Episode 13: The Importance of Empathy in Work

Show Notes:

Work almost always involves collaborating with people and organizations that have competing priorities and objectives from your own, but you need to create alignment with them to get your own goals accomplished. How do you do this? Empathy.



BR: All right, we’re in episode 13 of make the logo bigger and we’re talking this time. This is gonna be a fun topic because we were talking about sort of the importance of empathy in the work that you do and when we say that it’s kind of a weird word, I guess that most people don’t think about it in the context of business settings, but I think it’s really important whether you’re talking about an agency client relationship with, which is kind of my experience or you’re just thinking about even within your own organization, collaborating with other departments, other people. There’s always this kind of need to bring two different sets of objectives and goals and agendas together into something that kind of works. And as I’ve thought through this and we’re always kind of trying to figure out how to do this better. Empathy is the word that kept popping into my mind.

BR: Um, and so I wanted to take the time, especially because we got mike here who’s on the client side of the equation and me on the agency. I thought that was a perfect sort of topic for us to come together and discuss on how we kind of blend collaboration together and how important maybe empathy. Maybe we’ll come to a different conclusion was come through this. So how are you doing Mike? I’m good. Vr, how are you sir? I’m doing well. I’m doing well. So, uh, this is of actually your idea and then I flushed my side out so this will probably be a kind of a really nice, pure, a mixing of two different perspectives at this point.

MC: Yeah. So I, I, you know, I was telling you earlier when I had the idea for this episode that I had this sort of little mini experience, so I’ll keep the story like super short. Um, last week, uh, we were working with our agency here and they’re going to launch this basically ppc rebuild like an adwords rebuild and we were reviewing it or whatever else. And so their agency default assumption was that me, the client was going to demand that it be launched immediately. Um, and it was Thursday and I was like, well, if we launched tomorrow it’s going to be Friday. So then there’s the weekend. And I was like, someone’s going to watch it on the weekend. And they’re like, yeah, we’re, we’re glad to watch it on the weekend, just as you and I would have bar at Kalydeco, I would 100 percent have offered that to the client.

MC: And so I went back to them. I said, well why don’t we just launched it on Monday? And their eyes lit up like Christmas trees. They’re like, what? And then Shane, the guy that works at or whatever. It was like, Oh, I forgot that you worked for an agency. I was like, yeah dude, there’s no, it’s not necessary to do it on Friday. Let’s just do it Monday. But they got me thinking about this idea is that I remember when I, you know, on the agency side, I always had this thought in my head that was like, you know, because we manage 20 plus clients all day long, all of these different marketing problems and whatever else. It’s very frenetic. It’s very fast paced. It’s fun and challenging. What I was thinking to myself, and this is probably terrible of me, right? It was like, what are the people, our clients like what fills their day?

MC: Like if you only had one thing to do all day long, like how much time could it possibly take? And so like that was always our frustration on the coil, on the agency side sometimes is when clients wouldn’t get back to us in time or wouldn’t make us a priority or or whatever else. I’m like, well God, isn’t that the whole point? You’re spending money and then now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you and we’ll get into it a little bit more. Like there’s all sorts of crap that fills my day, gets crazy over here. So. So anyway, it led me to remember now that I’ve seen the two flip sides of this coin, which is like you just got to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. It’s like super important. If you want to have any type of positive collaboration,

BR: it is totally important and it’s something you gotta keep reiterating for yourself. And I think this is why it’s important to be inquisitive and ask questions and kind of really understand sort of what’s going on with your collaborator and they’re in. This is just basic relationship building. But you know, just anytime you’re working with a person, you’ve got to really figure out what’s going on in their world in order for, for you guys to kind of work together in any sort of productive way. So, so let’s kind of dig into this. Um, so I guess the, the main sort of problem set, but that I want to focus on on this, on this particular podcast and characterize everything is, is one, we’re just trying to get two entities to kind of work together in a productive way, in an efficient way, uh, and of course in all cases achieve a really solid outcome or some, some high performance results. And so in the context of that, like I said, I arrived at this word empathy, but let’s kind of talk about, um, sort of how do you mash those two together? Um, and sort of what’s, what’s the experience you gave? You gave one story there in particular, but kind of what, what does kind of the entry point of that experience maybe from the situations that you’ve run into? Like what happens first, I guess?

MC: Well, so the first thing that happens is like the meeting of personalities, right? So like who’s going to be working with WHO and whether I was on this side or on the agency side. There’s the point of contact thing. So like you know, you’re going to have one person talking to one person and like is that how it’s gonna work or are you going to have multiple people inside your organization talking to multiple subject matter experts inside the other organization? Is that how that’s going to work? Um, and if that’s the case then do they have to report to a larger project manager? So I actually think that one of the most important things to do upfront is to get the workflow thing like out of the way, like how are we going to work together? The personality stuff and all that kind of jazz will kind of shake itself out, but everyone will have a better time understanding how the collaboration is going to go if there’s a plan for how to collaborate, which sounds kind of like anti collaboration because like you shouldn’t feel more organic and kind of natural. But like, that’ll happen over time, so you got to resist this a lot because I am not a, as you know, bar, like I’m not a huge process guide. Like I’m more of a, I like to shoot from the hip, I like to think about things, I like to try stuff, don’t try, you know, whatever else, but like to get a nice process in place up front before any of the other stuff kind of comes into play I think will help settle and square off the collaboration and what you expect to get from it.

BR: I think that’s a really important point. And we’ve had um, you know, just to kind of an example of this, we had a scenario with one client where we kind of came in and we want them to get things done and we wanted to, you know, we’re always, especially in the agency side, we’re always trying to have impact really quickly. And so we kind of just leaned in and we, we sort of laid down, if you will, uh, a collaboration process or a workflow. We didn’t take the time to really be. Um, and I think this is like my number one first point in this step is really be inquisitive about your, uh, your partner or your collaborator or your organization that you’re working with your client, be inquisitive about what their world looks like because we can of in this process, um, and they started engaging with us and to their, you know, to their credit, but ultimately to, to the messiness that was created.

BR: They were willing to kind of conform to us. Um, and so they started using this, this workflow that I kind of laid out without being inquisitive as to what the organization look like this. In this particular case there was a lot of sort of regulatory, legal and compliance sort of approvals needed. And so I thought I’d just intuitively that this would be a good process of man. When we started to that it caused all kinds of confusion that they had constraints on their side and the way that their legal team actually had to look at the documents and look at the creative and that kind of stuff. And this what we thought was going to be like, oh, this is a great tool and it has all these bells and whistles, this is another kind of side topic. And totally we always think tools are going to solve the problem.

BR: And uh, it just created, the alerts were going everywhere. People were confused, they thought it was just, it was literally a nightmare for almost two weeks. And then we just said, you know what, how about we just hand you a pdf because it seems like your legal department likes to mark up pdfs, like we’re just going to do that. And then we did that and everything smoothed out. So sometimes, you know, arcoms razors like the, the, the way you need to go. It’s just like figure out like what is the simplest solution? Um, but it was all because we didn’t either. We didn’t ask, nor were we sort of particularly inquisitive about, okay, if I hand you something to get an approval, like what does that look like, you know, behind your organization. And as we discovered that were like, oh, throw this away, throw the software away. Let’s make this easy for you, make it less frustrating for us. Um, so that, that first step in my mind is really yet to your point, you gotta you gotTa lock down the workflow and part of that is like, tell me like what you need to get done inside your organization for us to move forward because there’s always other people, right?

MC: Always other people and other people. Sometimes there’s lot people. I mean most of the time other people you’ll never even touch her experience. Like they’re just like, like you were just talking about, there’s that whole regulatory structure inside of this particular client, like they’re never going to talk to Kalinago. Not really, maybe one off once or twice, but like you’re not gonna be able to create a relationship with that with those people on the team. So the only relationship they’re going to have is with the process. If the process is easy than their relationship with you is easy and like you’re not creating a friction point there. I think that’s really, really clever way to do that. But even on the inverse side, so I’ll, I’ll take this from the client side so to speak, and maybe it’s because I have agency experience, but like I can’t be the only marketer in the world working for a private company that came from an agency by the way all the time, all the time.

MC: Sometimes they bounce in and out of like larger organization. So maybe you know, if you’re working with mid to like medium size, small, medium size enterprises, you don’t get a lot of the, you know, the agency kind of back and forth there. But if you are engaging in a marketing agency, this is for all the people listening, you know, do not make your default position that they have to do all the work. Don’t do that. There’s no in any collaboration. In essence that means that both people are working together. So like if you want to hire someone to collaborate with them, like you know, the, then be willing to collaborate. I think it’s kind of one of the other most important parts on a. just on

MC: the client side. It’s an agency’s job. They can collaborate with you. So they’re constantly looking for ways to hopefully, if they’re any good at their job, which, you know, Melodica is great at it by the way, is that they’re always looking for new ways to work with you and your team to make it easier. I mean all the way back to the beginning, right? We used to embed with clients and like hang out in your office. I mean that was fundamentally not scalable. So like we had to, we had to abandon that pretty quick, but, but the agency’s job is to try to work with you, but if you try to make it difficult and when I say make it difficult, I don’t even mean that you’re doing it on purpose, you’re probably doing it subconsciously because your assumption is that an agency comes in and takes the pain away.

MC: Right? Which is true. I mean that’s how it should be, but they’re going to need stuff from you. So like you’re going to have to make it. And I think it’s one of your notes here in the show notes, right? It was like make getting what you need or they need as easy as possible for all the collaborators. So whether that’s, and this is back to the workflow process thing, well that’s a google driver, uh, you know, or whatever a share file or whatever else is like, just got to figure out how to share stuff together digitally. And if that’s almost always the most largest pain points, like, oh, I need a logo file, I’ve got to go hunt for it, now I’ve got to email somebody for it, now I gotta you know, and it just creates an, then you’re interrupting that person’s Day as well, by the way, when they got to go find it for you. So technically on the client side, if your package things up in a nice way and getting the agency, all this stuff they need, you’re actually creating less problems for yourself as well because they’re going to need this stuff, right?

BR: Well, one of the things, you know to that point is, you know, trying to make it easy, um, and, and bite size for these folks is if I can send you a form and ask you to fill out like three questions, then people are used to filling out web forms all day long. So if I can do that, then why not do that? Instead of saying, Hey, I need to schedule a call and get you on the call and then we’re going to 30 minutes. Like if I can, if I can write something up for you or I can ask you a couple of questions and then get what I need back from you and try to kind of make that in a really consumable fashion. I think that’s a super useful. One of the things that I’m finding kind of in this vein, and it may not be for everybody because some people like they like, oh, give me everything and then I’ll fill the whole thing out.

BR: But for most people, and I think increasingly the way our lives are starting to work and the way we’re getting conditioned to kind of respond to things, it’s increasingly important, uh, where if I’m asking for something for the client, I will only ask for one thing per email. Right? And so that made me, and I might seem to six emails, um, but in that particular case, I’m just going to send you one thing per and again, six emails because I’m watching clients. If I put six things in an email, they’ll answer one of them and then I got a Pesto for five more. Whereas if I send them six emails, then they’ll answer those six things independently. So it’s kind of funny how we’re kind of doing one thing at a, at a time, but there’s all kinds of ways to kind of collect data. But I, that’s one thing to really keep in mind that people are getting conditioned, especially in email. It seems this has been my experience here, um, in the last several months, is that people are literally, if they answer the email, they’re only gonna do one thing. If you don’t just give them one thing, then what do they do? They either are kind of the email or they mark it for later and you either never get it or they don’t read the whole thing and they just give you one of a series of things. So

MC: I 1000 percent agree. Even internally it’s like when I was at Colorado I had the same problem by the way, which is like you get someone that’s like laundry list of things to do. Like if you get half of it you’ll be impressed. Um, and then to even internally I’ve been trying to do that here, which is like I, I sit across from all my team members but like I’m just trying to ask for a single things because like, then they can go and, and, and knock that out and feel accomplished by the way. And then, you know, the only challenge there I think, and actually had a question for you because we’ve tried this a couple of different ways and I’ve seen it on both sides of the equation, but the only challenge there is then you run the risk of like peppering somebody with little stuff a lot which could get frustrating. The opposite.

BR: I mean that was my first reaction to that. But the other thing that I’m finding, and maybe this is clients, you know, in an organization, I don’t know, it probably applies everywhere. The other thing that I’m starting to see become a little bit of a pattern is oftentimes people can solve problems by themselves. So if you give them just one thing, one question, they can farm that out to somebody else so they can send it off to somebody and maybe you get another response or they can lose somebody in. Bring them in. If you’ve got five or six different things that may need to go to five or six different teams and now you’ve created some real mass confusion because you put five or six issues back and you start this thread on one of them and then they can’t really, or they don’t feel like it or it becomes confusing if they actually take that thread.

BR: And for item number three, they actually need to go over to it versus to the marketing department and now like that mass confusion. So the, the other thing that I’m finding as a pattern is that by putting only one problem to solve in there or only one question that it allows them to sort of efficiently either farm out or grab the right person into that stream, that thread in order to solve the problem. So that’s another benefit that I’ve kind of seen to that. But yeah, I mean I think again, with anything, you’ve always got to use some common sense. Um, I think sometimes maybe they’re there, makes more sense to have to aggregate it all up, but, but generally I’m finding that less and less helpful for, for all those reasons.

MC: Well that makes sense. So here’s my question to you. So when I was a Kalinago and now that I’m here at nutshell, I’ve used it in both directions which is slack to communicate with clients. So I know for a fact that br hates age. Uh, and so, but when I was at Kaleida co I would kind of instituted that policy, like I started doing it and it ended up me being in, I dunno, there’s like seven different slacks. I loved it, it was a great, but I’m a very frenetic person’s like I didn’t mind like bouncing through people’s slacks all day long and like, you know, lobbing in this note or laughing in this file or like I loved it from that perspective but I didn’t like was exactly the reasons why I know you don’t like it is that it also becomes like a request machine.

MC: Like for when someone has to sit down and write an email, they stop and think about what they’re asking if they, if when you talk about slack or like an instant communication channel, they tend to just like kind of lob stuff in so that, that’s what I saw when I was on the, the agency side when I saw on the client side because now we have slack here obviously. And then the new agency I work with a that was here before I got here, um, you know, they were in their slack so to speak, or where there’s a, like a communal slack channel. Um, so, and I don’t, I don’t know how I feel about it now because I like I’m connected to the principal and then the account manager for this particular agency and maybe it’s because I’m an agency guy, I don’t abuse it. And so I like it but like, but I don’t know, I could see how it’d be really bad anyway. So I’ll just curious, what’d you think about that? So like it’s not even just slack itself, right? But like the idea of more instantaneous communication between collaborating teams even, you know what I mean, whether it’s agency, client it, marketing, like, you know, whatever it is. Do you find them helpful? Do you find them useful? Like what do you think? So,

BR: so yeah. So slack is one of those things that I loved at first and I’m just increasingly like

BR: don’t like it. Um, and there’s a, there’s a handful of different reasons why they don’t like it. Um, so one, I think it’s great, especially in a remote kind of workplace, like we are to have a water cooler experience. And so from that standpoint and that standpoint only, I like it. There’s a place we can interact, we can have fun, we can do silly things. Slack is really good at facilitating that, which is funny when I’m in other people’s slack, like they don’t seem to have fun in there. Like they don’t have gifts installed and like all anyway, that’s a whole another conversation. So, um, so those pupils, they must not be having fun in there at all, which I think is really the main aspect for that is to create culture and connectivity. So I liked that part of it. The part I don’t like is the fact that we had done this for awhile is we have all these different channels, right?

BR: So you’re constantly watching the little red bubble pop up, which means I got to do something or somebody is trying to get ahold of me. And so you’re, you’re constantly bouncing around in a whole bunch of different places when I’m, I’ve kind of got our team now, like just throw it in the water cooler and then there’s one place and I can monitor that and it’s probably okay that other people see it because sometimes other people can solve your problems. Oh sure. So, um, and then the worst than. So this is another big problem with it is individual, and I know this was even a challenge when you were here. Individual task and assignment and request get lost in there. So. Oh,

MC: 100 percent. Sorry, not to interrupt you, but yeah, that’s a big problem inside of an agency or even internally for us here and I’m trying to get us off of that particular problem as well as like, yeah, if you get to use slack all day long then you know, it doesn’t go into your project management system. It’s impossible to keep track of anything.

BR: There’s no way to. I mean there, there are some kind of like pseudo plugins that are supposed to enhance this, but I haven’t really found anything productive. So as soon as you click into that channel and the red red bubble goes off, man, it’s, it’s gone. Right. So, um, and then the other thing that we’ve found to, cause we’re big base camp users is like did that come in email? Did that come in slack, did that come and base camp? So just finding a or is it in share file or is it in Google drive? Like we’ve already got too many systems where things could reside. And so that’s a big problem in particular. And then probably the last thing that I think is really important, and we noticed this in the transition as you as you left, and I think you may have seen some of this, but for us is so much of that communication, so much of that knowledge, so much of that background, so much of the actual context of what we’re working on was so fractured that you couldn’t even really get your hands around, you know, a particular project or a particular client.

BR: And so we’ve tried to shift back into base camp a and spend a lot more time because it forces you to write it up to articulate what you’re doing, um, or to share screenshots or whatever in the files themselves can reside in there. And then it goes to clients. And this is something we resisted for a long time or, or felt we were having mixed results with. But most of our clients are now in base camp with us. And so that’s actually created sort of a slack, like environment, obviously slack as far more prevalent. People understand that if you, if you kind of connect in and probably a higher likelihood, a much better job at creating that connectivity. So a lot of our clients are in there watching us work, uh, working in there with us and so that’s been a pretty good experience and it does, it does make it a more considered, it is a longer form sort of format and so, um, it seems to be more considered than what you get in slack, which feels like instant messenger. And so that’s, that’s the kind of stuff that you get is instant messenger kind of stuff. Um, anyway, so I know everybody likes slack, but I, but I’m hearing some of this too, I’m hearing some of these similar things where I think people, you know and attention is already so fractured and slack makes it even worse than that. Some people.

MC: Yeah, I really can’t. I’m starting to turn on it to be honest with you. So like when we were, so let me call out, it goes 100 percent remote, right? So like almost, I don’t know, it might be changing since I left, but the point anyway, so in that environment, like it became really important to, as a leader, like it was easier for me to monitor conversations across different clients when they were happening in their individual channels or whatever else. But to your point, like I missed them having them in base camp. So going back to base camp I think is a great idea. You’ll never hear. I bet you never would’ve thought of me and say you hear me say this bar, but like I missed base camp. I really do. We use Trello here and I, you know, I fricken hate trello like I cannot.

BR: Yeah,

MC: no it did not have not end. Well we should, we could tell everybody on the podcast about the computer stolen laptop episode of 2000, whatever year that was 2012 anyway. Um, but yeah, so the point is, is that yeah, I’m not, you might be pulling me to your side with the slack thing. So like when I look at our internal slack ear, I’m sure it’s used for some positive things and some cross team communication, which is good by the way because like coders and engineers are kind of like locked into their thing and it’s like you don’t want to disrupt them or, or whatever else. But most of it to be honest with you is like for fun. Like most of like we have a whole slack channel dedicated to Sushi. It was just fun, right. It’s called life and like, you know, the whole team as debates and talks about who’s going to get Sushi anyway. So there’s all that tension. Cliched thing. Yeah. You would think. So it’s been more of a cultural thing,

BR: a project management tool. I appreciate that part of it. I think in it, I think there’s a strong role for that because it’s the messengers and they kind of fell away. I actually where we started when we started as an agency, we started on IRC, which is Internet relay chat. Um, and so that whole concept of the chat room sort of disappeared. And it’s kind of funny because slack research that and there’s a lot of remnant, um, and I don’t even know if the SLA, I’m sure people are aware of this, but like there’s a lot of IRC kind of in slack and, and so there was a period of time we went to the instant messenger sort of thing, which was just all one to one, but the concept of have a chat room is, uh, there’s, there’s all kinds of value in that.

BR: And I like it. Um, but yeah, it’s got to be, and I’m in a bunch of like, um, mastermind or kind of these large communities or whatever or digital marketers and stuff when I’m in a few of those in slack and, and problem gets even worse. Like, I mean to watch, I’m almost like don’t even go in there anymore because there’s just so much garbage. It’s like it’s not even, you know, you, you need a, you almost need like a reddit style thing to vote up, like useful content, right? Because it’s just a streaming, you know, 90 percent nonsense. And then occasionally there’s a morsel in there, but who’s going to find that? Right. So

MC: nobody. I know. The other thing I think tools like that in general do, which is kind of interesting. I’m noticing so like if they like, so slack technically the whole point of it isn’t like you can categorize everything, right? So like, but if you go into this world, it’s almost like content marketing problem.

MC: So if you go into this world in which you over categorize everything you, you come out with like the other end with like 100 different categories. And I’m like well that’s not very useful. That’s not, that’s not an organization that’s a fire, that’s a file folder for one single item and every folder. And I see that problem happening a lot, which is like you just, you know, even if inside of an agent so like oh we’ll have one for marketing, we’ll have one for marketing technology, we’ll have one for sales, but sales technology and so on and so forth in an attempt to like really keep these conversations kind of separate and organized, which is the idea of slack. But then you’re just managing, you know, like you said way too much. Um, it’s a really interesting problem to that, like watching it evolve. Like I don’t, I don’t know the solution for it today, but like it’s just a fascinating thing to kind of see how people react to it and how people behave and like

BR: the whole concept is going to bring it back to kind of where we started the whole concept of collaborating and trying to figure out how to integrate, you know, different teams, different organizations and make all that function together. Slack is definitely a powerful and of course it just took off like crazy. I’m just a powerful sort of example of trying to kind of get that right. So let’s take a little bit of a segment break here and then we’re gonna dig into our rabbit holes.

BR: All right, so we’re back. So Mike, what uh, what was your kind of your biggest challenge or rabbit hole of this week?

MC: So my biggest rabbit hole or challenge, obviously in this, I have to mention this by the way. So for anybody that doesn’t think slack is distracting, we were talking about how to collaborate better between teams and we started talking about slack and it ruined our conversation about the collaboration. Maybe that’s maybe that’s an indicator as to why we don’t want to use stuff that was pretty funny. So actually my, my rabbit hole for the weekends is integration in tools. There’s this really, I am guilty of this as much as anybody else. Like the tendency is that in the software driven marketing like a ecosphere or you know, whatever you want to call it, like a is this is the idea that there’s always a tool to solve your problem. And the answer to that question is probably yes. Like there is a tool but at some point you get um, you know, tool fatigue or like your stack becomes too complicated or you can’t even use it as a marketing tool.

MC: And so like, actually this isn’t even about me having a solution or anything, it’s just kind of a word of caution is try to solve the problem without the tool first. Um, and then go down the tube because I am deep in, you know, the nutshell stack and integration challenge and tools thing like, you know, we’re a software company so we’ve got a lot of development talent in house obviously in our stack is pretty sophisticated and we’re tracking all kinds of user behavior and using intercom to track that behavior and then be able to segment based on it and said really unique and personalized communication to our users and non users and where they are in the trial and blah blah blah because it sort of Ad Infinitum, right? Like it’s kind of crazy. But when one of the things breaks in that stack by the way, like it could break your whole system in a sense that like you don’t know what message is going to who. So anyway, that is the rabbit hole that I am still occupy, which is like integrations and tools and mapping how data flows and all that kind of stuff. So for those who work in a more sophisticated marketing operation, like be weary of that. For those that don’t, you know, keep it simple. Kis principle is, is a good thing. One

BR: of the key things too, and I believed in this is trying to do it manually so you really understand the problem you’re solving or the processes that you’re trying to create. I think that’s super critical, but that’s one thing too with integrations and stuff like this opportunity to kind of integrate everything and which is super nice. Uh, Xavier is one of those kind of love hate things that I have, like it allows you to kind of glue anything together but good luck trying to figure out what that glue looks like after you put it together. Um, if you’ve done anything sophisticated. So I’m trying to document that or try to figure out how it’s going. I can’t tell you a number of systems that we just kind of have to unplug everything. And then rewire it because it’s gotten so complex over time. Um, so here’s, here’s mine, um, so in, in the, uh, and you’re going to find this over our podcast if you haven’t been listening or this is your first one or whatever, like we’re super transparent.

BR: So, um, my kind of rabbit hole or challenge for this week is we lost a client, a pretty significant client, one that we certainly didn’t want to lose a, it’s somewhat the nature of the agency business, you know, we gain and lose clients all the time. A lot of times we lose clients for a variety of different reasons. Either client will take, take our activities in house or um, orange, just a relationship over time that kind of ages or we’ll just kind of, um, and in this particular case, this is one of those where we just kind of disconnected in a weird sort of way. Um, and so as we were kind of going through this with the client, I was kind of talking through the process and it was good because we had a pretty deep exchange of, of kind of what was good, what was bad and those sorts of things.

BR: Um, it led me into a kind of challenge or the rabbit hole because as I’m hearing this feedback, and this happens when you get disconnected when you lose a client because you, for whatever reason, there was just a disconnect in how you were executing things. Although I knew there were some things that we hadn’t been perfectly with this client. I was flabbergasted by the reason, um, that this client was telling me they were leaving us. Um, and so they were reasons that were like, should have been or are like core competencies, like things that we know how to do and even things that differentiate us from other agencies. They were telling me that they didn’t think we were doing well. And so it was, it was Kinda, it was kinda crazy. So there were two things, and this is kind of the challenge and the rabbit hole that, that took away from that conversation is one, I have to spend more time making sure that our whole agency, all of the people that, that, um, uh, that work in our team are trained.

BR: I have to spend more of my time actually training each of these individuals and making sure that those things, uh, that Kalydeco should be delivering with excellence is consistent across all of our team members. They understand how to deliver it. They understand how these things work. The processes are consistent, they’re using the right people, that if it, hey, there’s these x number of things that we do and we offer to a client, um, that we really make sure that everybody knows how to do that and knows how to do that appropriately. And then the second thing, uh, because of the fact that I was just floored with what I was hearing is just creating. And we talked about this on the last podcast just creating that feedback loop. Um, because everything that I heard in that meeting were all things that were easily solved if I had been told this gets back to kind of empathy part of the thing.

BR: If they were, if they were willing or cared enough to actually say, hey guys, you’re kind of screwing this up. Um, then we would have fixed it and we would have known about it and the things that they felt like we were screwing up. Like we didn’t know anything about it. Like we didn’t hear anything. They were simple things. They were easy things. Um, and so that was really super frustrating sort of things. And by the way, the things that I thought we were not executing well on it, they were completely pleased with. And so

MC: that’s always fascinating to me and agency and any type of relationship like that, which is like, you just never, you’d never know. Like you just never know how things are affecting the other side unless you ask or they tell you or what, you know. It’s a really important part of the feedback loop. Like if you don’t have it still know what’s going on.

BR: That’s probably where we’ll go down and kind of a recommendation, kind of see some of your notes, but I think this is super important. It’s like you just gotta you gotTa talk. If you’re collaborating with somebody at the moment, you get frustrated, you got to tell somebody, you got to have a conversation, you’ve got to have because that person wants to know, like, and that’s what I told the guys, Hey, this is really frustrating for me because the things you’re telling me, one I know we’re really good at and, and to like, you never told me like, so there was nothing, there was no way for me to fix what was going on here. Um, and so, um, so now now you’re kind of going down a different path and, and ironically, I don’t know if that path is going to kind of solve the pain points because like I said, I think we’re the best at kind of these things that we’re doing. So, uh, anyway, so let’s go into top recommendations. What do you got?

MC: Yeah, so my taco initial for the week, it’s actually a book slash per our topic about collaboration and the book’s called radical candor by Kim Scott. I don’t know how new it is. It’s not super old by the way. But anyway, she was the, she was what, vp of something at apple and vp of something at Google where she ran youtube for the longest time. Anyway, she’s an executive, but radical candor itself is about managing teams and leadership. But, but to be honest, and I’m, and you know me bro, like I am not a fan of like leadership books. Like it’s not my thing. I kind of think you’re a leader or you’re not like an inherent quality. But uh, when I read the book, um, because I was requested to read it for my, for my new job as a, my ceo here that’d read it.

MC: I was really impressed by a number different things I think you can pull out and one of the things that you were just talking about, um, and what she talks about in the book because it’s not just about team management, it’s about collaboration and managing relationships and the idea behind radical candor as she calls it, is pretty simple. You know, one as a leader, you should care personally about the people that you’re leading. Um, this is, by the way, one of the things I think that makes you an effective leader bar and made classical a lot of fun by the way and things I miss about it. Not that I don’t get it here, but anyway, is you know, you care personally about all your people, but then also on the flip side of that, you know, then you are radically candid with them and all times about the quality of their work, um, about their performance and everything.

MC: And like you don’t pull punches and, and there’s, it’s a fine line to walk. If you read the book about being like the difference between let’s say, being radically candid with somebody or being like straight up noxious or passive aggressive or something like that, but it sounds from the story you just told me is that like even that particular client could have done well to be candid with you and for some reason people are afraid to give criticism whether it’s because they want to be liked or whatever else. And so like I recommend this book radical candor as a way for people to always, um, to free themselves to kind of like, to be candid with the people they’re working with to. And that’s what’s going to get the best results if you don’t tell somebody exactly what you think and why you think it and when it’s happening at a can’t be resolved, nothing improves. Um, and then you’re just going to be going down like whatever terrible rabbit hole it is, whether you’re working with an employee and agency or whatever else. So like that was a, it was a really good book. I really

BR: in the book, I haven’t finished it, but I would, I would definitely agree with that. It’s very similar to the concept and I’ve recommended this before principles, Dahlias book principles. He had kind of a similar thing inside their organization. Um, but yeah man, I don’t know if it’s because we’re in like a facebook nation where everybody’s gotten like passive aggressive, but it causes so much damage, you know, when, when people are just not having honest conversations with people. The other thing that I see kind of with this, but again I would, I guess I’d recommend people not doing is especially with big organizations. We’ve gotten so reliant on, I just had a conversation today with a, with a client’s internal, a department, and I won’t even tell you which department was, but we’re where they’ve gotten so linkedin, the policy that they can’t even, they can’t even have a conversation anymore.

BR: There’s this policy out there. They don’t know why it was made. They don’t know what the reason for it is, but they can’t even have a conversation anymore. So more conversations, less policies I guess is the point because I think, yeah, I mean people are creating policies, have conversations, right? And so I think that’s a, it’s a real detriment to any organization or collaboration is where you get to a point where everybody hides behind. And I’ll talk candidly about this one too, um, because this was years ago, but I worked, uh, at quicken loans and a lot of people will be familiar with quicken loans and they have this concept of Isms which I love. It’s, it’s culture enforcing. It’s in their strong concepts, but you would always get a few of the bad people that would weaponize those things. So instead of having a conversation about something they would whip out an ism and then just try to shut you down with it. And so, um, so like a policy or even your culture, like when you’re doing things really emphasize the conversation part about forcing people to have hard conversations to, to act like people and to absorb some of the pain and the difficulties and building a relationship instead of just hiding behind some little, you know, interesting little quip or policy or whatever. But uh, I always hated that it was like people are really uncomfortable with having a very direct, honest conversation with each other for long.

MC: No, I totally, I totally agree. And I think, I think that comes and I know we’re nearing the end of the podcast here, but like I think that comes from people’s parents need to be defensive like so, like nobody likes to be wrong. Like I hate being wrong, but I’ll tell you what I don’t like even more than being, acting like I’m right when I’m wrong like that because then you look like a real jerk off. Like if you’re not actually correct and you keep pushing this incorrect agenda idea, like whatever it is at the end, no one confronts you on it. Then by the way, like you’re just going to multiply the level of what you look like an ass, like a 100,000 percent. So. So the last thing like I wanted to let people know, look, I tried to do for myself, is in a collaboration to bring our whole thing full circle. If you make your default position that when something goes wrong and this will sound strange, but then it was your fault, just start there and evaluate yourself. You will find that the relationships and collaboration that you have to deal with the ones you like, the ones you don’t like, whatever it is are going to go much better for you. If you’re humble and you start with yourself and also it gives more power and strength.

MC: By the way, when you are really convinced that like the challenge and whatever collaboration or relationship you’re dealing with is, is in the other party. Like if you start with yourself and you really evaluate yourself or your organization personally or whatever else, but then when you go back to them with a strong, like, no, actually this problem is on your side. You gotta fix this and you’ll feel much better about it, like you feel much more like stronger about it I guess is the way to put that. But if you don’t stop herself,

BR: nothing’s ever going to get credibility and yeah, you’re so right on that. It’s just you just start their self, evaluate and, and move from there and, and just give in, give the people you’re collaborating with some deference, right. And then you just build all kinds of credibility there that makes that whole relationship work better. Right. So

MC: the, your, the thing that, a second recommendation, but I know you’ve seen it, it’s David Foster Wallace. This is water speech. It’s a commencement speech. I recommend everybody goes, it was looking for like how to be empathetic in general, like not only in your work but like in the world. Go enjoy the very sort of dark viewpoint that they foster wallace as unlike people’s lives and how they live them. It’s called, this is water. You’ll find it on youtube and like he does a great job of explaining, you know, whether it’s the lady in the grocery store, whatever else, you just don’t know what’s going on in somebody else’s life, their work life, their personal life, and if you, if you don’t make assumptions by the way that, that person could add the most tragic day in the world and you’re blowing right by it and like their behavior can be all behavior can be explained for sure as you probably don’t have.

BR: Awesome. Well this is a, I think we pulled it full circle despite the slack blowing up the whole center section of the podcast. Oh, more reason to have this and for slack now. And it’s a great product. I love the people that came up with it, but uh, yeah, there’s definitely, there’s definitely a few distractions hung in there, so it’ll be interesting to see longterm how people respond to that. So.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.

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