Ian McClean: "How Leaders Create a High Performance Culture" | Talks at Google
Can. You please give a warm welcome to, today's, speaker, Ian, McCain. Good. Afternoon. I'm. On. So. Welcome unofficially, to. The start of the long weekend. And, you. Know it's interesting because when Caroline, invited me to speak here I didn't. Realize until I looked in the calendar to realize that I got, the afternoon. Just after lunch slot on, the Friday before, the start of the long bank holiday May weekend. So. The one thing that I almost did was I thought, long and hard about packing. A mirror. So. That I wouldn't be the only person in the room and that at least be one other person, in the audience so. I can only conclude on that basis, that you guys are the optimistic. Learners. So. I better be. Clear. That I don't disappoint, you either with your optimism or with your learning and. This. Is my first talk at Google so I fit, into that category, Caroline. And it's, it's really good to be here and particularly on the run into the long weekend and. We're. Going to spend a little little, bit less than an hour and I'm going to make it a little interactive, so there's, going to be some, of me some. Of you and. Then we'll kind of make up the rest of it in between but. I think everybody starts off by telling this story I'm gonna give you a very very short version of the story so, I'm the founder of a business which is called flow group and I. Started the business 20 years ago so. It's actually 20 years old this year and I. Didn't have any great grand ambitions, or plans to be an empire builder and we, built the business pretty. Slowly, steadily, organically. And, we now have a business that has got operations, across four continents. And. During. The last 20 years or so we've worked with a very, very wide range of, organizations. In fact these are just some of the brands. That you'll be familiar with in. The last 10 years alone we've worked with over 300, different mostly. International organizations. In. All sorts of shapes and sizes so many of them are blue chip multinationals, a, number, of them are sports, governing bodies government. Agencies, voluntary. Organisations, NGOs. We're. Kind of industry. Agnostic, I think, we've worked with 38 different industries, in the last 10 years alone and the. One thing that we bring to the party is become. An element of people and. That's. Probably, the one single, variable. Or expertise, that we specialize. In now. When, you looked at the list of things we call the things down the bottom the Centers of Excellence you'll. Probably be very familiar with them and you can imagine that that's what an organization. That do what we do around people would cluster their activities, in under the headings that you see the. One that I put the red circle, around is the. One which is probably, least familiar if at. All familiar to you which is called Green Line and. That's. What I'm going to talk to you about our work with you on this, afternoon, is this Green Line proposition, and the, reason that I chose this because Caroline, kind of invited us to think, about something that would add value and be interesting, is because. It, didn't exist five years ago and. Five. Years ago we saw something. That was missing in the market, in the, organizations. That we were working with across. The globe and, we. Created. Myself and my co-founder of Green Line who, is based in Toronto, Blair Steinbach, and his, background is neuroscience so. He for almost. A quarter of a century has worked with. All sorts, of agencies, from, athletes, to government, agencies to military, tubes. Organizations. Business organizations, in the, area of how do you perform best, under pressure and that, combined with our own experience, and field research came. To create something which we call green line and, here's. The proposition. So. The, title that I've chosen for today is this. Whole idea of what. I've put up on the screen here so it's a proposition, and there, are three key words to. With you or to think about for. The purposes of the next hour the, first is effective. Effective. Leaders, I'm. Guessing, that all of us here at, this stage in our career have, had the experience, of what it's like to work under, or work, with it effective leader. We. Probably have. Even more experience, of what, it's like to. Work with or work under an ineffective, leader and they. Are different, and. The difference between effective leadership and ineffective leadership is, that, the effective, leader he.
Or She has. Thinking. And behaviors, that cause. Them, to be able to create an environment, which in this world we call culture. Which. Is productive. And, engaging. And get. Great work done and we. All probably, have the experience, of both during, our careers at this point. So. This whole idea of effective, the. Second word which is interesting is the OS, or the operating, system. Because. Effective, leaders with their thinking and behavior probably, don't even know what they're doing or how they're doing it right they. Just show up the way they show up with the thinking and behavior and it's underneath the surface, so. The idea of an operating system is a very good analogy for this, proposition, and actually. It was brought to our attention, working. With one of the big four accountancy, firms in London and they. Were wowed by the. Green line proposition. Which we're about to explore and they. Ran into a challenge because they said well hang on a second where, do we deploy this. Because. We can see this. Is so good as a basic, and they called it our operating, system. It's. Going to affect our teams and make our teams better and more collaborative it's, going to affect the way we interact with our with, our key clients and our customer relations it's, going to help with our innovation because we need to be innovative and creative in a changing environment and it's, going to help with our efficiency, and our effectiveness, by, reducing, down waste and increasing. Speed of execution but. It's all under the surface and, we know that the value of the operating system is that if you've got a robust operating, system then. You. Can run more programs, simultaneously. You've got higher efficiency, and higher speed with your processing, and you get less blue screenings of deck. Which. In, leadership, terms, is pretty. Invaluable. So. What, we did was over, the last four or five years we've. Managed to codify, and build the evidence for, what, is the operating system that differentiates. Effective, leaders from ineffective, leaders and that's. What Green Line has become and. One. Of the other interesting elements, of it is in spite, of the fact that we got a pretty mature business, fifty-fifth. After 15 years and five years ago in. The last five years the. Green Line proposition. Amongst our clients, now accounts, for 40 percent of our revenue from a standing start from nil. I'm. Looking out at the audience here, and I'm imagining. There, aren't many of us that remember there. Was a motor oil advert, in the 1970s. And the. Tagline for it was it. Gets two parts, of the engine that other oils don't reach. Well. We, found the Green Line seems to get to parts of organizations. And people psyche, that other types. Of development, doesn't which so. We call it the Castro, gtx, have developed that's where we are with. So, for. Today I'm gonna share with you a few things the.
First Thing is I'm gonna give you a context, where this came from apart, from the history so. Where does it apply how does it work the, second thing we're going to do is I'm. Going to share with you a very simple model and the model is very simple, the, third thing we're going to do is the, methodology. Or the operating system is broken down into as you'll see here seven do's and 7, don'ts and we've got cards we've, got seven red cards in. The current footballing environment, that's, pretty understandable. Unintelligible. What that does and then, we've got seven green cards which are the very opposite of the red cards so. I'm gonna share those with you and then. That's effectively, what we're going, to spend our time at this afternoon there's going to be some audience participation as, we go along I'll engage with your the appropriate, moment and get some input because I'll be very interested in your take on some of this stuff. So. Let's, just talk about context, for a second. When. We talk about context. And we look at business we, look at it as, a game of two halves just extending, out a football analogy for a second, on. One, half or on one side of business you've got what we call the mechanics and the. Mechanics are simply. The. Structures. And systems and processes, and policies procedures they. All begin with P the strategies. That. Are. Necessary. To create order, in what, otherwise would, be chaos, so. They're, very necessary and, they create order and they create transparency, so this is the mechanics, of business. On. The other side you've got the humanics. Because. I've still, yet to see a project, deliver. Itself. I've. Still yet to see a strategy, implement, itself, and. The, interesting thing about business, in our experience, over the last quarter of a century or so is that. When, there is a problem and something, needs fixing, and the, business has to go to try to find a solution where. Do you think it typically goes do, you think it goes to fix it to, the humanics, or to, the mechanics. What's. Your sense. Almost. Exclusively. It's the mechanics, let's. Write a new policy, let's restructure. Let's, take her with the system or investigate. The system we. Had a classic example of this with, one of the leading banks. That. Move to an outsourced model just over ten years ago one. Of the things that came in into our orbit, was, the, performance, management area, and they knew they needed to do something with it so they'd outsource, it and they'd centralized, everything, they. Realized when they did their due diligence that there were 65. Different, performance. Management, systems out there in the group and. That wouldn't do. So. What they decided they needed to do was they needed to find one that, was going to be fit for purpose and, the, Silver Bullet for all performance, management. So. They went out and they spent two years. Investigating. Crafting, wreak rafting, and two, years later they came up with a silver bullet. Performance. Management system they. Ran it for six months, after. Six months they. Abandoned, it the. Reason they abandoned, it is because, they realized when they did their investigation as, to why it wasn't working that the, problem of the calls was not with the system it. Was basically that people didn't have the skill of a confidence, to have the type of conversations, you need to have in, order to keep performance. Going. So. It's a classic example of an organization looking, in the. Wrong place to try to solve the problem and prioritizing. Mechanics, over humanics, and. Actually. It's very understandable. Because. Mechanics. Are predictable. They're, tangible they're. Measurable. People. On the other hand. They're, messy a, manager. In the very early stages of my own career took. Me aside and says here you gotta learn one thing about. Organizations. All. Problems, come with hair on top. Or. Not as the case may be. And. It's, actually true and if. You think about it the. Only way to get anything done is, through. Human interaction, whatever, that is and we've. Kind of tagged the idea, of conversations. Onto green line because, the lowest common. Denominator or, base unit of currency of all, interaction. Is the, individual. Conversation. And. If you think about individual, conversations. Well I talk about conversations. In the, current epoch. It's. Not just face to face anymore obviously it's not just a telephone anymore obviously it's.
Not Just meetings anymore which are now virtual, and global. But. It's also inclusive. Of and trumped, by you. Pardon the expression. The. Electronic, conversation, so. You. Put all of those channels together and I've got a question for you. How. Many interactions, do you think. Happen. Through. Those channels on, a daily, basis, I'm, not even gonna talk about Google I'm just even talking about Ireland I'm not even talking about Ireland I'm talking about your own team. We. Had one client mad. Enough to, undertake the challenge to. Investigate. And come up with a number and, I'll tell you the client was the client was a retailer in Ireland Primark or. Pennies, to you and I and. They. They, discovered, that there were two hundred and twenty thousand, interactions, that take place across their network on, a daily basis now, the question I have and it's a rhetorical question is, do, you think that the quality of the conversations. Or interactions, that are happening are. Having an effect or an impact on the business. Okay. You. Don't even need to answer that one let's not the audience-participation point. What. We've discovered, is that there are basically three outcomes to any interaction. And. It's a little bit like if it's a machine then you need to drive it and if you need to drive it you've probably got a gearshift and those of us have got automatic cars and anybody, from the US wouldn't know what anything else is I'm sure is you've. Got three settings, on your gear stick right so. The first is d. You. Have the interaction, you have, the engagement you have the conversation, business. Moves on. There's. A second category, of interaction. And. Neutral. Conversation. Happens and. Nothing. Happens. But. There's a third category of interaction, and the. Third category, of interaction is or which stands for. Reverse. In. Greenline language we call it residue. Because. What ends up happening is, now as a result of this conversation, poorly. Handled poorly. Communicated. Or executed, now. It's. Not just one conversation. We've had now. There's a multitude of conversations, that escalate, or ripple, out from this now. Instead of having one meeting we need to have a series of meetings, many. Of them unofficial and in car parks and in, coffee coolers. Now. Instead of having a few people involved, it's escalated. Emails. Have gone out CCBC, see now the head of the departments, involved oh and. By the way if this is at home it's, your mother-in-law. We. Call this residue, and, residue. Actually. Has, a cusp. The, way it shows up and this. Is me kind of short-circuiting. This from, our analysis, of it our research, is it shows up in two camps. One. Impact. Of residue is it, creates a lack of clarity or. And. It, creates, a second, category which is a loss of commitment and these, are some of the headings that it that it has and, this. Is real. The. Interesting thing is that, managers. Typically. Spend. The portion, of their time. Guess. What, mopping. Up residue. Going. Around with a mop and a bucket, tidying. Up the. Result or the residue of things that. Could have should have been handled more. Skillfully, earlier on in the piece, people. Get paid to come to work to mop up, highly-paid, in many cases. So. Does this resonate with you by the way or, does, this never ever happen here, are. You are you residue, immune. Or. Are.
You Human. So. If. That's true here's, my question to you and it'll be different from person to person, question. I have is. How. Many hours a week would you say on average, the. Average supervisor. Our team leader or leader manager. In Google. Would spend. Tidying. Up resident. Have, a reflection, so. There's four categories here and I'm just going to ask you to volunteer. How. Many of us would suggest. Or. Say. Not to five how, many of us would be in that camp. Okay. Three to four people oh. I'm. Just giving it away. We're. Short on time so I'm just kind of short covers it but at least we know the three or four people in the room we believe it's less, than four less than six, what. Would you say your average is would you be putting it in this category. With. That would that be the general consensus, here somewhere in here yeah. The. International. Average is about, 12 hours a week now. If, we talk about residue, and what causes residue, let, me ask you that so this this is a piece, where I'm interested in hearing from you because, it, manifests, itself differently in. Different organizations, but not, too differently and, what I'm interested in is if you had to come up with reasons why conversations. Go wrong so if you want to go into the root cause and do your root cause analysis, what, are the things that cause conversations. To go wrong typically, in your experience. In, Google here give. Me an example anybody, I'm just going to take anything from the floor. Okay. So. Not knowing what you want from the conversation, so not having your clarity what else. It's. Too quickly and having. To come back again so. Doing things too quickly and then, having to rework, on and do it again and again we head over here not. Listening, so people not listening I was listening by the way I was just paying attention over here but I get what you mean. Okay. Hidden agendas from different parties not knowing like the why you're, doing it okay so not only not not knowing the what but also the why. The. Wrong people in the room go. On so. Google is human. Lack. Of context, okay so context, is either, not, not or different, for different people anything, else was, there a funny one here because we'd love to hear it. Okay. What. We typically do when we work with groups is we, take this information and we put it together we take a sheet, of flip chart paper we take a red marker, and we write up everything that the group has got to get got to go through and we put it and we call it the red list. I'm. Gonna come back to that in a second so we'll take all of this we put it in a red list so I want you to imagine big. Sheet of flipchart paper here with all the red stuff that, includes what you've said plus much more that's it that that's already in the room. Here's. The interesting aspect, of the, whole proposition, is we're. Very keen to go back to very simple first principles, and the, very simple first principle about effectiveness. Whether, we're a leader or we're not by, the way there's one thing that I forgot to mention is. In the title of the talk it says effective leaders. When. I talk about a leader in this context, you.
Don't Need to be anointed or appointed. With, the title of leader for, this to apply and, actually. Even. With leaders that we've worked with when. They come back and they tell us how this has worked for. 80/20, they, come back and tell us the human story of how it helps them with their 14 year old order with, their relationship. At home with, their whatever else so. Even if you're not a leader in here formally, anointed. As. Long, as you're a human being and you've got a personal, life and, I, won't even ask you to put your hands up if you have or you haven't got one of those but. As long as you have that this applies just as well and here. Is the this is the reality of it because it's a human reality. We. Have a situation where, to get stuff done, unless it's self directed and we're doing our own thing on our own time a lot, of what we need to get done is through other people and you've, got person a which is my side and you've, got person B which is the person on the other side of the bridge and. You've got a gap and. As. Those in Transport, for London continue. To insist we. Need to mind the gap. And. That, actually, is the challenge, it is, this fundamental, human challenge, because if it were as easy as this we, wouldn't even have a business. We're. Given a problem or a challenge to solve and we got to sit down and work it out and there, could be a b c d e and f perhaps. If it's a project or if it's a team meeting or whatever it happens to be, very. Often, what happens is instead of moving. In the right direction the. Problem of the challenge creates, a tension which. Is a versus, B because, I've got a view I've got a history I've got a perspective. Caroline. Might have something completely different on the other side and we start to try to engage to solve the problem and it creates attention and part, of the reason it creates attention is because of. The red list and. The. Red list is real and it's. Also human, and, the. Thing that's fascinated, us is that there's. A policy and a procedure for, practically. Everything you. Know if it's in the EU there's a policy and a procedure for, the shape and size, of bananas. There. Are some organizations with, we've we've encountered where there's a policy on soda you can't bring soda into the building because it will ruin their vending sales, there's. Another company that we work with it's a policy on furniture, removal, because they're so so, heavily. Unionized that if you want to move a desk from here to here you've got to go and call. The. Furniture, removal, people so. We have policies, for all of this trivia. Yet. We actually, don't have an operating system for, how to interact, with one another to, get a better a best result or a best outcome, it doesn't, actually exist.
Until. Now. So. The. Proposition is we. We know that this red list is real, we. Still have to solve the problem of the challenge, how. Do we navigate our way skillfully, through what. Is present, very often and produce. An outcome that isn't a residue, outcome, but, one which actually leaves. Us with clarity, and commitment. Around the outcome so we know it exactly, what it is we're supposed to do we know what the context, is we know the why we know the what we know the how we're. Committed to it we have the same idea of it and we go and we deliver it and we're committed to doing so that's, the proposition. And. The final thing before we get into the brain, science which I'm about to share, with you is, there's. A cost to this and organizations. Are really waking up to it. Let. Me give you a really crude residue, calculator, we'll start off with the 12 hours. So. We take the 12 hours this is a real live example, of an investment bank that we worked with globally. So. 12 hours times. 48 weeks. Times. Average hourly, salary, globally. Times. The. Number of people employed. By the business locally and you. Get a result. I did, this presentation most recently, to 300 CFO's. Who. Are not normally renowned for their interest in conversations. Or, anything people-oriented, usually. And. We were flooded with inquiries on the back of this one slide that we've just given because, they did their own maths with. Their own numbers and they came up with a very very large number now those of us who. Aren't already gone on holiday for the weekend will, appreciate that this number is only. Half of the real number because. For every one hour that I'm spending tidying, up residue it's. An hour that. I'm not spending doing. What is actually going to add value to the business so, it's a six-point game if. You get tired of the football analogy, at any point I can just switch metaphors. Let. Me share with you the model the model is deceptively. But. It's deceptively, simple, it's. Based on a journey so this is the Greenline model and any. Journey, that we have people, identify with this so they relate to it very well because. We're all on a journey and, whether. It's a macro level life journey whether, it's a career journey that we're on whether. It's a relationship journey, that we were involved in we're, all simultaneously. On multiple journeys, and. Once the journeys are all different. The. Elements, of the journey are all the same so. One of the things you need to have in a journey is you need of a destination which. We simply call the bear it's, somewhere where we haven't arrived at it yet we, haven't got there yet, it's. Over, there and it's, not where we currently are so, that's one fixed point that we have in any journey, second. Fixed point in any journey is, where we currently are you can take a snapshot in time of any moment which is a here, if. The language by the way it gets too, technical at any point please let me know. That's. In the middle so. How do you connect here there what's the fastest way. Straight. Line we. Actually draw it as a dotted line because. Life, teaches us that life never really works in a straight line and, interestingly. We have friends. And clients, in the aircraft business or, airline business and. They, will tell us that if you take airplanes.
Which Most of us do a lot of the time, then. The. Airplanes. Trajectory. It's. As it's in the aircraft's, interest to stay as close to that straight line as possible, for obvious reasons the, first is it's, the. Most cost-effective, secondly. Related, to that as you've identified as, the fastest, thirdly. Beyond, that it. Consumes, the least amount of energy in this case fuel which is tied into cost and finally. People. Get there faster, and cheaper so, they're happier so. These could be the KPIs, for any business any industry, interestingly. The aircraft's, flight path doesn't. Stay exactly on the straight line they. Tell us that actually looks more like this. It. Kind of Wiggles and wriggles. From. Here to there and it. Actually only intersects, with the straight line on the optimal, line. Pay. For eight percent of the time on average so. Eight percent of the time it's connecting, to the line. 92%. Of the time what's it trying to do. Get. Back on the line to. Fit like Irish weather it's either raining, or it's about to rain there's only two variables. And, you're. Either on the line I'm trying to get back on the line and this is simple and easy enough in air craft. Territory. Because, what they simply do is they put in the, onboard. Coordinates. They onboard it of the, destination, and then the GPS kicks in it makes the auto corrections all the way through that's how the flight works. Green. Line just, follows that metaphor, but in the people's sense so. In order for Green Line to work there, are four key skills that, we need to have the, first which. Is obvious but. Not common practice is we need to create an agreed there we. Need to understand what the purpose is we don't need to understand what the destination is we need to understand why we're doing it and what we expect is an outcome so that's the agreed there step. One, the. Second thing we need to do is we, need to be able to recognize when things are going off the straight line. Because. Sometimes, if we're working together somebody. Will always recognize, first that we're going off. But. It's the recognition of it sometimes it doesn't happen the recognition, and things are way off before, we realize it so that's the second competency, the. Third thing that people need to do is they need to have and this becomes the moment of truth do, I have the courage to call it and this, is very interesting from a cultural perspective, because. In some cultures, the. Culture is or the habit of behavior the received wisdom of how things get done around here is you never you never speak out. And. In some cases people. Break that in to go the opposite extreme where people are speaking out all the time but then nobody's listening, so. But there's an element where do.
I Because, there may be a tension that's created by speaking out or talking to somebody or bringing it up that's. A cultural issue and, finally the final element of is part. Of the reason that people often, don't speak out or they don't step, in to. Tap somebody on the shoulder and say I think we need to redress this and we need to look at doing it a different way is because they're not sure that they're going to leave the conversation, or the relationship, or the project, in a better condition or even as good a condition as when they found it before they tapped in so very often very humanely they'll decide to avoid. So. This. Essentially, is that is the proposition of the metaphor, in. 25. Years of working across. Organizations. Lovely what. We find. Sadly, is not, very much of this in reality. What. We find far more is. This. As. Far more red line than there is green line and. You'll. See the differences. In. Many many different ways and we're going to dig into this now in a second and the, green line outscores the red in all four key areas KPIs. That we identified, earlier on and there. Are many reasons why not so. The proposition for green lines which I'm going to share with you there, are seven red cards and sorry. Seven green cards, and the. Green cards are the. Mechanism, by which we keep as close to the center, line as possible and on the green line navigating. From here to there seven. Cards and you've. Got a handout there but we're going to come back to that now in a second. The. Red cards, are, the things that are most likely in. Interactions. To, cause the conversation. To. Go on to the red line and therefore, in the wrong direction. Before. We get into the cards I mentioned. That my, partner. In founding green line is in. The neuroscience, game and there's, a really robust, set of neuroscience. That underpins, the cards so. I'm going to give you the 15 minute version of something which would probably take 15 hours if we had 15 hours but. I'm going to give you the short simple version of it because. It's the weekend. So. The. Brain how many of us have, an interest in or an awareness of the function of the brain from a neuroscience, point of view many of us have okay. Not not unusual and not surprising, so that's really good so, you can probably teach me a thing or two even, in addition to what I'm about to teach you so for those of us who have our haven't what, I'm going to ask you to do is would, you put your hand out like this and splay. Out your fingers and thumb okay. Would you put your thumb in. Wrap. Around your fingers. Bring. The fist towards your head, turn. Around and turn your fist and say hi brain. This, is actually, a pretty good working model of your brain in, a couple of ways firstly, it's about this size it's just a little bigger it's. About this weight it's just a little heavier and there. Were two component. Parts to it that are two functioning, parts at minimum that, work in parallel with one another, simultaneously. The, first is the thumb which, is one function and this is the limbic of the older part of the brain which, is called the feeling brain, the. Fingers, that wrap around the front is a more recent development and, that's the neocortex and the. Two have you. Know they work well independently, but actually together if they can do an awful lot more just like your fist but. They actually compete, with one. Another and their, functions, sometimes. They. Get mixed up so. Let. Me describe briefly, what each does and where, the risk is in, the context, of our conversation. Today on the cars so. Let's talk first of all about the, green. Brain and the. Green brain is a cognitive, system, cognitive. System is something where. Our logic, our ability. For complex thought our problem-solving. Capability. So, most, of the time from, one end of the day to the next this, is on we. Are solving, problems. Everything. From programming. All, the way through to what am I going to wear in the morning or tonight, or what am I going to have for lunch, this. Is constantly on so. When I say. 7. Times 7. 49. Ok, that, is a good demonstration you've, passed your MOT, your problem-solving. Brain is working. Even. At this time so. That's. You have to engage your problem-solving, brain solve, a very simple problem like that so. That's the first thing, second. Aspect of the of the green, brain is it.
Creates, Context, what. Am i what do I mean by that there. Are seven birds and offense you. Shoot one how many are left. Okay. So, the, interesting thing is when you ask that question it, ranges from numb to, dead or alive right. So. There, are many many answers. To the same question, and it, all depends on one thing even. The question dead or alive begs, the begs begs the question context. What, is the context, so. You change your context, you change the problem you see change. The problem you see you change the problem yourself and we. Are infinite. Context. Makers the. Human brain each, of us individually is, creating, context, every minute of every day one. Of the challenges, is we. Often think that when we sit down to have a discussion. That. We are operating from, the same context. When. You disagree or. You can't agree or those tension, or there's there's. An A versus, B, in. The room it. Is never about logic, we. Make them as the mistake, of thinking that, it's about logic and my logic is better than your logic. Disagreement. Is never about logic it is always about context. But. By then it's often gone too far. Let. Me demonstrate context. I've. Got two models here. Yellow. Marble, is a dog. Blue Marble is. A car. Dog. Car. Put. The two together. It, is impossible practically. Not. To have a mental image in your head with. A dog and a current right. How. Many of us have got a mental image with a dog and a car in it as I was describing okay. How's, your dog and car describe where they are. Okay. So the dogs in the back seat of the car watching out from the window okay. Anybody. Else is something different. You. Imagine God okay. So we got a car lover in the car a dog lover - dog hater here we're here yeah, what. We got I have the car, that, has a dog exterior, from Dover yeah I know. What I know exactly what you mean now I've got that picture in my head it probably won't leave they. Might have transformer selected front sides and off in front in the back. No so. This, beautifully, illustrates, the fact that all. You need to do is introduce two pieces of data and you, can't help but create, an image in your own mind and it's, different from person to person so that's, what I mean by creating context, that's, the second thing that the logical, brain does. Interestingly. Enough. We. Have great, capacity in this brain of ours and depending on which piece of research, you. Read since, the 1950s. It vacillates, we, have the capacity in the cognitive brain to. Hold between, not just two pieces of information like a dog in a car but as many, as between five and seven pieces of information we can hold simultaneously, now. Here's the question I have if, you can take six. Let's say we'll take the average data. Packs and you can hold them simultaneously and, you, can spin and move these and manipulate. Them into any order or sequence which will create a different picture in your mind or your your durability this is the wonderful power that we have computing, power how. Many options, or possibilities. Do we have if we've got six variants. Who, knows, the mass theory six. Variables, how many possibilities, eruptions. It. Is six factorial so. It's 6 times 5 times, 4 times 3 times 2 times 1, that's, exactly how many you have you've. Got a total of 720. Possibilities, so. We have the ability or the capability with. The thinking, mind, to. Engage, with the world and make, of it with all the data that we've got. That. Many impressions that many possibilities, that many opportunities that many ways of looking at the same thing it's quite remarkable that's. What makes us brilliant but. What makes us more brilliant is the final thing in the thinking realm and, this is what differentiates us from the animal kingdom. Is. We. Have this ability to imagine future. This. Is a little bit like. Telling fish about water, because. We do this without even knowing that we're doing it but, we are the only mammal on the planet that, can, meaningfully think of a future that doesn't exist currently. Imagine. It to be the way it is or. Isn't. Work. In the present and make, decisions and spin the marbles, in creative. Ways that enables, us to achieve what it is we imagine. Squirrels. Don't. Do this. They. Don't gather round the squirrel family and say. Last, year guys we ran out of nuts we're, gonna have to kind of delegate, it out a bit better we're gonna have to create a spreadsheet and we're gonna have to figure out how we're going to get more nuts in so. That next No what, they do is they actually just go out all, squirrels. Instinctively. Go out and find nuts and bury them and they just hope that they've found, and buried enough nuts that there's going to be enough nuts for the nut for the squirrel population, to find.
So. It's a remarkable, gift that we have and actually isn't this future orientation, and this, future capability, the very essence, of what leadership is. The. Ability to imagine something that doesn't exist and, work. At the present and even, some. Soon because what what happens is the. Brain, organizes. Your marbles for you in order of so, it's sequences, priority. How do we how do we sequence it so when. The, cognitive. Brain or the green brain is operating its, sequences. Our brain and our thinking from there to here so. It enables us to make. Decisions, in the present and even. Subsume. Some present, desires for the for a better future and for, the greater good and we, can make that decision in the NAP. It's. What distinguishes us from the animals so we are not the most we're. Not the strongest mammal, on the planet we're. Not the most naturally, armored. Or most. Armored mammal on the planet. We're. Not the fastest, but. We dominate the planet and it's because of this ability to sequence. Our marbles from there to here, so. That's. On one side. On. The opposite side we have, the feeling brain. And. The. Feeling brain has got a completely different function, the. Feeling brain does. Not care about the future it. Only cares about now it's, the older part of the brain it's, the limbic system and it's, like a 24/7. Always-on. Surveillance. System that is, designed for one purpose only to keep you safe. That's. All it's got to do so. You're a zebra, you're. Grazing, in the savanna a lion. Jumps out the. Last thing you want to do is begin. To engage your, thinking, brain and think I wonder is it a hungry lion or is it lunch time I wonder, maybe we could make friends with the Lions and if we befriended. The Lions we could probably know. By then you're already lunch. So. The, red brain only. Wants you acting, and once, you're acting as quickly as possible in, fact how quickly. The. Red brain reacts. Or activates. 100, times faster than the time it takes to think of thought now. We can't even imagine how, fast that is but. Let me give you a demonstration of, it I. Recently. Had. Shoulder surgery on the shoulder. And when, I came out from hospital, I had. About 40 degrees of movement in any direction so I could probably do this and, this. And. I was at home rehabilitating. And on. My second, day at home I was walking up the stairs and. Guess. What I tripped, on the way up. So. I'm in this situation and I'm, going forward, before. I had any chance to do anything guess what happened. Now. I thought, if you've ever had shoulder surgery in, two days later and you had 40 degrees in movement but you can probably imagine what the pain was like but. It didn't matter because whatever, pain I was experiencing, in the future was nothing compared to what I would have done if I'd crash my head against the, stairs on the way up so. What. Had happened was the red brain had simply taken control so. If you imagine it's like the cockpit to go back to the aircraft. You've. Got a pilot and a co-pilot the, green brain is like has. Got the one of them's got the controls most, of the time the. Green brains got the control but. Occasionally when, the need is there the, red brain takes over it, just moves in like a flash takes, over the controls and makes, decisions on your behalf to, keep you safe why, do you think it's a hundred times faster than the time it takes to think a thought. Survival. It's, the older brain it's. The preservation, of the species. So. The interesting aspect, about this is that. It. Also has, an impact so. Your marbles of sequence from there to here normally, but. Guess what happens when it takes over the controls. Have. You ever been in a situation where you're in a meeting somebody. Puts you on the spot like, ask you what 7 times 7 is in front of your peers and you know that sort of thing and you're not expecting it and all. Of a sudden you. Mentally, freeze and, something. That you know you just freeze you can't you give you your best answer you. Come up with the best thing that you can think of on the spot. You. Go off. 20. Minutes later guess, what you, think of all the things you should have done should, have said should, it should it should it should and as Ken Blanchard says all of a sudden you should all over yourself.
But. You only. Afterwards. Realize, it because. Something has happened and something has happened in here. So. What is happened in here is that the red brain takes the controls and guess what it does first it, reef sequences, your marbles for you and. It does it very quickly, fast. Enough for you not to hit your head. On the stairs on the way up so. Now instead of a very here sequence, there's. A here to there sequence and the. Red, brain or the red marble which, is a here and now and survival, becomes the very first thing the. Interesting thing about survival, is that 21st. Century threats no. Longer are in the Savannah, the. 21st, century threats that we have in Google and in our organizations, and in our families, are. Now represented, in the team meetings and are, represented in the project and are. Represented at home around, the family table or, between ourselves and some of the sibling or whomever. It happens to be and. Now. When, it kicks in what. We do is in order to keep ourselves safe. The. Red brains taking controls we. Have to in that moment make, a decision as to how. Do I stay, safe in this environment what do I do to, get out of this what am I going to do not to not to lose face what, have I got to do not to take responsibility. For this. And. By the way it gets better. So. We got we got our six marbles if. This, lasts, or persists, this state for about. Twenty seconds or more what, ends up happening is, a. Chemical. Cortisol, gets released into the brain which. Literally burns. Working. Memory. So. It literally burns off your capability. To, think and the range of what you're capable of and it. Narrows it down so I've now just lost three marbles I've, gone from six, marbles to three I've, lost half of my working memory. Three. Marbles. It's. A trick question it's not even a question but it's a trick, statement, because, I've got from six which is 720. Possibilities, three, marbles one. Of my possibilities, now six. It's, three factorial. I've, literally gone from six, marbles 720. Possibilities, down to six and the, six now are so clear have, you ever been in the situation where. You were sitting at your desk and an email comes in and you, go, that's. The fourth time this week I got. To do something about this and, you start to type you start to compose that email and as you start to compose it you get stronger and stronger you get clearer and clearer you're, a wordsmith you should be appalled poet laureate all of a sudden it should, have done this weeks ago and, the. Kind of energy surge that goes in through there and you get to the point where you want to hit Send and, what does it feel like when you're about to hit that send button you, just hit Send and you feel like you've just taken down the woolly mammoth. Until. 20. Minutes later when. Somebody walks in with, a copy of the email that you just CC to everybody and. Says do, you really send this mate. By. Which time the other marbles that had fallen on the floor after all the war come back in and you, now have a, perspective, that you didn't have at. That moment, any. Of us here I've got kids. Or. Access to kids. Because. I don't Caroline you're going off to play with your, borrowed. Kids for the weekend hmm, well and seen them lose their marbles. Because. If we've seen them lose their marbles, we, have a situation where, let's say we've. Got somebody who's. Five years old they've lost their marbles they're, all over the floor and we. As parents have a strategy for dealing with this now. If you're a five year old kid and you've just lost your marbles and you're down to six options you've, only got three left what. Is my. Ability as a five-year-old, to. Have, reasonable, conversation. In this moment. Very. Late so. What do we do as good parents, well. Intentioned we. Reason. With them. At, what point. Do we realize that reasoning, isn't going to work well normally at the point where they literally drop one more marble.
And. Then they race off to the room and they slam the door. Because. They've only got two choices, that's. All they got because, they feel more threatened so they lose another marble. And. We're just kids with longer legs. We. Think we're adults we think we're sophisticated but inside of us there's, that five-year-old kid and the red brain is the red brain is the red brain when. It comes to that now. I say all that to say that in most organizations. Civil. Organizations. What. Tends to happen is. People. Don't lose three marbles. It's. Pretty destructive, people. Can pull themselves in ways but. It is fairly regular, that people might lose want one model what's the impact of losing one marble, the. Impact of losing one marble is first. Of all when. The red brains resequenced, the marbles from from here to there what's the marble on the end that is going to go first. It's. The green marble it's, the future-oriented one so, now we've got a situation where, I'm. In a situation, where the, least important, element is the future outcome of what we're about to do here the most important element is what what, I need to do to defend myself and, when I say lose one marble one very simple example of what that would look like would be you, know the phone rings and you, pick it up and it's. That number. It's. Just, that caller ID number, that's on there that's, enough for you just to trigger and just, lose one model now. You're going to have, prepare. Yourself, differently, for that call for that conversation, for that interaction then, you would do because you've just lost. The. Future-oriented, model. Hmm interestingly, enough if you lose one marble you go from 720 options to how many. You. Go to 120 you've, just lost, 600. Options. And. They're, the ones that are most future-oriented, as. Somebody who's had to lead and develop a business, it's. Very critical, that. If we're gonna hire the best and the brightest and the, lengths that you go to here in Google and many other organizations, to find hire, and recruit the best and the brightest. We. Do that and they perform, in there. 720. Marble state, but. What happens when people are under pressure. Because. It's only then that you really begin to see how. People perform and, work under pressure and we have lots of evidence of. High. Flyers high potentials, very, talented people very, gifted, people who. Round. The organization, are, just walking around pulling pins out of grenades and, even the Grenadier in the room I'm walking, right out there and causing. Devastation, around them, without. Even knowing that they're doing it. Simple. Hint if, you're down to 120. One way to help yourself, and understand, itself diagnosed and this is very helpful for me how, do you know you've lost a marble as, soon as you find yourself mentally, moving. Into what we call binary thinking. It's. Either you or me because, either them or us it's.
Either Yes or no it's. Either black or white it's either as soon, as you find yourself moving into a state where it becomes binary. Rest. Assured you are now in a chemically induced state. It's. Not a great time to be making decisions which. Is why good negotiators. At that level will always take breaks and lots of them to walk out to cool off for that 20-minute period so that they have got the perspective, of the, seven twenty possibilities, in the seven twenty options. Leadership. Reputations, get made or broken, in these moments. Marriages. Get. Made or broken in these moments. So. That's. The, short science. Let's. Do the short version of the cards so, what we've done is blaring. Eyes we've endeavored. To create a system. To codify this, operating, system that, will enable us, first, of all not, to create situations, where we're. Triggering, losing marbles and we become suboptimal, in our ability, to make decisions make choices, and. Also, how, do we stay on the green line how do we avoid going onto the red line. So. We're. Going to start off and I'm going to spend most of the time in, the remaining time that we have Oh. Okay. We're. A little short on time how. Many of us have to leave at 3 o'clock that's going to determine okay so. The very most of us. Okay. In. That case I'm. Gonna show you a five-minute video, and. I'm gonna ask you to have a look at the video through the lens of the red cards, if that's okay, so. These. Are the cards they're. Pretty self-explanatory and. The. Five-minute video that we're going to watch is. A conversation, between two people a and B who've got two different views of the same thing and. They've. Got of resolves a. Situation. Where Barry who manages Lisa in a technical function she. Wants to apply for a role which, will promote her but. It involves. Managing people for the first time he. Doesn't believe she's ready for it she believes she's already demonstrated, a capability and that she is ready for it and they're in to, have a discussion around it, we're. Simply going to observe it through the lens of Barry so if you watch watch, the cards played. By Barry and maybe the impact that is having on Lisa on the other side in terms of marble retention, or marble loss and once. That's done then. We'll just wrap it all up okay, so this is the purpose of it so, I'm going to flip through the introductions, and. We'll. Just get straight on to the currents so cards. Are the ready. I'm. Not saying that all of the cards appear and some. Of them might appear more than once. Let's. See what you can see hello. Lisa hello, Barry how are you and well and, you good. So. You applied, for a promotion where. You at with the application, oh well, I haven't, actually filled it in yet I wanted. To come to you first and get your advice how. Ready do you think that you are for this step oh I'm.
Definitely Ready I mean, I I think I've proven myself in, my current role and I. Think I'll make a good manager, actually, if I'm given the opportunity I. Am. A key, contributor, you, say so yourself yes you are goes without saying you're you're a great, asset to this organization, but, how do you think that you would cope with. The greater responsibilities. Oh. Well. Stop when you move into two. People management I remember when I was, promoted. Myself I found it a big challenge there's. A lot to take off and, you. Know you're you're, you're, managing people you're coaching you're, you're, giving feedback you're, doing appraisals, it's it's a lot you know and. It takes a while to get it right and you. Have, a lot of experience, and a, lot of management. Potential. Are. You sure you're ready well. I think so yes I mean. I've, seen a lot of people with a lot less experience. And expertise, get. Promoted in the past and they seem to be doing just fine I, think. I'll make, a good manager, actually I'm I'm. Looking forward to the challenge. I'm. Already, the one people come to when there are issues and I'm, often the one who has to point out issues before, they impact the business and, you. Know I think with a greater scope of influence. I could influence the system instead, of just. Helping. People work around the inadequacies, do. You not think that there are a few things that you need to work, on first oh. Yeah. I'm sure there are such. As well, for. Example your. Communication, style. How. Do you think you come across I'm. Not really sure what you mean Barry I am. A key contributor. On this, team I'm the go-to person, I mean I'm always willing to help and give advice and I try to help them out the best way that I can. Our. Last team meeting Kathleen, wanted to make a suggestion, about potential. Potential, changed, the report do, you remember how you spoke to her, no. Well. You. Were very condescending and you. Made her feel and look like a bit of a fool are, you aware. Of that oh come on Barry her, idea it was impossible and, you know it I mean, she clearly doesn't know how the system works so she wouldn't have suggested it I, said. Wouldn't need it to be said and, she. Got the message didn't, she I mean what do what do you want me to say, be. Quiet saying nothing and and let, that bed let the business suffer no no no not at all look I I just think that you're very direct, people and and that is not a style. That suits, people. Management look I, just, think that that at this moment your. Leadership style suits more to an autonomous, role would you would you not agree with that no I don't I want. This promotion Barry I think I deserve it, you. You, know obviously don't know no don't get me wrong look, Lisa I I think you're you're a fantastic worker, you're, a top contributor, I just I want. To support you in achieving your goal frankly. Barry it, doesn't sound like it I just, don't think that you're ready for this not not at this moment. Lisa. You. Asked me for my advice I'm giving, it to you and, I, think that we can you know work, on developing, your people skills but in the meantime maybe something comes up that doesn't involve people. Management you know I'm fed up waiting Barry, I want this promotion and I. Think, I'm, more, than capable of managing people actually look. If you really want to move into people management. We. Can do. A development, plan I'll look into some courses that, may be available and and we can start there how does that sound yeah it's fine thanks. Okay. Look, why don't we meet in in what say two weeks in. The meantime I can look into what courses are available and, I'll, email you the link you can have a look at those. We. Never chat about thin how's. That sound yeah that's great okay. Good. Thanks. Barry. When. Thanks doesn't really mean thanks that interesting could you see the red cards are play how. Many to count. For. Any, advance on four I. Said. Okay somebody got the full set it's like bingo yeah, and any, recidivists. Any kind, of repeat repeat offenders. Which. Ones. Yes. Yes very often it's a master class and leaving questions that's for sure okay. So the interesting thing about it we talked about operating systems and this is where I'm going to finish is, that we all have a basic operating, system we use it but, we judge ourselves by the intention that we have not the impact that, it has on the other side we. Other have an effect of operating system where we don't these, seven red cards are the ones that are most likely to actually create the impact on the other side because what's the impact in the other side. Not. Not very good, and. In. Rating, it when. You look at that conversation, if you had to give it a rating in terms of its effectiveness how would you rate it here looking at it through your own lens neutrally.
Two, Or three two. Threes is what I'm hearing, okay, Barry, now on the other hand goes to his management meeting and. He sits down with Aiden and Aiden says I know you had a difficult conversation to have how's. He breaking it. Seven. Or an eight you, know I gave her the gave her the feedback I gave, her the example, we, got a plan we're meeting in two weeks I think I got, away with it right. Seven. Or eight meanwhile. Lisa. Was. Tidying at her desk Caroline. Inquires, and says well you, know she's putting her effects into a box how. Did it go and she's. Rating it a wat a one. Well it's definitely lower than we're rating it so now you've got three versions, of the truth, right. And there's, only one that has legal tender and. That's. Lisa's but. The sad thing about it is is that not, only is the impact on Lisa sad. Part of this equation but, it's, the implication, that there are berries walking around the organization, pulling pins out of grenades and thinking they're doing a great job because. They don't have an operating system and he's not a bad guy he's, doing the best with, what he has to, get a result in a difficult situation and this, is a good as he's got. So. Guys apologies, for running four minutes and twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty, seconds. Over because. I normally castigate. People for running over on my side of the fence so mayor Copa for that thank, you very much for the invitation Caroline. Thank you very much. You. You.