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Reimagination At Work by Watch This Sp_ce
Reimagination At Work by Watch This Sp_ce

Episode 27 · 4 months ago

Leading with Kindness with Rich Taunt

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How can we empower employees to drive innovation and creativity in a business? Rich Taunt, Founder of Kaleidoscope Health and Care, talks to Mo about reimagining leadership to be less about telling people what to do and more about enabling them to do their best. Kindness, says Rich, is key to this approach. Life is too short to work with d*ckheads. 

Hello, welcome to the reimagination at work podcast. From Watch this space. I'm okn to that one of the CO creators that watch this space and I'm delighted today to have rich taunt from kalidoscope health and here with there's high rate tading. I'm very well. Thanks my pleasure. Pleasure to be here as much as you're anywhere. Virtually. Yes, exactly. Great to see you and start with a going to thank one of our sponsors. Plus Accounting, have sponsored this episode. They are a firm of experience charged accountants based in bricing and Hove. Plus accounting offers a comprehensive range of taxs and accounting services. They provide support and guidance for all types of business owners to keep control of their finances. What makes them stand out from the crowd is their genuine interest in you and your business. They take time to understand what's important to you and then tailor their services to your requirements, and you can find us accounting at plus accounting dot co don't UK. So in this episode we are going to talk about new ways of leading organizations and how organizations can empower employees make decisions and all sorts of interesting subjects like that. So first of all, rich, can you introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about you and what you do and your thoughts on the subject of that. So My name is I'm rich toward I. I spend most of my time working for an organization called cloudscope health and care. We're a social enterprise consultancy set up just over five years ago to bring all together to improve health and care. When I'm when I'm not doing that and when I'm not picking up small children from school, I am a non executive at here, a socialifies based in Brighton provides healthcare services, as well as being a trustee at the the House Barnabas, a homeless charity based in Soho. Leadership is one of these Nice, easy, small topics to talk about. So just to check my we've got several days just to with from this. Yes, yes, your few weeks. Don't worry. Well, if it was in dance. So my starting point on this is back, way back when I used to be a civil servant at swapped of health and I was in a relatively lucky position quite early in my career that I was sort of leading teams and quite often leading teams of people who are sort of far older, far more spirits than I was, and the sort of I could just never get my head round this sort of presumption that because you're technically more senior than someone, you knew the answer...

...better than they did. You know, if you're senior, you get to make the decisions because you're senior. So this whole concept of leadership being based on being in charge of people, being the senior person who knows it all? I probably shouldn't swear. Should I be, but I let them say. I don't agree with and it's sort of where a lot of my a lot of my thinking has started. Interesting. Okay, so if we roll back a bit for civil service and kind of a for some of your more recent career decisions, tell me about your career journey and quite of what led you into the civil service and then into what you do now. Yeah, so I think my career journey peaked aged eleven, sweeping up here and in a small village in Essex. It's all been downhill since then. I did I did politics university and I was always doubted that particular thing I was interested in and have played around a bit with whether I was going to stay on and and study politics further or try and actually see some of how it happens in in reality. And the good thing about seeing how it happens in reality is that you get paid for it rather than vice versa. So that's what that's what drew me to dream me to the civil service. Sort of the way these things work, I got allocated, allocated into health, which was sort of a fantastic bit of luck, not saying I requested, but has just been a sort of an incredibly fascinating place to to have a career and then so all gone from that interesting. And so one of the subjects I'm really keen to taught you about is teal leadership, and not everyone listening will know what that means. So first of all, given your civil service experience and then your thoughts and leadership now, can you explain what you think teal leadership is about and how you use it now in organizations? You work in a lead? Yeah, it is. It is the curse of any trendy new leadership concept that it has to have a name which no one else will understand exactly. No one else knows what it means. Yeah, of and I know what it's a lovely color. You know, it's a why not? Why not go for it? And so the language around sort of teal organizations and til leadership largely comes from a book written by a Belgian Writer, Frederick Lulu, book called reinventing organizations, where he talks about different, different types of organizations and links this to how we as a species has evolved and how organizations have have evolved with us. He gives all of these organizations different, different colors. Sort of the the the purest sort of Victorian workhouse type on friendly capitalism, which you know, still does it exist in places it...

...talks about as read. So that's a very red type organization where it is hierarchy to the Max and it's human very much viewed as cogs in a in a machine. So there's this sort of very red type organization. At the other end Lelu talks about tear organizations and there's a bit is well. First I say it is a fantastic book and well worth reading, the main part of it being a set of case studies of these organizations he looked at and saw some concepts coming through. So these organizations behaving in a very different way and the idea of a tear organization is really based around free ideas, with the first being about bringing your whole self to work, so rather than when you done your suit, donning a whole new, different professional identity world, that's a waste of time. Why can't you take your whole self to work? The second is a rounds of self management and that set of treating people as adults, paps and sort of encouraging and supporting systems which enable they high levels of autonomy in the workplace. And then the third is around of viewing strategy as as inherently something which emerges which needs to be based very much on a clear understanding of purpose. But this whole idea that you can predict with certain where you're going to be in five, ten years as of course false. I think the last couple of years have shown that more one more than most. But rather than trying to sort of predict and control the future, she said of having a really keen awareness of what are you really here to do and how can you sense and respond to that? So those three concepts so combined to sort of be talked about as this teal tear approach to organizations and leadership. I suppose my relationship with it. I first heard the LOU speak random near a conference in Stockholm in two thousand and sixteen, and what really struck me is that some of what he was talking about were concepts which I think I'd quite keenly felt in different jobs, but just had articulated them far more pathetically than than the lew is is able to do. And I think it does. It does talk to us in terms of why organizations are the way they are. Why is it the case that you know, so many of us will wake up in a Monday morning again got to go to work? We spend most of our lives that work. No, going through your life doing something you don't really like in a place you don't really want to be is a bit of a shame really. Tell organizations very much based on idea that. Well, if our organizations aren't working for us but not enjoy being being part of them, for not getting joy out of the work...

...that we do, then what's going on and how can we how can we craft something better? Yeah, fascinating and I agree that is a brilliant book. So for anyone who hasn't read it, really recommend reading it. Lots of interesting concepts in there and one of the things that I've been really interested in about it, and we've talked about a Lord here, is how that style of leadership impact decisionmaking, because it's not a traditional top down the leader makes the decision and everyone has to do what they say that. Can you tell me about what you think the impact that has on decisionmaking and organizations, if they decide to go with this approach, what they need to think about in terms of decisionmaking? So I think decisionmaking as a as a concept is one which is hiding in plain sight. So if you just think any in any given day, if you just try to just jot down the number of decisions you would have made, it will be considerable. Know some of what we might know. What plants did you put on? Some of it will be more significant. What are we going to do next to my career, my personal life? How do we make those decisions? What does what does a good way to make decisions look like? It's something we don't really talk much about. So it's it is something which I've got really interested in. We do a lot at here, like chair, the sare the board, about what goes into good decision making and it's very much part of what we are structured to support at Kaleidoscope. There is this whole quite nerdy but interesting science around what what good decisionmakings about, which in essence comes down to getting lots of diverse advice. So not just listening to yourself, making sure that you sort of challenge your assumptions, so if you're sort of dead certain on one thing being the case, well, are you sure? Really? Why? And trying to have a decent idea of, if you make this decision, what might happen versus if you make this decision, and just try to have a an outline sense of where things might go. So we've got a science which says, okay, well, good decisions tend to look like that. What decision making science doesn't say is a find the person in your organization who has paid the most amount of money and let them make the decision because they are right, which, to be crude, is how most organizations but we live with this idea that they're more senior get, the more you are paid, the better equipped you are to make the right decision, which of course is not not true. And so I think when you start to engage in what really good processes of decisionmaking look like, and I know it does sound a bit, a bit Nerdier, that esoteric bs of what's a good...

...way to make excision. What's that even look like? You're actually, and I've been, a really interesting place which is quite farther moved from our just find someone seen you and I'm sure they'll be able to tell you. Yeah, interesting, and they're in that La Lubak, and in another book that we often talk about rebel ideas, there's this concept that the leader should actually not speak first as well, because otherwise people are clouded by what the leader has said is right and they're not necessarily right. It's an interesting concept. Yeah, I think we're used to this in our everyday life. We know that when you're sort of having a descent conversation with friends, how easily sort of a decision can be swayed by who who talks. There is real there's real art and science to how you can do this stuff well or spectacularly badly, and it yeah, well worth US paying attention to it. Definitely. And in terms of recruitment as well, I think there's several people interviewing it's important to not cloud each other's judge bent by listening to the present speaks louder. So has impacts in all sorts of ways. What does strike me with this start of leadership, and something I've been thinking about for a while, is what about people that actually want to progress their career, perhaps not necessarily the more traditional way, but want progress, want more responsibility, wants to take on more and do you think that works in a tear organization? So I think it. I think one of the wonderful things about tear organizations, and I can talk a little bit about how we do this that Claudoscope, is that some of the rigidity which is built into traditional hierarchic organizations suddenly looks a bit weird. So if you think about how you progress in your career, that you do one thing with a job description and a job title and you do that thing for two years and then you go for promotion and you get promoted to do another thing and then you do that thing with that job description for one year and then you get promoted to anything, and it's this very sort of stopgo method of of advancing. What some of these self management approach, from some of the tier approach, does instead is actually based around well, your your job anyone time always consists of lots of different things. You know, your job description is normally out of date sort of by the time you've printed it off. So is it not better to think for a system where you are forever changing the different roles you hold? And this is the system we use here at cloud scope. It's system called Holocracy, which has been deliberately designed to support this way of working where any of us at anyone time hold ten to fifteen different roles and that sort of basket of different world will forever be changing. So here, if you are the most appropriate person to be doing something, then that's you know, you become the holder of that of that role, and so it does mean that people here at clouds scope can pro dress sort of ridiculously quickly because, well, why wouldn't...

...we want those people doing those things and we don't need to create some sort of new job or some promotion to put people through in order that they can take it on. It' sort of well, of course you should be, you should be doing that now, which does it sort of does, cause it does take a while to get your head around what promotion looks like. In this sort of system where you're forever, in small ways, being being promoted. And does that lead to any conflict or confusion when you're talking to other organizations who perhaps have more traditional roles and structures and we expect to be seeing that person? No, no, no, everyone always immediately understands it mode. They go, yeah, complete nderstand yet all the time. Yeah, and so it's interesting that we are at clide scope. We are. We are at heart ache consultancy and we operating a very commercial marketplace and the clients we work with, what they rightfully expect from us is really high quality services. So we want them to buy our stuff because we are really good at it. We do sometimes need to translate how we work internally into a way which our client into a more digestible form for clients to understand. We don't expect them to become experts on tear organizations and holocractic management structures. They don't need to be, but we do need to be able to explain to them in an easier way how some of what we do some works on we do works. The other point which we really pay attention to is induction so that when people join us, particularly if they've come from some very different cultures. It does take people a long time. Can take people long time to get their head round that this is a different way of working. For example, you don't need to be asking permission in a way that you are often needing to another organizations, as that's been one of our real learnings that kidscope over the last five years. It's just the absolute importance of doing induction really well to be able to support people to best navigate the type of organization we are do you ask everyone to read the book doing the Lelu Book? No, we don't. We send them a we send them a link to a video they can watch that they can watch a low talk. To be honest, I think the book is very much it's long. I don't like reading long book. That's a bits. That other bits what matters. And actually what we see a lot is people saying, well, you have not just that. The ideas here ones which resonate with me and there is something quite intuitive about going yeah, I I'd like to work in a place which trusts me and which sees me as sort of the best judge of how I spend my spend my time. Some of the things which just listen, organizations do in terms of Implas Ale will be rarely explicit, but implicitly distrusting their staff.

MMM, just ludicrous. And I firmly believe, and very happy to stake my career on it, that at some point in the future will look back as to how we organize organizations, most organizations now. I just think it's complete nonsense. Yeah, I agree with that. When I look back on my corporate career and how command and control it was and some of the ridiculous processes. You know, you need ten signatures to about the the that they it's just it. Yeah, it seems ridiculous that that's how organizations are run, for sure, and so we've talked about some of the challenges. There do other other challenges to tear organizations that you see. So I think there are, there are lots. One of the points the loommates, which we certainly found out to be really true, is that you can think about this type organization where one has more autonomy, as a bit like a free fool and that you get there by, you know, just relaxing systems, by saying, Oh, guys, you know not going to have hierarchy longer. You know, do, just do what you feel is right. And so in that way of thinking it's a it's sort of just a sort of abandoning process and just letting people do what they think is right, which is is quite a seductive idea and it's completely and utterly wrong. And actually, when you're when you're playing with these concepts, they're really complex and they require more process and actually more sort of and more structure in lots of ways to make them work than a traditional organization. So let's just thinking about decisionmaking. Lots of organizations run on a very lazy but simple rule that, yes, if two of you disagree, you find someone who's more senior than both of you and they make the decision for you, which, as we've talked about, is crap, but it is a simple way of making decisions. Actually saying, well, how am I going to get the best advice and WHO's going to change my assumptions and so on, was on, is more complex. And so the road to being a really effective tear organization is really hard because you're forever having to try and think about how do we be the organization we want to be and be really affective at doing that without us falling back from some of the really quite sloppy but quite easy ways in which a lot of organizations are are constructed. And that's so. We're five years in client scope and we think of ourselves as about eighteen percent done. So we as some place, but in terms of where we want to get to as an organization, there's so much which we are still developing as we go because it's difficult and it sort of it. It is, it is it. I get challenged every day about how we how we put ourselves together to be the the organization we really want to be. And do you doc him and those...

...things? They prays how you're working and how you're running things. We do internally a lot and again we sort of we think that you do have to pay real attention to what your process is for whatever it might be, and so you need to talk lots bocks of codeifying. What we do say, for example, our salary policy here at guidescope is that salaries are owned by the individual, so the individual sets their pay. Is that. It's the headline, but the supporting structure to help individuals make that decision and the frequency with when we ask people to review their sients on is. It is quite a complex process and so yes, absolutely, we need to write it down because otherwise there's it's going to either not work or be seen as being unfair or generally be unfair. You've got to make sure that you you don't just let people do what they want completely. You've got to have some sort of structure and bounds to even a process which puts the individual right at the center. And so with that example, with people be responsible for their own pay. You know, there's a lot of people that were find that it might sound really empowering, but would find that difficult to come into an organization that be the case when they've previously been somewhere where there's you know, it's told to you are you're in this band and that's that. So what kinds of things are you looking for when you're recruiting? What the signs that people are going to be able to adapt this by working? It's a really it's a really good point, because it is you are asking people to to work in a very different way and the people who we're really looking for are those who will relish the opportunity which this way of working brings and it's and it's not for it's not for everyone, and certainly we've had people come through who have sort of quite generally said this, this is way of working, doesn't doesn't best work for me and and gone to gone to other places and we've left on on really good, good terms. It does require you to be comfortable with a high level of sort of personal responsibility and accountability which can we think a lot about the support structures which go around people, but it can leave people feeling quite sort of exposed because they're being asked to do things which which other organizations would say, well, we will take that away from you. Know, you don't need to you don't need to worry about that. So you've got to be happy of that level of accountability and the ambiguity which goes with it. So we very much ask people when they join that or we make it very clear that they're joining a work in progress and part of the deal is to come and help us build it. So if you want to come and join somewhere which is done, where you can ask any question and they're go, Oh yeah, it's in that policy over there, paragraphical team,...

...subsection three, we're just not there. It's not it's not what people are joining, and so it's that relishing the opportunity but actively wanting to be part of an organization which is which is forever learning and trying to develop and improve in a way which is better or worse, never, never settled. Yeah, and for those that want that are really exciting opportunity that they get to be part of all of that, part of growing. Yet yeah, sure, we think so. Yeah, but again it's not verym I think the important bit to add to that is the first requirement actually you look for in everyone we recruit is that they're kind. I mean right, really explicit on all of our job ads that you can be the most talented person, you could be the expert in Tel organizations and know exactly how they should run. But actually, if you're if you're not kind, if actually taught, the talk of kindness in a job ad makes you look at it interested in that stuff, we're not interested in you. Kindness actually sort of pre as a precursor to everything else which we which we do, which is which is part of Teal. I think it is there, but it's something which were absolutely lead on and wouldn't wouldn't ever compromise. I love that I've seen that some of your job advertising that it's it leads talking about kindness and think that's a great positive thing for people to see when they're looking at that, that job advertising, when they're looking at all sorts of organizations they could join. I think that would stand out to people. Life is life is too short to work with dickheads. Yeah, that's great, great, so he love that. Our second sponsor for this episode is ideal. They are experts in networks, cybersecurity, collaboration and platforms. Ideal design deliver and manage core technology from world leaders, including Microsoft, CISCO and auto networks, to help you create value, protect your critical data and applications and accelerate your business transformation, and you can find out more at ideal code or UK. So rich. Now we've taught lots about tear organizations. I'm sure lots of people will be thinking, well, what can we do about that? How do we progress to being this kind of organization? So I'm interested to know what you think organizations need to do to drive this type of change and how they do that. You know, if you've got hundreds of people, how do you change things for being this type of organization? So it's I think so. It's a great question and I think a few things to think through. The first is whether you genuinely mean it and that there's a lot, as we've prety touched on, about this type of way of working, which is quite well, it's quite attractive and sounds sounds like a lot of fun, which it is, but it is it is tough and it is challenging and it's not going to be right for for all contexts and for all organized nations. So...

I'd say that the first test is to really engage in what would it what would it require of us? What would it mean for us to take that on in a different way? Who would have to give up power? And if you are, if you're wanting to become a tear organization, then I think the one thing which is sort of an absolute sort of stop go on on whether you where they're able to is whether the people who are ultimately in control of the organization agree with that direction and actually probably more than just agree but actually are fully, fully brought into it. The risk is if they're not, let's say you you managed to persuade your boss that you are going to run your team as a tee or team, but your boss isn't convinced but will indulge your whim. The first time something will go wrong in your team, whatever that might be, it's highly likely that this Tel experiment you've been running will be in some way to blame for that and it will be withdrawn. And that is that. That is a feeling I've certainly had in in previous roles in terms of if people are just humoring this, if they're not really brought into it or not that interested. You're building it on sand and one day it will it will collapse. So you do need to work out is it for you? You did need to work out are the people who are in ultimate control, whatever the way that is, are actually fully behind it, and I think if you've got that, the Luber and the sort of other case studies elsewhere do have lots of exam examples of big companies which have shifted. It's really quite big ways and it's very easy to think, well, this sounds great, it's nice for cookie small organizations, but you know, you get beyond no thirty, forty people and it all starts to break down. There are organizations with thousands, tens of thousands, of employees who operating in these ways. The world's largest tomato processing company based in the state's runs on facimilar principles to to these. So you can make it work in lots of different contexts, but does have to start from. Do you know what you're getting yourself in for? Do the the owners, directors, bosses realize that this way of working in lots of ways takes away their power and it's that something which they genuinely believe and back and support rather than say they do? But actually a different set of rules are operating in the background. That's the bit I'm skeptical about, because people like power. A lot of people like power, and certainly a larger organizations, that's what those organizations sort of drive on. People get more and more power and control, and so I just wonder how those people with that desire for power becau good...

...transition to this kind of organization. Do you think they can, or do you think that there will have to be some people that continue to work perhaps in the more traditional ways? So I think there is. So that the the sort of the pure Tel concept is one which it does involve give people giving up large nuts, and you can't get round that and if you're not prepared to do that, you shouldn't be doing it, because what you're really doing is does leading people up the garden path and you're not going to get there. I think the organizations where this is really taken hold, and I think this will be the challenge for organizations transitioning in the future, are those which have a really clear sense of what their purposes so there's this amazing Dutch company which is quite famous in healthcare now, called Burt's Org, which was set up by Yost Block who is a district nurse and got fed up with working in a particular model of care which he saw as failing patients. He set up this this organization with a very clear purpose about supporting care around, around the individual, and that went from yours and his wife and a few friends and about five or six others, not may many of them back in two thousand and seven two sort of tens of thousands today, and it managed to sort of Excel and thrive because I think at any point, if there're someone was saying, Oh, shall we keep power here and the center, shall we delegate it to teams? They always had a really clear purpose to say, well, what's best for our purpose. I think if you've got organizations where we're of powers getting in the way and actually people are not thinking so much about purpose but thinking'boctually, what what does this mean for me in my power? I don't think you should get yourself I don't think you should pretend that you can do this and not really mean I don't think that's how these things work. HMM, interesting and I think you've kind of preempting on this next question, which is going to be what advice would you give to leaders you want to change their organizations? But I think you've already touched there about purpose. Is that really the answer to starting to think about this? I think it is. Yeah, and this concept that so many of us frock up to work not particularly not particularly having a great time, I think that does exist just as much for leaders as for any other group. So it's not really the case that there's the down podden amongst us who sort of trudge off, but the leaders areving this wonderful time. I think a lot of people in those very senior roles also feel the sense of disenfranchisement from from what they're in their professional life to what they want to be achieving in their in their life overall. So I think there's huge opportunity for leaders. Yes, it does involve giving up power, but actually it's incredibly fulfilling in terms of creating an organization or working an organization where you can be yourself at whatever level you are or whatever status you have within that particular organization. So I...

...suppose top tic number one would be read the Lu book, look at one of the case studies there. So they are incredibly interesting. Work out that's for you and start a conversation with your with your teams, with your staff, the organization, about you know, if we were to do that, what would it what would it look like? Yeah, great advice. Yeah, and it touches I mean we call this podcast the reimagination at work podcast, deliberately because we felt like work needed to be reimagined so that it includes everyone braces a lot of these new ideas. So if this is very much within like touching on the theme of the The podcast and it makes me think about the next generation. So young people have been through, you know, a lot, as as everyone, but you know, these last two years they're thinking about going into the workplace. How what advice would you give them and when they're sizing up organizations and how can they look out for signs that this is a teal organization? Because do people say that, hello, we're deal with bill coloring or all other other signs they should be looking out for. So I think next generation is going to be fascinating because one of the points of aging population we don't really talk about is that we have more older people and we have fewer workers, and so it's increasingly going to become a job market where firms are having to really fight for people. That's that's almost inviolably the way it's going to increasingly go. Really started in some place. It's so how organizations respond to what what people want to be. We fascinating to watch and I think it's for so young people thinking about where they where they want to go, to have a clear sense of what of well, I think it starts with actually experiencing what some different working cultures look like. It is quite hard in the abstract to say I really want to work for a tier organization and not one of those horrible other organizations unless you've been there. And so I think we the advice I would give is particularly at that early part in your career where it can often feel like you're making decisions for the rest of your life and you're not. You're making it for the next eighteen months. Perhaps is actually just to experience a few different different types of work environment and actually on that make it. Just look about what really matters to you and then seek out organizations working in that in that particular way, so to get that experience, to understand what what really is raidisinating with you and, to be honest, if they don't exist those sorts of organizations, well, have a go at setting one up. There worse things you could try, and is sort part of where glide scope came from in terms of looking around and not really seeing the organization I wanted to work for next and say they well, so there, let's let's actually have a go at setting one up. Yeah, and that's that's you. Where what's the space came from? And I've seen a lot of people starting up their own businesses in...

...the lap during the pandemic. A look. Increasingly young people are doing that. So there will be lots of new ideas coming into where people work, I think, and that's probably up. That could be a whole other podcast. I think, how the next generation, but we are sadly out time. So rich. Thank you so much. It's been really interesting to hear your thoughts on this. Now where can people find you if they want to connect with you, and where can they find clidoscope and here? So it's a lots about all of this. On the webisode. I twitter. You can find me at at Richard Taunt taunt. Lots about clidoscope, case, scope, health dot org. Dot You are dot U K and equally here is here. We are to all do UK great. Thank you so much and thanks for listening. This has been the reimagination at work podcast from watch this space. To find watch this space, go to watch this space dot UK and on social media we are at watch this pc and we will see you next time.

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