Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

RHR 147: FIRED Leadership with Paul McCarthy

April 12, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 3 Episode 147
RHR 147: FIRED Leadership with Paul McCarthy
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
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Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
RHR 147: FIRED Leadership with Paul McCarthy
Apr 12, 2023 Season 3 Episode 147
Kyle Roed, The HR Guy

About Paul: 

My entire life changed after being fired from 4 executive leadership roles. 

Fired for demonstrating the leadership qualities that I was hired for. Later this simple acronym would become the FIRED leadership framework and lead the way in regenerating the future of leadership.

F – Fresh Thinking 
I – Inquisitive Nature 
R – Real and Accountable 
E – Expressive and Challenging
D – Direct and Transparent

In early 2017, after my 4th firing, I realized the current leadership model was broken. I had developed leaders for over 25 years, though the qualities I was hired for and later fired for were not present in the leadership development programs I was delivering to clients. 

I then became curious if we were identifying, recruiting, onboarding, and developing leaders with the leadership qualities needed for the future. I reviewed hundreds of global leadership hiring processes, onboarding practices, and development programs which revealed we were not. I then asked the boldest question that no one wanted to ask. 

Are organizations complicit in this hypocrisy? 

I researched and shared my perspective on this question through writing, speaking, and meeting others who started asking similar questions. 

Slowly and deeply more people began to listen. 

My research (including feedback I received) reveals that organizations are proactively or passively developing and reinforcing organizational and leadership cultures of hypocrisy, systemic dysfunction, and toxicity. Organizations continue to normalize and incentivize this dysfunction, which leads to and results in a misaligned and broken leadership model. 

I now serve as a dedicated guide to help Boards, CSuite, the HR Community (VP, Director, Business Partner), and Chief Disruption Officers reinvent and regenerate the future of leadership using an evidence-based, experiential and experimental approach. 

Support the Show.

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work. Please connect to continue the conversation!

https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
http://www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

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Show Notes Transcript

About Paul: 

My entire life changed after being fired from 4 executive leadership roles. 

Fired for demonstrating the leadership qualities that I was hired for. Later this simple acronym would become the FIRED leadership framework and lead the way in regenerating the future of leadership.

F – Fresh Thinking 
I – Inquisitive Nature 
R – Real and Accountable 
E – Expressive and Challenging
D – Direct and Transparent

In early 2017, after my 4th firing, I realized the current leadership model was broken. I had developed leaders for over 25 years, though the qualities I was hired for and later fired for were not present in the leadership development programs I was delivering to clients. 

I then became curious if we were identifying, recruiting, onboarding, and developing leaders with the leadership qualities needed for the future. I reviewed hundreds of global leadership hiring processes, onboarding practices, and development programs which revealed we were not. I then asked the boldest question that no one wanted to ask. 

Are organizations complicit in this hypocrisy? 

I researched and shared my perspective on this question through writing, speaking, and meeting others who started asking similar questions. 

Slowly and deeply more people began to listen. 

My research (including feedback I received) reveals that organizations are proactively or passively developing and reinforcing organizational and leadership cultures of hypocrisy, systemic dysfunction, and toxicity. Organizations continue to normalize and incentivize this dysfunction, which leads to and results in a misaligned and broken leadership model. 

I now serve as a dedicated guide to help Boards, CSuite, the HR Community (VP, Director, Business Partner), and Chief Disruption Officers reinvent and regenerate the future of leadership using an evidence-based, experiential and experimental approach. 

Support the Show.

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work. Please connect to continue the conversation!

https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
http://www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Paul McCarthy:

COVID has been a great opportunity. As tragic as it's been for all of us in one way or another, it has been a great opportunity because it's peeling back the onion. And it's showing that those practices we thought were sustainable or not sustainable. And in fact, it's showing that the future currency for the future of work and leadership and the way we structure organizations is going to be trust.

Kyle Roed:

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 on your favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels. Welcome back rebel HR listeners. This is going to be a fun episode with us today we have Paul McCarthy. Paul is the founder of the Paul Mac leadership organization, and he has some content for us today. Some exciting news on a podcast he's working on as well with one of our past guests. His entire life changed after being fired from for executive leadership roles for demonstrating the leadership qualities that he was hired for, that prompted him to come up with the fired leadership framework. We're gonna be diving into that today. Paul, welcome to the podcast.

Paul McCarthy:

Kyle very, very happy to be here. Thank you. I love love the intro. So kind of eager to get going wherever this goes.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely with us. We also have Molly Bradesco, who's going to be asking all the good questions. Thanks, Molly, for joining us. Hi, guys. All right, Paul, let's jump into it. I'm fascinated to learn about how you fell into this work.

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, yeah, it's something that's on everybody's minds these days. Because as I think I was telling you just backstage, but three or four years ago, we started this whole new thought leadership into the future of leadership. And people thought I was crazy. You know, friends started to step away. romantic partners asked me, but it was crazy. And a lot of leadership influences and authors that you've probably had on your podcast, and we've all read the books, I thought I was crazy. Jump forward four years later, lots of those people are in my network now. So it wasn't by design, I, I basically wanted to be the leader who fitted in, and I was a career consultant, so management, leadership consultants, you know, 25 plus years. And I rose the ranks in organizations, and I became a leader in different consulting firms that we've all heard of that I can't name because my lawyers tell me that Matt got in litigation territory or get in trouble. That's fantastic. But my expertise was, was also developing leaders. So it was my role to go in and help develop C suite and VP level with HR directors, training managers, that kind of level. And I noticed that, you know, as part of that, my, my job was to stay on top of the trends in terms of what was coming with leadership. And this was pre COVID, for any listeners out there. So this was was a number of years ago. And as I, as I got, as I went out and delivered consulting work to quite high profile clients, and develop their leaders. And as I continue to be used to be, you know, a leader, myself and recruited by by these consulting firms, I was hired for qualities, leadership qualities that would eventually get me fired. And the leadership qualities were kind of tested and assessed over six to nine interviews on average, for the level of leadership role I was going into, so very costly, very time consuming process to get me on board. And as soon as I started demonstrating the leadership qualities, I would get my card marked, I would be blacklisted. And I would be basically ostracized, discredited, marginalized, and ultimately fired. And so after that, my story took a very interesting turn because most people don't like talking about being fired. And actually, when they're fired, is a taboo subject. So they go to a bookstore and get a book, which is helping them to to massage their resume and deal with being fired. Let's know what happened. In my case, I basically started to unearth a question, which was, this was the question which started this whole thing. Are we firing the type of talent that we'll need to navigate ongoing disruption? Yes or no. And as soon as I asked that question, a whole year's worth of research opened up to me, which was to then review the reasons why I was fired, and there were five of them. And they eventually became the fire leadership framework. And the fired stands for five different leadership qualities that I would find out from reviewing hundreds of leadership programs globally. We're missing from the way we develop leaders. And all of a sudden I started asking another question, which was, if we're firing leaders for If not for demonstrating these qualities, we say we want, why aren't we developing these qualities in our leaders. And then I started to step on a bunch of things, which I later called ego based leadership landmines. And I would be introduced to the toxicity of leadership and and it will go even deeper Kyle, because I would then start to say, actually, we've got systemically, institutionally dysfunctional leadership identification, recruitment, onboarding, and development processes. And it went even further. And it's, you know, a thirst of three books is coming out. I've got a whole bunch of practice areas that I focus on are go out to the world now with, and it all started because I was fired for demonstrating the qualities that I was hired for. And I would, you know, I would, unintentionally, I would highlight the hypocrisy of leadership. And that's really what started this whole path. I can see you smiling to those who were on video, but the audience will people listen to I can see you smiling. So I'm gonna give you a pause there and see where you want to take this now.

Kyle Roed:

Though, I just, you know, I'm smiling. Because in my head, I'm just hearing. Yes. That's. So yeah, if you want, if you wanted a podcast, where they, you know, we would argue with you on those points, you probably on the wrong on the wrong podcast. But, you know, it's fascinating, because I, you know, I live that corporate life, you know, I'm all about that life. And certainly early on in my career. I was just trying to assimilate, right. And it's, and, you know, kind of clip my wings, so to speak, so that I saw that I fit in. And I was actually giving a presentation at a at a college class here locally. And somebody asked me that question, how did you get where you are? And I thought about it from it. And I honestly said, I mimicked the people who were in power. No, that's I mean, that's, you know, early on in my career, that's, that's how I was successful. And I was I was successful at mimicking. But at a certain point, I realized I was just an actor on stage, as opposed to being you know, authentically myself. And I feel like that's, I agree, it's a systemic issue. And so often we, we hire these bright, talented, you know, enthusiastic people, and then we just neuter them, and try to force them into a mold that probably isn't helping us be successful in first place. So that was a long way to say yes, I agree. Yeah.

Paul McCarthy:

Thank you. I love the new to analogy. And I'm gonna take it one step further, which is kind of saying, I, I am convinced from my global research and interviewing hundreds of leaders by now and the HR community, that the type of leader we need for the future is the leader who doesn't fit into a broken system today. That, that margin that marginalize leader that that kind of misinterpreted leader, who demonstrates what on the outside world to the outside world looks like annoyance, and that that kind of questioning things, you know, why question it works? Why do we have to bother trying to evolve it? Well, this is what gets leaders like me and others that I've come across into trouble, because we highlight the ineffectiveness of, of systems that aren't working. And we don't just do that to be troublemakers, we actually do that, because we're driven by a what we call an overwhelming sense of purpose, to evolve the organization, right. And so this would be what I would like to find out from Frederick Lulus work from reinventing organizations, that the future of organizations and HR people need lean in at this point, because this is the future, we are going to move from the organizational structures, we have now two self managing structures, which basically means independent organizations and systems that are driven by a sense of evolutionary purpose. And at their core, is this sense of people being different from from where they are now. And so it's, it's really quite, quite fascinating to me, and I know Tamale and new cart that we were growing a network here, and yet there are some people like I look at it as the startup curve, you're gonna have the, you know, the early adopters, then you're gonna have the laggards. And then you're gonna have your the mainstream and you will have the laggards. And I'm I choose now only to work with those that are progressive in their mindsets. Because I go in and talk to CEOs, they think I'm crazy still, because I say, you know, in five years time performance management review process, rip, it's not going to be around anymore. Role profiles and judging people by their roles, not going to work anymore, you know, Spotify right now, a hiring for cultural fit. They don't do role profiles anymore, right? Look at their shape price. Let's see where they are. And so what I'm saying is that the mindset of the leader who doesn't say now is exactly the mindset we need for our leaders to thrive in in ongoing disruption.

Kyle Roed:

I love that I want to dig into that topic a little bit more The whole concept of self managing structures and you know, working a purpose as opposed to a job, because I think every I think everybody listening to this right now can probably think about an occurrence or situation where they've seen that in an employee, or they've seen that where there's been a point of conflict, because there's, there's a, an employee that that is working in that manner. But they've got a leader that is not accepting of that manner. Right. So so, you know, as we think about kind of this future state of work and management structures, I'm curious to maybe dive into the, the leadership framework a little bit more, you know, what are those specific aspects of leadership that you think we need to cultivate and screen for, so that we're set up for the success in the future of organization?

Paul McCarthy:

A great question. Thank you. Well, we, you know, and if I take you through the fire leadership framework, a high level, and there's, there's more obviously, detail on my website and other sources that I'm sure will will share, reference in show notes and stuff. But, you know, I think we need we need leaders that, that have the ability and the courage to think and act differently. And so that's what I call the fresh the, yes, the fresh thinking. So, I'm, in my research shows me and my philosophy, and the work I've done shows me that, you know, innovation comes from the ability to be disruptive. So if you reverse Fishbone Ness, right? Innovation is the product of disruptive or being disruptive, that requires you to have disruptive thinking that you need to create the culture in your organization, that disruption is not seen as a dirty word. In fact, disruption is seen as a quality, that all talent regardless of whether they're a leader or not need to have as part of the way that they're identified, recruited onboard and developed. And so for me, the F is the fresh thinking. And that is, that's the injection of new ideas that, you know, that's your Marshall Goldsmith talks about fail forward, and others talk about fail fast, we need to be creating an environment where, where we can, and I'm about to kind of be even more controversial if, if that was impossible. But you know, you have people like Adam Grant and Simon Sinek. And they, and I've got my own views on them, and they do some great work. But they talk about that we've, we've normalized dysfunction in the way that we work. And that Adam Grant calls it the normalization of deviance, I call it the normalization of dysfunction. That what what we're doing with the fired framework, and if in particular, is actually shifting that from normalized dysfunction to normalize disruption. So the leader has, at the outset, this disruptive mentality, and, and there's a place for it, because the culture embraces it. So that's the F. I. And this leverages quite a bit of work from Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard, which is the inquisitive nature. So she did a piece of work a few years ago called the business case for curiosity. And she showed and she argued that, that we need leaders and talent to be more curious. But in fact, our organizational structures, in fact, Chief Learning officers, particularly and HR directors, active and this is going to be controversial to your listeners, they actively discourage people from being curious. And you know why? Because it costs the organization they think too much money. So I ask as a counter question, can you afford not to get your leaders being curious and inquisitive? Because if if they're not, they're going to leave, and they're going to cost you more money anyway, I'll just throw a little stat in here. It costs up to 400% of the leaders base salary to replace them, whether they've left voluntarily or not. More on that later, perhaps. The all is real and accountable, right? I'm, I'm fed up with putting together those one page laminates that sit on a wall mounted, you know, mission statement with words like vulnerability, transparency, integrity. That's the first data point when I get if you go on an old wall,

Kyle Roed:

just look back at my wall. I'm like, yeah, oh, my termination on it.

Paul McCarthy:

Love it not so. So I call it three data points, right. So and it's in it's the basis of the art, the real uncountable. That's the first data point, which you see on every leaders war, right. The second data point is you see the books that they read, you know, Jim Collins, Simon Sinek, whoever the author insert here. And the third data point is the way they lead. And there's a complete incongruence in my research of hundreds, if not 1000s, of leaders now, between those three data points. So the real unaccountable is basically turn up to work as yourself. Don't wear a mask. In fact, there's research that says we wear professional masks because we were worried about not being promoted. And we need to fit in that way. That's the common narrative, that IE is expressive and challenging. And that's basically Correct. Are the crap. And, you know, I was cite a statistic because it's quite a prominent statistic which gets HR folks thinking, the University of Nebraska did some research where they found out, we spend approximately 22 years of our career in meetings, and 50%, those meetings we don't need to have. So we've got leaders in meetings of all different levels, not being very productive, and spend it costing lots and lots of money and time. So the E is someone that goes into a meeting, as an example, very clear what the purpose of the meeting is, whose role who's doing what, what do we want to achieve from this? How do we measure the accountability, who's doing what, at the end, etc, etc. And so it's a real cultural shift of how how we address some of the inertia that can happen when we all been around the meeting table. So the expressman challenging is just challenges the status quo questions what they see, again, in a very purpose driven way. And by the way, there's there's lots more details of all of these these qualities in in the work that we've done, I'm just kind of high level overview for you guys. The D is direct and transparent. And that's basically the leader who doesn't play the political game. And in fact, I'm always asked this question, well, you know, I've got mortgage to pay, got kids to fail, I want to stay in my job. How do I, how do I navigate a political system? Well, you wake up every morning, you brush your teeth, don't you? Yeah, you've got another question. You could ask yourself, when you look in the mirror, how much do I want to play the political game today? And What's it costing me and the stats on burnout and mental health are just corroborating the fact that we've had enough of this, we don't want to play the game anymore, Kyle. So in a nutshell, the day is someone that is very clear with their intentions, you know, calls out the political and the silo based behaviors that that we all see in organizations, but the future will not, will not require that as a currency. So those those five things, when we did the research over 12 months, we found, they were not actively sought out in leaders, and they weren't developed. And as an aside, I'm developing, I think, the world's first program to push these five qualities into the future of leaders. That was a very long winded way of giving you an idea of the five framework when there's lots more meat on the bone, but that that was a kind of high level overview. And it's, you know, it never gets boring this stuff.

Molly Burdess:

I think it's fantastic. I am buying what you're selling here, noncontroversial, Comey. You know, you're typing about being curious, and people and organization struggling with that, when I think of that, and you said primarily because of money, right? Our ego comes into play. Just like I see people, you know, we've done that, or we've tried that, or this is why we haven't done that. Do you see ego coming into play at all here?

Paul McCarthy:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, as I said earlier, when we talked in the, in the early part of the conversation, I would later discover the hypocrisy of leadership by stepping on what I would call ego based leadership landmines. And I put that in my first of three books and talk about that in much more detail. As an example, to some of your listeners about ego. In my first book, I, I actually reference a guy called Ted selca. Now you you may know who that is, you may not but Ted selca was the creator of you know, that little red.in, the middle of the ThinkPad, the mouse, Ted Silca, create that, and, and almost didn't create that because he didn't get on with his boss. And there was a bit of like, well, my idea is better than your idea. And so his boss wanted to get rid of him. And they would they worked it out. And they had conversations, these will this is all publicly available information, by the way. And so I use it as a case study for for the I in my my first book, but they were able to create the conditions to have conversation, truthful, honest space conversations, where they discussed the ego and the effect of the ego, right. So in that case, this story had a happy ending. But now I'm going to tell you how and when it doesn't have a happy ending. Gallup came out with some statistics a few years ago, and those numbers have increased significantly. The global cost of disengagement is $7.8 trillion every year. When I started this work, three years ago, that number was 7 trillion. Would you think it's going to be in three years from now? And at the heart of that, Molly to your question, is people are disengaged because of the way that they manage the way that they lead ego. Ego has been the currency of the 90s in the 2000s. And, and the 2000 and 10s is not going to be the currency going forward. And you know, II Why is it I don't know if you know, this research, but 96% of people they research that leadership level will not Join or stay in your organization, if their individual purpose doesn't align to the organization's that that research happened before? COVID. Right. So I wonder what that is now that again to the point of ego, you how can you create an organizational structure going forward? Where you, you know, am I am I'm optimistic, overly optimistic and saying we don't we don't have ego in the future organization? No, I think we all have ego. But it's, it's, it's creating the environment to say, Well, how do we make decisions, knowing that we, our egos might be dented and bruised, and we have to create the infrastructure for that. So it's, it's a topical topic, especially because of our friend that maybe I can't name but who's trying to basically force people her managerial level in Twitter to work longer hours, otherwise, he'll fire them. I put a poster out on that, Kyle, and within 24 hours, he had 30,000 views. So at least 30,000 people looked at it. And, and they're thinking about wherever they're thinking, but that is not the future.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I saw I saw a meme that. I don't know. Can we can we name the name without getting banned? Or something? I don't know. If there's some algorithm on Apple, that's gonna be like, you can't say Elon Musk. I don't know. Maybe we just got banned.

Paul McCarthy:

But I think I shouldn't first so.

Kyle Roed:

That's all good. I'm not scared. Bring it on. But I like the meme. It said, Elon Musk is running Twitter, like, like Death Row Records right now. Like it's. And I think there's probably some truth to that. I don't think that fits the fired leadership framework, though. Paul, I would agree with that.

Paul McCarthy:

No, in fact, I also just some follow up to that, because again, I referenced Reed Hastings, the co founder of Netflix, in my book, and I saw a clip on him being interviewed yesterday or day before by a news outlet on on musk. And again, by the way, I'll take the flack here, because I mentioned Musk doesn't doesn't bother me at all. Bring it on, I'd love to do a one on one with Him, actually. But that's another conversation. But Reed Hastings is of the view that, you know, Elon Musk is a genius in what he's been able to do. But he then goes on to say, but his leadership style is not the style that that we advocate in Netflix, and it's not the future. Right? So people are focusing on the first part of that mall by saying he's a genius, but they're not focusing on the fact that actually, his methods to get there are not sustainable. Because he will lose talent, those talent will go, they're in such demand anyway, they'll go to other places, and it will ultimately have an effect in some way. So I think that's, that's our next pandemic, actually, Kyle? Is is a, is a walking a walking talent machine, or walking talent drain.

Kyle Roed:

I mean, I'm feeling that I'm sure you are, Molly, you know, we were we started seeing these warning signs, I don't know, four or 567 years ago, when we would have at that point, we would consider them idealists. Who would quit because they you know that they just don't feel like they're they're working on their own personal mission. You know, where they are, they feel like, you know that the organization's mission is incongruent with what their personal mission is. And they want to work for a company, that's, that's helping fulfill their personal, you know, intrinsic value set, which is just, you know, I didn't hear that 1015 20 years ago. But I certainly am hearing that now. And I'm seeing that now. Whereas in the past, I felt like it was more like, going to the brand name, right, like, like, oh, I want to work for a specific company, because of the perks or the compensation. Now, it's, I want to go work for this company, because of what they believe in, and what they do. It's just a very different landscape than it used to be.

Molly Burdess:

And I think people just want to make an impact. And when leaders an organization, you know, keep down beyond their idea than their goal by fate. Obviously, that's not creating a great culture, which I think comes back to what you're talking about, Paul?

Paul McCarthy:

Well, and you know, as I mentioned earlier, around self managing organizational structures, you know, when we now introduce, and I love Frederick Lou's work, who wrote reinventing organizations, which, which is the pioneer in this area. But one of the things that's missing from that work, which i i Take up is how do we integrate different generations of workforce into a different structure, but also how do we lead in that different environment? And so, you know, Carl, you mentioned around, purpose driven and values intrinsic values. that very much is the currency in the end the breeding ground of these future self managing organizational structures. And as much as I applaud all of that work, the one thing and I am a bit of a disrupter, compassionate disrupter, but a disrupter nonetheless, is, that's great. We're talking about this coming in the future. But who's thinking about what comes after teal based organizations, which is Frederick de luz? No one's talking about that. No one's talking about generation Alpha. Two and a half million of them are born every week. But no one's thinking about when they get into the workforce. What are they going to? How are they going to want to be led? Right? And so maybe I'm thinking too far ahead. But but it's, it's what the lack of ability of people like us, in our industry to not think that far ahead, is what's got us into this, this challenge. I mean, you know, your, your listeners are mostly in the US, right, I think. And, you know, for whoever wants to talk about toxicity, that's another buzzword, which I write a lot about, that the true cost of toxicity in the last five years is about $220 billion. Right? Think about that, just just think about it. And, you know, it, it's staggering to the still the amount of Lagarde there are in the HR space, because they feel controlled and constrained by a system that they, they feel they inherited, and they have to play in, but they don't, because they can reconstruct it as it goes forward. And my invitation is to do it sooner rather than later.

Kyle Roed:

When you're speaking my language, so you know, let's let's dig into that. So most, most of our listeners or HR practitioners, many of them are looking for a new way to do the work that they're passionate about. And many of them are quite honestly disenfranchised, with the work that they've been asked to do over the last, you know, many years of their careers. So as you take a look at HR specifically, what are some specific areas that you see are just ripe for disruption? Where do we need to start to push back?

Paul McCarthy:

How long have we got on this business? That's a man. Open Mic. That's so So firstly, I and I, you know, I think I mentioned this earlier to you about HR on the table analogy. And and maybe this is a good point to start this conversation thread with, because I think the first area HR needs to disrupt is itself. And I think it needs to question what it's what it wants to be when it grows up. Now I've anyone listening to this thinking of who's this idiot, you know, coming on telling us this? Well, I've been in your shoes, I've almost 30 years, I've worked with people like you, HR managers, HR directors, Chief people, officers, VPs of HR, I've gone in and worked with you, I've helped to restructure and refund restructure HR functions, and elevate them in their roles from being transactional to transformational. And I, you know, I went a few years ago to a much coveted future HR, innovative conference that was being done at the MAR center in Toronto. Apparently, it had like 100 to 200 of North America's most innovative HR leaders. So I got there as part and this is who I wanted to introduce you, too, have blind perhaps Kyle to kind of have as a guest on your podcast, went to this this event as part of my preparation for the first book. And I was just sitting in the back taking notes, speaking to people, and because I've worked with HR people so much, I was, I was quite taken aback, not in a good way, by the lack of innovation in that room, some bright minds, some very talented people, yet they were so constrained by their own inability or reluctance you call it disenfranchised, to their lack of ability to be able to look in the mirror to see what they need to do differently individually to shift the system. So I got on the mic. As I as I'm not a shrinking violet, I got on the mic and I said, You guys think you're the most innovative people, which is great. But limiting your story about the table. And the table is this. You don't 25 years ago, HR hat weren't even at the table. They were getting crumbs from the table. Their role was pink slips and benefits and payroll administration. You came to HR when you wanted to know how many days you have left in your vacation schedule, right? So they were getting crumbs from the table. Now I am generalizing. So if anyone wants to put a target on my back, you know, let's have a conversation for you do that. So, and then then about 15 years or 10 years after that. So 15 years after HR then got a seat at the table. So now they're involved in things like yo talent management conversations in role profiles and succession planning and workforce planning and all this and it was great. Okay, so now fast forward, you know the Last Five Years more and more HR out or at almost at the head of the table. Right. And they're right next to the chief exec and the boards. And they're driving Workforce Strategy and Planning. And they're using data and analytics from that data to, to inform and shape recruitment efforts in, you know, development programs. All that right. Now, fast forward to when that conference was, which is also today, right now. You are at the head of the table. But my question to the people at that conference a few years ago, is why are you still assuming it's a table. Because you can create that you can create what the future is. So now you're driving everything, the strategy, the vision, the direction, the CEO is a partner to you now, and you're still assuming it's a table. So my invitation to people listening to this, if they haven't switched off already, is, if you're at the head of the table, you're there, because of the evolution of HR, you get to decide if you blow the table up and start again, because the future of work and COVID. And the movement of talent and the globalization of we can work from anywhere, these are just four or five levers, that actually justify us having this conversation about disrupting the HR industry. So if you're disenfranchised, you think there's nothing you can do, look in the mirror, and see and see what you can do in your individual role step changes to create a bigger ripple effect. So that was a table analogy. It's kind of something I speak a lot with HR folks about. And once we get past the, you know, the self awareness piece here, because, you know, sometimes we don't like, you know, it's like the emperor's new clothes, tile, like some we don't want to, we don't want to tell tell you that your baby's ugly, to the arm, I'm kind of telling you that your baby's ugly, you know, and it has a chip, you have a chance to re scope what the future looks like. So leverage expertise, leverage thought partners to help you do that, because that's the one thing I've found from working in HR, they, they don't like it when people come in and try and do it to them. And I've always worked in partnership with HR. So leverage this the expertise around, because they're in it for the right reasons. So that's my initial initial thinking. I'm sure you can go deeper than that with me.

Molly Burdess:

I think it's fantastic. I think it's awful, very hard, because that's just not what we know. That's not what we've learned, especially people that are new in their HR career, like we have all these boundaries and policies, wow, that, you know, we're required to stay. And back then I think it just takes a lot of confidence, understanding of the business and really courage to break out of that mold. But once you do, and you see the impact that you can have, it feels damn good.

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, and, you know, you talk about being constrained by boundaries and policies. But But again, lots of research is come come out to show that when when you don't put labels on people, when you don't set expectations, their productivity, their morale, actually, significantly improves. And, you know, I'll go back to that statistic. Earlier on that I mentioned, up to 400% of the leaders salary, is what it costs, indirect costs to replace that leader. Now, that's leaders that that could be HR leaders, you know, VP level HR directors, and above. But the cost, I think, for non leaders, if there's an HR analyst or HR manager or business partner, it's still about 213 to 300%. Right? It doesn't matter how they leave. But that's still a staggering cost, guys. And so I would, I would also invite, you know, if you're any disenfranchised people out there listening to this, you know, and you want to create a culture where that's not the case, that's only a direct cost. There's indirect costs on productivity, morale, alumni, plus, there's litigation costs, plus these pension, medical, all that kind of costs. So doesn't it make financial sense to create a culture where people feel empowered? And what's the one of the best ways to do that actually create the conditions to have truthful and honest conversations by asking those disenfranchised people, why they're disenfranchised, and what they would do differently if they had if they had the opportunity to be involved.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, which, which is honestly, this is kind of sad. It's that's an innovative thought in the HR realm. Right in many cases. Which is, you know why we started this podcast and why we have you on here today, Paul?

Paul McCarthy:

No, I Um, I often talk with people that are not as, not as ready to disrupt, as perhaps I and you guys aren't and others that I know. So one of the things I, I always advise people is, is, wherever you are right now is it's okay, wherever you are right now, we meet you where you are. And the idea is, is just make small, incremental shifts every day, because that's what culture is culture is, is the kind of, you know, the consolidation of all of those tiny little shifts. Because if you make a shift, someone else makes a shift. And all of those shifts start to create something noticeable. I'm not suggesting you, you throw a grenade in the middle of the room and blow up your HR industry right now. You know, I did four years ago, and I wanted to see what people thought. And some some thought it was a cool idea. Some necessarily didn't. But, you know, I've been in your shoes, so I know what it feels like, right? And so what I would say is, where can you have the most impact? You know, where can you have the most influence over conversations that you're having to start trying new things. And I did this with a, one of Canada's largest finance organizations, which was traditionally quite conservative. And they had a lot of dysfunction and toxicity in their, in their HR environment. And one of one of my tools, which was named what you see is, as it suggests, it was it was basically created from a UK show back in the 70s, and 80s, called catchphrase, which is basically, you're you, you're basically a contestant and you, you know, these little squares, move away and to reveal a catchphrase, and you've got to be able to answer the catchphrase before the clock counts down. And it's named what you see, right. And so in the same sense, I do that with with addressing toxicity and dysfunction, I'll create this tool to help HR leaders that say, in your weekly cadence of meetings, go around the team, and just talk about where you're seeing some challenges in your team. Now, you have to create the openness to have the conversation which which as we know, from Amy Edmondson is work around tilling the fertile soil for psychological safety and everything like that. And there's some great work in that area. But start trying this and having conversations where you know, Carla, and ask you about what's your challenge, you know, Molly, what's yours. And then we vote as a team, what's the one challenge we can work on this week to address and reduce levels of, of dysfunction and disenfranchisement in our team, then we come back and we we measure them, we hold each other accountable, right. And this finance organization that I worked with measurable improvements, literally, over one month of doing this, because they've internalized it into the cadence of how they showed up. And it took time to manifest. But now it's embedded as part of the culture. So one thing you could do right now,

Kyle Roed:

I love that approach. And especially in the world of HR couldn't agree more, sometimes it's just about that incremental ism, where it's just just a little bit better yourself every day. In you know, whether that's, you know, an interaction with an employee helping coach or manager, taking a look at a system that just doesn't make sense, let's just change this so that it doesn't happen anymore. You know, I mean, those sorts of things, but, you know, it is that it's that effect, eventually, it does start to build on itself, right. And it does become kind of a self fulfilling prophecy at a certain point. But it takes time and, and resilience and, and a little bit of courage, depending on the organization, right?

Paul McCarthy:

Absolutely. And none of this, none of this happens overnight. It's, it's, we're in this for a generational change. And we can start to affect that change pretty quickly. Because I've done that. And I've, I've helped organizations to do that. So anyone that sits there and says, Well, you know, that'll never work, you know, I got a few years left before I sunset off into retirement, we'll put I'm sorry to say this, but you're part of the problem, and you need to go. And so that's what John Kotter talks about dead wood, getting rid of dead wood. And you can't do that until you have, again, the honest conversations, because if your culture is shielding, and has become complacent to those that are eroding, your the future fabric of your organization, then that's on the unit, you need to address that before you do anything else. And that's, you know, COVID has been a great opportunity, as tragic as it's been for all of us in one way or another, right? It's been a great opportunity because it's peeling back the onion. And it's showing that those practices we thought were sustainable or not sustainable. And in fact, it's showing that the future current See, for the future of work and leadership and the way we structure organizations is going to be trust 100%.

Kyle Roed:

I do love throwing a hand grenade here and there, though that is kind of fun sometimes.

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, I love that too. I've done a few of them.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, I think it's worth asking the hard question sometimes after a grenade and it fails, and I think that's where we in HR can really make a difference is by asking the question, because I found that a lot of people don't like to ask

Paul McCarthy:

the hard question. Absolutely. And one, you know, one of the things Molly from that, just to build on that idea is asking the hard questions of your stakeholders, is what I'd recommend as well, because there's perceptions here. You know, there's perceptions that the business have of HR, and there's perceptions HR have of the business. And, and I've worked with enough, over 100 organizations in my career, to know that one of the consistent features of HR is that they are seen in a vacuum, they are seen as a silo. And they, they, they often don't engage the business to ask the business, what do they need? What do they want? How do they perceive the are great, a great tool I use is the Johari Window. And it's a great tool individually to to help identify your blind spots. But I use it at a corporate level, to help teams and different departments and divisions to identify their blind spots too. So why don't some of your your listeners, try that? Go out and engage some of the folks that they think are the biggest resistance, ask them two or three key questions that are uncomfortable? See, see what data comes back and do something with the data? Easy, you pay me as a consultant $50,000 for that piece of advice. I do it yourself.

Kyle Roed:

There you go. Yeah, I'll submit that build on my CEO after it, then what happens? Please do I think, you know, really, really powerful concepts here some some really great content. You know, I think, a little bit of a teaser, there's a whole lot more to unpack here. So I want to shift gears, we'll go into the rebel HR flash around and then I want to make sure that we leave our listeners with an opportunity to learn more. So question number one, where does HR need to rebel?

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, well, I alluded to this earlier, I think it needs to take a look in the mirror. And I think it needs to create a few champions and ambassadors to have the courage to your point Mali have that courage to have the conversation. So if you if you don't like what looks back at you from the mirror, you know, you've got to dig deeper. So my my thing about rebellion is, you've got to rebel yourself and be open to that first, then yeah, then there's a whole slew of other things which I can give you an idea of, but maybe we just want to pause there for the for the initial act of rebellion.

Kyle Roed:

Find that inner rebel rebel on, I'm with you. Alright, question number two, who should we be listening to?

Paul McCarthy:

Oh, well, I am obviously going to say that you need to be listening to me, because I've got my own podcast coming up with some of the other folks that I would recommend listening to that I'll mention in a minute. But yeah, I've got a podcast coming up monthly, which is, is going to be raw, and it's going to be like yours, you know, and it's going to ask the difficult questions. It's going to be unapologetic to doing so. But it's, it's gonna offer practical insights and tips and perspectives. And all, you know, all from a position of helping to evolve something. And so I would encourage people to to follow me as we will get to that later point, I'm sure. But the other guys, obviously geeks, gazes and globalization, Ira Wolf, you talk to I think, they they're talking a lot about the future of work. They're talking about this, not just from a leadership perspective, but they're talking about impact on HR from, you know, data analytics, to digital transformation to workforce planning to succession planning, a whole myriad of topics. I like I like the work of and you've had them on your show, and like the work of Karen Manchuria. And so Karen's interview me for Thrive global shortly. But she's done a whole slew of pieces on the future of work. And there's some golden nuggets in some of her one on ones with, with people, she's done, that if you're, you know, if you're feeling disenfranchised, and you want to do something about it, my encouragement to you is take 10 of those interviews, look for 10 key points, put together a plan, all of a sudden, you've got a roadmap for the next two to three years of how you could evolve your HR department. Sippel. Again, you play a bunch of money from a consultant to that, and it didn't run on your own. And then the other one, again, you've had him on your show, Brendan, I think it's Brendan pooter. Who does a lot of work around culture. So I know Brenda, and love the work he's doing in culture and and, you know, talking about culture from a different perspective, so and questioning the status quo around this so Are there just some that springs to mind? I'm sure there's, there's more when I think deeper, but there's there who I think you might want to listen to.

Kyle Roed:

I love you know, I can't stop smiling Paul, because, you know, we started this podcast like two and a half, three years ago. And the entire intent was just to try to put a put a voice out there where, you know, we're just trying to innovate, trying to get better disrupt some things, you know, on a really small scale. Honestly, we started locally, in our small Midwest town. And, you know, now, you know, we've had the opportunity to connect, very like minded, you know, I've had the opportunity to connect with many of the people you just mentioned. And if any listeners interested, we talked to Ira Wolf on episode 46. And Karen manda on episode 85. So you can go back and check those out. But, you know, I think, as we all kind of do this work together, and as our listeners are reflecting on the content that we we build, it really is, you know, this is an opportunity to find that network to listen to those experts to hear different perspectives, and ultimately bring this back into your organization, or into your business or whatever role you're in, and, and make that ripple effect, right, make the world a little bit better through some some common sense. disruption. So really appreciate that.

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, well, the thing is, I just just would say, as well to any listeners, and I've, I've experienced this myself, which is you've just alluded to it, Carl, you know, when I started this work, you know, I've had almost 30 year career doing this kind of work. But as I started this Pacific, in the last three or four years, I just started reaching out to people who interested me. And all of a sudden, there's a groundswell of people that are opening up their doors to me. And, and they do that, because they, the content appeals to them. But they do that when when you're genuine, and you're congruent between your your values, your words, your actions, your behaviors. And, and when you don't have an agenda when you're not trying to manipulate, you know, and so, I would encourage people, if they're interested in the latest Thought, leadership, partnership, you know, whatever IP is out there, to help them, then just reach out to these people. They're all very accessible, you know, and I found that that meet, meeting people then leads to meet new people. And all of a sudden, you've got this, this, you know, this ripple effect. And I love it is just that there is there is a growing movement of people that want to shift the narrative globally, on these conversations, and they're hard, right, and they're uncomfortable. But the more that we grow, the more that it gets easier. So I would just offer that as an invitation to listeners as well.

Kyle Roed:

100% couldn't agree more. Well, that's a great segue into the last question, how can our listeners connect with you find your content, learn more and and really dig in?

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah, thank you. Thanks. Well, obviously, you can find me on my website, which is Paul Mack leadership.com, I think you'll put that in the notes and stuff on LinkedIn, you can find me under Paul McCarthy. And if anyone wants to message me on LinkedIn, just you know, maybe Matt mentioned, you met me on the Kyle, Kyle show, as it were. And, you know, I'm happy to share anything that might help people. So if people do want to connect with me, you know, one of the tools I mentioned was a name that you see tool. And I'm happy to share that tool. Because I really think very simple tools like that can make such tremendous difference and impact. So if anyone wants to leverage that, happy to share, and obviously on my podcast is coming up, we're launching, I think, the first episode on December 13. So that'll give more information to who I am my story, and then what we do monthly episodes after that.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, we will have all that information in the show notes. Check it out, you know, Paul, just a kind of a plug here. Paul puts out great content on LinkedIn. You know, there's there's just a treasure trove of information out there encourage you to to open up that podcast player, clicking connect, continue to build the build out that network of like minded innovators. So, Paul, thank you again, just a wonderful conversation. I just wish we had another two or three hours and we could Rogen this thing. So appreciate the time.

Paul McCarthy:

Yeah. Likewise, tonight, I think yeah, maybe there's a follow up at some point. But there's there's a whole bunch of stuff we could continue talking about. So you your your time is really valuable. And I've really appreciate it you and Molly. So thanks for having me on.

Kyle Roed:

Thanks, Paul. Appreciate it. 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