The question "Do you feel seen and heard?" informed much of the conversations and our guest's leadership journey. In this episode we hear from
Katie Berger grooves on the power of sharing a common language and changing the internal narrative.
Caroline Pearl shares her revelation that people remember connection over content and her surprise at how positive feedback challenged her own story.
And, Paru Radia discusses the competency of trusting the process and the super power of authentic demand.
Conversations will revolve around how they are practicing and what they are discovering based on the Connection Lab Six Box Model.
Lab Notes - the Connection Lab Podcast - is an ongoing conversation with people who have been though a Connection Lab workshop, an executive development program or through a Leadership Journey program. For everyone who has ever been to a workshop of this sort and had a useful experience - but are still working on turning that experience into a conscious practice - this is a show designed to support your effort and remind us all that we are not alone.
If you want to be a guest on an upcoming episode email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information is available on our website www.connectionlaboratory.com
From Little Mountain Sound in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is Lab Notes. And, now here's your host, Russ Hamilton. Hello. Welcome. Thank you, everybody for tuning in. I appreciate you being here. I brought a checklist for the opening first. Breathe. Katie, are you breathing? I am breathing. Thank you. Number two Gratitude. I just want to express gratitude for all the people in circumstances that made this podcast offer possible. I am so grateful for you for tuning in and participating. I'm grateful to everyone who sent me lovely messages and notes of support and encouragement and there are many and it's just fantastic. So enormous gratitude. I'm also grateful to those who messaged me and said they hadn't in fact listen to the podcast. But they certainly had thought to. So, they knew about the podcast and they wanted me to know that they knew about. So I'm grateful to you, too. Though it seems you won't ever know that I'm grateful that you're communicating with me, that you know about the podcast and that you have some kind of intention at some point to listen. But you may or may not. And, that's totally fine. Number three practice what I ask others to practice. That's a good note. So when one records a podcast, one becomes both the presenter and then the audience. Isn't that interesting? I thought the guests, as I was listening to the podcast that have aired so far, were amazing. Every single one of them so brave, so generous, so transparent. As for me, I have some feedback for you, Russ. I did okay. There were some highlights. There was some good listening and some good question. But there were a lot of moments when I didn't feel seen or heard by me. I thought there were a lot of moments when I pushed my needs ahead of those of my guests on all that is interesting. It's not right. It's not wrong. It's not good. It's not bad. It's just how I showed up to host this new podcast. Isn't that interesting? So, noticing all that I noticed, I didn't really have permission to fail. My hope was my expectation that it would all be great and I missed, so I can say that I'm cool with that. And maybe the more I do say that, the more it'll be true. Number four invite the audience to inform the process and the content. Katie are still with me. I am still here. Okay, so you are now informing this process and I appreciate that. Thank you for joining me for the intro. Thank you for joining me in general. Thank you for participating. Katie Burger are you in Broomfield, Colorado?
Katie Berger: 2:35
I am in Broomfield, Colorado.
Yes, you are. You and I. When did we meet? And under what circumstances?
Katie Berger: 2:41
It would have been in, gosh, 2013 or 2014. I was part of a leadership training program at Return Path called leading teams. And I believe the first time I met you was on our first on site in the New York office with wires hanging everywhere and no running water. It was quite an experience.
That's right. That was in New York. I was remembering all our Colorado stuff, but
Katie Berger: 3:08
that's right. You were in New York? Yes. So you're at Return Path. Let's say it's early 2014. You've been tapped to join this leading teams leadership journey program. What's going through your mind? What do you remember about the early parts of that experience?,
Katie Berger: 3:26
Yes. So the first thing I remember about the experience was getting the email asking me to join, and I like to plan, and I like to have a lot of information about what I'm doing. And I think a lot of that information was left out on purpose to just help us go in with an open mind, which was a little bit stressful for me. But doing that first on site inNew York was you know, we got no room. I was with a lot of people around the company, maybe whose names I had known. But I had never met in person, and I was just really honored to be included in that group. I felt really honored that the company was making that investment in me to be able to take part in that.
Nice. And, then what happened?
Katie Berger: 4:11
We started, and the biggest thing I remember from that was actually making paper airplanes that we were flying around and building a launchpad.
So somebody tuning into this for the first time is rolling their eyes, going really, that is in your Leadership Development program, Why was that relevant? What was that exercise?
Katie Berger: 4:31
So we were split up into groups, mostly of people who we didn't know before and we were tasked with, essentially to launch a shuttle and we had do it fast and we had to work together. And we had to have someone in charge of PR for our group and someone in charge of being our lead structural engineer for building our launchpad. We had a set of materials to do it with, and it was it might sound, you know, I can understand someone joining in might think it sounds a little crazy, but it was It is crazy how quickly people get into this. And, you know, we had marketing materials and we had someone on my team being the lead speaker for a group because he was the best presenter and it was it was intense.
That's the hook from a distance it sounds a bit silly, but when you're in the room, we take the bait. Yes, we take the bait, and suddenly this becomes the most important thing in our lives is winning this competition against this fake team on the other side doing this fake project on all of a sudden, the stakes go up. Yes, and tension start to rise and the pressure and the first and we have to deliver. And we have to throw the paper airplane the farthest, and we have these ridiculous materials. We have to build some kind of platform that can hold as much weight as possible with straws and paper. That's not gonna work. That one that you know, you got to do better job because, you know, or or, you know, there was a general manager to wandering from department to department and trying to encourage people or find a way to be useful. Which is what general managers do a lot trying to find a way to be useful. Nice. So all of that and I know it's it's kind of my perception of the framework I look at this through is our little Six Box Model, right? How do I show up under stress? That's our first question. Well, how can you know making airplanes be stressful? That's, you know, little paper airplanes is is ridiculous, except in the moment when it's not, because now you're in a competition and your professional face is at risk and your ability to compete and win is being tested, and all of a sudden it's as stressful is pretty much anything else that you have to do is work. So how did you show up under stress?
Katie Berger: 6:46
You know, it was it was a very stressful experience, and our team was really grasping to figure out a way to win. I remember. And really trying. You know, we were maybe doing a little more searching than we should have to build the perfect paper airplane. Um, and I think that externally, I probably didn't seem as stressed, but internally, it was very stressful. I was with a group of people. There were a lot of people who were more senior than me. I had been through management training, but this was my really, my first time being in a room with a lot of people who I really admired as leaders. So I it was internally, it was a very stressful experience..
Yeah, so And you noticed it.
Katie Berger: 7:30
Yes, I did.
And you noticed it in your teammates?
Katie Berger: 7:33
Yes, I did.
And you're starting to feel in a bit now
Katie Berger: 7:37
I am. I'm thinking back to it. And I actually found all of our marketing material not too long ago, which brought it all back.
So your blood pressure is starting to creep up a little.
Katie Berger: 7:46
bit. It absolutely.
Yeah. Isn't that interesting? That stress can be contrived and just as powerful as real stress, which might be one of our takeaways. Absolutely right. What is stressful for me? Which of my skills and abilities disappear first under what kinds of stress? Can I notice without judgment or correction? Was any of that possible for you?
Katie Berger: 8:07
At the time, no, I don't think that that is even something I thought about. I think it was at the time I was just I was feeling stress. And I think one thing I tend to do when I start feeling stress to start comparing my perceived abilities to those of other people which piles on to how I'm feeling.
How would you talk to your 2014 self?
Katie Berger: 8:28
You know, I think I have learned a lot since then. I think a lot of it was through this process of I used the phrase "isn't that interesting" a lot. And having a now husband who is also in that leadership, training right days to each other a lot. So you know, it's really trying to look at the stress without judgment, and I think being able to kind of be able to pull yourself out of yourself and look down and just allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. And it's not that you can't get better at some things, I think you absolutely can. I think that there's a lot to be said about how you want to show up under stress and really trying to manifest that. But you know, I think at the time just being able to look at myself and say it's not bad that you're feeling this way, it's not bad you're comparing yourself to other people. t's not bad that you feel stressed, but it's it's more just interesting. And if that's something you want to get better at than work on that but really just try to tell myself that I am suppose to be there and I do have the capabilities of doing a good job in this type of situation.
What is the competency there to get better at? Because we say if that's something you want to get better at, what's the competency we want to get better at?
Katie Berger: 9:39
I would say it's almost around. It's around self like trusting yourself. I feel like that's something that that I could definitely get better odds and just looking at things from a less judgmental lens. I think that no one else is judging us as much as we're judging ourselves. And I think that's something I've really I'm really trying to get better at.
I'm just writing it down, how to trust myself. Trust that In fact, you know I am adequate. I am capable that I'm not a bad person or a bad professional or bad teammate that I can notice without judgment or correction without, But, you know, we say like it's easy - notice without judgment.
Katie Berger: 10:23
Yeah, and I think you know, the less I judge myself, I think the more able I'll be able to look at other people and not be constantly comparing and that is something that I noticed in that activity. I noticed it have you know, in other other activities I did through training program, and then since then with you is just surround not feeling the need to compare my own abilities to other people and just recognizing them all as beneficial in their own ways and that everybody is contributing something.
Mm, Yeah, I'm just visualizing all that because because it starts with me. And then if you and I are on a team together now it's us. And if our team has to join, you know another team than it's like 10 of us and all of the questions I've been asking about myself about, how do I show up under stress? How do I want to what I want to get better at become relevant for the group? How does the group show up under stress? How does it want? What does it want to get better at? Did you notice a change in culture or process after the leading teams program?
Katie Berger: 11:34
I did, and I think it was really beneficial that some of the people who were in my cohort, were people I worked together with on a regular basis, so there was another leader on my team who was part of it. There's people who have since become clients of mine as business as a business partner, and it really gives us a shift in culture, and it also gives all of us a common language to use, which I think is really helpful, because if one person's been through it, but the rest heaven, I think it's harder for people to understand. Anyone who took place in any of the activities, whether it was through leadership training or through, different Connection Lab activities that were done in the different offices, I think it helps give people a common language around, how are you showing up under stress? Do other people feel seen and heard? If you're not getting the response you want, have you stepped back to see like, Oh, is there something I could be doing differently to help this person maybe see my perspective differently. And is the reason they're not seeing my perspective because they feel like they're not being seen by me. So it really does give a common language and just a common set of skills for us all to be aware of at all times. And I think it's made a huge shift in the culture.
Amazing. Have you noticed when a common language is missing from a professional community? Yes, I I'm stepping in some right now. Russ.
Katie Berger: 13:01
Yeah, I think that in general, most people are on the same page more than they think they are. But I think with the lack of that common language, people don't always know how to talk about it in a way that's going to help them. If someone is is at the point where they're making assumptions about somebody else or, you know, they've started to have some self sealing loops when it comes to what they're noticing and other people, I think without the common language, to be able to kind of back away and figure out, are we on the same page here and and if we're not, how do we get there? And I think without that it really does hold us back sometimes.
That's my experience. Yeah, I go into a lot of businesses and people are like minded their values are similar, their ethics are similar...
Katie Berger: 13:54
They're people. Yeah,
tremendous human beings, tremendously professional. But they come from a background of a different language yet and a different framework to frame challenges, problems, calls to action. And they introduced this language and people find it foreign. Oh, that's not then that it's not a conscious thought, but they go that's not my understanding of this problem. So now we have to fight about how we frame the challenge and we fight and we don't feel seen and heard, and now I walk away, go I don't know if this person knows what they're talking about.
Katie Berger: 14:28
Right. Absolutely and it's not necessarily that they don't know what they're talking about, and in many cases there is no real issue there. I think that just people not knowing how to talk about it or not knowing how to help the other person feel like they are being seen and heard can really it holds us back.
I find it such a powerful question, especially to someone who's upset someone who is either holding back emotion or not holding back emotion is do you feel seen and heard right now. People are not expecting that question and it's a bit of a stunner.
Katie Berger: 15:06
It is. And I think that asking that question and really trying to figure out what's happening there, I think the more people do not feel seen and the more they do not feel heard. I think that's when they tend to either withdraw and shut down and just completely back away, or they're going to stamp their foot and really show their emotion in a big way in a way that maybe it's not the most productive and what it really comes down to is they don't feel like their perspective is being seen. So they are either going to say, I don't care and I'm just not going to try anymore or they're going to try and drill in how they are feeling until the other person sees and hears them. But there's no language around that to help the other person understand why the conversation has gone off the rails in that way.
That's my experience. I totally relate to that. Do you remember your connection live work shop.
Katie Berger: 15:58
I do I have done a few, and I remember I remember all of them.
She says with a left eye twitching,
Katie Berger: 16:08
I can remember one being a little more traumatic than the other.
Yeah, tell me what you remember. Tell me your memory of those expereinces.
Katie Berger: 16:17
So the first one I did, we had to sit down and we really didn't get any other instruction other than we had to write some sort of, you know, paragraph or short essay about what you wanted your leadership legacy to be. I consider myself to be a fairly good writer. I was not quite sure what I wanted to write about, but I had an idea and I sat down and I wrote my essay and then we all finish. And then we find out that we are going to be presenting them in front of a roomful of people. That didn't really concern me too much because I've done trainings. I don't mind too much speaking in front of other people, and I figured I could just stand up there and read and what really threw me was when we found out that the goal was not necessarily to get our point across, but it was to make the audience feel seen and heard. And to do that you can't just have your head buried in your no book and just read verbatim what you wrote, because nobody's going to connect with that. You had to really work and look up and make eye contact and wait for people to raise their hand to let you know that they felt seen.
You don't control when they feel seen.
Katie Berger: 17:30
No, you do not.
So we throw that phrase around like when people feel seen or heard or don't. And it's critical to remember that we don't decide when the audience feels seen and heard, even when I really, really want them to.
Katie Berger: 17:44
Yes, even when I am desperately trying to get through my content that I created and I had worked kind of hard at over the past 15 minutes, it became much less about my content and much more about my connections with the other people.
And they did they raise their hand.
Katie Berger: 18:01
because you're good at that, too. You're good, inviting people into relationship.
Katie Berger: 18:06
It was not as easy as I thought it would be. But eventually people did start to feel seen.
Yeah, And then other people did the same thing. They got up there.
Katie Berger: 18:18
and took their swing at managing the three instruments. Yes, my relationship to self, my relationship to content and my relationship, the audience. And where does my energy go under the stress of presentation. Does it go to my content? Right. This is when we talk about this a lot. Because this is when I get into trouble as a communicator and as a presenter, when I'm absolutely sure I'm being a best service to my audience when in fact I'm being a best service to my content, okay? And the only people who know our my audience because I'm up there thinking I'm crushing it because, you know, my tone is right and you know, my energy is good, and I've written a couple of jokes.
Katie Berger: 19:09
Yeah, you have the best power point presentation out there.
Page seven of the deck is so good that artwork is so funny. And everybody in the audience is checking their email and playing tetris just not really interested because they don't feel seeing they don't feel heard. They don't feel invited. They don't feel necessary. It's a different instrument to invite people into relationship, and then they decide if they want to participate or not. And they it's often a trust issue. It's interesting, you say trust, you know, do I trust that this person's inviting me into relationship or are they just playing me? So now I become more sensitive as an audience member?
Katie Berger: 19:49
Absolutely. From what I remember, I think I was one of the first people to go because I wanted to get it out of the way and and I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it was. I noticed for myself as other people started going, I started doubting my own content, which is interesting because even stepping away from it, I think we can get so tied to what our content was, but the people who were most nervous about getting up there, I feel like did the best job of inviting everyone in the conversation, and I think as an audience member, especially if you had already gotten up there, it just gave you so much more empathy for what other people were trying to do. And it did make me. I think that alone helped me feel more connected. But just just seeing people get up there who might not naturally, be a presenter and watching them work to invite us all into the conversation and invite them into their content. It was it was pretty amazing. Some of the experiences that we had with with people getting up there and doing this.
I think no one was more amazed than they were because they're in their mind the story they've written is I'm not a good communicator. I'm not a good presenter. I'm a total introvert. I'm totally shy. I'm not a people person, even though I love people. But I can't ever really communicate it effectively. And then all of a sudden, I write, you know, seven sentences on what I want my leadership legacy to be, and I'm curious about one person instead of dedicated to my content. I'm just curious about that person. And that person raises their hand because they feel seen. Ah, and now we're co creating the experience. We're co creating it and everybody in the audience feels seen and heard, too. So now everybody's co creating collaborating with this experience and all of a sudden the feedback that they get at the end of their presentation is you are an exceptional communicator. You are an exceptional presenter and they are not ready for success. They're shocked because they feel that it's true, but it can't because it absolutely contradicts their narrative.
Katie Berger: 21:54
Right there were tears. I remember there being tears and it was it was a very emotional day.
Don't you go. I'll go. If you go, do not look at me. So that's why people talk about the Connection Lab experience as really intense. And it's like, okay, it can be. And it's also through the discovery of what if I'm really good at this? What if I'm a really good as a communicator and a presenter? Now what I have to do? The competence isn't a competency to shatter this narrative of myself to say that I'm not a communicator, I'm not a presenter. I'm a shy introvert who is just destined to work in a cubicle because that's where I'm most comfortable. Even though I crave communication and relationship and community.
Katie Berger: 22:44
It's a skill that's helpful. And, yes, it was an intense experience, and it's interesting because a lot of us present fairly often and these are things we should be doing anyway. Since then, I think I've been a lot more conscious about how to invite people in, and it doesn't feel quite as intense as it did the first time. But yeah, I mean, it does make you really look at your internal narrative and are these things that you tell yourself about yourself, true. And I think that's the case for not only this type of activity, but for anything you're doing in your work or in your life.
High five on that one. I have one more question. Are you gonna listen to this podcast or you're gonna listen to this interview of you?
Katie Berger: 23:28
I don't know. I might speed forward for the next guest because whenever I hear myself talk, I can't believe that's what I actually sound like. So yeah, but I will I think that I think it'll be a good opportunity to look at myself and maybe see something that I would like to get better at and also show myself some compassion for how I showed up in a situation that is somewhat stressful.
That works for me. I think you're amazing. I'm so grateful.
Katie Berger: 24:03
Shut up, you are.
Katie Berger: 24:06
You are the best.
Do you have any questions for me?
Katie Berger: 24:13
I did not come prepared with any question.
No, I total curveball. So maybe, you know, and you can totally text. You know, I'm only a text away anyway, but just as a result of this conversation. You know where I am. I'm not tough to find. This is great. Thank you so much Katie Burger. Just a tremendous job. And I look forward to more conversations, a continuation of this. And I wish you tremendous success as we move forward.
Katie Berger: 24:39
It was an honor. Thank you so much.
Thanks. Katie., You're listening to Lab Notes the Connection Lab podcast. We continue now with these amazing conversations, and we're so lucky to have Caroline Pearl from New York City. You're not from New York City. You're just in New York City. Are you from New York City?
Caroline Pearl: 24:57
That's a good question. I am not from New York City, but I would consider myself from New Yorker at this point I have lived here for almost six years.
Amazing. You are with the LRN Group right now?
Caroline Pearl: 25:10
Yes. LRN is ethics and compliance company, who are actually trying to expand into the management and leadership space.
Really, expanding into the leadership space. You have some experience with that? Is that why you're there? One of the reasons you're there.
Caroline Pearl: 25:31
Yes, you. You know? Yes. That is when the reasons I'm there. Their product is focused on inspiring, principled or ethical leadership. And we're also, working on making that a reality in the company.
That's extraordinary. I just think that's amazing. How do you and I know each other? When did we meet?
Caroline Pearl: 25:58
Oh, we must have met probably six years ago or six year and a half. I think I was an intern or a coordinator right there.
And you did a workshop? Or did you Were you part the leading teams? No. You did a workshop?
Caroline Pearl: 26:12
I did a Connection Lab workshop. I remember it very, very clearly.
It's so funny when people say I remember my Connection Lab workshop intensely. Their memory of Connection Lab workshops can be quite intense. What do you remember about what happened? What do you remember about signing up and coming into the room and or whatever?
Caroline Pearl: 26:40
I remember not knowing what to expect and and being very kind of engaged in what you were sharing, but then becoming very scared about what I would then have to do, that I was going to be standing up in front of this group of people who I was already kind of worried about. Do they take me seriously? Am I gonna sound stupid? Then I kind of blacked out. I think, and I thought I do remember being in front of everyone and breathing and making eye contact with them. And then after it's been like, Oh, that was really that bad.
Is that one of the takeaways?
Caroline Pearl: 27:27
It's not really that bad.
Caroline Pearl: 27:29
Do you find that people kind of work up the threat of relationship in their mind?
Caroline Pearl: 27:37
Oh, absolutely. Yes. I think that is pretty common, but we don't really talk about it. And so it becomes this threat that that grows in our minds and because we're not talking about it, we think sometimes we're the only ones who feel it.
Yes, do you remember the people you were in the workshop with? What was the experience of watching them?
Caroline Pearl: 28:05
Interesting. I remember thinking other doing really well. And But then again, immediately coming back to myself and thinking, oh, they're doing better than I did.
You're so brave to talk about that. That's so courageous for you to talk about that. I just think that's great, because I think a lot of people have that experience, right, cause they look at these other people and go look at how amazing they are. I wish I could be like that and I'm not. And then you got feedback that in fact, you were.
Caroline Pearl: 28:39
Yes. And that was pretty surprising.
Tell meabout that. Tell me about getting feedback from people who said I felt really seen and heard by you. I really liked having your attention. I really like the quality of your invitation and your offer got better. What you had written got much much better because you put relationship with me ahead of relationship with your content. How is hearing that feedback
Caroline Pearl: 29:04
It was interesting because I simultaneously felt, you know, relieved and also skeptical. Oh, yeah,
Yeah, they're just being nice.
Caroline Pearl: 29:24
Yeah, because, wow. So that means that my narrative is more important than new information. And isn't that interesting? Oh, they're just being nice to me.
Caroline Pearl: 29:41
If I had actually turned on the group and said, Are you just be Are you lying to her to be nice to her? They would have furrowed their brows and said, No, this is our experience of Caroline.
Caroline Pearl: 29:54
and then we would have had to reconcile. This is contrary to my narrative much. The story I tell myself about myself and that's hard work is to confront information that directly challenges the narrative I have about myself.
Caroline Pearl: 30:13
Yeah, I think we see that all the time, even when it's I think it's most kind personal when it's about yourself. But really, when you have any beliefs, it's really hard to change those with new information because we have a bias for and what we already believe.
Absolutely. So what happened after the workshop? Did you notice anything about your practice? About the culture of the organization? Did did anything change for you?
Caroline Pearl: 30:46
I think one of the revelations that I had was that by worrying about how other people were perceiving me, it was also, like, selfish that I was taking something away from the audience and from the people who I thought I was concerned about. And that didn't sit well with me because I always thought about myself. I guess, as someone who is selfless generous, there is about other people's opinions, more then my own. But then that was kind of coming back and biting me.
So you were depriving your audience of their their right to decide who and what you were in their experience of you. Yes, that's profound.
Caroline Pearl: 31:43
how important my narrative is to me that I'm denying my audience. I'm actually denying my own belief about myself that I'm a generous, empathetic person.
Caroline Pearl: 31:54
And I remember having to facilitate a training that we didn't ReturnPath calledmasterful conversations, about having no tough conversations. That happened soon after a I had gone through Connection Lab and I think it really changed my experience and how I approached facilitating those workshops because as much as I would obsess about my content and knowing my content, I would stop myself and say, I know this and this This isn't what people are going to remember. They are going remember that connection that we had
Totally. And did the feedback change?
Caroline Pearl: 32:55
The feedback from the audience?
Your audiences, as you began to evolve as a communicator and a presenter.
Caroline Pearl: 33:02
Can you speak to that?
Caroline Pearl: 33:07
Yeah. I mean, it's funny cause, you know, the first didn't think about feedback through, like a survey that's done afterwards, that you're getting second in the moment.
You mean that feedback, not industrial feedback.
which was the name of our third album, If I remember correctly Industrial feedback.
Caroline Pearl: 33:27
I'll play the ukulele..
So how did the feedback change? Or did the results of your presentation change your communication? Your offers?
Caroline Pearl: 33:38
Yes, because when I was having fun than other people were having fun. Imagine that? And it's something that so kind of obvious but so hard to do. And even now I catch myself. And you know, I'm certainly not perfect. And I'm still learning. And I think every time I facilitate or present, this is always still a challenge. I'm always kind of reminding myself - I know what my tendencies are, and I know it doesn't serve me, And so I should shut down my computer and stop trying to memorize everything.
How would you respond to somebody who pointed at you and say, Have more fun when you present.
Caroline Pearl: 34:27
It probably wouldn't go well.
Right, because a lot of managers do that, hey they speak about the end goal, the byproduct of this practice of whatever practice. No, no, no. Have more fun, for crying out loud. Okay. And then I just start crying because they are attacking me because I'm not having enough fun. And I'm a fun person.
Caroline Pearl: 34:53
So that's not useful management. It's not useful direction.
Caroline Pearl: 34:58
This is the process to help us discover that in fact, the threat is not as potent as we thought it was, which, as you said, is surprising.
Caroline Pearl: 35:08
Yes, because it feels like a big, scary monster. And like, it's the only thing that matters in that, even when you try to put it in perspective. It's hard to do that.
Yes, how do you define leadership? Hang on. I can ask a better question because leadership is not a fair word because it's in a vacuum. We need context in order to talk about leadership. I find leadership is a word that can be weaponized. There's no not enough leadership in here. What does that mean? I find leadership is only a useful word in context with authority. What's the difference between leadership and authority? How would you take a swing at that? What's the difference between leadership and authority?
Caroline Pearl: 35:53
Well, people, I mean both are pretty complex concepts. And I think actually, anyone can have, no matter if you're the CEO are or a financial analyst or whatever, you can have both or either of those things. I feel like leadership to me is more about the empowerment of the people around you and facilitating success of the group that you're that you're with. Authorities Interesting, right, because authority can mean I have a lot of expertise in this area. I am the authority on this, or it's I have authority over you.
Right So you're right. It is complex. And there are businesses who are investing in better leadership in their companies, improved a culture of leadership. Should we have a common understanding of what that is before we pursue it?
Caroline Pearl: 36:53
It's probably a good ideas.
Hang on. Let me write that down. Common definition. That's awesome. So how do we collect a common definition of leadership from a workplace?
Caroline Pearl: 37:12
It starts with a discussion about it or just raising it to the surface that leadership and authority are different things and understanding what are the perspectives within the organization on what those two things are and how they differ, if they do differ, and making people aware of it.
The reason that's important to me is because I work with a lot of individuals who see them as the same thing. Leadership and authority is the exact same thing, right? It's a bit paternal. It's a bit patriarchal when somebody has the authority, they are the CEO, they're the leader of the company, and I think only in the modern definitions is there a useful separation - to say oh, in fact, authority and leadership are two different things. What I talk about is vulnerability. There's very little vulnerability in authority. And thank goodness. Right. If you're the if, if if if the room is on fire and you're the only one who knows how to get us out, this is not a learning moment, Russ. Caroline, get us out. Tell us what to do to get us out of here safely. There's no vulnerability in that moment except our vulnerability to, you know, succumb to terrible fire. Yeah, but leadership. Well, does that resonate for you?
Caroline Pearl: 38:36
Yeah. I mean, I'm thinking about the different, ways that the word - like thinking about even for an authority as an expert on something that even that kind of definition doesn't allow for a lot of vulnerability because you're you're the authority or the expert on this, you can't be wrong,
Right. Well, so far, my experience tells me I'm not wrong, Right? So all of my my authority on this subject informs my opinion right now and until I get information, that's contrary. I'm not wrong, right? Oh, there's not a lot of vulnerability in that. And again, thank goodness we want to support people who do extensive research and understand their subject. We count on them, and yet it's different than leadership because I think there's vulnerability in leadership. I think I also think leadership is a byproduct. It's not a product. Leadership is the result of somebody practicing something and kind of saying I'm not as good at this, is I want to be and being transparent about it and then me and the audience going Boy, that's really interesting. I want to learn more about that person. I want to learn more about what they're doing and how they're doing it. I'm so glad I don't have to be transparent about what I'm trying to get better at as a leader in this company as an authority, but the audience chooses who they follow. I do not decide if I'm a good leader. My audience does and the people I follow are vulnerable. They're transparent about what they're trying to get better at. When I say vulnerable, I don't mean emotional necessarily. I mean, they're transparent about what they're trying to get better. they are their transparent around the competencies they're trying to improve and then they shrug and go I'm not as good at this is I want to be, but I'm not going to give up.
Caroline Pearl: 40:26
That totally resonates with me and thinking about also all the effect, like effective leaders that I've worked with and also the people who I think I've learned the most from aren't the people who knew everything and said that they knew everything. It's the people who knew a lot, but we're honest about what they were still questioning or things that they were still practicing. And I think that's also just as someone when you're earlier in your career, when you can see that it totally also makes you feel better about Oh, it's OK to not have all the answers, t's okay to still be learning how to effectively negotiate with a vendor. That can be hard for someone who's still 40 years into their career. Okay, because they also have a lot of strengths in other areas,
Absolutely. I have one more question for you, and then I'm gonna ask if you have any questions for me. So my question is, are you gonna listen to this podcast? Are you gonna listen to this interview with you?
Caroline Pearl: 41:58
Oh, I guess so. It's a challenge now.
Well, it's a choice you're gonna have in a few weeks.
Caroline Pearl: 42:10
Yes, I will. But that's a That's a funny question, because it's like I know I should, then I am scared, too at the same time.
Well, there's benefit. And here's the thing. I am both presenter and audience now when I listen to my own interview. Do I feel seen and heard by me? Do I feel invited by me? And what do I do in? The answer is no. Oh, boy, you know, permission to fail.
Caroline Pearl: 42:39
Right. So a chance to practice, that's all it is. And you don't have to, you know, commit to either way. I'm just curious.
Caroline Pearl: 42:45
My mom's an executive coach and I remember whenever I would have to do a presentation, she would say, OK, let's videotape you and then watch it and give feedback, and I hate this,. but it was so helpful, and it was just seeing myself as I was coming off, it was such a strange experience, but it also helps you give yourself that distance of looking at yourself like you're in the audience and having that empathy for yourself in a way.
Can I love me the same way I love others. It's a really important question. Excellent. Excellent. Do you have any questions for me?
Caroline Pearl: 44:04
Yeah. I have a few. Having been through this, how do you relate to the questions, How do I show up under stress? How do I show up under stress and what do I want to get better at? What do the answers look like for you?
Tremendous. Just a great question. So, yes, this whole methodology comes out of my personal practice. Am I practicing? What? I'm asking others to practice. The first thing I'll say is asking the questions has its own value without any expectation of answering them. How do I show up under stress? I'm not I don't even know. Sometimes I don't even know how to answer that question. I just want to remember to ask it. Same for the other two. How do I want to, what do I want to get better at? I don't want to confuse the value of asking the questions regularly and creating muscle memory around it with the value of answering them in any specific situation. What I've noticed is I'm asking those questions when I'm stressed because in the past I would only ask them when I was on a hammock with a rum punch chillin. And then, inevitably, I would reflect on how I showed up under stress, and I would judge myself and beat myself up. But now, more and more when I'm stressed, I asked myself, How am I showing up right now? And I asked myself with no intention to answer. Sometimes answers bubble up, but I don't want to get addicted to answers. I find I'm too addicted to lunging for answers, lunging for knowing I don't know if anything I've learned. I don't know. I I don't really know how I show up under stress, how I want to. I mean, there are clues. That's the muscle I want to make stronger, is noticing. Noticing when I'm asking the question, noticing the answers when they come up, noticing my choices, How do I want to show up under stress? I'm not seeing a lot of choices right now. Maybe I should ask, What do I want to get better at? So that questions all about narrowing it down to competencies. What's the competency I can practice? Because I don't want to identify something I can get better at, You know, like it's a gift from heaven, like it's a breath of some deity who's gonna, you know, breathe down on me and suddenly I'm gonna be better at something. No, What's the competency? What's the piano keyboard? Right? When I was a kid practicing piano, you do your scales. It's boring. It's dull, but my body's learning how to play the slow way. And that's what asking these questions are, that's its own competency is asking these questions and then answering them in any given situation. That's my relationship with these questions, and the reason I keep testing them is because I'm trying to poke a hole in it, trying to poke a hole in this six box model and you're helping. You and I are taken kicks at it. We're taking swings at it. This must crack somewhere. It must break somewhere and so far the answer is no. So we kick a little harder. I'm trying to break this and we're 12 years in now and I have not been able to do it. So I appreciate your help,
Caroline Pearl: 46:59
but don't pull a hamstring. Don't injure yourself. Trying to break the methodology. That's awesome. That's our chat.
Caroline Pearl: 47:10
Oh, thank you for having me.
Thank you for participating and saying Yes.
Caroline Pearl: 47:17
You did a great job and you're doing a great job. And I look forward to our next lunch on our next conversation, and I look forward to more tremendous success for both of us.
Caroline Pearl: 47:25
High five. Okay, thanks, Caroline. So if you're listening to this and maybe somebody recommended you tune into this podcast, first of all, thank you for doing so. If you want to get more information and find out more about what we're talking about, specifically, you can go to podcast.connectionlaboratory.com and that has the menu that we discuss with the Six Box Model with some of the questions and distinctions. Also, you could just visit the website connectionlaboratory.com. It breaks down everything that we offer it talks about client experience. It talks about all the programs. All the information is there. If you want to find out more connectionlaboratory.com, that's the place to go. We continue our conversations now we're talking to Paru. Radia in New York City. Paru, you work at Double Gemini is that correct? Can you tell us what they do? What you do?
Paru Radia: 48:14
That is correct. Yes, we are productivity experts. We go into large organizations and help people be more efficient with emails and their meetings, we help them get that inbox down to zero and keep it that way. Save time and brain space on to make meetings more efficient. Because nobody likes inefficient meeting.
Well, and more than that, inefficiency is wasteful in so many freakin ways. Oh, my goodness. What a useful organization for those of you listening and kind of searching online. Now, Double Gemini is productivity consulting at its very best.
Paru Radia: 48:56
Oh, so very good. So let's you and I chat. How long have we known each other? How did we meet?
Paru Radia: 49:03
Oh, we met. I believe in 2016 when we were in the same space. And you did a lunch and learn and when everyone took their lunch and left after they learned I stayed and I just sat and I would not leave because I wanted to learn more.
You're pretty consistent that way, this is my experience of you
Paru Radia: 49:30
Are, shall we say, dedicated or even ferocious. Your appetite for learning and discovery is quite extraordinary. So, yes, I remember that you sitting on the table in front of me just asking question after question after question about the methodology of Connection Lab.
Paru Radia: 49:45
Yeah, and I'm still here.
And you are still here doing the same thing and asking more questions and practicing. You've done a couple of workshops now, and more.
Paru Radia: 49:54
I can't get enough of Connection Lab. It feeds my soul like nothing else I have come across in terms of learning and being and connecting.
How has it changed your practice in communication and in business?,
Paru Radia: 50:12
In communication, and you really taught us how much people want to be seen and heard. And, I thought that was a personal private thing about me and what I realized is that I'm one of many people who want to be seen and heard. And once you know that every time I talk to someone in my team or a client or even family and friends that is something at the back of my mind, and it become something quite natural. And if communications is ever not flowing as smoothly as I wish it would flow, I would stop and think, Am I seeing them? Am I hearing them? And then I would adjust what I say and what I do on day, who I am. Don't get me wrong, it's not in a specific way, it's in a Oh, Paru, you're being the center of attention. That's not good. They're not feeling seen and heard. So see them and hear them. And it's almost magical the way the energy shift.
Do we live in a world where people generally don't feel seen and heard.
Paru Radia: 51:19
Paru Radia: 51:21
So now you're a champion. You walk the streets and you do your business and you are in your communities and you are in your family, and you are practicing because remember, you don't decide for them.
Paru Radia: 51:33
I don't decide for them. I don't get to decide when they feel seen and heard, they get decide. It is them that needs to feel and them that needs to feel heard. Everyone's different. Everyone's unique. It was an individual. We have very different, I guess, ways of measuring how we feel seen and heard. Someone may need more attention than someone else for them to feel seen and heard and your past experiences, your upbringing, your the day you had or the morning you had well impact how heard and seen you feel or how much you need to feel seen and heard better than other days. So, yeah, I like to try and tune in to how they're feeling and make it more about them than I do about me. It's of benefit to me anyways. The more I make it about them the easier life for me. So why not.
Do you use the language? Do you ask the question? Using those words, do you feel seen and heard?
Paru Radia: 52:30
Um, do I use it to them? Let me think. Do I, no. I actually say about it to myself if I'm not feeling seen and heard. I will use that language about me.
Isn't that interesting,
Paru Radia: 52:42
And what do you say when you don't feel seen and heard?
Paru Radia: 52:47
Well, it really depends on there is a professional context or an informal context with friends and family and my relationship with them. Sometimes if I really stressing I may say you're not hearing me,
Paru Radia: 53:02
You're not seeing me. I'm here. I will literally wave my hands in front of their face and say I'm here. You're not seeing me, that's when it's really informal. When I'm in a more professional context, if I don't feel seen and heard, I will ask them what they think they see and what they think they here. And I will then correct them and say all that's really interesting, because this is what I'm actually seeing and feeling and
Paru Radia: 53:33
That's the word thank you this is what I'm trying to say, or this is what I'm trying to show. So I will ask them. I will invite them into, to pause and to just stop and observe whether they are creating that space for me to be seen and heard. And if not, I ask for it.
Yeah. So it's also a nice offer, right? And to say things like, I don't feel seen and heard, Do you? Right?
Paru Radia: 54:08
That's a good point. Yes, I've actually done that once or twice too, especially when there's a lot of angst. Something's going wrong. So, yes, I said that a couple of times, and now that you said it to me, it's another one I'm gonna note down to use more often.
Well, it's a framework. It's a source framework, because how can we even communicate about anything if we're both on different planets with different needs and different weather systems and fighting different predispositions? How can we communicate if I can't say, You know, I don't feel seen and heard. Do you? Can you see me? Can I? Am I seeking you? And I know it sounds remedial, and I know it's doesn't really have a place in like many professional conversations, and yet I think we need a framework of this language because I think it's the source of a lot of conflict and a lot of expensive processes that fail and expensive systems that fail.
Paru Radia: 55:04
What do you remember about the first workshop?
Paru Radia: 55:07
I remember being really nervous, super super super nervous. I didn't. I was really hungry to learn and really hungry to get to the end place, but was really nervous about the journey. Having to speak in front of people was making me shake. Having to make eye contact with them was making me nauseous. And, every time you gave me an instruction all the attention was on me and I wanted to disappear into the wall. for those five minutes, which is completely different to where I am now, I can't get enough of your workshops.
Paru Radia: 55:47
Me, me, me. I want to speak.
Paru Radia: 55:49
I want to have a go. I want to practice. It is so much fun. So much fun. The first person who came to your workshop, Russ, and the person who is speaking with you now are two completely different people.
So how would you talk to yourself today at 2016? How would your 2020 self talk to your 2016 self?
Paru Radia: 56:15
Trust the process.
Trust is not easy.
Paru Radia: 56:19
No, I would say it is not just trust the process. I would say you're going to be fine. Look, I'm here in 2020 and I'm alive. You didn't die. Do it.
I like how blunt you are.
Paru Radia: 56:36
What else do you remember about
Paru Radia: 56:39
working in communicating?
What else do you remember about the workshop? The first time.
Paru Radia: 56:43
And where were we the first time? Oh, we were in that coworking space.
Paru Radia: 56:49
Was that the one that Dennis was in?
I think so.
Paru Radia: 56:54
Can you remind me who else was there? Could have been to so many. I don't know which one was which now,
Right, Because you did module one and module two.
Paru Radia: 57:02
I did. And module three. I did just the third module and storytelling. I've done four modules now.
Okay, you've done four. That makes sense. And we did a scene study class.
Paru Radia: 57:11
Yes, we did. And I've been in the audience several times for modules one and two.
Yes, for a variety of clients. Because you're so generous and present as an audience member and so important. Why is an audience member for executive sessions so important? Why is your presence so important?
Paru Radia: 57:26
I feel that most people are too scared to say what they're really thinking on. I know from having been in their shoes how important it is to hear the feedback. So I'm like, bring it on. I'm here to give you feedback. It's not that I don't like x or y or it's wrong, its none of that its mainly observation soff what I see and what I feel on and no one ever tells them that, so I do.
Yeah, well, I think the fact that you've been on both sides of that position, the audience and presenter repeatedly brings you a certain comfort. I think your value in the room is safety, even though the feedback is so blunt and strong and usually pretty fantastic and accurate. You as an audience member, bring a sense of safety. And you remember the scared version of yourself. Remember the person who was in the room who is nauseous and nervous and shaking. And now you're the person in the room,
Paru Radia: 58:22
It feels like a distant memory.
Yeah, well, but it's important. I find it's critically important to remember where we came from. The version of me that didn't know what I know now I start seeing myself in the young executives I work with. You know, when they're arrogant under stress, when their self involved under stress when they're poor communicators under stress Oh, boy, I see myself in them. That was me. So I find this work increases my empathy as a competency.
Paru Radia: 58:53
It does so much. I still want more?
Yeah, your appetite is fantastic. And it helps me continue to drive. What you remember about the second module demand and call to action. We've done that a couple of times.
Paru Radia: 59:06
Oh, the demand one was really interesting. One to me. I remember being really I'm never being emotional when I was doing the scene exercise with my scene partner, And you had us understand what the demand was saying after every sentence and just hearing it. I actually remember it was about it was a scene about a couple and the woman was leaving and the man was head over heels in love with a woman and wanted her to stay. And she was angry and annoyed. And I guess something didn't feel I can't remember it in too much detail now, actually. And, didn't feel seen and heard and all he wanted her to do was stay and after every sentence my scene partner looked at me, made eye contact, breathe and said the word stay. The tone changed depending on the sentence before hand. But every time he said the word stay I was so captured I didn't even know this person, and all I wanted to do with stay.
Paru Radia: 1:0:14
so seen and so heard - I wasn't even in love with the stranger.
Paru Radia: 1:0:19
All I want to do was stay. It feels cliche saying to you but I felt so seen and so heard I didn't know this guy. This was just a workshop. I didn't want to go anywhere, right? I just wanted to say yes. The demand was said with such authenticity that I believe him and I felt it on and I wanted to stay.
So the question emerges. Can we make an effective demand on an audience that doesn't feel seen and heard?
Paru Radia: 1:0:54
I don't think so. I can't even say that word....absolutely, absolutely, categorically, No.
Right. No. We cannot make an effective demand on an audience that doesn't feel seen and heard. That's why the word demand outside of the phrase supply and demand, has such a negative connotation to it. Don't make any demand. You don't know me. You don't know what I'm going through. I don't feel seen and heard what happens when I do feel seen and heard and somebody makes a demand on me?
Paru Radia: 1:1:26
I want to make it work.
Paru Radia: 1:1:27
I want I want to acknowledge it. I want to be in this with them and cigarette away,
Right? I want to participate. I'm so glad they've chosen me. I'm so glad they've made a demand of me. I feel seen and heard. It satisfies a need in me to be contributing. Call me to action because I feel seen and heard. So the only reason I'm dwelling on this is because we work in a variety of, you know, businesses and workplaces where there are constant demands made on the workforce and the workforce doesn't feel seen and heard. This is why culture eats strategy for lunch. It's now becoming a famous phrase, but this idea right that the strategy is never gonna work on a culture on a company whose culture will not accept it because they don't feel seen and heard. We tend to want the benefits of great relationship without taking the risk. Also, you had a monologue in the demand session, wasn't it? Ah,
Paru Radia: 1:2:24
I don't remember my one.
Paru Radia: 1:2:27
Oh, Pay, them.
So the monologue is from the scene on Erin Brockovich. When Julia Roberts is sitting across the table from the other lawyers, and they've, you know, made this offer of, you know, something pithily. And Julia Roberts just tees off on them. And I asked you, what's her demand in this nine sentence monologue? What's her demand on these other lawyers? And you remember our conversation?
Paru Radia: 1:2:56
That was the result of the conversation. That was the call to action was pay them because remember, the process is identified. Like what it could be. Respect them, take care of them.
Paru Radia: 1:3:11
Yes. I didn't come to pay them. I came to something, I think mine was, I vaguely remember something around, No.
Paru Radia: 1:3:21
I didn't phrase it as a demand. I didn't phrase it as a demand. Or then when I did, I remember saying something like , See me. But it just makes sense when when you help me come to the conclusion or suggested that it would be pay them, everything just clicked into place. It made so much so everything she was saying had that underlying it.
Right, and we could we could hang on that demand. Okay, Excellent. You've had some experiences recently presenting. Didn't you have a funeral with the family?
Paru Radia: 1:3:51
Oh, Russ, I used everything you taught me, and I have never, ever connected with an audience like I did at my grandma's funeral. I focused on one person at the time. Locked eyes with them and I could feel the whole room listening to everything I was saying to that one person about my grandma. And it made me feel so much more comfortable because I am quite close with my cousin that is very dear to me, And. it just calmed me down because I had someone that I could just connect with and everyone else was just on the periphery. But I could tell from the feedback I got afterwards, I could tell from the energy in the room, but also a feedback I got afterwards. I have never been complimented so much for speaking in public as I was that one day when I followed every bit of advice you've given me. It just changed my perception of public speaking. I am so much more comfortable speaking now I do go back and forth with my relationship to content. I hear your voice in my head about connect with the audience and it applies in situations with many people with a few people. But it's all about connecting with your audience. You're so right, Russ. You are so right? It really is. But yes, that was that was made a breakthrough for me. I remember texting you when I came back to New York,and tell you how proud I was myself. And that's not something I say out loud very frequently, but, well, or rather publicly, but, I did good Russ.
You sure did.
Paru Radia: 1:5:38
I did. Good.
So are you coaching others now? Are you helping them? Are you sharing this methodology now with others?
Paru Radia: 1:5:46
With everyone. I don't really impose it on them unless they're seeking feedback.
Paru Radia: 1:5:51
People don't always feedback that phrase. You always say, I'm not open to feedback right now. Yes, I have been asked. Communication has always been very dear to me,, very important to me. It's one of my highest values, clear communication. And, I have been given feedback that I communicate very clearly. And when I get asked advice, it more often than not, centers around the teachings that you give and what I've learned in Connection Lab. It is like a penny drops for them, they are like, Okay, then it's not really about me. And like, uh sorry. No, it's about them. I find myself saying phrases that you say and not because I'm a parrot, not because I'm saying them verbatim, but I'm paraphrasing based on my own experience and how successful it has been for me.
They are your phrases now.
Paru Radia: 1:6:52
They are my phrases.
That's right.. That's how it supposed to work is to give it away.
Paru Radia: 1:6:56
Yeah, I happily own them. And then you give them away.
Well, and it's collaboration. Everything you and I have done is co created and collaborated. I have an offer and you have an appetite and together we achieve greatness. It's all about collaboration, which is why I encourage people to go out in the world and take whatever you found useful and share it and collaborate and co create. Practice this in the communities and the businesses that we work in. And I think you are. So I have one more question for you and then I'm gonna ask you if you have any questions for me. Okay? So my question for you is are you going to listen to this interview? Excellent. Boy. That's definitive. I like it. I've asked other people and sometimes the answers are slow.
Paru Radia: 1:7:44
Oh, I'm absolutely going to listen to it. I'm sure I will, judge, but I will listen to it.
I'm so pleased. That makes me happy. Do you have any questions for me?
Paru Radia: 1:7:53
Oh, when can I get more?
So that conversation is ongoing? I get back to New York in a couple of weeks and we have many sessions that I need your presence in. So I'm going to send you invitations for all of these and we'll go have lunch and talk about the facilitators development program and we'll talk about the podcast. So we have much to discuss. Tremendous. Thank you so much for joining us today. and for being so eloquent and, you know, just for everything. I really appreciate all the work you do.
Paru Radia: 1:8:27
Thank you. Thank you for inviting me to be on the podcast.
That's our show. Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate you're listening. You're tuning in your sharing and promoting the show. It really means a lot to me and all the messages you send me. I feel very encouraged. I feel seen and heard. You should OK, it's true. There is some homework for this episode. I want you because we're under a tremendous amount of stress. Wherever you are in the world. Chances are politically, culturally, economically, we are under a tremendous amount of stress. So I want you to practice asking the questions. How do I show up under stress? How do I want to and what do I want to get better? Start articulating these questions because they're scalable. Right only when we start asking these questions of ourselves, can we ask them of each other? How do you show up under stress? How do you want to? What do you want to get better at? We could start scaling these questions out until we can ask each other as partners in a business, as members of a community, how do we show up under stress? How do we want to? What do we want to get better at? Let's seek the answers to the challenges we're facing in relationship to each other. Let's practice. I really appreciate you tuning in. Thank you so much. If you need more information, go to connectionlaboratory.com. Send us an email at email@example.com. Check out the Six Box Model at podcast.connectionlaboratory.com, or you can send us a text. That number is 6467809946 We'd love to hear from you good luck out there and we'll see you next time. Thank you for listening to Lab Notes the Connection Lab podcast. For more information about our workshops and executive development programs, you can email us at info@connection laboratory.com or go to our website at connectionlaboratory.com