Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 78: Transform your Organization with "Unfear" Tactics

December 28, 2021 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 2 Episode 78
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 78: Transform your Organization with "Unfear" Tactics
Show Notes Transcript

ABOUT THE GUESTS:

Gaurav Bhatnagar is the founder of Co-Creation Partners and has dedicated more than two decades to helping companies thrive and achieve breakthrough performance. Since founding Co-Creation Partners in 2010, he has designed and led programs and workshops for private, public, and social-sector clients across multiple industries, including financial services, basic materials, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. Prior to founding Co-Creation Partners, he was a consultant with McKinsey and Company, most recently as a leader in their Organization Practice in North America. Before McKinsey, he worked in marketing for Pepsi Cola International and Procter & Gamble in Europe, the Middle East, and India.

Mark Minukas is the managing partner of Co-Creation Partners. An engineer by training, he began his career as a Navy officer and member of the US Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) and the Navy Dive Community. In 2005, he brought his experience and insights into the performance of engineered systems to McKinsey and Company, where he worked as a consultant and member of the Operations Practice. There, he mastered the technical aspect of organizational transformation and process improvement, as well as the cultural side of transformation. Since leaving McKinsey to join Co-Creation Partners, Mark has worked across multiple industries, including financial services, high tech, biotech manufacturing, IT services, and governmental offices, to deliver both top- and bottom-line improvements and build high-performing operations. 


About Unfear:
Fear and uncertainty have been undermining performance and well-being in the workplace for as long as we have had workplaces. Worse, the ever-increasing speed of business, economic slowdown and volatility we face due to Covid-19, racial tensions and social inequality further exacerbate these emotions. 


Mark’s Profile

linkedin.com/in/mark-minukas-9333011

Email

mark.minukas@gmail.com

Gaurav Swarup’s Profile

linkedin.com/in/gauravbhatnagar007

Website

Email

gaurav_bhatnagar@cocreationpartners.com

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

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Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of human resources, this is the right podcast for you. Rebel on HR rebels. Alright rebel HR listeners super excited for our guest this week, we've got a couple of wonderful guests I have been tearing through their new book, it's called unfair, transform your organization to create breakthrough performance and crossed off or employee well being. With us today we've got Mark Nukus and Gaurav Bhatnagar and we are also joined by Molly bird deaths. So super excited for the conversation today. Mark and Gaurav are the co founders of co creation partners. Gaurav has dedicated more than two decades to helping companies thrive and achieve breakthrough performance. Since founding cocreation. Partners in 2010. He has designed and led programs and workshops for a number of different clients across multiple sectors, names such as Procter and Gamble, Pepsi Cola, and so on and so forth. Mark is an engineer by training, we're going to get along just fine. I work with a lot of engineers, and began his career as a Navy officer and a member of the US naval construction battalion, also known as the CBS. And he brought his experience and insights into the performance of engineered systems to McKinsey, where he was a consultant, and has also worked with a number of different industries, and wonderful companies. Welcome to the show this week, guys.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Well, super excited for the conversation. And before we hit record here, I was just just commenting that I've got a copy of this book on fear. And you know, I get a lot of books in my role as a as a podcaster. But this is one of those that I started reading through it. And it was just like, Oh, that's good stuff. Oh, that's good stuff. So. So thank you for writing the book. And I encourage our listeners to check it out. But why don't we just start with what what prompted you to write a book about fear,

Mark Minukas:

we wanted to convey to the world's what we saw as a primary source of waste and dysfunction in organization. So our company cocreation partners, we help organizations improve their performance, and employee well being. And fear always sat at the the heart of what we worked on with clients. And it's often you know, it's an element in an organization that people, you know, don't fully acknowledge or don't really see. And so we wanted to create a book that help people see what was really going on in the organization with respect to fear and what they could do about it.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

What would you say? Yes, so all of that, but the other thing I would say is that I'm a recovering fear addict. And, and so, So writing a book about the stuff that I'm recovering from made sense, I think I've written this book in my head about 20 times before I actually got down to writing it with Mark during the pandemic. So it's been a long time coming.

Molly Burdess:

Elaborate on that a little bit more. So you, you found that fear holds people back fear of what is there one or two things? Or what does that look like?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Sure. Well, so then, you know, I, it's interesting, because the one thing I will tell you is that I haven't met a single human being who doesn't have fear. Now, there are some common patterns. The top three or four that I often run across in organizations, is fear of failure. The second one, which is especially true for senior people in organizations and CEOs, is fear of being an imposter and fear of being found out. The third one is the fear of not being appreciated or validated. And the last one is the fear of being disliked. Those are often the four which I find to be the most common. There are many, many more, but those are the ones that are quite difficult.

Molly Burdess:

I was just gonna say I was at a seminar yesterday, actually in one of the speakers talking about imposter syndrome. And I learned that that coin or that was that phrase, I guess, really came out in the 70s 1970s. It's been around for that long. And I think it's a real thing. And you know, the speakers like why are we still talking about this? And it is, it's because of the fear. It's real. So I just found that really interesting.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, an important idea we want to get across in the book as well as that fear itself is not the problem. And we all have these fears. And it's more about changing the story we hold about the fears that we have. So we'll still experience fear as human beings. That's just that's a natural thing. But if we can shift how we relate to those fears, that's where you know, people have those breakthroughs and can be more effective. And I think that's important for HR professionals as well. Because I think there's a tendency to say, look, fear is bad, let's figure out how we almost eliminated or, you know, suppress it. And so that creates its own dysfunction. And, you know, we think there's a false dichotomy between using fear in suppressing fear. It's really doing something completely different.

Kyle Roed:

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Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, so that's a brilliant question. Because I thought fear was a good thing, that the fact that I felt fear was a great thing because it, it galvanized me into doing things. And this is this is a long time ago. So this was 2002. When I was sitting in a workshop, which I did not want to be in the US it was being run by this British woman who had called called herself Geeta, Belen, and Gita is an Indian name. And I used to tell everyone, she's a fraud. And because her real name is Margaret, and she's just taking an Indian name to convince us and I'm Indian. So you know, I'm allowed to say that. And, and, as I was in that workshop, what I realized was that I was in a pattern where I was so caught up with success, that I had lost my connection to joy. And this lady helped me understand that. And when she opened that gap, it forced me to really, really reflect on all the things that all the stories that I created in my head, about, about success and the fear of failure that was holding me hold me in a very, very dysfunctional pattern. And then the fact that I was able to then reframe all of that through the help of many, many people after that, it just felt that it was it would be intellectually dishonest, not to share that journey. And to make it about everyone else, when, ultimately, you know, I am just like anyone else.

Molly Burdess:

So admitting to that fear and you have that self realization, how we have a lot of people walk into our office in HR, and a lot of people don't have, how do we help them get to that moment that you got to how do we help them realize that hey, fear is the issue or this is a fear?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, so So this is a great question. So I think for most people who are not ready to engage in a conversation about fear, you don't start with a conversation about fear. You start with a conversation about behavior. And what you do is you help them understand that behavior is not something that just happens, because most of the time people think, Oh, I have a behavior, someone will tell me another behavior. Now go to that new behavior. But my experience is that, you know, you do that, and then stress happens and you pain right back to your behavior. So the conversation that we lead lead people through to help them understand the fear is we actually have them understand a whole process of what is the stories? What are the thoughts and feelings? What are the belief systems that are driving that behavior. And as you go through that, it always leads to our inherent unmet needs and our fears. So you get people to that point, through them understanding themselves rather than starting with fear, because fear is a taboo topic in organizations. Right? I mean, it's amazing how everyone talks about how there is fear. But when you go into the corporate boardroom, oh, no, no, our organization is no fear. And I never add fear, to be to be fearful or to have fears is to be to be a weak leader, is often what happens. So you can't directly engage in that conversation.

Molly Burdess:

You know, I'm thinking through my own organization, and I'm, I'm in sales. So I see this all the time, right. And people have heard me say this before, but it drives me crazy. When a leader comes to me and says, all of our people just suck. They're low performers. They don't want to do the job. They just won't do it. And as as hearing you guys talk about this, I do I think that most of the people, it comes back to you, they are fearful of something. So if we change that conversation, I think it could be so impactful.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

That's so true. And Mark, I'm sure you have perspective on that. But what I what I believe is most people don't come to come to work with an intention to underperform. Right, they don't come to work to say, I'm just gonna collect my paycheck and screw everything else. Most people have good intentions, but they have stories which hold them back. And then they get reinforced in the organization through these archetypes which are either aggressive defensive or passive defensive, that then makes them become suboptimal. And then it becomes completely embedded in then then then people say, There's no way out, and they start asserting it as if it's the truth.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, just to build on that, there's, you know, Gore mentioned the aggressive, defensive, passive defensive sort of patterns, there's some people who are driven by fear, actually work themselves to burnout. You know, those are people who are super competitive, perhaps they're perfectionistic. You know, so that's one, one general pattern, the other, or maybe those people who just don't really show up, they just keep their head down, and they're just, they're just trying really hard to not make any mistakes. So that's sort of the other pattern. So you see both, but they're both signs that there's some underlying fear that's driving that dysfunction.

Kyle Roed:

You know, it's, it's really interesting, because, you know, and I'm reflecting on you know, my organization's were manufacturing. Organization, definitely some machismo in the in the leadership ranks, you know, and like, you know, admitting that you're, you're afraid or that you are, their fear is, is interacting with your decision making process would be, it would be very, very surprising if that were to occur. I think now, we have a great leadership team. And I think we have some very intellectually and emotionally, intellectual people. But you know, they're not going to come out and be like, oh, yeah, I'm really terrified of this. But I think, you know, what was so interesting in that, and I'm just reflecting on myself is, you know, I can but I can absolutely relate to the, to the fear of failure, or the fear of looking like an idiot, you know, or the, you know, the fear of losing my job, because I just completely screwed up a project. And, you know, the moments, you know, I remember distinct moments in my career where I've just, I've been driven to inaction. Because I've been in, you know, and it really is kind of, now that I think about it in this context. It's almost like being petrified because of that fear response, as opposed to, you know, working, working through that. And Molly, it was funny when you mentioned that people come into my office, it's, you know, I don't know if it's as much for me about, about somebody else working through their fear. A lot of it comes back to me. And, you know, you get that pit. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone comes walking in that door. And it really is it's a fear of what's coming in Next, right, and you don't know, especially in HR, sometimes, sometimes this stuff is you can't, you could write a book about it. So, so as, as we cope through that kind of personally, I kind of reflect on that. And in our, in our world, you know, how, as an individual, can I? Can I be aware of that and kind of work through that when I get those feelings, the kind of like the cortisol coursing through my veins? And then and then how do I, how do I find mechanisms to cope with

Mark Minukas:

that? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we, we kind of describe a learning process that starts with awareness and then moves to choice in practice. So, step one is just helping people become aware of where and how they feel fear, you know, even just the somatic, you know, you know, markers of where, where that fear shows up in your body. So just noticing it, and not necessarily judging it. And it's also getting people to become more aware of how their current responses to fear are serving them and helping them and also where it's not helping them be effective, right, most of the responses that we have have served us in some way at some point in life. But we've kind of forgotten to question those patterns and that conditioning. And so we bring those patterns into the present moment, and it may not actually allow us to be effective. So call your matching a, you know, situation where, you know, maybe you're holding back and not sharing something, maybe that served you well in the past, but maybe it's not, you know, particularly effective at this point. And so getting people to just realize that go through that process, so they can make more active choices to be more effective. And then practicing that, you know, it takes practice is not, you know, there's no quick fix there necessarily. Awareness and choice are the start of it, be it really have to practice stepping out of your comfort zone and, and working into these new patterns of behavior.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, and we talked about in the book, that fear. So we, you know, in our brain now, a lot of our decisions are emotional decisions that we post rationalize, right. And the emotional brain has two parts, the pain complex and the pleasure complex. And the pain complex is like Velcro. So it sticks to us. While the pleasure complex is like Teflon. So you get a high and you forget it. That's why my wife still remember the one time I forgot her birthday, even though I tell her every day. Right? But but but but but that's that's the interesting thing, right? So. So how do you get conscious of knowing that that thing is about to happen. And the other problem is we live in our heads, and this is about the first step is to get to learn to live in our bodies. Not only do we fail, and then deliberately create a point of choice. But that's just a short term thing, because the next time it happens, it will happen again. So the other thing we talk about, and people think it's pretty woowoo. But it isn't, is we also recommend meditation as a practice. And the reason why we recommend meditation as a practice is because over time, what Meditation allows us to do is or allows us to clean up those, those, those velcro things that that our reference points for our fear. And if you don't clean up those reference points, there is nothing transformational that happens in terms of your in your relationship to fear. So there is a short term thing, which is in the moment, what do you do, but there's a longer term thing as well, which is how do you engage in practices that allow you to cleanse your system of your of your patterns of connections that you have built? Over many years?

Molly Burdess:

I know a lot of people who think meditation is is great for the mind body saw all of that stuff. And when I first started, you know, hearing these things in my head I just pictured Okay, I'm gonna lay on the floor for an hour. Quiet, like who has time for that? But I don't think that's what meditation is, or has to be, am I right? Am I wrong?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

You know, to I don't know if meditation is lying on the floor for half an hour. But the fundamentals of meditation are two, four fundamentals of meditation are the ability to observe while you're in the act of doing something, right. So the most simplest form of meditation is to notice your breathing when you have your thoughts. Notice your thoughts. So why is that so important? The reason why that's so important is because meditation actually gives you the practice of understanding that you're not just an actor in your in your life story. In your organizational theatre story, you're also the director of your life story. Because you can observe yourself in in that moment, in when you're a director, you can shift things. If you're just an actor then you are, you know, when I started my life, my career, my journey, it was, I used to say I'm an angry kind of person that says the way I am. If you don't want to get into a bad situation with me, just don't go hang out with me when I'm angry, because that's who I am. And what this work has taught me meditation has taught me is that I'm bigger than my anger, because I can observe it. And from there, I can shift it. And to be both the director and actor is such an important idea. And it is that is the core of meditation, if you really think about it, to be meditative in everything you do, is the intention, rather than to meditate and just lie down.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, and I know a lot of people I know a lot of people, myself included, for a period of time are very skeptical of meditation seems like one of those blue things like, I don't need to do that stuff, like I, you know, I'm effective enough already. And that's just kind of a soft, touchy feely thing to do. But I personally, over time, I've come to appreciate that it doesn't have to be this weird woowoo thing, it really is, this process of becoming more aware of everything that's happening, whether it's changing body sensations, and your emotions, and your your thought processes, and just not being so lost in thought. And it just gives you a lot more flexibility about how you can show up in any given moment. To be effective, you're not so fused with your emotion and your thoughts, you can step back, like or mention, and be more of that observer, it's just, it's a more powerful way to live life. You know, if you're nervous in a meeting, like a podcast meeting, you can sort of notice that and how it's showing up in your body. And, you know, just shift your breath a little bit and how you're, how you're sitting. And it just allows you to shift in the moment. So that's something I've discovered over time.

Kyle Roed:

It's, it's, it's really interesting. And, and I am, I probably should be, but I'm not a meditation, practice her. And I think part of it's just because yeah, I just, I don't know enough about it. But it's interesting that, you know, you'll consistently hear that feedback from, from experts who have studied, you know, the brain and emotional responses. And, you know, a great example of an unhealthy approach to this. And now, as I, you know, after I read the book, and as I'm reflecting on the conversation here, it was really a fear response. But, you know, earlier in my career I used to, as opposed to approach conflict, or, you know, my fear of what might be walking through my door in a healthy way, I would flip a switch in my brain and become like an emotionless jerk. Because then I wouldn't have to deal with it. Right? I wouldn't have to take on the emotional burden of somebody else's problems or, or having to terminate somebody employment or something along those lines, you know, the the unfun part of human resources, but eventually, I did have to figure out, okay, how do I cope with this and retain my humanity through the course of my, you know, essential job functions. Otherwise, I'm gonna have a mental break. Right. And so I think that goes to you, you know, the burnout. And it wasn't meditation, but it was, it was, I would say it was community and it was getting connected with with wonderful professionals like Molly and like minded folks that, that helped me understand I wasn't alone and kind of building that community for me, was the, the, the antidote for that.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah. And kind of That's meditation, too, when you engage in deep reflective conversations with other people with intentionality that has merit in being meditative as well.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, that story resonates with my life experience as well calm because, you know, growing up, you know, in being trained as an engineer and being in the Navy, you know, I was sort of taught that, to be a man in the world, you have to suppress your emotions, you know, anger is an okay emotion, but pretty much any other emotion is suspect, it means you're not effective. But there's a, there's a cost to that, and, you know, carrying all the stress, you know, and had the Velcro that Gore mentioned, you know, that's still there, but it just, it sort of sits inside and that it's sort of eating from the inside out. And so, I've learned over time that I can actually, you know, be okay with my emotions and share those emotions and be vulnerable and it doesn't mean I'm not effective. And I can still, you know, be who I am but just be it in a way that's more open. And yeah, sometimes

Molly Burdess:

I think with fear you just have to do it to overcome it. Otherwise you have so much build up in your head for me it used to be like hard conversation I just had this internal fear of Oh, my gosh, what if I don't do this right? What if it doesn't go well? And if I don't say the right things, what if I offend this person? What if I make it worse? And it was just creating more conflict and then you know, once you start having In those hard conversations, it's like an instant weight off your shoulder. And it's like, Okay, that wasn't so bad, I can do this.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Sure. And Maliwan one for you, I will tell you is that when we get into that fear pattern with the hard conversations, then we get into a very unique battle, which is, I need to be right. I need to be right. Because if I'm not right, something bad is gonna happen. And what a lot of my work with leaders is about is being right is not the same thing as being effective. And when we get into the right mode, then we get into a right and wrong mode, and we make other people wrong. And the job of leadership is actually to inspire and build followership. And the more you you make people wrong by being right, you actually end up being more ineffective rather than effective.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, and I imagine that just creates like this defensive, toxic culture. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

It's such a good conversation. And in, you know, I've taken away so much one thing I do want to talk about that that was was definitely a lightbulb moment for me, as I was reading through the book, was the fear archetypes. And, you know, there's, I mean, this is scientifically backed, you know, I love the fact that, you know, it ties back to validated, peer reviewed studies, and, you know, this isn't, this isn't like, hey, let's throw, let's throw some darts at a board and see what names sound good that we can, you know, put in here so, so and, and what really resonated with me was the difference between the fear archetypes and, and they're separated by the Fight Club, and the nice club. And as I was reading through it, I'm like, Oh, yep, I know, one of those. I know, one of those, I got one of those, Yep, we got one of those two. And it was just so funny that it allowed me to kind of put that all into context. And then in my seat, one of the biggest challenges is working through organizational change. And, and trying to get people aligned and, and, you know, trying to manage through COVID, when 50% of the United States feels one way and the other 50% feels another and, you know, you could you could go down the list over the last 18 months that some of the turmoil that's been brought in the workplace, so, but can can we just maybe take a step back and walk us through what some of those archetypes are? And, and, you know, how, how fear plays into them?

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, we should first acknowledge that, you know, the archetypes are based on the work from an organization called Human Synergistics. International, and the work of Dr. Robert Cook. So we, you know, the archetypes are very closely aligned to some of the survey tools that they use, and that we use, and a lot of our client work. But there's two primary camps here to the the fear archetypes. One is the the Fight Club. And the basic response there is, you know, people see threats and they try to stay safe by by standing out and being special. And we can go through the the four archetypes there. The second is the, the nice club. And the way in which this group stays safe in the presence of threats is they keep their head down, and they sort of hide. And so let's, you know, I can list these off real quick, and we can jump in as needed. But within the Fight Club, you've got perfectionist, these are people that need to get everything, right, dot all the i's cross all the t's, there's the competitors, so people who are ultra competitive, and need to win at all costs, there's the controllers, these are people that need to be control, and they tend to be very hierarchical, and the fault finders, these are the consultants of the world, you know, they're constantly finding fault and, you know, seeing problems everywhere, including with themselves and you know, with other people. And so, you know, you can see that there's, you know, benefits and there's, you know, those archetypes or those patterns, help people be effective in some ways, but they also have their their downsides. Then on the nightclub side, you've got the likeable, these are people who, you know, just try to be nice and, you know, minimize conflict. You've got the, the sticklers, these are people who throw the rulebook at you, anytime that something's going on. That happens a little bit in the HR world. From what we've seen, you've got the minions, these are people who, you know, they're only customers, their boss, and they're constantly trying to serve the hierarchy upwards. And then you have the avoiders. These are people who just, you know, shy away from conflict. And so, you know, we're often you know, a mix of these archetypes at any given time, and it changes by context. And we can shift these these aren't like personality traits that are immutable. These are just patterns of behavior that we've come to adapt over time, based on values. They're actually quite important, but they've just become dysfunctional in some ways. And so we try to shine a light on that and help people understand how these patterns serve them, but how they don't circle.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, man. Another really interesting thing is that when you engage with the people who have the Fight Club archetypes, often they would say, the reason why we are in the Fight Club, is because if we don't use any one of those archetypes, all those nice club people are just gonna just not do anything. And they are the reason why we are in the Fight Club. And then you talk to the people in the nightclub in the nightclub, we will say, to reason why we just hide is because those guys always fighting and screaming at us. So these two categories actually mutually dysfunctionally reinforce each other.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah. And you bring up a really important point. Garvin, you know, there's a question about, well, how do these relate to fear, it's, there's just a certain story, you know, the fears are essentially all the same, you know, fear of being an imposter, a fear of not belonging, fear of failure, that same fears, sit beneath all these archetypes. It's just different stories that we tell ourselves about the threats that we're experiencing, bleed to different, you know, patterns of behavior. And so the, the intervention point here isn't to get rid of your fear that's not realistic, is just to shift the story that we have about this threat.

Molly Burdess:

Okay, if I ever find that the book on my desk, that must be an intervention, I'll know, I got it, I got to change some of my behavior. Ah,

Kyle Roed:

yeah, you know, it's, it's, that's funny, Molly, you know, I'd be happy to give you the copy of the book. But, you know, I think, for me, as I was, as I was reading on this, and reflecting on this, you know, the context for me was, was thinking about it, and relating it to workplace interactions. And, and, you know, I think that, you know, personally, I can see, I can see a little bit all those in me, and, but I've have also, you know, reflected on my upbringing, and as well as my kind of where I started my career and where I am now. And, and, you know, it was interesting to read through those and reflect and think, you know, a lot of these archetypes, you know, were helpful in the moment, like you said, Mark, where, you know, it worked for a period of time, but then I had to adapt, and I had to change and it got uncomfortable, but had I not, I would have just been kind of stuck. And one of those for me is like it's the, it's wanting to be liked by others, you know, and I was raised, raised in a small town in Iowa, you know, you're, you know, when there's only 5000 people in town, you got to be nice, because everybody knows everybody, right? You know, and so being liked is really, really important. But, you know, obviously, if you overuse that, especially in a, you know, Strategic Human Resources role, eventually, the the drive to be liked, could actually set you up for some pretty serious failures. And, and if you're, if you're not balancing that, you know, that desire appropriately could be a really big pitfall. So I think, just having that awareness, and then, Molly, almost to your question earlier, you know, when someone comes in your office, and they're interacting with you in a certain way, if you can, if you can tie that back to the archetype and kind of understand, okay, this is the perspective they're coming from, and how do I help them work through that in a way that doesn't, you know, Jack up their cortisol anymore, but, but helps helps us channel that into something that's actually productive? That's, for me, that was kind of one of the insights that I think you know, that that it's like a playbook, right, like, Okay, how do I, how do I play this one?

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, and just let me just your reflection is kind of what we're hoping people get from the book is, you know, to see themselves in the archetype, not beat themselves over me up about it, but just, you know, seeing how Wow, this may is may have served me for a period of time, but it may be limiting limiting me in this particular moment. So that's, that's a great insight, Kyle and I, we can share some of ours as well from our own lives. But I think if somebody does walk into your, you know, your office, and, you know, they're displaying some of these behaviors, I think it's important to note that, you know, behind these behaviors are really good intentions, you know, so likeable is, you know, they value harmony and strong relationships, and, you know, having people get along, that's actually really good stuff. It's just maybe their, the way in which they're expressing those values just isn't effective right now. And so just helping people see, that may be enough to create a breakthrough.

Kyle Roed:

You know, I think the other thing that was really interesting, and I was reading, I was reading this book, the context here is a really rough day was, you know, and it was a lot of conflict in the workplace. And I tend to, I tend to kind of soak that up by tend to, you know, that's just kind of part of I think a lot of us in HR kind of, we kind of get those emotions stuck on us a little bit, right, kind of like, kind of like we were talking earlier. But thinking about that in the context of that person coming from a different perspective than myself, and in thinking that they had to come from the Fight Club, and be in this case, they were, they were being fault finders. And, you know, that was a really good mindset shift. And then the other insight was, you know, in that nice club, a lot of these, a lot of these like bubbles or minions or avoiders, they're probably really top talent, that's not tapped. Because because they're just kind of, they're just in this mode, and we haven't drawn that out of them intentionally either. Right. And so, you know, it was, it was just kind of an interesting, it was an interesting read, I was very emotional when I was reading this, if you can tell. And so it was, it was it was a timely book to read.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

I'm so glad that that you found it useful.

Kyle Roed:

So So I think, you know, one of the things that, you know, that we've talked about is, is, you know, the book and, you know, I think one thing that that I'd like to understand is, is a little bit about kind of your personal journeys, you know, and there's a lot a lot of examples in the book, but you know, to go from the, the McKinsey, you know, the the gold standard, and confront your fear and go and do something different and kind of and, and go through that journey, I just like to understand that path a little bit more, because I think that'd be really valuable for our listeners.

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, my path. I mean, I guess I've taken an interesting path. I mean, I'm not the typical sort of person to be talking about fear and culture and organizations, you know, I've got an engineering background. And so I was quite steeped in, you know, the technical aspects of creating stuff in the world and in making it work. But I'd say earlier, in my career, I did study human factors in engineering. So I was, you know, early on, taken in by this idea that, it's, you know, it's not enough to just have your mathematical equations be right, you have to get the human and organizational factors down, in order to really create systems that work in the world, and that are reliable, you know, if you study engineering failures, anywhere, whether it's an oil and gas, or, you know, construction, wherever, it's usually human and organizational factors that lead to that failure, not for engineering. So that was an idea that, that sat with me, from the Navy, I went to McKinsey and Company, I was really deep into, you know, the technical aspect of transforming organizations, but it was, you know, constantly feeling like we're missing something, on the mindsets part, you know, we would talk about it, I think there was good intention there. But I would come back to clients six to 12 months later, and just see all of the brilliant ideas that, you know, these gold standard consultants came up with, and they just didn't stick. And, you know, at some point, my career, I crossed paths with Gore, if you'd started cocreation partners, I was still at McKinsey. And he was running some, you know, woowoo workshops with meditation. At one of the clients, I was doing the hardcore, you know, sort of lean transformation at, and I was like, Who's this joker, you know, couldn't hack it at McKinsey. And I need to go, you know, drop into this workshop to check in on him. But I saw in that workshop, you know, just the impact, you know, the, the ideas had on me. And I was like, Wow, this was the missing piece, you know, it's not enough just to have the technical piece, you really need to have the, the human dimension and the, you know, the way in which God was working with culture really, really stuck with me. So when I left McKinsey seven years ago, we partnered up and, you know, we try to bring both the human and technical dimensions together. And so that's kind of been my journey. I think it's been kind of a steady progression of getting deeper and deeper into this stuff, which may be a little bit different than golf story, which was, you know, this burst of insight. I sort of have little insights along the way, and I think both are quite valid. About you.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, listen, I'm the son of a physicist. And my I was a proud card carrying member of the Fight Club. And for me, it was all about life is difficult. And you kick ass by overcoming that difficulty? You Yeah. And I was I was a nightmare to be with. And I ended up you know, and I did, I did market research, right? So that's what my statistics guy and I ended up just by chance in South Africa with my with because because the US had just had its first.com bust in 2001. And I was looking for working with Mickey, I was still McKinsey and I moved to McKinsey, Johannesburg and I walked into the mentors office and he said, Hey, got a, I didn't tell you what officers do not doing too well. And I said, Dude, why didn't you call me? Are you crazy? He said, No, no, that doesn't matter. You know, all that means is you need to be a generalist. But the other thing is, there's this newfangled thing coming in from Australia, around mindset. And we're going to try it on ourselves, because nothing has worked as a great tool. Why are you telling me? He said, No, no, because we want you to lead this effort. And I looked at him and like, he was crazy. I said, I don't do touchy feely stuff. That's for HR people to do. And we had a long argument, long argument. And finally, I gave my killer argument. I told him, dude, I'm from India. He said, What does that mean? I said, I know people who do this kind of stuff, they sit on our mountains, they go, I'm not gonna do it. And as Mark said, I went kicking and screaming into this workshop. And I realized that there was so much I didn't know about, about things. And being the son of a physicist, I said, Okay, I'm gonna crack it in four months. And that's it. And the more I engaged with it, the more I realized, I didn't know. And it became my life's passion. And I was lucky enough that helping people unlock their human potential, their true true potential, their angel is something that not only did I love, but it allowed me to help people connect with something so essential, that I could make a career out of it. And so the last 22 years of my life has just been committed and dedicated to helping individuals, teams and organizations realize their potential, and realize that well being and performance are so interrelated, because it all ultimately comes down to meaning and being authentic with yourself.

Molly Burdess:

Your passion is inspiring, and I've only known you for about what an hour, you seem like the nicest guy, one of the nicest guys I've ever met. So that that right there, we should get into meditating. Kyle.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I'm sold. I'm sold.

Molly Burdess:

Me too. And one more topic or question, Kyle, before you cut me off, I know that you're trying to do and Kyle didn't share the book with me. Um, he was he was keeping it for himself. So I don't know if you talked about this or not. But one big issue in the workplace right now is individual people's anxiety. It's just a real hot topic, especially in HR, we're trying to help you know, these individuals who come into our offices and help these teams, do you feel like there's a correlation between fear and anxiety?

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, in fact, I think they're oftentimes one in the same or they're, they're very, very closely linked. So you know, the story you have about your fear is you're perceiving some threat. And that threat is sustained. And it, you know, continually gets reinforced through your thought processes. Then yeah, it becomes, you know, a mood of anxiety, you know, low level, you know, fear that just sits around all the time. And so, and that, you know, under just about every single circumstance will degrade a person's well being their health and well being. And so I think it's a tremendously important topic that that needs to be addressed in organizations. You know, we can talk about, you know, some ideas on on how to do that. But I think it's, it is tough, and I do think just the general state of the world is intersecting with just a general stressful state in most organizations to begin with, and it's just making it worse. So I think there is a trend to see increased anxiety in organizations these days.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

And Molly, I, I was shocked to read the statistic that in America today, 50% of adults have experience some kind of childhood trauma. And trauma is entrenched, deeply, deeply entrenched. And working with that kind of entrenched fear and anxiety is is real hard work. And you can't you can't just tell people don't be Don't Don't be anxious, or don't have fear, right? You have to take people through a deeply experiential process for them to be able to unlock it, you know, choices deeply personal. And therefore the process cannot be in the just, it's it's not a mathematical equation. Often people come to us and say, just give me the formula. Just give me just give me, right, I like a mug like that. But but it's it's an it's it's so deeply embedded in you that you have to experience into way out of it. And that's what I would advise HR professionals is that it's not a system process solution, it is a experiential solution. And as much as you guys are amazing at your craft, you need to also become amazing facilitators of human beings, because that is what is needed to address anxiety and fear.

Molly Burdess:

I couldn't agree more. And I think so often we just, you know, oh, you have an issue, let's, let's send you to our EAP. And it just doesn't work. So I think we definitely need to dive more into this.

Kyle Roed:

100%. And I think, you know, maybe to put a punctuation mark on it, you know, I think that that, is it, that and who else is going to do that in an organization, if not human resources, right? You know, we, we need to take ownership of that. We need to become experts in that become educated and reflect that inwardly, and make sure that we can help our organizations overcome that as well. So just great stuff. We are readily coming up on the end of our time together, but I could talk for another three hours, but we're just getting warmed up. Yeah, I know, right? It's like, it's like, one of the examples was, you talked about a jazz band and you were talking about improv. I used to play jazz back in the day. So like, that one was like, cool, but But it's like, it's like the jazz band just got warmed up. And we're like, now we're just starting to hit the right rhythm and the solo starting. And now we got to finish. So, but better. Part two? Yeah, absolutely. So shifting gears, we're gonna go into something we do with all of our guests called the rebel HR flash round. So three questions that we ask our listeners. So because we have two guests here today, I'm going to ask each of you one question, and then I'll have you both answer the last question. How's that sound?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

I think we should give them all to mark them all.

Kyle Roed:

And Mark. Okay. Well, I'm finding out Mark probably already had them written down and documented in a workflow before we started. Just take a wild guess. All right. All right. I'll start with Mark. How's that? Alright. Question number one. What are you reading right now?

Mark Minukas:

I am reading the overstory. It's a it's a fiction book about, you know, just trees in nature. It's really, really fascinating. One thing I've haven't done as much as read fiction, because I've been so entrenched in reading, or writing a business book. So the overstory by Richard powers, I believe is the author. Very, very deep reflection on just the interconnectedness of everything.

Kyle Roed:

Awesome. All right, Gaurav, who should we be listening to?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Who should we be listening to? You should be listening to me. No. No, I, I, I I think it this is a crazy answer. But I I would strongly encourage people people really want to get some deep reflection going is, is this gentleman called Swami Bowden on the and he is based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. And he has some great videos on YouTube, about the essence of life and about what does it mean to live a wholehearted life?

Kyle Roed:

Swami, how do you? How do you say that?

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Bergheim number which is B or D H. e n e. D.

Mark Minukas:

And I have heard him speak as well. And he is he is pretty amazing and very, very thought provoking.

Kyle Roed:

That is probably a first that we've had somebody like that recommended. So thank you for expanding our our thought process a little bit. All right. Last question. I'll pitch this to both of you. How can our listeners connect with you?

Mark Minukas:

Yeah, really easy. co creation partners out calm, no dashes, just one word co creation partners calm. And if you're interested in the book, and some of these ideas, you can go to unfair book.com as well to learn some more.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Yeah, and I am really happy if people want to reach out to me on LinkedIn as well. I will respond like once because I like to believe that conversation is the way to move forward.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. And we will have all that information in the shownotes. So open up your podcast player, click in check out the book, like I've said a couple times, highly recommended reading. Just want to thank you both again for being so generous with your time and for and for putting the book together. Really great work and I think really helpful for from for me and Molly. So thank you so much.

Gaurav Bhatnagar:

Thanks, guys. Take care. Thanks.

Kyle Roed:

All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook. Get 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. Maybe