Join Patrick and Kyle as they discuss inclusive leadership with The Gay Leadership Dude! Dr. Steve Yacovelli (“The Gay Leadership Dude™”) is the Owner & Principal of TopDog Learning Group, LLC – a learning and development, leadership, change management, and diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in Orlando, FL, USA, with affiliates across the globe.
Steve and TopDog have had the pleasure of working with some great client-partners who they consider to be members of their “pack.” He’s worked with Fortune 500 greats like The Walt Disney Company and Bayer to amazing not-for-profits like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The American Library Association; large universities like The Ohio State University and The University of Central Florida, to small entrepreneurial rock stars like International Training & Development and GovMojo, Inc. Steve and TopDog have thoroughly enjoyed helping their client-partners grow, develop, expand, and be successful with their corporate learning, change management, diversity and inclusion, and leadership consulting goodness.
With over twenty-five years’ experience in leadership, strategy, organizational learning, and communication, Steve is a rare breed of professional that understands the power of using academic theory and applying it to the corporate setting to achieve business results.
Oh, and he’s quite fond of dogs, too.
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To make sure that it really does start to impact the human change versus just the tick box. Yay, we had that gay leadership dude come in and do a one day workshop. Whoo, you know? No, that's not how it's gonna change things and really make the world that more inclusive for all of us.Kyle Roed:
This is the rebel HR podcast, the podcast where we talk to human resources, innovators, about innovation in the world of HR. If you are a people leader, or you're looking for a new way to think about how to help others be successful. This is the podcast for you. revelon Hr rebels. All right, Rebel HR listeners, I'm extremely excited for our guest Dr. Steve yucca Valley, aka the gay leadership dude is the owner and principal of top dog learning Group LLC, a learning and development, leadership change management and diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida, with affiliates all around the globe. Steve has had the pleasure of working with some great client partners, fortune 500 greats like Walt Disney and Bayer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Library Association, a whole lot on the resume there with over 25 years of experience in leadership strategy, organizational learning and communication. He is a rare breed of professional that understands the power of using academic theory and applying it to the corporate setting to achieve business results. Only likes dogs to Steve, welcome to show. Thank you so much. God I severe. It's a great bio. I love reading those types of BIOS. So it's there's little branding in there somewhere. It's Yes, good. It's good. It's well polished. So Nice job. So we were talking before it before we hit record about the topic and some of your expertise and really fascinating story. And you've kind of seen behind the curtain of HR. So why don't you just give our listeners a little bit of your background? And ultimately, how you got where you are today?Steve Yacovelli:
Yeah, so So in a nutshell, I like to think of myself as a communications professional. But, you know, that fell into a bunch of different buckets. But I first got into corporate training at a software company and to completely and utterly date myself. It was in the days of dos. And so if you're listening here, and you're like, what's that Google it because it's really interesting. It's pre windows stuff. But I was working at a software company, and we were the training arm, the customer support. So we go out and do training, then we come back in the office and learnings on the phone and conferences and stuff. It was really cool. And I decided to go to grad school and grad school like oh, there's like other ways you can teach adults in the workplace. This is kind of cool. So I kind of came back. And it really focused more on the soft skills, the HR side of the world leadership, things of that nature. And then I fell into my first HR place. When I worked for Disney. I was working for Disney Cruise Line at the time, I was internal leadership consultant. And my clients were the shipboard officers in the crew and the folks at Castaway key the island. So it was a really sweet gig, I have to say, but it's the first time in an HR function. And I'm like, wait, I used to be in a profit center. When I did training over there. They're like, No, no, that's not how training works in the sign like, oh, okay, so that is stated that mix. And that's read to a couple different places. I was an IBM er for a while as a change consultant. I was the Global Head of leadership for Tupperware brands for a while and then I decided to kind of put out my own little shingle in 2008 and start my own gig top dog learning group. And we focus on this stuff that Kyle Reese said change management, diversity, inclusion, and leadership consulting among other cool stuff.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Yeah. Tell me about being that nonprofit center. I feel that, yeah, especially especially in training because it's usually like, the first thing to get cut is true. Right? It was funny, it reminds me like the beginning back, when there was a big question mark about what is the world's gonna look like and COVID was just starting to hit and everybody was cutting everything. And then number of learning and development programs that just completely cut and when everybody was trying to save everything, and then I distinctly remember about six months later when we realized, okay, the world isn't ending. It may be a little bit different than everybody is coming back and going, Oh my gosh, how do I deal with this? How do I train people? How do I get back? And like it's like, yeah, so that's,Steve Yacovelli:
that's exactly what happened to us. So so you know, I mean, most of what we do a top dog learning group is face to face training, even though my doctorates in distance learning, you know, just that's kind of how it is. And, and we have a lot of big fortune 500 clients, we do like we're like the global leaders or that the leadership facilitation group for a bunch of North America, global companies, but we focus on North America. And so we pretty much sell the year by February. And of course, April rolls around and our three biggest clients like yesterday, your team is not setting foot on our site anymore. I'm like, boom, I just lost all the revenue for the year. Awesome. So we, you know, we took a breath and we started thinking about how we can really over the word pivot, but there's, and, you know, I'm like, wait, I do distance learning. That's kind of my jam. And so I started working with clients around around July I start knocking on their little doors, they'd hate You know, you're still have people out there that need stuff, especially leadership training, like, we're not ready, we're not ready. All of them in September, we're like, yeah, we need stuff now because we're, this is not going to go away in 2021. So right, thank goodness, you know, we will return a lot of our face to face stuff in converted into virtual things that are still engaging and fine, and we have a good time with it. And now, of course, 2021, that's all we're doing is, you know, outside, but we're doing like, the cool thing. And I'm sure your listeners know this. Obviously, volume can be very different when you're doing things via distance, especially if you do the design, right. And so one of our clients, we typically teach about 270 plus leaders around North America each year, well, because of distance, we're now doing over 1000 this year, which is awesome for them, it's the costs are still great for us, you know, I my team can do like five sessions a day versus one. You know, there's some pros and cons of this new distance learning kind of approach.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, I think if it's on if you do it, right, right. That's the challenge. And that's certainly something that I wouldn't say, my organization's figured that out yet. It's kind of we're kind of learning as we go. And I think especially for like a workplace where we weren't, we weren't virtual at all. Before, you know, we were forced to be, and now we're trying to figure out okay, what's that sweet spot of virtual to in person? And? Sure, yeah, that's great. So you know, you so you broke off, started your own thing, you know, obviously, have a little bit of the entrepreneurial spirit. And you certainly have a ton of energy. As you were, you know, kind of starting up that that business, what was your approach to structuring something that you could put your name on?Steve Yacovelli:
In hindsight, I picked a really crappy time to start a business 2008 Yeah, it was really dumb. But um, it is what it is. But you know, my first thing was, I just need clients and your cash flow. So I, you, you reach out to the network, you looking on some of the sites back back in 2008. And what was so beautifully serendipitous, is I got to a facilitation gig where I was myself, and there was five other consultants, where it was a project with the Public Library Association, but it was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And so basically, what we were doing is we were teaching librarians how to be business people. And so we take this traveling roadshow, we go to someplace, Des Moines, Iowa, actually was our first stop, oddly enough, so that, you know, we go into these two and a half day conferences, and it was so cool and rewarding. And, and it was a gig that lasted two years. And then side note, there's still a client to this day, you know, so many 13 years later, but it was just such a great experience to have that solid foundation. And then from there, you know, cuz I'm, like, I don't know much about the library profession, but I knew about the soft skills and leadership stuff. And so it really started kind of laying the foundation for how we a top dog approach leadership is that we're vendor agnostic, or excuse me, industry agnostic. Yeah, we don't focus on one area or the other. Because yes, leadership is about context. And we have to understand that your corporate culture, blah, blah, blah, but effective leadership as effective leadership is effective leadership period. And so we're able to kind of weave that adjust that and really be nimble, when a client in pharma comes in says, Hey, can you teach our folks? Yes, of course we can. And then someone from the hospitality says, Can you do that? Of course we can. And so, you know, we do a lot of questioning and listening. But really at that at the Foundation, our leadership program is pretty much the same. And I'm so glad I learned that very early on in starting my own gig.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. So, you know, I think that's, I'm always fascinated to ask this question, because I think the word leadership has so many different connotations, depending upon somebody's perspective. I guarantee you, there's probably some managers thinking all the industry absolutely matters, you know, and there's, I'm sure there's probably a counterpoint argument there. But what do you define as leadership? And then how do you approach becoming a better leader? Yeah,Steve Yacovelli:
it's a great question. Thank you, Kyle. So my book pride leadership strategies for the LGBTQ PLU leader to the king or queen in the jungle. This is like in the preface, because I've worked with so many folks who are like, Oh, I'm not a leader or a manager. I'm like, Okay, interesting. Tell me more about that. I don't deal with people I just do. I'm like, Okay, do you have influence? Oh, yeah, then you're a leader. Because in my opinion, leadership is not a, you know, solid line to somebody else. under you. It's, it's what influence you have within the workplace. And that could be an individual contributor, it could be a project manager, it could be the awesome admin, which, you know, side note, the best piece of business advice I've ever received was from my mom, who was an admin, and she said, Never underestimate the power of the administrator and chief apps this roughly Right. I mean, it's awesome. But, you know, leadership is about influence. And so we have the opportunity as a leader, insert, whoever you are here to have influence over those around us. And to me, that's leadership.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. And I think that, you know, there's two ways to look at that. That one is, you don't have the title manager, to be a leader. And to just because you have the title manager, doesn't mean you're a leader. Right, yes. Or, or maybe not the right type of leader if you rely on that to get things done, right, exactly. So I know that I know that you work with with leaders, and you've got this model. So what is your model for great leadership? What does that look like?Steve Yacovelli:
Well, when I was starting to write pride leadership, which came out no pun intended, in 2019, I started working on in 2018. And I wanted to write a leadership book. And so I'm at a conference, and I'm sorting through my business cards. And there's a woman next to me kind of doing the same thing before the session. And I said, you know, she's like, what do you do? I'm like, oh, consulting, blah, blah, blah, how about you just come a publisher, like, you know, there's a leadership book in my head that needs to come out. I've been watching this for 25 plus years. Help me get it out. She's like, absolutely, let's do that. And so that kind of led me down the path of trying to really identify what I've seen work for leaders that are just rocking and rolling, what I'm not seeing and leaders who are crashing and burning. And so one day, I just kind of bribe one of my fellow od friends who came over and, you know, deprive them with a bottle of something, and a Friday afternoon, and we just had posted notes all over like what competencies Do you see what do I see you want to do? And so it's all over my office here. And then we started bucketing them and looking and seeing what are the ones that really make a difference. And so really, it came up with the six that you're seeing behind me. I know you're listening that you won't see him. But there's authenticity, courage, empathy, effective communication, building relationships, and shaping culture are the six. And then then like the little click in me as I'm like, Oh, I got my six. And then I started looking at other queer leaders. I do a lot of volunteering, social justice. And so now with this leadership, top six in my head, that's when I started saying you know is there that many remember that Sex in the City TV show Carrie Bradshaw if you remember that, like I couldn't help but wonder you know, that she's telling me? Yeah, I can't Yeah, you gotta admit TBS you bumpy though some point. IKyle Roed:
may have said that show once or twice. It's okay.Steve Yacovelli:
That's cool. But, but like that kind of went in my head. And I'm like, hey, wait, I wonder if there's something about these six competencies that really anybody should know. But it's, there's something different about them through the career lens, or the rainbow lens. And that's kind of the basis on pride leadership. It's not for gay folks. Allies love it, too, with my mix of bad dad jokes and leadership theory. But it's really, you know, however you consume these six competencies, these to me, are the biggest ones that right now really make the leader be a rockstar leader, if they really work on these. Absolutely.Patrick Moran:
How can I get a manager who doesn't want to leave, but just wants to do to embrace these competencies? Yeah,Steve Yacovelli:
it's a sales point. For someone in that vein, you really have to get them to understand that difference between leadership and management. And you obviously, we all manage things. That's awesome. You know, I mean, you manage things, you lead people. And so it's really helping them understand at least that bit of the step. Yeah. I can't tell you how many people is like, Oh, no, I can't go to your leadership class, because you, etc, etc. I'm a project manager, and managers in my title. And so it really takes that helping them see that perspective that you influence people you need to foster trust to get your job done. That's leadership.Patrick Moran:
You know, so I have a question for you. And I think about just a lot of businesses in our area where Kyle and I are located. You've seen so many organizations help so many people? How do you know when you walk into a door in different organizations? How can you tell if it's a people first organization, or more of a process, profitability? First organization, I've always kind of challenged myself to identify it that differentiator, but it's so hard to see sometimes. So and what have you seen out there?Steve Yacovelli:
That's a great question, Patrick. And it's, it's really like, you put on your little Jane Goodall hat, and you're like a social anthropologist going in. And it's really asking the right, she just won an award the other day, so it's fine top of it, but you really start to think about what's the perspective of the employee, you know, when you look, think about talking about diversity, inclusion, really, the big place that the industry is going is creating that sense of belonging. And so for me, I people centered organization is one where any employee I can go to and somehow as some sort of question like you, do you feel you belong here? Do you feel your respect to here? Are you allowed to bring your authentic self to this workplace and actually rock it and roll it and use it? Then Then listen for the answers and then also listen for what's not being said to and it's those types of things that I start to do when we actually go on site with clients. But when we you know, actually start to work with folks, and we may be either don't know the overall corporate culture, or you know, let's face it, even though the corporate based in you know, Germany might say this is how we are, that is regional, you twist and focus on different things if you're larger, and so you know, understanding Okay, we know your corporate values, but other than really the ones being lived within your workplace and you ask these questions, and then of course, listen for the results.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. I love that. It's like, you kind of have to be associated Just a little bit right and, and understand the group norms and all that. I think one of the things that that's, you know, really interesting I want to dive into a little bit is obviously your focus is all about it being inclusive. Right, and your life is all about being inclusive. And your context, I'm assuming potentially could be coming from a place of previously being excluded, and creating an inclusive culture, for yourself and for others that are in the LGBTQ plus community. So So walk me through, how do you approach the organizations that you help, and maybe your personal organization to make sure that you can build a safe space and inclusive culture where everybody can thrive?Steve Yacovelli:
Yeah, and it's so important now more than ever, for a bunch of different reasons. Obviously, the focus on on creating a more inclusive workplace is top of mind, probably since last summer, maybe before. But what I think smart businesses and smart HR people are thinking about is how do I make our business so darn inclusive and create that sense of belonging that when the opposite side of COVID happens, whatever that means, my best talent isn't going to jump ship, because now they can work remotely. And so you know, one of the ways you can do that is you create that sense of belonging for someone that they're like, wow, this is cool. I like being here. I like working here. And I don't want to go anywhere, even though now I can pick up my toys, and virtually go somewhere else, obviously, depending on the job. So I think it's it's really helping organizations see what they're doing to be inclusive, maybe what they're not doing to be as inclusive as they could. And most importantly, you know, I keep getting back to asking the employees, it is sure that one year employee engagement survey is awesome data. However, what else is happening the rest of the year that you can kind of look and see how people are feeling about that you being included in that sense of belonging within the workspace?Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Yeah, we do that in my organization. And we actually added intentionally added a few questions related specifically to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And I was surprised our scores came back really, really, really solid. Like, you know, people felt safe at work. And like, it was really, really exciting to hear. But then I got to thinking about it. I was like, you know, we are a really homogenous organization, by location shirt. Right. And so like, I mean, we're International, so we're all over the place. But when you look at those teams, there's not a ton of diversity on the team. So, you know, I actually kind of my hypothesis is, everybody might feel safe, because they are surrounded by like minded people. Yeah. So yeah. So as you go through those, and as you as you approach, you know, these organizations that maybe have had a little bit of an aha moment over the last year, worried about retention, maybe don't know what they don't know, what's your kind of your base case, when you go into those organizations? Do you start by? Are you asking the employees? Do you take a look at leadership? You know, where do you start?Steve Yacovelli:
Typically, when we come in, it's because someone knew that there was an Disney, we never had a problem, we said area of opportunity. So someone who knew that there's an area of opportunity to be more inclusive, whether that be because someone did a No, no, or someone just had an aha moment, or that senior executive went to some virtual or face to face conference and says, Oh, my gosh, we need to do this, whatever the reason. And so typically, we're brought in because someone needs an intervention, they just don't know what it is. So we'll have those conversations. And side note, it's funny, because I treat every learning project, like a change management project. And I often say to clients, you know, yeah, we're gonna come in and do a one day on site, being a more conscious, inclusive leader, for all your senior folks or whatever, you know, this isn't a silver bullet magic one, you right? And if clients say, No, no, no, this is great. You know, this is a starting point, you need to communication strategy, executive sponsorship strategy, how are you going to measure that any of this is even working? And so we bring it up through that change lens, and that seems to open up the conversation a bit. So while while while, of course, we can go in as consultants, typically, were part of the training intervention as that but we were always very, very stupidly mindful to say, you know, this is not the only channel that you need to have this talk. How is it even being woven in to the next communication that your executives have or your employee engagement survey and, and so we have those conversations to make sure that it really does start to impact the human change, versus just the tick box? Yay, we had a bet gay leadership Dude, come in and do a one day workshop. Whoo, you know, no, that's not how it's gonna change things and, and really make the world that more inclusive for all of us.Kyle Roed:
And now a word from our sponsors. When Molly Patrick and I tried to figure out how to start our own podcast, we didn't know where to start. Thankfully, we found buzzsprout buzzsprout makes it super easy for us to upload our episodes. track our listeners and get listed on all the major podcast networks. Today's a great day to start your own podcast. I know that you're one of our listeners. So you've definitely got something to say. Whether you're looking for a new marketing channel, have a message you want to share with the world or just think it would be fun to have your own talk show. podcasting is an easy, inexpensive and fun way to expand your reach online. buzzsprout is hands down the easiest and best way to launch promote and track your podcast. Your show can be online and listed in all the major podcast directories within minutes of finishing your recording. podcasting isn't that hard when you have the right partner, and the team at buzzsprout is passionate about helping you succeed. Join over 100,000 podcasters already using buzzsprout to get their message out to the world. And now for listeners of rebel HR. You can get a $20 amazon gift card sent to you from buzzsprout by clicking in the link in the shownotes Thanks for listening. Are you looking to grow your personal brand or your business brand? Take it from me that podcasts are a great way to do it. Here's the secret. We all want to feel connected to the brands that we buy from what better way to humanize a brand than through sharing your personal story on a podcast. I have had great success with kit caster kit caster is a podcast booking agency that specializes in developing real human connections through podcast appearances. And let me tell you, it's all about the right human connection. You can expect a completely customized concierge service from their staff of communication experts. kit caster is your secret weapon in podcasting for business, your audience is waiting to hear from you. For a limited time offer listeners to the rebel HR podcast can go to www dot Kitt caster.com backslash rebel to get a special offer for friends of the podcast Rebel on. Absolutely. I think it's so critical. It can't just be a check the box thing, right? We have that gay guy deliver that one training that one time, right like that. That might sound good to the you know, the Board of Directors might be like, okay, check, you know, they're doing something. But this is a journey, right? This is a lifetime of work for any organization. And it's one of those things that even if you think you're inclusive, guess what? Somebody is still not feeling as safe as they possibly could be. That's just that's natural in any organization, in any society that we have to continue to evolve and get better, right? I mean, that's definitely,Steve Yacovelli:
you know, often when we're brought in, there's a lot of people who are voluntold to be in these sessions. And I know it, I mean, my goodness, I've been doing this for a long time, I get to see the body language there. And, and so how we typically start the conversation is not from a This makes the world a better place. Obviously, I believe that personally, but we start with, you know, the opposite side, okay, we're not here to talk about punitive, or this is the law, we'll let our legal friends do that. But we want to get in the middle here and talk about the business case for why inclusivity matters how it's going to lead to organizational success, both individually for you sitting in this room, as well as the rest of the business. And usually when I start there, most of the folks in the room are like, Yeah, I do want my business to be successful. Because that's security. For me. awesome sauce. That's where we start. Cool. And I'll have some of the folks who are just like, but I want to make the world more inclusive for everybody. Fan flippin tastic. Yeah, we can do that. And that's cool. But it's sometimes it's you got to start in that middle. It's where the business and then see where things evolved from the conversation from that point?Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. You've got to find the right burning platform to do something. And from my perspective, I don't really care what that is, as long as there's some progress on the back end. Right? Exactly. My personal motivations are way different to Patrick, you know, for instance, not really, I mean, we both want to make the world a better place. But he's also very business minded. That's fine. Hey, ISteve Yacovelli:
get it. Like, you know, one of the biggest things I pontificate to my clients all the time is measurement, you know, and I mean, I cut my teeth. And you know, in software training, it was easy to see the measurement impact. And side note, it was actually precursor to CRM software training in the financial industry. So like, numbers are my jam. I love it. I mean, I'm a doctor, I'm a nerd, come on, but to talk to a regular HR person, especially a training development person, the desire is there to measure results, but it's like, oh, Kirkpatrick one butts in seats, smile sheets. Yay, they liked it. Cool. Well, what's your business different now? And then like, what? And that's that's the thing that I like to talk about, whether it be about your leadership stuff being inclusive, doesn't matter the topic, if you're not doing a measurement strategy on anything you're spending money on from a learning perspective. You'll never know what your ROI is. And then how do you know if it's a good spend or not? You know, hey, I'm a vendor. I'm like, you're spending money. I'm happy. Yes, that's nice. But I want to make sure that what what me and my team do is effective, and it's making your business in your world better and the only way you can do that is to measure it. You know,Patrick Moran:
I think you really have to also turn it into a cultural conversation as well. And not just have the people that helped drive that culture be your one to two person HR departments, you got to have the right leaders in place to help drive that cultural conversation. Because culture I mean, you could throw, you know, inspiring big letters on the wall and see it when you walk in the front door. That's not Coulter, it's letters on a wall culture is an idea. And you just need to have the right people in place that that will just embrace that as well.Steve Yacovelli:
Absolutely. Change champions are a thing and and if your workplaces not engaging in that type of broader conversation, then you that's that's the starting point, if you will, the other thing I often say is your workplace can't become more consciously inclusive, if you if it's not a feedback rich culture. And so you know, feedback is the only way we hold each other accountable. When behavior changes desire, where I can respectfully say, hey, Kyle, in that meeting the other day, when you said this, here's the impact it had or whatever feedback model you want to play with. And so I'm finding more and more that one of my leading conversations with initial clients, client partners is, you know, tell me about how feedback is done in your world. Like, what do you mean? It's like, okay, someone walks up to you and says, Hey, I have feedback for you. Is your reaction, ooh. Or is it Oh, cool. What is it, that tells me a massive difference in how the concept of feedback is being utilized in your workplace? And that's a big building block for holding accountability for anything from, you know, inclusive leadership to insert whatever conversation here.Kyle Roed:
That's awesome.Patrick Moran:
I have a call out on this. This is that's awesome. I love that you said that. It's how you garnish that feedback. And for everybody on this call. It's not a suggestion box in the break room. That's not what he's talking about.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely correct. actually correct. But I had some awesome suggestions in that suggestion box. Sometimes. Yeah, or so and so's drinking in the parking lots. And then it's like a the War of the suggestion boxes, I've had that before. But to the person that brought that one of the Doritos in the vending machine, I'm sorry, we did our best we just couldn't make. So suggestion boxes, that was the ID, what can someone do? And I'm specifically thinking about that audience member who comes and sits in your training, thinking? This is another one of those bs HR trainings. arms crossed?Patrick Moran:
What Can somebody like that do to be more inclusive? Even if they don't necessarily understand that they need to do that.Steve Yacovelli:
One of the things that I've been super excited about with the movement to distance is, is how mindful people have been for the these conversations about inclusive. So quick, sorry, we took the the eight day on site program that we would do. And you know, because this is my doctorate, gay distance learning, broke it up into four, two hour chunks. And then we use zoom and mural and different ways to really engage. So it's mostly the same type of activities we would do in the virtual in this physical space, but we do in the virtual. But what's been the fantastic difference is, people are my one friend use the term noodling, people will be noodling on the topics afterwards. And even people I didn't expect. And I think that's been the most interesting part about this density delivery, specifically through having a conversation about inclusivity. Because here, we get into topics like What does privilege or advantage mean? What is the concept of equity versus equality? What are your first impressions doing and to your actions, thoughts and behavior, when you're meeting that new candidate, or even that new boss, or whatever it looks like. And so what's been cool is almost that break in thinking has been a selling point in of itself. For people, I'm seeing a lot less resistors to the concepts because some people just like, Oh, it's one day, I can get over this, you know, there's a lunch break in the middle, that's cool. We're now you know, because we haven't for a month, but it's only two hours once a week, at but there's they can't stop not thinking about it, where if I do the firehose approach to the data in one day, it's just like, so much. It's like, just like most adult learners, they don't, they don't process all of that. But because we're doing these, you know, I like to say like learning topics are bite sized nuggets, that we're really seeing a different cognitive approach to help people even the resistors are enjoying or at least thinking about it, and you can tell by the recap on the next week, because the questions that come in, it's like, you've been thinking about this, haven't you? And that just, you know, that makes my little learning part very happy.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, that's an interesting observation. I hadn't really thought about that. But yeah, you know, pretty virtual learning. It was kind of like, Oh, great. I got to drag myself to some workshop and you know, maybe I'm traveling and I'm, and then I'm sitting in the I'm sitting in the training and I'm just going okay, when is happy hour at the hotel and Okay, which one of these people my avoiding and which one of them Am I going to try to hang out with and, okay, yeah. So, yeah, you can be a little bit more present which is weird. Is that sounds, I guess?Steve Yacovelli:
Yeah. And what I also liked is for some of our clients who would try to take more of the, and this makes sense from a cost savings perspective, but more of a regional approach, you know, oh, Steve, you or your trainers go up to, you know, Appleton, Wisconsin to that one site and just work with those folks. Now go to Toronto and do it at one site, there were now it's just like open enrollment, anybody can come, here's the time zones. And now we're seeing even amongst themselves in the business. They're working with people in these small groups, they never have met, nor would they have had that opportunity. And I'm like, yeah, this is the other bonus of it, that not only just saving money, but you're allowing your large organization to network internally. And that's just going to benefit you down the road while you foster these different relationships within your own leadership team.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely, I want to circle back to some something you mentioned, because I think it's really critical. And it's, for me, this is one of my favorite things about HR and focusing on like people and leadership and is there's so many intertwined things. And one of those that you mentioned is, you know, somebody's reaction to feedback, which we've had a couple guests on here talking about psychological safety. And that one of those measurements of somebody feeling truly psychologically safe in the workplace is the comfort with feedback, and the ability to realize, Oh, this feedback doesn't mean I'm a bad person, it doesn't mean I'm, I'm gonna get fired. It's just That's all it is. It's just feedback. And I, you know, I respond to it in whatever, you know, way I can. But in a truly inclusive environment, it's safer for more people to hear that feedback without having, you know, significant fear of their job. So as you have been doing some of this work, and, you know, seeing some of these, what would I call them that you don't like these like is similar competencies in leaders? What are they doing, to really make people feel safe in these disruptive times, and truly able to respond appropriately to feedback and ultimately be effective?Steve Yacovelli:
I think one of the bigger, it's funny, obviously, one of the bigger things that leaders can do, it's actually the smaller things that send a big message. speaking through the career lens, first, you putting your pronouns in your signature line, people are like, why am I to do that? And like, because, yes, what you're doing is you're normalizing the concept of pronouns, you're allowing for interpretation for people to identify their own pronouns, much like I identify my name. But most importantly, whether you note or not, you've sent a big shiny red or pink flag that I'm trying to be as inclusive as I can. Here's that, you know, you see it in zoom as well. But inclusive leaders are quickly updating their name to say, you know, Dr. c, iacobelli, bracket he him. And again, that's just a signal or marker to those others of us who are like, ooh, Kyle, you have your pronouns there, oh, you're a safe person that makes me feel better. Or some physical workplaces, we'll do like a, you know, an ally or Safe Zone program, it will stick around the office wall. Those things may seem tiny, but for some of us, others, those are massive. And it can be bigger, small things. Sure. The Let's celebrate blank month is nice. But what do you do? And I say blank month, whether it's Pride Month, whether it's Black History Month, whether whatever, it doesn't matter. But what are you doing the other 11 months of the year, when that month is done? I just I saw a meme. Just the other day. I don't know if you've seen or a big Lego fan. But he came up with this like little rainbow Lego set that just like premiered a couple of weeks ago. And it seems like everybody on LinkedIn has theirs. Well, someone posted one where it's like, it says you June and has little rainbow one. And then it says July 1, and it has their little little Lego stormtroopers. And they've painted half of it gray, a little rainbow, because and it's you know, that speaks volumes. Because Yeah, you do have some of these workplaces that you know, they D rainbow the logo come July 1, and Okay, that's fine. I mean, you don't want rainbows going all year? Well, I do but not everybody does. But But what else is still happening? What are those other signals? does all of a sudden, the pronouns disappear July 1, or are those policies still not being talked about, on how inclusive they are. And I think that's where leaders have a fantastic opportunity to, and I'm broadening this beyond the queer community, just be mindful of the others that are out there and always ask those questions. You know, what perspective is not being shared here? That's not the majority. Whether that be you know, policies, whether it be decisions being made, whether it be processes, whatever.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, it's powerful. It's interesting. So so I don't have the pronouns on LinkedIn. And I'm thinking I probably need those. First of all, because I, I consider myself an ally, but to your comment, you know, it's the little things and I don't have that little thing done. So I'm gonna go do that. I'm gonna write that. But I think one of the other big blind spots for people like me, I'm gonna speak about myself personally. Here. So my brother's gay, and he came out, I don't know, 15 years ago or something like that. And I've always considered myself an ally and inclusive, you know, that's just kind of who I've always considered myself to be. But he didn't tell me. He didn't come out to me. And he didn't come out to my fiance at the time. My, my current wife, and I asked him why. And the truth is he Well, first of all, I didn't think was a big deal, or really anybody's business. What did you have to come out of straight? Why do I have to come out as gay to you? You know, it's, um, okay. Well, that's fair. But you know, I think the undercurrent there, and he didn't come out and say this, but i is i didn't make it safe for him to come out to me. One way or another, whether it was, you know, making a gay joke when I was in high school, and he overheard it or my actions. I don't know what it is. But for whatever reason, he wasn't comfortable yet. So I think for me, that's one of those blind spots. That was one of those aha moments that wow, I'm probably not doing enough. Even though internally, I feel like I am, you know what I mean? So I think it's like, kind of, you know, just even being aware of that. So important?Steve Yacovelli:
Well, I think a couple things come to mind with that. One is, you may be making that statement. In this visit, any leader can do this to say, I'm working on myself to be more inclusive, I need you to inspect to that feedback. Again, I'm asking you, I'm open up, if you see something that isn't as inclusive as it could be, regardless of what kind of topic or demographic or area, please let me know, because I only know what I know. And just even as a leader saying that can go extremely far to open up those dialogues in those conversations. And I also think, too, you know, I love that we're talking more and more about neuro diversity as another facet of looking at the differences that make us all awesome, unique individuals. And I liken the concept of neuro diversity to being LGBTQ blue, because for the most part, and this is a gross generalization, I'll tell you, I own up to that. But members of both of those classes, those groups, those others, you have to disclose your status. And so some people choose to like, you know, I did first time I mean, I've been gay, so to speak, quote, unquote, knew my authentic self, for now, it's been 25 years, 24 years to five years. I know. So I figured it out later in life to in my mid 20s. But now I've lived longer more as an authentic gay man than I was as a quote unquote, straight man. So it's like, that's kind of cool, nice milestone. But you know, I chose the schools that your brother, maybe he didn't, I know people very close to me who are dyslexic who never disclose that. And they just kind of struggle and muddle through that from that neuro diversity perspective. And that's fine. But what we can do is create those spaces where people can say, you know what, hey, Patrick, I want to tell you, I'm dyslexic. So sometimes it takes me longer to do dot dot, dot, fan flippin tastic. Now we know we can adjust. But it's until someone feels safe enough to say that or do that, and make them in that vulnerable state. And really, any of us others are putting ourselves out there in a virtual state, natural hierarchy of needs all that fun stuff, we, as the majority group, have to make that space as, as safe and respectful as we can and more now back to the concept of belonging. AndPatrick Moran:
absolutely. So how do you do that in a workplace? You know, you want to be self aware, you want to incorporate that. But writing that line of confidentiality, how do you try to create that? In a culture that doesn't traditionally? Not welcome? They're just not aware of it? Does that make sense?Steve Yacovelli:
Yeah, and I think it's those little things. Like, you know, we talked about the pronouns and all that good stuff. You look at your policies, what what do your policies say about gay couples, or same sex couples wanting to adopt our work straight couples wanting to adopt? Doesn't matter? Are there things there that will allow them to be like, Oh, I, you see me or you see my potential situation? Your health benefits, inclusive of non binary and trans folks? Yep. That could be another thing. Are some of your, your publications, your your digital presence? Are they open to people with differing abilities? Obviously, there's ADA compliance, but what do you do beyond that?Patrick Moran:
That was a good call out women talking about, you know, just it's all the little subtle things that you can do. And it got me to think, you know, okay, let's look at, you know, you do the pronouns, you, you're showing somebody that you're trying, right, you know, when you have something built into your coverage under your medical coverage about allowing two gay people adopt, maybe you have that and it's like, Okay, cool. We're good with that word, inclusive employer, but how do our employees know we have that? So those are the types of things we got to learn to, to call out, just so people know, like, it may not be relevant for 90 some percent of you but at least we're putting it out there. So you know, it's there. You know, we do it for mental health, why can't we do it for anything else? And that's kind of where we missed the mark.Steve Yacovelli:
Yeah, you know, and I think too, it's it's leveraging you to help guidelines are things like the Human Rights Campaign. HRC has The corporate Equality Index, if you're not familiar, it's where you know, if you want to get 100%, here's the list of things you should do in order to be more welcoming to the queer folks. And there's a lot of other groups do exactly that type of stuff. So if you're, you're thinking, Well, where do we start? Find one of those lists and start looking at it. You didn't have to apply yet. But just start, like think like looking at what you do against that benchmark. To see how close could you are you? And then that gives you a good starting point to play around with?Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Well, we are steadily coming up on time here want to be respectful. It's been an absolutely wonderful conversation. I'm sure we could probably keep going for another hour or three. But we're gonna shift gears and we're gonna go into the rebel HR flash round. Yes. All right. Question number one, what is your favorite people book?Steve Yacovelli:
Well, I'm insanely overtly bias with pride leadership strategies for the LGBTQ leader to be the king or queen of their jungle. But that one aside, I was able to read the excerpts from a new book that's coming out which, again, it may be appropriate to find another perspective, quote, unquote, around other but it's called the real lives of transgender and non binary humans. It's like an anthology. It's personal people's stories about their trans and non binary experience. And so if you want to understand a little bit more about that perspective, that's probably a good one to start.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Question number two, Who should we be listening to?Steve Yacovelli:
Well, you guys, of course, would be my first. But there's, there's a lot of really great, totally, unsolicited, that's why now, I tend to veer toward I love listening to podcasts is why I love to be a guest on podcast, entrepreneurial stuff is really awesome, because I'm not sure. But from the diversity, HR kind of focus, Jennifer Brown, who's one of my friends, the will to change. Her podcast is really interesting. I've really enjoyed playing around with diversity beyond the checkbox, I have the pleasure of being guests on there. And so I was like, consuming and same with you guys, y'all, I kind of consume a bunch before I'm on because I think that's a smart way to do it. And then the ones that really stick are the ones that I keep listening to, I added to my little cue for my workouts or whatever. And then the third one that I really, really have enjoyed is choosing clusion podcast that what how did they phrase themselves, they're the three hosts all represent different facets of diversity. And I'll let them share their opening line because it's hysterical, but it's just beautiful way they they kind of approach the conversation from three different perspectives. It's pretty cool.Kyle Roed:
Awesome. Sounds good. And last question, how can our listeners connect with you?Steve Yacovelli:
The best way is to head over to the top dog, main dog house, if you will, top dog learning.bi z. There, you can find more information about me and my team about our books. And we're actually doing a free plus shipping offer right now. So if you go to the website, you'll see a little banner up there that says you are here for the free book, US addresses only unfortunately, but you can find all sorts of cool, fun stuff free and not to free on top dog learning. That isKyle Roed:
awesome. So thank you so much again, Dr. Steve iacobelli, the gay leadership dude, he has a book out we'll have a link to the book pride leadership strategies for the LGBTQ plus leader to be the king or queen of their jungle. And we haven't mentioned this one. I really wanted to dig into this one but also author of overcoming poopy learning how to effectively evaluate he I just love the title, but I love it.Steve Yacovelli:
Well, I mean, who does it? I mean, you know, it's funny cuz that humor really wove itself into price leadership to maybe not the bathroom jokes, but it's Yeah, and I and side note that's based on my doctoral research. So there's kind of that it's kind of interesting.Kyle Roed:
There you go. You just classing it up a little bit. I like it. Right, like, exactly. Well, thank you so much. It's absolutely wonderful meeting you here and great content, a lot of takeaways from this and check out all that content. There's a lot more out there. So thank you very much. Thank you. 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 have. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe