Podcast 909: Rehumanizing the Workplace with Dr. Rosie Ward

In this engaging interview with author Dr. Rosie Ward we talk about a new book she co-authored with Jon Robinson entitled  “Rehumanizing the Workplace: Future-Proofing Your Organization While Restoring Hope, Well-Being, and Performance

In our discussion, we speak about “Thriving Organization Pyramid” which is based on the works of many great leaders that have inspired her over the years. Dr. Rosie  also speak about workplace stress, productivity and well-being of employees.

If you want to learn about the key principles that are interconnected and essential to creating thriving, future-ready human workplace, this is a very interesting podcast for you.  To learn more about Dr. Rosie Ward, please click here to visit her company website.

You may also click here to visit her personal website to know more about her book, coaching programs and podcast.

I hope enjoy my interview with Dr. Rosie Ward.

THE BOOK

This book details the 5 Key Rehumanizing Principles, our framework for restoring hope, wellbeing, and performance in the workplace.

As our rapidly changing world is becoming increasingly complex and disruptive, it triggers people to operate from a place of scarcity and self-protection, creating disconnection and eroding wellbeing – for both organizations and individuals.50

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The good news is that there is a revolution already underway where organizations are breaking the mold and finding success by honoring what it means to be human.

Rehumanizing the Workplace highlights some of these organizations and actionable suggestions for how everyone – regardless of their role or title – can show up as a leader and influence positive change.

THE AUTHOR

Dr. Rosie Ward began her career in 1994 in the fitness industry as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and her master’s degree in Public Health, with a focus  on worksite health promotion. She  became disheartened when she realized the way we approached supporting employee wellness didn’t really work, and knew she needed to find a better path.

After personally experiencing the ill-effects of a toxic work environment, she was inspired to shift gears and completed her Ph.D. in Organization and Management where she focused on organizational culture, leadership and coaching.

She started to see how incredibly interconnected our own health and wellbeing is with the organizations where we work. After holding various leadership and consulting roles, she co-founded Salveo Partners, LLC, a consulting and professional development firm dedicated to rehumanizing workplaces so organizations and their people can thrive.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen the host of Inside Personal Growth. And joining me from really near Minneapolis, you're just outside of Minneapolis. Is that right? Is Rosie ward. And we're going to be speaking about a book that she co-authored with Jon Robinson called Rehumanizing the Workplace. And I'm really, really appreciate the work that you and Jon put into this book. Years and years of time, you had a book that we're going to mention in the podcast that was a predecessor to this book. And Rosie has dedicated her life to cultural transformation, you can tell and working inside businesses, and just overall is a great person. So, Rosie, welcome to the show.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Thank you so much for having me, Greg.

Greg Voisen
And thank you for being on and too bad John couldn't be here, I'm sure he would contribute as well. And as we said, we let our listeners know Tad, bit about you. She's an energetic, passionate and compassionate leader, consultant, coach and author who focuses on transformation from the inside out. Her mission started nearly 20 years ago, when she experienced firsthand the ill effects of working in a toxic work environment and found her well being eroded. Since then she has worked tirelessly to find a solution. So that you can experience is no longer the norm. And that's what this book is all about. And her company is S-A-L-V-E-O partners, LLC, you can also go to the website of the same name as a Salveo Partners. And I would encourage you to do that. And for all my listeners, please do that. Again, here's the book. And so Rosie, you know, this is a pretty deep talk topic. You know, when people get into this, I try to leave these questions, as fun as an uplifting as possible, because it can get extremely deep. But in the introduction of the book, Raj should ask the question, what is the business of business? And I thought that's just such a? No, it's simple, but it's very profound, because we're all running around out here being business people doing what we're supposed to do. And I love this question. And I'd like to pose that question to you, as the evolution of worldwide business, businesses are faced with transforming themselves really, in light of the pandemic chain supply issues, employees working from home in the myriad of employee and hiring problems, unemployment, the things we're having. And I think always, as you know, the darkness serves the light. And one of the things we know, as, you know, holistic healers in this environment, is that's true. It looks always worse before it changes, right? What is the business of business? And then it's going to evolve into the future? And how do we bring full humanity into the workplace? And actually, if this was the whole podcast, this question would actually finish up the whole.

Dr. Rosie Ward
I was going to say, this is like an entire multi hour conversation. Exactly. But I appreciate it. So I will say I think that the business of business, from my perspective, it has shifted, if you go back to, you know, the Wall Street era, the 80s. In the jock Jack Welch era, it was, you know, the purpose of business was to make money. But really, I think what we've seen is evolution that the business of business is to further some kind of purpose, whatever that is to make the positive impact for our future for society. And I don't care if that's some technology you've invented, or labor or whatnot. It's really what are we doing in this world and our products and our services are in service of how we bring that purpose to light and I think it's, it's really about creating opportunities for people to use their gifts and talents, find fulfilment contribute to something bigger than themselves, right and feel like that they're, they're valued, and that their efforts are in vain. And I think that the more that businesses nurture, what we all want and need as human beings and find a way to leverage those gifts to further whatever its purposes, that's where we're going to have a brighter and better future even when things seem to be dark and bleak. It is the whole well-being, of being at the workplace, right? It's all about you know, it's such an amorphous

Greg Voisen
This thing we talked about, but yet it's really not. The question is how do we create that environment in which it exists? You know, I know Margaret Wheatley is one of your people who and who I've studied. And you guys made a kind of a graph and a chart as a result of all these great thinkers. Right. In the introduction, you speak about volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. That's the V eWCA. News, a great sailing analogy to relate your point. Can you comment on the V UCA world, and how has it helped to increase the dehumanization of workplaces? But the new paradigm this shift, Rosie, where the sailors see the breaking of the mold of business as usual, I loved the whole sailing analogy because I created a course using sailing, it's an analogy.

Dr. Rosie Ward
That's fantastic. Well, so VUCA is how we refer to that acronym. And really what and we didn't create it, it's been around for a long time. And I will say that the last couple of years have certainly shown us VUCA to the extreme, really, what VUCA represents is a couple things. One, it's putting language to something that we're experiencing when we can put language and make something that feels very abstract, or confusing or unsettling. Make it more tangible, it helps us understand it, process it and find a path forward. And so really, what VUCA represents is the notion that we live and work and lead in a world where disruption is the new normal. And so we give many examples. And disruption can be a good thing. It forces us to adapt technologies and do things differently and be more mindful of our environment and breakthroughs in medicine and science, science and all kinds of wonderful things come with disruption. And the challenge is that as human beings that disruption, flies in the face of our innate biology or DNA, and what I mean by that is that we know from neuroscience research that our brains are hardwired, to seek out familiarity and comfort. We're hardwired to maximize reward and minimize discomfort and a VUCA world is anything but comfortable, familiar, or settling. And again, we've seen all kinds of examples just the last couple of years alone, but even well beyond the pandemic and everything that's happened. And so what happens is that what we start to do when the world seems too chaotic or unsettling is we start to cling really tightly to what is familiar, even if it doesn't serve us well anymore. And so I think we give an example in there go back to Galileo, right? That people it was so unsettling to them to think about that the earth was not the center of the universe, that they wouldn't even look through the telescope, and he had to live out his days in house arrest. And so when things start to bump up against our paradigm, or what we know to be true, we have to either adapt and lean into that discomfort, and find new ways of going about things and new ways of thinking about things. Or we double down on our rightness and clinging to what's familiar. And so when that happens, and that happens more often than the first example of leaning into the discomfort. When people are stuck in that old paradigm, then there's all kinds of rigidity there silos, there's turf protection. And what you start to see in terms of the dehumanization is we start to forget that people are people, we start to want to control them, we start engaging all kinds of behaviors that aren't productive. That just makes things worse. And so when we think about the analogy of the sailors in the new paradigm, it's okay, you know, we're in it. We're in a new era, and we don't have to let go of everything we know. But how can we use that to inform where we need to go next, and we shift our paradigm, we let go of some of the things even if they feel familiar, we lean into an embrace that discomfort because that's how growth and evolution happen.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's really interesting the way you speak about that, because we've all been told whether or not we remember it or not. There's two real emotions love and fear. And so when you know, you spoke about Herb Kelleher and I like you organizational development that's a lot of my background. You know, he wrote you know, the symbol for the airline is Luv love. But we've had this I mean, when you look at the pandemic, it's created so much fear, you know, it's created a just a consciousness of fear that's permeated almost everywhere. You know, like in California tomorrow, we get to take our masks off. So this is like, Oh, well, who said tomorrow to be the day that we take the mascot? Why is it tomorrow and not Valentine's Day or whatever? But my point of this that I'm trying to get to here and it wasn't one of the questions that I gave you is at the polarities of each end is love We're here and fear over here. How would you as somebody who works in these organizations, try and remove this fear element, which drives this? VUCA? Right? Really it does. Because that's when people get entrenched, that's when they get rigid. That's when they don't have new ideas. That's when innovation stops. That's when everything kind of freezes because it's the fight or flight kind of syndrome. Right? So what would be your takeaway for somebody right now that they could use?

Dr. Rosie Ward
I think, first and foremost, is recognizing that it's a common human reaction, right. So it's like I always say, honor your humanity, or acknowledge yourself for being human and recognize that it's not productive. You're right, the fight flight or freeze is a normal natural response. And so if we're going to move from fear to love, how we get there, as a couple of things, one, we have to acknowledge and name the fact that fears what's happening, because what happens is people don't want to feel those emotions. And so they start lashing out and blaming or whatever, because it's easier to be angry than it is to be scared, right, it's easier to be pissed off than it is to feel worried or lonesome, or whatever it might be. And so I think part of it is happy to help people just name what they're experiencing, and take a moment to pause and move off from that reactivity. I think the other thing is that when we have a going back to purpose, when we have a purpose that is bigger than ourselves, or we have that picture painted, where we can see a brighter future, we see how we contribute, or we see how we belong, then it doesn't mean that fear isn't there. But that that bright light, if you will, of that purpose, or that clarity of where we're trying to go can override that fear, right and help us find a path forward with more intentional action, then reactivity. And so as an example, I would encourage people I write about it in the we write about in the book as well. But I was fortunate enough to train with Brene Brown in 2019 is one of her certified their lead facilitators. And that work is really profound. She has all kinds of free resources on her website about building courage. And it's really about being self-aware, leaning into that discomfort rumbling with vulnerability, and learning how to recognize when we're triggered, recognize when we're reactive, recognizing when we're going to self-protective mode, and starting to get curious about why that is starting to build a muscle to pause. So I guess that's my long winded if I was going to give one. One thing that I tell everyone to do start building your muscle to pause. Yeah, off that reactivity and start it like three to five seconds, but pause and go. Before I respond to that email, pause before I Whatever it might be start pausing because it breaks that reactivity cycle.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, and it's almost, you know, mindfulness meditation. For a lot of people, they're great words, the question is, have they practice them? And do they remember them in these times of, you know, getting bad news, you know, like you say, pause, take a deep breath, realize this isn't the end of the world, you know, and move forward with a logical plan, logical solution. Now, in 2008, you met your co-author, so you go back a few years. And in 2014, you guys wrote that first book, which I'm going to plug here as well, how to build a thriving culture as work. You both created these seven points of transformation blueprint, as you call them in the book, much of what you are speaking about, then, as it relates to transformation of an organizational culture, you're still speaking about today. You just put it in a new format, another new book, what's the difference that you have seen in cultural transformation over the last eight to 10 years, as the workplace is evolved and become more humanized, let's hope they become more humanized. I'm praying and then I really should I know one of my questions is about give me an example of a workplace that has become more humanized in your estimation.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Yeah. Well, so first about what's evolved. So I think and we write about this in in re humanizing the workplace is our first book with seven points of transformation. We use a metaphor that building a thriving workplace culture is similar to building a structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing house where if you skip steps, you use outdated materials. It doesn't work so well. And those principles still apply. But I think it's a different concept to create a house where, yes, it's structurally sound, but then where it's a home and people feel safe and belong and can stretch themselves and grow. And so when you think about humanistic, our first book is really like the foundation of you can't have a human workplace if you don't have kind of this structure in place. But then it's what does it really mean to recognize, honor and nourish the essence and DNA of what it means to be human. And so I think it's recognizing that human beings have feelings, we are emotional beings, we are not logical beings. So that we have feelings and fears and emotions that we have lots going on in our lives that we want to feel valued and hurt it is it is a core human need to feel like we matter, to feel like we're heard and seen and feel like we belong. So when someone doesn't listen to us and shuts us down when someone dehumanizes us when someone lumps us into a category, or does blame and shame, when we feel invisible, all of those things that we see going on in our world, go against the DNA of what it means to be human, and then you end up with this reactivity and all kinds of behaviors ensue. And so I think that it's one thing to have a culture where strategy goes together, and people have purpose in their work, and they're getting along and their well-being is nourish. And it's like another level to say, you know, what, we have a workplace where we truly honor people's humanity. And we create the conditions where they can bring their best selves to work and their best selves to home each day. So it's like, it's a totally other level. And so what I love is that we there are so many wonderful companies that are great examples of this. And we intentionally in this book picked more mid-sized companies than large ones, because the large ones get all the press and the glory because they're publicly traded. And everybody knows, like a Southwest Airline, or a Patagonia and or, you know, Starbucks, I mean, they're wonderful organizations. But a lot of people what happens is they said, well, that's not my company, or I don't have endless pockets. And so we feature manufacturing companies and I T consulting companies, and all kinds of companies that are in different industries that are not these giants that are doing really, really amazing things to take care of their people have a clear purpose, have trust be intentional, the language that comes to mind is they have deliberate practices in place, they do not leave their culture to chance they have deliberate practices, to keep these things alive to nourish it like a garden, right? So it doesn't get away from you. And so we talk about Barry Wehmiller is one of those which is a large, a large company, manufacturing company global, bob chapman is their CEO, really emphasizes truly human leadership that everybody is somebody's precious child. So why don't we treat them as a human being who deserves to be valued. We talk about improving, which is a really phenomenal IT company that is heavily embedded in the conscious capitalism world, and really about restoring trust in it practices, we give an example of Miring construction, you wouldn't think construction is like a love base, really what they're doing to really help people tap into their dreams and grow and be better versions of themselves. So there are so many, it's just a few. But there are so many great examples of companies that are doing this and paving the way that I think we can learn from.

Greg Voisen
Well, and I not that long ago, I interviewed Whitney Johnson, and she is an example with Gary here in San Diego for all my San Diego listeners of WD 40 highest level of engagement because they encourage reinvention every year of the employee. So they've got a continual learning program. And they have like an engagement level in the 90s, which is almost unheard of, and nobody wants to leave the company. So just tells you that the culture, something's got to be going good within the culture. But then you get these kind of soothsayer people that when a consultant like yourself comes along, or I come along, it's very difficult for them to understand what we're talking about, because they're grinding the numbers, or they're looking at this. And if you would, for a second, this, again, wasn't one of our questions, but the human capital balance sheet side of things. How do you and John and your company, impart upon somebody who may be looking at the opposite side of the fence and said, I have to dig in, that this is monetarily going to be good for you good for employees, and it's a win win? If you really were to look at these things?

Dr. Rosie Ward
That's a great question. And I love that other great companies and groups are out there doing this research because having a PhD, I'm a Research geek, I have to latch on to it. And so I'm so appreciate it. So the first thing I actually go to is the conscious capitalism movement and Firms of Endearment. You can go to firms of endearment.com. But they have been looking at these conscious businesses who operate the antithesis of business as usual. They operate at the intersection of having a higher purpose, being conscious about their culture, having a total stakeholder view where they look at everybody, they're not going to trade off, for example, employees for the shareholders, and then they also look at conscious leadership. And so when you look at these conscious businesses, just the publicly traded ones because that's who they can Follow right because the data is available. But if you look at just the publicly traded conscious businesses compared to the s&p 500, over a 15 year period, they outperformed by a 14 to one ratio. At the 10 year mark, they were outperforming at an eight to one ratio. So as time goes on, the gap between these human focus conscious businesses and quote unquote, business, as usual, gets bigger and bigger. So it actually makes good financial sense to not focus on just the numbers. And then you start to look at organizations like imperative, every couple of years does their workforce purpose index, and they have consistently found that employees, for example, that have this purpose, mindset or feel fulfilled at work, they're more likely to be your brand ambassadors, they're more likely to stay when you think about the great resignation, you can tie that in Kevin oaks and his Institute for corporate productivity has been looking at culture and have found that regardless of generation group, that people want to belong to a company that has a sense of purpose that has this culture. So there are so many people that are out there that keep doing research that says if you want to retain people, if you want to have the financial performance in the long haul, like this makes good business sense. And so yeah, there's so much debt out there. So that's what I lead with as well. Here, here you go. Like I'm not making this stuff up. It's not because it sounds good,

Greg Voisen
or you got it, all you got to do is look at what's happened with the pandemic and the turnover or the great resignation, as you say, meaning they're going to their jobs, you don't want to work there anymore, versus you having built an environment for that people would want to stay in that pays a fair wage. That is providing daycare for young children and doing all the right things that you want to do. Now you state that you and John have five key principles that are interconnected and essential to creating thriving future ready workplaces, or cumin workplaces? What are those five key principles? And can you comment to the audience who's listening about those five key principles?

Dr. Rosie Ward
I would love to and here's what I will say that has been really insightful is our book literally launched at the start of the pandemic, it launched March 24 2020. And when we wrote this, this was, obviously this book is focused on the workplace. But what I learned very quickly from people who read the book and applying it throughout the last couple of years is that these re humanizing principles are not just for workplaces, that they are for community groups, and teams and families. And so I just want to put that out there. That's been a huge Eye Opener when you think about the holistic nature of these. And so the first rehumanize, in principle is build a lighthouse, which is why we have a lighthouse on the cover of the book. And this is really about that higher purpose. This is about having as an organization, but also as an individual, are you really clear about what your purpose is? And are you anchoring it on your core values that have been operationalized, meaning they're not nice words on a website or words on a wall, but you've literally translated them into behavioral guideposts of this is when I'm in alignment, this is when I'm out of alignment. And so there's a clear roadmap, right. And so why we use the lighthouse analogy as it cuts through the fog when there stormy waters, when the VUCA world is, you know, doing what it does to us, it helps find that path forward. And it provides a sense of groundedness and calm in the midst of the storms. And so that's really the first three humanizing principles, we have to have that path forward. And we have to have something to anchor us on to shine that light of where to go kind of like that compass, North Star, etc. It's

Greg Voisen
the beacon. That is my, my logo for illuminate my conscious business consulting firm, was a lighthouse for a long time. I did change it a few years back to a hummingbird. But

Dr. Rosie Ward
yeah, there you go. Yeah. So sensible to Yeah, so principle two is create fearless environments. And this is really not just about physical safety. But this is really about psychological safety. So the great work of Amy Edmondson and others, we've known for decades that when people feel like they can show up and speak up and take those interpersonal risks, and what I mean by that is, maybe I say, Hey, I have an idea, or I have a concern, or I asked for help, or I admit, I don't know something or I'm going to give somebody difficult feedback. And so I think there is this myth for some people that human workplaces are thriving workplace cultures are thriving teams are all unicorns and rainbows. But they're not these effective teams, embrace candor. They have the difficult conversations and why this is so important is that at its core, culture, and psychological safety resides at that local team level. It's team by team so when you hear people talk about multiple subcultures within the organization, it's true. So it's what are we doing at that team level to make it safe where people feel like they belong? They can speak up, they can share their contributions, they can share their concerns, and we're creating that environment that is safe for them to do that versus them feeling like they have to come armored up in self-protective mode, doubling down on their righteousness, which smashes, collaboration, innovation, productive conversations, all of that. Number three, number three is,

Greg Voisen
will keep you on track.

Dr. Rosie Ward
keep me on track. Number three is Wade in the messy middle. And this is one of my love to hate lines. And why I say that is that throughout my entire career, I've been a huge steadier and working with individuals and teams on behavior change. And I'm telling you, there is no fast forward button, there is no magic wand. There is no quick fix. But we keep trying to do that with carrots and sticks and other things. And the reality is that that change in evolution and growth is uncomfortable. And but that's the only path forward. So I was saying, you know, if you think about any time in your life, where you've had any level of profound growth, learning or transformation, it has been preceded by a pretty hefty dose of discomfort. And so waiting the messy middle is recognizing that you have to go through, you can't go around, there isn't a shortcut. It'll keep coming back to you. And so it's really all about how do we equip ourselves and others to be able to effectively embrace the discomfort that comes with growth and change, which is really hard to do if you don't have a fearless environment, by the way, so they kind of all piggyback off of each other. And if you have that Lighthouse Point in the way, it can be a little bit easier to do it. But it's really about the whole nature of change takes time, it requires us to rewrite our self-limiting narratives, it requires us to do a lot of inner work before we can do the outer work. And so that's the whole premise behind principle number three.

Greg Voisen
And number four, number four,

Dr. Rosie Ward
and number four is show up as a leader. And we not unlike many other people who have similar definitions of leadership, but we define leadership as maximizing our positive impact on the world by becoming our best fully authentic self, and supporting those around us to break past barriers and stuff into their greatness. And I know that's a mouthful, but if you really think about it, it's two things. It's self-leadership, I got to do my work to show up authentically, and am I maximizing my positive impact by helping people around me kind of do the same lifting and lifting of others? And the reality is, is that if you look at it from that lens, leadership is not a title or a role. It is a behavior. And if the last couple of years have taught us anything, it's that we need everybody to show up as a leader not just in their personal professional lives, but in their personal lives as well like, am I looking for how can I make a difference in this relationship with this person with my neighbor with my team. And so showing up as a leader is really looking at how do we find opportunities to lead and influence positive change, even if we don't have the title, the role, the responsibility, if we do have a formal people leader role, we have an additional level of responsibility as well. But it's really we need to not be reserving development opportunities for people who are only quote unquote, high potentials or the C suite like we need to start to develop everybody. And so skills that were once considered soft skills like self-awareness, and emotional intelligence and communication skills are now being relabeled. Things like power skills or essential skills. And so it's really intertwined with weight in the messy middle, I can't show up as a leader, if I'm not doing the difficult work to weight in the messy middle. So that's the shop as a leader.

Greg Voisen
And finishing out the top five is

Dr. Rosie Ward
last but not least is find your tribe. And this is not go find people that are like you that help you feel safe and cling tightly to them. If you actually go back to the origins of the word tribe, it's really about people who are in community that are connected that have each other's backs. And so when we've talked about find your tribe, it's that first of all, culture is not the C suites responsibility or his responsibility or an external consultants responsibility culture is everybody's responsibility. And that this is not a solo journey. We are neurobiologically hardwired to be in connection with each other, and that we're not going to change a culture by ourselves. And so find your tribe is about how do you seek out people who are different than you? How do you start to build relationships? How do you start to really create kind of like grassroots organizing? How do you create momentum through relationships to actually affect positive change?

Greg Voisen
It is an there was a reason why I wanted you to tell the listeners all five of those, because not that they're not there in the previous book. They're in this book, but they're really important and I think what you heard Rosie say, but then go back and read it in this book, along with my next question, which is you and John created the thriving organizational pyramid. And I think that that is really, I, you know, I would like to have a graphic up right now of that pyramid. Um, they're thriving organization

Dr. Rosie Ward
in the book. And you can download it for free on our website, but based on the work of

Greg Voisen
many great leaders that have inspired you over the years, and one of them I mentioned was Margaret Wheatley. And then there's Peter Sangay. And there's lots of them, all the people that I've followed, which we all truly honor, because of the great work that they've done. Can you speak to listeners about the pyramid and the levels, which ultimately lead to the well-being in an organization and also give the listeners maybe a few examples of organizations which you've done, that are kind of meeting this, but the pyramid itself if somebody just had it in their office? And that's what they were working toward? It's a great visual to say, you know, this is what I'm aspiring to, which is well being of this organization, right? Yeah.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Well, yeah. And we actually, it came off of we're working with one of the consultants who we've trained, and we were having a conversation with an organization and they were struggling and trying to understand why the efforts that we're putting into support employee well-being, were not working, and no matter, we were trying to use our house metaphor and other things, and they couldn't get it. And so finally, I said, okay, like, you know, like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, or you know, a pyramid, right, if you don't have a strong base of the pyramid, the top is going to crumble. And so that was the end, it seemed to resonate for them. And so we created this intentionally to be that conversation starter. And I know there's a link in the book. But if you go to Salveo, partners.com/pyramid, you can download it for free. And we did this on purpose, because we said, we want people to be able to have a conversation to kind of go, where are we oh, my gosh, you know, what we are trying to have effective communication, which is almost to the top of the pyramid, and it we're struggling? Well, you know why? Because at our base, we don't have a humanistic culture. And we don't have quality leadership, the base of our pyramid is cracked or non-existent. No wonder why we're struggling. And so it's a way to look at it like so at the base, we have 21st century organization design, which is recognizing we're not full of rigid hierarchies anymore, it's flexible networks of team and how we need to even rethink how we organize humanistic culture, quality leadership, all of those are the base of the pyramid. And those are kind of deal breakers. Because if you don't have that stuff, individual well-being erodes trust is eroded communication falls apart. And so we really look at is the base of your pyramid strong, like it needs to be if it is awesome, you have to nurture it, you don't want to get away from you. But if it's not, that's maybe where you want to put some of your energy. And then you go up to the middle part where we have supportive climate, purpose over profit, effective communication, and trust and communication support and really look at okay, how is that part of our pyramid doing and, and we give examples in the book, we go by each section of the pyramid of what are things that you can do to lead and influence positive change at this section of the pyramid? What could you do here? What could you do here, and then you get to the very top of the pyramid, and it's employee wellbeing or individual well being. And that's where you have various programs and resources that can help people thrive in their well-being. But that's kind of the cherry on top. Because if the base of the pyramid of organizational well-being factors aren't there, they kind of fall apart. So we also say that while we put employee well-being at the top of the pyramid, it actually starts at the base, because if you have crappy leadership that influences well-being way more than anything else, and so, yeah, so it's really is designed to be that visual, how are we doing that conversation starter to really help you go where? Where should we be focusing our efforts, and you just kind of build it one step at a time.

Greg Voisen
What it reminds me of is the work Richard Barrett did, Richard's been on the show many times. And so I looked at it and I was like, wow, this is a great thing to buy the book, or go to the website for my listeners, just to get the pyramid, so you can look at it, it's a great visual to have at your desk, or to put somewhere or to get a team together and start working toward that well-being arena. You know, and I've done consulting with Mayo Clinic, and they have a wellness app, you know, and you kind of spoke about some of this a little bit in the book. But you know, wellness, it's, it's emotional, its spiritual, its physical. It's all of these things. It's a mind body spirit approach to somebody having well-being the physical element is just one element of all of it. And you speak about workplace stress and the effects in the workplace, lower productivity, lower creativity, lower engagement, and the effects on the health employees. What is what are some of the, what you would call the take home points, about dehumanizing the organization and how to help to create An organization that's focused on well-being of the employee.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Again, that could be a whole other hour conversation. So I think to sum it up, there's a couple things. One is, if your organization has programs and resources that are well intended, like your hope is that they actually are supporting employees in all these areas of well-being. But we give some examples in this book. But if they are incented, if they're tied to health insurance premiums, if you're making people jump through hoops, you're probably actually having the opposite effect. And so when we think about actually supporting people's well-being it's what are they wanting and needing right now? Maybe they need their leader to actually just listen to them and pretend you don't even pretend like they're, they're listening to actually take the time to go, I actually care about you and I'm authentically interested in what's happening to you. Are we equipping them to have the difficult conversations maybe they have to have with their kids? Are we equipping them with emotional literacy and resiliency? Because things are really challenging right now, I just read a report this morning about how challenging the mental health is right in our kids. So if you have employees who have children, what are you doing to support that? So it's, it's really taking this holistic approach to look at as an organization, are we helping people fuse their personal and professional lives in the best way possible, so that they cannot just deliver their best work here, but be as whole as possible and contribute back to their community? Because if we don't, you're going to be a victim of the great resignation. And so I think it's really honoring honorable people are at and you can't do that if you're not listening to them, you can't do that, if you're not talking to them. There are some core human needs, but really, every organization is different. And so are you taking intentional steps to really connect with your people find out what they need, find out what matters to them, and then support accordingly not because some vendor or some broker or some whatever told you to put in some portal and program because that's not going to do it.

Greg Voisen
So, you know, Cal Newports been on the show Muriel's been on the show. Okay, did tiny habits has been on the show. And I keep looking at this and I'm like, you know, we really have this epidemic of kind of speed in society, you know, and distraction. Right? I mean, since you and I've been on this phone, podcast, the phone was silence, but it's wrong twice. You know, and, and the distractions are the stress, because someone's vying for your attention. And you speak about technical and adaptive. And this is a really important point here. I mean, if we get this one out, I want you to speak about these two main challenges we face. And really, the one is the adaptive as human souls walking the planet Earth, with the level of consciousness that we currently vibrate at. What needs to happen for us to transform to adapt to this new environment that we're faced with? And I think a lot of people are doing miserably at it. Some people are doing okay at it. But speak with us about the challenges and why being able to effectively navigate adaptive challenges is one of the ways to create a workplace where people can thrive.

Dr. Rosie Ward
That's a great question. In brief, technical challenges are those challenges where there is a known straightforward solution, we can use the standard operating procedures checklists, we can very easily obtain the knowledge and skills to do that. So for example, if I needed to get a new smartphone, since you talked about your phone ringing, right, I know what websites that I can go to look at reviews, what features I need, I can take a tutorial about how to use the different features of my phone, boom, right? I'm ready to go. But there's this whole other type of challenge that we face, as you mentioned, it's called adaptive and adaptive by definition, there is no known solution. We haven't been here before. It's uncharted territory. And the challenge no pun intended with adaptive challenges is they elicit a sense of loss because in order for us to address and move through adaptive challenges, we have to let go of what is familiar, we have to shift our thinking shifter ideas we have to break out of it. And so like for example, you take a pandemic, none of us have lived through a pandemic before. It has been one adaptive challenge after another and what happens more often than not and Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky, who this work comes from, say that the single biggest failure of leadership is treating adaptive challenges like their technical problems, right. We try to do a bandaid we try to do a quick fix and it doesn't work because people's It's not just that I have to learn a new skill, my fundamental inner narrative, my heart, my mind has to change. So if you go back to distractions, well, fine, I could learn tips and tricks of, hey, you know what, turn off the notifications of your email or turn off this stuff, that's great. But if I have this inner narrative of, but I missing something, or I'm not responsive, or people will think less of me, or I have to deal with that, in order to have my ability to be present with people, it's not about the notifications on my phone. And so the reality is that a lot of the challenges we face, yes, there's knowledge, we can gain their skills we can build, but the overwhelming when it comes to us as a human being, organizational culture, well being in general, there are adaptive challenges. And again, it's that weight in the messy middle. And unless we help people build the skills to navigate the discomfort of adaptive challenges, shift their thinking, shift, shift their mindsets, we're actually not going to be able to have effective solutions.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, it's, this is a such an important area and part of your book that people need to read, Rosie, we've covered a lot of ground in the last 40 some odd minutes. And if you would provide the listeners with three takeaways, whether they're an HR director, a CEO, a CEO, and maybe even just the worker that's listening to this podcast, that can be applied to them individually, or organizationally, that could shift or transform their perception of themselves. Right? And or the organization in which they work. So that it would become a better place to work. Because I remember this old saying, I remember this old saying, it's not your aptitude that determines your altitude, it's your attitude. And, you know, that there's I know, it sounds silly, but it's so true. Because it's really how you look at the world.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Yeah, I love that question. And I would say, if there's one overarching takeaway, I guess for three, it, I'll give you three. But the first is that every single one of us, regardless of our title, our role, our skills, our abilities, every one of us has an opportunity, and I would say almost an obligation to look for ways to show up as a leader in our lives, period. If we all started, if we all started to look at how can I maximize my positive impact here on this phone call with my kid with my neighbor? Am I doing the work to be my best fully authentic self, if we all truly embrace what it means to be a leader and intentionally put ourselves in that spot, and on that journey each and every day? I think our society, our workplaces would be in a very, very different spot. And there's a lot that goes into that. But I think we can start to look at am I maximizing my positive impact here? Is there something that I can do to learn and be a better version of myself here? And so that would be the overarching thing. Because we all have an opportunity to make a positive difference and lead and influence positive change? I think the second thing I would say is that this doesn't have to be overwhelming. Because one, it's not a solo journey, right? You do this in relationship with other people. So you think about is there a coworker? Is there another leader you could start a conversation with that that culture is everybody's responsibility? So if things aren't working, so well, then your family or your community or your community group or church group, or whatever it is? Start a conversation with someone else? Like what build that lighthouse? What if it was possible, if we did something different, and like grassroots organizing, you build momentum from there, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. It doesn't have to start at quote, unquote, the top. Which, which then actually does get me into our big realization with this book, which I guess is number three, is that from an organizational standpoint? Yes. The CEO matters. And yes, the CEO is important. But culture is ultimately experienced team by team. And so we've had some profound learning great examples. Again, going back to that grassroots organizing when people decide to show up as leaders, when people start to experiment at a team level, what if we start having our meetings differently? What if we start interacting differently? We give away some of our secret sauce or our golden tools that we use with every group and individual in the book? What if you started putting some of these into practice? And you start to build momentum? And so think about it as how can you be a grassroots organizer? How can you show up as a leader and stop trying to do it yourself and being in community with others, that's how positive change happens, whether it's in a workplace or outside of a workplace?

Greg Voisen
Well, all three of those are great takeaways. And they're all three something that anybody listening to this podcast, can initiate today or tomorrow or the next day. And I always love giving people something like that. And Rosie, I'm going to say this again, and we'll put a link to the website in the blog. Go get this book read humanizing the workplace. If you're an HR director, it's a must. If you're a CEO, it's a must. It's a great read. And then we'll put a link to her website so that you can download the pyramid. Because I actually think starting off looking at the pyramid is really the direction that you want to do. You know, if it will show you kind of the overview of this whole book. And then if you want, go get the whole book, whatever you want to do, that would be the way to do it. Rosie, it's been an honor having you on the show. Blessings to you and Amen. Stay. I really appreciate you I appreciate the work that you're doing and how you're spreading this message in the Word. I hope it gets to every business around so that they can start to transform because really the future as the question was asked by Raj initially, what is the business of business? The business of business is humanizing business.

Dr. Rosie Ward
Thank you so much, Greg. I so appreciate it.

Greg Voisen
You're quite welcome. Thanks for being on inside personal growth. My pleasure.

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