Stephen Shedletztky: Psychological safety and a Speak-Up culture

Loris Marini - Podcast Host Discovering Data

Psychological safety fuels learning and growth. It feels good and it’s good for business too!

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Why this episode

Psychological safety fuels learning and growth. It feels good and it’s good for business too! After a decade working in Simon Sinek’s team and hundreds of keynote presentations my guest Stephen Shedletzky—or “Shed” to his friends, joins me today to talk about creating a Speak Up culture.

Shed helps leaders listen to and nurture the voice of others. He supports humble leaders—those who know they are both a part of the problems they experience and the solutions they can create—as they put their people and purpose first.

A sought-after speaker, coach, and advisor, Shed has led hundreds of keynote presentations, workshops, and leadership development programs around the world. As a thought-leader on leadership and organizational culture, he supports leaders and organizations in fostering a Speak-Up culture across all industries where human beings work. He is the author of the forthcoming book Speak Up Culture: When Leaders Truly Listen, People Step Up (Page Two, 2023).

You can follow Stephen on LinkedIn.

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Episode transcripts

**Loris Marini:** Alrighty. So we are here to talk about psychological safety and. We're here to talk about a speak up culture, which I just learned today I am learning from Stephen Schletske Oh, shed to his friends. s to and nurture the voice of others.

He supports humble leaders, those that know that they're both part of the problems they experience and the solutions that they create. As they put their people and purpose first shed is a sought after speaker, coach, and advisor has led hundreds of keynote presentations, workshops, and leadership development programs around the world as a thought leader on leadership and organizational culture.

Shed supports leaders and organizations in fostering a speak up culture across all industries. Where human beings work is the author of the forthcoming book Speak Up Culture. When leaders truly listen, people step up. It's due to be published soon. We are not gonna put a date, but in a few months, so stay tuned because you're gonna be the first to know when that happens.

Shed an immense pleasure to have you on the podcast. Thank you for taking the time.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Thanks, Loris. It's a pleasure to join you in your.

**Loris Marini:** So shed help me understand the difference between psychological safety and a speak up culture.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah, so I don't think there's a difference. I think there's a compliment. So when I first set out to learn more and capture some ideas around this topic called the speak up culture my initial sort of instincts were. Were accurate, I would say, but not the whole truth. this work for me is semi autobiographical.

I've been parts of teams and organizations where there is what I would call a speak up culture where it both felt like there was enough safety or psychological safety and that it was worth it to, that there was gonna be high impact. and when you are in those types of cultures, It's marvelous.

The, both, the breadth and depth of what you're able to cover with colleagues, the relationships that you form, trust, cooperation, innovation, creativity, all go up. I've also been parts of teams and organizations where there isn't a. Speak up culture and there's more silence. And not only is that bad for literal health of employees, and I think a big reason for this quiet, quitting and great resignation, not all of it, but a really good part of it is toxic leadership and toxic culture, whether by intention or not.

And I think a lot of that has to do with having a speak up culture or not. And so when I've been parts of organizations where there. A SpeakUp culture. Not only are employees less healthy physically, mentally but the firm is not nearly as successful. There's missed opportunities to innovate and create, and it can even result in devastation or death, which we've seen with the Boeing 7 37 max eight, and a speak up culture combines two bodies of work. It combines the work of psychological safety as well as the perception of impact. And before we speak up, we consciously or subconsciously ask ourselves two questions. Is it safe and is it worth it?

**Loris Marini:** R I I love it. So is worth it in terms of how much IE can get out of speaking up as an individual, but also how much is worth for the organization, Is it worthwhile to go through that exercise?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah so when I started with Speak Up Culture, I first thought it was just a rebrand on psychological safety. psychological safety as the input to get us to speak up culture as an output, which is a part truth. it's more than that. So the two questions, is it safe?

Is it worth it? Is it safe? Is psychological safety though, Amy Edmondson, who's a foremost thinker and leader in this space on psychological safety? she wrote the book, The Fearless Organization, and I think in chapter five it's hey, I just wanna say this is an ideal idealized notion.

There's no such thing as fearlessness, which is why I get irked when people say, This is our fearless leader. It's no, they're not. Like fear is important. If it weren't for fear, we wouldn't have courage. And so the goal is not to get rid of fear. The goal is to make fear palatable. And so one piece of a speak up culture is it safe?

Is it worth the risk? The risk to my job, the risk to my reputation, the risk to my relationships, to share an idea, even if it's half baked, to share a concern, even if it's unpopular or personal to disagree, especially with someone more senior than you, and to admit mistake, knowing that it will lead to improvement, not get you in trouble or.

So that's one piece. The worth it piece is really around impact and service orientation. So I like to think of it this. it's like a two by two matrix. So high safety, high impact, speak up culture all day of every day. The ability to have hard but truthful candor with care con conversations.

Great. And I think that is optimal. You can have high safety, but low impact. So let's say you and I are old college buddies and we're really close and I have a problem that I'm not really helping myself with, whether it's exercise or diet or drinking too much alcohol or something, and you're like, Shed, I need to confront you.

Stop doing this. You're killing yourself and you're hurting your relationships and your family. There might be a lot of safety in our relationship, and you're gonna speak up, but you're like I have no faith. You're gonna make any change in behavior, but I'm gonna speak up cuz I feel it's safe, but I don't have faith that it's gonna lead to any change.

so there's two more. So low safety and low impact is a nice, lovely marriage between fear and apathy. Don't recommend it. It doesn't yield to a speak up culture. That's when you get quiet quitting. That's when you. People not caring about the firm. Toxic and people, you know are either missing in, in place or quit.

An interesting one though is low safety and high impact. This is when you often get whistle blowing. So low safety means it is not safe to speak up here, but the stakes are so high it is worth it. We saw this from Ed Pearson who is a senior manager at Boeing, who literally went to the general manager of the Renton Washington facility and said, My alarm bells are going off.

I would not put my family on a Boeing aircraft. For the first time in my life, I've seen operations in the military cuz he was a retired naval officer. Shut down for. To which the GM of the Renton facility, who I'm sure was under a ton of pressure that themselves said, This is not a military operation.

This is a for-profit operation. Face palm. Right.

**Loris Marini:** Good that me?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** So that is low safety, high impact because the cost is human life. And it ended in Pearson whistle blowing to US Congress after the second plane. Ethiopian Airlines plane went down in March of 2019. So that's the mix of both psychological safety and the perception of impact leading to will people speak up or not.

**Loris Marini:** That's super interesting. I have a question for you around importance of having a homogenous culture.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Mm-hmm.

**Loris Marini:** Because what happens if you are totally on board with taking risk and you say, Hey, this is worth it. And you might even feel relatively safe within your immediate circle, but you are part of a large.

Organization and within that large team, as you step up from your line manager to whoever that line manager reports to, you might, you know that's not safe, right? Or it gets less safe as you go. do we have to have an homogenous system to be able to reap the benefits as an organization?

oh, can we start small and influence and that becomes contagious and people are like, That guy, that person actually raised their hand and said what they were thinking.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah so a. So one, when I hear the word homogeneous, and this may not be your intention, but I think we need to bring in the conversation of diversity. So if we have a homogeneous organization, we're more likely to have group think, which means we're making decisions in silos

or in tunnel vision.

And those often aren't the best decisions. It's really valuable to have. People who can really provide a perspective of what your customer, as an example feels, what your end user feels. I think that was your intention, but it's worth saying.

**Loris Marini:** worth it. Yeah. Yeah,

**Stephen Shedletztky:** it's worth saying that, diversity, equity, and inclusion and belonging has become, in the forefront in these last three plus years for good reason and it's good for business.

Like it's not just the right thing to do. You actually get better, more holistic. If you try to do D E I B initiatives and you don't have a SpeakUp culture, it's not gonna go well because you may invite people to the table, but you devalue. Their voice. That's not psychological safety. That's not a speak up culture or D E I


**Loris Marini:** Thank you for pointing that out. Absolutely. Now, homogeneous is definitely the wrong word. Or maybe these, if I narrow the focus down to just the safety access, Yeah, I don't know. I wonder how does safety emerge? Is it something that comes from the top or is it something that comes from the bottom?

Or is it something that kind of emerges as a combination of the two?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah, so there's two things you're pointing to which we've put in the book. So this is good news. One, we are a hierarchical species. And for anyone who's like flat organization structure flat organizational structure might work for three buddies in a garage.

In a startup, as soon as you grow more complex, as soon as you're up to five or 15 people, even in the most sort of extreme models of management we have right now with holocracy and self-management, you still have. We need people to step up given the right context. So we are a hierarchical species.

That's normal. well, the more power or authority one has in a culture a couple things are true. One, your whisper is a shout and your tiptoes are stomp. And two, we're biologically wired to offer you deference and not necessarily feed you the truth, because there's a level of fear that comes up with speaking truth to power.

This is normal. So leaders must work really hard to know that their whisper is a shout, and their tiptoes, or stomps, meaning their words and their behavior are amplified. As well as the more senior you get, the harder you have to work to ask. Stay curious. Admiral Bill McCraven says, Bad news never gets better with time.

So for leaders who say, Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions, that is a great way to ruin a speak up culture, right? I think you should. Share. What's up? Bring me problems. Now it's your job as a leader to discern, is this a bullet hole above the waterline or below the waterline? If it's above the waterline, people might be coming to you with issues, but you might know, they don't need me to solve this.

They can solve this. This is an empowerment and a growth opportunity, and it's, and instead of being like Lauras always asks me this stuff, why can't he just do it? himself? Maybe you. Asking me to do it for you. Maybe it's an invitation for me to empower you and say, Hey, Laura what work have you already done here?

Who have you already asked? What's your thinking? If you were in my chair, what would you tell yourself?

**Loris Marini:** do?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** This is David Marque Ladder of Leadership stuff, which he has in his book, Turned the ship around, which is

**Loris Marini:** Oh, I haven't read that.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Really good. Yeah, really good. so that's the dynamic.

And I like I've created this equation for culture. Lauras, which is culture equals in brackets, values multiplied by behavior, and then all of it is raised to the power of influence. So for a culture to be strong, we should have values, like I'm a fan values. Values aren't just words we throw in a wall or a screen saver when we don't touch our computer for 15 minutes.

Which by the way, my first job, the first time I saw our values, respect, empowerment was when I didn't touch my computer for 15 minutes and I'm like, Oh, who

do encourage firms to articulate their values but better than just articulate in them as nouns, articulate them as verbs or action phrases.

We can't do a noun, but we can do a verb. So for example, Enron the infamous energy company that had a huge accounting scandal with Arthur Anderson and Ron had values. They were, if I'm not mistaken, respect communication integrity, which is h. And excellence. Excellence, by the way, is my favorite least favorite value because it's meaningless.

Do me a favor, Laura. More excellence

**Loris Marini:** Be excellent.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Right. Okay. let's look at excellence. Do more of your best work.

Okay. Integrity, that's an interesting one cuz it's very subjective on the context you're in. But we could say integrity is do the right thing. Especially if it's hard and especially if no one's looking.

Communication communicate in a way that, that you're understood and you understand others, and respect.

Treat people as the human beings they actually are. Now, those are some values that we can actually behave. for a culture to be strong, your values must be behaved, must be rewarded when they're behaved. If you don't live the values, anything multiplied by zero is zero. Worse, if you live counter to the values, if your audio doesn't match your video, you can have a toxic deleterious culture.

Cuz anything multiplied by negative is a negative. Now it's raised to the power of influence.

**Loris Marini:** so you get


**Stephen Shedletztky:** answer , your question

now. because the more influence you have in an organization, the more your behavior and values impact the culture.

If a senior leader lives counter to the espoused values, that matters more than if someone who's junior, who is hired last week lives counter to them, the more influence, which by the way, isn't always seniority. I've been in roles within organizations where I've had no authority, but I've had a lot of influence. I reported into the C-Suite, right? I didn't have title or authority, but I had influence based on who I hung out with and who I could influence.

**Loris Marini:** Okay.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** last piece to really hopefully answer your question, and I know this has been a, an 18 minute answer to a 32nd

**Loris Marini:** No, it's fascinating. So,

**Stephen Shedletztky:** so one piece is, do I speak up? research by Ethan Burris and Jim Dieter calls this voice calculus. Is it safe, Is it worth it? Then I take the risk to speak up. Is it rewarded? So there's a cyclical relationship called encourage and reward. Do I in as a leader? Do I encourage people? Encourag is like sticking your hand out to with some food, trying to feed a deer or a bird, right? Encourage. Finally, when someone does speak up, shares an idea. Even if half baked shares a concern, even if unpopular or personal shares a disagreement, especially with someone more senior and admits mistake, you must reward.

Encourage could be going first and being vulnerable, but encourage is doing everything in your power to create the condition that people feel that it's worth the risk to speak up. And then when they do you reward them. Reward doesn't mean bonus. Raise, promotion, and a statue erected in your name.

Reward means thank you. That must have taken courage to share. I appreciate it. I will

**Loris Marini:** a genuine.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** In a genuine way. And reward also means that you actually do something with it. And you say, Laura, that feedback that you provided, here are the changes that we've made, or what changes should we make team, or we didn't implement your idea, but here's why, from a strategic perspective or a political perspective.

But thank you. Keep it coming.

**Loris Marini:** that, lets me know that you actually listened to the feedback, that it wasn't just ticking the box. Hey, someone told me that I have to create this thing called psychological safety, and so I'm here telling you. Come speak up. I was just recently at a conference and what there was an a talk from a person that unfortunately it was a tragedy.

It was a very sad story. It was in the context of creating a safety culture. And she stepped up, she found the courage to face 250 people in the room and and tell the story incredibly emotional story of how she lost that dad and. And then at the end of the talk of course big run of applause.

And then the top person in the room said something like thank you for sharing that. This is creating a psychologically safe environment. But what happened I think it, the body language of this person seemed to be a bit. Misaligned, with the words, right?

And I think that can happen a lot and it's hard to to realize how we are moving our hands, the tone of our voice. And there's also complexity there because every person, depending on what culture you come from, Might interpret that in a different way. An Indian that shake when they shake their head left and right.

So an Italian this a might, might think, oh, they can't, clearly what I'm saying is not interesting because they're not keeping eye contact locked, . And you can have many of those examples. So it gets bit tricky in in large organizations. But I guess I don't know. One thing that it's always fascinating me is how do we build.

habits to borrow the words of James Clear around this stuff. We keep ourselves accountable and make it tractable so that we can have those improvements day in, day out.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** You're making me think of so many things, which is great. So one, after someone shares something so deeply personal, it could simply be a what bene brand calls a vulnerability hangover of Wow, did I just do that? So there are these sort of micro cues, but to your point Assumptions make an asset of you and me.

So to your point, when. You're speaking with someone from a different culture in an Indian culture, for example, and they're shaking their head back and forth. They're agreeing and jiving with you. But if you come from a different culture, you're like, What? What the frig? And so we actually need to design and say what is that?

So similarly in Asian culture as an example, speaking up is not really a thing that, that you do. Like in Asian cultures, you don't speak truth to authority. They actually had to train this. Of the Korean Airlines cockpit because

a co-pilot would see an issue and they would at most lightly make a suggestion, even though they knew the operation was at risk.

Now, that might be fine for your father-in-law. Not really cool when you're responsible for 300 people's. And so they literally train that out. Now in every Korean airlines cockpit they speak American English because when you speak Korean, there's just, even the dialect and the language is subservient to power.

And so they've created a system that's made it easier for them to actually challenge authority and say, Captain, there's ice on the wing. We're not taking. . Thank

**Loris Marini:** Yeah.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** So that's one piece is how do we get really intentional and make what I call make the implicit explicit? Because we just operate on assumptions, even in the context of organizational communication, lack of transparency and lack of communication people make up their own narrative.

and on average it takes leaders seven to eight times to communicate and in different modalities to have their message finally get across,

**Loris Marini:** Oh wow.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** right? So leaders aren't clear until they feel exhausted and they're. Themselves. there's cultural mix and cultural con considerations.

There's working extra hard to ensure that, that, we know what we're saying to each other. We're jiving, we're on the same page, which requires, Hey, can you repeat back what you're hearing of what I just said? Or what's the story you make up? In this conversation. It seems ridiculous, but we have to do that, especially when we're mixing culture and mixing culture could be accounting, talking to sales or marketing, talking to data,

**Loris Marini:** Yes.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** These are different subcultures. two more things have come to mind in our conversation. So the encourage and reward cycle, it ripples. So let's say you and I report into the same leader. Our willingness to speak up is a perception. It's a perception of safety. It's a perception of impact.

You and I both might report into the same leader, and I could be like, I feel totally psychologically safe. It's totally worth the risk for me to speak up. And you're like, Do we report to the same person? It's a perception, but I could do. It goes well, it makes a difference. I feel valuable.

I feel valued, and I see that not only was I rewarded, but it led to impact. I then go back to you LAIs and say, Here's how I did it. It went well. I can help you. Let's do it together. Or I'll coach you, you do it too. So it ripples. Similarly if I go to a leader or anyone and I try to speak up and it's toxic, right?

The definition of a toxic relationship is the more you invest in it, the worse it gets, and the only person who's wrong and responsible is you not them. That's

**Loris Marini:** Mm.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** I come back to you and say, Don't do it. I was either repeatedly ignored, I kept speaking up, but nothing happened. It's not worth my breath or effort.

I'll just keep my head down and do my job. Or worse, I was punished. An example of this happened at an oil rig not so long ago where there was a safety issue damage, inefficiencies, and the captain of that rig who's responsible for this?

We need to learn from it so it doesn't happen again. Someone said it was me, and he went, Great. You're fired. And it's that's a wonderful way to ruin a speak up culture. if you said, as a captain, we need to learn who's responsible for this so that we can take appropriate disciplinary action, that's a different.

But you said we need to learn from this. Who can you learn most from it? The person you just canned. Next time someone makes a mistake, it's like sitting at the table with Dr. Evil, and the, you push the red button and you're will Farrell down in the depths of the fiery If leaders do not listen, if leaders don't have the emotional intelligence and if you don't have systems that actually reward people, if you repeatedly ignore or worse punish people for sharing ideas, concerns, disagreements, or mistakes, all of a sudden ideas, concerns, disagreements, and mistakes just disappear.

It's not that they don't exist anymore, people don't feel safe or that it's worth it to actually share their voice and share what they think and.


**Loris Marini:** Yeah. And that kills every effort that we might make around creating a knowledge culture and try to get this bloody data and information that we have locked in databases in front of people to help them make decisions. it's only gonna work if we co-create, right?

We can't just. Go to someone, say, Hey, you're in sales marked, here's the database. Go figure it out. Extract your, I've done a Dashy dashboard and now you go, create a business outcome out of that. It doesn't work that way. There has to be co-creation I never thought about that. in that way, mixing marketing and sales is mixing cultures. You're going cross culture. But going back to that example you made of of the Korean language and the English language, it made me just came up with an idea is a speak up culture and environment that you can inhabit for a limited period of time.

Can we create a space that you can get in and out of, or does it have to be this thing that permeates the whole organization 24 7.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Oh, interesting. So one of my clients who's a very senior architect she's based out of the Middle East and she works closely with a team in India and the team in India, though they are equals, they feel that they're subs subservient to the more prominent team based in the Middle East.

And so there's this subserv. Dynamic. What my client and friend has done is in their team meetings, she has built in at a certain point, I think it's toward the end, 10 minutes must minimum called a speak up hopefully at best you have a pervasive sort of speak up culture, I'm often asked Laura, can you name any organizations that have a great speak up culture?

And I'm like, no, because it's so based on who your leader is. Robin Dunbar's research proves that we spend 40% of our time with five people. Even if you have a great leader in such a nadela, Microsoft who's doing wonderful work, it doesn't mean every single leader at Microsoft a speak up culture.

So I do think, this is the value of a hackathon. This is the value of, Hey, we're gonna design this special sort of microcosm thing, or we have these team meetings and we must practice what we preach here and there's a speak up moment, even if outside of this room, we may not feel it.

I just did work a couple weeks ago with a couple police agencies in the us one of which is under a lot of scrutiny. the session. It was a speak up culture session. And I said, All right, like real talk, what's going on? And they fully admitted in the room, anything we say in this room is gonna leave this room.

And apparently don't tell anyone this but a lot of police agencies have more gossip than a high school. And so I said to. These people that I was speaking with in on this particular moment, they were middle managers, like they reported into captains and majors, and I said, I forced them and I said, I won't do this session.

It's not gonna work unless you commit to me that what we discuss in this room stays in this room. Like we, we can't do this. I can't ask you to be open and honest if what Sally says, Jim finds. Tomorrow. That's bs. I force them to raise their hands that way if they broke it, They're breaking their own integrity and ethics.

I made them raise their hand and say what we discuss in this room will stay here. There is not a speak up culture and psychological safety outside of that room, but I did everything in my power as a facilitator to make it present in Which is by the, on the only way it proliferates. in our cultures, the tail can wag, wag the dog.

It doesn't need, always need to come from the most senior. It's a, it's an evolution and best when it comes from the most senior leader. But, we can spend an entire life or career waiting for others to become better leaders. The only one that we can actually improve and get better as a leader is ourselves.

so you can create it in microcosms.

**Loris Marini:** I'm interested to explore the reasons why a leader would feel resistance in in embracing a speak up culture.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah.

**Loris Marini:** fear or there's more to it?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** this is why I love humble leaders, so you can both be humble and confident at the same time, which is wonderful. You cannot be humble and arrogant at the same time. I impossible.

**Loris Marini:** Humble and confide. That's a sweet spot. Tell me more. How does it.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** confidence is the belief that you're good but can always get better.

Arrogance is the belief that you're better than others. Arrogance is actually a form of insecurity, express just very loudly. Humility is the belief in knowing that we're imperfect and that we're fallible. I think the best leaders have humility, typically leaders who don't want to proliferate a speak up culture are typically an insecure.

Where they really don't wanna face the music, that their poo also stinks. to become more humble and the way to go from arrogance to confidence is to have people close to you in your circle who remind you of your humanity, who remind you of your fallibility. Michelle Obama of Barack says, his feet still. Cuz everyone pops them up. It's, there are studies that actually show that power can actually cause us brain damage. You can get high on your power to the point that you make. Non-empathetic, impulsive, less critical decisions. There's great research. I shared this recently on my LinkedIn, that power can cause brain damage.

I think power can make us believe our own press. think if you're a Beetle or if you're Barack Obama, or if you're Elon Musk, if you're one of these people where everyone is just kissing your as. Like at a certain point in time, if that's all of the data you're receiving,

**Loris Marini:** Yeah. Is fed with

**Stephen Shedletztky:** That's your that's your perception.

And there's no such thing as the truth. There's only multiple perceptions of it. I've seen leaders become weaker and blind and abuse their power because of the people they choose to surround themselves. The more senior one becomes, the more important it is to invite confidants and people who can push you and challenge you and give you candor with care.

Look at Vladimir Putin who leads with authority and fear and surrounds himself only with yes people and look at the quality of the decisions that he's making.

**Loris Marini:** Yeah.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** another leader who embraces their humanity and fallibility and humility and purposefully surrounds themselves with people smarter than them and says, Challenge me.

Tell me when I'm wrong. Tell me when I say something stupid or wrong or naive or I need to improve. There's brilliant studies. That Adam Grant references. When you take a high performing surgeon, move them from one hospital to another, their likelihood of becoming the same level of performance if they don't bring their team is something like 5%.

But if they bring their team with them, their likelihood of meeting that same level of performance is like 95%. I don't know if those are the exact numbers, but We live in a society where we put the rockstar in a pedestal without realizing that Bono isn't Bono if it weren't for the band and the team and the production and all of the people behind that rockstar.

a social based, team based, community based species.

**Loris Marini:** Amazing shed. what are the suggestions or the tips you would give to a person that is new in leadership? new You want to create that environment. I've seen in the past line managers that, okay, let's go for pizza. I'll buy you beer on Friday, or we play some ping pong and try to focus on play full activities to bond rarely worked for me.

The first thing I thought was, ah, just that's an easy thing to do. Just go and play ping pong

is not hard. I don't see you challenge or really spending energy there are some activities as opposed, that are more effective than others. What is your your view that?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** when I reflect on my favorite bosses, and I think it's such an interesting time, cuz I think so many managers are afraid to provide people with feedback for fear that they quit. Talent is a shortage right now. But what happens if you don't give people feedback and they stay?

I think our favorite bosses are not the ones who let us coast. I think our favorite bosses are the ones who take care of us, the ones that we know, they care about us, and the ones who help us grow. and providing feedback is part of a speak up culture. Now feedback is in fact its opinion, and the purpose of feedback is to share dialogue.

I've also had leaders that they give me feedback, but they don't care to engage upon it. They just care to be right and tell me, here's how I've wronged them this last week. That's not a shared mutual relationship

**Loris Marini:** So the intention matters, like what place does this piece of information come from? Is it a place of I'm right you wrong, or is it a place of

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Let's

**Loris Marini:** just giving you my 2 cents. Yeah. To get better.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** And let's get better. And what I'm saying isn't the truth. It's simply my perception of the truth. I want to hear your version of the story so that we can make progress. My favorite formula for feedback is FBI feeling behavior impact, And it's both for constructive and positive.

So I could say, Lauras great job on the podcast today. It's thanks. Like what? There's nothing you can do to repeat. Great job. But I could say I feel invigorated and engaged. Behavior. When you prepared, you're so focused on the audience that, that you serve, like the richness of this conversation is great because of your research in prep and like the focus of who your audience.

The impact is, I'd love to share this episode. I'd love to come back. That's way better than great job. Similarly, one liners are good for jokes, but not good for feedback. So I could say I'm totally making this up now, but you're lazy. It's okay, thanks, like that's gonna trigger you. Or I could say, I feel really alone, stranded and let down when you were late to three client meetings last week, the impact is I'm not sure I can trust you with what's on your plate, what's going on.

This isn't like you. And you could be like, I just moved, I have a three year old who's got a cold. And it's Oh, I didn't know. Please tell me next time so I can work with you. As opposed to us having. Like unmet needs and not communicating well. So that's one piece is how to have those hard truthful candor with care conversations,

**Loris Marini:** Yeah. So if we unpack what you just said, so you started from an emotional feeling like you disclose how you felt about that,

**Stephen Shedletztky:** which you own, like I own my feeling.

**Loris Marini:** It's unquestionable

**Stephen Shedletztky:** anyone who says that's not your feeling, that's the definition of gas. You can't tell me. I don't feel that way. I do. I'm feeling it.

**Loris Marini:** Yeah. I love it. And it also me, what I felt when you started with that. I felt compassion immediately. I was like, Oh, okay. , there's a feeling, right? What did I really create that? So that was a bit of fear. I was almost preoccupied because I caused something. But then he gave me the actionable at the end.

He said, It's not just you, your presence that caused that feeling. It's because you were late at those meetings. So now I know that if I don't want to cause that in you, I better check my time or communicate better. So that.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** And to expect, we're human beings that have lives outside of work and stuff happens whether with family or with ourselves or whatever it might be. And for anyone who expects peak performance from all their people all the time, that's a one-way road to burnout and a one way road.

To failure. And so you know, you're a human being. You just moved, you're setting up your house. You have a young kid. Like for me as a leader, the opportunity is to provide you some leash and room so that you actually want to give of your discretionary effort and loyalty. And I won't make up this story that you'll.

In this team or company forever, but if you have a great experience, you'll refer friends. This is how this works. So yeah I think the sort of the old what have you done for me lately doesn't work well. It doesn't take the holistic perspective of your performance and who you are as a person and leader.

Holistically. Two more things for new leaders. And this is really hard, especially, in tech space and startups. It's very hard, especially if you get a promotion and your peers are now your direct reports. That's really hard. And the dynamic shifts, and though I'm not opposed to pizza, beer, ping pong, whatever, that, that can be additive.

For sure. You shouldn't be reliant upon that only. And as well, if you're their leader, you're not their friend. if you, A friend of someone who's now your direct report, you gotta be really good at figuring out what hat are you wearing. Just if you're in a family business, are we having conversation as husband and wife right now or are we having conversation as CEO and coo?

You have to be very diligent of what conversation you're in. And the goal of leadership, just as the goal of parenting, is not to be a friend, it's to be responsible and to do right by them in the long run. And then last thing I'll say is some of the best leaders I know, and even Chanel, whenever someone is a new leader they aren't allowed to speak in meetings for the first 90 days.

That might be a bit too extreme, but I've heard of, there's one great leader who's in public service here in Canada. Her name is Shelly Jameson, and she doesn't make a decision in her first 90 days of any. And her literally on one of her jobs, she was very senior. Someone walked into her office and said, Tell me what to do on this.

She's It's my first day. I don't know. How long have you been in this job? They said, seven years. And she said, Great. Tell me what to do. What would you tell me to do? And if you don't know, who can you ask? Or what can you do? Because the decision I'm gonna make is gonna lack so much context, or I'm gonna have to work so hard to catch up to what, so your job is to tell me what, or to tell me what your problems are so we can solve it. so many leaders come in and I'm gonna make my mark. It's no. Listen for data professionals. I wanted to say this previously, Good old Teddy Roosevelt quote, No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care, right?

So even if you have all the best data that can totally transform this organization to make quicker, better decisions in the moment. Awesome. If you don't take the time to understand what are your needs, what's getting in the way, how can I help you? Seek to understand before you walk in and say, Here's your data.

Use it. You have to do the work to be empathetic. To be compassionate, to listen, to seek and understand the perspective of another. This is empathy. So you can actually be effective and serve and give people tools that they know they can use and why they should use it to make better decisions.

**Loris Marini:** Shed, I feel like I need an injection of this stuff every single morning. So I think I'm gonna listen to our conversation, especially focusing on what all the insets you just shared many times. It is part of my editing routine anyways, so I'll have you my years for a while. But no, this is great.

So if I am feeling pumped and I want to 10 x the dose of insights, how do I do it? How do I contact you and how can you help me?

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Yeah I share a lot on LinkedIn, so feel free to connect and follow and engage with what I'm doing on LinkedIn. Would love to hear your feedback on what I share. I believe for the time being, I'm the only Steven Shatsky. Dare I say, in the world or on LinkedIn at least. So all us many shatsky out there.

Please don't name anyone, Steven. And shed inspires.com. S h e d inspires.com is where you can learn more as well. And sign up for updates on the book. The book should be out. October 3rd, 2023. That's North America release. Sometimes there's a scattered release in UK and Australia, but we'll see how close to October 3rd we can.

We can get it.

**Loris Marini:** We can get it. Fantastic. And I'll definitely send an email out to all of you that are, subscribe to the newsletter, discovering data and you'll be one of the first to know for sure. And yeah, shed thank you very much. Is there anything else that we should have covered that we should have talked about that we haven.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** I, One thing just for anyone who's a data professional, I think that. know Lauras a big part of your sort of mission is putting the human being and, people at the center. And it's very easy to get lost in the data and forget the impact that it can have on people.

And so I think as much as we just as you've created an avatar for this podcast, that's helped me be more, more successful, how do we know? The human beings on the other end that, that that are impacted by the decisions that, that we're making and know that I regret to inform you, data doesn't inspire human beings.

Stories do. And so how can you find the stories, the real human stories that give your data meaning and give your data human.

**Loris Marini:** Yeah, there you go. Absolutely. Yeah, I can only echo that. Hopefully this project is slowly creating this new movement as opposed, there's nothing. New in what we say, but it's the novelty, I believe is in putting it all together into a, some sort of coherent framework or a new way of approaching the problem of turning data into business impact.

Everybody is frustrated if you, we don't do it. We are frustrated as data professionals and practitioners, business leaders don't see the impacts of what we do. They don't wanna allocate funding and this, we perpetrate. Negative cycle. Instead, we can get out, get uncomfortable, talk to people, learn and in the process grow as human beings first, as professionals and as yeah, employees, right?

And have more impact. So definitely looking forward to that. Chad, thank you very much again for being with me and I'll talk to you very soon.

**Stephen Shedletztky:** Awesome. Thanks. Lauras a pleasure to join you. I hope it, it's been valuable for your listeners.

**Loris Marini:** Absolutely cheers.

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