Colin Hunter 0:07
Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of the leadership tales podcast. Delighted to be joined today by Henry Evans. What can I say about Henry Evans, Amazon’s top 10 authors, and invited agitator? I love that title, but also peacemaker, to C -suite. So he’s a keynote speaker. His two areas that are really core to his work are accountability and emotional safety. So that’s linking in from how we take organizations to form the strategic process through to execution with accountability. But the emotional safety and the emotional safety officer principal, how he takes that and works, that is his core; I’d never met somebody so intentional in the work as Henry is and everything in his life has an intention to it. And I’ve picked up whenever I hang around with Henry; I pick up that intention that cares for thoughts and cares for others. And it’s nice to have a good friend come and be interviewed on this podcast and share some of his thoughts and some of his work here. I look forward to hearing your feedback about the amazing Henry Evans.
Colin Hunter 01:20
Hi, folks; I am delighted to have a very good friend Henry Evans, with who we sat next to each other at a conference intuitively as we were talking about making a connection. And there was a group of us who had a like-minded view on the world but actually just enjoyed each other’s company. So hopefully, you’ll get the same feel for today about how we get on. But he’s got a business that’s called dynamic results, which is focused primarily around accountability, but leadership and deep practice in that work. So I’d love him to introduce himself.
Henry Evans 1:55
economy meHi Colin, may this dialogue have the same ease that our regularly occurring ones have.
Colin Hunter 2:02
I’m sure it will. Well, we’ve got a lot to talk about. But I’d love to find it or let the listeners find out a bit about you and why you do the work you do. Tell us your story.
Henry Evans 2:14
Primarily what dynamic results do in the world does help organizations implement their strategies and assess and develop the leaders within them to be equipped to live that desired future state. But when I was a child with chronic stutter and scoliosis, I was diagnosed by a team of psychologists and medical doctors, and they said, when you grow up, don’t do anything athletic. So I competed in martial arts for 30 years. And they said they don’t do anything which involves speaking in public or leadership because of your stutter. And all joking aside, truth be known, I never had that F-you moment where I thought I was going to show the world; I just stumbled and fell into roles that happened to require those skills, martial arts, because I was a young, stuttering fool. And I would say things that were sometimes insulting, and I would lose fights. So I thought I better learn not to be impolite.
Colin Hunter 03:15
Henry Evans 03:15
As the source and also know how to defend me. And then leadership really happened by accident, I really wanted to do something bigger in the world in federal law enforcement on the international stage, and I happened to have an angel investor offer me funding from my first company; I started that it did very well for ten years. And it failed spectacularly after the attacks on 9/11. And while I was depressed, with no identity, having lost at all in the role of president, I had two mentors ask me to start advising their companies. So it was through failure that I winded up advising.
Colin Hunter 3:57
Interesting. I’d love to dig into a couple of those. But I want to come back because you hinted it, they’re in the martial arts. And I didn’t think about this, but the way to deal with it. There’s a spiritual side strongly to martial arts in terms of, you know, the obvious thing is Stuttering. And I immediately assumed going to the defense piece, but actually, it’s a spiritual side. That’s really grounded you in that. Tell us a bit about that. Yeah
Henry Evans 4:22
Well, my course was highly unusual. My godfather, Jim, who is still with me but no longer walking the earth, saw me getting bullied. He was an African American male. He belonged to a Dojo in New York City that was strictly African American. And the first time he brought me there was when I was 10. He already knew this, but it turned out that some of his colleagues in the dojo were former Black Panthers, who really didn’t welcome a young white child into this dojo. And I remember speaking of spirit Energy this moment when he brought me in. I was intimidated by the size of the human beings. And one of them walked up to him and said, What is he doing here? And Jim said, Well, he’s my godson. And this is where I train. So this is where he will train. And there was an energetic opening that the guy kind of stepped aside. And it felt like a gate opening. And I was allowed in. And what they did was they constantly held me at my edge. So I was never able to physically or emotionally mentally challenge any of these men. But they always kept me right at that precipice, right on the right at that edge of my own capability. So that I could find and start to grow my limits. And I didn’t realize I was learning energy. I thought I was learning to fight.
Colin Hunter 5:48
Yeah. Tell me more because the exploration of the energy because I am a big believer in you know, I’ve been reading this book peak performance, but it’s stress plus rest equals growth. And there’s an element in keeping this edge of growth. And I was talking to one of our friends, Bill Treasurer, and he was talking about this, you know, when he was learning to dive, the diving instructor kept pushing the border off the meter, or meter to test them. That’s a source of energy. Tell us more about what you mean by that? Yeah.
Henry Evans 6:18
Oh, funny, you know, Bill was going below the depths of the earth. And I used to skydive a lot Skydiving is almost the opposite, and they keep going up a certain number of meters for each level of testing, but that energy awareness was not conscious; I was going solely to learn how to keep damage from entering my circle. So I would call the circle the extension of my arm. And if harm was coming within that circle, I wanted to know how to push it out of the circle. It was only upon; I would love to say it was self-reflection or meditation. But sometimes, I had to be told that what I was learning was energetic and that sometimes a conflict in our lives doesn’t begin with something as obvious as a punch or kick; it can begin with words, it can begin with an expression, it can begin with a tone. And if we are in a business meeting or in an interaction with a loved one, have our awareness on high; if it’s dialed up high, we pick up the signals from way outside our circle when our awareness is low. I had two days that way this week after not sleeping well. I was missing all kinds of signals. So have I answered your question?
Colin Hunter 7:35
Yeah, you have no; I love it. I mean, for me, it’s starting to get into some of the things we’re going to talk about now. Because we’re going to go into and we’ve talked about the hybrid world, but we’re talking about a world that is changed massively. And the reading of the situation is going to be the core role of the leader, and your work is accountable. But you’re, you have this title about the director of emotional safety, and the ability to read what’s happening around you is a core role of the leader when we go into that. So tell us more about this director, the emotional safety; I want to dig into your, the 9/11. And what happened after that, but I’d love to just follow the thread that we’ve got around that circle, understanding what’s approaching you that you were talking about, Yeah.
Henry Evans 8:22
sure. So right now, I have more than 13,000 hours of C suite executive coaching. So when I was about 2000 hours in, I noticed that the leaders who had the highest performing organizations and who also had the most engagement were not assholes, and what I was reading about high-performance leadership, and frankly, some of the people who are held up as the demigods of leadership also had a deplorable reputation, some of them fell quickly in me to movement as they should have. But others, if you would speak to people who work for them. They would say, yeah, they’re great at putting numbers on the board. But I left them after I learned about 80% of what I felt I could learn because they were so toxic. The people we were working with who are high-performing had strong relationships. They were highly trusted. When I met my friend column, Dr. Column Foster, he was just setting out to do five years of research on high-performance leaders in the industry, the military, and NGOs, in all sectors who had the reputation as best in class. His research proved that this was true that these leaders were capable of doing something we call creating emotional safety. That’s what we call it in the book. And in layman’s terms, emotional safety means that you create an environment. And by the way, this is not just leaders. This is spouses, children, parents, coworkers, but let’s talk about leaders.
Colin Hunter 09:57
Henry Evans 09:57
Where people are choosing one, have two very distinctive types of moments as they approach you with bad news. If you don’t create emotional safety, they’re making one of two choices. They’re either approaching you very nervously, and they’re afraid you’ll kill the messenger. Or, if you’ve killed them in the past or tried to, they choose to turn around and not approach you at all. Because the experience of bringing you bad news is so unrewarding. They’ve just stopped doing it. Now, if they make the preferable ++++++++++++++choice if their experience with you has been that whenever they bring you bad news, they leave feeling appreciated. Or if you’re a gold medalist rewarded, they’ll keep doing it. So why does this matter? If you’re capitalistic driven, it matters because you’ll get better business results. When you make decisions, you’ll be far better informed about what’s really happening because people are telling you in real-time. If you are more like me, if you’re more altruistically driven, you get out of bed in the morning wanting to make the world a better place. But you still know that you have to make money to do that. It also pays off because, again, people will bring you what’s really happening, they will feel better about you and where they work. And my sense is that they’ll also be nicer in traffic with cashiers and with their families.
Colin Hunter 11:20
It’s a relevant point to me, actually. And it’s quite emotional because, you know, we talked about our parents, my father passed away this year, but my father, my perception growing up was he was a very powerful, very strong in his field, but he was also scary. And my friends used to come around, and they would all hide behind each other to say as Colin in coming upcoming out of play, and but it’s relevant to me now, because I’ve had the feedback from my daughters that who I love, and they love me, but that I am a scary people a person to some of their friends. But I sense it’s because what I’m doing is two points. They’re approaching me nervously for some reason, or they’re not approaching me at all. And I need to understand why that is some do some work on it. But it does resonate with me because I feel like I’m open. I’m friendly and working in there. So it’s interesting. So how do you teach? How do you teach somebody to do that? Do you have to be that director of emotional safety?
Henry Evans 12:21
What kind of I doesn’t want to fly over the loss of your father?
Colin Hunter 12:24
Henry Evans 12:24
Because that would actually damage emotional safety pragmatically. Yeah. But also, you and I both went through seeing our fathers through their end of life within, as far as a lifetime goes, a pretty close window of time within a few years. So I hope they are talking now.
Colin Hunter 12:44
I’m sure we will be somewhere.
Henry Evans 12:47
wherever they are, yeah. The way that we teach, and I hesitate to use the word teach we because first of all, some leaders, especially high performing type bays, are insulted by the word teach. They’re often also if they are handicapped by being male; they’re often not attracted to the word emotional. So we, if we said, we’re going to teach you something emotional, those are two barriers we’re introducing. So we say we’re going to have you experience a way to enhance relationships. And we certainly present that capitalist altruistic pair of lenses upfront and say, Look, you might be here because you were forced to be, and you think it’s going to take away from the achievement of targets. If that’s the case, let us promise you that it won’t, you’ll actually achieve your targets better as a result of being here. If you’re here because you’re attracted to the concept of making the workplace better and keeping qualified and talented people longer, you will have a payoff also. But we try to model it. So we don’t do anything that is theoretical or academic; we ask them to identify a real-time Real World Challenge they’re having in a relationship with another person at work. This can be a coworker, boss, direct report, or peer customer-vendor, but nothing hypothetical. We then introduce them to some concepts of how would you either give what might be thought of as bad news in an emotionally intelligent, emotionally safe way? Or, much more importantly, how would you respond? So we will have people tell us when they first heard this news, how they responded to it, how they think how they were feeling mad, sad, glad when they responded to it, and how they think the other person might have been feeling. And that’s usually our starting point. And we call that it’s kind of a benchmark measurement of their introspective awareness and their external awareness of how someone else might have been feeling that then we have them do some more experience, and then we ask them the same question in a slightly different way. What we’re looking for is to see if those awareness scores have increased at all. And with almost every personality type with almost every person on the IQ scale, there’s been a significant improvement in just the first interaction; then we continue for four to six weeks.
Colin Hunter 15:17
So it’s always a purposeful practice. It’s almost not hard-wiring; I’m doing some work on Positive Intelligence myself about a neural pathway. It’s opening up a new neural pathway for them to feel different, not to do the fight or flight but to work in a more curious way, as our mutual friend MBS would talk about just be a bit more curious. I love that. Good. So just going into this, this concept of the hybrid world now, how does it? What are your views? Because it’s the biggest question I get from all my clients at the moment, and emotional safety, psychological safety, all of these things are coming in here. Nobody knows what the hyperbola is going to say and do. Nobody knows how it’s going to work. And it’s almost a key part of organizational performance in history for a number of organizations just to say, so how we’re going to predict and how we’re going to work with the future, what’re your views and the work you’re doing? What’s it telling you?
Henry Evans 16:16
What came? First, let me answer your question with a question because I hear the word hybrid being used a lot. What does that mean to Collin Hunter?
Colin Hunter 16:25
Yeah, Good question. And that’s probably a few people are listening; go, what the hell is he talking about? So it’s a grey one; I knew I knew at some point, you’re going to turn the tables; I’m in love, it is good. So for me, the hybrid is, you know, we had everybody in the office. And the majority of people were in office, so they had to be in the office. And then we had COVID, everybody moved to virtual, including myself, and it had huge benefits. In some cases, my family life improved massively there. And for some people, their organizational effectiveness has improved. For some, it was a nightmare. The younger folks we’ve got who’ve got young kids, and therefore they were doing their jobs plus, homeschooling plus do this. But there was a general feeling from organizations and the employees that this was okay. This is a new way of doing things. And therefore, can I just stay working at home and not have the two-hour commute a day or three hours in the London context, but organizations are starting to have that negotiation around? So are we opening up the office? How many days you know, it’s almost it is a negotiation? Is it three plus two, three, to work? Or is it to announce or at whatever it is that they’re starting to do? So we’re starting to get to the point where organizations are reinventing themselves with that. I’m interested in your views around the emotional safety in the work you’re doing leadership about what way you think organizations will go or where they should go. Yeah,
Henry Evans 17:56
Well, we were deeply involved as strategy implementation partners with companies that are figuring out are to return to the office or RTW to return to work. We went remote in 2012; as our business was growing globally, our office building and headquarters were more and more empty. And I was looking at the SG&A of this office building. And sometimes I was the only person in it during a very good month or a year. And so we sold it. So we did; we were not impacted by COVID. In the way, most organizations were, except in one tremendous way. There was certain work we did that I believed in March of 2020, probably March 6, March 2020. Not only should it not be done remotely, but it could not be done remotely effectively. And it’s the very work we do with our clients working with C suite teams to execute strategy. When I flew home on March 6, on March 7, our largest client said Henry, look, we’re still open to doing our April session with you. But we have this other session with you in March in about two weeks. So here are your choices. You can lose us as a client, or you can figure out how to deliver it remotely. Now we had been doing it for 17 years in person.
Colin Hunter 19.:19
Henry Evans 19:19
And I fundamentally believed it should not be done remotely.
Colin Hunter 19:24
I was with you.
Henry Evans 19:24
So yeah, of course, so many of our colleagues were because we think what we know is how it is. And I know it works in person. Therefore it must always be in person. So the first thing we did was have to test that theory; we decided we didn’t want to lose our largest client. We thought that they were challenging us to improve and come up with a hybrid offering in much less than an optimal amount of time. It was actually eight business days.
Colin Hunter 19:54
Henry Evans 19:54
So we’re noticing a few things that I think our listeners have to be aware of. One is willing to try things and be willing for them to fail but sets the expectation that they might be upfront. So as you’re figuring out how many people should come back to work, in what shifts, what the physical locations should be Plexiglass or not, hand sanitizer or not let you let your employees know that you’re making your best-educated guess on the day you’re making it, it is all a hypothesis and a test. And you will continue to adjust as you learn what works and what doesn’t. But let’s start with some bad news for all people, not just the ones who are choosing who returns to work and how, but all human beings who are working with other humans. And your ability to read the emotional well-being or emotional safety or emotional state of other people when we were all in the same office. So think pre-COVID, we all fell onto a bell curve, and some of us were really great at it. Others of us were not great at it. And then there’s also a self-awareness curve. Some of us who are great at it had no idea we were better than others. And some of us who were not good or grade had no awareness that we were lagging. As we’ve gone remote, you have not gotten better at reading other humans; you’ve gotten worse. So wherever you started reading people over a screen, even as you and I are now colin, we’ve broken bread, we’ve had wine, I want to deep dive into this difference in how your daughter views you or viewed you and the past versus others, even you and I cannot really read each other as effectively through this medium as we can when we’re in 3d. So the next question then becomes, how do I get as close to my highest self as I can get in this format because if I type read, the people that are in the room with each other will have an advantage that you attending remotely are sorely lacking? And it’s that extra edge of awareness. Am I answering your question?
Colin Hunter 22:06
Yeah, your while you’re banging on in what I believe? And it’s interesting, but it’s also you know, I’ve listened to a number of people talking about that the in-room peak, people have an advantage of the people at home, even though the for the whole year, we’ve been on a level playing field. So how would you, how would you level that playing for you? People? Yeah.
Henry Evans 22:26
And a lot of the emotional safety training, we do take the training, we used to think that the training really even though we had an online offering, and we had an E school, we thought it was not as effective as in-classroom training. But our clients are showing us that they don’t want to go back into the classroom; they want to use us in the classroom now they work with us remotely and don’t want to see us again.
Colin Hunter 23:53
OH yeah. It’s weird. Our scores went up when we were virtual versus face-to-face. It was incredible. Now well, now, whether there’s some data behind that, or there’s a shift, I don’t know. But I’m hoping not to take a person put it away. Yeah, I love my face-to-face. So going back to this piece, you had a lovely expression that I heard close to your highest self. That’s obviously something that is important to you. But it’s going to be important to almost level the playing field. How do we get everybody to be at the highest self in that space? Yeah. And engage? Is that what you’re saying for the leaders? And is that what we’re saying to people? And
Henry Evans 23:35
Because we work in a leadership context, I’m often, and we are often stating things in that context. But those things are also true for us at home as significant others, parents, children, friends, and family. So I know something now about your emotional intelligence 360 Because I’ve experienced you like a warm, accessible, emotionally available, open, collaborative, fun person. Now, that’s how I would rate you as one of your Readers; I would be in the other category. Your children would be in the friends and family category, and they would have rated you differently. So what I’ve learned about Colin is Collins is not the same in every Reader group.
Colin Hunter 24:20
Henry Evans 24:21
And so highest self, and this is what we look at in a 360 assessment, is whether you’re scoring low or scoring high within various Reader groups. Is your self-assessment close to how that Reader group rated you? If that answer is yes, you are operating as your highest self without the Raider group; you are self-aware that you might not be showing them your best, or you’re self-aware that you are showing them your best. So there are two gaps we try to close in development work. One is if there’s a delta between how you see yourself and how others see you, we want to close that gap. While we close that gap if there’s a delta between Raider groups, meaning perhaps your family didn’t rate you as high as the others.
Colin Hunter 25:08
Henry Evans 25:08
Mr. Treasurer? Yeah. MBS. Henry, what if we already did you hire? How do we close that gap, and that means it brings you up in the radar groups where you might be a bit lower.
Colin Hunter 25:23
So that’s really clear for me now. And we were talking about something before we came on air about how you do this work to match up almost in a three-way between the individuals doing the 360, their line manager, and you said to me, fasten it. I’ve never seen this before. And I think it might be unique to you, where you almost take a leader, and you take one of your 21 competencies, and you say, so they rate this as coaching is really important to them, then even if you sell -rate, is there a rater against that? On your Amber, you would give them a read because it’s on the higher scrutiny. Tell us more about that. Yeah.
Henry Evans 26:04
Well, so the leadership edge assessment, we built that about 12 or 13 years ago, so it’s very much a hybrid assessment because it is a statistically valid one. But the assessor can use some data to subjectively change some of the algorithmic scores; you just gave one of the examples. We’re measuring the 21/21 century leadership competencies. So let’s say that one of those is analytic thinking. And one of those is coaching. Here are two very different types of competencies. They require two very different mindsets and skillsets. We believe that leaders and supervisors make subjective assessments when it comes to human capital. So they hire to fire, promote, demote, using data and subjectivity, like I just I don’t have a good feeling about him. So I’m not going to move him up. I do have a good feeling about her. So I’m going to give her this promotion in the assessment; we begin by getting boss or supervisor feedback, what did they value most, and to the example that you just raised, if they rated analytic thinking as the most important competency of the 21. And now the person we’re assessing scored yellow, which is effective in analytic thinking, our assessor may downgrade them to red, which means needs development because for that boss, who holds analytic thinking as being so important, effective may not be good enough. And we’re not saying this as a reason not to hire or move them up the org chart; we’re saying both the person and the boss need to be aware that there’s a delta, there’s a gap in expectation and ability. And so, the assessee should work on their analytic thinking; perhaps there’s a program they can enroll in. And the boss has to lower their expectations for some period of time while development is happening.
Colin Hunter 28:00
So good. Back to the hybrid work, you know, we’re going to a potential thing whether the playground is not level, you’re talking about the fact that we were some of us were good, some of us were poor in terms of judging and noticing these pieces, for a leader that’s in that room without you and me in there. Yeah, I’m working. How do you get that brought to life now? And what would be your advice? Yeah,
Henry Evans 28:26
how do you catalyze the emotional safety with a leader with whom you are not present?
Colin Hunter 28:31
Yeah. Because that’s your coaches in the room, and they’re given the rating, and they’re almost manipulating some of the data to be able to give that 5but when somebody is in that room, and they’ve got to read it themselves, and you talked about that? How would you advise people to do that? Yeah.
Henry Evans 28:47
So how do you advise a peer or a subordinate to pick up signals?
Colin Hunter 28:53
Henry Evans 28:53
Okay. So specific to emotional safety?
Colin Hunter 28:57
Yeah. So let’s pretend that you’re my boss. And like most humans, you have your most effective days, and you have other days where you’re not your most effective. And I’m approaching you with bad news on both days. If I’ve approached you with bad news, on your most effective day, you’ve done a few things. One is if I’ve knocked on your door, be it in a hybrid virtual form or in 3d. And I’ll give you that question we hear so often; colin, Have you got a minute?
Colin Hunter 29:38
Yup, Now you read it?
Henry Evans 29:42
It’s not going to be one minute; there’s not a lot of integrity in my question. And I add a second part, and I say I’ve got some bad news. Or I have to tell you about a problem; what you do in the next nanoseconds matters tremendously. On your highest self day, you might go, wow, I was really into what I’m working on right now. But I’m also really into supporting you and our team if there’s a problem. So let me put this aside. And I can take them in it right now. Or take five right now, please tell me about it. So you invite me to share this news. That’s the highest self. While I’m expressing myself and telling you about this problem, which in the most challenging scenario could be about your leadership style or the way you lead a certain meeting? You’re being curious, open, inquisitive; you’re asking me for more data, not in a defensive way. But in a genuinely curious way. When I’m done, let’s say you fundamentally disagree with my data. You park how you feel about my data on the side. And you thank me for my courage, willingness, and commitment to share my data with you. You asked for time to reflect on it. If I approached you on one of your lowest self days, the same question, Have you got a minute? I’ve got some bad news. You could have on the worst side of the scale, say, Henry; I don’t know if you can tell. But I’m really busy right now. So, that response greatly decreases the chances that I will ever bring you bad news. Again, if we ask people how they feel when they’re leaving this interaction, just at that point, after the first few nanoseconds, I felt insulted, I felt dismissed. So to answer your question directly, when you don’t have a Colin hunter or a Henry Evans in the room to coach you through these moments, first, when you’re approaching somebody, see if you can feel how they’re feeling before you even start speaking. So by looking at them or by observing them, can you tell what their receptivity is? If the receptivity is low, you might use what we call in training a permissive approach and say, Colin, it looks like you’re really busy. Have I got that? Right? Yes, Henry, I’m, I’m swamped. I have some news that might be difficult for you to hear. But I also think it’s important, what might be a better time in place to talk about it. Now what I’m doing is I’m letting you choose the field of play and the time of play. And you say, Well, I’m also hungry. So perhaps after lunch, how about you circle back to my office at 1400?
Colin Hunter 32:26
Henry Evans 32:26
And that’s when I come to address it. So one is, can you preemptively scan the other person? And then, of course, can you scan yourself after or during, and or after the interaction with this person? How do you feel? Do you feel like they appreciated you bringing them bad news? If so, it’s predictable; you’ll do it again, which will mean your organization’s more competitive because it makes decisions faster. And with real-time information. If your self-scan is, I really didn’t enjoy that experience. And I fear, bringing bad news to that person, again, your limbic system will probably prevent you from doing it. And that will make your organization a lot less competitive.
Colin Hunter 33:08
And if I link it to the hybrid world that we define, then the director of emotional safety almost This is an even more critical time to find a space where people can share and bring their issues to bring, their views of what they want to happen, and not happen in there is so important. I love that. Thank you for that, sir. I’d love to; the other area of work, which fascinates me, is accountability, seeing I’ve avoided it most of my life. Yeah. When I was in employment, and why I described myself as being totally unemployable.
Henry Evans 33:43
You and I both
Colin Hunter 33:46
talked to me about the word because, in one of your videos, I was watching countability as a punitive process to most people at any got a laugh at the audience because everybody said, we all agree with it. It’s like, you need more accountability. God, really honestly, but how would you counteract that? What’s your work to be?
Henry Evans 34:05
In the book winning with accountability, we talk about a concept called front loading. So yes, we’ve all been taught of accountability as being a punitive concept. I’ll often ask the C suite team or an audience in a keynote when do you apply accountability? And the answer is the same in every country, we’ve worked in more than 80. It’s the same with every age group. And it’s also very relative to where you are in the hierarchy of the organization. So when we ask people in C suite roles, what is accountability? They have very positive views. Accountability means high-performance promises kept out of competing with other organizations. As we go down the org chart and we say, what does accountability mean? They say blame, the punishment being fired. There’s a tremendous amount of fear around it. And that’s because we have been trained to think of accountability as something we apply after a relationship or a project has failed; front-loading means even when we think we don’t have time to do it, I’m coming to you before we start the work and saying Colin, I’ve got an idea of what the finished product looks like. And I think I’ve used a lot of oxygen and words to describe what I think. What have you heard? What do you think the finished product looks like? And as you reflected back to me, if we’re in alignment on these points, we’re likely to have less friction, less disagreement, and less redo. So if we’re manufacturing, we’re not going to be redoing work. There’ll be less real litigation during the course of the work because we took those few extra minutes to make sure we’re aligned. If you have a manufacturing business or a distribution business, where there are hard quantitative costs associated with misalignment or misunderstanding, you’ll simply have a higher profit margin because you will have had less, you will have had a lower error rate as you do the actual work. So we say, if you think you don’t have the time to discuss how to do the work correctly the first time, then you’re telling us you do have the time to discuss and do the work twice after you’ve done it wrong the first time.
Colin Hunter 36:21
I love that. Yeah. And that’s my experience of, of being led in the past until I and it’s interesting because I think what you’re talking about is something we that one of my old bosses used to talk about brief back check back that they used in the military, which was they’re briefed. But the brief back then tells me what you’ve heard; it’s how often there was a misalignment between what was said and what was given back in the brief back to check. I love that. So the front-loading that I also love is the real litigation of that. I love your terminology. So you know I do as you go through. So with the accountability piece and thinking about the work in there, there’s a four-part framework to it because you talked about front-loading is, Am I right? In that, you’ve got a football friend. Yeah
Henry Evans 37:06.
So it’s funny, our accountability method and the book grew in popularity because of a four-part framework that is part of the accountability method, but it’s one of 14 tools. So that’s called the accountability puzzle. And sure, we can use it briefly. It is part of the training, but it is not at all the entire training. In the brief back that you just mentioned, I would give it back to you in four ways, I would say. So here’s the clear expectation that I hear you want from me. So that is a three-slide PowerPoint, or it is one page Google Doc, or it is a piece of foam core that illustrates how are UK sales are doing in q1 of our fiscal. The second quadrant would be the specific date and time, so I’m hearing that you need us by June 20, 1500, Central European Time. The third quadrant is I hear Colin that you want me to do this personally and not delegated. So you want me to be the single owner of this work being done because of all the conversations you and I have had in the past. But Alternatively, if I decided to volunteer someone on my team to do the work, now we’re in the fourth quadrant, which is share. So now that you and I have agreed on the clear expectation, the date and time, and you’ve delegated, and you’ve asked me to take charge, I will be responsible for it. Since I’m delegating it to Leandra, I now have to share with Leandra that she has been voluntold and repeat this process with her say, here’s the promise I’ve made to colin. Can you tell me in your own words, what it sounds like, but also Leandra? Is it possible that I over-promise, and I have to make it emotionally safe for her to say, Henry, I love your optimism? But there’s no way we can have that for Colin in that to that level of quality by that date. So one of us has to go renegotiate with him now.
Colin Hunter 39:06
And for me, this is a person who doesn’t like process doesn’t like detail, but I love the fact that his purpose or practice of a process to get you in, and I see all my screw-ups as a leader is about the time and the energy I put into something like that or don’t in my case, I love that. I want to take it as a way to just explore because the person I know loves what they do in teaching and hearing the voice, and I’m learning something. We’re getting some free consultancy here, which is great no matter that we’re doing a podcast, and so this is very good. But I’d love to explore with you a couple of things. And the first is the playground you create because I’ve stood behind you at a Starbucks cue. And I’ve seen the process and the playground that you do in terms of your love of, you know, the coffee, the different flavors, everything else, and I would love to explore what playgrounds do you create for yourself that you would like to share.
Henry Evans 40:03
So I’m really looking forward to going through your book in detail and fully understanding the context of the playground as defined by Colin Hunter.
Colin Hunter 40:14
Henry Evans 40:14
from a place of relative ignorance. My mission in life, which very much shows up in a Starbucks line, is to leave. And the operative word is every, every person and situation better than I found them. So when I’m in a Starbucks line, and I’m reading the emotional state of the barista and the other people in line, I am a waiter. I remember what it’s like to serve people; I remember the full bell curve of humanity you are serving. And, of course, we’re all volatile people. So we are good on some days, and that Starbucks line is bad on others. So the first thing I have to overcome is my own introversion. Because I’m more comfortable when I don’t interact at all with the people in line or the person taking my order other than to simply order, receive my coffee, and exit, like SEAL Team Six, a playground I create is thinking about one of two questions or both. One is what will make me feel good without causing harm to others or taking from others in a harmful way. So that’s pretty easy to do. Sometimes, I’ll go so far as to when I order a cold brew or a nitro at Starbucks, I’ll ask for it in paper rather than a plastic cup; I feel like I might be doing a little bit of harm with the plastic cup. Very little harm with the paper cup. Sometimes I will ask them what they enjoyed that has low sugar. And if it sounds good, I’ll say, You know what, I trust you. I’d like to enjoy what you like; One may have one, please. And having somebody express trust in them rather than simply trying to take service from them all day might make a difference in their day. Now I’m answering your question?
Colin Hunter 42:02
Henry Evans 42:02
Colin Hunter 42:03
because you’ve done it with me whether I was conscious of it or not, you know the way you and I’s relationship, we’ve got to know each other but there’s a gift that you give people when you meet them in terms of the way you treat them. And you know, whether it’s myself or Sharon or whoever it is that you give, you’re always thinking of the other person even in that case where they’re supposed to be serving you. That’s their role as their accountability. You’re giving them a gift, which I love. I would love to think, and I’m going to give you a definition of the playground because your work comes from somewhere, you know. And it comes from a passion. And the playground for me is how you stretch the work you do because you’ve got clients who want the Henry. Yeah. And the main reason they want you is because of the exceptional job you do. How would you create playgrounds to stretch yourself in that context to keep yourself relevant?
Henry Evans 42:59
Now I am hearing two questions, even if you’re only asking one, because right now, the company is very much focused on D Henry lizing dynamic results so that fewer people want to Henry.
Colin Hunter 43:10
Henry Evans 43:11
And they still want our group or collective. So is your question about how do we do that? Or is it about how do I create playgrounds where I can have fun and thrive in an organization of my own creation?
Colin Hunter 43:25
I think that’s the one I’m more interested in because I’m desperate to find out exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. But I would love to understand some people because I’m de-risking my organization by trying to get rid of myself. So it’s less me in there. So I’m in the same place. But that is a playground that’s testing and not, you know, getting the clients to run for the hills and go find somebody else. So how are you doing that? Let’s just explore that one and wherever your time. So I don’t want to take too much time. But I’d love to explore that one just for a second. Okay. Yeah,
Henry Evans 43:56
well, first of all, I led the D- Henry location of the firm for two years, and I had very limited success. I was not very good at it. Our new president, Christopher Harrington, is a former C suite client. So he went through our transformational change process, leading an international organization. And his next career move was to buy part of our company. He’s in charge of about half of what I used to be in charge of, including de Henry Ising, the company, and he’s already done some brilliant things. One thing he did was he iterated with the team. He looked at some reasons why companies hired us and said, Okay, what would be a version of that work? That is so Henry dependent right now that we could create without Henry and offer to clients without Henry and deliver to clients without Henry, so they came up with basically, strategy implementation light. So if you do it with Henry, it’s a super-intensive two-year process. The implementation light offering is one year they almost Never hear my name mentioned in the process. They say, yeah, it’s based on principles that our founder wrote about in this best-selling book. But we don’t need him. The process doesn’t require him. Here are the people who would actually do it. And here’s why they are a better choice than him. So actually creating new products that were not from my brain that are iterated from things I thought of, and not making me part of the offering, but there’s something really Epiphone, he said, so he says many things that are Epiphone, but two on this subject one is he said, Henry, you’re not just the founder and CEO, you’re also an employee. So you need to be doing work you love, same as you want our staff doing work that they love. So what’s the word that you cringe at that makes you want to have a Guinness or a bourbon? When do you even think about it? And what’s the work that gets you out of bed, pumped, and excited? I said, pumped and excited is having an impact working with clients. Reaching for bourbon or Guinness would be anything operational or involving? The company’s finances, any of the commercial aspects, even pricing? I don’t like talking about that. I like talking about what’s the problem? Can we solve it? And if so, let’s get started. So he immediately took a lot of the work I didn’t like away from me. And one way they’ve done it effectively is they’ve not only taken the responsibility away from me, but they’ve also disinvited me from the meetings.
Colin Hunter 46:30
Henry Evans 46:30
So I’m not in those meetings. I’m not invited. And I have a sense that I’m not missed.
Colin Hunter 46:37
How are you taking that luck on the couch for a second?
Henry Evans 46:41
With the big smile, you can see. I’m happy not to be missed and happier not to be in those meetings.
Colin Hunter 46:50
That’s fantastic. Cool. I want to go to the playground that you want to create for yourself; I want to win with that. Because you’ve had a great career and great history, we haven’t touched on the 911 piece. But you’ve found an opportunity to reinvent to craft something which you’re so good at. So what next? What’s the new playground that you’re going to create?
Henry Evans 47:14.
What company is currently working on is giving me, you know, MBS talks about this Juliet font talks about this. But it’s creating what Juliette would call whitespace. For me. So as they’re taking things off my calendar, they’re not replacing them. And what is next is for me to do two things. It’s to develop new thought leadership for us and our clients. But it’s to develop this thought leadership through new a new channel, which is for me too, as part of my job, to find thought leaders not named Henry with thought leadership that is not from Henry and let them benefit from the platform we’ve built. So we help publish their ideas. We help productize and build the schools and training, even classroom training around their ideas. We help to train the trainer’s around their ideas. And of course, we want the ideas to be complimentary to accountability and emotional safety but also distinctively different. So the next step is for us to take this platform we’ve built for over 18 years; yesterday was our birthday,
Colin Hunter 48:22
Henry Evans 48:23
And provided to other thought leaders.
Colin Hunter 48:25
Hmm, I love that because that’s if you take technology, take software, it’s about bringing other people’s ideas together, bringing in a community that fits so well with you in terms of your engagement and community peace. So go into that whitespace. There’s a principle that I hold in my head, which I heard, which is to be more effective. You don’t need to add things; you take things away. Yeah. So if you were to go back and take away and strip away everything, what would be the final thing that you would say that Henry Evans is exceptional at what he is passionate about?
Henry Evans 49:03
Oh, what about you, Colin? Yes. One thing I love about you is you ask painful, painfully deep questions. So I will say this, I was in my 50s Before I was willing to articulate my own superpower. And I have two very frustrated mentors who have been trying to get me to do it for 20 plus years and say, Why can’t you simply speak to your own strengths as cleanly and concisely as you do the strengths of others? And I had a myriad of reasons. I think if I have a superpower, it is the ability, and I’m not seeing this trade leader. I think I can very quickly assess a need very rapidly assess if I have the right resource to meet that need. And then very rapidly deploy that resource to meet that need. So I can see what the problem is in terms of systems thinking. Quickly I can Tell if we have the right resources or if I know the right resource outside of our organization. And then, I usually get the introduction made to an external resource, or I can figure out our own capacity and availability to meet that need rapidly.
Colin Hunter 50:16
Let’s some brain to be able to do that. It’s been a delight to talk to you; I wanted to give people the opportunity who wanted to connect with you to understand where they can get in contact with the dynamic results, and obviously yourself as well, where can they reach out to you?
Henry Evans 50:34
So if they have a general inquiry, they can reach out for more info at Dynamic results.com. If they wish to reach me, they can reach me at H Evans at Dynamic results.com. And part of being accountable is I will respond within a business day now that might be my out of office assistant promising one I will respond in more detail,
Colin Hunter 50:57
Henry Evans 50:58
But my goal is to respond to every message within a business day.
Colin Hunter 51:02
Good. Henry, as always, we could go on and talk and talk and talk. And I love the fact that you’ve been able to flip it around and ask me questions in there; I would expect nothing less. And I’m looking forward to actually that we get to reciprocate. And I’ll come back to one of your sessions. So and I’m hoping I can flip that around and hopefully get there, you know, get paid back is a bit of this sort of cold, but anyway. I am only joking.
Henry Evans 51:27
Well, you have raised the gauntlet because traditionally, my questions wouldn’t be as good as yours. So now I have no work to do in preparation.
Colin Hunter 51:35
I can’t wait to see you in person. So but it’s been a delight virtually to reconnect with you and for the listeners to hear the work you do. Henry Evans, thank you very much.
Henry Evans 51:45
As always, thank you for having me, Colin.
Colin Hunter 51:53
So that was Henry Evans; amazing experience to go through and talk with a gentleman who has that rigor, that discipline, the hard work, the purposeful practice he’s gone through. I also love the fact that he’s moved on from his role, he’s brought in somebody else to help him to run the business, and he’s moving in on a journey towards the next phase of his life. And with that goes clear, clear handover accountability. And now there’s a lot of work in my time that I’m trying to do in my business and trying to work up the leadership team to take over the business is sustainable, that takes me out of it and the owner syndrome around the business and the control freak and me, I look at what Henry has been able to do and how he’s been able to work. And it’s always an inspiration to me. So there’s something very, very strong in there. But I think my major takeaway is the discipline that he has in any interaction he has with clients; therefore, there’s a structure, and as we say, there are always bad processes. But for him, his process allows businesses to get clear and accountable, winning with accountability and allowing organizations to roll that out to their teams in a brilliant way. So if you want to get in contact with Henry Evans, you know, on LinkedIn and learn more about him, he’s got his books in there the above to pick up on, but I delight to have him on the podcast.