Speaker 0 00:03 Welcome to the culture of things with Brendan Rodgers. This is a podcast where we talk culture, leadership and teamwork and plus business.
Speaker 1 00:21 Hello everybody and welcome back. I'm Brendan Rodgers, the host of the cultural things podcast and this is episode eight part two. This episode is the second half of my chat with Bernie Kelly. As a reminder, Bernie is an experienced executive who has led a number of turnaround and transformation periods across logistics, consumer products and food and beverages. He has worked with approximately 100 leadership teams across Australia, New Zealand and Asia and is known for setting up leaders in leadership teams for success. If you haven't already, I encourage you to go back and listen to episode eight part one before listening to this episode. If you have already listened to part one, let's dive into this episode. As Bernie shares the other three disciplines of change fit leadership teams, we pick up the conversation where I asked Bernie about the second practice. Explore
Speaker 2 01:18 The Explorer is the I'm the second practice in my mind. I broke the Explorer place into two parts. The self awareness stuff and that actually is, I think from a leadership point of view, just um, exploring the gaps of your own own awareness. You're probably applied with the Johari window or those sort of things in the past, but just, you know how there's so many things that there's the known knowns that you, you know about me and I know about you, but then there's also just these things that maybe you know about yourself, but I don't know about you that are, that are open for exploring the Johari window. And then there's stuff that actually even I haven't realized and you haven't realized about me as well and sort of, you know, pushing out that biggest sort of self awareness is a part of the explore.
Speaker 2 01:59 Then confronting the reality. The five whys sounds so simple that I've worked on many jobs where that digging deeper than those base assumptions, you know, why, what's behind it? What's behind it? Why, why, why digging in really so many breakthroughs happen when you have, when you really explore reality. And I think a lot of the work that I sort of encouraging the practice of that is actually to reopen the curiosity. You know, curiosity of children isn't to be found in many in many large organizations. And you think about we have amazing curiosity as humans and as evidence by anyone who has ever been a child or seen a child. We have amazing curiosity where if you work in many institutions, um, a lot of that curiosity has been institutionalized out of us in the explore practice in many ways. It's actually reigniting the natural power of curiosity. And I love this practice because it does actually um, you know, it really gets people engaged and a bit excited when they start to work on the explore the reality because quite often in the, in many workplaces the busy, busy business just doesn't give you the space for that. We're giving people permission and getting them to use their, their natural inquisitive nature is just such a really red knots teams.
Speaker 3 03:20 Linking back to the self awareness. And I just want to reiterate, I guess from what I'm understanding, so I hear that that explore side is really uncovering what I would call blind spots in your leadership or in your know what people are seeing. So uncovering blind spots. Now when you talk about the five why's, and I agree it's a fantastic tool to really drill down when used well to get to the root cause. Does that also sit on the, if we think back to self-awareness, do the five why's in that real exploration and asking the question and digging down, does that apply to both behaviourally in that self awareness piece and also, yeah, an issue that this team is trying to solve for the company?
Speaker 2 04:02 Definitely it does. No, no, that's a good, that's a really good pickup. So, so if you think about some of the walls people you've ever met, they dig deep on what's going on around them. So one of the things that I think is quite fascinating in the study of curiosity that there's actually different types of curiosity and there's people who avoid curiosity. But then there's also people that are very curious around technical matters and there's people that are curious around people matters and social matters. And I actually sort of in the book I sort of talk about, you know, fascination is the combination of both the technical and the social curiosity's looking at both of those is that there is that heightened level of curiosity that is what I'm talking about here. So it's that combination of the deeper for myself as a leader, the dynamic and our team as a leadership team, but also, um, other social factors about how are we actually being aware of what others need from us at the moment as well as how we come up, how we come across to others as well as, um, you know, digging into deeper, more systemic stuff and how our systems work and, and challenging assumptions everywhere.
Speaker 3 05:12 Make the conversations I've had with you previous interview, I was pretty excited about getting your book, which is why I made sure I ordered it before this conversation. But I have to say I'm, I'm super excited about getting it. I mean, what you're explaining to me, and it just resonates, hopefully resonates to a lot of other people, a lot of leaders, but it just resonates so clearly with me. And I love that word curiosity that you keep referring to an end is in the model because I just think, and I'd love to hear your opinion, there seem to be so much judgment in the world today as opposed to curiosity. What's your perspective on that?
Speaker 2 05:47 No, you're definitely touching on it there. And it is fascinating. We all know that in our busy lives having pre-assess things, Mike's as more efficient, but it doesn't make us more effective. And that I think is actually, you know, the effective means doing the right thing. We're efficient management of doing stuff faster. This point about judging it reduces your own potential. It reduces the potential of all the relationships you ever have. It's just such a big liability when you, um, when you stop and become, start to become aware of it. And then the thing that I, that I love is actually humbly trying to not be prejudging is you actually, you learn so much more. And then all of a sudden there's people that you may have judged and you don't judge them and they are, you know, they're absolutely amazing humans and you go, wow, I would never have known that if I had have had that sort of judgment being my default.
Speaker 2 06:43 And I think that that's the other bit as well. And this conversation is challenging some of your defaults and assumptions, um, just opens you up to be a bigger, bigger human. Um, which is the exciting part I think for a lot of this stuff. And explore. Can we move on to expand, which is the third part and there's a link between curiosity again as there is through this whole process and perspective. Tell us a bit about this. Explain part of the four disciplines. The expand part is about having worked or been brought into lots of circumstances where people are stuck. And it's not uncommon for any of us to get to a spot where you go like, you know, we've done all these good things, but the stuff going on at the moment, I just feel stuck. Having the realization that that actually finding, creating pathways, you know, the divergent thinking is just such a get so many people out of being stuck either stuck at a level, a stuck in a, in a market stuck in a sort of set of circumstances.
Speaker 2 07:43 Actually finding, having practices that open up open up options, open up potential, open up pathways is a psychological part of that is actually anyone who knows they've got options just feels more powerful and better in themselves. You know, and people without options. That's almost one of the definitions of depression. So there's a psychological part to it but I think intellectually as well, I mean sometimes you just cannot work out another way. You cannot, you sort of feel stuck with the mental model or the operating system that you got where in the expand it is actually about practices that open up options. Yeah. Simple examples of that include, if I've been sort of stuck in a, you know, we used before the sort of the functional silo and you actually get to have an end to end view where you can see what the customer wants all the way through to the suppliers and stuff like that.
Speaker 2 08:33 That that's, that's an example of a expanded perspective. So, uh, being able to zoom out. So, so to zoom out to the, the uh, helicopter view or the, you know, the 30,000 feet sort of jet view or you know, Google thing that Google earth, being able to sort of stand back and see the big picture of the globe versus being able to zoom and see, you know, we've got so many analytics capabilities now we can zoom in and zoom in, zoom out can sometimes open up amazing insights using different visual tools to expand what we're seeing. Then also actually talking with others and back to that prejudgment point of view, sort of, you know, I think it's a, when you think about expanding perspectives, you know, for the last couple of hundred years, white males have probably had a fairly strong voice in the world of perspectives.
Speaker 2 09:27 But it's when you look at the seven and a half billion people that it is in the world, it's absolutely a minority perspective. And so thinking, you know, even just thinking that that sort of bigger humanity perspective, there's so many, um, so many angles to look at a problem and you know, I think that we get caught, we get caught in a paradigm and people can get stuck with the expand exercises are, you know, what if, what if I look at this from a customer's perspective? What if I look at this from a, um, the people down the roads, the neighbors perspective? What if I look at this from my partner's perspective? And it just starts to open up different angles on the world.
Speaker 3 10:04 I know through your experiences in the workplace, you've got fantastic knowledge in that lean and continuous improvement space through the organization you work with. Is that, I'm just trying to understand that in my own words again is that span that really that mindset of continuous improvement, there's always things that we can do better. We've got to look at things from different angles and really that again, that curiosity bit that is heavily overlapped in here is, is that sort of where that comes from?
Speaker 2 10:31 Yes and no. Um, so what, what am vibes like as you say? I've had the good fortune of being coached and schooled by some world class players in the, in the lane place in my, in my early management through world-class organizations like Kimberly-Clark and Diaggio. But also when we're doing the golden circle, having sort of leading global players, they are sort of coaches and stuff like that. Looking cross cross-organizational end to end industry-wide value streams and things. However, the expand is actually to look at it from other perspectives. And I think it is more that sort of the science, the science mind of actually looking at opening up even bigger. And I think that one of the limiting there's a limiting part to just following someone's view too hard on a book. So like actually having that expert give you the view only and that expanding is actually even trying to expand beyond one expert framework or another. Not getting stuck in in one one model of thinking is probably more where they expand coming from.
Speaker 3 11:37 Okay. Understand really that growth side I suppose. Is that right?
Speaker 2 11:41 Yeah, totally. And so, so the interesting thing is that, um, and I think having been involved, um, at different types of jobs have been on in the past, we actually have, we, you know, we've written up some stuff that's been sort of leading edge of whatever quite often. And I know that, you know, people sort of look to role models like Toyota and places like that. Quite often by the time it's in a book that you're learning about it, it's actually they've already moved on from it. And I know, I know on leading edge work that I've been involved in by the time it's actually published, it's a job you did three or four years ago. So I guess more of the expand is for me is actually about being that real um, learner. Picking up from all schools, schools of thinking and not being just stuck in one school of thinking is more where the expand stuff comes from because it's getting quite fascinating if you follow the worlds of sort of science and philosophy and science and philosophy were really separate camps of thinking. And as both of them have progressed in the last probably 50 years, there's an even more and more overlap in that Asian people are sort of seeing more and more overlap. So I think that actually being more of a Renaissance person sort of looking at it from so many perspectives is where the mind expansion can happen.
Speaker 1 12:57 In a practical sense. How would you help a leader in this context expand themselves if they're not, I'm not sure what the opposite of expand is to be honest. But if they're not expanding, how do you help them expand?
Speaker 2 13:11 So one of the classic wise that I did did a lot of was actually sort of big picture mapping, sort of end to end value stream mapping and helping them see what was happening. You know, in other parts of bigger Inder end sort of process deliveries that that way that is a very common way of doing it. But I also think actually providing them with exercises and tools to start to sort of analyze things differently. It's amazing in this day of so much data how even, you know, even really good executive teams can, can get, um, get trained into sort of looking at reports and board reports and management reports from one angle or another. So, you know, one of the other expand angles is actually getting, is helping people see their own data from the time or the different time perspectives. So, uh, your past, present, and future.
Speaker 2 13:59 And even though in actually sort of helping them see better, better real time indicators play with different time horizons in the forward and in the past and in the future. All of these things give us different pictures. So helping, so I've done a lot of work with actually like and that sort of uh, analytical side but also then the leadership side of just seeing other angles and, and a lot of it isn't really about, you know, sort of pushing the Barrow. It is actually about giving people more pathways, getting people to see things from different angles.
Speaker 1 14:28 Let's complete the picture. The final piece of the puzzle so to speak, is exert. What does that mean
Speaker 2 14:36 For me? There's, maybe it's not profound for others, but it was definitely been profound for me is actually how many really well-intended strategies never actually get followed through. Most of us can relate to at a, at a very individual level. If you think about new year's resolutions or um, or that amazing habit that I'm going to start that I'm going to take up, but a bit at a, at an organizational leadership team point of view, how many leadership turned to get together and there's this really positive buzz about them. They talk about all this sort of good stuff and you know, 12, 18 months later they really haven't got the traction. It just hasn't actually happened. And that, that puzzle for me was that, what is that about? That's been a part of the puzzle that I've definitely dwelled at a lot in this whole journey that we're talking about.
Speaker 2 15:28 And fascinatingly, you know, so many teams give so much energy to one period but then they actually don't, um, they don't have the energy to go again. So my early sort of reflections on this word, you know, it's actually, there's a, there's a respect for people part in this as well. But I think that actually this is where it loops back to that self accountability thing we were talking about before. If, if you actually are doing strategy with people and you act and you have not got into, if you have not hooked into their self accountability, you never actually have the energy to exert and follow through. You mentioned Jim Collins before with the study of the good to great and the comparitor companies and all of that sort of stuff where they were looking at the organizations that were doing a good job in each industry versus the one that sort of stood why hire.
Speaker 2 16:21 And you may remember that sort of whole chapter where they talked about, um, it's, and this has gone back to, you know, the Americans with their rara sort of style of motivation. And I, and the researchers and the research party were having their own realization that it seems like the companies that are excelling are hiding from us, how they're motivating their people and then they're then the researchers having their own aha that they weren't motivating their people. They had actually just aligned with self accountable people who were doing what they wanted to do. And they actually are able to align that energy with the organization's direction. And that there's something quite profound in that and that's that's actually something that we've fed awareness of. I built that into into sort of looking at organizations and you can actually build that, but if you are a leadership team that don't build that you don't have the practices of exert.
Speaker 2 17:20 The way I see that Bernie, and please correct me if I'm wrong, there's this exert piece and I want to pick up on what you said just before ran. Sometimes these leadership teams don't have the energy to go again, is that the way this model works and how you've explained it to me and I'm just trying to put it in something simple for me to understand is that if they don't do this, expose the explore and the explain bit so well, then would that lead them to the fully exerted, not wanting to go again? Is that how that comes together? The sad thing is actually turning up at a place where they haven't been doing exercises to expose their, or anytime it is exposed it's exposed by external people. And unfortunately that happens quite a lot in some of the bigger institutions where they haven't been actually exploring their reality where they haven't been expanding their horizons and they haven't connected with the, uh, with remaining for the people and self accountability for the people.
Speaker 2 18:20 People are, they're just doing the, they're doing the job but they're not actually, um, living with deep meaning in their life to a party. Well part, I'm sort of thinking in there, so like is actually leaders getting in beside their colleagues and really understanding their dreams and aligning, aligning that so that they are actually fulfilling themselves while they're actually working in your team. That actually is sort of really at the knob of a lot of the exerts stuff. Can I say the coaching for the exert stuff? I think coaching, coaching actually helps people to expose and explore and expand and exert. So the other thing which is interesting around the four of these is that it does match up very much with the learning pathways. Not just intellectual learning pathways, but any learning pathways that have um, that more competency things. So like actually sort of top level sporting teams or, or, or a trade they actually sort of go through, you know, different words and slides from frames, but a lot of these same principles of actually sort of seeing the gaps, dig more deeply into it, expanding, understanding the different options and then, and then sort of connecting it with your own meaning and loss as well as accountabilities.
Speaker 2 19:40 Thank you so much for sharing that. As I said before, I really look forward to getting the book so I can explore this a little bit more on that topic. What was it that drove you that you just felt you needed to share this knowledge, these reflections, these learnings with others, input this into a book? Yeah, so that's a good question. So I was finding that out that there was things missing in the strategy execution space for me. And actually sort of trying to get clear on that. And then I, I wanted to reaffirm some of the real fundamental principles. I think that a lot of people get, um, a lot of people get wrapped up in wanting to brand certain packages of solutions where I sort of wanted to dig past what is more fundamental, but then also actually how to increase the know as I've sort of called it changed fitness but it, so that we're actually able to adapt and learn and as teams and at latest organizations more so. And then sort of helping people, helping people to be able to do that. And I guess have my own clarity to be able to explain the message was where, you know, there's been the failure of the book for me sort. Not just mumbling with someone about a point here or there, but trying to capture it in a more clear explanation so that they can, they can take it away and own it rather than some someone else rambling on for them.
Speaker 1 21:00 If I'm walking into a bookstore and I have no idea what, what sort of book I'm looking for, I may be a leader. I may not be a leader. What sort of mindset does the person need to have? Who would be attracted to purchase this book?
Speaker 2 21:15 I think anyone is reflective of what's going on in the world at the moment. Who has their own mission in life or their own cause, their own why that they want to be sure and some level of awareness that um, I need some, enable us to be able to get myself and my team around me on that journey. So, so I, so I've really written this book for, for those leaders who want traction towards their own mission, their own cause, their own why I sort of think a little bit like fitness. It is an enabler. People who are actually looking forward wanting to make things happen. And we were looking for enablers to be able to, to do that in a, in a better way.
Speaker 1 21:52 You haven't talked about the three examples in this interview, but I know you've used the terms conscious, subconscious and unconscious leader. Before maybe just really briefly just explain what those three terms are and what, which of those categories or only category that you would feel you need to be in as a leader to, to be attracted to this, this information and in that reflective state?
Speaker 2 22:21 Yeah, so, so I think actually there's a lot of really experienced, uh, transformational leaders around the place and the ones that are reflective and sort of doing their transformational work consciously. They're obviously the conscious ones and they, you know, they may have already done some amazing, amazing work, but they would, with the things that are going on at the moment in the world, the people that are either the conscious are doing a lot of reflection on how do we make sure that we keep making the world a better, a better place out of these sort of challenges and um, and really grow our people and then be a really positive impact. Those conscious people, definitely, this is very much in this, in their sort of spice because they would be aware of that. They'd have a lot of these things in their own head. But actually, hopefully I've really made a section to speak to those people were adding further tools that I can use and sort of share with their teams.
Speaker 2 23:18 Because you know, if you are conscious, you know that you've gotta be actually, um, you gotta be building others around you, you know, no one of us can do this sort of stuff by ourselves. So being a teacher, and hopefully I'm on providing sort of exercises for a lot of those people to, to be a teacher, the group sort of a semi conscious. So I think, um, there's a period of a bit of a wakening going on for a lot of transformational layers that we have to change some of the things that were done in the past. And I think for them, this is actually, um, if I take the time to actually open it up and have a raid is actually a lot of stuff to really help them on their journey. At an accelerated way. And then there is chunks of the market that I don't think this book is for, to be quite Frank. Um, you know, people that are, that are not really wanting to transform business and transform the community and have big impact that it would just in business, you know, making a dollar, making a living, you know, some of this stuff's probably just a bit more than I, more than likely going to be interested in. So I'm quite comfortable with that. It is the people that are wanting to lean in and have that have a bigger impact than just making a living.
Speaker 3 24:21 Maybe just a little bit earlier you talked about mission and this book and these concepts, these pillars, foundations enabling the leaders mission. So what's your mission? What impact are you trying to have through this book and through your learnings that you've had in bringing it together?
Speaker 2 24:37 W one of the things about being around the block a couple of times is you get to sort of think, well, what are the, what are the recurring patterns of where are really, um, really thrived, both in impact? And, um, that personal level of, of thriving. And there's been a recurring theme for me about, you know, you sort of getting him beside people, helping set people up for success at teams up for success and sort of chip away at challenges in a way that builds their confidence and helps them see bigger potential than they would have ever seen before. And so I think increasingly thinking that that's probably where my life's works at and actually help you. So my mission is about sort of, um, being an enabler for other people to be sort of having the ambition and really spreading the word on that is where I think I'm sort of set to have a significant impact.
Speaker 3 25:29 My, I know you will and I've seen that mindset that you've got that real giving mindset and enabling others to do good things through your own experiences. So I'm, I'm pretty confident you'll, you'll do something special in that space or you already have, but through this, this whole lot, this will expand that even further.
Speaker 2 25:47 Thank you very much, Matt.
Speaker 3 25:49 Final bit of advice. I mean, again, it's a bit funny that I ask this question because you've given so much advice and so much insight in this interview, but if there was really one thing that you could say to a new leader or somebody who's in that transformational space that you refer to, what would that be?
Speaker 2 26:08 I think that actually, and this is why I've actually sort of differentiated change fitness from, from just actually the current state excellence of your organization, is that best advice would be to think about there's so much going on in this coming decade. Where are you in the ladder as far as change fitness for the next period? So Taylor speaking, all the great work you've done looking at forward, whereas your change fitness, and that's why I have been using pressures like match fitness and shines fitness because, because really it's actually about looking at the next season in sportsmen's terms. It's not you know, perspective expecting the great work you've done in the past, but if you're going to have that impact going forward, are you actually learning enough and that that's where are you learning? Are you actually teaching your team enough? And that actually is why the, you know, the four practices are so useful.
Speaker 2 27:03 Building your team, continually exposing, exploring, expanding, building the energy to exert and follow through. Getting those becomes a part of it. And I guess not actually being overwhelmed by this coming decade is by second bit of the advice would be not getting overwhelmed by this coming decade, but actually knowing and backing yourself that if you can actually be doing some of these practices and building up your chains, fitness, you build up your threshold and you can take on more, which actually makes you a more resilient, more viable going forward. So a little bit like if I was giving you a bit of advice, you know, if you haven't been playing, um, I haven't been running for a long time, I wouldn't, wouldn't recommend you sort of jump in and go do a marathon. I'd recommend you sort of come along with me and we do a couple of kilometer run and maybe I have a bit of a stretch and rest after that. Insidious in a couple of days and sort of build it up that that would be my piece of advice. Don't be one of those people looking at the future saying it's too hard. Think about how can you build yourself up and be a successful part of it.
Speaker 3 28:03 What advice would you give me made on due to go for a beach run tomorrow with a mate. It's been about two weeks since we've had a beach run. So what, what do you suggest I do
Speaker 2 28:12 Enjoy but don't go too hard. Makes you a, and I think my, my other piece of advice would be have a chat with him about how you're not going to leave it two weeks between runs. Give yourself some habit forming thing to maybe catch up in a couple of days.
Speaker 3 28:28 Great advice mate. I think I'll take that well on board late. How can listeners get hold of you?
Speaker 2 28:34 You and I connected and met each other through LinkedIn. So you know, I just love to hear, hear from people instead of connect with people from small sort of different angles. So probably the most obvious one would be clicked on LinkedIn. Um, my website pretty easy to find. It has Bernie kelly.com and I've kept my email also very easy and I'm really, you know, very happy to have email from anyone who's interested in sort of talk more about this stuff. And it is simply [email protected]
so I'm trying to make it easier to catch up with others.
Speaker 3 29:06 Right. Thank you for sharing and, and look, I second that we did meet through LinkedIn as, as you said, and all of the things you've spoken about today and, and all of the behaviors you demonstrate that we have fantastic conversations. I've really enjoyed the conversation today. What you've done and how you're bringing those learnings together through these, through these disciplines and practices is, is fascinating. I can't wait to read the book. I have to ask, you know, we're in the middle of may mail and it's due for release in June, but are you going to make us wait until the end of June or is it coming early June?
Speaker 2 29:40 No. At the, the book is off with the um, the printers who were promising me by the end of may. So I expect, uh, early June I will be in the full distribution process when um, I'll have to take the extra effort to sign. So I'm your coffee mate. That's what I need to do.
Speaker 1 29:56 Fantastic. I'll look forward to it. Bernie, Mike, thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate it. Keep doing what you're doing. Keep encouraging, keep guiding leaders so that we can keep improving the capability in the leadership levels around the place. Keep doing great things. Mike, thanks for your time. I really appreciate you coming on the cultural things podcast today.
Speaker 2 30:17 Thanks a lot Brendan.
Speaker 1 30:29 That concludes my two part interview with Bernie. It was a privilege to speak with him and learn some intimate details about his impending book. It is due for release in June, 2020 and I can't wait to get my hands on the signed copy, which Bernie promised me in part one of our chat through the book. I look forward to learning even more about Bernie's journey of discovery in bringing together the four practices of change fit leadership teams. These were my three key takeaways from part two of my chat with Bernie. My first key takeaway leaders must be curious. Bernie mentioned how curiosity is critical in the explore discipline. You have to challenge your default assumptions. If you aren't a curious leader, how will you seek feedback and uncover your blind spots? Bernie mentioned something that particularly resonated with me. He said pre assessing things makes us more efficient, but it doesn't make us more effective.
Speaker 1 31:36 There is too much judgment in the world today. We all need to be focused on being more curious. My second key takeaway leaders must have a growth mindset. Bernie refers to this in the third discipline of expand. This growth mindset involves looking at things from different perspectives, not limiting yourself to one expert framework or school of thinking. It could also be considering time perspectives like past, present, and future. Bernie used two words that summed it up for me, mind expansion. My third key takeaway leaders must be reflective throughout this two part interview. Bernie shared some of his reflections over the last 25 years. These reflections are what has culminated in his book. Bernie described three types of leaders, the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious. We should all be striving to be conscious leaders, meaning we are reflective, we lead transformational work. We constantly ask questions and we focus on how we keep improving. Reflect on how you can be a successful part of the future and take action. So in summary, leaders must be curious. Leaders must have a growth mindset and leaders must be reflective. If you want to learn more about Bernie or order his new book titled traction, the four practices of change fit leadership teams, visit www.berniekelly.com if you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a [email protected]
thank you for listening. Stay safe. Until next time,
Speaker 0 33:43 Thank you for listening to the cultural things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit Brendan rogers.com to access the show notes. If you love the cultural things podcast, please subscribe rate and give her a review on Apple podcasts. And remember, healthy culture is your competitive advantage.