Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 81: Engage Employees with Stories - Gabrielle Dolan

January 18, 2022 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 2 Episode 81
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 81: Engage Employees with Stories - Gabrielle Dolan
Show Notes Transcript

Gabrielle can tell you a story or two. In fact, it was while working in senior leadership roles in Corporate Australia she realised the power of storytelling in effective business communication. She is now a highly sought-after international keynote speaker
and educator. Her impressive client list includes VISA, EY, Amazon, Vodafone and the Obama
Foundation, to name drop a few ...and she got to meet Barack Obama while undertaking that work. Gabrielle holds a master’s degree in Management and Leadership and has studied at Harvard. She is the best-selling author of several books including Real Communication: How To Be You and Lead True, a finalist in the Australian Business Leadership Book Awards for 2019. Plus, Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling (2017),
which reached number one in Australia’s best-selling business books. Her latest book
Magnetic Stories: Connect with Customers and Engage Employees with Brand Storytelling is due to be published in March 2021. She is the founder of Jargon Free Fridays. (Don’t
ever say the word ‘pivot’ to her unless you are talking about basketball.) In 2020, her dedication to the industry was recognised when she was awarded Communicator of the Year by IABC Asia Pacific. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, Steve, and two daughters, Alex and Jess. 

Gabrielle’s Profile

linkedin.com/in/gabrielledolan

Website

Email

gabrielle@gabrielledolan.com

Twitter

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Gabrielle Dolan:

When companies have gone okay, we've got a new purpose or a new mission or new values or strategy or not even new, we've just had it but no one really gets it is going in and helping them helping their leaders know and not not just the senior exec team, sort of the you know, the next few levels down, how they communicate the purpose through a story through and through personal story, like how do they communicate values? How do you communicate a value, such as integrity.

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. Rebel on HR rebels. Alright, rebel HR listeners really excited for this week's conversation. We are here with Gabrielle Dolan, she has an extremely awesome bio. So I won't be able to read the whole thing. But I'll give you the Cliff Notes version. So she can tell a story or two it was while working in senior leadership roles in corporate Australia, she realized the power of storytelling and effective business communication. Now she is a highly sought after international keynote speaker and educator to do a little bit of name dropping, she's got some clients that include visa, Amazon, Vodafone, the Obama Foundation, and so on and so forth. She has so many publications, I couldn't even start to read them for you. And she is also the founder of jargon free Fridays. So we are going to pivot into the conversation now.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Thanks. He got pivot in quite early. It's one of my pet hates at the moment. Thank you for being here. I feel like I'm coming home because I spent a good chunk of my career in corporate Australia in HR roles.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Well, welcome back to the dark side of human resources. So I thought I got out. Yeah, you never you never get out. You're always in the club, you know, whether you want to be or not.

Gabrielle Dolan:

It's a bit like Hotel California is that you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much. Yeah, hopefully. Yeah, some of us are probably feeling checked out after a couple years of, of all the things we've dealt with in HR, but hopefully not today. So really looking forward to the conversation and I am laughing. In the bio, it's it literally says, Don't ever say the word pivot to her unless you're talking about basketball. So I just, I had to drop it in there. I just I'm a disrupter. That's just what I do.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yes, I could tell you did that deliberately.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, well, we, you know, before we hit record, we were talking about, you know, having you almost have to have a little bit of a twisted sense of humor to, to last in human resources. And, and you got to get 10 years, so, so, so good for you. So I think this is going to be fun. Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. So, you know, I'm really excited about this conversation. And, you know, one of the things that I love his stories and, you know, you look at all sorts of of research related to great sales people and and great brands and great companies. And, you know, there is that common theme where you can find that a lot of times there's a great story there. There's a reason that people are listening, or why, you know, the brand resonates and things like that. And so I maybe want to start off with what got you interested in the power of stories?

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yeah, it's it was actually it was when I worked. So if we go back a little bit further, I did start my career in technology. So I was like a trainee computer operator back in the 80s, when you know, computers first came about, and what after about five or six years in that what I started to get really interested in was looking after the training for the technology people. And I guess that was my pivot. Let's see, let's see how many times you can actually say the word. That was my pivot into HR, because what I found I was less interested in, you know, being on the tools as such in technology, but I was really interested in helping people develop, professionally develop, and I've searched all their training and look for them. And I refer to them on training, we do all this stuff. And that started my career in HR. And that progressed into some pretty senior change management roles. So, you know, I was at I was at the bank, this was one of Australia's largest banks for 17 years. So you progress in leadership. So I had people leadership roles, but it was in my last couple of years, it was some pretty major change management roles. So rolling out a lot of technology change across the the organization, but me being from a from a people's perspective. So how do we get the people to change because it is, you know, I think most change fails because the people aren't adopting the new processes and behaviors not nothing wrong with the technology. It was there that I started to notice that when I started to share a story to just communicate a message I was getting across. So it could be a message about why we were doing this change, it could be a message about the impact that change was going to have on the business units. So I noticed when I started to share a story to speaking to the business units, they seem to understand the message better, they we may not have got 100% compliance, which we're not going to do, but they seem to understand why we're doing it. And they seem to not only understand the message better, but remember it. And then that's when I really saw it was probably almost 20 years ago, now that this was happening. And I started to experiment with using stories myself in in the way I communicated and influenced, and then I started to do a whole heap of research, and there'd been a couple of books written on it, but not a lot, that I knew, I knew it was a really powerful, not only communication skill, but influencing skill. And so yes, that's how I got into it. And for the last 17 years, I've been working with leaders of all time of all companies and industries on how they actually communicate and influence more effectively through stories.

Kyle Roed:

That's really interesting. And, you know, I think that, you know, I've spent a lot of time in front of people trying to get them to listen, you know, and when we hear when you're talking about something that maybe is, is as exciting as, you know, HR compliance or, or performance evaluations, or something that's maybe a little bit more emotional, such as, you know, diversity, equity and inclusion, you know, I can absolutely name the times where I've made the mistake of jumping right into the content without setting the, you know, really setting the stage or setting the context or helping people understand why are we here? And, yeah, really, really powerful. So I didn't mention this, but you do have a latest book out magnetic stories, connect with customers and engage employees with brand storytelling recently published here, here this year. So what got you interested in focusing on kind of customers in and employee engagement as it relates to storytelling?

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yeah, look at probably the focus of all my previous books have been internal. So it really has been the focus of my previous books is around how we do engage employees. So you know, how, how is a leader or company? Do you communicate messages? And you know, I look at you said, diversity and equity inclusion. You can't, you can't communicate that without stories. I truly believe you can't communicate that without stories, even something like compliance, it was, we go straight into what they need to do, as opposed to sharing a story about why they need to do it, which is if you're not explaining the why then you're not going to get compliance. So the vast majority of the work I still do, and my previous books have been about how we communicate values internally. Because and maybe we can speak more about that later. Because I think as a as an HR professional as a HR industry, that is probably one of the biggest benefits they can bring to the company is to roll out those values in a much better way. Because we've all been involved in a lot of values rollouts. Anyway, we might we can talk about that a bit later, Carl, but what So is it the focus of the previous books have been internal. And it was only in the last couple of years that I noticed this concept of storytelling and brand storytelling really taking off. And people were talking about storytelling, brand storytelling, brand loyalty through stories. And what I noticed is I noticed two things. Companies were implementing brand storytelling or thought they were implementing it and I'd be sitting there going, that's not the way to do it. You don't do it like that. So I could see people trying to do it, and weren't doing it effectively. And on the other side, I saw I heard all these amazing stories from companies, and would say, tell me you're sharing that tell me that's on your website, tell me that's on your induction program. And they would go, no, they go, Oh, would anyone be interested in that? Or? No, I haven't really thought about it. So there was there was some companies that understood the power of story, but didn't know how to implement it. And there was a whole heap of other companies that didn't understand the power of story and weren't even contemplating how they share stories both internally and externally to connect and engage both with customers and employees. And I think because of social media, it's really hard to distinguish those two audiences now that I think you know, customers and employees you a lot of the time you are communicating on the same platform in the same way to them.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah. What you just said there just resonated with me. I definitely think that you know, I put put myself in that latter camp. where there's so many great stories there. But you know, my organization specifically, I don't know, that we've met we have, we certainly haven't been intentional, and connecting those stories to the broader vision of who we are and who we can be. And, you know, how, how do we make the world a, you know, a, not just, you know, making profits for organization, but also making the world a better place to be and making our employees, you know, yeah, have a great place to work, that sort of thing. You know, it just reminded me, I just, I just had a meeting with our dei committee, and we were talking about these things. And they were, I can, there were, like, 10, awesome stories of things that we're doing all over the world that nobody knew anything about. And I was like, that's great. That's really great. And somebody did ask the question, so are we telling anybody about this stuff? And I think, yeah, I just wrote it to do list, okay, I need to, I need to share some of this stuff. So

Gabrielle Dolan:

and and call, you're not, you know, this, I could, I could be in work for the rest of my life. That's exactly what I do. When companies go, Okay, we've got a new purpose or a new mission or new values or strategy or not even you, we've just had it, but no one really gets it is going in and helping them helping their leaders not and not not just the senior exec team, sort of the you know, the next few levels down how they communicate the purpose through a story through and through personal story, like, how do they communicate values? How do you communicate value, such as integrity, without a story, a personal story, you don't you can't communicate values with bullet points. And that's what we've been doing in the past, we companies come up with their values, and then write a few. This is what it means to us, which is fine. But if, if your leaders don't understand it, it's cold. I don't get surprised about this anymore. But when I run training workshops for leaders, and I go, Okay, so we're going to share personal stories around your company values. And we go through the values and I pick one and I say Sadie's integrity, and I'll call on someone, I'll go Hey, John. So just tell me what integrity means to you. Just personally, what it means to you Don't Don't worry about what's written on the you know, the strategy on a page, what does it mean to you? And they'll go, it means respect. Okay, yeah. Okay, what does that mean? What it says, Keep keep talking to me? What does integrity mean? And after about 20 seconds or so they'll do this, they'll go, Oh, I see, you've put me on the spot here. I haven't really thought about this that much before. And these are senior leaders, were asking to, you know, transform the company lead the values, and they haven't spent more than 20 seconds, thinking about what it means to them. So then I take them through the process of helping them be really clear what it means to them, and then finding a personal story to share it, which is, you know, they make the connection themselves to the values, but then they're better able to share the story so that their team can make the connection as well.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah. I just, I'm chuckling because it's, it's, it's similar to me where, you know, we've got values. But if I were to go to my senior leaders, and I said, Hey, what are they? Um, it would be hit or miss. Yeah, you know, but to your point, it's like, yeah, how often do we actually think about it? You know, and is it really top of mind? Or is it? Or is it just something that's on a website? And it's, uh, you know, like, you know, like, marketing came up with it. And so I guess I have to agree with it kind of an approach. So, oh, we,

Gabrielle Dolan:

we created into an acronym, because that way, everyone's gonna remember him as like, no one remembers them. Do you? What do you I'm going to give you an example. When I made sure he was like,

Kyle Roed:

yes, please give me a story. Yeah.

Gabrielle Dolan:

We can't do we can't do this whole thing without sharing the story. Right? I've got heaps of stories, I think I could share with you that your your audience would appreciate. But let me give you an example of what I mean by this. I'm talking about say you had the value integrity, right. So say, whether your company values integrity, or respect, or doing the right thing, you know, with, there'll be all these different words for it. But this is an example came from I was doing work with a large company going through what does integrity mean, you know, picking a value or the other values, and this woman Her name was in and so I took her through the process, what does integrity mean to you? And she went, it means telling the truth. Okay, what else does it mean? It means that she's, you know, if you say you're going to do something, do it great. What and I just keep saying what else what else to say a few times. And then she sort of said, what it really means to me is doing the right thing all the time. She said, I think we're pretty good at doing the right thing when it suits us. Not so great when it doesn't suit us. Okay. Okay. So so now we're really clear on the message like that's the message. So then I take them through the process of how do they find a personal story to communicate that so I'm just going to share the story and came up with and maybe I'll pretend doorman and I'm your new CEO, or whatever, and I'll ask you you what your reaction is of the story afterwards. So Anne was sitting in the early 60s, my dad was a professional swimmer. And he reached the point in his career where he actually tried out for the National swim squat. And on the day of the meet, he was apparently winning his race. And he got to the end to do the tumble turn, and he slightly misjudged the wall. Now, this was in the early 60s. So there was no technology, no sensors in the wall, and there was judges, but with all that splashing and kicking, he was pretty sure that no one knew whether he touched the wall or not. But he had to make a split second decision, does he go back and touch the wall? Or does he just keep swimming, and he decided to go back and touch the wall. Now, you don't really recover from a swim race when you got to do that. And he did it. He never ever made the national swim squad. And I would sometimes ask that there must be times when you regret going back to touch the wall. And he would always respond with, I've never regretted that, because if I didn't go back and touch the wall, I'd have to spend the rest of my life knowing I did the wrong thing. And I'm sharing this with you, because it reminds me of our value integrity, there's going to be moments, it's only a matter of time before we come across our own, go back and touch the wall moment. And I invite you to consider what my dad would do. What does that story do?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that, that, that. You know, it's, it's funny, because it's one thing to hear you talk about, like integrity. And you know, and like the example of an individual who is thinking about and, and is prompted to think a little bit more deeply about it, versus hearing a story of a human who, you know, maybe put himself in adversities way to do the right thing. And actually had a little bit of an emotional reaction to it. You know, it was almost like the, like, kind of like the, like the, you know, the hairs on the back of your neck, you're like, oh, wow, you know, like, oh, that that really spoke to me. So yeah, it was definitely much more of a, you know, an engaged emotional response to, to what I can only imagine was an extremely difficult moment for that individual. But, yeah, I mean, great. So

Gabrielle Dolan:

and that's, and that's the power of stories, you have an emotional, you know, and we talk it's doesn't have to be all emotional, but somehow it just just got you a little bit. And then that's the emotional reaction. And as humans, that's, that's what we connect. And, you know, we're not when I share that story. In training workshops, I sort of say, what does that do for you, and everyone, everyone, all the participants will go, I really trust her. She's got integrity, she has a high standards, this is the way she's going to behave. This is the expectation, she has a verse, and it was just like, wow, that's a that's a powerful like, you know, 90 seconds, isn't it to get all that message across. And I still keep in contact with her and and says that this story is part of her personal induction program or onboarding program where she literally says every single person that works for her hears that story. And because it she knows, in her own words, she goes, I know, the heavy lifting that story does for me. And she's I think she's now worked at three different companies since she did this. And even though the name of the values like one of the values was honesty, at one company she worked with, it's the same story. It's just linking it to that value. And, you know, even if she didn't work for a company, it's her own personal value, but that the story does, but yeah, sadly, what we tend to do in organizations and good is go we have a value of integrity. And what this means is doing the right thing, you know, telling the truth being respectful was like so what? Sorry?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, everybody thinks they have integrity. Exactly. Like it's like asking an interview question. Do you have integrity? The answer is always going to be yes, of course. I have integrity. I mean, yeah, it's it's Yeah, then it's just kind of nothingness. Right. It's it's, it's hollow. Right.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Can I tell you a funny you just remind me of a funny little interview anecdote. You might have heard this one where the interviewer asked the interviewee What's your greatest weakness? And he says, telling the truth, I can't help but always tell the truth. And the interviewer goes, I wouldn't consider I don't think that's a weakness. And he goes on to give a fuck what you think.

Kyle Roed:

Perfect. That guy's hired for. I don't get Yeah, I love that'd be my favorite interview response. I do you hate you hate jargon. I hate those canned interview questions like, what's your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? You know, it's just like, it's just like, Yeah, I don't know here. And now a word from our sponsors. When Molly Patrick and I had to figure out how to start our own podcast, we didn't know where to start. Thankfully, we found Buzzsprout bus stop. makes it super easy for us to upload our episodes, track our listeners, and get listed on all the major podcast networks. Today's a great day to start your own podcast. I know that you're one of our listeners. So you've definitely got something to say. Whether you're looking for a new marketing channel, have a message you want to share with the world or just think it would be fun to have your own talk show. Podcasting is an easy, inexpensive and fun way to expand your reach online. Buzzsprout is hands down the easiest and best way to launch promote and track your podcast. Your show can be online and listed in all the major podcast directories within minutes of finishing your recording. Podcasting isn't that hard when you have the right partner, the team at Buzzsprout is passionate about helping you succeed. Join over 100,000 podcasters already using Buzzsprout to get their message out to the world. And now for listeners of rebel HR. You can get a $20 amazon gift card sent to you from Buzzsprout by clicking in the link in the show notes. Thanks for listening. Are you looking to grow your personal brand or your business brand? Take it from me the podcasts are a great way to do it. Here's the secret. We all want to feel connected to the brands that we buy from what better way to humanize a brand than through sharing your personal story on a podcast. I have had great success with Kitt caster caster is a podcast booking agency that specializes in developing real human connections through podcast appearances. And let me tell you, it's all about the right human connection. You can expect a completely customized concierge service from their staff of communication experts, kit casters, your secret weapon in podcasting for business, your audience is waiting to hear from you. For a limited time offer listeners to the rebel HR podcast can go to www.castor.com backslash rebel to get a special offer for friends of the podcast rebel on

Gabrielle Dolan:

a friend of mine, a friend of mine went for a job interview and they said where do you see yourself in five years? And she said doing your job? And and I reckon like I reckon that's a really great response because you know, she got the job.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, my so I got that it's funny you just prop here's a story for you. So I'm I was interviewing for this job. I don't know how many years ago, four years ago, something like that. And, and I was out we were out at lunch. And it had been a totally like it had been a jargon free interview experience. And I'm like, I really like this company. These are just real people there. It's conversational interview. Through the course of the conversations, I'm like, there's a lot of opportunity this company I can I think I can make a difference. And then I'm out at lunch. And one of the guys goes, where do you see yourself in five years? And I gave like the most flowery HR non answer answer full of jargon. You know, it was just like, it was a total BS response. And he kind of caught me off guard because I just I was kind of out of the whole, like, interview mindset. At that point. I was trying to eat an enchilada without getting it on my suit, you know. And at the end of my response, I just I look at him and I go, that was a terrible response. I'm sorry. I was like such an HR response. You know, the honest answer is, I don't really know. But you know, I'm really enjoying this interview. And yeah, so I'd love to work here if you'll have me. Everybody laughing they're like, Yeah, that was a total BS response that but I got the job. So hey, you know, there you go.

Gabrielle Dolan:

How did you recover? What's bad?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I yeah, I guess I hate it so much that I refuse to answer it in an appropriate way. But anyways,

Gabrielle Dolan:

maybe it's a secret, maybe HR asking that question to see if people call it out for how that question is

Kyle Roed:

made? I don't know. I, I think I think it's, I think it's lazy. If you want my honest opinion, you're asking those types of questions. It's, you're just reading the interview, and instead of actually connecting with someone so. So that's what that, you know, we're kind of going an interesting tangent here. But I want to continue to explore because my opinion is when we get into things like talent assessment, talent, selection, talent acquisition, you know, all these really fun, you know, HR buzzwords and things that are kind of pretty huge headaches for HR right now. I just think so much of that is related to storytelling, it's the story that you tell yourself about that employee. It's the story that an interview candidate tells you about themselves. And it's ultimately it's kind of the perception that you walk away from from those types of interactions with and and so, you know, what have you seen as it relates to like organizations that understand the value of stories, and how do they how do they incorporate that into their, you know, their talent systems, kind of their internal talent processes.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yeah, I mean, when you think about the whole concept of an interview, and especially, you know, the behavioral event interview processes Oh, shoot, they still do that these days, is people are telling stories. So it's literally you're saying, Tell me your time when you have. And so they're telling stories. And the whole concept is we want them telling stories, because that actually creates a better picture for us. Like when we weak form, it's sort of like a more rounded view we have of them. I think things are flipped, like every time you're interviewing someone for a job, they're interviewing you, as well. They're deciding whether they're going to work for you know, this younger generation who just got yeah, whatever, I'll decide whether I work for you, thank you very much. And so the point is, if we've spent decades trying to draw stories out of the applicant, to find a better picture of them, we should be proactively sharing stories about the company, so they want to work for you. So if you, you know, if you've got a really great culture, for example, you know, don't don't just say we've got a great culture, I was like, Well, you know, every job, no one's no one's no one's recruiting someone and going, Oh, by the way, we've got a pretty ship culture, I just thought I'd let you know, which is like, so. So instead of saying, where we got a great culture, we really value diversity, for example, share stories about that, like, give me an example. Give me an example of your great culture. Give me an example of your diversity inclusion. And so it's finding those stories and sharing them. So just like you said, you know, previously, you spoke to the D and AI team, and there was 10, great stories about diversity inclusion, but if no one knows about them, like so, these stories should not only form part of any onboarding process. So you know, when you when people actually take on the job, they're learning it, but they should actually form part of a recruitment process. So it was interesting, I just actually had a meeting with a client last week, and they're bringing me in specifically to do that. So they've just created this whole new employee value proposition. I'm really, I'm really reluctant to say acronyms, because besides I hate jargon, and I hate acronyms. So an EVP they've developed it

Kyle Roed:

all EVPs. Yeah. Just as

Gabrielle Dolan:

just as easy to say employee value proposition. And they want they want the I'm going to go in and train their leaders and their recruiters, the people recruiting on how to share stories, because, you know, the whole reason you've got an EVP is to attract people to your company. And the most effective way to share that is through stories, not just stating, you know, the benefits, that's what we normally do, we go on these, the benefits was like, Alright, okay, so that really doesn't distinguish you from anyone else. But it's the stories and, and, you know, Cole, when you said, when I share that story about the swimmer, going back and touch the wall, he said, I had a bit of like, an emotional connection. That's what people are doing. They're walking away every good story you share, there's an emotional connection, and they walk out of the interview going, I really want to work for this company. And, and if if the interviewer is really good at storytelling, that's when you walk out and go, we really want to employ this person, because you've created an emotional connection.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So it's, it's, it's fascinating. I'm just reflecting back on my experience, and I haven't thought about it really in this context. But, you know, I always have thought about those people, those those candidates, those employees that I've connected with, as just, you know, maybe maybe a little bit of implicit bias, maybe they're like me, you know, maybe but there's, but yeah, every once in a while you'll you'll interact with somebody and you, you just you just click like there's that connection, right. But I'm thinking about that in the context of storytelling and in, in thinking about one of the last interview candidates that I spoke with, we, we it was all stories. We were sharing stories about our, you know, totally, you know, HR inappropriate. We were talking about our families, we were talking about things we like to do, you know, it was, I mean, it was it was a much more personal discussion. It was just about, you know, it was it was it was about ourselves. And but this candidate specifically was a really good storyteller. Yeah. To the point that I'm like, Gee, would you be wonderful on this team? Yeah. And ultimately, we couldn't hire him because somebody else hired.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yeah, yeah. But you just said it was more personal, like as an interview should it should be, you know, the biggest mistake with interviews is people just go in and discuss the resume that all the informations in there, you know, they can do the job. That's why they've got to the interview process. The whole process of an interview should be will this person fit into our culture? Will we like working with them, and it's through those stories? You can sort of decide that and you create the emotional connection. And we keep talking about emotion. That's the power of the story is we're humans, as humans, we are emotional beings. And anyone in traditional sales roles will tell you people buy on emotion, and justify on logic. And whether you're buying, you know, a pair of shoes, or the latest iPhone, or you're buying into, I want to work with this company, or you're buying into a strategy, like you're buying into compliance, you're buying into diversity inclusion, you were doing that on an emotional level. And of course, everything should make sense. She all the logic should be there. But I believe most change fails because we try to communicate change through logic, and only logic where we need to communicate it through stories to get that emotional connection. And people will rationalize it on the logic, so need the logic, but it's just logic doesn't do much to influence people, it just informs them doesn't influence him.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, and I'm guilty of that. I'm, I'm a big data guy, I just I This is Sound nerdy, but I love statistics, you know, like in standard deviations, and like, you know, I, but I find it fascinating. And I find that, you know, it can really, really help inform, you know, a business. But, you know, I've learned over the years that that you have to you have to couple that with something that gets people to actually, you know, understand what's behind it, right. Yeah. And so, so an example of maybe a story for you. So I, one of the statistics that was really, really shocking to me, in my local community was the fact that we had a significant percentage of unemployed individuals who were immigrants. And, you know, I mean, it was right there, it was a number and it was like telling people, oh, you know, hey, this, we have like double digit unemployment levels in this specific community of people. And people be like, Oh, that's too bad. Okay. Right. But then, when I started to, then when I started to explain that in the context that my organization, at that time went out, we specifically out did outreach to that community to understand why. And here's what we found some, you know, language, some skills gaps. A lot of them didn't even know we existed. So it was just like making that connection. And then telling people and oh, by the way, we brought in this individual, and he was a trainer, and he brought his friends, and they never missed work. And they showed up with a great attitude. And then people start listening. They're like, Oh, okay. Like, oh, there's an opportunity there. But then telling the story of that individual who is now he's now moved on to be a leader of a, I have an entire cell, and that is one of the most stable, stable departments within that organization right now. And put him on a path to go get a college degree. And now and then people start to really connect with that individual. And then and then when I, when I actually put a picture of him in the presentation was I was explaining it to people, then it was like, people were with me.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yes, yeah. And really, you've just highlighted how the power of influence, you can't do it just with data, like the data get, like, yeah, it's there. It's informative. But it was only through the story and the specific story, and even the personal story, showing the picture of him his name, that that's what people connect with. So it's sort of yes, you need the data. But it's the story that will influence people and really connect with them, and they'll use the data to support that. I think I'm gonna throw a rocky I might be really controversial here call. But I think one of the problems with HR professionals is that they've often maybe even accused of being told or you know, HR fluffy, or their bloody fluffy stuff, you know, just give me the facts. It's not you don't understand the business. So I think they try to go Okay, so I'm not going to share stories, I'm not going to go get into the emotional stuff, I'm going to go hard, hard on the data, because that's what you know, the business unit is saying they need the business units are still humans. So I think sometimes people in HR have clicked too much to try to influence through data, because they don't want to be accused of being fluffy and therefore at their own peril. I think sometimes missing the amazing opportunities of sharing stories to communicate the message as well.

Kyle Roed:

That's really interesting. Insight in and to be honest, it until probably until the last few years of my career, I was absolutely that way because I was so caught up in the stigma that we have to be data driven and everything has to, you know, tie back just some, you know, some financial metric and I have to you know, I have to have an ROI or a cost benefit analysis on everything that we do and I spend a lot of time kind of spinning my wheels there. It wasn't until the last few years where I'm in a more strategic role, where I found that the power of humanity is just as important, if not more important, especially to the leaders of my organization. Where, you know, there they really are, you know, my CEO leans on me to be the eyes and ears and conscience of the, of the organization and make sure that he understands, you know, the ripple effect of decisions. And, and, you know, and if I can't tell those stories to him, then he's gonna go find someone else who can lie. Exactly. That's part of my job. And so I think, you know, to an HR professional that's maybe struggling with that, you know, I mean, I, I certainly didn't get into this profession to, to pour over Excel spreadsheets and interpret data all day long, you know, at a certain point, I want to start to impact people in a positive way. And yeah, so I, I don't disagree with with you at all. In that, in that observation. I do. I, I don't know, I still struggled to get a little bit too fluffy, though.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Ya know. This is, again, the interpretation like the fluffy, people think it's fluffy, but it's if it's getting your message across more effectively. And as you know, I love storytelling, kick, I'm gonna tell you a secret. I also really love Excel spreadsheets. I'm not against data. I'm not against that. I'm not against trucking. But when you're trying to communicate it and influence change, it's how you do that story. I am this, the story I'm thinking I might share with you as another example is, it'll be you'll be able to relate from an HR perspective, because I think in a lot of support roles in companies like HR, risk, marketing comms, you've got to do a big influencing role. It's normally when you're trying to get the business units on board, and the different departments and the exec team and stuff. It's a major influencing role. So this was, I worked with a worked with the entire risk team and the head of risk, her name was rosemary, and she said that the biggest issue I have is every time risk is raised. All the business units go well, you're the Risk Manager, that's your job. I mean, you might get the same or that's a people issue. That's your job, right. And she says, It doesn't matter how many times I've told them, I cannot manage their risk for them. All I can do is help them manage their risk. She says the behavior doesn't change. She goes I've given case study after case study example after example of the benefits of managing risks the consequences of not because I cannot influence their behavior around it. So this is the story she shared. She said when I was a kid, I grew up on a farm. And growing up in a farm there was all these dangers we needed to be aware of, but Mum would teach us what to do. So we knew what to do if we ever came across redback spiders in the timber heap. And we knew about all the potential traps in the dam after heavy rain. And we knew what to do if we came across a snake in summer. And I remember this really hot day mom was yelling at me to get my bike from the front gate. So I ran down the path and I just froze because in front of my bike was this massive Copperhead snake. But I remembered everything Mum told us to do so played statues. And I slowly walked backwards until there was enough space between me and the snake. And I ran back to the house to tell mum, and I'm sharing this with you because it reminds me of the role we play in risk. All I can do is give you the skills, knowledge and advice. So when you come across your own Copperhead snake, regardless of what that looks like, you will know what to do. Now. I'll put it to you. Do you reckon that helps you understand the role of risk manager better and the role you play in risk?

Kyle Roed:

We don't have Copperhead snake sounds super scary. So yeah, exactly. That No, it makes perfect sense.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Yeah. And and do you think you'd remember the story?

Kyle Roed:

Oh, yeah. Yeah,

Gabrielle Dolan:

yeah, I remember it. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

I remember that whatever to remember the swimmer story. Yeah. And

Gabrielle Dolan:

you will remember it because it's tapped into emotion. And I'll ask you another question. If you had to, if you had to, could you retell that story without losing its meaning? Wouldn't have to be word for word, but do you reckon you could retell it without losing? Its mean? Absolutely. Yeah. So when you think about it, I would suggest that in your in your role in your listeners role, some of the fundamental challenges they have a Do people understand what they're saying, like actually understand it in the first place. Can they remember it? So when the meeting is over, when the presentations finished? Can they actually remember it? And can they if they had to go back and tell their people without losing the meaning? And a really short, sharp personal story like that, like the copperhead snake can do that. And so this is, this is where it can become one of your most strategic effective in influencing skills, but you know, it is a skill. If it was a four was easy. Everyone would be doing it and doing it well and I wouldn't have a job. It's not easy, because there's a very, very big difference between sharing stories with your friends and sharing strategic stories really succinctly to get your message across effectively. There's a that's a massive skill.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah, really, really powerful stuff. And some really great examples that I think, you know, you've given me some things to think about. I'm sure listeners are sitting here thinking, Oh, geez, I got this big thing coming up. What story can I tell about it right now. So if you want to learn more magnetic stories is is out now. I'm sure there's a ton of great content there. I wish we could keep going. But we are coming to the end of our time together. So I want to shift gears. I won't say pivot.

Gabrielle Dolan:

We only said pivot once we didn't get okay.

Kyle Roed:

Okay, we can do it. Again. You're gonna pivot events to the rebel HR flash round. So, you ready?

Gabrielle Dolan:

I'm ready. Hey, before we do that, before we do that, Carl, I should say I know this, probably all be in your show notes and everything. But if if people are interested in how they sort of get started with this storytelling, on my website, there's a store a seven day storytelling starter kit, it's free. And it's just goes for seven days, they'll get a little email from me for seven days. And it just, it will help them start thinking about you know, what, how do I find these stories? And where could I use them? And why would I use them? So it's sort of as the name suggests, it's a good way to get started on storytelling.

Kyle Roed:

Perfect. Yeah, we will have all that in the show notes as well. So

Gabrielle Dolan:

all right, quick fire, man. All right. I'm a little bit nervous. I'm a little bit should I be nervous? No. Okay.

Kyle Roed:

I mean, you can be nervous if you want. But alright, question number one. What is your favorite people book?

Gabrielle Dolan:

Ah, as in about people,

Kyle Roed:

something that gave you insight into people. Could be a people story. It doesn't have to be a book. It can. Yeah.

Gabrielle Dolan:

It was actually, I think Dan and Chip hates first book called Made to Stick. I love that book. I don't. It's one. You know, there's a few business books you read over and over again, and it's made to stick and of course, they talk about stories. But yeah, that was a real insight to me about how people think.

Kyle Roed:

Alright, perfect. Alright, question number two, who should we be listening to?

Gabrielle Dolan:

yourself? Listen, listen to your voice and the voice that encourages you to do stuff, not the really loud, annoying voice that says you can't do that. They true to yourself, they true to yourself. Listen to yourself more.

Kyle Roed:

Love that. Love that. Okay. That was deep. That was deep. I'm, I'm having a moment here. But alright, question number three. How can our listeners connect with you?

Gabrielle Dolan:

Oh, I jumped the gun with that one. So yeah, my website Gabriel Dolan calm. But like I said, if you go to the seven day storytelling starter kit, that's, that's a good place to go. There is actually for your audience. I've got a couple of white papers, and one is around organizational change. And that that might be really relevant. So just go just go to the resource section, and you'll see the white papers, but it's, I think it's called the evolution of organizational change. I wrote it. I wrote it quite a few years ago. But I think it's still very valid with a real focus on how do you do values roll out and organizational change better. Thank God we've moved on from giving everyone a coffee mug and a mouse pad with the values printed on them.

Kyle Roed:

Great. I got to scratch that off. I was just getting ready to order them. Yeah, I can use all the help I get on that. I don't know how many other HR people are like, Yeah, we got to fix this. Ah, you stuff.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Guilty. I've been guilty of that. Keep everyone Who Moved My Cheese book.

Kyle Roed:

Hey, you know, yeah, sometimes you just throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks. But well, Gabriel, it's been absolutely wonderful conversation, some really powerful examples. And I think just just a really fascinating insight into the power of stories and business and and how, especially in the context of being an HR practitioner, you know, you you do need to be able to influence and in order to do that you need to be able to tell some stories. So and very clearly, clearly stated here. So thank you so much for joining us and look forward to continuing to fall and learn from you.

Gabrielle Dolan:

Thanks, Kyle. Great to be part of it.

Kyle Roed:

Thank you. Take care. 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 dot 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 During the filming of this podcast maybe