Episode 014

Conscious leadership: How to create a no-drama, high-trust work environment

How do you cultivate a healthy, open culture that empowers employees to thrive?

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Diana Chapman, the co-founder of The Conscious Leadership Group, about the exact exercises she uses with her clients to create a more authentic, people-focused culture at work.

In this episode, we cover:

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Diana Chapman, the co-founder of The Conscious Leadership Group, about how to create a more authentic, people-focused culture at work.

Diana and her team have helped dozens of organizations, including Ebay , Asana, Whole Foods and more, to increase employee engagement and performance by eliminating drama, building trust, and cultivating a culture where authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency can take root.

And they’re getting results. In fact, Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, the co-founders of Asana, actually give every single one of their employee the chance to go through CLG’s leadership training, and credit that with helping them to more effectively achieve their company goals.

 In this episode, you’ll learn:

 How Diana went from teaching scrapbooking classes in Michigan to teaching Silicon Valley giants the importance of conscious leadership

  • Why authentic conversations and mindfulness matter, not just in personal relationships, but also within organizations  
  • The need to value emotional intelligence and ‘body’ intelligence as highly as cognitive intelligence
  • How to cut through drama and see the underlying facts
  • How to change your approach to a situation by changing the way that you frame it
  • How to create a roadmap to get yourself and your team out of negative habits

Diana is an incredibly open and inspiring person and was more than willing to share the exact exercises she guides companies through to help their employees to thrive.

Show notes
  • [00:01:10] How Diana moved from teaching scrapbooking to her current career
  • [00:02:36] The class on conscious relationships that Diana took from Gay and Katie Hendricks
  • [00:03:07] What it was about the classes at the Hendricks Institute that made Diana want to focus on conscious leadership
  • [00:06:03] The definition of conscious leadership
  • [00:07:30] The power of being in the present
  • [00:09:09] What being present looks like
  • [00:11:29] The three types of intelligence
  • [00:13:50] How you can cultivate emotional intelligence and body intelligence
  • [00:17:09] What happened when a presentation did not go the way that Diana expected
  • [00:20:12] What Diana changed about her presentation
  • [00:22:02] How the experience of the group Diana was working with changed once she changed her approach
  • [00:22:58] How that presentation experience impacted the way that Diana makes presentations with other companies
  • [00:23:28] How to present people-first ideas to people in organizations who are skeptical
  • [00:25:47] Exercises that can help with presenting alternative ideas
  • [00:34:55] How clients can use the results of their exercises
  • [00:36:57] Steps organizations that want to change can take
  • [00:38:12] What to do when one person wants to have an authentic conversation and another person does not
  • [00:41:34] What kind of changes Diana has seen in organizations that have embraced conscious leadership
  • [00:42:26] What flow states are
  • [00:43:30] How Diana would help people understand the benefits of a people-first approach
  • [00:48:02] One resource that Diana recommends
  • [00:49:03] The Enneagram system

[00:00:05] David: Welcome to The Humans Strike Back by Hotjar, the weekly podcast designed to help you succeed by putting people first. I’m David Peralta. Today, we’re talking with Diana Chapman, the co-founder of The Conscious Leadership Group, about how to create a more authentic, people-focused culture at work. Diana and her team have helped dozens of organization including eBay, Asana, Whole Foods, and more, to increase employee engagement and performance by eliminating drama, building trust, and cultivating a culture where authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency can take root–and they’re getting results.

In fact, Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, the co-founders of Asana, actually give
every single one of their employees the chance to go through CLG’s leadership training, and credit that with helping them to more effectively achieve their company goals. Diana is an incredibly open and inspiring person and was more than willing to share the exact exercises she guides companies through to help their employees to thrive. I really hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.

[00:01:10] David: Well, actually where I wanted to with was about 20 years ago, I read that at the time, you were actually far from what you're doing at the moment you were teaching scrapbooking in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

[00:01:22] Diana: Yeah.

[00:01:23] David: Can you tell me a little bit about that? What were you doing exactly at the time and how did you move into what you're doing now?

[00:01:34] Diana: So 20 years ago, I was a stay at home mom. I had a little side business, I was
working in the PTA, and I was a very classic happy homemaker, with these little side hobbies that I turned into businesses. My brother-in-law was the CEO of Monsanto at that time. He was very interested in personal development which some people might find interesting to know and he said, "Diana, I work with the world's finest coaches and I think there's a couple out in California who are by far the best I'm going to give you $5,000 and you can do whatever
you want with the money. But if I were you, I'd go out and take a course with them."

My husband I jumped on a plane and flew out there, it was a game changer. It was like, light
switches went off inside, I thought how is it I have never learned this content. I made a decision right then and there that I was going to learn everything I could about it and do all I could to spread it is far and wide as I could in my life.

[00:02:33] David: Who were the teachers and what was the content?

[00:02:36] Diana: It was Gay and Katie Hendricks, and they were founders of The Hendricks Institute and it was all around conscious relationship, and arguably conscious leadership. They weren’t calling it that at the time, but it was conscious relationship. A big chunk of the work I teach in the world all comes back to a lot of the things I learned from them.

[00:02:55] David: When you say conscious relationships, do you mean like in a couple setting, or in a professional settings—all of the above?

[00:03:03] Diana: All of the above, just how do I have conscious relationships with myself and others.

[00:03:07] David: What was it about what you started learning there that made you realize instantly, yes this is something that I need to pursue, that I need to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to?

[00:03:19] Diana: First and foremost. They taught us Karpman's Drama Triangle.

[00:03:23] David: What is that?

[00:03:24] Diana: Karpman's Drama Triangle is a model that says, most of us get caught in a mindset of victimhood. In victimhood, we have three different ways we show up. One is as the pure victim, like I'm at the effect of, you've hurt me, you've done something, or I can't be happy because of circumstances outside of myself. The villain, the one who's blaming, pointing fingers out there, or toward myself. The hero who's here to give some temporary relief so that you'll love me but I'm actually, consciously not really interested in permanently solving our issues or you wouldn't need me anymore.

They introduced that model and I went, "Oh my gosh," I think myself and the whole world is running around on this drama triangle. The whole thing was around, how do you learn to get out of that. How do you learn to get out of the mindset of victimhood and really come into taking radical responsibility for the circumstances that you're in, and certainly the circumstances of your own reactivity to what's occurring around you. That was just very exciting for me and it immediately started to change my marriage, how I was parenting, and so I got really excited about what would this look like to bring this all the way through all aspects of people's lives.

[00:04:45] David: How did you go from there, taking this course, and feeling like this was something that was transformative for you to where you are now, having founded the Conscious Leadership Group.

[00:04:55] Diana: I started teaching this around the country. I would go to major cities and do weekend events for anybody who wanted to come. I just practiced a lot, circles in my city where live in Santa Cruz. I was bringing in as many people as I could to learn how to facilitate it and then at one point, somebody asked me, "Hey, would you like to go work with a YPO group?" which is the Young Presidents Organization—a group of typically presidents and CEOs of organizations. I said, sure.

I had a day with them and I thought, this population is particularly fun for me to work with and this would be a great opportunity to make more impact if I can get into their organizations and affect a lot more people than how my current practice was. That was very motivating for me and I thought, if I really want to make an influence in the world around me, why not go with those who have a lot of influence—organizational leaders, and see if I can help support them in being more self aware to create more self aware world. That was all part of my motivation.

[00:06:03] David: Can you define for us in a couple of sentences what exactly is a conscious relationship or a conscious leader?

[00:06:10] Diana: Conscious, first and foremost is, “Can I be here now as best as I can, not in the future, not in the past, but right here? Can I be here in a non-trigger and non-reactive way?” Just, “Can I be here?” That in and on itself is pretty challenging for most people. Our minds are wired for survival and when I go back in the past or the future to try to keep everything, keep the boat going the way we think it's supposed to go. That's conscious, and then leadership in my opinion is anybody who wants to take responsibility for their influence in the world. That world could be in your family, that world could be in your company, that world could be in a community that you're involved with, just how are you taking responsibility for your influence.

[00:06:59] David: I happen to share this mindset. I believe very strongly in the power and capacity that opens up when you're really present. For somebody who is maybe not as familiar with this concept, why is that a desirable state? Why shouldn't I be thinking about what I was just doing, or why shouldn't I be planning for the future, or thinking about what's upcoming, so that I can create strategies and all this kind of thing. What's the power of being in the present and what are the benefits of it?

[00:07:30] Diana: First and foremost, we would say, you could go ahead and think back about how did I do and review it, that might be very wise or you are going to still be out into the future planning, or anticipating some concerns that you might have, but can you do that from also being present right here. Are you aware of what's going on right here as you are considering past and future. The value of that is, so far what I'm learning, from my own experience and others is one, my ability to learn with my IQ, my EQ, my BQ, my body intelligence that when are more present, these centers of intelligence are more available to me. That's really valuable especially if I'm wanting to create cool stuff out in the world.

Two, I feel more connected to myself and others. When I don't feel connected to myself and others, I feel some sort of suffering. There's some angst in there in some way, or disconnection, or loneliness. Three, I have more energy. There's a lot of people, sucking a lot of coffee down trying to stay energized, and my experience is the more present I am, the more availability I have to energy, and can keep myself sustainably energized so that's a big benefit.

[00:08:50] David: These three intelligences, this is something that I'm going to want to touch back on for sure because I think that's a really important point but I'd also like to ask for someone who's not as familiar with being present, what does being present look like? What does it feel like? How do if you're being present or you're not being present?

[00:09:09] Diana: I'll just speak for myself I noticed my breath got a nice easy flow to it, it feels deep and relaxed. I'm not holding, or gripping, or constricting around it, that first and foremost, seems like an easy way for me to notice. I also typically noticed that in my body there's a lot of relaxation in my muscles. I don't feel any of the pinch, everything feels more open and rather than any kind of closed.

I often check with my physical experience, it can often give me a lot of clues. I noticed there's a curiosity that's here that's more interested in learning than trying to defend or get it right. That's a mindset that I'm holding when I am present that says, "Wow, here I am. I'm in this interview and I can get caught up in trying to do it right, right now and what are people going to think."

Managing, and controlling, and editing in a way that feels constrictive, or I just want to learn everything I can learn about this interaction about how I can support people who want to listen
to this, and that's more interesting than trying to control my security approval from the outside.

[00:10:38] David: One thing that I would add also is that—one thing that presence creates is potential. When you're not worrying about what people are going to think, or your mind isn't somewhere else, and you're completely present, you have so much more potential in that moment to create something that you otherwise wouldn't be able to create. You actually have more potential to think into the future, to plan, to think, to come up with an answer that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.

I totally agree and support what you're saying. Going back to this thing that you mentioned about the three intelligences . You mentioned IQ, EQ, and BQ. Can you tell us more about what each one stands for and how they relate to being present and being conscious?

[00:11:29] Diana: Most of us have all been trained about IQ, this wisdom of my mind that can solve problems and things like that, it's a very valuable gift. We also have EQ, our emotional
intelligence which is using the wisdom of emotions that arise, allowing them to move through the body and listening to what's the gift they're offering. Anger would say, "Hey, there's something here that could be more exquisite. There's something here that is no longer serving in the way it could most serve. Pay attention, change is wanted."

Sadness might be, "Hey, there's something to let go of, there's a way you're holding on to the way you think it's supposed to be and you're not letting it complete and end so that you could be available for what's next." These emotions are like best friends that are sitting around inside of ourselves, giving us feedback to help guide us, and steer us in making wise decisions.

Finally, our body intelligence, our BQ, is also, got so much feedback for us in terms of sensations that start to show up in the body, that let us know how we're feeling, and where is our energy rising, or falling, based on our preferences. If you're present, there's a lot to notice. All of that noticing combined can help make more potentiality by listening to all the feedback that wants to support you in creating what it is you most want.

[00:13:10] David: I'm packing a lot, I'm kind of torn between going further in one direction or going to a different direction. Again, for people to whom these concepts are completely new, emotional intelligence and body intelligence, can you give us some more concrete examples of how can you cultivate these, how can you develop emotional intelligence? How can you develop body intelligence, because I think a lot of people know how to develop intelligence-intelligence, mental intelligence, read more, learn more, do more but what about emotional and body intelligence?

[00:13:50] Diana: Part of what I do when I start with clients is to say, "Let's just scan the body, what are you noticing?" Let's just imagine if you're just a bag of bits. What are the bits doing—were there some pinching here in my neck? There's a swirling in my belly, there's some pressure in my chest. Just being able to notice sensations, many people, "I haven't even never paid attention to my sensations Diana, what are you talking about?" Can you start to notice them and can you start to listen? I noticed, as I keep thinking about my grandmother who's just passed, I keep noticing there's a lot of pressure here in my chest, it feels a little difficult to breathe.

That center here of sadness often lives in this part of the body. It might be some place I haven't really gone through all of my letting go and grieving of this change of my grandmother passing. When people start to build those skills and recognize, fear often lives in the belly, and anger can often be found in the back of the neck, and the shoulders, and the jaw. They give me insight into what I might be feeling and what actions might be wanted to take.

[00:15:10] David: This also helps us to unlock our potential doesn't it? Because once we start to become aware of the relationship between our body and our emotions, then we're actually able to become less reactive. For example, if we're in a meeting and somebody says something that triggers us, if we don't notice it, then we're just going to go straight into anger mode and shoot back, and maybe that's not going to be the most productive meeting ever. But if we're aware, "Okay, wait a minute, I feel some anger coming up. I probably should calm down a little bit before I say anything." and then, maybe what you'll say is going to come from a different place that's not so reactive and probably is going to have more productive outcome.

[00:15:45] Diana: Yeah. Let's just say my anger is I believe that in our meeting you just talked on top of me, and I think this is familiar, and I always have this thought that you don't listen to me. Now I'm getting angry and I notice myself blaming you and starting to pull away. I notice, I'm angry, the anger is an intelligence saying, "Hey, you want to have the experience of being heard. How can you take responsibility rather than blaming them? How do you take responsibility to make sure that you get heard?" So that might then look like, "Hey, noticed the last three meetings, I've spoken and you've spoken either interrupted me or spoken right on top of what I just said, and the story I make up is you don't listen. What I really want is to be listened to. I want to create some agreements about how we're talking so that I can have that experience. Is that something you're willing to create with me?" Then the other person goes, "Okay, yeah I got it. Maybe I didn't notice that I was interrupting you." or, "Yeah, what? I realized I haven't been listening and here's something that I haven't been telling you." So we started having a more authentic transparent conversation.

[00:16:53] David: You had actually shared a brief story with me about how you apply this in action about a time when you were actually giving a presentation to a client that didn't exactly go the way that you anticipated. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was that happened?

[00:17:09] Diana: I was with a client, I was facilitating a team, and I got some critical feedback that…

[00:17:14] David: On behalf of The Conscious Leadership Group, right?

[00:17:17] Diana: Yes, it's part of my Conscious Leadership Group and I got some critical feedback from multiple people in the room that they felt like some of my presentation seemed arguable. They weren't buying into it, and they felt like I didn't have credibility in some of the things that I was saying. I remember the first time I got that feedback, going down into the parking lot after that session, and crying in my steering wheel, that was hard. One person in particular was particularly critical.

[00:17:53] David: What did they say?

[00:17:55] Diana: It was like, "What the hell are you saying?" it was very, "This is all bullshit. You don’t know what you're talking about." It was aggressive, I heard it as aggressive. I don't know whether it was aggressive or not, but I heard it as aggressive. I felt really sad, I could feel that moment where I'm in the parking lot and I'm thinking, maybe I shouldn't be doing this work, or I shouldn’t be doing it with this kind of group. It was a different kind of group of people that I was typically working with, they were younger, very intellectual engineer types that were doing a lot of doubting and bringing some healthy skepticism as actually as I think about it now.

I could feel that part of me that wanted to quit. Instead I said, wait a minute how are these people really for me? How is the feedback true? And how is this feedback really for me? I thought about it, talked to some other people about it. Actually, I have a son who's about their age and kind of similar in his thinking and got him to give me some advice. I tuned in and thought, I want to
be less arguable. I went the next time, tried it again with another team, with a new organization that was similar and got a lot more positive feedback but still a little bit of concern.

I remember again leaving going, still not hitting the bullseye yet. I took the feedback, stayed open and curious, what could I learn, and now my experience is going back into that organization that I'm reliably getting better and better, and getting more and more valuable feedback that my content is inviting, and inclusive, and unarguable, and getting people to stay curious. It's been fun to keep taking in all the feedback, and learning, and learning, and I'm really glad I stayed with that because it felt really vulnerable going back in there after the negative feedback.

[00:20:09] David: What did you change about your presentation?

[00:20:12] Diana: One of the things I did is I stopped validating anything I was saying and decided I wasn't going to say this reports in this, I just said, "Hey, I'm making up a game. I don't know if it's true. I just want you to try it on and see what you think of the game and then at the end the day you can take it or leave it."

[00:20:33] David: You mean you were using research to back up what you were saying and then you stopped doing that and then actually helped?

[00:20:40] Diana: Yeah that helped because they were researchers in some ways. They could poke holes and things. I realized I wasn't going to try to be right in any way about when I was presenting, that I was just simply going to offer up a game and just invite them to play the game with me and then tell me if they thought the game was valuable and that really worked for them.

[00:21:01] David: Can you drive a little bit deeper into what that exactly means? What do you mean by you were deciding that you were making up a game, and you were going to invite
them into playing this game?

[00:21:11] Diana: I just said, "Okay, I'll make up a game but there's a line and either we're above
this line or below this line at any given moment. This line above means we're in trust, this line means fear. I'm just making this all up. I don't know if it's true or not. We're going to just play around, imagining that we're either above or below and then we're going to play around with the idea that we can shift and there's these different things we can shift with. We're going to say, "We're willing to shift if these circumstances are occurring, we're not going to shift if these are here." I don't know if any of this is true, we're just going to play around these models I've created." That just seem to relax everybody like, "Okay, we don't have to argue the validity of any of this now. We can just try it on and see what we think."

[00:21:57] David: What kind of experience did the team have once they started with that mindset?

[00:22:02] Diana: What I noticed was, they were literally being more experimental, like let me decide for myself. Reliably, everybody would say, "Hey, I'm finding something valuable here." and now everybody found different things valuable. People we're saying, I kept checking, is this a valuable use of your time, yes, and here's things I'm learning. The group got into high learning states when there was just nothing to argue with.

[00:22:31] David: Beforehand, when you were talking about above the line, you would basically say like a research shows that when you're more trusting, when you're more curious, and you're more productive, by X% or something like that?

[00:22:41] Diana: Yeah, exactly. I'd make general statements that it's been my experience, but I could hear how they heard it as, I've got some truth here. I just let go of this having to be true in any way.

[00:22:58] David: Did that impact the way that you presented to all the companies you work with in general or was it just that kind of organization?

[00:23:05] Diana: It did, it impacted everybody, but it particularly helps me when I'm going in with people for whom, having a skeptical mind is one of their super powers, and being really thoughtful about how do I present in a way that helps relax the skepticism so that they can be open and curious.

[00:23:28] David: This is something that comes up a lot in our community. A lot of the people who are in the community 100% embrace a people-first mindset. There may be an organization that doesn't embrace people-first the same way, and there's a lot more skepticism. A question that comes up a lot is, "How can I present this in a way? How can I offer alternative ideas, or a different way of approaching problem solving and get other people to open their minds a little bit to—Hey, maybe thinking about profit first isn't the only way to do it or maybe only thinking about numbers isn't going to lead to the highest performance." How do you introduce these concepts to teams so that they are open to it?

[00:24:13] Diana: That’s such a good question. One of the things I'm asking for is say, "Are you interested in less suffering? Is that something that would be valuable to you?" some people yes, some people no. For those of you who say yes, you're interested in less suffering, let's take a look at where are you suffering. Oftentimes, we find that you're suffering because you want to be right that you have to make a certain profit, or you want to be right that things have to go a certain way.

What would it be like if we could loosen up some of that thinking that causes you suffering?
Would that be valuable for you? If we can tell you that we have some technology there that we can teach you that would help loosen that. It doesn't mean that you wouldn't still be very excited about your goals, and very excited about making money, but there would be a different way you'd be in a relationship to those things, would that be valuable?

I got to first find out, are you interested. If they're interested, then great. Let's try some things online and let's see. Let's give you a direct experience, we'll give you one exercise, we'll give you a direct experience and just see, what did you think? What was your experience and was that valuable? Would you like more of that?

[00:25:34] David: What are some of those exercises and specifically what are some exercises that our listeners could take and either apply themselves right away after listening to this podcast, or bring to their teams?

[00:25:47] Diana: One of my favorite ones is the exercise of separating out fact from story. Facts are what the camera records. Fact, man speaking in microphone, that's a fact. That's what the camera records over here when I look at my camera of you, that's a fact.

Pretty much everything after that is going to be a story. Who is this man? What are the qualities about this man that's all going to be my interpretation. One of the things that I see is a lot of people suffer because they believe their stories are facts.

[00:26:31] David: They believe their interpretation of what they're observing.

[00:26:35] Diana: Is a fact, and then if they don't like that what they're observing, they upset themselves. One of things I do is I say, "Come up with an issue that you struggle with, in your team." maybe it's a relationship with one of your colleagues, maybe it's a process, maybe it's a way the product is being developed right now. What's something that upsets you?

I have them write down, what are the facts related to this issue and what are your stories. They write down those facts and stories, and I ask them, if you could just look at the facts and not add any story, is there any upset? And the answer 100% of the time if they really truly can let go of their stories is no. the facts do not create any upset. Great, so the upset isn't happening out there, the upset is happening in you, in your stories. Can we loosen up the grip of those stories by helping you start to see that perhaps they're not as true as you think they are.

We do a lot of helping people question their stories, consider other possibilities about what things can mean and start to open up to that potential you're talking about so that they're available for what they most want, and how they want to create it that doesn't cost suffering.

[00:27:53] David: Could you actually run me through that. Let's go back to the story that you just shared about the time that you gave that first presentation to that one group of very skeptical engineers. If you took that example, and you ran it through this exercise, and separated fact from story, what would that look like?

[00:28:11] Diana: We would say,"Fact, participants spoke words." That's basically the fact, participants spoke words about their perception of you, that's the fact. That's all that actually occurred. Everything else would be story was, aggressive, story was mean, story it was that they were rebellious, story, they don't get it. Story, it's hard to work with people like that. Story, I screwed up, on and on.

[00:28:58] David: I should just quit.

[00:29:03] Diana: There's so many stories I'll put on than facts. Fact, I got in the room, presented content. Fact, people spoke words back about their perspective, that's all that occurred.

Then I get my stories rolling and I see, the stories are what caused me all the suffering, not the facts, and then if I can loosen up the stories—I remember one of the first ones thinking that they were being mean, then turns around and really said, how is it kind, how is what they were doing very kind, and I could see all kinds of examples of how it was really kind to courageously speak up and tell me their perspective and how they thought it wasn’t working so I could be better at supporting people, and that's very kind.

I started to loosen the grip of, I screwed up, I should have known better, I should've known
better, I'm learning all the time, this was a new group, I hadn't worked with these kinds of folks quite like this so I should have known better. I just start to loosen all of that and then from there, I'm in a state of presence again, where I'm not closed and making all of it serious. I'm open and then they're possibility of, wow, there's so much I can learn, and then I started to experience it all, and it's very for me.

[00:30:16] David: That's great. Basically you separate your interpretation from the events which allows you to open up. I mean basically, you open up new interpretations but these are new interpretations that are actually beneficial for you instead of detrimental.

[00:30:30] Diana: Mainly, I'm letting the interpretations bring me back to a state of neutrality, where I'm not reactive. From there I ask, what can I learn? It's not just like I'm just trying to flip everything, that can be dangerous. I could make it a mental process, which actually doesn't create much transformation. Instead, what I'm doing is I'm loosening the grips so that I can just go from here to ah, and then, okay. What gets to become known to me because of all of this? And that's
where ahas come in that really help me learn and grow.

[00:31:18] David: Can you give us another example, a different exercise that you find really effective that really helps people.

[00:31:26] Diana: Another one of my favorite exercises is what we call the recipe exercise. We also call it, teach the class, because I think that's how we hand it out on our website. We let all these be available to anybody to download on our website.

Let's say you're complaining that your organization is siloed, and that the communication is really poor amongst teams. That's a pretty common thing that comes up for a lot of groups. We would say, "Okay, I want you to teach a class on how to create siloed organizations with poor communication."

Tell us what you would have others do if they did it the way you particularly are doing.
You're just one part of that whole process, but what do you do to make sure you keep creating siloed teams in your organization. We actually have them, imagine you're teaching a class, you're at Stanford business school and you're going to each a class on how to create silos. Teach us your part in how you do that. People often find that a very entertaining process. At first they're like, I
don't know, it's not about me, it's leadership, they are not having meetings where we all get to talk more openly.

Nope, come back to you for a minute, and so people write down, here's how I keep the silos
going. That's a fantastic exercise that give people a lot of awareness. The good thing about that exercise is once you write down all the steps of how you're creating your results, you have this perfect map for how to shift it if you want to, which is basically do either the opposite or some change from what you just wrote down and you're going to get very different results.

[00:33:10] David: You have the entire group write down how they in particular are creating this or how they would tell somebody else from their experience how to do the exact same mistake or challenge that they're facing, how to recreate it?

[00:33:24] Diana: Yes, so I might say, you can do the exercise one of two ways, you can do it as an individual, or you could also do it as a team. Here is what we would tell another team to do, or here is what we would tell another organization. Let's just say, they didn't make their numbers one quarter, I'd say teach us how to not make our numbers, how did you guys not make your numbers? Look and see, what's the recipe. We want to not make our numbers exactly like you did. What would we need to do?

[00:33:51] David: What do people usually come up with? What are they usually saying?

[00:33:55] Diana: It might be like, put numbers that you actually didn't believe you could make,
step one. Have issues with another team about your concerns, about they are not going to be able to provide something that you're going to need to make your numbers and don't go speak directly to whomever that is to get your needs met. Assume that people know things out there even though you haven't talked to them. Another one might be, ignore a client who was giving some concerns and ended up leading a big client that you denied that they were as upset as they
were, so on and on and on, the stories go of different ways that people don't make their numbers.

[00:34:45] David: Once they have this list, what's the next step? how do you transform that into something that then is valuable because I mean, you've got a list now, but what do you do with it?

[00:34:55] Diana: First and foremost, you let yourself take responsibility, I did that. that's not good, or bad, or right, or wrong because the first thing you do is, can I accept myself for creating exactly what I created, and can accept on my teammates, we're not bad or wrong for doing it the way we did it. It's really important to accept because from my experience, it's very difficult to transform anything if we're not willing to accept the way it is.

Then would we be willing to shift? That's a very important question. We have a series of questions that we ask people to consider like, part of usually why we created this is we were unwilling to reveal, we were unwilling to see our feelings, we were unwilling to make clear agreements, we were unwilling to stop our gossip, we were unwilling to let go of being right about something. We haven’t answered these willingness questions to see, would you actually be willing to shift around these different areas. Surprisingly, about 80% of the time, people say no. I'm not willing.

People say, "No, we're not willing because I'm not willing to have that authentic conversation with so and so because that feels like a threat to my job and I got to pay my rent, and to the extent that that feels threatening, I'm not going to go have that authentic conversation. I can see how I might still be committed to not making my numbers." People are usually really honest about that, some of these willingness questions feel like a threat to people's identities, to their security, to their approval.

Then we just go, "Okay, that's not good or bad." but then you just get to get with I'm committed to not making our numbers, I'm committed to it. We have everybody go around and shake hands, "Hey, I'm committed to not making my numbers." "Me too." "Hi, how are you doing?" That kind of gets fun, and funny, and then sometimes actually there's a lot of transformation in people really owning that and starting to face the cost of that, and sometimes not. Sometimes we have teams where they all just get, "Yeah, well actually, we're willing to change and we get it and we're going to sit with that for awhile."

[00:36:53] David: In the organizations that are willing to change, what's the next step?

[00:36:57] Diana: It's okay, if you're willing to change, then what are the measurable action steps and by 5:00 PM this Friday, I'm going to sit down and have a conversation with Jane about A, B, C that I haven't shared with her. I'm going to go clean up a bunch of fuzzy agreements with the product team that I can see as part of how I created us not making our numbers. People are going to decide what are these measurable action steps and very tightly, by this hour, this minute, I will have it done. It's measurable, so you'll know whether they did or didn't do it. People hold themselves accountable by taking responsibility for these next action steps.

[00:37:46] David: What if somebody decides that they do need to have this conversation with somebody else and they share their side, but the other person isn’t open at all and actually is seen as inappropriate. In other words, that authentic conversation isn’t a two-way authentic conversation, it's a one-way authentic conversation. The other person is staying reactive and not particularly open to what the person is saying, what happens then?

[00:38:12] Diana: All kinds of things. One of the first things I would say is, “Take a look at how did I co-create a conversation where the other person wasn’t open. Is there anything I can first learn about how I created that?” If I were going to again, teach a class on how to have a conversation when the other person is not open. Go take a look at what can I learn for how I co-create that. Maybe it's coming back more vulnerably to say, "Hey, I want to let you know, here's my experience of our conversation., I'm disappointed, I didn't experience an openness over there. I don't know if that's true or not. I want to see if we could try again." Or if they're unwilling, they're not interested, then I decide what decision rights do I have around this. Do I decision rights to change the role this person's in? Can I go have conversations with those who do have decision rights about this? There's just unending possibilities of what I might do in that scene.

[00:39:23] David: Ultimately, it might come down to maybe this is not the right environment for me and I might need to make a bigger change and go somewhere else.

[00:39:30] Diana: It could be, yeah. If I recognize that there is not a value here for conscious leadership to learning how to really be present with one another and then I might decide, yeah, I'm going to go find a place where that's more of a value.

[00:39:44] David: What kind of change have you seen in organizations that have really embraced conscious leadership? What was the before and what was the after?

[00:39:52] Diana: I've seen extremes. I remember going into one group, it was a group where it was incredibly divisive. This team was an HR team, they were at each other, no one wanted to collaborate, they had a new boss, they were all extremely critical of her time. She was struggling and there wasn't zero collaboration happening on this team. I came in, we got introduced to these concepts. People practiced, they started having authentic conversations with each other.

[00:40:26] David: How were you brought in? If the team was so divisive, why did they want Conscious Leadership Consultant to come in to begin with?

[00:40:33] Diana: The leader actually read our book and she thought, "Wow, I like this book. I would like to see if this book could help us," that's why she called.

[00:40:44] David: What's the name of that book?

[00:40:45] Diana: It's called The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, and she said, "Could you bring these concepts in?" so that's how we got in. I was shocked that we did half a day facilitative events, one maybe four months following the next. After those two sessions, this team had a radical shift.

I actually interviewed her on our website. We did an interview and I posted it up there, so people could listen, to hear how from a leader's perspective, how much that team changed. I continued to hear from them about just how much they enjoyed their collaboration now as they've been practicing together.

[00:41:32] David: What was the shift? What allowed them to transform?

[00:41:34] Diana: They let go of being right, they got off this drama triangle, they realized they were all in the drama triangle. They learned how to get out of there. They started to feel some feelings and let them get vulnerable with each other. They realized that they were not seeing each other as allies, they really start to, how are you my ally, how are you for me? They moved from a lot of resentment and entitlement, there was a lot of entitlement to appreciation, that was a big shift for a lot of them.

They also put a lot more attention on, what's my zone of genius, what is that thing, what's my flow state? What am I doing, and they got much more interested in their close states and giving their gifts to one another and then pushing that in each other, and that got more entertaining than the drama.

[00:42:22] David: Could you elaborate a little bit on what a flow state is?

[00:42:26] Diana: It's that place where you're doing something that—it's like time and space can go away. It feels easy to do. You do it for no money, you're just happy to be doing this thing and it's difficult even appreciate it, because it's like telling a fish what a great swimmer it is, and fishes go, "What are you talking about? I'm not doing anything here. I'm just being a fish." That zone of genius we call it, creates this flow state. If people started to get more aware of what is that, what does it look like, what are you doing, then can you give that to us, and that gets very exciting for people.

[00:43:05] David: One thing that we ask all of our guests is, you answered this a little bit but I'd like to ask you one more time to revisit it. A lot of people are on the fence about embracing a people first approach. What would you say to them to help them understand that this really is the most sustainable way to create success for everybody.

[00:43:25] Diana: I don't know about everybody else, I know about me.

[00:43:28] David: Let's hear it.

[00:43:30] Diana: I just know that, when I make people first, I have an experience of reliably feeling connected with everybody around me, and what I noticed is the tremendous amount of energy that comes back to me when I am not resisting, or separating, or judging. When I let go of all that there's just this huge amount of vitality, and freedom, and peace that I get to access, that allows me and my experience to be more creative, to have more energy to do all the things I want to do, and I just love the way it feels. That's my experience and for thousands, and it is literally now thousands, tens of thousands of people I have supported that is a reliable piece of feedback that people give. People say, "I love coming to work now. I like feeling connected. I have more fun."

I spend a huge amount of my life at work so it really makes a difference that I look forward to these people's faces, I look forward to collaborating with them, I feel seen, and known, and valued, it an exquisite experience to have. The other thing is, people play more. Drama, I think shows up so much in the world because it's so damn entertaining. The only thing that I know that's more entertaining than drama is play and purpose.

People get more in purpose about what really matters to us and we start playing more, and play is so fun. That I see creates a lot of high engagement for people. That I think is ultimately, I think we're on a giant playground here. All of us deeply interested in play, and how I know that is you ask kids what their favorite part of the school is. Human beings and all mammals learn best through play. If we can learn to have a people-first culture, or people-first mindset, play is one of the big payoffs. People come back to intrinsically what they deeply desire.

[00:46:05] David: I will support that 100% because at Hotjar, we were actually having a discussion about how, since we all work from home, a lot of our spouses or significant others who are in the other room still say, "What are you doing in meetings? Because all I hear is you laughing." This feeling of fun is so fulfilling, this connection, it just creates so much more engagement in what you're doing. I totally support what you're saying, 100%.

[00:46:33] Diana: How many people are going, "Oh man, I got to go to this meeting next, and that meeting next." Instead of, "I get to go hang out with my buddies and we're going to laugh a lot do cool stuff." the difference between those two states is radical.

[00:46:46] David: Yeah it is, and the difference of what you can do from those two states is immense.

[00:46:52] Diana: Immense, so much more improvisational ways of being that create such disruptive thinking, and that's very exciting.

[00:47:03] David: Absolutely. I, 100% agree. It all comes back to creating that open space, creating that trust, creating a space for vulnerability, for feelings. I have to give a shout out to my co host , Louis. He's actually the content lead in our team. Every time we have a one-on-one, the first thing he asks me is, "How are you feeling? How are you doing?" and if I am not honest, he'll say, "No, how are you really feeling?" Once that's out of the way, then there's really the space to do something together. I'm really impressed by his ability to do that and it's just phenomenal.

[00:47:38] Diana: That's wonderful. I'm so grateful that you all are practicing, and role modeling, and sharing all that you're learning with others.

[00:47:48] David: I'm so glad that there are other people out there doing the kind of work that you're doing. One final question that I have for you is, if you had to pick one resource to help our listeners succeed by putting people first, what would that be?

[00:48:02] Diana: Honestly, I would say, our book is all about helping people move from trust versus threat, and I think one of the challenges of why people think it's hard to make people first is because we're also threatened most of the time. But dealing with people just feels like, it's so hard. Just forget it, let's just get to the numbers and get out of here tonight. If you can get a group of people to be in a state of trust, it's so much easier to be in connection with each other, and learn from each other. even if I didn't write it, I'd still say, it's a great book to help people understand how to make these concepts easier and how to help people relax more so they can be in that open curious place to relate to each other. That would be my suggestion

[00:48:52] David: What's the title the book one more time?

[00:48:54] Diana: It's called The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership.

[00:48:58] David: Is there anything else that you can think of that would be very valuable for people who want to create a people-first culture?

[00:49:03] Diana: Yes, I love the system called the Enneagram. The enneagram is a system that that defines for each of us what the reactive beliefs are in our heads that cause us to create drama with each other. I have found the enneagram to be one of the most valuable transformational tools for teams because one of the things that happens is that if you can learn, I'm a type eight, a type eight is called a challenger. When I believe that I'm losing control, I can get aggressive, and if I feel scared, I might show up as more of a fighter when really I'm just scared.

If you know this about me, when I start to show up in my reactivity as my type eight, you're going to be much more empathetic, understanding, and supportive in helping me shift, and vice versa if I know your type. I know, "He's getting reactive because he wants things to be in a very particular way and if it’s not in this particular way, he gets reactive." If we know each other's types, I don't know, I'm just making that up, if we know that, the amount of empathy that grows is hugely available to us, and our ability to then support exchange, or shift in that reactivity is much easier we understand each other.

One of the tools I would recommend is people getting a typing done for the team, or at least for themselves, so that they can understand more about the inner workings of their mind that creates the reactivity. It's not a personality system, it's not describing how your personality is, it's describing more of your reactivity which you have a lot of ability to change.

[00:50:57] David: Where can people take this? Is it a test or is it a questionnaire?

[00:51:05] Diana: The challenge with enneagram is there aren't any really good that we know of, very accurate tests out there, but there are several people out there who puts some things out that you can get some insights from. With our clients, we have everybody actually sit down with a professional typer and go through a half-hour conversation to make sure their typing is accurate. I highly recommend that tool for teams to create a people-first culture.

[00:51:34] David: Does that enneagram-ist professional? Are they from a particular organization?

[00:51:42] Diana: We have typers on our team that we have available for our clients and I'm imagining there are other professional typers out there, a lot of enneagram experts who are out there are able to type as well. We certainly have typers on our end if people want to go get typed.

[00:52:06] David: I know in our team, I'm going to look into that for sure.

[00:52:08] Diana: Yeah, it's a game changer.

[00:52:10] David: Where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're doing?

[00:52:14] Diana: Our website is conscious.is and one of the things that we are in devotion to is creating a lot of content that we want to share with anybody and everybody to be able to use out in their own teams, and organizations. We have videos, audios, guided meditations, handouts, all of these stuff are available for people to take and use. We want to make sure that people know that all those resources are there.

[00:52:45] David: Great, and we'll be linking to your site, and to your book on our website so you can find all of the resources mentioned at hotjar.com/humans. Diana, thank you so much for taking the time that was really a pleasure.

[00:52:58] Diana: It's so good to be with you.

[00:53:07] Louis: Thanks for listening, my fellow human. We know how fast paced life is. If you're listening to this on your daily commute, while running, or even cooking, you can always go to Hotjar.com/humans and look for today's episode. That's where you'll find access to all the resources and humans we talked about, the full transcript of the conversation, and even links to really see the episodes.

[00:53:31] David: If you like today's episode, please help us out by leaving your honest rating and review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcast. The more honest feedback we get, the more we can improve the show for you, and the more this podcast will be discovered by other humans. It's a win-win situation. Until next time, take care and be human.