Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 24: Embrace Your Play with Jeff Harry!

December 29, 2020 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy / Jeff Harry Season 1 Episode 24
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 24: Embrace Your Play with Jeff Harry!
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Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 24: Embrace Your Play with Jeff Harry!
Dec 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 24
Kyle Roed, The HR Guy / Jeff Harry

Join Kyle Roed and Molly Burdess as they speak with Jeff Harry about having fun at work, why teambuilding sucks, and how to not be a "Chad".  Sorry to any listeners named Chad...

Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing.

Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.

Jeff is an international speaker who has presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.

Jeff was selected by Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020 and one of the Top HR Influencers to Watch By BambooHR for his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. His play work has been featured in the NY Times, AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN.

While we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grownups, it's when we let go of that facade and just play, that the real magic happens. Fully embracing your own nerdy genius — whatever that is — gives you the power to make a difference and change lives.

Jeff believes that we already have many of the answers we seek, and by simply unleashing our inner child, we can find our purpose and, in turn, help to create a better world.

Jeff’s Profile

linkedin.com/in/jeffharryplays


Websites


Email

jeffrey.harry@gmail.com


Twitter



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


We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

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

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle Roed and Molly Burdess as they speak with Jeff Harry about having fun at work, why teambuilding sucks, and how to not be a "Chad".  Sorry to any listeners named Chad...

Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing.

Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.

Jeff is an international speaker who has presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.

Jeff was selected by Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020 and one of the Top HR Influencers to Watch By BambooHR for his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. His play work has been featured in the NY Times, AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN.

While we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grownups, it's when we let go of that facade and just play, that the real magic happens. Fully embracing your own nerdy genius — whatever that is — gives you the power to make a difference and change lives.

Jeff believes that we already have many of the answers we seek, and by simply unleashing our inner child, we can find our purpose and, in turn, help to create a better world.

Jeff’s Profile

linkedin.com/in/jeffharryplays


Websites


Email

jeffrey.harry@gmail.com


Twitter



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


We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

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

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Jeff Harry:

You're stacking all those positive priming moments. Now on the flip side, what people are doing usually in a work day is first they look at the news, which actually makes you 20 to 30% less productive. And then when they say they have a bad day I challenged whether they had a bad day, because what you had is you at a bad moment.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're a professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of human resources, this is the right podcast for you. All right, Rebel Human Resources listener, I am extremely pumped up for today's show, we've got a great guest with some fascinating innovations that I think you should listen to. So I'd like to introduce you all to Jeff Harry. Jeff shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves to feel their happiest and most fulfilled all by playing. He's got a bunch of awesome results behind his name, top 100 Hr influencers by engagingly, top HR influencers to watch my bamboo HR. I don't have enough time to read them all. So I am going to let Jeff talk about some of that. So welcome to the show, Jeff.

Jeff Harry:

Hey, thanks so much for having me. I'm super amped.

Kyle Roed:

Me too. Me too. I think this is perfect. It's been a it's been an interesting year 2020. And it'll be nice to focus on some, some fun. Yeah. with us. With us today is Molly, our, our esteemed co host. And she will be asking some questions as well. So let's get started. All right. All right, Jeff. So I will, I will let you give our listeners a little bit of your background once you tell us about yourself.

Jeff Harry:

Sure. So I'll tell you my like Batman origin story. So love it. Do you remember the movie big with Tom Hanks you ever seen? Yeah, I

Kyle Roed:

love that movie with the you put the thing in the game. And then he grew up,

Jeff Harry:

right grew up. So what am I so I saw that movie in third grade. And Tom Hanks literally dances up on a piano and then they offer him a job to work in the toy industry. And as soon as I saw that, I was like, Dude, that is exactly what I'm gonna do with my life. So I started writing toy companies in third grade, and I just did not stop. Um, and they most of the time, I just get rejection letters back because they think they thought I was older than I actually was. And I'm a company just wrote me back one time, it was like, You should go into mechanical engineering, and I really should not have listened to them. But that's what I did. So I did that graduated and then got in the toy industry. And I don't know if you've ever gotten what you've always wanted, and then been so disappointed when you get there. But like, that's what was happening. I was in a cubicle, the walls were padded, which are like, Why are these walls padded? You know, you know, no fun, no play no adults that are high fiving you know, no toys, no kids. And I was like, What am I doing here? And remember having my little quarterlife crisis, moving from New York to the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area, um, and then, you know, piddling around for a little bit, and then bumping into an organization that was teaching kids engineering with Lego. And they basically, were just playing for living, paying 150 bucks a week, like a joke of a job. But they were playing, and I was like, I want to get paid to play. Um, so I stuck with them. And we grew it into like, the largest Lego inspired stem organization like in the US. But the way we did it was we just played like, we had no idea what we were doing. We made it up as we went along. We pick cities because we thought they were fun. We had no business plan. You know, we hired people because they were fun. We experimented, we failed miserably all the time. But we got so big in the Bay Area. At one point, we were teaching 100,000 kids a year, um, that Silicon Valley started to pay attention to us, Facebook, Google, Adobe, you know, Netflix, all them. And they wanted us to run team building events. And we were like, yeah, of course, we run team building events, even though we didn't we just said yes to everything, right? Like, Yes, we do. Yes. We've been doing that for years. And then for the next like, eight, nine years, I ran team building events for like the some of the top tech companies like in the world, but you know, at the same time that they talked about innovation, disruption, agile, all those buzzwords, right. They had not created a safe psychologically, you know, comfortable work environment for people to play and take risks. And the reason why is that they weren't having the harder conversations, like how to deal with toxicity at work, how to address racism at work. How to deal with office politics, how to have a hard conversation, how to get your staff in flow, like all of that how to deal with your inner critic. So I created rediscover your play as a way of combining positive psychology and play to tackle some of company's biggest, most challenging issues. So

Kyle Roed:

you got exactly what you wanted and you hated every minute of it. Is that fair? Yeah. So I'm just recalling the movie. So basically, the people who were classified as the bad guys, yep. We're like, just like, what it's actually like to work in corporate America.

Jeff Harry:

Right? Exactly. Right. Because like, you never know, right? Like you, you will always bring, it's gonna be amazing. And then you get to corporate America. And you're like, Where did all this? Why is everyone's energy just being sucked out of them? Like, your soul is being sucked out of you. I remember once I left a job in a dramatic way, there was this Kaiser Permanente like hospital job, you know, I was like, just doing admin work or something there. I quit right on the spot. And I remember as I was leaving, I looked at a bunch of my former colleagues, former right, um, and they were like, what are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you leaving? And I was like, we just spoke last week about how you've been wanting to leave for five years. I'm just taking your advice and doing it instead of like, dying a slow death here. You know, but they were like, No, stay with us. Stay at the suffering. And I'm like, Nah, dude. I'm good. I am good. And I think that was the last cubicle job. Yeah, I ever had.

Molly Burdess:

Good for you for taking that leap. Most people don't. I know. It's so sad. It really is. really is.

Kyle Roed:

I just remember, you know, if we're talking movies here, the one that resonates the most with me is office space. Oh, yes. But it's it's like love. I love that movie. I still love that movie.

Jeff Harry:

I still watch clips every week. Once in a while. Just watch clips of of him. Would he like talks to the two HR guys that are letting everyone go? I do basically like 17 minutes of work a week.

Kyle Roed:

middle management potential. Yeah.

Molly Burdess:

I'm not great at movie quotes or anything. But the movie that's sticking out. And the time a year is office Christmas party.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, yeah. You're the crazy HR lady, Molly for sure.

Jeff Harry:

See, I need to watch that. I haven't seen that.

Molly Burdess:

When you're in HR, it's great.

Kyle Roed:

That's it that you know that I think that is probably the most accurate depiction of an HR professional that I've seen on screen. Yeah. If you haven't seen it, it's if you're an HR, it's required viewing but okay. Don't want to just say, Okay, I need to watch. You describe it.

Molly Burdess:

Don't watch it with your kids.

Kyle Roed:

Don't know,

Jeff Harry:

I heard it's quite raunchy,

Molly Burdess:

very much so but it's fine. Which is

Jeff Harry:

great. Because this year, like people are doing virtual, so we're not gonna have as many of those issues.

Molly Burdess:

As long as everybody wears pants.

Jeff Harry:

That's a lot. That's asking a lot.

Molly Burdess:

Okay, Jeff, so you had said, You started doing team building events? Yeah, I know, there's a lot of organizations that of course, they want to do a team building event. They're always looking for things. But I also feel like a lot of organizations get it wrong. Where, where and why do people get it wrong? And what is your advice? What's your best team builder?

Jeff Harry:

Yeah, so I actually stopped do like the stuff I now do, you know, I actually stopped doing team building events, because I felt like they were, they're just kind of like bowling, right? Like, they're like, they you feel good for just a little bit. And then you you know, then you go back to whatever you're doing. And I think I think where people get it wrong, companies get it wrong, as they bring some team building organization in. And then they are thinking like, afterwards, everything is gonna just change, right? You know, and, and the fact is, is if you're not taking risks, and like trying to have hard conversations or trying to go somewhere with it, then it's just going to be something happy, like, you know, like, I don't know, like going to play pool or ping pong, which is totally fine. And people connect that way as well. But you're not really going to go like deep, right? So I think people have to adjust their expectations of what they actually expect from a team building event.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I actually did. I am not a big fan of like the let's do the one off like trust falls and the rice and Rhino like i i every time I've tried to do something like that in my career. Everybody has literally like they hear it. They're like,

Jeff Harry:

yeah, like, why why do people say that? They do that because it's forced fun. Right? Like, right. The whole idea of play, you know, If you think about it, in a playground, a kid has the option to play or not play, you know, they have the option to do whatever they want, they could just observe from the sidelines. But with I think a lot of team building events, you know, and a lot of times when like the HR staffs, like we're gonna, we're gonna become a team. You know, like, I know, we haven't talked at all the whole year, but now this hour, we're gonna all get along, it's just like, Dude, this is come up, man. Like, I remember once, I remember once running a team building event for a biomedical company that shall not be named, um, and it was at a winery. And this is what I was still doing the Lego gig. And I remember during the team building that were that they're all building something together, right? And then the boss turns to everyone, he goes, get away, everyone move back, I got this. And he just moved like 20 Vp executives that are like, managing multi million dollar, if not billion dollar deals, and was just like, everyone move away. I'm gonna work on this by myself. So 20 people who are at the winery just started, you know, drinking wine, because they're like, well, I don't want to hang out with this guy. And then during the debrief, we were like, What happened there? And he goes, Well, the reason why I had to do that was because like, I have a lot of experience with Lego, you know, so like, that's why I had to step up. It was like, Oh, my gosh, guys, like, this is it this is the problem. I can't help you with this. I can't, I can't. Like this is deep seated. So that was part of the reason why you started. rediscover your play, because I was like, yo, we need to talk about toxicity at work. We need to talk about office politics, like, we need to have that hard conversation, because right now we're just tiptoeing around it, and it sucks.

Molly Burdess:

The elephant in the room?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah.

Molly Burdess:

So how do you how do that?

Jeff Harry:

Which, which one talking about office politics or toxic people? Because I can get into the toxic people?

Kyle Roed:

How do you love me a toxic person?

Jeff Harry:

Yeah. Give all the good stories. You get all the good stories. So here, I'll go through like the brief, you know, because we go through a bunch of different steps. So I think, you know, whenever I'm talking about toxic people, we have to first put it into context, right? Like I ran this workshop, it's called dealing with a holes at work through play. Like that literally is the name of the workshop. And I did with my friend Gary where and we never thought anyone would say yes to this, right? Like, why would anyone say yes to it. But we applied to some of the top conferences like, like in the country? And then and then they were like, yes, we need this. So then we're like, Oh, sweet. So then we like traveled to Australia to do it. And we did it right before you know what, before quarantine. And while we were running it in Australia, like people were both laughing and crying during the workshop. But the main reason they were doing that is because a lot of them did not realize that, that they they thought they were the only ones they thought they were the only ones that left a job because of a toxic person. And then we've shared like this study done by Sherm about how, like, I think, October 2019, they did this study where $223 billion has been lost by Fortune 500 companies alone, just in the last five years, due to toxic people. And though these are only the companies that are willing to admit it, right, so it must be even a larger amount of money, but 223 billion frickin dollars. So it's just like, why are we letting toxic people just like run amok at our companies, right? So you know, when we run the workshop, we're like, first, it's like, Listen, this is all about setting boundaries, and like being very clear about them. So our first suggestion, this is we go from easiest to hardest, right? So easiest is that toxic person is taking up a lot of time in meetings, right? They're sucking the energy, sucking the soul out of the meeting. They're talking 60 to 80% of the meeting. So I always recommend like, Listen, we got to start organizing, right, so hey, Kyle, Molly, the next time you're speaking up, and that guy cuts you off. I'm gonna be like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, Chad. Sorry, if your name is Chad, I'm sorry. But I'm going to use you as the aihole. In this in this example. Hey, Chad, you know, Kyle was still sharing something like, Can we hear what he has to say? Mom? You know, wait, can we hear more from Molly because Molly hasn't been able to speak up yet. You know, and, and we start to occupy the meeting back. And this is something you do over the next three to six months, where you are slowly taking over right, and not letting this person dominate the meeting. So that's the easiest one. The second one is actually confronting that toxic person like head on, and that's not confronting them attacking their behavior, but you are not attacking their character, but you are addressing their behavior and the impact that it's having. So I'd be like, hey, Chad, you know, when you cut off, Molly when she was the middle of saying something, you know, not only Were you communicating that you didn't want to hear from her, but you're also communicating to Kyle, and myself and everyone else here that you didn't want to hear what we had to say? Is that the intent was that your intent, you know, because that's the impact you're having, and then just see, because a lot of toxic people are like engineers that just have bad communication skills. And they might not know, right? But say, for example, they're like, Hey, man, EFF you, I'll do whatever I want. My name is Chad. Okay. All right. Let's deal with it. So then the next thing obviously, is like, not just approaching their supervisor, or their supervisor, supervisor, if they're, you know, a holes, but but when you approach them, approaching it from the context of what impact they're having, it's just like, Listen, I know Chad is the brilliant jerk, he brings in $700,000, a year, right? in revenue, or whatever that case may be. Simon Sinek talks a lot about how the brilliant jerk is never wanted on the navy seals, the Navy SEALs will never take the bravest person, they'll never take the most athletic or the smartest. Because if they're the brilliant jerk, they're going to destroy the team. Right? So when you say, hey, Chad has been bringing in all these revenue, but he's also caused three people to quit, which actually is costing us a million dollars, we're actually losing $300,000 by keeping Chad. So can we address this person's behavior? Because he's causing this impact? And when you say it like that, then they really have a choice, like, Are we going to, you know, go with the values that we claim we say we're doing, or are they going to be hypocritical of that point. And, and, and support Chad, and if they support Chad, at that point, you know, maybe this is not the right place for you. But then the hardest way of dealing with a toxic person is you actually have to address your own inner Chad your own inner toxic person, your own inner a whole like your own inner, you know, critic, right? Because there's a reason why chege triggers you. Maybe you think you're an imposter. Maybe you think you shouldn't get paid as much as if maybe you think you shouldn't be speaking up at work, right? Or at a meeting. But if you're like, wait a minute, like, no way, dude, like Chad's an idiot, like I definitely should be his boss. I definitely should be paid double his salary. You know, I definitely am not an imposter. Like I kick ass at this job. And you actually believe that the next time Chad is super rude to you, you just turn to Him and you just like chat. Don't ever speak to me in that way. And then once they do that, it's just like, oh, Molly just stepped up the Chad. I think Kyle's gonna step up to Chad and Jeff's like, I'm stepping up the chat do i'm not going to tolerate this. And then all of a sudden, everyone's stepping up the Chad, and he has a choice. He either changes his behavior and get his gets his stuff together, shit together, or he leaves. And that's what's happening because you're sucking the energy out of that toxic person.

Molly Burdess:

Damn, Chad.

Kyle Roed:

I know. Molly, I have a question for you in my chat? I do. Maybe Maybe, maybe I need to shut up. No, we all got a little chat in us. Maybe

Jeff Harry:

we all had a little chat in us.

Kyle Roed:

Sorry, to any listener named Chad. Yeah, I'm

Molly Burdess:

so sorry. Actually wrestle with this a lot? Like do you think Chad is toxic? At the core? Like most of the time? Can you change a Chad? Do they change you?

Jeff Harry:

You can change Chad, the question is, is how long? Are you willing to tolerate it? Right, I had a chat at one of my jobs. He didn't change for five years. Like, like he had to be reprimanded numerous times, it was about to the point where he was going to get fired. And then he he got help, you know, then he's like, started seeing the therapist and addressing stuff. But like, if you're willing to put in that work, you know, or like setting that boundary. But I think also, we all want to be the hero in our story. So we want Chad to be the villain. And sometimes Chad isn't the villain, right? Like sometimes he just like sucks at communicating. So we have to just be careful of like, what story we're telling ourselves and have a certain level of empathy. Like when we run this workshop, we actually have people act out that inner Chad, just to feel what is it like to be that person? Like some people are like, Oh, I like it. And others are like, oh, get this off me. Like, I never want to be this mean, right? But it's interesting just to put yourself in that person's shoes, right? And then and then we practice actually roleplay like, how would you have this hard conversation with this person? Because guess what, it's not just going to be one conversation. It's going to be one over and over again for like over a year before you finally maybe make some inroads.

Molly Burdess:

I see this a lot with leaders so they bring on like a new hire, and they're just not performing where they need to perform. So leaders are instantly like, well, this guy doesn't give a crap or this chat is he's not a good fit, it has been a jerk instead of truly asking the hard questions to themselves or admitting that they can't get Chad where he needs to go.

Kyle Roed:

Right,

Molly Burdess:

right, you know?

Kyle Roed:

Right. And I think about, you know, just in the context of, you know, personal experience. A lot of these people, Chad's are jerks, because they're, they've been rewarded. Exactly exhibit that behavior, either be aggressive and drive sales and be pushy. Yep. And they get the promotions and the raises and the recognition.

Jeff Harry:

Yeah. So so that's where like, you have to slowly change that culture by, by by challenging that, right? I know, so many sales people that are just like that. And maybe that works in certain realms. But I remember talking to this one guy, and he knew it, he was just like, Yeah, I know, I'm in a hole, I don't really care. And I was just like, Well, do you know the impact you're having? He's like, Look, it works. And as long as it works, I'm going to keep doing it. So everyone else has to make it seem make it so that it doesn't work anymore. Right? Like they keep getting rewarded for that they keep getting their bonuses, even though they get complaints all the time. So why should they change? Right?

Molly Burdess:

So in HR in the HR space, a lot of us, sometimes not me, but there are a lot of HR individuals that have to deal with the Chad, that is, let's say the CEO, yeah, would your advice change or be any different for that HR individual,

Jeff Harry:

I think you have to, you have to weigh like what power dynamics exist. Because I mean, we have to be careful sometimes, right? Because sometimes, sometimes we don't want to speak up to the person, because we're like, that person is going to fire us. And that might be true, or it might not be true, you have to you have to gauge that for yourself. But if someone that is like a 10 year, like it's been part of HR for a while, and can represent the group, and knows that, you know, they have cover, right, they have other VPS that are going to vouch for them. So that even if that CEO snaps in is like, oh, get rid of Kyle, because you know, he challenged me, you know, you know, you're not going to get removed, then then it's worth challenging that CEO. And then again, approaching it from the standpoint of like, Listen, CEO, you know, our sales numbers right now, you know, we hit 2 million, I have a way in which we could probably hit 2.5 or 3 million, which means your bonus is going to be much larger, and the Board of Directors is going to love you. Do you want to know how to do that? And they're like, oh, why stop being such a dick? Like, hey, like, you know, this is super easy, like, you know, and I, team leaders all the time, you know, especially in this virtual space, people are already 85% disengaged from work, they must be even more disengaged now that they're at home, right? They might be even thinking about other jobs. But one quick thing you can do that would be amazing for your staff, is to reach out to them one on one and be like, Hey, you know, I know this has been a tough year. What is the work that you love to do most at this job? Like the work where you forget about time, Marcus Buckingham refers to it as the red thread work, gay Hendricks refers to it as your zone of genius. You know, that work? That is just you that frankly, if if no one paid you, you'd still do this work? You know, and you ask them that, you know, okay, sweet. You love talking to clients you love connecting with people? What percentage of time do you currently do that? Oh, only 15% Is there any way in which we can figure out how you can go from 15 to 20%, which maybe is like one to two extra hours. And by doing that, you're actually helping them get into their flow work, which actually has, you know, exponential results on productivity, because there's a ripple effect on all the other work that they're doing. And you do the other thing, which is really powerful, where you communicate, hey, I see you, I hear you. And I care about you as a human being. You know, and this is why I want to figure out how you can do more of the work that like makes you come alive. And when you do that you're going to reduce your your turnover, you know, you're going to have people stay longer, and then you're going to have people that are going to be more committed to you.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, I just I'm reflecting and this is great content. I just remember earlier in in my career, you know, new HR professional. A lot of this stuff is so heavy. And the feedback that I would get is you know, have a little bit more fun. And I'd look at someone and be like, but this isn't fun. Like I'm doing problem. performers. People are mad I can't hire enough people. And even the ones I do, don't stick around long enough to, you know, make a difference. And, you know, it's it. It's really easy to lose sight of the, the fun stuff. Yeah. In, in the, in kind of the muck so so what, what do you do when you're working with teams or when you're, when you're working through your process to re instill that sense of fun and enjoyment in work?

Jeff Harry:

I think you have to tie it back to your why, right? Like, what are you doing there? Like, why did you start in HR in the first place? Like, let's figure that out, you know, we run a workshop called Your future is where your fun is, right? And part of the reason why I say that is, you know, Steven Johnson talks about you'll find the future where people are having the most fun. And if you look at the organizations that are most resilient right now, that are thriving in 20, tick tock Disney, Hulu, Netflix, it's because people are having fun, they're even, you know, and I, you know, I I don't support Jeff Bezos at all. But you know, when he started Amazon, he was tackling some of the most interesting issues in the tech world. And all the tech heads wanted to hang out with him because because that was the most interesting place to be. So you have to think about that for you have just like what are the way what are the things that like, drive me, right? So enter your features where your phone is workshop, we actually ask people what did you love to do as a kid? Right. And you know, my friend, I do it with my friend, Lauren Yee. And she goes, You know what I love to do as a kid, I love playing sardines, which is reverse hide and seek. It's such a fun game. Basically, somebody hides, everyone looks for that person. If you find that person that's hidden, you hide to and then you stack in like a pack of sardines. Until finally there's like eight people in a corner. One person's like, Where's everybody and everyone else is like, be quiet. Don't say anything. You know, I've done this with adults. It's hilarious. We like all hid underneath a house. You know? So like, it's great when you're a little tipsy, too. Anyway, so that was like, What is it that you love to do? What do you what do you love? Right? What do you love about sardines, and she was like, I love that it's creative. Love that it's collaborative. I love that it it, it has connection. And then we took those play values that she had, and we're like, what of your work that you do in a given day or in a given week? has those aspects are has all of those aspects. So I would challenge you know, your your staff or you to like write down all the tasks, all the things that you do, and figure out what it what is it that is is the the good stuff, the delicious stuff, right? And then start your day doing that work before you do anything else. Because when you do that, like I start my day with a tick tock right? Like I make a tick tock video that has no ROI has no productive value, but it positively Prime's my day to see the day as play, right? And then my friend Deseret taught me this trick of like, you asked this question, how can it get any better than this? So when something good happens, or like I start my day in a fun way, and then I go, how can it get any better than this? Oh, well, then I was on a podcast with this, this guy, Chris Lynn. And he did such a freakin phenomenal interview. How can it get any better than this? I just got off the phone with a client of mine and inspired her to start making videos and take risks. Ooh, how can it get any better than this? Now Kyle, and Molly and I are talking on the rebel HR podcast, let's go, you know, and then you you, you were stalking all those positive priming moments. Now on the flip side, what people are doing usually in a work day, is first they look at the news, which actually makes you 20 to 30%, less productive. And then when they say they have a bad day, I challenged whether they had a bad day, because what you had is you had a bad moment. And based off of positive psychology thoughts only lasts between nine seconds and 90 seconds. So you had a bad moment. And then you ruminated about that bad moment, over and over again, like 1000 times in your head. And then you primed your mind to look for the next bad moment, and the next bad moment and the next bad moment until you made up a bad day. And it's really hard in HR, because you get shit on all the time. Like people are always throwing all the problems your way. So you're always feeling like you're getting all these bad moments. So by simply flipping it and being like, you know, oh, let me do something fun. How can it get any better than this and being curious about how your day might go? That is how you can change your day and possibly change the way you work.

Kyle Roed:

Oh my gosh, I just had like a regulatory moment. It's like sweet, so I just heard I heard that and I thought it's like when you get a new car, and then and you're driving and you see that same car everywhere now. Yeah. And you never noticed the car before? That is what am I on the same page,

Jeff Harry:

right? That's exactly what your brain is doing all the time because your brain is looking for patterns, right? Like, it's constantly looking for patterns, to see whether there's danger or not danger. That's what you're like, you know, prefrontal cortex your inner critic is doing. So when you prime your mind to look for good patterns, things happen. Here's another tip that's really cool at meetings, you can actually positively prime a meeting by whoever starts the meeting. And this is before the meeting actually starts, like, let's say, the first people that that join the virtual call, let's say someone is like showing baby pictures or showing their baby or something happy, or they're telling about some happy story that happened, or some fun thing they did during the weekend, you have now prime the meeting to be positive, so the meeting is going to be more productive. But if the first people on the call, were complaining before anyone joins, productivity, you know, the meeting goes really badly drops dramatically. So and you don't even have to be the leader of the meeting is just the first person to speak.

Kyle Roed:

So So should we just ban negative conversations in meetings?

Jeff Harry:

Or the, you know, why are we complaining? Are we complaining just to complain? Because like, that's what we do here? Or are we complaining with the idea of like, trying to solve a problem, like you have had friends, right, that are that are complaining, and you're like, Oh, you've said this so many times, like, you just want to tell them like, dude, just deal with it already. Break up with that person or whatever, just, you know, but, but sometimes people just want to complain for complaint sake. So it's cool. If you say that, like, Hey, you know, I just want to word vomit right now, and I just want to complain, awesome. But at some point, that'd be like, okay, we're gonna allow people to complain, but then Yo, now we got to actually address let's, let's actually figure out some solutions to this, instead of just be messing around these problems.

Kyle Roed:

So how do you address the people? Because I guarantee you, there's some people in the audience sitting here thinking, yeah, this sounds good. This, you know, this guy sounds cool. And this is a fun premise. Right. But this sounds a little bit, you know, fuzzy, and right now, kind of like one of these HR initiatives, you know, how do you how do you address those people that are coming from a context of, you know, work sucks? Deal with it?

Jeff Harry:

Yeah. Yes. So let's talk. I mean, let's talk about, you know, you know, examples of, of success, right? Like, let's take, for example, Google, you know, with their 20% rule, they gave their staff a fifth of their time to pursue things that interest them, as long as it benefits the organization from that, from that initiative. That is where Google meat was created. That is where Gmail was created, you know, half so many of the billion dollar ventures that Google did, were because they allowed their staff to play. Now you as, like, a small organization can give your staff a fifth of the time, but you can find like, an hour to give them an extra hour. And just to just see, don't believe me, let's experiment with it. Right? You know, look at Tony Shea that ran Zappos like us such a huge loss, that dude would pay people three grand to leave his organization. Like, they would be there for a month. And he's like, you know, if you don't like the culture here, because we are just super nerdy. And we, we actually are, you know, how they always say, like, be whoever you want to be be your authentic self, but then they don't follow through with it. You know, he actually allowed people to show up, however, they wanted to show up, right? No blue hair at all. And then after a month, you'd be like, I'm gonna give you $3,000 to leave, do you want to leave? And then people actually stayed if they were really committed. So there's exactly there's many examples of like, what fun actually can do for the organization? Because think about the organizations that are not having fun. There was an organization not too long ago, that was super stiff, that heard these ideas. And were like, Oh, you know, I just heard about this really small organization, small company that is selling or send mailing DVDs to people like, Can you believe that? And then they're now talking about, like, you know, you can download a movie or watch it on your computer. That's so dumb, right? Yo, guess what? blockbuster is gone now because they were stiff, because they were like because they weren't really willing to adapt or be resilient. And frankly, a lot of staff don't want to go back to normal. Right? That you know, there's going to be a drastic new normal where we can bring more humanity to work, because right now 85% of people are frickin disengaged at work. People can only focus I think, for about two hours and 53 minutes of an eight hour workday. So knowing this, knowing that all these studies communicate this, why would it be focused on trying to get them to do the best work that they want to do that actually will produce them? The most productivity for the organization?

Molly Burdess:

One thing I hear a lot of is organization say, Yeah, that's great for these companies that have the money or the build outs to create a fun space. Right. But we are an old, a building still in cubicles of how do you have to have the space to cultivate play and kind of in the same realm, like now that we're all in a virtual world? How has that shifted?

Jeff Harry:

So I think, in the virtual world, this is where there's a lot of experimentation, right? You know, even if you can't move like the this really old organizations been around for 100 years, you can have an influence on your team. If you have any staff, you can start there. You know, I think it was Sinek, who is Simon Sinek, who was talking about it were at this really bad organization, there was one team that was doing really innovative, creative things. And then people wanted to get part of that team. And, and then, you know, leaders, a lot of VPS were like, what's happening with that team? Why is like, why are they producing it's such an exponential rate. And then they started to adopt some of those practices. So you need to focus on what is within your circle of influence, right, your circle of control, and instead of thinking, like, Oh, I got to change this entire organization, I got to change how the CEO approaches that. Just do it for yourself. first identify what are the fun things that I want to do for me? Awesome. Okay, what are the fun things I want to do for my staff suite that make them come most alive? You know? how can how can we take a problem that we always have, and instead of doing it in the mundane way, you know, let's figure out a more playful, creative way of doing it. You know, one of the worst brainstorming sessions you can do is to have people go into a box room, you know, sit at a box table and be like you have an hour, come up with your best ideas. Like, let's think let's rethink how we're going to do a brainstorming meeting. You know, maybe all of you are on your phone, and you're all walking while you're on your phone and talking, like figure try out different ways of positing prime the meeting, like just keep experimenting, because I think the biggest problem we have is, is we lack hope. And we're super pessimistic. So we're like, yeah, you know, it's never gonna work here. Well, maybe it won't. Or maybe it will, why don't we try it and just see what happens.

Kyle Roed:

So I think one of the one of the interesting things is, as I'm reflecting on some of this advice is, I'm thinking about your career path, and you strike me as an individual that you're going to find happiness, wherever you are. And if you can't, you're not going to stick around. No. And I think about so many people that I know who do stick around and just wallow in the misery and don't know how to get out of it. So. So when we have those employees that we know are just like, they hate their job. Yeah, they're totally in the wrong job. But they're effective. They get it done. Yeah. How do we? How do we break through that? How do we get get through to people that, hey, work, work doesn't have to be painful? It's not always fun. But there should be at least a little bit of fun. Yeah, we address that.

Jeff Harry:

Yeah, I think there's a few different ways to do it. Right? There's first just modeling like, are you actually having fun at work? Like, are you actually showing how to do it? Right. But I think then the next part is, is and I would bring this up to staff like, you know, some to the biggest regrets of the dying is, I worked too much. And the second regret is, I didn't live, I didn't have the courage to live the life that I wanted to live, but live the life that others expected of me. And I would take that when you sit down with that person and just call out the truth about it. Like, look, you've been here like five years, like I know, you're burned out, I know you're not happy. I know, you don't like what you're doing. What do you like to do, right? Is there anything at this job worth salvaging? And if there's not, then Yo, let's brainstorm what is it that you actually want to do? And in the meantime, you know, you I'll give you some time to figure that out. But you'll find that because now you're communicating that you care about them. Even if they don't stay at this company. All of a sudden, their work gets better because they should you're showing that you actually like care about him like you give a give a shit about him. Right? So um, that has a huge effect. potential, like, increase in, in connection right there. Because you're really like calling out the elephant in the room? And yeah, and you're showing that, that, even if it doesn't benefit me, I'm still working out for you. Absolutely. I'm

Kyle Roed:

gonna put that in my office. I'm going to get that friend, I give a shit about you. That's good. Yeah, that would probably work at my company. Yeah.

Molly Burdess:

I have a question. It's a very, it's a very selfish question. Just because this is one been one of my struggles, like, I've been in employers where we're all under one roof. It's a lot easier to cultivate fun, a playful culture. Right now I'm in an organization where we have several different locations. And it's a lot, a lot more challenging. What What advice you have?

Jeff Harry:

I think, the advice so interesting, usually, when people ask me that question, they're like, solve it. Give me the answers, right? I think that too. But there's, but there's something empowering about being like, get a bunch of the people that you know, that also care about the same vision that you have, that you're like, I need to, we need to infuse more, play more fun into this, we need to be more creative, because I feel like we're kind of stuck, right? Find the other people that believe that like you and be like, yo, let's figure it out. Let's brainstorm this, let's, you know, maybe over a little drinks, let's do have a tipsy storm, you know, over some, you know, alcohol or chocolate or ice cream, however you want to do it. And let's brainstorm the craziest ideas of what we could actually try to pull off, right? You know, and then come up with this crazy list of ideas. And then circle a few that resonate, and then go to the go to the bigger group, and try them out, right? or reach out to some of those people that may be disengaged and be like, Yo, this is the problem we're trying to solve. Help me Help us solve this. So you're actually empowering everyone to make the decision together. Because the flip side of that is, you're like, Hey, I have this fun team building event that's gonna fix everything, or I have this fun team building a game, you know, we're gonna do Secret Santa. Now everyone's gonna be all good. Again, it's just like, Oh, I hate Secret Santa, you know, like, let's not have forced fun. Let's actually ask people, do you want to have fun or more fun at work? Most of the time, people are gonna be like, yeah, you know, okay. Are you willing to figure out how to do this? All right, you know, let's, let's take some time. And let's, let's try to break this down and figure this out. We're all smart people here.

Molly Burdess:

Right? setting expectations that I don't want to talk about the reasons why this won't work. Let's just bring some ideas and let's talk about how we can make them work.

Jeff Harry:

And that is an improv exercise right there. The Yes. And where were you? Yes. And for 4550 minutes, we're no one can criticize anyone's ideas. They do that in improv all the time. That's what keeps an improv scene going. They never negate anything. They're always saying yes. And this right, like, Oh, you know, what I think we should do? You know, um, I think we should give staff like an hour to pursue something that they think is interesting for like, the next month, and then and it's just like, Oh, yeah, yes. And, and whoever comes up with like, a really creative idea. Let's celebrate that person and let everyone know that like this happened, because, you know, they devoted five hours in the last month to this. Oh, yes. And, and then you just keep adding on to that, and just see where these crazy ideas go. Because you'd be amazed what you are going to be able to come up with, when you like, allow yourself to not poop on ideas.

Molly Burdess:

I think people would have a hard time with that in the best way just because I think people naturally go to Yes, but

Jeff Harry:

yes, exactly. This drives me nuts. But yes, great. actually run that in our workshop where we have people go and do a meeting where it's all knows. And then we have people go into a meeting where it's Yes, but and then we have people do a meeting and it's Yes. And and then we ask them, How does it feel in each situation? Right. And sometimes we ask people, it will ask you, Molly, what's worse when you get a straight? No, or when you get a yes, but I know. There's no right answer. It's just like, whatever. Wouldn't one that you feel? For me? It'd be yes.

Kyle Roed:

But because it's like, Oh, great. Here comes the argument.

Molly Burdess:

Well, and it's like, Yeah, not even listening to me. Really. They're already thinking of all the ways that it won't work.

Jeff Harry:

Right? Or they give you hope, where they're like, yeah, we could do that. But, you know, people are trying that 20 years ago. People might see the gifts but as a possibility like Uber, they didn't say no directly they you know, so. So again, it's just playing with language and being like, hey, let's yes and and gets get a little uncomfortable. You know, because I'm tired of just having a bad attitude coming to work.

Kyle Roed:

Mm hmm. Yeah, if there's any young HR professionals listening to this or young And career professionals listening to this. Just know if you take a yes, but as a an approval to do something with an HR might end poorly take it for me. I've been there. I love that. I love that. And I'm just I'm sitting here and I mean, this is just resonating so much. Today's been a good day. You know, I Today's been really positive and I'm just reflecting on okay, how did I start? I didn't watch the news. I turned on music when my day started. I'm a very amateur musician. And, and I hooked my kids in the morning before I went to work. Nice, you know? And it's like one of those things like, Oh, yeah, you know, I did have a really good day today. It started good. And then I think about yesterday wasn't so good. And it's because I turned on the CNBC and watch the stock market, you know, show up red. So that's right. Yeah. There's nothing to this.

Jeff Harry:

Yeah. And and I would even do I do this exercise at the end of the year, because I really don't believe in resolutions. A lot of people give up their resin or forget, they literally forget the resolution three months in, right. But I was like, but wait a minute, you know, there is something worth reflecting on the year and then planning out the next year. So I came up with this thing called the fun joy play index. And it was all about like, looking back at your year and being like, what was fun about this year? What was joyful about this year, what was like, one of the most impactful things that happened this year, you know, and you could do the same thing at work. We're like, what, what were we able to overcome the fact that maybe our companies even still around is a huge accomplishment in 2020, when so many companies are going out of business, right? So the practice of gratitude, like so many studies have shown, you know, you write three grateful things at the beginning of the day, or at the end of the day, you know, after 30 days, you are exponentially happier. So if you're practicing these methods, even if they sound a little woowoo, with your HR staff, and, and reflecting and celebrating the accomplishments you actually did make, and and actually going back in your email and your calendar, and you're like, Oh, yeah, we did do that in January, Wow, I can't believe we did that, that's actually pretty awesome, then you're going to actually feel like you've got more done, you know, and you build something together with your team.

Molly Burdess:

I am a true believer in this. I do this every year. I do this on a quarterly basis with my team. And it's so amazing. Every time we do it, because especially this year, everybody was so down in the dumps about the year and you look back about everything that we've accomplished, and you can just, it slipped like, there were so focused on the negative and everything that went wrong, but there is a lot to celebrate this year as well.

Jeff Harry:

Right?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I 100% agree. I was on a on a walk with my son last night, nine year old son and I was you know, I was talking to him about the year and you know, just kind of that open ended like hey, you doing okay? It's been a weird year. And yeah, everything's fine. And, and the conversation went from, you know, a point of concern to talking about all the good things, you know, more more family time. The he got more screentime he loves screentime. So, you know, this year was great for him. Yeah, and, you know, the new normal for him is probably what he loves to do, right, which is be on screens and create things on screens, and he's gonna be a famous youtuber someday. If he has his way, you know, but, but, you know, all of that creativity that that he embraced this year was unlocked because of the situation in 2020. So, you know, there's a lot of silver linings this year, I'm with you, Molly,

Jeff Harry:

in there's some resilience in, in being limited when you're, when you limit are limited and a lot of ways you have to get really creative. Right? You know, and I think it was a study done by I think HubSpot, that was like 63% of staffs, you know, in the workplace say they would be more productive if they got more positive feedback. And if you think about it, anytime you usually give feedback, you're giving that like, that love sandwich where it says like, I'm really want to give you bad feedback, but I'm going to pack in some positive just, but imagine if you're just giving just consistent positive feedback on a regular basis, over the next like three months, watch what happens to your staff, they are going to light up and they're going to feel appreciated, and they're gonna produce in ways that you never thought possible.

Kyle Roed:

I love it. Well, we are we are unfortunately getting close to time. If we were meeting face to face, I'd be like let's just let's have another round and go another three hours here but I want to be respectful of your time. So we are going to move into the HR flash round. Oh, I love the flash. Flash. Here we go. All right, flash round question one. What are you reading right now? Oh,

Jeff Harry:

I am reading two books, how to live a good life by Jonathan fields reading that in a book club, and I'm reading a nun geared Agassiz book on winner winners take all, which is arguing, should billionaires exist while people are still in poverty?

Kyle Roed:

Interesting. That's a whole nother show, I think. Yeah. Who should we be listening to?

Jeff Harry:

Oh, interesting. Well, I'll answer it in two, two ways, right? The first way is, if 2020 has taught me anything, it's that no one knows what they're doing. And we're all making it up as we go along. So the first person you need to be listening to is yourself, like practicing strengthening listening to your inner child, your, your intuition, you know, because you have all the answers that you need, like I say this all the time, you know, advice only resonate, the advice I give people only resonates with you, because you've already given that advice to yourself. And I'm just saying it in a different way. So that would be the first person that you need to listen to yourself. If I was thinking of us of another person. I don't know. I'm really vibing. with Jonathan fields, he runs this phenomenal podcast called The Good Life Project. And I just was on his podcast, because he did a show just called the hug. And it was all about talk, sharing stories of gratitude, you know, during this like, really tough time and unity, and being like, how can we give like a virtual hug to people? Because this, you know, this has been a really tough year for a lot of people. So Jonathan fields.

Kyle Roed:

Love it. And let's check him out. I am not familiar. So sounds like there's some good content there. Last question, this is a tough one. How can our listeners connect with you.

Jeff Harry:

So if you want to see my ridiculous videos, um, my handle is Jeff Harry plays je FF ha ROI, pl a y S, M, or you can come to my website, rediscover your play comm where I have a bunch of play exercise that teens can actually do as well as individuals to figure out who you are and how you can play more at work. Or you could just hop on a call with me, when you click that let's play button and we can figure out how you can kick ass in this world and make a much more fun, psychologically safe place for all of us to work.

Kyle Roed:

Love it. Great, great conversation. We'll have all those details in the show notes. But we definitely have gained a lot from this conversation. A lot of things we can take away for us in HR and and some ways to rebel against some of the systems. Great, let's go tie it all together.

Jeff Harry:

Thanks so much. Khalid Molly, this has been super fun.

Kyle Roed:

Same here. Thanks again, looking forward to continuing to follow you and learn from you. Thanks, Jeff. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. They 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. Using opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast is the author

Jude Roed:

maybe