#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guests Daniel Franco and Michelle Holland
In this episode of Seriously Social, we’re joined by Daniel Franco and Michelle Holland from synergy IQ. They chat with Simone about the obligations of leadership, self awareness and their approach to culture consultation.
Connect with them here:
Creating Synergy Podcast: https://synergyiq.com.au/creatingsynergypodcast/
Synergy IQ Website: https://synergyiq.com.au/
Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes, links, and details about Simone’s best-selling books.
Hosted by Simone Douglas
Videography by Marie Carbone
Audio by Chris Irving
Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence
This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.
Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. This episode we’re joined by Daniel Franco and Michelle Holland from synergy IQ. They chat with Simone about the obligations of leadership, self awareness and their approach to culture consultation.
Simone Douglas 0:16
Okay, so today on seriously social the podcast, I am joined on the couch by the lovely Michelle and Daniel from synergyIQ guys, perhaps you can start by giving us a bit of a cliff notes version about who you are, what you do, and then we’ll see where the conversation takes us
over to kick off. So synergy IQ is primarily a management consulting company that specializes in the human element of business. So we particularly look at strategy, culture, leadership, and change and helping businesses going from, you know, one way of working to another way of working, and really getting their people on board for that journey through that change, and helping them through that to develop and really understand what they’re actually trying to deliver. So these at the end of the day, it is delivered on time and on budget, and people actually go ahead with it. Yeah.
Which is very important for clients.
Simone Douglas 1:16
Very important, very important.
Yes, that was pretty good. cliffnotes version. Thank you for the press for that. Yeah, yes, I guess a little bit of the background of that, where it sort of came from and started, I started doing freelance consulting about almost eight years ago now, and then got to the point where there wasn’t enough time, you know, time selling, etc. And Dan and I partnered up about three or so years ago now. And we’ve grown it now to be a consulting business. Yeah. So we’ve got consultants in different clients and working with different people as well, which is great. Because our you know, our aim is to have a nice size business that produces good quality work. Yep. And where we can sort of work on the business, not as much in the business. That is the dream. But as the drain is not happening just yet. But we’re, we’re still in hustle phase. And we’re still in that growth phase as well and working really hard to do that. Yeah, that’s kind of where it’s come from where it is now.
Simone Douglas 2:12
Yeah, cool. I find. So culture is a big thing. In business, that’s something that I’m ridiculously passionate about, mostly because I’ve worked out that as the figurehead of the business. So these days with two of them, I don’t do a lot of work in them. But I still can make or break the culture in about five seconds.
Oh, absolutely. Right.
Simone Douglas 2:35
Yes. You know, if I’m not cognizant of whether I’m having a bad day or a bad week, or you know, that do as I do, not as I do, as I say, not as I do kind of mentality, like so when you’re going into work with a business or consult into their business, and they’ve said, you know, we want to change who we are or how we position ourselves or whatever it is. How do you open up a realistic conversation with the person that is actually owning the business in charge?
Yeah, it’s interesting, actually. Because we often say we only get called by good managers. Yeah. Because, you know, we get spoken to a lot, and barbecues, by other people that say you need to come into our business and fix our culture. Yeah, those kind of businesses don’t give culture consultants a call.
Simone Douglas 3:23
it’s the ones that actually like you are very cognizant of the impact that you’re having. Other managers like that will go, actually, I need to bring in somebody to help me with this. So generally, the The door is open to that initial conversation. A lot of the time when the door starts to shut over a little bit I have to put my foot in, is when we start talking about the work that it takes to actually transition and change because a lot of the times we’re having conversations where it’s Can you go and fix the culture? Yeah, can you please can you go and fix that culture out there, and what we end up doing is turning those fingers inward with the leader. So that’s, that’s when the conversation starts to get a little bit tricky.
Yeah, look, the culture change in any business is not going to work. Unless the leadership team is on board. Yeah, it’s that simple. You know, you can try to get the staff on board as much as possible. But if the leaders aren’t leading the way and setting great examples, then people just one follow. It’s pretty simple.
Simone Douglas 4:32
How do you think leaders start to learn how to set great examples? So I’m one of those sad people, I suppose that I really only read business books. I’m a little obsessed. You know, and so, Patrick lencioni I don’t always get it wrong. One of my favorite, you know, Five Dysfunctions of the team and those kinds of things. To the point that I sent my general manager to go see in life Please guide Melbourne, instead of myself, that was my sacrum. I’d read all the books that I couldn’t justify spending $1,000 hfhs to go do it. So I’m like, do you know what the business will get more benefit? But yeah, so you know, like, if they haven’t started, where do they start,
like self awareness in any individual, regardless of who they are, is the first step to becoming a better human being. Whether you’re reading a business book, or books about someone going on a journey, and really taking that it’s just analyzing self and where you’re at in your life. And you know, handling your own ego handling, setting your own goals. It’s not managing that better than you’re well on the way to start being able to lead people.
Simone Douglas 5:47
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
And one of the things I often say to leaders is just be human first. Yeah. So if you’re going to be human, like, how do you want to actually interact with your people? Yeah, that’s where you start, we’ve had a lot of conversations of late about self reflection, as well, because we’re always on this treadmill of you know, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. And what we find with leaders is, they don’t actually take enough time to actually just sit and reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well, they’ll take time to beat themselves up about all the stuff that they do do, right? Or somebody told them off about or whatever, that person’s not doing this, they do that beating myself up stuff. But one of the things that we teach leaders is about formal reflection. So actually taking time to reflect the learning, rather than reflecting for beating self up
Simone Douglas 6:37
sounds that reflecting for learning would be a much more constructive approach.
Absolutely, yes, yes, absolutely. And one, that what, what they actually find is, when they start that process, they actually encourage the people around them to do it as well. So they’ll notice when their team member is, you know, getting maybe stuck in something and they’re trying to get it all perfect, because you know, if they get it perfect, the big boss is gonna be upset about it, they actually start noticing that stuff more. Yeah, and are able to then share that reflective learning rather than going Oh, yeah, you need to do that really perfect. Because, you know, so it’s gonna, gonna get, we’re gonna get in trouble when, you know, the language starts to shift and change. So yeah, it’s a good place to start in just reflection for learning.
Simone Douglas 7:26
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense to me. I think. If you’ve never never done that kind of thing before, that’s absolutely where the value of having a consultant come in, yet lies because people don’t know what they don’t know.
Simone Douglas 7:41
So you know, by having someone come into business and go, Okay, let’s just try looking at this from this perspective. Let’s do these things. And you go,
Oh, yeah, what’s done, it’s not being aware of the role of the meter reader to read business books, there’s leadership books, well formed in the same category. Understanding that, you know, we would see I don’t know what the percentages are, but it’s well and truly north of 50% of leaders have put into positions because of their technical ability, not for their ability to be able to lead people, or I said leadership positions, are there purely and solely to lead people through that through that through the workload. So having that understanding that first and foremost, I’m here to serve. Secondly, it’s my actual job for us. Yeah, that’s the big part. But I think you’ve said it many times. Michelle was a big advocate behavior is 50% each Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So much what’s in your, in your actual job description behavior?
Yeah, it is interesting. So you know, I had a long history in HR as well, so have been, you know, involved in many of those kind of conversations about behavior. And when we get rid of this person, that kind of stuff. And a lot of the time I end up coaching the leader around their behavior and their performance as well because they’re responsible for holding their people accountable if their people aren’t being held accountable, and therefore they’re not doing their job. Yeah, there’s a shared responsibility in performance with that leadership role and that’s where we find much of it ends up breaking down. Yeah. which is unfortunate.
Simone Douglas 9:20
It is unfortunate i think you know, from time to time, and I used to in my 20s my job was to fix broken pubs for Ilyich broken for nine years so I went in and fixed culture. Teams caught thieves did all the fun stuff. Yeah. You know, was the popular person. Yes, you were coming in to fix something that was well and truly busted. So it wasn’t popular. But I got very good at difficult conversation. I got very good at constructive conflict. But one of the things that always fascinates me is sometimes when I talk to you know, other business owners, and they’ll be complaining about staff members and things and I’ll say to them Oh, have you asked yourself What you’ve put in the way where, you know what, what processor? Do you have all the processes in place? Have you actually communicated with them effectively? Do they know that they’re doing a job that’s below the standard that you expect? Are you just getting irritated with? Absolutely, you know, yeah, and and the amount of times that someone’s gone? No, they just need to do their job. And, you know, like, a smart person much smarter than me, once upon a time basically said, you know, no one wakes up in the morning and goes, I’m going to go to work today, and I’m going to do a s### job at work lately. That’s not like none of us.
No, no human thing. No, no, absolutely, it’s the it’s, it’s your right to understand whether you’re hitting the mark or not hitting the mark and your performance. So it’s not just a manager’s job to be able to provide that feedback, it’s actually the employee’s right to hear it. And if we’re not doing that, a lot of the time we avoid these hard conversations, because we all don’t want to upset them or want to be this nice person, and all this sort of stuff. But actually, what we’re protecting is ourself and our own discomfort, not their discomfort. So it’s not about them, it’s about me, it’s about protecting me. So I often say to managers, is it’s your, your obligation, not just your job, but it’s your obligation. It’s their right to hear that if you’re not happy with their performance, how will they ever get better?
Simone Douglas 11:23
Absolutely. So um, given that you guys live in breeze, you know, culture, change, high performing teams, all of that really fun stuff.
I thought the easy stuff
Stuff can’t be measured, measured.
Simone Douglas 11:40
Yes. It’s intangible. So yeah. And I think it’s like you said, so you can get you know, a good business owner operator who actually may have encountered some of this stuff in another role, or you know, another part of their work life. And they understand the value, it’s much easier because once the trust is there, they bring you in, they give you free rein. But, you know, for that person who has had a snippet of it, so maybe they have picked up a business relationship book, and worked out how much they’re not doing, or worked out just how badly they might be approaching these kinds of things. What’s that? What’s the easy first step to start identifying? Where to start? Because it can feel like this. You know, I remember when I bought the pub, and I was like, our culture in social media, it was so solid, that I was like, This will be fun. I can have two businesses, I’m going to vanish a little bit, but the culture is strong. We’ll be all good. That was very naive of me. Because I vanished. So I’d been I’d been it’s really front and center person. Yeah. heavily involved in the business fully present, you know, redirecting here and there. And I was in the same building as social media, AOK, still, but I was downstairs for beers and doing. And I stuck my head up six months later, and I went off work and all the things. I’m saying, Yeah. Yes. And it was literally six months. So we went from six months of being this, you know, highly invested accountable, flat structure, all the good stuff that you’ve read about in books, too. No one knows what they’re doing or why they’re here, or what’s the point? So yes, how do we start? So we’ve broken it, or we’ve worked out that we work in it?
Where do we start? I think one of the things to me like listening to that story that’s missing is that key direction is a really having a very, one an inspiring vision to work towards that. Why are we here, that connection to purpose is really important. And if the leader is not there to continually reiterating it, then it can get a bit lost in translation. And I think that’s something that people don’t recognize enough. It’s like, Well, we’ve done the purpose. We’ve done the vision, we’ve written it down in the, you know, the paperwork, it’s in the book, it’s on the on the page seven on the wall. Yeah. But unless we’re as leaders making that clear connection for people to the work that they’re currently doing, you can very much get on that treadmill of just act, act, act, act. And then we start losing that sense of connection with each other that sense of why am I here? Am I get frustrated with something that I wasn’t frustrated with before? So that that is one of the things and the question that we get asked most often is where do I start? Yeah, so I always say start with the in the mind, humans, the Steven Quote, yeah, but it is really what do you actually want? What is the vision
on top of that, I think it really is people want to be involved. They want to know what’s going on. They want to understand what’s going on. They want to be part of it. So clear and concise communication is critical to getting anyone on board. So you talked about before. You know, a smart person, it really is about setting goals and boundaries for your team and helping them understand what they’re, like Michelle said and connecting and back to that purpose, what are we actually trying to heat and achieve? Yeah. What What do I expect from you? Right? Not it’s not a matter of golf and do your job. What are my expectations as a leader from you? Yeah. And how are we going to work together to achieve that? What What do you need me to remove? So you can achieve that that’s my role as a leader. So having those clear, clear conversations is absolutely critical. And it goes back to the mentor of mine once said to me, if you do have if you are getting frustrated, and you mentioned before, I they should just know what they’re doing. Right? It’s a mentor of mine once said to me, ask yourself the question, is this person trying their best? And if they are, yeah, then you put your coach’s hat on to the next level. If they’re not, then that’s when you need to have a serious conversation. Right. So it actually sets a precedent for whether which way you react?
Simone Douglas 16:08
Absolutely. Yeah, I think I’ve heard that for another way. And that, you know, when you have an issue or a challenge with someone, you need to work out if they can’t, or they won’t.
Simone Douglas 16:21
Yes. So Tony, like said can’t is coachable? Yes, it is. Okay. This is a bad cultural.
Definitely right. But it might be, you know, I won’t for many different reasons. Yes. Well, yeah, I won’t right now. But I might later. Being on how I connect back to what I’m doing here. Sometimes the won’t is see, kind of won’t, but sometimes it’s just I feel disconnected. Now. I’m feel disengaged. I mean, the Gallup poll is done every year. I want to spray. Yeah. And they have I think the last one I looked at there was 15% of the workforce globally is engaged.
Simone Douglas 17:02
It’s not very much,
which is not much is it. So that means there’s 85% of us that aren’t engaged in work that we’re doing. I think there was like 25% worked actively disengaged, which means they’re working against us. Yeah. Business.
Yes. And I was just under 90% of people leave, leave work or their job, not because they don’t like the work they’re doing but because of the leader. Yeah, yeah. Well, the manager. Yes, we use the word manager.
Simone Douglas 17:26
Yeah, I am. It’s been fascinating summer so I’ve had a guest on Ruth Sims A while ago. And she is doing her PhD in followership. Yes. And so like this whole other conversation that actually the first time I met him, like what’s followership? I’d never heard of fascinating, we talk about leadership all the time. How do you know what’s followership? And I think it’s, it’s that thing of, you know, going through the pandemic, one of the biggest concerns for me was holding together my teams, yeah, across the three businesses. Absolutely. And you’d really as, as the leader have to have the shit together. Now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t cry and be upset and do all of those things. Absolutely. In fact, it’s important that you do because it gives everybody else permission. Yes. So and that’s that was the interesting part for me is by having conversation stuff about what I was concerned about how I thought we would get through it, what I thought it would take over like, Oh, you have a plan. And the minute that I knew I vaguely and it was vaguely Yeah. vaguely had a plan because the rules changed everything. But you could say the more go Okay, we’re okay. Because someones Okay, yes. And so they may
use the analogy, you cannot just you can’t get into a boat with the team. Yeah. And just so no need to actually go. Are we going this way? Yeah. On land in that dirt, whatever it might be. Yeah. Setting a course. Yeah, understand where to go?
Yeah, it’s finding some certainty in those uncertain positions. So even if you’re not in completely, absolutely clear about the plan, you couldn’t be last year, it was just it was mental, right? Every day, things were changing. The experts weren’t experts because they didn’t know what they were doing either. So everybody was in this state of uncertainty. So people were looking for some kind of stability and certainty. So even if it was a, it’s going to be okay, we’re going to talk three times a week, we’re going to, you know, okay, that’s at least something I can grab hold of that certain. It’s no luck, but it’s something Yeah, and that’s really about that connection. I mean, when we were talking with a lot of our clients through that period of time, because as you can imagine, the kind of work that we do, it took a big, a big hit to that period of time. And you know, talking a lot with our clients, we just were going just double your communication, whatever you do now, double it. If it’s zero, then put a few on there and then double it. Just double your communication. So are you connected at all, however you do have to stay connected, send an extra text message, even just making sure people know that you’re there.
Simone Douglas 20:07
Yeah. And I think that’s a really good spot to end on. Because it is it all does come down to communication or every aspect of it. I think for those of you that are listening to this podcast, and perhaps you know, you’ve, you’ve survived the pandemic, you’re still employing people. And now it’s probably a good time to push the reset button on your culture and vision and get some clarity around where you go. Then Danielle and Michelle are the people to talk to, you’ll find all of their contact details in the comments below. If you’re watching the video on social media, So reach out to them and have a conversation that sets you up for success, not just for this year, but more importantly for 2022 because we’re at the end of the first quarter now, so we’re already into it in earnest. Guys, thanks very much for joining.
Thanks for having us.
Chris Irving 20:57
We hope you enjoyed this episode of seriously so check our website for the latest news show notes. And details about Simone’s greatest confidence network. Find us on social media how to play.com.au slash podcast
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