Leading@Google: Michael Lee Stallard

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 15.12.2009

>>Michael is the president and co-founder of E Pluribus Partners, which
is a leadership training and coaching firm that specializes in helping
leaders create what Michael describes as connection cultures.
Connection cultures increase employee and customer engagement as well
as profitability and innovation. Michael has an established history as an executive
in business development, marketing, and investment banking.
He has held positions in top companies ranging from Morgan Stanley to
Charles Schwab to Texas Instruments. Today Michael will be sharing his ideas from
his best-selling book, "Fired Up or Burned Out."
In which he addresses how to reignite your team's passion, creativity,
and productivity. And hopefully he'll also be able to share
some ideas about what he's learned about Google culture today.
Please join me in welcoming Michael Lee Stallard.
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Alana, thank you. Let me ask all of you.
How many of you have experienced times over your career when you were
energized? You were -- you wanted to get to work in the
morning, and when you got there, the hours flew by.
And by the end of the day you didn't want to stop working.
How many of you have experienced that? Okay.
Just about everyone. How about the opposite?
Where you struggle to get to work in the morning, and the hours pass
slowly and by the end of the day you were physically and emotionally
spent? Anybody experience that?
Once again, just about everyone. What's the difference between the two environments
that produce that effect?
That's what we're going to talk about today. Okay.
What is the work environment that really energizes people?
Because the work environment that I think we all know from our
experience that when we're in that environment, we're just more
productive and creative and research supports that too.
Now I first became interested that in this whole area of the work
environment and its effect on productivity and innovation, when I was
Chief Marketing Officer for Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management
Group. I wanted to, first of all, create an environment
where the people I was responsible for leading were thrive.
And secondly, I wanted to create an environment where the people who
worked on the front lines of the business where they would be more
energetic and enthusiastic because I knew if they were, it would result
in a superior customer experience. The practices we put in place helped us double
our revenues over two and a half years.
And I knew we were onto something special. In 2002, I left Wall Street and founded E
Pluribus Partners. Now that's a very unusual name.
A lot of people have a hard time pronouncing it.
And they ask me, you know, what's that about? It's actually based on America's motto which
is e pluribus unum. A Latin phrase that means out of many, one.
Now I became very interested in this whole area of the work environment
because I came across some research that showed over the last decade,
75 percent of American workers report that they're not engaged in their
jobs. That's over a hundred million people who are
not achieving anywhere near their potential.
And of that group, about 15 to 20 percent of them are what we describe
as actively disengaged. So that they're working against the interest
of the organization. Now that's a problem.
I believe in the years and decades ahead, it's going to become a much,
much bigger problem for organizations. Tom Friedman wrote the book, "The World is
Flat." Just -- the world is becoming we know from
our experience in the workplace, the world is becoming a more competitive
place with globalization.
The standards are going up all the time. What do is you think is going to happen to
organizations that 75 percent of their workers not fully engaged
in their work? Not good.
It's going to be difficult for many of them to survive.
Now when I founded E Pluribus, I met a number of individuals who became
my business partners. One was Jason Pankau.
Jason is an executive and life coach to many successful Americans.
He's an expert on how the workplace environment spills over to affect
people's lives outside of work. A really interesting perspective, Jason has.
Carolyn Dewing-Hommes is part our team. She had worked at Citigroup and studied corporate
cultures of some of the leading organizations in the world and
brought some great insights to our research.
Dr. Mitchell Dickey, who had taught psychology at Yale and Purdue
Universities. He received the first research award given
on emotional intelligence research by the American Psychology Association.
In our research, we looked at all the avenues. We looked at businesses, governmental organizations,
social sector organizations like hospitals and universities.
We even looked at sports teams to understand why they thrive, merely
bump along and survive, or even die. And as we laid out all the variables we --
time and again, we noticed one factor that seemed to predict the rise
and fall of organizations. And we named that factor the force of connection.
Now connection is -- it's like gravity. In the absence of gravity, objects do what?
Anyone? They?
Float, they drift apart. In the absence of this force of connection
people drift apart. But with connection they pull together.
They're more trusting. They're more cooperative.
They're more aligned with each other and with the organization's goals.
Now, connection has three distinct core elements we found as part of
our research. The first one is vision.
Now vision exists when everyone in the organization is motivated by the
mission, united by the values, and proud of the reputation.
And we're going to talk about Google in a minute.
In fact, what I want you to do is you have a handout that has the
definitions that has some blanks in it. I want to you fill in the blanks because you're
going to use it in a little exercise.
We are going to make this very specific to Google in a few minutes.
But I want to take you through the elements first and then we'll talk
about how they apply. So if you'll look at the sheet, fill in the
blanks as I go through the definitions.
One of my favorite examples of the element of vision came during World
War II when America was far behind Nazi Germany in terms of military
strength. And General George Marshall, who was head
of the American Army, he was focused on organizing the tasks of the military
industrial complex during that period.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized that something more was
required. So he organized visits to the plants that
were producing tanks and planes around America.
And on one occasion, he went to the Boeing aircraft company up in
Seattle. And he brought with him a young pilot named
Hewitt Wheless. Hewitt was from Texas.
And he asked Hewitt to tell his story to the 18,000 aircraft workers
who were in attendance. So Hewitt got up, he explained that he was
flying his plane, and he was surrounded by enemy aircraft who fired on
him. His plane was riddled with bullets, but miraculously,
it held together until he was able to safely return to his
base. He thanked the workers at that plant for building
the plane that saved his life.
Now, seeing that pilot thank them for their work had a profound effect
on the workers at Boeing. It, in a sense, transformed them from factory
workers into freedom fighters from an identity standpoint.
Over the next four years from 1941 until 1945, American aircraft
manufacturers outproduced the Nazis by a rate of 3 to 1.
They produced nearly 300,000 aircraft during that period.
Now when you think about this element, vision, and how it applies to
Google, one thing that comes to mind is the, the corporate motto "Don't
be Evil." Let me ask you.
Does that connect with the a lot of people here?
I know when I first read that, I thought, wow, that's really powerful.
Does that connect with some of you? A few? Now, you know, items of connection are not
going to connect with everyone.
It's really going to depend on your personality and your unique
circumstances. But that's one that really connected with
me was don't be evil. The next element of a connection culture is
value. And value exists when everyone in the organization
understand the needs of people, appreciates their positive, unique
contributions, and helps them achieve their potential.
Now that's rare in cultures today. I think Google has one of the best cultures
I've seen. And we're going, as I said, we're going to
talk about that in a minute. A story that really illustrates this is --
happens to be a story about my favorite rock band.
Now this band has been together for more than 30 years.
They've now received more Grammy awards than any band in history.
Any ideas who I'm talking about? Any guesses?
U2. Yeah, you got it.
Now U2's motto is "Everybody Gets Out of This Alive."
It's a very funny motto, isn't it? If you know their story, it makes more sense.
Bono, the lead singer -- when Bono was 14-years old, his mother passed
away. And he describes that period as feeling abandoned
and alone . His father was so grief-stricken that he wasn't
able to comfort his son.
So having experienced that, a few years later when Larry Mullen, Jr,
the drummer for U2, when his mother passed away when Larry was 16, Bono
reached out to comfort him as a friend. And said, "I know what you're going through.
I'm going to be there for you." And it started this friendship that's lasted
until today. Edge, the lead guitar player for U2, he went
through a difficult period in terms of just experiencing divorce.
And the band members were there for him to help him get through that.
Adam Clayton, the bass player for U2, he suffered through a five-year
period with a drug and alcohol addiction. And the band members actually reached out
to him to help him recover from that.
I think one of the most dramatic examples of the commitment that the
members of U2 have to one another came in the 1980s when the band was
campaigning for the observance of a Martin Luther King, Jr, day in
America. And they were about to play a concert.
They received -- Bono received a death threat that said if you play the
song "Pride" or "In the Name of Love," which is about the Reverend
Martin Luther King, Jr, that you'll die. The FBI thought that this was not a hoax.
That it was a legitimate death threat. But they weren't going to back down.
They played the song. And Bono closed his eyes as he sang the song.
At the end of one verse, when he opened his eyes, he found to his
surprise Adam Clayton was literally standing in front of him to shield
him from potential harm. Bono has said that U2 is a great example of
how to rely on others. He said that he is a lousy guitar player and
an even lousier piano player.
He hears melodies in his head but without his band mates, his talented
band mates, he's not able to bring that music to life.
And so he appreciates their unique contributions. It surprises many people to find out that
the economic profits from U2 are equally split five ways between the four
band members and their longtime manager, Paul McGuinness.
These elements, these aspects of U2's -- the relationships among the U2
members -- create connection between them. And that's helped them stay together for 30
years so that they could perfect their music over that time period.
I think of Google's culture. And what elements in Google's culture represent
value? I think one that I learned about was that
the average Googler goes through about 120 hours of training a year.
That's a lot of training compared to what the employee in the average
organization goes through. So that is just one of many elements that
show that Google values Googlers.
The next element in a connection culture is voice.
And voice exists when everyone seeks the ideas of others, when they
share their ideas and opinions honestly, and they safeguard relational
connections. One of my favorite stories that illustrates
the element of the value in a connection culture comes from the Proctor
& Gamble company. In the year 2000, P&G was really struggling.
In one quarter, they lost $300 million dollars. They -- half their brands were losing market
share and talented brand managers were walking out the door.
Finally, the board at P&G became frustrated with the CEO. They made a
change and they appointed a career employee by the name of A. G.
Lafley. And Lafley has confidence in the people of
P&G. He worked there.
He knew people all around the organization. The first thing he did was he surveyed P&G
employees to find out what they thought he should do to improve the organization.
Then he went and he travelled all around the world and met with groups
of employees. And when he did, he said, we have moose in
our closets here at P&G. We have issues that we haven't been confronting.
We need to get the moose out of the closet where it's stinking up the
place and into the light of day on the conference room table where we
can deal with these issues. And because I know the employees at P&G, there's
no -- if we put our heads together, there's no problem we can't
solve. No code we can't crack.
And that's exactly what happened. They rolled up their sleeves and they started
improving the company day after day after day.
Flash forward about 12 months, and according to an internal survey that
P&G did, employee confidence in the leadership and direction of the
organization soared 250 percent. In 24 months, P&G's revenues and profitability
soared. Their stock price went up 75 percent.
It created so much wealth that they were able to acquire the Gillette
Corporation, which was a huge acquisition. Now think about that element of voice and
how it applies to Google. One of the first things that comes to mind
is the TGIF's you have. And how that brings the element of voice into
your culture that helps connect Google and Googlers.
Okay? Now we're going to get to our exercise in
just a minute. But one more point I wanted to make before
we get to the exercise is that when these three elements are present
vision, value, and voice, it moves employees to want to give their best
efforts. And to align their behavior with organizational
goals. But it does more than that.
When organizations are filled with disconnection, it builds knowledge
traps in the organization. Let me just give you some examples of knowledge
traps. When, say, one regional sales group has a
lead that -- but it's in another territory -- but it doesn't provide
that lead to the other territory because it views that territory
as competing with them, that's a knowledge trap.
They have information that could help the other group but they don't
share it because of this, in a sense, break down in the relationship
between the two. When one employee, maybe an engineer has a
project and they have some information that could help another engineer,
but the engineer with the information doesn't share it with his or her
colleague because they view that person as a rival, that's a knowledge
trap. When the engineers at NASA felt it was unsafe
to express their concerns with management that they had before the Challenger
launch decision, that was a knowledge trap that led to disaster.
And when organizations are filled with these knowledge traps because of
break downs in relationships, where people withhold information,
disaster is always what happens. Knowledge traps are like -- there're like
cholesterol in organizations. They build up with bad cultures.
And they lead to poor decision making. And they kill innovation.
The -- the statin drug that breaks knowledge traps is connection.
And connection restores the knowledge flow that's necessary for
organizations to thrive. And that happens in two distinct ways.
Number one, when knowledge flow is high, decision makers, which is all
of you at different times, we're all making decisions.
When knowledge flow is high, decision makers have the information they
need to make optimal decisions. When knowledge traps are in place, they don't.
So they make suboptimal decisions. Secondly, when knowledge traps are in place,
it reduces the marketplace of ideas inside an organization that feeds
innovation. So four benefits we're talking here that really
come out of connection. Number one, people give their best efforts.
They align their behavior with organizational goals.
Decision makers make better information because of knowledge -- they
make better decisions because of knowledge flow.
And fourth, the marketplace of ideas that's fed by a high degree of
knowledge flow fuels innovation. Those are four benefits.
Now what I would like to do this is just a brief introduction but I
want you thinking about how this applies to Google.
So what I would like to do first of all is get into groups of three.
Okay? Can you do that right now, just break up into
groups of three? And bring your sheets.
[PAUSE] Now what I would like you to do is identify
ways from your experience that Google connects with Googlers.
Okay? You can list them on the sheet.
And now this can be, these ways, they can reflect corporate-wide
practices like TGIF's, or they can, they can reflect a specific
practice that you've seen in your workgroup or another workgroup.
Okay? And then I'm going to give you about seven
minutes to come up with as many as you can.
And I have something I'm going to give -- I want to see which group
comes up with the most, and then I have a little prize for that group.
And then I want to go through some of those and just talk about how
these apply at Google. Okay?
Any questions about that? Okay.
Great. Go.
[PAUSE] Okay.
Count how many you have. Let me ask, does anybody have -- who was more
than ten? More than ten?
Okay. More than 15?
Okay. More than 20?
Okay, wow. More than -- oh, that's a bigger group than
three. More than 25?
Whoa, okay. More than 30?
I came up with 30 myself when I did some research. More than 30?
Okay. How many do you guys have?
26. How many did you have?
25. Oh, yeah. That's true.
Okay. Well you have to -- I have books for all of
you since you're so close and there's a little bit of a disadvantage
here. So just send me your business card and we'll
get books to you. I also have a gift for all of you that I'll
tell you about later. Okay.
Let me, you know what? Let me take a look at your list.
Let's just talk briefly about -- I'll ask you questions, the ones I
don't understand.
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Yes. Okay, would you?
Well, keep going. You can e-mail them to me.
I see you have off-sites, corporate and team off-sites.
What are OKRs?
>>-- every quarter as a company we define what the corporate goals are.
And there's a big meeting where everybody talks about that. And then
at the end of the quarter, there's a second meeting where we talk about
what the goals were and how we met them. So it's kind of two separate things.
And, oh, I did read about EMG's. Tell us about EMG.
>>Well, I guess Google recognizes key contributions from individuals
and teams. And so the they'll recognize -- I don't know
if it's quarterly it really depends.
Sometimes it's like quarterly or sometimes there's like a huge, huge
product launch or something that occurs.
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Well, let's see what you had on your list over
here. Can I take a look?
Thank you. Let's see if I recognize.
What's, what's VP hour?
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Okay. That simple.
Very descriptive. And okay, 20 percent time.
I know about that. And you have VL rooms or VC rooms ?
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Okay and how is that?
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD: Okay, okay. Right.
Technically connects them so they can see each other face to face and
okay. Great.
Well, a lot of ideas here. I may be e-mailing you and following up on
these for an article I'm writing in the next few days for a journal
in the UK. So thank you for doing research for me.
I appreciate that. Today, most leaders focus on task excellence.
And that's good with things like, you know, programs such as Six Sigma,
and Lean Manufacturing, and Competitive Benchmarking. The performance of our organizations has risen.
But the problem is if individuals and leaders in organizations focus on
task excellence alone, the absence of relationship excellence will
ultimately sabotage task excellence. What happens every time in organizations
-- and this is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history -- is that
when an individuals and leaders focus on task excellence alone, people
who have power and influence in the organization, they feel connected.
But 70 to 80 percent in the organization, don't.
And gradually, over time, because they don't feel connected, they stop
caring. They stop giving their best efforts.
They feel like outsiders to some degree. They stop giving their best efforts.
They stop aligning their behavior with organizational goals.
And it has an affect on the performance of the organization.
It starts to spiral down. They don't fully communicate so the decision
makers don't get the information they need to make optimal decisions
and performance spirals down.
But the opposite is true, too. When a leader is intentional, when organizations
are intentional about focussing on task excellence and relationship
excellence, the performance of the organization spirals up
and can continue, they can continue to achieve sustainable superior performance.
Let me give you an example from the sports world.
In 1984, the Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan, the basketball
superstar. In his first month in the NBA, Michael was
on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
The headline read, "A Star is Born: Michael Jordan lights up the NBA."
And he was lighting up the NBA. He was scoring 30, 40 points a game, later
in the season 50, even 60 points at times.
The Bulls, the expectations were very high for the Bulls.
Because they had arguably the greatest player, the greatest basketball
player in history. But as the years progressed, the Bulls failed
to live up to management's expectations.
And the fans' expectations. They improved during that period.
Their coach was Doug Collins, and Collins is a great coach.
He was very focused on developing new plays and focussing on excellence
in execution. And they improved, but it just wasn't enough.
After five years, Bulls management decided to make a change.
And they replaced the head coach with Phil Jackson, who was an
assistant coach on the Bulls at that time. The genius of Phil Jackson was he could see
that something more was required than focussing on tasks, on new plays
and execution. He sat down with Michael Jordan.
He said, you know, Michael, we're never going to be the NBA champions
that you and I long to be unless you surrender the me for the we.
Michael, when we're traveling on the road, you spend more time with
your entourage than you do with the your teammates. You call your teammates your supporting cast.
And that's how they feel. They feel like nobodies.
He's -- Jackson told Jordan that -- think of the ball as a spotlight.
When a player has the ball, they're in the spotlight.
And everybody needs the spotlight from time to time on them, if they're
going to perform at the top of their game. And Michael Jordan listened to what Phil Jackson
had to say. And what I love about Michael is he, right
away, started to change. He came to practice early.
And started working with his teammates to help them improve their
basketball skills. To help them improve, to become stronger in
terms of strength training and endurance.
He began spending time with them off the court and getting to know
them. He started trusting them on the court.
He started sharing the ball with them. It used to be, at the end of the game when
the score was close, everybody knew who was going to take the final
shot. And the opposing teams always tripled-teamed
Michael and shut down the Bulls.
But after Michael connected with his teammates, their performance
improved. And Michael started sharing the ball so that
his teammates were taking those final shots oftentimes at the end the
of the game. Over the next eight years, the Bulls won an
astounding six NBA championships.
When Michael, as a leader on the team, began to connect with his
teammates, it boosted their performance. Phil Jackson could see that he had to focus
on both task excellence. He didn't take his eye off that.
He knew that was critical too. But also there was a problem with the relationships
on the team that was affecting the rest of the team's performance.
So when he created, helped create a connection culture -- when he and
Michael together created that connection culture so that everybody felt
connected to the team, a part of the team, that's when the Bulls became
a basketball dynasty. Makes sense?
In our research that we did, we not only looked at organizations, we
looked at other fields of knowledge and were just amazed at all the
research that supports the importance of connection in life to our
performance in life and in work. Let me just share some of that with you.
In -- in organizational behavior, research we discovered that the
Corporate Executive Board, which is a for-profit think tank in
Washington, D.C., studied 50,000 individuals in 2004 worldwide.
And they concluded that individuals who felt engaged and connected were
20 percent more productive than the average employee.
That's like an extra day of work a week. Just think of the compounded effect of that
over someone's entire career.
It's huge. And multiply that by all the employees in
an organization. The other finding that the Corporate Executive
Board discovered was that emotional factors were four times as
important as rational factors when it came to the amount of effort that
people put in their job. Now emotional factors are how people feel
about their day-to-day work tasks.
How they feel about their -- the people they work with, and how they
feel about their organization. In other words, the elements of connection.
From -- we start to understand how powerful this force of connection is
when we delve into the field of psychology. And we learn that psychologists have identified
there's six universal human needs to thrive.
The first three are respect, recognition, and belonging.
They're relational needs. And when -- and in our research, what we discovered
is that when these needs are being met people inevitably described
that they clicked or they connected with the people they worked
with. The next two needs are task mastery needs.
They are autonomy and personal growth. And when people experience, when these needs
are being met, people describe it was feeling connected or immersed
in their day-to-day work. They're so immersed that the hours fly by.
It's like they've entered into a time warp. How many of you have experienced that from
time to time? Yeah, I think most of us have.
The final need is for meaning. And when people are working on something that's
important to them, that's connected to the organization's work,
they describe it as feeling connected to the organization.
So we kept hearing that name, connection. I feel like I connect with my work on a day-to-day
basis. I connect with the people I work with.
I connect with my organization. And that's when we came up with the idea that
leaders need to develop these connection cultures where the needs
are being met so that people will thrive.
Then we discovered in neuroscience that these feelings of connection
when they exist it boosts hormones in our bloodstream that make us feel
more energetic, more confident, and more trusting of the people around
us. And they also reduced the stress hormones
in our bloodstream. So that we are more likely to remain rational than
rash when we're in an environment that's stressful.
From the field of psychiatry, we learn that psychiatrists see a
continuous flow of people mostly coming out of the business community,
and these patients express that they feel --
They're experiencing feelings of emptiness and boredom in life and
they're not sure why. And to treat these feelings, they may become
involved in substance abuse or they may seek the thrill from taking
excessive risks, maybe business risks or sexual risks .
And to treat these patients, psychiatrists help them bring more human
connection into their life. In fact, Dr. Edward Hallowell, who's a famous
psychiatrist and former instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical
School. He describes this treatment as vitamin C.
And vitamin C stands for vitamin connection. Even political sociologists today have --
they believe that nations that have a higher degree of connection, those
nations are more economically productive.
And that would make sense, wouldn't it? Given what we've see in these other fields
of knowledge. And I'm just covering the tip of the iceberg.
In the book, we go much deeper. But you get the picture.
When I was immersed in all this research, I had a personal experience
that really helped clarify it for me. In 2004, my wife Katie was diagnosed with
advanced ovarian cancer. And that was a year after she had been treated
for breast cancer. Now I'm delighted and relieved to say that
Katie is cancer-free and thriving today.
In 2004, we experienced an outpouring of support and encouragement from
our family, our friends, and health care workers. I'll never forget our first trip to -- our
first visit to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York
City. Let me describe this.
We were walking down the sidewalk and a big doorman by the name of
Nick, when we got within eyesight of the place, he locked his eyes on
Katie and greeted her like a returning friend. And I thought how wonderful.
This guy is -- he recognizes cancer patients, probably because he's a
good wig spotter. And he's intentionally connecting with them.
And then we entered into the reception area, and the receptionist is
calling everyone honey. Then the security people we met, the administrative
people we met were outgoing and friendly.
We spent an hour with our oncologist and she educated us about the
various treatment options that we had to choose among.
And she answered our long list of questions. She was upbeat and optimistic.
And by the end of the day, I just felt like I connected with these
people. And it made me more optimistic that we could
get Katie through this difficult season that was ahead.
And we did. As I thought about that experience, there
was a real aha for me. I realized that connection is especially critical
in the difficult seasons we face in life.
As individuals, and as organizations. And a lot of people today are experiencing
difficult seasons. Both in their individual lives, and organizations
are facing difficult seasons.
When people are connected, they tend to pull together through
adversity. When they're not connected, the environment
tends to become -- people become isolated.
They retreat. They become more fearful.
And finger pointing and distrust tends to rule in organizations.
And it makes it difficult to thrive and push through adversity.
[PAUSE] Makes sense?
Let me just pause here a second. Any questions?
[PAUSE] Now the bottom line on the research is that
connection makes us better in our personal lives and in our lives at
work. And it affects us all of our lives.
It's something we go into a little bit deeper in the work.
Now what I'd like to do is another quick little exercise before I wrap
it up and open it up for questions. What I'd like you to do is first of all stand
up, everybody stand up. [PAUSE]
Okay, find somebody in the room you don't know.
Introduce yourself, and ask a question that's unrelated to work.
Okay, then reciprocate, and go back to your seat.
Okay. Just a couple minutes to do this, so go.
Thanks. [PAUSE]
Okay, great. Thank you.
You guys had no trouble connecting. It's nice to come to basically a session that's
on connection and go away with at least one new connection.
So here are some things that research has shown us will help increase
connection in a workplace. The first is role in the whole.
When people understand the answers to four questions, they feel more
connected to the organization. The questions are:
Where are we going? Why is it important?
How do we -- how are we going to get there? And what's my role?
So the more you can understand that for yourself and help the people
around you understand that, the more your team is going to feel
connected. So how can you do that if you're not supervising
someone? Here's an example.
If you read a good article -- I noticed in last month's Atlantic, there
was a great article about augmented intelligence in Google.
In fact, you can probably see at the top it says, "Google is Actually
Making us Smarter." I don't know if any of you saw this article,
but it's a great article that just shows how important your work is
here at Google. And if you had read that article, you could
have circulated that to your colleagues at work.
And that would help them see why what you're doing is so important.
And that helps us connect through what we call role in the whole.
The second is finding the right role. And that's so critical for all of us in life,
isn't it? When we're in the right role that's a good
fit with our strengths and provides the right degree of challenge, we're
just energized. And we perform better.
We do better work. Even more than that, though, we also, because
we're doing good work when we're in the right role, people affirm
us, they give us recognition.
And that helps us. Okay?
So you can help the people around you find the right role for them.
When you're working with people you'll inevitably see over time if
they're in the right role or not. And if you have a good relationship with them,
you can provide them honest feedback.
Because it's ultimately honest feedback that helps us find the right
role. So we need those people around us who will
provide honest feedback. And if you're giving somebody that type of
feedback, it's always good to start out with praise.
Like, Sara, you're great at this. You may be even more effective if you try
this. And then when it comes to feedback, we all
need that feedback ourselves, too.
And what I suggest is try to spend some time with the people you're
working with and get feedback on your work product.
And also how you interact with people one-to-one and in a group
setting. And don't take too a specific feedback to
heart too much. It's good to, number one, just listen to what
people have to say. Thank them.
Don't be critical of what they say. Write it down in a journal, keep track of
it. And then as you gather more feedback over
time, patterns will start to emerge and that will give you some things
to work on. Number three, connect as human beings.
We just did the micro-connections exercise, is what I call that.
The truth is in most organizations, they're not blatantly toxic.
They may have their toxic moments at times, but most organizations are
not toxic cultures. But they do, however, tend to be indifferent
cultures. They're indifferent to people.
They tend to be so focused on the -- we get so focused on the rhythm of
tasks that we ignore people around us. And that can be toxic, too, over time.
It's like a low level of toxicity. It's almost like oxygen deprivation.
Where it effects us gradually over time but there's a cumulative
effect. And we oftentimes don't know the effect on
our bodies physically until we've been in a toxic environment or in an
environment that's indifferent over years.
The antidote for an environment that's indifferent and subtly toxic is
micro-connections like you did. You know, asking a colleague a question that's
unrelated to work. Getting to know them as a human being rather
than strictly interacting as a human doing is a way to humanize the
work environment. Another thing we can could that falls in the
micro-connections category is just when we see people around rather than
ignoring them when we pass someone in the hallway, you can just
make eye contact or smile and say hello.
Little things like that make a difference too.
They start to make the -- Atul Gawande, the surgeon who wrote the book
"Better," and he writes for the New Yorker. One of the things he wrote about was asking
unrelated questions. That's his number one recommendations to
-- recommendation to doctors to improve their performance.
And he had this great quote. He said sometimes when we do that it helps,
it makes the machine feel less like a machine.
It humanizes the workplace. The next recommendation is grow or die.
You know the definition for death in biology is when an organism ceases
growing. We all need to grow.
We all need personal development plans in writing.
And so I would encourage you to do that. Spend some time identifying how you're going
to grow. And the beauty of Google is you have such
a wealth of resources here. All these G-to-G programs and formal training
programs. And you if happen to find something that doesn't
-- an area you want to grow in that there isn't a formal training
or G-to-G offering available, then start something on your own.
Maybe you can find a book on the topic and get a few colleagues
together. Or find an expert within Google who could,
who could teach a new class that you could structure as a G-to-G offering,
or find an expert who becomes your mentor.
So these things are just ways to keep us growing. Fist bumps moments.
Fist bumps are the high five of today. I loved to see President Obama and the First
Lady giving each other fist bumps.
The Bryan twins who dominate men's doubles in tennis, have you ever
watched those guys? They must give like a hundred fist bumps in
a match. It's unbelievable.
I love it. It just energizes them.
It keeps them up. We all need that.
It's in our DNA. Fist bumps, whether they're literal or figurative,
metaphorical, we need recognition.
It's almost as if we have this recognition battery that the plug in to
the battery is in our back at the place where we can't reach.
So we have to rely on the people around us to charge our recognition
battery. And we need that, if it's not charged, then
we lose energy. But if it is charged on a regular basis, it
energizes us. It helps perform better in life.
And I would encourage you that -- take the initiative to charge the
batteries. To be the, you know, seize those fist bumps
moments with the people you work with, to encourage them.
Keep in the loop. It -- Google just seems really good at this
one. You know, with TGIF's and all these other,
you know, white boards and suggestion boxes.
It seems like you have all the bases covered on this one.
That's great. Don't -- I would encourage you to use those
and just realize how important that is to making people feel connected.
That they're informed and they have a voice. Not necessarily a vote, but at least a voice
in decisions that are being made that effect them.
And then finally, study great leaders in whatever realm.
If you're interested in history or business or sports.
If you find great leaders and study them, I guarantee you that you'll,
you'll find that they were a force for connection. And by studying their lives, you'll learn
from their example. And to get you started, I'm going to offer
all of you -- It's going to be available at my blog --
free download of my book. So it will be out there.
It's a PDF file. It's already out there right now.
I put it up this morning. And the book can really help you get started
in a few ways. Number one, it has 20 stories of great leaders
throughout history in all these different realms, in sports, in
business, in leading nations. And by reading those examples, you'll learn
from them. Secondly, it has hundreds of actionable ways
for you to increase connection among your team and here at Google.
And then finally, it has questions that are ideal for team study to get
together like we did today in small groups and just talk through.
And that helps us all learn and better understand connection.
Who will you choose to become? That's the question I want to leave you with
today. Because becoming an intentional connector
is a choice. I think of people as falling into three categories
what it comes to connection.
The first is unintentional -- I'm sorry. Intentional disconnectors.
These are the individuals who lie, cheat, and steal for self benefit.
And some are psychopaths. Some are sociopaths.
Some are close to that. Some, some are -- the abrasive disconnectors
you'll be able to spot. But others are smooth and cunning, and you
have to watch your back. With intentional disconnectors, because they
have learned how to navigate in organizations, and you're going
to run into them. The second group is where most of us fall,
what we call the unintentional disconnectors.
Because we all have blind spots, we don't see.
There are things we do that promote disconnection. It may be that we're overly critical.
It may be that we are not effective in giving or receiving honest
feedback. Those things create disconnection in relationships.
And we need people around us who will give us honest feedback and help
us improve in those areas. And when we do, when we're intentional about
learning about connection, and surrounding ourselves with individuals
who will give us honest feedback, that helps us reach the pentacle
of connection which is the intentional connector.
I wholeheartedly believe with, after doing all the research, and
thinking about my own experiences in life and in work, that if we're
intentional about focussing on developing task excellence and
relationship excellence through connection, we will perform at the top
of our game whether we're an organization or an individual.
And my hope for you today is that you will become an intentional
connector. That you'll become an intentional connector
not only here among your colleagues at Google but also among your family
members at home. Because this applies to the home, too.
And with your friends in the community. Mark this day.
July 28, 2009, begin connecting, and watch what happens.
You will experience the prosperity, the productivity, and the joy that
comes from having more connection in your life.
Thank you for taking time to listen to me. And I'll stick a round a bit if anyone has