Rebel Human Resources Podcast

RHR 131: The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change with Ian Ziskin

December 20, 2022 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 3 Episode 131
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
RHR 131: The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change with Ian Ziskin
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ian Ziskin, President of EXec EXcel Group LLC, has 40 years of experience as a business and human resources leader, board advisor and member, coach, consultant, entrepreneur, teacher, speaker, and author. His client base and corporate work span the aerospace and defense, automotive, chemical, consumer products, education, electronic components, energy, entertainment, financial services, health care, high technology, information technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, professional services, retail, and telecommunications industries, among others.

He is the Co-Founder and Partner of Business inSITE Group (BiG), a strategic partnership focused on coaching, leadership development, and HR transformation; Co-Founder and Leader of the Consortium for Change (C4C), a community of coaches and consultants; and Co-Founder of the CHREATE Project, designed to address the future of work and HR.

Ian’s global business leadership experience includes 28 years in Chief Human Resources Officer and/or other senior leadership roles with three Fortune 100 corporations – Northrop Grumman, Qwest Communications, and TRW.


Publications

Ian has written or co-edited four books, The Secret Sauce for Leading Transformational Change (2022), Black Holes and White Spaces: Reimagining the Future of Work and HR with the CHREATE Project (2018), THREE: The Human Resources Emerging Executive (2015), and WillBe: 13 Reasons WillBe’s are Luckier than WannaBe’s (2011), and he is a contributing author to The End of Jobs by Jeff Wald (2020), The Rise of HR: Wisdom From 73 Thought Leaders edited by Dave Ulrich, et. al. (2015), and The Chief HR Officer: Defining the New Role of Human Resource Leaders, edited by Pat Wright, et.al. (2011). 


Education & Awards

Ian has a Master of Industrial and Labor Relations degree from Cornell University, where he held a research and teaching assistantship based on scholastic achievement, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Binghamton University, where he graduated magna cum laude. In 1988, Human Resource Executive magazine named Ian one of twelve “Up and Comers in HR.” In 20

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Ian Ziskin:

By the way, not always, in the meeting in the moment, does the senior leader act like they appreciate? It's usually only later that they realize that you've prevented us from making a disastrous mistake. And now I value it and I appreciate it. You have to be okay. Nonetheless, with not getting the immediate love and positive feedback from that leader in the moment because they need to be more focused on how do I get this done quickly, not whether it's the right thing to get done in the first place. That's our job is to help minimize the risk of those kinds of big and bad decisions being made.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe from your favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review. Rebel on HR rebels. All right, revelator. listeners. Welcome back to the show. Really excited for our guest this week. He has survived over 40 years, and human resources. So listen up here we've got an expert in our midst. He is the president of exec Excel Group LLC. And he has a significant amount of experience. His name is Ian Ziskin. He has been a Human Resources leader, board advisor and member, coach, consultant, entrepreneur, teacher, speaker and author. He is here to talk to us today about the book, the secret sauce for leading, transformational change. Welcome to the show, Ian.

Ian Ziskin:

Great to be with you, Kyle. Thanks for having me.

Kyle Roed:

We're excited to be here. And I think this is just going to be a ton of fun. So I want to start off by just asking kind of the proverbial question I ask anybody that spends a significant amount of their time writing books, what prompted you to write a book about leading transformational change? In this

Ian Ziskin:

case, actually two things combined, both over the course of the last couple of years first, as most people I think can relate to sitting around my house during the height of COVID, watching what was going on around me not only in the health related challenges that people were dealing with, which of course, terrible, but also the economic uncertainty, the disruption caused by people at work trying to figure out how to get work done remotely, in most cases, almost overnight. Same thing with school, with, you know, teachers and students and parents all trying to figure out how to make schoolwork during that time. And also some of the political division that I think we're experiencing, not only in this country, but around the world. It all made me stop and think about what are the circumstances under which people survive, and perhaps even thrive, during times of large scale transformational change. So that was driver number one. Driver. Number two, was the fact that a few years ago, colleague of mine, and I co founded a consortium of other coaches and consultants. It's called Consortium for change, and highly collaborative community network of people and examining this question of leading transformational change, we have quite a few people who are interested in and experts in our group around the topic of transformational change. And we wanted to do something with a book that would be highly collaborative, but also very diverse in terms of the lenses that people looked at transformation change route. And both of those things combined, caused me to dive into this idea of writing this book.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, you know, it's one of those things, you know, that we think about, like change management, we think about like cultural change, transformational change. And it's always been a buzzword in the background of any organization I've worked at, right, like, you need to be a change agent, you need to drive cultural change. But for me, it's always been, it's always kind of been really hard to kind of get my arms around what that what that even meant, you know, I feel like it's like, it's kind of different for everybody. And then I think some people, honestly just throw those buzzwords out there so that they sound smart. Right. So, so, so as you were, as we're writing this book, and kind of thinking through this big question, you know, how did you kind of, how did you kind of rally around the scope of what you meant by really transformational change? You know, what are the aspects that you were looking at as it relates to, you know, the this type of evolution and organization,

Ian Ziskin:

a couple of different lenses that got us to that place style, one was recognizing that change or transformational change or whatever someone might choose to call it takes place at a variety of different levels or layers. You know, there's the individual level, there's team level, there's the organizational level, and there's even the societal level. So we were trying to look at it from those different angles, if you will. The other thing that we started to do was ask ourselves some questions and established some, maybe hypotheses, to begin putting the book together. A couple of the questions were things like, you know, for leaders who are successful at leading transformational change, what do they actually do, you know, the practical aspects of what they actually do to make that happen. Similarly, why do we so often fail to successfully meet transformational change, because there's always lessons learned from the things that don't work. And one of the hypotheses just to use as an example is, we began with this concept that all transformation is change. But there's all change transformational and don't over the course of pulling the book together came to the conclusion, that no, at least in our view, not all change is transformational. And some of the things that make it more transformational is when you're driving a significant amount of change that leads to a substantial improvement in effectiveness, health, happiness, and even survival of someone or something that's totally different than a short term tweak or minor adjustment that you might make, which may be very legitimate may actually really need to be done. But isn't the same as transformational change, at least an RPE was we wrote this book.

Kyle Roed:

So you're telling me that the like quarterly pizza parties is not enough to drive the cultural employee engagement change we need to make not not not in my

Ian Ziskin:

view, but glad you mentioned pizza, because one of the things we can talk about is this pizza analogy, as I like to call it of looking at Pizza, both as a food as and as an industry as a bit of a metaphor for why transformational change actually matters. So we can talk about that here now or later in our conversation. But

Kyle Roed:

yeah, let's go down the pizza rabbit hole, I'm where I'm at.

Ian Ziskin:

Yeah. So you know, we kind of asked this question, you know, what is pizza have to do with weeding, transformational change, it turns out, rather a lot. Let's just go back in history more than a little bit. So you know, 997 ad engagement, Italy is when pizza was first thought to be invented. And ever since that time, you know, many years that have gone by, you know, all the traditions and tastes associated with pizza. However, if you look at reality, and you think about it in terms of shapes, sizes, toppings, cheeses, crusts, preparation, methodologies, distribution channels, and of course, the the many secret sauces that people have for pizza, all of that has been completely transformed. Many times over, you know, it's all a bit about the reimagination and reinvention and repositioning of pizza, both as a food as an end is an industry in order to remain relevant. Up against all of these different external and internal trends that pizza has faced, that mostly you'd say they don't control. And, you know, I would ask your listeners to think about it in the context of their particular lives, personally, and professionally, all of the things that they're facing, that are external forces of change and internal forces of change in their own organizations that they don't control. But to what degree have they been hanging on to traditions? And things that seem to be comfortable that fit, you know, kind of like, original definition of pizza? And how does that have to force you over time in order to be more competitive or more successful? And I love a quote I came across as part of researching the book in the pizza industry that goes something like this, if if cauliflower can become pizza, you can become anything. And so it's one of those things where you think to yourself, you know, 20 years ago, I never imagined that cauliflower pizza would be mentioned in the same sentence. And now, it's a thing as they say, and, you know, I'm a bit of a traditionalist myself, so I'm not sure I'm wild about Cauliflower Crust Pizza, but there are plenty of other people who are and teaches us valuable lessons about the need to morph and adjust along the way.

Kyle Roed:

Okay, so we made the link between the pizza party and, and organizational change. So you know, I, II, and I think that's the first of the podcast. If I had a merit badge, I would give you one right now. So nice work

Ian Ziskin:

gratefully accepted. And even though we have no idea what you're walking up to your car I did, I'm happy to be at least a participant in this charade.

Kyle Roed:

I didn't, but there is literally a chapter in the book called pizza. Knology. So, you know, it's probably it was probably subliminal that, like I mentioned pizza, just so that I could like, give you that softball, but I appreciate you hitting it out of the park,

Ian Ziskin:

we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Kyle Roed:

But I think it's, you know, I think it's really funny. You know, it's kind of a funny analogy, but I think it's a really important one, you know, and, you know, I tend to be a, I like, change, right? I'm like, a, I'm one of these, one of these people that doesn't like sitting still, and, and, and, you know, quite frankly, that can be a little bit destabilizing for some that I work with, and maybe a little bit atypical for, for many in the HR function. So for for those that are wired like that, that are, you know, maybe a little bit more cautious, with change, or or, you know, kind of maybe have a little bit of a stigma associated with, with large scale change. As you were writing this book, and working through that, what, what kinds of common things did you see, to help overcome some of that kind of that natural resistance that exists in many of us?

Ian Ziskin:

Turns out, maybe to start off with that. I'm a believer, when you write a book, hopefully, you teach people a few things that they didn't know. But also, you should learn something yourself, you know, as the the author or in this case, I'm the lead author of this book with contributions from quite a few other people. And there were a number of aha was for me, in writing the book, one of which deals specifically with this question that you just asked, which is that, quite often, when you're focusing on the topic of change, there's always this debate about whether people actually like change, or hate change. And you were kind enough to share your view that weird war of the eye, like change kind of person, and that's great. I think I'm more that way myself. But I kept seeing over and over again, and all the stories and examples book, that turns out, most people actually do hate change. That's my conclusion. I'm not proud to say that, but I think it's actually true. However, perhaps more importantly, is that the only thing that they hate more than change, quite typically, is failure. And so even people who are concerned about reluctant about resistant to change, generally share this common point of view that they hate to fail, and do not want to be associated with failure at the individual team organizational or societal levels that we were talking about earlier. That gives you a better than 50% chance of persuading people, that change might be necessary, because even if they don't like it, or certainly don't love it, they recognize that they got this motivation, not to fail and put themselves and their organization or the team in the best position possible to be successful. And when that was a very common theme throughout all aspects of putting this book together.

Kyle Roed:

Interesting, it's like the it's like the least worst option, right? Like, they hate it, but they they hate it a little bit less than, than the alternative. Right?

Ian Ziskin:

The other the other Least Worst option that also was very comments relative book that is, maybe a corollary to what we were just talking about, is this idea of coming to terms with reality, or the truth. And one of the other common aspects of learning from this book is that human beings have this miraculous capacity almost limitless, to deny, deflect, data, or facts that do not reinforce their preferred view will be internal or external environment. And so what you find happening again, not only with individuals as human beings but also with organizations is a lot of time and energy wasted. on denying reality, as opposed to facing into it in recognizing the inevitability of the need for change, or at least the inevitability of the trends and circumstances that are surrounding them, that really can't be changed. So I say with, you know, certain amount of humility, that if you can do a better job than you've done in the past, that's an individual of seeing, understanding, and then eventually accepting the facts. Just the circumstance that you're facing, gives you a big leg up, one of the examples I give you, the book that I think most people can relate to, is, people step on a scale. And recognize that maybe it's time to lose 10 pounds. The facts are irrefutable, you know, the scale, the numbers are staring back at you, and you're recognizing that maybe it's finding this way, most people also intellectually understand that some combination of diet and exercise is usually the solution to losing weight. But it turns out that facts somehow also need to be reconciled with feelings. Because it's the internal motivation, you know, what's in your head, what's in your heart, that's basically going to determine whether you do the dieting, and the exercises that are typically required in order to lose 10 pounds, some people will, some people won't. But it becomes a matter of motivation, which is much more about feeling and human understanding of those feelings than it is about the heel refute ability of the facts. Because just getting on the scale, and looking at the numbers will not cause you to lose weight, we actually have to do some yawn, that to make that happen.

Kyle Roed:

It's funny, I'm sitting there just just kind of smiling to myself, you know, it's like, we know how to lose that 10 pounds, right? Like, we have figured that question out, right? Diet and exercise, let's I mean, you can look at every fad diet and whatever. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to diet and exercise. Everybody knows that. But how many people still just don't do it? Right. And, and I think it's a great analogy for, you know, kind of that change, you know, it's like, I can't tell you how many times, you know, we, we have some process that just doesn't work. And instead of actually fixing the process, we're just like, well, it just is what it is. That's why we've always done it, you know, whatever, here's this workaround takes me an extra X amount of time, and we'll just kind of worked through it. But and many of those things just could become ingrained in somebody and the feeling that they have around it is well, we've, we've, you know, it's good enough, it's fine, right? Like, it's just something I'm okay with, and I'm gonna have the motivation to change it. But I think as you think about like, large scale transformational change, you know, that those are the things that can be really, really challenging. And and, and so I'm really curious, because this is something that, you know, I've kind of seen again, and again, in my career, it's, you know, it's it's almost like there's, there's a couple of different schools of thought related to transformational change. And I'll kind of stay scoped in on the organizational change, like the, you know, the HR person that's trying to drive cultural change, or, or, or something like that. It's the question of like, is it grassroots change? Is it like, small, little incremental steps at the, you know, at the kind of at the bottom up level? Or is it this strategic overarching visionary change? You know, what, what is your perspective? What did you find related to like, which one of those works better? Is it completely situational? You know, what did your research Tell, tell us here?

Ian Ziskin:

First thing that popped out over and over again, was no matter what direction you start from, is because that's kind of what you were implying. You have to start with the idea of truth, talent and timing. That's actually one of our secret sauce ingredients comes from the book. That concept written by a gentleman by the name of Ron sugar, and wrote the foreword for the book. He was my CEO when I was the chief HR officer for Northrop Grumman. So very experienced guy, variety of different big change in organizations. The truth part we've already talked about, which is the importance of, you know, facts and understanding and accepting data and reality. Second piece, talent basically means surrounding yourself with people who are really going to help you make the change happen, and that's irrespective of which direction you start from. And then the last one, I think, is Probably the most important because it's the one people struggle with. And that is timing, what I mean by that. And what he meant by that was, generally you're going to need to go faster than typically feels comfortable. Go, speed and pace actually matters a lot. And it also matters a lot more than which direction you start with. The other thing that I speak, I think speaks directly to the question you were asking Kyle is this idea of generally, meters of transformational change, have to go first, but not alone. So they need to set the tone, they need to set the example they need to provide some sense of urgency, some clarity as to why the change is necessary, they have to be a good role model. One of the fun inputs we got for the book, somebody who really set it very simply could very wisely was transform yourself before trying to change others. And that really does set tone, but almost never is there an example of a highly successful, transformational change effort that was led by one person at the top, you know, they might say, telling, it's important that they be a supporter and an advocate and a good role model. But they're never going to do it on their own. And successful leaders have changed travel in packs. So they're not doing it on their own. But leadership comes from many levels. No, I think one of the other big themes in the book, just to close out my response to this question is that leadership turns out to be a lot more important than weirs. And what I mean by that is that, you know, irrespective of what the org chart says, or whether somebody told you that your title is being a leader, having leaders actively involved in reading change, you know, of course, makes a lot of sense and is necessary. But it isn't nearly as important and valuable, as having people be leaders of change at every level of the organization, no matter what their job title is, no matter what their responsibilities are, they can make a huge, huge difference in the execution of change, either because they're helping to lead it, or they're spending a lot of their energy trying to resist and undermine it. And there's plenty of that going on in organizations, as I'm sure you and your listeners are all very well aware of. So I find one of the biggest mistakes that that leaders in general and in HR people also make about leading change. To tie a bow on this question about, you know, what direction do you start from, is, you know, they look at an org chart. And they try to cascade down from the top to the bottom of all of the information and the tools and the energy and the the impetus for change. And it's very hierarchical. But most organizations don't really work in a hierarchy. They work through a network of people who have relationships and trust each other or don't trust each other, collaborate, don't collaborate. So figuring out who the right influencers are in the organization who can help not only explain, but a role model and support the need for change. And also at the same time figuring out who the likely resistors are to the chain. And equally loving and respecting both the influencers. And the resistors is actually much more important and effective than looking at an org chart. And starting with the CEO and the leadership team and cascading to the next level of vice presidents and cascading to the next level below them as the directors and managers and all the rest. So one of the pieces of advice we offer in the book is ignore the org chart because that's usually not the right methodology by which you're going to lead or introduce or sustain successful transformation change.

Kyle Roed:

As fascinating, you know, it's an it's, it's a little bit counterintuitive, you know, some so often you think, Well, you'll have we're gonna get this change work through is making sure we have the support from the top right. But yeah, you know, I'm chuckling here when you said the, you know, the resistors and I'm sure many of our listeners at that, that point had a number of different faces pop into their head at that point. The people that aren't they know are the resistors to change, but you cannot over or you cannot overestimate or underestimate the importance of some of those like informal leaders right that people that, you know, there isn't going to be on board. They're not. And that's a key determinant. So yeah, I've lived that that makes perfect sense. I'm curious, you know, to go back to this timing question, because I do think it's critical. And I think all of us at this point in the this day and age are really feeling the, the need to go faster. And things seems like they're changing at a much more more frequent rate. And, but that can be really, really hard to kind of balance the, you know, that need to go faster, but also make sure that you're bringing the team along for the ride and like that, people aren't so uncomfortable that they get destabilized. Where did you find any? You know, any, any, any tactics or tendencies? Or was there any, any kind of focus on that aspect? As you were writing this book?

Ian Ziskin:

Yes, very much so. And, you know, at the top level usually gets translated into, you know, communicate, communicate, communicate, you know, where you're trying, generally speaking to your educate people about the need for change? And what are some of the steps we're planning on taking, and how do we know when we are successful. And that's all real important. However, what I have found over and over again, as we were doing the book was the first instinct that people have when you talk about communication, is tell, tell, tell Intel, you know, I'm going to tell you as the leader, while these things need to happen, and their level of importance, and I'm also going to tell you about the role that you need to play, that information is valuable. But if you want to get to the point that you are dealing with, which is the balance between speed, and some of the the uncertainty that comes from going too fast, or maybe more importantly, the discomfort, you actually have to listen, you know, you have to spend a lot of time listening to people what's working, what isn't working, what's getting in your way, what's causing you problems, what resources do you need in order to be more effective dealing with customers or clients? You know, how do we help change the organization for the better, and you know, what is getting in your way, personally, as an individual trying to get your job done to the best of your ability, that's a lot of listening. And so yeah, change takes time, there's no doubt about it, you have to work your way through the organization and make sure that you're in touch with, with people who work with it for you. But I think a lot of leaders make the mistake of you know, 80%, tell and 20% Listen, when, in fact, the formula should be exactly reversed. And the situations where, you know, we did a lot of storytelling or story listening in the book to successful leaders who have led transformational change, one of the most consistent factors over and over again, was they spent a lot of time with their people listening to what was working, who else and not working well. And that helped to raise up the awareness about the need for large scale transformation change, rather than having just the CEO or the senior leadership team declare, you know, we're terrible, therefore, we need to change. But nobody else understands where that came from, or why that's usually not very peppy.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, great, great call out and, you know, take it from a guy that has a podcast that you know, likes to talk a lot, you know, that listening can be a challenge sometimes, but, you know, the communication is two ways, right? So there's gotta be, gotta be balanced. I got, I've got, you know, we've already kind of touched on on this, the secret sauce for pizza, we've talked about pizza ingredients. And we've talked about a couple other aspects of the secret sauce. And I know there's, there's 10 ingredients in the book. So I just want to ask you, which one of those ingredients do you want our listeners to kind of walk away with? Thinking about? And then, of course, they have to pick up the book to read about the others.

Ian Ziskin:

Yeah, thanks for that. I'm gonna go back to actually something that we were touching on a few minutes ago, because it's so important, and seems to be very counterintuitive for people, which is the idea of love, influencers and resistors. Because I think most of us, particularly as HR people, we oftentimes get put in the position of figuring out who the influencers are usually in the context of the people who are big supporters who we can turn to for help, and who we know are going to be loyal to us into the organization in helping to drive change, those people are very much needed. We also have a tendency though, as HR people ticular to be dismissive of, or not very friendly to the people we identify as resistors you know, in the natural tendency is to ignore what they have to say, Run over their work around them or get rid of them. Now, sometimes you have to do one or more of those things, but not before you spend enough time understanding what they're resisting and why they're resisting it, because they may actually be asking tough questions that nobody else is willing to ask. That would, in fact, if answered and addressed, make the whole transformational change. Yeah, for better and more effective, which is why, you know, I use the terminology love influencers and resistors. Because both kinds of people can make enormous contributions to your transformational change effort, if you're willing to respect what they have to say, and even if you disagree with it, listen to their concerns and push back and treat them more as skeptics, you know, who we're trying to ensure that the organization is doing the right things, rather than as negative people who simply don't want to come along for right, sometimes they don't, and you need to deal with those people eventually. But most resistors, I think, are more skeptical, and simply want to make sure that we're not doing the wrong thing, locked reasons before they get on board. Those people can be extraordinarily valuable and helpful.

Kyle Roed:

You know, it's funny, and I do think it's counterintuitive. And you know, I distinctly remember, early in my career, this is gonna sound terrible. Now, even in retrospect, thinking about this language, it's just kind of terrible. But the term that was used was, well, they're not a company, man, you know, and, and the more the longer I was in my career, the more I realized that's really just a euphemism for they don't agree with me. Right? And oh, by the way, it's not extremely it's not a very inclusive term, either. But I think, you know, really problematic to be thinking in those terms, when you know, those resistors are the, they're the gonna be the first ones that say, I told you, so. If it doesn't go, right,

Ian Ziskin:

yeah. Yes, that's absolutely right. And they're also particularly good. I find at ferreting out one of the other distinctions that came out over and over in the book that turned out to be really important, which is, there's a big difference between doing things differently. And driving improvement. You know, just because it's different, doesn't mean it's better. And unless you're clear about, you know, what they're trying to change, and why you're trying to change it, you can easily get lulled into a false sense of security in believing particularly if you're a new leader, coming in from outside the organization. It's the old new sheriff in town kind of syndrome, where I'm going to show everybody that I'm new, I'm in charge, and I'm going to make a bunch of changes. But, you know, simply doing things differently, just to show that you're in charge doesn't necessarily drive improvement. And there's, there's evidence of that, you know, not only over this book, but all over life, where things have been, you know, dramatically changed, but it didn't get better, it actually got worse. And so I think one of the more important aspects that, you know, HR people, who are, you know, listening to this podcast can do is to make sure that the, the right questions are being asked, and the right measures and metrics are in place to determine, you know, what is it we're actually trying to change? I call it in the book, from what to what, so that there's clarity about where we're coming from? What got us here, some of those things were very successful, how do we preserve those successful things without throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, before we skip past all of that, and start talking about the future and what we want to change deep, hopefully, not only differently, but better. We also have to make sure we understand where we came from, so that we don't screw up what we were doing successfully out of the way here. I think HR people can frame those questions properly and are willing to push back and ask some hard questions. They might, he might come across as resistors. At first, you're actually adding a lot of value to making sure the organization doesn't drop off. Flip it on. I was an hour.

Kyle Roed:

I couldn't agree more. And I you know, I can guarantee you that if you ask a tough question in a you know, in a meeting, and it's the right question, and it prevents a really big mistake. That senior leaders can appreciate that a whole lot more than if you're just a yes person.

Ian Ziskin:

I mean, it adds tremendous value. Yeah, by the way, not always in the meeting in the moment. Those the senior leader act like they appreciate it's usually only later that you've prevented us from making a disastrous mistake and Uh, now I value it, and I appreciate it. You have to be okay. Nonetheless, with not getting the immediate love and positive feedback from that leader in the moment because they need to be more focused on how do I get this done quickly, not whether it's the right thing to get done in the first place. That's our job is to help minimize the risk of those kinds of big and bad decisions being made.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, absolutely. This has just been a wonderful conversation. And and I really appreciate you putting the time into, to put this book together, I think a really important topic and something that many of us struggle with, both personally and professionally. So appreciate you, you putting this down. We're going to shift gears, and I'm fascinated to hear your perspective on the rebel HR flash round. Are you ready, sir? Alright, question number one, where does HR need to rebel,

Ian Ziskin:

the place we need to rebel the most is in following traditional practices that used to work with the work, the workforce and the workplace of the past. The most specific example of that, and I'll offer just to be concrete right now is the debate, everybody's going through around remote work, hybrid work, bringing everybody back to the quote unquote, office. And recognizing that well, it might be the preference of leaders who've been around for 50 years that everybody's you know, working in the building, eyeball to eyeball at the same time. That's not really where the workforce is going. So helping organizations figure that out, I think is extremely important. That's a great way for us to rebel, but also do it in a structured way.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Here's a great example. So on that exact topic, I was having a conversation with another HR professional the other day, and they were talking about, you know, this, this perception that people aren't working as hard, right. And this HR person didn't necessarily share that perception. Their leader was making comments like, Well, no, there's no cars in the parking lot past four o'clock, you know, or people aren't coming in the offices, really, I just think people are being lazy. And you know, we need to make sure they get back in the office so we can make sure they're not being lazy. It's my question that person was, well, have we actually pulled like the utilization numbers off of the computers that they use to do their job? And, you know, sure enough, you go and you dig through, and you're like, oh, wow, people are working a lot more than they would if we were having them in a you know, an eight to five with a one hour lunch. In the office. They're just not doing that work in the hours that we tell them, we want them in the office, right? So gotta shift mindset a little bit.

Ian Ziskin:

It's a great example. And unfortunately, all too common because a lot of people asked me the question, what do you think is the biggest obstacle to organizations moving more aggressively towards some version of hybrid or more flexible work? And my answer is depressing, but very simple, which is trust. I think the thing that causes, you know, most leaders to be concerned about whether people are working remotely, is if I don't see you, how do I know you're working? And this example that you just gave is a perfect illustration of that.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, you know, the honest answer should be, you're getting all your work done. That's right. I mean, isn't that really all we want? We just want people to get all the work. But I, you know, my hypothesis is that we have a lot of managers that have always relied on managing by just being around somebody as opposed to actually managing by objective, and like and goals and, you know, actually setting clear and, and, you know, important timelines for people that consider themselves successful in their role. That's a lot harder. Yeah, managing by

Ian Ziskin:

walking around, right. SAS is delivering results. Success is not process. You know, sometimes you have to have the process to deliver good results, but not always. And sometimes the results actually speak for themselves.

Kyle Roed:

That's the next book, isn't it?

Ian Ziskin:

My next book will be a book about writing a book because it's the whole experience.

Kyle Roed:

Well, when you have like, like 35 different collaborators that, you know that that makes the challenge, I can't imagine.

Ian Ziskin:

Yeah. Great Cat herding exercise.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. All right. We are way off the rails on the rebel HR flash round. So question number two, who should we be listening to?

Ian Ziskin:

This is not a specific person, it's a category of people. And that would be customers or clients. I think one of the things that HR people, as much as I love the profession, and the people that I work with, fall short on, is that we're too internally focused, you know, we're spending a lot of our time dealing with internal issues and problems and people and all that has to get addressed, but it's much easier to figure out what our priorities are from a people standpoint, if we understand what clients or customers external to our organization, actually think about us as an organization. To work with like to deal with, that will teach you a tremendous amount about what really matters in winning in the marketplace and executing your strategy is to understand client and customer input. A lot of HR people haven't been brought up that way. But that's shift that we need to make. And I could not

Kyle Roed:

agree more. And, you know, I think this is, I think this actually gets to one of the deeper issues that we find, especially in HR and other admin functions, it's not just limited HR, but you get so focused on your process, you know, your customers, or you consider your customers internal, you know, your your back office function, or whatever you want to call it. But you know, at the end of the day, the customers, Matt, you know, that they're, they are really, really critical to understand. And those are the individuals or companies or what have you, that the people that you are supporting, are supporting, and so you need to have a good understanding of what their needs are. And ultimately, I think that's, you know, this whole question about how do I get a seat at the table? How do I elevate the profession, if you understand the customer's you understand the business better, if you understand the business better, you're gonna have better insight, if you have better insight, people are going to ask you to be at the table to give the your perspective right and to drive transformational change, for instance, so I couldn't agree more, I think it's a really important thing. I actually think you know, believe it or not, that might be the first time anybody's answered that question. And 120 episodes with actual external customers.

Ian Ziskin:

I'll be, I'll be waiting for my prize to arrive in the mail thanks

Kyle Roed:

to their badges for their badge. All right, last question. How can our listeners connect with you?

Ian Ziskin:

Maybe the simplest way one stop shop would be the website the new set up for our book, which is www dot transformational change book.com. Where people can go to get information not only on me, but other contributing authors the summaries for each of the chapters. So that better idea of what's in the book, there's also an ability to order book directly at a discount. So that'll probably be the simplest place for people to go and find me and more information about the book as well.

Kyle Roed:

Awesome, we will have that in the show notes. As always, feel free to open up your podcast player click and check it out. Definitely appreciate the time here. Ian, I know you're super busy and appreciate you sharing your your expertise and from one tenured HR professional to another really appreciate the time and the profession and helping us all get a little bit better.

Ian Ziskin:

Thanks very much for the invitation cop. Great to be with you today.

Kyle Roed:

Thanks. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe

(Cont.) RHR 131: The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change with Ian Ziskin