Leadership and Trust with Dr. Brian Harman – E66

Episode released on: 21. March 2022

Leadership and Trust with Dr. Brian Harman Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Dr. Brian Harman

Coaching Executives Into High-Trust Leaders Who Earn 41% More In 3 Months Using The Signature BMH Career & Leadership Accelerator


0:00 Kick-off
1:30 Brian’s Introduction
4:27 Brian’s TEDx Talk “How to use humor to build trust”
7:13 Digital working and how to improve trust
8:45 Brian’s Forbes Article
9:08 Definition of trust
10:15 Performance, Equality, empathy and fun to create high trust teams
14:40 Failure rituals
17:05 Employee involvement to create cohesion
18:35 After the game
19:23 Book suggestion “Give and Take, Adam Grant
20:13 Brian’s Golden Nugget: “High Trust Hello”

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Brian’s Golden Nugget

I would encourage everybody to practice the high trust Hello, which means never answer “How are you?” in under 50 words. So take the time when people say, “Hey, how you doing?” Give them a real answer. Tell them about the books you’ve read. Tell them about what you’re learning about life, tell them about your family, tell them about what you’re doing over the weekend. Give them some sense of reality for who you really are. Because the better we can align our work self with the person we really are at home, the more we can build trust, because that alignment is key.

Brian’s Golden Nugget:

I would encourage everybody to practice the High Trust Hello, which means never answer “How are you?” in under 50 words. @brianmharman on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

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Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have a small discussion with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope you will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen today. It’s really a big, big pleasure. I have Dr. Brian Harman together with me from Los Angeles. Hi, Brian, how are you?

Brian Harman 0:31
Good to be here. Thanks for having me.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:33
Thank you very much for accepting my invite. Today, it will be a special discussion because Dr. Brian Harman is really a big advocate of leadership and trust. And I will ask some question that we can learn a bit about this topic. But before we start deep diving, you are a celebrity in LinkedIn, also, together with with your Motivation Monday, this outstanding discussion that you have every Monday, and I suggest to all my audience to ever look at them, perhaps not as early in the morning as you are you doing that, but a bit later. But it’s really an Outstanding, outstanding life that you are doing. And and I am really pleased that you are you. And therefore my first question also for my European audience is by n. Could you please introduce yourself?

Brian Harman 1:29
Yeah, for sure. Thank you, Gregorio. I want to just thank you for all the work that you’re doing as well, thank you for having me here. Thank you for taking a really personal human collaborative approach for the work that you do and for sharing the value that you do. That’s, I mean, you and me are part of the same tribe. And when I introduce myself, I would tell you that the things that matter most to me are bringing more love and trust and humor into the workplace. And so through my, my corporate career, I worked mostly in supply chain management, I got to work in many countries. And over the course of time, I found that managers and leaders have such a big opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives. And I think that I really struggled to find myself that perfect boss, and I wanted to do something about that, where can I find this person and they didn’t exist, and I kept looking, kept looking at it can’t find them. So I took it upon myself to try to hone my craft and become that manager myself. And over the course of doing that, I realized just how hard it really is, there is no one out there, I don’t believe at least that anybody has bad intentions for the people that they serve. Yet, yet, a lot of people in the workplace are unhappy when they are disengaged, they lack trust in the workplace, they don’t feel that magic experience that we all want. And so when I, when I keep looking at this problem, I find a manner of inquiry where the mystery continues to unfold. And what I see at the base of that pyramid, the foundation of leadership is trust. And so I went on that journey, I did a lot of research in the field of trust. And that’s where my PhD went. But nowadays, in the last three years, I’ve been a full time professional coach, helping people to bring more trusts into the workplace and really understand why the things that they’re doing weren’t working, and how do we turn every interaction from hello to a handshake, to performance reviews, to daily feedback to anything, even the way that we write our emails? How can we turn all the things we do into high trust behaviors? And so yeah, today I spend my time teaching it few universities part time. And outside of that I work as an executive coach, I do corporate workshops, executive retreats, things like that.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:54
Thank you very much, Brian. And I allow myself to save for only once, Professor Brian, because it’s not only Dr. It’s only professor, but I think we agreed to use Brian and more than happy to to name you, Brian, what you’re saying it totally makes sense. And we saw also from, from the news that employee engagement is extremely key. And we are in a face that people leave companies and one of the highest rate in the last in the last few months. And and it’s really, really interesting. But before we dig deep dive on that you have also TEDx talk, it’s I had a look at it, I watched it, it was really a great one you shared really insights about relevant things and the TEDx talk. It’s the name is Why do leader laugh at failure? And without repeating all your TED Talks? Why is so important? And and what what what, what are your key values linked to this to this TEDx talk?

Yeah, good question. The The great thing about a TED talk is it forces you to really refine what you do and what you think. And how can you share that with the world in the best way. So if I was gonna boil down high trust leadership into three things, it’s number one, you have to open up. So leaders who generate an open environment and a climate of high trust. Not only do they have great self trust, but they build interpersonal, interpersonal and social trust around them. And that requires in opening up, we have to break down those walls, break down those barriers, make people feel comfortable, just as we all want to feel. So that’s number one is opening up number two, you got to try new things. You have to be the kind of leader that experiments getting people out of the rut, disarming people trying humor, trying anything to spur that creative, divergent thinking, because in business, that means innovation, resilience, and all the great things that we love. So number one was opened up number two is try new things. Number three is admitting failures. And that’s what that TED talk was about was, how do leaders admit failures? When do we admit failures? What is the mechanism to do that? And what’s the importance of it. So if I’m the kind of leader that can just wear my failures, like a badge of honor, and really talk about them, what that tells the people around me is that that’s accepted here. We’re okay to challenge ourselves. If I’m not failing, I’m not being challenged enough, I want my people to fail. And so giving them the opportunity to feel comfortable with that is important. That is what determines their ability to try new things as well. So you got to set the example lead by example.

It totally makes sense and what you’re saying it’s really key. But starting really from the issues that we are facing as leader. For me, now that we are working from home and this digital way, it’s difficult to say hello in the morning to all my employees. That’s not something that you walk in the office and say, Hi, are you on something and all these questions that create let’s, let’s say, something feeling that we are together and we work together? Before we deep dive in our to create trust? What’s your view on the long term of this way of digital working?

People have spoken, and they have said that I want more flexibility in my life. And I think that there’s a great mixture of hybrid environments, which seems to be the most effective for building culture and building trust. That being said that the virtual environment does not have to be a place where we don’t have trust, like you and me are we’re looking at each other eye to eye face to face right now. Yeah, there’s some body language and some things we’re not seeing. So what I say we’re getting to have our full capacity for trust, not gonna be a little bit degraded, but still enough to build a really powerful relationship. So here’s the thing, though, the thing that would happen in a normal passing by the every day, sort of bumping into each other, and that that’s not going to happen, though, what that means is that we need to take explicit time, we need to schedule time to do the things that would have happened naturally in the workplace. So what does that mean? Personal checkins team building icebreaker questions, sharing personal stories, all that kind of stuff. That’s, that’s got to be on the calendar now. Which seems a little weird. But if you want to build a culture, you have to make time for the things that are important that would have happened in the office.

Yes. And I think one wants one thing that I would like to add is this, what you mentioned also telling stories, you wrote an outstanding article that in 2019, on Forbes, about storytelling, you shared your personal story, everybody that is interested, could have a look, a look at it. And it totally makes sense that leaders are strategically strategically planning these tasks because you don’t have the direct interaction with with people. Before we deep dive in the three topics that you mentioned earlier. How do you define trust?

intentional accountability, making a choice to be accountable to someone and for someone. So another way to look at it in simple terms, is giving someone the power to hurt you, but they don’t. And so when I’m telling people about trust, I think it’s really important to remember that it’s a reciprocal emotion, much like happiness. Or if I smile at you, you want to smile back at me, it’s this human nature where our limbic system is telling us what’s happening in the room right now. And if you want to build trust, you have to be the one that gives it out first. And what will happen is people will at a biological level, they’ll want to return it to you. And so you have to be the one that initiates you have to be the one that really pushes trust and emanate and permeate trust from yourself first.

Yes. And that’s something that you you mentioned already twice. And I want to touch base on that. It’s, it’s about leading by example, as the leader, you need to show what what are the right ways out should be the culture on your web webpage, you are explaining that with four words that are really important. Its performance, equality, empathy, and fun. And I know that you expand this for keywords already 1000s of times, and therefore I would ask the question in a bit different way, for each of these four keywords? Could you please share a tangible example out to implement performance equality and party and fun to create this hyper performing performing teams?

Yeah, yeah, so those, those are really symptoms of a high trust team. And the thing I always think of here is, I remember back in my corporate days, I would walk through the office, and there’d be sometimes a section of conference rooms, then you could see in there because they’re glass walls. So you’d walk by a couple of the conference rooms, and you’d see one room where people kind of had their heads down, maybe someone was on their cell phone, maybe someone was like distracted over here, maybe someone was typing on their computer, maybe someone was looking at the screen. And it wasn’t that super awesome, cohesive stuff where you’re like, wow, what’s happening in there. It wasn’t that. But then you go to the next conference room, and you see something a little different. In this conference room, people are laughing, they’re high fiving. They’re smiling. They’re super engaged. Nobody has their cell phone out, they don’t even using a screen, they’re just very much with each other and present with each other. And immediately, we know what that looks like that that is a high performing team. They’re getting stuff done. They’ve, they’ve broken down barriers. And that’s the that’s the thing that tells me that team has equality, that team has performance, that team has the magic stuff, the stuff that really pushes them forwards with team spirit. So to answer your question, what is what are some tangible things that can help us to get there? Now, a lot of the mechanisms of how to build trust or earn trust in the workplace have to do with communication. And so number one is feedback. Most people in the workplace think feedback means advice. And it’s really not advice, feedback is just talking about, here’s what I saw, let’s talk about it. So if you want to have a high performing team, you have to give that those people on the team feedback, that’s the place of growth. If you want a stagnant team, then don’t give people feedback. But but we all we all say we want a growing highperformance awesome team. But do we all give feedback in the workplace? No. And it’s because again, it’s it’s a hard thing to do. But one of the one of the first things I teach my clients is how to effectively give feedback, how to differentiate that from advice, how to create boundaries, when feedback or advice isn’t working. And the first and foremost, the first part of that pyramid, before you even give people feedback. There’s some stuff you should be doing to make sure that they’re set up for success. They have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Are their objectives met? Do you understand what their day to day challenges are? Have you empowered them as a coaching style leader? So I think, yeah, it’s a, that’s my long winded answer. But the the really the key here is first is building a foundation of trust, then escalating into tweaking things to increase performance using feedback, then offering advice and wisdom based on your knowledge, then setting boundaries when things aren’t going right.

And it makes it totally makes sense because you are explaining or sharing a transformation that we need, or we should go through as a team. And these are the different phases that I need first to trust you before we can really create a relationship and this make make totally sense. What we’re you’re also often sharing and discussing and I know I’m super sorry, the time jumping through different topics, but we are only for an hour, and I would try to provide the biggest value to my audience. You shared great example about failure rituals. Also in your TEDx talk, could you please elaborate a bit on that because I I really suggest people to watch your TEDx talk because it’s a lot of fun, but the content it’s also really great value.

Yeah, the failure ritual Failure ritual is the mechanism that comes from improvisational humor. And in the improv humor space. Something that’s really powerful is a style of humor that it is it’s called affiliative humor. And in improv, when you’re looking at the actors and actresses on a stage, the really cool leadership lesson in that is number one, they’re really present, they really listen to each other. That’s the only way that they can be funny and react off each other. But they don’t hold on to the funny stuff themselves, they give all the power to the people that are around them. And that in itself is a super strong analogy for leadership is how do I not hold on to power but give it to other people. One of the ways that you can do that is to use some of those affiliative style humor techniques in the workplace. Now, one of them is called the failure ritual. And it’s, it can be anything like Oh, or he or ah, oh, anything of those just sort of like tiny little sighs of relief, like, oh, I messed up. And I make a joke of it in the TED talk, and we do an evil laugh together, there’s the nerdy giggle like he. But there’s all sorts of little funny, silly actions you can make that just kind of wipe the slate clean, it’s a little silly. It’s a little funny. And it says, Hey, I just screwed up. Let’s move on. So developing a tolerance for looking silly is actually a powerful leadership skill. Because it’s, it’s showing the people around you that we accept you as you are, we accept failure here. And hey, if you if you make a mistake, hey, at least we tried.

It totally makes sense. And thank you very much you explained exactly. And the way I liked it. And and what I would like to add to add, and also it’s my last question is, what you’re also doing during during the TED Talks is you are involving the older people, you’re the people sitting there, and therefore you create a different setup of discussion. It’s not the professor sitting behind the scenes, explaining everything to the audience. But the audience is part of the discussion. And I think you did that problem in the perfect way. Because everybody also watching the video, you would like also to stand up and say boo, or something like that. And, and was it strategically planned? Or it’s something that just happened?

Yeah, it definitely, definitely have to involve the audience. And everything that I do. In that circumstance, it was definitely planned, I wanted everybody to feel like they could do the thing that I was asking them to do, and experiment it to together in a sort of shared experience. So when, when we’re in the workplace, similarly, we have to create shared experiences that bond best and build the group cohesion, whether that’s laughing and doing a nerdy giggle together, whether it’s meditating together, whether it’s talking about emotional resilience, or, or how each other’s family is doing, the more shared experiences that we can create, the stronger the team spirit and the stronger the bond. So I’m a big fan of, you know, the more the merrier, the teamwork, the having friends at work, stuff like that. All good.

Thank you very much, Brian, for these great insights. And if somebody would like to deep dive together with you or with with your team in the coaching session, what’s the best way to contact you?

Yeah, so we are not we, I’m always on LinkedIn, I’m obsessed with LinkedIn, I love LinkedIn. It’s how you and I met. It’s how I meet a lot of wonderful individuals. All you got to do is shoot me a direct message. I’m always there. The thing that my company my team and I do is we offer both a leadership accelerator and a career accelerator to help people land jobs. And so if anything that we’ve talked about interests you or you want to talk more, just by got to do is shoot me a note on LinkedIn. And I’ll respond.

Thank you very much, Brian. And now we are coming to the last question. I would like to ask you the first one. It’s the usual that I’m asking it. Is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience that LTO during your career, for example?

Hmm, yeah, yeah. Recently, I just read a book and I did an executive leadership team book club. On Dr. Adam Grant, give and take this book is pretty powerful. The concept around it is that we should, in the long term, always be givers of our time of our expertise of our love and our energy to the people around us. And in the book, the arguments that are set up really give us a good framework for how we can better enact that giver attitude instead of a matcher or a taker attitude. So highly recommended, I think just on a, on a philosophical level, there’s a lot of great things to glean about how we behave as leaders there.

Thank you very much, Brian. And to take the last piece from your wisdom. The My last question is, it’s Brian’s golden nugget, it’s something that we discussed was something new that you would like to leave to the audience.

Yeah, we didn’t talk about this fully. But something I would really push everybody to do is something called the High Trust Hello. And when we’re engaging with people day to day and you ask people, Hey, how you doing? And you say, Oh, good, busy, fine, whatever. I think that’s a big missed opportunity. I think that’s a squandered opportunity where you could have built trust. But by answering something so shallow and surface level, you’re basically telling the other person I don’t care about you. I would encourage everybody to practice the high trust Hello, which means never answer “How are you” in under 50 words. So take the time when people say, “Hey, how you doing?” Give them a real answer. Tell them about the books you’ve read. Tell them about what you’re learning about life, tell them about your family, tell them about what you’re doing over the weekend. Give them some sense of reality for who you really are. Because the better we can align our work self with the person we really are at home, the more we can build trust, because that that alignment is key.

Thank you very much, Brian. I am not commenting Brian’s golden nuggets, because it’s your golden nuggets. The last thing that I want to say or the last few things that I wanted to say is your future accelerated. If you want to learn more, please contact Brian. Thank you very much for your time. It was outstanding to have you on my podcast, the six goalkeeper podcast. Yeah,

Brian Harman 21:38
thank you, sir.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:40
And also to the audience. I hope that you enjoyed this discussion as much as I did. It was really a great one. Great insight from Dr. Brian Harmon from Los Angeles. Thank you very much. bye bye.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it! Until the next episode, please don’t forget, we are not in b2b or b2c business , we are in a human to human environment. Thank you

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