right. It's like, you know, those, you know, talk to the team. And I think the book will be a great tool, not only the book, by the way, but we created a a free resource guide, which is a video series. And I think it'll probably still by the time this is aired, be free.

But because we're giving it away right now and for presales before the outcome for its last books. Yeah, there's a free video series we're giving away with the book that will help you implement this book and change your team. This eight chapters in the book, we have eight video packets and then you send it around to your team.

There's a workbook and you can work through how to really take advantage of all these these innovations and high return practices.

Kevin: One of the things that I know, because we've had several interactions, is I've always enjoyed.

Format format as a way that I know, and I'm guessing anyone who's listening or watching would won't be surprised is that you like me, love your work. So work is fun. But I want to know, Keith, what you do for fun. That's not work. What do you do for fun?

Keith: Well, probably my my greatest a lot of people don't think this is fun. But for me, it is. I work out. And, you know, I have been deeply committed with my friend Peter Diamandis to longevity. I want to continue to make a footprint on this planet for as long as I possibly can. And I know that the body that I'm in got to keep tuned.

So I love to work out, but I also love to drink and eat. So I think part of the world where you got it right, you got to.

Kevin: Work, too. You better.

Keith: Do. You number one. You better do number one. So I'm starting that my dinner parties again. Starting at my dinner parties again. And that's been that's been something I've missed during this two year period. But what we did do interesting enough, Kevin, is we started hosting dinner parties on Zoom so we we would send friends out a bottle of wine and we'd everybody bring their meal together and we'd all have a dinner party and we'd commune but now it was global and we were able to have people there that were, you know, eating lunch somewhere while we were eating dinner.


Kevin: Exactly. Another thing that we share in common is a love of reading and of learning. And so I'm curious, what are you reading these days, Keith, that people might want to know?

Keith: Well, I'll give you a sneak peek. I'm reading something that nobody else has their hands on right now. But by the time this airs, you will. I think you will. You absolutely will. I mentioned earlier, my friend Peter Diamandis, but he's coming out with a new book with Tony Robbins about longevity, democratizing longevity, and that is a book that I highly recommend you go out and get your hands on.

And, you know, it'll be it'll been out for a while, and I suspect many of you will already have it. But in one compendium, if you really want to live beyond a hundred and be thriving like like you and I are right now, Kevin, wouldn't you mind if he could be like you are right now at a hundred? I'm not saying you're in a bed.

Right? Could you what? I mean, you and I love life. But so how do we how do you go about doing that? And that's a great book. I would that's what I would advise.

Kevin: As is always. Thanks for that. As is always. Everybody, you can go to remarkable podcast dot com and look and look at this episode or the show notes wherever you are to see the links. We'll have all those there by the time that that comes. Where else. Keith, we've already talked a little bit about go forward to work

Anything else you want people to know in terms of connecting with you, finding the book, anything else you want people to know?

Keith: You know, that's it. I mean, that's I'm really excited about this book. I've already started working on the next one. I promise you, I won't be out in in any year. So like this, this process was so fast that we were able to get it out as we did. But looking forward to our continued engagement. Follow me on Instagram, all those wonderful places, but go forward working, forget books, and we'll stay in communication with you.

Kevin, you are always such. First of all, I just your audience needs to know if they don't already, they probably what's why they're here. You're one of the most prepared, thoughtful and caring interviewers that I've ever had you I know you've read the book. I feel the energy, the understanding of it and really appreciate that it means a lot.

Kevin: Well, it's my pleasure and thank you for that. And so now I've got to after that lovely thought, I've got to say to all of you, the most important thing of this all show, which is what are you going to do with this? My two word question for you, as always, is now what what action are you going to take?

Are you going to apply one of the several principles, one of the high return practices that we talked about today, whether it's active foresight or whether it's the energy check or whatever it is, what are you going to do as a result of the time that you've spent with Keith and I? That's my challenge to you. That's our challenge to you.

And so, Keith, thanks for being here. It is a pleasure to have you. I knew it would be it's a pleasure, as always. And to all of you, if you enjoyed this, tell someone to come join us next week. Invite them to come back and listen to this one, whether they find it at remarkable podcast. Dot com or wherever you listen to your podcast, because next week I'll be back with another episode.

We'll see you then.

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Creativity and Innovation

Creative Acts for Curious People with Sarah Stein Greenberg


Follow: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio or your favorite podcast player.

Most of the problems we face today are messy, complex, and have no correct answer. Further, we have no precedence of how to solve them. Kevin chats with Sarah Stein Greenberg, who shares practical and maybe unusual ways to help you tackle the challenges you face. It is critical to have a curious mind and be intentional with your actions.

Key Points

  • Sarah shares her thoughts about design and risk.
  • She discusses how to extend our curiosity.
  • She shares examples of paths to creativity including:
    • Come up with ideas.
    • Locate your own voice.
    • Tell a compelling story.
    • Slow down and focus.

Meet Sarah

Sarah Stein Greenberg


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Quote Image: You have to develop your own creative process and your own vocabulary and your way of thinking about how creativity works for you. Said by Sarah Stein Greenberg

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