#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Leanne Robinson
On this episode of Seriously Social, Simone chats with Leanne Robinson from Aspen solutions. They talk about connection, coincidence, and vulnerability.
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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 and Shivam Wadhawan
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. Today, Simone chats with Leanne Robinson from Aspen solutions. They talk about connection, coincidence, and vulnerability.
Welcome to this week’s episode of seriously social podcast today I am joined by the gregarious and lovely Leanne Robinson from Aspen solutions. Thanks for coming on.
Thank you for having me. Thank you for such a lovely introduction.
Simone Douglas 0:29
So for our listeners, maybe we can start off with Can you give us the cliff notes version as to how you find yourself here today and what you’re all about
how I find myself in this room, or I find myself here in life, you take a pick, okay, probably a little bit about life, which is probably why I’m in the room anyway. So about four and a half years ago, I had just come out of corporate job, years and years of working in corporate roles, and a lot of change and working with a lot of people and coaches and technology. And I found myself with redundancy, which was a beautiest, most beautiful gift I’ve ever been given. Yeah, because it led me onto a path of consulting. And so that’s what I’m doing now. But even more than that, it actually one day put me in a room called an EQ cafe, which was this event I’d never heard about. It’s about emotional intelligence. It was a free morning event, I thought it’s a great opportunity to network and just learn some stuff I might not know. So I walked in the room and some lovely people there and a big hairy man came in and sat down at the table that I was that I was on. And we didn’t really actually chat that day. But we did sort of a bit of an activity, a bit of discussion at our table. And I really liked what he had to say. And he talked about the race that he’d come from this background of change management, he had just been made redundant from his corporate job, he was looking at moving into consulting, and he wanted to know more about this emotional intelligence stuff. And I thought, well, that’s kind of really interesting. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him that day. But I tracked him down on LinkedIn,
Simone Douglas 2:03
we love LinkedIn.
So tracking down on LinkedIn connected with him said, Hey, I really liked what he had to say at the event, would you like to grab a coffee. And, and so Daniel Palazzo, and I met, and we both was sort of on this consulting path, starting at the same time. And so we really, were each taking our own journey, we were collaborating, just learning from each other, sharing what we’d found what we’d learned. And then an opportunity came up to actually collaborate partner on a project. And in that moment, sort of, we started working together. But we also continued to understand more about this emotional intelligence stuff for ourselves. But then also, as we kind of went along, saw this opportunity of how this really blended with the work we do. So from a change perspective, there’s all these wonderful frameworks and methodology and, you know, operational processes you can put in place to manage change. But if you can’t engage and connect with people, and if you can, we’re gonna happen, change isn’t gonna happen, it happened, but you’ll be dragging them along. And it will never quite give you the full return on your investment. So for us, we saw this emotional intelligence as a way that we could bring change any key together and really help people to get on board and thrive through these times of change, rather than be dragged along. And then, so Daniel, I continue to do that work, we became accredited in this work and, and Aspen solutions was born. And so for us, that’s it’s built on two things. Certainly the Aspen tree, you know, having the these roots that go out and sort of connected to other trees. So building this community is really, really important for us. But it’s also about a spire and enrich. So how can we help people to aspire to achieve more in their life to be more fulfilled? And for us personally, how can we reach every interaction that we have? Yeah, so that’s sort of that’s how that came to be. And to sort of bring it full circle. In October last year, Daniel and I actually had the opportunity to run and facilitate an EQ cafe, where we now have the opportunity to run these free events for the community, and pay it forward. And so it was this beautiful, coming full circle back to where we started, where we absolutely where we met, and then we’ve kind of gone through all this stuff. And we were able to bring it back full circle, and now be able to actually run those events. Yeah. And give that back to the community and hope that other people can come into that space and get the richness that we got. Yeah. So yeah, that’s that’s sort of what brought me here to where I am now and the work that we’re doing. And
Simone Douglas 4:50
so, yeah, EQ is been around for a long time. But they’re still kind of these. Let’s call them dusty managers that are hidden away in offices, you know? Not Not in my world, many, but, you know, like, who got so fluffy thing? You know? Like it’s emotional makes lots of people uncomfortable, therefore having emotional intelligence is like, No, no, I’m transactional and I do the logical thing.
It makes all this and it makes me uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable with it as anyone else. Yeah. But there is use you, right? It’s been around for a long, long time and but people are now businesses are now starting to understand that we bring our whole selves to work. So these, you know, Gone are the days where you leave your baggage at the door and you come to work, can I just focus and do my job and then I’ll pick my baggage up on the way out on the way home? Yeah, doesn’t work that way. We’re whole humans. And so we are seeing less and less of those managers that are working in that transactional space. But what we really find is, rather than talk to businesses about emotional intelligence, it’s actually let’s uncover what are some areas in your organization that you’re challenged with, and things like motivation, teamwork, collaboration, implementing change. Building trust, trust is a big one that we’re seeing in organizations where they’re saying, you know, what, we’re that there’s actually not a lot of trust in our organization right now. What people don’t realize is that we can actually what lives underneath that is if we can actually tap in to people’s emotions. And if we can help them to have greater self awareness to navigate that better, to demonstrate empathy, then all of these other areas of motivation, and teamwork and trial time together, they will come together, and then that transactional stuff that we’re all trying to achieve happens. Because what we know is that emotions drive people. Yeah, but people drive performance.
Simone Douglas 6:48
Yeah, exactly. No, I agree with that. I think it’s I’m often amazed by leaders who want their people to have emotional intelligence, you know, and but fail to recognize that the roadblock that’s currently happening within their business or organization is that they’re not prepared to be emotionally available or emotionally vulnerable. So you know, how often is that that you get into an organization, you have to have those quite difficult conversations with people about where that roadblock to trust?
See, oh, look, it’s really funny you say that, because I’ve literally just come from a meeting with a mayor who is from a local council. And we were speaking about exactly that, that in the past, when I’ve worked with local government. I, you know, I did some work in it, it was really on the external customer experience. But what was really going on with the internal customer experience, this internal culture, where people were scared, and there was no trust, and they weren’t allowed to fail. And that really was driven from the leadership down, like they wanted their people to be vulnerable, and take risks and be creative and innovative, yet prosecute them if they did to make a mistake. So where’s the trust? And why would there be any creativity and innovation? And so it was a really tough conversation. I just sit in a room with CEOs and a directors group, and tell them yours, you guys. You’re the you’re part of the roadblock. People here doing this. This is this is where the challenge is. So yeah, I absolutely have to have those conversations. And sometimes they go well, sometimes. Not so well. But that’s all about the latest self awareness. Yeah,
Simone Douglas 8:43
yeah, it is. And I think I’m a bit spoiled in terms of the fact that I’m a business book tragic. So I just read, but mostly Business Management theory and practice books and emotional intelligence books, and whatever else got plenty of them. Um, but you know, I see that as, as much as I really enjoy reading them. I enjoy discovering aspects of myself as well. But I’ve still had to, like head on heart with my teams from time to time ago, I actually, yeah, so I’ve stuffed up or I’ve let you down. I haven’t given you the resources that you needed, or, you know, so and then ask the question, okay, so how do we fix this? As opposed to me going, this is how we fix this. It’s just like, Okay, what, what do we need to do? What do you need,
requires great vulnerability on your part. Yeah, to turn around and go, actually, I, I’ve made a mistake. And rather than you also turn around and go, this is what we’re gonna do. It’s trusting people to, you know, let’s work through this together. And it’s really interesting, because you mentioned vulnerability before and that’s one of those things that I think as leaders or managers, we don’t want to be vulnerable because that’s a sign of weakness. When reality vulnerability takes more courage than anything else. And you know, burnout Brown talks about this when she says, you know, vulnerability is the first thing that I look for a new, but it’s the last thing I want you to see in me.
Simone Douglas 10:07
Yeah. Yeah, so very interesting, but I think it’s going to depend for most human beings how much of their own self work they’ve done. So I don’t think that anyone can get through life unscathed. I share how well adjusted, you could have had the perfect parents have been married forever, they love each other you went to a private school and is that the other end is still not coming through unscathed. I think, as parents, I it’s may sound terrible, but I think my one job is to minimize the damage I do to my children as they like come through, like growing up. You come with your own story.
Simone Douglas 10:47
But yeah, I think it’s so we if we don’t then unpack this stigma about actually working on yourself, and actually work on yourself, then what you get is leaders who are scared of failure, and therefore can’t be vulnerable? Because,
exactly. And look, it’s interesting, we find that when we’re working with leaders, they receive these at times this real apprehension to want to, you know, like, in, you know, people come into the room and they cross their arms. And yeah, I don’t, I don’t do emotions that I’m not really interested in. I don’t know why I’m here I’ve been sent here. But it’s really funny with some of the assessment tools that we’re using, they don’t all have emotions in them, sometimes it’s tapping into just our brain styles, our preferences of where our brain sort of tends to go. And when we can kind of make it a little bit more sciency and talk about the brain as opposed to emotions. People are a little bit like,
Simone Douglas 11:40
okay, uncross their arms.
And it’s interesting, because what we’ll find is even often the most hardened shut down people. Yeah, by the end, we’ll have open up and running. Okay, I’ve actually learned something about myself. Wow, that’s a really, that’s a really cool insight. Yeah. And, you know, we’re all just starts with that self awareness. Yeah. So even if we don’t necessarily seek development, sometimes when things show up, yeah, we’re willing to just tap into them. Yeah. And then it can open up all sorts of things. And I’ve had some really great stories of leaders who have just been open enough to have some self awareness. Yeah. And just try something different. And how that plays out?
Simone Douglas 12:25
Absolutely. I think the pandemic taught me a lot about leading in different ways. So I had definitely put all of my training and reading to the test for like 12 months. But you know, in terms of the social media agency, so we had 40% of our clients Hospitality and Tourism based businesses, so we live 40% of our clients out of their contracts overnight, because they all got shut down. Which means we lost 40% of our retainer revenue, which means I had to then have a difficult conversation with the staff about I’ve got two options right now. So I can like, mad stand some of you down. Or we can all take a 20% pay cut for the foreseeable future. And 20%, our cut and just hold the team together. What do you guys want to do, these are the two options that I can say that are in front of me. And you know, thankfully, I was very proud, they all went out and take 20% pay cut, we’ll just all manage and everyone will stay. And the beauty of things like when job keeper came in, it meant I could back pay them their pay cut, which was great. So but that I had that going on, and then I had the pub going on at exactly the same time. So I’ve got seven families over here that I’m trying to feed, and I’ve got 18 families over here. But one of the things that I worked out is I’m very resilient and adaptive to change. And I have an innate trust in my ability to get through things. So I inadvertently assume that everybody else is programmed the same way. And so I was getting really frustrated. You know, Alex and I were having a business partner, by the way, I mean, these conversations, he’s like, you’re expecting too much of people. You can’t though they’re processing all of these things. Because I’m like, No, we need to get this, this, this, this and this done. You know, this is how many hours everyone needs to work. This is what we need to do, because I’m like, we’re still moving forward because I never stopped moving forward. And it really he had to have a really strong conversation with me about human beings aren’t naturally built the way that you’re built. Yeah. And you have 30 human beings across to businesses, and you’re asking them to be you and that’s not fair. And it was a it was really eye opening and I kind of had to eat a bit a humble pie and go, right? Okay, so can you What are they capable of talk to me? What is everyone prepared to do? How’s everyone traveling?
I see how great though, that you’re now it’s got the relationship where he can have that conversation and where you can go on Okay I and sort of intake that feedback on board as well because it’d be really easy to go well dismiss that and they will just suck it up like
Simone Douglas 15:11
they have the conversation might not go that smoothly they might have been some you know like stamping of Phaeton yeah we got we got there in the end but I think it was what was great is and it was the one key learning for me coming out of ease. We might not all be built the same we might not all approach things the same way but if we can just all pause for a second and have a conversation and let everyone be heard and feel heard, then we’ll get where we’re going. Yeah, and it’s okay if it takes a little bit longer than I think it should because I’m the fast mover in the team. So yeah,
you know, one of the things I learned through doing all of this work you know, obviously it’s part of now my business and what I do, but it’s as much about doing the work yeah, may I one of the things I sort of learned a couple of years ago is that I have really high drive and really high resilience sorry, really optimistic a lot of motivation, very purposeful, I know exactly where I’m going let’s go and I just leave people behind behind and I have hold myself to these really high standards that I then expect everybody else to meet me where I’m at and I’ve had friends and business partners so not everybody’s like you I’ve cut them some slack and that’s so i’ve
Simone Douglas 16:34
i’ve had similar conversations
Yeah, I know how that feels. But it was actually really eye opening for me as well. And what it allowed me to do was actually drop the bar for myself and grow Yeah, right. Yeah, I probably don’t need to be so hard on myself I probably can just stop and slow down and pause and reflect and breathe a little bit. Yeah. And then maybe everybody feels like they can can I can breathe too They can breathe and then maybe they can come and join me when they’re ready. Yeah, instead of me just forge ahead so I totally relate to
Simone Douglas 17:07
boiler related it’s the dynamic tension in our lives when you’re the people that create something from nothing and you know and you’re you are you know in Division and you know the innate force is driving nothing It can be just as exhausting to have to like stop in fact like I find it quite difficult Alex thinks it’s hilarious because he also I guess we’re gonna have that we’re taking the weekend off Mike Yeah, cool. What are we doing Where are we going when are we going to sell the doors or what are we doing like so we’re just gonna sit on the couch at home and like what sorry he’s like saying me to learn how to be still am I know how to be still do yoga or meditate or lift weights I do that he’s like yeah
so it’s yeah it’s good to have people around you that are not the same as you two i think is important
Yeah, right. actually make you stop and yeah, yeah, I can absolutely relate to that as well. You know, I gave myself I promised Sunday was going to be my day of nothingness where I was going to do nothing Yeah, yeah, go to about two in the afternoon and I was I was ichi and fidgety and so I went to Bunnings and bought plants and went outside and God I didn’t even do gardening But seriously, I don’t do gardening but it was something and I felt like I accomplished something and then these beautiful pots with some plants and I went okay and now I go back inside and now I do nothing. Yeah, because now I’ve done something I’ve done something to now break my nothing Yeah, so again it’s hard though. Like that’s not easy for everyone.
Simone Douglas 18:53
No, no, it’s not and I think it’s not easy. I don’t think as human beings driven human beings are easy to live with either because it’s always about the next thing is always about where we’re going it’s always about you know, and so I you know, props to Alex he’s very good at navigating for himself because he’s you know, he driven in different ways creative process, and you know, creating things from nothing. But you know, having a conversation now I’m curious what you think about in terms of, you know, this morning, I was like on the B’s week panel, Mark, Boris was the keynote. And I’m like, and I was texting Alex last night like this is actually a big deal. And and then just a little bit and I said, but you know, when I do stuff like this, like no one bats an eyelid because this is just what the mind does. So English goes and writes books and goes and speaks on stage and goes and don’t. So it’s almost like achieving really like things that in anybody else’s life. They’d be like, Oh my God. You kind of expect to not pause and celebrate.
So have you paused and celebrate?
Simone Douglas 20:06
I’ll be celebrating with the whiskey tonight. But no, I actually had this week six podcast interviews and three zoom calls today.
But it’s Yeah, I get that as well. Like I can actually really relate to that, you know, my best friend love her to pieces would say to me, when can you just not be steel for five minutes and just appreciate what you’ve just done? Or what you’ve just achieved? Or what you just created? Can you just not sit and be happy with that for five minutes? before you’re rushing off to do the next thing like I? And that sits with me sometimes. Yeah. And actually, I’ve actually got this tattoo on my, on my hands that my son actually organized for me. Yeah, for my birthday last year. And it’s got the word joy. Because I was having dinner with some friends last year, and it was sort of the first record out after the pandemic got together and, and we’ve all sharing stories, and they were really negative stuff like this has happened. And the baby’s been sick and works being you know, like everything with COVID. And, and it was really sort of quite negative. And then there was a couple of really beautiful things and special things that have happened. We all just brushed over them because we were sitting there kind of doing this, doing this. And I actually stopped and went, Wow, look how much time we’ve invested in this yucky stuff. And there’s been some really cool things that have happened in all of our lives. And we’ve just glossed over it. And my friend shout out to me, she said we just need to learn to sit with joy.
Simone Douglas 21:32
Oh, I like that.
I just sat there with my god seat with joy. And so when I was sort of thinking about this tattoo, I knew I wanted to have a word there. And so I selected joy. And it’s to remind me of those moments like to sit there and enjoy them now. I’m on a peace week panel with Mark Boris.
Simone Douglas 21:50
Yeah, pretty cool.
I’m just gonna sit with joy. So again, around fast. Yeah, a lot of things that you read in that regard. And so yeah, and so sometimes I think it’s really important we do stop Yeah, actually celebrate those moments and allow other people to make us stop and celebrate to celebrate.
Simone Douglas 22:11
I think that’s a good spot to end on and wrap up. We’re gonna encourage all of you to go sit with joy and actually enjoy the very small moments, whatever they are. You know, for me, it was as simple as the sunrise this morning was amazing. heading out to breakfast. Both those kinds of things are great too. So you can find Leanne’s details and Aspen solutions details in the comments on all of the places where we’re posting the podcast. herself and Daniel have very both entertaining human beings worth a cup of coffee? Absolutely.
I actually like a milkshake.
Simone Douglas 22:49
But if you you know if you are looking at some of those aspects with your team, or based on some of the stuff you’ve listed today, you think you may be one of those leaders that’s roadblock in the success of your day. I encourage you to be a little bit vulnerable, reach out and ask the question and see how the guys can help. But yeah, we’ll see you next podcast
Chris Irving 23:10
Thank you for joining this episode of Seriously Social Podcast. Check out our website for latest news, shownotes and details about Simone’s latest book, Confident networker
you’ll find us at www.socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast
Transcribed by https://otter.ai