Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 58: Success Factors with Dr. Ruth Gotian

August 17, 2021 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 58: Success Factors with Dr. Ruth Gotian
Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle Roed and Ruth Gotian in a great discussion regarding how to be successful. 

Dr. Ruth Gotian is the Chief Learning Officer and Assistant Professor of Education in Anesthesiology and former Assistant Dean of Mentoring and Executive Director of the Mentoring Academy at Weill Cornell Medicine. She has been hailed by the journal Nature and Columbia University as an expert in mentoring and leadership development and is currently a contributor to Forbes and Psychology Today where she writes about ‘optimizing success’. She also has a weekly show and podcast by the same name where she gathers high achievers to talk about their journey to success. In 2021, she was one of 30 people worldwide to be named to the Thinkers50 Radar List, dubbed the Oscars of management thinking and is a semi-finalist for the Forbes 50 Over 50 list.

During her extensive career, she has personally coached and mentored thousands of people ranging from undergraduates to faculty members.  As Assistant Dean for Mentoring she oversaw the success of nearly 1,800 faculty members at Weill Cornell Medicine. Currently, she researches the most successful people of our generation, including Nobel laureates, astronauts, CEOs and Olympic champions, in order to learn about their habits and practices so that we may optimize our own success.

Dr. Gotian received her B.S. and M.S. in Business Management from the University at Stony Brook in New York and certificates in Executive Leadership and Managing for Execution from Cornell University. She earned her doctorate at Teachers College Columbia University where she studied Adult Learning and Leadership and focused her research on optimizing success.​

Dr. Gotian publishes on topics ranging from networking, mentoring, leadership development and optimizing success and has given keynote talks on these themes all over the globe. She regularly publishes in such journals as Nature, Scientific American, Academic Medicine, Psychology Today, Forbes and Harvard Business Review. She is the co-editor of a book on medical education, won numerous mentoring awards and is the author of The Success Factor – Developing the Mindset and Skillset for Peak Performance.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rgotian/
@RuthGotian
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTG7Bo7f5QZ3aaxOxAX5_3Q

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Dr. Ruth Gotian:

their mindset is that they are consuming new knowledge. They're always open to new knowledge. They know that they don't have all the answers. They don't know everything. And they have this desire this thirst to always learn new things.

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. Rebel on HR rebels. All right, Rebel HR listeners. I'm extremely excited to have our guest on today Dr. Ruth gotan. Ruth is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology, and former assistant dean of mentorian and executive director of the mentorian Academy at Weill Cornell. Medicine. She's got a number of really exceptional accomplishments behind her name, I won't even have time to read them. But one of them I thought was really interesting is in 2021, she was one of 30 people worldwide to be named to the thinker's 50 radar list, which is basically the Oscars of management thinking. So welcome to the podcast. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. You know, one of my favorite things about this podcast is just getting connected to people that I would not normally get connected to. And one of our recent guests, Mark Hirschberg connected the two of us and just very thankful for that. Really excited for the conversation today. Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

I'm excited. And this is one of the blessings of COVID is that people who ordinarily would never have met get the chance to do so. Right. Mark's an engineer, I'm an educator, and here we are perfect talking to an HR person.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I love it. And it's one of those things like, I feel like the world is in all the craziness, it also got a lot smaller, and we found new ways to be more connected with each other, because we didn't have any other choices. really fascinating. Yes. Well, the topic today, I think is going to be really fascinating for a number of HR people. And we were talking briefly before I hit record about the challenge of recruiting and retaining high achievers. And that is really where a lot of your work has been. So why don't we maybe step back and help our listeners understand, you know, what work have you done to research high achievers.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

So I'm obsessed with success. And it really started I have been working around high achievers, my entire professional life, it started in finance. Then I moved into academia, I ran an MD Ph. D program for 22 years with the students got the two degrees, I couldn't go to lunch in a faculty cafe without sitting next to several Nobel laureates. At the age of 43, I decided to go back to school while working full time to get my doctorate. And I actually focused on high achievers, specifically the most successful physician scientists of our generation. And from there, I have just taking that whole idea and it has exploded. So in addition to Nobel laureates, I have studied astronauts, and Olympic champions, and fortune 500 CEOs, and high level government officials, and people of that caliber to figure out what has made them so successful. Because I realized when I studied physician scientists and Nobel laureates, there were four elements that they all did. And then I was curious after I finished my doctorate, if those same four things would be found in other high achievers, and that's when I started looking at the astronauts and the Olympians, etc. And guess what, they all did the same for things. And that's when I realized that if an astronaut is like an Olympian, then that means that these are learnable skills. And if they're learnable skills, we need to make them teachable skills. So I had interviewed all of these people, the book is coming out with their stories in January, called the success factor. And I reverse engineer their path to success. So I reversed engineered how they got to those four elements. And those are now the things that I teach to people because I don't think anybody wakes up in the morning saying, I think I want to be average today. I truly believe that people want to achieve more, and so many have the potential, but they have no idea how to do it. And sadly, no one knows how to pull this out of people because people are working out of their own experience. So using my doctorate in Adult Learning and Leadership and all of these years of research and interviewing Every one from Nobel Prize winners to Olympic champions, I was able to reverse engineer this and teach it and I'm obsessed with success.

Kyle Roed:

That's really fascinating. When you mentioned there's a book coming out next year, it's coming out in January, it's called the success factor. All right, perfect. I'm gonna definitely put a plug out there and make sure that that comes out here, there's gonna be a lot of names that you recognize in that book. Cool. Let's see. That's so fascinating. I think one of the things that I love learning about as well is, tell me about the winners, like, tell me about the people? What did they do? How did they do it? Reading a couple different books right now on the profiles of successful investors, and business people. And I mean, there's just so much to learn from that. So walk me through kind of your thesis. How did you kind of figure out okay, wow, there's these four, common correlations, what you How did you work through that that's, it sounds fascinating, but really complex.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

It's a lot of research, a ton of research a ton of interviews with very, very, very big people. And I had to basically peel the onion one layer at a time. And I would say to them, I am not interested in what I can Google about you, right? These are all people with their own Wikipedia pages. I am not interested in what I can Google about you. That's a tip of the iceberg. I am interested in everything that's below the waterline that took you to get to that point. So I said, Go back as far back as you want to tell me your story. And I let them talk. And every so often, I would ask a question, but they did most of the talking. And then what we do, when we do qualitative research, we actually code the interviews, and then these themes emerge. And that's when I noticed these four things. And it doesn't matter if you are an astronaut, or if you are an Olympian, or if you're the former head of the Security and Exchange Commission, the same four things kept coming up over and over and over again. And they're not habits because you cannot copy somebody else's habits. If I'm a morning person, and you're not, you're not going to wake up at four o'clock in the morning, and you're just not. So copying somebody else's habits is really not the way to do it. But what we can do is we can emulate the mindsets. But first, we have to identify what those mindsets are. We have to teach it to people. But here's here's the tricky part. Because it's mindsets, let's say I'm the Olympic champion. If it worked for me, it may not work for you the exact specific way that I did it. So adults, we like options. And we like things that we can implement immediately. So when I teach these things, I try to give them different ways that they can implement it. Because what we need to do as adults, we need to realize that we are going through transitions all the time. And what worked for me a year ago may not work for me today, I may not be interested in the same thing. So there's a way that you can look back and reevaluate and pivot and modify and reframe, based on where you are at that moment. So success is a moving target, and you need to be able to move with it and have those core competencies to be able to do that.

Kyle Roed:

Interesting, so I loved how you put it there. It's not about habit. It's about mindset. So I think you touched on this a little bit. But you know, mindset is such a that's a very broad term. And you know, everybody's everybody's wired a little bit differently. But you still found four common traits, or mindsets within the successful individual. Yes.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

So there's four mindsets, and the thing that everyone has to remember is that you cannot pick and choose which ones you do, you must do all four simultaneously. So here are the four. The first is you need to be intrinsically motivated, intrinsically motivated means you do it. Because there's this burning question inside of you. You're good at it. But you're also passionate about it, you'd love to do this, you would do it for free, if you could. This is different from extrinsic motivation, which is for the diploma, the award, the recognition, someone else's judgment of you. If that's the only reason that you're doing it, you're going to fail out a burnout. But if you do it intrinsically, even when you have a tough day, a tough week, a tough month, that fire is still going to be burning, it will not be extinguished, because this is why you were put on this earth. This is what you're intrinsically motivated to do. And as I said, you would probably do it for free if you could I tell people, astronauts or government workers who are making so much money, right, they're certainly not doing it for the paycheck. So you have to figure out what it is that you are so passionate just because you're good at it doesn't mean you are passionate about it to set things, and they actually take people through a passion audit to figure out what it is that you are so passionate about good at passionate about would want to do for free if you could. And your listeners can actually download that for free at Ruth go tn.com slash passion audit, and it takes you right through that passion audit. Now the second mindset is the work ethic, the perseverance, the tenacity, the grit, you get into the state of flow, so that even when you are working on something, and you have a child, and you never question, if you will overcome that challenge, because you know that you will. So that's not a question for you. Instead, you focus on how to overcome that challenge, how you're going to get over it through it around it, when you stop whining about it, and wondering, Oh, poor me, and start shifting the way you're thinking to what's my plan? What's my strategy? How am I going to overcome it, you are now in control. Because high achievers control what they can control. They can't control the bad things that happen. But they can control what they're going to do about it and how they respond to it. So that's the second one. The third one is a very strong foundation, which they're constantly reinforcing. So we have all heard the stories of the late Kobe Bryant, who was at the gym, before sunrise, doing those basic drills. Well, guess what, those are the same drills you see in any Junior High gym. And the reason he was doing it, that's why he was so great. High achievers do not rest on their laurels. The scientists, they're still designing experiments, they are still writing grants, all of them are still doing their basic drills, the athletes are doing the same basic drills that they did in their backyards, as little kids. That's where it starts. Now the last one, everyone's heard the stories of Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett and Bill Gates that they read five to eight hours a day. Now for those of us who don't have five to eight hours a day, we cannot copy that habit, right. But that's not what it's about. It's not that they're reading five to eight hours a day. That's their habit. their mindset is that they are consuming new knowledge. They're always open to new knowledge. They know that they don't have all the answers, they don't know everything. And they have this, this desire this thirst to always learn new things. Now, they do it by reading. But remember I said adults like options, that doesn't have to work for you. You can read books, you can also read newspapers, you can read blogs, you can read articles, you can listen to podcasts, you can listen on clubhouse, you can watch videos on YouTube. And you can also talk to people to learn something. Now, all of the high achievers have mentors and not just one mentor, they have a team of mentors. So this is what is so important because 76% of people actually understand the need for a mentor. Right those who have mentors outperform and out are and those who do not, they have lower cases of burnout, they get promoted more often, and they're happier in their career. So 76%, two thirds of the people understand why you should have a mentor. But only 37% actually have one and only a third half one, even though two thirds of the people understand they should have won all the high achievers surround themselves with people who can give them perspective and give them ideas and give them ways to improve what they're doing. Michael Phelps, the most competitive and decorated Olympian of all time, has a team of coaches around him. So if the most decorated Olympian has one, why do we think we don't need one? Right? So we need to surround ourselves with mentors, and not just from our own industry, but from all of the other industries that we can because maybe we didn't solve the problem in our industry, and it was solved in another one.

Kyle Roed:

All right. All right. hope everybody's taking notes. Because a lot. Yeah, that's fascinating. And so, you know, I go back to that, and I think about you know, it makes perfect sense. And as I reflect on, like, reflect on the high achievers within my organization, you know, I mean, that's as an HR professional, we should, we should understand who those people are. I don't know that I've ever really thought about, okay, what are the common characteristics of each of these high achievers, I think, I think a lot of us in our field kind of have a, a general intuition about the high achievers or there's there's a there's a certain type of fit with those individuals and you just kind of know it when you see it. But it's really, it's really helpful to have it articulated in that point, because now I'm shifting to Okay. That makes perfect sense. And it's, it makes sense within my head that those are the individuals that are that are the higher achievers. Now, now, to make the other point you just made. Now what do I do with this? And how do I how do I take this information and do something within my role? And so I think, for your research, obviously, you had you took exceptional people that had exceptional results. I think what, you know, some of the things that we're trying to do is okay, how do I find these people, and bring them into my organization and kind of measure them against these traits of high achievers? Because obviously, we want everybody to be a high achiever. Right? So how would you go about screening for achievement, or the word you used early potential of being high achiever,

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

right, what we call hypose, high potential. Yeah, so these are the people who are curious. And these are the people who will not let go of a problem. They're like a dog with a bone, they need to find the answer, they're not letting it go, they are not dropping their pen at five o'clock, because the day has ended, they are able to get into what's called a flow state. The flow state is when you don't realize that time is passing, you are so focused on what it is that you're doing, Nothing hurts, you don't even need to go to the bathroom, you don't need to get up and stretch, you are so focused on what you are doing. And they will go down these rabbit holes to figure it out. And they will ask questions, and they will admit when they don't know something, that's the key that you want to grab these people because these are the high performers. Now you give them a project, right, and try to give them stretch assignments a little bit, not so much that they're drowning, but enough that they can learn something, and you give them some sort of framework that they can work within. And then you leave them alone, you leave them alone, because if you're going to be breathing down their back, they're going to walk out the door, and you want to hold on to these high performers, because high performers function at 400% more productivity than your average employee. Now, what happens in most organizations is there the high performers, they're doing a great job, we don't need to supervise them, so we leave them alone. And most organizations, when you give the performance appraisals, if you have an average score or above, you're fine, you're below the radar, you're fine, nobody's gonna bother you. If you're below the average below the baseline that they're looking for, and you get corrective action plans, then you have milestones that you need to hit, then you have regular meetings with the supervisor, we've got a plan for you if you are a low achiever. But if you're a high achiever, we've got nothing. We've got nothing. And as a result, those high achievers are walking out the door. Because once they're identified, what an organization needs to do is say, we've got our eye on you. There's something special about you, what is it that you want to do? How can we help you get there, you'd be surprised at what they want to do. And you'd be surprised at what you can do to help get them there. Obviously, you need to pay them a competitive salary. But for high achievers, remember, it's the intrinsic motivation. It's not about these external factors. So obviously, they don't want to be paid less than they're worth. But they want that flexibility. They want to be able to go in these different directions with their work to show and be curious. That's what they want to do. So maybe they want to take some courses and you give them some money for some courses, for example, maybe they want to be able to have regular conversations with someone in the organization who they have heard of, but don't necessarily know. But they want to be able to just be curious with that person. Maybe the organization can arrange those meetings. So it's sometimes it's those little things. And you just need to ask, Where do you want to go? What can we do to help you get there? Because people want to hold on to those high achievers And trust me, people want to mentor high achievers. That's why most Nobel laureates are actually trained by other Nobel laureates. They recognize that diamond in the rough and they help bring it to shine.

Kyle Roed:

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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 casters, your secret weapon in podcasting for business, your audience is waiting to hear from you. For a limited time offer listeners to the revel HR podcast can go to www.kaster.com backslash rebel to get a special offer for friends of the podcast revelon. That's so right and wrong at the same time. But how much time and energy and attention do we spend trying to correct behavior? Or, you know, fix someone's attitude? Or you know, things? I mean, it's and it's so time consuming for someone in my seat to try to do that. Especially if they don't have one of those fortunate? It's I mean, you can't make someone be motivated to do what you need them to do. You really can't. I mean, I know I'm sure you could. There's people that would argue you can motivate people through rewards and recognition. And so, but that's extrinsic motivation. Exactly. Yeah. I think that for me, I like putting the puzzles together in my head right now. It's the instrument extrinsic piece, not the intrinsic piece. And, yeah, when you find those people that, you know, yes, they need to be able to survive, they want to be paid fairly, but they're in it to win it, for whatever, exactly it right like that. Those are the people I like working with those people, and you know, what, there are a whole lot more fun to manage, because you don't really have to manage, you just have to, you just have to be supportive. And yes, and let them go do what they're gonna do. Right. That's and they will sign? Absolutely, they will sign you know, it's, it's fascinating, as you were walking through that I was reflecting on, you know, my working with my personal team in the past, and currently, you know, it's my preferences. I don't like to micromanage. You know, I prefer to hire great people, and then get out of their way, you know, that's kind of that's just kind of my management style. And that works really well for certain people. And I have had people who have just absolutely thrive under that style. And I have people who really, really have struggled with that style. And it's been, it's been one of the more challenging things for me, as I've developed as a leader and I, I don't consider myself an expert, I kind of consider myself a perpetual student, as it relates to leadership mindset. Number four, yeah. Good. Well, I'm not you know, I'm really good at admitting, I don't know, things. That's one of the that's one of the reasons I can ask all these questions on this podcast. Because, you know, I'm just curious, and I don't know, what do you think? But I do think that it's the tactic that you mentioned about, you know, asking someone's goals. And even just, it's so those individuals that have struggled under my, you know, kind of my leadership style, just having an open conversation about what are your goals? What do you want to do? What do you need from me? You know, that has been one of the most helpful tactics that I've used, in general just to open up dialogue and just understand your team more. But that's also really hard. And that that takes a lot of time and energy and it's it's really easy to lose sight that really everybody needs that not just not just people you're struggling to lead or who are struggling with you, or received a 2.6 instead of a 3.1 on a performance eval score that's completely arbitrary and subjective, right. That's another podcast. We don't have time to start talking about for strings and all that stuff. But But I digress. I think that points really well really well taken. As we work through some of these paradigms within organizations, I want to circle back to this 400%. productivity. Because I don't care if you're, I don't care if you're an HR, or you're the CFO, that's a really big number. And, you know, just to even wrap our heads around it. So the next statistic that goes to my head is like that is the the number of people who are actively disengaged at work being in the double digits. So then my head goes to Okay, so is the thesis that organizations have a certain percentage of high achievers and a certain percentage of actively disengaged employees. And they're like in this constant conflict. And thankfully, the high achievers are pulling us pulling the entire team through the through the finish line is that kind of what you found in your research as it relates to organizational structures and development.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

This is actually why I picked this topic. Because when I was running an MD PhD program, which is funded by the government, you know, our tax dollars, the National Institutes of Health, all of the government's attention and focus and decades of meetings that I have attended, was about what we call the leaky pipeline, people who were leaving the profession. And they were focused on that. And we have programs for that. And we had lectures for that. And we had studies on that. We have tons of data on that. And I kept saying, but what about the people on the other end of the spectrum? Those who are so good, that their productivity wipes out? All the low achievers? Well, nobody gave them a second glance. That's the problem. And those are the ones walking out the door. Because it's the people who are the lower achievers who are disengaged, we're getting the attention, right? We have programs, how do we engage more people? For programs? Do we have to build more high achievers? What are we doing for them? Absolutely. Right. So imagine if we could pour some resources into those people, what it is that they could bring to the organization? Now remember, I said high achievers hang around with other high achievers? How do you think I got to meet all of these people? Everyone recommended me to somebody else? I needed to know one astronaut, one Olympian one laureate. That was it. Right there. Oh, like,

Kyle Roed:

Oh, yeah, I just had dinner Friday night.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

And it snowballed. That's exactly what happened. So when they start, they want people like them, as well. So they bring in other high achievers into the organization, every organization has a referral program. What do you think high achievers are hanging out with? Right, right there hanging out with other high achievers. And as soon as you can say that this organization has a culture that supports high productivity, they let you do your thing you produce, this is the magical place, they bring in other people. So this is using your own referral program to your advantage.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. You know, I we do play so much focus on turnover, analytics, and you know, and things like, for me, I think about the tool of like an exit interview. So you know, which every organization should be doing so that they can, they can react to what's happening, and you do get some good feedback. But by the time you do an exit interview is too late. Yeah, you can't, I can't help that person. So I love the theory of stay interviews, which is exactly what you described, go to your high achievers, go to people that stick around, and ask them why, you know, and flip the script a little bit as opposed to being so focused on Oh, why is so and so leaving, and a lot of that, to go back to one of the four mindsets, you know, the, a lot of the reason that you'll find in an exit interview is extrinsic, it is something like, you know, it's monetary. You know, it's maybe it's a relocation, maybe it's, maybe it's a, you know, my spouse doesn't want me to travel anymore, what have you, you know, all things that make perfect sense and are explainable. And a lot of times a manager explains it away, and then nothing happens with that data anyways. So but you know, in a, in a state interview, when I've done these in the past, you will find that people will, they can't really tell you why they say other than I just I love it. You know, this is what I think about this is what I want to do I you know, I don't I don't necessarily think about doing anything else. And it's that it's that intrinsic motivation. It's, it's fulfilling for them. That's right to do the work or work with the team that they work with. And you know, we I hear that a lot more. A lot more often as well during a stay interview. Yeah. So it's really that's a really interesting,

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

you know, there's actually research that says you only need to spend 20% of your time doing what it is that you love in order to reduce You're burnout, and to be more satisfied at work. So one of the questions that I take people through on the passion audit is, what are the things that if you could give away, you would still keep your title, you would still keep your salary. But there's something it's depleting you, either you're not good at it, or you don't enjoy doing it, or you need a little break from it. What are those things? They might tell you. And if they tell you, and you can then restructure their job, so that they get to do more of what they like, and maybe they don't want to do budgets anymore. But you know, maybe Sally loves the spreadsheet, and would love nothing more than to sit and look at her Excel spreadsheets. What if she did all the budgets and, and Jane work on something else, right. So here's an opportunity for you to hear how they want to grow, what is weighing them down, that if they didn't have to do that anymore, they could actually produce even more with these state interviews, you're actually giving them an opportunity. And I love that you said that because it's couched in such a way that they will likely tell you, they will likely tell you and you know, when I first did my first passion audit, I realized, I am really good at writing grants. And I am really good at crisis management. And I am the best in the business at operations. And if I never had to do it again, that would be great. I needed a break. Yeah, I may go back to it at some point. But I knew that I needed a break. Because if I was going to solve one more crisis, I was going to be in crisis. So sometimes, even if we're really good at something, it might deplete us of all of our energy. And we need to take a little pause from it. So I say you can take a maternity leave, you can take a little work leave from a certain project. And maybe this is an opportunity for someone else to learn how to do it. So now you can coach someone else on how to do it and mentor somebody else. So it just creates the cycle of you bringing other people up with you. You don't you know, if you're going to be the CEO, and you started as a receptionist, you're not going to be the receptionist when you were the CEO. At some point, you have to give that to someone else and teach someone else how to do that. So this is a great opportunity.

Kyle Roed:

Well, this is a really timely topic because I go on vacation in two days. And so but but this doing this is one of those things that I have intrinsic, you know, desire to do. So this is certainly not depleting. But there's been a couple things today that have been a little bit depleting for me, I'll be perfectly blunt, but we all have them. It's so funny you say that because there's, there's a couple of situations that stick out in my mind. And I laugh because if you talk to anybody in HR, that's been an HR for a little while. Oh, there's things that are really depleting. And there are days when there's a reason that there's so many HR happy hour groups that literally people just like, go to a bar and just like just spill their misery. Yeah, it's just share the misery. Yeah. But it's Yeah. So you know, for me, I remember early, early in my career, one of my roles was, it was like managing the scheduling of the institution. And like centralizing all of that and doing that almost. And when you do stuff like that, guess what, nobody's happy. Everybody's got their request list. And then the managers have their, you know, needs and the people want to work with each other and don't want to work with these people. And it was a very dynamic organization, all sorts of different shifts, and all sorts of part time and full time and above. It was a mess. And for me, I intrinsically derive joy by helping people. And that Job did not help really anybody, except for me to just check a task off the list. Right? And so it was like, yeah, it was absolutely demoralizing to a point that it just became the thing I dread it and, you know, prompted me now. find alternative means to not have to do that.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

But for other people, there's something beautiful about the way things line up.

Kyle Roed:

So yes. Why not let those people 100% 100%. I just had this conversation with someone who's helping me with recruiting. And she is just that's what she loves. She loves coordinating schedules. She loves getting everybody aligned. She loves communicating so that everybody knows exactly what's going on and getting every little detail right. And it's like, you can do that all day long. That is that's I found your passion. Yeah, 100%. Again, I will admit, I don't like that. I don't want to do it and I'm not very good at it and you're probably better than me.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

How great that you figured out what that was? Oh, yeah, right, I tell people name it and claim it, if you know what it is that you love, name it and claim it. If you know what to pleats, you name it and claim it. Because if you can't name it, you're going to be miserable, you're going to be miserable. So you have to figure out what that is. And I think the passion audit is a great way to start.

Kyle Roed:

I love it. And we will definitely have a link to that in our show notes so that somebody can just click right in and get, I'm gonna have to check that out after this conversation, because now I'm just curious, I love these things, you know, it's just an easy one to perfect, perfect. And, you know, I do think that you made a really critical point. And even more critical for somebody in a people leadership or an HR leadership role, is you better know yourself, if you're going to help coach your team, you know, and it's, and I think about it, you know, the example I use it, so I didn't start my career in HR, I started as an as an operations manager in the retail industry. But you know, what I learned managing 50, people with different goals, I learned how to lead. And I learned the struggles that leaders faced on a daily basis. And it made me a whole lot better as a support resource for those individuals, and I had I not had that early experience, I would not be nearly as effective or quite frankly, as trustworthy in the role I'm in. So I think that kind of having that broad experience kind of that foundation that you talked about. And then also being really honest with yourself, about what you're good at what you can help people with and just in being fully transparent with your team, which is really vulnerable and hard sometimes. Yeah. That is where I have seen time and time again, that's what the successful HR people do. is they not only did they are they able to point out, you know, maybe areas that their team need help and need a little bit of tweaking and support and guidance, but they look inwardly at themselves, and then they share that with others. That's the best way to do it. because nobody's perfect, right? We all have room to grow. No, nobody's perfect. And I told

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

you, if the most decorated Olympian has has coaches and people to help them,

Kyle Roed:

why shouldn't we? Yeah, I'm not, you know, the mentor thing is interesting for me. So as you were looking through, you know, kind of the mentor research, was there a typical type of structure there, or was it much more kind of free flowing and just kind of organic, what was there with any things that you would call it there as far as successful worship,

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

this is what I get asked about within organizations a lot, especially within HR. So somebody want to develop these mentoring programs, and all assign you a mentor and so on. But those assignments are based on random facts. Just because we're both from Iowa, does not mean that you will be able to help me or I can help you because I am pretty confident that not everyone from Iowa is exactly the same has the same interests or can mentor the same way. Just like all New Yorkers are not the same, where we both went to the same school. That's another random piece, right? So those don't usually work. Instead, what people need to do organizations need to do is develop ways for people to organically meet each other. And that's both virtually and in person. And that could be facilitated taking the big groups into small groups, right? Definitely organizations can help with that. But the assignments don't usually work out. And what happens with the assignments is that when it doesn't work out, there's no clear out. So it actually creates more harm than good. But if we can create, if it's a workshop, if it's a lecture with a breakout group, if it's people chatting, if there's a webinar, if if there's a happy hour, whatever it is, you can find mentors that way. And then an organization can really help, you know, by either giving funds for giving times for a giving training to both the mentors, how to be effective, and the mentees how to be effective. Most people don't have training in that. So their only experience is their own experience. So I think for mentees, you want to put yourself in a way where you're surrounded by interesting people. And don't ever ask somebody to be your mentor faster. Because the second you ask them to be a mentor, you're asking them to take on another job, or obligation. And I don't know about you, but I'm busy. I don't have time for any more jobs. But if he asked me for my perspective, if he asked me for my thoughts from my ideas for my feedback that I have time for, and if you're good if you're the kind of person that shows that they have that intrinsic motivation, and that perseverance and that work ethic I'm going to love working with you. And we're going to work together quite a bit. I don't need that title of mentor. But when you as the mentee feel that I am serving in that role that the mentee can say, Ruth, I really appreciate the mentorship that you have provided, because I am not a mentor until the mentee calls me one. And that is something that has to be earned. So you have to prove that by showing that you as a mentor can add value. And that's part of the training is how do you add value to a mentee. So that's what it's all about. It's really just putting yourself into these situations where you can meet interesting people, and then ask for guidance along the way. Don't ever ask them to be a mentor. So that's actually one of the Forbes article I wrote is don't ever use the M word. Right. And this is coming from someone who used to be an assistant dean for mentorship, because they won't last.

Kyle Roed:

That's fascinating. And I you know, I think I mean, I'm guilty of it. I think a lot of us are guilty of it. We try to do this forced pairing. You know, it's like, tell me what it worked. Tell me what draft day it's like, let's see, Who should we? Who should we plug? Yeah, well, yeah, they went to the same school, they'll get along. Great. And then by the end of it, you got maybe one, one group of people that are still talking to each other, but they're talking sports scores. And you know, it's not, it's not the vision. I know, I have nothing.

Unknown:

Well, we're

Kyle Roed:

struggling with that right now. I mean, you know, in my organization, we're working on career development and employee development, and we're trying to find ways to find connectedness within our organization and, and foster that. I don't know that we haven't figured out yet. But that's how do we make them organically Connect? You know, I think that that will be an interesting challenge to try to solve. But I've been very, very blessed with with a number of mentors in my life. They don't know it, necessarily. But they've got a really big, really big impact. It was just a few weeks ago, one of them. One of them announced their retirement. He was when I graduated college, he was the first leader at the store that I was training at, I used to work in retail and, and he he was one of those guys that, like he just wanted to sit and listen. And then just soak up everything he said, and everything he said just made perfect sense. And, and he truly cared. And it was fascinating on his LinkedIn post. So I'm sitting here thinking, like, I had this wonderful experience with him as a mentor. And, you know, I typed this long post to him, and thank you so much, I will never forget, one of the things he said was don't major in the minor stuff. And there was there was all sorts of like, you know, love, all sorts of isms that he had. But then there were like, 200 other posts, underneath his announcement from people with basically the exact same experience that I had. And I just thought, you know, I'm like, when I have a retirement announcement, that's what I want to happen. Right. And I think that, you know, to his credit, he embodied exactly what you just described. And he was definitely a high achiever. And he was the best of the best. And it just, it was really, really fascinating. So,

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

you know, if you remember when justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in the fall, and over 100 of her former clerks, flew into Washington, DC and stood information on the steps of the Supreme Court. I saw that picture in the paper and I got chills. And I actually reached out to some of her former clerks. And I interviewed them for an article for Forbes and I said, Why in the middle of a pandemic, because we had a second peak, then would you fly to DC to stand there? And they said, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was the best mentor I ever had. Here's what she taught me. Right. So that was the article was justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Express mentoring advice. But it was because this is the kind of person that has such an impact, that people feel that they need to do that. And that's what it's about. It's about finding a way to make an impact. And that's the advice that my mentor told me when I was starting out my research. And I was trying to figure out what topic to do. And he said to me, do something important, not just interesting. Now, what's fascinating is he never told me what to do. Right? mentors don't tell you what to do. He told me to find something important because if it's important, it will make an impact. Which is fascinating. And when I got to interview Dr. For Tony Fauci, I said, Well, how do you pick the projects that you work on? He said, I look for something important. Because if it's important, it'll have an impact. If it's interesting, it's a hobby. So now I heard this from two huge people. You bet I was gonna do something important. And then I noticed nobody was looking at high achievers. So here we are.

Kyle Roed:

There you go. Man, it's okay. I can't wait for this book to come out. This is right up my alley. Looking forward to it. So wait till you hear how Steve Kerr puts together an NBA team? Yeah, no, this is fun. This is awesome. We could talk for another like two hours here. But I want to be mindful of your time. We're coming up at the end of our time together. So I do want to shift gears, we're gonna go into the rebel HR flash round. All right, here we go. Question number one, what is your favorite people book outside of the one that you're writing.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

So it's actually an autobiography, by General and on what he is called a higher standard. And it's the auto biography of the first female four star general in the United States by President Bush. I think 41 it is fascinating. Her story and the lessons learned. They're absolutely fascinating. Awesome.

Kyle Roed:

Clearly, you have you love learning about exceptional people. I do. And I've read a lot. I read 70 to 100 books a year. So I pick Why can't I can't compete. I have three little kids. I don't have time. I'm definitely in the camp of like, just listen to a podcast when I'm driving someone to, you know, music lessons or something like that in there. Alright, question number two, Who should we be listening to? So do you want to know in terms of podcast or in terms of message? You can answer it however you would like? I've had people answer with bands before.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

Okay. So there's a few people that I think everyone needs to listen to. I think Erica James, who is the Dean of Warren at U Penn, and her friend to her friend who's a mentor, also Lynne Wooten who's the president of Simmons University in Boston. The two of them do crisis management, like nothing I've ever seen in my life. They are superb at it. And I think they're going to come out with a new book soon together. The way they work together and feed off of each other is phenomenal. There is an amazing story of Olympic gold medalist twice in judo, Kayla Harrison, who had such an incredible story that included everything from child sexual abuse to winning two Olympic gold medals. Wow, in judo. This woman is absolutely fascinating. absolutely fascinating. So there are some of them. And then, you know, I can go on for a long time. You know, I have the list in front of me of all the people that are sending me their interview released. There, they're all incredible. They're all Oh, Tom Jones. Tom Jones was a icon on Wall Street. But in 1969, he led an armed takeover of the Student Union at Cornell University. And because he wanted a curriculum for African Americans to be developed, and if you speak to him, you will not be able to make that connection because he just doesn't seem like that person to do an arm takeover. And if you read his autobiography, you'll see that's really not what he was about. So his auto biography from Willard straight to Wall Street is definitely one of my favorites. He's also in the book while this

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that sounds like that. Sounds like a little bit of a disconnect. I got a need to understand the intrinsic motivation there. It was unreal. It's unreal. unbelievable story. Awesome. All right. Last question. How can our listeners connect with you?

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

So many ways. So my website is Ruth go to yahoo.com. And if you want to figure out that passion audit, figure out what it is that you're truly passionate about. It's worth go to Yon comm slash passion audit. All the social media is just my name, Ruth, go tianchi OTIAN. So you can see it on LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram. Every so often you will see me on clubhouse, usually during commuting hours. So lots of ways awesome.

Kyle Roed:

We'll have all that information in the show notes so that people can connect. And there's the book have a title yet.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

The book is called the success factor. And it is coming out in January. The paperback is available for pre sale on Amazon. And I am so excited because it has stories at 61. extreme high achievers, a lot of them with names that you will definitely recognize from the athletic world, from Nobel laureates from, you know, the CEO of the New Jersey Devils to the founder of build a bear workshop, to as I said, astronauts and just incredible, incredible people. Awesome.

Kyle Roed:

Can't wait to pick up a copy. I think you know, really great content today. Really appreciate the work and really making this something that's digestible, and simple enough for someone in my seat to understand. So thank you so much, Ruth, for joining us today and looking forward to read that book when it comes out.

Dr. Ruth Gotian:

Thank you. And if you can't wait till the book comes out, you just read the Forbes articles. Meanwhile, every week I leak out a new one every Tuesday.

Kyle Roed:

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