Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 61: Leadership Training that Works with Tom Tonkin

September 07, 2021 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 1 Episode 61
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 61: Leadership Training that Works with Tom Tonkin
Show Notes Transcript

Tom is an executive in Professional Services and the Software Sales area with over 25 years of business and technology experience. He is currently serving as Senior Principal, Change Management and Transformation, Thought Leadership and Advisory Services.  Tom was the CEO and Co-Founder of the Sales Conservatory, which helped sales leaders increase revenue through sales enablement, efficient, and effective sales processes.

Tom spent a major part of his career at Oracle Corporation, 19 years to be exact.  He was the Senior Director of the Sales Performance Group in Oracle’s Global Sales Academy. He has also served in various leadership roles at Oracle in both Sales and Consulting, across midsize and enterprise customers, in North America and globally.

Tom's industry background includes Healthcare, Insurance, and Telecommunications, with a focus on organizational behaviors.  He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA) and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, with honors, with a focus on Leadership and Management from Regis University (Denver, CO). He have also received multiple business certifications and is a leadership expert.  

Tom is an award-winning researcher and author.

https://www.drtomtonkin.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drtomtonkin/

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Tom Tonkin:

Specifically, when I say neurodiversity, I'm talking about people that are on the autistic spectrum. And that spectrum, you know, is very, very wide, all the way from one side where they're very highly functional to those that have a real hard challenge, both mentally and physically trying to deal with our world. Kyle, you and I would be considered neuro typicals. I'll start by saying that the world around us is a neurotypical world, in a neurotypical world that make the neuro diverse, very, very difficult to deal with.

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're 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. I'm just super pumped up just after the last few minutes pre recording here talking to our guests, Tom Tonkin. Tom is the CEO and founder of the conservatory group. It's an organization that provides high touch services to business executives that want to improve themselves, their team and their environment. He's has a significant amount of experience as an executive in corporate America, and spent a lot of time in a company if anybody uses PeopleSoft that you're all aware of, which is Oracle. pl, which is near and dear to my heart was the first hrs that I ever use. So thanks for bringing me back. Full circle there, Tom. Welcome. Well,

Tom Tonkin:

it's I'm glad you were eight, you let me on your show after that. What was your first nature is?

Kyle Roed:

You know, at the time, I didn't know what I didn't know. So it was great. It's all about your expectations. Yes, sir. Well, extremely excited for the conversation today, we got a lot of topics we want to cover. But before we get into that, I just want to ask you to give us a little bit more detail about the company that you found it and what led you into the world of learning and development.

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, Kyle, thanks a lot for having me. And we've already had a lot of way too much fun before this recording. But what I've done is I've actually harken back to when I was a young teenager, learning how to be a musician. And that's why the term conservatory comes from, right so this idea that can I take the way I learned an instrument in music and apply it to business paradigms and issues. Hence, the conservatory group, which is an umbrella organization for multiple conservatories uses the same kind of model. Specifically, I have something called a sales conservatory where we service sales leaders and represent, you know, sales representatives and things along those lines. I gotta tell you, I don't I don't think myself or yourself or any of your listeners ever said, Boy, you know, when I grow up, I'm going to be an HR professional.

Kyle Roed:

I didn't do that. No, I didn't even know what it was until I got the job.

Tom Tonkin:

I wanted to be a dentist because I thought the gear was kind of cool. But I'm a gear kind of guy. So I you know, I don't know how I got into this space because there's no gear. But what led me to where I am now was really coming to the realization that it really wasn't about the technology. It was really about the people and the behavior and the motivations. And I thought that if you build, you know, the better mousetrap, you know, the better tech, speaking about hrs, or any of these applications, you thought, Well, if you've got the great tool, it all works itself out. But the fact is, it doesn't. And it really is about people, you can have two different tool I'm sorry, the same tool, two different groups. Somebody likes it, somebody hates it, right. So it's really around the behavior. And I've really went down both a professional and academic route, understanding organizational behaviors, and trying to find out what makes people tick, which led me down the sales path leadership path, and obviously the things we were talking about earlier about diversity, equity and inclusion. And then some of the more shall I say, soft skills, an overused term, but I think we all know what that means. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. So okay, so now I know why we get along. Because my first career choice was musician. And then I quickly found out I can't make any money doing this, but I can make a lot of friends. So I used the it's kind of like my career as a derivative of my original career idea. And then I'm an HR now I don't make any friends. But you know, it's

Tom Tonkin:

it's, it's funny, you mentioned it because when I was a musician, I was ended up being a professional musician at one point. That doesn't mean anything, right? That just means that I got $200 you know, for 40 hours worth of work and when I was a band, a lifetime a trained dancer, Huge. But what the realization that I came to was, I thought that if I was a really good musician, I would make it. And that was naive. And I think it continues to be the same paradigm in the business world, if you are the best fill in the blank, will you be successful in that field. And I just I've come to the realization that my ripe old age of blah, blah, blah, that that is not the case. that it requires people understanding that requires rapport building requires all sorts of things and people networking with people and understanding their motivations. And all that is really how you're going to be successful. And so I think I've made a career of helping people understand that and come to that realization.

Kyle Roed:

I love that I love that perspective. And I just think it's so true. And I'm sure everybody listening to this right now can think of those individuals who he looked at me, like, how'd you get here? Frankly, like, like, you're just questioning, like, if there's not that, you know, the capability or the or the competence to do the kind of the bare expectation, but I really do think sometimes it does come down to that ability to win others over and some of those soft skills. So I kind of want to I want to dive into this a little bit. And I know you mentioned this term, so overused, and I, I agree kind of I hear soft skills, and it's just kind of like the you know, it's a buzzword at this point. But I do think that there's something to be learned from the individuals that have them. And that, in my experience, those with soft skills end up in my office a lot less. So it's to every HR professionals benefit to make sure that their team are well educated on things like communication, and getting along with others and showing up on time and having good work ethic and all the all the things that it seems like employers are struggling with at least that I speak to so. So as you approach your learning and development and your and your structure of of learning and development. How do you address some of those things that I think a lot of people consider to be those soft skills?

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, I think the best way to start is sort of put out some tenants or some principles to work around. I came to this realization, maybe I don't know two decades ago, and I, I am a curious person by nature, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. So you take a term like, say soft skills are hard skills. And it's, it's, we'll throw that in there for sure. For comparison's sake. You take a look at these and say, Well, what soft skills are things you do with people hard skills are things you do with things. If that's the case, then the feedback and the output and the results. All should be driven by those things. So for example, hard skills, if I do those with things, I don't know, coding, let's say, then the code should tell you whether or not you did well. The code should give you the feedback, the code should be the thing that helps you learn. If soft skills are things you do with people, then the same as is that is with people, people should tell you whether or not you're successful, people should should help you learn those skills. Another principle I throw out there is I there isn't as hard as some sorry, there isn't a soft skill that I don't think you can learn. I think a lot of people have a limiting belief that a soft skills say, I don't know rapport building trust, you know, some kind of compassion, empathy, are things that you're born with. And that's just not true. Yeah, you're born with something, but you can improve every single one of those things. And that's where I've spent a lot of my time is trying to figure out, how do I teach people or how do I help learn? I don't like the word teacher, I like learning facilitator, it's more outcome based? How can make a better learning facilitator to those that are trying to become seem more compassionate, more empathetic? Absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

So you know, I, I distinctly remember, I had a mindset shift early in my career. And I was always raised to believe, you know, either got it or you don't, right, very similar to the argument around, you know, you're either born a leader or you're not. nature versus nurture, if you will, and, and I think, you know, I've been proven wrong time and time again, when I had a preconceived notion of how somebody's reaction was going to be or how good they were going to be at a certain job. And it turns out, you know, what, I was wrong a lot. Because I was operating from a state of assumption, and I wasn't giving people the benefit of the doubt. And so guess what, that's one of the soft skills I needed to work on. Right? So I think it's really fascinating. The other thing it reminds me of is the old school make versus buy where you either you can either make somebody something or you have to buy it, ie you have to hire it. And you know, and then there you can look at the competencies and how easy it is to develop and how hard it is to develop. So, as you I know, you've done a lot of research in this area, as you've looked at that, do you? Do you buy into that, that there are some things that are easier to teach than others? Or is it to interdependent on the person that you're trying to help?

Tom Tonkin:

No, I don't believe that one thing is easier. The No, I actually think all of it is easy. The problem is we have some strong headwinds in the learning and development world that is making it very difficult. And I'm going to call out, you know, a few technological paradigms. If you take a look at the way online learning, for example, is done today. It is wired 100% for hard skills. It is terrible for soft skills. And I'll I'll dive into a little bit of my academic background, give your listeners something to Google. So when you are trying to teach somebody hard skills, things you do with things, what you want to do is you want to tickle their prefrontal cortex, right? The cognitive aspects of their brain. When you want to teach somebody a soft skill, things you do with people, what you really want to do is tickle their limbic system, right is the emotional flight or flight part of your brain. And yet, if you take a look at the technological paradigms of online learning, or Heck, any kind of learning really, it really is all about cognition. It's the prefrontal cortex, proxy, if you will. And so I don't know about you, but when somebody calls me about learning, the phone doesn't ring and say, Tom, I'm really having a hard time teaching my people how to code Java is just not something that I get, what do I get? communications, leadership, you know, all of the soft skills things. And why is that? Well, because what they've done is they've used a hard skill, prefrontal cortex, cognitive approach, to teach people how to do soft skills. And so what you walk away with is you're like, you guys are idiots. Right? You mean, you don't know anything? You're, you know, I mean, I'm have all of this great technology. And there you have it, Kyle. That's the headwind that I've been talking about. So what I'm trying to do is saying, How can I create a, what I call a technological proxy, to tickle your will, your limbic system so I can help you learn soft skills. And right now, I mean, that's, that's hard. There is technology, and I'm working with some technology people to make that come alive. And again, this is the premise of the conservatory group that I founded, to be able to do those things and those different areas we spoke about earlier. But if you're talking about the crux, the problem, the intersection of the l&d issues, there you have it.

Kyle Roed:

Fascinating, I've never heard it described like that. So and, and thank you for teaching me a new phrase, tickle the limbic system. I'm gonna remember that one.

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, that's, that's a, that's a highly technical term. And so make sure you use it with the great care.

Kyle Roed:

I'm gonna use that on my next executive meeting. Like, guys, I got this great program, it's gonna tickle your limbic system. And hopefully, I don't get a complaint. But I was gonna say, given what your position is, I guess they'd lodge it, they'd launch it with me, but you know, hey. So okay, so limbic system. So you know, for those of us that don't understand the inner workings of the brain, myself included? So when you're talking about the limbic system, what, give me like a, you know, like, what you would tell my nine year old son, what is the limbic system and how, you know, how do we get it engaged?

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, that's, that's where the flight or fright piece of your brain resides, whether or not you're encountered with a T Rex. And you've tried to figure out whether or not you can run away from them, or you can take them on. And it's emotionally charged. Got it. Where the prefrontal cortex is where we keep all of our knowledge and our judgment of that knowledge, where we can put things like you know, what's good, what's bad in the perspective. And there are actually no different parts of the brain let me located in different parts of the brain. And so there are different ways to access it. so forth. When you're doing hard skills, all of the logical ways of connecting the content, such as listening to a lecture, or reading a book, or listening to a podcast, these all really charmed them their ways into your prefrontal cortex and you know, and fill you with knowledge and abilities. However, those are not the ways into your limbic system, you can't read something and make it make your limbic system come alive, you have to feel it, you have to experience it. And so when you start looking at learning, right, you know, your listeners will pick up on this pretty quickly. I mean, the idea here is that if I want to learn something, it's certainly a lot easier for me to do it. Especially if I'm, you know, if I'm sitting in front of you having a conversation like we are now, and engaging with you and trying to be social, and maybe getting cues from your facial expressions, or your tonality to teach me a little bit about what you're thinking, right? All of these expressions, and these entry points are all going into your limbic system. So if I want to teach you something, that's the avenue, that's the vehicle, that's the roadway, whatever you want to call it, the highway to get that information to you, such that you're able to execute. Got it? Okay. So, to me,

Kyle Roed:

it almost reminds me of it's like the difference between driving your car and paying attention and having a CD on in the background versus going to a concert, and crowd surfing.

Tom Tonkin:

That's, that's an excellent cup. You know, what's interesting here, what we're doing, Kyle is right, we're trying to talk about these soft skills, things in a very hard skill, medium, right. And we are trying to utilize different tools in our arsenal, such as inflection of our voices, whether we're speaking louder, or speaking softer or being funny, trying to say funny things. Try say serious things. So we can convey the softer side, if you will, of this information. However, if I was just wanting to give you data, none of that would matter. I don't just be able to read off a phone book, and you'd be able to get all the information you needed. Without any of the other window dressing.

Kyle Roed:

That's the next episode. We're just going to read we're just going to read the aardvark See, there I go. I'm trying to be funny. I'm just trying to access that tickle the limbic system. Alright, good. This is great. You know, it's it's just fascinating to me, you know, actually, this is one of those things. People ask me how, you know, how I like my job or what got you know, it keeps me in HR. A lot of times I jokingly say, Well, you know, job security because people are crazy. But the, the honest truth is, you know, the fascinating thing about my job is it's it's trying to figure this whole thing out and trying to figure out people and trying to, and trying to connect with people and for me, it's just like this crazy, crazy puzzle that you're trying to solve every single day. But you know, the, the tough part is there's really no solving it it is you know, it's it's an ever changing.

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, it's trying to make it better. I right. That's really if we shoot for that goal, I think Well, we know we have a shot, but the solving I can get there.

Kyle Roed:

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Tom Tonkin:

Yeah, let me take a running start. So I guess it must have been, I don't know, 15 years or so I found myself doing some hardcore research around diversity and inclusion, specifically around gender. I got to tell you, honestly, it wasn't anything that I thought I would get into. But it through my work in cult and different cultures around the world, I landed there. And I publish some academic papers, they got printed in some fancy journals, and I kept going. And here we are, we have the social unrest. And we have a whole bunch of people, basically really focusing on, you know, what we all believe diversity is, which is gender and race and sexual orientation and some of the standard things and I don't want to minimize it and says, there's a lot of effort and time being put into it. But I have to tell you, there's a people group that really needs a lot of attention and focus on our part, which is those that are neurodiverse. Specifically, when I say neurodiversity, I'm talking about people that are on the autistic spectrum. And that spectrum, you know, is very, very wide, all the way from one side where they're very highly functional to those that have a real hard challenge, both mentally and physically trying to deal with our world. Kyle, you and I would be considered neuro typicals. And so, I'll start by saying that the world around us is a neurotypical world, there are social expectations, in a neurotypical world that make the neuro diverse, very, very difficult to deal with. Think of our world as being a huge staircase and having us in wheelchairs looking at it. That's the same feeling that those in a neuro diverse spectrum feel. And I'm going to put a statistic out here for you, and let you react and let your audience react. 74% of everyone on the spectrum is unemployed. Wow. If I were to say to you, Kyle, 74% of all black women are unemployed. What would you say? That's how would you react?

Kyle Roed:

It's travesty. It's a I mean that and

Tom Tonkin:

yet wrong. Here we are. Right? 74% of people in spectrum are unemployed. Now, what are some of the issues over the first issue in any DNI discussion is what I call representation. To solve the problem we need to have tools to represent groups. And if you take a look at what's happening in organizations today with employee resource groups, affinity groups, those kinds of things, that is wonders for representation. Not only that, but we have great things happening in the social spectrum with President Biden Juneteenth rites are signing that into into law is a basically a holiday but more of a an opportunity for us to remember. We have International Women's Day, we have a lot of marches, and a lot of vocalization and representation gives us an awareness of what's happening. Let's take that same view in the neurodiverse world. This is a group of people, that's exactly what they don't want to do. They don't want to march. They don't want to be vocal. They're uncomfortable being vocal. Hence, they disappear. They're invisible, in corporate world. So does that make it right? Well, my perspective, I'll say, No, it doesn't. So what can we do? Right to move that agenda forward? And that's kind of where I've spent a lot of my time as of late, is trying to understand how we neurotypical people can help the neuro diverse Problem number one, you can't see it. Yeah. Not only can't see it, it's very, very difficult diagnose, because those that have it make it very hard to diagnose. They don't want to be called out, if you will, I don't mean called out in the bad sense. I mean, just identified. And so here you have it. How do you know who has what? Because guess what? neuro diverse people are black, they're women, they're Latinos. They're gay. They're lesbian, they're, you know, they're everything. Right? Yeah. And so it's the diversity that traverses all the other groups. So there you have it, is, the problem is a real problem. We don't have really good solutions. And yet, I always start with the, with the darkness that bring us into some light. And yet, we know that a neurodiverse employee is a highly, highly productive employee. There are organizations such as SAP, and Microsoft that have inclusive specialized neuro diverse groups, to foster them into the workplace, and place them in jobs, that they will succeed. They are highly detailed, they are highly loyal. SAP 1% of their entire staff is neuro diverse, their entire company, that one would think 1% is really low. But actually 1% is three times the normal population that you will find, at least that we are been able to diagnose and to count. So and sap has been able to qualify and quantify the productivity of people that have that neurodiverse bent to their personality. So I'll pause there, because I did a lot of talking and see what your reactions are.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. So first of all, Tom, thank you for bringing this topic to light. And for you know that I mean, the 74% of people on the spectrum are neurodiverse, being an employee is shocking number. And as a professional that hires people, you know, that's something that we all need to be aware of. If you're sitting in my seat or similar seat, you need to be mindful of this. Now, I felt the definitely the limbic system was going on, because I was feeling the goosebumps here as you were telling the story. Because I've had situations in the past where, where I've hired somebody who was neuro diverse. And I've been very fortunate to see this firsthand. So if you'll humor me, I'll share a story. So I'm very fortunate to be connected to some local community organizations, one of them being vocational rehabilitation, which is an agency who specifically gets individuals with disabilities jobs, right? Sounds like hey, if you're an HR, you should probably know this organization. Right? I mean, a, so call out to anybody in HR that's not working with voc rehab, go find your local office, they get government dollars to do this. So you might as well you know, leverage those dollars. But I got connected to an individual who I was at a high school. And we were I was talking about my organization were manufacturing company. And every single one of those kids was on their phone, and just like the most bored that they could possibly be, and they're like, Who's this short white guy in this Polo telling me about this job that I have no interest in doing? I want to you know, I want to be a YouTube star, whatever. But there was one guy in the audience he was locked in man. He was watching watch every movement. I made listening to every word I said. And I just and he was just intently listening. And after the, if you ever want to be scared as a public speaker, go talk to a bunch of high school kids because they're, they're going to tell you the truth. So it was it was pretty atrocious. But I walked up to the guy after and I said, Hey, man, listen, you were really listening. Thank you for listening. And at that point, I realized, okay, he is neuro diverse. You know, he's uncomfortable making eye contact, and he probably is really uncomfortable that I came up to him to confront him and thank him. But he, I could tell it was uncomfortable. But he made a comment. He's like, you know, I just, I thank you for coming, I really appreciate you coming. And I want to go to school for auto body, and I want to be a car mechanic. And so you know, the jobs you do are similar to mine. So I'm, like, cool. And I'm like, Here's my card, we have we do summer hire programs. And you know, we'd love to bring in you know, and so sure enough, you know, he remembered it, and he came in and he and he filed and when, when he came in, we gave him a shot. It was an absolutely terrible interview, you know, had we not been aware and accommodative of you know, his differences, then we wouldn't got the job. We're like this guy like this guy, we're gonna give a shot. So it comes in, and he's just hungry to learn. But he learned a little bit differently. And one of the things we were challenged with was was productivity. He was so meticulous and detail focused that it took him a long time to do things. So what we ended up doing is we just all it took was we got a little counter a little clicky thing that just, it just like counts how many times you, you do something, and we said, we just need 14 in an hour. And man, he hit 14 every single hour. And it was at the quality level well above any other new hire. And to this day, he's still in that organization many years later. And you know, it's one of those situations where there was a connection, there was some initial discomfort on that individual's part. But ultimately, we took a chance, and it worked. And so you know it, anytime I get an opportunity to think a little bit differently about the work that we do, you know, I try to do it, I think the the other thing I'll say, and I'm talking too much here, but I do think the other thing I want to call out, we're talking about soft skills. The other buzzword that kind of drives me crazy is culture, right? Because it's such a nebulous term. But I would tell you that the cultural impact of hiring this individual, and the team that bonded around us helping this individual be successful, was so much stronger than I've ever seen in any other similar type of new hire. You know, it became more like a family, it became a connected group. And it's because they had, maybe it was the limbic system, they cared, right, there was there was something to be passionate about. And there was something to be proud about to work at that organization. So

Tom Tonkin:

that's a great story, Kyle, thank you for sharing, because now that's become my story.

Kyle Roed:

Good. Take it, take it.

Tom Tonkin:

But you I mean, you hit the nail on the head, right? I mean, people will say, Well, if it's so difficult, so hard, or why why bother? It's like, well, because of what you just said. And to think, again, that 74% of these people don't have a job is just, it's a crime. And it's interesting, and I'll tell you, I want to bring another two terms into this discussion, which is fairness and equality. So, like anything else, right, anything worth doing an HR is worth overdoing. So, right, we have d, then we have I, and then we have E. And now we have B. I think the next letter is F. No, it's not that.

Kyle Roed:

Okay. I don't know where you're going with it, Tom. But yeah, no.

Tom Tonkin:

No, it's it's it's fairness. And I'll tell you why. Because I think people talk about equality and fairness in the same breath. And they're not. There's an excellent little cartoon meme on the internet you can go get which is three young boys looking over the fence at a baseball game. And there are three crates. And equality is each boy gets a crate and you had one boys very tall, a medium and short. So equality means everybody gets one crate. and fairness means the short boy gets two crates, the middle boy gets one crate and the tall one doesn't get any crates, but they all get to watch the game. I think what you have just described in this young man that you hired is a great example of fairness. Because you didn't make him go through the gauntlet of the standard he didn't give you didn't give him the same crate that everyone else gets when they walk in. He needed to crates. And I think that that is not only perfectly fine, but that's a strategy to itself. When do you actually take a look at equality versus fairness. And I'm going to give you an operational definition. So people can think of it, they both have to do with company resources. One tells you how valid you are, the other one gives you opportunity. So equality shows you the value that you bring fairness is giving you the opportunity, they both company resources. And I think that's why the terms get intermingled, because they both talk about company resources. And I think it's perfectly fine to give somebody two crates when they need it. And guess what people don't need any crates, then they don't get any crates, and it's got nothing to do as long as they have the same opportunity to execute or or, you know, to get promoted, wherever it might be. So, circle back around in this whole story. I mean, I think there is an entire diversity of thought. But you know, budding in when you start taking a look at organization, or a people group such as the neurodiverse.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. And that's, I think that's, that's one of the more powerful things that I've learned, just through the years that that I was relatively ignorant to prior to is really getting more aware of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was was the difference between equality and fairness and the fact that, you know, equal, you know, my opinion, the whole Equal Opportunity thing, needs to be thrown out the window and needs to be fair opportunity and painful death. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And, you know, even, we all have our opinion of the EEOC, but Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it's, you know, to me, it's like, you know, if you're doing something just so you don't get sued, or you're doing something, just, you know, so that you're not like, threatened for discriminatory lawsuits, or whatever it's like, Okay, I think you're focused on the wrong thing. I think you need to be more worried about how your business wins, and how your people succeed than whether or not you're going to get sued for not being equal enough, right? I mean, it's Come on, you do the right thing, you'll be fine.

Tom Tonkin:

It's true. And it's right. And I think what will happen is, if let's say, you fast forward, I don't know, 50 years, unfortunately, probably for this to pan out. You won't have to talk like this anymore. We won't need those, those laws and those policies, because the right thing is getting done. But if we want to give people a leg up, I should say a leg up but an opportunity, you know, say pick your people group, your genders, your sexual orientations, race, there's got to be some give upstream. I mean, the fact is, I work in technology. Right now, you know, chalk line on the technology pool of people, it's mostly men. It just is, you know, this, you know, why upstream? Right? What are the opportunities upstream for women and for others to get into the space? Well, I think, again, I'm going to use the metaphor, right, they need to create, then so be it. Right?

Kyle Roed:

I tell you one thing, so I recruit a lot of engineers, if I, if I can find an engineer with any diversity characteristics, that person's probably going to get an interview. But it is a challenge. And I think that's a, you know, that's certainly a call to action that we also need to be diversifying the places that we draw talent from, we need to be very thoughtful, intentional about where we source talent, and we need to be thoughtful about the partnerships we make with community resource providers and educators and you know it for me, that might sound a little bit like Kumbaya, but that is, I think, what it's gonna take, it's got a we all got to come to the table employers included, and and help support all individuals to achieve their full potential. So

Tom Tonkin:

now, I wanted to say one more thing, if you don't mind in this space before we we walk in, and we'll leave this topic because your listeners are probably those that are trying to do the best they possibly can in this space. And I truly believe that. And I want to tell a story. That is a very simple and easy but enlightening story. So that wasn't too long ago. I think it was the these last The Clash elections in November, where a major population of the Native American people, which is up in the sort of the north central part of the country, they weren't voting. They weren't voting. And so we were all very concerned about the fact that they weren't voting. And so we drove out there we meaning the ubiquitous us right people All right, have that worry about this kind of stuff, drive out there trying to get people to vote and give them the pamphlets and give them all of the forms and tell them we're going to drive. And yet we're not driving, voting registration at all. Until finally, somebody came to conclusion and sort of followed somebody and say, Okay, let's, let's get you to vote. And I don't know if you know this, Kyle. But for you to register to vote, you have to have a street address, you have to have a number. And you have to have a street name, with a zip code and all that. A lot of the Native Americans live in reservations. And did you know that reservations, they don't have street numbers and addresses? No, I didn't know that. So here you have a policy that is wired, to ensure that nobody that has street addresses can vote. So my challenge to those listening is, you know, what does your voter form look like in your company? Right? Does it have something on there that precludes a certain people group from participating? Do they need to create? Do you need to change that policy, you may have all the best intentions in the world, and a heart of gold. But if you are overlooking such a simple thing, such as a street address, you know, you might be precluding those people unwillingly or unknowingly anyway or unconsciously. So I'll leave that for everyone's device. And, Tom,

Kyle Roed:

that's, that is a perfect analogy for this group. And I'll be a little bit more explicit to any HR professionals out there. What that means is attendance policies, policies related to background checks and drug screens, policies related to previous convictions policies related to having to have a home address on your application, guess what, there's all sorts of things that we can impact in our organizations. And the question I always ask is, okay, why why does that policy exist? And the honest answer is, well, we don't know. But it's been that policy for over 20 or 30 years. So that's just what we do. Right? So when you have those situations, in my mind, it's our job to get rid of them. So well, well said, well, Tom, gosh, I have a list of things I wanted to go through. And we like we just got through like two. So we're gonna have to, we're gonna have to pick this conversation up, but we are quickly running out of time. And I want to make sure we get through the rebel HR flash round. So are you ready to Ready to go? I'm ready. All right. All right. Okay, question number one. What is your favorite people book?

Tom Tonkin:

People book you said? Yeah. I, you know, I atomic habits comes to mind, if that qualifies. Does that qualify? as a people group?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. Is that? Who's the answer there? I'm sorry. I couldn't even clear. James clear. Yeah, I think that applies. I was just listening to a podcast about that. So fascinating. Yeah, he

Tom Tonkin:

keeps coming back to me, I've actually done an entire literary series review video, you know, kind of like a read along with Tom kind of video thing I do. And there's so many ins and outs to that book, ad that I personally think that James didn't even think of it himself. So you know, read it three or four times, and then go back on the fourth time and read it again, you'll find find some gems there as well. Love it. All right, perfect.

Kyle Roed:

All right. Question number two, Who should we be listening to?

Tom Tonkin:

You know, as of late, I have been listening to productivity, guys. So Eric Fisher over at beyond the to do list is one that comes along. And Mark, Mike Vardy, just renamed his podcast, from the productivity to a productive conversation. And what's interesting about those folks, it's it's not you know, hey, use this latest task management tool. It's really, as Eric Fisher says, in his podcast is the people behind the productivity. So I've been listening to meditation techniques and stress reducers, and all that that are all coming out these podcasts. So that's where I've been, and I think we all should do that. Not necessarily because of the productivity side of things. But I think it's there's a, there's a quality of life that's coming out of those people. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, we just had a guest on who I think had a one on one session with me by the end of it. She's a psychologist, but she, she was talking about, you know, the meditation and finding that space in your day and finding that quiet, too, in the context of preventing burnout. And yeah, it's definitely something that I could do more around. Let's put it that way. All right. Last question. How can our listeners connect with you?

Tom Tonkin:

You know, I mean, obviously, there's all the standard ways of doing it, but I have a new thing that I've been doing. You can connect Through voxer it's an application it's free to use in my username is Dr. Tom Tonkin, Dr. Tom Todd can t o N as in Nancy k i n. And you will get directly to me. boxers synchronous and asynchronous voice mailing type of tool. And I gotta tell you, man, it has made me so extra more productive doing that people can reach me directly, sometimes it just say I got a question. I got a simple question that requires, you know, I don't want to like put you on, put it on the calendar or anything like that. So go there. I mean, obviously, I'm on LinkedIn. You know, my claim to fame. Kyle is if you type in Tom talk and and Google Mike, the whole front pages me. And people say, Wow, you must be like, super famous, or someone now I think I figured out the algorithm, but

Kyle Roed:

well, you are. You are in tech, right? I mean, yes. That's a little bit of an inside track.

Tom Tonkin:

Yeah. Anyway, but I look forward to anybody who wants to chat, and have this conversation. And hopefully, Kyle, we can do it again. Absolutely. I

Kyle Roed:

think we just barely scratched the surface. And you know, people are listening to this. But as I watched you talk about some of the work that you've done, I can see the passion behind it. And I can I can feel the sincerity of the work that you do and the energy you put behind it. So thank you for putting that work in and for for helping our listeners learn a little bit today just kind of scratched the surface, but looking forward to continue to connect with you and learn from him. 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 of 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